A Pastor’s Passing in Prairie

Martin Stephan
Rev. Martin Stephan

According to most sources, Rev. Martin Stephan died on February 21, 1846 in Horse Prairie, Illinois.  Rev. Stephan was the leader of the German immigration to Perry County in 1838-1839.  He was exiled from the colony in May of 1839 as a result of allegations that he misused funds in the treasury and was involved in acts of adultery.  After becoming the pastor of the Lutheran church in Horse Prairie, he died shortly thereafter.

Even in death, there seems to be some controversy.  On the plaque located where he is buried in what is now known as Prairie, Illinois, it indicates that February 26 is the day of his death.  I do not know why there is this discrepancy.

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Plaque at Rev. Stephan’s burial site

As a result of my previous post here this past week on the death of Martin Luther on February 18, 1546, I had not connected that fact with the death of Martin Stephan.  Just three days after the 300th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther’s death, another Martin died in Horse Prairie, Illinois.

I guess if there is a lesson to be learned, it is that people ought to be very careful in their choice of leaders.  Martin Stephan was apparently quite charismatic, but not very reliable.  It appears that power corrupted him.  As our country chooses its next President, we should prayerfully consider who would be the best choice to be our country’s next leader.  It is not always an obvious choice.  May God’s will be done.


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