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Seifert, Rev. Frederick died 1910


Posted By: Mary Durr
Date: 11/13/2003 at 15:37:06


Rev. F. Seifert of Clayton Center passed away last Sunday, on the same day his church was observing its 50th jubilee. The deceased founded the church. He married Miss Katherine Ruckdaschel of Postville in 1866, but she preceded him in death eleven years ago.

Postville Herald newspaper clipping, hand dated Aug. 1910, from my mother's obituary collection.

--- --- ---

Elkader Register & Argus, Thur., 15 Sept. 1910.

Frederick William Seifert was born more than seventy-nine years ago in Brunswick, Germany. He was baptized and confirmed in his native land and at his confirmation he received as his motto the beautiful version: "Thy live long have God and his teachings before you, that thou sinnest not nor doeth against the Lord's command." Having finished his education in the elementary branches, he became engaged in various branches of industry, such as carpenter and brakesman. For an indefinite length of time he was overseer in a sugar refinery, and later he became a soldier, participating in the war in Baden, and in the uprising of 1848, to what extent, however, we do not know. After this he made and extended journey through the continent and at the age of twenty-seven he was induced to come to America with a family he was intimately associated with, after he had given up his plans to go to Australia, which idea he had previously nourished. Coming to this country, he settled in Elkport, Iowa, taught district schools a few terms, then secured employment in a saw mill. Here he had the misfortune, while taking a load of logs to Elkport, to have both of his legs frozen so that amputation became necessary, in consequence of which he had to endure great pain all his lifetime.

At the age of thirty, when his wounds were well-nigh healed, he became acquainted with a certain Rev. Stockfeld, who, at that time, served as minister in Ceres and Garnavillo. Under the latter's guidance and instructions, he prepared for the ministry. Here he had a great advantage, because of the good elementary education he had received in the land of his birth, and the private lessons he took in his youth in companionship with the son of a rich family, while on his extended journey through the European continent. Here he laid the foundation for his theological acquirements. after his studies were finished, he was ordained in Illinois by members of the North Illinois synod, which later dissolved membership.

It was n the 18th day of May, 1862, the Ev. Luth. congregation at Clayton Centre, Iowa, asked him first, to become their instructor and then pastor of their church. Here he discharged his duties for forty-two long years in a faithful and candid manner, in joyous and in sorrowful days. At the same time he served as minister in Elkader for twenty-four years and preached the gospel at Farmersburg for seventeen years. Neither winter's cold blast nor the heat of summer, or any other obstacles prevented him, day or night, from doing his duty. The almighty God had fitted had fitted him with a strong, healthy body, an iron constitution, great determination and will power, with which to confront all obstructions and to meet the great problems of life squarely, otherwise he would have been helpless to defy the inclement weather and to endure all the hardships he had to contend with, at times.

In his long years of ministry he baptized 2,320 children, confirmed 857, married 543 couples, and he preached at the graves of 636 persons. Indeed a long eventful life ! He worked for the honor and glory of his Lord and Savior alone, and for the salvation of the souls that were entrusted to his charge. It is true, at times he had chances to take charge of better paying parishes, where certainly the work would not have been as tedious and difficult, for at times in the early seventies he had sixty pupils in summer and over ninety in the winter time, under his instruction, without any further assistance. But he seemed fully satisfied in his sphere of labor, for work in God's creation was life to him: work among his large congregation and in the school-room seemingly was recreation and a great enjoyment for him. That is why his name will be remembered among his fellow men, that is why at his funeral, there not one, but three congregations present, herein is the fact that for fully half an hour 1,200 people, men, women and children, took a last reverent view of the remains of the deceased. We may say of him, "though passed away, he liveth yet." In the world of strife, during his long life, he acquired a through knowledge of men. Through personal experience he had an opportunity to study their emotions and sentimentalities, to observe the vagueness and the transgressions of all earthly things and the dissensions and discords of human society. But the Lord was with him and through Him his life ran as smoothly and serenely as the babbling brook at midday. It was He who helped him from strife to victory, from believing to seeing.

On October 1st, 1903, the deceased retied as an active minister of the gospel. A few years later his congregation bestowed on him the honorary membership and since then he has always taken part in the service and sacrament of his church. His last years were spent mostly with reading, and at the same time he enjoyed the rest and ease of his comforting arm chair. The many visits of his true friends and good neighbors were especially enjoying and gratifying to him. Then his somewhat pale face would beam, and his eyes sparkle with the everlasting fire of youth. At their departure he would always remind them to pay him frequent visits. It was granted to him that in his old age he could look back upon a long, useful, contented life, to feel the confidence in his family circle and nearest relationship, that he had not lived in vain, that the fruits of his labors provided him a bountiful reward in the most beautiful embellishment in the expression of words.

The deceased was, during his whole life, a patient sufferer. In his fourteenth year he left home to go to work, and all during his youth he endured many privations, yet he learned to carry his yoke graciously. On September 22nd, 1899, his wife and life-long companion, who for thirty-three years had shared joy and sorrow with him, was called away to the other shore, and with his ten children, most of whom were still under age, he was left to battle life alone. Several years before he retired from the ministry, once after he had delivered a sermon at Elkader, he drove home from there, over-heated, in a blinding snow storm. He became sick with an eye affliction and to save one eye, the other one had to be operated upon, thereby losing its faculty of vision. His remaining eye-sight however was good to the last.

The deceased made it a point never to bewail his tribulations. He carried his sufferings with great patience and always made it a point to submit himself to God's decrees. In the last years he often expressed the wish to die and we may say of him as of the patriarchs, "He died old and tired of life."

Rev. Seifert always was, and during his whole life has been an ardent and zealous student of theology. He informed himself continually concerning the modern tendencies in that special line. What he acquired and knew, he gained mostly through persistent effort and hard, diligent application, and making proper use of his spare moments. As a pastor he believed firmly in the true doctrines of the Lutheran church and the principles and confessions of faith as laid down in the doctrines of Luther and the Lutheran fathers. yet he was no sectarian, he believed in religious toleration in its broadest sense. In that perception he preached the Word for more than forty years, pure and real in a manner that made friend and foe alike respect him.

In the death of Mr. Seifert the community has lost one of the older and well loved residents, whose life has been a helpful one and whose influence was for good. With malice for none, kind and cheerful under all circumstances, true to friends and principles, believing in honor and uprightness in all things, speaking always the best of all and finding merit in everyone, his life was one to better those who knew him. His home life was perfect in the beauty of love and companion ableness, and the constant desire to help those less fortunate than himself. He was the ideal friend and companion of his children, sharing their joys and sorrows and ever ready to aid them in all ways possible. With him a kind-hearted and gentle Christian has passed away. One of his great regrets in his later years was his inability to take part in any active work.

The funeral was held Wednesday, August 21st. The church was by far too small to seat the many people. Rev. K. W. Braun, a co-worker and good friend of the deceased, preached to the congregation from 2 Cor., Chap. 12, Verse 9: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness, etc." Rev. J. Burkhardt, his successor and spiritual advisor, held his sermon from Psalms 37, Versus 5-6: "Trust yourself and thy ways unto the Lord, He will make all things well." At the cemetery Rev. Gass, an old friend of the deceased, held the valedictory address and Rev. J. Burkhardt fulfilled the consecration.

At his bier ten children, ten grandchildren six sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law mourned the departure of a good father, whose memory they will always cherish. As it had always been his wish, so it was carried out, his sons and grandsons carried him to the grave.

As the deceased had, all during his life, been a great lover of flowers, his grave was beautifully decorated with them and the great array of flowers from far and near were further tokens of esteem.

It is true that we mourn at the passing of such a true and faithful servant, but our faith stands out triumphant because of the victory and the laurels which the fulfillment of such a life of service and accomplishment in the service of the Lord signifies.


(Note: a Card of Thanks was signed 'The Children', and was dated Read, Iowa, Sept. 14, 1910. This article was accompanied by a photo of the deceased but did not reproduce well enough to be used here.)

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