Contributed by Kathy (Stroemer) Czuba -- May 2005.
June 27th, 1848
Dear Pastor, beloved Brother in the Lord:
With the heartiest thanks I look up to the Almighty who has permitted me to see the spouting and tender growth of the new Frankenlust congregation.
For many weeks I waited patiently for new from the emigrants. I had assumed they would notify me by letter as soon as they arrived in New York so I could meet them after a few days in Detroit. This wish, however, was not fulfilled. Instead, in Frankenmuth, on Trinity Sunday, the joyful news spread that German emigrants had arrived in Bridgeport. Soon thereafter I met Hachtel and some relatives of a Mr. Rantzenberger.
In Hachtel I immediately recognized a true future member of our new congregation, who approached me in a loving and trusting manner. Unfortunately, this good man had the deep grief that his bride, Barbara Schleier, when she arrived by her relatives in Frankenmuth, declared to break her engagement with Hatchel, which was against her will in the first place, in that Andrew Goetz and her sister persuaded her to make this promise.
All pleading by the groom who live in good faith of getting a faithful wife, all admonition by the pastor that the sin of adultery would rest on her if she breaks her promise were to no avail. She insisted on her decision to be free again.
However, both the bridge and her mother claimed if Hachtel would stay in Frankenmuth, nothing would hinder the marriage. The bride never realized that Frankenlust and Frankenmuth were so far apart. She was told it is only a two-hour journey. Now she discovered that it is a five-hour journey to Saginaw and from there another four hours to Frankenlust.
With a poor excuse like this, it was obvious that the mother and daughter did not want to do the Lordís will but their own selfish interest. May God who judges the heart, lead her to true repentance that she will realize the treacherous ground she is on. Hatchel has a clear conscience and is innocent. Perhaps he should have been more cautious and not handle this engagement through some
other people. This might be the custom of the land over here.*
On Tuesday morning, June 20th, I left Frankenmuth with Hachtel, Haeckel and Helmreich. The following morning we met on the Saginaw River, five miles from Saginaw city; the other colonists from our group paddled up the Saginaw River under the leadership of Andrew Goetz. It was a joyous occasion when our canoe arrived by the big ship and we were hoisted on deck.
In the afternoon when the ship pulled up anchor, I and most of the other men left the ship and traveled by foot through enormous sections of prairie towards Frankenlust. (I have to note that the colonists went up the Saginaw River too far. It would have been better to unload in the Lower Saginaw** and leave the big ship; then with a smaller vessel make the three miles to Frankenlust.) The emigrants were very astonished over the height of the marsh grass which went way over their heads. Some emigrants which were undecided whether they should join Frankenlust or some colony that came over previously decided after seeing the layout of land, to join the other settlers here.
Besides Goetz, Hatchel, Helmreich and Haeckel, I can count on Paul Knoerr, Albrecht Kuch and Lang family to join our settlement. Perhaps Hubinger from Frankenmuth and Ordner would join us also. Now a few words why we came to choose Frankenlust.
When I had arrived in Frankenmuth, I thought the land for the new colony would be on the shores of the Tittabawassee, although no land was purchased yet. Pastor Craemer brought it to my attention that this place would be suitable to do mission work among the Indians. On a beautiful winter day we visited this area and returned home very much satisfied with what we found.
The land which lies on one of the nicest streams in Michigan seem to be a very fruitful and suitable for agriculture. But when we had received the Certificates of Deposit for $2000 which you so graciously provided to us, I took it upon myself to get the advice of a competent Frankenmuth settler, John Hubinger and others to look over the proposed settlement. But instead of finding good dry land suitable for settlement, we found areas under water and much swamp land, that Hubinger claimed not for one-fourth of the price would he buy this land for the new settlement.
* According to church records of St. Paul, John Leonard Hachtel and Barbara Schleier were married in Frankenmuth. They had twelve children.
** Bay City
Going further west of the swampland we found beautiful areas suitable for farming. I did not give up the idea of settling here yet. I asked Pastor Craemer to authorize another Frankenmuth farmer to look over the proposed land and give us an honest opinion. Leonard Bernthal and several others, I for the third looked over the area on the Tittabawassee. But Hubingerís opinion was confirmed that it would not be good to move the colony into this distant area as long as more suitable areas were available.
I decided to inspect the area around Lower Saginaw which I had considered previously. After four days of wandering in the wilderness and swamp, the present location was the most suitable.
Being that you have the accurate map of this territory, I would draw your attention to the small Squaquaning River, to the left of the Saginaw River, three or four miles upstream from Lower Saginaw. This small stream has a north and a south arm about one and one-half miles before it enters the Saginaw River. Between the north and south arm is the purchased land, and in the middle of these two arms weíre contemplating to erect our church, which would be the most practical location.
In all I have purchased 645 and 57/100 acres of the Squaquaning, about 40 acres on the Tittabawassee for the Indian chief Shashaonebese, who would like to live and die on the land of his father. Eventually he wants to pay the debt that he owes on the 40 acres with sugar. I still have $200 with which to buy several city lots in Saginaw where we, God willing, soon will organize a small congregation with its own church and school. Another $100 I would like to save for expenses that are an absolute necessity. Hopefully, in the near future I want to reimburse the $100. If it would be impossible for me to do so, I greatly rejoice in your kind promise that you will never leave me or my small congregation, which is very dear to me.
Concerning mission work, this area on the Squaquaning would not be as feasible as the area by the Tittabawassee, not because there are no Indians, but the area by the Tittabawassee is already domiciled by Methodists. With their camp meetings, they irritate these poor souls. By no means could I intrude in this area but will wait until these poor deceived Indians perhaps would come to Frankenlust in search of the true Gospel. I always had a heart for mission work. Perhaps Pastor Craemer could let me take over part of the mission work among the Indians in Frankenmuth.
On June 26th I had my first church service with my dear colonists in a barn of Mr. Tuerker in Saginaw. For me it was a very memorable day. We celebrated the Lordís Supper, married four couples, and in the afternoon had Catechism instruction. Married that day were Andrew Goetz and his bride, J. G. Hemlreich and Anna B Hecht, John G. Haeckel and Elizabeth Baer, Paul Knoerr and Barbara Besenbacher. Hatchel should have been among the couples to be married also, but his bride had left him. Now he wants to ask Eva Enser whether she would take him for her husband. According to my judgement, Hachtel made a good decision, as Eva Enser seems to be a quite and ambitious young lady.* I would treat this couple equally the same as Andrew Goetz, namely, that for $40 some land would be designated for them. The money they could reimburse later when the land, under Godís blessing, bears fruit and flourished.
Farmer Tuerker from Saginaw offered our colony a piece of ground that they could plant potatoes and buckwheat, which they accepted with heartiest thanks. They all worked industriously on this project. In this regard, Andrew Goetz lead the colony with a good example. I am pleased very much with this man and hope that through him, congregation and pastor will work harmoniously. Most likely Goetz will be our merchant in the future.
Pastor Craemer and Graebner left on the 2nd Pentecost Sunday to attend the Synodís convention in St. Louis. We all have a good confidence in Synod and pray that the Lord, in their current session, which will end July 1st, may richly bless their deliberations.
Pastor Craemer is a true servant of the Word. He is a truthful support for congregation and pastor as far as his conduct and wisdom of Holy Scriptures is concerned. He walks in all humility and simplicity, according to the Word of God, that I never saw him despair even in the most difficult predicaments. Staying at his house was a great blessing for me. May the Lord bless me with the same simplicity, humbleness, faith and Christian wisdom as Pastor Craemer.
The association with Sauer this past winter was real charming and comforting. Sauer also is a real simple man, never looking out for his own interest. His gifts to teach people and children are exceptionally good.
Our relationship with Baierlein was no to intimate, but we hope by the grace of God that he will grow in humbleness and love towards his fellow men.
* As aforementioned, J. L. Hachtel and his bride Barbara Schleier were married in Frankenmusth. Eva Barbara Enser was married to Johnann Schmidt.
Pastor Graebner astonishes me. Being he had no theological training, with the Lordís help, he turned out to be an extremely good preacher and worker in the Lordís vineyard. You, Pastor Loehe, would find it real wholesome to observe him in his ministry.
At the present time Nuetzel has much work to do in Frankentrost and Frankenmuth. In him you sent us a very dedicated helper. If it is the Lordís will, Synod will soon be calling him from this area.
For our dear brother Schaller, we intend to make preparations for a fourth colony as soon as the money becomes available. The good Lord is so gracious for sending us these good men.
Christine Hundlein and all others which received letters and greetings from you enjoyed many happy hours by receiving them. Christine sends greetings and many thanks for all the keepsakes and souvenirs you sent. I send my greetings to Mr. Hommel, the Raumer family, and all my other dear friends. The Volk family, of whom I heard that they are contemplating to come over, could perhaps be an ideal location for a beer and vinegar brewery, also for a bakery, as there is a shortage of these industries in Saginaw, as well as the product.
Being the small congregation in Saginaw does not have its own preacher, I consented to serve them with Word and Sacrement every other week on Sunday afternoons. Would it be possible to expect any support from Germany to build a church in Saginaw? With present government relations, we can hardly expect it. It is my fervent prayer that God will protect you and your church that the enemy may not devastate His Holy Temple.
Pastor Brauer has accepted a disorganized and confused congregation in Addison, Illinois, several hours from Chicago, where much rationalism is prevalent. The Lord has placed on him the heavy burden to bring this scattered congregation back to the one true faith. He has worked hard and struggled under severe conditions to do so. I would have liked to see him at Synodís convention, but I canít leave my congregation at this time. Beside, we had assigned Pastor Craermer and Graebner to be our delegates from this area.
For your many gifts for me and other members of the church, especially for all letters and prayer books, my heartiest thanks.
My call to become pastor of Frankenlust will be presented at Synodís convention.
At the present time 24 people are living in one place, not much room for writing letters. Please excuse all the grease spots.
Haeckel, John G.
Hecht, Anna B.
Lower Saginaw (Bay City)
St. Louis, MO
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