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Author: Subject: Unveiling of Monument in Serbin
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[*] posted on 1-9-2016 at 09:15 PM
Unveiling of Monument in Serbin

This is an unsigned translation of an article that appeared in the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt on 2 Dec 1937.

Unveiling of Monument in Serbin

Encouraged by good weather, thousands (of people) hastened on Thanksgiving Day [25 November 1937] to the old Wendish Colony founded by Pastor John Kilian (†1884) in the year 1854. Many who had not met for decades greeted one another before and after the unveiling of the monument which the State of Texas through the mediation of Pastor Moebus had erected to commemorate the pioneers. It was a day of rejoicing for the Wends of Texas.

The celebration began with an uplifting worship service conducted in the church at 9:30 by the local Pastor, Pastor H. Schmidt. All joined in singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God for the many spiritual and physical blessings that God had showered upon the Wends especially in this land. People remembered difficult times as well as God's gracious protection, poverty as well as spiritual blessings.

At two o'clock the school children sang patriotic songs under the leadership of their instructor and instructress. Then Pastor Schmidt announced the purpose of the assembly and presented Pastor A. F. Moebus of La Grange and a son-in-law of Pastor H. T. Kilian (†1920). Pastor Moebus then read congratulatory telegrams and letters received from the Governor of the State; Lt. Governor Woodul; District Judge J. Tate; Professor Engerrand of the State University; as well as messages from clergy leaders such as Professor Theodor Graebner, Professor 0. P. Kretzmann; Pastor Paul Birkmann and many others. The beautiful handwriting of the esteemed aged Dr. Pfotenhauer, Honorary President of the General Missouri Synod made a special impression.

After concluding these readings, he delivered an English address based on Psalm 105, verse 24. In his address he pointed out that just as God had graciously led and guided the Children of Israel and permitted them to become a great people, so He also guided and governed the Wends and permitted them to grow to become a great people within a few decades.

Fewer than 600 immigrants (many of whom found a watery grave en-route to this land) now number approximately 10,000 people. Naturally, these people now live in all parts of the state and are scattered beyond its borders. The family of the sainted leader of the colony, for example, consisted only of five children. Soon there were thirty-five grandchildren. To them were added in the next generation sixty-eight great grandchildren, and the present generation of great, great grandchildren already numbers eighteen persons.

Much spiritual blessing resulted from the organization of the original St. Paul's congregation since this congregation was the first to join the Missouri Synod and was firmly grounded on the pure and correct Lutheran (Teaching). Many other congregations originated from this congregation, Pastor Moebus stated among other things.

After this, Representative Henry G. Lehmann presented a captivating speech as he spoke through the loudspeaker which he had made available for general use. He spoke particularly about the immigration and beginning circumstances. His grandfather also was a passenger on the Ben Nevis and recounted many experiences to his children and grandchildren. (His address) was well received by the large crowd.

The most moving (experience) however, was to hear the young and the old Wends sing together the Wendish hymn:

"Ach bleib mit definer Gnade."
Remain with us with Your grace)

Many could not hold back tears because this was a stirring reminder of olden times and former days. One would have gladly listened to more of such hymns.

Pastor Schmidt rendered a three-fold (service). He spoke to the large crowd in English, German and Wendish and admonished them to continue to walk in the footsteps of the fathers in their concern for Christian homes, schools and the welfare of the youth, and (urged) them to remain faithful to God, to the Church and to the Nation.

Senator L. J. Sulak who came from La Grange to attend the celebration praised the zeal, the diligence, the perseverance and the patriotism of the Wends. He said that he was happy to have contributed his bit to promote the erection of this monument. He felt, however, that the State of Texas would not have consented to this request if the Wends would have been unworthy of this honor. It was because they distinguished themselves as good citizens that they (the Wends) were thus remembered. He then conveyed the congratulations of the Czechs of the state in the Bohemian language. (The Czechs are a related ethnic group). The Wends demonstrated by their applause that they understood him well and that his speech appealed to them.

Finally, County Judge Schlosshahn arose and in a few words portrayed the Wends as his friends and decent people. He said that if all people loved justice and were as law-abiding as the Wends, then he, the Sheriff and lawyers would have nothing to do. In Serbin the judge functioned only as the Registrar of Births and Deaths.

During the singing of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" by the assembly both in the English Language and in the Wendish Language (translation prepared by Pastor Schmidt), little Helen Moebus waved the national flag from the beautiful monument, and Ruth Kilian and her twin brothers, Theodore and Herman (all great grandchildren) laid wreaths to honor the immigrants and the three pastors, John, Herman and Theodore Kilian, as well as Teacher G. A. Kilian and his youngest brother, Bernhard.

Unveiling 1.jpg - 50kB

During this celebration, Pastor Moebus introduced Mrs. Theresa Peter of Winchester, the only surviving child of Pastor John Kilian. He also presented the widow of Pastor Herman T. Kilian, the widow of Teacher G. A. Kilian and the widow of Pastor Theo. Kilian. Remembered with respect was also Pastor G. Birkmann, D. D., the son-in-law of the founder of the Colony of the Wends. Because of the infirmities of old age, the widow of Bernhard Kilian could not be present. Mr. J. A. Proske and Professor George T. Engerrand were praised for their many contributions toward preserving the history of the Wends.
Unveiling 2.jpg - 60kB

Mother Traugott Zoch who was married to her sainted husband in the present St. Paul's Church before its completion was also introduced as was one year old Leroy Diers of La Grange, the youngest great grandchild of Pastor John Kilian.

After the completion of the ceremony many people went to the well-kept cemetery to view the grave sites of the Kilians and their dear departed members, more than a thousand in number. This too is a reminder of the day of joyful reunion with Jesus in (eternal) light.

The keynote of this celebration was: "Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto you alone all glory is due."


Congratulations which were read at the unveiling of the monument are as follows:

President of Synod

Since I cannot be present in person at the celebration on the 25th of November, I want to send you and all participants hearty greetings.

It is worthy of praise that the St. Paul's Congregation members and the State of Texas should jointly honor the memory of Pastor Kilian and the Wends.

Pastor Kilian was the spiritual father of St. Faults congregation. Children and children's children enjoy the spiritual blessing of this Father in Christ and through him are enriched in doctrine and knowledge.

And the Wends who came to Texas under the leadership of Pastor Kilian through their diligence and honesty have contributed greatly to the fact that the State of Texas developed into a star of great magnitude in the star studded heavens of the United States.

With cordial greetings to the festival assembly,

Yours obediently,
F. Pfotenhauer


Austin, Texas

I deeply appreciate the invitation to attend the ceremony on the afternoon of November 25, and regret very much that owing to previous engagements here in Austin it will be impossible for me to come. It would be a real pleasure for me to be there if I could.

With every good wish, I am
Sincerely yours,
James V. Allred
Governor of Texas


Chicago, Illinois

Happy to see the great State of Texas recognize the achievements of Lutheran Pioneers. The International Walther League is proud to number descendants of these Pioneers among its members and extends greetings and good wishes.

O.P. Kretzmann


St. Louis, Mo.

Please accept on behalf of all professors and Lutheran clergy of St Louis who remember the services of Rev. John Kilian, our appreciation of the honor shown by the State of Texas to the Wendish people and their leader by erecting a monument in memory of the contributions which that race has made to American life and culture.

Very cordially yours,
Theodore Graebner


Austin, Texas

I am sincerely thankful to you for your kind invitation to attend the unveiling of the monument in honor of John Kilian and regret that the obligation under which I am to go to a Scientific meeting in another State will make it impossible for me to go to Serbin Nov. 25.

Wishing you the greatest possible success with the ceremony which is to take place I am, with best regards, yours cordially,

George C. Engerrand


Caldwell, Texas

Your card of invitation to the unveiling of the monument in honor of Rev. John Kilian and the Wends to take place at St. Paul’s Church, Serbin, Texas, on November 25, 1937, was forwarded to me at Caldwell, where I am now holding Court. I appreciate very much the invitation, and it is my intention to be present on the occasion, if possible, as these people have been my friends for many years. I trust, however, that you are not expecting me to have any part of the program, as I am very busy in Court and it will be impossible for me to make any preparation for an address suitable to the occasion.

I desire to thank you again or the invitation and assure you that I will be present, if possible.

With kindest personal regards, I am

Yours very truly,
John. H. Tate


Austin, Texas

I have your card inviting me to be present at the unveiling of the monument in honor of Rev. John Kilian and the Wends, at St. Paul’s Church, Serbin, on November 25, 1937 and I regret that it will be impossible for me to be present. Prior to receiving this invitation, I had previously accepted an invitation to be with Dr. T. O. Walton, President of A & M College, at College Station on that day.

Kindly convey my sincere regrets to those you will have present at my inability to be with you.

Yours sincerely,
Albert Stone



1848 Pastor John Kilian 1811-1884 Wife Maria Groeschel †1881

Children: (4 died in childhood)

1. Gerhard
2. Theresa
3. Bernhard
4. Herman T.
5. Hulda

Teacher Gerhard Kilian †1916 1.Wife Anna Hohle †1880
2.Wife Anna Gersch (Austin)

1a. Mathilda 1. Husband Aug. Fehr †
2. Husband Henry Wukasch (Austin)

Children: 1a. Martha (J.M. Chrstal in Memphis)
1b. Josephine Fehr †1930

2a. Rudolf Wukasch (Ruth Swauk Austin)

1b. Selma (Austin) Husband Herman Fehr
1. Walter (Blanche Shelton-Detroit)
(a) Sarah Jane
2. Arthur -Austin
3. Karl (Alice Knippa) Austin
1c. Martha (Austin) Husband C.A. Wolff †
1. Oswald
2. Margarite (T.S. Hart)

2a. Klara (Austin) Husband Ernst Schulz
1. Martin
2. Alma (Chester McDowell)
3. Anne Marie
4. Lawrence

2b. Amanda (Austin) Husband Ad. Stein

2c. Esther (Giddings) Husband Ernst Kasper

2d. Martin (Austin) Wife Velma Jeffries
Children: 1. Frances

2e. Louise (Austin)

(2f) Maria (Herman Luecke) Giddings

(2g) Edwin (Austin)

Theresa Peter (Winchester) Husband: Albert Peter †1911
1. Alma (Emil Kaiser) Winchester
a. Karl (Hazel Haschke) Winchester
1. Karl, Jr.
2. Melba Jo
b. Willie (Hulda Jentho) Winchester
1. Norman
2. Louise
3. Norbert
c. Frieda (Walter Kunkel) Olney
1. Calvin
2. Anita
d. Fred (Verna Hubbard) Winchester
1. Edward
2. J.C.
e. Clara (Austin)
f. Martin (Winchester)

2. Esther (Winchester)

3. Martha (Wm. Wenke) Winchester.
a. Marvin (Winchester)
b. Marguerite (San Antonio)

4. Hulda (Louis Saettler) Olney
a. Louis Paul

5. Minna (Ben Noack) Wichita Falls
a. Norbert (Marg. Holley)
1. Bobbie
2. Roy
b. Bernice (Bryant Mills)
1. Dorothy
c. Robert (B. Angel)
d. Roy

6. Robert (Posie Gates) Houston
a. Robert Jr.
b. Rose Marie

7. Klara (Theo.Preuszer) Giddings
a. Mildred (Douglas Hill) Houston
b. Ruth (Monroe Kasper) Giddings
c. Theodore Jr.

8. Martin (Houston)

9. Walter (Winchester)

10. Louise (Houston)

Bernhard Kilian (†1922) Wife: Anna Schulz (Giddings)
1. Herman (Lena Zimmermann) Winchester
a. Frank (Esther Kasper) Giddings
1. Mary Ann
b. Willie
c. Bertha (Richard Kasper)
1. Dorothy Jean
d. Alfred

2. Alwin (Dora Zimmermann) Winchester
a. Walter
b. Arnold
c. Henry Martin

3. Gerhard (Maria Zindler) Lincoln
a. Gertrude
b. Irene

4. Gustav (Hermine Moerbe) Houston
a. Victor Kilian (adopted in)

5. Ernst (Hattie Buchhorn) †1935 Giddings
a. Ruth
b. Paul
c. Annie
d. Rubin
e. Frieda
f.Victor (adopted out)

6. Martha (Houston)

7. Hermine (Preston Norwood)
a. Doris
b. Bernice
c. La Verne

8. Helen (Houston)

Herman T. Kilian †1920 Wife: Maria Moerbe (Giddings)
1. Lydia (Pastor A.F. Moebus) La Grange
a. Talitha
b. Arthur (Austin)
c. Lydia (Herbert Diers) La Grange
1. Leroy
d. Clara (Austin)
e. Pearl
f. Helen
g. Paul

2. Theodore †1925 (Martha Proske) Giddings
a. Ruth
b. Theodore
c. Herman (The last two named are twins)

3. Hermine (Teacher Paul Zieschang) Denver, Colo. a. Luther

Hulda Birkmann †1892 (Fedor) Husband: Pastor G. Birkmann (Giddings)
1. George Birkmann (Lizzie Lugenheim) Houston
a. Gertrude
b. Marguerite

2. Paul (Pastor -Rose Hill)
1. wife: Bertha Dietrich + 1920
1a.Vincent F.
1b. Roger W.

2. wife: Laura Martens
2a. Miriam L.
2b. Florence L.
2c Gerald P.

3. Alma (Abe R. Hillegeist) Fairbanks
a. Perry

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