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07 November 2005
  + John Christian Frederick Heyer +
7 November AD 1873

John C F HeyerJohn Christian Frederick Heyer was born in Germany in 1793 and came to the U.S. at age 17, sent by parents intent upon keeping him away from Europe's Napoleanic struggles. He studied theology and became a home missionary in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. He married at in 1819 but his wife died after only 20 years of marriage.

In 1841, at the age of 48, after studying a bit of medicine and a bit of Sanskrit, Heyer was sent to Guntur, India, by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania as the first foreign missionary of the American Lutheran churches. He served in India for 14 years and founded a Baltimore, Maryland, congregation on his furlough. Heyer later returned to the U.S., serving as a missionary among Germans in Minnesota. He helped to organize the Minnesota Synod and continued such work by establishing new mission congregations throughout the Mississippi Valley before returning to India at the age of 77 to reorganize the mission in Rajahmundry.

A contemporary report says that Heyer was "able to administer with rare economy the scanty revenues of a mission in a time of scarcity." Returning to America, he served as House Father at the Philadelphia Seminary during his final years of life, until his death in 1873.
 
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