The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 307 - 311

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The St. Peter's German Evangelical Church

The first meeting in connection with the organization of this congregation was held on the 24th of January 1835. Christian Duerr and John Adler were elected elders and George Fleyder, Christian Fr. Haller and Matthias Haist as Trustees, who incorporated this German Evangelical church on the 6th of February, 1835.

About four years before this time an evangelical congregation existed among the few Germans residing here but all records concerning it have been lost. Even all records containing the notices and minutes of the present St. Peter's Church for the first 15 years are missing. The record of this period can only be gleaned from older residents of our city who were members of this church at that time. In the year 1831 a young Evangelist by the name of Joseph Gombell emigrated to this country from Switzerland and came to Buffalo. He joined the First Presbyterian Church of this city, and became a member of the Buffalo Presbytery which summoned him to take up the work among his native people on our city. In the spring of 1823 an evangelical family by the name of Schwartz emigrated to this country from Wuerttemberg, Europe and settled here in Buffalo. With this

Caption under picture at upper right reads Rev. J. Storrer

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family Mr. Conrad Seeger, a brother of Mrs. Schwartz, Mr. John George Schiefer her step-brother, also a nephew of Mr. Schwartz by the name of Gottlieb Weibert came to Buffalo. These evangelical Christians in connection with a few other German residents united themselves with the evangelist, Joseph Gombell and can therefore be considered the first members of the present St. Peter's Church.

In July 1832 Rev. Asa Lyman, a member of the Buffalo Presbytery reported that he had been successfull in organizing a German congregation among the residents of Buffalo under the name: "The German Evangelical Church." Up to 1848 this church appears to have been a mission of the Presbyterian church and to have received ample assistance of it pecuniarily. Rev. Gombell was the first pastor of the congregation which had thus far held its services in a small school house on Franklin Street, opposite the present City and County Building. By the increasing immigration at that time the new congregation soon became larger. The present lot, corner Genesee and Hickory Streets, was a Gift of the wealthy land owner, Jabez Goodell. A little church which was located where the Jewish Temple, Beth Zion now is erected was donated to this new congregation by the English Methodist Society and with many difficulties was moved to its new lot. Thus the young congregation received a strong footing with bright prospects for the future.

This small church, known as the "Gombell Church" served the congregation as house of worship to the year 1850, when a larger frame church was erected. This small congregation was apparently progressing until a separation ensued. Under the pastorate of Rev. Lange however, the congregation progressed again. And under the pastorate of Rev. William Veil, his successor, the congregation was very successfull.

During its development to this time the young congregation met with many sad experiences and labored under many difficulties that in the year 1845 a reorganization took place. In the year 1856 it was necessary to build an addition of 30 feet to its church edifice. With this addition the building answered its purpose very well and occupied the lot donated by Mr. Goodell until the 1st of July 1877 when under the pastorate of Rev. E. Jung it was torn down and the splendid new church erected.

In the first years of its organization the congregation felt the necessity of a parochial school and after several attempts to organize one were made, it at last succeeded in organizing a school on the 25th of December 1852 with Mr. Forster as teacher.

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On the first of June 1857 the St. Peter's German Evang. Benevolent Society was organized with 17 members. On the 4th of March 1866 the St. Peter's Evang. Prot. Young Men's Association was organized with 37 members. There are two women societies in the congregation, the Ladies Aid Society, established in the year 1866 with 75 members and the Ladies Benevolent Society organized June 3rd, 1866 with 18 members. Aside from these there is a Sunday School Teachers Society.

In the year 1859 members of the congregation in connection with members of two other German churches of our city bought 15 acres of Land on the old Genesee plank road for a cemetery, known by the name "Concordia Cemetery."

For 27 years Rev. G.S. Vogt was pastor of the congregation; in December 1875 he resigned his position.[1] Its present name: "The St. Peter's United German Evanglical Church" it bears since the 20th of August 1851. The new church which as stated above was erected in 1877 costs about $34,000. The new organ and bell however, are not included in this sum.

Rev. Edward Jung, after serving the congregation faithfully for 18 years died on the 10th of August 1894. Dr. Phil. Otto Becker, of Elmira, N.Y. was chosen as his successor. On the 1st of December 1894 he was installed as pastor of the church.

The present Board of Trustees consists of the pastor and the following members: President, John Hoffmann; Secretary, William Schoenthal; Treasurer, George Elsaesser; Frederick C. Loh, Joseph Jaeckle, Theophil Speyser, Phil. D. Stein, John Meyer, Henry Eisenberger and the elders Louis Kempf, Richard Schmidt, John Schenk, Reinhard Ruppel, Edwin Cook and Joseph Faehringer.

Rev. Edward Jung

Rev. Edward Jung was born in Buffalo, N.Y. on the 20th of August 1847. He was the son of Charles and Catherine Jung. His elementary education he received in the parochial school of his church. After completing this course he attended a private school where he received a thorough classical education. From there he entered the theological seminary at Lake Zurich, Ill., where he completed a three years course in theological studies. After graduating he remained with Prof. Alberti, one of the Professors of the college, who in connection with his college work was pastor of a church in its vicinity. In this capacity as assistant to his professor Rev. Jung labored for one year. This years experience of practical christian work in connection with his theological

Caption under picture at left center reads Pastor G.S. Vogt, 1848 - 1875


[1] The German text states after this sentence "Pastor Eduard Jung, who was born in Buffalo and who had been called up from the St. Paul's Evangelical Congregation in Erie Pa., became his [Pastor Vogt's] successor." Return to text

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training made him capable to become one of the most efficient Pastors in the German Evangelical Church.

In the German Evangelical Church of Rome, N.Y. he found his first field. From there he accepted a call to the St. Paul's Evangelical Church of Erie Pa., where he labored five years with much success. An honorable call from the St. Peter's German Evangelical Church of this city was extended to him, which he accepted. This being his mother church was, indeed, a great honor shown unto him. In the year 1876 he entered upon his duties as pastor of this large congregation and was its pastor for 18 years until death separated this shepard from his flock. Being a very energetic, faithful worker, a talented and forcible preacher of the Gospel, a man of prayer and of faith, he was able to fullfill the vast number of duties connected with this large congregation and with rare ability he succeeded to upbuild this church both spiritually as well as outwardly, that it soon was one of the leading and influencing German churches of our city.

One of the many things accomplished under his pastorate was the erection of the beautiful new church edifice which now adorns the corner of Genesee and Hickory Streets. The manner in which this great work was accomplished and the short period of time in which the entire church debt was paid bears testimony of the unity and christian spirit in which pastor and congregation continually labored together. It indeed bears testimony of the generosity of his people who so cheerfully responded to the many demands requisite to fulfill such a grand work. And this

Caption under picture at right center reads Rev. Edward Jung

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stately church edifice will always bear testimony of the strenuous efforts put forth by this loved pastor in the interests of his people.

Being able to command a large amount of work we find him active also in organizing Missions in various parts of our city. In connection with his colleagues who regarded him as the leading spirit in their midst he founded the St. Trinity Church on Gold Street, the Bethlehem Church on Genesee Street, the Bethany Church on Eaton Street, and the Salem Church, cor. Calumet Place and Garfield Street.[1]

For many years he was Secretary of the New York District of the German Evang. Synod of N.A. He was interested in Foreign Mission, especially the work in India, being a member of the Mission board of the above synod for many years and in various other ways he was active in promoting the temporal and spiritual welfare of his bretheren.

He was an esteemed citizen of our city, a faithful husband and father to his family, a respected friend to his colleagues, a worthy and faithful pastor and servant of his people. On the 10th of August 1894 at the age of 46 years, 11 months and 21 days he died, being active as pastor a little over 25 years. To his memory the St. Peter's congregation which he so faithfully served unto death erected a costly monument at Forest Lawn. But his memory still lives in the hearts of his people and colleagues.

St. Matthew's Evang. Congregation

Thirty three years ago the German Evangelical Protestant St. Matthew's Congregation was organized in the so-called "Hydraulics." It was therefore the first German Evangelical church in that part of the city. The first meeting to organize the congregation was held January 12th, 1868, at the residence of Mr. Casper Wagner on Seneca Street. The first officers were: President, Adam Umlauf, Vice-President, George Kitt, Secretary, Carl A. Trost, Treasurer, Casper Wagner. The energy displayed in organizing successfully this congregation, is proof of the fact that the founders of the congregation deeply felt the necessity of having an evangelical church in this part of the city. To assist the officers named above, a committee was immediately appointed, consisting of the following gentlemen: John Kamman, Frederick Pfau, Ferdinand Becherer, Christian Dier and Christian Gammel, to interest the Germans of that part of the city in the newly organized congregation and to solicit gifts for the same. At the second meeting, which was held January 19th, 1868, at the same residence, 23 men gave signature thus joining the young congregation and promising to help the good work as much as possible. That was a good beginning, and the number of those assisting in this work constantly increased. Their aim was that in "Hydraulics" a congregation


[1] The German text states that ths Salem Church was in North Buffalo Return to text


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Revised May 13, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks