It was a long and hot train ride for the young Rev. Fred W. Lange in July of 1861. The Civil War was raging; and it was prudent for him to take a northern jog on his journey from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to his first assignment in Clarks Creek, Kan. He was the first traveling missionary sent to Kansas, the first of the traveling missionaries who became known as the "circuit riders".
As the locomotive chugged through the states of Illinois and Iowa (avoiding the dangers of crossing Missouri in a time of war), his mind must have been racing. Thoughts of the great adventure ahead, concerns about his first assignment as a Pastor, and a burning desire to proclaim Christ to the scattered German communities of northeast Kansas must have made for a short train ride to Iowa City. But it would be three long weeks of travel till he arrived in Clarks Creek where he would give his first sermon four days later.
He preached his first sermon in Kansas on August 17,1861. Based on John 3:16, the sermon was heard by four families and several single people.
The Lutheran congregations planted by Rev. Lange and the other Circuit Riders have grown and prospered in the state of Kansas and throughout the midwest.
(from the Emporia Gazette)