Newpapers of the German Baptist Brethren
(Church of Brethren)
Christian Family Companion
1851-1873 1864-1873 1870 - 1872
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Christian Family Companion and Gospel Visitor The
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The Primitive Christian
1876 1875 - 1876
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The Primitive Christian and
1877 – 1879
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Brethren at Work
1880 - 1883 1875-1883
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The Gospel Messenger
All the information below on the histories of the newspapers was taken out of The Brethren Encyclopedia (1983). No portion of the following my be reproduced in any manner without written permission of the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc (copyright, 1983-84)
The Gospel Visitor 1851-1873
The Gospel Visitor was originally The Monthly Gospel Visiter, the first paper published for the Brethren. It was founded by Henry Kurtz, a German Immigrant to the United States. In 1828 Kurtz was baptized a Brethren and two years later was called to the ministry. By the early 1830's he had secured a printing press and begun publishing German periodicals. after 1837 he published English and German editions of the Annual Meetings minutes. Kurtz's concern to unify the increasingly scattered Brethren led to his launching a paper to serve the church.
Kurtz stated in the first issue (April, 1851) that his purpose was "..... to exhibit and defend the pure and unadulterated gospel or our Lord Jesus Christ...." Despite the founder's attempts to be conciliatory in his promotion of the new magazine, some Brethren felt it smacked of worldliness and cheapened the gospel. it was only after two years of deliberation that Annual Meeting, in 1853, concluded that The Gospel Visiter was harmless and hold be permitted to continue as a private venture. the paper quickly be came popular as a communication in which several competitor to Kurtz's paper arose.
In 1856 James Quinter joined Kurtz as associate editor of The Gospel Visiter. The Visiter become the Visitor in Dec., 1856. Kurtz retired in1865, and Quinter became editor. In 1873, a year before the death of Kurtz, Quinter purchased The Gospel Visitor and H. R. Holsinger Christian Family Companion and united the two into one paper, The Primitive Christian, after several months under a double banner.
Even though the original name was lost, Kurtz's paper survived and continued through other consolidations, name changes, and change of ownership and editors, until it evolved into The Gospel Messenger. The 1882 Annual Meeting of the Brethren (the Old German Baptist Brethren had withdrawn in 1881) recognized the paper as the official organ of the church.
Christian Family Companion 1864-1874
Christian Family Companion, the second Brethren paper to be published. It began as a weekly paper, Jan. 3, 1865, edited and published by Henry R. Holsinger at Tyrone, Pa. Holsinger had served for a year as an apprentice in the office of The Gospel Visitor, the first brethren paper, at Poland and Columbiana, OH. Unable then to persuade the editor, Henry Kurtz, to make his paper a weekly publication and to take him on his staff, Holsinger returned to Pennsylvania and went into printing for himself.
The new paper was popular from the beginning. it met the need for a weekly publication for the Brethren, and it permitted any writer to express ideas on any subject pertaining to the welfare of the church in an innovation "open rostrum." by 1873 the paper had some 5,000 subscribers.
Holsinger was a reformer, however, and his pressure for change in the church soon caused the Christian Family Companion to become controversial. by 1865, the editor was being called upon by Annual Meeting to answer to chares of advocating unacceptable ideas. in 1873, Holsinger, weary of the continued controversy and the unpleasant friction between himself and the Brethren leaders, offered to sell the Christian Family Companion to James Quinter, editor of The Gospel Visitor. Quinter accepted the offer, bought the paper, and consolidated the two. In Jan. ,1876, the consolidated paper became The Primitive Christian.
Christian Family Companion and Gospel Visitor
Christian Family Companion and Gospel Visitor resulted from a merger of the Christian Family Companion and The Gospel Visitor. the first issue of the combined paper is dated Jan. 6, 1874. James Quinter was editor; it was published at Dale City, PA. On Jan. 4, 1876, The name was changed to The Primitive Christian and the place of publication to Meyersdale Pa. Quinter continued as editor.
The Primitive Christian 1876-1878
This is the name given in January, 1876, to the paper published from October, 1873, through 1875 as The Christian Family Companion and Gospel Visitor. That paper was a consolidation of the two pioneering church papers begun by Henry R. Holsinger and Henry Kurtz.
James Quinter, second editor of The Gospel Visitor, was the editor of that consolidated paper and continued as editor of The Primitive Christian. he explained to his readers that the new name was adopted solely because of the unwieldy length of the former name. the policy of the pursuing a conciliatory attitude in the Brethren controversies of that ear was continued. The Primitive Christian was originally printed in Meyersdale, PA, but in October, 1876 Quinter moved it to Huntingdon, PA. There he consolidated it with another paper, The Pilgrim, published since 1870 by H. B Brumbaugh and his brother J. B. Brumbaugh.
The Primitive Christian and the Pilgrim
A sixteen page weekly, it was published by James Quinter senior Editor and H. B. Brumbaugh and J. B. Brumbaugh, associate editors. to concentrate literary efforts, those two papers were published as one, 1876-1879, at Huntingdon, Pa. In 1880 the paper readopted the single title of The Primitive Christian and was published until 1883, when it consolidated with Brethren At Work to become The Gospel Messenger.
The Pilgrim 1870-1876
This was the third paper published by the Brethren, following The Gospel Visitor (1851) and Christian Family Companion (1865). It was started to counterbalance the progressive tone of Henry R Holsinger's Christian Family Companion and the controversy over doctrine and practice which that paper aggravating.
With its first issue dated January 1, 1870, the paper continued for seven years. Throughout those years it was edited by two brothers, H. B. Brumbaugh and J. B. Brumbaugh. The Pilgrim was a popular paper. While it stood for a progressive Brethren policy, it was more conciliatory in tone than the Christian Family Companion.
In 1874 editor James Quinter of The Gospel Visitor purchased Holsinger's Christian Family Companion and consolidated the two publications. For the next four years (until 1878, when Holsinger begin his Progressive Christian) there was no controversial paper with which The Pilgrim competed. In 1876, the Brumbaughs consolidated their paper with Quinter's (by then called The Primitive Christian). for the next three years the consolidated paper was published as The Primitive Christian and The Pilgrim. In 1880 the paper simplified its name to the Primitive Christian, and the Pilgrim name passed from Brethren publication history.
Der evangelische Besuch (German version of The Gospel Visitor)
Der Bruderbote (German version of The Brethren Messenger, later the Brethren at Work) 1875
Der Bruderbote (In German) Another paper called Der Bruderbote was published at Grundy Center, IA, and McPherson, KS, from 1880 until ca. 1894 by John Snyder
The Brethren At Work 1875-1883
The Brethren at Work, a weekly paper published for seven years at Lanark, Ill. It was edited by J. H. Moore, Jacob T. Myers (also spelled Meyers, and M. M. Eshelman. In 1877 S. H. Bashor replaced Myers.
The Brethren at Work had it beginning in 1875 when L. A. Plate of Lancaster, PA, began publication of Bruderbote, a German language paper. In 1876 J. T. Myers of Germantown, PA, joined Plate to publish a joint English and German version of Der Bruderbote. With volume two, an English version was placed at the front of the paper carrying the name, Brethren’s Messenger (the English translation of Der Bruderbote).
After a few months the joint English and German paper, Myers announced plans to move the Brethren’s Messenger to Lanark, Il. Thereafter it would be called The Brethren at Work. Der Bruderbote would continue as a German paper, and both would be edited by Moore, Myers and Eshelman. Because there were too few German-speaking readers, Der Bruderbote was soon dropped by Myers. (Another paper called Der Bruderbote was published at Grundy Center, IA, and McPherson, KS, until ca. 1894.)
The Brethren at Work was the same size and form as the Primitive Christian, edited and published by James Quinter at Huntingdon, PA. From 1876 to 1833 these two papers, one publish in the west and one in the east, competed for patronages among the many body of the Brethren, then known as the “conservatives.” Both papers pursued a similar course and advocated the same church policy.
During those years consolidation of the two papers was continually considered the purpose of convenience and economy. Finally, in the June 19, 1883, issue of the Primitive Christian, the consolidation was announced. July 3 was the first issue of the new paper, The Gospel Messenger
The Brethren's Messenger (later called The Brethren At Work) 1875-76
The Weekly-Pilgrim 1872-1876
On January 2, 1872 The Pilgrim was named The Weekly-Pilgrim. It was published under this tile until January 5, 1875, when it readopted it original name. On October 31, 1876, The Pilgrim was united with the Primitive Christian to from The Primitive Christian and The Pilgrim. On July 3, 1883, this magazine was consolidated with the Brethren at Work to become The Gospel Messenger.
The Brethren's Advocate, 1879-1882
The, a weekly, 1879-80: monthly, 1881-82. Published by D. H. Fahrney (1836-1924), Waynesboro, PA., "Its aim will be to vindicate the truth, expose error, and promote the cause of Christianity in general" (Vol. 1, No. 2)
Papers of the Brethren Church
The Brethren Evangelist 1883-
The official periodical of the Brethren Church. It is the offspring of two parent magazines. The Progressive Christian and The Gospel Preacher.
The Progressive Christian 1878 - 1882
The Progressive Christian a four-page weekly paper begun in 1878 at Berlin, PA, by H. R. Holsinger and Joseph W. Beer to advocate progressive measures and reforms among the German Baptist Brethren. Beer remained with the paper only one year. Holsinger's policy of publishing controversial articles contributed to this expulsion from the German Baptist Brethren in 1882. The Progressive Christian and The Gospel Preacher merged in June 1882; in 1883 the paper became the The Brethren's Evangelist.
The Gospel Preacher 1879 -1882
The Gospel Preacher, a four-page weekly, first published by S. Z. Sharp and S. H. Bashor on Feb. 5, 1879, at Ashland, OH. In it "perspectus" the paper stated that it would be filled with original productions, correspondence, weekly church news, and editorials which would embrace a defense of the gospel and that attention would be given to the fireside, the sabbath school, and the children. It was united with the The Progressive Christian in 1882 and these later (1883) became The Brethren Evangelist, the official organ of the Brethren Church.
Paper of the Old German Baptist Brethren Church
The Vindicator (Old order) 1870
Is the official periodical of the Old German Baptist Brethren.
The Vindicator began as the private undertaking of Samuel Kinsey, a minister in Lower Stillwater congregation near Dayton, OH. The first issue was published March 1, 1870.
An index to the obituaries published in The Vindicator, is available from Alva C. Riffey (R.2, Box 59, Westphalia, KS 66093); and the summaries of The Vindicator obituaries are available from Rosa L. Brovont (2040 E St Rd 218, Camden, IN 46917-9705). The index is less than one hundred pages long. The summaries are in 5 volumes