Project Marker for Fred


Ernest Fred Gauer

B. May 13, 1905 East Lake Lillian Township

D. Dec. 3, 1911 East Lake Lillian Township


Our uncle Fred, brother of Rose, Elizabeth, Clarence, Lillian, Leo, Glen, Otto, and Eleanor, was a 6 1/2 year boy when he died in 1911.  The death certificate notes that he died of septicemia 7 days after injuring his knee in a fall on the ice.


This was noted in The Bird Island Union issue of Dec 7 1911 under the local news section heading of Osceola Blizzards …

“Mr. & Mrs. Matt Gauer’s seven year old boy died Tuesday. The funeral will be held from the Church of Hope. We sympathize with the bereaved parents”

The church of Hope was in Section 15, Osceola Township, Renville County and exactly 6 miles south of the Gauer place on Section 15, East Lake Lillian Township, Kandiyohi County.  The church building was built in 1910 and the last service there was in 1990.  The building is gone but the cemetery at the site is well maintained by an association of former members.   The church was affiliated initially with the Evangelical Association, later with the Evangelical United Brethren and eventually became the United Methodist Church of Hope.


The hope church abt 1915


St John’s Lutheran Church is located 2 miles South of The Church of Hope.   Services at both churches were in the German language in the early 1900’s.


Fred was the 4th person buried at the cemetery.  The cemetery plots are numbered with plot 1 starting at the SW corner.  Plot 11 would be at the NW corner.  Each plot has 4 graves with #1 at the south.

The plot map shows the Gauer grave at plot #14 grave location #1; but there was no marker there.  

The Lucas family Plot 3 is on the west side of plot 14 and the Van der Voort plot 25 is on the East side of #14.  


The Atwater Republican Press issued on Friday Dec 15 1911 noted in the Country Correspondence East Lake Lillian section dated Dec 12:

"The funeral of Mr Gauer’s son Freddie which was to take place last Tues, the 5th, was postponed until Wednesday on account of signs of life."

Matt & Lena lived in East Lake Lillian Township at the time of Fred’s death.  My dad, Otto was less than 3 at the time and Eleanor was 7 months old.  The family had moved up from Iowa to East LL in 1899 and purchased the S 1/2 of the NW 1/4  of Section 23.  They kept that 80 and in 1906 rented land nearby in the SE 1/4 of section 14. 

In 1907 or 1908 they rented a farm in Osceola Township.  We do not know where but it may have been near a town called Cream City which was located in section 14.  It had a creamery, a school, District #90, and a general store with a lean to addition for a recreation center and hall.   The general store burned down on July 5, 1907 and it was not rebuilt.  My dad was born Jan 2, 1909 in Osceola Twsp.   Baby girl, Frances, died at 2 months and 25 days on 24 June 1910 of capillary bronchitus. The 120 acre place on section 15, East Lake Lillian was purchased on 28 September 1910. Matt moved his house from the old farm to the new place as noted in the Republican Press issues of Feb 10 and Mar 3, 1911.


Fred’s generation is now all gone and we can not ask if anyone ever visited the gravesite.  Aunt Lillian wrote of Freddie in her memoirs that he liked to sing.  My brothers and cousins remember nothing of the Church of Hope and its cemetery.  Matt & Lena had 2 babies die before Fred was born and 2 after.  Penicillin was not available until 1944.


Grace & I visited Ruth Swezey, secretary of the cemetery association, last fall.  She took us to the site and we copied portions of the plot map.  Recently we attended the meeting of the association held in Hector which was chaired by Delton Duehn.  He had a very small aerial picture of the church and we were able to scan and print larger copies of it for them. 


The Church of Hope is pictured as it was in 1984….



Church of Hope 1984


The site is located on the SW corner of section 15.

Church of Hope cemetery


This project is now complete with the placement of a ground level stone marker on Fred’s Grave.  We are happy to report that a total of $500 has been contributed since 2008 to make this possible.


Fred's Marker 2010


April 26, 2008 edited July 14, 2009 and August 31, 2010.