Some may look at this date, February 2nd, as being Groundhog Day. Well, forty-seven years before the first Groundhog Day was celebrated in 1887, another memorable event occurred here in Perry County, Missouri. In 1840, February 2nd was a Sunday, and on that day, the very first official worship service was conducted for the congregation that is now called Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri.
If you look at the church records for that congregation, you will see that this congregation was not called Grace Lutheran Church when it was started. In fact, the town was also not called Uniontown at that point in time. Here is the first page of that church’s records.
A couple words after you see “Februar 1840” you will see the hyphenated word, alt-lutherischen. That word means “old Lutheran”. To explain further, that sentence basically says this is the book of records for the Old Lutheran church in Paitzdorf in Perry County, Missouri which began in February of 1840.
It was after the Civil War that the town which had previously been named Paitzdorf changed their name to Uniontown. The town had been originally named after the German home of many of the original members of this church. That was the city of Paitzdorf in Germany. By that way, that town’s name is pronounced with the first syllable sounding like “pie”.
Rev. C.F. Gruber had arrived in Perry County along with over one hundred other German Lutherans by landing at Wittenberg, Missouri on December 12, 1839. Many of those members of what became known as the Gruber Group ended up settling in the land around Uniontown. It is reported that Pastor Gruber stayed with Pastor Loeber in Altenburg for a while before going to join the folks in the Uniontown area. It was not until that day in early February that the first worship service was held there. That service must have been held in someone’s home. In fact, it is said that such services were held in member’s homes for quite a few years before this congregation was able to have a special building in which to worship.
Not only was this the date of the first worship service, but the church records indicate that two other special events took place on that day. First, there was a baptism. Here is an image of that record.
I think it is one of the largest church records I have run across in the church books from around Perry County. Rev. Gruber must have been very enthusiastic in wanting to record as much as possible in these early records. In fact, I have heard other genealogists say that Rev. Gruber was one of the most helpful pastors to them. He often included much information in his records, including people’s occupations and the locations of their homes.
The baby being baptized on February 2, 1840 was Auguste Amalie Elisabeth Weisse. A previous blog post was written about this girl. It was titled, Perplexing Paitzdorf Record. It is quite an interesting story.
The second official act that took place on February 2, 1840 was the marriage of Johann Gottfried Hemmann and Rosine Hoffmann. You can find three previous blog posts which have J.G. Hemmann as a main character. You can discover much about his life and family by reading these posts. They can be found here:
Here is that marriage record as it is found in the records of Grace, Uniontown.
These early records in the Grace Lutheran book extend over two pages so it is necessary to place two pages together in order to get the complete image.
So today we send out congratulations to our friends, the “Old Lutherans” in Paitzdorf, on the occasion of their church’s founding. You are now 178 years old.
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