It was a sad day for the German Lutherans in Altenburg on August 19th in 1849. On that day, their beloved pastor, Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber, died at the age of 52. He is said to have died from typhoid fever, but I would submit that exhaustion may well have been a factor in his death.
***Just a note. Around here, we pronounce this name, lay-ber.
Here are some of the things which Pastor Loeber was doing shortly before his death. After Rev. Keyl left Frohna in 1847, Rev. Loeber took over his responsibilities, so for a while he was serving both the congregation in Altenburg and the one in Frohna. The records for these two churches became quite minimal during Pastor Loeber’s last year (1849). However, if you look at the year 1848, you will find that the records of Trinity, Altenburg indicate there were 16 baptisms, 10 deaths, 5 marriages, and 10 confirmands during that year. The records of Concordia, Frohna indicate 13 baptisms and 2 marriages. There are no death records for that year, but that may be an indication that Rev. Loeber did not have the time to complete those records. Also in the years leading up to the formation of the new Lutheran synod in 1847, Pastor Loeber was very actively involved in the organizational meetings, which were taking place in several locations around the Midwest. Then, he was also very discouraged when the congregations here refused to join this new synod when they were first given the opportunity. In addition, when Johann Friedrich Buenger, Ottomar Fuerbringer, and Theodore Brohm left Perry County to serve elsewhere, Pastor Loeber had to perform the duties of teaching the students at the Log Cabin College. Toward the end, he was assisted by Jacob Goenner, but the teaching responsibilities Pastor Loeber had must have sapped some of his strength also. There are stories of Rev. Loeber showing up on Mondays to teach, and he could hardly stand up to perform his duties.
Add to all these tasks the fact that so many people were getting sick during those days. Pastor Loeber would have to spend some of his time visiting the homes of the sick and dying. It was this fact that probably led to his death. He must have been in the presence of so many disease germs in those homes. However, this caring pastor was not about to let his parishioners suffer without his comfort and prayers.
It was Pastor Loeber who wrote these words in 1844:
“If it goes well with you here, dear descendants, as we hope it will, do not forget that it was a difficult task for us to clear the forest and cultivate our fields.”
I daresay that it was a difficult task to be a pastor in those days, and Pastor Loeber gave it his all. We certainly can say about Pastor Loeber’s labor, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”