Founding Members of Clarks Fork Lutheran Church

Founding Members of Clarks Fork Lutheran Church

While Lutheran services had been conducted in Clarks Fork as early as 1857 by Paster Henry Jöngel (Joengel, Jarngel) from Immanuel Lutheran Church of Pleasant Grove, in 1860 it was decided to organize an independent congregation. According to Patty Dick's 2010 Clarks Fork Trinity Lutheran Church 1860-2010 the following 28 individuals (whom Dick has listed as 18 'families') were founding members [presented here in alphabetical order by last name]:

  1. Charles and Christian Brandes
  2. Fred Fricke
  3. Sophie, Henry and Christian Friedmeyer
  4. William Kahle
  5. Henry Kaune
  6. Henry, Ferdinand and William Langkop
  7. Louis Lebbing
  8. Marinus Longers
  9. John and Jacob King
  1. Jens Martensen
  2. Peter, Albert and Daniel Muntzel
  3. Peter Nohrenberg
  4. Ferdinand Ohlendorf
  5. David Rau (Rowe)
  6. Otto Schmalfeldt
  7. John, Nicolaus and Leonard Schmidt
  8. Bernhard Vieth
  9. Peter Wehmeier

These 28 names are the same those in the National Historical Company's 1883 History of Howard and Cooper Counties, Missouri and W.F. Johnson's 1919 History of Cooper County, Missouri. Both of these [relatively contemporary] works list the 28 individuals separately (see Johnson).

Conversely, an article on the church's history by Marcella Brickner in the 1990 Memorabilia of Cooper County (Ed. Mary Wiemholt, original publisher Curtis Media, Dallas) identified them by family relationship, as repeated 20 years later by Patty Dick. Neither Brickner nor Dick specify what the relationships were, e.g. whether siblings, parents and children, cousins, or other. While some of the multiple entries are known to be 'families', no evidence thus far has emerged of any family relationship between Jacob and John King.

Patty Dick's 2010 history also notes on page 3 that "at first [before the Clarks Fork church was constructed] the people met for worship in homes, later in the Washington School. It is probable that John Koenke, who later changed his name to King, assisted in making arrangements for such services."

While John King was clearly influential in the establishment and development of the Clarks Fork church, and no doubt did assist with arrangements for the services, it is also probable that David Rowe, Daniel Muntzel, Ferdinand Ohlendorf, Jacob King and others who lived much closer to Washington School were centrally involved, and would have had a more direct interest in that location than did John King.

David Rowe's property was immediately north of Washington School (and Jacob King's property just northwest of his), with Daniel Muntzel's and Ferdinand Ohlendorf's property just south of the school, as can be seen in this plat map extract.

John King, conversely, lived considerably further away, as judged by travel in those times, immediately north of the present Zion Lutheran Church Lone Elm, diagonally across the road from Chris Toellner, as can be seen in this map. Having a church closer to where he lived was one of the reasons why King was also later one of the founding members of the Lone Elm church, after enough German Lutherans were living further southward on the Lone Elm prairies to make this possible.

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Page Last Updated 15 September 2016