Wow! It’s Pfau

In the winter of 1967, the Journal of the Illinois Historical Society published an article titled, The Artist Gustav Pfau.  This article included several drawings which were made by Gustav Pfau, one of the original members of the Gesellschaft.  You can find a way to access this article at this link:

Today’s date, January 31st, was the date of Gustav Pfau’s death.  He died on this day in 1884.  His death record can be found in the church books of Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is buried in Concordia Cemetery there.

Gustav Pfau was one of the original immigrants who came to America on the same ship as Rev. Martin Stephan.  That ship was the Olbers.  On the passenger list he was described as a graver, which could be better understood as engraver, or artist.  When he arrived in Perry County, a piece of property was granted to him in the Dresden area.  Here is a portion of the map which is included in Zion on the Mississippi that shows this parcel of land.  It is numbered 14 on the map.


Here I would add that the property which is numbered 13 is where the Log Cabin College was built in 1839, and it is the property that I now own.

While he was here in Perry County, Gustav attempted to do a little farming, but in the late 1840’s he moved away from Perry County.  I am going to share a few of Pfau’s drawings from his early years in America.  First, here is a drawing that Gustav made as he was traveling up the Mississippi River aboard the Selma.  The Selma became stuck in the mud near where the Ohio River joined the Mississippi.  Apparently, he witnessed the steamboat St. Louis passing by and made this drawing.


We can thank Gustav Pfau for his drawings of two important figures in the early history of Perry County, Rev. C.F.W. Walther and Rev. Gotthold Loeber.  First, here is his drawing of Rev. Walther.

Rev. C.F.W. Walther – by Gustav Pfau

This is Pfau’s drawing of Rev. Gotthold Loeber.

Gotthold Loeber
Rev. Gotthold Loeber – by Gustav Pfau

During a time when Pfau was in St. Louis, he made this drawing.  The article printed in the Journal of the Illinois Historical Society does not identify any of the buildings in this drawing.


There is no doubt in my mind that the drawing of the church in the upper middle portion is the first church building of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  That building was completed in 1842, and therefore the caption for this drawing is wrong in saying it must have been done in the 1830’s.  We have another piece of art done by Rev. Friedrich Lochner that shows this church, and I think you will agree that Pfau’s drawing is of the same building.


Now to a drawing that I find fascinating.  This is Pfau’s drawing of some early buildings in Perry County.  We do not know for sure the location that was used for this drawing.


You can see the caption that is included in the journal article.  I am the first to admit that maybe my idea is just wishful thinking, but I think there is a possibility that this may be a drawing that includes the Log Cabin College in its original location.  As was stated earlier, Gustav Pfau’s land was adjacent to the parcel of land upon which the Log Cabin College was built.  Here is a photo I took this morning.  I tried to stand at a location which would have placed the location of the marker for the first site of the college in the middle of the photo.  It would also be about what one would see if you were looking at this scene from Gustav Pfau’s property.


We know that there were several buildings constructed in this area.  One was the Log Cabin College.  Another was the cabin which was built for the von Wurmb family.  And still another would have been the home built for the Buenger family who owned the property.

What do you think?  Could this have been what Gustav Pfau was drawing?  We will probably never know for sure, but I find it intriguing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s