OBSERVING 175TH ANNIVERSARY 1841 — 2016
THE STORY OF SOLOMON — HISTORICAL STORY #3
Spreading the Word: Pastor George Cronenwett’s ministry here in Woodville and the surrounding area deep within the Black Swamp spanned almost 50 years from 1841 until his death in 1888. The first twenty plus years of his ministry was spent spreading the word to the German speaking settlers. His travels on horseback as a circuit riding preacher encompassed much of Sandusky, Wood, Lucas and Ottawa Counties and possibly beyond. From various written sources, it has been found that he was involved with the organization of the following churches:
- Solomon Lutheran Church — Woodville — 1841
- Emmanuel Lutheran — Hessville
- Salem Lutheran “The Schweiz” – rural Pemberville — 1848
- Zion Lutheran — Gibsonburg
- Zoar Lutheran — Perrysburg — 1850
- St. James Lutheran — Bradner — 1880
- St. Paul’s Lutheran — rural Oak Harbor
- St. Paul’s Lutheran — Danbury – 1843
- Zion Lutheran — Latcha — 1883
- Salem Lutheran — Toledo — 1842
- Bethlehem Lutheran — Pemberville — 1861
- St. John’s Lutheran — Stony Ridge
- St. John’s Lutheran — Oak Harbor
- Trinity Lutheran — Elmore — 1865
- Trinity Evangelical Church – Elliston
In 1862 he was serving Solomon, Salem “The Schweiz” in rural Pemberville and Emmanuel at Hessville on every Sunday, and Zion in Gibsonburg on Mondays. It was then that the congregation felt he should have an assistant; however, this did not materialize.
Conquering the Black Swamp:
By 1850 the State of Ohio was the third most populous state in the nation and it was still an essentially rural and agricultural state. The following quotation by President Rutherford B. Hayes speaks to the settlement of our area, “Clearing the land and digging ditches for draining was one of the first tasks faced by the early settlers. I have often thought that the Black Swamp could not have been settled without the industry and force of the German people.”
CONTINUE IN MY WORD — John 8:31
The theme verse for the 150th Anniversary of Solomon observed in 1991.
Cronenwett’s ministry changed direction as the Woodville congregation grew. In 1854 the church’s name became The German Evangelical Lutheran Solomon’s Church. In 1860 the official name of the congregation was The Lutheran Solomon’s Church of Woodville, and the congregation began to plan for a new and larger church building.
In July 1863 four lots (the west one-half of the present church block) were purchased for $350 per parcel from George and Parthenia Price. This was to be the site of the new brick church building.
An oral history story is that the dimensions of Solomon’s temple were used in the decision making to determine the size of the present day church building. Biblical Reference: 1KINGS Chapter 6, Verse 2 And the house which King Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
In May 1864 a contract was negotiated with Frederick H. Busman for $6,000 if he could finish the building by August 1, 1865. It was also agreed that members would be responsible for furnishing stone from their farms for the foundation. Each family would be responsible for bringing the stone to the church site. The actual completion date is not known; however, the dedication service was held on Christmas Eve in 1865.
Many major decisions and resulting accomplishments have been at the time of conflict. The new church building is an example of the faith of our forefathers in undertaking this building project during the time of the Civil War.
The steeple was topped by a rooster sitting on a large ball that represented the earth. And Jesus saith unto him. “Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” The symbolism of the rooster was to admonish all Christians all over the world to hold true to their faith, never denying knowing Jesus Christ even at the risk of bodily harm or death. This is what was taught to the students of Solomon Parochial School.
Christian Education — A Parish/Parochial School — at the annual meeting in 1858 it was resolved that “steps be taken toward a Parish School.”
After three years of planning and construction the school opened on Monday January 20, 1862 in a one room frame building located adjacent to the wooden frame church on Railroad Street (later named College Avenue). The establishment of the school was also during the difficult days of the Civil War.
The one room school house was too small and in 1873 a brick building was constructed. This building stood very close to the old wood frame church. A legal document dated February 28, 1874 offers the sale of the church for $150 – “to be removed from the site situated next to the new school building, and determined to be a fire hazard to the new school building.”
Two rooms were added in 1892 and this building was used until the present building was opened in 1952.
Cronenwett Hall honors the memory and legacy of this pioneer preacher.
Considering the sparse population during Pastor Cronenwett’s time, his accomplishments were phenomenal. He baptized 2,341, confirmed 1,730, married 536, and held 1,214 funerals. All records from his ministry are written in the old German script. The records have been filmed and the original journals/records archived. (the conclusion of the Cronenwett ministry will be in a future historical story)
Woodville Normal School opened in 1880 — closed in 1924:
Trained parochial school teachers were in short supply. Pastor Cronenwett and Rev. Simon Poppen of Emmanuel Lutheran at Hessville found the solution with the formation of the Woodville Normal and Academy. (the Normal School/Academy story will be the subject of a future historical story)
“The Story of Solomon” articles have been put together by Mary Lou Busdiecker in honor of Solomon Lutheran Church’s 175th Anniversary. We thank her for her diligence in research for, and organization of, this special time in Solomon’s life!