About Us
      Lutheran Church-International
      Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
1974 sketch of the church by Karen Stoops, member Zion Lutheran Church
405 Hickory Street ; P.O. Box 68
Montpelier, Ohio 43543
Serving Christ in Northwestern Ohio since 1859

Brief History of Zion Lutheran Church

A history of the church was compiled and written by Grace E. Lyons in 1959 in celebration of Zion's 100th Anniversary. Minor clarifications and updates were added in 1974 and 1984 on the occasion of Zion Church’s 115th and 125th Anniversaries. The three documents were combined into one and updated as part of the celebration of Zion’s 150th year of service in 2009. Portions of this collection are provided below.

Joseph Tressler, upon moving to Jefferson Township from Perry County, Penn. in 1856 to join an older brother, Johnathan - one of the platters of the village who had been in the Township since 1839 - found the area to be without a Lutheran Church. He had been a Lutheran since 1817 in Pennsylvania and he began to urge the organization and building of a church of his faith. At that time, Pulaski had two churches – a German Reform and a Methodist – and the Presbyterians had organized and built at West Bethesda in 1848. A sufficient number of interested families was found – many of them Tresslers since the area north and east of the village was mainly owned by Johnathan’s family.

The first formal organization meeting of The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was held in the school house on February 11th, 1859. A constitution, no doubt prepared by Rev. G.W. Walker, was read and accepted by the following persons “who had presented written certificates or verbal recommendation having been given”: namely Joseph and Catherine Shearer Tressler, Johnathan and Elizabeth Phillips Tressler, Jacob Andre, Peter and Christene Creek, George Leinard, and Charles Reichart. An election of officers followed and Johnathan Tressler was elected Elder for two years and Joseph Tressler for one year. Jacob Andre was chosen to be Deacon for two years and Charles Reichart for one year.

On March 5th, 1859, an agreement was drawn up between John Andre and Johnathon Tressler, Building Committee, and Joseph Tressler and his nephew Samuel Tressler, carpenters, for the construction of a frame building to be used by the newly founded Zion’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The original Articles of Agreement carries six signatures: Jacob Andre and Jonathon Tressler, Building Committee and Joseph Tressler and Samuel Tressler, Carpenters. Two witnesses were A. G. Richardes and Samuel Brownawell. As they were elected on February 25th, they must have almost immediately purchased the two lots located at the east end of Hickory Street in Karle (West Jefferson), paying $20.00 for each lot. The building was to be started not later than April 1st, 1859, and be completed by November 1st of that year. The council men agreed to have all the materials ready as needed. For the work the carpenters were to be paid $480 in three installments - $30, $240, and $190. No mention is made of a foundation so the members must have built that themselves during the month of March 1859. The foundation for the new church to be started by April 1st, 1859, was to be 85 feet long and 55 feet wide, and could not have been too great a problem. The front or south end rested almost on the ground and was supported by large stones, probably flat, and so on all other sides – the largest stones being in the north end, this end being elevated high enough to crawl under. Before the church was raised and put on a block wall, a center stone began to heave up the floor timbers and caused the floor boards to bulge upward. Disposing of these huge stones was quite a problem and they laid in the northeast corner of the yard for a long while.

The third congregational meeting was held October 22nd in the school house, but the next meeting, on December 13th at 10:00 A.M., was held in the new church.

A county historian says the completed building cost approximately $3,000.00 and that it was a fine building. It is believed that the framing timbers, which can still be seen from below, were furnished from David Tressler’s farm one-half mile east of West Jefferson, on the north side of the road, and were probably a gift, as David Tressler was truly “a pillar of the church” for many, many years.

Rev. George W. Walker   Feb. 1859-Dec. 1859
Rev. F.W. Sargent   Jan. 1860-1862
Rev. James Cather   1862-
Rev. J.H. Henderson   1866-
Rev. L. Wisehaupt   Feb. 1867-1869
Rev. C.C. Sink   1870
Rev. J.H. Culler   Aug 1872-1878
Rev. M.L. Smith   Dec. 1879-1881
Rev. J.A. Dunlap   Apr. 1882-Oct 1883
Rev. D.F. Kain   March 1884-1885
M.L. Tressler, Student   May-Aug. 1886
Rev. Edwin S. Hoffman   Oct. 1886-1887
Rev. George A. Lee of Virginia   Sept. 1888
Rev. C.S. Ernsberger,   (Chrmn, mtg. in 1891)
Rev. E.L. Dickey   Apr. 1892-1893
Rev. J.H. Crouse   Sept. 1893-Sept. 1898
Rev. M.L. Exline   Dec. 1898-Sept. 1900
Rev. J.A. West   Oct. 1901-
Rev. J. Melanchthon Weber   Nov. 1908-Nov. 1910
(No further notes until 1917)
Rev. Hugh McClintock   Dates unknown
Rev. Runkle   (Retained in 1917, served prior to being retained)
Rev. Meade A. Rugh   Dec. 1922-Sept. 1926
Rev. Zimmerman   (Month of Jan. 1927)
Rev. Dr. J.S. Herold   (Synod to supply one service first Sunday each month)
Rev. J.A. West   Sept. 1931 (finished as supply pastor)
Elmer A. Lehman,
Hamma student
  June 1932
Olen Peters,
Hamma student
  Dec. 1933-Apr. 1936
Frank Stevenson,
Hamma student
  Apr. 1936-1938
James R. Baldwin,
Hamma student
Robert Heine,
Hamma student
Rev. F.E. Strobel   Apr. 1941 (Rev. West part-time supply?)
Rev. E.O. Hilt   Sept. 1944-Sept. 1956
Rev. Raymond L. Peters   1958-1960
Rev. Alan Doctor   1961-1967
Rev. Clayton Kantner   1968-1976
Rev. Ronald Graham   1976-1978
Rev. P. Douglas Campbell   1978-1983
Rev. Bruce P. Nordeen   Dec. 4, 1983-1994
Rev. Dr. C. George Fry   1994-2000
Rev. Lanny Zup   2000-2002
Rev. Jeffrey D. Bischoff   October 2002-May 2011
consecrated as Bishop in June 2010
Pastor Lanny Zup and
Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Bischoff
  June 2011 to present (Zion does not have a regularly called pastor. Pastor Lanny and Bishop Jeffrey are supply pastors.)