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Nov 13

The Ministers of Zion Chatt, Rev. W.F.H. Heuer (#15)

Werner F.H. Heuer was born 10 March 1876 in Hermannsburg, Germany, the only child of John Henry and Katharine Dorothea (Lilje) Heuer. His parents were nearly 40 years old and had been married for 13 years when Werner was born. Werner was baptized two days after his birth. His family moved to Hannover when he was 2 years old so he could attend a parochial school there, in the area which was the center of religious and missionary activities in Germany.

Werner was confirmed on 13 April 1890 at Cross Congregation of the Lutheran Free Church in Hannover. Soon after his confirmation he decided to dedicate his life to the ministry of the Lord. His parents were quite poor and were not able to finance his education in Germany, so they decided to immigrate to America, where worthy ministry students could receive financial support from the church.

The Heuer family immigrated to America in August of 1891 and Werner entered Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, a month later. After several bouts of illness he graduated from Capital in 1895 and from the nearby ELT Seminary in 1900.

Rev. W.F.H. Heuer

Rev. W.F.H. Heuer

His first call was to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg, Ohio, where he served from 1900-1902.

Rev. W.F.H. Heuer.

Rev. W.F.H. Heuer.

Rev. Heuer married Anna Kristina Dismeier 17 April 1902 at St. John’s Lutheran Church near Greenville, Ohio. Rev. Heuer next served at a church in Tell City, Indiana, where their first child Werner was born on January 12, 1904.

Rev. W.F.H. & Anna Kristina (Dismeier) Heuer.

Rev. W.F.H. & Anna Kristina (Dismeier) Heuer.

In the spring of 1904 Rev. Heuer was called to St. Paul’s Congregation near North Star, Ohio, where he served for about 11 years. During the time he was there the congregation built a new church, in 1911-1912.

While they were in North Star Werner and Anna Kristina had five more children: Fredrick (1905-1907), Frieda (1908-2002), Helena (1910-1910), Martin (1911-), and Margaret (1913-). Their son Fredrick died in 1907, at two years of age, and their daughter Helena died in 1910, at the age of four months. Both children are buried in St. Paul Cemetery, North Star, near Rev. Heuer’s parents John Heinrich (1836-1909) and Katharine (1836-1926).

In April 1915 Rev. Heuer accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church in Chattanooga, where he served for about four years. Zion’s current brick church was built during the time he was there. The cornerstone was dedicated in 1916 and the building was dedicated the next year.

Cornerstone dedication, 1916. Rev. R.V. Smith, Rev. W.H.F. Heuer, Rev. B.F. Brandt.

Cornerstone dedication, 1916. Rev. R.V. Smith, Rev. W.H.F. Heuer, Rev. B.F. Brandt.

While at Zion Chatt another daughter was born to the Heuers. Anna Christina Heuer was born 17 April 1917 and was baptized at Zion on 22 April 1917, the first Sunday after her birth. Mrs. Elizabeth Brobst and Miss Amelia Bollenbacher served as her sponsors. All of the Heuer children were baptized the first Sunday after their birth but Anna’s birth was so close to the weekend that her mother was unable to be present at her baptism. Anna Christina was one of the first to be baptized in Zion’s new church. She later legally changed the spelling of her name to Anne Christine.

Heuer family, about 1918-1919.

Heuer family, about 1918-1919.

Above is a Heuer family photo that may have been taken in Chatt about 1918-1919. Front: Rev. Heuer, Anna, Mrs. Heuer, Margaret. Back: Frieda, Martin, Werner.

Two of the first baptisms Rev. Heuer performed at Zion Chatt were at my great-grandfather Jacob Miller’s home. On 15 March 1915 Rev. Heuer baptized two of Jacob Miller’s grandchildren: Luella Maria Christina Miller, daughter of Peter and Della (Kuehm) Miller, and Vernon Allen Caffee, son of Howard and Caroline (Miller) Caffee. Peter Miller and Caroline (Miller) Caffee were Jacob Miller’s children. The last baptism at Zion Chatt by Rev. Heuer was that of Wilma Katherine Sauer, daughter of Leonhard and Minna (Hofferberth) Sauer, on 26 January 1919.

1917 Confirmation Class, Zion, Chatt.

1917 Confirmation Class, Zion, Chatt.

The above photo is the 1917 Confirmation Class at Zion Chatt. Front row 1: Luetta Baker, Lucile Becher, ?, Louise Becher, ?, Matilda Becher, Anna Ruth McGough. Row 2: Clarence Kuhn, Walter Becher, ?, Charles Andrews. Row 3: ?, ?, Rev. Heuer, ?, Vera Heffner. The remainder of the class, unidentified in the photo: Frieda Louisa Hoehammer, Harold Roman Bender, Ralph Huffman, Lee Kuhn, Florence Kuhn, Clara Linn.

In 1919 Rev. Heuer accepted a call in Hebron, Nebraska. While there he also taught at Hebron College, where all five of their children later received their college degrees. While living in Hebron he also served congregations in Kansas, near the Kansas/Nebraska state line.

The Heuer family moved to Cook, Nebraska, in 1931. Rev. Heuer eventually retired in Talmage, Nebraska, where he passed away on 2 September 1964, at the age of 88. He is buried in Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery there beside his wife, who died in 1972.

Rev. Heuer’s daughter Anne Christine (Heuer) Buethe, with some of her family, visited Zion in 2001. She passed away on 25 May 2005 in Nebraska. Rev. Kathy Gerking, the great-granddaughter of Rev. Heuer and the granddaughter of Frieda (Heuer) Gerking, visited Zion with her family in July 2004, the year before Zion’s 150th anniversary. She stood in Zion’s pulpit, the same pulpit where her great-grandfather once stood and preached the Word of God.

Rev. Kathy Gerking, at Zion Chatt, 2004.

Rev. Kathy Gerking, at Zion Chatt, 2004.

From the memoirs of Rev. W.F.H. Heuer: “…In April 1915 I followed a call to the Zion’s and St. Paul’s parish, in and near Chattanooga, Ohio. Here again I became instrumental in building a beautiful new church, with an octagonal Sunday School department in Chattanooga (which was dedicated in 1917). Almost at the same time, St. Paul’s Congregation in the country installed art glass windows in its church. Here at Chattanooga, our youngest child, Anna Christine, was born on April 7, 1917. After serving this parish for nearly four years, I became afflicted with a peculiar throat ailment. Repeatedly, I was unable to preach for a number of weeks in succession. This caused me in 1919 to accept a call by the Mission Board to Grace Congregation, Hebron, Nebraska….”

Rev. Heuer served at the following churches: Immanuel Lutheran, Phillipsburg, Ohio, 1900-1902; Tell City, Indiana, and a small congregation at “German Ridge,” 1902-1904; St. Paul Evangelical, North Star, Ohio, 1904-1915; Zion, Chattanooga 1915-1919; Grace Congregation, Hebron, Nebraska, 1919-1931; Immanuel, Cook, Nebraska, 1931-? Rev. Heuer oversaw the building of two area churches–brick church and parsonage was built while he served at St. Paul Evangelical, North Star (1904-1915) and Zion Chatt’s present brick church was built in 1916 during his service as minister (1915-1919).

A big thank you to Judy Edmonds, granddaughter of Rev. Heuer and the daughter of Anne Christine (Heuer) Buethe, for providing photos and additional information about her grandfather.

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