Early History of the Congregation

St. Salvator Lutheran Church is located about forty miles southeast of St. Louis.The first pastor was Ottomar Fuerbringer who was called with the help of O. H. Walther (the first pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Sst. Louis).  The early history of the congregation is a record of many trials and hardships, but God’s blessing was in evidence.  In 1840 a log cabin which served as church, school,  and parsonage was errected at Ekhorn Prairie which is now Johannisburg, one mile south of Venedy.  The old name of the parish was “Die Gemeinde an Der Elkhorn Prairie.”  Pastor Fuerbringer delivered his first sermon on August 23, 1940, although the first official church rite was a baptism recoreded in 1837.

Doctrinal controversy within the early congregation prompted the pastor adn six families to form “Die Evangelische Brockschmidt Hill” congregation which is now in Venedy.  In the plans for the community Gerhard H. Brockschmidt donated three acres of land for a church, a school and a cemetery.  In 1942 a frame building was built, and it was used for church, school and parsonage.  Between the years 1843 and 1845 fever and cholera thinned the ranks of the congregation when 49 people died.  Pastor Ruerbringer helped with the founding of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in 1846, and Saint Salvator joined the Missouri Synod in 1848.

The Elkhorn Creek runs nearby the church and sometimes heavy rains would prevent members from returning home after services because of flooded roads.  So in 1850 some members living east of the creek left to form their own congregation in Grand Prairie.  There was a shortage of ministers, so they appealed to the Evangelical Synod.  Today this congregation is named Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ.  There were a number of families in Grand Prairie who had not yet severed ties with Sa. Salvator, and they branched off and founded Ebaneezar White Church.  The congregations in Okawville and Hahlen (south of Nashville) are daughters of this Ebaneezar congregation.

The first school building was dedicated to serve as school and teacherage.  The first school picnic was held in July, 1862.  A Young Peoples Society flourished under Teacher Miessler in 1865.  The present church building was erected during 1864-1865.  It was dedicated in 1866.  The dedication speakers were C F W Walther, Professor Brauer and Paster Buenger.

A Ladies Aid was organized around 1868.  In 1872 the congregation added two rooms to the parsonage, and a school building was erected in 1872 and dedicated in 1874.  A parsonage was built in 1907 and dedicated on Christmas Day of that same year.