John Peter was born 07 Mrz 1828 in Rossbach, Bavaria, the second son of George and Barbara Eirich. He emigrated with his parents and siblings to America in 1837, when he was nine years old (the information given in the obituary below is wrong). He was raised in Union County, OH, and married Mary Probst on 11 Jun 1857 in Pickaway, OH. John Peter and Mary had nine children, of whom at least three died at a young age. He was widowed in 1879, leaving him to raise all of his surviving children alone. John Peter Eirich died 22 Jan 1908 in Cleveland, OH.
The following information was taken from the obituary for John Peter Eirich received from Wartburg Theological Seminary.
""The deceased was
the son of George Eirich and his wife Barbara. His parents
recognized it as their first and most sacred duty toward their child to place
it in the arms of the Redeemer through holy baptism. When 12 years old, he
emigrated with his parents to this country. Here his parents cared not only for
a general Christian training for their son; but, since he was specially gifted,
educated him for the holy ministry. He served with credit the congregations at
Marcy, Ohio; Lithopolis, Ohio; Zanesville, Ohio; Albany, New York and Hoboken,
New Jersey. He served each of these congregations from 10 to 15 years.
When he had already retired from active service in the ministry, because of the
infirmities of his age, the Martin Luther congregation of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1904, being without a pastor, then, persuaded him to accept their call and be installed as their pastor. However, his rheumatism, which had caused him a great deal of suffering for some time, grew so much worse, that after only a few weeks after his installation, he was compelled to resign his office. Three churches were built under him, in Lithopolis, Zanesville, and Albany. In Albany, the Catholics were so bitter against him, that they threatened him with death.
When the predestination controversy arose, he felt in conscience bound to leave the
Missouri Synod and come over to us (us being what is now the American Lutheran Church). He was a thorough and highly educated theologian, and has contributed some valuable articles and treatises in various theological branches. In addition to his many contributions for church papers and theological magazines, he is also the author of a theological work, entitled,"Hexameron", a volume highly commended, not only in this country, but also by some of the leading theologians of Germany. (Just in case you are curious, as was the writer, Hexameron, I'm guessing, was derived from hexamerous, meaning having six parts in each whorl - a whorl being a small flywheel on a spindle.) He was appointed by President Harrison, United States consul at St. John Antiqua, West Indies. In 1892, he donated his entire library to the American Lutheran Church in
The last years of his life, he made his home with his daughter in Cleveland, Ohio. While his son and daughter were watching their father's death-bed, a telegram conveyed to them the sorrowful news that their brother, too, was dying in a hospital in Buffalo, New York. Three hours and forty five minutes after the father had breathed his last, his son at Buffalo also answered death's summons. That was a severe blow for those who were left to mourn at the caskets of father and brother together. In the evening of January 24, 1908, the bereaved ones were comforted with a sermon based on Revelations Chapter 14, Verse 13. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth. Yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow after them." The text was chosen because the words of comfort, directed to Rev. Eirich at the funeral of his dear wife, 29 years ago, were based on the same words."
Mention is made of John Peter serving as pastor of congregations in Marcy and
Lithopolis, Ohio, which was a combined congregation at the time. He was one of the first pastors of those churches. The booklet prepared for their 125th anniversary, states that he was the author of their first constitution dated 1855. He was licensed by the Western District of the Joint Synod of Ohio in 1853, which meant he could serve a congregation under the supervision of other pastors in the district, and was ordained in 1856. The history of Darby Township, Union County, Ohio in telling of the dedication of St. John's Evangical Lutheran Church in 1860, states, "A service in English was delivered in the afternoon of the same day by Rev. P. Eirich, of Lithopolis."