One of Rock Island’s most revered and honored ministers of the gospel, a man who has grown old in the service of his God and his church, is Rev. C. A. Mennicke, pastor of the German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuels Congregation.
He was born September 17, 1834, at Friedrichsschwerz, a small place near Halle, in Prussia, his parents being Andreas and Carolina (Winter) Mennicke. He received his early education in the institutions of Halle, Germany. An uncle, Professor F. Winter, whose home was in America, wrote to the young student and urged him to come to this country. He left Germany in 1854 and came to America, locating at St. Louis. The main purpose of his coming was to prepare for the ministry of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a hope and aspiration that he had cherished from early boy-hood. Soon after reaching St. Louis our subject entered Concordia Seminary in that city, and here he pursued a four years’ classical course, upon the completion of which he entered upon and finished a theological course of three years at the same institution, graduating in May, 1861. Shortly after his graduation he received and accepted a call as pas-tor of the German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuels Church at Rock Island, a pastor-ate that he has held ever since. The first parsonage in which Rev. Mennicke dwelt was located on what is now Thirteenth Street and Sixth Avenue, but which was then known as Beaver and Pleasant Streets. Here he made his home until 1869, since which time he has resided at the present parsonage located at 1923 Fifth Avenue.
On October 20, 1861, shortly after taking up his pastorate in Rock Island, Rev. Mennicke was joined in marriage to Miss Anna D. Mangelsdorf, a young lady of St. Louis. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. F. Doescher, of Iowa City, Iowa, the marriage taking place at Rock Island. Fourteen children were born of this union, four of whom died in their early youth. Those living are: Mrs. Anna Hohenstein, wife of Rev. O. L. Hohenstein, of Bloomington, Illinois; Mrs. Amalie Streckfus, widow of Rev. J. A. Streckfus, residing at home; Rev. August C. Mennicke, of Edford Township, Henry County, Illinois; Mrs. Maria Kroeger, wife of Rev. F. Kroeger, of Hinckley, Illinois; Rev. Ernest D. Mennicke, assistant pastor of German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuels Church, of Rock Island; Mrs. Caroline Schmidt, wife of Rev. H. Schmidt, of Galesburg, Illinois; Rev. Charles G. Mennicke, of Four Corners, Iowa, and the Misses Clara, Justine and Frieda Mennicke, at home.
From 1861 to 1862 Rev. Mennicke in addition to his pastoral duties acted as teacher of the parochial school established in connection with his church. At times he was assisted in this work by his wife, and the duty of developing the minds of the children of the church and of establishing their feet in the paths of religion was faithfully performed by this devoted couple.
In 1886 was celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Rev. Mennicke’s pastorate at Rock Island. On the same day his son, August C. Mennicke, was ordained as a minister of the Lutheran denomination, and was installed as assistant pastor of the church at Rock Island, thus being enabled to relieve his father of some of the more arduous duties in connection with the extensive work of the church.
Rev. Mennicke is a member of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other states. For years he has been an officer of the Illinois District of the Synod for Central Illinois, and chairman of the Central Illinois Conference.
For almost fifty years this good man has labored assiduously in Rock Island for the uplifting of mankind and the salvation of souls. He has grown old in the service of Christ and the church, but who can measure the good that he has accomplished in the labors of a lifetime. Such lives as his have a benign influence upon mankind. And in his latter years as he looks backward upon his life’s work, although his labor has not brought to him a liberal financial reward, still he has love, reverence and regard of all who have ever come within the circle of his acquaintance.