Altenburg in Perry County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Some 700 Saxon Lutherans settled, 1839, in Perry County and formed the parishes of Altenburg, Wittenberg, Dresden, Seelitz, Frohna, and one settlement, Johannisburg, in Cape Girardeau County. The community of Paltzdorf (Uniontown) was organized, 1840.
The Saxons came to Missouri mainly for the purpose of freeing themselves from the Saxon State Church. Under their pastor, Martin Stephan, they formed an emigration society (Auswanderungs-Gesellschaft) with an $88,000 communal fund. 665 members sailed from Bremen, 1838, in five chartered ships for St. Louis by way of New Orleans. One of the ships was lost at sea. Other members joined the group in Missouri and a number of them remained in St. Louis and founded a parish there.
The immigrants bought 4,475 acres of Perry County land with $9,234 from the communal fund. The colony survived the physical hardships of settlement and the spiritual blow of finding Martin Stephan their pastor, a false leader. After his exile from the colony, the group was led by the great pastor, C. F.W. Walther.
Of the original settlements made by the Saxons in Perry County, Altenburg,
The first Evangelical Lutheran seminary west of the Mississippi River, Concordia was founded, 1839, near Altenburg in the Dresden community. The school building, called the Log Cabin College, was moved to Altenburg across from the impressive Trinity Lutheran Church, 1912, and is kept as a memorial museum. The seminary was removed to St. Louis, 1849. A replica of the first building is on the campus there.
Some two miles below Wittenberg, early river landing of the colonists, is Grand Tower Island, a mass of limestone rising 85 feet out of the Mississippi River. The "Island" is also known as Cap St. Cosme and Rock of the Cross, for there, Dec. 12, 1698, Catholic missionary priests De Montigny, Davion, and St. Cosme planted a cross.
Erected 1953 by State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Missouri, The State Historical Society of series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 12, 1912.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Altenburg MO 63732, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First College Building / Erste Lehranstalt (a few steps from this marker); Doctor Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (within shouting distance of this marker); Doctor Martin Luther (within shouting distance of this marker); Pastor Gotthold Heinrich Loeber (within shouting distance of this marker); Trinity Lutheran Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ev. Luth. St. Paul's Church U.A.C. (approx. 3.7 miles away); The Grand Tower (approx. 3.8 miles away); This Steam Locomotive (approx. 4.1 miles away in Illinois). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Altenburg.
Regarding Altenburg. The Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum are nearby, as are the original College building and a settler's log cabin.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 4, 2010, by Allen Gathman of Pocahontas, Missouri. This page has been viewed 1,177 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 4, 2010, by Allen Gathman of Pocahontas, Missouri. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.