The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 312 - 316


might be founded where the German population might practice their most sacred confession according to the customs of their ancestors.

The first need of a congregation is an appropriate place to hold church services. The young congregation feeling this necessity immediately sought a suitable location for church and school purposes.

On January 26th, 1868, a committee was appointed consisting of Messrs. Adam Umlauf, Fr. Nauland and Carl A. Trost to take preliminary steps in this matter. After a careful inspection the proper place was found, and on February 23, 1868, it was decided to buy the property at the corner of Swan, Hagerman and Seymour Streets, then North Swan Street, for $1,000.

At a meeting March 15, 1868, the newly organized congregation received the name of the "German Evangelical Protestant St. Matthew's Church of Buffalo, N.Y.," under which name it was later incorporated. The first steps were taken to adopt the constitution of the church. At that meeting the resolution most important for the young church, was adopted to begin as soon as possible with the erection of a church. In 1868 the congregation built a solid brick church (59 x 90 feet) in which to-day services are held; at the same time a new school house next to the church was erected; the cost for both amounted to more than $20,000. This certainly was an important undertaking for so young a congregation. But by zeal, faithfulness and liberality of its members it succeeded in accomplishing this aim.

On February 3, 1869, one year after the foundation of the congregation, the beautiful church was completed and was dedicated to the service of the triune God in a most solemn celebration.

Before the congregation possessed a church, services had been held. The first service was held in the "Seneca Street Chapel," May 17, 1868, conducted by Pastor C.H.H. Wolf. On May 24, 1868 Pastor Otto Burger of St. Paul's Church conducted service, and May 31, 1868, on Whitsunday, the sacrament was administered for the first time by Pastor Fr. Heinle. During this first period the well know teacher and citizen of our city, Mr. E.W. Peseler, rendered valuable services to the congregation by playing the organ and directing the choir. On June 7, 1868, Hugo Kühne from Attica, N.Y. conducted service. He became the first pastor of the church. He was followed by Pastor Julius Krummel, who after having served the church for two years and three months, died from smallpox. On December 26, 1873, the congregation called Pastor G. Berner, who served until November, 1878. Pastor J. Bank had become his successor, serving the congregation until August, 1885. He was followed by Pastor C. Gosebruch,

Caption under picture at left center reads St. Matthew's Evang. Church


and from 1888 until October, 1899, Pastor G. Robertus served the church. The present pastor is Rev. P.C. Bommer.

Besides the church and school property as described above, which in the course of time had been greatly altered and improved, the congregation owns a two-story parsonage, corner Seymour and Hagermann Streets and a cemetery valued at $10,000 on Clinton Street. The congregation numbers about 300 families; since 1872 a Ladies' Aid Society exists which at present numbers 170 members. It has a Young People's Society of 100 members, and there is a Sunday school with a membership of about 300 children.

The present officers are: Carl Themann, President, Jacob Rosche, Secretary, John Keppel, treasurer.

The St. Trinity Congregation on Gold Street

At the pastoral conference of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, which held its meeting in Buffalo in the fall of 1882,

Caption under picture at right center reads Rev. P.C. Bommer


it was decided to organize a mission church in East Buffalo in that part of the city situated beyond Bailey Avenue (Williamsville Road), the district known as Churchyard farm and located in the extreme eastern part of Buffalo, between Broadway and William Street. To the pastors E. Jung, C.L. Schild and O.H. Kraft the execution of this decision was entrusted. Under their able and industrious management, expecially that of Pastor E. Jung, very soon the first church was dedicated under the name of the "United Evangelical St. Trinity Church." This occured on Sunday, February 3, 1883. Every Sunday afternoon service and Sunday school were conducted by the three pastors named above. Preparatory efforts for the formation of a congregation and its organization were made. Soon afterwards the young congregation was incorporated. In August, 1883, Pastor H.A. Kraemer from Westfield, N.Y. was called as pastor. On August 18, 1883, he was installed as pastor of the new mission and is still serving the congregation which has become strong and independent under his energetic leadership. In 1887 the congregation erected a second church at an expense of $9,000. At present this church is being entirely renovated. The first church is used for school purposes. The congregation at once realized the importance of a German parochial school and has made many and great sacrifices for its preservation. There are about 200 families in the church. Its history of 17 years is a very peaceful one. The whole property of the congregation is valued at about $16,000.

The Bethlehem Evang. Congregation

In consequence of the rapid growth of the city of Buffalo especially of the east side, the pastors of the City pastoral conference of the Evangelical synod of North America considered it necessary to establish another

Caption under picture at center reads The St. Trinity Church and Schoolhouse


German congregation in the year 1887. It was decided to buy a lot on Bowen Street, at present called Woltz Avenue, near Walden Avenue. This was done and a little chapel 30 x 50 feet was erected, which was dedicated March 20, 1887. This property valued about $2,000. From this date the pastors of the pastoral conference alternately held services until a qualified city missionary was found for the purpose of uniting the Evangelical Germans of the same faith into a congregation. In the present minister of the church Mr. A. Goetz, who at that time was a student in the theological seminary in St. Louis, a missionary was found and the task entrusted to him. On the 10th of April, 1887, Mr. Goetz came to Buffalo where he had been born, and after being ordained as pastor in the German Evangelical St. Peter's

Caption under picture at left center reads Rev. H.A. Kraemer

Caption under picture at lower right reads The Bethlehem Evang. Church


Church by the late pastor E. Jung [1], he invited all Germans of Evangelical faith who lived in the neighborhood to a meeting held in the interest of the new mission on May 8, 1887.

At this meeting a temporary constitution was presented and signed by fifteen persons. With these the present Bethlehem congregation was organized. It increased from year to year and as the first lot of the church on Bowen Street proved to be unsuitable for the erection of a larger church, the lot on Genesee Street and East Parade Circle was secured, where in the years 1895 - 1896 the present brick church was built at an expense of $25,000. On February 2, 1896, the present church was dedicated.

At present the church owns a property representing a value of at least $30,000, and carrying a comparatively small mortgage. In spite of only a few adherents thirteen years ago the congregation has at present not less than one thousand communicants. The Sunday school which was organized with 25 children, is at present attended

Caption under picture at right center reads Rev. A. Goetz

[1] The German text states "the late Pastor E. Jung, who died on May 1st of the same year, ..." Return to text

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Revised May 13, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks