Historical Vignette

Reverend  Joseph August Sskwor, the first preacher of the Gospel at WGBC, was a senior at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri,  when he preached that first summer in 1913.   He earned the A.B. degree from William Jewell.

Joseph returned to St. Louis in 1914 and became the first English speaking pastor at the Morganford Road Baptist Mission of the German speaking  Kingshighway Baptist Church.  During this time Sskwor enrolled at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, earning  the degree Master of Arts in Social Economy, on June 10, 1915. His thesis PUBLIC EFFORTS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT (published in 1915) is still in the archives library of Washington University.

During World War I, (1914-1918) Joseph Sskwor served as Chaplain, First Lieutenant of the U.S. Army.

Joseph studied at The Divinity School, The University of Chicago, earning the Bachelor of Divinity degree in September, 1921.

From 1925-1941, Reverend Sskwor served as the pastor of the Overland Baptist Church.

He died August 30, 1942, (approximately 60 years of age) and is buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.  His wife Birdie (1882-1958) was buried beside him 16 years later. The tombstone reads: wife of Chaplain First Lieutenant, J. A. Sskwor.

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1 Response to Historical Vignette

  1. PJ says:

    Rev. Sskwor was pastor at Overland Baptist Church from 1925-1941. Overland Baptist was the first mission planted by the relatively young Webster Groves congregation, begun in 1915.

    CH LT Sskwor is buried in plot 2-432C in the Old Post section at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. He died 08/30/42, while living in Overland, MO.

    He was the first fulltime pastor of Webster Groves Baptist Church in 1912, then returned to Wm. Jewell in 1913. He earned an AB degree from William Jewell in 1914.

    He was the first English-language pastor of Morganford Road Baptist Mission, originally a German-speaking church (later to be known as Kingshighway Baptist Church) in 1914.

    He earned an MA in Social Economy from Washington University on June 10, 1915. His thesis PUBLIC EFFORTS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT (published in 1915) is still in the archives library of Washington University.

    He was appointed an American Baptist chaplain in the National Army at Camp Hancock, GA on 08/15/1918; discharged 12/20/1918.

    In 1919, The American Baptist Yearbook showed Rev. Sskwor living at 4464 Wilcox St., St. Louis, MO.

    He earned a BA in Divinity from The Divinity School, The University of Chicago, in September, 1921.

    He accepted the pastorate of Overland Baptist Church in 1925, serving until 1941. He followed the ministry of Rev. A.W. Critchey and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Conley J. Scott.

    It has been noted that Rev. Sskwor came to Overland during a turbulent time in that church’s history. Not much is known, because the church records concerning the previous pastor were destroyed.

    During Rev. Sskwor’s tenure at Overland, the sanctuary building was enlarged and remodeled into a classic brick colonial structure, and an educational building was constructed.

    MO death records show Birdie Barlow Sskwor of Overland was born in Coffeyville, KS and died at the MO Soldiers Home Hospital in St. James on 12/16/58 at the age of 76. The informant was Frank Sskwor of Olivette, her son. Birdie Sskwor was buried next CH LT Sskwor.

    In other records, Anna (Rhack) Sskwor, 4236 Castleman, widow of Joseph Sskwor, died 03/21/46, two months before her 99th birthday. The record gives her birthplace as Bohemia. I’m guessing these were CH LT Sskwor’s parents. The informant for this record was Anna Sskwor, daughter. Mrs. Anna Sskwor was buried in the Valhalla Cemetery in St. Louis.
    Frank M. Sskwor in “Review of Educational Research”, Vol 29 #4 (son)

    Frank M. Sskwor, Jr. 1930-1954, US Navy, buried at Jefferson Barracks (grandson?)

    Frank Morton Sskwor, b. 04/02/1903, d. 12/31/1959, m. Dorothy Sskwor, son of JA and Birdie Barlow Sskwor, living at 15 Stacy Dr., Olivette, MO. Profession: Professor. Buried at Hiram Cemetery, Creve Coeur. (son)

    Something else of note: Rev. Sskwor was the first of several long-tenured pastors at Overland, including Rev. Dr. David W. Jones (1947-1967), Rev. Dr. H. Dale Jackson (1967-1987) and the current pastor, Rev. David L. Johnson, (1997-present).

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