Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pastoral Relative

From: Fr. Anthony Cook franthonyc@
Subject: Distant relative
To: tcschenks@yahoo.com
Date: Monday, March 24, 2008, 2:19 PM

Mr. Schenks,

I found your web blog a few months ago when I was searching for the name of my
great-great grandfather Walter Cook--not as a research project, but just out of
curiousity. I was surprised to find your website pop up at the time, and
intrigued to find that we are, if I am not mistaken, distantly related, as the
text you were quoting from your great-great-great-grandfather's brother G.E.
Ahner was translated by my great-great grandfather, who married G.E. Ahner's
daughter Emma, who passed away in the early 1980's. I thought I would take
the opportunity to introduce myself to you, simply for the pleasure of doing so.
It is not often that one encounters a distant relative.

As I said, Walter Cook was my great-great-grandfather. His son Martin was my
great-grandfather (also a minister)--he was killed in 1948 in a plane crash in
southeast Asia. My grandfather is his son Richard, who had three sons, the
oldest of which, Dan, is my father.

I know that at least some of Walter Cooks descendants still live in Missouri
and perhaps some of the nearby states. I remember visiting several of them
(Paula Cook in particular) in 2002, though as I understand she has passed away
since then. I wonder if you know any of them.

I was curious in particular to know whether you had a copy of the text which
you quoted on your website, translated by Walter Cook from the memoirs of his
father-in-law. I would be very interested to read the entirety of that if you
knew where (or whether) it was published, and wondered as well if you knew of
anything else written by either G.E. Ahner or Walter Cook (or any other mutual
ancestors or relatives). I am myself recently ordained to the priesthood in the
Greek Orthodox Church in the Detroit area, and, while it is of course a
different church than that in which my great, great-great, and great-great-great
grandfathers served, I am nonetheless very interested to know more about them,
their ministry, struggles, families, etc. Any information you could give me
would be greatly appreciated, of course.

In Christ,

Fr. Anthony Cook

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pastoral Relative

Ordination Certificate of Rev. G.E. Ahner

Well, there are pastors in my family, but you have to go back a long ways to find them. My Great-Great-Great Grandfather Friedrich August Ahner's brother G.E. Ahner was a Missouri Synod pastor. Their parents were the 1839 Saxon Lutheran immigrants August Friedrich Ahner and Maria Rosine Grobe.

So, let's do a memorial for Rev. Gottlob Ehregott Ahner.

I think that he has some descendents who became pastors too.

b. 5/12/1845 Frohna, MO
d. 12/8/1924 Kirkwood, MO

The Personal and Family History of The Reverend Pastor G.E. Ahner

Translated from the original German by Reverend Walter Cook in 1940.

Reverend Ahner wrote this account when he lived in retirement 1904-1924.

He was born in Frohna, Perry County, Missouri, a son of August Frederick (or Friedrich) Ahner and his spouse, Maria Rosine, nee Grobe, on May 12, 1845, and was baptized Mar 15, 1845. His given name in full was Gottlob Ehregott. It was customary among the very religious-minded Saxon Lutheran immigrants to choose names appropriate to their faith in God. The literal meaning of the name Gottlob is "Praise God" and Ehregott is "Honor God". He wrote this account of his life during his retirement at Kirkwood, MO."

My Christian parents brought me up in the fear, nurture, and admonition of the Lord. At the age of five years they sent me to the Christian Day School conducted by Pastor Loeber. Besides reading, writing, and arithmetic, my chief studies were devoted to our Christian religion. Of course, it was all in German. The Bible, Luther's Catechism, and the Hymn Book were the chief text books. Pastor Loeber insisted on a lot of memory work. Dr. Dietrich's comprehensive explanations with numerous proof texts had to be memorized.

At the age of 13, I was confirmed in the church at Frohna, by Pastor Loeber. [This would have been Rev. Christian (or Christoph?) H. Loeber, son of Altenburg's first pastor G.H. Loeber. -Tim]


The hearts' desire of my dear parents was that I would become a pastor, and for that reason I decided to study for the holy ministry. At the age of 18 I became a student of theology at the Concordia Practical (short-course) Seminary, then located in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Springfield, Illinois after my time. The professors at that time were Dr. Walther, Prof. Craemer, and Prof. Brauer. I was graduated in 1868.


My first field of labor in the Lord was at Blue Earth, Faribault County, Minnesota. This was at that time the base for mission operations in that region. A number of preaching stations were started, first at Hinnesota Lake - two places - and then at Mapleton, Willow Creek, Fairmont, Skunk Lake, Town Rost, Brewster, Tomfort, Luverne (Iowa), and Blue Earth City. In this extensive field I labored five years as a circuit rider.


After that I accepted a call of the church at Nicollet, in Nicollet County, Minnesota. There I also served a congregation in the Winnebago Agency, Blue Earth County, and a small preaching station nearby, besides occasionally taking care of some of the above-named stations. That was a large field of labor, some of the places over 100 miles away from home.


In 1879 I accepted a call to Green Isle, Sibley County, MINN. where I continued my labors in the Lord for about 10 years. There was one great advantage, namely, I did not have to be away from home and the growing family so much any more. And it was indeed necessary, because we were troubled more and more with sickness, especially in the wintertime. I was glad to get a call to Dayton, Iowa, and accepted it. But as for the cold winters and the effect on our health, the difference was slight. Here I also had a small preaching place at Gowrie, Iowa.


Two years later I received a call from New Haven, Missouri, and accepted it. This congregation proved to be strong enough to support a pastor with a considerable family, but not a teacher of the parish school. I did the best I could to perform the duties at this, my last field of labor in the Lord. I was getting old, and the infirmities were increasing until I suffered a nervous breakdown. It was high time to retire.

In 1904 I moved to Kirkwood, Missouri at the age of 59 years.

Looking backwards over the 36 years of strenuous service in the Lord's harvest fields, I at times wonder what I accomplished in those years. With the exception of Nicollet, I taught the parish school in all other charges. This was my heaviest burden, my joy, my hope. I put my trust and hope in the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. He gave us a precious promise in I Cor. 15:38: 'Your labors are not in vain in the Lord'. 'All depends on our possessing God's abundant grace and blessing.'What I have preached and taught, the saving Gospel of Christ, assures me that my labors have not been in vain in the Lord. In this blessed confidence I pray like Simeon: 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.' What I have preached to others all these years, that is my hope and comfort. In this blessed faith I hope to depart in peace. Keep me in this saving faith by thy grace for Jesus' sake. Amen."

Family Data Translated 7-25-1971 AJC

On May 13, 1869 I married Johanna Elizabeth John, born May 13, 1851 in the state of Indiana, her parents being F.W. John and his wife, Martha Louise, nee Barth. We were married by our dear honored Papa: Pastor F. W. John, at Eisleben, Scott County, Missouri. (Note: the name of Eisleben was changed to Illmo during World War I) My brother Friederich August Ahner and Gustav Polack served as Witnesses at the wedding. To this marriage 13 children were born.