praise of God I can say the good Lord has been with us. Under
the protection of God we arrived in Leavenworth safe and in good
health. We were kindly received by the dear friends. For two
weeks Brother and Sister Henne gave us a home with them. May
God reward them for their great kindness.
"We certainly have a great task before us. The mission is
important. I feel the great responsibility upon me and our church
in this city. The work in Kansas is of great importance for us as
a church. The need for the gospel is great. Our aim is to press
forward and gain more ground. Yes, press forward as a church
clear out to Oregon and California. I ask God's dear children and
friends of our work to pray for us. We certainly need your
Aside from the foregoing communication there is absolute silence
concerning the activity of the brethren and the development of the
work. How interesting it would be to know more about the six
brethren who labored in Kansas and Nebraska during the year.
However, their deeds are recorded in a book whose seal is not
broken to our view as yet.
The Iowa Conference met in session at Dubuque, Iowa, May
13, 1864, with Bishop J. Long, chairman, when the division of the
Iowa Conference took place, and the Kansas Conference was
formed according to action taken by General Conference, held the
previous autumn at Buffalo, N. Y., on which occasion the organi-
zation of the Kansas, Canada, and Michigan Conferences was or-
The following items are taken from the records of the Iowa
Conference at that time:
"Resolved, That a Kansas Conference be organized."
"Resolved, That the Kansas Conference consist of one dis-
"Whereas, The brethren J. F. Schreiber, P. Fricker and C.
Tobias of the Kansas District are absent from this Conference
because of the heavy traveling expense, therefore Resolved, That
their action is justifiable, and they are excused."
The following boundaries were formed:
a. There shall a new mission be taken up in North-western
Missouri and be called Rockport Mission.
b. There shall a new mission be taken up in Western Kan-
sas, to be called West Kansas Mission.
P. Fricker was received into the itinerancy, and it was re-
solved that the Kansas Conference shall meet in First Annual Ses-
sion at Leavenworth, Kansas, May 12, 1865.
The new Conference started out with the following appoint-
ments and preachers assigned at Dubuque, Iowa, May, 1864:
Kansas District â€” M. J. Miller, P. E.
Leavenworth and Lawrence, J. F. Arago and Rock Port, C. Berner and
Schreiber. J. Scherer.
Humboldt, P. Fricker. West Kansas Mission, to be supplied.
Holton, S. W. McKesson.
Thus the Kansas Conference, which was destined to make
history, was launched. The work was great, the laborers few, the
territory immense. Railroads were unknown. Wagon roads were
in poor condition, with bridgeless streams. Settlements were far
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
apart, and accommodations limited. In addition to this the coun-
try was in the throes of the Civil War, with life and property in
danger. The notorious "bushwhackers" were on the alert to kill
and destroy. Many were the victims of those hidden fiends, among
them some of our own Evangelical people. None were safe from
those demons in human form.
There were 50 appointments at this time, with a membership
of scarcely 100. R. Yeakel, our church historian, says, speaking
of the Kansas Conference: "Probably no Conference among us
began so small."
The little band of missionaries had faith in God, and were
men of great courage. Their work was God's work. The visible
blessing of God rested upon their labors, and their efforts were
not in vain.
Although the pioneer missionary could not spend much of his
time in his study preparing "great sermons," yet he preached great
sermons, for he received his message from God, rather than from
books and magazines. He did not know so much about the news
of the day, and politics, but he did know much about prayer, about
God, and his Word. He also knew how to lay a good foundation
for future generations to build upon.
The early missionaries labored among a people whose circum-
stances were in keeping with the conditions of the country and the
times. One of the old pioneer preachers gives the following de-
scription of the situation : "The people were poor and could not
render much substantial aid. Their houses were not large nor
expensive. They usually consisted of kitchen, dining-room, sit-
ting-room, parlor and bedroom, all in one apartment. In spite of
this crowded condition the man of God was always a welcome
guest, and was considered a blessing to the home."
The pioneer missionary's equipment was very simple, consist-
ing usually of a horse and saddle (sometimes a buggy), a Bible,
hymn-book, discipline, and a few other books of a devotional char-
acter, which he would study while en route from one appointment
to another, or when he could arrange to be at home a few days.
He would travel as much as 300 miles in making one round over
his mission or circuit. One mission extended from St. Joseph, Mo.,
to Fremont County, Iowa, a distance of 150 miles, while West
Kansas had no border save the Pacific Ocean.
D. R. ZELLNER
Another of the veterans, D. R. Zellner, writes :
"My mission necessitated me to travel 270 miles in making-
one round over my work. I had to preach from two to four times
between Sundays, frequently traveling 25 to 40 miles a day for a
protracted season. I would eat my lunch, consisting of a few
crackers, on the prairie at a distance of 10 to 15 miles from the
"Sometimes I had a bed to sleep in, sometimes I had none.
Sometimes I slept on a bed prepared on the stone pavement in
the house which was used for a floor. Our breakfast usually con-
sisted of corn-bread and sorghum, after which came a horseback
ride of 25 miles before dinner."
The same writer continues:
"Those were days of hardship, but days of joy and victory.
I had a happy time. The Lord was with me in the saddle, in the
homes of the people, in the prayer-meetings and in the preaching
services. I could shout the praise of God as I went from one ap-
pointment to another. When we commenced our protracted meet-
ings we expected immediate results and were disappointed if we
did not realize them. The people were usually ready to receive
the truth, and conversions invariably followed, with persecutions
J. F. SCHREIBER
Of J. F. Schreiber it is related that he, on one occasion, stopped
at a cabin to stay all night. This cabin was occupied by a bachelor
who was a very rough man. Supper was finally prepared, which
consisted of meat, which was apparently fish. After supper the
host asked his guest how he liked his supper of corn-bread and
fish. Brother Schreiber responded that it was very good, but he
was inquisitive to know how he came in possession of fish at that
place, whereupon the man remarked that the meat he ate was not
fish, but rattlesnake.
On another occasion Brother Schreiber inquired at a home
if he might stop all night, but found the house crowded with peo-
ple. The gentleman remarked that although they had no room
to keep him there, he could find room for him at a neighbor's house
where the people were away, providing he were not afraid to stay
alone. Brother Schreiber said it would make no difference, so he
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
was taken to the house and conducted to a room in which there
were two beds, neither of which had been arranged since last
used. His host remarked: "My brother died here today, and his
wife and children are staying with me. Just sleep in either bed.
Good-night!" Brother Schreiber afterward remarked laconically:
"If I had only known in which of the two beds the man died !"
Many of the hardships, trials and tears of those early mission-
aries are not recorded, save in the book of God's remembrance,
who alone can reward those earnest, faithful worthies. The ten-
der little plant they started with prayers and consecration has be-
come a mighty tree, under whose branches many souls have found
a resting-place, and shelter in the time of storm. Many, through
the ministry of the Kansas Conference, have been won for the
higher life in Christ, achieved victory in death, and a triumphant
entrance into the kingdom of glory.
From her ranks have gone forth missionaries to the foreign
field, while others have been called to various fields of activity at
During the year 1863 Philip Fricker reinforced the small
number of missionaries in the Kansas Conference by coming from
New York and taking up the work in the newly organized Con-
ference. He was stationed on Humboldt Mission, where he ren-
dered efficient service.
He encountered difficulty in finding a house in which to move
his family, but finally succeeded in finding a log-cabin at the Owl
Creek appointment, which he was permitted to occupy by the con-
sent of the lady whose husband was serving in the army. This
man was not favorably disposed toward the church and her minis-
ters, and upon learning that a preacher was occupying his house
he immediately notified Brother Fricker to vacate the house or he
would shoot him the first chance he got. This was not very en-
couraging news for the new preacher who had moved all the way
from New York to take up work in the State of Kansas. This man
was engaged in the shooting business and Brother Fricker consid-
ered it wisdom to move out of the house.
Twice the family of Brother Fricker was warned to flee from
the approach of "bushwhackers," but in each instance the Lord
turned the destroyers into another direction before they reached
the home, and protected his servant from evil.
Brother Fricker was also summoned by an officer of the United
States to report at Iola, to enlist in the army. He took leave from
his family while his wife was sick in bed, surrounded by her help-
less children, perhaps never to see them again. He hastened on
to Iola to answer to his country's call, but again the Lord gra-
ciously intervened, and Brother Fricker was excused and permit-
ted to return home. Great was the joy of the family when in the
evening of the same day his little son, looking out of the
window, saw him and ran to his mamma's bedside, exclaiming:
"Oh, papa is coming, papa is coming!"
Mother Fricker related the foregoing incident in later years
with deep emotion as she remarked her husband had been given
back to her, as it were, from the dead in a very dark hour of her
J. J. ESHER
During this year Bishop J. J. Esher, who had been elected to the
episcopacy the preceding year, visited the work in Kansas, and
preached at the following points :
July 29, 1864, Lueck's appointment. Aug. 3, 1864, Deer Creek.
July 31, 1864, Holton. Aug. 4, 1864, Franklin.
July 31, 1864, Coal Creek. Aug. 5, 1864, Captains Creek.
Aug. 1, 1864, Monrovia (Camp Creek) . Aug. 7, 1864, Leavenworth.
Aug. 2, 1864, Leavenworth.
S. W. MC KESSON
There are no further records of the development of the work
available for the remaining portion of the year until Feb. 8, 1865,
when the Messenger brought the following correspondence from
S. W. McKesson from Holton, Kansas :
"This mission is very large, embracing eight counties, and
you may imagine there are some lonesome travels over these bleak
prairies in hunting up the stray sheep of Israel, who are almost
starving for the want of spiritual food. But, thank God! our
feeble efforts have not been in vain. I held three protracted
meetings, of which two were crowned with conversions. In Hol-
ton I held one, and nine persons were happily converted to God.
One was held at Marysville, a place noted for its wickedness, as if
it were the outskirts of hell. Here we met with opposition. The
devil tried to break up the meeting by sending a mob of his fol-
lowers with pistols and clubs to the place of worship, but, thank
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
God! their wicked designs were overruled by Divine Providence.
There were several seekers and one conversion. I thank God that
I can report twelve accessions to the church, of whom eleven were
newly converted. May the Lord keep them faithful. I intend
to hold two more protracted meetings this winter. I feel encour-
aged, knowing that our labor is not in vain."
M. J. MILLER
In April, 1865, M. J. Miller, presiding elder, wrote the fol-
lowing appeal, "Come Over and Help Us," for the Messenger:
"The Kansas Conference must have at least three more
preachers this coming Conference session, in order to supply her
fields of labor, and we should take up one or two new missions and
supply them by all means. One of our number (Brother Scherer)
has left us and is preaching for the Congregational Church in
Muscatine, Iowa. The Board of Missions has granted us an ap-
propriation for two or three additional men, and hence we are
on safe ground. If we cannot get the needed number of preachers
to supply at least the old field our work must necessarily suffer
loss, and the little band of ministers and members of this young
Conference will be greatly disappointed and discouraged. We
must hold fast what we have gained, and extend our borders and
increase our numbers. Who will come over and help us? 'The
King's business requireth haste.' Conference will meet the 26th
of May. Lord, send laborers into thy vineyard !"
Evangelical Church at Leavenworth, Kansas, in which the
First Conference Session was Held
THIS CHURCH IS REPLACED BY A BEAUTIFUL NEW CHURCH
EXTENDING THE BORDERS.
The first session of the Kansas Conference was held in Leav-
enworth, Kansas, in the brick church on North Sixth St., begin-
ning May 26, 1865, with Bishop Joseph Long as chairman.
C. Berner was appointed secretary, and held this position, with
the exception of three years, till 1888, when, on account of failing
health, he was compelled to sever his connection with the Kansas
Conference. Rev. J. G. Pfeifer from the Pittsburg Conference
was present as a visitor, and was received as an advisory member.
The following year he united with the Conference, and for many
years was an important factor in the organization.
J. Scherer, who, the previous year, cast his lot with the
brethren in Kansas, was deposed from the ministry because of
disorderly conduct and unfaithfulness to his office as minister.
H. Haas received license to preach on probation and was re-
ceived into the itinerancy, also George Washington Bugh was re-
ceived as a probationer from the Free Methodist Church.
Joseph Rasskopf was received from the Iowa Conference as
an itinerant preacher, S. W. McKesson received his elder's orders,
and P. Fricker deacon's orders.
J. F. Schreiber was elected presiding elder in the Kansas
The following brethren were chosen examiners for the junior
preachers, thus constituting the first Board of Examiners: Theol-
ogy and Discipline, the presiding bishop; Church History, C. Ber-
ner; Profane History, J. F. Schreiber; Grammar, M. J. Miller.
M. J. Miller, one of the first missionaries to Kansas in 1858,
who had labored since that time in the territory, serving four years
as presiding elder, asked Conference for his credentials. The breth-
ren earnestly plead with him to remain, but he preferred to go to
the Iowa Conference. His credentials were granted, and his activ-
ities ceased in the Conference which he helped to organize, and in
which he rendered such valuable service for seven years.
Bishop Long and M. J. Miller were appointed a committee to
purchase a Conference Record, and a book in which to record the
minutes of the Missionary Society. These books are still in pos-
session of the Conference, and contain much valuable information.
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
The following finance plan was adopted, which was in har-
mony with the custom of the times:
1. The missionaries shall receive full salary, and in addition
$25.00 table expense for serving a country work, and $30.00 if
serving a city appointment.
2. Cheap traveling and moving expenses, with necessary
house rent shall be allowed.
3. In order to render an accurate account to the Conference,
every preacher shall enter into a book all cash reecipts, and the
cash value of all donations.
A committee was appointed to audit the preacher's traveling
and moving expenses, which later reported that the accounts of
the brethren were found satisfactory.
A Conference Missionary Society was organized, however the
names of the officers cannot be found in the records.
The following boundary changes were made at this time :
a. The west end of Holton Mission was detached and formed
into a new mission and called Big Blue Mission.
b. The appointments Camp Creek and Coal Creek were
taken from Leavenworth Mission, and the Four Mile and North
Fork from Onaga Mission, and attached to Holton Mission, the
same to be served by two preachers.
c. Kansas City and surrounding country was taken up as a
new mission and called Kansas City Mission; the same was ordered
supplied with a preacher, if possible.
This appointment was more properly old Westport, where
there had been a work started previously with a splendid prospect
for a permanent future, but which, during the Civil War, was dis-
sipated and finally abandoned.
The following appointments were made at this first session
of the Kansas Conference by Bishop Long:
Kansas District â€” J.F. Schreiber, P. E.
Leavenworth, Joseph Rasskopf. Big Blue, G. W. Bugh.
Lawrence, Philip Fricker. Arago, C. Berner.
Humboldt, Charles Tobias. Rockport, Mo., H. Haas.
Holton, S. W. McKesson. Kansas City, to be supplied.
First Kansas Conference Picture.
EXTENDING THE BORDERS
The number of preachers was increased from 6 to 8 since the
former session of the Iowa Conference, where the Kansas Confer-
ence was launched. The brethren Rasskopf, Tobias, Bugh and
Haas have been added to the ministerial force, while the brethren
Miller and Scherer left her ranks.
The following statistics were reported : Conversions, 23 ; ac-
cessions, 63 ; membership, 176 ; itinerants, 7 ; churches, 3 ; value,
$6,400.00; parsonages, 3; value, $1,100.00; Sunday-schools, 2;
officers and teachers, 16; scholars, 54.
This is the first statistical report from the work in Kansas
and shows what has been accomplished during seven years of
hard work. No doubt the results would have been far greater had
it not been for the effects of the Civil War, which not only para-
lyzed business and finances, but also missionary operations. What
a pity that we have no record of the experiences of the early pio-
neers and missionaries during those years of struggles and dis-
The Conference made some encouraging progress during the
past year since her organization and the centralization of her
efforts on her exclusive territory.
Prior to this time the work in Holt County, Missouri, was
begun through the Kunkle brothers, who moved to that section
of the country, settling in the community of Nickels Grove, north-
east of Oregon, Holt Co., also in Richardson County, Nebraska, in
the vicinity of Arago. The three churches indicated in the statis-
tics were located at Humboldt, Leavenworth, and Arago.
The work in Richardson County, Neb., was started through a
Pennsylvania German family named Herbster, who located near
Arago about 1862, and opened their home to the Evangelical
preachers who traveled through that section of country. The set-
tlers were mostly Catholics and Freethinkers. The people lived
without spiritual concern or instruction. Some who had been
reared under more favorable circumstances felt their destitute
condition and were known to frequently shed tears over the wicked
state of the people, and no one to preach to them the Word of
FIFTY YEARS IN THE KANSAS CONFERENCE
At a wedding held near Arago in 1861 an ex-pastor of a
nominal church officiated, using for a text from which he at-
tempted to preach a sermon : "Be fruitful and multiply." After
the wedding ceremony he urged the bride to engage in duck and
geese raising as a means for making money, but had no counsel
for establishing a Christian home in that new and wicked coun-
try. This young couple was later converted through the instru-
mentality of the Evangelical preachers, and alluded to the pastor
mentioned as a man destitute of saving grace, or even the theory
of salvation. Such was the spiritual status in that community
when the Evangelical preachers began their labors there in 1862.
Probably in the year 1863 a church was built in Arago where
services were held. In 1863 the Kaiser and Meier families moved
into Richardson County from the State of Illinois, and settled quite
a distance south and west of Arago. In 1866 they were joined
by the Daeschner family, likewise from Illinois. The church at
Arago was now too far distant for those families to worship there
and the work at Arago had never gained a very strong foothold,
so the church and parsonage were sold, and five years later a
church was built 6 miles east of Falls City, which was named Zion
Church, and became the center of a large Evangelical community.
In this church the Annual Conference was held on several occa-
sions in later years.
From the Zion congregation several other societies developed,
namely, Preston, Tabor, and Falls City. Also quite a number of
ministers went out from this society to preach the gospel. Among
them were Wm. Meier, who for many years labored successfully
in the Conference, then later moved to Texas and preached there for
a number of years; H. Koepsel, Wm. Daeschner, Wm. Heiser, A.
Ernst and M. Walter.
A camp-meeting was held as early as 1868, which has been
repeated annually ever since. At one of those camp-meetings, in
1870, a drunken mob of half-breed Indians caused a disturbance,
during which one of the ministers, John Beck, received a pistol-
shot in his arm, which caused a painful but not dangerous wound.
The rowdies dispersed after the shooting, and no further disturb-
ance was experienced. Steps were taken to arrest them, but the
officers were either afraid or disinclined to do so, and nothing
further was done in the matter.
Adjoining the Zion Church is the old cemetery, where many
of the loyal fathers and mothers lie buried, while their children
EXTENDING THE BORDERS
and children's children meet from Sabbath to Sabbath to wor-
ship the God who so wonderfully saved and helped their parents
during- the years of their trials and victories.
The second session of Conference was also held at Leaven-
worth, Kansas, beginning March 30, 1866, with the junior bishop,
J. J. Esher, as chairman.
John Wuerth, for many years later a prominent leader in the
Conference, received license as preacher on probation, and ac-
cording to the custom of that time, was received into the itine-
rancy. Brother Wuerth had, however, preached part of the previ-
ous year under appointment of the presiding elder.
Rev. S. W. McKesson, desiring to visit friends in the East,
was granted permission to do so, however his absence from his
field of labor was not to exceed six weeks.
Rev. J. G. Pfeifer, who was present at the former Conference
session as a visitor, now presented his credentials from the Pitts-
burg Conference, and was received as a member of the Kansas
Conference. For many years Brother Pfeifer rendered valuable
service as one of her foremost leaders, holding various offices of
It was resolved to build a church on Big Blue Mission, if pos-
sible, and a committee was appointed to proceed with the project,
provided that sufficient money could be secured so that not more
than $200.00 would be required from outside sources.
J. Rasskopf found it necessary to step out of the active ranks
of the Conference, taking a local relation.
An important action was taken at this session in reference to
secret societies, which was agitating the Conference and church.
The following resolution was adopted: "Inasmuch as secret oath-
bound societies, such as Freemasons and kindred orders, are dan-
gerous for the state, and injurious to the church, contrary to the
spirit of Christ and the gospel, and we must perceive with deep
regret that this evil has crept into our Evangelical Association,