We at the Perry County Lutheran Historical Society would like to proclaim our heartfelt congratulations to our friends at Brazeau Presbyterian Church on the occasion of their 200th anniversary. Today, they celebrate with a series of special events including a worship service to thank God for blessing them for so many generations.
The English and Scots-Irish settlers who came from North Carolina began settling in the area around what became known as Brazeau, Missouri around 1817. These folks established Brazeau Presbyterian Church in 1819. The area of North Carolina from which they came is shown in the map below. It includes Rowan, Iredell, Cabarrus, and Mecklenburg Counties.
Not far from them, you find the city of Conover, North Carolina. It can be seen on the map below.
It was around Conover that you could find Lutherans in North Carolina even before you could find them here in Perry County. A Concordia College was even established in the 1870’s in Conover. The Presbyterians who would settle here would have become familiar with German Lutherans in North Carolina even before they ever came into contact with them when the Germans started arriving as part of the Gesellschaft in 1839, twenty years after the Presbyterians arrived here.
We German Lutherans should be eternally grateful for the friendly Presbyterians from Brazeau. When the early Stephanites arrived on the scene, they were beset with all kinds of difficulties. It was the members of Brazeau Presbyterian Church who came to our rescue. They brought food to the starving Lutherans. They also advised them about dangerous things such as poison ivy and venomous snakes. They instructed the Lutherans, who were not farmers, on what crops would grow successfully here. Without the generous help of our Presbyterian neighbors, many more of our ancestors would have died.
The folks at Brazeau Presbyterian Church have been described over the years as being “God’s Messengers” or our “Angels”. We have an exhibit in our museum which highlights the help we received from our neighbors in Brazeau. The photo below shows a portion of it.
In addition, we have an angel in this exhibit that was crafted by Richard Luckey. It is very special to us, and it contains the date of September 12, 1819, which is the actual date of the Brazeau Presbyterian Church Bicentennial.
Another connection between Brazeau Presbyterian and their German Lutheran neighbors can be found in the very first class of students to attend the Log Cabin College in Altenburg when it opened in December of 1839. A young man by the name of Columbus Price was listed as being part of that first set of students. We have a photo of Columbus Price when he was older.
Columbus was 25 years old and already a father of two when he attended the Log Cabin College. I happen to think that he attended this school, not because he wanted to learn the subject matter being presented, but because he wanted to see how the German Lutherans ran their school in the style of a German gymnasium. Columbus would later be instrumental in establishing the Brazeau Academy in 1855, and it appears that the school in Brazeau had some of the same characteristics as that of the Log Cabin College.
Columbus Price was also instrumental in the planning for the new church building that Brazeau Presbyterian constructed in 1852. It is the building still being used by their congregation. In a previous blog post titled, They Came from North Carolina – Part 2, a photo of a Presbyterian church in Rowan County, North Carolina was published.
Compare that with the interior of the present-day church in Brazeau.
It appears to me that our friends in Brazeau brought some of their architecture with them when they came to Perry County. We Saxon Lutherans can see similarities between our churches and the old churches that still exist back in that area of Germany.
If you are interested in reading more about the history of the city of Brazeau and its church, we have the book, Pioneers of Brazeau, Missouri by Mary Alice Cody in our research library at the museum.
In that book, you will find this older photo of Brazeau Presbyterian Church.
A more recent photo is shown below.
In closing, let me once again say that our gracious God has blessed Brazeau Presbyterian Church in so many ways for so many years. And speaking for the German Lutherans of East Perry County, Brazeau Presbyterian Church has been an incredible blessing to us as well. And we say…….