Schowalter, Christian

Schowalter, Christian

Male 1828 - 1907  (78 years)

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  • Name Schowalter, Christian  [1, 2
    Born 11 Nov 1828  Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Died 16 Apr 1907  Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Mennonite Cemetary
    Person ID I4574  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 

    Father Schowalter, Johannes,   b. 17 Aug 1789, Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Jun 1838, Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Herstein, Barbara,   b. 17 Mar 1792, Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Jul 1879, Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 22 Jan 1816  Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F1063  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Haffner, Rosina,   b. 18 May 1836, Quirnbeim, Bavaria, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Feb 1917, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Married 25 Oct 1855  Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Children 
     1. Schowalter, Magdelena Lydia,   b. 23 Sep 1856, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Nov 1875, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 19 years)  [Natural]
     2. Schowalter, Bebetta J.,   b. 23 Mar 1858, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 May 1862, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 4 years)  [Natural]
     3. Schowalter, Johannas,   b. 23 Feb 1859, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Feb 1860, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)  [Natural]
     4. Schowalter, Meno,   b. 13 Oct 1860, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Oct 1864, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 4 years)  [Natural]
     5. Schowalter, Edward Henry,   b. 27 Oct 1861, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Mar 1929, Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)  [Natural]
     6. Schowalter, Infant,   b. 22 Oct 1863, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1863, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)  [Natural]
     7. Schowalter, Meno W.,   b. 21 Feb 1865, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Sep 1921, Newton, Harvey, Kansas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years)  [Natural]
     8. Schowalter, Rudolph C.,   b. 4 Dec 1866, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Feb 1915, Ankeny, Polk, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years)  [Natural]
     9. Schowalter, Barbara K.,   b. 10 Oct 1869, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Mar 1938, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)  [Natural]
     10. Schowalter, Hanna M.,   b. Abt 1871, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Aug 1925, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 54 years)  [Natural]
     11. Schowalter, Christopher A.,   b. 13 Feb 1873, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Jun 1958, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)  [Natural]
     12. Schowalter, John Benjamin,   b. 12 Sep 1875, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1957, Creston, Union, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)  [Natural]
     13. Schowalter, Jacob,   b. 4 Sep 1877, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov 1879, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 2 years)  [Natural]
     14. Schowalter, Daniel J.,   b. 23 Dec 1879, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Jun 1946, Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)  [Natural]
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 
    Family ID F1799  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 11 Nov 1828 - Assenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 25 Oct 1855 - Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 16 Apr 1907 - Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Christian Schowalter.jpg
    Christian Schowalter.jpg
    Christian_and_Rosena_50th_aniv_1905[1].jpg
    Christian_and_Rosena_50th_aniv_1905[1].jpg
    Christian_and_Rosina_donate[1].jpg
    Christian_and_Rosina_donate[1].jpg
    Christian_and_Rosina_Schowalter[1].jpg
    Christian_and_Rosina_Schowalter[1].jpg
    Christian_Schowalter[1].JPG
    Christian_Schowalter[1].JPG
    Christian_Schowalter_and_Baby[1].JPG
    Christian_Schowalter_and_Baby[1].JPG
    Christian_Schowalter_Teacher[1].jpg
    Christian_Schowalter_Teacher[1].jpg
    Der_Lehrer[1].JPG
    Der_Lehrer[1].JPG
    ChristianS[1].pdf
    ChristianS[1].pdf

    Documents
    Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1937
    Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1937

  • Notes 


    • Rev. Christian Schowalter, Bethel College Bulletin, Bethel College, Kansas. Wednesday, April 20, 1938, vol. 25, number 15.

      A Memorial Biography

      It was in the time of the Reformation that the lives of three brothers living in Switzerland, John, Jacob, and Christian Schowalter, were in danger. Religious persecutions were spreading. The Schowalter brothers fled from their homes and found refuge in western Germany near the peasant village of Weissenburg, Alsatia. Here the trio became tenants on the manors of Schamach and Gaisberg not far from the western bank of the stream made immortal in song and myth, the Rhine River.

      One of these brothers, who went north into Germany from Scenic Switzerland, was the ancestor of Christian Schowalter, early Mennonite educator in America, pastor, mission worker, and a founder of the General Conference of Mennonite Churches.

      Born at Asseheim, Bavria, Germany
      Born November 11, 1829, at Assenheim, Bavaria, Germany, young Christian Schowalter started going to public school at the age of six years. When fourteen he went to work for three years on his father's farm. Although his parents, John and Magdalena Schowalter, had but moderate means they were eager that the studious boy should go on with his education and at seventeen he enrolled at a normal school in Beugen, studied hem two years, and continued his normal school training at Schiers in the canton of Graubuenden in eastern Switzerland.

      Graduating at Schiers in July, 1849, he taught school for one year in Deutschhof, Bavaria. Receiving an invitation from Haysville, Ohio, to teach school there, Schowalter in 1850 in a company of seventy-two persons migrated to America.

      Taught in Ohio and at Donnellson, Iowa

      He taught in Ohio three years and in 1853 went to teach a parochial school at Donnellson, Iowa. Here in Donnellson, Iowa, the young school teacher became acquainted with Rosina Haffner whom he married on October 25, 1855.

      The pastor of the Mennonite Zion Church at Donnellson died in 1861 and that same year Schowalter was chosen pastor of this church by lot. Beginning his pastorate in December 1861 Reverend Schowalter continued in the ministry for forty-three years. He introduced the Sunday School in his church and was instrumental in interesting the young people of his congregation in music. This church was very active in supporting mission work and in 1867 when the Mennonite Mission Board arranged to send Philip Rabbit, a Cheyenne Indian from Oklahoma, to attend Bethel College the members responded generously in giving money for the Indian's school expenses.

      Promoted Idea of Greater Church Unity

      In 1858 a movement for greater unity among Mennonite churches was begun. Schowalter, then a school teacher, was one of the promoters of the idea. Next year when a meeting was held to outline steps for such a unification, he was chosen as secretary. He became a member of the committee that drew up the constitution for the conference, was a member of the committee that prepared the Handbook for Ministers, and president of the Foreign Mission Board from 1896 to 1902. The question of higher education for Mennonite youth came up in
      conference circles and Reverend Schowalter mapped out a course of instruction and principles on which a school could be conducted. His plans met with favor and on January 2, 1868, he was induced to become principal of the Wadsworth School, Wadsworth, Ohio, and was the first man ever to head a Mennonite institution of higher learning in America. He held this position nearly two years and at the end of his principalship visited Germany with his family.

      Observed Golden Wedding Anniversary

      In 1905 Reverend and Mrs. Schowalter celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Failing health two years later caused Reverend Schowalter to retire from the ministry and on April 13, 1907, he passed away at the age of seventy-eight years. Through his zeal and interest in Christian cooperation and organization, Reverend Schowalter will long be remembered as
      furthering a closely-knit unity among Mennonite churches that today has grown into a General Conference in North America with a membership of 156 churches. Friends who were members of Reverend Schowalter's church at Donnellson, Iowa, attended school with him as their teacher; and who performed the marriage ceremony for them, have made a memorial gift of $1000 to the Bethel College Memorial Fund in honor of this pioneer pastor, conference organizer, and teacher.
      __________________________________________________________________________ ___

      Schowalter, Christian, Rev., pastor of the Mennonite Church and teacher of the German school, Primrose; born Nov 11, 1828, in Bavaria, Germany; was educated at a seminary in Germany and followed teaching there about one year; in the fall of 1850, emigrated to the United States, stopped in Ashland Co., Ohio, attended the Vermilion school there under Prof. Dieffendorf; in the spring of 1853, came to Lee Co. and located in Franklin Tp.; the same year established a German school, also organized the Mennonite Church, and the following year the church was built; Mr. S. was ordained as a minister in 1861, sinch which time he has officiated as Pastor of the Church, and has taught the German school since 1853. Married Miss Rosann Haffner, of this county, Oct 25, 1855; she was born May 14,1835, in Bavaria, Germany; their children are Edward H., Minno W., Rudolph C., Barbara K., Hannah M., Christopher A., John B., Jacob A.; lost 5 - Menno, John, Babette, William and an infant.

      Source:
      The History of Lee County, Iowa
      Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879
      Franklin Township,

      __________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________

      Source: German Christlicer Bundesbote, 25 April 1907, p. 6; Translated by Liz Osborne

      [Sketch of Elder Christian Schowalter]

      Dear Messenger Reader,

      On the 16th of April we bore the earthly body of our dear old teacher, who as school teacher and Elder of the church gave so much of his life and time to the Zion community in Donnellson, Iowa, to the grave. In the funeral procession, together with his dear family, were a large multitude of mourning friends and acquaintances from near and far who had been lovingly taught by him and kept in the way of faith, body and soul. Up to the end, he strongly preached to us by letter, by words, and by life. But our loss is his gain. He, who was suddenly released from this life in the evening of April 13th, suffering a sudden stroke, has over come the world. -- Now because our dearly beloved was so suddenly taken from us, we almost cannot believe it that we must be separated from him always in this life, yet in reality he remains with us still in his works and his example, which he was allowed to do by the grace of God in the kingdom of Christ. Would that his
      influence and example would be in all of us a fruitful seed!

      The following brethren were involved in the funeral service: Pastor Fauth of the Evangelist Church of Donnellson spoke from 2 Kings 2:12; S. M. Musselmann of Wayland, Iowa spoke from 1 Corinthians 1:5, 9-10; and Peter P. Hilty took his text from Acts 8:2.

      Christian Schowalter first percieved the light of this world on November 11, 1828, in his home in Rhine Bavaria, Germany. In his youth, he attended different schools in Germany and in Switzerland, training himself to become a teacher. In the 1850 he came to America to the area of Ashland, Ohio, and taught in the schools there approximately 3 years. In 1853, he came to teach in Lee County, Iowa, and in the congregational school of the Zion Mennonite Church and in West Point. On October 25th, 1855 he wed Rosina Haffner. From this union issued 14 children, 6 of whom proceded him to their heavenly home. From 1855 to 1862 he served as a teacher in the German
      Zions School. At the end of the year 1861 he was selected an Elder, and served as both Elder and teacher in the congregation until 1868. In 1868 he accepted a call to be a teacher in the Mennonite educational institution in Wadsworth, Ohio. There he served two years, greatly blessing his fellow man.

      In 1870 he returned to Lee County, Iowa, and resumed work as teacher and elder in the Zion congregation again. He continued teaching and preaching until 1888, when he laid down the teaching profession, but continued to serve as Elder until October 1904, when he had to step down due to ill health. On the whole, he held 39 years of shcool, and served 43 years in the office of Elder.

      He and his wife lived to celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary in October 1905, in the company of their living children. The last 3 years of his life was marked by heavy suffering, but he carried his cross patiently and without murmur. The survivors - his wife, 8 children, and 14 grandchildren - mourn now over the loss of their loved one, but not as those who have not hope in Christ: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." [Revelations 14:13]
      [A biography for the Bundesbote Calendar 1908 will be published later]

      ____________________

      ____________________

      Christian Schowalter, "the Teacher"
      by Gerd Schowalter, Bad Kreuznach

      Young Christian grew up in Assenheim near Ludwigshafen, where he also received his basic schooling. After that he worked for three years on his parents' farm. But then his desire for further education became so strong that he followed this inclination at the age of 17 years and took up studies in Beuggen near Basel at the pedagogical institution there. After two years he transferred to the teacher training institution in Schiers, East Switzerland. There he took his final teaching examination at the age of 21.

      He received his first teaching assignment in 1849, at the age of 21, at the Mennonite elementary school in Deutschhof, Southern Palatinate. This small settlement was at that time part of a Mennonite congregation that also included Kaplaneihof, Haftelhof, Schafbusch (Alsace) and Geisberg (Alsace). Deutschhof soon became the center of this congregation, and a church has existed there since 1841-42. When the school was founded is not certain, but in any case it existed until around 1861.

      In the last few years of its existence, the school instruction alternated between Deutschhof and Kaplaneihof. Children from both settlements attended together, one month here and one month there. The classrooms were in buildings that are now used for agricultural purposes (Deutschhof: a room in Jakob Schowalter's widow's upper story, then remodeled by a later owner, Herbert Hege, and today owned by Paul Jaiser; Kaplaneihof: the so-called old house no. 113, serves as Otto Schowalter's machinery shed today).

      The parents of the pupils took turns providing the teacher with his meals. His monthly salary was a modest 6 gulden. The school board's assessment of Christian Schowalter's work was "We were very satisfied."

      In 1850, he received a call from America, which he followed. With 72 other persons, he emigrated, to take a teaching position in Hayesville, Ohio. He worked with the congregation there for three years.

      In 1853 he became the teacher for the Zion congregation in Donnellson, Iowa. There not only was his work blessed but he also met his future wife, Rosina Haffner (born May 18, 1836, in Quirnheim, Palatinate, daughter of Christoph H. and Barbara Bergtholdt, who were married in Quirnheim on Oct. 25, 1855), who was his distant cousin. Fourteen children were born to the couple, six of whom died young, one stillborn. Of the children who survived, seven married and one remained single. Therefore there were also numerous descendants.
      The school parents of the Zion congregation, most of whom had enjoyed a religious upbringing in Germany, wished the same for their children. For their progressive way of thinking, a dynamic teacher like Christian Schowalter was just right. He soon began giving the instruction for which the congregation had hired him. He started out in a former barn in 1853 with the following subjects: English, German, reading, arithmetic, geography, and science, but above all, religion and catechism instruction. At times he had up to 100 pupils! During the summer he established a German school, where he likewise took over all subjects. His pupils, who were instructed eleven months a year, received a solid education and even certain advantages over other elementary school children.

      He was a very eager and enthusiastic pedagogue, who liked being called "the teacher." Many also knew him as "the preacher"; for in his Zion congregation he was also named preacher through a drawing of lots. He delivered his first sermon on Christmas Day in 1861 and remained in the position of elder until shortly before his death, roughly 43 years. He baptized, administered communion, and served in the Franklin and Salem Mennonite churches in Lee County and Washington County.

      For a while he also served the West Point Mennonite Church, where he had to preach on Sunday afternoons. He was brought there by one of his sons by horse-drawn wagon (much to the regret of his son, who always had to care for the horses).

      Under his determined leadership, the Zion congregation founded its first Sunday School in 1878. Here the children were not only made familiar with Bible stories but also challenged to practice love of neighbor. A practice that became well-known was that the children sold their Thanksgiving Day gifts and donated the proceeds to missions. For mission work was also one of Schowalter's concerns. He served outreach missions forty-two years, six of them as chairman. In the Kleine Missionszeitung [Little Mission Newspaper], he always wrote the children's section, through which little ones became interested in mission work very early on.

      Christian Schowalter is one of the founders of the first conference of Mennonite congregations in America. The general conference still exists today in the USA, Canada, and South America under the name General Conference Mennonite Church, with around 240 member churches. The first meeting of its two congregations (Zion and West Point) was held in 1859. Because he served both, he, together with Daniel Krehbiel, probably provided the initial impetus for the union. He offered his services to the new conference as secretary, a position he continued to hold for 46 years except for a one-year interruption.

      At the third meeting, Schowalter developed his plans for the Mennonite Conference School, which he soon made a reality by founding the higher education system of the Mennonites in the USA. Thus, he also became headmaster of the Christliche Bildungs-Anstalt der Mennonitengemeinschaft [Christian Educational Institution of the Mennonite Denomination] in Wadsworth, Ohio. But he remained there only two years, because his Zion congregation in Donnellson wanted him back, and because Julius von der Smissen, a fully trained theologian, had come from Europe and seemed to be better suited for the School of Theology (for training preachers and missionaries) as well as for the general administration.

      For the conference, he [Schowalter] drew up a new German Catechism and in collaboration with others, a handbook for church elders.
      Before returning to the Zion congregation, he made a trip to Europe in 1869, which led him to his old home town. Above all, he visited his aged mother, who was living in Kohlhof near Assenheim, Palatinate, with her daughter, Mrs. Blickensdörfer.

      Christian Schowalter, "the teacher," is one of the pioneers of the New World. He performed every possibly kind of work one could name today under the following job titles: teacher, pastor, author, notary, mission worker, physician, and farmer. Even his knowledge of natural healing gave him an additional activity field, for often he had to make sick calls and dispense advice after his preaching services. Even these services he performed without remuneration, true to his watchword, "Words are little more than hollow noise if deeds do not follow."
      Christian Schowalter retired from preaching in 1907, because he had cancer. He died soon after that, on April 12, 19007, at the age of 78 years. A monument in Donnellson, Iowa, reminds posterity of him and his work.

      (According to Reuben Neff Donnellson, Iowa, 1964, a student at Bluffton College.)

      ____________________________________

      Extract from a letter from Christian Schowalter, dated Feb. 11, 1907, to his nephew and niece in Kohlhof

      Yesterday, by grace, we were privileged to enjoy a splendid celebration. Our dear pastor P. P. Hilty entered into marriage with sister Barbara M. Koller; that is, he had his wedding. The church was packed, despite the cold weather. I'll try to describe what happened: Yesterday morning, around half past nine, the couple came to me at my home to pick up the necessary health regulations and family documents for the authorities, which have to be sent to the authorities along with the marriage certificate. At half past eleven, they entered to the nearby church with me while a hymn was played on the organ. when they and I had taken our places, I had the congregation sing a hymn. Then Pastor Muselman from Wayland, Iowa, stepped into the pulpit, read a chapter from the scriptures and prayed. Then I had the mixed choir sing, whereupon Brother Muselman again stepped to the pulpit and delivered a sermon. After that, the congregation sang, and I followed with a marriage sermon, for which I stayed seated because I can't do it standing any more. After this address on John 16:9b, the men's choir sang again. Then followed the blessing and closing hymn. Then the individual members were invited to offer greetings and blessings to the newlyweds.

      In an hour and a half, everything was over. It was a simple ceremony, without any fanfare. The bride's family invited guests to a meal, but not many were able to go, because it was 4 and 3/4 miles away, and because another church service was scheduled for the evening. Besides, the roads were not very good for traveling.

      Now I commend you to God and his grace. Write back soon, before I wander out of this world and into the next.
      With regards from your uncle, Chr. Schowalter.

      From the same letter, concerning military service:

      How much longer does August have to serve, until he is released? We Mennonites in America, who have declared ourselves defenseless, have no love for the soldier's life. We are also exempt from, but in the event of war, if a Mennonite's name is drawn, we have to pay a tribute, which up to now has been 300 dollars. Great efforts are being made to put an end to war. But will they succeed?

      _________________________________

      The Picture of Mother, from a letter written by Christian Schowalter dated January 18, 1866:

      "On the Saturday before Christmas, the 23rd of December of last year, when I was pacing back and forth in my study, preparing for the pre-communion sermon, a neighbor came to me with several letters. Among them was one from Germany. I opened it right away, and: Mother, Mother, what did I see? Mother, as she lives and breaths. Mother!!-the word resounded through the whole house. My dear wife, who was in the kitchen, didn't know what to make of it. Until she came and saw. Ah, there were tears in my eyes; I was so overjoyed that I didn't know what to do. I held the picture in my hand again: That is my dear mother, same as before. She still looks as she did when I left her, only plumper and more perfect. I just have to coax a few motherly words from those kind lips, I thought, to hear the long sound of your voice I've missed for so long. And I would gladly have taken wing over land and sea at the speed of the wind to greet the subject of the picture. That was and is and will remain a great joy. A thousand thanks, thank-you for this..."

  • Sources 
    1. [S342] The Schowalter Book, Arb. A. Schowalter, Clarence C. Schowalter, Edgar P. Schowalter, (Name: 1963, with Supplementary Report;).
      1799

    2. [S1323] Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1937, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2014;), Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880–1922; Record Type: Textual Records.

    3. [S125] Familien in Hochdorf und Assenheim 1412 bis 1912, Winfried Seelinger, page 455.

    4. [S379] Bethel College Bulletin, Bethel College Bulletin, Bethel College, Kansas. Wednesday, April 20, 1938, vol. 25, number 15. A Memorial Biography.
      He taught in Ohio three years and in 1853 went to teach a parochial school at Donnellson, Iowa. Here in Donnellson, Iowa, the young school teacher became acquainted with Rosina Haffner whom he married on October 25, 1855.

    5. [S125] Familien in Hochdorf und Assenheim 1412 bis 1912, Winfried Seelinger, page 456.