Hi and welcome to the Volga-German website.  I was contacted sometime ago from Danny Goldman of Israel to help him research the Volga-Germans (Templers) who settled close to Gypsum, Kansas.  This last summer, Danny came to Kansas and we spent the day together over at the settlement area where the Templers had settled.  We talked to Elsie Thiel and a few other kind people, and we took pictures of the area showing the buildings and homes in the area.  We have set up this website to share with you what information that we have gathered. If you would like to contact me, my e-mail address is familyattic@hotmail.com. I will forward your e-mails to Danny.  We would like to thank Elsie Thiel for supplying us with pictures and information. Thank you and please enjoy this site.
Volga-Germans
75th  ANNIVERSARY YEAR Booklet
    For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.  Thy faithful-ness is unto all generations: Ps. 119:89, 90 (a)

     This historical resume of Temple Church has been prepared in thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness throughout the past 75 years.

     It is the desire of the present generation at Temple to follow in the faithful steps of the former generations, holding forth the Word of Life; that we all may rejoice in the Day of Christ.
A HISTORY OF TEMPLE CHURCH
  The Temple Society came into existance in Germany in the 19th century as a protesting body within the Lutheran faith.  Feeling that too much emphasis was placed upon rituals and the administering of sacraments rather than the preaching of the Word, the leaders, Christoph Hoffmann and Christoph Paulus, organized their followers into a worshiping body known as the Temple Society.  Headquarters for this group continued in Germany for a time, but later moved to Palestine.  In their efforts to find a national home other groups came to the United States and established small churches.

     In the early 1800's Casper Melbert, the evangelist, came to Salina, Kansas, hoping to find a suitable location to gather those of his faith together.  In March of 1885 four men, H. C. Pfalzgraf of New York City, William Schwarz, Wurttemberg, Germany, Joseph Graf, Jersey City and George Muench of Baden, Germany, who was living in Ohio, came to Salina, Kansas.  Together with Mr. Melbert they came to Gypsum and decided to locate their colony in the community southeast of Gypsum.

     These men, with the exception of Mr. Graf, who returned to New Jersey, brought their families here and established homes.  Soon others joined them and a German community with similiar religious beliefs was formed.  These families held their services in the Pfalzgraf home, which is now the Crist Buchenau farm, and the Hobbs Creek School House until they could organize and build a place of worship.

     By March of 1886 the church, which is still in use today, was completed.  On Penecost Sunday the church was dedicated.  At this first meeting in their new house of worship the members chose the name of Templefeld for their church and their first four elders were appointed.  At this time they also decided that a musical program was essential to their religious growth.  They voted to ask Rev. Fred Fink of Schenectady, New York, who was a graduate student of the Hoffmann Temple School in Palestine, to come and take charge of this phase of the work.  $170.00 was contributed for the purchase of 12 band instruments.  This money was sent to Rev. Fink with the request that he buy the instruments and bring them with him from the East.

     Rev. Fink arrived in the summer of 1886.  He organized a choir and a band and assisted Mr. Melbert with the preaching services.  He also taught school at the Hobbs Creek School near by.  The following year he assumed the responsibility of pastor.  The bank which Rev. Fink first organized was composed of 13 members, one of whom, August Schwarz, is still living.  This band soon frew and was an inspiration and an instrument of joy which premeated the entire community for many years.  Rev. Fink's faithful labors helped to establish and root the colony in their new home.  In January of 1889 he was called back to Schenectady to serve as pastor of the Temple Society Church there.

     Tempelfeld continued to grow as more families of German descent and religious faith came and established their homes in the surrounding community.  In June of 1887, an additional elder to the church, C.L. Stein, was appointed and it was to be his duty to work among the people of the community 12 miles north of the Hobbs Creek district.

     On Good Friday of the spring of 1887 the cemetery for the church was laid out.  Special worship services were held in the morning.  In the afternoon the men measured off the plot adjoining the church yard for the cemetery and planted trees on the grounds.  Until this time a small plot of ground on the hill one-half mile east of the church was used as a burial ground.
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