Kirchliches Informatorium Volume 15, March & April 1868

March 1868: Volume 15, pages 164 - 167


of the origin, emigration, settlement and ecclesiastic development of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or Congregation, which emigrated from Prussia between the years 1839 and 1843, now known as the Buffalo Synod.

Continued from page 149

4.) Thus is stands to reason that the congregation must temporarily stop somewhere in or around New York or some other large city or area or wherever the Lord sends us the means whereby our people in need of work can find it. The first task shall be the building of a church and school.

Once this is accomplished things will become as they were in the old homeland with regard to the support and maintenance of families and individuals. The communal cash fund will cease to be used for the support of the poor. Upon a reasonable period of deliberation a committee shall be appointed. As each person finds employment he will begin to pay back the amount loaned to him with interest. From then on no one may demand support or maintenance out of the communal fund or surplus from the funds for passage. He will have to rely on Christian charity from his neighbors and brothers and whatever funds were brought by his local congregation, which were set aside to meet the demands of Christian duty towards the poor and the sick.

5.) Only those members of the Lutheran church, who can provide affidavits from their congregations' administrators that they are obedient members of their congregation and people of inoffensive character, may come on the journey.

Those individuals not yet belonging to a church will be accepted only if they have made honest efforts in the past and are still trying now to join a church but in conscientous acknowledgement of their faith believe they must leave to find a place where they can exercise true faith through liberated ministry.

Finally, those who wish to join the emigrating company but do not wish to find a church, will be accepted only to the extent that Christian love of neighbor and Christian wisdom permit.

6.) The current administrators will be accepted as the administrators of the united congregations.

7.) Currently we have the financial means to take 5 families each from Erfurt and Magdeburg along with us. From the Camin congregation 8 families shall come along. In Berlin 16 families have been added.

We deem it a valid resolution that promises can be made to certain individuals without financial means only after the needs of all the congregation members are met. Once those promises are made, there will be no surplus capital.

Destination and Goal

1.) We have sufficient capital to reach New York, the iterim destination of our journey.

2. As the congregation has previously ratified, we remain by the principle that even if we do not receive permission to emigrate we are compelled to flee just as Joseph fled from the prostitute. We too will have to leave our cloaks.

The only things able to stop us should be physical force and imprisonment. The record of our journey will offer sufficient crowns of thorns without hinderances caused by individual motives or questions concerning matters of faith. Since it is the king's will that we be given letters of permission, only local magistrates might stop our departure.

We are resolved in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and in the name of all those of similar Christian intent that we will place our trust and our faith in His protection alone and that at a predetermined time we shall leave with or without permission.

3.) The date of departure from Hamburg has been set for around May 1st. The definitive date will be determined after the signing of the shipping contract.

4.) To make the journey possible it is necessary to have 4 to 5 ships prepared to take us at the proper time. To assure that we have these ships we had to pay one Louis d'or per person more. The shipping contracts must be signed as soon as we receive approval and power of attorney from the congregations.

5.) At the time the contract is signed an additional 2 Louis d'or per person must be paid in advance.

If more money is needed, the poor may have to contribute. The ship brokers require 4 to 6 weeks to prepare the 4 to 5 ships. Once all members are assembled in Hamburg and give their money towards the payment of the contract, they will have to sustain themselves for 4 to 6 weeks in Hamburg.

The ship brokers might well demand an extra Louis d'or per head once they see how many passengers there are.

Perhaps the entire congregation should come to Hamburg later than the 2 deputies since each week in the spring charges for cargo rise as ships take on more cargo after the winter.

The congregations may submit the prepayments for individuals, who are held back by God's design, without fear of losing their money because the contract is set up in such a way that there could be 20 to 30 fewer people. In planning travel, it's easier to make accomodations for the majority than to cover the costs for passengers, who might not be able to come.

6.) The cost for travel to Hamburg or Bremen is left to each local congregation. If they lack sufficient funds they should inform the deputies as soon as possible. A relatively small sum has been set aside and can be used to provide financial support.

7.) Congregation members may take non-believing family members with them.

8.) Deacon Kaul and ministerial candidates Fröhlich and Brandt will be offered the opportunity to join the congregation.

9.) Due to lack of surplus funds, debts of individual members cannot be paid out of the ship's passage account.

10.) We deem it necessary that as soon as a shipping contract is signed two deputies shall travel on to England by the swiftest means possible to prepare for the congregation's arrival. By doing this they will secure the most favorable conditions for the congregation's journey to points beyond.

11.) Housefathers shall bring their capital with them

to Hamburg in species of Louis d'or or Prussian dollars. In Hamburg they shall pay the remainder of their contributions.

12.) At the end of the journey the deputies shall turn over the account records to a committee of elders (the administrators) and the pastor. Then individual account statements can be set up, calculating the amount to be returned to each member or the amount he owes to the passage fund. Afterwards payments can be made.


The Deputies' Power of Attorney

The deputies are brothers M. Krüger, D. Helm, H. v. Rohr and W. Bortfeld and they shall act as representatives of the congregation and have full power of attorney in arranging all worldly matters regarding the journey and ship's passage. Whenever possible they will seek the advice of the pastor. They shall be responsible for closing the contract, administration of the congregation's emigration funds, distribution of the families on the various ships and all other such details. They shall grant financial support and travel money in proportion to the amount of money on hand. They shall draw up regulations for the voyage and other travel to maintain health, cleanliness and order. It remains the task of the administrators to see to all emotional and spiritual needs of the congregation under the supervision of the pastor.

Every individual, including the administrators, must comply with the directives put forth by the deputies concerning travel so that all things proceed without impediment. Whenever possible the deputies will consult with the administrators to ask for their advice and opinions, however once the plans are being executed everyone must willingly follow the people they have chosen to lead. Each enlightened individual will see that all these steps are necessary

for the maintenance of order and the well being of the entire group.

May our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, give every member of this congregation the grace to judge our proposals not with their minds but with their spirits. May they respond to the call of the Holy Spirit, who will impart His grace so they may choose what is right and reject what is false.

May God's good and grace-filled will come to us all. All praise, honor and glory to Him so He may hear our prayers, give us the means and pave the way. He will care for us as He cared for Esra in Esra 8, 21-23 if we seek His help as Esra did. Amen! Hallelujah! Amen!

         H. v. Rohr, W. Bortfeld,
         D. Helm, Mart. Krüger.

               To be continued

April 1868: Volume 15, pages 182 - 184


of the origin, emigration, settlement and ecclesiastic development of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or Congregation, which emigrated from Prussia between the years 1839 and 1843, now known as the Buffalo Synod.

Continued from page 167

These resolutions were accepted by Pastor Grabau and all the congregations. The deputies received the powers of attorney and the assurance of the congregation's continued prayers of praise and thanks to God, who had helped us get this far.

It was freely decided by each individual that the poor and those with limited means would contribute all of their assets to the congregational fund. The rich supplied the greater portion of the fund to defray the travel costs to New York. * Therefore it was possible to take all the poor members of the congregation. It would be their duty later on to pay back the amount lent to them with interest. Years later the interest was completely eliminated by the creditors. Deacon Kaul and ministerial candidates Fröhlich and Brandt declined the invitations to travel with us.

During the winter Pastor Grabau was gravely ill again


* As one can see in the Appendix listing the congregation members. Return to text

while imprisoned in Heiligenstadt. The Magdeburg congregation made the following appeal to Minister v. Allenstein [Altenstein?].

A most humble appeal from the Evangelical-Lutheran Congregation of Magdeburg to bring Pastor Grabau to a private home and allow him to be cared for by his wife during his critical illness with the necessary security measures
submitted to
The Privy Counsel State Minister for Spiritual Instruction and Medicinal Affairs, Knight of the Holy Order,
Baron von Allenstein [Altenstein].


Testimony from the physician at the prison in Heiligenstadt confirms that Pastor Grabau is critically ill. However this physician was able to confer with the wife of Pastor Grabau, who came from Erfurt to care for him, for only a quarter of an hour over an 8 day period and then it was in the presence of the local magistrate. The doctor told the pastor's wife that he was gravely ill and there was no hope of his recovering while in prison.

By commission and in the name of those Evangelical-Lutheran Christians under the spiritual care of Pastor Grabau and in the name of his wife, the undersigned make this obediently submitted petition:

Allow the local magistrate to investigate whether Pastor Grabau's illness is indeed life-threatening. If the magistrate of Heiligenstadt substantiates the claim, please allow him to order that Pastor Grabau be brought to a private home with the necessary security guards so his wife may care for him and he can enjoy all the comforts of a home and the better air such surroundings provide.

We keep in mind His Majesty's decree that

when we emigrate for the sake of our faith, we may bring a minister with us. Pastor Grabau has volunteered to accompany us and he will be ready as soon as his health permits the trip to Hamburg and a royal minister issues the order.

We wait in confidence for swift action from your excellency because a human life is at stake here. Several hundred Evangelical-Lutheran families need their pastor. In case our humble request receives a favorable decision, we are sending a copy of this request to Pastor Grabau's wife so she may prepare for her trip to Heiligenstadt.

The Evangelical-Lutheran congregations of Pastor Grabau are prepared to cover all costs so there should be no reason to deny him the necessary help.

In deepest respect and supplication we ask God and our merciful savior, Jesus Christ, the true God praised for all eternity, to incline your excellency's heart to be merciful so that you too may find His mercy.

         As a humble servant of your excellency,
       and in the name and by commission of
       the Evanglical-Lutheran Christians,
       Heinrich von Rohr, antiquarian book dealer
       Magdeburg, Jan. 26, 1839


With reference to your petitions to the Royal High Ministry for spiritual, instructional and medicinal affairs as well as the ministers of the interior and the police dated the 26th of the month, we inform you that an investigation has been undertaken into the illness of former Pastor

Grabau. The physicians indicate that he is already feeling better and well on the way to a full recovery.

Incidentally, the patient's wife has been allowed entry and permitted to care for her husband since Grabau has been released from local custody and brought to a private house until such time as a decision is made by a higher authority on his final disposition and his emigrating.

         Erfurt, February 5, 1839
         Royal Government, Department
         of the Interior,
         Union Division,

   Antiquarian Book Dealer Heinrich
   von Rohr and comrades in

At this time letters requesting permission for all the congregations to emigrate were sent to the magistrates in Berlin, Magdeburg, Erfurt, etc.and to the royal government in Potsdam, Magdeburg and Stettin. All had content similar to the following.

         His Majesty's Royal Government
         in Magdeburg.

The undersigned members of the Evangelical-Lutheran congregation in Magdeburg humbly submit to His majesty's Royal Government their request for permission to emigrate to the United States in North America.

The reason for this request is the strong conviction that His Majesty, our beloved king who was entrusted to rule this land in Christian obedience to the triune God,

will not allow the continued existence of the Evangelical-Lutheran church along with his newly founded national evangelical church or outside the Union Agenda even though its legal right to exist in this country was established by the Westphalian Peace Accord and the religious edict proclaimed by his late royal majesty on July 9, 1788. These laws were in force when our current king assumed the throne.

We will concede that this is the will of the leader. We will leave his land and seek a new country where we can have the Evangelical-Lutheran church without interference by parochial or administrative force. We will find a country where the church will exist under the protection of the government so that it is not overthrown by another church and its ministerial committees.

               To be continued

This is the end of Volume 15.
Go to Kirchliches Informatorium, Volume 16

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Microfilm provided by The Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Imaging & translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks