Centennial Moments

Researched & Written by David Goeke


Rev. Johann Pallmer was born in Germany in 1831. He worked for while in Hamburg, Germany, in a teaching position. He came to America to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. After graduating, he held a pastoral position near St. Louis. But, because Pastor Pallmer was a Wend, and there were precious few pastors who could preach and minister to people in the Wendish language, he was called to serve St. Peter’s congregation in Serbin, Texas. He took this call in 1870. He and his wife had one child, whom they named Gerhard. While he served St. Peter's congregation in Serbin, he was also asked to help out the fledgling Trinity congregation in Fedor. Then, on July 4, 1873, his young wife took ill and died. Shortly thereafter, the same illness also befell Pastor Pallmer. On August 21, 1873, Pastor Pallmer also died. Knowing that he might die, he had asked Teacher Ernst Leubner and his wife if they would take care of his young son, Gerhard.

In a private letter written by Teacher Leubner we read the poignant story of the last moments of Pastor Pallmer's life. His words are as follows: "Before his death, he gave over his little son to my wife and me, whom we adopted. The night before his death, he prayed with a loud voice several verses of the hymn, 'O That I That I Had A Thousand Voices'. Despite the high fever, he was mostly conscious and very peaceful until the last day. About one hour before his death, my wife got his little son Gerhard so that he could see his father. As he saw his father, he stammered as loud as he could, "Papa. Papa!" Then the pastor turned his head toward him and said, "That is a very heartfelt visit with which my little child has visited me". These were his last words to his child. He then asked to be lifted out of the bed, and having done this he was placed onto a nearby rocking chair....and the end came quickly. My wife and one of the elders held him and spoke some verses to him such as, "Christ said, I am the resurrection and the life"...and other verses. However, when I, although I also was sick with the fever, was quickly called, he breathed a few more times and departed gently and peacefully to be with the Lord, as I prayed with him."