Karl Friedrich Ferdinand Schnake - 1860
Karl (later Carl or Charles) Friedrich Ferdinand Schnake was born on May 17, 1860 in house #73 in the tiny hamlet of Tengern, in Kreis Lübbecke (the county of Lübbecke), in Provinz Westfalen (the Province of Westphalia), a part of Königreich Prueßen (the Kingdom of Prussia).
Karl was baptized on March 20, 1860 at the Evangelische Kirche Schnathorst in the nearby village of Schnathorst, which was large enough to support a church and pastor. Tengern is located just south of the towns of Holsen, Schnathorst and Hüllhorst in Westfalen where my Struckmeier ancestors originated.
Karl's parents were Karl Friedrich Ferdinand (Ferdinand) Schnake (1827-1883) and Anne Marie Louise (Louise) Kottmeier (1833-1910). He was the second of three children. The first, Karl Christian Ludwig Schnake, died five days after his birth. Karl Friedrich Ferdinand Schnake arrived two years later.
A 1924 obituary stated that Karl Schnake was born in the "so-called Ravensberg Land" (or "Ravensbergerland" in the Eden Seminary archives). This refers to a region that took its name from the historic Grafschaft Ravensberg (County of Ravensberg), which was a part of the Heiligen Römischen Reiches (Holy Roman Empire) in eastern Westfalen from about 1200 to 1614. While I don't believe that Tengern was actually a part of that historic county, nonetheless the name Ravensberg Land was broadly applied to the area. I do know that Bielefeld, the town about 20 miles away where Karl Schnake later went to study for the diaconate, was within the historic Grafschaft Ravensberg.
early education and work
From ages 14 to 20, Karl was a student in Prussian normal schools. At this time, Prussia considered education important, and provided free public education even for the children of peasants and farmers.
Karl later described his early years:
Brüderhaus Nazareth in Bielefeld
Beginning in 1880, Karl spent four years as a student for the diaconate at the Brüderhaus Nazareth in Bielefeld, Westfalen, Prueßen. Bielefeld is an industrialized town less than 20 miles south of the farming villages of Tengern, Schnathorst, and Hüllhorst.
Pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh had founded the Brüderhaus Nazareth school for deacons in 1877 as part of a larger complex, the Bethel-Institut für Epileptiker und Idioten (Bethel Institute for Epileptics and Idiots) at Bielefeld, which had been founded by the Prussian Evangelical church in 1867.
In 1900, author William Pryor Letchworth described the Bethel Institute in his book Care and Treatment of Epileptics, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, Knickerbocker Press):
A Colony of Mercy
In 1892, author Julie Sutter visited Bethel Colony and was very impressed with what she saw. In 1893, she published a book about its history and operations called A Colony of Mercy: or, Social Christianity at Work. The New York Times reviewed the book on January 1, 1894 in an article entitled "Helped to Help Themselves."
An 1895 biographical sketch suggests that while Karl Schnake was a student at the Brüderhaus Nazareth, he also taught at the Bethel Colony.
de Christelijke Huis in Haarlem, Kingdom of the Netherlands
In 1884, after four years of studying for "Inner Mission" work, Karl was offered a position as a deacon at a home for epileptics in the city of Haarlem in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Author William Pryor Letchworth also described this Dutch facility in his 1900 publication Care and Treatment of Epileptics:
After about six months in Haarlem, Karl was asked to become a Hausvater (house father) but he decided not to accept in order to pursue a ministry in foreign missions. About two years after he arrived in Holland, he departed for the United States to pursue a theological education there.
Karl Friedrich Ferdinand Schnake arrived in New York City from Bremen, Germany aboard the S. S. Hermann on July 7, 1886.
From 1886 to 1889, Karl finished his theological education at Eden Seminary in Wellston, Missouri, located just outside of the city of St. Louis.
Die Deutsche Evangelische Synode von Nord-Amerika
At the time, Eden Theological Seminary trained pastors for Die Deutsche Evangelische Synode von Nord-Amerika (the German Evangelical Synod of North America) formed from a merger of several German Evangelical synods in the United States in 1872. The Synod had its roots in a pastors' association formed in 1840 at Gravois Settlement (now Mehlville, Missouri) and just ten years later they established a seminary, the Evangelischen Predigerseminar (Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary) near the town of Marthasville, in Warren County. By 1866, this German Evangelical pastor's association grew to become Die Deutsche Evangelishe Synode des Westens (the German Evangelical Synod of the West).
The various German Evangelical church bodies in North America traced their roots to Die Evangelische Kirche der Preußischen Union (the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union) in Germany. It grew out of an early nineteenth century union between Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinistic) churches. In 1817, the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm III, wanted a unified Protestant church and he issued a “Call to Union” to the two Protestant churches founded by Luther and Calvin. Part of his motivation was his grief that he had been unable to receive communion with his late wife because she was Lutheran and he was Reformed. In 1817, the Lutheran and Reformed traditions were united into one state church—Die Evangelische Kirche der Preußischen Union. Later, this church was called Die Evangelische Kirche der Altpreußischen Union (the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union).
The name "evangelical," which simply means “of the gospel,” was a political compromise between the two theological traditions. In the nineteenth century, the term "Evangelical" indicated a blending of Lutheran and Reformed traditions. In the United States however, the Evangelical churches were predominantly Lutheran in practice and custom.
Eden Seminary in Wellston, Missouri
When Karl Schnake attended, Eden Seminary was located on the western outskirts of Saint Louis in the town of Wellston. It was originally known as the Evangelischen Predigerseminar (Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary), the school that had been established by the preacher's association in the summer of 1850 in a rural valley four miles east of Marthasville, Missouri. The location was isolated, and in October 1883, the seminary moved to Wellston, where the students had better access to transportation, libraries, and many German Evangelical churches. (In 1924, another relocation brought the seminary to its present location in Webster Groves, Missouri.)
In 1886, the new College und der Theologischen Seminar der Deutschen Evangelischen Synode (College and Theological Seminary of the German Evangelical Synod) was situated on 19 acres fronting on St. Charles Rock Road at the intersection of Lucas and Hunt Road. Eden Station, a stop on the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad was nearby. A streetcar could travel from the Eden Station to downtown St. Louis in 30 minutes. The students spoke of making the trip to Eden, and the name began to apply to their school which was soon known as "the seminary at Eden."
Eden was an ironic name for a place so rugged and austere. The men followed arigid schedule of lectures, dictation, and manual labor. They were only allowed to leave the seminary on Saturday afternoons, and they were forbidden to go to the theater or a saloon or to have anything to do with women. All classes were in German. There was a gradual relaxation and modernization over the years. English was introduced in the 1890's and students were allowed to become engaged in 1900. Karl Schnake missed those later reforms.
ordination at Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Pauls Gemeinde
He graduated from Eden Seminary and was ordained on June 23, 1889 at Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Pauls Gemeinde, (St. Paul's Evangelical Church) at 1808 South Ninth Street near Soulard Street in the Soulard neighborhood of South St. Louis, Missouri. Today, the congregation is St. Paul United Church of Christ, 3510 Giles Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63116 (314-772-4772) ( Rev. Tom Ressler, supply pastor - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Four decades earlier, when the Rev. Adolph Baltzer, an Evangelical pietist, resigned as pastor of St. Marcus Church over issues of church discipline, he and his supporters founded St. Paul Church on October 23, 1848. Worship services were first held in the pastor’s house at 9th St. south of Soulard on Dec. 31, 1848. A new church, dedicated on the same site on Feb. 17, 1850, included the parochial school and living quarters for the pastor and school teacher. A larger church was dedicated on the same site on Nov. 8, 1874 and expanded again in 1875. Rev. Jacob Irion was pastor of St. Paul's from 1882 to 1922.
Carl Schnake's first German-speaking parish was at Femme Osage in St. Charles County, Missouri where he served from 1889 to 1895.
The Eden Seminary archives don't list a name for this congregation. It just says "Evangelical." The Augusta Evangelical Church was founded in 1833 and may be a possibility for the parish he served. Today, it is Augusta Femme Osage UCC, 4360 Cappeln Osage Road, Augusta, MO 63332-1118 (636-228-4586) (Rev. Bruce Alan Moeller - email@example.com). At the time, it may have been called Die Deutsche Evangelische Augusta Gemeinde.
marriage and children
On October 24, 1889, the Rev. Karl Friedrich Ferdinand Schnake married Anna Catherine Louise Charlotte Struckmeier. (Although her family called her Catherine, a biographical sketch published in 1885 referred to her as "Annie" and it appears that Anna was her preferred name during her adult life.)
Anna Catherine Louise Charlotte Struckmeier - 1865
Anna Catherine Louise Charlotte Struckmeier was born on February 21, 1865 at house #27 in the village of Hüllhorst, Kreise Lübbecke, Provinz Westfalen, Königreich Prueßen, not far from the tiny hamlet of Tengern. Anna was the seventh of nine children born to Karl Struckmeier and Anna Greimann. All four daughters were named Anna, so most went by a middle name. While growing up, Anna Catherine Louise Charlotte was known in her family as Charlotte, but after her marriage she was sometimes known as Catherine, but usually as Anna or Annie.
Anton Karl Friedrich Struckmeier, who was known as Karl, was born on November 17, 1822 in house #16 in the village of Holsen. Anna Katherina Louise Charlotte Greimann was born on November 9, 1826 in house #27 in the neighboring village of Hüllhorst. They married on February 3, 1850 and had ten children, all born at #27 Hüllhorst. They emigrated from Germany on August 29, 1872 and arrived in New York on September 21st. They settled in the small farming town of Hoyleton on the southern Illinois prairie about twelve miles southwest of Centralia in Washington County.
How Carl Schnake and Anna Struckmeier met is unknown. However, Schnake families from Schnathorst in Westfalen had settled in the town as early as the 1860s. Family members had farms in several towns in Washington Township, including Hoyleton, New Minden, North Prairie, and Nashville. Most likely, Carl may have traveled from Wellston, Missouri to Hoyleton, Illinois to visit relatives and while there met Anna Struckmeyer who attended Die Deutsche Evangelische Zions Gemeinde, or the Zion German Evangelical Congregation in that town.
Anna Struckmeier and Karl Schnake had eight children who were born in Missouri and Illinois over the next 21 years:
Emmaus Asyl für Epileptiker und Idioten
Just about seven miles west of Femme Osage is the town of Marthasville in Warren County. Four miles east of Marthasville, and three miles west of Femme Osage, was the site of the former Evangelischen Predigerseminar (Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary). The buildings had been vacated in October 1883 when the school, now known as Eden Seminary, moved to its new location in Wellston, Missouri. A group of pastors and lay people from the surrounding German Evangelical churches sought ways to use the facilities for a good purpose. Rev. Carl Schnake was one of those people. Based on his experiences in Germany and Holland with compassionate homes for people with epilepsy, he recommended the establishment of a facility on the old seminary grounds.
In 1892, the Deutsche Evangelische Synode von Nord-Amerika (German Evangelical Synod of North America) voted to set aside its former seminary property as a home for epileptics to be called the Emmaus Asyl für Epileptiker und Idioten (Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Idiots) for persons with mental retardation and epilepsy. Pastor Carl Schnake became the first superintendent of the home when it opened on July 4, 1893. The first resident arrived on July 5th, coming from New Orleans. Emmaus was the first institution of its kind west of the Mississippi.
In the 1900 book by William Pryor Letchworth entitled Care and Treatment of Epileptics, the author describes the Emmaus Asylum near Marthasville, Missouri:
The Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Idiots was also known as the Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, and later was called the Emmaus Home for Epileptics and the Mentally Retarded. Today, Emmaus Homes is a ministry of the United Church of Christ and continues to serve developmentally disabled people in a number of locations in the St. Charles, Missouri area.
In a history of Emmaus Homes on their web site, they state:
Apparently, while serving as superintendent of Emmaus, Carl Schnake also continued to serve as pastor of the church in Femme Osage.
1895 biographical sketch
The following is an excerpt from a book published in 1895—Portrait and Biographical Record of St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties, Missouri: Containing Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the Counties (Chicago: Chapman Publishing House, 1895, pp. 354-355)
additional Missouri parishes
From 1896 to 1897 Carl Schnake was pastor of Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Marcus Gemeinde, or Saint Marcus Evangelical Church, in Rhineland, Montgomery, Missouri. The church no longer exists. Located on the north bank of the Missouri River, Rhineland was devastated by water in the Great Flood of 1993. It became the first town to accept federal funds to move out of a flood plain. All the houses in the town were moved about 1½ miles uphill.
In 1897, Carl Schnake was pastor at nearby Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Johannes Gemeinde, or Saint John Evangelical Church, in High Hill, Montgomery, Missouri, founded in 1887. Today, it is High Hill St. John's United Church of Christ, 202 Spruce Street, High Hill, MO 63350-1201 (Donald L. Deeker - firstname.lastname@example.org).
A handwritten entry in the Eden archive records and his obituary both show that Pastor Schnake served at a congregation in Drake, Gasconade, Missouri sometime between his service at Femme Osage and his first Illinois parish at Stone Church. No specific date or congregation is given. This church probably did not survive. There are no United Church of Christ congregations in the area today.
By 1897, Rev. Carl Schnake had moved his family to Washington County, Illinois near the town of Hoyleton where Anna's family had settled in 1872 and some members of the Schnake family from Schnathorst had also settled.
From 1897 (perhaps as early as 1896) to 1899, Carl Schnake served as pastor at Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Peter Gemeinde, or Saint Peter Evangelical Church, in Stone Church, Washington, Illinois. Stone Church is about 18 miles west of Hoyleton.
Anna gave birth to their son Armin (April 2, 1896) in Hoyleton and their daughter Olga Charlotte (August 9, 1897) was born there as well. Both children died in infancy at about the age of three months, and both are buried in the Hoyleton Zion Cemetery.
Carl and Anna Schnake remained in Illinois until 1900. That year's census lists them in Johannesburg [Johannisburg] Township, Washington, Illinois. Johannisburg is about two miles north of Stone Church.
From about 1899 to 1900, Carl served at Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Johannes Gemeinde, or Saint John Evangelical Church, which was founded in Johannisburg in 1837.
Today, the church is St. John's UCC, 11360 Main Street, Johannisburg, IL 62214-1420 (618-824-6298) (Rev. Kenneth G. Richter - email@example.com).
It is possible that Carl served the two neighboring congregations concurrently just before the turn of the century.
Anna gave birth to their son Emil Heinrich Christian on February 26, 1899. He was baptized at St. John's church in Johannisburg on March 22, 1899. His middle names came from his baptismal sponsors Heinrich Struckmeier and Christian Koelling. Heinrich (also known as Henry or Hy) was Anna's older brother and Christ Koelling was married to Anna's sister Louise.
parishes in Missouri and Illinois
From 1900 to 1903, Carl Schnake served at Die Deutsche Evangelische Ebenezer Gemeinde, or Ebenezer Evangelical Church, in Boeuf Creek, Franklin, Missouri. Boeuf Creek is a stream that flows through Franklin county, but apparently a town by that name no longer exists. There is a Boeuf Township, near the town of New Haven in Franklin county. But the UCC church in New Haven is Saint Peter's, not Ebenezer.
Wherever this town and congregation was, this must have been where the Schnake's son Alfred was born in 1901.
In 1903, Carl Schnake went to Die Deutsche Evangelische Bellefontaine Gemeinde (the German Evangelical Bellefontaine Church) founded in 1892 to serve the small farming community of Chesterfield, Missouri. It later became Saint John Evangelical Church in Chesterfield, Saint Louis, Missouri. The Eden archives show that he was there until 1912. Today, this congregation is St. John's United Church of Christ, 15370 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield, MO 63017, (636-532-0540). (Rev. Dale Bartels - firstname.lastname@example.org).
Another archive entry shows that Carl served there again from 1908 to 1913. To add to the confusion, during this period they also have him serving at Zion Evangelical Church in Central City, Marion, Illinois from 1907 to 1909.
Based on this information, the likely scenario is that Carl Schnake served at Saint John in Chesterfield, Missouri from 1903 to about 1907. Then he went back to Illinois to serve at Zion in Central City until 1909, and finally returned to Saint John in Chesterfield from 1909 until about 1913.
To support this hypothesis is the amazing coincidence that Rev. Gustav Adolf Zimmer, another family relation on the Sagner side of the family, served at Saint John in Chesterfield from 1907 to 1909, in between Carl Schnake's two pastorates there. (See Gustav Zimmer and Anna Sagner)
In 1910, the Schnake's son Reinhardt was born in Missouri. The scenario above would indicate that he was probably born in Chesterfield. We have no census records of Pastor Carl Schnake in 1910.
From 1913 to 1918, Carl Schnake served at Die Deutsche Evangelische Ebenezer Gemeinde, or Ebenezer Evangelical Church, in Levasy, Jackson, Missouri, located east of Independence and Kansas City. The church was founded in 1892. Today, it is Levasy Ebenezer United Church of Christ, 206 W Old Lexington Road, Levasy, MO 64066-0000 (816-650-3653) (Rev. Stephan J. Redman - email@example.com).
parishes in Iowa
From 1918 to 1920, the Eden archives show Carl Schnake at Saint John Evangelical Church in Fremont Township, Butler, Iowa. The 1920 federal census also lists the family in Fremont, Butler, Iowa. Charles Schnake (59) is listed as a "preacher gospel" in a "church." Also in the household are Anna (50), Emily ? [Emil] (20), Alfred (19), and Reinhardt (10). But Fremont Township includes no incorporated communities. A map from 1895 shows only farms and a cemetery. An Internet search shows that no churches are located in the township today. There are additional Fremont Townships in other Iowa counties, but these two sources specify Butler County. There is an incorporated town in Iowa named Fremont, but it is in Mahaska County, and there are no UCC churches there today. So exactly where St. John's was and what became of it is unknown.
An entry in the Eden Seminary archives says that Carl Schnake served a church at Nashua, Iowa with no date or specific congregation provided. This also corresponds with his obituary. Nashua is a city in Chickasaw and Floyd counties. This congregation may have been Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Johannes Gemeinde, or St. John's Evangelical Church founded in 1888. Today, it is Nashua St. John's United Church of Christ, 10009 Union Street, Nashua, IA 50658-9468 (Rev. Charles L. Dorsey - no email address).
In an utterly non-related but interesting aside, Nashua is also the site of a congregation originally called the Puritan Congregational Church, but now known as "The Little Brown Church in the Vale." This congregation claims the distinction of being the church referred to in the hymn "The Church in the Wildwood." In their online history, they state:
It is unlikely that Carl Schnake served this congregation because it came from the English-speaking Congregational tradition rather than the German-speaking Evangelical tradition.
final parishes in Illinois
From 1921 to 1922, Carl Schnake was back in Illinois, serving at Die Deutsche Evangelische St. Paul Gemeinde, or Saint Paul Evangelical Church in Bible Grove, Clay County, Illinois, south of Effingham. Today, there is a St. Paul's United Church of Christ located about seven miles south of Bible Grove in Louisville, Illinois. It was founded in 1881. The Louisville St. Paul's United Church of Christ is at 19754 1st Avenue, Louisville, IL 62858-0000 (no pastor listed and no email address).
Finally, from 1923 to 1924, the Schnakes returned to Anna's home town of Hoyleton, Washington, Illinois where according to the Eden archives he served at her home congregation, Die Deutsche Evangelische Zions Gemeinde, or Zion German Evangelical Congregation. However the history of the Zion congregation in their diamond jubilee booklet (1936) shows that the pastor during that period was Rev. Daniel Bierbaum who served there from 1923 to 1927. It does not list Carl Schnake as a pastor. It is possible that Carl Schnake was in ill health at this time and may have served in some fashion as an associate pastor at Zion under the leadership of Pastor Bierbaum.
death and burial
Rev. Carl Schnake died on July 9, 1924 in Hoyleton, Washington, Illinois at age 64. Anna (Struckmeier) Schnake died on July 13, 1930 also in Hoyleton at age 65. They are both buried in Zion Evangelical Cemetery in Hoyleton.
sons in the ministry
Carl Schnake's eldest son, Paul Carl Schnake (b. August 16, 1890), and his second youngest son, Alfred Schnake (b. 1901) both became Evangelical ministers and studied at Eden Seminary. The Seminary moved from Wellston to Webster Groves in 1924.