Founding of our Congregation

It was in the year 1836 that the family of Friedrich Buuck arrived in Fort Wayne and purchased a tract of land, sight unseen, about 16 miles southeast of Fort Wayne in the northwest corner of Adams County. Upon this tract of land, the Buuck family built the first log cabin in the area. Soon other families began to arrive and thus was formed a small settlement which later was given the name of "Friedheim."

In June of 1837, a young pastor from Fort Wayne, Jesse Hoover, found out about this small settlement of German Lutherans. Making the trip either on foot or on horseback, Pastor Hoover began paying regular visits to conduct services in the homes of the settlers.

On February 25, 1838, this small group met to organize a congregation, the first rural congregation in Adams County. At this meeting six candidates were nominated and two weeks later, on March 11, the first election of officers were held. The first officers of the congregation were Friedrich Buuck (Elder) and Christian Fuhrman and Heinrich Loeffler (Deacons). The charter members of the congregation, 26 adults and 30 children, were as follows:

Fuhrman, Christian, wife Barbara, and children Philip, Jacob, Barbara, Christian, Charley, Henry, Davie

Gabel, Adam, wife Sophia, and children Charlotte, Dorothy

Kiefer, George and wife Katherina

Repper, Ludwig, wife Sophia, and child Ludwig

Muesing, Christian, wife Christina, and children Christian, Christina, Louise, Sophia, Frederick, Ellenora, Marie

Stoppenhagen, Ernst

Buuck, Friedrich, wife Margaretha, and children Charlotte, Sophia, Louisa, Dietrich, Helena

Loeffler, Heinrich and wife Margareta

Kleinschmidt, Christian, wife Elisabeth, and children Christian, Carolina, Sophia

Reinking, Conrad Frederic, wife Maria, and children Eliza, Conrad, Aernhardina, Augusta, Sophia, Helena

Kaaze, Louis and wife (name not known at this time)

Conrad, George, wife Frederica, and children William, Frederic

There are many current members who can trace their roots back to these charter members of Friedheim. In the 160th year of our congregation, 1998, membership at the begin of the year was 493 baptized members and 366 communicant members. Truly the Lord has blessed us these many years. May He continue to sustain each family here at Zion as we endeavor to be a "House of Peace" and a "Harbor of Hope" in the future.

It might be interesting to reflect back on some of the school records of our Friedheim school. About one year ago while sifting through some boxes in the Parish Hall, the attendance records from 1928 were uncovered. There were 42 pupils back then, all recorded by the teacher Mr. Nielsen.

Back then there were no computers or any of the modern conveniences we have grown accustomed to. And yet, there are many notations which all students both young and old can relate to. In the 1928/1929 school year, the first day of school was September 4, 1928 and ran through May 24, 1929. There were approximately 170 school days compared to our 180 days. No, there was not spring break that year but school was canceled in the fall for the fair.

Yes, inclement weather caused school to be canceled due to "bad roads" and numerous "flu" cases. And in April, the eighth grade did not return to school once they were confirmed.

The notations for school absences are all given. Linda was absent due to a sprained ankle and Edwin was simply "injured." Other interesting notations are "funeral," "had to work," and one interesting one "went to town." In the fall and spring, some students had to "work" while others left to be vaccinated or were quarantined for diphtheria. One humorous notation mentions that an eighth grader missed two days in the first week of school because he had to "hunt."

As we begin school at Wyneken, I hope and pray that our present students can have just as many pleasant memories as those in the past. God has blessed our parish with a fine school and dedicated teachers and staff. May we continue to learn of Him who is the creator of all and sustains those who place their hope in Him.

To further spiritual growth, to promote fellowship, and to serve the congregation and the church at large, various organizations have been formed in the congregation. Following is a brief sketch of some of the organizations of our congregation.

Earliest records of a choir date back to sometime before the turn of the century. Since that time, with a few interruptions, our church services have been beautified by various choirs. At the time of our congregation's 125th anniversary, there was a mixed choir a men's choir, and a ladies' choir. All of these were under the direction of Mrs. Wilfred Rafert (Jo Buuck). Our current choir director is Mrs. Ted (Sandy) Blomenberg.

Although there was a Sewing Society long before, the Tabea Society was organized in 1921 with Mrs. Henry Gallmeyer, Mrs. William Koenemann, and Miss Hannah Koenemann as officers. From the very beginning, the Tabea Society has been a charitable organization. The current officers are Mrs. Dorothy Droege, Mrs. Laurina Conrad, and Mrs. Dorothy Heckman. In 1962, about $200 was contributed for various congregational purposed and about $235 for other charitable purposes. In 1997, $3,118 was contributed for various congregational and charitable purposes.

The Young People's Society (currently the Lutheran Youth Fellowship) was organized in 1927 under the leadership of Pastor Preuss. In 1935, it joined the International Walther League, but withdrew from this organization a few years later. In 1947, they decided to rejoin the Walther League. When the Walther League was discontinued, it became a member of Synod's Lutheran Youth Fellowship (in the mid 1970's). In addition to providing activities and Christian fellowship for our teenagers, LYF does much to train our youth for service in the congregation. The current LYF counselors are Corbin and Lisa Bultemeier.

In 1936, primarily through the efforts of Pastor Werning, an organization was formed for the adult members of the congregation. The name chosen was the Adult Club. The first officers were H. F. Nielsen and Mrs. W. H. Werning. The meetings of the Adult Club would feature a topic or educational address, business meeting, and social evening for members and their families. The Adult Club was discontinued in 1986 but has reemerged recently under the heading JETS. JETS stands for "Just Everyone Together Socially." As the name implies, this group plans activities for social occasions for the adult members of the parish. Currently, the group meets five or six times per year.

Since 1942, the ladies of the congregation have contributed to the projects of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. Through mite boxes and contribution envelopes they have helped support mission projects of the Indiana District and the Synod at large. In 1960, the local chapter was organized with Mrs. Marvin (Laurina) Conrad, Mrs. Arnold (Dorothy) Erxleben (now Droege), Mrs. Edwin Reifsteck, and Miss Eldora Bultemeier (now Mrs. Hubert Fuelling) as officers. Each are still active members of the parish and the League. Meetings are held quarterly and all ladies of the congregation are eligible for membership. The officers for 1999 are Addy Schuller, Adele Blomenberg, Sue Robinson, and Laurina Conrad. The first Sunday in October has traditionally been referred to as LWML Sunday.

The Morning Glories were organized on March 19, 1985. The Morning Glories meet Tuesday mornings from January until early spring and then from late August until mid-November. The purpose of this group is the blending of artistic talents for the creation of many arts and craft items which are sold at local craft shows. While many items are quilted, embroidered, and sewn, many of our handymen have contributed handmade furniture as they work in their workshops. Moneys collected from sales are contributed back to the congregation. In 1997, $5,000 was contributed toward the parsonage renovation and $2,000 went toward the new furnace which was installed in the Parish Hall. In 1998, an additional $500 was given towards the new furnace while $2,000 was given to the Vision 2000 campaign.

Over the years, Friedheim has competed in a variety of athletic sports and events. Currently, Zion has a men's softball team which competes in the Decatur Lutheran Fast Pitch Softball League and a men's basketball team which plays in the Monmouth Monday Night Church Basketball League.


Copyright 2004 Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church. 
All rights reserved.
Revised: January 04, 2009 .