in the morning, when I fell asleep and rested till daylight. I then
continued my journey to Humboldt where I remained over two
Sundays. The first Sunday there were 12 to 14 Germans present,
and we had a good meeting. The second Sunday there were about
20 persons present. The people seemed touched and tears flowed
"Most of the people came to me after the service and ex-
pressed their joy because they had the opportunity of hearing a
German sermon. The prospect for God's work is good here. I had
intended to move here, but when I returned home I found my two
children sick with the fever, and later my wife took it also. We
had to abandon the idea of moving to Humboldt.
"During my sickness my colleague, Brother Berner, made a
trip west to near Fort Riley, where he found a large settlement of
Germans, who, as it appears, border on brutality itself. The dear
brother had a hard time of it. On his trip there he got the fever
and had to sleep on the prairie all night, having nothing to eat
from morning till the next day at noon, when he received a little
corn bread and milk. He then got a high fever, lay up stairs in a
house on a little straw where he almost perished, with no one to
minister to him. Though he earnestly plead for a little water to
drink, no one seemed humane enough to respond to his appeal,
and he had to wait till he was able to arise and get a drink for
himself. He had an appointment for Sunday, but got the fever
again and could not preach, but started home in this wretched
condition, and again spent the night on the prairie. Receiving
another attack of the fever, he got lost on the prairie, and became
unconscious. When he regained consciousness he was completely
exhausted, and knew not where to go. He says he resigned him-
self to his fate and let the pony walk wlrlcher it would. Led by
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
the hand of Providence, the pony walked to a beautiful spring of
water, where Brother Berner slaked his thirst and was refreshed,
after which he felt some better, so that he could think and per-
ceive in what direction he must go.
"At last he came to a house where he had been before. The
people received him gladly, and ministered to him kindly until he
could continue his journey to Brother Eggert's, where he had his
home. We have much to pass through, but, thank God, we have
courage and are hopeful."
The home alluded to in the foregoing was located near
Wabaunsee, and the inhuman wretch was expecting Brother Berner
to die, in which event he would take possession of his beautiful
horse, which he coveted.
In January, 1859, the brethren Fleischer and Berner reported
that they were traveling over 8 to 10 counties, and were able to
fill their appointments only every three to four weeks. They re-
ported many open doors and many appeals for preaching, which
they must ignore because their hands were full of work. They
pled for more men, for young men who are willing to go where
God and the church needs them.
Philip Porr, who came to Missouri in the spring of 1858, for
the first time sends a report of his labors to the Botschafter in
the following brief communication which appeared December,
"Dear Bro. Koch : â€”
"My long journey overland from Ohio to Missouri was safely
made, although the roads were bad at places. I should be glad to
submit a better report concerning the progress of the work, but
the husbandman must plow and sow in hope. There are a good
many Germans on the Missouri side of the river. The most of
them are unconverted. Unbelief and intemperance has degraded
the people. I have found a few families who were formerly mem-
bers of the Evangelical Association who have received me very
The members referred to in the foregoing communication
were the brothers Henry, Jacob and Daniel Kunkel, of Oregon,
Mo., who had moved there from the East. Bro. Porr was sent
to north-western Missouri by the Ohio Conference, with the priv-
ilege of laboring where he found the most promising openings.
Consequently he did not confine his labors to Holt, Buchanan and
Andrew Counties, Mo., but crossed the Missouri River, and
preached in the vicinity of Hiawatha and Four Miles, near where
Bern, Kansas, is now located.
During the summer of 1858 a family by the name of J. A.
Schmidt, accompanied by Wolfgang Frohmader, moved from Fond
du Lac, Wis., and settled six miles west of Holton, Jackson Co.,
Kans. Reading in the Botschafter that a missionary was located
at Franklin, Kans., Brother Schmidt at once wrote to Brother
Berner and asked him to visit them. In less than eight days Bra.
Berner arrived. Great was the joy in meeting a preacher. After
gathering together all the Germans in the community, Brother
Berner preached for them on the text, Acts 10: 33: "Now there-
fore we are all here present before God, to hear all things that
are commanded thee of God." Bro. Berner could not visit them
often because of the distance and abundance of work, and Brother
Porr later served the appointment.
The Conference year 1858-1859 is rapidly drawing to a close.
The missionaries made many experiences, some joyful, some not
so joyful. It was a year of breaking of virgin soil, and the sowing
of gospel seed. There were not many visible results, and yet the
small band of pioneers labored on undaunted, although some of
them endured a great deal of sickness which hindered them in
their activities. One of them, -who was quite a writer, says : "All
desire to write leaves a man when he is afflicted with the ague
and fever." Brother M. J. Miller writes, Feb. 12, 1859, just be-
fore the spring Conferences were held, as follows in the Bot-
M. J. MILLER
"When I first came to Leavenworth and saw the sad condition
of the people in reference to religion, and at the same time the
gloomy prospect of carrying on the work with success, I shed
tears over the situation. The prospect has since changed for the
better, and God has added his blessings to the work. My faith
and courage that God will gather societies here have been strength-
"I have at present three appointments, and one Sunday-
school. The first appointment, in Leavenworth, is of great im-
portance. Although the congregation consists of only 8 to 15 per-
sons, we have a class of seven members, and our Sunday-school has
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
increased from 8 to 17 scholars in three Sundays. For preaching
and Sunday-school we have a school-house at the corner of Dela-
ware and 3rd Street, for which we pay $1.50 per Sunday. This
is the best we can do. Rents are high.
"Leavenworth is the principal city in the West. We should
have a church here. What will the brethren in the East give for
the first church in Kansas?
"Atchison, the next town to Leavenworth, lies 25 miles up the
river. There are many Germans there, and I am informed there
has been no German preacher there yet. That is my second ap-
"My third appointment is Monrovia, 30 miles north-west of
here, in Atchison County. Three former members of the Evan-
gelical Association live there, namely, the brethren Hartman, Ep-
erly and Blank, who moved there from Illinois. This point is not
of great importance. The English Methodists are there, and the
people can all understand English.
"I intend to take up three more appointments â€” Sommers,
Grasshopper and Falls. Traveling over the wide prairie is often
difficult and lonesome. Frequently one mires in the mud, and
gets confused, and lost by the many branches of the road. We
should do more for Kansas. Twenty preachers could find plenty
to do. Before long we will have the ninth â€” Kansas Conference."
This hopeful confidence was expressed at a time when there
were but four preachers in Kansas and Missouri.
The following appointments were made at the Illinois Con-
ference for the Iowa District in the spring of 1859'.
Wm. Strasberger, P. E.
Grandview, R. Dubs. Independence, Wm. Kolb.
North Bend, J. W. Mohr. Waterloo, H. Kleinsorge.
Marion, John Schneider. Greencastle, John Miller, Jr., and sup-
Muscatine, Jacob Keiper. ply.
Maquoketa and Dubuque, John Kurtz Nebraska Mission, J. F. Schreiber.
and E. Freden. Kansas Mission, C. Berner.
It might be observed that at this session of the Ilinois Con-
ference, G. Fleischer accepted an appointment on Rock Run Cir-
cuit, Stephenson Co., Illinois, thus reducing the number of mis-
sionaries in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to four, instead of five
as the previous year. The brethren Miller and Porr, who still were
members of the Ohio Conference, continued in the work the same
as last year.
Not many reports were received from the missionaries during
the year 1859-1860, however, the brethren were pushing the work
energetically like the year before. The work was gradually being
organized, and the principal points strengthened. Concerning
the work of the year, Brother Berner writes near the close of the
Conference year, on April 14, 1860, as follows:
"Dear Brother Koch : â€”
"I feel constrained to write a brief report of the work in
Kansas. With inward fears I assumed the work nearly two years
ago. Being a stranger everywhere, I began in the name of the
Lord to find preaching places, and then to preach, even though it
was in weakness, trusting God to bless the seed sown. To his
glory I can say, the Lord was with us, and especially in the last
"During the winter I held a number of meetings of several
days' duration, which were crowned with success and blessings.
The first was held at Two Way Creek, 12 miles south of Franklin,
where we formed a class last year (1859) with 14 members,
nearly all new converts. We held two meetings at Deer Creek, 12
miles west of Franklin. Here was, until recently, a very dark
community, where no one seemed to know anything about con-
version. One brother remarked in his testimony: 'When I came
here there was nothing but robbing, murdering, drinking, card-
playing, stealing, swearing, and sinful abominations. Thank God,
it is difFerent now.' We now have a class there with 18 members.
Oh, how happy those dear people are because of the work God has
done for them! Oh, what blessed seasons we enjoyed! Hallelu-
jah! God has done great things for us. To him be all the glory.
"We also held a meeting in Franklin of 14 days' duration, to
which we invited the brethren and sisters of the other appoint-
ments. Friday, when the meeting was to begin, was a stormy
day, and threatened rain. I thought, now the friends cannot come
from the other appointments, but, thank God, on Saturday the
weather was beautiful, and the friends gathered from all direc-
tions to enjoy the blessings at Franklin.
"Oh, what a blessed time we enjoyed! God's children were
revived and sinners were saved. On Sunday we baptized two
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
adults, and about 40 German communicants gathered at the Lord's
table to partake of the Sacrament. In the afternoon we held a
testimony-meeting. Oh, what we were permitted to hear, see, and
feel! One sister cried out: 'Hallelujah, that God sent German
preachers to Kansas.' A brother who was recently converted,
said: To go 100 miles to attend such a meeting would not be too
far.' Eight persons united with the church, and now we have 16
members at this place.
"The fourth class is located 10 miles east of Franklin and con-
sists of 7 members. 1
"The fifth class was organized by Brother Porr at an ap-
pointment at Holton, which I recently turned over to him.
"A sixth appointment can be organized 80 miles south of
Franklin, 2 where the friends hold prayer-meeting regularly. I
might add much more, but my correspondence is too long already."
In January, 1860, M. J. Miller gives a brief resume of the
work in the Botschafter as follows :
M. J. MILLER
"Brother Porr was well when here four weeks ago. It is
cold and dry at present. Times are hard, labor and money scarce.
The poor classes are suffering. How many people there are here
who possess nothing but uncultivated land, a cold house, poor
clothes to wear, and corn bread to eat. In many instances one can-
not keep warm in bed because of lack of bedding. The worst of all
is the worldly-mindedness, and the political quarreling. I know of
no religious revival in all the land, and I am acquainted extensively.
We hope times will change soon. We hope the Wyandotte consti-
tution, adopted at the recent election, will be ratified by Congress,
and Kansas admitted as a free state into the Union, and then
things will quiet down.
"I am preaching here in town. 3 We cannot rent a building
for less than $20.00 to $40.00 per month, and we cannot afford
that. If we had a church we might expect to do well, for when
we had the use of the first building our Sunday-school numbered
from 30 to 40 scholars. At my country appointments I have from
15 to 40 in attendance, which is as well as can be expected in a
radius of from 6 to 12 miles, and that is called a big settlement.
'This point was later called Captain's Creek and still later Clearfield.
2 Humboldt, Kansas.
"In Monrovia, where I preach, there are 20 to 25 families in
the town. Of these about one-third are German. Up to this time
I can report no conversions at any of my appointments. I have
attentive hearers whose hearts have been touched, but they prefer
to remain as they are, it seems. In all I have seven members on
my charge. Several have moved away.
"Brother Porr is now in Western Kansas, and has four 4 ap-
pointments according to his report when he was here. Brother
Berner has many appointments. He has taken up the best Ger-
man region in Kansas. He also has quite a few members from the
East who are very helpful to him. Oh, if we only had more old
members scattered here they would be a great help to us in gaining
entrance and building up. We still have courage."
The Conference year of 1859-1860 had now drawn to a close,
and while the visible success was not so great, still there was sub-
stantial progress made, and the mission work in Kansas was estab-
lished more firmly. Some conversions had taken place, especially
were the results at Franklin very gratifying.
In the month of April, 1860, the Illinois Conference met at
Plainfield, on which occasion the Iowa Conference was organized
pursuant to the action of General Conference held the previous
year. All mission work of the Evangelical Association west of the
Mississippi River was formed into the Iowa Conference. This
embraced all the work in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and
Missouri. The brethren Miller and Porr received their credentials
from the Ohio Conference one month later, May, 1860, and united
with the Iowa Conference.
The new Conference was arranged in two districts, and the
preachers stationed as follows :
Iowa Districtâ€”S. Dickover, P. E. Kansas Districtâ€” L. Eberhardt, P. E.
Grandview, J. F. Schreiber.
Maquoketa and Dubuque, J. Himmel Greencastle (Iowa), Chas. Tobias,
and W. Uber. Fort Des Moines (Iowa), A. Stroh-
Independence, W.' Kolb and C. Tim- ^ T , me , ier - . , TT TT1 .
mer Nebraska (Neb.), H. Klemsorge.
Waterloo, H. Hintze. T ^ ran 1 kl i n . ^ans.), C Berner.
Muscatine, J. Keiper. Humboldt, (Kansas), R. Dubs.
'Holton, Hiawatha, Four Mile and St. George.
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
The brethren M. J. Miller and P. Porr, having not yet united
with the new Conference, because the Ohio Conference did not
meet till the month of May, the Iowa Conference did not assign
these two brethren to fields of labor; however, M. J. Miller con-
tinued his activities at Leavenworth, and Philip Porr seems to
have served Holton Mission.
The work for the new year was taken up by the brethren
with courage and enthusiasm. R. Dubs, the newly appointed mis-
sionary to Kansas, made his trip from Northern Illinois to South-
ern Kansas with horse and buggy. He describes his trip as fol-
"I traveled from Northern Illinois to Southern Kansas with
horse and buggy through South-eastern Iowa and Missouri. At
that time Missouri was a slave state, and in a condition of high
excitement. The outbreak of the Civil War was at hand. I could
relate many exciting adventures of my trip through Missouri.
Not far from Leavenworth I crossed the Missouri River, from
there I traveled through the Delaware Indian Reservation, then
the Fox and Sac, and, later, the Ottawa Reservation. From the
chief of the latter tribe I received great courtesy and hospitality.
"I finally reached Humboldt, where we had only seven mem-
bers ; as far as I could learn there were no others in this part of
South-eastern Kansas. These were Rudolph Orth and family, with
whom I was acquainted in Germany, Brother Ernst, a single man,
and Brother Lintner and his two sisters. Before the news reached
them through the church papers that a Humboldt mission was
formed, I was with them.
"My salary for that year amounted to $125.00, besides trav-
eling expenses, but no allowance was made for board or horse
"My presiding elder could not visit the work in Kansas the
first year on account of circumstances, but came the second year
as far as Leavenworth, and held several Quarterly Conferences,
but again failed to reach Humboldt. One of these Conferences
licensed F. Delfelder to preach, who was the first preacher to re-
ceive license in Kansas."
The year 1860 was an eventful year in the history of Kansas
as well as the Kansas Conference. This year is known as the
First Church Built in Kansas, at Humboldt
great "Famine Year" in Kansas. A severe drought had visited
the entire territory, causing intense suffering. Streams dried up
so that there was no flowing water, the earth was so parched that
all vegetation died, and absolute destitution reigned far and near.
R. Dubs reports that the Neosho River at Humboldt contained
water only in the deepest holes in the bed of the river. Man and
beast suffered intensely until relief came. His horse became so
emaciated and weak that he had to assist the poor animal to its
Food was scarce, so that corn-bread and milk was a dainty.
He had only six members on his work, but hearing of another
family he tried repeatedly to find them, but in vain. This family,
named Ott, had moved from Des Plaines, 111., and settled on the
upper Verdegris River, where they had pre-empted a beautiful
homestead. We will let Brother Dubs relate this episode in his
"I will never forget when one evening, from an elevation, I
saw in the distance a log-house with smoke curling out of the
chimney. My heart beat with joy, for to lodge again on the
prairie for the night, with an empty stomach, was not so desirable.
As I approached the house, Father and Mother Ott and the children
came to the door and stood before my horse. I remained in the
saddle while father Ott removed his stocking-cap from his head
and, pleasantly looking me in the face, said : 'Who are you ?' I re-
plied: 'Guess who I am.' The oldest daughter, a young lady who
had worked in Burlingame, 30 miles from where they lived, re-
marked: 'Oh, you are Mr. Davis from Burlingame.' 'No,' I re-
plied, 'try again.' But they could not imagine who the stranger
might be, when I said: 'I am Brother Dubs.' Upon this Father
Ott threw his arms around the neck of my horse and wept for joy.
His wife also wept, while the children did not know what to think
about the event. For two years those aged people had not en-
joyed the privilege of speaking German to any one outside of their
own family, and they were not able to speak the English lan-
"I remained with them several days. We held all-day meet-
ings, and although my congregation consisted of only one family, it
was a delight to preach to them."
During the severe famine R. Dubs and other missionaries
made frequent appeals through our church papers for aid. These
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
appeals met with ready response, and a great deal of aid was sent
to Brother Dubs for distribution among the needy. He was over
three hundred miles from any railroad; however, he had no diffi-
culty in getting the provisions hauled, since he would pay them
for their services with supplies. He writes that several miles
from Humboldt he had a log-cabin which he used for a supply-
house, from which he made systematic distributions twice a week.
Brother Dubs also received considerable cash which he ap-
plied where it was needed and would in his judgment do the
most good. There being a great many able-bodied men who if given
a chance could and would work in return for what they received,
the pastor conceived the idea of building a church, with labor in
exchange for provisions and clothing which he distributed.
The city council gladly gave him several lots, and a Mr.
Thurston, an attorney at Humboldt, who owned a large amount
of timber and a saw-mill, offered him all the logs he needed gratis,
with only sufficient amount of pay to cover the expense of saw-
ing the logs into lumber. Stone-masons and carpenters who were
being supported by him from the charity fund were given employ-
ment, and before the Conference year came to a close the church-
building was enclosed, but not finished.
At this time there were no members living in Humboldt.
This was the first church-building in the Kansas Conference, and
is still in use (1914). During the war the building was captured
by the Rebels, and was held by them for a short time, when the
Union troops dislodged them and made it their headquarters.
August 12, 1860, Brother M. J. Miller again furnished a re-
port for the Botschafter as follows :
M. J. MILLER
"R. Dubs reports in a letter I became very sick with the
fever and cannot get rid of it. I have four appointments, but
cannot serve them because I am too sick. I cannot even visit
Brother Berner. I will submit to my lot as best I can. It is much
drier here than at your place. It is distressing. There is no corn
here. Not even grass. I never saw anything like this.
"From Brother Berner I have heard, that he, too, suffers
much with fever this summer.
"Brother Porr is well according to the latest accounts. There
is a physical and spiritual drought all over Kansas. The drought
and the financial stringency block business, and affect labor. To
this is added the politically restless condition. All of these things
affect the progress of the Lord's cause.
"In September we will have Brother Eberhardt, our presid-
ing elder, with us. How we long to see the dear brother again.
For the first time he is coming to Kansas, and we shall be privi-
leged to hold counsel with a presiding elder."
With these reports the year 1860 draws to a close with the
war-clouds hanging thick and heavy over the country, leaving
their baneful effect also upon the work of the missionaries.
The year 1861 opens with several correspondences from the
missionaries on the field, from which we append the following ex-
The first is from a letter written by R. Dubs, stationed at
Humboldt, which he sent to the Evangelical Messenger, under date
of Jan. 17, 1861, in which he writes :
"It may not be unwelcome to the readers of the Messenger
to hear further of the distress in Kansas, as also concerning the
manner and extent of relief that has already been offered. In the
first place I wish to return my sincere thanks to those who have
so nobly responded with their contributions to my appeal. I am
requested to return thanks, a thousand thanks, in the name of the
sufferers who received them, for the Christian sympathy in our
need, with the assurance that we shall earnestly implore our heav-
enly Father to bless each contributor in soul and body. If only
the givers could see the joy of the starving people when I men-
tioned to them the receipt of various contributions. Weeping for
joy re-echoes in the cabins of the poor, for the Lord does indeed
send us relief."
M. J. MILLER
The following is taken from a letter written by M. J. Miller,
missionary at Leavenworth, Kansas, March 7, 1861, for the Evan-
"Yesterday the cannon were fired merrily for joy on the re-
ception of the telegraphic news from Washington that Kansas
was admitted as a free state into the Union. Thank God for the
hard-fought and long-sought-for admission. Kansas now looks