Here is the story of the beginnings of our church and how we became what we are today.
The beginning of the
Lutheran faith in the Guilford and Thompson townships area is hard to pinpoint because of the record keeping of the time.
What is known, is that in the 1830's the lead mines, the lead-hauling trails and the countryside that resembled that of their
homeland in German was what brought a lot of Lutheran's to this area. They came with hopes and dreams of a better life for
themselves and their families. As time passed those German Lutherans had a void in their lives. A desire to gather with others
like themselves and give thanks for all that their Almighty God had given them as they had done in the old country of German.
Their prayers were answered when Reverend John Klindworth came to Galenain August of 1858. He founded St. Matthew's LutheranChurchin Galenaon September 21,
1858 . At first many from the Guilfordand Thompson area traveled to
Galenafor the church services. Later Rev. Klindworth would travel to the Guilfordarea to hold church at a local country school house (which now is owned by the Roger Sawyer Family and was know
at the time as the Schoenhard and Taylor Schoolhouse). He traveled by foot most of the time, later on horseback and finally
by horse and buggy. The journey for all was very difficult. According to our record book, the first child baptized in our
congregation was Sophia Hauser, the daughter of Johann George and Maria Hauser, on October
23, 1859 .
The congregation grew
and decided to purchase land. On June 18, 1866 , the congregation (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mill Creek) purchased land from Mr. & Mrs. Henry Sam for the total
price of $10.00. In 1867, a woman with the last name of Keller was the first funeral held and she was buried in the cemetery
next to where the church would be built two years later. It took another two years to build the church. Henry Wachter, who
was born in Switzerland and came to America and settled in the Guilford Township area, was a farmer but a carpenter by trade
and later built the Lutheran church in Guilford. He and his family were members of this congregation. The new church in Guilfordwas dedicated on September 18, 1870 . The first couple to be
married in the church was Henry Hinden and his bride, Julie Weber on June 2, 1874
. Confirmation classes were held at St. Matthew’s LutheranChurchin Galenawith Rev. Klindworth teaching and confirming the students.
The congregation purchased land from Anton Schap in Schapville on
March 24, 1879 , to build the first parsonage. With the help of Rev. Klindworth,
the congregation of the EvangelicalLutheranChurchat Mill Creek obtained their first live-in pastor. Reverend George Kaempflein was installed in 1879. The first
confirmation class of the EvangelicalLutheranChurchat Mill Creek was confirmed on April 11, 1879 . The first
eight students were: Erhard Hesselbacher, Joseph Frick, Ernst Siegel, Ernst Kirchner, Christian Otto, Juliana Wachter,
and Maria Hoffman.
In 1881, the first schoolhouse
was built onto the parsonage. The school term was four days a week during the five months before Easter. Tuition was 50 cents
a month per student.
In 1885, the Annual Meeting
had a discussion on building a second church but it was tabled to a later meeting. In December of 1885, a meeting was held
to discuss why the congregation needed a second church. The minister got up and gave his reasons. The elders took a vote and
it was passed that a second church would be built in the Schapville area. Land was purchased from Philip Parkin on March 13, 1886 . [Philip Parkin was a local farmer who inherited the land from his
wife's family. He also gave land for the country school that is just down the road outside of Schapville.] On October 10, 1886 , the new church was dedicated to the Glory of Our Lord. The church in Schapville
was also built by Henry Wachter at a cost to the congregation of $2,408.95. The two congregations would now share a pastor
and a church council. The Guilfordchurch was known as the UpperChurchand the Schapville/Thompson Church was known as the LowerChurch. The day of the dedication was also the farewell of Reverend Kaempflein.
On October 11, 1886 , the two congregations installed their new pastor,
Rev. Hugo B. Kuhn. On October 19, 1886 , the LowerChurchpurchased property for a cemetery from Hr. Theodore Hoppe. In 1887, a new
bell was purchased for the lower church and copper lamp so that they could have night services. In October of 1888, Rev. Kuhn
resigned because of his health.
The founder's son, Reverend
G.F. Klindworth, was installed as pastor on October 21, 1888 . In January
of 1889, a collection was taken up for a new organ at the lower church.
On February 3, 1889,a joint meeting of both congregations was held
in the upper church. The subject of the discussion was whether to have one treasurer instead of two. It was decided that if
there are repairs to be done at the school house or if there is anything to be built the money should come out of both parts
of the churches. It was also decided that the upper church would be called St. Paul’s
Congregation and the lower one Zion Congregation.
On March 17, 1889, both congregations decided to build
a new picket fence around the parsonage.
On October 13, 1889, the congregation meets to purchase new iron desks to be used in the school house.
The cost for the desks was $42.00 (this included the freight charge).
November 2, 1890, the Zioncongregation voted on the duties of the janitor. The duties are as follows:
1. Keep the church clean.
2. Keep it warm (Have the temperature at 70 degrees at church time)
3. Light the altar candles.
4. To put up the numbers for the
5. Towing the bell. The bell should be rung on Saturday evening, on Sundays
at , and at funerals.
6. Take care of the baptismal water.
7. Get drinking water in the summer.
8. Be able to be on call at any time of the day.
9. Get somebody to take his
place when he is not able to be there.
On February 12, 1893,
the Zioncongregation decided to repair the chimney of the church, and to paint the picket
fence around the parsonage.
The congregation of Ziondecided to buy a new organ for the use in the school house in 1894.
1900's Annual meeting was held on January 1. The minister had the following to
Each member (this was males only) has a right
to express his opinion at any time but only will be permitted to talking after the talking has finished.
If you have something to say, you
should stand up and say “I want the word”.
It was approved to appoint a secretary to take minutes and read them at each meeting held at the church. It was decided to
build a new barn. It was to become the property of ZionLutheranChurch.
This was to be used by the pastor and his family.
On January 29, 1900, it was God's will that the parsonage would burn to the ground. The following article
appeared in the Galena Gazette on February
FIRE AT SCHAPVILLE
Rev. G.F. Klindworth, son of Rev. John Klindworth,
of this city and pastor of the SchapvilleLutheranChurch, writes the Gazette as follows relatives to the burning of the church parsonage
occupted by himself and family.
The Lutheran parsonage at Schapville
, IL, used also as a parochial school was consumed by fire, January 29th at
In the afternoon a chimney had been on fire. The fire afterwards
was found to be extinct to the chimney, but about an hour later flames broke out from the roof. Many came to help and so most
of the contents of the building were saved. It was soon apparent that the building could not be saved and burned to the ground.
* * * * * * * * * *
February 23, 1900. A meeting was held at Zion concerning the building of the
new parsonage. The plans for the
new parsonagewas to build it 16 x 28 and the kitchen 16 x16 and 14 feet high walls.
There was a motion by one of the trustees that the parsonage should be built according to plans. The main living space
16 x 28, the kitchen 16 x 16, basement 16 x16, and the school 16 x 28 and the wall one foot higher than in the plans. The
school house should be frame. The motion was tabled until they could meet with St. Paul's (now known as St. John) Congregation.
On April 17, 1900, both congregations met at St. Paul's (St. John’s) Churchin Guilford to consider the building of a parsonage and other items. The meeting went from friendly to all out war. Some believed the building
committee were wanting to build a chicken house for the pastor to live in. Others members wanted all members of the congregation
to be able to receive Holy Communion. Many speeches were given that morning. The outcome of this meeting ended with the congregation
asking Reverend Klindworth to find a new church.
On October 16, 1900, a Congregational meeting
was held, to decided if the congregation would call a pastor from
with the understanding that Pastor Klindworth would leaves his position her at St. Paul's & Zion. A vote was taken that Pastor Meyer from Clintville, Wisconsinwould be the new pastor. He was installed on December 5, 1900by Pastor Klindworth
of Galena, IL.
The new parsonage was built.
During the time that Reverend H.F. Meyer's served this
congregations a Mission Festival was started. The first Mission Festival offering raised $77.15. Rev. Meyer was involved
with the purchase of the ornate copper ceiling for Zion. It was purchased in Chicago. Pastor Meyer and Henry Boldt made the
trip to Chicago to personally select the material. The cost of the ceiling was $800.00 and the two men surprised the congregation
with a large crown in the center of the chancel at an additional cost of $10.00. George Kuhn and others from the church helped
bring the ceiling from Scales Mound to the church. To this day the ceiling has been a topic of interest and curiosity. The
exact composition of the material on the ceiling is still a bit of a mystery! The altar at Zion was handcrafted in Germany.
It was shipped to America by boat to the harbor in Milwaukee, Wis. and then sent by railroad to Apple River, IL. Louis Schultz
and Henry Schlichting brought the altar to the Zion church by a team and wagon. The altar cost $800.00.
In 1902, it was decided
that parents who send
their children to confirmation instructions (who do not belong to the church) should pay $5.00 into the treasury.
congregations approved the motion dealing with who could be buried in the cemetery. It was decided that just Lutherans can be buried and only the presiding pastor
or a relief pastor could perform the funeral services.
On December 9, 1907, Reverend Meyer contracted
tuberculosis and his health caused him to resign and retire from the ministry. On February 26, 1908, Reverend H. Hofhenke
became the new pastor served both congregations as their pastor for 13 years.
In 1908, a cement sidewalk was pour in
front of the parsonage, a new woven wire fence (with cedar posts and two iron
gates) replaced the picket fence around the parsonage, build an outdoor toilet,
paint the parsonage and the barn,
and the presidents should see to it that the pumps are put back into operation.
In 1909, the Ohio Hymnals were purchased, a new chicken house was built, a new fence
around the garden at the parsonage was built, the school house was repaired, a
new organ (the best they could afford) was purchased, and the old organ was put into the school house.
In 1911, Zion Lutheran Church in Schapville celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In 1912, a summer kitchen was built onto the parsonage. It would be 16 x 20 or 18 x
20, which ever way it would fit best.
In 1914, new carpeting was purchased, the doors were changed to open to the outside,
and a woodshed was built at Zion. A new black pulpit and altar was added at St. John's site.
any member of the two congregations would pay
$25.00 into the treasury to be buried in the cemeteries, the church roof was painted, the gold plated cross was placed on the steeple,
cement foundation for the outside toilets were poured, and
an auto garage was to be built (14 x 20 x 10). St. John's, would hold one
English speaking service a month and the rest of the services would be held in the German language.
In 1917, The Zion Lutheran Church
install a new heating system. The
Brotherhood was established and each male member was to join. (October 20).
In 1920, each student attending Confirmation
classes would pay for their own books, new collection plates were purchased for Zion, and the parsonage and Zion Lutheran
Church were hooked up to electricity. That same year, Reverend Hofhenke received a call from another congregation and
accepted the call. He resigned in 1921.
Reverend H. Holzhausen was installed on the 3rd day of April, 1921, by Rev. Kubitz of Madison, Wisconsin. In the fall the cellar of the parsonage was cemented and the windows of the
parsonage were repaired.
In 1922, the parsonage was painted white and the roof was repaired. A special meeting with both congregations was held
on Friday, September 15th at 2 o'clock to deal with the considerable dissatisfaction in the congregation in regards to their
pastor. Rev. Pagels (from Galena) was present to hold and do the investigating in the matter of removing the pastor.
The congregations wanted a different
pastor, and they were granted the request.
Reverend H.F. Leschensky was installed
on July 8, 1923. St. John's and Zion became holding 50% English speaking services and 50% German speaking services. The parsonage
was remodeled and made into a more modern
home. In 1925, the school house
(that we now know) was built separate from the parsonage. Both were dedicated on December 13th 1923.
(I'M STILL UPDATING THE HISTORY OF ST. JOHN'S AND ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH.)
(PLEASE BE PATIENT -- THANK YOU)
Four members of Shepherd of the Hills congregation became Ministers
of the Lutheran Faith.
Rev. John Schlichting-- He was born Johann George Ludwig Schlichting on February 13, 1870. The
son of Ludwig and Sofia (Wich) Schlichting. He was baptized on May 22, 1870 at St. John's Lutheran Church and was confirmed
Rev. Louis Brandt -- He was born Ludwig Wilhelm Friedrith Brandt on November 3, 1886 in the village
of Woodbine, IL. The son of Friedrick and Dorattea Buhse Brandt. He was baptized on November 28, 1886 at St. John's and confirmed
in 1902. According to the 1910 Census, he was a boarder while living in St. Paul's, Minnesota. His WWI register card (that
was dated June 1917) stated that he lived in Hill County, Montana. He was a farmer / clergyman and was married and had four
children. Rev. Brandt passed away on February 10, 1936 in Montana.
Rev. John Bonhoff, 72, former Schapville area resident and pastor for forty-seven years of the
Valley City, N. D. Lutheran church, died Sept. 4th, according to word received by his relatives. Funeral service and burial
took place Sept. 8th in Valley City. Born in Germany, Rev. Bonhoff came to America with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Bonhoff,
when he was a child. He grew to manhood in the Schapville area and received theological training in Afton and St. Paul, Minn.
He went to Valley City as a candidate for the Lutheran church shortly after his ordination into ministry. Although he told
the congregation that he did not desire to remain as pastor of the church, he was persuaded to do so-members of the church
having prevailed upon him to become their minister between trains. In addition to serving as pastor in the North Dakota city,
where he arrived in 1895, Rev. Bonhoff also was mayor of the community for several terms and served as a member of the Valley
City school board until he resigned recently because of illness. During his frequent visits to Jo Daviess county, Rev. Bonhoff
conducted services several times in Schapville. Surviving in addition to the widow, are two sons, Lawrence of Fargo, N. D.,
and Edward of Grand Forks, N. D.; a daughter, Miss Effie Bonhoff at home; three brothers, William of Stockton, Louis of Galena
and Fred of Springfield, Neb., and three sisters, Mrs. Henry Wulff of Elizabeth, Mrs. Evelyn Martin of McLloyd, N. D. and
Mrs. Dora Steinborn of Valley City. [Sept. 16, 1943]
Rev. Christina (Grebner) Stienstra -- She was baptized
and confirmed in the congregations of St. John's/Zion Lutheran Churches. She is the daughter of LaVerne and Laura (Krug) Grebner.
She is married to Darryl Stienstra and has two adult daughters.
Shepherd of the Hill -- 536 E. Schapville Road -- Scales Mound, IL 61075 -- 815-845-2061