St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

Brief History of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

One hundred years ago on June 10, 1864, a constitution ,was adopted by Lutherans in Bellevue, known as the Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Congregation.

The Rev. Jacob Dornbirer, who was vicar at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fremont, was sent over to conduct services and then became the first pastor. The services were held in an old school building on Broad Street where the new addition of the Immaculate Conception School now stands.

The following names were signed to the constitution: Christian Pfefferkorn, August Keller, John F. Weiss, Carl Beiler, Philip Wallrabenstein, August Hergert, John A. Klee, Fred Beiler, William Stapf, Jacob Boehringer, Henry Walgenbach, George Brinker, William Brinker, John Engel, John Bauer, George Stapf, Philip Hasselbach, Henry Kleinlein, Martin Stapf, Carl Streck, Joseph M. Shunk, William Keller, Jacob Stroh, Louis Schwenn, and Christian Zehner .

On June 25, 1865, the first confirmation was held for the following persons: Martin Stapf, Elizabeth Loehr, Elisa Engel, Elisa Hermann, and Augusta Kleinlein.

January 1, 1866, a legal charter was recorded in Huron County.

The congregation purchased the former Methodist Church on Center Street at a price of $2,000 on December 27, 1867. During those years and until November of 1868, Rev. Dornbirer served as pastor. The Rev. Christian Buechler was then called to become pastor and served the congregation until March 17, 1883. The Rev. J. J. Sutter was installed as the successor to Rev. Buechler on December 2, 1883, but passed away on January 4, 1884.

Rev. Sutter's son, the Rev. Henry G. Sutter, then accepted a call to Bellevue and served until 1892. Shortly after his arrival the congregation purchased a lot situated at the corner of Sandusky and Green Streets and the first parsonage was erected upon it.

St. Paul's in Lyme Township, St. John's in Groton Township, and St. John's in Bellevue united in calling the Rev. W. E. Schuette as pastor in 1893, when Rev. Sutter left Bellevue.

On May 7th of the same year the congregation voted to purchase a lot at the corner of South West and Harrison Streets at a price of $2,200. May 6, 1894, a resolution was passed to build, at a contract price of $10,000, a church on the lot. On May 20th, plans were submitted by architect S. H. Shively of Fremont and accepted. Contractor C. R. Steadman of Norwalk was awarded the contract at a price of $9,175. September 9, 1894, marked the date for the cornerstone laying of this new building. Rev. Schuette was assisted by Professor F. W. Stellhorn of Columbus who preached the Ger-man sermon and the Rev. E. R. Tressel of Columbus who preached the English sermon. Sunday, July 21, 1895, dedication services were held.

August 1, 1894, a Women's Missionary Society was started to assist in the building of the new church and furnishing the interior of the church. The Young People's Society furnished the pews and the Sunday School assisted in furnishing their rooms.

The Organ Club, later called the Cotta Society, purchased a new pipe organ which was built by John H. Sole of Fremont at a cost of $1,500.

Soon after the building of the church, plans were made to dispose of the old parsonage since it was inconvenient for the pastor. A home was built just south of the church at a price of approximately $3,000.

In the fall of 1901, Rev. Schuette accepted a call to Toledo. The Rev. W. H. Lehmann became the minister for our congregation. During his pastorate in 1903, the first confirmation in English took place.

In 1911 the property north of the church, a large stone house then owned by Martin Gross, Jr., was purchased at a price of $6,250. Various societies of the church assumed the financial burden. The three properties were valued at a price of $35,000.

Transcribed by Rebecca Williams

Back to Churches Index

Back to Huron County Pages