Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina
Bernheim, G. D. (Gotthardt Dellman), 1827-1916
Volume 08, Pages 758-796

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[Condensed from Rev. G. D. Bernheims' History of the Lutheran Churches in the Carolinas.]

It is a cheerful task for the writer of historical narrative to enter upon a field where the earliest records are abundant, carefully made, and well preserved. This is the case in regard to nearly all the Lutheran Churches in North Carolina, whose original church record books and titles to church property are still extant, and the reports of whose pastors' labors, like those of the Pennsylvania and Georgia ministers, had been sent to Germany and were published there.

St. John's Lutheran Church, in Salisbury, North Carolina, is first brought to view, and was doubtless the first Lutheran congregation organized in that Province, under the following circumstances:

The German citizens of that place organized themselves into a congregation in the days of King George III, and several years before the Revolution. When Salisbury was as yet denominated “a township,” containing a few dwellings and a small number of inhabitants, one of the wealthy citizens residing there, John Lewis Beard, a member of the Lutheran Church, was bereaved by death of a beloved daughter.

The body of Mr. Beard's daughter was laid in the silent tomb, opened on her father's town property, in a lot containing nearly an acre, and well selected for the quiet repose of the dead. The question then naturally arose, Shall that hallowed spot, consecrated by the repose of the dead and the tears of fond survivors, ever be disturbed by the march of civilization?

To prevent such an occurrence, the forefather of the Beard family in Salisbury made and executed the land title, donating the grounds upon which his daughter slept the quiet slumber of the dead, to the German Lutheran Church—the church of his choice. The original title is still preserved.

The historical facts derived from this conveyance and from other sources are the following: In the year 1768, Salisbury had as yet no house of worship of any kind within its precincts; ministers of the Gospel may have often or occasionally preached in the private or public houses of the place, and persons may have worshipped in other churches in the country, but no church existed in Salisbury at that early period.

The Lutheran Church in Salisbury is the oldest church established

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in the place, and from other sources we learn that the congregation had a log church edifice erected on the lot granted by Mr. Beard, in order that they might secure the land to the congregation as stipulated by the grantor, in which he also rendered them every assistance in his power. This log church was built soon after the lot of land was granted.

The first pastor of this church was the Rev. Adolph Nussmann, a ripe and thorough scholar, and, what is still better, a devoted, selfsacrificing and pious Christian. He came from Germany in 1773 but did not labor long in this congregation. He removed to Dutch Buffalo Creek Church, now better known as St. John's Lutheran Church, Cabarrus County. He was succeeded by Rev. Godfrey Arndt, who had charge of Organ Church at the same time, but soon removed to the West side of the Catawba River.

The Lutherans at Salisbury were energetic participators in the Revolutionary struggle, arraying themselves on the side of liberty and independence.


The proper name of this congregation is “Zion's Church.” The fact that it was, until recently, the only Lutheran Church in North Carolina which was possessed of such an instrument of music, has given it this sobriquet, by which it is generally known and so called in all the records of the Lutheran Church in this State.

The first German settlers of that portion of Rowan County, along Second Creek, came from Pennsylvania, and were members of the Lutheran and German Reformed Churches, but in numbers far too few to erect a church for the sole use of either denomination; hence they concluded to build a temporary house of worship to be owned by themselves jointly, and which was called “The Hickory Church.” This church occupied the site on which St. Peter's Lutheran Church now stands, and was built by permission on the land of Mr. Fullenwider.

As was the case with all the first German settlers in North Carolina, who did not bring their pastor with them, so likewise were the Lutheran members of the Hickory Church destitute of the means of grace for some length of time, and as no other hope of obtaining a regularly ordained minister of the Gospel presented itself,

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the members were resolved to send to Germany for a pastor. In this manner they secured the services of Rev. Adolph Nussmann as their pastor, and Gottfried Arndt as their school-teacher.

The new pastor preached but one year in the Hickory Church to both denominations, after which some dissensions arose, and a majority of the Lutherans then resolved to build a church for themselves, and in this manner originated Zion's Church, better known as Organ Church. The members of the German Reformed Church soon followed the example of their Lutheran brethren, and likewise built a new church on another location, which they named Grace Church, but is more frequently called “The Lower Stone Church,” on account of its position lower down the stream above mentioned, and built of the same material as Organ Church.

Before the building of Organ Church was quite completed, Rev. A. Nussmann left this congregation, and went as pastor to Buffalo Creek Church, in Cabarrus County.

The congregation, which now had a church but no pastor, sent their school-teacher, Gottfried Arndt, to be ordained to the office of the ministry, in the year 1775. He served them through the trying period of the Revolution, until 1786, when he moved to the Catawba River, residing in Lincoln County, and laboring in that field to the close of his life.


Cabarrus County is known in the early records as Mecklenburg County, in which it was included. The Eastern portion of it was settled entirely by Germans, the most of whom came from Pennsylvania.

During the Revolutionary War, a number of Hessian soldiers deserted from the British army at Savannah, after the siege of that place, and found their way to the German settlement on Dutch Buffalo Creek, intermarried with these settlers, and were thus permanently located there.

Although no regular army assailed these Germans, or passed through their settlement, yet they had to contend much with the Tories, whilst many of their young men enlisted as soldiers in the American army. One family, named Swartzwälder (Blackwelder), had seven sons, four of whom were in the battle of Camden, South Carolina, and two or three of them found soldiers' graves upon that

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battle-field, having lost their lives in the service of their country. Others shared the same fate, whilst those at home had several skirmishes with the Tories.

In the old church record book, and in the old minutes of the North Carolina Synod, the congregation of St. John's is known as “Dutch Buffalo Creek Church,” because its members were principally located along that stream of water, and because their first place of worship and their first grave-yard had its location near the same creek, three miles distant from its present situation. The first church edifice was, of course, exceedingly plain, made of unhewn logs, and served the people the double purpose of a school-house and place of worship. Both the German Reformed and Lutherans worshipped in the same building for a certain period of time, after which a more commodious building was erected for the united worship of the two denominations, about half a mile removed from the location of the present church edifice. This second building, in point of architectural style, was but little better than the former, except that it was somewhat larger, and fitted for the exclusive use of Divine worship.

About the year 1771, the members of the Lutheran Church, at the suggestion of Captain John Paul Barringer, separated themselves from their German Reformed brethren, and built their own church on the site of the upper portion of the present grave-yard. The work was undertaken by Daniel Jarrett, whilst Captain Barringer acted as the building committee. This church was built chiefly at his own expense, and out of gratitude to him the congregation had a pew constructed for the special benefit of himself and family, which was somewhat raised above the others, located in a prominent place in the church, and inclosed. He was a true-hearted and thorough Lutheran, devotedly attached to his church, and seemed to have been a defender of the rights of the German settlers there, and a leading man among them.

It was not until the year 1774 that the congregation obtained their first pastor, who had been laboring about a year and some months at Organ Church and in Salisbury, and who had been brought to America by a deputation sent from Organ and St. John's Churches to Germany, in 1773. He located himself about one and a half miles East of St. John's Church, on a tract of land of his own entry or purchase, and labored faithfully all the remaining days of

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his life among this people. The congregation also secured about the same time the services of a Mr. Friesland as their school-teacher.

On the 22d of October, 1782, three benevolent members of the church council, Jacob Fegert, Marx Hans, and Jacob Thieme, paid the sum of fifty shillings, the accustomed rate, for one hundred acres of Government land, on a portion of which the church had already been built, and entered it, “in trust for the congregation of Dutch Buffalo Meeting-House.” The land is now valuable, and has been of much service to the congregation.

The newly organized Lutheran congregations in North Carolina had only one resource, and that was to send to Europe for pastors and teachers; and these congregations were not slow in making this resource available, as may be seen by examining the records of the old church-book belonging to Organ Church. They well knew that to send letters or petitions to Europe for pastors and teachers would accomplish but little. Accordingly, in the year 1772, Christopher Rintelmann, from Organ Church, in Rowan County, and Christopher Layrle, from St. John's Church, in Mecklenburg County, were sent as a delegation to Europe for the purpose of applying to the Consistory Council (Consistorialrath) of Hanover, in Germany, for a supply of ministers of the gospel and school-teachers for the various Lutheran congregations then organized in North Carolina. The reason is also stated why the delegation were instructed to apply to the proper authorities in Hanover in preference to any other place or kingdom: “Because at that time North Carolina, as well as all the other free American States, was under the jurisdiction of the King of England, who was at the same time Elector of Hanover.”

These commissioners traveled first to London, and from thence they journeyed to Hanover, and there, in accordance with their instructions to bring at least one pastor and a school-teacher with them, and through the kind efforts of “the late Consistory Counsellor Götten,” they obtained the Rev. Adolph Nussmann as their pastor, and Mr. Gottfried Arndt as school-teacher; both of whom arrived safely in North Carolina in 1773.

But this was not all the good which these commissioners effected, for by their faithful representations of the condition and want of the churches, the Lutheran congregations in North Carolina, as already seen from the constitution of St. John's Church, were placed under the supervision of the Consistory of Hanover and the University of Gottengen. After the war ended, the money that had been collected.

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in Hanover for St. John's Church, which was feared to have been lost or forfeited on account of the action which the Germans in North Carolina took in the war, was nevertheless paid over to that congregation, according to the original intent of the donors.


The Lutheran Church in North Carolina was peculiarly fortunate in obtaining the services of so learned, devoted and self-sacrificing a Christian minister as was its first pastor, the Rev. Adolph Nussmann.

He located himself at first in Rowan County, near Second Creek, and served Organ and Salisbury Churches, whilst the newly arrived teacher, J. G. Arndt, occupied himself in giving instructions to the children and youth.

After having taken a survey of the field of ministerial labor in the interior of the Province, Rev. Nussmann perceived that he could effect but little by himself; the demand upon his time and energy would be far too great, were he to endeavor to supply all the Lutheran churches.

His only alternative was to have the teacher Arndt ordained, who indeed had received an excellent education in Germany, where much is required of a teacher, and make him a co-laborer in this hopeful field; so, after having properly arranged all church affairs in Rowan County, he resigned the charge into the hands of Rev. Arndt, and removed to St. John's Church, in Mecklenburg County, where he labored industriously and faithfully all the remaining years of his life. He also made a number of missionary tours to Davidson, Guilford, Orange, Stokes and Forsyth Counties.

Rev. Arndt's labors were chiefly confined to Rowan County until after the close of the Revolutionary War, when, in 1786, he removed to Lincoln County, and became the acknowledged founder of the Lutheran Church West of the Catawba River.

Fifteen years did these two faithful servants of God labor alone, under many difficulties and privations, and through all the stormy period of the Revolution, before any additional laborers were sent to their assistance.

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In Rev. A. Nussmann's principal congregation, St. John's, Mecklenburg (Cabarrus) County, N. C., the want of a better house of worship was felt after the war, when the congregation had again become throughly organized. On the 6th of November, 1784, a beginning was made “for the purpose of rebuilding St. John's Church” on the same site where the old one stood, in the inclosure of the present grave-yard, near the upper part of it.

The church edifice was completed the following year and was solemnly dedicated on the fourth of July, 1785. Soon after another subscription was taken, for the purpose of purchasing a large gilt silver goblet from their pastor for communion service, which is still used for the same purpose.

In the Organ and Salisbury Churches matters remained unimproved, and those congregations became vacant soon after the restoration of peace, by the removal of Rev. J. G. Arndt to Lincoln County.

A strong effort was made in 1787 at this time by Rev. Nussmann to place the Lutheran Church in North Carolina once more in connection with the parent Church in Germany, and this time he accomplished his purpose.

For the purpose of taking matters into consideration bearing upon the welfare of St. John's Church, a meeting of the church council was called on the 30th of September, 1787, which convened at the pastor's house.

Many charitable persons in Europe had safely deposited a considerable amount of money in London, some time before the Revolution, for the benefit of “the congregation at Dutch Buffalo Creek, Mecklenburg County,” which had been appropriated in part for the welfare of that church, and of which £90 sterling, were still remaining on deposit in that city, and which, it was feared, this congregation had forfeited, on account of the action of its members in the Revolution.

This fund had accumulated in 1843 to fifteen hundred dollars, and was then all consumed, contrary to this resolution, in erecting the present church edifice, in which the members of St. John's Church now worship.

The efforts of Rev. Nussmann and his congregation were crowned

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with success; the money was secured, needed books were sent, and in compliance with the request of Rev. Nussmann, a second edition of one of those books, named at first “The Helmstaedt Catechism;” was published, and received the title, “North Carolina Catechism.”

It is a book containing 254 pages, published in 1788, in the city of Leipzig, by Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, and also incloses Luther's smaller catechism in its pages. Its chief importance at this time is its historical value, giving us an insight into the manner in which the practical affairs of our churches in the Carolinas were conducted at the time of its publication.


In the year 1787 Rev. Nussmann's heart was gladdened in being permitted to welcome another laborer in the mission field of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina. This was the Rev. Christian Eberhardt Bernhardt, a native of Stuttgard, in the kingdom of Würtemberg. He was ordained in his native country, and came to America in the year 1786. He landed at Savannah, and then proceeded to Ebenezer, Georgia, where he remained twelve months. In 1787 he went to Rowan County, N. C., and labored among the churches there one year, doubtless in that part of the county East of the Yadkin River, now known as Davidson County. In 1788 he took charge of the congregations in Stokes and Forsyth Counties, which had been organized and frequently visited by Rev. Nussmann; here Rev. Bernhardt was married, but the records do not mention the name of his wife. One year later he removed to Guilford County, where he remained to the close of the year 1800, when he accepted the call to become the pastor of Zion's and several other Lutheran Churches in Lexington District, S. C. This account has been furnished by his daughter-in-law, the widow of the late Rev. David Bernhardt.

In September, 1788, Rev. Nussmann, the faithful pioneer and father of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina, was permitted to grasp the hand of another brother in the ministry, who was sent to his assistance by the Helmstaedt Mission Society, namely: the Rev. Carl August Gottlieb Storch, born in Helmstaedt, Duchy of Brunswick, June 16th, 1764; his father's name was George Friederich

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Storch, a native of the city of Danneberg and merchant in Helmstaedt; and his mother's name was Von Asseburg.

In his journal, Rev. Storch makes the following record: “April 16th, 1788, I left Fresenhede and journeyed to North Carolina, in North America. The cause of my making this distant and dangerous journey was as follows: Rev. Adolph Nussmann, who was sent as a minister from Germany to North Carolina in the year 1773, and who is still living, greatly desired Rev. Abbot Velthusen to send him several assistant ministers, when Rev. Velthusen selected and persuaded me to undertake this journey. Upon the ducal consent and command I was examined by the five Helmstaedt professors, and ordained as a minister for North Carolina by Abbot Velthusen. All the expenses of my journey were paid, and, upon request, I received the written assurance from my ruler of the land, that, if I should return after a few years, I should still receive my promotion. Under those circumstances, and in reliance upon God, I went to sea on the 4th of May, 1788, and arrived safely in America, landing in Baltimore on the 27th of June of the same year. From Baltimore I journeyed by water to Charleston in six days. In Charleston I remained fourteen days, purchased a horse for eleven pounds sterling, and rode to Rev. Nussmann's residence, making a circuit of about 300 English miles, and arrived there at the beginning of the month of September, 1788. Rev. Nussmann serves a congregation at Buffalo Creek. After having recruited myself, we made arrangements with the congregation that desired to have me as their pastor. Three congregations elected and called me, namely: the one in Salisbury, where I first took up my residence; the second, named Organ Church, on Second Creek, ten miles from Salisbury; and the third, Pine Church, which, however, I had to resign, and now only serve two congregations, Salisbury and Organ Church, which have promised me in writing £80 North Carolina currency, paper money; the funeral sermons and marriages are paid extra, usually with one dollar. I commenced my ministry on the twenty-third Sunday after Trinity, and at Salisbury the Sunday following. On the 7th of January, 1789, I commenced to preach in the Irish settlement once every month, for which I am promised £13 or £14 North Carolina currency.”

A few months after the arrival of Rev. Storch came the Rev. Arnold Roschen, who was likewise sent to North Carolina by the Helmstaedt Mission Society. He was a native of the city of Bremen,

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educated by the Rev. Pastor Nicolai, of that city—that is, as is supposed, under his auspices; and, on the eve of his departure to America, married a lady of Bremen, doubtless with a view that he might become permanently settled, and be contented in his new home.

All these facts are gathered from the Helmstaedt Reports, in which these is found also a published letter, which Rev. Roschen wrote to his friend and preceptor, Rev. Nicolai:

“North Carolina, Rowan County, near Abbott's Creek; in the midst of the forests of North America, sixty-six miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains, eighteen miles from Salem; from April 29th to June 21st, 1789.

“Our journey was a fortunate one, although it lasted twelve weeks from shore to shore, On November 28th, 1788, we were already brought to shore [at Charleston, S. C.].

“At length the wagons, sent by our congregations, came for my things, and horses for us to ride—for every person rides here—and we two began our journey of 300 North Carolina miles on horseback, which was at first very fatiguing.

“We were accompanied several miles on our journey by our friends; our way then went through a great part of South to North Carolina. This overland journey lasted fourteen days, and was very wearisome, as may be readily supposed.

“At length we arrived in Salisbury, where Pastor Storch resides, whom I especially esteem and love as a friend, and who rendered me very important services, where we were as kindly received as we could have expected. Upon the first intelligence of our arrival, the deacons of one the nearest of my congregations, together with some wealthy planters residing there, came to the town to welcome us. The people here knew nothing of compliments, but express their opinions in a manner that indicates good thinking faculties. They informed us that we would not find a dwelling-house as yet prepared for us, because, upon consultation, it was thought best to wait until my arrival, so that I could myself direct the building of the same. And now the whole train moved along, increased by Pastor Storch's accompanying us, until we came to the place appointed for me, situated on Abbott's Creek, a small stream that empties itself about twelve miles distant into the Yadkin River. A Deacon of my central congregation took us to his home, where we remained several months, until we moved to our own plantation of two hundred acres of land,

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which we have purchased advantgeously, assisted by several upright planters of this place; we were advised to take this step by Pastor Nussmann, who came to meet us in Salisbury, in which advice Rev. Storch also joined.

“As soon as we arrived, the Deacons out of three congregations came and visited us. A fourth congregation, which is now almost the largest, also placed itself under my ministry. So now I am the pastor of four churches. The people from all parts of the country brought us abundantly flour, corn, hams, sausages, dried fruit, chickens, turkeys, geese, &c., so much so that there has been scarcely any necessity to spend one farthing for our housekeeping up to this time.”

According to these statements, it may be seen that the Lord of the vineyard had now five laborers in the Lutheran Church in North Carolina, namely Revs. Nussmann, Arndt, Bernhardt, Storch, and Roschen, and they were “workmen that needed not to be ashamed,” for they were all talented men, and filled with the spirit of their Master; besides, they were men of the most profound learning; even Arndt had received an excellent education, although he came to this country in the capacity of a school-teacher, and all had been brought up in the most refined society, and might have been an acquisition and an honor to any college or university in the land; but because they were Germans, and spoke a foreign language, little was ever known of them by the general inhabitants of the State; however, they were so much the better known, and the more highly esteemed by the people among whom they lived, and for whose spiritual welfare they labored.


The missionary spirit in the Lutheran Church was engendered more than two centuries ago, and soon after the close of the Thirty Years' War.

Among the various fields of labor of our pious German forefathers, America was not forgotten. Not only were faithful and self-sacrificing missionaries sent, their salaries paid them by charitable donations of Christians in the Fatherland, but also churches, schoolhouses, and sometimes orphan asylums were erected and supported. Books of worship and devotion, as well as of education and instruction

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also, were sent gratuitously in great numbers to our forefathers in America.

Rev. Roschen in his report says:

“Marriages are here performed in two modes; the one, according to the rules of the Church, requires to be announced three times; the other is managed as follows: The groom gets a certificate from Salisbury, rides, accompanied by his friends, with his bride to the minister, or, if there is none in the place, to the magistrate, where the marriage takes place. The first questions of the minister are, whether he has taken his bride without her parents' knowledge—this occurs frequently—and, whether the parents have given their consent. If any one has stolen his bride, and has a license from Salisbury, then the objections of the parents avail nothing. Upon the whole, in this free country, a son, whenever he has arrived at his twenty-first year, and a daughter, as soon as she is eighteen years old, is no longer under the parents' control.

“Rev. Storch and I recently passed by the court-house in Salisbury, at the moment when a man was standing in the pillory. A German called to us to stop awhile and see how the Americans punish rogues and thieves. Upon my asking him, ‘The criminal is certainly not a German?’ I received the literally true reply, ‘Never has a German stood in the pillory in Salisbury; nor has ever a German been hung in this place.’

Pastor Storch commenced his labors at Organ Church, October 26th, 1788; and in Salisbury on the Sunday following, November 2d, being the 23d and 24th sundays after Trinity. A very concise constitution was introduced and adopted on the following New Year's Day, 1789, which, however, contains nothing of special interest to the general reader.

Organ Church alone promised their pastor an annual salary of £40, North Carolina currency, and the number of those members, who subscribed this amount, and undersigned the new constitution, amounted to seventy-eight persons.

In the year 1791, the present massive and, as was then considered, large and commodious stone church was erected, having large galleries on each side, except where the pulpit stands; and an organ, excellent in its day, built by one of its members, Mr. Steigerwalt, was placed in the centre of the long gallery, and opposite the pulpit. The pulpit, as a matter of course, was goblet-shaped, with a sounding-board overhead.

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The first English Lutheran preacher in North Carolina was the Rev. Robert Johnson Miller, who was a Scotchman by birth, a native of Baldovia, Angusshire, near Dundee, born July 11th, 1758, the third son of George and Margaret Miller. His parents designed him to study for the ministry, and for this purpose sent him to the Dundee classical school. After he had completed his education there, and before he entered the ministry, he migrated to America, and arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts, A. D. 1774. His brother, an East and West India merchant of that place, had invited him from Scotland to reside with him, with whom he labored as an assistant in his business for some time.

It now happened that his adopted country became involved in the Revolutionary struggle, when he at once declared himself a friend of liberty, and as soon as General Greene passed through Boston with his army, young Miller enlisted as a Revolutionary soldier. He was engaged in the battle of Long Island (where he received a flesh wound in the face), of Brandywine, White Plains, and the siege of Valley Forge; but God preserved his life in all these engagements, as He had a more glorious work in store for him. With the army he traveled to the South, where he remained after peace was declared and the army disbanded.

He now remembered his duty to God, his former vows, and his preparation for the ministry, and applied for license to preach the Gospel in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church, as the minutes of the Methodist Conference plainly indicate; and thus authorized, he commenced preaching in the Western counties of North Carolina, traveling often one hundred miles to meet his appointments.

Although licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Conference, yet not having the authority to administer the sacraments, his people of White Haven Church, in Lincoln County, sent a petition to the Lutheran pastors of Cabarrus and Rowan Counties, with high recommendations, praying that he might be ordained by them, which was accordingly done at St. John's Church, Cabarrus County, on the 20th of May, 1794.

On the reverse side of this certificate the Lutheran ministers gave their reasons why they had ordained a man who was attached to the Episcopal Church as a minister of that denomination.

It is but reasonable to conclude that the first ecclesiastical assembly of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina was held in St. John's

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Church, Cabarrus County, in the month of May, 1794, and that the first minister ordained by that Lutheran Ministerium was the Rev. R. J. Miller.

Rev. Nussmann's labors in North Carolina extended over a period of more than twenty years, remaining faithfully at his post until God called him to his rest. He was the pioneer minister of the Lutheran Church in the State, and commenced his labors among his people in the days of their colonial hardships and trials; he had been with them through all the devastating influences of a most sanguinary war; he had seen them rise again to comparative comfort and prosperity under the new government; he had ministered to them in all circumstances of life, and had himself experienced many trials and afflictions through which he was called to pass.

Shortly after Rev. Nussmann came to this country he was united in marriage to Barbara Layrle, a daughter of Christopher Layrle, one of the deputies sent to Germany to bring pastors and teachers to North Carolina; with her he lived in blissful harmony, and was the father of several sons and daughters. His grandchildren and descendants to the fifth generation are still to be met with in Central North Carolina.

Pastor Nussmann had for some time been afflicted with a cancer on his neck, and it became evident that it would terminate in his death, yet he bore his affliction meekly and with Christian fortitude, when, on the 3d of November, 1794, his family and friends were called to witness the departure of a faithful husband, father and pastor. He died in the triumphs of that Gospel which he faithfully preached.

A few months after Nussmann's death God called another and once active laborer in the Lutheran Church in the Carolinas to his rest; this was the Rev. John Nicholas Martin, who had become aged and infirm, and was no longer able to perform any active duties of the gospel ministry, but who still took a deep interest in the welfare of the Church. “He was born at Zweibrücken (Deux-Ponts), in Rheinish Bavaria, and emigrated to North America about the middle of the eighteenth century. He was then a married man with several children. The colony, after some delay, settled in Anson County, near South Carolina. From this point Rev. Martin, with the larger portion of his congregation, removed to a district between the Broad and Saluda Rivers,” but labored mostly in Charleston, as pastor of St. John's Church, where he finally made his permanent home on a

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farm located about a mile from the city; “there he closed his honored and useful life, July 27th, 1795.” His descendants are numerous, the most of whom are still attached to the Lutheran Church, and are devoted members of the same.

In the year 1801 the Rev. Philip Henkel, a son of Rev. Paul Henkel, came to North Carolina and took charge of the Guilford pastorate, made vacant by the removal of Rev. Bernhardt to South Carolina. It is stated in the Helmstaedt Reports that a third minister was to have been sent by Helmstaedt Mission Society to North Carolina; he is spoken of as “a candidate of a noble heart and excellent attainments,” but for some reason or other he never came to America.


After the death of Pastor Nussman, St. John's Church remained vacant for two years, after which time it was supplied temporarily one year with the labors of Rev. Storch, so his journal informs us, and in 1797 the Rev. Adam Nicholas Marcard, who had been laboring in the vicinity, at Coldwater Creek, a newly organized church, became the pastor of St. John's Church, and labored there nearly three years, and then also removed to South Carolina.

As no other pastor could be obtained, Rev. Storch took charge of this congregation and served it in connection with his other churches, and remained their pastor until the year 1821, laboring as faithfully as his health would permit.

The condition of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina is reported in a letter of Rev. Storch to Rev. Dr. Velthusen, dated “Salisbury, N. C., February 25th, 1803.” Pastor Storch writes:

“The congregations at the Catawba River are without a preacher. The faithful brother, Ahrend, has become totally blind. It is a sad calamity for that good man and the churches. The Buffalo Creek congregation (St. John's) is likewise unprovided for; however, it has at present the hope of obtaining the services of a brother of Paul Henkel, the successor of our Roschen. Rev. Bernhardt has left his situation in Guilford, and is now serving for the past two years several congregations in South Carolina. The congregations in Guilford County are now served by a son of Rev. Paul Henkel.”

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The North Carolina Lutheran ministry, having no dependence upon which they could rely other than their own efforts, and having been reinforced by a number of ministers, originated the North Carolina Synod or Conference, for so were Synods then sometimes denominated by our German ministers. This Conference or Synod stood under no jurisdiction of any other or higher ecclesiastical body, but had the power to exercise sole jurisdiction for itself from its commencement; “in which,” says Rev. Paul Henkel in 1806, “they and the lay delegates transacted the usual business of the Church as in other States.”

The Lutheran Church in North Carolina felt the necessity of organizing a Synod, in order to labor for its continuance and future prosperity, for there was no Lutheran Synod in all the Southern States.

The first session of the North Carolina Synod was held in the town of Salisbury, on Monday, May 2d, 1803. On the preceding Saturday and Sunday, the ministers held divine services and administered the holy communion to a large assembly in Pine (Union) Church, four miles from Salisbury.

The names of the ministers present at that first Synod were: Rev. Gottfried Arndt, of Lincoln County; Rev. Robert J. Miller, of the same county; Rev. Carl A. G. Storch, near Salisbury; Rev. Paul Henkel, from Abbot's Creek, Rowan (Davidson) County. These ministers, with a number of Elders and Deacons from most of the congregations as lay representatives, formed the North Carolina Synod, which is the oldest Lutheran Synod in the Southern States, and the third Synod in America in point of time, the Pennsylvania and New York Synods having preceded it in their organization.

From the German minutes of a Virginia Conference, held in the New Roeder's Church, in Rockingham County, A. D. 1806, and published by the Rev. Paul Henkel, is taken the following interesting account of the condition of all the Lutheran congregations in the State of North Carolina at that time. Rev. Henkel writes:

“As soon as the Germans had located themselves in different parts of North Carolina, they became concerned about the regular administration of Church worship and ordinances in their midst. They soon erected houses of worship according to their ability, which were generally the joint property of both the Lutheran and German Reformed Christians.

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“In that region, which lies partly in Orange and partly in Guilford Counties, there are three Lutheran and three Reformed Churches, besides one other joint church, named Frieden's, which is served in connection with the others. Since the year 1801, Rev. Henry Dieffenbach has served the Reformed Churches, and in the same year Rev. Philip Henkel was called to serve as Lutheran pastor, who remained there until 1806, when he accepted a call to an enlarged field of labor in Lincoln County.

“In Rowan County (now Davidson) on Abbot's Creek we find three joint and one Lutheran Church on the Sandhills. These were served by the Rev. Paul Henkel, from the year 1800 to 1805, when he was necessitated to resign this charge, on account of the failure of his own and his family's health; he therefore introduced the Rev. Ludwig Markert as candidate preacher into these congregations, which he was himself compelled to leave.

“In the vicinity of Salisbury, Rowan County, there are three strong Lutheran congregations, which have been served by the Rev. Charles Storch for nearly twenty years. Some twenty years past, there was a tolerably strong German congregation in Salisbury; they had erected a comfortable church for themselves, but as the German people and their language were changed into English, the German worship soon became extinct.

“Near Buffalo Creek, Cabarrus County, we find one of the strongest German Lutheran Churches in the whole State; however, since the death of their former pastor, Rev. Adolph Nussmann, which occurred some twelve years ago, the congregation has suffered much, as it is now served by Rev. Storch, who moved a little nearer to this congregation.

“About eighteen miles from Salisbury there is another church, which was built by the Germans as a joint house of worship, but as they are so much intermingled with English settlers, this German congregation will also become extinct. Many English residents had become members of this church. During the visits of Rev. Paul Henkel in the fall season, from 1785 to 1789, many adult and aged persons were baptized, instructed and confirmed, and thus a very strong congregation was gathered.

“In Lincoln County there are eight or nine congregations, several of which are quite large. All these have erected joint houses of worship. The Lutheran congregations were served by the Rev. Gottfried Arndt for twenty years. Before that time he had labored

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in the vicinity of Salisbury, and even at that time he often traveled among these churches, and performed official duties, as far as his circumstances would permit.

“In Burke County there are also a number of Germans, among whom, as yet, no church has been built. Rev. Arndt preached there several times, as also did the Rev. Paul Henkel, in the German and English languages, during his visit through that county in 1787. In May, 1804, he made another visit among this people in company with the German Reformed minister, Rev. Jacob Laros.

“In Wilkes County may be found a small German flock in the wilderness.”

At the first session of the North Carolina Synod, held in Salisbury, May 2d, 1803, very little business was transacted. The Synod was then simply organized, and a resolution was passed, at the suggestion of Rev. Arndt, that Rev. Paul Henkel should visit Rev. Arndt's charge in Lincoln County the following August, in order to perform the necessary official duties, to which Rev. Arndt could not attend, owing to the loss of his eyesight and his feeble health. Rev. Henkel attended to this duty.

The second session of Synod was held at Lincolnton, N. C., October 17th, 1803, where a constitution was adopted, consisting of nine articles. They are much the same as are generally adopted by all Lutheran Synods. The fourth article requires candidates of the ministry “to understand the order of the Latin language, and so much of Greek as to be able to understand the New Testament.” Rev. J. G. Arndt was President, and Rev. R. J. Miller was Secretary of this synodical convention.

The third session of Synod was held at Abbot's Creek Church, in Davidson County, October 21st, 1804. Rev. Paul Henkel was elected President, and Rev. Miller, Secretary. Very little business was transacted at this session of Synod, because nearly all the ministers were unfitted for duty on account of sickness. It was resolved that a special conference be held at Pine Church, Rowan County, the following April, for the purpose of ordaining Rev. Philip Henkel. John Michael Rueckhert and Ludwig Markert were licensed as catechets. The next session of Synod was held at Organ Church, Rowan County, October 20th, 1806. Rev. Storch was chosen President, and Rev. Bernhardt, Secretary.

There appears to have been no meeting of Synod during the years 1807 and 1808, doubtless prevented by the prevailing sickness during the fall season.

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In the year 1809, August 7th, the Synod was convened in Guilford County, at which meeting some additional articles were added to the constitution. The officers of Synod were Rev. Charles A. Storch, President, and Rev. Ludwig Markert, Secretary.

On the 22d of October, 1810, the Synod convened at Organ Church, at which time a considerable amount of business was transacted. The Rev. C. A. Storch was re-elected President, and Rev. Gottlieb Shober was elected Secretary. At this meeting there were ten ministers present, and the names of the lay delegates were published for the first time. Rev. G. Shober was ordained to the gospel ministry; he was a member of the Moravian Church, and continued in connection with that church to the close of his life; nevertheless, he became a Lutheran minister, and was pastor of several Lutheran congregations in the vicinity of Salem, N. C., where he resided, and served those congregations during his life. Revs. Storch, Miller and Philip Henkel officiated at his ordination.

The names of all the congregations belonging to the Synod, with their pastors, lay readers, Elders and Deacons, are appended to the minutes; the names of these churches are as follows:

Rev. Storch's pastorate: Zion's or Organ, Buffalo Creek or St. John's, Irish Settlement, now Luther Chapel; Pine, now Union; Crooked Creek, and Bear Creek, now Bethel.

Rev. Markert's pastorate: Pilgrim's, Beck's, Schweiszguth (Swicegood), now Sandy Creek; Lau's, Frieden's, Graves, now St. Paul's, Alamance County. Richland Church was supplied by Jacob Krieson as catechet or lay reader.

Rev. Shober's pastorate: Muddy Creek and Dutchman's Creek.

Rev. Philip Henkel's pastorate: St. John's, Old Church, Schoolhouse Church, Kasner's, Lebanon, Emanuel's, Hebron, and Zion's, all in Lincoln County.

Various congregations in South Carolina, which connected themselves with our Synod:” Bethel Church, on High Hill Creek; St. Peter's, Zion's, and a Reformed Church, of which Henry Kuhn, Samuel Bockman, and Henry Schull were the Elders.

A synodial seal was also adopted with certain devices, bearing the words “Pax vobis” and “Sigil. Minist. Evang. Luth. in Carolia Sept. et Stat. vicin.” A lengthy explanation of the devices and a translation of the Latin words as quoted above are given in the minutes.

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The meeting of the Synod of 1811 was not well attended, hence very little business was transacted. A special meeting of Synod was therefore held in April, 1812, at which time the Synod numbered twelve ministers, including the licentiates.

The parochial reports, ranging from two to twenty-four years, and which had never been handed in before, sum up as follows: 26 congregations, 2,071 confirmations, 100 adult baptisms; infant baptisms and communicants were not reported; besides these are the reports of only five of the ministers whose congregations were all located in North Carolina.

“It was resolved that Sunday-schools should be publicly recommended from the pulpit in all our congregations.”

A written plan, embracing ten articles, was presented to Synod for the purpose “of establishing schools for our poor children,” to be supported by voluntary donations from the members of the church; in which schools the German and English languages were to be taught.

On the 18th of October, 1812, the regular session of Synod was held. President, Rev. R. J. Miller, and Rev. G. Shober, Secretary. Rev. Jacob Scherer was ordained at this meeting. A letter from Rev. J. G. Schmucker, of York, Pa., was read, acknowledging the receipt of the friendly letter from the North Carolina Synod, by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, and informing the Synod that their President, Rev. Mr. Helmuth, was requested to reply to the same.

The following condensed missionary report of Rev. Philip Henkel is inserted in the minutes: “I served as missionary preacher from the 11th of May to the 7th of August; traveled 1,534 miles, preached 50 times, baptized 115 children and 4 adults, and administered the Lord's Supper 4 times, in all to 45 communicants. I found in the States of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia many deserted congregations, and they everywhere pray that preachers be sent them.”

Two new congregations, organized by Rev. Shober, named Hopewell and Bethlehem, were received in connection with the Synod; so also was the Sandy Run congregation in South Carolina, under the pastoral care of Rev. Godfrey Dreher.

The Synod of 1813 convened in Pilgrim's Church, Davidson County, N. C., in October; it was well attended by ministers and lay delegates. Rev. Storch was elected President, and Rev. Shober,

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Secretary. Revs. David Henkel, J. P. Schmucker, and Daniel Moser, were licensed to the ministry.

It was resolved to petition the Moravian Church for one or more ministers to labor in connection with the Synod, to supply the “want of able laborers in the vineyard of the Lord entrusted to the Synod.”

On the 16th of October, 1814, the Synod convened at Organ Church, Rowan County, N. C. At this meeting there were eighteen ministers present, twelve of whom were licentiates. The officers of the preceding year were re-elected.

The following congregations were received in connection with the Synod: St. Michael's and Paul's (Rall's), Lexington District, S. C. One congregation in Newberry District, S. C., of which Michael and Peter Rickard, Andrew Wecker, and Martin Kinard, were elders; and Coldwater Church, in Cabarrus County, N. C.

In accordance with a written communication from brother John Dreher, of South Carolina, and upon his desire, it was—

Resolved, That negro slaves be instructed in our holy religion, and be received into our church as members; and that congregations should make proper arrangements in their houses of worship to give the slaves also the opportunity to hear the Gospel.”

It was also—

Resolved, That all our ministers unite themselves to labor against the pernicious influence and consequences of dancing, and seek to prevent it in every possible way.

Resolved, That a special conference be held on the third Sunday after Easter, in St. Michael's Church, Lexington District, S. C.”

An appendix to the minutes contains the correspondence as ordered by Synod at its last meeting, between the Synod's committee, Revs. Storch and Shober, and Bishop Van Vleck, of the Moravian Church, on the subject of obtaining a supply of ministers from that Church. And although the Bishop's letter was a friendly one, yet he regretted exceedingly, that at that time, no minister of their Church could be spared.

October 15th, 1815, the Synod convened in the Lutheran Church in Lincolnton, N. C., but on account of sickness, few ministers were present.

Resolved, That no minister has a right to leave his congregations and labor in another field whenever he deems it advisable, without informing the Elders and Deacons of his intention some time beforehand, and the matter be brought before Synod for final decision.”

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A congregation at McCobbin's Creek, Meeklenburg County, N. C., was received in connection with Synod. Quite a number of petitions from three congregations in Fairfield County, Ohio, from Washington County, Indiana, then still a Territory, and from Sevier County, Tennessee, were presented, petitioning Synod for ministers of the gospel, but which could only be partially or occasionally supplied with the means of grace by a visiting minister.

Two congregations in Iredell County, N. C., named New Pearth (now St. Michael's) and Christ Churches, were taken into connection with the Synod. The other transactions of this meeting of Synod are of no special interest.

The new congregations that were formed in North Carolina under the Synod are the following:

1. Bethel Church, Stanly County, N. C., which is more commonly known as “Bear Creek Church,” on account of its contiguity to that stream. It was at this time a unitedly Lutheran and Reformed congregation, and its Lutheran members mostly belonged previously to St. John's Church, Cabarrus County. About the year 1804 divine worship was held in Christopher Layrle's barn for two or three years, who donated one hundred acres of well-timbered land to the newly organized congregation; the male members then went to work in felling the trees, squaring the logs, and piling them up in true colonial style, until the new church edifice was sufficiently elevated for having the roof placed upon it, and other necessary work done to it. The following extract is a translation from its church-book: “We erected this church on the 19th and 20th of March, 1806, in the Western part of Montgomery (Stanly) County, which was quickly brought under roof and was made so far comfortable that on the following 25th May (Whit Sunday), service was held in it for the first time by Rev. George Boger (a German Reformed minister), who was our pastor at that time.”

The church was afterwards completed at a cost of about $300, and presented a very respectable and comfortable appearance.

The congregation was for a long time deprived of the services of a regular Lutheran pastor, but was frequently visited by Revs. Storch and J. W. Meyer; and was received into connection with the Synod in the year 1810.

2. Coldwater Creek Church, Cabarrus County, N. C., now St. James Church, Concord, N. C. The early records of this congregation have all been destroyed.

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Coldwater Church was at one time the oldest German religious organization in Western North Carolina; it had a pastor even before the Rev. A. Nussmann came to America in 1773; this pastor was the Rev. Mr. Suther, a German Reformed minister, some of whose descendants are still living in Concord, N. C., and are worthy members of the Lutheran Church there.

In the minutes of the North Carolina Synod mention is first made of this church in the year 1814, when it was received in connection with the Synod, giving the names of Philip Cress and Michael Winecoff as its church officers, and it is exceedingly probable that its organization as a Lutheran congregation, worshipping with the German Reformed, dates back only to about that time. In the year 1843, under the pastoral care of Rev. W. G. Harter, the Lutheran congregation withdrew from the Coldwater Church and erected their own house of worship in the town of Concord, adopting the name of St. James' Church, where it continues to exist to the present day.

St. Michael's Church, Iredell County, North Carolina.—The German citizens of Iredell County came originally from Rowan and Cabarrus Counties.

This influx of a German population occurred about the close of the last or commencement of the present century, and owing to the peculiarities of their settlement here, many of them are inter-married with the original Scotch-Irish colonists, and nearly all are more or less scattered over the whole of that country, and some of them are of necessity located rather remotely from their own house of worship.

The Rev. R. J. Miller was the first Lutheran minister who gathered the German settlers in Iredell County into a congregation, A. D. 1815. This fact is ascertained from the church records, as well as from the minutes of the Synod of 1815, when that congregation was admitted under the name of “New Pearth.” The church land was donated by Mr. Daniel Walcher, and was given as joint property for the use of both the Lutheran and Episcopal denominations, and was so continued as a union house of worship for several years, when the Episcopalians withdrew and erected their own church a few miles distant from St. Michael's Church, leaving the Lutheran congregation the sole possessor of that property.

The church edifice has since been considerably enlarged, and is located on a pleasant site near the public road leading from Charlotte to Statesville. Rev. Mr. Miller continued to labor here for six years, when he voluntarily disconnected himself from the Lutheran

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Church, in 1821. It was in this congregation that the Rev. Simeon W. Harkey, D. D., and his brothers, who are also in the ministry, were born and reared up for enlarged usefulness in the Lutheran Church. St. Michael's Church has lost heavily by the removal of many of its members, principally to the State of Illinois.

McCobbin's Creek Church, Mecklenburg County, N. C., is also mentioned in the minutes of the North Carolina Synod as having been received into its connection in 1815. Of its history nothing is known to the writer; it is probable that this is the present “Morning Star Church” in that county, and now connected with the Tennessee Synod.

The various churches in Lincoln County, N. C., were served with the pastoral labors of Revs. R. J. Miller, David Henkel and Daniel Moser; the latter became the successor of Rev. Philip Henkel, who had resigned and accepted the call to the Tennessee congregations, made vacant by the death of Rev. C. Z. H. Smith.

The two congregations in Cabarrus County were supplied by the Rev. C. A. G. Storch; St. John's Church was served as a part of his regular charge, whilst the Coldwater congregation received occasional visits from him. The other now existing congregations in this county were not organized at that time.

In Rowan County Rev. Storch was laboring still at Organ Church, in the bounds of which he then resided; it is probable that he also served Savage's or Sewits' Church, now called Lutheran Chapel; but the Union or Pine Church he had resigned, and the Rev. J. W. Meyer became its pastor.

St. John's Church, in Salisbury, was at this time still vacant; it had become a neglected field, and according to the provisions in the title granted by Mr. Beard, the Episcopalians occupied the church, since they had no house of worship of their own, and the few remaining Lutherans worshipped with them.

The churches in Davidson County were served faithfully by their pastor, Rev. Lewis Market, from 1805 to 1816, when he removed to the State of Indiana, where he continued to labor until the Lord called him home, November 22d, 1850. After the removal of Rev. Markert, and at the request of the vacant congregations, the Synod, in 1816, appointed Rev. G. Shober to supply two of the churches of that charge, whilst the remaining two were placed under the care of Rev. J. W. Meyer. In 1817, Catechet Daniel Walcher was sent by Synod to labor in these vacant churches, where he remained until 1821, when he removed to Pendleton County, Virginia.

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In the year 1810, the Rev. Jacob Scherer became the pastor of the churches in Guilford and Orange Counties, which had been vacant about four years, but through the energetic and faithful labors of Rev. Scherer's ministry, this charge became one of the most promising in the State. His chatechetical instructions were specially blessed. At one time a certain young man came to him and declared that “he would not for the whole world have been without these instructions, for by means of them he had found what was worth more than the world to him.” The Rev. Jacob Grieson was licensed to preach the gospel in 1810, and labored as an assistant pastor with Rev. Scherer, accomplishing much good, and was always willing and prepared to lighten the burdens and labors of the regular pastor in that extensive charge.

The congregations in Forsyth County, near Salem, N. C., were greatly built up by the efficient labors of their first pastor, the Rev. Gottlieb Shober, who commenced his ministry there in 1810, and continued in charge of these churches to the close of his life, June 27th, 1838.

On the 17th of July, 1820, Revs. Jacob Zink, Paul Henkel, Adam Miller, Philip Henkel and George Easterly, with delegates from the Tennessee congregations, met in Solomon's Church, Cove Creek Green County, Tennessee, and organized the Tennessee Synod. Rev. David Henkel could not attend this meeting, but acknowledged himself a member of the new organization. The separation was now fully effected, and both Synods labored industriously in their own selected spheres of usefulness; not, however, without considerable opposition to each other, and the publication of controversy.

St. John's Church, Salisbury, N. C.—In the year 1818, whilst the Episcopalians were worshipping in this church, they made the proposition to erect a new frame church, the old log building being greatly out of repair. The members of the Lutheran Church agreed to this proposal, and also aided in the building of the new house of worship.

However, this arrangement gave rise to serious difficulties; as soon as the new church was completed, the question of its dedication arose, and the Lutherans were fearful that, if the church should be consecrated by a Bishop of the Episcopal Church, they would forfeit their right and title in the property. And thus it was, whilst the Lutherans claimed the land on which the church stood, the Episcopalians claimed the building. Whose, then, was the church?

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Who had the right to worship there? These questions seriously agitated the minds and feelings of both parties; but before any very decisive hostile steps were taken, and in order to compromise, the Lutherans agreed to purchase the interest in the building to which the Episcopalians laid claim, gave their bond in the meantime for the amount agreed upon, and afterwards raised the funds by subscription to liquidate the debt.

In August, 1822, the President of the North Carolina Synod, Rev. G. Shober, sent a written communication to the members of the Lutheran Church in Salisbury, which was publicly read to them. It is herewith inserted in order to show the sad state of this congregation at that time:

Respected Friends, members of the Lutheran Church by Birthright or otherwise:

“Being appointed by the Luthern Church in our last Synod, President of the same for one year, I regard it as being part of my duty during the recess of the Synod, to have a constant eye towards the preservation of the same in all its rights, privileges and possessions, and to encourage the revival of former congregations.

“I am convinced by the reading of the deed of conveyance from Mr. Beard, deceased, to our Church, for a lot of ground, near or in Salisbury, where the church now stands, that we have an undoubted right for the same; that there was, for many years, regular service performed by the Rev. Senior Storch, is well known, and it only abated on account of his disability to attend. It is my opinion that we, as a Church, are acting disrespectfully to the donor of the lot and to his heirs, who, by that deed, are expressly charged to protect us in the rights and privileges of the same, and that it is a dereliction of duty in the members of our Church not to preserve the lot and burying-ground, particularly for the interment of the heirs of the donor, and members of our Church and their descendants, and also from being a general burying-ground.

“I therefore beg leave to advise you now to elect Elders and trustees, whose duty it is, according to law, to preserve the property of the church as trustees (particularly if the heirs of the donor decline acting as such), and also to give to them the necessary authority to regulate all external things according to the constitution and rules of our church.

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“I beg leave further to propose that if you agree to revive a congregation according to our rules, by appointing Elders and trustees, to appoint a time when the church can be dedicated by our ministry and according to our form of worship, when two or three ministers of our church will attend for that purpose; other preachers may also be invited to attend and to preach the Word, all for the purpose of causing a revival of true religion for our department of the Church of Christ, by whose Spirit alone it can, through the Word, be effected. But it is to be observed that only such Lutheran ministers as are in union with our Synod, and such who bring and show credentials of being duly appointed in other States, can be admitted. The standing of each minister must be inquired into by the Elders, who have the power to admit or refuse.

“In expectation that the Lord will bless your exertions for the revival of the congregation of the Lutheran Church,

“I remain, your humble servant,

This communication, sent by Rev. Sholder to the remaining Lutherans of Salisbury, had the desired effect of once more rousing and encouraging them to action. On the 20th of September, 1822, the following articles, drawn up by Hon. Charles Fisher, member of Congress, for the purpose of re-organizing the old Lutheran congregation, were sent around to the citizens of Salisbury for their signatures:


“We, the subscribers, believing that the cause of religion will be promoted by re-establishing the Lutheran congregation which formerly existed in the town of Salisbury, and believing, moreover, that it is a sacred duty we owe to the memories of our fathers and predecessors no longer to suffer the church and the grave-yard where their bodies are at rest to lie in neglect and disregard, do hereby agree to unite our names and efforts to the purpose of reviving the congregation, keeping the grave-yard in decent order, and for other purposes properly connected with a work of the kind. We further agree to meet at the church on such day as may be fixed upon for the purpose of consulting together upon such subjects as may be

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connected with the establishment and prosperity of the congregation.

“Dated and signed by


Through the efforts of Mr. John Beard, Sr., the devoted friend and firm member of the Lutheran Church at that time, funds were collected for the purpose of inclosing the grave-yard, which had long been neglected.

For some time no regular pastor could be obtained, and the energies of the members again lay dormant until the year 1825, when brighter prospects dawned upon this neglected congregation and once more revived the hopes of its members. A meeting of a respectable number of the citizens of Salisbury and its vicinity was held in the church on the 3d of September, 1825, for the purpose of adopting measures to re-organize a Lutheran congregation; John Beard, Sr., was called to the chair, and Charles Fisher appointed Secretary.

“After due deliberation as to the best method of accomplishing the object of the meeting, it was unanimously resolved, that a committee of two persons be appointed to draft an instrument of writing, and offer the same for the signature of such persons in the town of Salisbury and its vicinity as are disposed to aid in the formation of a Lutheran congregation in this place, either by becoming members of said congregation, or supporters thereof. Messrs. John Beard and James Brown were accordingly appointed to compose said committee.

“It was further resolved, that a committee, consisting of George Vogler and Robert Mull, be and are hereby appointed to offer a subscription list to the good people of Salisbury and vicinity for the support of a Lutheran clergyman for preaching part of his time for one year in the town of Salisbury. The meeting then adjourned to meet again the following Monday.


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“At a subsequent meeting George Vogler was appointed treasurer, and Henry C. Kern recording secretary of this society. It was also resolved that a Bible be purchased and deposited in the church, to be the property of the same forever. The church council elected at this meeting were: Elders—Messrs. John Beard, Sr., George Vogler, Moses Brown. Deacons—Messrs. Nathan Brown, George Fraley and Henry C. Kern.”

In the year 1826 the Rev. John Reck, having received and accepted the call tendered him, became the pastor of this church; the number of communicants at that time was but fourteen, which, however, steadily increased under the faithful ministrations of their pastor, who was greatly beloved by the people, and through his zeal and energy accomplished much for his Master's kingdom.

The condition of this church under Rev. Reck's ministry in 1827 is stated in the minutes of the North Carolina Synod, as follows:

“In Salisbury, where eighteen months ago there was no regularly organized Lutheran congregation, there are now thirty members in full communion; and by the active measures of several respectable persons, a large and commodious church has been purchased and a subscription raised to pay for it. In this place a lecture meeting is held once a week, which is generally well attended, and not unfrequently the utmost solemnity pervades the audience. The people are liberal and attentive to the cause of benevolence, and assist in supporting Bible, missionary and other religious societies.”

Thus might this church have been greatly increased in strength, energy and usefulness, but Rev. J. Reck, after having been its pastor for five years, felt it his duty to resign and return to Maryland, and after this time the congregation had such a continued and rapid succession of ministers, besides having been at times also unsupplied with the stated means of grace, as to be unable to command the influence which the regular ministrations of a permanent pastor might have given it.

St. John's Church, Cabarrus County, N. C.—In the last account of this church, it was seen that the Rev. C. A. G. Storch was the pastor of this congregation, but his health having become too feeble to attend to the wants of so many churches, he introduced the Rev. Daniel Scherer as his successor. During a communion season in the spring of 1821, when a large class of catechumens, numbering seventy-seven persons, were confirmed, their aged pastor being present, but too feeble to stand during the ceremony, called all his

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catechumens to him, and gave them and the other members and friends of the church his last farewell. So affecting was the scene, that the whole of that vast assembly were moved to tears, and long has the serious lesson been remembered, which their aged pastor addressed to them at that time, whilst he held out his hand to each, and gave them his parting blessing.

Rev. Daniel Scherer proved himself to have been likewise a faithful pastor. He was much beloved by his people, and remained nearly ten years among them; however, during his ministry and for some time previous, a large number of persons from St. John's and other Lutheran Churches in North Carolina settled themselves in Illinois Territory, and their pastor's heart followed them to the wild prairies of their newly-adopted country, and he soon cast his lot among them, and labored there for their spiritual good.

Organ Church, Rowan County, North Carolina.—As Rev. Storch was the pastor of this congregation as well as that of St. John's, it had much the same history at this time. Rev. Daniel Scherer also became his successor here some two years afterwards. Thirty-five years did Rev. Storch labor in this church, and with great success. It was the first congregation he served, and the last he resigned. He lived in favor with God and man; his example and usefulness are still felt, and his memory is cherished with affection by all who knew him. During this period he baptized 1,500 children, and confirmed 1,300 young people in Organ Church alone, and probably as many more in the other churches under his charge.

At length the feeble state of his health compelled him to resign this church also in 1823. His successor labored here likewise with much success, and had at one time probably the largest class of catechumens, numbering 83 persons, that were confirmed in this church, during a session of the North Carolina Synod at this place, in which ceremony their aged pastor took the deepest interest.

Rev. Scherer labored but six years in this congregation. As he had the oversight of so many churches, he thought it advisable to resign some portion of his charge into the hands of another minister, in order to do justice to the cause of Christ, and Rev. Jacob Kaempfer became his successor in 1829.

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The first step taken in this direction was Rev. Robert J. Miller's attendance upon the Episcopal Convention held in Raleigh, April 28th, 1821. His object was to connect himself fully with the Episcopal Church, to which he really belonged, having been ordained by the Lutheran ministers of North Carolina in 1794 as an Episcopal minister, and the pastor of an Episcopal congregation, White Haven Church, in Lincoln County, but because there was no Episcopal diocese at that time in the State, he was admitted as a member of the Lutheran North Carolina Synod at its organization in 1803.

From the journal of the Episcopal North Carolina Convention of 1818, the following item of intelligence is taken: “Previously to November, 1816, there was no Episcopal clergyman in this State, and but one congregation in which the worship of our Church was performed.” That having been the condition of the Episcopal Church at that period, Rev. Miller felt it his duty to form a temporary connection with the Lutheran Church and continued to labor for her welfare twenty-seven years, when, in 1821, he severed that connection, and was ordained in Raleigh to deacon's and priest's orders in the Episcopal ministry in one day. Whilst in attendance at said Convention, Rev. Miller proposed to effect, “as far as practicable, intercourse and union between the Episcopalians and some of the Lutheran congregations.” His proposition was referred to the Committee on the State of the Church, who afterwards reported as follows:

“A very interesting communication has this session been laid before the committee, on the subject of a union between that truly respectable denomination, the Lutherans, and our Church. To carry this measure into effect, the committee propose the following resolution:

Resolved, That a committee, consisting of three persons, two clerical and one lay member, be appointed to meet the Synod of the Lutheran Church, to consider and agree upon such terms of union as may tend to the mutual advantage and welfare of both Churches, not inconsistent with the constitution and canons of this Church, or the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.

“The Convention then proceeded to take into consideration the

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resolution proposed by the committee, when it was adopted, and the Rev. Adam Empie, Rev. G. T. Bedell, and Duncan Cameron, Esq., were appointed a committee to attend the Lutheran Synod, and to carry the resolution into effect.”

On the 17th of June, 1821, the Lutheran North Carolina Synod met at Lau's Church, Guilford County, and from its minutes the following is quoted:

“The President now reported that the Rev. R. J. Miller, who had labored for many years as one of our ministers, had been ordained by the Bishop of the Episcopal Church as a priest at a convention of that church; that he had always regarded himself as belonging to that church, but because the Episcopal Church had no existence at that time in this State, he had himself ordained by our ministry, with the understanding that he still belonged to the Episcopal Church. But as the said church had now reorganized itself (in this State), he had united himself with it, and thus disconnected himself from our Synod, as was allowed him at his ordination by our ministers. Rev. Miller then made a short address before Synod and the congregation then assembled, in which he distinctly explained his position, so that no one should be able to say that he had apostatized from our Synod, since he had been ordained by our Ministerium as a minister of the Episcopal Church. He then promised that he would still aid and stand by us as much and as far as lay in his power.

“With this explanation the whole matter was well understood by the entire assembly, and was deemed perfectly satisfactory. Whereupon it was resolved that the President tender to Rev. Miller our sincere thanks in the name of the Synod, for the faithful services he had hitherto rendered our church. This was immediately done in a feeling manner.

“After this a letter was read from Rev. Bishop Moore, addressed to our Synod, in which he reported to us that a committee was appointed by their Convention to attend our Synod with the view of making an effort towards a more intimate union between our respective bodies, whereupon the members of that committee presented themselves and submitted their credentials. Their names are Revs. Adam Empie, G. T. Bedell and Duncan Cameron, Esq. They were all affectionately received, and the following committee was appointed by our Synod to confer with our visiting brethren what possibly might be done towards a more intimate union, namely:

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Revs. G. Shober, Michael Rauch, and Henry Ratz, Esq.” The next day the following report was submitted and adopted:

“The committee of the Protestant Episcopal Church of North Carolina, and the committee on the part of the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina and adjacent States, having conferred on the subject of their respective appointments, have agreed on the following articles:

“I. Resolved, That we deem it expedient and desirable that the Lutheran Synod and the Protestant Episcopal Church of North Carolina should be united together in the closest bonds of friendship.

“II. Resolved, That for this purpose we will mutually make such concessions as may not be inconsistent with the rules and regulations of our respective churches, for the purpose of promoting a friendly intercourse.

“III. Resolved, That the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church may send a delegation of one or more persons to the annual Synod of the Lutheran Church, which person or persons shall be entitled to an honorary seat in that body, and to the privilege of expressing their opinions and voting in all cases except when a division is called for; in which case they shall not vote.

“IV. Resolved, That the Lutheran Synod may, in like manner, send a deputation to the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who, in all respects, shall be entitled to the same privileges.

“V. Resolved, That all the ministers of the Lutheran Church in union with the Synod shall be entitled to honorary seats in the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church; and the clergymen of the said last-mentioned church shall, in like manner, be entitled to honorary seats in the Synod of the Lutheran Church.

“The Committee respectfully recommend to the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and to the Synod of the Lutheran Church the adoption of the foregoing resolutions.

“HENRY RATZ, “ Committee of the Lutheran Synod.
“DUNCAN CAMERON, “Committee of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
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The report was adopted by Synod, and the following persons were elected to attend the next Convention of the Episcopal Church: Revs. G. Shober, Jacob Scherer, and Henry Ratz, Esq.

At the next Convention of the Episcopal Church, held in Raleigh, April 18th, 1822, the following action was taken in reference to this matter:

“The Rt. Rev. President of the Convention then read a letter from the Rev. Mr. Shober on the same subject, after which it was moved that the report be received, which was unanimously agreed to; it was then

Resolved, That the Secretary be required to address a letter to the President of the Lutheran Synod, informing him of the unanimous adoption of the above report.

“The following delegation to the Lutheran Synod was then appointed: Rev. Messrs. Miller, Davis, and Wright, of the clergy; Messrs. Alexander Caldcleugh, Duncan Cameron, and Dr. F. J. Hill, of the laity.”

At the next meeting of the North Carolina Synod, three of the above delegation,

“the Rev. R. J. Miller, the Rev. R. Davis, and Alexander Caldcleugh, Esq., appeared, were welcomed and took their seats with us.

“On information that the Protestant Episcopal Church will hold their next annual Convention for North Carolina in Salisbury, on the second Thursday after Easter, in the year 1823, the following persons were elected to attend the same, and there represent the Synod, namely: the Rev. G. Shober, the Rev. Daniel Scherer, Gen. Paul Barringer, and Colonel Ratz.”

All these delegates appeared at said Convention and attended its sessions.

After the year 1823 nothing more appears concerning the fraternal relations of these two ecclesiastical bodies, although this “bond of friendship” does not appear to have been revoked, nevertheless, the interchange of delegates, being attended with some difficulty in those days of traveling by private conveyance, fell practically into disuse.


During the three years which intervened between 1831 and 1834 very few changes occurred in the North Carolina Synod; the Rev.

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John T. Tabler, a student from Gettysburg, became connected with the Synod and labored as pastor in Salisbury, but he remained there only one year, after which he removed to Virginia.

In 1832, the Rev. Henry Graeber resigned his charge in Lincoln County, and became the pastor of St. John's and Organ Churches, which had become vacant by the removal of Revs. D. Scherer and J. Kaempfer. In 1833, the Rev. Samuel Rothrock, having completed his studies at Gettysburg, returned to North Carolina, was licensed by Synod, and labored as missionary in several vacant churches for a short time, after which he became the pastor of Salisbury and Union Churches. The following year the Rev. Daniel Jenkins became connected with the North Carolina Synod; he came from “the State of Maryland, about the beginning of November, 1833, and expressing a desire to serve our church in this Southern section as a missionary,” was licensed by the President of Synod “to preach in our destitute churches until the next session of the Ministerium.”

The congregations in Lincoln County, having had no regular pastor of the North Carolina Synod since the removal of Rev. Graeber from their midst, and having been only occasionally visited by missionaries and other members of Synod, became eventually connected with the Tennessee Synod.

Concerning the state of the Church in 1834, the President of Synod reports: “The events of the past synodical year have become, in some measure, more encouraging than they have been for several years before. Those churches in our connection that could be regularly supplied, had not only a considerable increase since our last annual meeting, but are also generally in a prosperous condition. The gospel has been faithfully preached, and the holy ordinances regularly administered. There are still a goodly number of small but respectable congregations that are vacant, which, if they could be supplied with ministers, would add considerable strength to this weak but evangelical member of the Lutheran household of faith. Prospects have also appeared during the last year, of forming several new congregations.”

During the year 1834 the Revs. Daniel Moser, Adam Miller, Jr., and Jacob Casner were laboring in Lincoln County, N. C.; the Rev. H. Goodman, in Iredell County, N. C.; the Rev. C. G. Reitzell, in Guilford County, N. C.; and Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, in Rowan County, N. C.

On the 27th of June, 1838, the Rev. Gottlieb Shober “departed

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this life, after being confined for one day only, although for some years past his bodily health and native vigor of mind had been rapidly declining. At his death he was in the eighty-second year of his age. His life was spent in untired activity and useful labors until old age admonished him to seek retirement.” In memory of his death, the North Carolina Synod passed the following resolutions:

Resolved, That this Synod has heard with deep regret of the death of the Rev. Gottlieb Shober, who has, for many years, been an efficient and useful member of this body.

Resolved, That this Synod will ever cherish with grateful remembrance, the active zeal and eminent services of Father Shober.

He was a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and, “at the time of his death, was the only survivor of those who had commenced the building of the town of Salem, N. C.”

“In the spring of 1810, in company with Rev. Mr. Storch, he visited South Carolina, during which occasion he preached his first sermon.” He was a member of the North Carolina Synod for a period of twenty-eight years.

During the five years preceding the meeting of the North Carolina Synod in 1840, the following additions were made to its clerical roll:

1. Rev. Edwin A. Bolles, a graduate of the Lexington, S. C., Theological Seminary, was licensed by the South Carolina Synod in 1835, and became pastor of the Lutheran Church in Salisbury, N. C., where he, however, remained but a short time, and removed to Ebenezer, Ga. He is laboring at present in South Carolina, as State Agent for the American Bible Society.

2. Rev. Benjamin Arey, from the Theological Seminary of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, licensed by the North Carolina Synod in 1836, became at first located in Davidson County, and labored in various charges in the bounds of Synod, but finally located himself permanently in Iredell County, N. C.

3. Rev. John Swicegood, licensed at the same time, made his permanent home in Davidson County, but frequently labored in the counties adjoining. He departed this life September 9th, 1870, in the full triumphs of a Gospel faith.

4. Rev. Elijah Hawkins, a graduate of the Seminary at Lexington, S. C., became connected with the Synod in 1837 and labored in Wythe County, Virginia, to the close of a most useful life.

5. Rev. Philip A. Strobel likewise connected himself with the North Carolina Synod in 1837, having graduated at Lexington, S. C.,

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in 1836; he labored for a short time as agent for the Seminary and then located himself in Concord, N. C. He did good service in the North Carolina Synod in establishing several new churches, and remained in Concord four years, when he returned to South Carolina.

6. Rev. Jacob Crim, from the Lexington Seminary, attached himself to the North Carolina Synod in 1838 and labored successively in Davidson, Rowan and Davie Counties. In 1869 he removed to the State of Texas, where he shortly afterwards was called to his rest.

7. Rev. John J. Greever, a “student of the Gettysburg Theological Seminary,” was licensed by the North Carolina Synod in 1840.

8. Rev. N. Aldrich, a “student of divinity of the Episcopal Church at Bristol College, Pennsylvania,” was licensed by the North Carolina Synod in 1840, remained only a few months at Concord, N. C., when he removed to Savannah, Georgia, and thence to St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Charlotte, N. C.

9. Rev. Gideon Scherer, “a student of the Theological Seminary at Lexington, S. C.,” was licensed by the North Carolina Synod in 1840.

The following new congregations were organized and new church edifices erected in the Carolinas during the five years preceding 1840:

1. Luther's Church, in Rowan County, N. C., is first mentioned by that name in the minutes of 1830, but at what time the congregation was organized is not stated. The Rev. Jacob Kaempfer was its pastor in 1830.

2. Sl. Enoch's Church, in Rowan County, N. C., is a colony from the Sewitz's or Luther Chapel congregation, and was organized in 1836; it is not stated when their church edifice was erected; it was dedicated at some time during the fall of 1839.

3. St. Paul's Church, in Rowan County, N. C., is first mentioned in 1837, under the name of Holdshouser's Church, with Rev. S. Rothrock as its pastor. A new brick church has been recently erected and was dedicated July 21st, 1872.

4. St. Stephen's Church, Cabarrus County, N. C., was organized in 1837 by Rev. P. A. Strobel, who was its first pastor. It was received under the care of the North Carolina Synod in 1838.

5. St. Matthew's Church, Rowan County, N. C., sent a communication to the North Carolina Synod in 1838, “stating that they have regularly organized themselves into a congregation, and pray to be

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received under the care of Synod; also, that they have chosen the Rev. B. Arey as their pastor.”

6. St. Matthew's congregation, in Davie County, N. C., is first mentioned in 1839 in the minutes of the North Carolina Synod, when forty-three persons in that locality petitioned the Synod to send them a minister “to break unto them the bread of eternal truth, to baptize their children, and instruct their youth.”

Two new church edifices were erected in old-established congregations during the year 1839, namely: St. Paul's Church, Orange (now Alamance) County, N. C., which was dedicated on the third Sunday in September, 1839; and Luther Chapel, in Rowan County, N. C., which was dedicated about the same time.

7. St. Paul's Church, Iredell County, N. C., and the above-named St. Matthew's Church, in Davie County, N. C., are mentioned in the minutes of the North Carolina Synod of 1840, as having “been regularly organized during the last synodical year,” and were received, in 1840, under the care of Synod.

The North Carolina Synod in the number of its ministers became greatly reduced in 1842 by the organization of the Western Virginia Synod, at which time the North Carolina Synod became restricted within the limits of its own proper State boundary, whilst at the same time nearly one-half of the strength of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina is embraced in the Tennessee Synod.

The ministers who connected themselves with the North Carolina Synod since 1840 were the following:

Rev. John D. Scheck, of the South Carolina Synod, who became the pastor successively of the Salisbury, St. John's, Cabarrus County and the Alamance pastorates. During his ministry, and in 1845, the large brick St. John's Church, in Cabarrus County, was erected, and was dedicated August 22d, 1846. Its dimensions are eighty by fifty-five feet, and is at present the fifth house of worship which has been built for this congregation since the first settlement of Germans on Buffalo Creek, and was considered at the time the largest and most commodious house of worship in Western North Carolina.

Rev. William G. Harter, also from the South Carolina Synod, became the pastor of the Concord Church, whose history has already been mentioned.

Rev. Joseph A. Linn, a student both at Lexington, South Carolina, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and licensed in 1844, became the pastor of the Gold Hill charge, in Rowan County, where he was

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much beloved and generally useful to the Lutheran Church in North Carolina. His death was a sad one: returning home on Sunday from one of his churches he was thrown from his horse, which fractured his head, and he expired the following Wednesday, March 16th, 1864.

Rev. J. B. Anthony was received by the North Carolina Synod May 6th, 1844, and labored some twenty years in the bounds of the North and South Carolina Synods, but is at present residing in the State of Pennsylvania, as pastor of the York Sulphur Springs charge.

Revs. Fink, Coffman and Hopkins were added to the list of ministers successively in 1847, 1848 and 1849, but their names had soon to be stricken from the roll.

Rev. Levi C. Groseclose, a student from Lexington, S. C., and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was licensed in 1849 by the West Virginia Synod, and has been doing good service in the North Carolina Synod since 1850, being at present the pastor of the St. John's charge in Cabarrus County, N. C.