Missionary in Michigan

On March 1, 1916, one hundred years ago, Rev. Ernst Gustav Hermann Miessler (pictured above) died in Chicago, Illinois.  He is known for his missionary work among the Chippewa Indians in central Michigan.  His first wife, Johanna Pinkepank Miessler, is buried in the Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery.  She died in 1857.  Rev. Miessler changed professions later in life and became a physician in the Chicago area.  He is buried in the Wunder Lutheran Cemetery there.

One criticism that you occasionally hear about the early German Lutherans in America is that they were just interested in forming Lutheran churches for other Germans.  This story gives evidence to the contrary.  Although speaking the German language naturally led to communicating the Gospel to other Germans, these Lutherans were always interested in spreading God’s Word to all people.  This mission work was already taking place early in the history of the Lutheran church in America. The plaque in the photo from Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery recognizes Rev. Miessler as well as Rev. Craemer and Rev. Beyerlein, two other giants in the early history of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

There is also a connection of the Miessler family to Perry County.  One of the first students in the first class at the Log Cabin College was Theobald von Wurmb.  Clara, one of Theobald’s daughters, married Rev. Herman Miessler, a son of Rev. Ernst Miessler.  Rev. Herman Miessler was a pastor in Columbus, Nebraska and Clara was the choir director at his congregation.


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