Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

Rev. William Jahn

The Rev. Wilhelm Jahn, later called William, was born on 20 July 1822 in Westerwohlt, Nordhastedt, Schleswig-Holstein, the son of Paul Wilhelm and Anna (Lackmann) Jahn. He immigrated to the United States in 1853 with his wife, Fredericka Christiana Caroline (Brushaber) and their five daughters, Ernestine, Emma, Emilie, Paulina, and Lucy. He was apparently at the time of his arrival a Lutheran minister, but where he received his training is unknown. He was leading a Lutheran parish in Valparaiso, Porter County, in 1863, when a division occurred. The exact circumstances are unclear, but Jahn led his who congregation of more than 400 members into the Episcopal Church, forming a congregation under the name of German St. John's Episcopal Church. Bishop George Upfold ordained him to both the diaconate and priesthood in February 1864, and the conversion received national attention in Episcopal Church publications. Jahn was determined to construct a church building and in September 1864 went went on the Northern Missouri Railroad in order to appeal for money from several western donors. With the Civil War still being fought, the train was intercepted by a group of bushwhackers, and Jahn was killed. His place of burial is unknown. The congregation he founded folded within a year of his death.