Strieter Autobiography in Production

Finalized cover design for Sacred Storytelling

n December 15, Sacred Storytelling: The Autobiography of Johannes Strieter (1829–1920) and Related Sources went into production. Please contact Wipf and Stock Publishers’ customer service department if you wish to place an order for a softcover or hardcover edition. God willing, it will eventually also be available in ebook format.

Special thanks go to Erin Mathieus for her artwork, which was used as the basis for the cover design, and to Prof. em. James Korthals, Dr. John Brenner, and Winfried Strieter for their gracious endorsements.

Please see my earlier post for an overview of the book’s content. Especially the Name and Place Indexes are extremely comprehensive, and should prove valuable to both church historians and ancestral researchers.

To God alone be the glory!

Strieter Autobiography in Typesetting Phase

Erin Mathieus, The Gospel by Horsepower, 2020, acrylic on mixed-media paper

My manuscript translation of Johannes Strieter’s autobiography has been submitted to Wipf and Stock Publishers of Oregon, under the title Sacred Storytelling: The Autobiography of Johannes Strieter (1829–1920) and Related Sources. The tentative synopsis reads:

After emigrating from Germany to Michigan at age seven, Johannes Strieter (1829–1920) served as a confessional Lutheran pastor in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana amid almost unbelievable hardships. Though not a well-known person himself, his life’s path intersected with that of numerous distinguished persons—August Crämer, Friedrich Wyneken, J. C. W. Lindemann, C. F. W. Walther, and John C. Pritzlaff, just to name a handful. Through his recollections, we also encounter firsthand the Ojibwa, the Civil War, the establishment and founding of roads, cities, churches, and schools, and travel by sea, lake, river, canal, railroad, horseback, buggy, stagecoach, and on foot. We accompany him as he nearly kills his sister, is spared in a terrible accident, falls in love, navigates difficult pastoral situations and decisions, enjoys laughs with and at the expense of his friends, gets drafted into the Union Army, buries some of his children, watches his family grow, ministers to the troubled, misguided, sick, and dying, and finally retires to Michigan on account of deafness. Translated afresh from Strieter’s original manuscript and presented with twelve appendices to supplement his autobiography, Sacred Storytelling is a treasure trove of adventure, perspective, entertainment, courage, and conviction.

The tentative Table of Contents:

  • List of Illustrations [contains 64]
  • Translator’s Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Original Preface
  • Preliminary Remarks
  • Chapter 1: Youth
  • Chapter 2: Seminary
  • Chapter 3: Into the Ministry
  • Chapter 4: Newburgh
  • Chapter 5: Wisconsin
    • Hardships and Happenings
    • Battle with the Fanatics
    • My Departure from Injunland
  • Chapter 6: Aurora
  • Chapter 7: Peru
  • Chapter 8: Proviso
    • Saloon and Ball
    • Lodge
  • Chapter 9: Pleasant Experiences
  • Appendix I: Strieter Ancestry
  • Appendix II: Strieter Children
  • Appendix III: Indian Missions in Huron and Saginaw Counties, Michigan
  • Appendix IV: Announcements Pertaining to Strieter’s Ministry
  • Appendix V: Sketch of the Parents of the Ernst Girls by Henry F. Rahe
  • Appendix VI: Beginnings of Organized Lutheranism in Marquette County, Wisconsin
  • Appendix VII: Early Relationship between the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods
  • Appendix VIII: Johann Jacob Hoffmann
  • Appendix IX: J. J. Kern Letters
  • Appendix X: Death and Burial of C. F. W. Walther
  • Appendix XI: Jubilee Report
  • Appendix XII: Johannes Strieter’s Obituary
  • About the Translator
  • Subject Index
  • Name Index
  • Place Index
  • Scripture Index

Previously, I had asked all interested parties to contact me and to provide me with their contact information and with the number of copies desired. Since I do not have to self-publish this book, this is no longer necessary. You can simply keep abreast of the book’s progress on this site or at its Facebook page, and then order it either from Wipf and Stock or Amazon once it’s published. Thanks for your support, and God bless!

Praetorius Biography in Production

Finalized cover design for Heaven Is My Fatherland

n April 21 the typesetting for Heaven Is My Fatherland: The Life and Work of Michael Praetorius was completed. Today the cover design was completed. The book is currently in production and, God willing, within a month will be available for purchase in hardcover, softcover, and ebook formats.

Special thanks go to Dr. Margaret Boudreaux, Sara Schneider, and Dr. Kermit Moldenhauer for their gracious endorsements.

To stay abreast of exact publication dates and to receive other Praetorius-related updates and resources, please visit, Like, and Follow the book’s Facebook page.

To God alone be the glory!

Biographies in the Works

Detail of the Ducal Castle in Wolfenbüttel from an engraving by Matthäus Merian the Elder, published in 1654

Michael Praetorius Biography

On March 5, I signed a contract with Wipf and Stock Publishers out of Oregon to publish an edited translation of Siegfried Vogelsänger’s 2008 biography of the confessional Lutheran composer Michael Praetorius (1571-1621).

I originally made overly ambitious plans to translate Wilibald Gurlitt’s dissertation on Praetorius. But in the spring of 2018 Winfried Elsner, who collaborated with Vogelsänger and who currently chairs the Michael Praetorius Collegium of Wolfenbüttel, acquainted me with this more concise introduction to the composer and his work and persuaded me to undertake its translation instead. The goal is to have it released in advance of the 400th anniversary of Praetorius’ death in 2021.

God willing, in addition to providing a detailed summary of Praetorius’ life and work, the book will also introduce the reader to Praetorius’ father, employers (especially Duke Heinrich Julius of Brunswick-Lueneburg), wife and children, and other relatives, friends, and acquaintances. It will also include an appendix containing the sermon and graveside remarks Pastor Peter Tuckermann delivered at Praetorius’ funeral—appearing in English in their entirety for the first time. As of this writing, the plan is also to have the book richly illustrated with artwork (both older and more modern) and photographs. Some of the primary source translations I have undertaken and continue to undertake in order to ensure the historical accuracy of the book’s content may also appear on this site in the future; some may also be included in additional appendices to the book.

If you wish to follow the progress of this biography more closely, you can do so here.

Johannes Strieter Autobiography

Many of this site’s readers are primarily interested in my work on the 1904 autobiography of Pastor emeritus Johannes Strieter (1829-1920).

The work on the autobiography itself is basically finished. The delay in getting the manuscript submitted and published is mostly due to the discovery of a slew of correspondence from the mid-1850s to mid-1860s in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s Presidential Papers, some of it penned by Strieter himself. The pertinent letters in this correspondence tell two stories related to Strieter’s time in Wisconsin:

  1. The multifaceted and interesting story of the founding of Lutheran congregations in Marquette and Green Lake Counties, Wisconsin, without which Strieter would not have been called to Wisconsin in the first place, and thus also would not have played a significant role in the founding of many other Lutheran congregations elsewhere in Wisconsin through his mission trips, and
  2. The story of the conflict between Pastor Strieter and Pastor J. J. Kern, which is tied to #1.

I want to include translations of this correspondence, as well as other primary source material (church record information, Der Lutheraner articles and announcements, newspaper articles, etc.), together with this autobiography, since it both helps to put the details of the autobiography in their proper context and comprises an important and previously little-known chapter of the history of the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods. However, it is not only taking a long time to complete due to the large number of letters available (I am approaching the halfway mark), but the appendices are quickly approaching and surpassing the autobiography itself in size.

The serial I am currently writing for the WELS Historical Institute Journal (see Published) is thankfully providing the impetus I need to continue trudging my way through, and organizing, these primary sources. Once I am finally finished, I am considering the possibility of submitting this material as two separate manuscripts for companion volumes—the first being the autobiography itself, the second the supplementary primary source material. Eventually this project will, God willing, have its own Facebook page too, but for now, if you want to make sure you don’t miss important updates on it, please revisit the information here, especially the parts in bold.

Thanks for continuing to follow Red Brick Parsonage, and the triune God bless you all.

2017 Update

I haven’t posted here in a while, so I wanted to update Red Brick readers as to the status of my work.

I am still steadily continuing work on the Strieter autobiography, though more slowly than previously due to a change in the location of my ministry. I am nearly finished with Chapter 11, on Strieter’s ministry in Proviso, Illinois. Only three chapters and an addendum remain after that.

As a way to provide fresh content regularly on this site, I am going to start a new “Quote of the Week” feature. The congregation I serve has asked me to provide them with daily devotions, and on Saturday each week the devotion comes from the Church Fathers, a hymn, or the Lutheran Confessions. Since I almost always go back to the original source and provide a fresh translation for these, I plan to kill two birds with one stone by also posting those quotes here, since they fit very well with the purpose of this blog. You can find the first “Quote of the Week” here.

The triune God bless you all.

Strieter Autobiography: Subscribing for the Book

(UPDATE [8/5/20]: The information shared here, especially the instructions at the bottom for how to obtain a copy of the book, is out of date. Please see here for an update on the book’s progress and how to obtain a copy.)

If you are interested in owning a hard copy of Strieter’s autobiography, please read on. (If you do not yet know anything about the autobiography, please read Part 1 here.)

The most recent installment of Strieter’s autobiography, that is, the last part of the chapter “Hardships and Happenings,” will be the last installment from that work that appears on this blog. The remaining chapters are:

  • “Battle with the Fanatics” – his encounters with the Methodists and Albright Brethren during his Wisconsin years
  • “My Departure from the Injunland”
  • “Aurora” – his time in Aurora, Illinois
  • “Snippet on Squaw Grove and Pierceville”
  • “Peru” – his time in Peru, Indiana (today St. John’s, Peru)
  • “Proviso” – his time in Proviso, Illinois (today Immanuel, Hillside)
  • “The Saloon and Ball” – his battle against drinking and dancing in Proviso
  • “The Lodge” – his battle against lodge membership
  • “Pleasant Experiences” – the stand-out joys that God gave him throughout his ministry, including his marriage, and also his retirement from the ministry
  • “Addendum”

At this point, the plan is to publish the autobiography as a hardcover book when finished, even to self-publish if necessary. If self-publishing is necessary, complimentary volumes would be given to anyone who has been helpful in this process, most notably the Concordia Historical Institute, the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Library, and a select group of Pastor Strieter’s descendants. I would ask any other descendant of Pastor Strieter for a donation simply matching the per-volume cost of publication. And to anyone else interested, I would ask for a donation marginally exceeding the per-volume cost (the goal being to make up for the complimentary volumes and ultimately to break even). (If a professional publisher accepts the manuscript, then I would only see to it that the complimentary volumes were distributed.)

If self-published, the format and size of the book would tentatively be something akin to a David McCullough hardcover, minus the dust jacket – with a small, elegant, professional emblem on the cover (silhouette of a profile of a bearded man with horse and buggy), two or three groups of pages with pictures related to the content inserted at intervals (thus no picture will be by itself in the body of the text), and a section of endnotes at the end of each chapter (as opposed to footnotes on each page) so that they don’t distract the reader who simply wishes to enjoy the autobiography by itself. Regardless of how it is published, I will also see to the provision of an index of names, places, concepts, events, etc. including modern-day churches descended from or related to the congregations Strieter mentions.

I am hereby asking all interested parties – whether individuals, societies, or organizations – to provide me with their name(s), address(es), and the number of copies desired. You can email me at:

redbrickparsonage@gmail.com

I will compile these names in a subscription spreadsheet so that I have a good idea of how many copies to have printed.

The other benefit of an advance subscriber spreadsheet is that, if the number of subscribers adds up sufficiently, I may be able to use that spreadsheet to persuade a publisher to accept the manuscript and take over publishing responsibilities. While this might affect format, size, and layout, it would definitely make my life easier and most likely result in broader distribution.

Thank you for your interest in Strieter’s autobiography, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Luther Christmas Sermons to Press!

The bad news: I have removed Martin Luther’s five sermons on Isaiah’s six names for Jesus from this blog.

The good news: I have removed them as a result of a contract with Northwestern Publishing House (NPH), who will, God willing, publish them in connection with the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The plan at this point is to publish them as an Advent/Christmas devotional.

This 1531 Christmas sermon series by Luther is not only thoroughly scriptural and edifying, but is also of historical value. It provides a good glimpse into Luther the man – his sense of humor, his past experiences in the Roman Church, his experience with the German Peasants’ War, and his down-to-earth manner of communicating God’s word.

Please watch for this book from NPH in 2017, and thanks for your continued support of Red Brick Parsonage!