The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages I - VI


Destinies and Adventures

of the


who emigrated

from Saxony to America



Journey to St. Louis, their Settlement

there and the Situation of their Colony

in Perry County

F. ? ? Schmidtz (unclear signature stamp)



Printed and Published by C. Heinrich.


In Commission of Arnold Book Distributors


In advance the undersigned must defend himself against the charge that he has delved too little into the inner spirit of sectarian existence, that he is not especially grounded in the origin and continuing scholarship of Pietism, etc. Certainly the editor intuited his weakness in this subject but it was also the plan of this text to treat this subject only in passing. May a practiced and more capable feather soon send us a comprehensive work on the teachings of the so-called Stephanists.

The present communiqués were originally meant only for publication in a newspaper; this was the limited scope of the plan. However the increase in the amount of material available and the many requests by people for more detailed information have led to the release of this brochure. Even so this is nothing more than a simple tale of the course of events in an unhappy enterprise, the remembrance of one of the over 700 people in a congregation,


Handwritten note at bottom of page: Gotthold Günther, ????

whose members still have relatives and friends in their original and oft misunderstood homeland.

All the more to lay claim to the gentle attention of the reader and to manage the critique, the editor believes he could avail himself of an opportunity, which might have been ignored, and present to the public a side of the profession which is foreign to his usual circle of duties and which under other circumstances he would not have had the right to do.

Thus the undersigned permits himself to add certain details concerning the fate of the young man, who returned from St. Louis and from whom this report is gathered into the following text.

G. Günther decided to follow his aged father to America. The father could not be restrained from emigrating due to his unbridled belief in Stephan's honesty. Young Günther considered it his filial duty to accompany his aged father over the ocean however he did not take part in the conventicle existence of the group or share its system of belief. Significant obstacles were placed in his way by the congregation


Handwritten note at bottom of page: P. W. Köpchen teilt mit, das dieser G. Günther der Bruder des späteren Professors Martin Günther gewesen [sei]. L.L. - P. W. Köpchen states that G. Günther was the brother of later Professor Martin Günther. L.L.

and one might imagine that they attempted to proselytize him. — Among the families left in precarious positions by the ministry and administrators we also find the Günther family. Stripped of everything the son decided at the request of his father to journey back to Saxony in order to deliver a true description of the unhappy fate of these poor deceived people and secure financial aid so his family could return.

However travel from the American West back to Germany costs money; taking on odd jobs yielding little financial reward through the many months, every spare penny they had brought with them had been expended in maintaining the large family plus the congregational administration demanded another 300 dollars for the passage. Amid these dire circumstances young Günther turned to a Catholic priest of the Jesuit College and asked for financial assistance.

It is indeed a pleasure to encounter within this order a noble man and a true catholic priest. The name of this honorable man is Father Lutz and he not only provided ample assistance to the supplicant, he also gave him a letter of recommendation

written to a distinguished cleric in New York. In this letter, which is reprinted here in the original English and in translation, we have proof of true humanitarianism:

                     Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Hughes,
     Coadj. to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of New York

Rt. Rev. Sir,

Permit me to recommend to your benevolence a young protestant German, who repairs to Germany, wherefrom he hopes to be able to send to his old father in St. Louis pecuniary means, in order to move back to his native country with his whole family. Being distressed they applied to me, as they found no compassion or relief on the side of teir country-men belonging to the same sect of the Stephanites. It would take me too much time to expatiate on the particulars of their affecting history; let it suffice to say, that, for several reasons, charity bestowed on the bearer of this will be of great service to many destitute individuals, and will also benefit the cause of our holy religion. He found assistance but with the catholic priest; I procured him nearly 50 dollars and would do more for him, were he no so much in a hurry to leave for Germany. Please therefore to procure by your mediation further means for the young mn to get across the Atlantic. Some of your wealthy catholics may easily make up a little sum of 20 or 30 dollars, which will be sufficient. —

            I am respectfully
St. Louis,
July 6th, 1839.
                  your most humble servant
                  Jos. A. Lutz

Go to pages VII - 3

Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks