The Church: The 16th and 17th Centuries

The precursors of the Scottish Reformation and John Knox were, of course, focused on the separation from Rome and the teachings of Martin Luther at Wittenberg. The second part of the Scottish Reformation focused on a more sharply defined church doctrine and the proper system of church government. During this time there were few Scottish connections to Germany. Divisions between the two Protestant groups emerged. For example, “The question was seriously argued whether children of a mixed marriage, that is of a Calvinistic father and Lutheran mother, or vice versa, should be buried with Christian ceremonies. The term “Ketzerkind” (a heretic’s child) was used to refer to these children.

Little is known about church organization in the numerous settlements of Scots in Poland and Germany in the 16th and 17th centuries. In Danzig, at least, there was a Scottish-Evangelical Church.

Konigsberg, Memel, and Tilsit

Actually, more is known about Konigsberg, the second largest city on the Baltic coast, than Danzig during this period. A Reformed congregation was founded in 1646. The seven elders included 3 Scotch, 2 Dutch, and 2 Germans.

In Memel, also located on the Baltic Coast, as early as 1640 there was a Reformed congregation of Scottish and Dutch. The pastor was asked to leave the next year because Lutherans complained! Twenty years later the Reformed church was given permission for quarterly ministration. Petrus Figulus, the pastor, stayed until 1670. “His successor was Andreas Jurski, a native of Lithuania who had married a Scotswoman.” Even though there were few Germans in the congregation, eventually German became the common language of the church.

Scots remained true to their church “even long after every trace of Scottish nationality had disappeared.”

The Tilsit Reformed Church was much the same as Memel. However, their members, like other Scots, sometimes felt the restraints, persecution, and danger. On behalf of the accord between the Scotch/Dutch and the German church, one wrote.

Whilst we thus meet the Scottish as the founders of the Reformed congregation in Eastern and Western Prussia, they also appear as the supporters and upholders of Protestantism in general.

Th A Fischer, the author of The Scots in Germany, concluded with these words:

Enough has been said to show that the Scottish emigrant was not afraid of his religious options. The second generations indeed, was more German than Scottish. Language and even the names changed. But notwithstanding this, the old attachment to Scotland remained with very many of them, like an old legend, that outlasts centuries.
…Scotsmen have not been wanting who have left memorable traces in Germany, without one moment underrating the enormous and paramount influence of German thought on the world of letters of the Middle Ages.

Statesman and Scholar

The founding of Konigsberg University in 1544 brought educated Scotsmen to Konigsberg.

George Motherby first advocated vaccination in Konigsberg in 1770.

A highly-regarded Presbyterian school started by Scots in 1699 fell into decline because Polish Catholics complained that they needed a staff of efficient teachers and a rector well-versed in Polish.

The Lutheran Church in that district did not want clergymen with Scottish names.

Some sources claim that the great-grandfather of Emanuel Kant was a Scot. Kant stated, “It is very well known to me that my grandfather [who]was a citizen of the Prusso-Lithuanian town of Tilsit, came originally from Scotland.” The accuracy of this statement has been questioned by some scholars as to whether or not Kant misspoke himself.

The author concludes:

We have now followed the traces of the Scots in Germany to the end. Many of them succumbed to the crushing revolutions of the wheel of time, many again have left their records in the dusty old parchments of German and Polish archives, many of them have handed down their names corrupted but uncorrupted deeds to a grateful posterity that recognizes in them much that was good and noble in Politics and Learning in Peace and War.

…No nation ever stood on its own merits alone. There has been during long centuries a continual fructification, a continual giving and taking of what is best in a nation and a continual fusion in peaceful rivalry….

The fifth post concerns the all important appendices.


About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
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