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the Haultain Lutheran Church (2014)

Trinity Lutheran Church, Haultain, Saskatchewan

At the turn of the 20th century the Qu’Appelle Longlake Railroad and Steamship Co., running between Saskatoon and Regina had a flagstation about 13 miles south of Saskatoon called Hautain. It was named after Sir Frederick William Haultain, an official in government and education in the then Northwest Territories. The government being anxious to settle the West offered homesteads of 160 acres for ten dollars to anyone that would settle and cultivate the land. Around Hautain at that time it was virgin prairie and bush.

In early 1903 the Herman, Yokish and Wilkie families too up the challenge. In late 1903 several Hartz brothers and the John Fahl family of Reeseville, Wisconsin, arrived as well. In 1904 more of the Hartz family and the Schnitter family arrived. These were all German Lutherans coming from North Dakota and a lot originally from a small village of Ugartsthal in Austria. In 1905 the Heuchert family also came.

Being religious people they asked a travelling missionary, the Rev. Albert Grothe about this possibility. As a result the Rev.e F. Brockmann, travelled 272 miles by train from Curt Hill on the 8th of October, 1905 to Haultain. He was originally called as a missionary for Assiniboia and Saskatchewan. At this meeting he helped organize Hautain Trinity Lutheran Church. A constitution was drawn up and the following officers were elected:
Karl Yokish - Chairman
Wilhelm Hartz – Treasurer
Johann Fahl – Secretary

Besides the officers, eight other voters signed the constitution. They were Paul Wilkie, Ernest Hartz, Michael Herman, Anton Herman, George Herman, Jacob Herman and Philip E. Hartz, making a total of eleven voting members. They also decided to build a small church with a lean-to to serve as a dwelling for a pastor. Ernest Hartz stepped forward at this time with an offer to donate two acres of land if the church would buy two acres for the sum of ten dollars. A deal was struck for the north 310 and a half foot, and west 661 feet on SW-28- 34- 4 west of the 3rd meridan.

At the same meeting a formal call was written out to newly ordained minister, the Rev. Traugoot Thieme Jr. Lumber was ordered from down East and a small church measuring 20 x 26 feet with a lean-to was erected. Rev. Thieme arrived in the fall of 1906. In 1906 and 1907 the Walter, Pfeifer, Poier, Speidel, Miller and Ulrich families arrived and settled in the church community. The little church served as a church, school, community centre and a parsonage.

It seems these pioneers took God’s command in the Bible to be fruitful and multiply literally and multiply they did! Soon also Rev. Thieme got married. Others that arrived in the area were the Meinharts, Anweilers, Walters, Tamkes and others. There are many descendants of these families who were baptised, confirmed, and married at Haultain who are still alive.

All this caused the little Church House to become too small, so they decided to build a new and larger church. In 1908 a new building measuring 22 x 36 feet was erected north of the old one, by a carpenter and lots of volunteer help. That building is still standing there to this day.

The old church was renovated to serve as a parsonage. Soon more people settled in the district and it became obivious that a public school would be needed.

Mr. Dan Knohles, a leader in the district was instrumental in getting this school. In the spring of 1909 Haultain School about two miles south of Haultain siding was officially opened.

In 1948 this school was replaced with a more modern building. After about five years, when the surrounding land was turned into a P.F.R.A. pasture the school was moved to the Wyndotte district.

Pastor Thieme served the congregation until 1910 when he accepted a call to Illinois. Pastor Thieme was succeeded in 1911 by the Rev. Karl Plunz of Plum Coulee, Manitoba, serving the congregation until 1915. During this time the first organ was purchased.

In these early years the only mode of transportation was by pure horsepower, both summer and winter. As a result in 1912 they built a barn 28 x 56 feet, to shelter the animals from the heat and cold while attending services and functions at the church.

On Saturdays and holidays the children had to go to German School, conducted in church by the minister for instruction n the Catechism and German reading and writing.

inside the Haultain Lutheran Church (2008)

The Reverend Plunz was succeeded by Candidate Walter A. Baepler, who came to Haultain in 1915 and was installed by Rev. William Wilke of Saskatoon. Pastor Baepler served the congregation for two years and some years later accepted a call to Concordia College in Edmonton, and still later to our Springfield Seminary. During his stay the congregation became self-sustaining.

In 1916 a call was sent and accepted by Candidate Edward Schmidt of Michigan.

During the First World War four district boys, Tom Walters, George Pheifer, John Jail and Phil Jail answered the call to duty. Tom and John were killed in action.

By the start of the thirties the old parsonage had become outdated, so Rev. Wirth initiated plans for a new one. In 1931 a more modern house was built – again, with lots of volunteer help.

Each year at Christmas time a tall Christmas tree was put up at the front of the church and decorated with many bright decorations, and lots of coloured wax candles. On Christmas Eve the candles were lit and the children recided verses from the Bible, and sang Christmas songs in German.

A Trustee stood by with a long bamboo pole with a wet cloth on the end in case any flames dropped on the branches.

At the close of the service each child got a small bag of goodies and a Jap orange.

There was no power. So, even to this day, lighting was provided by coal oil lamps hung from the ceiling, and lanterns by the organ.

outdoor meail at missions fest 1930

The big summer event was the the annual missions fest, which was held in the bush, kitty-corner across the road that belonged to Ernest Hartz. Planks were nailed on tree stumps for seating, and a pulpit was constructed between some poplar trees. Visiting ministers were invited to conduct mission services.

dining outside at Missions Fest 1930

Between the morning and afternoon services the ladies covered long rows of tables with the most delicious and abundant food imaginable. A notable procedure was for the men to dine first, then the ladies, and the young folk waited their turn to the last.

Softball, horseshoes and games for the children were also the order of the day. It was meant to be a gathering for the whole community.

Dirty as these thirties were, Trinity Church somehow survived. People hung in there and in 1938 Rev. Reinhold Threinen became the new pastor.

closeup of the pulpit

At the start of the forties another great way was underway in Europe. Again more boys from the district volunteered for active service. These were Louis Hartz, George Wilkie, Fred Miller, William Herman, Edward Walter, Herman Anweiler, Herman Heise, Arnold Walter and John Anweiler.

Louis Hartz was injured. Herman Heise was killed in action in Germany on March 3, 1945, and lies buried in a soldiers’ cemetery in Groesbeck, in the Netherlands. A lake in northern Saskatchewan was named for him in the start of the 21st century. It is located at 50°56’ west, and is called Heise Lake.

In 1944 Rev. Threinen initiated a plan to get new pews for the church. There were 14 pews ordered for a cost of $519. They were made of selected ash with the seat bottoms made of elm. They were 9 feet long and to be delivered before Easter of 1945.

The thirties and post war forties saws many young peole and entire families leaving the rural area to seek employment and start new lives elseware.

viewed from above - the front of church inside

Early in 1950 a call was made, and accepted by Rev. John Ulmer, and Our Saviour Church was started in Saskatoon in June, 1950, located on lots 1201, 1203,1205,1207 on Ninth Street East in Saskatoon were purchased for a cost of $1200.

On August 27, 1950 Pastor Ulmer was installed by Rev. Phillip Fry of our Haultain Church.

The parsonage from Haultain was moved to 1207 Ninth Street East at a cost of $350 on September 18, 1950. Church services and Sunday School were held in the basement of the parsonage, and then in the basement of the church.

On March 10, 1953 the Constitution was passed and the cornerstone for the Church was laid on November 8th, 1953. The Dedication of Our Saviour Lutheran Church was on June 26, 1955.

On May 6, 1956 the small barn and garage at Hautain were sold by sealed tenders for $115. In June 1969 the large barn was sold for $400 and moved off.

As faith would have it, in 1962 Rev. Roger Humann became the new and last minister to serve the church at Haultain.

By this time the congregation found itself in poor financial straits and so decided to merge with Our Saviour Church in Saskatoon. The last service in Trinity Lutheran Church was held on October 17, 1965.

So after many years of serving those early pioneers and their many descendants it was officially closed on November 30, 1965.

Phil Hartz continued as caretaker at the church and cemetery for many years. After Phil moved to the city, Ernie Hartz took over the job until the closing of the church.

In winter the church was heated by a large potbelly stove that needed to be started by 9 am to have the church warm by the afternoon service. Also roads needed to be opned and maintained. Although there are locks on the doors they have never been used.

There have been very few incidents of theft, and no vandalism. The Church still stands on its original location, and should remain there to honour those early settlers who struggled through many adversities, but no doubt, on the o ther hand enjoyed many good times.

At one time Trinity congregation boasted over 200 members, of which 150 were communicants. In December 1955 there were 119 withi 89 communicants. In 1965 Our Saviour Church and Trinity’s congregation mered under the name Faith Lutheran Church and decided to relocate, as they were running out of space.

The Our Saviour church and parsonage buildings were sold in June 1966 for $30,000 as they were running out of space.

The same month lots were purchased on Preston Avenue and plans for a new church begun. The ground breaking ceremonies took place on September 17, 1967 – and, on September 23, 1967 excavation of the basement began.

Cornerstone ceremonies were conducted on May 24, 1968. The first service in the basement was on April 1, 1968. The Faith Lutheran Church was dedicated to the service of the Lord on June 23, 1968.

It is hoped that the reading of this history has brought only pleasant and lasting memories. Rest assured that any event or name incorrectly recorded is unintentional. Any spelling errors are strictly unintentionally as well. Facts were recorded by Ernie Hartz, son of one of the original founders. Information was gleaned from Trinity Lutheran Church records, Dundurn Memories, and several books and leaflets on Lutheran Church origins. Many things are from great mmories of days of old.

Many of the old-timers lie buried in the church cemetery. The first one was George Herman in 1907. The church and cemetery are maintained by volunteers, most of whom are descendants of the early pioneers.

Other interesting facts:
First Baptism – September 25, 1906 – Rudolph Valentine Heuchert.
First Marriage – November 24, 1907 – Michael Herman & Caroline Walter.
Trinity Ministers:
1906-1910 Reverend Traugott Thieme
1911-1915 Reverend Kar Pluntz
1915-1916 Reverend Walter A. Baepler
1916-1920 Reverend Edward Schmidt
1920-1924 Reverend William Schramm
1924-1927 Reverend John Dreyer
1926-1927 Reverend Theodore Laesch
1928-1928 Reverend B. W. Hintz
1929-1935 Reverend Carl Wirth
1935-1938 Reverend Arthur Eissfelt
1938-1945 Reverend Reinhold Threinen
1946-1949 Reverend C. R. Baron
1950-1962 Reverend John H. Ulmer
1962-1967 Reverend Roger Humann

Ernie Hartz - the author & volunteer caretaker of the cemetery

(This history was researched and compiled by Ernie Hartz, who still looks after the cemetery. Note: Photos of the cemetery can be found at Haultain-Trinity-Lutheran-Cemetery ).

Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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