Copyright
William Edwin Parson.

Samuel Bacon Barnitz, missionary and western secretary : an appreciation online

. (page 1 of 11)
Online LibraryWilliam Edwin ParsonSamuel Bacon Barnitz, missionary and western secretary : an appreciation → online text (page 1 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


SAMUEL BACON BARNITZ.



ffiarott ffiarml?



MISSIONARY AND
WESTERN SECRETARY



An Apprwtatum



m -. N ,. \H~-^
REV. Wl E-^ARSON, D. D.



BURLINGTON, IOWA

THE GERMAN LITERARY BOARD

1905



P3



Copyright 1905

by

R. NEUMANN
Burlington, Iowa



Press of

Severinghaus & Beilfuss Company
Chicago, III.



CMAMPTON ACCES9tOft
MKC80FT UBRABY

JUL 25.1938



TO THE



IN OUR HOME FIEJLD,

AND TO THK NOBI,E: BANDS THAT MAKE) THE WOMAN'S

HOME AND FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY

OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH, THIS

SKETCH IS DEDICATED.



"Your fathers proved me, and saw my
works forty years." Hebrews.



FOREWORD.

In our day there is a cry made for the simple
life. There are others who show us the strenuous
life. It is possible for the two types to be blended in
the same personality. The subject of this sketch lived
a strenuous life, yet so little occupied with thoughts
of public recognition that it has been difficult to find
the materials for a connected biographical story. Dr.
Barnitz has shown the church an example of simple
faith combined with a remarkable activity. The ac-
count herewith submitted is partial, but it will serve
to hint the devotion and rich labors of one who "being
dead yet speaketh."

The author of the Simple Life has said: "If a
man, in his humble sphere, in the midst of the ignor-
ance and faults that are his inevitably, consecrates
himself sincerely to his task, it is because he is in
contact with the eternal source of goodness."

By that token we have in the life of Doctor Sam-
uel B. Barnitz an illustration of contact with God
conspicuous and singular.

It was deemed 'best to allow Dr. Barnitz to tell
a good deal of the story in his own graphic way.
Hence the very free quotations from letters, journals,
and reports. It would have been interesting to have



o FOREWORD.

come upon the address which he frequently delivered,
"Twenty Years in a City Mission", but there was
no memorandum of it remaining. Many who had
heard the lecture, moved by the alternating pathos and
humor of it, would have been glad to see it set out
in type.

Believing that there is an incentive value for
others in all consecrated work, this brief sketch of one
of God's devoted servants is given to his friends and
to the Church.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

BIRTH AND ARLY YEARS 17

His parents Boyhood struggles At the public
school Acts as porter Clerk in store Con-
firmation First drawings to the Ministry First
public prayer.

CHAPTER II.

STARTING FOR COLLEGE 23

Call to the Ministry More trials Prayer an-
swered Enters college Active in Christian
Work Health breaks Enters Theological Sem-
inary Walks to Niagara.

CHAPTER III.
AS HIS FRIENDS SAW HIM AT COLLEGE 29

Dr. Grohs Letter Dr. Baugher, the elder
Fears for his ozvn ability Reassured Dr. Lilly's
testimony Popularity among the students
Sanctified humor.



8 TABLE; OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV.

LEAVING GETTYSBURG 33

Revival Work Visits Philadelphia Meets Geo.
H. Stuart Chaplain at Lutherville Anxiety
about settlement Dark days Trial sermons
Dr. Stork's call Dr. Butler's Assistant Returns
to York.



CHAPTER V.

CALL TO WHEELING 38

Three Life Periods Dr. Baum suggests Wheel-
ing Dr. Passavant Accepts Call Early Days
at Wheeling The Civil War First Sunday
Friends Dr. Baugher, Jr., his Assistant Sun-
day School Work Mission conditions.



CHAPTER VI.

METHODS AT WHEELING 45

First Orphan Work No Early Records First
converts Review of Four Years Summing up
Results Buys Lot Lays corner-stone Dr. F.
W. Conrad Eighteen Years Toil A Second
Mission.



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 9

CHAPTER VII.

AN OLD-FASHIONED DIARY 53

Laments unworthiness Division of General
Synod Prays for the young men Visits Jail
Sermon Writing Despondent School Grows
Declines society Visits New York Longs
for a Church Twenty-nine Sent to Montreal
At York and Gettysburg.

CHAPTER VIII.

AN IMPARTIAL ESTIMATE 65

Nearing the End at Wheeling Relation to the
Railways Elements of Success Permanence
Timely Help Benevolence Collections Spec-
ial Contributions Churchliness Loyalty
Catholicity Philanthropy Enterprise.

CHAPTER IX.

TRACT NO. 217 71

Pen Picture Mrs. Dr. Heilman Greatest Sun-
day School Sunday ministrations Praying for
bricks Stays panic Secret of his success.



1O TABLE Otf CONTENTS.

CHAPTER X.
CALLED AS WESTERN SECRETARY 75

Wider Field Farewell to Wheeling Disclaims
merit Ministerial Sons First Report to Board
Des Moines Eleven times elected Twenty
Years in Held.

CHAPTER XL

A MODEL SECRETARY 80

A Mission Napoleon Railway Methods His
Reports Day of Small Things Used the News-
paper Plans for a Mission Journey Relations
to General Council Advocates College and Sem-
inary on His Field Dr. Clutz's Testimony
Board of Education In Washington Other
Services Declines other calls.

CHAPTER XII.
A MODEL SECRETARY'S REPORT 87

Monthly Reports Material for Historical So-
ciety One at Random Kansas Missouri
Rocky Mountain Synod Scandinavian Items
Colorado Springs Pueblo Nebraska Illinois
Indiana Iowa Miscellaneous.



TABLE OF CONTENTS. II

CHAPTER XIII.

IN WEARINESS AND PAINFULNESS IO4

Overwork Longs for Rest Travels to Minne-
sota to answer a letter Rich Return A Blessed
Trio Apostolic Labors Zions-Bote Notice
Posthumous Notes Last Communion.

CHAPTER XIV.

HIS WORK IN CALIFORNIA Ill

Beginnings Sacramento Dr. Burnett's Testi-
mony Women's Societies San Francisco Los
Angeles Other Missions Analysis of Dr. Bar-
nitzfs Character The End.

CHAPTER XV.

TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY 117

General Synod at Des Moines Committees Re-
ceptions Services in St. John's Dr. Nelander
Other Addresses Crowning Day Barnitz
Day.

CHAPTER XVI.

HIS LAST SERMON 122

Whitsunday in Boulder Facing Home The
Precious Name The Victor's Crown Going



12 TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Home Denver Memorial A Great Gap Two
Secretaries take His Field.



CHAPTER XVII.

DR. BARNITZ IN THE PEW 126

Dr. Wirt's Tribute Pastor and Parishioner
Punctual in attendance Liberal Contributor
Example to all His Prayers Addresses to the
Sunday School Funeral Sermon.

CHAPTER XVIII.

A NOTABLE CORRESPONDENCE. 134

AFaithful Correspondent Mrs. Emma B. Stork
Dead yet Speaketh Thanksgiving Mercies
Recalled Wheeling revived California Easter
In an Adobe House Labors Abundant
Moody recalled Charles Stork.

CHAPTER XIX.

GREAT DAYS IN CHICAGO, WHEELING, ETC 142

A Platform Orator Conventions Montreal
Washington Chicago Columbus Wheeling
New York Dr. Schmuckers Appeal Liberal-
ity.



TABLE; OF CONTENTS. 13

CHAPTER XX.
SNAP SHOTS FROM THE: FIELD 147

Winter and Famine Requisites in a Mission-
ary Expense Account Des Moines Portland
Sacramento Chicago Hamma Hall Varied
Extracts from Reports Conclusion.

CHAPTER XXL

DR. BARNITZ AND THE) GERMANS I?O

Dr. Barnitz of German stock His interest in
German Synods Dr. Rosenstengel's Editorial
notice Mr. Stifel's voluntary tribute.

CHAPTER XXII.

TRIBUTES OF ESTEEM 180

Memorials Dr. Rhodes Dr. Troxell Dr.
Hamma A. F. Fox Dr. Hartman Judge
Grosscup Dr. Heckert Lutheran World Ob-
server Evangelist Dr. Heisler Dr. Kelly
Dr. C. S. Albert Dr. SchnurDr. ClutzMrs.
Hamma Mrs. Breckenridge Dr. Wirt Dr.
Peschau W. L. Seabrook Hon. Thos. Dewey
Dr. Waltz Dr. DunbarDr. Wolf Mr.
Eckhardt Memorial Services.



14 TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXIII.
A WOMAN'S TRIBUTE 188

Always promoting Women's Work Death an-
nounced Memorial Services in Women's Con-
vention Executive Committee Mrs. Maggart's
Address Estimate of Character Incidents
A Hero Dr. Ott's tribute.

CHAPTER XXIV.
FINALE 198

Family History Loyalty Death and Burial
Memorial Tablet in St. John's His Life Text.



ILLUSTRATIONS.

Samuel Bacon Barnitz Frontispiece

Dr. Barnitz in robe, 1861 35

The Old Church at Wheeling 48

Dr. Barnitz in 1867 62

The Trio, Barnitz, Baugher, Goettman 72

The Trio, after twenty-five years 82

Headquarters in Des Moines 95

St. John's Church, Des Moines 109

The California Synod 115

Dr. Barnitz in 1897 130

Last Picture, taken by Pastor Oehler 165



CHAPTER I.

BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS.

Samuel Bacon Barnitz was born in York, Pennsyl-
vania, May 1 2th, 1838. His father was Samuel M.
Barnitz, a son of "General Jacob Barnitz, an officer of
the Revolutionary War, who carried in his body an
enemy's ball thirty-two years". So the monument in
the old Lutheran church-yard at York records it. The
mother of Samuel Barnitz was Sarah Demuth, daugh-
ter of John Demuth, one of the earliest German set-
tlers of Pennsylvania. This godly mother consecrated
her son from earliest childhood to the service of the
Master and the Church. The father was immersed in
business, having a large legal practice in the courts of
York, Lancaster, and Dauphin Counties. It was the
mother's influence which determined the life and call-
ing of the son. The family was early broken and scat-
tered. First came the death of one brother, who was
preparing to enter the ministry; later a brother and
sister were buried in one grave ; still later the father,
after a lingering illness, died when the boy Samuel
was but nine years of age. Then came the pinch of
poverty, the reduced home, the small economies which
left their impress upon the boy's whole after life.

17



l8 SAMUEL BACON BARNIT2.

Those who knew Dr. Barnitz in his later years will
understand the complete democracy of spirit which al-
ways moved him. He lived the simple life. He was
born in a simple community, and the deprivations of
his early life were part of the education which fitted
him the better to do the work to which he was called
of God. Often in the midst of his soul-moving ad-
dresses he would exclaim, "Thank God, I had a good
mother!" She saw the coming poverty and prepared
for it. She held the children together, moved into a
smaller house, used her own patrimony in support of
the little ones of the family, helping to meet later
expenses in college and seminary. It is a story of
parental sacrifice that has been often repeated in the
families of preacher and missionary.

The changes in family condition interrupted the
boy Samuel's early education. Even the public school
was too expensive a luxury. The modern custom of
supplying the pupils with free books had not then
been introduced. For lack of the required books,
being unable to buy them, the boy was compelled to
lose promotion. Yet he was made of the stuff that
does not surrender to small difficulties, nor to great
ones. He gathered bones on the public streets and
alleys of York that he might buy the books for use in
the public schools. Incredible as this may seem, it
is a fact, the record of which remains in the hand-



BIRTH AND EARLY Y^ARS. 19

writing of Doctor Barnitz himself. What a com-
mentary on the changes of fifty years ! An ambitious,
self-reliant boy willing to do any honorable or honest
work that he might get an education. Fortunately
for him the city's sanitary regulations were not then
inaugurated. He would buy few books with the bones
he could now gather in the streets of York. Young
Barnitz also acted as baggage porter that he might
gather up a few dimes between school hours, and
so be able to buy the books for the next term. This
willingness to fetch and carry never forsook him
through all his later life. He was always doing errands
of good for others, carrying his own heavy valises
often to save the church's money, counting no service
too menial if he might thereby serve Christ.

In the year 1853 when only fifteen years old, the
boy Samuel left the public school to enter the dry
goods store of his uncle, Alexander Demuth. This
place as clerk in a country store was also part of the
boy's education. Many a young man has graduated
from the counter to become manager, owner, legis-
lator, preacher. In his place as clerk, Samuel Barnitz
was a positive Christian influence to all about him.
He was of such a trustworthy character that he was
enabled to do his full duty to his employer and to
those who were older, and thereby rapidly gained
promotion. One-third of his salary was annually left
in the hands of his uncle, to be saved for the pro-



2O SAMUEL BACON BARNITZ.

verbial rainy day, so that in case of sickness or accident
his mother might have something to depend upon.

During all these years the religious education of
the boy was not being neglected. He was a child of
God from birth, like Timothy, knowing the Scriptures
from his youth. He never knew the date of his earliest
religious impressions. He often said that he did not
know or remember a time when he did not feel a
desire to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. In the
Spring of 1856, when eighteen years old, Samuel
Barnitz made a public profession of Christ's name
through the ancient and honored Lutheran custom of
confirmation. Though a child of God from birth and
by baptism, not remembering a day when he was not
consciously in accord with the gracious drawing of
God's spirit, still he gathered new impulse of good
from an open and avowed declaration of his purpose
to live for the glory of God and the good of his fel-
low men. From that day all things undertaken in
God's name were always looked on by him as a tri-
umphant success, even when they seemed to fail. Such
is the contradiction of faith.

This public confession of Christ occurred during
the four years of service in the store of his uncle. It
was then that he became deeply interested in the Bible
and Sunday School cause. Then also came the first
drawing towards the Christian ministry. He was a
faithful clerk, but he was not satisfied as a clerk, feel-



BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS. 21

ing a desire for some sphere of usefulness that was
not then disclosed to him.

An enthusiastic young man of eighteen, he entered
with all his soul into the then comparatively new form
of Christian work known as the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association. A daily prayer meeting was con-
ducted, the leader of which was in his turn Samuel
Barnitz. His efforts for the spiritual welfare of those
around him were very greatly successful. In the
religious revival which swept over the country in the
year 1857 Samuel Barnitz took a deep interest. He
dated his call to the ministry from that time. From
the record which he made in after years this extract
is of deep significance:

"I love to recall the revival season of 1857,
as in it God gave me unmistakable evidence of a
call to give myself to His service in the ministry.
Even then He permitted me to lead souls to the
cross. Oh, distinguished honor for one so un-
worthy! Lord Jesus, keep me faithful!"

The first prayer the lad Samuel ever made in pub-
lic was long remembered in York. It moved the con-
gregation to tears. The older members of the church
knew the misfortune through which the family of
the boy had passed, the death of the father, the strug-
gles of the mother, and their sympathies were aroused



22 SAMUEL BACON BARNITZ.

even to the melting of strong hearts. Many of the
young companions of Barnitz in store, school, and
church were at that time led to confess Christ before
men. Thus early God gave His blessing to faithful
testimony.



CHAPTER II.

STARTING FOR COLLEGE.

The call to the ministry that came to Samuel Bar-
nitz was of the old-fashioned kind. He was not in any
doubt about it. The Lord had truly called, as He
called the other Samuel in the ancient days. The
call came not with audible voice out of the sky, nor
in supernatural fashion in the night, but none the less
was it deemed a call of God direct, unmistakable, that
dare not be resisted. He had neither rest nor peace
until he fully yielded and said "Here, Lord, take me,
and send me, and use me for Thine own glory, and the
good of my fellow creatures." Immediately, in con-
sequence of this deep conviction, he left the store of
his uncle to enter upon a course of preparatory study
at the York County Academy, looking to a full course
at Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Pa. During the
time of study at this Academy the embryo preacher
began to preach and conduct meetings in the waste
places, visiting the alms house, and helping as God
opened the way in every kind of Christian work.
There were dark hours just a little in advance, but
the boy was unaware, and went forward courageously.

In the Spring of 1858, the arrangements were all
23



24 SAMUEX BACON BARNITZ.

completed for entering the College at Gettysburg.
His delicate mother had prepared with her own feeble
hands the clothing outfit such as the boy required
during the college term. Then was the heart of the
youthful candidate cast down by the clouds of thick
darkness which fell in one night. His entire wardrobe
was stolen and was never recovered. Must the young
man go back to the store, or even carry baggage again ?
We can assume that the diligence that characterized
the man was then active in the boy, and there were
likely no bones left in the streets of York to be col-
lected.

The money loss of the clothing was very con-
siderable. Yet it was but the beginning of troubles,
a kind of preparation for something more severe. The
uncle, Alexander Demuth, was unfortunate in busi-
ness, and in February, 1858, Samuel Barnitz and his
mother were left without a dollar. All that had been
so carefully reserved during the four years in the
store, intended now for his education, all that his
mother 'had received from her father's estate, was
swept away from them in the moment they seemed
most to need it. The perplexity and darkness of that
hour for loving mother and devoted son, only those
two disappointed hearts could ever know. They
called on God in prayer, asking for light in their dark-
ness.

Nothing of cant or fanaticism ever entered into



STARTING FOR COLLEGE:. 25

the religious experience of Samuel Barnitz. He was
thoroughly practical in his ideas of prayer as in all
other forms of faith's exercise. Consequently he was
not surprised to find that his prayer was answered.
His pastor, who knew of his plans for entering the
ministry, when he learned of the financial loss that
had overtaken the family, called to say that friends
were ready to help. The means were soon provided
by the congregation and others in York, so that there
was no interruption to the plans for going away to
college. In 1858, Samuel Barnitz entered Pennsyl-
vania College, at the Spring term, and for a time was
successful in pursuing his studies along with his class.
The failure of the uncle, with the attendant perplexi-
ties and lawsuits, preyed upon the mind of the stu-
dent, so that at the end of the Summer term he re-
turned home considerably broken in health. During
this half year at college Mr. Barnitz impressed himself
upon his fellow students by reason of his deep relig-
ious zeal. He found much to occupy his attention
in the isolation of a country village. His room-mate
fell under the favorable influence of his consecrated
and earnest spirit. The unconverted students in the
various college classes were drawn to the subject of
personal religion through the devotion of this fledg-
ling from York.

By the consent of the college authorities, young
Barnitz, associated with others of like mind, began a



26 SAMUEX BACON BARNITZ.

daily prayer meeting in the college chapel. The first
meeting was led by its chief organizer, and the fruits
of the meetings were long after seen and felt in the
institution. Active in all good work in the college
and in the community, conducting a Sunday School
regularly two miles out of Gettysburg, the first year
closed hopefully. The next year was begun in regu-
lar course, with advancement to the next higher class,
but the labors and application of the previous year,
combined with worry over finances, compelled an
abandonment of studies, with a temporary giving up of
the idea of entering the ministry. The thought of
defeat at the very beginning was intolerable. Melan-
choly came; all was in gloom, the outlook dark.
The physicians ordered the student to leave the col-
lege and return home to recuperate. This was always
regarded by Dr. Barnitz as the darkest hour of his
life, as he saw the cherished expectation of his heart
dissolve into nothing. He went back into business
life, entering a store where he had an agreement that
he might do only so much labor as his health would
permit. Gradually he gained in strength so that he
was shortly able to enter upon labors for the Tract
Society, the Sunday School Union, and the Lutheran
Publication House. The outdoor life in Western
Pennsylvania, whither he was sent by the Tract So-
ciety, brought back such a favorable condition of
health that by a unanimous vote of the Theological



SMARTING FOR COIrftEGtf. 2?

Seminary faculty he was admitted to the theological
school at Gettysburg without completing his college
course.

At the seminary he made good progress, by con-
stant care, improving in health, so that his prospects
for usefulness in the ministry grew brighter as time
passed on. The daily prayer meeting at the college
continued to interest the theological student, as did
the country Sunday School previously organized.
Samuel Barnitz was the kind of boy, man, missionary,
and secretary that when he once took hold he never
let go.

During all the preparatory period, and while in the
theological seminary, he tells us in the brief autobi-
ographical sketch which he prepared at the request
of Mr. Geo. H. Stuart, of Philadelphia, he was in
greatly straitened financial condition. "I oftimes
knew not where money to pay my board would come
from, yet it always came in time. God never forsakes."

One notable incident during the seminary career
was the walk to Niagara Falls planned by Mr. Barnitz.
Several congenial spirits entered into the project, and
carried it out to the delight and benefit of the whole
party. They did not go as hoboes, but it is needless
to say they did not stop at any first-class hotels on the
way. The party was strictly personally conducted
by "Sam Barnkz," as he was familiarly known in those
days. He arranged to represent the American Sunday



2& SAMUEL BACON BARNITZ.

School Union, and by writing ahead had the dates set
for meetings, including entertainment of his party.
In those days (the Spring of 1860), it was counted a
considerable undertaking to start out on a tramping
tour of such extent. Many are the traditions of the
trail of sunshine, innocent sport, interesting incidents
and strange experiences occurring during the jour-
ney. The outing was most beneficial to the theological
student, both in physical results, and in gathering that
knowledge of men and things by which he was after-
wards to be made successful. He was a born mission-
ary, and turned even his vacation into a season of
helpfulness to the great work to which he was called.



CHAPTER III.



AS HIS FRIENDS SAW HIM AT

Dr. Barnitz was always a unique personality, im-
pressing himself from college days upon those about
him. One of his contemporaries has furnished a con-
tribution recalling the York boy as he appeared at
Gettysburg in the autumn of 1857. It is so nearly a
photograph that we reproduce it entire:

SAMUEL B. BARNITZ AT PENNSYLVANIA
COLLEGE.

BY LEONARD GROH, D. D v OF OMAHA, NEB.

It was in the Fall of 1857 we first met. He was in the
Preparatory. I was Freshman. He hailed from the City of
York, hence had enjoyed more advantages of culture than
some of us, who had not seen life except as found on the
the farm. He had lately made up his mind to become a min-
ister of the Word. He was genial, sincere, enthusiastic.
He had labored in Sunday Schools. His ready utterance,
deep solemnity of voice, and manifest devotion, had gained
him warm. friends and many favorable recognitions. There-
fore he came with courage and a fair share of innocent
self-complacency. The latter soon received several rude

29



3O SAMUEX BACON BARNITZ.

shocks. One of these came as follows : He called on Dr.
Baugher, Sr., then President of the College. He found a
young man in the office. This young gentleman was always
neat, dignified, rather stylishly striking in appearance. He
had the faculty of putting together most magniloquently,
grandiloquent sentences to express very common-place ideas.
When Brother Barnitz entered, Mr. H. was just getting off
some of his fine phrases. Among the rest of the things said,
he related his experience on his uncle's "villa," not far from
Baltimore, which made a deeply discouraging impression on
Brother Barnitz. He was greatly relieved, however, as he
told me afterward, when Dr. Baugher drew down the corners


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryWilliam Edwin ParsonSamuel Bacon Barnitz, missionary and western secretary : an appreciation → online text (page 1 of 11)