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Milam County, Texas - Historical Markers

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St. Paul Luthern Church, School & Cemetery



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Photograph by Milam County Deputy Sheriff Greg Kouba &
Milam County Deputy Sheriff Reese Lockett - 30 July 2003

Marker TitleSt. Paul Luthern Church, School & Cemetery
Address101 N. 3rd St.
Location.
CityThorndale
Year Marker Erected1999
Designationsn/a
Text on MarkerAugust Polnick and his family moved from Lee County to Thorndale in 1881. The family were the first recorded Germans and also the first Lutherans in this area. Their former pastor, G. Birkmann, made ministerial visits to Thorndale over the next five years. A congregation gradually formed with Thorndale residents and Lutherans in the nearby Hochkirche (Noack) community. By 1890 the combined parish recorded 69 communicants, with services held exclusively in German. Later in 1890, Karl Michalk donated ten acres of land for a church, school, and cemetery. The church building was dedicated in 1891. The first burial in the cemetery was that of the infant son of Ida Schultz in 1891. A. W. Kramer was called as St. Paul's first full-time pastor in November 1893. He arrived in March 1894 and also assumed the role of teacher for the school. As the economy rose in Thorndale, Lutherans continued to arrive. By 1899 St. Paul's had 208 members and in 1900 the church congregation moved into a new building. The first full-time schoolteacher, J. Jaeckel, was called in 1900 to improve the school and the facilities. Church membership reached 654 by 1911; the parish boasted 830 members by 1939. A tornado damaged the church building beyond repair in July 1940, and a new one was erected later that year. Sunday School began in 1948. Services were held in both English and German beginning by World War l. By 1952, there was one German service each year. Women became voting members of the congregation in the 1950s. Always involved in community development, both church and school remained active at the close of the 20th century. (1999)
SourceTexas Historical Commission's Texas Historic Sites Atlas Database - July 2003

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Created on 30 July 2003 and last revised on 23 Apr 2004.