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Christopher Mardorf
Born April 16, 1851


The Rev. Christopher Mardorf is numbered among those whose labors have constituted a forceful and far-reaching element in the moral progress of Jones county, where lie has lived and labored for more than three decades. Within this period he has put forth earnest, zealous and consecrated effort to promote the moral and spiritual progress of the community, and that his labors are bearing rich fruit is seen in the substantial growth of his church, which has not only progressed numerically but spiritually as well. He is the pastor of the German Lutheran church of Wayne township and in this connection has supervision over the parochial school, thus becoming identified with the intellectual development as well. He was born in the province of Melsungen, Hessen, Germany, April 16, 1851, and is a son of William and Christiana (Mathas) Mardorf. They spent all their lives in the land of their birth, which was also the place of nativity of their four children: Mrs. Caroline Schroeder, of Marburg, Hessen; Charley, also of that city; George, who is living in his father's home; and Christopher.
In a town of five thousand inhabitants Christopher Mardorf was reared and educated, passing from the public school to the high and normal schools, whose instruction he supplemented by four years at the Mission House. He had also learned the trade of a tanner and for a few years before he came to this country he conducted a tannery. In 1873 he came to the United States, making his way directly to Clinton county, Iowa, where he entered the Worfsburg Seminary, which is now located in Dubuque. He completed his course there in one year and August 9, 1874, was ordained a minister of the German Lutheran church. His first charge was at Solon, Iowa, where he remained until December 1875, preaching at the same time to a congregation in Cedar Rapids. He went next to Waterloo, where he stayed until September 4, 1878, when he came to his present charge the Zion Conservative German Lutheran church of Wayne township. At the time of his advent his flock consisted of but sixteen members and he had only one building to serve as the parsonage, the church and the school. Now he ministers to one hundred and twenty-five souls, has built a parsonage and a schoolhouse, and has added to and beautified the church.
In 1879 he had organized another little congregation in Castle Grove township, to whom he preached until 1892, when it had grown to such proportions that if could have a pastor of its own. At present Rev. Mardorf has a little church of twenty-four members in Lovell to whom he ministers every second Sunday. They have held their meetings in the schoolhouse, but now have the money saved for the erection of a church which will be built as soon as they can decide upon a suitable location. The flourishing little school he conducts in conjunction with his pastoral duties in Wayne township consumes all of his time not given to the spiritual needs of his parish, and its growth is one of the factors connected with his mission of which he is justifiably proud. A conscientious man and devoted to the best interests of his congregation he has spared no effort to improve them morally, spiritually and' intellectually. One has but to enter the little building into which he gathers his people to realize that the spirit of true worship there prevails.
In 1875, Rev. Mardorf married Miss Celena Hertz, who was born in Philadelphia, September 8, 1857, and is a daughter of Henry and Florendine Hertz. Her parents were both natives of Germany, but came to this country in their youth, the father when he was only four years of age. In 1858 they came to Iowa, where Mrs. Hertz still lives, her husband having died some years ago. To Rev. Mardorf and his wife have been born seven children: George, who farms on the two hundred and forty acres be owns in Jackson township; Carl, who is the pastor of a German Lutheran church in St. Paul, Minnesota; Christoph, who is at home; Sadie in St. Paul; Christiana, who is the wife of Rev. H. Lutz, of Cullom, Illinois; and Anna and Mamie, who are at home. Consistent in practicing those virtues which he holds up to those who listen to his sermons, imbued with patience and fortitude, he has made many a life the nobler for his work.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 637.

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