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Translation of Obituary, Thursday, October 8, 1896,
from the Saginaw Post 
by Cindy Ball Schmoeller and Manfred Schmoelle
(Original in German)

German Pioneer Dies

A Piece of History about local Pioneer Life 

        Konrad Friedrich Kull who died last Thursday evening at 6 oíclock in his home was buried last Sunday with many people in attendance.  He was a pioneer of our Saginaw valley in the true sense of the word.  Although his name isnít found in the annals of town history, we shall mention the truth here that he set his foot here in this region fifty-one years ago when there were still Indians hunting and fishing. 

        Konrad Kull saw the light of this world for the first time on the 11th of September 1819 in Kullenmuehl, near Herrenalb, Oberamt Neuenbuerg, Wuertemberg.  Starting at age 6 he worked hard at the village school in his home town until his confirmation.  Afterwards he learned the shoe-making craft seven years long.  And because it took too long to be accepted into the Master Craftsmanís Guild, which one needed to work on oneís own, he decided to go to America , the land of freedom.  On the 9th of June 1842, he left his old homeland and traveled through Baden and France to the ocean but not with a train - at that time one traveled by horse drawn wagons.  In Le Havre he boarded a sailing ship which landed at the longed -for shore of New York after 42 days.  From there he traveled by ship up the Hudson river to Buffalo.  And from there over Lake Erie to Monroe; this was the first destination of the long and strenuous trip. 

         In Monroe Kull met the old Pastor Schmid, the first German preacher in Michigan and co-founder of the Lutheran Synod in Michigan.  Her served - based in Ann Arbor - the German communities with preaching and sacraments.  After one year in Monroe, Kull moved to Ann Arbor to his fellow Swabians and stayed there until 1845.  In this year he was sent by Pastor Schmid with Karl Mueller and Jacob Strieter to Sebewaing.  There was an Indian mission there, Mr. Auch was the head missionary.  These three were to be role-models in cultivation the land for the lazy Indians. The trip from Ann Arbor to Sebewaing was a difficult and slow journey at that time.  They went by foot and Indian pony to Bridgeport.  Afterwards the trip went through the dark and pathless primeval forest.  They probably wouldnít have found Sebewaing if the half-Indian Trombley hadnít served as their guide.  He was better accustomed to the forest than they were.  The Indian mission was unsuccessful  like all the others.  The children of the primeval forest didnít want to be taught by the pale faces who took away their hunting grounds.  In 1848 the missionary Auch broke ties with Pastor Schmid and the mission station was closed.  

        Then Kull again took walking stick in hand and wandered to Saginaw, the El Dorado for enterprising business people.  Saginaw, which today is sea of houses which expands on both shores of the river of the same name, one could only count 20 huts in those days.  Kull started a shoe-making shop and built a solid 2 storey log house with his soon- to-be brother-in-law, Michael Strauss, where today the MC Depot on court Street is, near old Fort Saginaw and the connected barracks.  The region was still inhabited  by Chipawa Indians who lived in Cheboyganing three miles below East Saginaw and at Swan creek where there had their wigwams.  Only a few church minded German families lived in and around Saginaw at the time of his arrival.  Pastor Sievers from Frankenlust preached to these people in Kullís house  until 1851.  In this year Pastor Cloeter came and they thought of building a church.  But there were disagreements about building the church.  And because the Swabians felt alienated by Pastor Cloeterís church ceremonies, Kull turned to his old friend Pastor Schmid to serve the church.  He came and founded the St. Pauls Lutheran Church of Saginaw city.  Kull was - through Gods grace - not only the founder of this church but a member of it until his death.  So 45 years - through good and bad times, through poverty and prosperity he cared for the well being of the church.  

        In 1862 Kull started a salt making business, as many people did at that time.  First he did so with business acquaintances from Ann Arbor and then in 1868 on his own.  Although many others achieved riches and therefore respect on honor from others, this was not his lot.  After 16 years he lost all his worldly goods, he became poor , really poor, like the time when he first set foot on American soil. 

        But he didnít give up nor did he doubt.  He still had God as his heavenly Father, against whose will no hair falls from our heads.  His most beautiful treasure was his faith which he didnít lose.  In 1878 he took over the maintenance of St. Paulís church - in the past  he had donated princely sums to have the church built.  He did this job until his death - that is 18 years long.  And four days before his death he stood dutifully at his post.  He rang the bell for many people to their last resting place - until the sad tolls rang for him.  

        The saintly deceased was given 14 children from his three marriages.  Six of his children preceded him in death.  From his first marriage he leaves behind a son, Gottlieb Kull; from his second marriage four sons: Georg, Karl, Wilhelm and Fritz.  From his third marriage three young daughters.  He has seven grandchildren.  He spent 77 years and 20 days on this earth.  A long road has come to an end. And a long life full of effort and work - full of hopes but disappointments too has found its end.  The decease was a man of modest ways.  He didnít sit in the high councils of this world but in his breast burned a fire of love for his fellow man and a saintly enthusiasm for Christís church.  This is the reason why we will continue to regard him with honor. 

You, hostel in our wanderings
You gave us joy, you gave us sorrow
Oh world, close the door,  you are the house
Your spirit goes into eternal peace.



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