George H. Luecke

Pastor at St. Johns and Professor at Concordia.

A symbol and witness of the division between the
Tennessee synod (1886-1891) and Missouri synod (1892- ).

Professor Luecke

George H. Leucke, born in Wisconsin in 1870 of German parents was a preacher and teacher at Concordia College in Conover at the age of 30 [1]. He came to Catawba County from Milwaukee, Wisconsin [2]. His family was possibly of Prussian origin as 18th century Lueckes came from Westfalen, Germany

The 1900 Federal census describes the family as:

Catharine Mar 1873 (27) MO 2 ch 2 wife (age 27, born, MO, birthed 2 children, 2 still alive)
George L. Aug 1894 (5) KS son
Eleanor C. Apr 1897 (3) NC dau
Brady, Cora L. Dec 1879 (20) domestic servant

George Luecke was witness at a wedding:
Benson, John O. [23] Ekard, E. Rosa [20] 24 February 1899
[F(elix) G. - A. A., of] [E(lkanah) & Mrs. Eckard Paul Bischoff, Min.
Caldwell County, NC] (Sarah Ann Sigmon Ekard)]
Wit: John Eckard, George Luecke, Albert Smith

[1] Luecke, George H. Mar 1870 (30) WI p: Ger clergy/teacher m6 head 157 [1900 Federal Census, Jan Richardson]
[2] Name: George H. Luecke; Birth Date: 21 Mar 1870, County: Saint Croix; Reel: 0270, Record: 001041,
Wisconsin Vital Records Indexes, Pre-1907 Birth Index, Marriages, and Death Indes.
[3] Life Sketches of Lutheran Clergy, North Carolina Synod, Evangilical Church in America, 1773-1999, History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina, United Evangical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, 1803-1953

Lutheran historians have strangely omitted the name of
Rev. Prof. George W. Luecke
from leading North Carolina Lutheran references

In 1895, Rev. George Luecke was called to serve the congregation at Mt. Olive Lutheran Lutheran Church, Newton, North Carolina. The church had just been built by the men of Mt. Olive. They cut the timber themselves, sawed the logs, and put up the building in the fall of that year. Rev. Luecke served the church for a year before being called to a faculty position at Concordia College. 

Fortunately, Lutheran historian, Marc Smith gives due credit to the Rev. Prof. George W. Luecke,
in his book,
Lifting High the Cross - For 200 years: A History of St. John's Church:

After the hymn, "Hark! The Song of Jubilee," the large gathering heard the "Personal Reminisences" of its oldest living Pastor -- Rev. J. M. Smith. The services concluded with the benediction, as delivered by Professor George Luecke.29

When Bischoff took his vacation in August of 1900, the congregation was supplied by Professor Koiner and Rev. C. O. Smith. The wedding of Herbert Arndt and Dora Smith was performed by Prof. Romoser, and a funeral for Anna Ethel Yount by Prof. Luecke. The congregation was still very dependent on the College or J. M. Smith for supply services, although they now had a full-time pastor separate from the College. Also, college student Paul C. Henry preached at St. John's during this summer.56

In 1900, a joint Reformation and Mission Festival was held at Bethel Church on November 4. The service was scheduled to be held outdoors, but rain prevented it, and attendance was not very good. Pastor Bischoff preached the morning service, and Rev. J. M. Smith and Professor Luecke delivered addresses at the afternoon mission services -- outdoors. Collections from these services went to missions and the synodical treasury.57

"…. On Saturday at eleven o'clock services were held in which Prof. Luecke preached the pastoral sermon…. In its private sessions held on Monday in the College chapel Conference listened to an exegetical treatise by the undersigned on Acts 19:1-7, and also discussed a paper on insurance prepared by Prof. Luecke. At five o'clock Conference adjourned, to meet next year with St. John's congregation, three miles northeast of Conover." 64

The local Augustana Conference was disbanded, and a Southeastern Conference of the English District was soon organized as its replacement. Its first meeting was held in August 1910 at Koiner's congregation in Augusta County, Virginia, where C. O. Smith and G. E. Mennen delivered addresses.76

During the course of this re-alignment, Pastor Bischoff's health worsened. Professors Romoser, Luecke, and Haentzschel substituted for a period of time in early 1911, …78

On February 3, 1896, Secretary C. O. Smith read the following to the St. John's Lutherans:

The following resolutions adopted item by item:--

  1. Our Advice of Synod: Resolve that this meeting advise the congregation which have been asked by the Tenn. Synod to dismiss their pastors to retain said pastors, viz., Revs. A. L. Crouse, C. H. Bernheim, J. M. Smith, G. E. Long, D. C. Huffman, W. H. T. Dau, Geo. A. Romoser, L. Buchheimer, R. W. Huebsch, G. Luecke, and C. A. Weiss, as long as said pastors adhere to the doctrines of the Bible & the Confessions. 163


[29]"The Lutheran Standard," OCP, XIV:49, 9 December 1886;
"Outlook," OCP, XV:4, 27 January 1887.
"The Lutheran Standard Flickers Again," OCP, XV:11, 17 March 1887;
"Proselyting in North Carolina," OCP, XV:21, 26 May 1887;
"True Facts and Figures," OCP, XV:24, 16 June 1887.
Socrates Henkel, OCP, XX:41, cited above.

[57] R. L. Fritz, "In Conclusion," OCP, XXII:18, 2 May 1894. This sermon was later claimed to be the first agitation to the St. John's congregation on predestination. It appears that the "agitation" did not appear until several months later, due to Bernheim's resignation.

[64]. Smith, 1949, the rapid sequence of pastors was cited here and in other Smith histories.

[78] Review, pp. 22-23. Observer, "That Election Controversy," OCP XXIV:16, 22 April 1896.

[163] F. W. E. Peschau, "Visit to Hickory," OCP, XXI:8, 22 February 1893.


Abbrev. used: OCP: Our Church Paper, religious journal of the Tennessee Synod and was printed by Henkel Press in New Market, Virginia.

See also:
Our Lutheran Forms and Customs: What Essentials MustWe Teach Our Seminary Students?
[World Mission Seminary Conference, Tsuchiura, Japan, 1974]; Theodore A. Sauer: Discussion Outline
A. In Distinctive Doctrines and Customs of the Lutheran Church George Luecke lists time honored customs and practices which, in the manner in which they are carried out, distinguish Lutherans from non-Lutherans.

All photos courtesy of Don Barker

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