About Rev. Sievers and the Letters
The letters written by Rev. Sievers to Rev. Loehe in Germany,
provides a rare first-hand account of the early years of emigrant settlements, the difficulties they faced in the wilderness, and the perseverance they demonstrated in search of a better life.
The letters were initially transcribed into English
in December, 1882 and January, 1883, by Herbert Helmreich from a German book he received in the summer of 1879, from Horst Nolte of Gruenenplan, Germany.
The letters as persented here are representative
of the first transcription with only a few execeptions in layout and commentary. This includes some letters that are incomplete. However, there is sufficient content making them an important contribution to understanding the early settlement history period of the Saginaw Valley.
Brief Historical Background
Reverend Sievers founded the Michigan community of Frankenlust in 1848, which today, is Frankenlust Township of Bay County.
George Ernst Christian Ferdinand Sievers
was born on May 18, 1816, in Hanover, Germany. He was only six years old when his mother died in 1822, a year later, he and his seven brothers and sisters lost their father, and were forced to live with relatives.
Young Ferdinand was taken in by his uncle,
the pastor at the “Cross Church” in Hanover. His uncle, a Rationalist, a faith that accepts only Bible teachings that they can understand by their own reasoning. His uncle raised Ferdinand in this faith and provided him with a good education, which influenced him to study theology as college student, and ultimately becoming a pastor.
As was the custom of that time,
Ferdinand served as a tutor prior to becoming a full time pastor. These tutorships were usually served in the homes of wealthy individuals. In his case, it was in the home of Carl Frederick Ludwig Koch in Gruenenplan, and where he met his future wife, Caroline.
It was during this period
that Ferdinand developed an interest in missionary work in America, which led him to meeting Pastor Loehe, who was in charge of the missionary work of the Evangelical Lutheran church. On April 27, 1847, Rev. Sievers was commissioned as a pastor for missionary work in America, and shortly thereafter, received his first assignment, to lead a group of German emigrants to the Saginaw Valley in Michigan.
Rev. Sievers’ with an abiding faith,
was able to endure the extreme hardships and maintain the responsibility required to establish new colony in what was a wilderness land in 1848, on the west side of the Saginaw River, between the young communities of Lower Saginaw (Bay City) and Saginaw (comprised only of the west side at that time). Besides the community of Frankenlust, his missionary work extended to Frankenmuth, Frankentrost, Saginaw, Lower Saginaw and many other communities in Michigan, as well as in Minnesota.
The jewel of his many achievements
is St. Paul Lutheran church community in Frankenlust, which he founded and lead until 1893, when he resigned due to health reasons, and resulted in his death a few weeks later.