Setting Course for Cole Camp

You will not be reading a typical blog post today. Normally, I do some family research on people who have some connection to the Lutheran churches of East Perry County. Today, I am going to document a field trip that I made yesterday with my wife, Sandi, and some friends of ours from Minnesota, Rev. Gene and Barb Chase. Since we are spending a few days together at Lake of the Ozarks, I managed to talk these folks into taking a day trip to Cole Camp, Missouri. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may remember some past posts that have mentioned this location. It happens to have certain similarities to the history of Perry County. Check out this photo I took at the Cole Camp Museum. The post office for Cole Camp was begun in 1839, the same year of the Gesellschaft’s arrival in Perry County.

German Lutherans began establishing churches in the Cole Camp not long after 1839. The first church to be established was Holy Cross Lutheran Church, which is located a few miles north of Cole Camp. It began in 1842. Here is a photo I took of that church.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church – Cole Camp, MO

A few posts on this blog have referred to Perry County characters being associated with this congregation. A post written by Clayton Erdmann titled, From Tragedy to Ministry, told the story of Rev. E.G. Bultmann, who spent a portion of his ministry at Holy Cross. I found this short bio of Rev. Bultmann in a book that can be found at the Cole Camp Museum.

Rev. E.G. Bultmann bio – Cole Camp, MO

Another character involved in the history of Holy Cross was Richard Kalbfleisch, who was a teacher at Holy Cross from 1903-1950. Teacher Kalbfleisch had served shortly at the school in Wittenberg, Missouri before accepting a call to Holy Cross in 1903. Richard would also marry a Perry County girl, Laura Gemeinhardt. If you are a reader of the books I have written as part of the Wittenberg Series, Wittenberg ’03 and Wittenberg ’04, you should recognize these two characters from those books. Below is a portion of a history of Holy Cross that mentions Teacher Kalbfleisch.

Holy Cross Lutheran School history

Quite possibly the most exciting event during the day yesterday was finding a photograph of Richard Kalbfleisch. I had not previously seen such a photo, and I have always wondered what he looked like, especially since he was a character in my books. While paging through the book containing Cole Camp’s history, I came across this short bio of Richard along with his picture.

Richard Kalbfleisch info

In the same book that included this bio, I found this photo that I think displays a class from Holy Cross with Teacher Kalbfleisch posing in front of their school building.

Teacher Kalbfleisch’s class

I wrote a post about Richard and Laura Kalbleisch a while back titled, Wittenberg Characters.

The next Lutheran church in the Cole Camp area, Mount Hulda Lutheran Church, was established in 1853. That congregation, which is located a few miles south of Cole Camp, has been served by several men who probably have connections to Perry County, but I will highlight just one of them that was discussed in the post, First Burial. Rev. Waldemar Petzoldt, who was born and raised in Wittenberg, served this congregation from 1927-1938 before becoming the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.

Mount Hulda Lutheran Church list of pastors

This congregation now worships in its third church building, which was not there when Rev. Petzoldt served. They call their present church, “The Rock Church”. Below is a photo I took of that building.

Mount Hulda Lutheran Church – Cole Camp, MO

Here is a photo of the interior of that church.

Mount Hulda Lutheran Church interior

When we visited this church yesterday, we got to meet and chat with the pastor of this church, Rev. Allen Braun and his wife. I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo of them. Not only is Rev. Braun a descendant of the Tirmenstein family that was part of the Gesellschaft, but he also is a good friend of our recent intern and docent, Faron Bartons.

The old bell from a previous Mount Hulda church building can be seen in the Cole Camp Museum.

Mount Hulda Lutheran Church bell

I must also admit my surprise when I saw this notice on the bulletin board inside this church.

Lutheran Heritage Tour notice

I may be wrong, but I don’t think our museum knows that this tour will be coming to our site this September, but now I am looking forward to this group’s arrival.

In the city limits of Cole Camp, you find Trinity Lutheran Church, which was established in 1896. Here is a photo of that church.

Trinity Lutheran Church – Cole Camp, MO

Next to this church is the school that is operated by the Cole Camp Lutheran churches. It is called the Lutheran School Association.

Lutheran School Association – Cole Camp, MO

One other Lutheran church in this area is St. John’s Lutheran Church, which was begun in 1871. We did not visit that church yesterday.

If you ever get to Cole Camp, make sure you visit the Cole Camp Museum which is located right in the heart of this little town.

Cole Camp Museum

We discovered before we made the trip yesterday that the museum was not open on Mondays and Tuesdays, but we called to see if they would open for us. We were graciously received by these two ladies, who both happen to be members of Mount Hulda Lutheran Church. We are so grateful for their willingness to come to the museum and accommodate us.

Cole Camp Museum docents

I cannot resist showing one more photo I took at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. When Barb Chase, a pastor’s wife, saw this sign, she quizzed her husband why she never had such a specially-designated parking spot.

2 thoughts on “Setting Course for Cole Camp

  1. Enjoyed your article on Cole Camp, Mo. My husband is John Fadler and he was the teacher who reopened Holy Cross Lutheran School 8 years after Mr. Kalbfleisch retired. He taught in this one room school for 2 years till the Association was formed and then taught 11 years there. I am the former Pauline Doering Fadler I married John Fadler from Perryville, Mo. on April 6, 1958. Holy Cross was his first assignment and we stayed there for 13 years. Another former member of Trinity Altenburg was also a teacher at the Association Karen Fritsche Harms, she married Cecil Harms and was a member of St. Johns. One of Trinity’s former teachers Elroy Heimsoth was also from Trinity Cole Camp. The pastor at Trinity also has Altenburg connections. His grandparents were Rueben and Norma Mueller I believe they belonged to Immanuel. My husband John was honored to be one of the pall bearers for Mr. Kalbfleisch. Walter Richter was also a teacher at Trinity Cole Camp, he to was from the Perry County area. So many connections.

    John and Pauline Fadler


  2. Rev Truwe of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cole Camp has ties to Frohna. His mother is Faye Truwe daughter of Ruben and Norman Mueller of Frohna.


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