Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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WALTHER, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm, theologian, born in Langenchursdorf, Saxony, 25 October, 1811; died in St. Louis, Missouri, 7 May, 1887. He was the youngest son of Reverend Gottlieb Heinrich Wilhelm Walther and a descendant of a long line of Lutheran clergymen. He received his classical education in the gymnasium at Schneeberg, in the Harz mountain, and his theological training at, the University of Leipsic, where he was graduated in 1833. In the same year he became tutor in the family of a councilman at Kahla, and in 1837 became pastor at Braunsdorf. During his residence at Kahla he was acquainted with Reverend Martin Stephan in Dresden, who was at that time at the height of his popularity, but with whom Walther could not always agree. When, in 1838, Stephan gave the signal for emigration to this country, Walther, with a number of his members, decided to accompany them, and they arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 5 January, 1839. On the way Stephan disclosed his true nature as a religious fanatic, and Walther separated from him. Some of the emigrants settled in St. Louis, while others went to the interior of the state, especially in Perry county. Among the latter was Walther, who located at, Altenburg, as a Lutheran pastor, and after the deposition of Stephan became the deliverer of his deluded followers. In 1841, after the death of his brother Herman, he accepted the pastorate of the Lutheran congregation of Saxons in St. Louis, Missouri, where he restored harmony among the people and gave them a proper form of government. His labors were so successful that in the fall of 1842 he dedicated the first Lutheran church of the Holy Trinity in St. Louis. He became the recognized leader among his countrymen, who settled in large numbers in Missouri, and was chief in the movement that resulted in 1847 in the organization of the synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states, of which he was the first president, and which is now the largest Lutheran synod in the country. In 1849 the theological seminary that was organized at Altenburg in a log-hut, 9 October, 1839, was removed to St. Louis, and Mr. Walther was elected its president, which post he held until his death. He was pre-eminently the leader of the so-called Missouri Lutherans. In 1872 the synodical conference of the Evangelical Lutheran church in North America was organized, of which he was also the recognized leader and in which he exercised a controlling influence throughout his life. He was an earnest and faithful student of the writings of Luther and the confession of the Evangelical Lutheran church, a fine classical scholar, a profound theologian, an able leader and organizer, and a prolific author. In 1844 he began the publication of "Der Lutheraner," a semi-monthly, in St. Louis, Missouri, of which he was the editor until 1887, and in 1855 he established there "Lehre und Wehre," a monthly, which he conducted until his death. He published a large number of sermons, addresses, and criticisms, many of which appeared in German and English, and which are widely circulated in the United States and Europe. He has also issued several works, among which are "Dr. M. Luther's kleiner Katechismus ausgelegt yon Dr. J. C. Dietrich, mit Zusutzen" (St. Louis, 1858): "Amerikanisch-Lutherische Evangelien-Postille " (1871 ; 9th ed., 1883); "Amerikanisch-Lutherische Epistel-Postille" (1871) ; "Amerikanisch-Lutherische Pastoral Theologic" (1872); "Baieri, J. G., Compendium Theologiae Positivae : Editio auctior et emendatior" (3 vols., 1879).
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