Bio: Ungrodt, Bernard, Pastor (1827 - 1900)
Poster: R. Lipprandt
Surnames: Eikmann, Hoekel, Thon, Schroeder, Trostdorf, Ungrodt
----Source: The Centennial Booklet of Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church, 1876 - 1976, pages 13 & 14
Ungrodt, Bernard Pastor (February 28, 1827 - September 28, 1900)
Pastor Bernard Ungrodt was born on February 28, 1827, in the Prussian Village of Gross Burschla in Thueringen, German, located near Eisenach, the location of the Wartburg where Martin Luther was sheltered for about one year, during which time he translated the new Testament from the Greek into the German language.
Pastor Bernard opens his autobiography as follows: “My increasing physical weakness and frequent attacks of illness make me think that my last hour is approaching any day, therefore with the Lord’s help, I want to leave a brief report of my life for possible future use. With a deep feeling of unworthiness, I want to give it the title: I and My life are worth nothing; only what Christ has given me is worthy of love.”
My father was a gardener, Peter Ungrodt and my mother was Margaretha Hoekel. I remember my mother vividly only on her death bed, for I was three years old when she died. Two years later, my sister, who was two years old and I received a step-mother. We were very poor. Unfortunately there was no Christian spirit in my parent’s home, nor in the village school which I attended. My teacher, Mr. Thon, was a wonderful teacher and a model in moral character, but as far as religion was concerned, he was an acknowledged rationalist. The Confirmation class taught by old Pastor Trostdorf was very meager, I cannot remember that he ever go beyond the first article of the Evangelical Lutheran Catechism. In short, I did not get acquainted with our Lord Jesus at home, in school, not in catechism class.
Pastor Ungrodt was drafted in October 1847 and served through various campaigns until October of 1851. He sought an early release from his military service and applied to be a student at the theological seminary in Barmen, Germany. He was accepted in late October of 1851.
Pastor Ungrodt completed his work at the theological seminary in 1855 and was then sent to South Africa, presumably to or in the area of Johannesburg, located in the South Union of Africa by the Rhine Mission Society, where he worked as a missionary for twelve years. Here, he was married to Johanna Schroeder, a missionary’s daughter, and their marriage was blessed with four children; Maria, Louie, Bernard and Sophia.
The family came to Wisconsin in 1867 and settled in Amapee (now Algoma), then moved to Milwaukee and from there to Jefferson, serving as pastor in all locations.
The minutes of the congregation do not indicate when Pastor Ungrodt accepted the call to Immanuel’s congregation or when he was installed. On June 12, 1881, a call was sent to him, but the minutes of June 19, 1881 recited that he declined the call. However, the minutes of October 2, 1881, recite that this meeting was opened with prayer by Pastor Ungrodt. He served the congregation during a period of turbulence and unrest, particularly for the first several years, until his retirement in September of 1897.
He continued to reside in Medford after his retirement until the Lord called him to his Eternal Home on September 28, 1900. Death occurred in his home.
The sermon in the funeral service was given by Pastor Eikmann of Menomonie, based on the words in Acts 14:22 “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
An obituary appeared in all three of the weekly newspapers in Medford: The Medford Sentinel and Republican: the Taylor County Star and News and Der Walbote, published in the German language. The obituary in Der Waldbote closed with the words: “Never before has there been such a long line of mourners in Medford.”
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