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Nauvoo Retains Its Place in History

Mention Nauvoo to just about anyone and the Mormon Church comes to mind. But the Mormons left Nauvoo 150 years ago.


Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by:
Word Count: 408 (approx.)
Region: Illinois
Location: Nauvoo
Surname: Jung
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After the Mormons left Illinois, the French Icarians arrived, followed quite a bit later by German immigrants. But an earlier German history has quietly survived in Nauvoo to this day. Christian Jung was one of the first to emigrate to Nauvoo just as the Mormons were in the process of immigrating elsewhere.

Jung, of Coblenz, Germany, migrated to the United States in 1838. He arrived in New Orleans and stayed there a short time before relocating to New York. Eventually, he moved West to St. Louis and remained there until 1848. Jung found work as a contractor for plastering and stonework.

When the Mormons moved West, Jung moved to Nauvoo and used his plastering and stonework skills to rebuild Nauvoo, as the town changed. He took up arms in opposition to the Mormons who took him prisoner and held him for six weeks in the Temple at Nauvoo until he escaped.

Determined to stay and create a new Nauvoo, Jung built the first German Lutheran Church in Nauvoo. The Christ Lutheran Church of Nauvoo was organized in 1851 by Pastor Christian Vietz, who was sent to Nauvoo by the Basel Missionary Society of Northwest Switzerland to organize the Lutheran immigrants into a congregation.

To ensure the Lutherans' success, Jung and his wife, Elizabeth Brandenberger Jung, an immigrant from Bergen, Germany moved the new pastor into their own home. It must have been a bit crowded, since the Jungs had ten children.

Originally, the new church was called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nauvoo and Vicinity. Early services were held in the New York Store, one of 35 general stores the Mormons had built during their residency. In 1876, the store was replaced with a church building and a parsonage. Services were in German and continued to be until 1915.

Known locally as the Christ Lutheran Church, the congregation currently has about 100 active members. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America(ELCA).

Only six of Jung's children survived to adulthood and none of them remained at Nauvoo, but he clearly was devoted to reinventing Nauvoo. Jung was President of the Nauvoo City Board and served as Alderman. Once he settled in Nauvoo, he remained there for the rest of his life.

So if you are looking for relatives in Nauvoo, don't assume they were Mormon. The effort to establish a Lutheran church was an early and determined effort by Christian Jung and the first established religious organization in Nauvoo following the Mormon exodus.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2007.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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