1832-1861

  • Throughout the history of St. Peter Lutheran Church of Schaumburg, Illinois, we see God's abundant grace and every blessing.  It is fitting that we recount God's divine favor and acknowledge His goodness upon our congregation in this country. After the Blackhawk Indian War of 1832, adventurous Englishmen entered the Illinois Territory and surveyed it for homesteading.  They called this area Sarah's Grove in 1835.  When repressive action followed the unsuccessful German Revolution of 1830, scores of German immigrants came to America and some to Sarah's Grove. Grateful to  God for their freedom in this new land, they held their first Luther­an service in Schween's barn on Second Christmas Day of 1840. The service accompanied by the cackling of hens and lowing of cattle, as that which hallowed the First Christ­mas, was conducted by the Reverend Francis Hoffmann. He continued to come from Dunkley's Grove (Addison) once a month and served the German settlement with Word and Sacrament.   More Lutheran families moved into the community during the 1840's. Then it was decided to join with the congregation at Long Grove and call the Reverend Simon Dumsen, who had been serving as missionary to the Chippe­wa Indians.  He began ser­vices here in July of 1846.  Here they con­structed a building to serve as church and school and provide a cemetery for the burial of their dead. They immediately sold the east ten acres for $50 to have the land unencumbered.

    Museum Even though the first begin­nings were recorded on Decem­ber 26, 1840, and they continued as a worshiping communi­ty from that time, it was not until the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity in 1847 that St. Peter Congregation was formally organized. Fourteen families signed the constitu­tion, fell a tree and brought the lumber to the site to erect their first building.  It was completed and dedicated with a fifty‑foot tower the next year.

    The Reverend Francis Hoffmann was called in 1847 to serve as pastor and teacher. He not only served as spiritual leader to his flock, but was their interpreter of the new American way of life. He was the first postmaster for the community. When he resigned in 1851 due to a physical affliction, he became a banker in the city of Chicago and later was elected lieutenant governor of Illinois. He wrote under the pen name of Hans Buschbauer.

    A distinct German community was deserving of a distinct German name. The English name of Sarah's Grove did not satisfy those of German heritage. In 1850 they held a town meeting. All suggestions were put aside when the German patriarch Frederick Nerge arose to speak and pounding the table, declared in low German, "Schaumburg schall et heiten!"  So it was named Schaumburg after their homeland in Germany.

    In 1851 the congregation extended its next call to the Reverend J. Nicholas Volkert of Highland Grove. He accept­ed and was installed on Second Pentecost Day, 1851. These were difficult days for the doctrinal life of the congrega­tion.  The books and hymnals they had brought with them were confusing the people with their rationalism and pietism.  Under careful pastoral leader­ship they came to realize this and set them aside in 1853 for the hymnal of the Lutheran Church ‑ Missouri Synod and a catechism from New York.  In the spring of 1858, Pastor Volkert accepted a call to Lafayette County, Missouri.

    The congregation was led to calling next the Reverend Frederick Rickmann of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He, as Pastor Francis Hoffmann, was present and a signer at the organization of The Lutheran Church ‑ Missouri Synod in Chicago on April 26, 1847. He came, not only to serve St. Peter, but, also, St. John Lutheran Church of Rodenburg from 1858 to 1862 and then St. Peter alone to 1869. His ministry was eventful and progressive.

    A new constitution was adopted and the congregation was accepted into membership of Synod on October 10, 1860. A new parson­age was built. As chaplain for the 58th Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, he gathered a number of men together from the area and served in the Civil War in 1862.  He wrote a number of letters to report his activities to the president of the Synod, Dr. C. F. W. Walther, which are in the possession of the Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.  After three months of service, he was compelled to return home because of  ill health.