the West in mind. It is, indeed, a great pity that our church could
not send us a few men last spring and give our church an oppor-
tunity to build up with her sister churches in this beautiful coun-
try. Whatever is done, let it be done soon. James Epley."
These few communications, culled from the many appeals
received by our editors, indicate how desirous the first settlers
were for the church of their choice. These appeals, supplemented
by the earnest words from the editors of our church papers, as
well as letters of approval and encouragement from various parts
of the church, had a wholesome effect on most of the Annual Con-
ferences which were held during the spring months of 1858.
The East Pennsylvania Conference, the oldest and strongest,
was the first on the program to hold its session. The Conference
met at W^eisport, Pa., Feb. 24, 1858, but for some reason was not
favorably impressed with the missionary project for the West,
nor affected by the many earnest appeals for help which had been
made. The following resolution, passed at her session, shows her
attitude toward the projected mission in Kansas: "The Kansas
question, or the forming of a mission Conference in Kansas, is
considered a very unsafe and venturous step, not feasible under
the present existing circumstances."
The West Pennsylvania, Conference was held a few weeks
later, March 11, 1858, when the following action was taken:
"Resolved, That we establish a mission in Kansas, and, Whereas,
J. Dunlap and S. Wolf, being requested by this Conference to
serve as missionaries in said territory, have consented, therefore
Resolved, That they be appointed as missionaries to Kansas, and
that they be given one year to get ready to enter their field of
The peculiar procedure of these two Conferences called forth
the following editorial in the Botschafter of April 10, 1858: "We
regret that the East Pennsylvania Conference has done nothing
for Kansas, since she possesses both men and means to render
assistance. We are far behind the urging conditions of the times
in these matters. It is beautiful to sing : ' Kirche Christi, breite,
breite deine Grenzen weit hinaus,' but if we will not even venture
to our present borders, there is little hope that we will go beyond
in our missionary operations.
"The West Pennsylvania Conference, at least, showed a dispo-
sition to do something for Kansas. She appointed two of her men
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
to Kansas and then assigned them to fields of labor at home in
Pennsylvania. That looks queer! Our missionaries hold they
have one year's time to prepare for their new work. May the old
maxim: 'Was lange wahrt geht ofters zu nichts' (What waiteth
long ofttimes comes to naught) not be realized in reference to the
proposed mission work in Kansas."
The Evangelical Messenger also severely criticised the con-
duct of the East Pennsylvania Conference in failing to do any-
thing for Kansas because she considered it an "unsafe and ven-
An intimation of insincerity in the action of the West Penn-
sylvania Conference, in sending two men to Kansas, and then giv-
ing them appointments at home, from the editor of the Evangeli-
cal Messenger, brought forth the following explanation from J.
Dunlap, one of the appointed missionaries: "You seem not to
understand why Brother Wolf and myself were given one year's
time to prepare for our labors in the far-off field. By way of
explanation I would say, therefore, that I have always been a
warm friend of frontier missions, believing that our labors and
our money would pay better, both for the cause of God and the
church in the new territory, than in the older settled parts of our
"I was in favor, therefore, of the Kansas enterprise, but lit-
tle did I think that I would be called upon to go there, for having
served but one year in the office I hold (presiding elder), I had
accordingly made my arrangements for a full term. But being
requested to go to Kansas, Brother Wolf would only consent to go
in case I would. Therefore I could not refuse. But if I go, I want
my temporal affairs so arranged that I will have no further trouble
on that account. To do this I believe will require the greater part
of a year, although it will not monopolize my time to such an ex-
tent as to prevent me from doing anything else. But not wishing
to be idle during our leisure time we took a home appointment
meanwhile, believing we could arrange our matters and attend to
them besides. But you and the friends of the missions may rest
assured, that if Providence permit, I will go there if no one
else does." Suffice it to say, neither he nor his colleague entered
upon their labors in Kansas.
The Illinois Conference, which was held April 21, 1858, sup-
plied the missions they located the previous year in Kansas and
Nebraska by sending G. Fleischer and C. Berner to Kansas, and
J. F. Schreiber to Nebraska. These three brethren entered upon
their fields of labor as soon as possible after the session.
The New York Conference, held at Buffalo, N. Y., April 21,
1858, heartily approved of the Kansas mission project, but re-
gretted very much not to be able to send a missionary because of
the lack of a suitable man who would be available, and also be-
cause of lack of missionary funds wherewith to support a man in
The Ohio Conference was next to hold its session, which oc-
curred May 12, 1858, in the Salem Church, Marion County, Ohio.
The following action was taken: "Resolved, That we locate two
missions in the West, one in Kansas, and one in North-west Mis-
souri. Further, Resolved, That it be made the duty of each
preacher to collect as much as possible on his field of labor for
these missions." M. J. Miller was sent to Kansas, and Philip
Porr to Missouri.
The Pittsburg Conference, which was held March 24, 1858,
resolved to locate a mission in Kansas and supply it as soon as
they could. This was done in 1866, when J. G. Pfeifer came to
the Kansas Conference.
Thus the initial step was taken and the work in Kansas be-
gun. We will follow with intense interest the progress and de-
velopment of the work through many adversities, hardships and
trials. Soon the appointed missionaries assume their duties and
move to the far West to take up the work assigned them. In the
spring of 1858 the brethren Schreiber and C. Berner turn their
faces westward and travel from Illinois through Iowa to Nebraska
and Kansas. The following letter, written by J. F. Schreiber at
Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sept. 27, 1858, contains a graphic descrip-
tion of their trip.
J. F. SCHREIBER
"Dear Bro. Koch: — The trip which I made with Bro. Berner,
missionary to Kansas, was, as may well be expected, connected
with hardships, exertion and danger. The Lord, however, who
protects his own, was with us on our journey and protected us.
Our motto was: 'Forward.' How enchanted we were, after we
reached Iowa's last heights from which we could see the Missouri
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
valley spread out before us ! The scene was romantic and glorious.
How inviting the borders of Nebraska welcomed us through the
rays of the setting sun!
"Arriving in Council Bluffs, we were received by friends, and
we at once began to inquire about the German people. We also
held service on Sunday. We found that the Germans were mostly
very ungodly. The first place I visited was St. Mary's, on the
Iowa side of the line, which contains about 100 to 125 families.
This village is about four or five years old and has never had a
religious service in English or German. I visited them three
times, but found no reception. Possibly a door may open later.
"On June 28, 1858, I for the first time stepped on Nebraska
soil. Nebraska, the great prairie territory, contains some of the
best land that can be found; has good water, and a healthy cli-
mate. The country along the Missouri River is especially beau-
tiful. It is completely scattered over with Germans. My sphere
of activity is quite extended, and I have my designated places for
preaching. I could find considerable more to do if the work were
not too scattered for me to serve alone.
"My beginning was tolerably hard. Every beginning is hard,
especially for a preacher in a new country where he must begin
friendless and brotherless. The moral condition of the people is
depraved, as well among the Germans as the English. Sin and
vice of all kind are at home. The region is like a field of death
where Satan is constantly harvesting. A child of God is driven to
ask in astonishment, 'Where will this end?' Our meetings up to
this time have been rather small, for which the fever is, to a great
extent, responsible. I am in most instances well received. Al-
most everywhere I find open doors and friends who receive me, if
not royally, yet heartily.
"On the 20th of September I attended a camp-meeting, held
by the English Methodists. I felt at once that I was among God's
children. The preachers were of the right type, some of them
seemed to be genuine pioneers. The members seemed to be joined
together in love. I came among them as a lonely sheep, but I
went on my journey feeling strengthened, and rejoiced with the
thought in my heart : When shall we, too, be able to hold camp-
meeting in Nebraska?"
While Bro. Schreiber labored in Nebraska, his colleagues, Geo.
Fleischer and C. Berner, traveled southward into Kansas and
found a landing place in Douglas County, in the vicinity of Frank-
lin, a small town about four miles south-east of Lawrence. Here
were located the families of James Epley, F. Eppert and Peter
Brecheisen, who had been members of the Evangelical Association
in the East. Here they began operations. From this place Bro.
Fleischer sent the following correspondence to the Botschafter
under date of July 4, 1858 :
"Dear Bro. Koch: — I hereby inform you that we have at least
a small beginning in Kansas. We have a class here at Franklin
of eight members. Bro. J. Epley and H. Eggert are the officers.
Up to this time I could not devote proper attention to the work.
In the first place I had to build a cabin, since there was no build-
ing to rent, and rents are high. Small houses, poorly constructed,
command from $15.00 to $20.00 per month. In addition to this
the streams were so high that it was difficult to travel. My cabin
is now finished, and the weather is favorable so that I shall now
apply myself to the work and see what God will do for us.
"It will require courage, determination and self-denial be-
cause the devil is loose here in all quarters. It is not advisable
to buy a good horse, for it will be stolen. I and my family are
well and have courage to carry on the Lord's work in Kansas. I
have neither heard nor seen anything of my colleague, Bro. Ber-
ber. I suppose he has been detained by high water."
From the foregoing we see that Bro. Fleischer organized the
first class in Kansas at Franklin, prior to July 4, 1858, before his
colleague, Bro. Berner, had arrived, and before the brethren Mil-
ler and Porr of the Ohio Conference started upon their trip west.
We next turn our attention to the missionaries sent by the
Ohio Conference, as they assume their labors in the Western ter-
ritory. The following letter, written by Bro. Miller from his
home in Canton, Ohio, will be of interest to the reader. It bears
the date of July 10, 1858 :
M. J. MILLER
"To the Readers of the Messenger: —
"You have learned that Kansas has of late very much engaged
the attention of the church. The Ohio Conference, at her session
last week, after due consideration, esteemed Missouri on a level
with Kansas, hence resolved to establish a mission in the north-
eastern part of Kansas, and one in the north-western part of
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
Missouri, which were to be supplied with two preachers, who
should extend their labors to both territories, or limit them to
either one, wherever, according to their judgment, their labors will
meet with the best results.
"Since Bro. Porr and I are appointed missionaries to that
vast and promising field of labor, we shall be strangers and pil-
grims away from home, separated from our fathers, mothers,
brothers and sisters, not dwelling as before in the amicable taber-
nacles of our thickly settled eight Conferences, where we might
enjoy the presence and assistance of our venerable bishops, pre-
siding elders, and others of the ministry, at quarterly meetings,
camp-meetings, and other occasions, we beg an interest in your
prayers for us and the mission.
"The brethren missionaries of the Illinois Conference, G.
Fleischer and C. Berner, would oblige us very much if they would
give us information of their residence in the territory of Kansas,
and where they think we of Ohio should land and cast our nets."
About the time of the foregoing correspondence of Brother
Miller, while he was in the act of preparing to enter upon his
duties as missionary to Kansas, a letter appeared in the Evangeli-
cal Messenger, written by Mrs. Sarah Packard of Humboldt, Kan-
sas, bearing the date of June 19, 1858, in which she made an ear-
nest appeal for missionaries in Kansas, and more particularly at
the place of her residence. The letter reads as follows:
MRS. SARAH PACKARD
"Dear Editor: — As nothing has yet appeared from this place
I myself will attempt to write. This is a beautiful country.
There are different kinds of land, the high, the middle, and the
low, or prairie. A richer soil cannot be found anywhere, and the
climate, as far as I know is healthy. When we came here last fall
there were but a few small huts put up, but there are now 15
houses, 4 stores, 2 saw-mills, and one grist-mill. There are ever so
many more houses to be built as soon as the workmen can find
time to put them up. The town company gives lots to all who
put up houses on them, and there are 250 lots yet to be given away
among such as will improve them. The stage is to run regularly
from Lawrence to this place and back by July 1st, and the railroad
company is making preparations for a railroad to run north and
south, making a station here. We have all the most necessary
conveniences to supply our temporal wants, but that one thing,.
the most needful of all. The all-important requisite to make us
happy and contented is still wanting. We are in great need of
our Evangelical ministers.
"The people are gathering in here from nearly all nations, but
about one-third of them are Germans, and these have never since
they are here (and some of them have been here a year) heard a
gospel sermon preached, simply because they have had no oppor-
tunity. I trust, however, this may not be the case much longer.
There are quite a number of members here of other denomina-
tions, and a great many have warm feelings for our church, caused
by reading the Messenger. This paper is sometimes entirely worn
out by being handled.
"The inquiry here is, 'What does the Messenger say about
sending preachers here?' When they read or are told what has
been done they say, 'If they would only come now!' Let not the
cry of sheep here be much longer heard for shepherds to come and
feed their hungry souls with the plain gospel truth."
Surely the field was white to harvest, but no laborers to go
forth into the field to garner the sheaves. How sad to hear those
plaintive appeals and the church not able to respond by sending
many workers. We must wait a while longer and continue in
supplication till help comes.
August 12, 1858, the first- letter from Bro. Miller appeared
in the Messenger after he had reached his field of labor at Leaven-
worth, Kansas. We quote the following:
M. J. MILLER
"Dear Bro. Cleivell: — I am happy to inform you and the
readers of the Messenger that I am now in the territory of Kan-
sas. Taking the cars at Canton, Ohio, Monday morning, Aug. 3,
1858, I arrived at Leavenworth at 10 :00 on the evening of Aug. 9,
being on the way eight days. While on the Missouri River we
were in great danger. Our boat ran on a snag which broke a large
hole through the floor in the aisle between the barber-shop and
the cabin. A terrible alarm was created among the passengers,
women and children, crying out, 'What is the matter? Has the
boiler bursted?' All this took place at a time when dancing and
card-playing were going on in full sway. Twice also the boat was
grounded in the middle of the stream, and we were delayed for
18 to 20 hours. It was a tedious trip, with a troop of wicked men
and women around us.
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
"The first night in Leavenworth I lodged in a boarding-house
with a man who came from New York. The next morning I took
a walk through the city. The first German I met told me there
were 3,000 Germans in the city. I succeeded in finding Brother
Ettinger, who lives about four miles from the city, and in his
home I am writing this letter. They live in one of the most beauti-
ful parts of the country and received and entertained me in the
best possible manner. They take the Evangelical Messenger, and
you cannot imagine how happy I was upon finding such a family
here, and meet with the Messenger, too.
"In Leavenworth I found three members of our church and
others who have been such, but profess no worthiness of being
such now. I may succeed in getting a preaching place there,
though it is doubtful. The city has a population of 10,000. The
buildings are nearly all new, most of them having been put up
within the last two years. If my health is spared I shall travel
south-west next week to Lawrence and Franklin, and try and
meet Brother Fleischer. Of Brother Porr, my colleague. I have
heard nothing. He left Ohio five weeks before I did, and intended
to meet me in Leavenworth. Where he is I do not know."
Bro. Miller left his family in Ohio with relatives, because of
the politically disturbed condition in Kansas at the time, and
made the trip alone. He writes that "Kansas needs not only a
free constitution to liberate her slaves, but a free gospel to liberate
M. J. MILLER
In a later correspondence, Sept. 15, 1858, Brother Miller
again writes :
"Dear Editor: — I am, as you know, in Kansas, and I hope the
Messenger will keep its columns supplied with Kansas missionary
matter. Its readers must also be reminded of the expense of the
Kansas and Missouri missionaries. Provision there is none raised
yet in the territory of any account, and the river has fallen so
that no boats come up from St. Louis, and the crops having failed
in Missouri, causes the prices to rise here, which will continue,
no doubt, to the close of the year.
"With regard to my missionary labors, I have nothing very
encouraging to write yet. I made out to get a school-house to
preach in, and preached to a small number of 10 or 13 hearers on
the morning of Sept. 5. In the afternoon we held a good little
prayer-meeting-, which was the first Evangelical prayer-meeting
held in the city.
"I will continue to preach here, though the school-house is too
far at one end of the city to get the people out. The Methodist
Church, South, I could have to preach in, but at an unfavorable
hour on the Sabbath. I have also preached twice in the German
Methodist Church, which was dedicated three weeks ago. I have
made visits to the west, north, and south, but have discovered no
encouraging prospects. Twelve miles west, in the vicinity of
Easton, I met a thickly settled neighborhood, but the people are
Catholics and skeptical Lutherans, who will have neither preacher
nor priest. Seven miles north of this city is the town of Kickapoo.
The English people there have a preacher, and the few Germans
want none. They have plenty of lager beer.
"In Kansas City I found a great many Germans, and no Ger-
man preachers among them, but a Catholic priest. In this city I
have the promise of a large hall to preach in, and will go there in a
few weeks and make arrangements to preach on a Sabbath. I also
left an appointment at Wiener, a town on the Missouri River,
eight miles south of this city, which will, however, I have heard,
fall through, because the house which was expected cannot be had.
I made a visit also to Franklin and Lawrence to see Brother
Fleischer, but he was away to Humboldt, so I did not see him.
His family is quite well and in good spirits to live for Christ's
cause in Kansas. They told me that Bro. Fleischer, too, was well
and laboring with courage to promote God's Kingdom. He had at
that time a few appointments for regular preaching. Ho has a
fine field of labor, in the paradise of Kansas, but he lives in a
cabin, indeed, as he says: 'The red men might shoot through it
and not make a hole in it.'
"The country between Leavenworth and Lawrence, a distance
of 35 miles, is all settled by Indians yet I am told, however, that
they will soon sell out. Missionary operations in the country are
a very difficult and discouraging enterprise here, because the few
settlers that are in the territory are so scattered that you cannot
get them together if you would for service. Then, also, they are
so wild and degraded that they do not desire the gospel. It ap-
pears that all the lovers of strife, and wars, and bloodshed, of all
the states emigrated here to this territory, or else they became so
since they are here."
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
The foregoing communication of Brother Miller was written
soon after he arrived in Kansas, and indicates his early impres-
sion of the territory and her people, who certainly needed the
transforming power and influence of the gospel, whether they de-
sired it or not.
The hardships and privations of those sturdy pioneer mis-
sionaries, and the courage and fortitude with which they met
and endured them, certainly entitles them to a place in the Roll
of Honor of the Heroes of the Cross. Many of their severe trials
are not recorded here below, but rather in the book of God's re-
membrance, who will repay his faithful servants for what they
have done. Here and there the curtain is lifted sufficiently for us
to catch a glimpse of the scenes on the stage of their activity, as
the following thrilling letter from G. Fleischer, who at the time
was living at Franklin, shows. This letter was dated Oct. 30,
1858, and appeared in the Christliche Botschafter.
"Dear Brother Koch: —
"Both Bro. Berner and I have had a pretty gloomy year up
to this time. Brother Berner could hardly reach his destination
on account of high water and bad roads. His horse also got lame,
and he had to wait a long time on the road. As soon as I arrived
here and got my things in order I purchased an Indian pony, be-
cause I did not have enough money to buy a better horse, and
started on a trip south, but was compelled to return on account
of swollen streams. As soon as possible, then, I made a trip to
Humboldt, about 90 miles from here, where I found one member,
Sister Packard, who heartily rejoiced when she learned that I
was a preacher of the Evangelical Association.
"There are many Germans here who are desirous for the
Word of God. I could not preach to them, however, because it
rained heavily on Sunday, and most of the German people live in
the country. I left an appointment for three weeks later, but
could not fill it at the appointed time because as soon as I re-
turned home I contracted the climatic fever, which developed into
typhoid. This sickness, with the medicine I took, prostrated me
so that I have not yet recovered. As soon as possible I hitched
my pony to an old buggy which my neighbor loaned me for the
occasion, and started for Humboldt. The first night I had to sleep
on the prairie because I missed the right road. I would not have
minded that so much if I had been well, and the mosquitoes had
not swarmed around me by the thousands, and the wolves had not
howled so terribly, for when I opened my satchel I found that my
thoughtful wife had carefully wrapped up a nice piece of meat and
some bread so that I need not starve. I was afraid the night air
would bring back my fever, and also the wolves might attack
my little pony. I had nothing with me to defend myself except
an old stone mason hammer which I was carrying for another
brother. After placing the hammer where I could conveniently
get it, and having provided for my pony, I put on my overcoat
and doubled up in the buggy, fighting mosquitoes till 2 :00 o'clock