A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The History of the Evangelical Church Community

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher, 1936
Translated by Brad Schwebler

The life of this church community can be separated into the following periods:

   1) From the year 1818 to 1827 as the Diaspora (dispersed) community; 2) from 1827-1859 as the organized branch community; 3) from 1860-1910 with Ferdinand Hamel as the pastor; 4) from 1910 to today, the time of the present generation.

   The beginning of the Diaspora was in the year 1818.  This period can be derived with certainty from the Sekitsch baptismal register.  The number of Evangelists was the result of steady growth through migration.  Soon they took the necessary contributions and had such a relief when their common expenses were paid in the very first year.  They needed to rent a room where the children would be instructed and where religious meetings could take place because the Hungarian language was still too foreign for them to attend the Hungarian Reformed church service.  But the way to the church in Sekitsch was often very bad.  They paid a teacher to instruct the children in reading and writing.  Soon they needed a bier, etc.  In the year 1827, with the new pastor, Josef Skultethy, assuming office the first orderly "ledger" was introduced in which the expenses and income are recorded.  In this ledger are noticed accounts in arrears from years past.  There was therefore no doubt what the local contributions would have achieved in the first years of 1818-1826.  The notebook related to this matter is not to be found in neither Feketitsch nor Sekitsch.

   The first income which is to be found entered was in 1827 at the wedding reception given by Frederick Mueller and Jakob Klos at which 1 Florin, 34 Kreuzer were collected in Viennese currency.  About the 6th of January, 1828 at the child's baptismal reception for Andreas Mayer 30 Kreuzer in Viennese currency was received.  The first expense is 4 Florins, 30 Kreuzer in Viennese currency for two windows at the school received by Nik. Reitenbach.

   The following index of names was collected from the Sekitsch register (until the year 1827) and from the "ledger" of the Evangelists of Feketitsch.

   The index of names contains the names of the heads of family next to the date in which the name concerned first occurs and next to that is the village name where the family came from.

No.   Name:         Date  From:   No.   Name:       Date   From:

*) Are settler-ancestors from the Empire

No.   Name:           Date From:    No.   Name:     Date   From:

     In the following continuation of this index of names are only more such names recorded which were noticed to have paid an "entrance fee" in the year concerned.  The entrance fee must be paid because the church community already had a sizeable separate fortune which earlier residential members already purchased such things as a school, synagogue, etc. with their contributions.  This already existing fortune was of immediate benefit to the later immigrants.

     So it seemed fair that a separate tax, the entrance fee, would be charged. This was not received too well. 

     Few Reformers are found in the index of names until the year 1846.  Their names came from the ledger because they had to pay the school fee for their children to visit the Evangelist school.  The German Reformed children visited the Hungarian school.  The parents also wanted their children to learn to read and write in German so they must also send their children to the German Evangelist school for one or two years.  Joh. Ludmann recalls that during his school years from 1846 to 1852 the Reformed children filled two separate benches in the Evangelist school.  It is to be noted that in the complete index of names that more families now and then also had other places of residence before they settled in Feketitsch.  They went to those communities at first although they would not be settled there.  For example, only those families whose place of residence had changed since the founding of the settlement could come.  That is why no settlement of Germans could be found in Kucura and Old Vrbas in the years 1784 to 1787.

     The following is a list of names of members of the Evangelist branch community who through payment of the entrance fee starting in the year 1846 would later be accepted in the parent community.

No.   Name:         Date  From:    No.   Name:      Date   From:

     It is likely that one or the other had already made residence one or two earlier, as is noted on this list.  But the entrance fee was always submitted in the year quoted.  Tardy payments were still always given.

     The number of Evangelist families who settled in Feketitsch in each decade are listed below:

until 1819 . . . . . . . . . .  6 

from 1850-1859 . . . . . . 44

from 1820-1829 . . . . . . 82 

from 1860-1869 . . . . . . 32

from 1830-1839 . . . . . . 36 

from 1870-1873 . . . . . 8

from 1840-1849 . . . . . . 60

     Most of the Evangelist families settled in the 20's, 40's, and 50's.  Starting in 1870 they slowly started to cease flowing in.

   According to the tax documents of the political community from the year 1861, besides the ones mentioned above, the following Evangelist families still settled in Feketitsch.

     No.   Name:               From:      No.   Name:             From:

The number of migrating families from each community are as follows:

Sekitsch 16

Buljkes 4

Crvenka 5

Jarek 4

N. Vrbas 1

Slavic villages 3


Hungarian villages 5


Germany 2

B. Dobropolje (Kisker) 5

Other villages 6

[Published at 2003 by Jody McKim Pharr

Next: The Formation of the Evangelical Congregation A) Evangelical School; B) Choirmaster's Apts.

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