The Beginning to 1887

Read on December 5, 1999
After a time of having services in homes of interested families, the congregation was organized on December 13, 1874 under the name of "Die Evangelische Freie Protestant Gemeinde" (The Evangelical Free Protestant Congregation).

The first constitution was signed by the following charter members: Elias Burke, Rudolph Hoge, Johann Riebold, Charles Metzger, Friederich Hoge, Julius Nill, Adam Feldner, Jacob Mahler, Henry Mumme, Frank Heddergott, Peter Bernhardt, Frank Holtgrave, William Schulz, Phillip Gross, Fritz Schuler and William Freulenau.The first Congregational Meeting was held on January 3, 1875 in the local Presbyterian Church - now the Pentecostal Church, since the congregation did not have a building until November of 1875.

The first pastor to serve the congregation as a resident pastor was Rev. Dietrich. Peter Cumman whose term of ministry started in 1876 built the first parsonage with his own hands, conducted regular services and also taught Sunday School. Unfortunately, the ministry was short as he died in 1881 having served the congregation only five years.

There followed a period in the history of the congregation when it had a pastor and then short periods without the services of a pastor. Because of this situation, it became more difficult to pay the pastor a living wage. The pastors who served for only a short time were all "free" pastors and were not members of the denomination. Friedens Church then dictated a pleas to the German Evangelical Synod of North America and asked for a pastor who was a member of that denomination. The synod sent a recent graduate of Eden Theological Seminary, the Rev. Ernest Rierneyer in the fall of 1887.

The first couple to be married in the newly organized church was Henry Gindler and Barbara Witman on February 3, 1878. They were the grandparents of Irwin Dollinger, deceased; Marie Dollinger; Oscar Gindler, deceased; Harold Gindler; Elmer Gindler and Irene Kotzman. Their daughter, Maria A. Gindler, the mother of Marie Dollinger, was the first baby baptized in the newly organized church in 1878.


Read on January 9, 2000

Rev. Ernest Rierneyer served the congregation until the summer of 1891. A new parsonage was built during this time. His successor was Rev. N. Hansen who served from July 1891 to August 1895.

During Rev. Hansen's time at Friedens he also aided a small group of men in Collinsville to draft a constitution which became St. John's Evangelical Church of Christ. Until they could erect a church, every two weeks Rev. Hansen walked from Troy to Collinsville to conduct services in the First Presbyterian Church, which they rented for $1.75 each service.

May 5, 1889, the congregation reorganized as the German Evangelical Friedens Gerneinde (German Evangelical Friedens Congregation) and became a member of the denomination. The German Evangelical Synod of North America; later dropped the word German from its name.
Rev. G. Plassman began his ministry on September 1, 1895 to August 1900 when he resigned.
At the beginning of Rev. Plassman's ministry, there were 38 active members and about 25 or 30 families who were interested. The Sunday School enrollment was 100 pupils, 10 teachers and a lay superintendent. A young Peoples League was organized, and a hard working group of 30 ladies known as the Ladies Aid. A German school was held during the months of April through September. A vacation during the month of July helped to lighten the task of farm work.
A steeple was added to the church building in 1897 and a bell was purchased the same year.
Four ministers served from 1900 to 1910 when Rev. Krickhan came to serve. Rev. Krickhan served only two years - he was noted for the invocation of a Daily Vacation Bible School. It drew a large attendance from surrounding areas and was watched with great interest by other churches and communities.
Rev. Martin Hulz came to Friedens in 1902. During this time, the present parsonage was built and dedicated on March 24, 1913.
Rev. Hulz organized and directed the first large and excellent choir of the church, which became known throughout the area and was asked to sing at various community functions.
Rev. Hulz conducted the last confirmation class held in German. He left the ministry in June 1917. 


Read on December 13, 2000

Pastor John Dippel came to Friedens in March 1917.

In a report dated July 14, 1918, it was noted that since raising the necessary money for expenses was falling short, it was resolved that Friedens Evangelical Church of Troy, Illinois adapt the method highly recommended by the Synod and known as the "Duplex Envelope System" as their new method of raising money.

In 1918 a flu epidemic prevailed and a quarantine was placed upon all churches and schools. The first meeting since July 1918 was held in January 1919.

At this time English language began to be used in the church. The change was gradual - - one service a month was in English - - then it became one service a month in German - - finally all services were in English except the communion service on Good Friday.

Money seems to have always been a big concern. Notation made of unpaid salaries in the amount of $121.00. The cash on hand of $2.37 was paid leaving an unpaid balance of $118.63 as the actual debt.

In May 1919 complaints about the condition of the cemetery was brought before the Council and it was also known that the men did not have the necessary time to take care of it. The chairman moved to appoint 3 ladies to get the cemetery cleaned up. The ladies were Mrs. Alice Bone, Mrs. John Wilhelm and Mrs. George Ottwein. These ladies set to the job as noted in later meetings. They enlisted the help of Mrs. Bone's Sunday School Class and after cutting and raking, a farmer hauled away the hay, but the minutes for the following year noted that the farmer cut the hay and hauled it away, however the Sunday School Class earned $50.00. Later, there was a motion at the meeting to have signs printed, and a notice put in the Troy Call prohibiting livestock from -grazing in the cemetery!

In July 1921 a motion was made to vote on building a new church and in January 1922 it was decided to tear down the old church and dig a new basement. The Presbyterian Church again offered their church basement for services. On October 8, 1922 a motion was made to ask individuals for money at 4% interest and the balance amount needed from the Bank of Troy.

On November 5, 1922, at a special meeting, it was decided to sell the old parsonage to the highest bidder at public auction. After a final decision was made on a definite plan for the new building, bids were sought and on February 28, 1922 Hug Lunber of Highland was chosen with the lowest bid. On March 2 some changes were proposed that amounted $656.00 bringing the contract price to $15,496.00 without windows and a pipe organ. The organ from Treu Pipe Organ Company of St. Louis was chosen with 8 set of pipes at a cost of $1,766.26.

The art glass windows came from Jacoby Art Glass Company in St. Louis and cost $1,207.00.

Pews and furniture was purchased from DeMoulin Brothers and Company in Greenville at a cost of $1,561.20.

The committee then called for volunteers that saved many dollars. It is noted that Mr. Henry Buhrmester of Edwardsville furnished the paint at cost, and that included his labor. The cost of paint and labor was $86.81. The final figure was approximately $22,000.00 for the building and furnishings. The Building Committee was honorably discharged with thanks.


Read on March 12, 2000

On April 8, 1923, Rev. Dippel had tendered his resignation, and on May 20, 1923 Rev. Niedernhofer was chosen by a secret ballot at a special meeting.

On January 17, 1924, a chili supper was given by the men of the church and during this social gathering a Brotherhood organization was temporarily established with the aid of the E. St. Louis and Collinsville Brotherhoods. Henry Bernhardt, Jr. was appointed President, and Wm. S. Weber, Secretary. These appointed officers then received applications and succeeded by getting a total of 22 members. This became a permanent organization on January 24, 1924. At this meeting, Rev. Niedernhofer read scripture passages and offered prayer.

On January 24, 1924, the men met and after reading the constitution of the E. St. Louis Brotherhood instituted their own constitution with some deletions and additions. The election of officers was Henry Bernhardt, President; A. F. Schurman, VicePresident, Wm. S. Weber, Secretary and Fred Pape for Treasurer. The following committee chairman were chosen: Jule Gaertner, Membership; Elmer Schaake, Entertainment; Leonard Schurman, Visitations; Charles Bangert, Devotionals.

During the Brotherhood meeting of May 1, 1924, it was decided that picnic season was close at hand and that on June 15th "a big picnic shall be given!" George Wilhelm, H. G. Pape and H. Schaake were on the appointed committee.

On June 8, 1924, a special meeting to discuss only the picnic; then another special meeting was scheduled for June 10th. On June 10th, a motion was made and duly seconded to postpone said picnic!

On December 5, 1924, the Ladies Aid suggested to the Brotherhood the purchasing of 2 hogs to be used for meat and sausage at the meals given on the day of the Golden Jubilee. Mr. Deimling offered to furnish meat and sausage at cost - as good as this may sound, there was much discussion and finally a motion was made and seconded that a committee of three buy either hogs or hams and make the sausage! Which they did. Also at this time a motion was made and carried to order 150 Elmhurst hymnals, and that the presidents of all classes and organizations serve as a committee for the 50th anniversary.


Read on April 16, 2000

The minutes did not give details how the 50th anniversary was celebrated except the notes on the purchase of meat for a "celebration meal" - however, the minutes of January 11, 1925 made motions to thank the Ladies Aid, Retiring Officers and the Sunday School Teachers for their services.

After many discussions and votes, the addition of a bathroom was voted on by secret ballot and this time it carried 13 votes for and 6 against - but at the very next quarterly meeting on January 3, 1926, it was decided to table this undertaking and appoint a committee of two to solicit members for donations for this project. George Ottwein and Charles Bangert were appointed for this project.

On May 9, 1926, Rev. Niedernhofer's resignation was accepted, and would allow him to leave June 1st. At this time, it was decided to use a student if necessary; the cost being $5.00 plus expenses. By June 1st, Rev. Gerhold had given a trial sermon and by secret ballot was chosen to serve Friedens and would be paid $1,300 plus house rent.

In the fall of 1926, bids were being sought on a different furnace - steam heat was being considered, and on October 26, 1926 at a special meeting, there was a unanimous vote for it. The committee of five whom drew up specifications were George Wilhelm, Clarence Lory, Robert Bohnenstiehl, George Ottwein, and F. J. Michael - but, at a special meeting on November 10, 1925, all the bids were rejected by a vote of 25 to 1. A committee of three was appointed to purchase a pipeless furnace. August Schurman, William Weber, and John Feldmeier served on this committee.

It was at that time the Ladies Aid was given permission to rent the basement. Rev. Gerhold turned in his resignation and asked for release by October 9, 1927. On October 16, 1927, Rev. William Wille received the required 2/3 majority vote after having lost the first election on October 9, 1927. He served until January 1928 when the congregation again had the task of choosing a new minister.

Rev. Theodore Goebel from Marshall, Oklahoma served as minister until July 1928 when Rev. Albers began his ministerial services and did so until December 1, 1931.

The search for a new minister to replace Rev. Albers started in October 1931 when it was moved to send delegates to Hookdale, Illinois to hear Rev. Richard Mornhinweg preach. There was a trial sermon on November 15, 1931 here in Troy. At a congregational meeting the same evening, it was voted 76 yes votes to 6 no votes to hire Rev. Mornhinweg as Friedens' pastor.


Read during May, 2000

Today, we start our Anniversary Remembered moment in the year 1932 and continues into 1952.

In 1932, Congregational Meetings got shorter and it is interesting to note that the organist and janitor positions were voted on yearly until January 1939 when a motion was made and passed that Alma Gebauer and Marie Dollinger could be the organists as long as they chose to do so. Val Ottwein could also have the janitor position on the same terms, and the yearly voting to fill these positions discontinued.

Bertha Weber Loyet had been the organist from the very beginning until this time. Alma Gebauer had assisted Bertha since 1923 and in 1930 Marie Dollinger also served as organist.

In July 1943, after having the middle section of the cemetery under Perpetual Care, there was a proposal 3 months later to have all of the cemetery under Perpetual Care. This vote carried 30 yes to zero no votes. This was the first time this had happened on any voting!

Rev. Mornhinweg's 20th Anniversary celebration on January 13, 1952 was a joyful milestone. One reason being, the first clergy to serve more than eight years.

Two hundred guests attended the well-known "potluck" dinner. The Mornhinweg family received a television, a new and modern sign of the times!

During this pastorate, the congregation had increased to 300, the church auditorium had been redecorated two times, the kitchen had been remodeled and rest room facilities added.

Also during this twenty-year period, there were 179 baptisms, 85 weddings and 126 confirmands.

To be continued....