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Most of the information presented here was obtained from research done by
Donna Rae Eilts and Jari Lynn Oncken and from the Minonk News-Dispatch of December 1918.
St. Paul's congregation was organized in the late fall of the year 1868 by Reverend J. Neumann. The church was built that year two blocks west of the present church. The original name for the church was "German United Evangelical Lutheran Church". The church was started in order to minister to the many German speaking immigrants. Church services were originally held in German. Even into the 1950's church services were held in German on Sunday afternoon for the older people who still spoke German.
In 1873 Rev. Neumann was succeeded by Rev. A. Schoenhuth. The old parsonage ws built during his tenure. In 1884 a larger church building was built that served the congregation for 34 years. In 1905 Rev. Theo Kettlehut of Chicago came to serve the church. The new parsonage was built in 1908 during his stay. This parsonage was torn down in the 1970's after a controversial debate.
In 1918 the church was remodeled to its present appearance. The church steeple was taken down and replaced by a tower because it was struck by lightning so often. A full basement was added along with the beautiful stained glass windows that still adorn the building to this day. In 1952 the interior of the church was completely remodeled along with the installation of a new organ and altar.
Rev. Paul Buchmueller came to the church in 1920 and served until 1957. During his long stay the church grew to over 600 members.
A stained glass window at St. Paul's church
The above photo was taken around 1910 and shows the old parsonage and the church before it was remodeled.
Rev. Paul BuchmuellerRev. Buchmueller was born in Nashville, IL on May 13, 1878. He was raised south of Belleville. He received his training at Elmhurst College and at Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, MO. His first pastorate was in Summerfield where he served from 1901 to 1906. From 1906 until 1920 he was in Marine prior to coming to Minonk.
He had four sons; Helmuth, Theodore, Oscar and Alfred. Three of the sons became ministers also. His wife died in 1956. After his retirement in 1957 he moved to Marshalltown, Iowa to spend his remaining days near his son Helmuth.