Biography of Rev. Charles W. Baumhoefener
Iowa County, IA Biographies





REV. CHARLES WILLIAM BAUMHOEFENER.
In the death of the Rev. Charles William Baumhoefener Iowa county lost a citizen whose worth was widely recognized and whose good deeds were manifold. He was for many years minister of the German Lutheran church and long occupied the relation of pastor to St. John's church in Iowa township, devoting his life to that work until his labors were ended in death on the 30th of March, 1915, when he heard the call to come up higher. He had left the impress of his individuality and of his high ideals of life upon the lives of many with whom he came in contact. He was born at Glisses, Hanover, Germany, December 17, 1846, a son of Frederick and Sophia (Meyer) Baumhoefener. He was baptized by the Rev. Pocke of the Evangelical Lutheran church and was given the name of William Carl Frederick. He became a pupil in the public schools at the age of six years and when twelve years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Minden, Westphalia, where he attended the city schools. He was confirmed at the age of fourteen years and afterward engaged in clerking in a store, being thus employed for four years, at the end of which time he secured a position in a wholesale house in Warburg, Hessen. The year 1866 witnessed his emigration to the new world in company with two cousins, their destination being St. Louis. He did not forget his early religious training in his new home and the sermons preached by the Rev. Buenger and Professor Brauer led him to the determination to become a minister of the gospel. Accordingly, he matriculated in Concordia Seminary at St. Louis and was graduated from that institution with honors with the class of 1868. His first call was to a church at East St. Louis, Illinois, and it was during his residence there that he was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Niemann, of Litchfield, Illinois. He left East St. Louis to accept the pastorate of the church at Shell Creek, Nebraska, where he remained for two years, and then took charge of the church at Pebble Creek, Nebraska, where he spent the succeeding seven years of his life in an effort to upbuild the church and advance the cause of Christianity.

In 1880 Rev. Baumhoefener was called to St. John's church in Iowa township, and his remaining days were spent as its pastor, covering a period of thirty five years. The church had been founded with a membership of thirty five families. In relation to his work at St. John's it has been said: "He found a small congregation, but threw his great energy into the work and encouraged his people to remain in the locality. The policy was wisdom itself, and the parent settlement around St. John's church gradually extended its boundaries until in later years, the congregations of Immanuel's, York, St. Paul's, Williamsburg, and Trinity at Conroy, became necessary to meet the spiritual demands of the communities that regard old St. John's as the parent of them all. Rev. Baumhoefener took the liveliest interest in the welfare of all the younger churches, and in the affairs of his own he brought the congregation to a foremost place; it was attached to the Missouri Synod in 1884, and it was through the influence of Rev. Baumhoefener that the Southeastern Iowa Conference was established. For thirty years he was president of the Stutzung Kommission, Iowa District, and for several years he was a director in the Iowa Kinderfreund Gessellshaft."

To Rev. and Mrs. Baumhoefener were born ten children, of whom six survive, four daughters and two sons: Anna, who is conducting a millinery store at Readlyn, Iowa, August, who is now proprietor of a nursery at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Clara, who is a nurse in Sioux City, Iowa; Laura, the wife of Herman Maas, a minister located at Readlyn, Iowa; Otto, who wedded Mary Furler and is now living at Welcome, Minnesota; and Minnie, the wife of George Sandersfield, who occupies a farm near Welcome, Minnesota.

Again we quote from a contemporary biographer, who said: "The Rev. Baumhoefener was a familiar figure in Iowa and adjoining counties; his long pastorate at St. John's gave him a wide acquaintance and wherever he was known he was well remembered. He was simple in his tastes and honest in his opinions and true to his convictions. As a pastor he was all that fidelity and care could furnish; he lived with and for his people and in all he took the kindliest interest. Men and women now heads of families were baptized when infants by the good pastor; he officiated at their marriage, and in all their joys and sorrows he was their counsellor and friend. This is the secret of the sorrow that marks his passing, and it will be many years before the name and work of the departed churchman will pass from the minds of the members of St. John's congregation."

His funeral was one of the largest ever held in Iowa county, the church being unable to accommodate one fourth of those who gathered to pay their last tribute of honor and respect. It has been said: "Not the good that comes to us, but the good that comes to the world through us, is the measure of our success," and judged by this standard, the life record of Rev. Baumhoefener was a most successful one. He brought courage and comfort to the disheartened and the sorrowing, inspiration to the courageous and cheer and hope to all with whom he came in contact, and there was none with whom he was associated but felt the force of his character as a radiating influence for good.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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