Zion Lutheran Church of Concordia was established in 1882 as a place of worship for immigrants of German-Wendish descent. The Wends are a Slavic people from the German area of Lusatia, near the border with the Czech Republic and Poland. Settlers immigrated to Texas in the 1850s with the Reverend John Kilian. After founding a new homeland in present-day Serbin (Lee County), a number of the pioneers began migrating in the late 1870s to the northeastern part of Williamson County. Their settlement later became known as Walburg.
Under the guidance of the Reverend J.H. Maisch, settlers organized the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Concordia here. The church’s nine charter members were Wilhelm Andres, August Doehre, Albert Krause, John Neitsch, Albert Ramm, Andreas Schneider, Jacob Schomber, John Schulze and Carl Streich.
The church cemetery was also established in 1882, with the first recorded burial occurring the same year. Since education was of primary importance to the settlers, they also founded a school at that time which continues to educate students today.
The congregation grew throughout the years despite challenges. A fierce June 1886 tornado wreaked havoc on the community and moved the church building off its foundation. Members have rebuilt and placed additions on both the school and the church. After over a century, Zion Lutheran Church and School continue to impact the residents of Walburg and Williamson County by serving as a place of worship and an educational institute. Since 1971, the church has served the community through the annual Wurstbraten sausage supper. (2006)
Marker Dedication - Walburg, Texas
January 21, 2007
Welcome - Mr. Rick Zinsmeyer
Zion Lutheran Church Council President
Opening Prayer — Pastor John Davenport
Opening Comments — Mr. Bob Brinkman
Chairman, Williamson County Historical Commission
Posting of Colors/Pledges — Scouts
"Texas Our Texas" — Zion School Children
Introduction of Guests and Dignitaries — Mr. Bob Brinkman
Zion History — Mrs. Ethel Mickan
Further Introductions — Mr. Milton Liese
The unveiling of Marker — Mr. Walter Neitsch
Closing Prayer — Pastor James Craver
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
The pledge of allegiance to the Texas state flag is:
"Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible"
The History of Zion Lutheran Church- Walburg, Texas compiled by Karen B. Lange of Georgetown, Texas
Wendish families from Lusatia, near the border of the Czech Republic and Poland, began arriving in Texas in 1849, followed by a group of 35 in 1853. On December 14, 1854, a congregation of over 500 Wends arrived in Galveston, Texas, on a chartered sailing ship, the Ben Nevis. These Sorbs found the religious policy of their homeland unacceptable and added this cause to their list of reasons for leaving. From Galveston, the Wends journeyed to Houston and then on to New Ulm, the settling place of the 1853 Wends. When the group's religious leader, Reverend John Kilian, arrived in New Ulm, he found the farms of the 1853 Sorbs full and traveled 40 miles to Rabbs Creek. It is in this vicinity that a new homeland was founded. Over 4,254 acres of land was purchased in present-day Lee County, and the Wends named their town Serbin in 1860. 1
The Kilian congregation had never been purely Wendish because a few of the Ben Nevis migrants were married to Germans. More Germans migrated in 1861, and by 1869, 88 of the 581 congregation members were from all German households or from mixed German-Wend families. 2
In the late 1870's these immigrants of German-Wendish descent began migrating from Serbin toward the northeastern part of Williamson County, in what would become known as Walburg. 3
The need to establish a place of worship, a school for their children, homes for their pastors and teachers and land for a cemetery was primary, and in May of 1882, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Johann Neitsch, Reverend J.H. Maisch, together with nine charter members, organized Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at Concordia (Walburg), Williamson County, Texas. A constitution was drawn up and adopted by the nine charter members. The nine charter members are as follows: John Schulze, Carl Streich, August Doehre, Albert Ramm, Albert Krause, Andreas Schneider, Wilhelm Andres, John Neitsch, and Jacob Schomber. 4 Of the nine charter members, only Johann Neitsch and Johann Schulze were from the 1854 group of Wends that arrived with Reverend Kilian on the Ben Nevis. 5
A decision was made at the first meeting to build a church and parsonage.
Twenty-five acres of land at $2.43 per acre was purchased from Mr. Victor Schmidt on which to build a church, and on September 13, 1882, the church, measuring 20 feet wide, 30 feet long, and 10 feet high, was dedicated to the Glory of God. 6
Reverend J.H. Maisch and P. Klindworth preached for the occasion, and Reverend Maisch was installed as pastor of the congregation.
Also, at this time, an on-site cemetery was established. The first recorded burial was on September 22, 1882. The Zion Cemetery, located south of the church, currently contains approximately 558 marked graves. 7
Reverend Maisch served as Zion's first pastor from May 1882 until 1883, when he accepted a call to the Lutheran Orphan's Home in New Orleans, Louisiana. Reverend L. Ernst was called and installed on December 10, 1883, and served in that capacity until December 12, 1888, when he accepted a call to the congregation at Lincoln, Texas.
The congregation was left vacant from Christmas 1888 until October 1890.
One call after another was sent out during that time but to no avail. In the fall of 1890, Reverend J.H. Sieck was called. He accepted the call and was installed by Reverend G. Buchschacher on October 12, 1890.
He served as pastor and sole educator of Zion Lutheran School until 1906, at which time Mr. Gustov Meyer from Missouri accompanied him. In the summer of 1935, Pastor Sieck turned in his resignation, effective September 1st. Pastor Sieck died in August of 1936 and is buried with his wife in Zion's cemetery.
It became apparent the church building was becoming too small to accommodate the growing congregation, and in April of 1892, the decision was made to add on a 14-foot addition to the church. On June 2, 1892, the enlarged church was dedicated to the service of the Triune God.
The enlarged church soon became too small for the number of worshipers, and in 1900 it was resolved to build a new church if enough pledges could be secured. By January 6, 1901, $1,500.00 had been pledged, and with glad hearts, the decision to move forward with the new church had been made. On April 21, 1901, the cornerstone was laid, and on September 1, 1901, the 32'x60'x20' church with a 70' tower was dedicated to the service of the Lord. Also, in 1901, the old church was torn down, and the lumber used to build a schoolhouse. 8
Zion Lutheran Church celebrated its 60th Anniversary on May 17, 1942.
In 1947 the congregation bought surplus army buildings from Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The lumber from approximately five barracks/recreational halls was used to build a new school. Because there was an ample supply of lumber remaining, the decision was made to add a gymnasium and lunchroom. Mr. Otto Lange from Bartlett, Texas was hired as the builder. 9
Zion Lutheran Church celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 1952.
The congregation found the old church to be too small to accommodate the ever-growing membership and the decision was made to build a new church. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new church took place on May 29, 1955. The cornerstone was laid on November 6th and on April 8, 1956, the new church measuring 45' x106' x10' and seating 550 persons was dedicated to the Glory of God. 10
Wurstbraten (German for sausage fry) is an annual sausage supper held at Zion on the first Monday in November since it's beginning in 1971.
Festivities begin the Saturday prior to Wurstbraten when Zion members and guests of all ages gather at dawn to begin the sausage-making process. Long hours of preparing casings; cutting, weighing, and grinding meat; and stuffing and smoking sausage continue throughout the weekend and culminates on Monday with a delicious meal of sausage, side dishes, homemade bread, and desserts.
The event began as a fundraiser to raise money for floor covering and has become so popular that over 4,000 meals are served each year. This growth not only provides funds for Zion's special needs, but it enables Zion Lutheran Church to make donations to the surrounding community as well.
Zion Lutheran Church celebrated its 100th Anniversary on June 27, 1982.
1 R. George Nielsen, In Search of a Home: Nineteenth-Century Wendish Immigration (College Station, Texas, Texas A & M University Press, 1989) 72-78
2 ibid, 97
3 ibid, 110
4 Zion Lutheran Church History Committee of 1982, Lift High the Cross 1882-1982 (Walburg, Texas, History Committee Research, 1982) 1
5 Nielsen 176, 183
6 Williamson County Deed Records, Office of the County Clerk, Georgetown, Texas
7 Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery Records
8 Zion Lutheran Church History Committee of 1982, 4-7
9 ibid, 18, 29
-- More History THE HISTORY OF ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH
By the year 1880, several families from Serbin had arrived at what is now called the Walburg Community. It was at this time that these families began to think of regular church services. Mr. Andreas Schneider went to Lee County and brought Rev. Kasper to conduct services, and to perform the necessary official acts.
In 1882, after sporadic services by pastors and reading services by members, Rev. Maisch, pastor of a Church at Fedor, arrived. A meeting was called, and a congregation was organized on a Lutheran basis. The new congregation decided to stand on its own feet, without a resource to any treasury of the Church Extension Fund. It was also decided to call a pastor and to build a church. Therefore, in May 1882, Rev. J. H. Maisch, in the home of Mr. John Neitsch, organized Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at Concordia (Walburg) Williamson County, Texas. There were nine charter members. Rev. J. H. Maisch served as chairman. The following were the nine charter members: John Schultz, Carl Streich, August Doehre, Albert Ramm, Albert Krause, Andreas Schneider, Wilhelm Andres, John Neitsch, and Jacob Schoemberg. A constitution, in harmony with the Word of God and the Lutheran Confession, was drawn up and adopted by the charter members.
At the first meeting, it was decided to build a church and a parsonage. Also, it was decided to call a pastor of the Missouri Synod. Mr. C. Streich made the congregation an offer to sell them 25 acres of land at four dollars an acre. This offer was immediately accepted.
The first constitution was lost and also the minutes of the meetings. However, according to the deed, the first Trustees were: John G. Neitsch, John Schultz, and Albert Ramm.
The first church was built in 1882.
The building measured 20'X 301X10' with a small tower. The church was dedicated to the service of the Lord, September 13, 1882. The Rev. J. H. Maisch, the Pastor-elect, and P. Klindworth preached on this occasion. Rev. J. H. Maisch was installed as pastor of Zion on the same day.
In June 1883, almost one year later, Rev. J. H. Maisch accepted a call to the Lutheran Orphans Home in New Orleans, Louisiana. A ministerial candidate, Rev. L. Ernst, was called and soon arrived. Rev. G. Birkmann ordained and installed Rev. L. Ernst as pastor of Zion Congregation on December 10, 1883. From 1884-1885, the first year of Pastor L. Ernst's labors, the growth of the congregation was rapid. The membership had soon multiplied from 9 to 29. All seemed to be in a flourishing condition. Then a whole chain of reverses set in.
On June 19, 1886, a devastating storm swept through the community damaging the homes of the people, and the accompanying hail destroyed the crops. The church, too, was moved from its foundation by the destructive winds. Then followed a severe drought in 1887, which lasted 13 months. Farmers began to move away. A number lost their farms and became renters. The debts on the church and parsonage presented a grave problem. The congregation, in spite of all these mishaps, raised $238.00 for the pastor's salary and borrowed money at the bank in order to meet its payments on its properties.
On December 12, 1888, Rev. L. Ernst accepted a call to the congregation at Evergreen (Lincoln, Lee County) Texas. In 1889, one call after another was sent, but to no avail. People began to fear that they would not get a pastor from the Missouri Synod. However, the Lord was with them and guided them through these trying times.
It was during this time that the Texas Synod organized a congregation in the neighborhood.
In two separate meetings, our congregation received an offer of amalgamation. Their group would not organize separately, but would accept the constitution of Zion congregation, provided two paragraphs would be dropped. One was regarding the lodge question, and the other concerning the Christian Day School. But the members of Zion congregation were not willing to yield on these points, and thus the Texas Synod congregation called St. Peter Lutheran Church was organized. At present, they belong to the American Lutheran Church.
By this time, there had been a vacancy of almost 2 years in the church. Then in the fall of 1890, Rev. J. H. Sieck was called. He accepted the call and was installed on October 12, 1890, by Pastor G. Buchschacher. It was a blessing that the vacancy didn't last any longer. The membership had dwindled down to 17 voters and 61 communicants. Before Rev. J. H. Sieck had been called by Zion, he had originally been sent from Germany to the Texas Synod, but soon saw that he was not in the body in which he wanted to be. Together with Rev. F. Jesse and Rev. A. Wenzel, he left that body and joined the Missouri Synod.
With the arrival of Rev. J. H. Sieck, new life was infused into the Zion Lutheran Church. There were now regular Sunday services, the school which had always been conducted, even though at times no regular teacher could be obtained, was now well taken care of, and the members of the church met on Sunday afternoon to practice singing and to discuss doctrinal questions. A band was also organized in January 1890.
By 1891, a new difficulty confronted the congregation. It became apparent that the church building was becoming too small to accommodate the growing congregation. In April 1892, it was resolved that a 14-foot addition was to be built to the church, and on June 2, 1892, this enlarged church was dedicated to the service of the Triune God.
From 1893-1895, the congregation did not only grow in membership, but there was also a noticeable growth of spiritual knowledge and sanctification.
There was an evident interest in the work of the Lord. The membership constituted, as it were, one large family, coming together on Sunday mornings for regular worship hour and in the afternoons for singing and Bible Class and Bible Study. A band, which had been organized in January 1890, rendered excellent services on these Sunday afternoons.
In 1896, from the beginning of May to about the middle of July, the old parsonage was rebuilt and painted without incurring any debts.
The first church bell was bought in 1897 from Henry Stucktede, of St. Louis, Missouri. A tower 45 feet high was built. The dedication of the bell took place in November 1897, Rev. A. Gresens preaching the sermon.
In 1898 the membership of the congregation was increasing steadily. The enlarged church building soon became too small for the number of worshipers. Something had to be done. Some thought that another addition would serve the purpose. Others were of the opinion that only a new church would meet the requirements. "We are not able to build a new Church" - that was the prevailing sentiment. However, the subject was not dropped, and about 1900 - the following resolution was adopted: "If the Pastor succeeds to receive pledges up to $1,000.00 for the January meeting, God willing, a new church is to be built the next year." By January 6, 1901, $1500.00 had been pledged. Then with glad hearts, the members decided to build a new church. The new church measured 32'X60'X20', with a 70-foot tower 16X16.
Before the actual construction had begun, the pledges had increased to $2000,00. On April 21, 1901, the cornerstone was laid, on which occasion Pastor Sleek preached in the German language, and Rev. W. H. Bewie preached the English sermon. On September 1, 1901, the new church was dedicated to the service of the Lord. The sermons for the dedication were preached in the German language by Rev. L. Ernst and Rev. F. Wunderlich, while Rev. J. H. Tegeler of Austin preached in English. At the same time, the second bell was dedicated. This bell was donated by Henry Doering Sr. of Walburg, Texas.
Also in 1901, the old church building was torn down and was used toward the building of a school house.
It was difficult to raise the money to buy some new lumber to complete the school. However, all but $600.00 was paid in cash. By 1902, the deficit was reduced to $100.00. The rest was then borrowed from some members of the congregation, without interest.
In 1904, another vital question confronted the congregation. Up to this time, Pastor Sieck served both in the church and the school. The congregation had grown so much that the work in the church and school was too much for one man. It was now decided to call a teacher for the school, and also build a teacherage. All calls that were sent out to the various teachers were returned. Even when candidates were assigned to their places, Zion was not supplied. In 1906, Zion was successful in securing a teacher for our school. The first teacher for the school was Gustav Meyer, of Missouri. Mr. Meyer was installed in August of 1906.
In 1907 a pipe organ was purchased for our church. From 1908-1911, there was continued growth in church and school. The present school building soon became too small and pupils too many for one teacher. So in 1912, a committee resolved to build a new school. This was also the year the first stove was put into the church. Also, in 1912, a new two-room school was built at the cost of $907.00. A lady teacher, Miss Frieda Sieck, was employed as an assistant to Gustav Meyer from October till Easter.
In 1913, Miss Lucy Scharat was hired to teach. She taught only a very short time. Also, during this time, the congregation helped support John Sieck in studying for the ministry.
In October 1914, Gustav Meyer received a call, but the congregation did not give him a release. Also, in 1914, the teacherage was enlarged. Two rooms were added. Mr. Gustav Meyer lived in the house for only one year, for, in 1915, Mr. Meyer's career came to an abrupt end. Accidental drowning in the San Gabriel River cut short a very promising life of service for Mr. Meyer.
Then the congregation called Mr. C. R. Schwartz of Lincoln. He accepted the call and was installed on August 29, 1915.
In 1916 the congregation decided to celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month and on holidays. Also, in 1916, the children of the church participated in the 400th Anniversary Reformation Service. All German was dropped in the school at this time due to the circumstances created by World War I and the pressures put on German-speaking people.
Teacher C. R. Schwartz received a call to Lincoln in June 1919 and accepted. Now again, it was a difficult task to get a teacher for the school. So on August 17, 1919, Alfred Schwausch was asked to take charge of the school for one year, and Miss Johanna Schwausch and Hilda Schwausch assisted as primary teachers. In December 1919, the congregation conducted a Thanksgiving Service for the safe return of all men in uniform. Johanna Schwausch taught for four years at Zion.
On April 25, 1920, the congregation decided to call a candidate. Oscar H. Kieschnick of Lincoln, Texas, accepted Zion's call and was installed on August 25, 1920. He was a recent graduate of Concordia, River Forest, Illinois. Mrs. Elizabeth Kieschnick Sieck was asked to assist as a primary teacher. On October 24, 1920, the congregation asked the young people to organize a Bible Class.
In 1921, the congregation built a balcony 8 feet wide along both sides of the Church.
In 1922, the congregation voted in favor of a college in Texas. Also, the constitution was changed to permit members to carry life insurance.
On May 13, 1923, it was decided to enlarge the school because of the increase of children attending.
In 1924, the pastor's salary was raised to $1,000.00 a year.
On January 4, 1925, it was decided to build a confirmation house. The District Convention was held here in 1925. On June 4, 1925, Miss Lydia Lammert, of Houston, was hired to teach school in place of Mrs. Elizabeth Kieschnick Sieck.
The confirmation house was finally built in November of 1926. The Rev. J. W. Behnken was nominated for the presidency of our Texas Concordia College. Miss Lydia Lammert taught for only one year, 1925,1926. Now it was necessary to call another teacher. On March 14, 1926, it was decided to call a second male teacher, a candidate. On August 1, 1926, Edgar A. Winter of Pierce, Nebraska, was called and accepted.
In 1927, Professor Henry Studtmann was called as assistant pastor to Rev. J. H. Sieck.
In 1928, the congregation instructed its delegate to vote for the division of the Texas District.
The Congregation paid the cost for the extension of power lines, and in 1929, Mr. Henry Jacob donated electric fixtures for the church.
In January 1930, Teacher E. A. Winter was given a peaceful release to continue his studies at Nebraska State University. On March 17, 1930, the congregation decided to call another candidate teacher, and with the Lord's blessing, Wilfred G. Bleeke of Deatur, Indiana, accepted the call as a second male teacher to assist 0. H. Kieschnick. At that time, Mr. Bleeke was a recent graduate of Concordia, River Forest, Illinois.
In 1931, the congregation resolved to try commencement exercises for the seventh-grade graduates.
In 1933, an offering was taken for our Perryton Congregation. In 1934, the first ushers were elected.
As 1935 approached, it was recognized that Pastor J. H. Sieck had been a pastor for 45 years and a school teacher for 16 years, sharing the joys and sorrows of his people and laying the foundation for the Christian faith. In the summer of 1935, due to failure of health, Pastor J. H. Sieck turned in his resignation to the congregation effective September 1, 1935, thus entering upon a well-deserved retirement. Pastor Sieck died in August of 1935. Pastor and Mrs. Sieck are buried in our cemetery.
On September 8, 1935, Pastor J. H. Kollmeyer of Kingsville was called.
He accepted with the provision that he be permitted to complete some necessary work in his charge at Kingsville and was installed October 27, 1935, by Prof. Henry Studtmann. The question of a second teacherage vexed the congregation for some time. When the need arose for a dwelling for Teacher Bleeke, a house had to be rented. But renting under normal conditions is not the ideal thing to do. To buy or build was under discussion for quite some time. Finally, it was decided to purchase the present property in Walburg from the Schulz estate. The purchase was made on December 9, 1935. The purchase price was $1,000.00. After extensive improvements were made, the property made a fine appearance.
In 1936, Bible Class was begun and conducted every Sunday, thirty minutes before services. A short time later, the Sunday School was begun under the leadership of Mrs. J. H. Kollmeyer in the parsonage for children who were unable to go to Christian Day School. And soon there-after a regular Sunday School for all children was then conducted in the school building. Also, the Ladies Aid was founded in 1936 by J. H. Kollmeyer and later joined the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. The Ladies Aid added a large room to the confirmation house for dining, and this was later used for the new school.
In 1937, the congregation pledged $750.00 for Synod's budget. For a number of years, the pipe organ, purchased in 1907, required an overhauling too frequently for comfort. All felt that it was no longer serving Zion's purpose satisfactorily. In October 1937 an organ fund was started, each member having the privilege of donating, in the month of his or her birthday, as many pennies as the age shown in years. After several hundred dollars had accumulated, it was decided to purchase a new organ.
In 1938, the congregation decided to install single desks in the school.
On November 6, 19+0, the contract was permitted for a new Wicks organ to be built into the old organ case. The total cost of the organ was $2,323.00. With joyful hearts, the new organ was dedicated to the Lord's praise on February 23, 1941. There was still a small debt resting on the organ when it was dedicated, but the congregation was confident that the debt would soon disappear from the books. The year 1941 was also the year they started eighth grade in the school, and it continues to this day.
On May 17, 1942, the congregation celebrated its 60th Anniversary; in 1943, the Blanket Subscription Plan for "The Lutheran Witness" and "The Lutheraner" was adopted.
In 1944, Pastor J. H. Kollmeyer received a call to Wilson, Texas but declined the call.
In 1945, the deep well at the school was drilled.
In 1946, the congregation limited the time of church officers to two successive terms. On July 1, 1946, Teacher O. H. Kieschnick received a call to Redeemer, San Antonio, and was given his release from Zion, Walburg. On September 8, 19465, Otto Schwausch was asked to teach. He accepted.
On September 7, 1947, Herman Hiegart was offered a two-year teaching contract and accepted. The congregation also bought surplus army buildings at Camp Swift in 1947.
In 1948, Pastor J. H. Kollmeyer received a call from Crisco but declined. The new and present school was built and was dedicated on the third Sunday in August 1943. Also, in 1948 two school buses were bought from Mexia Motor Co. for X51700.00 They were donated by a member of the congregation.
In 1949, Pastor J. H. Kollmeyer received a call to Mart, Texas and accepted.
On March 13, 1949, O. H. Kieschnick was called to teach in our school again, and he accepted. Other things happening in 1949 were: the Pension Plan of Synod was adopted, a third teacherage was built, English services were begun every Sunday. On March 11, 1949, it was decided to send a letter of thanks to the member who donated the two new school buses earlier in the year. On July 24, 1949, Rev. Walter F. Bielefeldt of Clifton, Texas was called. On August 7, 1949, it was decided to build a new parsonage and this is the present parsonage that is standing now. Rev. Bielefeldt accepted our call and was installed by Rev. G. A. Zoch on the first Sunday in September 1949. This is also the year the first telephone was installed in the church.
On August 18, 1950, Miss Vera Wenzel was called to teach grades 1 and 2 in place of Otto Schwausch, who resigned to go to school.
In the summer of 1951, Miss Julia Mittelstaedt was called to teach at Zion. She accepted and taught grades 1 and 2 in the 1951-52 school year. Also, Pastor Bielefeldt was permitted to conduct noonday Lenten Services in the Palace Theatre, in Georgetown in 1951.
In 1952, the 70th Anniversary of the congregation was celebrated, and Men's Club joined The Lutheran Laymen's League. Then on August 12, 1952, Teacher O. H. Kieschnick again received a call to Redeemer, San Antonio, Texas, and accepted. On September 7, 1952, Mrs. Julia (Mittelstaedt) Schwausch was called to teach the 4th and 5th grade. She accepted. Also in 1952, Miss Shirely Miller was called to teach 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. She accepted and taught the 1952-53 school term.
Now for a number of years, the church building was again too small to accommodate the ever growing membership, and the old church needed repair. After much prayer and various meetings it was decided to build a new church. Otto Doering, Paul Miersch, Fritz Leschber, Ben Jacob, John Hanusch Jr., Robert Miersch, and later Norbert Kasper were elected as the Planning Committee for the new church.
In 1953 minutes in German were discontinued.
Up to now, all the church minutes had been written in German. On February 8, 1952, it was again decided to call a teacher candidate. Zion was assigned a teacher, Mr. Arnold Scholz from Wisconsin, a graduate from River Forest, Illinois. He accepted and was installed on August 9, 1953. It was also decided to renew Miss Shirley Miller's contract for another year. Rev. Walter Bielefeldt received a call to Raymondville but declined. The first Stewardship Board was elected.
In 1954, it was decided to send Miss Hilda Eisen a contract to teach grades 1 and 2 for the 1954-55 school term. She accepted and was installed on September 13, 1954; also, in 1954, Gene Wukasch was selected as architect for the new church. The first Sunday School Superintendent was elected.
In 1955, plans for the present church were accepted. It was decided to start tearing down the old church on February 21, 1955. The present beautiful house of God, measuring 45x106x10 feet and seating 550 people comfortably, was built. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on May 29, 1955. The cornerstone was laid on November 6, 1955. Zion congregation also became incorporated in 1955. The contract for the new church was let.
On April 8, 1956, the new church was dedicated. The school lunch program was started.
In July 1957, Pastor Walter Bielefeldt received a call to Riesel, Texas, but declined. In the latter part of July, Pastor Walter Bielefeldt received another call, this time to Zion, Pasadena, Texas. He accepted this call. Then on September 22, 1957, Zion Lutheran of Walburg was privileged to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Now Zion being without a Pastor, sent a call to Rev. Herman J. Schelter. He accepted and was installed on February 2, 1958.
In May 1962, Teacher W. G. Bleeke resigned as a teacher of Zion school. In August 1962, Mrs. Sidney Moore was hired to teach grades 3, 4, and 5.
In August 1963, Teacher Arnold Scholz received a call to Cologne) Minnesota, and he accepted.
In May 1963, Mr. Brice-Kuhlmann of Brenham, Texas, was called. He accepted the call and was installed on June 23, 1963. Also, in August 1963, it was decided to call Teacher W. G. Bleeke again.
In January 1966, Teacher W. G. Bleeke handed in his resignation effective July 1, 1966. In February 1966, it was decided to call another candidate, and it was reported that Mr. Lavern Kruse of Kansas was assigned to our school from the Seward, Nebraska graduates of 1966. He accepted the assignment and was installed on July 31, 1966.
In July 1966, Teacher Brice Kuhlmann accepted the Principalship of our school.
In 1967, Rev. Herman J. Schelter received a call to Herford, Texas, and accepted.
Zion being without a pastor for some time now, decided in February of 1968 to call a ministerial candidate. In May of 1968, the word was received that Mr. Kenneth Schauer of Spencer, Wisconsin was assigned to our congregation. The latter word was received that he accepted his assignment to Zion Lutheran, Walburg. After being ordained in his home congregation in Spencer, Wisconsin, in May, he was installed at Zion on August 11, 1968.
On November 23, 1968, Mr. W. G. Bleeke, one of Zion's beloved principals and teachers, passed on to his Heavenly Home and was buried in the church cemetery.
In the summer of 1969, Zion Lutheran School of Walburg became fully accredited with the Texas District, along with eight other schools of the Texas District. Teacher Brice Kuhlmann being the principal of Zion School at the time of accreditation.
The first telephone was installed into the school in February, 1970.
On March 15, 1970, an Outdoor Worship Center, "The Garden of Praise" was dedicated to the Glory of God.
In January, 1970, Teacher Lavern Kruse announced his resignation as of June 1,1970, to further his education at North Texas State University at Denton, Texas. In March 1970, it was decided to call another teacher candidate. In June word was received that Michael Nelson had accepted our call, and was installed on August 16, 1970.
During the summer of 1970, the school was given a fresh coat of paint, screens were repaired, the primary room was remodeled and by August everything was ready to start the 1970-71 school year. A Kindergarten was added to Zion and proudly started its school year with 5 students.
In June of 1971 Mr. Brice Kuhlmann received a call to Mercedes, Texas, which he accepted and was given a peaceful release effective July 31, 1971.
On July 28, 1971 we sent a call to Ronald Hafner of Yorktown, Iowa to be principal, teach grades 4 & 5 and be the organist and Music Director. His wife was asked to teach kindergarten. The call's were declined.
On August 11, 1971 a call was once again sent to a male candidate to teach grades 4 & 5. With God's blessing we received the joyous reply that Mr. Wallace Manderud of Fergus Falls, Minnesota had accepted our call. His wife Ruth was asked to teach kindergarten and she accepted also. They were installed on August 29, 1971.
Also in 1971, the church installed a P. A. System and fluorescent lighting was installed in all the rooms in the school, and it was decided that Zion once again go to the Blanket Subscription - on" The Lutheran Witness"(where all members of the congregation get a copy). This was adopted once before, in 1943, but lost out in later years.
In December, Mr. Wallace Manderud announced that he would hand in his resignation effective June 1, 1972, making us once again absent one teacher. So on January 24, 1972 a call was sent to Mr. Jack Wiederhold of Paola, Kansas to be principal, organist, music director and teach grades 4 & 5, and to Mrs. Wiederhold to teach kindergarten. We received a letter in February saying that Mr. Jack Wiederhold had accepted our call and was installed on July 16, 1972. Mrs. Wiederhold declined. So Mrs. Wallace (Ruth) Manderud was again asked to teach kindergarten and she accepted.
In April, 1972, the school received two new 48 passenger school buses.
The cost of the buses was $13,000.00. The money necessary to purchase the buses was borrowed from the Walburg State Bank, Walburg. Also, 1972 was a very big year for improvements and remodeling. The gym roof, Mr. Nelson's house, and Miss Eisen's house were re-shingled, Miss Eisen's back porch was remodeled into a utility room, new bathroom, and a study-sewing room combination, Mr. Nelson's house was painted, and the kindergarten room (once the old office) was completely remodeled. Also, Mr. Nelson has two bedrooms, carpeted and Miss Eisen's one-bedroom carpeted.
And so, with a new principal and fourth and fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Jack Wiederhold, Mr. Ted Nelson as sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade teacher, Miss Hilda Eisen as first, second, and third-grade teacher, and Mrs. Ruth Manderud as a kindergarten teacher, we start the 1972-73 school year registering 70 students.
We also want to mention some other facts that you might be interested in. At present, the LWML has 38 active members. The Walther League presently has 48 active members. The P.T.L., which was chartered in 1965, has about 20 active members. The Evening Circle, our newest organization, was started in April 1969 with 13 active members.
Also, it is interesting to know how many studied for the teaching and preaching ministry or other church time work. Those who became teachers are James Boriack, Gus Jacob, Katherin Jacob, Fred Bleeke, Ella Ruth Kokel, Marvin Kelm, Larry Buchhorn, Howard Neitsch, Melvin Zoch, Harold Kieschnick, Melvin Kieschnick, Marylin Schroeder, Glen Kokel, Dorthea Jacob, Otto Schwausch, Otto Buchhorn, Billy Doering, Willie Doering Sr., John Sleek, Alfred Schwausch, Willard Doering, Ted Bethke, Walter Teinert, Curtis Riske, Glen Kohlmeyer, Lenard Reschke, and Walter Bielefeldt. Those who became Pastors are John Kieschnick, Laverence Kelm, and Edwin Riske. Presently studying: Ralph Riske, John & George Schelter, Melvin Jacob, & Richard Noack.
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