A Brief Survey of Views on the Saxon Emigration, Part II

Two early pro-Stephan clergymen deserve recognition: my Great Uncle Theodore M. Stephan, who served as US Consul to Germany in the early 20th Century in Anneberg, near Dresden. Theo used the opportunity to research his Grandson Martin, leaving behind letters, copious notes and one lengthy handwritten document, “The History of Saxony from 1800-1840.” I have these documents in my possession.
In the early 1930’s, Pastor William Koepchen, encouraged by Theo to take on the task, wrote “Pastor Martin Stephan and the Saxon Emigration of 1938,” basing his manuscript on Theo’s work while adding commentary. Koepchen, like Theo, was fluent in German and English. Another Koepchen manuscript, called “Brief Conference Notes,” a summary of the manuscript above, was to be presented at the LCMS Centennial of the Emigration in 1938. Sadly, Koepchen died in 1935. His manuscript remains unpublished. My father received a copy of Koepchen’s manuscript and my cousin Phil sent me the conference notes.
For decades after Uncle Theo’s and Pastor Koepchen’s labors of love, still no book appeared from Stephan men. I have my theories why. As pastors in the LCMS, they did not want to sully the image of the synod (unlike the synod in reverse). Time passed. Many Stephans were no longer fluent in German, had moved on, or just given up. It evidences a collective silence of shame. These works will be referred to throughout the prose blog.
In ma youth, I had no inkling of my Great-great grandfather Martin Stephan and SE. My mother met my father seventeen years before she heard about her husband’s ancestor after the funeral of my Grandfather Gottlieb Stephan in 1938. This public silence of Stephan descendants began slowly to change,with few exceptions, such as Martin Stephan Jr.’s letter from the late 1800’s (on my website) and my Uncle Theo’s letters, it had taken 100 years for the ice to crack.

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