Skokie Historical Society


Festival Book

on the

Fiftieth Anniversary

1868 - 1918

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church

in Niles Center, Illinois


Festschrift Cover Page in German Language


Festival Book

on the

Fiftieth Anniversary

1868 - 1918

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church

Niles Center, Illinois

celebrated on Sunday, the 8th of September, 1918.

Dedicated to the members and friends of the congregation
Pastor J. J. Mayer.


Festschrift Title Page in German Language


St. Peter Evangelical Church and Parsonage
St. Peter Evangelical Church and Parsonage

This photograph is a more recent than the cover page photograph because the small turrets are missing. The small turrets were downed by an Easter storm in 1915.


Festschrift Inside Page in German Language



     What reason does the congregation have to celebrate the fiftieth Anniversary? In a time of war such as this, sounds of rejoicing grow silent. Minds are filled by many different emotions. But these can not and should not smother feelings of thanks in the hearts of believing Christians when they look back on half a century and on the abundant merciful guidance of God; then they cannot but say in thankfulness:
Father, you have shown me
Only grace and goodness;
And you, Jesus, have sent me
All your friendliness;
And through you, 0 Spirit of Grace,
Am I always invited
A thousand, thousand times be thanks
To you, 0 great King!

     So every single person has reason to shout joyfully on looking back at the years of his life that have gone by.

     How much more motivation and reason for joyful thanksgiving does a Christian congregation have when looking back on half a century of development. For all the earthly blessings alone, which this congregation has received, should cause it to give thanks. What changes this area has experienced in fifty years! Even though the labors of our population are very wearying, they are endurable compared to the almost insurmountable difficulties which the first settlers, the founding fathers of our congregation, faced. "While in the cultivation of the land they often wrested only the barest means for a poor existence from it, today planting and harvesting in most cases leads to prosperity and wealth. Who today would want to trade his situation with that of our forefathers, his light hoe with the heavy ax of the woodsman, his light hand plow with the heavy, cumbersome ox plow?

     The spiritual, which the congregation experienced in those fifty years, is still more precious. This not only bestowed a special consecration on the labors, but also ministered to the innermost feelings of the people. In this half century, about 3000 services were held, at least 200 times we were invited to the Lord's table, every year a number of children were instructed in the Christian saving truth, marriages were consecrated, pastoral help and assistance offered the sick, and the bereaved comforted at the graves with the hope of resurrection from the dead. What an abundance of pastoral blessings was administered. Think about it, dear Reader. How much work was done for and with the souls! So that after fifty years the fertile field of this congregation, like the fields around, has undergone great change. Therefore, let the hymns of joy keep on resounding even after the celebration. But also let your prayers of repentance rise to God for all the things that were not accomplished in the betterment of the souls.

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Members Portraits

Mr. and Mrs. C. Schnur
Mr. and Mrs. C. Schnur
Mr. and Mrs. Hy Warkenthein and son Louis
Mr. and Mrs. Hy Warkenthein
and son Louis
Mr. and Mrs. J. Jarmuth
Mr. and Mrs. J. Jarmuth
Mr. and Mrs. G. Schroeder
Mr. and Mrs. G. Schroeder
F. Stielow
F. Stielow
Mr. and Mrs. F. Scheuber
Mr. and Mrs. F. Scheuber
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Members Portraits

Mr. and Mrs. W. Ruesch
Mr. and Mrs. W. Ruesch
Mrs. H. Harms
Mrs. H. Harms
Mr. and Mrs. J. Kindt
Mr. and Mrs. J. Kindt
Mr. and Mrs. R. Wagner
Mr. and Mrs. R. Wagner
Mrs. A. Siegel
Mrs. A. Siegel
Mr. and Mrs. A. Ross
Mr. and Mrs. A. Ross

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Preliminaries to the Foundation and
Independence of the Congregation

     When, a long time ago, King David planned to build a worthy temple for the Lord, but since the right time for it had not come, he collected the necessary material for it. The necessary living building blocks for this congregation were broght together by the settling in this area of people of strong will who worked hard, who were Christians, who, coming from different areas in Germany, had settled here. That was at the time when the city of Chicago with its many skyscrapers of today consisted of only a few houses of bricks. The tasks of these first settlers were to fell trees in the virgin forest first of all, to earn the daily bread, and to found a modest home. In order to make possible not only a new settlement but a Christian congregation as well, a common spriritual home had to be found. One had to follow the word of the Lord (Matth. 6, 33), "But see ye first the kingdom of God in his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Many an old father and mother had their first little children baptized here and there by travelling preachers in private log houses, attended services in the German Church in Nile (sic) or were served spiritually from Chicago.

     Around 1857, a group of people got together and held their services in the English school which was located half a mile south of what is now Niles Center. On Sunday afternoons, the Pastor from the Evangelical Lutheran Matthew Congregation of the West Prairie of Town Main preached. Pastor P. H. Warnke from 1857 to 1858 and Pastor Stumpf from 1858 to 1865.

Actual Organization
and Further Development of the Congregation

Pastor E. Keuchen
Pastor E. Keuchen

     Now the congregation entered a new stage in its development. Starting in 1865, they were served by Pastor E. Keuchen who at that time was the pastor of the evangelical congregation in Northfield (Schermerville). From that point on, the congregation had its own church book. Listeners were now so numerous that the school house was no longer large enough and the building of a church had to be considered.

     But this was a time of small things. Not only was there not enough money to build a church, but, at that time already there were people who held back. When, at that time, two women asked for gifts in East Prairie for the building of a church, they got the answer in one house, "I won't give anything for a church but if you were collecting for a school house I would give something." There were at that time already cowards who knew how to make excuses.

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     Nevertheless, as the report on the building of the church shows, next to many little gifts, even pretty big ones were given considering the time; sums of $50, $100, yes even $200, so that the building could be started. Because of a bad harvest, the building had to stop for a while and could be finished only in 1868 and the church was dedicated to the service of the Lord on the 18th of July of that year.

Old Church
Old Church

     The first church was constructed on what was then Harms Avenue, now Oakton Street, on the same lot on which the church stands today, a lot which the congregation had bought from Peter Blameuser for $50. The first church was also built of brick. It was the only brick church in the village for a long time and is still referred to as ”Brikkerk” (Brick Church) by older residents. Its dimensions were 32 x 50 feet. On the lower floor, school was held and the quarters for the pastor were located. Even a small steeple with a bell was not lacking. Construction was directed by the respected George C. Klehm who is still among us. He and other bricklayers and carpenters worked for nothing or very little salary and members of the congregation helped so that the entire building, according to a report written by the director of construction, cost only $2,788.25. Before construction was finished on May 5, 1867, the congregation organized as the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of St. Peter, Niles Center, Cook County, Illinois. The first elders were John Jarmuth, Joachim Ladwig and Andreas Ross.

George C. Klehm
George C. Klehm

     The congregation had now become so strong, that it could now stand on its own feet. Pastor Keuchen having worked with the congregation for three years and led it to independence, he retired on October 25, 1868 so that the congregation could call its own pastor who would be able to dedicate his entire time and strength to them. Such a person was found in Pastor E. Werner. He started working on the 22nd of November, 1868. Under his active direction and the continuing increase of new members, the congregation swelled.

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Pastor E. Werner
Pastor E. Werner

     In the school which Pastor Werner began, the number of students grew to 80. He was very strict. Even today, his former students remember the harsh use of his strict sceptre. He taught the children to be useful as well through all kinds of physical work. By the same token, they sang a lot in the school. In the second protocoll which we have, dated September 26, 1875, we find that a pipe organ which had been part of the Chicago Exposition, had been bought from a Mr.Schlandecker for $850. The first organists, Liestmann and Blakenhan from Chicago, received their travel fare as remuneration. Now the congregation could have developed into a strong corporation if dissatisfaction and jealousy had not found its way among the members. Unfortunately a certain tension between the pastor and a number of members became so strong that there was a split so that the original congregation became very weak and the number of students in the church school dropped to 40. It is true that on the 22nd of August, 1880, the resignation of the pastor was denied, but in September of the same year he repeated his resignation and soon afterward laid down his office. A committee consisting of Gustav Schroeder, Friedrich Lumpp, Carl Isermann, John Jarmuth and George C. Klehm called Pastor H. Wolf from Turner Junction, now West Chicago, who had preached here on occasion.

Pastor H. Wolf
Pastor H. Wolf

Festschrift Page 10 in German Language


     On 23 January, 1881, Pastor H. Wolf began his employment with a yearly salary of $450. He endeavored to guide the ship of the church into the right course by faithful work in church and school, by amending the constitution and by trying to move the congregation to join the Evangelical Synod. However, the application to accomplish this purpose was tabled. The confidence of the people was restored and the number of members grew. On the 4th of December, 1881, the church had 60 members, 34 owners and 26 renters. When at this time it was decided that a new stable costing $217 (16x24x12) be built, the owners were willing to pledge from $50 to $5 and the renters $2.50. John Ahrens at that time gave the congregation a present of a church seal. Even if some of the members weren't completely in agreement in this or that way, nevertheless at the same time the salary of the preacher was raised to $5000 and the beadle was promised $40 a year for his services. And 4 years later, in consideration of the fact that the pastor was teaching as well as spiritual leader, he was given a raise of $100 and at the same time new patented school benches and a reed organ were bought for the school and somewhat later hymnals of the Evangelical Synod were introduced. In order to enhance the services, under Pastor Wolf's capable direction, a choir trained diligently. Many women of the church choir improved their voices anew in a women's choir.

     The first little bell, which also served to alarm people when there was a fire, had served its purpose for 20 years; then the desire arose, probably from hearing beautiful fourfold choir singing, to hear clear metallic sounds from the steeple. But because the steeple did not have enough room for two bells, it was decided on January 1, 1887, to add on to the tower and give it a correspondingly high point. This decoration of the church cost $531. Then two beautifully sounding bells were purchased from H. Stuckstede, St. Louis, Missouri, for the sum of $422.25. One had a weight of 1462 pounds and the other one 854.

     Pastor Wolf, however, did not hear the beautiful sounds of the church bells for very long,because,on the 16th of June, 1880, he tendered his resignation. It was accepted with regret and best wishes, and on September 1st he took his leave. Soon after, on September 29, 1889, Pator F. Müller moved in.

Old Church with Tower
Old Church with Tower

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Members Portraits

Mr. and Mrs. W. Guenther
Mr. and Mrs. W. Guenther
Dan Biesman
Dan Biesman
Mr. and Mrs. C. Brandt
Mr. and Mrs. C. Brandt
Mr. and Mrs. J. Tess
Mr. and Mrs. J. Tess
Mrs. Ladwig
Mrs. Ladwig
Mr. and Mrs. J. Nickrenz
Mr. and Mrs. J. Nickrenz

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Members Portraits

Mr. and Mrs. J. Ahrens
Mr. and Mrs. J. Ahrens
Mrs. Elisabeth Meyer
Mrs. Elisabeth Meyer
Mr. and Mrs. C. Schroeder
Mr. and Mrs. C. Schroeder
Mr. and Mrs. J. Mueller
Mr. and Mrs. J. Mueller
Mrs. Minnie Ruesch
Mrs. Minnie Ruesch
Mr. and Mrs. C. Isermann
Mr. and Mrs. C. Isermann

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Pastor R. Mueller
Pastor R. Mueller

     The pastor's quarters under the church were always damp and unhealthy to live in; therefore Pastor Mueller had accepted the call of the congregation on the condition that a parsonage would be built as soon as possible. On the 1st of January, 1890, during the first assembly of the year, the decision to build a parsonage was made. George Lohrmann was given the task of constructing the building for the sum of $1900. In the summer of the year 1895, the congregation celebrated its 25th anniversary.

     Why in the following years the contributions were often not enough to cover the running expenses can not be determined. Often late payments had to be made and the lazy payers had to be reprimanded. Many disagreeable situations ensued and a lot of nagging. Nevertheless the congregation decided to build a new church through voluntary contributions to a fund. Pastor Mueller and August Siegel were named to the collection committee. By the 7th of October, the sum of $350 had already been collected and Edwin Klehm was appointed to administer this dear treasure. But the situation in the congregation developed in such a way that Pastor Mueller found it necessary to tender his resignation on July 5, 1896. Even though he was asked to stay, he preferred to leave because the situation had not improved.

     The congregation had once again to chose a pastor. Therefore, they invited three guest preachers: Pastor H. Schmidt from Lincoln, Illinois, was the victor in this competition. He accepted the call at a yearly salary of $550 and began his term on the 25th of May, 1897. In the following year, his salary was $600. Since several improvements in the property of the congregation were necessary, as for example an iron fence around the pastor's lot, it was decided that every member should pay a contribution of $8 and more if possible. A better financial gain began to be realized with a school festival.

Pastor H. Schmidt
Pastor H. Schmidt

     The constitution of the congregation was revised again and printed yearly reports were distributed. On the 4th of July 1901, lightning struck the church tower and a little later the chimney. Were those warnings of God? Since the damage done to the steeple and the chimney could not be easily repaired, there was cause to think about the building of a new church. A thorough repair job of the old church which would have been necessary did not seem adviseable. However, the building of a new church was a big task therefore one needed to proceed cautiously.

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Members Portraits

Mr. and Mrs. J. Ahrens
Mr. and Mrs. J. Ahrens
Mrs. Sophie Baumann
Mrs. Sophie Baumann
Mr. and Mrs. J. Ruesch
Mr. and Mrs. J. Ruesch


     A committee was to make inquiries as to how and for what price one could build. The committee was supposed to collect signatures as well. More than $6115 had been signed up for by the time the matter was again discussed and 11 members voted for the project and 25 voted against it. But on the 1st of June, 1902, a vote to build was almost unanimous. The Building Committee consisted of Sam Meyer, Chairman, Pastor Schmidt, Secretary, F. Stielow, Treasurer, C. Schnur, W. Ross, A. Siegel, George C. Klehm, J. Jarmuth and C. Guenther. This committee got together for a while each Saturday evening and a number of regular and special congregational meetings dealt with the construction matter. In the meantime, a number of members got building material.

     Finally, everything had gotten so far that a contract was written on May 3, 1905. According to the plan and under the direction of the Architect named Steuben from Chicago, the building was to be constructed for the sum of $17,220. This amount was much higher and the amount to be borrowed, $7000, was much more than had been originally planned; but the commitment to the big task was strong and the project went forward. On May 10th, the last impressive church service was held in the old church in which for 35 years the congregation had been refreshed by the mercy of God and had enjoyed many blessings. On the following day, they started to demolish the old church and on the 14th of June, the first stone for the new church was laid. The building approached completion quickly and without incident and the beautiful festivity of the dedication of the church was celebrated on the 15th of May, 1903 (sic).

     The building of this church and the dedication was one of the glorious periods in the history of this congregation. But as it is in the lives of individuals and in the history of the people of God: after periods of beautiful days of sunshine ....

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New Church
New Church

The view corresponds to the picture on page 3. This view of the church minus the small towers would be after the damage of the 1915 storm had been repaired. The picture of the church on page 1 is the way the church looked from 1904 to 1913.

     .....dark clouds of thunderstorms gather. The great work of the construction of the church was hardly over and the inspiring dedication when it was realized that within some members the dwelling place of the Lord was defective. How beautiful it would have been if one could have seen in the new church: how fine and lovely it is when brothers live in harmony with one another. But jealousy and disagreement showed itself and worked against the continuing development of the congregation and deprived the pastor of joyfulness in his work with the congregation.

     Even though the debts were somewhat pressing, and all kinds of ways and means had to be found to meet them, it was soon decided to install central heating in order to heat the church better than with stoves. This installation required the sum of $985, which was covered in large measure by contributions both large and small which were borrowed without interest. If only with that the inner warmth, the hot ember of brotherly love and the fire of the Holy Ghost had been ignited powerfully in the heart!

     Pastor Schmidt planned yet to celebrate a beautiful festivity, the fortieth anniversary of the congregation. But it was not given to him to see his beautiful wish fulfilled, because the Lord of the church laid him on a sick and dying bed shortly before Christmas and took him home after a sickness of only three days, where he could rest from all his labors and jubilate with the saints in the Church Triumphant. He died on the 19th of December, 1907. The congregation honored him with a dignified funeral in Chicago from whence his body was taken to Lincoln, Illinois and interred there.

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     The vacant congregation called Pastor A. Behrens of Chicago to serve temporarily; however, after he had held several services, he died suddenly here in the train station when going home. After him. Pastor Holz, Sr. was employed and served the congregation until the permanent calling of the new pastor.

Pastor P. Hausmann
Pastor P. Hausmann

     On the 16th of February, 1908, Pastor P. Hausmann of Marietta, Ohio, was selected and assured a salary of $700 and heating material. At the same time, the widow of Pastor H. Schmidt was employed as organist at a yearly salary of $150. Pastor Hausmann started on the 3rd of May, 1908. He started immediately to hold bi-monthly services in the language of the land. Two beautiful celebrations took place during this time. On the 12th of July, 1908, the celebration of the 40th anniversary, which had been planned the year before and on the 1st of May, 1910, the inauguration of the new organ. The acquiring of the organ was close to the heart of Pastor Hausmann.

     Through his intervention, the philanthropist, Mr. A. Carnegie, had been moved to contribute $800 toward the purchase of a new organ. It cost $1800. In conjunction with the dedication of the organ, the magnificent memorial window, given by Mrs. Louise Hufmeyer in memory of her parents, Nikolaus and Elisabeth Meyer, was inaugurated. Even more to the beautification of the church was the contribution of electric lights by the youth group that existed at that time. As had happened previously. Pastor Hausmann tried to get the youth to contribute certain amounts to the treasury of the congregation through the introduction of the envelope system; however, as had been the case earlier and as well as later, the desired success was missing. An extra Easter collection was introduced around this time which contributes a good amount each year to the treasury, but the youth do not show the necessary interest here as well; only a few of the young people contribute usually. On the 2nd of April, 1911, the congregation gave the pastor a salary increase of $100 and the organist $50. Further improvements consisted in the fact that in July a cement path was laid behind the parsonage to the church and the women's association decided to have the interior of the church decorated. In spite of all of these improvements. Pastor Hausmann felt moved to tender his resignation on the 17th of September, 1911. On the 12th of November, he gave his final sermon and moved to Newport, Kentucky.

     Until a successor could be brought in, the congregation honored Pastor Mueller of Chicago, its earlier pastor, through temporary employment and gave him the charge of directing the services and instructing confirmands.

     Intending to save some money in operating expenses, the salary was reduced $50 and fuel and telephone costs were not provided. It soon became evident that the salary was too low, and the earlier amounts were restored with one exception.

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     On the 28th of October, 1911, on the evening of the celebration of the Reformation, Pastor J. J. Mayer gave a guest sermon here, and on the 5th of November, the congregation chose him as its future pastor. On the first of January, 1912, the Assistant Pastor, Pastor F. Mueller, introduced the new pastor. On the same day, a strong, cold winter began and it took a while before the parsonage received the necessary warmth and longer yet for the congregation to warm up. Nevertheless, the work was begun and continued courageously even if there were paralyzing difficulties in its way.

Pastor J. J. Mayer

     In the springtime, the Womens Association had the decorating of the church walls and the new varnishing of the woodwork done through a church painter who had shown himself very capable in his field, Mr. Schaubacher of Springfield, Illinois. This elegant work required the fair price of $1100. On the 23rd of June, 1912, we celebrated the renovation and all guests were full of praise for the successful and beautiful painting. On this occasion, the beautiful window given by Mrs. Lillian Schmidt in memory of her late husband. Pastor H. Schmidt, was dedicated. When at that time, the water system was installed in the village, the congregation decided to have the waterlines installed in the parsonage and the church, defraying the cost with the Sunday School Birthday Fund.

     A thorough renovation of the parsonage was undertaken in 1914. Since the main threshholds of the house had begun to deteriorate, and there was not sufficient room for a cellar underneath, the house was lifted 3 feet and enough space was excavated to provide a 7 foot cellar under the house with different partitions and a cistern; a porch was added in front of the house. This all changed the house into a more healthful dwelling and gave it a much better look. The industrious women's association with the help of many friends and with the youth group that existed at that time got together over $1500 for this purpose.

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Mr. and Mrs.  C. Teufert
Mr. and Mrs. C. Teufert
Mrs. M. Burmeister
Mrs. M. Burmeister

     While improvements were taking place here, there were destructions in the church. In the Spring of 1913, in the night from Easter Sunday to Easter Monday, an enormous storm passed over the village and damaged all three churches. It ripped two corner towers from the big steeple of our church one of which made a hole 6’ x 8’ through the roof and ruined and destroyed benches and windows. We were sorry that the beautiful painting was destroyed so cruelly. A clever hand repaired everything again and hardly a trace can be seen of the damage. With happy hearts, we were able to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the dedication of the church and we thanked almighty God on that occasion that he had spared our church worse damage and that he had led our congregation since its beginning through inner and outer storms with his gracious hand.

In how much suffering
Has not the gracious God
Spread his wings over us!
    (From a German Hymn -ed. note)

     The congregation still has to reckon with a debt of $3700 from the church construction and must this year install a new boiler which costs $800. But with the help of the Lord, we will continue to work confident.that the congregation inwardly and outwardly may strengthen on the foundation of the holy apostles and prophets of which Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Let us all strive, with faith in Christ the son of the living God, to become firm and steadfast as the apostle whose name our church bears.

     Looking back on the history of the congregation and thinking of all the gracious direction of God and all our ignoring and disregarding of His Grace which has been offered us so richly in the church, we must admit humbly: Lord we are too small and lowly for all the grace and faithfulness and loyalty that you have shown us in fifty years!

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Parish Members
Part of the Parish on the Church's Front Steps

     Beginning in the year 1857 the Pioneers of this church held their meetings at the schoolhouse, half a mile south of Niles Center for a period of about 10 years. They were ministered to at this time on Sunday afternnons by the Rev. F.W. Warnke for one year, by the Rev. Stumpf for the period of six years and by the Rev. E. Keuchen for three years. During the latter's pastorate some fifty members came together and organized the Evang. Luth. St. Peter's Church on May 5, 1867. As the numer of attendants increased they made plans to build a church, which was erected under the direction of the Hon. George C. Klehm at a cash expense of $2,788.23 and dedicated in 1868. Soon after this Rev. Keuchen withdrew and the church extended a call to Rev. E. Werner, who put his whole time to the building up of this congregation, preaching and teaching school. In 1875 a pipe organ was procured at the price of $850. Towards the end of Rev. Werner's term a number of his parishioners dropped out. January 23, 1881 Rev. H. Wolf took charge and through patient and faithful work soon regained confidence in the hearts of his parishioners. Gradually their number increased to 60 members, who were willing to pay a salary of $600; they made necessary repairs, extended the church steeple to a proportionate height and bought two large bells. In 1889 the church regretfully acccepted Rev. Wolf's resignation and extended a call to Rev. F. Mueller. Heeding his urgent request a parsonage was built at the price of $1,900. The 25th Anniversary was celebrated in 1893. Although financial difficulties frequently caused annoyance a fund for a new church building was begun. After Rev. Mueller had resigned, Rev. H. Schmidt took up the work of this field. Considerable damage having been done to the tower and chimney by stokes of lightning, it was decided to build a new church.

     Evidently this was a great task and the situation was

(Continued on the next page)

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well considered before the final step was taken on May 5, 1903, to let the contract for the sum of $17,220. Everybody worked hard to help furnish the necessary funds. A debt of $7,000 remained. Soon after the church had been built a furnace was installed in the church. Upon short notice of a 3 days' illness Rev. Schmidt was call to the triumphant church on December 15, 1907. During the intermission Rev. A. Behrens, and after his sudden death, Rev. Holz conducted the services and taught school. May 3, 1908, Rev. P. Hausmann took charge. During his pastorate the church celebrated its 40th anniversary and procured the large new pipe organ for $1,800. Through the pastor's efforts Mr. A. Carnegie was induced to donate $800 of this sum. In order to furnish better light for the Sunday evening services, conducted in the English language, the young people had electric lights installed. After November 15, 1911, Rev. Hausmann departed and Rev. Mueller once more had the hpnpr of serving this church, until the first day of January 1912, he turned the work over to the present pastor, Rev. J.J. Mayer. More extensive improvements were made, such as laying the water-system, decorating the church, building a basement and porch to the parsonage, and finally painting the outside of all the buildings and having the church furnished with a new boiler and more radiators. In all this work of improvements from the time of building of the new church the Ladies-Aid took very active parts and with the aid of certain individual members nenewed some of the wornout church furnishings for this Golden Jubilee.

     May the Lord grant, that we all with no less energy repair and improve our spiritual life and by His grace become partakers of the great Golden Jubilee beyond.

Church Trustees
Church Trustees in front of the Parsonage. Picture taken June 15, 1918.

Standing, left to right; Christ Guenther, Charles Tess, Gus Schnur, William Ruesch, John Jarmuth and Samuel Meyer

Seated, left to right; Jacob Franz, Albert Schroeder, Reverend Mayer, Conrad Mueller, and William Warkenthien

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     The history of the congregation would not be complete if we did not take note of several of the additional branches in the work of the congregation.

     Cemetery Board: Soon after the congregation had built its house of worship, and had received its own pastor, it was decided to acquire a resting place for the departed. The members formed a cemetery association among themselves. They bought a piece of land located about a mile north of the church from a Mr. John Ross. Everyone who bought a lot there became automatically a member of the association. In the fall of 1870, they adopted their constitution at the home of Henry Harms. The first election of officers took place in January of 1871. In the course of the years, additional space became necessary and additional land was purchased from Mr. Ross. This new cemetery was solemnly consecrated on May 19, 1889, and on the following day in commemoration of this uplifting celebration a linden tree was planted.

     By August 1st, 1918, 190 family plots and 306 single grave lots had been sold. Even though this cemetery association is a separate entity, it has always proved to be a true sister to the congregation by the fact that for many years it has conducted its business meetings in conjunction with the congregational meeting and lent its excess capital to the congregation on an interest basis.

     Instruction of the Youth in Weekday and Sunday School: Even at the times when the worship services were held in the English schoolhouse, the children were taught German either before or after the service by the teacher at that time, George C. Klehm, with the help of several members of the congregation. Yet from the time on when the congregation had its own classroom in the basement of the church, the pastors, besides their many other duties, diligently kept up the weekday school and the instruction of confirmands in all these fifty years as much as their time allowed.

     The Sunday School: At the beginning of the 1880's, Pastor Wolf also started Sunday School to offer the children still more opportunity to learn Bible stories and catechism. Around the year 1903, the Sunday School reached its highest capacity with an enrollment of 157 children in 16 classes. Through the years, the number of children has dwindled. At the moment, there are about 100 students in 9 classes. Since 1913, Sunday School is also held in winter, that is to say throughout the year. We also made a small beginning with one Bible class of confirmed members and instituted a home department to give guidance to those who can not attend Sunday School to study the Word of God which we all old and young need so urgently at home. Especially also to enable parents to help their children that the idea that Sunday School and the usage of God's Word should be only for children has to be overcome once and for all. "Let the word of Christ dwell among you" is meant for all. In each Christian home the Word of God should be the guiding light which we all need so much in these difficult times.

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Sunday School
Sunday School Assembled on the Church Steps

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Ladies Aid
Ladies Aid taken on the Parsonage Lawn

     The Ladies Aid: The second strong factor and supporting arm of the congregation is the Ladies Aid. It was founded 12 September, 1897 under the Pastor at that time, H. Schmidt. The first officers were; President, Hanna Ross, Treasurer, Lina Schoening, Secretary, Julia Mueller. 24 women joined at the founding and 13 more in the course of the following year. There were doubts in the beginning whether the society could survive. Those doubts have long been dispelled for the society developed into a strong, indispensible support for the congregation. As the wife to the husband, so has the society at all times been a help to the congregation. And it always lent its help diligently.

     When the new church building was constructed, the Ladies Aid not only donated $700 to the building fund, but in addition spent $725 for the comfortable benches, $123 for carpeting, and $40 for the altar painting. Had it not been for the diligent workings o f the Ladies Aid, the interior of the church would very likely not be decked out so beautifully today nor would the parsonage have such a dignified appearance. What the society did for both has already been mentioned. After the membership rose to 73 in the first few years, it declined somewhat in the course of time. But the society has renewed its efforts to recruit new members. During the last few meetings, several new members signed up and the membership committee will not cease its efforts until the number reaches 100. There are 96 members at the moment. Its officers are; President, Emma Goldenbaum, Vice-president, Minnie Jarmuth, Secretary, Emma Suckow, and Treasurer, Elize Baumann. As it has in other years, the society will celebrate its anniversary this year. It will be the 21st anniversary celebrated in conjunction with the golden jubilee of the congregation.

     Several times there was an effort made to establish a youth group. but each time it had to be abandoned due to lack of interest. But credit must be given to the last group for donating the porch at the parsonage and electric light to the church

Continued on next page

Festschrift Page 24 in German Language


as a lasting memorial. When this last group disbanded, it had a cash balance of $40 in its treasury which it donated to the choir. They did not go bankrupt.

     The Choir: The first choir was founded, as was mentioned before, by Pastor Wolf. At the moment, the choir consists of 11 ladies whose fine talents would be appreciated everywhere. One has to look far and wide to find a comparable choir. The worship services are enriched by its beautiful singing.

Choir on the Church Steps

Top row, left to right: Laura Jarmuth, Clara Kante, Mabel Ruesch, Mrs. Schmidt, Florence Iserman, Clara Goldenbaum, Frances Mueller

Middle row, left to right: Martha Mayer, Evelyn Brown

Bottom row, left to right: Pearl Klehm, Minnie Jarmuth, Marie Mayer, Louise Mueller, Florence Klehm.

     Now and then a childrens choir of 15 girls takes the place of the Senior Choir during worship services.

     Several members of the Ladies Aid practice their singing now and then in order to be able to do their part in enriching certain special festivities and funeral services for members. The organist, Mrs. Lillian Schmidt, conducts these choirs.

     Golden Wedding Anniversaries: Two couples, from among the senior members, have been blessed to celebrate their golden wedding anniversaries: Johann Franz, who was our church custodian for 26 years, and his wife Marie, nee Pritznis, on the 25 September, 1898, in the old church and Frederich Scheuber and his wife Christina, nee Heiss, in 1908, in the new church. We hope that these are celebrating now in the heavenly wedding hall.

     Ordinations: The following candidates were ordained to the holy ministry; John Scheuber, son of the above mentioned Mr. and Mrs. F. Scheuber, on the 14th of May, 1899, and Heinrich Mueller, son of the late Joachim Mueller, on the 12th of June, 1904, and Otto Mayer, son of the present pastor on the date of this anniversary, September 8, 1918.

     Endowments: Above were already mentioned John Ahrens, the Ladies Aid, Mrs. Louise Hufmeier and Mrs. Lillian Schmidt as donors of needed furnishing for the church. Just after completion of

Continued on next page

Festschrift Page 25 in German Language


the new church building, a good number of former confirmands donated the baptismal font, Mrs. Sophie Stielow the red and the late Mrs. Katherine Siegel the black draperies and several ladies gave the silver candelabra. In honor of the anniversary, the Ladies Aid donated new pulpit and altar linens, Mrs. Sophie Stielow donated a new altar chair, and Mrs. Louise Klehm a new rug for in front of the altar.

Children's Choir
Children's Choir

Front row, left to right: Edna Schnur, Lillian Ruesch, Mabel Baumhardt, Bess Freund, Evelyn Meyer, Florence Landeck

Middle row, left to right: Irene Tess, Helen and Grace Ruesch, Agnes Harte, Viola Kruse

Top row, left to right: Vera Landeck, Mrs. Schmidt, Josephine Mueller

     Statistics: During the 50 years, the following official acts have taken place:

   1,482 children baptized
     881 confirmed
     243 marriages solemnized
     826 buried
12,500 received the Lord's Supper (approx)
     462 members
     568 communicant members
      62 families are voters
      60 families and individuals
          receive the ministries of the congregation
      87 members in the Ladies Aid Society as of August 11
      18 were in the confirmation class this year
      60 children attend Sunday School on the average
       9 teachers direct it

The members of the congregation are listed.

  Carl Ahrens   Ferd. Baumann
  Elise Baumann   Oscar Baumann
  John Biesmann   Christ Bremer
  Jacob Franz   Jacob Fuellhardt
  John Goldenbaum   Christ Guenther
  Sophie Guenther   Franz Hanich
  Wilhelm Harte   Herman Hinz
  Christ Holtmann   Christ Hoth
  Hans Ide   Theo. Isermann
  John Jarmuth   Carl Kenning
  Carl Kindt   Ed. Klehm
  George C. Klehm   F. A. Kottke
  Richard Kottke   John Lemke
  Joe Lindemann   Sophie Lockmann
  Hermann Meyer   Samuel Meyer
  Conrad Mueller   Joe C. Mueller
  Wilhelm Pauling   Hinrich Pfeiffer
  John E. Ruesch   John H. Ruesch
  Joe T. Ruesch   Wilhelm F. Ruesch
  Wilhelm J. Ruesch    

Festschrift Page 26 in German Language


Membership List of the congregation is concluded.

  Wilhelm Ross   Carl Rossmann
  Caroline Schmitt   Carl Schnur
  Fried. Schoening   Albert Schroeder
  August Siegel   Sophie Stielow
  Aug. Suckow   Carl Tess
  Frank Tess   Georg Tess
  John Tolzien   Emil Voss
  Herman Wagner   Ed. Wagner
  Minnie Warkenthien   Wm. Warkenthien
  John Wehrmann   Gustave Weight
  Margaret Yehl    

Pastor O. Mayor  Pastor J. Scheuber   Pastor H. Mueller
Pastor 0. Mayor     -     Pastor J. Scheuber     -    Pastor H. Mueller

Festschrift Page 27 in German Language


The membership of the Ladies Aid is listed.

  Caroline Baumann   Elsie Baumann
  Anna Baumhardt   Emilie Berg
  Sophie Biemann   Friederike Boeckenhauer
  Friederike Bormann   Friederike Brei
  Louise Bremer   Minnie Bremer
  Auguste Brown   Maria Franz
  Katharine Fuellhardt   Lisette Gerhardt
  Emma Goldenbaum   Anna Guenther
  Sophie Guenther (Carl)   Sophie Guenther (Christ)
  Margarete Harrer   Ida Harms
  Louise Harte   Anna Hirschner
  Elizabeth Hofmann   Sophia Hofmann
  Henriette Hows   Ida Ide
  Sophie Isermann   Frieda Jacobs
  Minnie Jarmuth   Wilhelmine Jarmuth
  Hermine Kante   Elsa Kenning
  Dora Kenning   Louise Ketter
  Martha Kindt   Sophie Kindt
  Eliza Klehm   Louise Klehm
  Katharine Kliem   Margret Kottke
  Anna Krell   Sophie Kroll
  Anna Kruse   Mary Landeck
  Sophie Lockmann   Theodore Mayer
  Frances Meinke   Julie Meyer
  Louise Meyer   Minnie Moeller
  Marie Mueller   Minnie Mueller
  Julia Mohe   Louise Padmann
  Johanna Peters   Juliana Pfeiffer
  Auguste Quiram   Marie Rohde
  Wanda Rossmann   Frieda Ruesch
  Louise Ruesch   Martha Ruesch
  Theodosia Ruesch   Lillian Schmidt
  Caroline Schmitt   Elsa Shippmann
  Alma Schnur   Lena Schoening
  Marie Schroeder   Sophie Stielow
  Emma Suckow   Katharine Suckow
  Ella Tess   Katharine Tess
  Lizzie Tess   Sophie Theobald
  Anna Tolzien   Mathilde Voss
  Auguste Wagner   Lina Warkenthien
  Minnie Warkenthien   Sophie Wehrmann
  Marie Weigt   Margaret Yehl
  Elizabeth Zinkel    

Festschrift Page 28 in German Language


     Fighters in the Service of Their Country: Here follows the list of honor of the young soldiers from the congregation who are fighting for their country or preparing to do so.

     Every owner of this book should remember the names of men who may yet be called to the colors.

  Walter Baumann   Arthur Stielow
  John Boeckenhauer   Frank Tolzien
  Charles Guenther   Wm. J. Kruse
  Ed. Syrmore   George J. Kruse
  Willie Stielow   Carl Franz
  Waldo Brown   Harry C. Guenther
  Carl Schroeder   Arthur Ruesch
  Fred Bormann   Willie Peters
  Charles Kenning   Ellen Ross

     Conclusion: The writer of this festival book gathered the material for it from notes of his predecessors in the office and from the minutes, bits and pieces he learned from older members and carefully arranged and assembled everything as best he could. If some inaccuracies or even mistakes have crept in or noteworthy happenings have been left out, it is hoped that this will be forgiven.

     These pages do not claim to do anything more than give a compilation of the oft experienced, immeasurable acts of grace from our Lord who despite all our human faults and frailties in the past did not tire of us. From this we learn henceforth to appreciate God's goodness and faithfulness evermore and with his help may we grow more and more to the perfect life in Christ.

     The Lord our God, who alone we honor and worship may in his grace forgive us all our trespasses and failures. May he further his work among us so that his kingdom may come to us, his Word be forever taught pure and clear and may we all live by it in holiness as God's children forever. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven.

Festschrift Page 29 in German Language



Territory of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation
of St. Peter, Niles Center, Illinois.

Explanation: The numbers run from top to bottom and from left to right and give the location of the dwellings of all the families that are part of the congregation. The names with the corresponding numbers follow.

    1. Louise Ketter     2. C. Kaegebein
    3. W. Pauling     4. J. Kottke
    5. Christ Guenther     6. A. Bruhnke
    7. John Wehrmann     8. J. Lindemann
    9. Marg. Yehl   10. C. Knabe
  11. A. Voss   12. H. Pfeiffer
  13. Sophie Theobald   14. F. Kaegebein
  15. Sophie Guenther   16. F. Karsten
  17. Christ Druecke   18. R. Yehl
  19. W. Ross   20. W. Peters

Festschrift Page 30 in German Language



Territory of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation
of St. Peter, Niles Center, Illinois.

Explanation: The numbers run from top to bottom and from left to right and give the location of the dwellings of all the families that are part of the congregation. The names with the corresponding numbers follow.

    21. C. Schmitt     22. L. Padmann
    23. R. Weigt     24. G. Weight
    25. G. Schulz     26. R. Kottke
    27. Cemetery     28. A. Baumhardt
    29. J. Meyer     30. J. W. Brown
    31. F. Stielow, Jr.     32. T. Isermann
    33. F. Baumann     34. A. Schroeder
    35. E. Nelson     36. F. Krell
    37. R. Kante     38. Joe Ruesch
    39. G. Klehm     40. J. Franz
    41. Elise Baumann     42. A. Siegel
    43. L. Zinkel     44. M. Weber
    45. R. Kruse     46. W. Suckow
    47. C. Kindt     48. L. Schmidt
    49. G. Landeck     50. Church
    51. H. Moeller     52. L. Warkenthien
    53. H. Gerhardt     54. J. Boeckenhauer
    55. F. Brei     56. J. Biesmann
    57. W. Holtmann     58. G. Tess
    59. S. Meyer - H. Meyer - A. Baumann
    60. W. Schnur     61. G. Kenning
    62. R. Kliem     63. M. Kindt - W. Tess
    64. F. Schoening     65. J. Rohde
    66. F. Lemke     67. J. Scharf
    68. F. Hanich     69. C. Schweigert
    70. J. H. Ruesch     71. W. J. Ruesch
    72. W. Bremer     73. G. Hofmann
    74. A. Zimmerman     75. J. Lemke
    76. C. Rossmann     77. H. Rossmann
    78. W. Harte     79. W. Wiese
    80. C. Schnur     81. G. Schnur
    82. C. Jacobs     83. Chirst Bremer
    84. A. Guenther     85. J. Fuellhardt
    86. C. Hoth     87. H. Ide
    88. J. Tolzien     89. W. Stender/td>
    90. F. A. Kottke     91. E. Baumann
    92. C. Stumpf     93. O. Baumann
    94. Ed. Wagner     95. J. Goldenbaum
    96. H. Meinke     97. W. F. Ruesch
    98. C. Kenning     99. L. Jarmuth
  100. J. E. Ruesch   101. J. Jarmuth
  104. H. Eicholz   105. J. C. Mueller
  106. G. Wagner   107. W. Rossmann
  108. H. Wagner   109. C. Tess
  110. F. Tess   111. L. Hofmann
  112. G. Bormann   113. A. Suckow
  114. C. Ahrens   115. J. C. Ahrens
  116. W. Mueller   117. C. Mueller
  118. W. Warkenthein   119. Christ Holtmann

     We would like to recommend the businesses on the following pages. They did us a great service. One good deed deserves another.

Festschrift Page 31 in German Language

A. Kircher, Undertaker Advertisement

Page 32

Wittes Pharmacy Advertisement

The Stationery Supply Advertisement

Page 33

Math J. Vogt, North Western Market

Wenzel & Kante, Bricklayer Contractors

Page 34

Niles Center State Bank

E. T. Klehm General Store

Page 35

A. Kutz Plumbing and Gas Fitting

Samuel Meyer General Merchandise

Page 36

Tess Brothers Grocery and Market

Schoeneberger Bros Groceries

Page 37

Niles Center Mercantile Company

Heinz Garage Automobiles

Page 38

John P. Even Custom Comfort Shoes

Paroubek's Bakery

Niles Center Theatre

Geo. J. Baumhardt Ice Cream

Page 39

The Morton Grove Trust and Savings Bank

The W. W. Barnard Company, Seedsmen

Page 40

B. Scherpe & Sons, High Grade Pianos

Page 41

Joe Nellessen's Express

Peter Kirscht, Pure Milk and Cream

Eden Publishing House

George N. Meyer, Plumbing and Heating

Page 42

Center Grocery and Market

Scholl Studio, Photographers

Stern Clothing Co.

The White House Bar

E. R. Kaminscky Home Buffet

Page 43

German Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital

W. C. Schnur, Contractor and Builder

Dr. Martin L. Opehim, Dentist

Otto Gerhardt, Practical Horseshoes and Wagonmaker

Page 44

August Ruhnke, Carpenter and Builder

Frank A. Gabel, Hardware and Tools

Lohrke Bros., Wagons and Buggies

P. W. Rock, The "White" Rotary Sewing Machine

Stanley Kwiatkowski Buffet Advertisement

Joseph Hoetzer, Well Driller

Page 45

F. Schoening, Wagon and Carriage Maker

Hanamann, Landeck & Co., Monuments and Copings

Yondorf Clothing Co.

J. J. Smyser, Dentist

Page 46

Edwin Melzer, Funeral Director and Embalmer

Niles Center Coal & Building Material Co.

John H. Fisher, O.D., Optometrist

Wilhelm Pache, Cigars

John Schwarz Fine Shoes and Boots

Robert Siegel Barber Shop

August Siegel Cigar Manufacturer

Poehler Brothers, Grain and Coal

Page 47

Morton Grove Bakery, Fred Flatau

Niles Center Drug Store, Dr. C. J. Sutterle

Haupt & Huscher, General Teaming and Moving

Geo. H. Klehm, Insurance

Page 48

Stielow Brothers Florists

Henry Loutsch, Morton Grove Market

Dr. Louis B. Kousnetz, Dentist

Frank Meier, Real Estate and Insurance

Page 49

Don't pass up the advertisements -- Read them.
Before making purchases bear our advertisers in
mind and give them a chance.

A Poem:

Mother !

Mother! Mother! Like angel song
Sounds this word my whole life long;
If I cry and if I suffer
My mother, she cries with me.
If dangers and fears threaten me:
To my mother do I flee;
All my torments, all my sorrows
I carry to her with confidence.
Mother! Mother! Sent from God
You were in this dark earthly land
To call us to the heart of love
And lead us faithfully to heaven.

John W. Rohde, Painting and Decorating

Page 50

Poehlmann Bros. Company, Florists

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