By Tom Connelly
A milestone in the history of Floyd County Protestantism will be marked with the 95th anniversary of the Flood Creek Methodist Church, near Rockford, Sunday.
The Flood Creek Church, founded in 1865, will hold a special observance of the occasion at 2:30 Sunday afternoon, one week before the congregation will disband permanently.
"The few families left in the congregation have decided to move to churches where there is more activity for the younger members," Rev. Earl Streyffeler, pastor, said.
In recent months there have been only about 20 persons regularly attending the Sunday services. Most of these are "old timers." Such was not always the case. In 1886 there were more than 300 adults and children attending services.
The Rev. George Achenbach, a missionary, came to this area in 1865. His mission was to preach the gospel to people from waterloo to Albert Lea, Minnesota, and from Decorah to Fort Dodge. He organized several classes in what is now Floyd county, and services he conducted at the Union school two miles south of Roseville, area seen as the beginning of the Flood Creek Methodist Church.
The first Quarterly Council was held at a farm house south of the church, on Dec. 4, 1869. Rev. H. R. Fiegenbaum was pastor, and there were 46 members whose names included: Kolstad, Bartz, Achenbach, Koerner, Gauger, Veitmeier, Koehler, Maas, Lenz, and Moll.
In 1872 members decided to build a new church. It was dedicated in 1873. Nick Maas built a pulpit of solid walnut, and that pulpit is still being used today.
Since the early settlers were primarily Germans, sermons and lessons were given for many years in the German language.
Rev. Streyffeler pointed out one claim the church can be proud of. The congregation has sent 12 members into fulltime Christian service since its organization. These included Fred Thiel, John Daake, Frank Moll, Harold Bartz, Emil Lacour, Lloyd Willert, Fred Steffler, Albert Gauger, Charles Koerner, August Koerner, William Koerner, August Pruessner and Mildred Willert March.
Those serving on the final board of trustees are: Vernon Draeger, chairman, Ervin Duesenberg, Wesley Gauger, Newton Hahn, Wilber Daake, Don Boekemeier and Edward Schmidt.
When the final service is held at Flood Creek Methodist Church the 12th of June, the final page in the history of one of the county's oldest houses of worship will be closed.
From Charles City Press, June 4, 1960
NOTE: The article above was redacted.
Photo of the church and the parsonage.
Photo of the church and parsonage from the other side.
The photo inset in the article is actually from the 1913 book, Geschichte der Nordwest Deutschen Konferenz. The other two, showing both the church and the parsonage, were taken by Dick Daake's father, Rueben Daake, probably between 1950 and 1960.
Story, photos and map were submitted to Floyd GenWeb by Dick Daake.
Note: The following is an English translation of German text, translated by R.L. Daake, from pages 332-335 of the 1913 volume "Geschichte der Nordwest Deutschen Konferenz".
Northwest German Conference
Flood Creek Circuit
This field of work was at first an extension of the Charles City congregation that grew from the interest and attention of (Pastor) J. G. Achenbach. The first members of the Flood Creek congregation were Leonhardt Achenbach and his wife Bertha, who labored there a long time to see the work established, having brought their membership from Wheeling, Illinois.
The next pastor was H. R. Fiegenbaum, who lived in Charles City but attended to the cultivation of the Flood Creek project for about two years. The congregation was meeting at that time in the Union Schoolhouse; the first class was organized with Leonhardt Achenbach as leader.
In the Fall of 1869, the Flood Creek project was separated from Charles City and joined in a pastoral circuit with the Shell Rock Mission, with Johann Schaad serving as pastor and living at Flood Creek.
Leonhardt Achenbach, Wm. Koerner, Wm. Bartz, and M. F. Lessin were the first stewards (trustees, managers) of the Church, which at the time had 12 probationary and 46 full members. A Sunday School was organized that initially served 7 children. Nora Springs would in turn become an extension of this field, and will be discussed more later.
On September 26, 1870, the Flood Creek circuit would become a separate organization, with Philipp Hummel serving as Pastor for three years. In the final year of his effective work, the church building was erected and the money for it collected.
From 1873 - 76, C. F. Tramm served as pastor of the Flood Creek Circuit. During the first part of his period of service a Catechism class was started and a parsonage built.
In 1874 Heinrich Kohlstaedt received a local preacher's license. He was frequently given the opportunity to preach and the people listened to him gladly. During this period, membership saw a steady increase, reaching 144 and climbing. Good revival services were held as time passed. Old fashioned meetings were held and fine victories seen.
From 1876-79 the faithful and conscientious Philipp Funk served as pastor of the Church; under his direction progress was always constructive and consistent.
From 1879-82 the holder of the pastoral office was the capable Ferdinand Fisher. He understood the principles of preaching.
In the Fall of 1882 John Hauk was appointed as pastor of the Flood Creek Church and served for three years. During his leadership he added a significant number (of members) to the Church.
In September 1885 Heinrich Kaste began his service as pastor for three years. Under his work 36 new probationary members were added and the parsonage was enlarged.
Pastor G. F. Kienle served this congregation for 1 year, namely for 1889-90. During that time he had 18 probationary and 165 full members to account for.
In the Fall of 1889 Otto Niederhuth became the pastor. Through his effort the annex of the church was completed and the youth group officially organized.
In the Fall of 1891 congregation member William Koerner served as pastor for one year, having been engaged by Bishop Goodsell, one of the senior administrators of the District.
Then followed H. F. Hilmer in 1892. He served as a faithful intirim pastor for 2 years.
H. R. Fiegenbaum, a former pastor from many years before, served this congregation again from 1894-97. For such an energetic worker the sphere of activity was almost too small, but he came again to serve his Master in this work.
In the fall of 1897 T. A. Schuldt was sent to Flood Creek and remained there for three years. It was a difficult time of trial for him and his family in that his young son was taken from him during this time. During his period of service, a new barn was build next to the parsonage. Also as the statistics indicate, the yeaer 1900 saw the largest membership of the church, namely, 15 probationary and 207 full members. Since that time this congregation has seen a decrease in membership, mainly through people moving away from the area.
Pastor F. C. Steffler was the shepherd and pastor of this congregation from 1900-1903. He was followed by J. A. Lemke from 1903-1906, and then came Gottlieb Häfner for a year.
From 1907-1910, Albert F. Damerow served as the intirim pastor for the congregation. He sought to do God's work in quiet ways.
In the fall of 1910, Pastor J. F. Hartke was sent to the Flood Creek congregation and presently finds himself in the third year of his assignment. Under his leadership, the church that was first build in 1873 has undergone significant renovation and the addition of modern furniture, at a cost of $3600. These improvements are fully paid for and are appreciated by young and old alike.
As already indicated above, this congregation has seen a loss of membeship in recent years due to people moving away, and represented itself at the last conference as having 111 full members and a property valued at $8,000.
Because the decline in membership is accounted for mainly by departure of the older members due to retirement, many of the remaining members of the parish are comparatively young. So the growth prospects and future of the church remain very promising.
In spite of the departure of those leaving the congregation, many former blessings continue. Some former members have completed their life journey and are now at home with their Lord. Among the departed ones are the first members of this congregation such as father and mother Achenbach who made great sacrifices for the church. And some of the older heros remain on their journey. This church has certainly been a very fruitful one. As church trustees and authors of this report, we [William Koerner, A. H. Körner, and T. L. Körner] hold in high regard those former pastors who have already gone on (to their reward). We also acknowledge the fact that several men presently serving as pastors of other congregations, including F. H. Thiel and A. W. Gauger, have come from this church.
Note: The book consisted of 429 pages, including an index. Mr. Daake suspects that the publication of the book was overseen or managed by the Charles City College, which was owned and operated by the German M.E. Church, as a high school and prep school for ministers.
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October 4, 2013