December 28, 2015

New Year Make-over

Dear Readers, 
As we look ahead to another year, our Historian's Blog is also getting an updated look after several years. A work in process, and continual learning curve for this "technology-challenged" Historian. 

Often times change brings disruption. As articles are added, some tidying up will be required and past posts edited in order to fit the new format. Otherwise, like in life, we shall keep moving forward. 

Hopefully you will find this contemporary look appealing as we reflect on our past. 

Thanks so much for your faithful interest, and patience during this transition. 

God's Blessings to all for a Happy New Year!

August 19, 2015

Confirmation Class - 1882

First Row (left to right)-
Emma Stepler, Ida Rhoda, John Henry Frail.
Second Row-
Rev. J.H. Stepler, Tillie Snook, Emma Snook.
Third Row (standing)-
Mollie Zietz, Mary Beck, Ada Cook, William Zietz.

Special appreciation to Bettye Jo Frail for loaning the photograph. John Henry Frail was her grandfather, and great-grandfather of her nieces Jane King and Karen Elwer.  

July 29, 2015

Our Organ Speaks

Sure I can speak! For the past 46 years as a musical instrument I have spoken God's message to members. My church has always been noted for its emphasis on good music. My immediate predecessor was a two manual pipe organ installed in 1891 during Rev. Christian Baum's pastorate at a cost of $1,500. 
Following the close of World War I, it became apparent that a new organ was needed. On June 30, 1920, a special organ committee recommended the purchase of a Skinner organ with chimes and echoes. This committee was composed of: Miss Ella Eysenbach, Mr. Fred Herold, Mr. Oscar Frey, and Chairman Mr. Henry Deisel, Sr. On July 18, 1920 the congregation authorized the committee to purchase the organ.
September 18, 1921 was a great dedication day for me! The renowned organist and choir master Edwin Arthur Kraft, of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio, officiated at my controls. And, this article appeared in the Lima News and Times Democrat:

"A new pipe organ, installed in the First Reformed Church at a cost of about $15,000 will be dedicated with appropriate services Sunday.The organ is the largest and most capable of variations of any similar instrument in the city."

(From an article written by past historian Lee Van Blargan- October, 1967)

The above collage of our current three manual console organ, built by the Schantz Organ Co., Orrville, Ohio. Purchased from the Muller Pipe Organ Co., January 24, 1979 at the cost of approximately $20,ooo. And like the echoes of organs past, continues to majestically speak and musically inspire our congregation. 

June 18, 2015

Consistory - 1915

1st Row (Seated left to right)-
Henry Deisel, Sr. (Elder), Dr. Frederick G. Stueber (Elder), Louis Koch (Elder), Rev. Tillman W. Hoernemann, William Rhoda (Elder). 

2nd Row-
Rudolph Geiser (Deacon), Edward Snook (Deacon), Thomas Schulz (Deacon), Thomas Burkhardt (Trustee and Secretary), Valentine Heil (Trustee), William Wemmer (Trustee). 

3rd Row-
Henry Wemmer (Trustee and Treasurer), Oscar Frey (Deacon), George Klein (Trustee), Philip Dinkel (Deacon).   

June 2, 2015

Prominent Citizen

     Henry Deisel, Sr., was born in Gieselwerder, Germany on June 6, 1862. At the age of nineteen, he emigrated to America, coming to Lima in 1881. He had received a good education and was skillfully instructed in the craft of cigar making. In the early days, Henry rolled cigars at his home assisted by his wife, Emma Wolf Deisel, selling the product to the public. 
     He became associated with Henry Sonntag, a local pioneer of the profession. Through this association he met William and Henry Wemmer in 1891, forming the Deisel-Wemmer Co., later known as the Deisel-Wemmer-Gilbert Corporation.  
(Postcard image of the Deisel-Wemmer cigar factory)

     Initially the cigar company operated a small shop at 326 N. Main Street. Later a larger building on Main at the Pennsylvania R.R. was erected, with branches rapidly extending throughout the region. Soon the Deisel-Wemmer establishment became well known throughout the country and eventually worldwide. 
     Henry Deisel was also a deeply religious man. After early joining the German Reformed Church, his musical talents were immediately recognized. He became Choir Director for many decades, leading anthems in both German and English. On January 19, 1911, Mr. Deisel along with Fred Herold and George Urich as assistant directors formed the popular men's singing ensemble "Der Maennerchor" which was highly acclaimed in the area. 
     Blessed with an abundance of material goods and talents, Henry Deisel remained true to his Christian convictions, being a generous benevolent gentleman. 
      Sadly the vibrant life of Mr. Deisel came to a tragic end when he was thrown by his horse while riding on Eastown Road, suffering a heart attack, on November 29, 1932. 

      On the following day, this tribute was published in The Lima News:

"Lima became distinctly poorer yesterday through the death of Henry Deisel, Sr. The passing of this kindly friend and valuable citizen left a vacancy in the community that coming generations will find difficult to fill."
     Just a few days before his death, Mr. Deisel was honored at a banquet given in his honor by forty members of the choir. He expressed these humble words of appreciation:

"As long as the Lord gives me strength, I want to continue this work of church music for I have gotten to know the members of this choir and I love them."

[Coincidental note: Twenty-four hours after Mr. Deisel's passing, his associate in the cigar business, friend and fellow church member, William J. Wemmer, also died of a heart attack in Indianapolis...]

May 4, 2015

Women with a Mission

The Women's Missionary Society - 1938 
President - Miss Clara Greding

Front Row (Seated left to right)- 
Mrs. August Schaefer, Mrs. Anna Urich, Mrs. Anna Koch, Mrs. Cass Dibling, Lillian Klein Gerstenlauer, Inez Herold, Anna Klein, Clara Greding, Mrs. Mary Perry, Mrs. Lizzie King, Mrs. Anna Kinzer, Mrs. William Rhoda, Mrs. Philip Stelzer, Miss Sophia Hoff, Mrs. Bertha Holtkamp.  

Second Row (Standing left to right)
Mrs. Otto Gehm, Mrs. Lena Hart, Mrs. Anna Jerold, Mrs. Fred Snook, Mrs. Emma Weller Metheny, Mary Headapohl, Mrs. Mollie Weber, Miss Lena Stelzer, Mrs. Enos Burkholder, Mrs. Carl Rhoda, Miss Gretchen Albert, Mrs. Phillip Dinkel, Mrs. Anna Walker, Mrs. Katherine Steiner, Mrs. Thiesing, Mrs. Martha Garmhausen. 

April 14, 2015

Service with a Smile

Maxine Saddler
(Church Secretary for many years beginning February, 1956)  

      The following excerpt was from an undated article featured in The Lima News during the time of Maxine's service to our church:


(by Terri Leffler, Lima News Staff Writer)

       Serving some 1,000 church members in numerous capacities is her job.                   
       She is Mrs. Howard (Maxine) Saddler, First Evangelical & Reformed United Church of Christ church secretary. For six years Maxine has worked in the church office and says her activities range from sharpening pencils to attending women's meetings to keep up with various interests.  Mrs. Saddler is a member of Zion Lutheran Church, however, and explains she can better serve First E&R as a neutral party.   

       Among her services are such things as posting weekly envelope offerings, mailing all congregational literature, filling out certificates for baptisms, weddings, funerals, confirmations, and mimeographing Sunday bulletins, as well as program booklets and a monthly three page newspaper.                                                                                                                   

       Mrs. Saddler works the number of hours daily required to do her job. She says usually this is about four to six hours, and admits this arrangement is one of the nicest things about her job. "Actually," she declares, "I like the work very much- every part of it..." 

     The article mentioned Maxine was the secretary at her own church (Zion Lutheran) for five and a half years prior to accepting the position at First E&R. In her free time, Maxine and her husband were active members of the Floral Garden Club, which she served as Treasurer. They were also members of the Feather and Fin Fish Club.                                                                 

March 3, 2015

Confirmation Class - 1938

Confirmands with Rev. Reuben J. Schroer (in alphabetical order)-

John Alstetter, Betty Rose Arnold, Amelia Benny, Jean Chenoweth, Jack Crumrine, Eugene Denison, Dorothy Fridley, Dorothy Gierhart, Dorthala Gilmer, Joan Jennings, Jean McClintock, Rose Mumper, Betty Reese, Bruce Ring, Marilyn Stilgenbauer, Ruth Timmerman, Mary Walker, Eleanor Wildermuth.   

Confirmation Class - 1908

Confirmands with Rev. A.G. Gekeler (in alphabetical order)-

Mary Andregg, Alvina Armbrust, Harry Bauer, Martha Boegel, Leroy Clausing, William Degen, Helen Dickman, Edna Dinkel, Irene Dinkel, Sophia Feil, Ernest Guenther, Myrtle Haege, Frieda Herold, Amelia Leidner, Rupert Neubrecht, Irene Rhoda, Fred Schlosser, Evelyn Woll.   

February 4, 2015

Faithful Steward

Mr. George Klein
January 6, 1855 - December 26, 1932

     The outstanding record of Mr. George Klein, former Elder and choir member, cannot be erased from the memories of our congregation.  When God called him to a higher service on December 26, 1932, at the age of 77 years, Mr. Klein left an imprint on the life of the church he loved which is still plainly visible...
     The son of Martin and Catherine Herold Klein, George was born at Eubingheim, Baden, Germany on January 6, 1855, and came to the United States in 1872.  He soon became identified with the German Reformed Church of Lima, and as a young man joined the choir and was elected to the consistory. He was a member of the Building Committee for the 1887 church edifice. For almost 60-years he was a faithful member of the choir...and served as Elder of the consistory for about 40-years. Klein's devotion to his duties was unparalleled and he would give much attention to the sick. Often serving as a delegate to the Synod, he was also active in the Men's Bible Class of the Sunday School.  
     In a resolution adopted by the consistory on January 9, 1933, after his departure, it is recited:
     "The congregation will be lonesome without him. He gave to his church the best labor of his heart. In expressing our sympathy in the church's loss, we pray that the youth of the congregation may imitate his steadfastness, his faithfulness, and his loyalty to the cause of Christianity..."

(Information from the First E&R 100th Anniversary booklet)