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Copyright, 191 5 


Elder S. R. Zug. Chairman 







History, whether ancient or modern, is always Interesting, 
and instructive to the average reader. It is, however, of 
special interest to him when he studies the history of his 
own native land, his own people, his own kindred. 

So while our people read with deep interest the history 
of other religious denominations, once they turn to the nar- 
rative that chronicles the history of our own fraternity, her 
organization in the Fatherland, her early trials and persecu- 
tions, the flight across the ocean, the settlement in the new 
world, the bitter trials and sufferings, as well as the remark- 
able deliverances, triumphs and blessings, the spread of the 
Gospel, the new organizations through her consecrated 
efforts, the story becomes intensely interesting and 

At District Meeting of 191 1 a committee composed of 
the following Brethren was appointed, viz. : S. R. Zug, John 
Herr, G. N. Falkenstein, J. G. Francis and D. C. Reber to 
gather statistics and facts concerning the activities and work 
of the Church of the Brethren in the territory then con- 
stituting the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from the 
beginning of the Brethren in America to the present time 
and compile the same in book form. This beautiful volume 
placed into the hands of the reader is the result of the 
untiring, persistent faithful effort of these men of God. 

We do not stop to quote Eccl. 12 : 12, or to apologize for 
introducing this new history of the Church of the Brethren 
of Eastern Pennsylvania for reasons that follow. The 
volume fills a unique place and a long-felt want with our 
people, and will be hailed with joy by thousands in our own 
State District and throughout the Brotherhood. 

In reading and examining the manuscript, the writer was 
impressed with the amount of new data and material that 
is here given in book form for the first time. No one will 
ever know the amount of hard labor and sacrifice it has cost 


the Committee during these four years to compile, and get 
this work ready for the press. They read volume after 
volume; they corresponded, traveled, visited, gathered data 
from tombstones, and monuments; they examined Bible, 
Church, and Court records; and left no stone unturned that 
would add interest to their solemn trust. The Committee 
met often and consulted patiently together for long hours in 
order to raise this monument that will stand as a memorial 
in honor to the devout and pious fathers and mothers in 
Israel, whose unselfish labors, and unswerving faithfulness 
through severe trials have made possible the blessings we 
now enjoy, and placing into our hands privileges and oppor- 
tunities for Christian activity and worldwide evangelization 
such as was never accorded to any other people. 

It is especially gratifying to the Brotherhood that the 
work was compiled before the departure of the senior 
member of the Committee. His vast amount of knowledge, 
and his remarkable memory has added much information 
that could not have been obtained through any other source. 
The Committee found itself much handicapped because of 
the indifference of some who could have rendered valuable 
aid, and because so few records were kept of church work 
in earlier years. 

M. G. Brumbaugh in his preface of the History of the 
Brethren has well said, "History at best is a beggarly 
gleaner in a field where death has gathered a bountiful 
harvest." So much that would be valuable and precious 
has vanished and was forgotten when the fathers fell asleep, 
and will remain unknown history until the archives of 
Heaven shall make known all the deeds of the children 
of men. 

May the spirit of the heroic lives which are here recorded 
live in a larger, fuller measure in the hearts and lives of the 
many thousands who shall read; and the work will have 
reached the aim and design for which it is published ! 

" Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and 
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk 
therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jer. 6 : i6. 

Jacob H. Longenecker. 


The activities of the Church of the Brethren during the 
two centuries of her existence have been recorded and 
pubhshed in several excellent general works such as Brum- 
baugh's "A History of the German Baptist Brethren in 
Europe and America," in 1899, and Falkenstein's " History 
of the German Baptist Brethren Church," in 1901. 

In 1908, Elder D. H. Zigler, of Virginia, published his 
book, entitled " History of the Brethren in Virginia," which 
differs from the general histories just mentioned in that it 
attempts to narrate the work of the church in a single state. 

At a fourth of July Sunday-school and Missionary Meet- 
ing held in Mohler's Church House near Ephrata in 1908, 
the topic, "A Brief History of the Lancaster County 
Churches," was assigned to and discussed by Elder G. N. 
Falkenstein. The interest taken in the general discussion 
of this subject showed the existence of a strong sentiment 
for the publication of a more comprehensive history of the 
congregations comprising the Eastern District of Pennsyl- 
vania than was in existence at this time, since some of the 
leading Brethren were still living whose memory retained 
many personal reminiscences and much important informa- 
tion not recorded nor heretofore published in print, and 
who possessed memoranda of valuable historical data re- 
lating to church growth and extension. 

In 191 1, the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren placed 
a query before the District Meeting of that year held at 
Manheim, Pa., as follows: "We, the Elizabethtown Church, 
petition the District Meeting of 191 1 to appoint a committee 
of five Brethren who shall take steps to gather statistics and 
facts concerning the activities and work of the Church of the 
Brethren in the territory that now constitutes the Eastern 



District of Pennsylvania from the beginning of the Breth- 
ren in America to the present time and compile the same 
in book form." This petition was passed by the District 
Meeting and the following committee was appointed : S. R. 
Zug, John Herr, G. N, Falkenstein, J. G. Francis, D. C. 
Reber. This committee met at Elizabethtown on May 15, 
191 1, and organized as follows : Elder S. R. Zug, Chairman; 
Elder G. N. Falkenstein, Secretary; Elder John Herr, 

The Committee discussed plans of procedure and assigned 
the work of gathering material as follows : Elder Zug was to 
write up the churches constituting the White Oak Group, 
also Big Swatara, Spring Creek and its subdivisions, and 
Harrisburg. To Elder Falkenstein was assigned the church 
from its beginning at Schwarzenau, Germany, to the close of 
the American Revolution, also the following congregations : 
Germantown, the Indian Creek Group of Churches, and the 
Maryland Congregations in Caroline and Talbot counties. 

Excepting those congregations assigned to Elder Zug, 
Elder John Herr was given the task of preparing a history 
of the Swatara Group. In addition to this, he was also to 
write the history of the Home Mission Board of Eastern 
Pennsylvania. J. G. Francis, i\.B., B.D., was to prepare a 
history of the Philadelphia Churches, the New Jersey 
Churches, and the churches composing the Coventry Group. 
Brethren Falkenstein and Francis were given certain biog- 
raphies to write. D. C. Reber, A.M., Pd.D., was asked to 
prepare a sketch of the Conestoga Group of Churches. To 
him and Elder Zug was given to prepare historical accounts 
of the benevolent, and educational activity of the District. 

Elder Zug contributed the valuable articles on District 
Meetings, Annual Meetings and about seventeen biograph- 
ical sketches. At the solicitation of Elder Herr the bio- 
graphical accounts of Elder George Klein and Elder George 
Miller were secured for the book. Bro. Francis secured 
Kurtz's " The Very Ancient Church of the Brethren in Lan- 


caster Co., Pa.," from the Gospel Visitor of 1855, and con- 
tributed the "First District Meeting of Eastern Pennsyl- 

The matter of securing photographs for the illustrations 
of the book and having cuts prepared from the same was 
assigned to Brethren Herr and Francis. The Committee de- 
cided that only photographs of church houses, tombstones 
or farms, but no pictures of persons, should appear in the 
book. A number of churches in the District decided not 
to have any photographs of their houses of worship in the 
book ; hence, they do not appear. All, however, were given 
the privilege of putting in as many as they were willing to 
pay for. 

Brethren Falkenstein and Reber were constituted as the 
committee on editing and printing. 

After nearly four years of diligent labor, in the face of 
numerous obstacles, such as lack of records or minutes of 
many congregations, disinterestedness and failure to cooper- 
ate with the Committee on the part of Elders and others, 
after considerable correspondence and travel and many meet- 
ings of the Committee, success has attended its labors due in 
a large measure to the assistance and cooperation of many 
faithful Elders, deacons and lay Brethren who have rendered 
valuable service cheerfully and gratuitously. To these, as 
well as to the general histories of the Brethren Church 
already mentioned, due credit is hereby gratefully acknowl- 

D. C. Reber. 



From the Mother Church at Schwarzenau to the Close of the 
American Revolution — 1708-1783. 


Chapter I. The Mother Church at Schwarzenau I 

Chapter II. Other Churches Organized. Spread of the New 

Denomination 5 

Chapter III. Persecutions 7 

Chapter IV. First Emigration 13 

Chapter V. A New Denomination in Colonial America 17 

Chapter VI. Organized Missionary Endeavor 23 

Chapter VII. Conrad Beissel 32 

Chapter VIII. Growth and Development. Trials. Second Emi- 
gration 44 

Chapter IX. Alexander Mack, Sr 56 

Chapter X. Germantown 63 

Chapter XL Closing Decades of the Pre-Revolutionary Period 71 

Chapter XII. Early Conestoga, by Elder Henry Kurtz 81 


Germantown Group. 

Chapter I. Germantown — 1723 88 

Chapter II. Philadelphia. 

A. First Brethren — 1813 107 

B. Geiger Memorial — 1906 136 

C. Bethany — 1910 142 

Chapter III. Upper Dublin — 1840 153 


The Jersey Group. 

Chapter I. Amwell — 1733 168 

Chapter II. Sandbrook — 1849 ^75 

Chapter III. Bethel— 1876 189 

Chapter IV. Union — 1896 193 

Chapter V. Biographical 196 

















Coventry Group. 


Coventry — 1724 205 

Green Tree — 1845 230 

Parkerford — 1898 250 

Royersford — 1901 257 

Harmonyville — 1913 264 


A. Autobiography of Geo. Adam Martin 269 

B. John H. Umstad 273 


Indian Creek Group. 

Chapter I. Great Swamp — 1735 280 

Chapter II. Indian Creek — 17S5 289 

Chapter III. Mingo — 1869 307 

Chapter IV. Hatfield— 1868 313 

Chapter V. Springfield — 1868 319 

Chapter VI. Norristown — 1901 323 






















Conestoga — 1724 325 

West Conestoga — 1864 334 

Ephrata — 1864 337 

Lancaster City — 1891 341 

Mechanic Grove — 1897 346 

Spring Grove — 1897 350 

Springville — 1899 352 

Akron— 1913 354 

Lititz— 1914 359 


A. Jacob StoU 362 

B. Abraham Zug 365 

C. Christian Bomberger 366 

D. Samuel Harley 367 

E. John B. Gibbel 368 


















White Oak Group. 


White Oak— 1772 369 

Chiques— 1868 396 

Mountville— 1882 399 

Fairview — 1902 40S 

West Green Tree — 1902 406 

Elizabethtown— 1902 407 


A. Peter Hummer 422 

B. Christian Longenecker 422 

C. Johannes Zug 422 

D. Andreas Eby 422 

E. Henry Gibbel 423 

■ F. Daniel Fretz 423 

G. Jacob Haller 425 

H. Christian Longenecker, the Second 427 

I. David Gerlach 428 

J. John S. Newcomer 429 

K. Samuel R. Zug 429 


Swatara Group. 















Chapter VIII. 









Chapter XIII, 

Big Swatara— 1798 or 1800 436 

Little Swatara— 1798 or 1800 445 

Tulpehocken— 1841 457 

Spring Creek— 1868 472 

Maiden Creek — 1866 475 

Schuylkill— 1877 485 

Harrisburg — 1896 488 

Shamokin— 1897 490 

Reading, 1898 492 

Midway — 1901 496 

Annville — 1912 504 

Conewago — 1912 5o6 


A. George Klein 509 

B. George Miller 5ii 

C. Who My Ancestors Were 512 

D. Valentine Balsbaugh 5^5 

E. Lorenz Etter 5i7 

F. George Beshor 5^7 




G. Jacob HoUinger 518 

H. John Zug 520 

I. Philip Ziegler 523 

J. William Hertzler 523 

K. John Hertzler 525 

L. Jacob W. Meyer, Sr 526 

M. Abraham Pfautz 527 

N. Christian Bucher 528 


Missionary Group. 

Chapter I. Peach Blossom — 1882 530 

Chapter II. Ridgely — 1884 533 

Chapter III. Brooklyn — 1899 536 


Chapter I. Annual Meetings. 

A. Those Held in Eastern Pennsylvania 541 

B. Those Held Elsewhere 546 

, C. Changes in Holding Annual Meetings 563 

D. Annual Meeting of 1846 by Abrm. H. Cassel 568 

E. Annual Meeting of 1871 571 

Chapter II, History of District Meetings. 

A. First District Meeting of Eastern Pennsylvania 579 

B. District Meetings 585 

Chapter III. Ministerial Meetings 592 

Chapter IV. Missionary History 593 

Chapter V. Benevolent Activities. 

A. Brethren Home 608 

B. Children's Aid Society 617 

Chapter VI. Elizabethtown College 622 

Chapter VII. Statistical Tables. 

A. Table of Churches 642 

B. Table of Elders 644 

C. Sunday School History 651 

D. Local Missionary and Sunday School Meetings 652 
Index 653 


Germantown Brethren Church (Frontispiece.) 

Facing Page. 

The Baptismal Pool on the Wissahickon 5 

Seal of Alexander Mack, Sr 62 

Old and New Tombstone of Alexander Mack, Sr 62 

Old Stone Church and Old Stone Parsonage 62 

Old and New Germantown Brethren Church 63 

Graves of Alexander Mack, Sr., and Jr 56 

Grave of Elder Peter Becker 88 

Grave of Elder Christopher Sower 88 

Grave of Elder Peter Keyser 88 

Grave of Elder John Fox 88 

Brethren Church, Dauphin above Broad 107 

Geiger Memorial Church 136 

Home of Bethany Mission 142 

Upper Dublin Church IS3 

Amwell Church 168 

Old Amwell Cemetery 169 

Sand Brook Church 175 

Grave of Elder Israel Poulson, Sr 175 

Grave of Elder John P. Moore I7S 

Coventry Church of To-day 205 

Farm House where Annual Meeting was Held 222 

Second Coventry Church 222 

Coventry Graveyard 223 

Green Tree Church 230 

Graves of Elder John H. Umstad and Wife 240 

Graves of Elder Isaac Price and Wife 240 

Graves of Elder Jacob Z. Gottwals and Wife 240 

Graves of John U. Francis and Wife 240 

Union Church, Port Providence 250 

Parkerford Church 250 

Royersford Church 257 

Mennonite Cemetery 284 

Brecht and Rothrock Cemetery 284 

Old Cemetery, Hellertown 285 

Indian Creek Meeting House 289 

Price Cemetery, Indian Creek 302 

Grave of Elder Samuel Harley 303 

Grave of Elder Henry A. Price 303 

Hatfield Meeting House 313 

Springfield Meeting House 320 



Facing Page. 

Brethren Church, Quakertown 321 

Barn of Division 326 

Graves of Conrad Beissel and Peter Miller 32^- 

Monastery Buildings, Ephrata 327 

Diagram of Conestoga Churches 328 

Bird-in-Hand Meeting House 332 

Eby Meeting House 333 

Middle Creek Meeting House 334 

Grave of Elder Jacob Stoll 335 . 

Grave of Elder Michael Pfautz 335 

Grave of Elder Jacob Pfautz 335 

Grave of Elder Christian Bomberger 335 

Title Page Stoll's Book 336 

Ephrata Brethren Church 337 

Brethren Church, Lancaster 341 

Mechanic Grove Meeting House 348 

Kemper's Meeting House 349 

Mohler Meeting House 352 

Akron Meeting House 354 

Steinmetz's Meeting House 355 

Grave of Ludv^rig Mohler 355 

Grave of Elder Samuel Harley 355 

Ulrich Zug Monument 374 

Grave of Elder Abraham Zug 374 

Grave of Elder John Zug 374 

Grave of Michael Zug 374 

Longenecker's Meeting House 395 

White Oak Meeting List 396 

Grave of Elder Daniel Fretz 396 

Mount Hope Meeting House 396 

Mountville Meeting House 398 

Petersburg Meeting House 399 

Neffsville Meeting House 402 

Manor Meeting House 402 

Salunga Meeting House 403 - 

Elizabethtown Brethren Church 406 

Stevens Hill Church 407 

Hanoverdale Meeting House 436 

Big Swatara Meeting List 437 

Moyer Meeting House 444 

Heidelberg Meeting House 458 

Tulpehocken Meeting House 462 

Richland Brethren Church 463 

Spring Creek Meeting House 472 

Old Spring Creek Meeting House 473 

Pricetown Meeting House 476 


Facing Page. 

Mohrsville Meeting House 477 

Mohrsville Cemetery 477 

Samuel Haldeman Letter 486 

Harrisburg Brethren Church 487 

Reading Brethren Church 492 

Midway Meeting House 496 

Lebanon Brethren Church 497 

Annville Brethren Church 504 

Conewago Meeting House S06 

Bachmanville Meeting House 507 

Klein Cemetery 510 

Grave of Elder George Miller 511 

Graves of Elders Valentine Balsbaugh and Lorenz Etter 516 

Grave of C. H. Balsbaugh 517 

Grave of Elder Jacob Hollinger 517 

Grave of Elder William Hertzler 517 

Union Church, Talbot County, Maryland 530 

Ridgely Brethren Church 534 

Brooklyn Brethren Church 536 

Place of Annual Meeting, 1815 542 

Place of Annual Meeting, 1820 543 

Place of Annual Meeting, 1827 544 

Place of Annual Meeting, 1846 545 

Place of Annual Meeting, 187 1 572 

Place of Annual Meeting, 1902 573 

Home of Lake Ridge Mission 601 

Brethren Home 616 

Detention Home, Aid Society 617 

Elizabethtown College 622 




Introduction. — It would be interesting to trace the events 
that led up to the organization of the Brethren at Schwarze- 
nau, and the general religious conditions that prevailed 
throughout Germany preceding this time, but these do not 
fall within the scope of our present history. Our story is 
to begin with the Mother Church at Schwarzenau, not where 
she came from, but her condition, why she left there and 
where she went. • 

Geography. — It is necessary to locate, geographically, the 
heretofore unimportant little town of Schwarzenau, since 
these religious movements, chiefly the organizing of the 
Church of the Brethren, have made this insignificant little 
village famous for two hundred years. Schwarzenau is in 
the province of Wittgenstein, in Westphalia (German 
" Westfalen"), in the western part of Prussia, toward the 
valley of the Rhine, and Holland still a little farther to the 
west. And now let us speak a little more definitely in regard 
to the small province of Wittgenstein. " Still more came to 
the lonely hills and vales in Wittgenstein, which was then 
controlled by Hedwig Sophia (1693-1712) of Berleburg, 
who ruled the northern two-fifths of Wittgenstein, and 
Count Heinrich Albrecht, of Laasphe, who governed the re- 
maining three-fifths of the country, which includes Schwarze- 


nau. Hedwig Sophia was herself a Pietist and her son, 
Count Casimir, was very devout. There was the freest in- 
tercourse between the Pietists that Hved at Berleburg and 
those at Schwarzenau, even though the latter place was 
governed by Prince Henry. He, too, was a devout man and 
spent much of his time in the castle (Schloss) at Schwarze- 
nau. His two daughters were Pietists, and lived with the 
Pietists at Schwarzenau."^ 

It is interesting to notice a description of the town itself, 
and its immediate surroundings. "We have found a se- 
cluded little German village far away from the rush and 
bustle of the busy world of travel. It is one of those quaint 
old-fashioned towns that are quite out of place in the 
present. It belongs to the past and has not yet awakened 
to the impulse of the age, which has taken hold of Germany. 
Its peace and quiet have never been disturbed by steam 
whistle or rumbling of trains of cars. For centuries it has 
rested in the beautiful valley through which, like a thread 
of silver in a ribbon of green, flows the historic river Eder. 
The village is built on both sides of the Eder and contains, 
as we were informed by one of the inhabitants, about 600 
souls. . . . On both sides of the river stand the quaint-looking 
old houses with high gables and steep roofs, covered with 
straw or red tile, which make up the ancient village of 
Schwarzenau. ... A well kept lawn is not more evenly 
mowed than are the grassy slopes of the Eder. . . . Here is 
a quiet, enchanting beauty which exceeds anything I can 
now recall ever having seen, even in picturesque America. 
Perhaps the associations connected with the place have their 
influence upon our estimate of its surpassing beauty; but 
after making due allowance for all this, I am not willing to 
say less than has been said."^ 

So much of the geography of Schwarzenau, and its ideal 
and beautiful local setting, shall serve as a background for 
our further consideration. 

1 " Origin, Church of the Brethren," D. W. Kurtz, 1910. 
2 " Girdling the Globe," pp. 70, etc., Elder D. L. Miller, 1898. 


Religious Conditions at Schwarzenau. — As noted above, 
in the division of the province, the rulers were devout per- 
sons and members of their households were Pietists them- 
selves. These were ideal conditions for protection and en- 
couragement from the civil authorities, for a time. It is 
interesting to note how these favorable external conditions 
contributed to the highest ideals of Christian life and char- 
acter for the Brethren. With these surroundings of every- 
thing that was noblest and purest in Pietism, in its best 
sense, it is not surprising that many remained Pietists, and 
their lives of devotion, and earnest endeavors for personal 
piety, were in sharp contrast to the cold and formalistic 
ritualism of their times. For a time the Brethren were all 
that this soil could produce, but the genus and spirit of their 
loyalty to Gospel ideals, and service to the Christ they con- 
fessed, developed higher and better things. Therefore, in 
the memorable words of Alexander Mack,^ " The crisis for 
the camp to move forward was now arrived ; they were now 
made willing in the day of the Lord's power." Here, then, 
came the line of great divide, and he has not failed to make 
a definite record when he says :^ " here, also, some turned 
back again to the religion from whence they came out, being 
offended at the discipline of the cross; others fostered a. 
spirit of libertinism, more to be dreaded in its consequences 
than their former depravity." 

While we have noted carefully these external religious 
conditions of a friendly government, and pious rulers, and 
religious and spiritually minded neighbors and friends, we 
must look deeper for religious conditions of mind, and for 
grace in their hearts, that set them as beacon lights of his- 
tory, and sent them forth into the forefront of the world's 
religious conflicts, in which they were spiritual heroes. I 
quote again from Bro. D. W. Kurtz, who was granted the 
unusual privilege of making research in the archives of the 
present ruling family at Schwarzenau, and read letters of 

3 " German Baptist Brethren Church," by the author, p. 22. 
* Ibid., pp. 19 and 20. 


one of the daughters of Prince Henry, writing to her father 
while she was sojourning among the Brethren. He says, 
" I have read several letters written by one of them to her 
father, in which she describes minutely the daily life of these 
people, especially about the " Taufer," whose lives were full 
of 'good works,' of 'prayers and Bible study,' and 'much 
kindness and charity to the poor.' " This is a beautiful pic- 
ture and it is remarkable that we should be permitted to 
see it after two hundred years. It is another illustration 
that the integrity of historic records is often preserved in 
a providential manner, that demands our grateful apprecia- 
tion, and should inspire us to be worthy of our spiritual 

We are not informed how long some of these who became 
members of the Church of the Brethren sojourned at 
Schwarzenau before the formation of a definite series of 
doctrines, and a formal organization at the baptism. With- 
out doubt they were there for some years, as we know many 
remained there for some years after the organizing, and thus 
Schwarzenau became an important center of definite relig- 
ious activity. Under these favorable external religious 
conditions noted, and of saving grace, and living lives of 
prayer and Bible study, and living practical Christianity in 
charity to the poor, we may well hope the Brethren are well 
equipped for the awful experiences that were awaiting them. 
We leave for a time, therefore, the mother church, and 
notice the spread of the new denomination in other parts, 
and the dark clouds rapidly forming, that indicated all too 
clearly the terrific storm of persecution soon to break upon 
God's faithful ones. 



Spread of the New Denomination. 

While the mother church at Schwarzenau continued to be 
the most important center throughout, it will be remembered 
that the Brethren soon carried the gospel doctrines far and 
wide, and the new denomination spread with remarkable 
rapidity. Of this period of growth Alexander Mack says : 
"After this evidence of their love to God, by obeying his 
command they were powerfully strengthened and encour- 
aged to bear testimony for the truth in their public meetings, 
to which the Lord added his blessing, and believers were 
more and more obedient, so that in the short space of seven 
years their society became numerous, not only at Schwarze- 
nau, but also in various places in the Palatinate. A society 
was likewise formed at Marienborn, to which the awakened 
I from the Palatinate attached themselves, for in endeavoring 
to form a society for themselves, they were persecuted and 
banished. And even at Marienborn their external privileges 
were soon blasted, for as the light diffused itself the truth 
spread, and their numbers increased; it excited alarm and 
envy; persecution arose; they were driven out as exiles, 
and under the direction of Providence found an asylum at 
Crefeldt, under the jurisdiction of the King of Prussia." 
There were also members at Epstein, and perhaps an organ- 
ized church, and there seems to be good authority for say- 
ing, there were many members living in Switzerland, and 
persecution drove some to Holland. The secret, of course, 
of the spread of the new doctrines, and the rapid increase of 
membership in the new denomination was that there were 
many workers, and aggressive missionary work. Like the 



Apostolic Church, the Church of the Brethren has, in all her 
history, been a missionary church, and must continue to 
be so, as long as she is apostolic in faith and doctrine. Of 
this period when the " society became numerous," in the 
short space of seven years, Alexander Mack says : " Within 
this short space of time, it pleased God to awaken many 
laborers among them, and send them into His vineyard, 
whose names and places of abode are as follows : John H. 
Kalkloser from Frankenthal; Christian Libe and Abraham 
Dubois from Epstein; John Naas and others from the 
North; Peter Becker from Dilsheim; John H. Traut and his 
brothers; Henry Holtzappel and Stephen Koch; George B. 
Gantz from Umstadt; and Michael Eckerlin from Strass- 
burg; the greater number of whom resorted to Crefeldt; 
some few, however, atttached themselves to the society at 
Schwarzenau." There was evidently a definite policy of 
providing workers, and we do well to maintain always a 
fixed and definite policy of having, as far as possible, a body 
of faithful and efficient ministers. It is probable that we 
shall never fully know of the spread of the Brethren and 
their doctrines to the fullest extent, but it is still to be hoped 
that later researches among the archives, and translations of 
hitherto untranslated works, will throw new light upon this 
unexplored field, and we shall perhaps find that they covered 
a much larger field than we generally suppose. The further 
growth and development of the great work already estab- 
lished, and the changes in location of congregations, and 
the moving to other parts, can more properly and logically 
be treated in the next chapter, for long before now, as indi- 
cated by the above development, powerful influences had 
been set to work to stop its spread and destroy the workers 
and their work. We shall see how far these opposers of 
the truth succeeded. 



Retrospect. — Such childlike faith, and unfaltering trust 
and pious devotion was the seed of a church. What self- 
forgetfulness, and what self-abnegation! It was early in 
the morning, in 1708; this is all we know. The month and 
the day are studiously avoided. They covenanted not to re- 
veal the name of the one who baptized the leader, and they 
kept their vow; we shall never know on whom the lot fell. 
They had traveled over Germany to collect the opinion of 
the awakened upon the subject of baptism; they had dili- 
gently searched history for apostolic and primitive Chris- 
tian practice ; they prayerfully studied the New Testament ; 
there was but one conclusion. The crisis came and the 
camp moved forward. They knew the consequences but 
they faltered not. Blessing and prosperity followed the 
new congregation, and converts were added in such num- 
bers as to arouse the spirit of envy in the established 
churches ; opposition and persecution were at once instituted. 
The twenty-one years of the church's existence in Germany 
were eventful years. We know the struggle, but history is 
silent on many things we should like to know. We may 
know more, sometime we shall. The Schwarzenau congre- 
gation flourished and in seven years the society was numer- 
ous. There was a congregation established at Marienborn, 
to which the awakened from the Palatinate attached them- 
selves. These members were all driven out as exiles in 
1 71 5, but found a refuge, or asylum at Crefeldt, under the 
jurisdiction of the King of Prussia, whence also came the 
congregation from Epstein. 

Persecution. — Persecution did we say, In the preceding 
retrospect? Yes, persecution; religious persecution! In 



the most enlightened country in Europe, in the eighteenth 
century, within two hundred years from the present, reHg- 
ious persecution ! Surely the saddest, and most heart-touch- 
ing subject in all history is the history of persecution. The 
most inhuman treatment of barbaric savagery, because they 
are savages, is tame as compared with the indescribable 
torture and most horrible cruelty inflicted, by the so-called 
Christian church, in putting its helpless victims to a lingering 
death. It is impossible to understand the history of the 
Brethren at this period, or the true inward spirit of their 
lives, unless we can get at least a partial view of this perse- 
cution. Perhaps it is all we can get; we shall never know 
its full meaning, and the bitterness of their struggle. 

First of all, let us get the historic setting of this period, 
and we shall, perhaps, be able to measure, at least in part, its 
real import. The agitation, conflict, and persecution that 
followed the overthrow of Catholic domination, at the time 
of the Reformation, finally broke out in the Thirty Years' 
War (1618-1648), which involved all continental Europe. 
The valley of the Rhine became the theater of war, and the 
pious Germans "suffered the horrors of continual persecution, 
rapine and murder. " The state church in various parts of 
Germany was now Catholic, now Protestant. When the 
Catholics were in power they persecuted the Protestants. 
When the Protestants were in power they persecuted the 
Catholics. As the Protestants divided up into sects they 
persecuted each other. Cruel persecution for religious be- 
lief and practice was a daily occurrence. The government 
was changing, unstable, and often insincere. It was neither 
able nor inclined to give protection. It may be said in brief, 
that for one hundred years, from the beginning of the 
Thirty Years' War, the Rhine countries were scenes of 
almost constant carnage."^ The bloody struggle of the 
Thirty Year's War was ended by the Treaty of Westphalia 
(1648), sometimes called the Treaty of Miinster, and by 

1 T. T. Myers in " Two Centuries of Brethren." 


this treaty, the Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Churches 
were leagued into a new persecuting power. 

" The three state churches denied to all others the right to 
exist in the German Empire. Whoever found his religious 
convictions running counter to these; whose faith was of a 
different sort; who interpreted his Bible in another sense; 
who worshiped God in his own way; found life a burden 
and a cross. Church and state vied with each other in their 
zeal to persecute dissenters. The harmless Mennonites, the 
God-fearing Schwenkfelders, the Pietists, and the Mystics 
were all reviled, persecuted, and regarded as fit subjects for 
insane asylums or prisons. What happened to these in the 
closing years of the seventeenth century became also the fate 
of the Taufers in the opening third of the eighteenth 

We cannot further follow out in this connection and give 
full particulars of the sufferings of the Brethren as their 
persecutors drove them from place to place, and inflicted 
punishments of severe labor, deprivations, fines, and impris- 
onments. As already intimated the Marienborn and Ep- 
stein congregations, and refugees from the Palatinate, were 
driven out as exiles, and banished from their homes, with 
their goods confiscated, and finally found refuge in Crefeldt. 
Here the new organization flourished, for several years, and 
many were added to their number, but bitter experiences 
awaited them. Members were received by baptism from all 
shades of belief, as a result from previous teaching and 
training, and often it was a slow process of assimilation and 
indoctrinating. In the Crefeldt congregation there was a 
diversity of opinion that occasioned general discussion and 
finally broke out into an open rupture and division, that was 
fraught with momentous results. The main facts in the 
case were somewhat as follows : There was a young minister 

2M. G. Brumbaugh, "Eighteenth Century Influences in Germany"; 
Seidensticker's "German Emigration to America"; D. K. Cassel's 
" History of the Mennonites " ; Sachse's " Pietists of Colonial Penn- 
sylvania " ; Pennypacker's " Historical and Biographical Sketches." 


by the name of William Hacker who had been baptized, but 
was preaching for the Mennonites, who paid him 800 guil- 
ders. He became acquainted with a young woman who was 
not a member of the church, the daughter of a merchant, 
and finally married her. This unfortunate incident caused 
a great excitement, and an open rupture. Christian Libe 
with four Brethren rose up and expelled Hacker, though 
John Naas and the congregation disapproved, and wished 
only to suspend him from bread-breaking. Other expul- 
sions followed, and the congregation suffered much from 
this confusion. Hacker took sick and died. Peter Becker, 
who had been his special friend, continued to be so, and 
ministered to his comfort to the time of his death. 

It is remarkable that these things happened, but the most 
remarkable part of this sad struggle and experience, is that 
the results were so serious, when the large majority of the 
congregation opposed the expulsion of Hacker, and disap- 
proved of Libe's course. It is important to us, at this time, 
to note causes that made such a condition possible, and the 
final resultant effects produced. 

Refugees from all over Germany had come to Crefeldt, 
with widely different teaching and training. It was im- 
possible to assimilate rapidly the diversified views of these 
converts to the Brethren's doctrines. While this was the 
internal condition, among the members, there were powerful 
external conditions of many refugees not in fellowship with 
the Brethren, who brought to bear every possible influence 
against the work of the Brethren. In the next place, while 
Christian Libe was only assistant Elder in the Crefeldt 
Congregation, he was a powerful preacher, and a man of 
large influence. In this unfortunate controversy, he was 
either insincere, or afterwards drifted entirely from his 
moorings. He himself, afterwards, did as Hacker had done, 
married outside of the congregation, and proved unfaithful 
to the Brethren's doctrine by finally becoming a wine-mer- 
chant. He never came to America. As a result, or effect, 


of all this, it may be said, it was a step in the direction of 
more fixed principles of doctrine, and a more definite policy 
of church government among the Brethren. 

This Crefeldt territory seemed to be especially under the 
persecuting influence of the Reformed Church, as will be 
seen by the following accounts : 

" The Crefeldt congregation had many remarkable expe- 
riences. In 1 7 14 six members of the reformed congrega- 
tion at Solingen became concerned on the question of infant- 
baptism, its lawfulness and its necessity. This resulted in 
their joming the Crefeldt congregation through holy bap- 
tism. These six were Wilhelm Grahe, Jacob Grahe, Luther 
Stetius, Johann Lobach, Wilhelm Kueppus and Johann 
Henkels. The youngest, Wilhelm Grahe, was twenty-one 
years old. They were immersed in running water in the 
river Wupper. 

"This raised a great storm. The synods of the Berg 
Province and the Reformed general synod heard of this 
with deep regret. The secular government called these six 
Brethren as well as the landlord of Wilhelm Grahe, Johann 
Carl, before the judge, who was a Catholic. On Febru- 
ary 26, 1 71 7, they were taken to Dusseldorf and thrown into 

"Here they had to endure great hardships, digging 
trenches, wheeling dirt, performing all sorts of menial serv- 
ices.^ This imprisonment lasted four years. In their 
misery they were visited by Stephen Koch, who gave them 
spiritual consolation. They became quite sick in prison and 
in their suffering they were also visited by Gosen Gojen and 
Jacob Wilhelm Naas. 

" This Gosen Gojen was a Mennonite preacher of the Cre- 
feldt congregation. He afterwards became convinced that 
immersion was the only Christian baptism, and in Septem- 

s The prison of Gulch. 

*For a full account of their sufferings see Goebel's " Christliches 
Leben," Vol. Ill, p. 238 et seq. 


ber, 1724, he was immersed in the Rhine after the apostoHc 

"The Jacob Wilhelm Naas named above was a son of 
John Naas, Elder at Crefeldt, and a member of the congre- 
gation of Taufers or Brethren." 

The official action of the Synod, that brought about this 
imprisonment, will be seen in the following ecclesiastic cen- 
sure : ad acta Montensis, 144, held at Solingen, " The Synod 
General must learn with regret that several heretofore Re- 
formed church members have been by Dompelaers, living at 
Crefeldt, rebaptized in rivers and other running waters." 

When, later, the General Synod learned that the Brethren 
had left Crefeldt, the assembled preachers expressed their 
joy in the following official record : Acta Synod General, 
1719, 21 ad 44, "The preachers of the Meuro Classe have 
received the confession of faith of the so-called Dompelaers 
staying at Crefeldt, and they have sent their * remonstration ' 
to his gracious Majesty the King of Prussia. However, 
this Fratres Meiirsanae Synodi report with pleasure that 
these Dompelaers, who have been so injurious to our church, 
have betaken themselves away by water and are said to have 
sailed to Pennsylvania."^ 

5 Brumbaugh's " History of the German Baptist Brethren," p. 50. 


The Brethren had been at Crefeldt about four years, and 
there were at least two operating causes why there was soon 
to be brought about a change fraught with tremendous and 
far-reaching resuks, in the centuries to come. On the one 
hand, persecution was pressing harder and harder, on every 
side ; for, as baptisms multipHed, the churches were aroused 
afresh into bitter persecution. On the other hand, the 
Brethren had every opportunity to become well informed on 
the subject of Pennsylvania, and especially the settlement at 
Germantown, the first permanent German settlement in 
America, which had been made in 1683,- by 13 famihes, or 
33 persons, from this same Crefeldt community. The 
Brethren knew Germantown for years, knew Penn's prov- 
ince of religious liberty, and a few of the older ones, no 
doubt, heard Penn preach in the valley of the Rhine and in 
Holland. They had every opportunity to learn full partic- 
ulars of the now prosperous settlement of the Germans in 
the Quaker province, the foundation of which had been laid 
by the Crefeldt settlers thirty-six years before. 

Crefeldt, therefore, was destined to furnish the first com- 
pany of Brethren for emigration and settlement in the new 
world, just as it had furnished the first emigrants for the 
first settlement of Germantown. Here there had been many 
trials and scenes of persecution, and many were now ready 
to do anything or go anywhere, so there was but the assur- 
ance of religious freedom and liberty of conscience. To 
these people the endearments of home remained only as a 
sad memory. They were all exiles and pilgrims among 
strangers and enemies. Their persecutors pressed them hard 
everywhere. Finally their hearts almost sank within them. 



Regretfully, they turned their eyes away from the beloved 
" Vaterland " and looked wistfully, hopefully, to the land of 
promise in the New World. Brave souls those, who, in 
those days, could face the horrors of an ocean voyage, in un- 
seaworthy, comfortless, death-breeding old hulks. But 
there was hope beyond, as an anchor to their souls. Did 
they not count the cost, nor measure the sacrifice? They 
could not realize all, but they trusted Him whom they fol- 
lowed and for His sake they were willing to endure all things. 
The uncivilized Indian was to be preferred to the enemies at 
home, inhospitable shores to a land of persecution; they 
would find some new friends for those they left behind, and 
at great sacrifice, they would have other homes for those of 
their childhood. The enjoyment of religious liberty, in the 
"province of peace," would pay for all they leave behind, 
and all they should endure, and the darkness of the hour of 
the sacrifice of all things, proved to be just preceding the 
dawn of the day of their salvation. The company consisted 
of about twenty^ families, it is said, perhaps one hundred 
and twenty persons, and organized with Peter Becker as 
their leader. He was a minister at Crefeldt and is known 
as a man gifted in prayer with earnestness and fervency, and 
as a sweet singer, but not noted as a preacher. The story 
of this journey and voyage to America, so momentous in its 
results, is briefly told. They came in the year 17 19; that is 
almost all we know. 

The voyage is said to have been a stormy one, which is 
likely true. Landing at Philadelphia, the procession moved 
to Germantown, the place that was to be so inseparably con- 
nected with their future history. It would be exceedingly 
interesting to know the names of all those that composed 
this company, but we must be satisfied with the names of 
those that sat at the first love-feast and communion service, 
four years later. 

The principal settlement was made in Germantown, while 

' Goebel says, 40 families, 200 persons. 


small settlements were made at distant points — some scatter- 
ing to Skippack, Falckner's Swamp and Oley. There were 
new experiences awaiting these hardy pioneers, as they 
marched forth into the primeval forests. The reliance upon 
God, which they had learned in the school of bitter perse- 
cution, no doubt served as their support and comfort in 
many a new trial and dark hour. They were face to face 
with a series of struggles. They were struggling to con- 
quer the forest wilds, to make them fruitful fields. They 
were struggling to establish homes. They were struggling 
to adapt themselves to new and strange conditions and cir- 
cumstances in life. And, above all, they were struggling to 
adjust religious differences and prejudices that marred their 
fellowship and prevented their united effort in Christian 

It is sometimes sad to record the facts of history, and it 
may seem sad to some to record this fact of religious differ- 
ences among the first Brethren in America, and the conse- 
quent first few years of spiritual drought. Historians have 
seized the opportunity of speaking of "jealousies and bick- 
erings " among themselves, without stopping to consider 
reasons or results In considering the religious conditions 
at this time, it is necessary to make a careful inquiry into the 
cause or causes, in order that we may understand future 
results. To the careful student and the impartial investiga- 
tor, it is gratifying to know that differences in views pro- 
duced discord among them, or at least lack of full fellow- 
ship. It only proves that the real spirit of the Brethren 
Church was at variance with the mystic influences and all 
kindred forms of error which some had absorbed in Ger- 
many. Some of the Brethren did not wholly escape the in- 
fluence of the disciples of Boehme. There had been pro- 
longed trouble in the Crefeldt congregation. The members 
discussed their differences while crossing the ocean, and the 
agitation was kept up after they came here, and in fact, con- 
tinued until some left the communion of the church, a few 


years later. But in addition to all this, there were the hard- 
ships of a frontier life to overcome. The settlements were 
widely separated, forest and stream intervening, poor roads, 
or none at all, and no transportation. Some had become 
indifferent, like most of the German settlers who had pre- 
ceded them, and among whom they had settled. All of 
these things tended to hinder the work for three years, and 
saddened many hearts, but there were earnest souls praying 
for relief from this spiritual famine, and the Lord soon 
answered in refreshing showers of spiritual awakening, and 
we are about to record a most important event in the relig- 
ious history of Pennsylvania. 


It must be remembered that these members who were so 
earnestly praying and working, were not raw recruits, but 
seasoned veterans. They were battle-scarred spiritual he- 
roes, disciplined in the hardest battles that Christian men 
are ever called upon to fight. The very highest type of 
Christian character alone survived th^ severest test of perse- 
cution through which they passed. The weak and faint- 
hearted had fallen by the wayside. This is why, in later 
years, the little German church on the slope of wooded hills 
on the old Indian trail was ready to do such splendid things, 
without parallel in the province, and thus contributed so 
large a part of the glorious history of two hundred years. 

While there were some services held in the vicinity of 
Germantown, from the beginning, there was no special or- 
ganized religious effort made until the fall of 1722. At 
that time Becker, Gommere, Gantz and the Traut Bros, 
visited the scattered Brethren. The result of this visit was 
the unification of sentiment and the awakening of new inter- 
est in their religious activity. It was the beginning of a new 
era. In the fall of the following year important events oc- 
curred that constituted an immediate step toward organizing 
themselves into a church. The climax of this series of 
events was the application of six "persons on the Schuyl- 
kill " for baptism. These " persons on the Schuylkill " lived ' 
thirty-five miles up the river, and comprised Martin Urner 
and his wife and four neighbors. "This organization of 
the Germantown church and baptism of these first six con- 
verts took place on the 25th day of December, 1723."^ 

Of these important events, the "Chronicon" gives the 

1 See "Urner Family," p. 9, Isaac N. Urner, LL.D., Philadelphia, 1893. 
3 17. 


following account: "In August of the year 1723, a rumor 
was spread through the country that Christ. Libe, a fa- 
mous Baptist teacher who had long been in the galleys had 
arrived in Philadelphia. This moved some newly awakened 
persons on the Schuylkill to go forth to meet him. The 
whole thing, however, was a fiction. These persons were 
persuaded by the Baptists (Brethren) to go with them to 
their meeting, during and after which they heard so much 
of the Germans' awakening that they went home very much 
edified. Soon after a second visit was made to German- 
town, by which both parties were so much edified that the 
German Baptists (Brethren) promised them a visit in return 
which they made four weeks afterwards with great blessing. 
The newly awakened ones were thereby stirred up still more, 
so that they begged to be received into their communion by 
holy baptism. This was the occasion of important proceed- 
ings among the Brethren in Germantown, for they still had 
in mind the misunderstandings which had arisen between 
them and their Brethren at Crefeldt. Besides, they were 
indeed a branch of a congregation, but yet not a congrega- 
tion that dafed to presume to administer the sacraments. 
The worst was that they were divided among themselves and 
had only lately commenced to draw nigh to one another 
again. After they had seriously pondered over these things 
in the spirit, they finally agreed to consent to the request. 
Accordingly, after the candidates for baptism had chosen 
Peter Becker as their baptizer, they were baptized in the 
stream Wiskohikung, (Wissahickon,) near Germantown, on 
December 25th, of the year 1723. And as these were the 
firstlings of all baptized among the high German in America, 
their names shall be here recorded and given to posterity, 
namely : Martin Urner and his female housemate, Henry 
Landis and his housemate, Frederick Lang and Jane Mayle. 
The evening following they held the first lovefeast ever cele- 
brated in America at John Gommere's, which created a great 
stir among the people of that neighborhood, Peter Becker, 
mentioned before, ministering at the same. 


"Through such a Divine happening the Baptists (Breth- 
ren) in Pennsylvania became a congregation." 

The importance of this event justifies these quotations 
and extended considerations. To Juhus F. Sachse belongs 
the credit of working out many an interesting fact of the 
early history of the Brethren, and it is only fitting to quote 
in this connection his interesting descriptive sketch of the 
events of this memorable day of Organized Beginnings in 
America. (See "German Sectarians in Pennsylvania," 
Philadelphia, 1899.) 

" Returning once more to our story, it was on the morning of 
Wednesday, December 25, 1723 (Christmas Day), that a num- 
ber of German settlers who had located within the bounds of 
the German township, wended their way towards the humble 
weaver's shop where Conrad Beissel had served his apprentice- 
ship, at the extreme end of the borough limits in what was 
known as Van Bebberstown, History has unfortunately failed 
to preserve for posterity the exact location of Becker's humble 
abode. This, however, is but of secondary importance. We 
know that it was in Van Bebber's township, on the North Wales 
road. Tradition strongly points to the vicinity of the present 
church, where the earliest meetings were held. However, be 
this as it may, upon the day in question the solemn scenes which 
took place on the Eder, in Germany, fifteen years before were 
to be repeated here in the western world and the foundation 
laid for a new Christian denomination. The seed sown in 
Germany was to be transplanted into our virgin land, where 
it was destined to take root and flourish far beyond any expec- 
tation of the devout band on either the Eder or the Wissahickon. 

" It was a typical winter's day, and the air crisp and cold, the 
sky clear, the ground hard and frozen, with a thin covering of 
snow. Many were the sad memories of the Fatherland that 
came into the minds of these pilgrims in a far-off land, as they 
plodded over the frozen ground ; separated, as it were, from 
both kin and church, they thought of the joyous Christmas at 

"The day was a well chosen one for their object — the fer- 
vent desire to organize a church home for themselves, to found 
a new Christian sect in the New World. The series of devo- 


tional meetings held by Peter Becker and his helpers was about 
to become the grain of seed which was to bring forth a mighty 
tree with wide-spreading root and branches. Tlieir aim was to 
form a Gemeinde or commune of their own — to give them the 
benefit of rehgious instruction, and at the same time emanci- 
pate them from what Falkner calls ' the melancholy, saturnine 
Quaker spirit ' which then prevailed in the province. 

" It was well-nigh noon when the party assembled and devo- 
tional exercises were commenced. After these were over it was 
found that there were present seventeen persons who had been 
baptized in Europe, viz. : — Peter Becker, Johann Heinrich Traut, 
Jeremias Traut, Balser Traut, Heinrich Holzappel, Johannes 
Gumre, Stephan Koch, Jacob Koch, Johannes Hildebrand, 
Daniel Ritter, George Balser Gansz, Johannes Preisz, Johannes 
Kampfer, Magdalena Traut, Anna Gumre, Maria Hildebrand, 
and Johanna Gansz. These persons proceeded formally to 
organize themselves into a congregation, and constituted Peter 
Becker their Elder. 

" Six postulants now presented themselves and asked to be 
baptized as by Scripture ordained, and then received into fel- 
lowship, viz. : Martin Urner, his wife, Catherina Urner ; Hein- 
rich Landes and his wife ; Friederick Lang and Jan (Johannes) 
Mayle. Thus they became the first Anabaptists among the high 
Germans in America. In the church records this band of con- 
verts is always referred to as the ' First Fruits.' The immer- 
sion took place the same day. After a noon day meal had been 
served the party went in solemn procession down the old Indian 
trail, which led from the North Wales road to a ford on the Wis- 
sahickon, and thence beyond the ridge towards the Schuylkill. 
This trail, which long since has become a public highway, was 
known north of the township line successively as Morgan's and 
Trullinger's lane, now Carpenter Street. South of the dividing 
line the trail was successively known as Gorgas, Milner's, Gar- 
seed's and Kitchen's lane. The course of the creek at this point 
makes a sharp turn and here comes nearest to Germantovvn. 
The distance from Bebberstown, or the upper part of German- 
town, to the Wissahickon is but a short one. The distance trav- 
ersed by the party was about one and one-half miles ; it was a 
short journey for the sturdy Germans of that day. The objec- 
tive point of the party was a level bank, or strip of land on the 
estate of Johannes Gumre, adjacent to the creek, where easy 
access could be had to the flowing water. The ravine of the 


Wissahicken is a rugged one, with towering rocks upon either 
bank, making the shore inaccessible, except in a few places. 

" The strip of land in question is about two hundred yards 
north of Kitchen's lane. There, recession of the rocky ravine 
forms a space large enough to accommodate quite a respectable 
number of people. While the rocks are covered with ever- 
greens, the alluvial soil on the bank has fostered the growth of 
the catalpa and other deciduous trees. In former days, at the 
time of the scene we are now describing, when the country was 
yet covered with a fine forest growth, a rivulet broke over the 
rocky wall in the background and formed a picturesque water- 
fall as it leaped from rock to crag in its wild flight down to 
the bottom of the ravine. 

" When the party reached the banks of the Wissahickon, the 
afternoon was already well advanced, so little time was lost. 
After a fervent invocation to the Throne of Grace and the 
reading of a passage from Luke XIV, the newly constituted 
Elder entered the water through the thin ice, leading by the 
hand the first candidate. This was Martin Urner, a native of 
Alsace, who had been brought up in the Reformed faith, and 
who, together with his two brothers, for a short time had been 
members of the Hermits on the Ridge. 

" The scene was a solemn one. The small procession on their 
way to the creek was reinforced by some of the Hermits from 
the heights on the other side of the stream, and some others 
who were attracted out of curiosity, so that by the time the 
party arrived at the banks of the frozen stream the company 
was quite a goodly one — witnesses who were to assist by their 
presence at what was to be the founding of a new Christian 
denomination in America. 

" Clear above the sound of the rushing waters and the rustle 
of the leafless branches rose the solemn German invocation and 
the singing of the baptismal hymn composed by Alexander 
Mack, ' Ueberschlag die Kost, Spricht Jesu Christ, wann du den 
Grund wilt legen.'^ Numerous as had been the mystic rites 
and occult incantations held on the rugged ravine and valley of 
this stream since the gentle Kelpius and his band settled there '1 
thirty years before, none were more fervent or brought so great i 
and lasting results as this solemn rite upon the narrow strip of 
rockbound land on the shore of the Wissahickon. There stood 
the administrator deep in the cold water : before him knelt the 

2 " Count the cost, says Jesus Christ, when the foundations thou. 
wouldst lay." 


rugged Alsatian; thrice was he immersed under the icy flood. 
As he arose the last time the Segenspruch was pronounced and 

^ Martin Urner once more entered the material world to become 
a factor in the religious development of his adopted country. 
His wife, Catherina Reist, was the next candidate, followed by 
the other four persons, the same scenes being repeated in each 

" Long before the solemn rite was ended the winter sun was 

' well down over the Schuylkill hills and the sky covered with 
leaden clouds. The party now proceeded to the house of Jo- 
hannes Gumre where dry clothing was provided. In the even- 
ing a lovefeast was held, the rite of foot-washing was observed, 
at which the newly constituted Elder ofificiated as a token of his 
humility. This was followed by the breaking of the bread and 
the administration of the Holy Communion, and was partaken 
of by the seventeen constituents and the six newly baptized con- 
verts, making twenty-three members in all. 

" Thus was perfected the organization of the first * Congre- 
gation of the Brethren in America.' " 



What a scene for a master's hand this reproduction of 
" The Last Supper," and we may well wish that it might 
have been placed upon canvas. But what we have is 
enough, and we are devoutly grateful. The spiritual bless- 
ings which we enjoy as the fruits of their labors would 
indeed in itself be enough. Let us be thankful for each 
fact of additional interest. It was Christmas Day. What 
an appropriate day for the memorial observance of the Ordi- 
nances, which He commanded! To that memorable day 
which should be dear to the heart of every Christian, is now 
added a three- fold interest for every member of the Church 
of the Brethren in America, viz : The First Organization, 
The First Baptism, The First Love- feast and Communion 
Service. There were twenty-three persons for the twenty- 
three years of the new century, surrounding the Lord's 
table. What a gathering from two continents, and vari- 
ous tongues and nations; and the aggregate number of 
miles this entire company travelled in fleeing persecu- 
tion and coming to the truth and this blessed fellowship, 
was more than sixty thousand miles. Not only the num- 
ber of persons that were there, but their names, are 
recorded, and what history they have made. Of the 
original eight at Schwarzenau, not one of them sat at this 
table. The Lord in His Providence has dealt kindly and 
leads us gently on. Not only have we the day and date, 
and the facts of the day, and the number of persons, and 
the names of the persons, but Mr. Julius F. Sachse gives us 
the reasonable assurance of the identification of the spot 
where these important events transpired. H so, there is 
added interest, as the present writer not only walked in their 



footsteps over the historic route from Germantown and 
stood on the banks of the baptismal pool in the beautiful 
Wissahickon, but also stood within the walls where they 
were seated around the table of the Lord. These ruined 
walls are all that is left of the once comfortable home of 
John Gumre. Before me rolls the Wissahickon, famous in 
story and song, while on the hills above are towering forest 
trees, standing like sentinels, the guardians of these hal- 
lowed scenes. As I stand in the midst of these reflections, 
and as I look upon the rugged grandeur around me, and 
into the historic past, there comes such a flood of inex- 
pressible thought that I stand in silence and look up in 
mute adoration. 

Immediate Results. — It is not difficult to understand that 
there were immediate results from these wonderful events 
which we have just cited, as well as remote and far-reach- 
ing. The immediate results were of a two- fold character, — 
internal and external. The effect upon the membership was 
very marked. It was a visible demonstration of the Lord 
answering the, earnest prayers of the faithful ones. Such 
great blessings brought new life and hope to the congre- 
gation — indeed they had not been a congregation before. 
The desire that all might enjoy such blessings of fellowship 
as they enjoyed, was intensified. The truth must now be 
spread. Missionary enterprise was commenced. It has 
already been noted above that these memorable Christmas- 
day scenes "created a great stir among the people of the 
neighborhood." Here then were inside and outside results, 
incentives, opportunities. Steps were at once taken to im- 
prove these favorable opportunities, but the " winter proved 
to be an exceedingly hard and stormy one and the meetings 
were discontinued until spring. They were resumed early 
in May, and continued with great success. Efforts were 
also made to reach and influence the youth and to educate 
them in matters spiritually. Many were attracted to the 
services and * taught to walk in the fear of the Lord and to 


love the Brethren.' As the fame of this awakening spread 
abroad there was such an increase of attendance that no 
room could be found large enough to accommodate the wor- 
shippers ; so, whenever the weather permitted, the assembly 
was held in the open air." (German Sectarians.) 

There was, however, another immediate result. Such 
present blessings and such bright prospects for the future 
were not to be shared alone by those here in America. What 
glad news this will be to send across the ocean and what 
joy it will bring. to- therdie^nbrethrs^.n a.^ sisters in the far- 
away Gerrpan Fia'Uteriand. They shall l:noiv' of it soon that 
they mcty share in the joy of this good news andi 'perhaps, 
bccinducad to come>to lAmerica and.share in this ptomi sing 
work .■:"'.. ^^ : ' 

A Message to the Home Land. — The " Chronicon Ephra- 
tense" gives the following interesting account of this mes- 
sage: "Under these circumstances they deemed it well to 
make a detailed report of this new awakening to their Breth- 
ren in Germany. Therefore they prepared in common a 
writing addressed to them, in which they informed them 
that they had become reunited in Pennsylvania, and that 
hereupon a great awakening had resulted in the land, which 
was still daily increasing; that of the awakened several had 
joined their communion, to which they had to consent, as 
they dared not withstand the counsels of God." It would be 
interesting to know that message in full, to have the exact 
words and know the real heart throbs that pulsated through 
them, but we shall probably never know more than we know 
now. The above quotation, no doubt, gives us a fair con- 
ception of the scope of the letter, and we furthermore know 
the effect this and other reports had upon the Brethren In 
Germany. Two Continents are now interested in the strug- 
gles in this new and, to them, unknown world. Other 
messages go from time to time to the Home Land. The 
earnest prayers from both sides of the great ocean strengthen 
the hearts of the brave leaders, as they go forth, over the 


hills and down the valleys, through the forests and across 
the rivers, bearing the message of the " Man of Galilee " — 
for he said, " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptiz- 
ing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost : Teaching them to observe all things what- 
soever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with }■ ou alway, 
even unto the end of the world. Amen."^ 

Organizing for Work. — One of the strongest elements in 
a successful leadership is a proper organizing of the forces 
to be led, or directed. 'Ij^pijed and concerted action and 
effort is as jiec-^ssary in church work,- as-it-is ,in military or 
industrial, matters, or in business enterprises. : Elder Peter 
Becker, ynd his coworkers saw an op^^n door to a great field 
of opportunity, and tney v/ere, v/id,^ awake to organize, on a 
scale large enough to meet the needs. The subject was dis- 
cussed by the congregation which gave encouragement and 
hearty support. And so the year 1724 was destined to be 
scarcely less eventful and important than the previous year. 
No one who is a careful student can dwell upon the events 
of this year without feeling that they were of the utmost 
importance to the German pioneer settlers, and far-reaching 
in their influence and permanent results. It was deemed 
advisable that all the scattered settlements of Brethren 
should be visited at once and brought under organized spirit- 
ual influences. For this purpose a missionary party was 
organized, with Peter Becker as the leader. Its great im- 
portance justifies its careful consideration, for this is the 
most remarkable missionary tour to the frontier in all Penn- 
sylvania colonial history, and is absolutely without parallel 
in colonial times. Leaving industry and loved ones behind, 
these pioneer preachers of the gospel, and their assistants, 
with true German devotion to the cause they loved, 
marched forth, seven horsemen and seven footmen. On 
the fields of martial conquest there never marched a more 
gallant band than these in commission of the Prince of 
1 Matt. 28 : 19-20. 


Peace. It was a worthy representation of the importance 
of the cause they sought to estabhsh, as well as a worthy 
representation of the work accomplished in their contin- 
ued devotion. What a mission was theirs, pushing out to 
the frontier lines to battle with callous indifference and 
skepticism, or mysticism and materialism among their fellow 
countrymen! And so October 2^, 1724, was a memorable 
day for the Germantown Settlement, and what an impress- 
ive scene it must have been to behold the gathering of the 
company of cavalry and infantry, and then behold the 
company as it slowly moved out of the settlement, north- 
ward, over the old Indian trail. The scattered settlers have 
gathered in little groups here and there to discuss the jour- 
ney and mission of their neighbors and friends, and with 
deep interest watched them until they vanished over the 
slopes of the distant hills. 

There is some confusion as to the route taken, and the 
stops made, especially as to the first stages of the journey. 
The Chronicon states, "They first went to Schippack." 
Sachse, in German Sectarians, says, — "The first stop was 
made in the beautiful Skippack Valley, where a number of 
Germans had settled. Here several meetings were held with 
much success." Brumbaugh, In The German Baptist Breth- 
ren, says " Their first visit was to Brother John Jacob Price 
on the Indian Creek." The facts likely are, members both 
on the Indian Creek and in the Skippack valley, or differ- 
ent places of Skippack township, were visited, for we are 
informed that some of the members of the emigration of 
1 719 settled in the Skippack, and we further learn that in 
the visitation of 1722, "they traveled through the regions 
of Skippack." The John Jacob Price referred to, settled, 
we are informed by the old records, " on a large tract of land 
on the Indian Creek, in Lower Salford Township," in 1721, 
and is the Johannus Preisz who was at the first love feast, 
and a minister of note, in the early church, in Europe and 
America, and likely the father of all the Prices in the Broth- 


erhood. This, therefore, marks the estabhshment of an 
important field, or region, of activity, that later became the 
early Indian Creek Congregation, and, in later years, sub- 
divided into a number of congregations. 

From the above named place, or places, more properly, 
they went northv^ard, crossed the Perkiomen and continued 
on through Providence to Falckner's Swamp, when a halt 
was made at the house "of a Brother named Albertus." 
Here revival meetings were held, closing with a Lovefeast 
and Communion Service, which was attended, we are in- 
formed, by the Chronicon, "with great blessing." From 
here they went to Oley, in Berks County, near Douglass- 
ville, " where a similar work was done with similar bless- 
ing." From Oley the party went southward and crossed the 
Schuylkill, to visit their newly-baptized Brethren, going di- 
rect to the house of Martin Urner, one of the " First Fruits," 
" who, since his baptism, had permanently settled in Coven- 
try, Chester County, immediately opposite the present town 
of Pottstown." 

" Martin Urner, from the time he came to Coventry, ex- 
horted his neighbors whenever opportunity offered, besides 
holding meetings at his own house on Sundays with more 
or less regularity. One of the results of his labors was that 
when Peter Becker and his party reached there they found 
two persons prepared for baptism in addition to the settlers 
who were ready to form a congregation. 

" On the next day, November 7, 1 724, a meeting was held 
in Urner's house, at which Elder Becker presided. The two 
candidates were baptized in the Schuylkill, and the ceremony 
was followed by the usual Lovefeast and breadbreaking in 
the evening. 

"Upon this occasion was organized the Coventry Breth- 
ren Church, of which Martin Urner was made preacher. 
The following nine persons were the constituent members : 
Martin Urner, his wife, Catharine Reist Urner; Daniel 


Eicher and wife, Henrich Landes and wife, Peter Heffly, 
Owen Longacre and Andrew Sell."^ 

This seems to have been the end of the contemplated mis- 
sionary tour, two weeks had been spent, the usual time for a 
" series of meetings " at this time. It would have been 
about time for some busy preachers to go home, to look 
after the family and business. But these preachers were 
after their " Father's business." They heard of some awak- 
ened souls in the Conestoga country, and they decided to go 
there, which was then known as the western part of Chester 

Upon leaving Urner's the party divided, the horsemen 
following the road and staying all night, Monday, Novem- 
ber 9, at the house of Jacob Weber, in the Conestoga Valley, 
near Weberstown, in Leacock township. The footmen took 
a shorter route, over the Welsh mountain, and spent the 
same night at the house of Johannus Graff " This was in 
Earl township, at what is now known as Graffsdale, at the 
lower end of Earl township. The original tract of 1,419 
acres was situated on Graff's run, a branch of the Miihlbach 
(Mill Creek). Johannus Graff was the earliest and wealth- 
iest settler in the vicinity. The foundation stones of the 
cabin which he built in 1718 are yet to be seen upon the 
property of a lineal descendant."^ The next day, Tuesday, 
November 10, they journeyed to the house of Hans Rudolph 
Nagele, a Mennonite preacher, when both horsemen and 
footmen once more united, and passed the night of Tuesday, 
with Stephen Galliond. 

Early the next morning two Brethren were sent to Henry 
Hohns, to announce their coming. On Wednesday, Novem- 
ber II, therefore, the party retraced their steps and jour- 
neyed towards the valley of the Pequea. The special pur- 
pose seems to have been to bring about an awakening among 
the Mennonites, who had been brought into great confusion 
by Bauman, in teaching his pernicious "Newborn" doc- 

2 " German Sectarians." 

3 Ibid., p. 100. 


trines. A largely attended meeting was held at Heinrich 

As its authors were directly interested, I quote from the 
Chronicon, an account of this meeting, and its immediate 
results : " A meeting was held at Holm's on the following 
day, November 12 (Thursday), at which the Superintendent 
(Beissel) was present. At this meeting extraordinary re- 
vival-powers were manifested. The Baptists spoke with 
such power concerning baptism and the divine purpose con- 
cerning fallen man involved therein, that after the close of 
the meeting five persons applied for baptism, namely the 
aforementioned Hohn, his housemate, John Mayer and his 
house-mate, and Joseph Shafer, who were at once baptized 
in Apostolic-wise, by Peter Becker, in the Pequea stream. 
Soon a sixth one followed these, namely, Veronica, the wife 
of Isaac Frederick. Now the Superintendent (Beissel) 
fell into great perplexity. For, to withstand this ordinance 
of God seemed to him great presumption; at the same time, 
the calling of these people was not deemed important enough 
by him, for he had been the recipient of a weighty testimony 
from God, and feared that, if he associated with them, he 
might lose all the good he had reached through so much 
pain. Suddenly, however, his heart was enlightened by a 
bright ray from the Gospel, in whose light the whole pur- 
pose of God was revealed to him, namely, that Christ also 
had permitted himself to be baptized by one who was less 
than himself, and had said thereof : ' Thus it becometh us to 
fulfill all righteousness ' ; and that, in order to make this 
work easier for us, God himself had thus gone before, and 
first sought out the field in which he would sow his grain of 

"Consequently, after the Sister referred to before came 
out of the water, he came down from his spiritual pride, 
humbled himself before his friend Peter Becker, and was 
baptized by him on the same day in Apostolic-wise, under the 

" After the baptism they spent the rest of the day in edify- 


ing conversation unto the praise of God, until evening, when 
a 'Lovefeast' was held at Hohn's, the first ever held in 
Conestoga since the country began to be cleansed from its 
heathenish inhabitants; it was held on November 12, 1724." 

There was one more meeting held at the house of Sig- 
mund Landert, at which time he and his wife were baptized. 
The leaders of the missionary party now informed the 
Brethren in the Conestoga, that on account of the distance 
from Germantown, they must arrange their matters as best 
they could, as a separate congregation. The little body of 
six Brethren and six Sisters now chose Conrad Beissel as 
their minister, and he remains in fellowship with the Breth- 
ren for about four years. The chapter following will treat 
of the history of Beissel, and his relation to the work of 
the Brethren in the Conestoga. After the kiss of peace was 
given, the Germantown Brethren started on their homeward 
journey on the fourteenth of November. 

To bring out important lessons and results and funda- 
mental principles of action, may be regarded as sufficient 
reason for devoting much space to a description of these 
events, which had a significance far beyond their local set- 
ting. Here are characteristics of the church that have made 
history; elements of strength, and principles of action, 
adopted in Germany, and here reestablished, that have di- 
rected the progress of the church ever since. Alexander 
Mack was an evangelist of note before he organized the 
Brethren Church, and there are many evidences of the mis- 
sionary activities of the church while yet in Germany. This 
tour, after the organization in America, was the first step 
in that missionary enterprise which has been such an im- 
portant factor in the life of the Brethren Church. The 
immediate result was, two churches were organized, and the 
foundation laid for several more and both of these became 
prosperous and important in a few years. It is remarkable 
how large a part of the District was covered by this tour, 
and how many present day congregations are the result of 
this early missionary endeavor. 


Introduction. — In order that we may understand the asso- 
ciation, and historic relation, and later antagonism, to the 
Brethren, it is manifestly necessary to give some biograph- 
ical account of Conrad Beissel; and sketch, briefly, some of 
the moulding influences of his erratic life. As the *' Chron- 
icon Ephratense " is the official record of the Superintendent, 
and his communal life, its facts and dates, as relating to him, 
are made the basis of this sketch. 

Birth. — He was born in April, 1690, at Eberbach, a small 
town on the Neckar, in the Palatinate, and received the 
family name of John Conrad Beissel. His father, a baker 
by trade, died two months before the child was born. Hav- 
ing spent all his means by his dissolute habits, the widow 
was left destitute, and with a numerous family. Under this 
burden of care and great responsibility the mother, a devout 
person, only lived seven years. 

Environment. — It would seem that now almost his last 
blessing was gone, and " from that time on he led a sorry 
life, after the manner of the country, until he was old 
enough to learn a trade," when the local authorities appren- 
ticed him to a master baker to learn the trade. It seems 
from the account that these years were spent in the most 
wretched poverty, without cheer or comfort to lighten the 
darkness in his miserable life. 

Education. — He seems to have had no school advantages 
whatever, but there were evidences of natural gifts, for we 
are told, " He showed a wonderful facility in learning many 
things without any instruction, merely by his own reflection ; 



SO much so that his oldest brother often said to him, * Your 
studying will make a fool of you yet.' "^ 

Apprenticeship. — The choice of a master for the young 
apprentice was most unfortunate, and now to the life of 
former misery and wretchedness was added unrestrained 
frivolity. His master was a musician, and he soon learned 
to play the violin, and assisted his master at weddings, " at 
which, when exhausted with fiddling, he would betake him- 
self to dancing, and from this again return to the former."^ 
This life of pleasure and excess seems to have brought con- 
victions of sinfulness ; and " the awakening Spirit knocked 
so loudly at his conscience that his whole being was thrown 
into the utmost perplexity, and so the foundation was laid 
for his conversion. "2 

Wanderings. — Having finished his apprenticeship, he 
started out on his wanderings as a journeyman, according 
to the custom of the country, first going to Strasburg. 
After remaining here some time, he finally entered the serv- 
ice of a man in Mannheim. Here he fell into a quarrel 
with his employer's wife, and for her violence he called her 
Jezebel, on account of which he was obliged to leave the 
house. From Mannheim he returned to Heidelberg, and 
for a time matters spiritual and temporal were very favor- 
able and prosperous. He gained the confidence of the 
master bakers, and they made him treasurer of their guild. 
But when Beissel criticised them for their idle practices at 
their banquets, they had the city council put him under arrest 
and in jail, — and so closes this epoch, as the curtain falls 
upon the journeyman baker when the jail door closes behind 

Religious Struggles. — There is an entire change of scene. 
The conflicts now are of a religious character. In order 
to have a full understanding of his religious convictions and 
theories, it is necessary to trace the teaching and experiences 

1 The " Chronicon." 

2 Ibid. 



of these years, that made such a lasting impression, and 
moulded his future life. As noted before, from the ex- 
cessive frivolity, he fell under strong conviction of sin; 
and, though temporarily brought low in the spirit, he earn- 
estly sought for a higher spiritual development. " It w^as at 
Strasburg that Beissel was first introduced into Inspira- 
tionist and Pietistical circles. The chief spirit of the latter 
was one Michael Eckerling, a cap-maker by trade, whose 
four sturdy sons were destined to play so prominent a role 
in the Ephrata Community."^ 

When he arrived at Heidelberg, he found many Pietists; 
but he attended, for some time at least, the regular services 
of the Lutheran church, and heard several prominent 
preachers of the times. 

" He also made the acquaintance of a learned mystic and 
theosophist, named Haller, who was a friend and corre- 
spondent of Gichtel. Through him Beissel obtained an in- 
troduction to, or was initiated in, the local Rosicrucian 
chapter held under the name or guise of a Pietist conventicle, 
which organization counted many of the most learned and 
distinguished men in the community among its membership. 
But, being under the ban of the secular as well as religious 
authorities, they were forced to hold their meetings in se- 
crecy, in an almost inaccessible fastness of the forest. Here, 
within the tiled precincts of the weird, rocky chasm (Felsen- 
schleugt), by the fitful light of resinous torches, Conrad 
Beissel followed his guide, was brought to the true Light, 
taught the first steps of the Brotherhood, and received in- 
struction in the rudiments of the secret rites and mysteries 
of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross. "^ 

The " Chronicon " states : " He was astonished beyond 
measure when these dear people the first time called him 
Brother. He often said that he had passed through three 
awakenings, in which he always had to deal with newly 

3 " German Sectarians," Vol. I, p. 37- 
* Ibid., pp. 39-40. 


awakened ones; but he must confess that the greater 
part of his heart remained at the first awakening at 
Heidelberg. Therefore, his references to these precious 
souls never passed off without tears, particularly as in after 
times so much bitterness and gall were served him by his 
followers." As noted before, he was lodged in jail by the 
instigation of his own bakers' guild. Once more in con- 
flict and trouble. " Meanwhile his trial took place, and 
there it appeared that the charge was not sufficient to have 
him kept under arrest. His accusers, however, knew how 
to help themselves, and declared that he was a Pietist. This 
brought the matter before the ecclesiastical court. The 
clergy of the three dominant religions took him in charge, 
and gave him the choice, either to join one of the three dom- 
inant religions, or to leave the country," says the " Chron- 
icon." He refused to join either of the churches, and so 
he was banished. His friends interceded for him, but all 
efforts were in vain. 

He was now an outcast, not merely a wanderer. He 
bade farewell to his Brethren in Heidelberg, whom he never 
saw again; and, then departing, went to his home town of 
Eberbach, to say farewell to his relatives. He hurried 
away, but had barely gone when soldiers arrived to arrest 

The experiences of this banishment brought him to such 
severe trials and suffering and deprivations that he came 
near retracting, and was nigh unto death. He fell into 
excessive penitence-labors, suffering such violence thereby 
that he contracted consumption. His declining strength, 
from his severe penance, excited public attention, and made 
of him an object of pity, for it seemed that the thread of his 
frail life was about to be severed. He wandered about 
from place to place, ekeing out a miserable existence by 
wool-spinning, and similar employments. He sojourned 
for a short time with the Brethren at Schwarzenau, and 
then joined the Inspirationists. He soon invoked their dis- 



pleasure, and the "Chronicon" states that they wished to 
transfer him from the Adults' to the Children's meeting, on 
account of which he withdrew himself from them. 

A Retrospect. — Born of a godly mother, but a worthless 
drunken father — at the age of seven the mother also dead — 
he grew up an object of public charity or neglect, living in 
wretched poverty and misery ; apprenticed to a master baker 
from whom he learned unrestrained frivolity in dancing and 
fiddling; under conviction of sin, he sought spiritual com- 
fort and light in all sorts of ways, and through all kinds of 
experiences, from the regular services in the Lutheran 
churches, individuals, the Pietists, Separatists, and down to 
the Rosicrucian mystics; as a journeyman baker, he wan- 
dered about, quarreled with his employer's wife, and driven 
from the home; criticized the bakers' guild, whose treas- 
urer he was, who had him arrested and put in jail ; brought 
to trial, he was charged with being a Pietist, and was ban- 
ished from the country; wandering about almost starving, 
and under violence of severe penance, contracting consump- 
tion, he visi'ts the Brethren at Schwarzenau, joins the In- 
spirationists, and after violent disagreements withdraws 
from them; thus v/ere the thirty years of Conrad Beissel's 
life in Germany spent. 

His two intimate friends, Stiefel and Stuntz, now induced 
him to journey to America. He resolved to go to Pennsyl- 
vania, and join the chapter of Perfection under Kelpius, 
called the " Woman in the Wilderness," on the Wissahickon, 
and there spend his life in solitude. When the Pietists 
heard of this, they tried their best to persuade him not to go. 
Stuntz offered to pay his way, and so in the year 1720 he 
left the fatherland, the scene of so much history, accom- 
panied by his aforesaid friends, Stiefel and Stuntz, and 
others, as traveling companions. 

The Arrival. — They arrived at Boston the same autumn. 
What the name of the ship was, or where she sailed from, 
or who commanded her, in which Beissel and his friends 


came to Boston, we are not told, neither do we know in what 
manner they transported themselves from Boston to Phila- 
delphia. We are simply informed "that the party arrived 
well and in good spirits at Germantown toward the close of 
the autumn of the year 1720." It is impossible to realize 
their sore disappointment upon their arrival, nor appre- 
ciate the vast difference between their expectations and the 
real conditions of things as they found them. They had 
endured the hardships of a long and tedious ocean voyage, 
only to find that the community they sought to join had 
ceased to exist some years prior to their departure from 
the Fatherland, but for some reason this news had not 
reached that part of Germany. So it was necessary to 
change the whole plan and purpose of their coming, because 
of the changed conditions. According to "German Sec- 
tarians " : " Beissel and his companions expected to find here 
an ideal spiritual community, whose chief interest centered 
around the Tabernacle in the primitive forest, where the 
time was spent in prayer and a nightly watch was kept to 
obtain the first glimpse of the harbinger in the skies, who 
should appear to announce the coming of the celestial bride- 
groom : a community where the world with its allurements 
was secondary to the state of spiritual regeneration." 

" In place of this expected elysium they found the taber- 
nacle deserted, the nocturnal watch upon the tower long 
since abandoned, Magister Kelpius dead, while of the 
other leaders, Koster, had returned to Europe, and the Falk- 
ner brothers were itinerating in the adjoining provinces." 

Commenting upon this condition, the " Chronicon " states, 
" After their leader died, the Tempter found occasion to 
scatter them, as those who had been most zealous against 
marrying now betook themselves to women again, which 
brought such shame on the solitary state that the few who 
still held to it dared not open their mouths for shame." 

"In such times the •Superintendent (Beissel) arrived in 
Germantown; but kept very quiet as to his projects for a 


solitary life, for many, who had maintained a very proper 
walk in Germany, had here hung up their holy calling on a 
nail; and, what was worse, would give no one credit for 
zeal or diligence. Among these were several who in the 
Palatinate had let themselves be driven from house and 
home, but had left great wealth behind them after their 
death. All this caused him much concern; for he every- 
where saw the pious sitting at the helm and exercising mag- 
isterial offices." 

Beissel in THE New World. 

Religious Aspect. — In tracing the religious experiences, 
and struggles, and conflicts in the life of Beissel, in his fore- 
going biography, we see the religious conditions and ex- 
cesses of his times that constituted such a powerful influ- 
ence over him, and prepared him for such tremendous acts, 
that made him the central figure of so much dramatic 

Beissel indeed found himself now in a new world. He 
had hoped for speedy realization of mountain-tops of spirit- 
ual ecstasy on the Wissahickon Heights, but instead he was 
down in the valley of disappointment and humiliation. In- 
stead of things wholly spiritual, he found his feet on hard 
terra firma, and so face to face with the stern necessity of 
physical subsistence. He perhaps remembered the condi- 
tion of starvation in Germany, and he once more turned to 
the Brethren for material comfort. 

A New Start. — The Brethren had preceded Beissel by 
more than a year, as already noted in their coming in 17 19. 
Peter Becker had already established himself as a master 
weaver of Germantown. Beissel, seeing that his baker's 
trade would be of no use to him, in this new country 
indentured himself to Peter Becker, as an apprentice, to 
learn the weaver's trade, and so his whole purpose had to 
undergo a complete change. 


New Environments. — With his plans and purposes 
changed, he indeed found himself in new environments. 
Beissel now became a member of a busy industrial com- 
munity, self-supporting, and a producing factor in the inter- 
ests and welfare of his fellows. He became a part of the 
social life of his immediate surroundings, and, it is to be 
hoped, he added his share to the religious tone and atmos- 
phere, that tended to the uplift of the settlement. As an 
apprentice, he entered the home of Peter Becker, and be- 
came a member of his household; and, as such, we are 
assured, by the "Chronicon," they were on most friendly 
and intimate terms in their religious discussions. Under 
these conditions, he was m constant association with the 
Brethren, and entered fully into all their social and religious 
life. He knew much of the Brethren at Schwarzenau, had 
sojourned among them for a time, knew their history and 
their persecution, and, in part, had been a fellow sufferer. 
The Brethren at Germantown, with whom he now associ- 
ated, had come from Crefeldt, on the Rhine, which had been 
for some time a general asylum for persons of all shades of 
religious belief, who had fled from their persecutors. Mys- 
ticism in all shades was to be found among some of these 
refugees at Crefeldt. Such diversity of religious belief 
influenced some of the early Brethren, and they brought 
some of it to Germantown. Beissel had every opportunity 
to know every phase of religious tendency at Germantown, 
and his familiarity with all conditions enabled him to see 
where he could find some sympathy, as a foundation for 
antagonizing the Brethren's doctrines. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that, in years after, his inroads were to a con- 
siderable extent successful in disrupting the Germantown 
Church. For a time, it seems, Beissel was able to adapt 
himself quite well to his new environments, but the change 
must have been so great that he could not long endure the 
strain. In less than a year he broke his contract of ap- 
prenticeship, and left Germantown. 


In the Wilderness. — The unexpected surely once more has 
happened. History is silent as to the developments that 
bring about so great a change from the home of Peter 
Becker, in the busy industrial village of Germantown, to 
the w^ilderness Solitude. But no doubt the year at Ger- 
mantow^n w^as one of thoughtful preparation and planning 
for his future work. He had carefully examined the soil 
where were growing some prospective adherents. 

We are indebted to the official " Chronicon " for an intro- 
duction into the very midst of the new scenes, and that 
without ceremony, or knocking at the cabin door, and wait- 
ing for an invitation. The " Chronicon " says : " In order to 
carry out his purpose, he went, in the autumn of the year 
1 72 1, into the upper country known as Conestoga, now 
Lancaster County, which at that time was inhabited by but 
few Europeans; and there, with the aid of his traveling 
companion, Stuntz, erected a solitary residence at a place 
called Muehlbach, where they lived happily for a while. A 
young Hollander by the name of Isaac Von Bebern soon 
after joined -them, with whom he also made a journey to 
Maryland, probably to visit the remnant of Labadists, who 
lived there." The rapidity of change of scenes and the 
development is now truly remarkable. Perhaps there is no 
better way to show the diversity of teaching in the midst of 
which the Brethren had to labor, and the religious excesses 
against which they had to contend, than to note, briefly, how 
these conditions influenced Beissel, and how he finally be- 
came a conglomeration of social and political conditions of 
society, and religious doctrine with which he came in 

These Labadists had located on the Bohemian Manor, in 
Maryland, about forty years before, living a communal life, 
and had become prosperous and wealthy. The young Hol- 
lander desired to visit his near of kin, perhaps his father 
and his uncle, who had left the Mennonites and joined the 
Labadists, Beissel was interested in this mystical com- 


munity, and we shall see that what he saw and learned on 
this visit was a moulding power on his whole future career. 

"There can be but little doubt that, although the com- 
munity at the time of Beissel's visit was already in a state 
of dissolution, it was due to his visit to Bohemian Manor 
and the conferences with Sluyter, together with a number of 
books and papers, both printed and in manuscript, of Laba- 
die and Yoon Von, which Beissel obtained, that we owe 
many of the peculiar features of the Ephrata community. 
Not the least important one was the separation of the sexes. 

" This visit was made none too soon, for soon after the 
two pilgrims had departed, Peter Sluyter died, and, there 
being none to replace him or wield the necessary authority, 
the few remaining members separated, and the community 
passed into history."^ 

It is plainly apparent, from the time of this visit, that 
Beissel was now a convert to the fundamental teaching of 
the Bohemian Labadists. Soon after the return of Beissel 
and Van Bebber from their pilgrimage to the Bohemia 
Manor, to their hut on the IMiihlbach, they were joined 
by George Stiefel, a traveling companion, as noted before, 
on the voyage to America. These four enthusiasts now re- 
solved to dwell together in a brotherly and communal man- 
ner. About this time, or soon after, Beissel commenced to 
express views in regard to the observance of the Sabbath. 
He paid visits to the Sabbatarians in Chester County, at 
Providence and Newtown. He soon after made a pubHc 
announcement that he would observe the Sabbath. This 
caused a disagreement with his companions, but they finally 

The " Chronicon " relates the effect of this new order of 
things as follows : " He declared himself to his brethren that 
now he would observe the Sabbath, and work on Sunday, 
which did not suit them very well. This strange mode of 
life aroused much attention among the few settlers, of 
5 " German Sectarians," p. 59. 


whom some were continually coming and inquiring what it 
meant." Thus matters continued for some time, until the 
severity of the discipline and the short rations commenced to 
tell on his companions. Finally Stiefel and Van Bebber 
declared that they could not live that way, and took their 
departure. Stuntz finally sold the cabin, and thus in part 
re-imbursed himself for the money he had advanced to 
Beissel as passage money. 

Trials Wit Ji out and Within. — Homeless and alone, Beissel, 
smarting under his recent treatment, penetrated deeper into 
the forests, and determined to make a new start. By the 
end of the summer of 1723, he had built with his own hands 
a small log cabin, about one mile distant from the former 
one. Here he was soon joined by a new companion, and, 
because of the importance of this new fellowship, we quote 
from the " Chronicon," as follows: "There it came to pass 
that Michael Wohlfahrt, on his journey to Carolina, visited 
him for the first time. He was a Pietist, born at Memel on 
the Baltic Sea, but had grown cool in his faith, and had lost 
much of it on his many travels. He had come to the Super- 
intendent while Stiefel and Stuntz were still with him, and 
had so fallen in love with his life that he promised to settle 
there with him when he should return from Carolina. 
Meanwhile, when in the year 1724 he came back to him, 
they had left him. As he laid before him his whole con- 
dition,^ the Superintendent received him in faith. In this 
man the latter found abundant exercise for his patience, and 
gained much profit through him in spiritual things. Indeed 
he fared better with him than he had with his former com- 
panions; for, though at times they disagreed, yet Michael 
Wohlfahrt had such high respect for him that he always 
confessed himself in the wrong." This companionship con- 
tinued until broken by death. 

While outward conditions were once more adjusted so 
far as home and companions were concerned, there was a 
growing inward conflict. There was a remarkable struggle 


between his self-exaltation and conceit, on the one hand, and 
his growing conviction, on the other, that he should bow in 
humble submission to the divine command. The " Chron- 
icon" expresses the whole matter and condition in very 
candid language, as follows : " Now also we arrive at the 
reason why God obliged him to again renounce this seraphic 
life, and to enter into a communion with others. Accord- 
ing to this, the life of a hermit is only something granted for 
a time, but not at all the end itself; since no solitary person 
can be fruitful. Accordingly, however innocent his walk 
before God and man at that time was, it was not yet right 
in itself; for with all his renunciations he still had not re- 
nounced himself. What was needed was a soil into which 
he might sow his grain of wheat to die, so that it should 
spring forth and bear fruit to the glory of God. It has 
before been mentioned how baptism, as a transplanting into 
the death of Christ, was again brought to light; now he had 
become abundantly convinced on that subject, but at that 
time he knew neither of a congregation according to his own 
mind, nor of a man who would have been worthy to baptize 
him. Once he made an attempt to baptize himself in the 
waters of Mill Creek; but his conscience was not satisfied; 
nor was the transaction valid, since there were no witnesses 
present. He was to obtain it through men, and that was 
difficult for him. How, at last, he humbled himself under 
the ordinance of God, and became a child of the new cov- 
enant, this shall be shown forth in the following chapter, 
although another excursion from the subject will be neces- 
sary, in order to trace the matter to its origin." So we 
leave, for the time, Beissel and the religious conditions of 
these times as a separate and distinct subject, and turn now 
to the consideration of how all these were related to the 
Brethren and their work. 



We are in the midst of years that are full of history. 
Events of importance are crowding each other in rapid suc- 
cession. Amazing changes come like a flood. For the 
most part, the labors of the Brethren at Germantown, Cov- 
entry, and other places, were blessed, " and the Lord added to 
the church such as should be saved." Acts 2 : 47. Meet- 
ings multiplied, and the influence spread into new fields. 
In a few years a great change had been effected in America 
by the infant church, for the Lord strengthened the hearts 
of his people. By the close of 1724, there were three con- 
gregations organized, all in less than one year : Germantown, 
Coventry, and Conestoga. 

Darkening Days. — In the midst of all of this glorious 
spiritual prosperity and blessing, when the Brethren were 
so much encouraged and strengthened by the spiritual show- 
ers of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, there was 
a gloom hanging over Conestoga. Dark clouds were gather- 
ing that looked threatening and indicated all too clearly the 
approaching storm. Dark days were coming that were full 
of new and strange and sad experiences. We cannot study 
all of these things in detail, but we must be satisfied with a 
rapid sketch, a kind of panoramic view of the principal facts 
and results. As has already been stated, in treating of the 
religious condition at the time of settlement in this country, 
some members had not entirely escaped the influence of mys- 
ticism at Crefeldt and other places, and they brought some 
of it to this country. For a time it prevented their fellow- 
ship, but was finally swallowed up for a time at least, in the 
general interest of the revival services. 



But the spirit of mysticism was only waiting for a favor- 
able opportunity for its development, through the leadership 
of some one. Conrad Beissel knew all this; he had learned 
it at Germantown a few years ago. We have seen him as a 
poor uneducated man, a strange character, with a strange 
history in Europe, and now, lately, living a life of dreamy 
solitude in the Conestoga, but an extreme egotist, in shrewd 
selfishness, coveting leadership. His most marked charac- 
teristic seems to have been his wonderful capacity to absorb 
all new and strange beliefs wherever found — whether the 
extreme and sweeping grounds of Pietism, or the ethereal 
conceptions of the Rosicrucian Mystics, or the solitary med- 
itations of the Hermits on the Wissahickon, or the new doc- 
trine of the Keithian Quakers on French Creek. He seemed 
to have had the unique experience, too, of coming in con- 
tact with more strange doctrines than anyone else, and so 
his own beliefs passed through many evolutions from time 
to time. When the Brethren established the work in Cones- 
toga and largely gave it into his hands, he received what he 
had so much desired. He saw the opportunity, and seized 
it with earnestness. He desired leadership, and planned for 
it at any cost. Let us note the view of the " Chronicon," 
on this point, as follows : " Whoever considers this journey, 
together with the great blessing accompanying it, must con- 
fess that God was with them, at least up to the time when 
that man was found whom he had destined for a more 
important work. It is also certain that the Superintendent 
(Beissel) dealt with them in sincerity, and entered into com- 
munion with them with his whole heart. Had they not in 
the beginning permitted their suspicion against him to over 
master them, but had they condescended to him as he had 
done to them, he would have been the man through whom 
they would have recovered again their first vocation re- 
ceived at Schwarzenau; for he had a higher witness than 
they; such an unpleasant division would not have taken 



The " Chronicon " is clean cut : " God was with them, at 
least up to the time when that man was found whom he 
had destined for a more important work." 

And, again, " had they condescended to him as he had 
done to them, he would have been the man, etc;" " for he 
had a higher witness than they." The authors of the 
" Chronicon " understood the position and purpose of Beis- 
sel on this matter well, and they were in full sympathy with 
him, and they put it on record as a standing rebuke to the 
Brethren for not submitting themselves to this self-ap- 
pointed and self-exalted leader. Again, as indicating how 
the Lord had cast off the Brethren, and chose Beissel, the 
" Chronicon " says : " Accordingly, as they failed in God's 
trial of them, his choice passed from them, and with the 
election all blessing also, unto the person of the Superintend- 
ent." In speaking of his ministry, the "Chronicon" says: 
" His ordination to this office he received from the same one 
who had bestowed it upon Elijah, John the Baptist and 
other reformers, who were awakened specially and directly 
to come to "the help of a church fallen asunder." Testi- 
mony might be multiplied, if it were necessary. The time 
has come when at least the church should know the reason 
for his bitter antagonism. 

With well defined plans and purposes, Beissel entered 
upon his ministry with enthusiasm. As to the manner of 
his preaching, the " Chronicon " says : " He conducted all 
Meetings, however, with astonishing strength of spirit, and 
used so little reflection over it, that even in the beginning 
he was not suffered to use a Bible, so that the testimony in 
its delivery might not be weakened by written knowledge." 
(It will be noticed by this, that the revelation came direct, 
without the medium of the Bible.) 

" He began his discourse with closed eyes, before a large 
crowd of hearers; and when he opened his eyes again the 
most of them were gone, not being able to endure the Spirit's 
keenness." These revelations are then discussed at some 
length, by the " Chronicon." 


But scarcely was he fairly started in his preaching when 
he began to present his doctrines regarding the Sabbath and 
to defend likewise certain Jewish laws in regard to meats, 
etc. This preaching was, of course, resented. Agitation 
and discussion upon these topics soon produced lack of har- 
mony and restlessness which laid the foundations for dissen- 
sion and confusion. The confusion seemed about complete, 
when, soon after, he presented his mystic speculations which 
produced so marked aq effect that, while some thought him 
inspired, the others thought him crazy. There were some 
converts, however, and Beissel baptized them. Communi- 
cations between the Sabbatarians on French Creek and 
Beissel and his adherents, became more and more frequent, 
and he presented his Sabbatarian views more positively and 
most bitterly antagonized those who differed on doctrine. 
This bitterness against the Brethren was carried by those 
who went to proselyte to all the settlements and finally 
reached Germantown; and when Elder Peter Becker and 
some others came on a visit to the Conestoga, Beissel at- 
tacked him most bitterly in public in his sermon. It was 
very evident that he was now openly committed to the policy 
that if he could not control the Brethren in leadership, he 
would destroy their work, and build his own upon the ruins. 
Thus was the breach constantly widened, and the Conestoga 
congregation itself was divided into two parts : those who 
adhered with Beissel to the Sabbath and those who adhered 
to the Lord's Day or Sunday. The leader of the latter was 
Johannus Hildebrand, who had moved to the Conestoga 
from the mother congregation at Germantown. It was 
very evident that matters could not go on at this rate and it 
seemed almost out of the question to restore harmony 
and reach a peaceful settlement. Beissel made a special 
effort to reach and influence the various Brethren settle- 
ments and that he succeeded will be noted further on in the 
history. These circumstances bring us to the latter part 
of the year 1728 and a paragraph from German Sectarians^ 


page 138, will show conditions at that time : " The German- 
town Baptists now reproached Beissel for his ingratitude 
toward them, as it was at their hands that he had received 
baptism. This, instead of rallying him, only tended to in- 
crease his vehemence against his former friends. At the 
same time he was forced to acknowledge the truth of their 
argument. How to overcome this dilemma was a serious 
question. At last, however, a way was found out of the diffi- 
culty, which was worked to their own satisfaction. This 
was the novel proposition to renounce the Becker baptism 
and return it to the old congregation, and then to have such 
of the Beisselianer as had been immersed by Becker re- 
baptized. This strange scene was enacted toward the close 
of December, evidently in the Miihlbach or the Conestoga. 
Upon the appointed day a general meeting of the Sabbata- 
rians was held, during which three brothers and four sisters 
were selected for the chief ceremony. It had been decided 
that it was proper for the Sabbatical number to be the foun- 
dation of the rebaptized congregation. The number seven 
and the two sexes were therefore chosen. According to the 
teachings of the Rosicrucians the number seven represents 
the union of the square and the triad, and is considered the 
divine number, in the same sense in which forty is the per- 
fect numeral. Jan Meyle and Beissel were the first to enter 
the icy water; special hymns were sung, and after an invo- 
cation, in which both men renounced their former baptism, 
Meyle immersed Beissel thrice backwards, and immediately 
afterwards repeated the operation thrice forwards, thus 
baptizing the candidate. Beissel then repeated the same 
ceremony upon Meyle and the others in turn. This act com- 
pleted the separation between the Germantown and Cones- 
toga Baptists." The babyish act of Beissel in his desire to 
" return " his former baptism, has received no end of ridi- 
cule, but if we can overlook his self-righteousness and self- 
exaltation and his ambition to lead, the poor man is to be 
pitied rather than laughed at. This was the condition of 


things when Alexander Mack with the larger part of the 
Schwarzenau congregation arrived in the following year, 
1729. Several attempts were made at reconciliation, but 
without success. The Rosicrucian was now more than a 
mystic; he was partly a Jew, and a strict Sabbatarian, on 
which latter doctrine the separation largely came about. 
But not this alone, nor was this all of his system. He was 
a Labadist, and had already advocated celibacy and a com- 
munal life. One of his special missions now was to invade 
the sanctity of the home, separate husband from wife and 
wife from husband and parents from children. To many 
a home, for peace and happiness, he gave sorrow and sepa- 
ration and many of his victims were filled with remorse and 

Thus was the separation complete. By the very nature 
of the case, the system of doctrine, and the character of the 
leader and defender of that doctrine, complete separation 
was an absolute necessity. Owing to the peculiar condi- 
tions and circumstances of those early times, the system 
flourished for a number of years under a kind of hero wor- 
ship. But the world is not looking for a religion behind 
cloister walls, or locked inside of convent gates. The world 
is longing for a religion of hope, of cheer, of charity, — a 
religion that can comfort, that can feed the hungry, that 
can soothe the broken hearted, with a salvation that proves 
the joy of living is the joy of service. 

Some historians and others have regarded and classed 
these people as a branch of the Brethren Church. This 
seems strange to anyone who has studied the system of 
doctrine of these people. That the German Sabbatarians or 
Seventh Day Baptists under Beissel were a schism or split 
in the first place from the Brethren Church is unquestioned ; 
but his monastic Community is no more a branch of the 
Brethren Church from which he separated than the Luther- 
an Church is a branch of the Catholic Church. There could 
be nothing more foreign in doctrine or more opposite 


in practical working. While the Master said : " Go ye into 
all the world, and preach my gospel to every creature," 
Mark 16:15, Beissel sought to confine his gospel behind 
cloister walls. The system was inherently selfish and was 
destined to die with the brain that conceived it. It was a 
system whose very foundations were so fallacious in char- 
acter as to bring about its own destruction and annihilation. 
The historian, writing for popularity, has regaled himself 
on its unique character, but Beissel and his work linger only 
as a memory of the past generations. Long since has the 
stern hand of destiny laid low the actors, and while time 
has silenced the turmoil and the turbulence, and has gently 
stilled the sobs of broken homes and soothed the heartaches, 
let us cover these scenes of the past with the mantle of 

It will be remembered that we left the Mother Church 
at Schwarzenau, under favorable civil conditions, enjoying 
religious prosperity from 1708, for many years, being pro- 
tected and even defended by Prince Henry. When he 
could no lohger protect them, he spoke in most kindly terms 
in their defense after they had gone away. I wish to quote 
once more, from "The Origin of the Church of the 
Brethren " -} 

"These good people were, however, not left in peace. 
Objections came from all sides that godless people were liv- 
ing there who did not attend the state church nor did they 
submit to its ordinances. On Easter morning of 1719 the 
soldiers came and took the babes out of the mother's arms 
by force, and took them to the state church, where they 
were sprinkled. A cousin of Prince Henry, from Wetzlar, 
brought suit against Henry for permitting the 'Taufer' 
in his territory. Evidently Henry saw that he could no 
longer defend these people. Most likely he told them this 
and they, thankful for past favors and not wishing to cause 
him any trouble, went to West Friesland. I read the letter 
iBy D. Webster Kurtz in "Brethren Almanac," 191 1. 


where Henry defends himself, saying that he had no such 
persons in his territory. He did have, but two hundred 
persons, — forty famiHes, — had just left, and now no one 
was there except Lutherans, Calvinists and Catholics. In 
a previous defense Henry says he does not harbor godless 
and wicked people, but the people whom he had were the 
* best people he ever saw ' and ' they had more religion than 
any of the members of the state church.' ' Their religion is 
genuine, but the religion of many others is sham. ' " 

Little is known of the church during the stay of nine 
years in this place of refuge. It is well known, however, 
that "some Hollanders were won to the church," which is 
evidence that the activity and growth of the church was 
maintained. " It was at this place that they received the 
news of the promising mission jfields among the Germans 
in Pennsylvania. They decided to cast their lot with their 
friends and Brethren in the New World, the land of re- 
ligious liberty. They sailed from Rotterdam, in July, on 
the good ship Allen, James Craigie, master, and qualified at 
Philadelphia, September 15, 1729."^ 

Upon his arrival, Alexander Mack again became the lead- 
ing spirit of the church, as he had been in the beginning, in 
the capacity of the "leader and first minister" at the time 
of organization in 1708. As some so-called historians 
speak of him as the " founder " of the church of the Breth- 
ren, there should be a clear and definite understanding that 
the Brethren do not regard Mack as either the " founder," or 
the " foundation." He was only one of eight to organize 
the work, but because of his previous experience and activity 
as a minister and evangelist, he naturally became the leader 
and the leading spirit. 

As to foundation, we accept the words of the Apostle 

Paul, I Corinthians 3 : 1 1 — " For other foundation can no 

man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." It may 

be well to recall Alexander Mack's recital of the covenant of 

2 " German Baptist Brethren," by the author, p. 52, and footnote. ^^ 


the eight : " Under these circumstances some felt themselves 
drawn powerfully to seek the footsteps of the primitive 
Christians, and desired earnestly to receive in faith the or- 
dained testimonies of Jesus Christ according to their true 
value. At the same time they were internally and strongly 
impressed with the necessity of the obedience of faith to a 
soul that desires to be saved. 

"Finally, in the year 1708, eight persons consented to- 
gether, to enter into a covenant of a good conscience with 
God, to take up all the commandments of Jesus Christ as an 
easy yoke, and thus to follow the Lord Jesus, their good and 
faithful shepherd, in joy and sorrow, as his true sheep, even 
unto a blessed end." — German Baptist Brethren, page 62 
and 63. 

This is a clear statement of those who, having come from 
different beliefs, accepted Christ and His Gospel as funda- 
mental principles. True to the leadership of Alexander 
Mack and his associates, there is no other creed or confession 
to-day, but the Church of the Brethren still accepts only 
the New Testament as the rule of faith and practice. 

We have already set forth the difference in doctrine on 
which the line of separation was made by Beissel. It is 
necessary to have some understanding now as to the policy 
of antagonism and destruction that was inaugurated by 
Beissel, and his faithful dupes, in order to show what 
Alexander Mack and Peter Becker had to grapple with at 
this time. In the Conestoga, the confusion and dissension 
had become a veritable Babel. Many resented the teaching 
and acts of Beissel, and withdrew, and so was formed later 
the Conestoga Church of Brethren. The general condition 
of the congregation, and the conduct of the leaders Is thus 
set forth in the " Chronicon," p. 42 : " About this time, 
namely, in the year 1728, the power of God manifested 
itself palpably in the meetings, witnessing against the old 
Adam and his many false sanctuaries; whereat many were 
offended and separated themselves from the congregation. 


These Separatists, like men sick with a plague, finally 
banded together, and set up a meeting of their own; so that 
in those times there were more apostates than there were 
righteous ones; which, however, by no means confounded 
the Superintendent; for he had reckoned on all these, and 
yet worse, quarrelings, when he left his beloved solitary 
state and waded into the sea of humanity. Since it was 
known that these apostates were supported by the Baptists 
of Germantown, M. W., (Michael Wohlfahrt), felt himself 
moved to go into the meeting of these Baptists and thus 
spoke to them : * Men and Brethren, thus saith the Lord, 
ye have gone mad ; this is a city that is destroyed, and unto 
you, Peter Becker, the Lord saith, why dost thou declare 
my rights and hast my covenant on thy lips, while yet thou 
hatest order and throwest my words behind thee ! ' After 
he had thus done, he went his way again. This occurred 
in December, 1728." 

After recording some other matters, on other subjects, 
the " Chronicon " again proceeds : " Now we will take the 
new congregation in hand again. The witness of God con- 
cerning the judgment against the old Adam, as it was ap- 
plied by the Superintendent with much severity, was the 
cause of one revolt after another among his followers. 
This continued until his death; yes, some followed him 
with slander even after his death. No meeting was held at 
which some did not fall to quarreling, and mostly it was on 
the subject of the matrimonial estate; for he was accused 
of seeking to prescribe laws and rules for the same, and 
this was regarded as a teaching of the devil. It was men- 
tioned above concerning the apostates that they organized 
an own congregation, in which J. H. (John Hildebrand) 
and D. E. (Daniel Eicher) were teachers. To these a 
Brother, Joel by name, went in their meeting, and spoke 
thus: 'To you, J. H., I have a word from the Lord to say. 
Thus saith the Lord: Thou shalt no longer go forth and 
preach to others, but first thou and thy house must be con-- 


verted, then thou canst go forth and convert others. If 
thou heed not this warning voice, the judgment of the Lord 
shall come upon thee because thou hast not done according 
to his Words. Moreover this day it shall be made manifest 
whether we or you are the congregation of God; for God 
will to-day perform a wonder and sign in me, in that if I 
shall fall down before your eyes as one that is dead, and you 
will pray for me that I may rise again, then God hath not 
sent me unto you, and you are the Lord's congregation. 
But if I do not fall dead before your eyes, but shall go out 
of the door again well and hearty, then ye shall know that 
the Lord hath sent me to you this day, and that you are not 
the Lord's congregation. Eight days ago as I was in your 
meeting, I said that there were wolves among you ' ; and 
after seizing one of them, Henry Hohn by name, by the arm, 
he said, * Here is a wolf,' and then went away with his com- 

The " Chronicon " states that Joel "went away " showing 
that he did "not fall dead," and thereby proving that the 
Brethren were " not the Lord's congregation." 

These denunciations were called prophesying, by deliver- 
ing a message from the Lord, announcing certain destruc- 
tion of the good Brethren who had incurred the displeasure 
of Beissel by refusing his self-imposed leadership. Beissel 
himself also delivered such testimony, or prophesy. Some 
of these testimonies were written, — some printed, in both 
English and German. 

It is interesting to know just how the congregation of 
Beissel regarded this method of antagonistic attack upon 
the Brethren, and Peter Miller does not fail to state in his 
usual frank way (" Chronicon") and the results: 

" Some of the congregation thought as much of this testi- 
mony, (Joel by name,) and also of that of M. W., recorded 
above, as if the Holy Spirit had dictated it; therefore they 
had them carefully written out. But another Brother, 
Amos by name, who looked upon this as idolatry, with the 


sanction of the Superintendent gained possession of these 
testimonies by craft and burned them, saying he would 
try whether they could endure the fire-test. The sensible 
reader will know how to take the best out of this." The 
best is not plainly apparent even to the " sensible reader." ^ 

The company of Alexander Mack consisted of about 
thirty families and so large an addition to their numbers 
greatly stimulated the work, and cheered the Brethren in 
Pennsylvania. But the heart of this devoted man was 
saddened when he found the deplorable condition of things 
among his Brethren, as a result of the Beissel confusion. 
His life was full of heroism, however, and his true and 
moral bravery failed him not now. He went resolutely to 
work, once more, to win the last great battle of his life. 
Perhaps he little realized that it was to be the last great 
struggle. After several vain attempts to reconcile Beissel, 
all efforts were concentrated to bring harmony out of the 
the confusion and chaos, and once more organize his forces 
for united Christian work. The result of these united 
efforts is perhaps best indicated by pointing to the fact that 
a number of churches were organized in the course of a few 
years. The following is at least a partial list of the churches 
and the dates of their organization : The Oley Church, in 
1732; the Great Swamp Church, in 1733; Amwell Church, 
New Jersey, in 1733; the Cocalico, or Conestoga Church, in 
1735 (reorganized from the Beissel wreck) ; the White 
Oakland, in 1736 (only partly organized) ; and others soon, 
after. But he saw only a part of the fruits of his latter 
labors. His life was too intense, too full of sacrifice and 
service, to last long; and at the early age of fifty-six, he 
passed away. A brief biography will be found in the fol- 
lowing chapter. 



Birth. — In the foregoing chapters we have much account 
of the activities and labors of this man of God, yet because 
of the importance of his ministry and leadership for twenty- 
seven years, it will be of interest to relate briefly such 
biographical facts as have come down to us. It may be 
said, however, that we know but little, comparatively, of 
this great and good man, outside of the organized activities 
of the Church of the Brethren with which he is so insepa- 
rably connected. He was born in 1679, at Schriesheim, 
a'bout midway between Manheim and Heidelberg, in the 
Electorate of Palatia, or the Palatinate, now forming a part 
of the grand duchy of Baden, in southern Germany. Of his 
parents we have little positive information. From what his 
biographers say of him, we know that his parents were re- 
spectable, wealthy and religious. 

His Education. — Inasmuch as "After the Reformation 
Heidelberg was long the headquarters of German Calvinism 
and gave its name to a famous Calvinistic catechism," it is 
altogether likely that Alexander Mack received careful in- 
struction in the Heidelberg catechism, since he was born and 
raised only a few miles from that city. Elder James 
Quinter writes, in 1867: "Although we know but little of 
his ancestors, it appears he descended from a very respect- 
able and wealthy family. He was a Presbyterian (Re- 
formed), and educated in the Calvinistic faith. Of his 
literary acquirements we know nothing but what we can 
gather from his writings, and from these it does not appear 
that he had a classical education. "^ 

Occupation. — It seems that in early life he was a miller, 
and operated his milling interests. Morgan Edwards, writ- 

1 This biographical sketch is placed as Chapter IX, of Part I, be- 
cause his life belonged to the whole Brotherhood. 

2 Memoir of Alexander Mack, Sen., Brethren's Encyclopedia. 

















ing in 1 770, says : " He had a handsome patrimony at 
Schriesheim, with a profitable mill and vineyard thereon, 
but spent all in raising and maintaining his church at 

Marriage. — In the year 1700, at the age of twenty one, he 
was married to Anna Margaretha Klingin, a native of the 
same place and about his own age. To this union were born 
five children, three sons and two daughters : Johannes, John 
Valentine, Alexander, Christina, and Anna Maria. 

His Life-Work. — His life-work began at an early age. 
He was only twenty-nine years of age when the Church was 
organized and he was chosen the first minister. He how- 
ever had been active already for a number of years before 
this time. Being dissatisfied with the religious system in 
which he had been brought up, he directed his prayerful at- 
tention to the Scriptures in searching for " the old paths," 
for he was anxious to ascertain the mind of the Lord as 
therein revealed. This soon brought persecution and in a 
few years he was an exile from his splendid estate at 
Schriesheim. He took his wife and little ones, and with 
many others found a refuge at Schwarzenau under the mild 
rule of Count Henry. Here he found many active Pietists 
and among them Ernest Christoph Hochmann von Hochenau 
who was an active evangelist and with whom Mack traveled 
much, for they had much in common. There is no doubt 
but that Hochmann's Confession of Faith encouraged and 
confirmed Mack considerably in his own convictions; but 
Hochmann seemed to lack the courage of his convictions and 
his work ultimately came to naught and he died in sorrowful 
poverty. The work of the Church of the Brethren was 
organized here in 1708, as has already been noticed, and was 
continued for twelve years, or until 1720; when upon the 
death of the mild and friendly Count, they were driven to 
Holland. But the year 1720 is emphasized for sadness, in 
the life of this good man, in addition to persecution and 
exile. From Quinter's Memoir, I quote as follows : 

3 "Materials toward a History of the American Baptists," Vol. I, 
Part IV. 


" But he had domestic afflictions to endure, as well as those 
arising from persecution. In 1720, twenty years after they 
were united in the bonds of matrimony, and twelve years 
after they were united to Christ by a living faith and gospel 
obedience, his companion was taken from him by death. 
She is said to have been a meek Christian and virtuous wife. 
She found in death what she and her husband had sought in 
vain for on earth, a calm retreat from the storm of persecu- 
tion. Within one week of the death of his wife, his oldest 
daughter, then about six years old, also died. It is said 
that the child was uncommonly fond of its mother, and out 
of regard, perhaps, to the fondness which existed between 
the mother and child, as well as out of regard to the circum- 
stances of persecution under which the father and child were 
placed, the Lord in His wisdom and goodness may have 
taken the little daughter to the quiet home of the mother 
where it could enjoy her fond caresses, rather than leave it 
where it must endure the hardships and troubles of persecu- 
tion in common with its father. Thus in about one week, in 
addition to the troubles consequent upon the great persecu- 
tion which was then raging, he had to bear the loss of a kind 
and Christian wife and a dear little daughter. After seek- 
ing unsuccessfully for a retreat from persecution in his na- 
tive country, he with his three sons, and a number of his 
Brethren, emigrated to America in 1729, and settled as a 
poor man, poor in this world's goods but rich in faith, on a 
small lot of ground near Germantown, in the vicinity of 

Thus it will be seen that the wife of Alexander Mack did 
not accompany him to America in 1729, as some historians 
assert, and such assertion has, therefore, been the cause of 
much confusion. 

The Character of this ''Man of God." — Though he prob- 
ably was not classically educated, his writings have lived for 
two hundred years. He was, perhaps, not an eloquent 
preacher, but his consistent life and consecrated devotion 
wonderfully impressed the truth he professed and defended. 
He was truly loved and deeply mourned by those who fol- 
lowed his leadership. His death at this time was a very 
serious loss, coming as it did so soon after the confusion of 
the Beissel Secession; and it would certainly have proven 


fatal If his followers had bullded on the personality of their 
leader. But he was so anxious about the permanent estab- 
lishment of the truth of God, that he had carefully elimi- 
nated his own personality. Perhaps the truth of this state- 
ment is best illustrated by the following incident. 

Some time before his death, he said to his family, " Now 
when I am gone, don't mark my grave, or they might some- 
time want to erect a monument over my grave." The sons 
were grieved to think that his grave should be lost sight of, 
and so they protested against an unmarked grave. It is said 
he then yielded to the wishes of his loved ones and gave 
them privilege to place his initials on a small stone slab. 
This incident seems well established as a fact; it is at any 
rate entirely consistent with the man's life and character, 
and the unpretentious bluestone, scarce two feet in height, 
has been a silent witness for more than a century and a half, 
to multitudes of his followers. 

No monument has yet been erected, and none will be. He 
needs none. His name is written in the Book of Life; his 
spiritual devotion and living sacrifice to principle are in- 
scribed in the hearts of his spiritual descendants. What a 
simple story of such a heroic life. " Hier Ruhen | die Ge- 
beine | A.M. | geboren 1679. | gestorben | 1735. | Alt 56 Jahr." 
Succeeding generations of his own family, not connected 
with the Brethren, had lost the grave entirely. To the 
Brethren, all these years the simple epitaph was eloquent 
with meaning. 

" His Christian character appears to have been that of a 
primitive follower of Christ. Humility, zeal, self-denial, 
and charity were conspicuous among the graces that adorned 
his character. The high estimation in which he was held by 
his Brethren is seen in the circumstances that he was chosen 
by them to be their minister. He was the first minister in 
the little Christian community organized at Schwarzenau in 
1708, and labored zealously and successfully to enlarge the 
borders of their Zion. Of his private character as a Chris- 
tian father we may infer favorably from the circumstances , 
that all his sons became pious and were united to the church ! \ 
before they had completed their seventeenth year. And 


what seems somewhat remarkable, they all made a public 
confession of religion in the seventeenth year of their age."* 
"To Alexander Mack the church must ever turn with 
gratitude and reverence. In the midst of persecutions and 
in an age of religious fanaticism, surrounded by men of all 
shades of belief, he heroically stood for the truth as he 
/ saw it. Around him, no doubt impressed by his piety and 
honesty, gathered faithful followers — men and women who 
abandoned former religious organizations and stood with 
him for the truth of God as revealed in Christ. To him we 
are indebted for our church organization and for the prin- 
ciples that bind into a Christian unity, the members of God's 
visible Church."** 

We need a larger vision of the times and condition in 
which he lived, and of the scope of the work he helped to 
establish, so that we may place a higher estimate upon the 
life and character of Alexander Mack, and assign his proper 
place as a factor in the religious history of the world. Such 
high type of Christian leadership leads men and women back 
to God. 

His Seal. — To study his seal is of real significance. Some 
years ago some of his descendants from the west commenced 
a research for the purpose of recovering his seal. They 
seemed certain enough that there was or had been a seal, but 
the search proved fruitless, and it now seems likely that the 
seal of Alexander Mack will never be found. Such a seal 
indicates the prominence of his family. What was the char- 
acter of this seal, and what was its symbolic representation? 
Did he not leave its impress somewhere, just as he left his 
impress of his character upon the hearts and lives of his fol- 
lowers ? Yes, after being lost perhaps more than a century, 
and even its character unknown. Beside his official signa- 
ture on an old parchment deed, at Germantown, is his official 
impress of his personal or family seal. It is in red sealing 
wax and is in perfect condition. See illustration, which 
shows that the seal consisted of several symbols, each of 
which had a religious significance. The entire combination 
constitutes a remarkable index to the character of its owner. 

* Quinter's Memoir. 

5 " German Baptist Brethren," M. G. Brumbaugh, page 71. 



It is circular in shape. In the center is the cross, which 
means sacrifice ; the heart means devotion, and placed on the 
cross, further means sacrificed in devotion; the branches of 
the vine mean fruit-bearing. Thus the seal may be inter- 
preted to read: a devoted, fruit-bearing, sacrificed Hfe. 
How significantly true is this of the life of Alexander Mack? 
The Removal. — When Alexander Mack died in 1735, 
there was but one graveyard in the neighborhood, called the 
Upper Burying Ground of Germantown or sometimes called 
Axe's Burying Ground, after the man who owned the 
ground. The cemetery connected with the Brethren church, 
located now near the spot where he died, was not opened 
until the close of the century, or about sixty-five years after 
Mack's death. So with loving hand his body was laid away 
to sleep in the midst of strangers. This ancient cemetery 
has long since been but little used, and many removals have 
taken place within recent years. Because of the growing 
neglect of the place for years, it was a matter of much regret 
and real sorrow of heart, when I first discovered that he 
reposes in so forlorn and neglected a place. The Brethren 
cemetery was a beautiful, and an ideal spot in which to lay 
away loved ones. Why should not his remains repose in the 
midst of his own people, and especially in the midst of five 
generations of his own descendants ? But he was buried one 
hundred and fifty-nine years, and why should his dust be 
disturbed. A proposition of removal was presented to some 
of the descendants, for they alone had the right to authorize. 
They quickly consented but scarcely one of them knew of the 
place of his burial. Necessary official arrangements were 
made, and on November 13, 1894, the removal took place. 
The inscription on the small stone slab said : " Here rest 
the bones A. M." This was literally the truth, strange as 
it seems to one who knows not the condition of the ground 
that preserved the bones for so long a time. All the bones 
were there, even to the smallest, perfect in form and shape, 
but without hardness, or toughness, only the mineral con- 
stituents. These bones, with the brown layer of dust sur- 
rounding them, we carefully and gently gathered together, 
and placed in an oak box. For a short time these remains 


reposed in the historic meeting house, while we conducted 
brief funeral services, Eld. T. T. Myers, then of Philadel- 
phia, assisting. The oak box, with the mortality of Alex- 
ander Mack, was then carried to the cemetery in the rear 
of the church, and placed in a grave in the midst of his own 
family. The former small slab was retained for a foot- 
stone, and for a head-stone there was erected a plain white 
marble slab about five feet in height, with the following 
inscription : 

Alexander Mack, Sr., | the first minister | and organizer of 
the I Church of "The Brethren" | in the year 1708. | Born 
at Schriesheim, | Germany, 1679. | Came to Germantown 
1729, died 1735. I Removed from | Axe's Burying Ground, 

Seal of Alexander Mack, Sr. 


Anoorcakizer or the 
[church Of -THE BRETHREN. 
GERMANY. 1679- 
;7e9. DIE.0 1735 . '^\ 

Old and New Tombstone of Alexander Mack, Sr. 

Old Stone Church and Old Stone Parsonage, Germantown. 

Bv Julius F. Sachsc. 



It will be remembered that from the beginning, German- 
town has always occupied a conspicuous place in the activi- 
ties of the Brethren. It was the center of authority and 
organized effort ; and so, in the preceding chapters, German- 
town has often been referred to and much of its history 
traced directly, and much more indirectly and in a general 
way. Nothing more, therefore, need be said of these earlier 
years, but we have now arrived at a period when it is neces- 
sary to consider Germantown very carefully, for here are 
concentrated all the vital interests of a great religious crisis. 

A Retrospect. — Beissel had invaded Falckner's Swamp,^ 
and during the years, from 1727 to 1729, had made many 
converts. It was here that an effort was made at reconcilia- 
tion, but like all others proved fruitless. After seven years 
from the beginning of this awakening, these converts of 
Beissel broke up their homes and moved to the Settlement, 
in 1734. Encouraged by his success in Falckner's Swamp, 
during these first years, Beissel decided to make a visit into 
the Tulpehocken country, where he met with astonishing 
success, because of the high standing of the converts in the 
Reformed and Lutheran churches. The recital of this 
awakening had no bearing on the subject under considera- 
tion, except by mere reference to it to show Beissel's prose- 
lyting methods at this time. 

Michael Wohlfahrt the over-zealous servant, was ever 
ready to do the bidding of Beissel, at all hazards. As noted 
in a previous chapter, he, with one Joel by name, interrupted 
the Brethren, in their meetings in Conestoga. He had been 
of service in Falckner's Swamp, until, "he fell from his 
office with shame and disgrace." He was now ready to 
serve his master in a new field, and other places. 

1 For account of the work in Falckner's Swamp, see "History ot 
Coventry Church." 



The Chronicon makes a final comment on this method of 
work, and gives another example of this style of harangue, 
viz. : 

" It viras mentioned above that M. W. (Michael Wohlfahrt) 
had borne prophetic witness against the Baptists (Brethren) 
in Germantown. He did more such work in those days. 
For on October 19, 1729, he and another Brother went into 
a meeting of the Quakers in Philadelphia, and, after he had 
listened a long while to a female preacher, he finally began 
to speak, — * My friends, I beseech you to hearken unto me, 
for I have a few words from the Lord to you; therefore, I 
demand that you hear me. For I will not leave this place 
until I have delivered my message which I am sent to bring, 
that I may be guiltless before the Lord, and may go my 
way hence again in peace.' The speeches and replies are in 
print, but are too lengthy to reproduce here." 

The civil law has long ago made provision for such con- 
ditions, and if any one were to tramp around the country 
now disturbing religious meetings, he would likely be ar- 
rested and fined, or imprisoned. But the very audacity of 
these dupes," and the very positive boldness with which they 
announced their preposterous claims of a direct revelation 
from the Lord to pronounce judgment upon the people, 
made a profound impression upon some of the hearers. All 
of these things had an influence upon some people, and they 
could not fail to affect those at Germantown who had already 
such tendencies, and contributed to their further develop- 
men. However, with the coming of Alexander Mack, in 
1729, the whole situation assumed a changed aspect. The 
powerful influence of his personal leadership was at once 
felt and recognized, — in checking Beissel's influence and 
work, and in giving inspiration and enthusiasm to the cause 
of the Brethren. During the next six years the work was 
much extended, and new churches were organized. 

Other Influences at Work. — It will be necessary to a clear 
understanding now, to trace some of the internal conditions 
which contributed so largely to the final results. Reference 
was made in the beginning to the mystical influences that 
hindered the Brethren in the earlier years, in their work at 


Germantovvn. After a time these influences seem to have 
been overcome ; but they were only lying dormant for a time, 
and in years after rebounded with consuming force. One 
person was largely responsible for this element in the re- 
ligious crisis, as will be seen by an account of his doings. 

"Among the Creyfelt members who came with Peter 
Becker to Germantown in 1719, no one affords a better 
illustration of the mystical influences that saddened and re- 
tarded the growth of the Church than Stephen Koch. 

"Before 171 5, he was a minister at Creyfelt, but not an 
ordained Elder. With the more consecrated element of 
the congregation he engaged in active evangelistic work, 
traveled much, preached fearlessly, lived nobly. When he 
came to America, he allowed the spirit to decline. In 1723, 
he was at the first love feast, a humble member; but the 
collected membership chose Becker to conduct the services. 
Whether this in any way affected the zeal of Bro. Koch is 
not known. Perhaps he already had developed such traits 
of mysticism as to render his leadership unwise. At all 
events, the Ephrata community had a charm for him. 

"In August, 1726, the Brethren at Germantown paid a 
fraternal visit to the Conestoga congregation, then in full 
fellowship, and presided over by Conrad Beissel. On this 
visitation Henry Traut and Stephen Koch left the party and 
visited Jacob Stuntz. 

" Stuntz came to America in 1720 with Beissel and 
Steifel. Stuntz paid Beissel's passage to Boston. He also, 
in 1 72 1, accompanied Beissel into the wilderness and lived a 
solitary life. About 1724, Stuntz sold the house in which 
he and Beissel Hved in order to recover the money advanced 
to Beissel on coming to America. This caused Stuntz to 
suffer the displeasure of Beissel. When Beissel founded the 
church, Stuntz also became a member. Stuntz married, and 
under censure of having married a near relative, Beissel 
placed him under the ban. 

"To restore Stuntz to fellowship was the purpose of 
Traut and Koch's visit. In this they were successful. But 
in doing so they incurred the censure of Beissel who claimed 
that he alone had the power to restore Stuntz to the com- 
munion of his Brethren. Beissel, therefore, not only re- 


newed his opposition to Stuntz, but censured these Brethren 
as well."2 

Some of Koch's Doings. — I have made this somewhat 
extended quotation, in order to give some facts of Koch's 
earher Hfe, some phases of reHgious tendencies, and Koch's 
relation to Germantown as well as to Beissel. We are, 
therefore, the better prepared to consider the conditions at 
Germantown, in which Koch became so important a figure. 
Koch was a man of large experience as a minister, of some 
ability as a writer, and among other things, he wrote a long 
account of himself, and his doings at Germantown, which is 
recorded in the CJironicon. This account is very largely the 
index to his life and character. From 1726 to 1739, he 
passed through many and very varied experiences. He 
more and more yielded to his mystical tendencies. He lived 
for a time, at least, a solitary life, but the Chronicon says, 
"he forsook his celibacy, and betrothed himself to a widow." 
From this course he repented with many tears of penitence, 
and returned to his solitary life. In an introductory way, 
the Chronicon says, " at that time there was among the 
Baptists at Germantown, an old experienced Solitary 
Brother, Stephen Kock by name, who stood in good repute 
because of his piety." But he grew more and more out of 
harmony with the Brethren. He says, in his own account, — 

" for they recognize no one as a Brother who has not been 
baptized, even though he should surpass them in knowledge 
and experience ; such an one has to be satisfied with the title 
of friend. They went still further in this literal and narrow 
manner and committed the teaching office mostly into the 
hands of married men. Thereby they brought matrimony 
into high favor." 

This seems to be the real ground for his course, that he 
did not receive the consideration he felt was due him, the 
reason for such lack, of course, being that his teaching was 
wholly at variance with the Brethren. Koch began to have 
ecstatic visions, as early as 1732; some of these he wrote 
out in full for publication, — first published in Europe, and 

2 " German Baptist Brethren," Brumbaugh, pages I33~i34- 



afterwards reprinted, by Saur, in 1744 and 1748, with other 
"" apparitions" etc. These are too lengthy to appear in this 

But new experiences came to him besides his betrothal, 
and remarkable visions and apparitions. He says : 

"About this same time, however, an important Brother, 
Henry Traut by name, passed out of time into eternity, on 
Jan. 4, 1733. When with sorrowful heart and deeply 
grieved I saw him pass into eternity, it made so deep an 
impression on me that I continually sighed unto God whether 
it were not possible that in this life yet I might attain unto 
health of conscience." 

Traut and Koch had been very intimate, for they had 
much in common, and had some similar experiences. To 
this penitence, and to visions, and to this grief, however, one 
thing more must be added. He says : 

" In this way I spent several years, and had, besides, great 
pain from stones in the bladder, so that I often lay two 
or three days in the greatest extremity, and had death ever 
before me, until I was again relieved from it for a time. 
But God finally regarded my misery, and came to my help 
in a wonderful manner, on the 3rd of May, 1735." 

The Reaction. — As stated above the six years, from 1729 
to 1735, during Mack's leadership, were years of religious; 
prosperity for the Brethren, notwithstanding Beissel's ag- 
gressive opposition from without, and Koch's mystical in- 
fluences from within. But the year 1735, the year of 
Mack's death, was especially a sad one for Germantown. 
The time seemed most unfortunate. 

"A great crisis was approaching among the Germans in 
Pennsylvania. Beissel was especially active and aggressive, 
and while he had confined himself to the Brethren settle- 
ments in various places, he now branched out and began to 
proselyte among the Lutherans and Reformed in the Tulpe- 
hocken and other places. It was in 1735 that Rev. Peter 
Miller and Conrad Weiser and other prominent Germans 

3 See the Chronic on, " German Sectarians," and Brumbaugh's " Ger- 
man Baptist Brethren." 


accepted Beissel's doctrine, and removed to Ephrata. 
Beissel now seemed to put forth every effort possible to 
destroy the Brethren congregations. He organized large 
parties, sometimes as many as twelve in a party, to visit the 
settlements of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He laid 
claim to following the Brethren's doctrine in the observance 
of all the commandments of the New Testament and every- 
where threatened the church. He found in after years that 
his work was too aggressive, for he had many converts he 
could not hold, and many he did not want, for he could not 
assimilate and use them to his own ends. This at least 
partly explains the reason why so many prominent persons, 
who became converts of Beissel, remained at Ephrata only 
long enough to find out the man and the character of his 

Under these conditions, it is not strange, therefore, that 
there was a serious reaction when Mack died. Some of the 
newly organized churches were not yet well established, but 
the full force of the blow fell on Germantown. Here were 
those who had come with him in 1729, and who had never 
known any other ministry and leadership. They who knew 
him best, loved him most, and most deeply mourned their 
loss of his personal presence. Among these was Alexander 
Mack, Jr., then a young man of 23 years, very active in the 
church, but disheartened when his father died, whom he 
dearly loved. He was despondent, and believed that he too 
would soon die. It was at this time that Koch first related 
to him his wonderful visions and experience. It made a 
deep impression upon him, in his despondent condition. 
Koch also greatly influenced Henry Kalckglasser, who was 
at this time the oldest minister in the congregation at Ger- 
mantown. By this condition, Koch was much encouraged 
in his work, and began to hold public meetings of his own. 
He came to live with Alexander Mack and he refers to their 
further association, and the result as follows : 

"We often had similar conversations with each other, 
and it was not long before he also came to an awakened 
condition. As he was a ready speaker, he began to speak 

* " German Baptist Brethren," by the author, page 74. 


in the meeting so powerfully that it was a marvel to hear 
him, and aroused much notice in the congregation. ... At 
that time we had a meeting for the unmarried every Sunday, 
afternoon, where we also spoke together as narrated above. 
At last the spirit of revival came upon all who were as- 
sembled together, so that one often heard with astonishment 
how they praised God; however, with many it did not last 

These meetings have sometimes been called a Sunday 
School because held on Sunday afternoon. But let it be 
remembered, first, it was " a meeting for the unmarried " ; 
second, the teaching theme was Koch's visions and Beissel's 
doctrine of celibacy; third, the teachers were Beissel's 
disciples. These meetings received every possible en- 
couragement from Ephrata, and Peter Miller and others 
from Ephrata frequently were present to address the meet- 
ings. After these Germantown Brethren and Sisters had 
gone to Ephrata, they continued the Sunday meetings there, 
for many years. 

A Divided Congregation. — Thus matters continued for 
several years, with increasing gloom hanging over German- 
town. There could be but one result, — a divided congrega- 
tion, a disrupted church. The Chronicon gives the follow- 
ing, as to conditions at this time : 

"The fame of it (the awakening) soon resounded through 
the whole land; for they held their meetings in the woods, 
and then walked through Germantown hand in hand, which 
attracted much attention. Besides, they had frequent meet- 
ings at night. The teachers of the Baptists themselves went 
astray in this movement. Some of them, like Henry Kalck- 
glasser, Valentine Mack, John Hildebrand, supported it; 
while others, like P. Becker, Naass, etc., [Peter Becker, 
John Naas,] who had had a similar experience in Germany, 
opposed it. Yes, Peter Becker often said to them: 'Dear 
children, it is the seventh-day spirit of Conestoga! '" 

And so, the crisis was at hand. Beissel had won, but at 
tremendous cost, and the victory was worse than the defeat. 
Koch and his companions and adherents marched out of 
Germantown, most of them never to return. They 


journeyed to Ephrata, there to bury themselves in seclusion 
behind monastic walls. Germantown had lost a host, 
Beissel added a few names to his monastery lists. It was 
the saddest day in the history of Germantown, for many 
valuable members had been lost, and some of the best fami- 
lies were represented. A few, when they realized their 
disappointment, repented and returned; others there were 
who died in the sadness and solitude of their disappoint- 
ment. There was only one thing that saved Germantown 
in this trying ordeal, and that was the faithful devotion of 
Elder Peter Becker and those who stood with him. 

The following names are given as composing the exodus 
of 1739, mostly on March 27: Heinrich Kalckglasser, and 
wife; Valentine Mack, and wife Maria (Hildebrand") ; Louis 
Hocker, his wife Margretta, and daughter Maria; Johannes 
Hildebrand and wife; Johannes Pettikoffer, and wife Anna 
Elizabeth; the widow Gorgas and her children. Among 
the single persons who joined the celibates, or Solitary, 
were: Stephen Koch, Alexander Mack, Johannes Reismann, 
Christian Eckstein, Heinrich Hocker, Martha Kinsing, 
Miriam Gorgas and Elizabeth Eckstein. And so the curtain 
forever falls upon the unwritten tragedy. 



General Survey. — It is necessary, at this time, to take a 
view of the whole field of the Brethren activities. During 
the closing decades of this period, the work is much ex- 
tended, far beyond the borders of the field covered by this 
volume. These can only be referred to, in order to show 
to what extent the work has spread at so early a date. 
There was much colonization at an early day, and with this 
colonizing went the doctrine and influence of the Brethren. 
This migration and colonization was first to the southern 
counties of Pennsylvania, and then into various counties in 
Maryland and Virginia, and even south as far as North 

Virginia. — There were probably no organized churches 
of the Brethren in Virginia before the Revolution, but settle- 
ments by the Brethren had commenced; and, also, several 
by followers of Beissel, some of whom here, as in other 
places, soon came into full fellowship with the Brethren, 
upon the disintegration of Beissel's work, 

Maryland. — Several well-established churches must have 
existed in Maryland, by the close of this period. The first 
Brethren Church was probably that of Middletown Valley, 
in Frederick County, organized in 1 760. " Many members 
went to the Conococheague and to Monocacy, from the 
various congregations in Pennsylvania ; and among them 
were prominent and efficient ministers, but we know little 
of their work in the early days. The scores of congrega- 
tions of the present day, however, attest the faithful devo- 
tion of these pioneers, and the success of the migration to 
the Southland."^ Among the prominent Elders and minis- 

1 See "Histoi-y of the Brethren in Virginia," by D. H. Zigler; also, 
" The Church Before the Revolution," in " Two Centuries of the 
Church of the Brethren," by J. W. Wayland. 

2 " German Baptist Brethren," by the author, page 98. 




ters who went to Maryland early, before 1770, were: — 
Elder Jacob Donner, from the Codorus Church, York 
County; Elder Daniel Leatherman and Elder Nicolas 
Martin, both from Little Conewago Church, in York 
County, Pennsylvania. These were prominent and active 
elders, and frequently returned to the Pennsylvania churches 
on preaching tours, and important church councils. This 
much must suffice for a notice of the work to the southward, 
from Pennsylvania. We hope that soon the Brethren in 
Maryland will make a thorough research of their ante- 
cedents, and after having gathered all available data possible, 
make a careful study of their history, and publish the fruits 
of their labors, for the instruction and inspiration of the 
coming generations. 

A Momentous Period in American History. — It is well 
to note some of the external conditions with which our 
Brethren were surrounded during the latter years of this 
period under consideration. It w^as indeed a momentous 
period in American history, as to political and military con- 
ditions. In this period fall two wars in which the Ameri- 
cans and the English fought against the French ; and it also 
marks the beginning of a far greater one, in which the 
Americans and the French fought against the English. In 
the former wars, the French lost their empire in America; 
and in the latter, in the succeeding period, England forever 
lost a vast empire, and the beginnings of a mighty nation. 
It was scarcely less momentous from educational and re- 
ligious considerations. The following panoramic sketch is 
full of interest, as well as thoughtfully suggestive : — 

" It was in this period under review that Thomas Jeffer- 
son was born ; that Washington rose from a forest ranger to 
a general's rank; that Franklin became famous as a printer, 
and an inventor, and won some notoriety for his antipathy 
to the Pennsylvania Dutch; that Jonathan Edwards pub- 
lished his work on the freedom of the human will ; that Zin- 
zendorf the Moravian, Muhlenberg the Lutheran, Schlatter 
the German Reformed, and Whitefield the Methodist, all 
came to Pennsylvania or neighboring colonies ; that the 
northern Indian tribes rose in that mighty conspiracy under 


the crafty Pontiac; that the Stamp Act was passed by the 
British ParHament one year and repealed the next; that 
Patrick Henry and James Otis set the land aflame with 
words and ideas; and that there was fired one April morn- 
ing in the dim light at Lexington, near Boston, * the shot 
heard round the world.' 

"It was a stirring time; a period of aggressive strivings, 
momentous beginnings and of rapid developments; and, un- 
fortunately for us, a period of too scanty records. Our 
fathers of that time were too busy subduing wild nature, 
and overcoming want and long distances, to pay much atten- 
tion to writing history. They were making it, not writing 
it. We have entered into their labors with joy and thanks- 
giving, but we long to know more of their story."^ 

In Southern Pennsylvania. — This field is exceedingly in- 
teresting, from the fact of its early beginnings and rapid 
developments. The Brethren at an early day crossed the 
Susquehanna, entered what is now York County, and occu- 
pied many hundreds of its fertile acres. The strong con- 
gregations within the county to-day attest their prosperity 
for one hundred and seventy-five years. The Little Cone- 
wago Church was the first to be organized, in 1738, with 
Elder Daniel Leatherman as their minister; and upon his 
moving to Maryland, Elder Nicholas Martin was their 
minister. He also went to Maryland, as noted before, and 
when the Church was thirty-two years old, in 1770, Brethren 
Jacob Moyer and James Henrich, not ordained, were the 
ministers. The Conewago Church was organized, three 
years later, in 1741; Elder George Adam Martin was the 
minister. Later Leatherman and Martin, from the Little 
Conewago, also ministered to them, until they left the state. 
In 1770, George Brown, not ordained, was the minister; the 
Church, with a membership of yj, was the next to the 
largest church in the Brotherhood, Conestoga alone being 
larger. The Codorus Church was organized in 1758 with 
Elder Jacob Tanner, or Donner, as their minister. When 
he went to Maryland Henry Neff was their minister in 1 770. 
The Bermudian Church was organized by Beissel, in 1758, 

3 " Two Centuries, Church of the Brethren," J. W. Wayland. 


but he was too feeble, in a few years, to serve them; when 
Peter Miller and George Adam Martin preached there for a 
time. When Miller ceased his visits, and Martin went to 
Stony Creek, in Bedford County, the Bermudian Church 
passed entirely under the influence and control of the 
Brethren. Henry Lowman, not ordained, was the. minister 
in 1770. The Antietam Church in Franklin County was 
organized in 1752, when George Adam Martin was also an 
active minister. The Stony Creek Church was organized 
in 1770, 

"This church also is the offspring of Ephrata (for the 
most part) ; the seventh-day sabbath is kept. 

"The minister is Rev. George Adam Martin, of whom 
mention has been made before. He was born near Land- 
stuhl in Germany in the year 1715 ; was bred a Presbyterian; 
embraced the principles of the Baptists in 1737, and was 
ordained by Peter Baker (Becker) in 1739. Afterwards 
he resided at Little Conewago, where some misunderstand- 
ing arose between him and the people and occasioned him 
to remove to Antitum (Antietam). In the year 1762 he 
adopted th« sentiments of the seventh-day Baptists, and 
preached at Bermudian. From thence he went to Stony 
Creek this year."* 

After the death of Martin, the Stony Creek Church passed 
into the hands of the Brethren, as Bermudian had done 
before. For full accounts of the colonial Brethren 
Churches at this period, 1770, see German Baptist Brethren, 
by the author, pages 80-102, quoting Rev. Morgan Edwards; 
see, also, Brumbaugh, quoting from same. These accounts 
are very interesting, but too lengthy to be inserted here. 
See tabulated list at the close of this chapter. 

"At some time between 1750 and 1760 certain Tunkers 
(Brethren) became the first permanent settlers in what is 
now Blair County, locating in the southern end of Morri- 
son's Cove. They are said to have held religious services 
before the year 1756."^ 

* Morgan Edwards, in 1770. 

^' J. W. Wayland, Bicentennial address, 1908. 


These brief accounts must suffice for a general survey of 
the work and activities of the Brethren in other parts. 

Our Own District. — In this district, the colonial churches 
for the most part are elsewhere fully considered. The 
Conestoga Church will be found in the following chapter, 
discussed by Elder Henry Kurtz. 

The Coventry Church is found in Chapter I, Part IV, 
Coventry Group, and nothing more need be said, by way of 
addition to general references in early colonial conditions, 
and the special chapter devoted to the history in detail. 

The colonial church in New Jersey, Amwell, will be 
found in Part III, The Church in New Jersey, Introduction. 

While_Qak -Church, for a long time a part of Conestoga, 

is fully discussed in its separate existence, in Chapter I, Part 
VII, The White Oak Group. 

The Big Swatara, The Little Swatara, The Northkill, and 
The Oley Churches, are covered by the discussions in 
Chapters I, II, and V, of Part VIII, Swatara Group, which 
chapters cover the territorial divisions of the former colonial 
churches above-named. 

The "Greatswamp" (Big Swamp) Church, organized in 
1735, receives due consideration in Chapter I, Part V, 
Indian Creek Group. 

As our definite and specific information of these times 
largely closes with the year 1770, the time when Morgan 
Edwards published his researches, this pre-revolutionary 
period must largely close with that date. The foregoing 
general survey, though necessarily brief, gives a fair view of 
the condition of the Brethren Churches in 1770, and shows 
really a remarkable development during thirty years, since 
the time when that dark cloud hung over the Germantown 
Church. Before closing this period it will be necessary to 
name a few things that happened there in thirty years. 

Germantown. — As everywhere else, so at Germantown, a 
great change has taken place. The entire leadership, of the 
earlier years, has passed away, by the close of this period. 
Not one remains. At no other place was there so great a 
change in conditions, and so remarkable a change in leader- 
ship, as at Germantown. With the death of Mack in 1735, 


Peter Becker was once more the leader ; and with the exodus 
to Ephrata in 1739, when at least three ministers left Ger- 
mantown, and another one having died, it may be that 
Becker was the only minister left at the time. Perhaps at 
no other time was his character and personality brought to a 
greater test, and perhaps at no other time did he show 
greater fervor and devotion, and higher elements of leader- 
ship. He reorganized his shattered forces, and prepared 
Germantown for a period of greatest strength, and highest 

Elder Peter Becker.^ — Much has been said of him, in the 
preceding chapters, in the discussion of the religious activi- 
ties of the Brethren, but it is necessary to give a few 
biographical facts, in closing his life. He was born at Dils- 
heim in Germany, in 1687. He was educated a Presby- 
terian, but embraced the principles of the Brethren at Cre- 
feldt, Germany, In 1714. He was the leader of the first 
emigration, and arrived in America in 1719. At the 
organization of the Church at Germantown, he became the 
first Elder, the administrator at the first baptism, and 
officiated at the first love-feast. He was a weaver by trade, 
and owned twenty-three acres of land, which he cultivated 
in cereals and flax. 

Marriage and Family. — He was married to Anna 
Dorothy Partman, by whom he had two daughters, Mary 
and Elizabeth. The first was married to Rudolph Harley, 
and the other to Jahob Stump; both of which settled in the 
neighborhood and had large families, and most of them 
became members of the Brethren at an early period. In 
1746, his wife died, and he removed to Indian Creek, and 
lived with his daughter, the wife of Rudolp Harley. Here 
he lived twelve more years, and labored faithfully in his 
ministry in the Indian Creek Church, but his life's record 
belongs to Germantown, rather than Indian Creek. 

His Character. — It is said of him, that he was not an 
eloquent and forceful preacher, but a sweet singer, and a 

«For fuller biography, see "Some Who Led," Brethren Publishing 
House; also "History, German Baptist Brethren," Brumbaugh, pp. 191- 


man remarkably gifted in prayer. He is noted for his 
piety and true devotion to the cause he loved. He seems 
to have been a wise counselor, a safe leader in trying times, 
when some others lost their balance, and were swept away 
by the influence of visionary theories, and mystical doc- 
trines of the spirit of the times. He was a rock of safety, 
in the stress of a great crisis. He was not the most gifted 
man, but, next to Mack, one of the most used of the Lord 
in the early church. 

A Center of Influence. — Not alone the leadership of Peter 
Becker saved and re-established Germantown, but gradually 
and powerfully, other influences contributed to a great change 
in conditions, and the development of a new leadership. 
Prominent in the new order of things is the beginning of a 
printing establishment that in due time reached to the 
remotest parts of Colonial America. This printing busi- 
ness was commenced by Christopher Saur (Sower) the 
First, and afterwards, continued by his son, Christopher 
Second, one of the Bishops, or Elders, of the Germantown 
Church for many years. This same Sower family has con- 
tinued the publishing business in various places ever since, 
and the Christopher Sower Publishing Co., of Philadelphia, 
was established by the late Chas. G. Sower, and incorporated 
by him to perpetuate the name of his ancestors. This 
Sower press soon became famous, and the Brethren early 
came into full control of large publishing interests, and 
issued many books, and pamphlets, and especially Bibles 
and hymn books. The Leiberts and Schreibers were also 
printers, and book-binders. These literary and publishing 
activities made the Germantown Church a center of wide- 
spread influence, throughout all the German settlements in 
all the colonies. 

The New Leadership. — It will be remembered that with 
the exodus from Germantown to Ephrata, went Alexander 
Mack, Jr., then a young man. Just how long he remained 
is not known, and what he did while there is not an essential 
part of our story. He did remain, however, long enough 
to convince himself that Ephrata is not the place for him 
to spend his life, and to do his life's work. He returned to 


Germantown, before 1748, for in that year, he was not 
only in full fellowship with his Brethren, but also in their 
full confidence. Christopher Sower records in his diary, 
"On June 7, 1748, there were placed upon me and Brother 
Sander (Alexander) Mack the oversight (Aufsicht) of 
the Brotherhood (Gemeinschaft) on trialJ Brother Brum- 
baugh adds : — 

" Prior to this Alexander Mack must have returned and 
made fitting apology for his absence, and lived long enough 
among the members to win their confidence and love. 
Otherwise they would not have given him the joint over- 
sight of the congregation. This closes his career as a 
wanderer and marks the beginning of fifty-five years of 
continuous service in the ministry of the Church of the 

According to the further record in the diary of Elder 
Sower, they served as Elders on trial for five years, and 
were then ordained with the laying on of hands by Elder 
Peter Becker, on June 10, 1753. These two Elders, the 
successors of Alexander Mack, Sr., and Peter Becker, be- 
came the most prominent Elders in their generation, during 
the closing years of this period, and during and after the 
Revolutionary War. Under their joint Eldership the Ger- 
mantown Church prospered, and their influence extended 
throughout the entire Brotherhood. 

Prominent Elders. — Some of the Elders who constituted 
a tower of strength during a part of, or all, of this period 
of 30 years, from 1740 to 1770, are the following: Peter 
Becker, Germantown ; Alexander Mack, Germantown ; 
Christopher Sower, Germantown; John Naas, New Jersey; 
First Martin Urner, Coventry; Second Martin Urner, 
Coventry; Michael Frantz, Conestoga; Michael Pfautz, 
Conestoga; George Klein, Northkill; John Jacob Beshor, 
Swatara; George Adam Martin, Conewago; Abraham 
Duboy, Big Swamp; Jacob Donner, Codorus; Daniel 
Leatherman, Little Conewago; Nicholas Martin, Little 

7 " German Baptist Brethren," Brumbaugh, p. 219. 


Pennsylvania Churches in lyyo.^ 


Or- No. of 

Name of Church. Name of Place. ganized. Members. 

Germantown Germantown 1723 57 

Greatswamp Bucks County 1735 28 

Coventry Chester County 1724 40 

Conestoga Lancaster County 1724 86 — 


Oley Berks County 1732 20 

White Oak Lancaster County 1736 65 

Big Swatara Lancaster (now Dauphin) County... 1756 39 

Little Swatara Berks County 1757 45 

Northkill Berks County 1748 il 

Codorus York County 1758 35 

Little Conewago ....York County 1738 52 

Conewago ..York County 1741 77 

Bermudian York County 1758 58 

Stony Creek Bedford County 1762 17 

"Thus we see that there are in this province fifteen 
churches of Tunker Baptists, to which appertain eight or- 
dained ministers, elders, or bishops, and thirteen exhorters, 
or probationers, and four meeting houses; the reason of 
their having no more places of worship is, that they choose 
rather to meet from house to house in imitation of the primi- 
tive Christians. We see also that their families are about 
four hundred and nineteen, which contain about two thou- 
sand and ninety-five souls allowing five to the family, where- 
of seven hundred and sixty-three persons are baptized and 
in communion."^ 

It must be noted that in the above paragraph, from 
Morgan Edwards, in giving his statistics, he includes the 
Ephrata congregation with one hundred and thirty-five 
members. I may say, in passing, that, at this time, 1770, 
Beissel is in his grave, and his Monastic community has 
commenced to decline, but it is not necessary to describe in 
this connection Ephrata, because it forms no part of the 
Brethren history at this period. For almost all matters of 
statistics at this time, and many important facts, we are 
indebted to Rev. Morgan Edwards, and we need to give full 
recognition to the value of his writings, and descriptions of 

8 These facts and figures are taken from the accounts of Morgan 
» Morgan Edwards, " Materials for History of the Baptists." 


the early congregations of the Brethren. It is to be re- 
gretted exceedingly, that the facts which he put on record 
in reference to the Brethren Churches in Maryland, were 
not published; but remained in manuscript form, until the 
big fire in the Baptist Publication Society building, in Phila- 
delphia, some years ago, when these with other very valu- 
able manuscripts and historical records were all destroyed. 
Many of these valuable historic records can never be re- 
placed. This is another warning that everything possible 
should be done to preserve our own invaluable historic data, 
by proper publication from time to time, and in such form 
as to insure permanency. It is to be hoped that every local 
church, and every state district will fully wake up on this 
important subject. 



According to manuscript records, kept in said church, 
and entrusted to the writer for investigation, it consisted 
on the 29th of September, 1734, as on the day when 
Michael Frantz was baptized, who was afterwards their 
first teacher, of the following members : 

Brethren. Sisters. 

Legan, Rollin, 

John Keppinger, Koch, 

John G. Koch, Kalkglaser, 

Rudolph Bollinger, Latshaw, 

Earnest Stoll, Luy, 

Joseph Latshaw, Keppinger, 

Lewis Kalkglaser, Hildebrand, 

Luy, Krapf. 

Samuel Gut. 
John Hildebrand, 
Gottfried Geiger, 
Michael Frantz. 
Altogether of 20 members. 

Counting from the above date, September 29, 1734, this 
church in Lancaster is now (1855) over 120 years old. 
Truly a venerable mother-church, whose daughters are to be 
found in the most distant parts of our great country, as we 
have reason to conclude from the names of the members in 
that church. 

" Afterwards," continues the record, " hands were laid on 
Michael Frantz by Elders, and he was ordained as Elder 
and overseer of the church in Conestoga and White Oak; 
and thus by the grace and blessing of God the church has 
been multiplied and increased continually." And how great 
7 81 


the blessing was that rested upon this church the continued 
lists of those who were baptized by them, and were added 
unto them from the Seventhday Baptists and from else- 
where, show. 

In the list from 1735 to 1739 are 32 names of newly- 
received members, and among them we find the following: 
Segrist, Etter, Frantz, Royer, Martin, Landis, Roland, 
Bollinger, Miller, Longenecker, &c. In the year 1739 were 
further baptized 21 persons, among whom were Michael 
Pfautz, the successor of the first overseer, and three 
Brethren by the name of Mohler. 

In the year 1740 were received seven; in the year 1741, 
ten; in the year 1742, twenty-eight, among whom were the 
names of Stucky, Gehr, Alterffer, Schwartz, Flory, Hag, 
Funderburg, Weis, Schneider, Lichty ; and others occur. 

In the year 1743 was the number of newly received mem- 
bers tzventy-four, among whom was Jacob Sontag of whom 
particular mention is made afterwards. Anno 1744 only 
four persons were baptized, and brother Michael Pfants 
chosen for the ministry. In 1745 four were baptized, and 
six brothers and six sisters from Amwell (probably in New 
Jersey) received. In 1746 thirteen persons, and in 1747 
nineteen persons were added unto the church. 

In the following year we find the following note. "In 
the year 1748 is our elder and overseer (Michael Frantz) 
departed this life, and has exchanged time with eternity, 
after being well tried by affliction." To this are added a 
few lines of poetry, of which we have endeavored to make 
a translation. 

Farewell on the chariot of God! 
We do not envy thee thy rest. 
By angels thou'rt carried the road 
Toward the abode of the blest; 
To join in that heavenly abode 
The host of the angelic choir, 
To sing and rejoice in thy God, 
To praise him forever and e'er. 

When we stand still here at the death of the first elder 
and overseer, Michael Frantz, and look back on the first 
fourteen years of this church, we are compelled to say to 


the glory of God, that the time of the ministry of this old 
Brother, who has died more than a hundred years ago, was 
richly blessed, inasmuch as the church increased " by the 
grace and blessing of God," and its numbers were multiplied 
from year to year in such a manner, that and until it grew 
in fourteen years from a little flock of 20 members to a 
company of nearly Two hundred. " This is the Lord's 
doing, and is marvelous in our eyes." 

The year when the first teacher and overseer died, was a 
memorable and singularly blessed year for the church. As 
we read of Samson, Judges 16: 30, "The dead which he 
. slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his 
life," so we might say of Michael Frantz, as blessed as 
his former years of ministry were, the year of his death 
was still more blessed. Of this we find the following re- 
corded in the manuscript already mentioned : 

"In the year 1748, the 25th of September, Brother 
Michael Frantz, overseer of the church in Conestoga and 
White Oak has laid his hand upon Bro. Michael Pfautz 
(who, as we have seen already, had been chosen to the 
ministry in the year 1744), and has ordained and confirmed 
him in his place, with the united assistance of the Brethren. 
Thus the church has been blessed and enlarged by the grace 
of God through Brother Michael Pfautz, who has been 
ordained by the Elders to be an Elder." Again it says, 
" In this year brother Jacob Sontag was chosen as a minister 
(or deacon) in the church." 

How much the share of each of these three ministers was 
in the great blessed awakening, which came this year upon 
the church, cannot be made out, and is also of no con- 
sequence, whether we know it ; but this much we may safely 
believe, that they must have labored together In unity of 
spirit, without which unity no blessing can be expected. 
And whether the one sows, and the other reaps ; whether the 
one planteth, and the other watereth; whether one stands 
with Moses on the mountain, and ralseth up his hands In 
prayer, and the other with Joshua Is fighting against 
Amalek, and the third stands by the side of him that prays, 
or him that fights (the battle of the Lord) ; still "neither Is 


he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth ; but God 
that giveth the increase." 

And how great the increase was of this year 1748 we may 
gather from the following simple statements as they were 
recorded at the time : 

In the year 1748 were baptized Brothers Ulrich, Shively, 
Henry Gibbel, &c. 

March 6 in all 7 persons. 

April 24 II persons. 

May I 2 persons. 

June 12 and July 24 15 persons. 

August 7 6 persons. 

August 14 4 persons. 

September 4 2 persons. 

October 16 4 persons. 

October 23 6 persons. 

Altogether in this one year, or rather within less than six 
months, 57 persons; truly a harvest-blessing not often re- 
peated, and reminding us of Pentecostal times. 

To the encouragement of those who might think such 
blessed times happened of old, but are now-a-days rare 
among thfe Brethren, and to the honor of God and his word 
we cannot refrain from noticing, what we lately have 
learned, namely that during the past summer and fall 
(1854) the Lord has revealed himself as of old in different 
churches, and that for instance in one church not one hun- 
dred miles west from here there were baptized more than 
thirty, and in two other adjoining churches in the southeast 
over sixty souls. Blessed be the Lord for his grace which 
is yet to-day proving its efficacy for the salvation of the 
children of men! 

But even in our dear Lancaster church it was not every 
year alike, for we find, that there were baptized in the year 

1749 only 8 persons. 

1750 14 persons. 

1751 6 persons. 

1752 18 persons. 

1753 12 persons. 

1754 10 persons. 

1755 II persons. 


and then we find the following note : " Here I must say, 
that much trouble and temptation has fallen upon the over- 
seer, so that he has recorded nothing in seven years." 
These then were undoubtedly dark, gloomy times ; not only 
for the overseer, but without fail also for the church. 
What a pity it is, when after the blessing of God having 
visibly rested upon a church, the enemy and destroyer of all 
good finds means again to make an entrance, and to cause 
confusion! And, oh, how should ministers and members 
be on their guard, that the temptation may not come upon 
them unawares while asleep! 

Over those first fourteen years of the ministry of the 
second overseer Miclmel Pfants hovered then quite a differ- 
ent providence. The first half from 1748 until 1755 — seven 
years — were most eminently blessed, and the latter half 
from 1755 until 1762 — again seven years — remind us 
almost of the seven years of famine, which Joseph pre- 
dicted unto Pharoah, where all the plenty should be for- 
gotten, that was before. Let us then, dearest members, 
make good use of the advice of Joseph, in plenteous years 
to gather and take care of all " spiritual blessings in heavenly 
places," when they are given us richly, that we may not 
want in times of distress and famine. 

Without much research and thought this much is plain 
from the information at hand, beyond which we do not 
wish to go at the present time, that the seven years of trial 
of the overseer, Michael Pfautz, had now at last come to 
an end, that he came forth out of this trial of fire like fine 
gold, cleansed and purified, and that from now on he 
worked mightily and with rich blessings toward the up- 
building of the congregation, for in this same year, 1763, 
in which the aforesaid circumstance with Jacob Sonntag 
took place, we find that no less than eighteen or nineteen 
persons were added to the church through baptism.. 

Here many of our dear readers might ask: "Were there 
then none at all baptized in the former seven years, and did 
then the work of God stand entirely still so long? " There- 
upon we can answer, that our records do not say so, but 
only state that much trouble and temptation had been en- 


countered by the Elder, and that, therefore, he had not 
written up anything. We may, therefore, conclude with 
some confidence that, notwithstanding nothing had been 
written up/ the congregation of God in this community had 
continued its course, that meetings were held, and that the 
word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the 
power of God unto salvation to all who believe in it, was 
preached, also that it showed its power toward souls at this 
time and made them willing to establish the bond of a good 
conscience toward God, and that consequently probably 
souls were baptized at this time, and their names were 
written up in Heaven. 

Since we must soon again send back the little books 
(manuscripts) which have been entrusted to us, we still 
want to copy out the most important parts and postpone all 
further observations to the future. As is evident from the 
book written in Michael Pfautz's own hand, he worked on 
in the vineyard of the Lord from 1763 to his end; and from 
year to year, and from time to time, they who were saved 
were added to the church. Acts 2 : 47. 

In the -year 1764, we read in another little book, that 
" Christian Longenecker was chosen to the service of the 
church in peace and harmony on Dec. i, as a helper to the 
Elder. And in the year 1769, on May 4, he was ordained 
to the place of Michael Pfautz our Elder. I have come 
thus far through good and ill report." 

Then it stands written: "On May 14, 1769 (ten days 
after the ordination of Christian Longenecker) our dear 
brother Michael Pfautz, the Elder of the congregation in 
Conestoga, fell asleep in the Lord, after much trial and 
suffering, in the sixtieth year of his age. God cared for 
him well, and made him an elect one in the furnace of 
afifliction. He served and led as the Elder and overseer of 
the church in Conestoga and White Oakland, very nearly 
twenty-one years." They also sang for him the same lines 
which they sang for the first overseer (which are this time 
reproduced in the original German). 

1 For names of persons baptized from 1755-1763 see " History of 
Conestoga," by D. C. Reber, p. — . 


" Fahre wohl auf Gottes Wagen, 

Wir gonnen dir die Ruh', 
Dasz du von den Engeln wirst getragen 

Dem schonen Himmel zu, 
Dasz du bei der Engel Chor und Reih'n 

Dich ewig, ewig konntest freu'n." — 

Now follows a list of those baptized, which is carried 
forward to the year 1799. 

There are also written the disclosures of a drunkard and 
degraded person, on the 29th of autumn month, 1773. It 
is also worthy of note that after the names of all those 
baptized stands the word, " Gestorben," " died." Dear 
reader, this will also some time come to our name. There- 
fore, let us in time learn to die to sin and seek life in 
Christ's word and death. ^ 

2 Published in the Gospel Visitor of 1855 by Eld. Henry Kurtz. 

PART 11. 



Introduction. — To write a complete history of the Mother 
Church, and the labors of her principal men, would fill a 
large volume. There are, of course, many facts buried in 
oblivion, that never can be recovered; and things so long 
forgotten, they can never be recalled. In the preceding 
chapters, necessarily, much of the early history of German- 
town has been interwoven with the history of the Brother- 
hood in general, during the time of organization, struggles, 
trials, and development in the first fifty years in America. 
Chapter X treats, especially, of Germantown at the time of 
a great crisis. Chapter XI treats of great changes of 
leadership, far-reaching influences of publishing interests 
and literary activity, and a period of rapid development of 
the work in general. In the present treatment of German- 
town, therefore, nothing further can be said in a special and 
detailed way of the earliest times, except on such points that 
especially need to be connected consecutively with later 
development. It must be remembered, too, that in so brief 
a space as can be allotted to the subject here, only a few of 
the more important matters can be treated, and some of 
them far too brief for the importance of the subject. This 
volume occupies so large a field, that it is manifestly impos- 
sible to say all on this important subject that should be said, 
and all that the reader would like to know. It is especially 
gratifying to know that much interest has been manifested 
in what has been written from time to time on German- 


Grave of Elder Peter Becker, 
IxDiAX Creek. 

Grave of Elder Christopher Sower, 

■f^ ■ ■ 

,y ■ 

1 ■ 







^ < 






;.> ' 


^ l- 





- , 













town, and it is to be hoped more will be written in the 

A Permanent Place of Worship. — In the beginning re- 
ligious services were held in the homes of the members, and, 
in the summer time, out of doors under some large trees, 
or in a grove ; especially was this the case, when the assem- 
blies became too large to be accommodated in the homes. 
These services were held in the vicinity of Germantown, 
but considerable distances apart. It is interesting to trace 
the history of the present location of worship and it is all 
that can be said at this time. As the history of this old 
town is interesting, so also is the history of the mother 
congregation near it that has been in existence here for 
almost two hundred years. There is a large amount of 
historical matter bearing on the Germantown Church 
directly or indirectly; but it became much scattered years 
ago by careless or unfaithful custodians; and much of it 
being now in the hands of private individuals, it is difficult 
to collect and confirm the necessary facts for a much-needed 
reliable account of many points. There is considerable 
material lying on the surface, as is always the case, that 
passes current as history, and yet is entirely worthless to 
the reliable historian until confirmed by thorough research, 
and a careful study of original data. It would seem that in 
this respect Germantown has been singularly unfortunate 
in its experience of being at the mercy of the unscrupulous 

The usual reference is made that Johannes Pettikoffer 
received the ground as a gift, from one Peter Schilbert; 
and then some add that Schilbert had much difficulty in 
gaining possession of the land again, when Pettikoffer went 
to Ephrata, as he did in 1739. Now all this is sheer non- 
sense, the absolute creation of somebody's fancy, without a 
grain of truth, and yet these statements are copied again 
and again, apparently without any attempt being made to 
know the facts, when the records of the office of the Re- 
corder of Deeds are at all times accessible to all who care 
to investigate. It seems necessary, therefore, that a truth- 
ful account of this matter should be given, and doubly so, 


for the reason that the facts and the truth are intensely 
interesting. In tracing the history of the ground, I can 
only give the bare statement of the transfers^ that were 
made from time to time. The evidence of ownership will 
be presented in each case in regular order, and it will be 
sufficient for the present study to begin with the ownership 
of Peter Shoemaker. 

Peter Shoemaker to Johannes Pettikoffer. — On August 
4, 1 73 1, Peter Shoemaker, Turner, and Margret, his wife, 
sold to Johannes Pettikoffer for the sum of five pounds 
and five shillings ("to them in hand paid by the said 
Johannes Pettikoffer, the receipt whereof they do hereby 
acknowledge, and thereof do fully acquit and forever dis- 
charge"). This is perhaps enough to show that he did 
not get the lot from Peter Schilbert as a gift. This land 
carefully described in the deed is declared to be a half an 
acre and twenty perches, and constitutes what is now the 
northern half of the present Church property, or the part 
on which the church buildings are located. It will be seen 
by this deed, that Pettikoffer paid a fair price for his half 
acre, considering that it wa^ nearly half a mile out of the 
settlement of Germantown as it then was, and that the 
settlement altogether had not more than twenty houses. 
He paid at the rate of fifty dollars per acre, entirely unim- 
proved. These original papers should be sufficient testi- 
mony to prove that Johannes Pettikoffer did, on August 4, 
1 73 1, acquire title to his half acre from Peter Shoemaker, 
and at a good price. But to some historians, it does not 
make much difference whether they say Peter Schilbert or 
Peter Shoemaker, — one Peter is as good as the other Peter. 
To them the facts of history are not so essential, they have 
plenty of fancy to fill the gaps. 

Johannes Pettikoffer to Johannes Mack and Andreas 
Bonney. — On the twenty-second of August, 1739, Johannes 
Pettikoffer and Ann Elizabeth, his wife, sold the aforesaid 
half acre, together with the house he had built upon it, to 
Johannes Mack and Andreas Bonney, for the sum of sixty- 

1 See " History of German Baptist Brethren," by the author, for 
brief quotations from the original parchment deeds, pp. 1 17-128. 


five pounds, each of the two holding a half interest. It 
will be noticed, that whereas he had paid for the ground 
five pounds and five shillings, Pettikoffer now receives on 
his sale sixty-five pounds, thus valuing his improvements 
fifty-nine pounds and fifteen shillings. It thus appears that 
there is no documentary evidence to sustain the old fable 
that Pettikoffer received the lot as a gift and then begged 
the money to build the house. This house was built in 
1732, and because of its importance in later years, we shall 
give some description of its interesting history and notice 
it hereafter as the " Pettikoffer House." 

Andreas Bonney to Johannes Mack. — The future deeds 
indicate that after Johannes Pettikoffer had vacated his 
house, Andreas Bonney, who owned the one-half interest 
of the property, lived in the house, or did so, on October 6, 
1 74 1, on which date he did devise by "his last will and 
testament," his half interest unto the said Johannes Mack 
for the consideration of twenty-nine pounds and ten shil- 
lings. Why Bonney sold his interest for less than he had 
paid does not appear but it may be that Mack had advanced 
some money, or that Bonney had lived in the house without 
paying rent, and so Mack would be entitled to a lower price 
for Bonney's half. This Bonney (Bony) was one of the 
original eight, at Schwarzenau, and had come to America 
with the second emigration, in 1729. 

Johannes Mack to Peter Schilbert. — On July 20, 1742, 
Johannes Mack, stockingweaver, and Margrett, his wife, 
sold to Peter Schilbert the aforesaid property, house and 
lot, for the consideration of seventy-three pounds. Thus, 
it will be seen, that instead of Peter Schilbert being the 
original owner and giving this lot to Pettikoffer, as "his- 
torians" say, the ownership, as I have clearly shown, runs 
as follows : 

Peter Shoemaker, Johannes Pettikoffer, Johannes Mack 
and Andreas Bonney, Johannes Mack, Peter Schilbert; and 
all these changes in the eleven years from 1731 to 1742. 
These old historic writings are exceedingly interesting, — 
quaint in their expressions, unique in conditions, and often 
intensely specific, and at other times very wordy indeed, 
and altogether too lengthy to be quoted here. 


Bastian and Johanna Hoech to Theohold Endt and Henry 
Slingloff. — It was evidently the intention of Peter Schil- 
bert to present this half acre and the " Pettikoffer House " 
to the Brethren congregation, but he died with the prop- 
erty legally in his possession. The deed of a later date 
says, — "The said Peter Schilbert dying (in effect) intes- 
tate." After some years of delay, this was finally accom- 
plished, as will be seen by the quotation that follows. The 
deed further recites, — ("He having made only a noncupa- 
tive will) the right of the inheritance of his said possessions 
depending legally unto Johanna Hoech the wife of Bastian 
Hoech which Johanna being the only issue and heir of 
Abraham Schilbert who was the brother and heir at law 
of the said Peter Schilbert." On the twenty-sixth day of 
August, 1746, the said Bastian Hoech, and Johanna, his 
wife, deeded in fee to Theobold Endt and Henry Slingloff, 
two well-known Brethren. Just under what conditions, or 
why, is not apparent, but the property was held by them 
for fourteen years. 

Theohold Endt and Henry Slingloff to Alexander Mack, 
Christopher Sower, Peter Leibert and George Schreiher. — 
The consideration at this transfer was ten pounds, and 
bears date August 11, 1760. It is not difficult now to see 
the purpose of this new transfer, when it is noted that these 
four men to whom the property was deeded, were four of 
the principal men of the Brethren congregation. On the 
following day, these four men, the first two Bishops, and 
the other two perhaps ministers, issued, and published, the 
famous Declaration of Trust. They first make definite 
acknowledgment of the grant unto them, "by the direction 
and at the appointment of the persons who are members of 
the Religious Society or Community of the people called 
Dutch (German) Baptists and belonging to the Meeting of 
that People in or near Germantown aforsd."^ 

After having stated the grant, and the body under which 
they act, the Trustees declare the use, etc., under their 
trust, viz. : " To the use and interests hereinafter mentioned 
and declared and under the Conditions and Restrictions 

2 The Declaration of Trust. 


hereinafter limited and Restricted and to no other use or 
purpose whatsoever, That is to say, One Room in the said 
Messuage (Pettikoffer House), to be made use of for a 
Meeting place of the said People living at or near German- 
town aforesaid and for such other as the said Community 
may think proper to admit thereto. The which Room may 
be improved or enlarged for the better convenience of the 
said Meeting at the discretion of the said Community in such 
Manner as they may think Meet And on Room and kitchen 
of the sade Messuage to be made use of for a dwelling place 
for some Widow woman of the said Society or Community 
to live in Rent free and that the said Society or Community 
Shall and do keep the said Messuage or Tenement of pieces 
or parcels of Land or ground in repair from time to time 
Towards the Charge of which they are to have the use, 
Rents Issues & Profits which may accrue or arise yearly 
from the remaining part of the premises."^ 

It is further expressly provided that in case this Society 
or Community shall cease to exist, the property shall be 
sold and the proceeds given to the poor. The entire Decla- 
ration is very interesting indeed, and it was the means of 
setting in operation influences that have ever marked the 
high ideals of the Brethren Church. Thus is established 
the first permanent place of worship, or a place especially 
provided for that purpose, but it is very probable that this 
same place had been used for some time for worship. 

" The Old Folks' Home. — While the said Declaration of Trust 
tells us of the regular and permanent meeting-place, it also tells 
in a very interesting manner how one room and the kitchen 
were set apart for some widow to dwell * rent free ' ; thus show- 
ing how early the Brethren thought of making special provi- 
sion and providing a home for the * widows.' I know of no 
instance where any other denomination made a similar public 
provision for its widowed poor, at so early a date. The his- 
tory of this Home is interesting. While it is probably true that 
in a few years the congregation so increased that perhaps the 
entire home was needed for purposes of worship, we do know 
that when the new stone meeting-house was dedicated in 1770, 

3 The Declaration of Trust. 


the * Pettikoffer House' was set apart anew for the comfort of 
the widows, and it remained such a home until i86i,or a period 
of loi years from the time it was first set apart. There are many 
people living to-day ( 1900) who remember the place well as the 
' Widows ' Home. I am indebted to Charles M. Benson, of 
Germantown, and also Rachel Douglass Wise, of Philadelphia, 
for facts that enable me to describe the ' Pettikoffer House ' as 
it appeared fifty years ago. The main part of the house was 
about twenty feet long by sixteen feet wide, built of logs, with 
frame gables, and shingle roof. The house fronted south, with 
gables east and west. The spaces between the logs were 
chinked and plastered, and the entire house whitewashed. It 
had a good cellar, with an outside trapdoor, which was located 
between the pavement and the outside door leading into the east 
room. There were four windows and one outside door. There 
were two windows in the west gable towards the street, one up- 
stairs and one downstairs. Then there were two additional 
windows in the west room, one on the north side and one on the 
south side There were two rooms upstairs and two rooms 
downstairs. At the east end of the east room, there was a large 
fireplace which was in constant use from 1852 until the time 
the house was taken down in December, 1861, so my informer 
tells me. " The meeting-room was the west one, well lighted 
with three windows. The ceilings were of good height. The 
house was still in good condition in 1861, when it was torn 
down, after such an interesting history of one hundred and 
thirty years. 

" Immediately to the rear of the above described house there 
stood many years ago a good-sized frame building, whose his- 
tory I have not been able to unravel. Many suggestions have 
been made of its probable history, but I have been unable to 
confirm anything so that I can safely regard it as history. I 
hope the future may yet reveal the purpose of this ancient 

The Old Church. — On this same half acre which we have 
been considering, or the northern half of the present Church 
grounds, are located the Church buildings, consisting of the 
old stone meeting-house which was built in 1770, and the 
more imposing, modern stone one, built in 1 896-1 897. A 
brief description of this old church building will be of 

* " German Baptist Brethren," by the author, 1901, pp. 129-130. 


interest, for it has long since become a landmark in the 
midst of the passing centuries. Considering the time in 
which it was built it is singularly complete in its appoint- 
ments. Its substantial character may well be judged from 
the fact that it has stood so long, and is in excellent state 
of preservation, barring accident, might do service for 
another century. It is thirty feet square, built of native 
Germantown stone, with walls eighteen inches thick. There 
is a large well-appointed basement, under the entire build- 
ing, of good height, where there was a large fireplace for 
cooking and making the necessary preparations for love- 
feast occasions. In the corner, near the fireplace, is a large 
flat stone, hollowed out trough-like, built into the wall, on 
which the waste water was poured to drain out of the build- 
ing. The floor in the audience-room is yellow pine, full of 
pitch and very hard. The boards were carefully selected, 
very wide, almost every board has a heart in it, no sap 
boards, and there has been no decay in all these years. But 
there is another reason why these boards are neither de- 
cayed nor worm-eaten. The floor rests on a bed of mor- 
tar, which is supported beneath by a layer of split oak lath. 
Hand-made nails are used throughout. About thirty-five 
years ago the audience-room was remodeled, but formerly 
the ceiling was about eight feet high, plastered and white- 
washed ; and a heavy wooden girder, supported by two posts, 
was visible. There was a large loft, very roomy and well- 
lighted, supplied by four windows, two in each gable. It 
seems to have been built and arranged for some special pur- 
pose, perhaps largely unknown at this time. There was an 
outside entrance to this loft, making access easy, and with- 
out disturbing in any way, or entering, the audience-room. 
Many years ago these gable ends were rough-cast, covering 
up all traces of this loft-door and windows, and all knowl- 
edge of them seems to have been lost, until some years ago, 
when we restored this front. Upon removing the rough- 
cast, there were the outlines of the door and windows dis- 
tinctly visible. At this time I made the following measure- 
ments : the door was four feet, three inches wide and six 
feet, six inches high, a very large door, if it was a single 


one. The windows were three feet, two inches wide and 
four feet, six inches high. To what different uses this 
story was put, is not known. It was large enough to make 
a roomy dwelHng for a small family. The place seems to 
have been extensively used for storing the unbound sheets 
of publications that required months to run through the 
press. It is said that Elder Christopher Sower so occupied 
the place, with his third edition of the Bible, in 1777, and 
that the unbound sheets were confiscated by the British 
soldiers, and used for gun-wads and for bedding their cav- 
alry horses. 

The Old Parsonage. — The south half of the Church 
grounds need a brief account. The Brethren came into 
possession of this portion many years after acquiring title 
to the north half. This part was bought by Johannes Mack 
from Peter Shoemaker in 1730. On August 29, 1751, 
Johannes Mack and Margaretta, his wife, sold the same to 
Christopher Sower. It consisted of seventy-eight perches 
and had two houses thereon. On September 24, 1753, 
Christopher Sower and Catharina, his wife, sold the same 
to Philip" Weaver, for sixty pounds, and he, in the year 
1756, erected his large stone dwelling, that in the next cen- 
tury became known as The Old Parsonage. On March 
18, 1796, John Weaver, Philip Weaver and Susanna Keyser, 
three children and heirs of the above Philip Weaver, deeded 
the property to Abraham Keyser, for the sum of four hun- 
dred pounds; and on the following day, the said Abraham 
Keyser deeded the same, for the same amount, to Philip 
Weaver, one of the sons and heirs of the first mentioned 
Philip Weaver. On April 4, 1804, Philip Weaver and his 
wife, Ann, sold the same to the Trustees of the Brethren 
congregation, for the consideration of four hundred and 
thirty pounds. This stone residence has an exceedingly 
interesting history, like unto the Pettikoffer House, or 
(Meeting House and Widow's Home), and the Old Stone 
Church. The Weaver house was rented by the Brethren 
as a private residence, and then in the early decades of the 
nineteenth century, before the time of the public school 
system, Sister Susan Douglass occupied the house with her 


large Select School.^ After the closing of this school the 
Parsonage was again rented, for many years, as a private 
residence. While this Weaver house, that stood in three 
centuries, was known for many years as " The Old Par- 
sonage," it was in reality the residence of the pastor, only 
eight years, from 1893 to 1901, when it was occupied by 
the author and his family, during his pastorate in the 
Mother Church. Some ten years ago, this famous old land- 
mark of Germantown was torn down, to make room for the 
new parsonage. 

The Old Cemetery. — This cemetery is a very interesting 
place, it is furthermore a beautiful spot, and often did I 
hear people say, they wished they could be buried there. 
So far as grave-stones indicate, the first burial took place in 
1797. Many of the old families of Germantown are rep- 
resented, in some cases several generations, and in a few 
cases five and six generations. Many of the members, and 
especially of the officials, for several generations are buried 
here. From all the walks of life, the humblest, as well as 
those noted, and of religious and social prominence, rest 
here side by side. Among other noted persons, Miss Har- 
riet Livermore lies buried here, in an unmarked grave, the 
woman who opened our National Congress with prayer in 
1832; the "Evangelist." "The Guest" of Whittier's Snow 
Bound; the " Pilgrim Wanderer " in the Holy Land, and in 
Egypt; the "Watcher" on Mt. Sinai in the immediate 
expectation of the coming of Christ. After she had wan- 
dered all over the world her tired body was laid to rest in 
this beautiful God's acre, in the lot of Sister Worrell, in the 
midst of these historic surroundings. This cemetery is still 
much used as a place of burial ; it is kept in excellent condi- 
tion, and receives constant care and attention. 

Two Prominent Bishops. — Germantown has been blessed 
with a remarkable line of active ministers and prominent 
Bishops. Of the latter, she had five, from 1723 to 1850, 
or 127 years, any one of whom would have been sufficient 

5 For account of Weaver Log-House, and The Select School, see 
" German Baptist Brethren," by the author, pp. 134 and 135; also Penn- 
sylvania-German Magazine. 


to give luster to the history of any church. From 1723 to 
1747, she had Peter Becker and Alexander Mack, Sr., whose 
lives and labors have been so fully recounted in the history 
of the Church of the Brethren with which they were so 
inseparably connected. These two Bishops were contempo- 
rary at Germantown for only six years, from 1729 to 1735 ; 
but succeeding them were two who were contemporary from 
1748 to 1784, or a period of 36 years. These were Alex- 
ander Mack, Jr., and Christopher Sower. It is impossible 
to give here a biography of these two prominent Bishops, 
such as their lives and labors would so justly deserve. We 
must be satisfied, at this time, with very brief biographical 
data and some records of their activities; especially so, 
because there is so much of their lives already recorded." 

Alexander Mack, Jr. — He was born January 25, 1712, at 
Schwarzenau; and baptized in 1728, in his seventeenth year, 
likely in Holland. He emigrated to America with his father 
the next year, in the Second Emigration, 1729. He resided 
at Germantown from 1729 to 1739, when, in the Koch 
excitement, as before noted,^ he removed to Ephrata. For 
his marriage and family, see Mack Family, at the close of 
this sketch. Disappointed and utterly discouraged with 
the conditions and work at Ephrata, he returned to German- 
town, and was destined to become his father's eminent suc- 
cessor. His election, ordination as Elder, or Bishop, and 
his leadership have been noted. He was a man of great 
energy and far-reaching influence. He was the most emi- 
nent man, without doubt, that the Church of the Brethren 
ever had in America, considering the times and circum- 
stances of his eventful life, and his times. He was an able 
man as a preacher and counselor in church work. He was 
well known and greatly beloved all over the church. He 
was a gifted hymn- writer, and wrote much in defense of the 
doctrine of the Brethren. For more than half a century, 
he served the Church ably and faithfully. His life was full 
of good deeds and was a great blessing to many. He died 

8 "German Baptist Brethren," by the author, pp. 136-140; also by 
Brumbaugh ; also " Some Who Led," Brethren Publishing House, 1912, 
Alexander Mack, Jr., pp. 23-26. 

"> See Part I, Chapter X, a Great Religious Crisis; also Chapter XI. 


at the ripe age of 91 years, i month, and 20 days. The 
following is his epitaph, composed by himself a short time 
before his death: 

" Gott 

der uns hat 

aus Staub gemacht 

und wiederum 

zum Staub gebracht 

wird zeigen 

Seiner Weisheit macht 

wann wir nach Seinem 

Bild erwacbt." 

A rather literal translation would be as follows: "God 
who created us out of dust, and brings us again to dust, will 
certify His wisdom's power, when we awake with His 

It should be stated that much of its beauty is lost in any 
translation. In its original setting, it is as fine a conception 
of thought as I have found in any language. He lies 
buried at Germantown. 

List of Baptisms. 

Some of the baptisms performed by Alexander Mack^ 
Jr., at Germantown, after the year 1766: 

1766. — May 15, Margretta Hartzbach. 
" October 3, Nathaniel Schrieber. 
" October 17, Henry Schlingluft, Jr., Catharine Schling- 
luft, Dorothea Fox. 
1767. — ^July 12, Charles Lang. 
" August 7, Anna B. Van Lashett and Elizabeth Schling- 

" August 16, Jacob Bauman and Maria Barbara, his 

" October 2, Conrad Good, William Spira and Maria 
1768. — March 27, Christina Schlungluflf, Jr. 

" September 25, Hannah Stamm. 
1769. — May 14, Sarah Baker. 
" July 2^, Christopher Saur, Jr. 


1769. — September 3, Michael Keyser, Sarah Mack and 
Susana Baker. 
" October 5, Peter Keyser and Hannah, his wife, Henry 
Sharpnack and Sarah, his wife, John Schlingluff, 
Conrad Stamm, Maria Fendt, Elizabeth Raab. 
1770. — September 2, John Weber, William Leibert, Dirock 
Keyser and Rachel, his wife. 
" September 30, Julius Roberly and Appolonia, his 
1771. — May 19, Thomas Langstoth and Catherine, his wife, 
Hannah Mack, Hannah Stier. 
" September 8, John Kaempfer. 

" November 10, Rudolph Harley and Barbara, his wife, 
John Harley and Margaretta, his wife, Ulrich 
Stouffer and Hannah, his wife. 
1772, — April 19, Michael Corbit, Garehart Clemens and Ger- 
trude, his wife, Jacob Landis and Maria, his wife. 
1773. — ^January 4, John Prisz. 

" January 20, Phillipina Vernon. 
1774. — March 2^, Edmund Langstroth. 
" May 12, Edward Bright and Elizabeth, his wife, Eliza- 
beth Painter, Ruth Silence. 
" July 3, Cornelius Neisz, William Heisler, David 
Meredith, Jacob Raab, George Duke John Leibert, 
Anna Leibert, Susanna Hinckle, Hannah Knorr, 
Lydia Keyser, Catherine Bauman. 
" October 16, William Prisz and Susanna Knorr. 

Here occurs a break in the records for the period of nine 

1783. — October 20, Susanna Weaver, John Weaver's wife, 
and Catherine Keyser, Michael Keyser's wife. 

1785. — March 6, Emanuel Fox and his wife, Margarett, Jacob 
Zigler and Lydia Kulp. I regret very much that I 
cannot present a complete list of his baptisms, but 
it has been impossible to confirm a part of the list. 
There is no complete record extant. 

The following is a partial list of baptisms by Christopher 
Sower : 

1748, — November 3, Elizabeth Weiss, Catherine Buchmarin, 
Susanna Miller. 


1749. — April 2, Jacob Ganz. 

1755. — May 18, Andrew Menichinger. 

1758. — March 26, Uly Kinder and wife. 

1781. — ^July 15, George Becker and his wife, Catherine Nancy 

Becker, their daughter, Catherine, daughter of 

Frederick Stamm. 
1783. — November 6, Adam Weber. 
1784. — June 10. — Martin Urner and wife, Barbara Baugh. 

When Christopher was dead and Alexander Mack was past 
seventy-two years of age, the second IMartin Urner baptized 
some at Germantown, and the following is perhaps a complete 

1784. — August 15, Derick Keyser and his wife, Elizabeth, 

and Susanna Weaver, Philip Weaver's daughter. 
1785. — September 25, Nicholas Oliver, Benjamin Lehman, 

and Peter Keyser, Jr. 
1786. — September 14, Henry Rinker, William Keyser and 

his wife, Barbara, Elizabeth Lehman and Mary 

1788. — September 4, Charles Hubbs and his wife, Alary, 

Catherine Clemens and Hannah, the daughter of 

Derick Keyser. 

Christopher Sower. — Bishop Christopher Sower was the 
only son of Christopher Sower, the first.'' According to his 
own record in his diary, " I was born on the twenty-sixth 
of September, 1721, in the town of Laasphe in Witgen- 
stein, about six hours from Marburg." At the age of three 
years, his parents brought him to America, and for two 
years resided in Germantown. At the end of this time, 
1726, they removed to Lancaster county where they resided 
until 1730, when his mother joined the Solitary of Beissel, 
and was made subprioress of the Sisterhood. The follow- 
ing year, 1731, the father with his now motherless boy of 
ten years, returned to Germantown, where they permanently 
resided. It was not until 1744. that the young man was 
able to induce his mother to leave Beissel, and return to her 
husband in Germantown, and he had the joy of seeing his 

9 See "German Baptist Brethren," Brumbaugh, "The Two Chris- 
topher Sowers," p. 338. 



parents live happily together for seven years, when she died 
in 1752. At the age of 16 years, he was baptized February 
24, 1737. He was elected a deacon of the Germantown 
congregation in 1747. On June 7, 1748, he, with Alexan- 

Mack Family.8 

ist. Gen. 

Date of 


Date of 


Date of 








Anna Margaretha Klin- 

2d Gen. 

John Valentine 


(?) 1731 




(?) I73I 



Maria Hildebrand 







I- I-1749 


Ordained, 1748. 


I- I-I749 

5- 6-1811 

Elizabeth Nice Mack. 

3d Gen. 





Agnes Gantz Mack. 

Anna Maria 



6- 6-1769 
6- 6-1769 

4- 5-1770 

Death in childbirth. 

Sarah Marg. 



2- 2-1776 

9- 8-1799 

Baptized, 9-3-1769. 


2- 2-1776 


Husband, Jacob Zigler. 





4- 6-1816 

Baptized, 5-19-1771. 



8-30- 1815 

Husband, Adam 






I- 4-1 76 I 






Baptized, 3-6-1785. 
Husband, Dielman 

Husband, John Lentz, 



5- 2-1763 




Died of smallpox. 

Anna Marg. 

7-31 -1765 





Baptized, 3-6-1785. 



3- 2-1833 

Baptized, 3-6-1785. 
Husband, Emanuel 


8 Three generations of Alexander Mack's family, the third being 
Alexander Mack, Jr.'s, children. For a full account of Life and Writ- 
ings of Alexander Mack, Jr., see " German Baptist Brethren," M. G. 
Brumbaugh, pp. 211-273. 

der Mack, Jr., was elected Bishop, on trial. Five years 
later, June lo, 1753, these two, having been fully proven, 
were duly ordained by Peter Becker, by the laying on of 
hands, and thus were they fully established in their long 
and useful service. 


His Marriage and Family}'^ — He was married to Cath- 
erine Sharpnack, April i, 1751, and to them were born nine 
children, and have left numerous descendants. In 1754 
his father transferred to him the publication of English 
books. His father died in 1758, and he became sole pro- 
prietor of his father's large printing and publishing busi- 
ness, as well as other interests, and became possessed of 
large wealth, and one of the most extensive business inter- 
ests of his times. During the Revolutionary War, he was 
arrested by the Colonial Government, and, without a trial 
or a hearing, was imprisoned and all his property confis- 
cated. Released finally in 1778, penniless, he received as- 
sistance in money and provisions from some friends, and 
his daughter ministering to him, as his faithful housekeeper, 
he lived in obscurity and poverty until 1784, when he died. 
Alexander Mack wrote a hymn in his memory, which was 
sung at the funeral. His age was 62, years, while his con- 
temporary, Alexander Mack, Jr., lived 91 years, and died 
in the beginning of the next century. 

Peter Keyser. — The next notable Bishop of Germantown 
was Peter Keyser. He was born November 9, 1766, — and 
was baptized, September 28, 1784. He was elected to the 
ministry, 1785, and ordained a Bishop in 1802, — having 
been the intimate associate of Alexander Mack, Jr., during 
all those early years of his ministry. He was Bishop of 
Germantown for almost fifty years, also of Philadelphia, 
which for many years was regarded as a branch of German- 
town. For full biographical facts, and his life, and service, 
see the following : Chapter H, " The Philadelphia Church " ; 
"Some Who Led,"- pp. 27-30; and, also, "The Keyser 
Family," by Chas. S. Keyser, Esq., Philadelphia, 1889. 
A mere reference to these records must'suffice, for the life 
of one who would well deserve a full discussion here. 

Later History. — In more than one hundred years, very 
few elections for ministers were held in Germantown. In 
consequence, with the death of Peter Keyser, in 1849, the 
work gradually, but steadily, declined. For many years 
the preaching was supplied, in part, by the Philadelphia 

10 See " Sower Family Chart," by Chas. G. Sower. 



ministers, John W. Price, from Fitzwatertown, and others, 
from adjoining churches. For a period of almost twenty 
years there was no resident minister. At times deacons 
conducted the preaching services. Finally, there were no 
resident deacons, and when the present writer became pas- 
tor, in 1893, there was neither minister nor deacon in the 
congregation. For many years there are very few, or no 
records at all, they having passed into the hands of indi- 
viduals, and, no doubt, some were lost and destroyed. A 
peculiar condition existed in Germantown, as in Philadel- 
phia, that for many years the only records were the records 
of the Board of Trustees. The present records seem to 
date from 1863, when the Board consisted of John Price, 
Chairman, Stephen Benton, Secretary, Benjamin Lehman, 
Treasurer, Amos Cowell, J. G. Hammer, J. Sheetz, John 
Price, Jr., and Chas. M. Benson. Several committees were 
appointed to conduct the business of the Church. On 
October 27, 1867, W. W. C. Paul and Bro. James Kirk 
were elected trustees in place of Bros. Benton and Cowell, 
deceased. January 19, 1868, Bro. Britton was elected in 
place of Bro. Lehman, deceased. 

On February 9, 1870, James Kirk and Chas. M. Benson 
were elected deacons. 

There was a Sunday School in 1872. 

In 1875, Willis, Ambers, and Unruh were elected trus- 
tees. Bro. Kolb was elected to fill the vacancy of Hammer, 
resigned. In 1877, the minutes imply that Bro. J. T. 
Meyers had been in the service of the Church three years. 
In 1877 William Price was elected trustee. By the year 
1 88 1, Brethren Kolb and Britton had died, and Paul re- 
signed, Brethren John Thomas and Harry Shugard, and 
Thos. B. Hammer were elected. In 1885, John Thomas 
resigned as trustee. In 1888, the cemetery was enlarged. 
In 1889, Bro. Francis W. Price was elected trustee. In 
May, 1890, Joseph Sheetz resigned as sexton and trustee. 
In 1890, efforts were made to secure a resident preacher. 
Bro. W. B. Stover now in India, served the Church for 
about one year though residing in Philadelphia. The 
Church having called the writer, through the General Mis- 


sion Board, he arrived at Germantown, from Mt. Morris, 
111., with his family, on June 9, 1893, ^^^ preached his first 
sermon in the "Old Stone Church," on June 11, following. 
This pastorate lasted eight years, the facts, and events of 
which can not be recorded in detail here. A few facts from 
the minutes of the Church (which are now regularly kept) 
and from the minutes of the Board of Trustees must be suffi- 
cient for lack of space. The New Stone Church was built 
in 1896 and 1897. The church minutes contain the follow- 
ing record : " New Church dedicated May 17, 1897. Preach- 
ing morning, afternoon and evening. Church filled at each 
service, especially in the afternoon. Speakers were G. N. 
Falkenstein, J. T. Myers, T. T. Myers, Jesse Ziegler, S. 
R. Zug, M. G. Brumbaugh and others. F. W. Price, Clerk." 
This new church building cost $8,000. The following is 
from the minutes: "F. W. Price and Alpheus Fahnestock 
elected deacons, September 2, 1897. General Mission Board 
in charge." Having resigned, to take charge of the new 
school to be organized as Elizabethtown College, the follow- 
ing appears on the minutes of the board of trustees, Decem- 
ber I, 1900: In view of the resignation of our pastor, Bro. 
G. N. Falkenstein, we herewith petition the District Mis- 
sion Board to secure for us at the earliest possible oppor- 
tunity, a regular pastor who shall take charge of the work 
of this church." The appointments continued to be filled by 
the writer, until in February, 1901, coming from Elizabeth- 
town every week, when on account of sickness in the family, 
his preaching had to cease. For a time the appointments 
were filled by supplies. Then followed the pastorate of 
Bro. T. T. Myers, of Philadelphia, of about one year; and 
that of Walter Long, of about two years, from 1902 to 
1904. On November 13, 1905, the Church decided to call 
Bro. M. C. Swigart to become pastor. 

I regret very much indeed that limited space absolutely 
forbids me giving as full an account as I would like to give 
of the work of these five pastors, extending over a period 
of 22 years, from 1892 to 19 14. I must close this History 
with but a brief account of the present pastor and his work. 
Bro. M. C. Swigart was born in Mifflin Co., Pa., December 


28, 1868, and was baptized in June, 1888. He was elected to 
the ministry in 1894, and advanced to the second degree in 
1900. Before coming to Germantown he taught in the 
pubhc schools, and preached in his home church. He came 
to Germantown April 4, 1906, and has since had a very 
successful pastorate. He has organized a number of 
Church activities, and baptized 74. The membership has 
increased in these 8 years from 50 to about 126. There is 
a flourishing Sunday School, with an enrollment of over 
200, with a well sustained Home Department, and Cradle 
Roll, and collections ranging from $5.00 to $7.00 a Sunday. 
The Sisters' Aid Society supports a native worker in India, 
and contributes $50 to $60 to Home Mission Work. The 
Missionary contributions, in 191 3, were $2.61 per member. 
The preaching services are well attended, both by the mem- 
bers of the Church, and outside people, at times filling the 
house, so that extra seats have to be provided. Bro. Swi- 
gart was ordained to the eldership in 1912, which was prob- 
ably only the second ordination, in the Mother Church, 
since 1802. 













A. First Brethren Church. 

Peter Keyser is the father of the church in Philadelphia. 
Here he lived, though being a member at Germantown. He 
was public spirited ; he was a part of the growing city, and 
he longed that his city should have its highest possible bless- 
ing — the benediction and benefaction of the pure Chris- 
tianity of the Church of the Brethren. The truest devo- 
tion of the Brethren to public education is manifested in the 
alliance of the Brethren Church with it in her first work in 
Philadelphia. The Brethren first held services in Philadel- 
phia in a schoolhouse on the northwest corner of Fourth 
and Vine Sts.^ The hearty service of the Brethren in the 
cause of education on their first entrance into the semblance 
of congregational existence in Philadelphia, her first preacher 
here being also a school director, is now duly repaid by a 
brother being at the head of the educational work of this 
most truly American of all our great cities. 

It is not clear, however, as claimed by Bro. M. G. Brum- 
baugh that the Philadelphia church was organized in 1813, 
though this is not saying, however, that preaching services 
did not begin at this time. For many years after the meet- 
ing-house was erected in 181 7, Philadelphia continued an 
integral part of the congregation at Germantown, all the 
love- feasts being held in Germantown till 1826. From this 
date until 1858, they alternated between Germantown and 
Philadelphia, the spring feast being held in Philadelphia. 
The process of separation was long and gradual, and almost 
imperceptible. In fact all the preachers of Philadelphia up 
to 1865, including Henry Geiger, David Harley, and Chris- 
tian Custer are on the list of Germantown preachers. 

1 See Brumbaugh's " History," p. 509. 



When in 1817 it came to the question of building a meeting- 
house in Philadelphia, the members in Philadelphia held 
council meetings, seemingly apart from the members at Ger- 
mantown, kept minutes, and appointed a treasurer. But it 
does not appear that this meant more than permission from 
the general Germantown congregation to the members in 
Philadelphia to go ahead for themselves in the matter of 
erecting a convenient house of worship for themselves and 
for the purpose of extending the borders of Zion; in other 
words that Philadelphia was at this time anything more than 
a mission of the Germantown church. But congregational 
lines, both from the point of view of territory and of organi- 
zation, were not so sharply drawn in those days. A gen- 
eral oneness with Germantown, however, seems to have been 
recognized till after i860. 

For a local history of the church in Philadelphia all the 
minutes recorded relative to building the Crown Street 
church would be in place, but for the history of the church 
in Eastern Pennsylvania, only an abridged form is in place. 

" New Church on Crown Street. 

"Minutes of the First Meeting Held in regard to Building a 
Church in Philadelphia. 

"At a meeting of the subscribers and contributors for pur- 
chasing a lot of ground, and building a meeting-house for the 
use of the Church of Christ in Philadelphia (commonly called 
German Baptist) held March 19, 1817, for the purpose of con- 
sidering the expediency of progressing in the undertaking. 
When after hearing the report of the Funding Committee, stat- 
ing that nearly Five Thousand Dollars are already subscribed, 
and considerably more is calculated on, it was resolved unani- 
mously that it is expedient to proceed in the undertaking. 
Whereupon James Lynd, George Gorgas, Jacob Ziegler, James 
Gorgas, and John Rink, were appointed a committee to procure 
a lot of ground suitable for the purpose, and report at our next 

" Adjourned." 

If the heading of these minutes is to be taken strictly, 
that this was the " first meeting " relative to this project held 


in Philadelphia, then the " Funding Committee " mentioned 
in the Minutes must have been appointed at a council held 
in Germantown, and the claim that the Philadelphia organi- 
zation was effected in 1813, seems without foundation. 

Five days later, March 24, the Philadelphia Brethren 
again met in council. The committee for procuring a lot of 
ground reported that they had purchased " from Jesse Still- 
waggon a lot of ground situated between Crown and Fourth 
streets, a little south of Callowhill Street, 45 ft. front on 
Crown Street, and running that breadth to Fourth Street, 
say from between 75 and 86 feet deep, for Four Thousand, 
Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars." 

It was unanimously agreed that it is expedient to proceed 
without delay to the collection of the subscriptions, or so 
much of them, as to enable the lot committee to meet their 
engagements with Jesse Stillwaggon. After considering 
the matter it was deemed expedient to appoint a treasurer to 
receive the amounts collected from time to time. James 
Lynd was the unanimous choice of the meeting. 

It was deemed expedient also to appoint trustees, to whom 
the lot of ground might be conveyed in trust. The trus- 
tees appointed were : Peter Keyser, Jacob Ziegler, Sr., James 
Lynd, John Heisler, John Fox, Jacob Ziegler, Jr., Chris- 
tian Lehman, George Gorgas, Joseph Gorgas, Christopher 
S. Langstroth, Michael Keyser, and John Leibert — twelve 
in all. 

A Building Committee was also appointed at this second 
council meeting of March 24, which consisted of the fol- 
lowing persons: Jacob Ziegler, Sr., James Lynd, George 
Gorgas, John Heisler, James Gorgas, Peter Keyser and 
John Rink — seven in all. 

Cost of materials and what different contractors and busi- 
ness men contributed is mentioned in the minutes. There is 
however no mention of the cost of lumber. Inasmuch as 
Peter Keyser was a lumber merchant, we shall take the lib- 
erty to conjecture that he furnished the lumber free, and 
that he had learned how to keep the doings of his right hand 
from the knowledge of his left. 

There was a gallery in the church, built after the pattern 


of the one in the Friend's Meeting-house on 12th Street. 
The meeting-house was dedicated on October 12, 1817.^ 

How many members Hved in Philadelphia at the time of 
the building of the Crown St, meeting-house we have not 
learned. Those whose names are given in the preceding 
pages were certainly at least the most prominent ones, and 
may have constituted a large percentage of the male mem- 
bers. Peter Keyser was the preacher living in Philadelphia. 
He was elected already in 1 788 

The first minister elected in Philadelphia after the erec- 
tion of the church on Crown St., which election was held 
April 2, 1826, proves conclusively that at that date yet, 
Philadelphia and Germantown were one congregation, The 
church record of this election is as follows : 

"At a church meeting held in Germantown, April 2, 1826, 
all the members present; our Brother Timothy Bangor was 
duly acknowledged and approved as a minister of the Gospel in 
the church of German Baptist. And on the following Sabbath 
evening, the church in Philadelphia, in convention ratified the 
proceedings of the Church at Germantown, and acknowledged 
and approved in like manner Timothy Bangor as a minister and 
helper in the Gospel of Christ. 

" Signed on behalf of the church. 

Peter Keyser, Sec'y." 

On October 12, of this same year in which Timothy Ban- 
gor was made a minister, the first love-feast was held in 
Philadelphia. From now on Philadelphia had the spring 
feast, with the exceptions of 1834 and 1843, when both 
were again held in Germantown. 

Sometimes the Philadelphia feast was omitted altogether. 
In 1858 Philadelphia for the first time had both a spring 
and an autumn feast. This however was only an excep- 
tion, and did not occur again until 1866. After 1867 we 
find the feast in Germantown neglected. The first com- 
munion service in the new church on Marshall Street was 
held October 9, 1873. 

2 Elder Peter Keyser preached three sermons on that day, from He- 
brews 9: 1-5; Luke 19: 46; and Acts 26: 22, 23. The meetings were 
largely attended. On March 5, 1818, Elder Keyser presented to the 
congregation a beautiful pulpit Bible. Brumbaugh's " History," p. 509. 


The first fruits of the new church were Christian Flower 
and Catherine Evans, baptized on Easter day, April 6, 1817, 
by Peter Keyser. Catherine Evans became one of the 
saintly characters of the Philadelphia church. " Her works 
follow her in the living members she brought into the fold 
by her religious ministrations, who are endeavoring to 
walk in the footsteps of her holy example." 

Not very much is recorded of the Philadelphia church 
from 18 1 7 to 1854, or to about the time that Dr. Plenry 
Geiger was elected to the ministry. Some church officers 
were elected in this interval. John Righter and Thomas 
Major were elected to the ministry, November 18, 1841, in 
the Crown St. meeting-house, the former receiving twenty- 
nine votes and the latter twenty-seven. They were likely 
the first ministers elected in Philadelphia, for while Tim- 
othy Bangor was received here, he was elected in German- 
town. James Lynd and John Heisler are on the list of 
Philadelphia preachers, following Peter Keyser and com- 
ing in before Timothy Bangor, but these two were likely 
also elected at Germantown. John Fox was " elected 
elder," September 28, 1844. But, as in New Jersey, the 
terms elder and preacher seem to have been synonymous. 
John Fox was ordained to the eldership in the regular order 
of the Brethren, November 16, 1867. 

On May 4, 1854, two more ministers were elected: Dr. 
Henry Geiger, who received thirty-one votes, and David 
Harley, who received twenty-five. Christian Custer was 
elected December 24, 1861. Had the old custom of receiv- 
ing the one with the next highest number of votes prevailed 
when these votes nearly equalled the first choice, there would 
have been another dual election, for Jonathan Eisenhower 
had thirty-three votes to Custer's thirty-six. The last elec- 
tion from the membership of the Philadelphia church was 
the one held on the removal of Elder J. P. Hetric in 1882, 
when Joel Reiner, son of Elder Jacob, of Pine Run, was 
the choice. These last two elections made a lot of trouble 
for the Philadelphia church. 

A very interesting entry is found in the books of the Phil- 
adelphia church, which is herewith copied : 


" Names of Elders of the German Baptist Church in Ger- 
mantown and Philadelphia from the year 1793 down to this 
date, February 22, 1865. 

Alexander Mack James Lynd 

Philip Weaver John Heisler 

Peter Leibert John W. Price 

Thomas Langstroth John Righter 

Charles Hubbs Thomas Major 

Justus Fox Sara Righter 

John Weaver John Fox 

Peter Keyser Amos Crowell 

John Sellars Henry Geiger 

Peter Bruster David Harley 

John Van Lashett Christian Custer 
Timothy Bangor 

" I have heard all these Brethren preach, 

"Your Brother in the Lord, 

"John Fox, Elder." 

There were also some deacons chosen during this period : 

1. Peter K. Gorgas, elected January 13, 1842. 

2. John Fox, elected January 13, 1842. 

3. John Goodyear, elected February 23, 1858. 

4. Christian Custer, elected February 23, 1858. 

5. John Fry, elected January 31, 1863. 

6. Isaiah G. Harley, elected January 31, 1863. 
We now come to what might be called 

The Constitutional Period 

of the Philadelphia church — a period of reorganization, of 
readjustments to meet changing conditions, a period of 
transition from the old-time church preachers to the modern 
pastorate. During this time the Sunday School gained ad- 
mission. The church began keeping regular, systematic 
records. Poor funds were developed. The Trustees were 
organized. The church was incorporated as a legal body 
with a corporate seal. The struggle was begun for the de- 
velopment of a church edifice that would properly house her 
manifold activities. And she formulated a constitution. 


This period we may say in a general way extended from 
1850 to 1870, from the death of the old founder, Peter 
Keyser, to the coming of J. P. Hetric, the first pastor. 
And yet this evolution was felt before and after these dates. 

The Church Property. 

In a meeting on January 15, 1850, the surviving trus- 
tees were empowered " to remove the discrepancy between 
the deed and the article of agreement " (whatever this was), 
and the following new Board was elected, to whom the sur- 
viving trustees of the original deed were authorized to con- 
vey the legal title now standing in their name. The second 
Board of Trustees, elected on the motion of John Fox, was 
as follows : 


John Righter, 


John Goodyear, 


John Fox, only old trus- 


George H. Spencer, 



Jacob Harley, 


Joseph E. Mcllhenny, 


Benjamin Lehman, 


John Hagey, 


Peter K. Gorgas, 


John Harley, 


James Lynd, Jr. 


John Dismant, 

A meeting was called February 20, 1862, in the meeting- 
house, for the purpose of taking into consideration the in- 
corporation of the property belonging to the said German 
Baptist Church, located on Crown Street, below Callowhill, 
east side. Thirty members were present, the names of all 
of whom are given in the minutes. Bro. Geiger read the 
legal writings drawn up for the above named purpose, in 
which the following named persons were named as Trustees : 


John Fox, 


Isaiah G. Harley, 


Stephen Benton, 


Jacob Harley, 


James Lynd, 


Joseph A. Price, 


Henry Geiger, 


Samuel Hershey, 


John Goodyear, 


John Fry, 


Jonathan Eisenhower, 


John Hagey. 

The act of incorporation as read was unanimously 


At this same meeting, on Bro. Fox's own motion, a com- 
mittee was appointed to examine the church books, city 
bonds or loans, etc., in his possession, for the purpose of 
having them transferred to Bro. Goodyear. This matter 
involves the poor fund, which we shall consider later. 

" Petition to the Court for Incorporation. 

" To the Honorable, the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas 
for the County of Philadelphia. 
" The Subscribers, citizens of the State of Pennsylvania have 
agreed to associate themselves for the purpose set forth in the 
annexed Article, Constitution of the Society of the Church of 
Christ (worshipping in Crown Street, city of Philadelphia) 
commonly called German Baptists, and are desirous of acquir- 
ing and enjoying, in accordance with the articles, conditions 
and objects, and under the name, style and title in said annexed 
articles, set forth the powers and immunities of a corporation 
and body politic in law, and they pray that your Honors may 
examine the said articles, and if the objects and conditions 
therein shall appear lawful and not injurious to the Community, 
may direct the same to be filed in the office of the prothonotary 
of the Court aforesaid and also direct the necessary advertise- 
ment of this application. 

"And as in honor bound your petitioners will ever pray, etc. 
"Joseph A. Price Samuel Hershey 

Jacob Harley John Fox 

James Lynd Henry Geiger 

Isaiah G. Harley Jonathan Eisenhower 

John Hagey John Goodyear" 

John Fry 

The trustees figured very prominently in this work, as 
much as to call forth protest. A meeting was held July 5, 
1864, to reconsider the Constitution and By-Laws. Bro. 
Custer objected to Art. Ill, Sec. 2, on the ground that too 
much power was vested in the trustees, and thought that 
the word "Church" should be substituted in place of 
"Trustees." No motion was made to this efifect, but the 
protest went on the minutes. 


It seems that a Constitution is necessary to present to the 
Civil Court in order that the church may be recognized as 
a corporate body in law. It, therefore, has to do with the 
temporal side of church work, and rightly falls within the 
sphere of the Trustees. The entering of the protest on the 
Minutes seems to indicate that the church recognized the 
danger of the Trustees feeling their power, to being led to 
usurp authority in the church not belonging to them, but not 
recognizing any such usurpation as having taken place. 
The Church in her spiritual functions is above, not subject 
to Civil Courts, but where she has dealings in the affairs of 
this life, she recognizes the Civil Courts as of God to look 
after these matters, and submits to their regulations in 
matters temporal. The submission of such a Constitution 
is not to be interpreted as the Church subscribing to a con- 
fession or Creed. The creed of the Church of the Brethren 
is as always the New Testament. 

On May 25, 1864, the Board of Trustees met and organ- 
ized as follows : President, Jonathan Eisenhower ; Secre- 
tary, I. G. Harley; Treasurer, John Goodyear. Two days 
later, on May 27, Samuel Hershey resigned his trusteeship 
and his membership in the church. Silas Thomas was 
elected in his place. 

A motion is recorded, made likely about this time, the 
mover being Elder Jacob Spanogle, as follows : " Resolved, 
that the Society of the church of Christ commonly called 
German Baptist adopt a corporate seal for the use and pur- 
pose of said Society, and that we hereby adopt a said cor- 
porate seal, one of which the following is a true and correct 

The first annual meeting of the Trustees was held Jan. 
30, 1865. At this meeting it was decided to repair the 
church, repairs consisted of "painting and fixing up," cost 

To the Trustees is the credit also due of getting the 
church to keep regular minutes. The following written 
report was submitted on the date of the above meeting. 
The report speaks for itself. 


" Philadelphia, Jan, 30, 1865. 

"To THE Members and Trustees of the German Baptist 
" Dear Brethren: — Being instructed by the Board of Trustees, 
at a meeting held May 25, 1864, to purchase a Book for the use 
of the German Baptist Church, and to record therein the Act 
of Incorporation, By-Laws, and the Minutes of all meetings 
held from that date," etc. 

The name of the person who secured the book is not 
given. It was likely I. G. Harley. 

Jacob Harley is the first secretary of whom we have 
record. He served in 1854. Henry Geiger was secretary 
in 1856 and 1858; and Silas Thomas in 1864. But these 
seem to have been only appointments pro tern. 

We find the treasurer's work also being gotten in shape. 
In 1865 the treasurer gave reports for several years back, 
for 1862, 1863 and 1864; also a report of poor funds since 
1858. After 1864 he gave a regular annual report of all 
receipts and expenditures, and also separate annual reports 
of the poor funds. The total cost of running the church 
in 1862, including cost of light, heat, water, $150 interest on 
a mortgage, and $80 sexton's salary for eight months, 
amounted to $252.97. The next year it was $301.99. In 
the light of present day conditions, we may well call this 
the day of small things. But even this burden the mem- 
bers did not have to bear, the receipts being as follows: 

Rents from lot and cellar ($150 and $60) $210.00 

Contributions from R. Harley Fund 5.00 

Quarterly Collections 1 1.97 

From ex-Treasurer John Fox 32.37 

Total receipts $2S9.-34 

Notwithstanding the low cost of running the church, the 
congregation had been borrowing heavily from the poor 
funds. Surely the members had not been taught to give. 
No wonder that the windows of heaven had not been opened 
in blessings. The shortage in funds continued to increase; 
and in order to stimulate the members in giving, shortages 
for three years were read, being as follows : in 1864, $92.55 ; 


in 1865, $213.54; in 1866, $395.84. It being recognized 
as illegal to use the poor funds, the following action was 
taken in a special meeting of Trustees at Bro. John Fry's, 
on the evening of January 28, 1867 : 

"Resolved, That the proceeds of the legacies to the Crown 
Street German Baptist Church, be appropriated and used 
alone for the purpose for which they were bequeathed — to 
the assistance of the Poor members of said church." 

John Goodyear, John Fry and I. G. Harley were ap- 
pointed a committee to liquidate the debt. The board sug- 
gested, "that the present debt of the church be subscribed 
for and paid, that a permanent church fund be raised by 
quarterly or half yearly subscriptions, from each member of 
the church in such amounts as each member may feel able 
and willing to pay." 

A meeting of the church was called to present the matter 
to the members, when it was decided to do away with the 
quarterly collection of Sunday morning, "and that each 
member subscribe in a book furnished by the deacons, what 
they may feel willing and able to give, and that it be pay- 
able half yearly, on the first of November and on the first 
of May in each and every year." It will thus be seen that 
the burden of financing the church devolved largely upon 
the trustees. 

The personnel of the Board has been kept pretty well 
before us. 

The following letter was received by the Board : 

"Philadelphia, May 18, 1865. 
" Mr. Jonathan Eisenhower, President of Board of Trustees 
of the German Baptist Church, Phila. 
"Dear Sir, — I hereby tender my resignation as a member of 
the board over which you preside. Please have my resignation 
accepted and entered on the minutes of your transactions. 

"H. Geiger." 

This resignation was accepted with no little reluctance. 
Dr. Geiger's influence for good as a trustee, as well as in 
other lines of church work, was considerable. George 
Spencer was elected in his place. 


John Fox resigned as a trustee, February ii, 1867, and 
Jacob Spanogle was elected in his place. Bro Spanogle was 
a preacher and had moved to Philadelphia a few years 

Joseph Price having moved to Norristown, resigned as a 
trustee, July 26, 1869. Isaac Hunsberger was elected in' 
his place. 

February 13, 1871, John S. Thomas was elected a trus- 
tee in place of George H. Spencer, deceased. 

Jacob Harley resigned as trustee, January 29, 1872. 
Christian Custer was elected to fill the vacancy. At the 
same time John Eisenhower resigned as chairman of the 
Board, and was succeeded by John S. Thomas. 

The Poor Fund. 

In the matter of funds for the poor the Philadelphia 
church holds an enviable position. Up to the end of the 
period of this congregation's history now under considera- 
tion, she had three — The Hannah Keyser Fund, the Rudolph 
K. Harley Fund, and the Christian Lapp Fund. 

Hannah Keyser by her will left $1,000 as a poor fund, to 
the Germantown and Philadelphia churches. The interest 
-was to be divided equally between the two churches and to 
te given to their poor and needy. The money was invested 
in City Loan at 6 per cent. By January i, 1865, the in- 
come had amounted to $379.23. Of this amount $260.16 
had been paid out, leaving a balance on hand of $119.07. 
The funds seem to be in care of the Philadelphia church, 
which pays Germantown her share. 

Rudolph K. Harley bequeathed to the Philadelphia 
Church forty-two shares of Northern Liberty Gas Stock, 
$25 per share, making $1,050. John Fox originally had 
the care of it, but resigned in 1869. He was succeeded by 
I. G. Harley. The income from this fund up to October 5, 
1864, was $994.12. $522.14 had been paid out, leaving a 
balance, January i, 1865, of $471.98. $5 were given an- 
nually to defray expenses of the church. The Gas Stock 
paid very large dividends, but in 1865 was likely soon to be 
paid over to the church. 


Christian Lapp Fund was originally $470.11. But with 
6 per cent, interest by 1864 amounted to $656.23. Of this 
amount $512.50 were invested. The balance on hand, Jan- 
uary I, 1865, was $i4373- 

The total balance from the poor funds, January i, 1865, 
was $642.33. As already stated the church had been in 
the habit of borrowing from this fund. Nearly $100 
were due the poor fund on the preceding date. When the 
question of repairing the church came up before the Board 
of Trustees, May 22, 1865, the President stated that the 
poor fund could not be used and that the amount owed 
should be paid back. In 1858 the sole duty of the treasurer 
seemed to be disposing of the income from these funds. 

The Philadelphia Sunday School. 

The following account of the Philadelphia Sunday 
School is the one read at the meeting of the Brethren's His- 
torical Society at Harrisonburg, Va., in 1909. The infor- 
mation concerning its origin was received direct from Sister 
Mary Geiger of Philadelphia, the widow of its founder. 

" Dr. Henry Geiger moved to Philadelphia in 1852. About 
two years later, in 1854, he was elected to the ministry. At this 
time no services were held on Sunday except preaching, morn- 
ing and evening. This was in the old Crown Street Church." 

The Doctor refused to serve unless a Sunday School was 
organized. This stand brought the Sunday School, and 
brought it permanently. Dr. Geiger was elected superin- 

During a trip east James Ouinter was with the Philadel- 
phia church on Sunday, December 28, 1856. He says:: 

" The Brethren here have a Sunday School ; and on Sunday 
afternoon our talking was more particularly directed to the 
teachers and scholars. We were pleased with the interest mani- 
fested, and hope God will bless all concerned, and make them 
a blessing. Our meetings here were characterized by solemnity 
and attention. We felt, I think, that it was good to be together. 
There are zealous brethren and sisters in this church. And we 
hope God has blessings in store for them. We enjoyed our- 


selves very well with our Christian friends here." — Gospel 
Visitor of 1857, pp. 57 and 58. 

The Philadelphia school was purely Brethren at the start; 
the one at Coventry was union in origin, yet it was securely 
intrenched in the church with a brother as superintendent 
before the Philadelphia school was started, so it may rightly 
claim to be the older school. Many of our church enter- 
prises were started as individual concerns. If, however, 
the position be taken that that is not a Brethren school which 
was not purely one at the beginning, then to Dr. Geiger 
must be conceded the distinction of standing at the head 
of our Sunday School work. It would give us great pleas- 
ure to grant him the distinction, because of the indirect bless- 
ing he has been to the church. Dr. Geiger did the work 
of a surgeon in the Civil War. This not only brought an 
end to his preaching and Sunday School work, but cost him 
his membership. May the good he has done the church 
return to him in blessing! 

The Philadelphia school was the first to receive notice in 
our church paper, so that its influence was doubtless more 
widespread and called into being more schools than did the 
Coventry school. James Quinter's visit was in mid-winter. 
He visited Coventry as well as Philadelphia. Coventry is 
in the country and her school had likely closed for the 

So much for the account to the Historical Society. 

The Sunday School has ever been a potent factor in 
shaping church architecture. We shall here insert a state- 
ment from the old minute book which may seem out of 

"Our holy and beautiful house where our Fathers wor- 
shipped was injured by fire, October 5, 1854. We con- 
gregated in the old school room, corner of Vine and Fourth 
Streets, until January 28, 1855, when we turned our feet 
once more to the little Sanctuary." Bro. M. G. Brumbaugh 
evidently places this construction on the above : " We con- 
gregated in the old school room, corner of Vine and Fourth 
Streets, where we had congregated before the Crown Street 
house was built." 


The question of leasing again the lot back of the church 
was considered at a special meeting of the Board of Trus- 
tees, May 26, 1869. It was then stated that the teachers 
and scholars of the Sunday School were dissatisfied with 
the gallery of the church, the place which was then used 
by the school. They complained that they could not build 
up the school unless they had better accommodations for the 
scholars, and asked that something might be done to relieve 
them, whereby they might retain all the scholars and in- 
crease the school. It was proposed to erect a school roorn 
on the lot, but on this point there was lack of agreement. 
The next proposition was to sell the church and lot and to 
build a new church elsewhere with basement for Sunday 
School, it being thought the church was not in the right 
place to do good. It was decided to call a meeting of the 
members to consider the matter. 

This meeting was held June 24, 1869, in the church build- 
ing. The object of the meeting was laid before the mem- 
bers by the President of the board, and all were requested to 
express their views. Bro. John S. Thomas thought the 
church wasn't in a place to do good, being surrounded by 
"Lager beer saloons," and other "annoyances," and that 
he could not see how any member could object to selling the 
church, and building or buying one in some more suitable 
place. Brother Spanogle tried to dispel any fears of addi- 
tional cost by stating that the property could be sold for 
$18,000 or more, and that for this amount a lot could be 
purchased and a plain meeting-house erected. Bro. John 
Fox had no objection to selling if sufficient could be realized 
on the old property. He said that when the house was built 
in 18 1 7, it was in the center of the membership, but now the 
members were more up town. His remarks seemed to set 
forth the general view of the church. Those present were 
unanimously in favor of selling and a committee was ap- 
pointed to take the vote of those present. A written vote 
of the whole membership was taken and resulted as fol- 
lows: "Yes," 84; "No," 8; refused to vote, 8; not seen, 5. 
It will thus be seen that the membership of the church in 
1869 was 105. In 1862 it was 96. 


It was decided in council, September 6, 1869, to sell the 
Crown Street property. Isaac Hunsberger, John L. Fry, 
Silas Thomas, and I. G. Harley were appointed to attend to 
the matter, and also to see about buying a new lot. An 
offer of $12,000 for the property was refused. The mat- 
ter dragged on till September 3, 1872, when it was decided 
to accept an offer of $13,000. A new committee had been 
appointed in June of this year — Brethren Hunsberger, Cus- 
ter and Fry — to look up a building lot, to draw up a plan 
for the new church and to secure estimates of cost. Two 
sites were found — one on the corner of 8th and Thompson 
Streets and the other on Marshall Street below Girard 
Avenue. The latter was taken for $7,600. A two-story 
brick church was erected on this lot, and dedicated the 
second Sunday in September, 1873. Elder Isaac Price, of 
Green Tree, preached the dedication sermon. 

The Philadelphia church began keeping council records 
apart from the minutes of the trustees in 1865. Troubles 
among the ministers seem to have brought this desirable re- 
sult. L^ck of harmony, running too fast, unkindness, 
assuming authority, jealousy, lack of care in truthfulness, 
and attending services elsewhere when there were meetings 
in the home church, were faults found in the ministry; and 
the chuch was rebuked for schism. The committee of 
elders present were Christian Long, John L. Click and Sam- 
uel Harley. Elder Andrew M. Dierdorff was also present. 

But this committee was not able to put an end to the 
trouble. The ministers involved were Brethren Custer, 
Heyser and Fox. The committee met the church in Jan- 
uary, 1866; but the next year it was necessary to have an- 
other. The committee consisted of John Zug, Graybill 
Myers, John Wise, Jacob Reiner and Daniel M. Holsinger. 
This was November 14, 1867. After the members had sub- 
scribed themselves as "willing to abide by the decision of 
this committee and never oppose it unless it can be shown 
that it is contrary to the Scriptures," the committee gave its 
report as follows : 

" After patiently hearing all the testimony offered, the fol- 
lowing are our 


Unanimous Conclusions. 

"Whereas, We, having examined the writing and verbal 
declarations made before us, after mature deliberation found 
that many members have done wrong ; 

"Therefore, Resolved: That after hearing the acknowledge- 
ments made by brethren in public council, we do not require any 
further acknowledgements from any, but that all the members 
shall humble themselves before God, confess their sins to him 
and turn from them. 

" Also, Resolved, That we set the ministers in order accord- 
ing to the general order of the Brethren by promoting Brother 
John Fox to the office of Bishop, or Ordained Elder ; and Bro. 
Custer be continued in the ministry in the first degree. 

" And the members shall submit unto this decision and who- 
ever shall stir up anything that has occurred before this time 
shall fall into the judgment of the church. 
"Philada., Nov. i6, 1867. 

" Signed 

John Wise, Moderator 
Daniel M. Holsinger, Clerk 
Graybill Myers 
Jacob K. Reiner 
John Zug" 

Bro. John Fox was very old when he was ordained. 
When it came to receive him as bishop, as is the custom, 
the brethren received him with the right hand of fellow- 
ship and the salutation of the kiss, then the sisters gave the 
right hand of fellowship. The first three gave the hand 
only but the fourth seized his hand and kissed him. All 
the sisters that followed kissed him also. 

The next year another committee waited on the church to 
set them in order in regard to feetwashing, the supper, the 
salutation, and use of the Lord's Supper. In the council of 
October 5, 1869, it was decided to carry out the decision of 
the committee, to have "Beef, Bread, Rusk and Coffee" 
for the Supper. 

Action of the church November 10, 1869, Bro. Graybill 
Alyers being present, showed further progress in the matter 
of getting fully into the order of the Brotherhood. After 


some consultation the following proposition and resolution 
were unanimously accepted. 

" Whereas, a few of our members have sometimes com- 
muned with other denominations, and others have fellowshipped 
Wm. C. Thurman, an excluded member of the Brotherhood; 
and. Whereas these things are contrary to the order of the 
Brethren, and thereby have brought trouble and contentions 
into our congregation, 

" Therefore, Resolved, that, forgiving one another all that is 
past, we will henceforth by the help of the Lord, avoid giving 
offence, in the particulars named above, and furthermore, that 
we will enforce discipline upon all those members who here- 
after thus offend." 

Meeting was held for the last time in the old Crown St. 
Church, on Sunday, September 22, 1872. Services were 
held morning and evening. 

" The Brethren and Sisters having tried to worship the Lord 
our God, in accordance with the teachings of the New Testa- 
ment in that house for fifty-five years, feel sorry to leave the 
dear, sad" spot. But believing it to be for the best, to promote 
the cause of Christ, and the salvation of precious never-dying 
souls, have consented and are willing to make sacrifices, and 
thereby assist in the building of a new house, wherein to con- 
tinue by the blessing and assistance of our God our worship in 
a more convenient place." 

Meetings were held in a hall on the corner of 6th St. and 
Girard Ave., from September 29, 1872, to the second Sun- 
day in Sept., 1873, when as previously stated, the new 
house was dedicated. 

The first quarterly council meeting held in the Marshall 
St. house was on Thursday evening, July 2, 1874. Bro. 
J. T. Myers was appointed chairman, and L G. Harley was 

October i, 1874, it was decided to have a minister read 
the opening chapter instead of a deacon as heretofore. It 
being stated that reading in order was not the general cus- 
tom of the Brethren, Bro. John Fox stated that the read- 
ing of the chapter in order, by one of the deacons, has been 


done here and at Germantown, as long as he can remember ; 
but he did not object to a change. A psalm was also read 
at the opening of the morning service, by the minister, but 
he was not in favor of too much reading and thought the 
long chapters should be divided. 

While the Philadelphia Church was getting in line with 
some of the old regulations of the Brotherhood, new meas- 
ures were constantly being introduced. 

The question of a pool came up at this time. Bro. Fox 
thought the time had come for a pool. The readiness of 
change in a man so old is remarkable. There was great 
difficulty in baptizing in the River. They must always wait 
for the tide or baptize in the mud, and they did not know 
how soon they would be deprived of that privilege. The 
vote was seventeen to one for a pool. 

Elder J. P. Hetric first comes to the front in the third 
council in the new church, and it was in the interest of 
church government. He stated that the order among the 
Brethren is, when business is to come before the church of 
which the church is not fully informed of its nature, to 
submit it to a special council of the official members, who 
approve or disapprove as they think proper, and thus occupy 
the relation to the council meeting, that the Standing Com- 
mittee does to the general Annual Council, after which our 
church meetings are modelled; and if the church wishes to 
transact its business after the order of the Brethren, this 
is the way they should proceed. 

Brother Hetric came from Armstrong Co., Pa. John 
Wise, of that county, informs the Brotherhood in the Gospel 
Visitor of August, 1866, that "The congregation on Red 
Bank held an election for a minister — and called Bro. Jesse 
P. Hetric to the ministry." Bro. Hetric came to Philadel- 
phia in April, 1874, and remained as pastor of the Philadel- 
phia church to June, 1882. In this interval, April, 1877, 
he met with the great loss and sorrow of his life, in the 
death of his estimable wife. He had had the pleasure of 
baptizing her into the church for which he was laboring, 
September 6, 1874. "Broken down in physical health and 
discouraged in heart, he took up the duties of life alone in 


the city church." And for five years more he rendered 
very acceptable service. During his pastorate forty-three 
were added to the church. He held some very successful 
revival services in the churches in the country roundabout. 
Bro. Hetric wished to go to the country, but not because 
of any dissatisfaction in the church, which desired him to 
stay. He advocated the election of a minister from the 
membership. Bro. Joel Reiner, son of Elder Jacob, was 
elected. There was a rival, and dissensions and with- 
drawals followed. After some years of service Bro. Reiner 
fell away from the church. 

Then Brethren from a distance were called in to look 
after the flock. These were E. A. Orr, I. M, Gibson and 
Howard Miller. Though there are members still living 
who have " pleasant memories of Christian fellowship in the 
Marshall Street Church," yet the work did not prosper. 
The membership became weak and scattered. The church 
was sold in March, 1890; and a lot was bought at the N. E. 
corner of Dauphin and Carlisle Streets in June of the same 

For about a year the members worshipped in a hall at 
226. St. and Columbia Ave. During this time the Sunday 
School was suppressed. Bro. W. J. Swigart of Hunting- 
don preached every other Sunday. The pulpit was filled 
on the other Sunday as best they could. Prayer-meetings 
were held in the homes. The last sermon in the hall was 
preached Sunday, April 26, 1891, by Bro. T. T. Myers, of 
Illinois, it being his first to the Philadelphia members. 
The new church was dedicated May 3, 1891. Eld. W. J. 
Swigart preached the sermon. At the same time Bro. 
Myers assumed the pastorate of the little flock, now number- 
ing about forty. The total membership in Philadelphia 
was seventy-four. This was the beginning of prosperity 
for the Philadelphia church. Up to February 8, 1891, 
four hundred and nine persons had held membership in the 
Philadelphia church. 

There were about twenty of the Marshall St. members 
who were worshipping at Dover Hall. These too might 
have been built up into a strong congregation had they 


been supplied with a good resident pastor. They were 
organized into a congregation and became known as the 

North Philadelphia Church. 

They first represented at District Meeting in the year 
1888. This was while E. A. Orr was preaching at Mar- 
shall St. J. K. Reiner was the preacher in North Philadel- 
phia. He and J. H. Hartman represented the church this 
year. These with J. W. Steiner were the only represen- 
tatives of this church till 1893, when it was taken under 
the care of the District Mission Board. We have the fol- 
lowing minutes in the District records of this year : 

"The Northern Philadelphia Church at a council in the fall 
of 1892 decided to ask the District Mission Board to take charge 
of them, which we agreed to do. J. K. Reiner, their only min- 
ister, was charged with improper conduct and improper expres- 
sions in preaching, to which he plead guilty. Whereupon, in 
the presence of the writer (name not given) and Elders Wm. 
Hertzler and F. P. Cassel, he was deposed from the ministry ; 
and at the next council, he and wife disowned, by their request. 
Four councils attended there during the year. This church was 
assigned to Elder Wm. Hertzler to care for them in the name 
of the Mission Board, and they are supplied with ministerial 
service by ministers from other churches." 

J. H. Hartman continued to represent this church at Dis- 
trict Meeting; and the District Mission Board spent con- 
siderable money in ministerial supplies here. Jesse Ziegler 
and J. Z. Gottwals preached most frequently. 

In 1894 the report at District Meeting was that one was 
baptized, that meetings were held every Lord's day, and that 
the members are much in need of a better place of worship. 

In 1895 the work was in charge of Elder H. E. Light, 
and he was unable to give a very encouraging report. 
" They still continue to hold their meetings in Dover Hall. 
Every Sunday the appointments are filled by supplies from 
H. E. Light, Cassel, Gottwals, Price and Ziegler, or their 
substitutes. A few had to be disowned, and no addition 
during this year. Four councils and one love feast were 


held during the year. The committee appointed to see for 
a better place of worship did not succeed as yet in getting 
a new place." 

The report to the District Meeting of 1896 was: "Phil- 
adelphia Northern Church was disorganized by the mutual 
consent of the members and the committee from A. M." 
The members went to the 

Carlisle and Dauphin St. Church. 

Here Bro. T. T. Myers was doing a quiet, steady work 
that was bringing results. During his first year twenty-two 
were baptized; during the second, thirty-five; the third, 
thirty-seven; the fourth, twenty-eight; the fifth, nine (this 
year he visited the Holy Land) ; the sixth, forty. During 
these years he received sixty-two by letter; and dismissed 
by letter perhaps twenty. 

In the spring of 1892 it was necessary to build a Sunday 
School addition. It consisted of two rooms, an infant room 
and a general Sunday School room. The building and 
furnishing, costing about $7,000, were the gifts of Sister 
Mary Geiger. This building was dedicated October 2, 1892. 
The first Sunday School at the new Carlisle and Dauphin 
St. house was held May 10, 1891, with W. S. Price, now 
of Royersford, as superintendent. 

Bro. T. T. Myers continued to serve this congregation 
till he was called to the chair of New Testament Theology 
in the Juniata Bible School, with the exception of one year, 
from May, 1901, to May, 1902, when W. S. Long was 
pastor. Bro. Long and C. C. Ellis were each assistant 
pastor for a short time. 

In 1896 a mission Sunday School was started at 26th 
Street and Lehigh Avenue. Bro. J. W. Cline was placed 
in charge of the work. Through the generosity of Sister 
Geiger a lot was purchased and a church and parsonage 
built, which were dedicated in the fall of 1898. This 
church is fittingly called Geiger Memorial. 

The Carlisle and Dauphin St. church was enlarged and a 
tower built on it in 1905. Bro. M. G. Brumbaugh preached 


the dedication sermon on Sunday morning, January i, 1905. 
A sermon was preached in the evening by Eld. I. N. H. 
Beahm. The membership of the church at this time, in- 
cluding the mission at 26th and Lehigh, was about four 
hundred and fifty. Besides the different departments of the 
Sunday School and Bible Classes, there were a Mother's, 
a Young People's and a Junior Christian Endeavor, a 
Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union, a Society of 
King's Daughters, Sewing Circles, a Beneficial Association, 
a Young Men's Association, a Junior, and A Young People's 
Choral Society. The feeling of the church was : " Surely 
the Lord has been and is with us, and He will continue to 
be with us if we show to Him a spirit of real devotion." 

A brief acquaintance with some of the old preachers of 
the Philadelphia Church will be of interest to all. First 
and foremost among them will ever be 

Peter Keyser. 

An interesting account of him is given in the book, " Some 
Who Led," which is no doubt accessible to nearly all. He 
came of good old Mennonite stock, and little wonder that he 
became a tower of strength. 

Peter Dirck Keyser, great-grandfather of Elder Peter, 
came to America in 1668, and settled at Germantown. The 
subject of this sketch was born November 9, 1766. When 
he was three years old his father joined the Church of the 
Brethren. He himself joined the church, September 28, 
1784, in his eighteenth year. In 1785 he was called to the 
ministry; and in 1802 was ordained to the eldership. For 
sixty-four years he was preacher and for forty-seven years 
was bishop of the Germantown and Philadelphia churches. 
He died May 21, 1849. 

Bro. Abraham H. Cassel has a few words more for us 
about him: "I was well acquainted with the Rev. Peter 
Keyser. He told me some of his early life; that his father 
had been a tanner, and that he was early put at the bark mill 
for grinding. Above it he made a shelf, on which he kept 
an open Bible, and as the grinding went on he would read 


a passage in it, memorize it ; and so he would take up verse 
after verse and chapter after chapter, until he had com- 
pletely memorized the whole of the New Testament. Of 
the Old Testament he memorized the whole of the Psalms 
and the Prophets, and the five books of Moses — the whole 
of the New and the greater part of the Old Testament." 

James Lynd. 
James Lynd succeeded Peter Keyser as elder of the Phil- 
adelphia Church, and survived him only a little over two 
years. He died December 28, 1851. We give the follow- 
ing lines written on him after his death by J. E. M. I. 
They indicate that the spirit of poetry was cultivated in 
this city church. 

" He has finished his course, 

He has fought the good fight ; 
He has reached the bright realms 
Of peace and delight. 

" No storm of affliction 
Shall bear on him now 
The crown of rejoicing 
Is placed on his brow. 

" Then joyfully thronging 
With melody sweet. 
And harps all attuned. 
Their brother to greet. 

"The saints of all ages 
Appear on the plain. 
And join in one sweet 
And enrapturing strain. 

"What bliss to behold 

Midst the bright ones above. 
The brethren and friends, 
Whom on earth he did love ; 

" And join in the praises 
That never shall end, 
To Jesus their Savior, 
Redeemer and Friend." 


John Right er and Thomas Major. 

November i8, 1841, a notable event occurred in the Phil- 
adelphia church. On this day were elected to the ministry, 
one with twenty-nine, the other with twenty-seven votes, 
John Righter and Thomas Major, the father and husband 
of Sarah Righter Major, the noted woman preacher of 
the Church of the Brethren. 

The year following this election, in 1842, Sarah ex- 
changed her father's home for the home of a husband. 
Both guarded and encouraged her in her work of prophesy- 
ing. We feel that she was the central figure, and that the 
other two existed for her. 

For a very interesting account of Sarah Righter Major, 
see " Some Who Led," pp. 70-72. 

The Gospel Visitor tells us of the home going of John 

" Died in Philadelphia, August 10 (i860) our beloved brother 
in the Lord, Elder John Righter, in the seventy-seventh year of 
his age. He was fifty-one years a member of the church, and 
nineteen years a preacher of the Gospel. He was in delicate 
health for several years, and suffered much, which he endured 
with more than usual Christian fortitude. His end was like the 
going down of a balmy, summer evening's sun. He was sensible 
to the last, and with patience waited for his end, when his dis- 
embodied spirit should go home to dwell with the saints, who 
have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Funeral" 
services by brethren John H. Umstad and John Fox. Subject — 
' It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house 
of feasting.' 

" We who are left to mourn his departure can say with truth, 
— Another of God's servants hath put on the garment of sal- 
vation, has laid aside Earth's heavy raiment, and arrayed in 
light, has gone to enjoy the house of many mansions. We weep 
that he has left us alone. In grief we tread life's desert path- 
way, but when life hath passed, we may go to him and claim 
his hand, to lead us where the living waters flow." 

Thomas Major moved from Philadelphia in 1843 to 
Highland County, Ohio. He died in 1888 and is buried 
with his wife at Greenfield, Ohio. 


Dr. Henry Geiger. 

Though Dr. Geiger will never be rated high as a preacher, 
will hardly be thought of at all as a preacher, yet his in- 
fluence direct and indirect taken together, has perhaps been 
greater than that of any other member the Philadelphia 
Church ever had. From the angle of finances he has indi- 
rectly done more for the Church of the Brethren than any 
member on her books. He was active as a trustee, and 
likely was instrumental in having the Philadelphia Church 
chartered — the first church to be chartered in the Brother- 
hood. He it was who brought the Sunday School into the 
Philadelphia Church. This Sunday School was the seed 
Sunday School of the Brethren Church, the sower of this 
seed being James Quinter. The Doctor went out with the 
city troop in the Civil War, and thus ceased to be a brother. 
He was an able business man and amassed great wealth. 
It is his meek, quiet, consecrated wife, who has been and 
still is turning his wealth into blessing for the church. 
May God bless Sister Mary S. Geiger! Of her it may be 
said : " M-any daughters have done well, but she has ex- 
ceeded them all." 

Jacob Spanogle. 

Though not called to the ministry in Philadelphia, yet 
Bro. Spanogle was a very useful minister here. He moved 
to Philadelphia from Perry County, Pa., perhaps about 
i860. He was a tanner by trade and in Philadelphia went 
into the leather business. He was active in the church coun- 
cils, was a trustee, frequently performed baptisms, and 
wielded considerable influence in the church. He it was 
who was instrumental in having Bro. J. P. Hetric come to 
Philadelphia as pastor. In the church record we find: 
"Jacob Spanogle, our beloved brother and minister, died 
suddenly, April 19, 1876; aged sixty-two years. Buried at 

John Fox. 

John Fox was the embodiment of the Philadelphia Church 
beyond others. He was the mouth-piece of the congregation. 


This is well brought out when it came to selling the old 
Crown Street Church. His remarks set forth the general 
view of the church. He was a remarkable old man — 
though he knew the past, had lived in it, was a part of it, 
yet he had not crystallized in it. He was ready to set aside 
the past for new things, if they were for the good of the 
church. Nor did his past prejudice his judgment in re- 
spect to the merit of new things. He was trusted. He was 
interested in all lines of church activity, as can be per- 
ceived by reading the history of the Philadelphia Church. 
And yet he was not in a hurry to invite Christian Custer 
into the pulpit to preach after the latter's election. He 
should ever be regarded by the Philadelphia Church as a 
father in Israel. He was born October 12, 1786. He was 
elected to the ministry September 28, 1844; and was or- 
dained elder November 16, 1867. He died in 1880 and is 
buried at Germantown. 

The Philadelphia Church has produced some saintly 

Catharine Evans 

deserves more than a passing notice. We shall leave one 
who knew her in life, tell us of her. 

" ' Blessed is the memory of the just, 

Though dead, in their works they live and shine; 
And from the silence of the dust. 
Still speak in words divine.' 

Heb. 11:4; Rev. 14: 18. 

" The above words are eminently appropriate to the honored 
and beloved, Catharine Evans, the subject of the following re- 
marks, called out by her holy death, and the many Christian 
virtues of her long and saintly Hfe; 'by which she being dead 
yet speaketh.' The text is peculiarly applicable to her, as we 
are constantly reminded of it by hearing her words of exhorta- 
tion and pious counsel, repeated by those around us. Know, 
too, that they are not without their blessed effects on many. 

"Rev. 14: 13 is also beautifully illustrated in the sanctified 
influence of her many good works. Of her it may truly be said, 
' Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord ; yea, saith the Spirit, 
that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow 


them.' Her works follow her in the living members she brought 
into the fold by her religious ministrations, who are trying to 
walk in the footsteps of her holy example. In every relation 
in life, as a wife, a mother, and a Christian, she was a pattern 
of propriety, piety and usefulness. 

" Her advantages in the way of pious instruction, in early life 
were many, for her mother was a Christian of more than usual 
excellence. Her pastor also, the late venerated Peter Keyser, 
by whom she was baptized and brought into the church, was to 
her a Christian minister indeed; and well did she profit by 
his ministrations, as in after years by those of her beloved 
pastor John Fox, who stood by her dying bed, still exercising 
the functions of his holy ministry in her last hours. It was a 
blessed sight, when her venerable pastor stood by the bed-side 
with her three daughters, and son-in-law, Jacob Reiff, when she 
took her last earthly leave of them, giving each a separate 
charge, as she did to all around her in her last moments. And 
well and long will her holy words be remembered by all who 
were privileged to hear them. — A. P. J." 

We have spoken of her being the first fruits of the 
church in Philadelphia. She died June 25, 1866; and is 
buried at Gennantown. Services by John Fox, John Um- 
stad and Jacob Spanogle. 

Our church history would be more rich, more sanctifying 
were more told about the consecrated mothers and sisters 
in Israel. We might mention "Kitty" Supplee. Bro. J. 
T. Myers tells how she took it to the Lord in prayer when 
her teeth (for she had artificial ones) were missing next 
morning. Then she dreamed that she should take up board 
number so and so of the kitchen floor and she would find 
them. She insisted on having the board taken up and 
there were her teeth. A rat had evidently been the robber. 

And then old "Aunt Becky" Yarnall, the devoted mother 
who prayed and prayed and prayed, went to the attic after 
dinner to supplicate for her children, would not give up till 
she "had them all in the kingdom." 

Recent History. 
Elder S. R. Zug looked after the Philadelphia Church 
while he was a member of the Annual Meeting Committee 


to Eastern Pennsylvania, and was continued after he ceased 
to be a member of this Committee, until 1906, when T. T. 
Myers was ordained and took the oversight. September i, 
1907, Bro. Myers moved to Huntingdon, Pa., having ac- 
cepted the chair of New Testament Theology in the Biblical 
Department of Juniata College. He had been pastor of 
the First Church of Philadelphia for sixteen years. He 
found it a mere handful of members struggling for ex- 
istence and left it a strong mother church bearing children. 

Bro. Charles A. Bame came to Philadelphia following the 
removal of Bro. Myers. He took up the pastorate, while 
Bro. J. T. Myers was chosen elder in charge. Bro. Bame 
continued several years in Philadelphia, and left in the 
month of February, 1910. The following month D. Web- 
ster Kurtz became pastor of the First Church. Bame was 
rather evangelistic. He was, however, ultra-progressive, 
progressive beyond possible service. The prevention of a 
disruption of the congregation was a heavy task to the 
elder, Bro. J. T. Myers. Bro. Myers refused to continue 
as elder with Bame in the pulpit. The church to a member 
stood with Elder Myers. Bame found an opening as pastor 
of a Progressive Church in Dayton, Ohio. He was or- 
dained an elder in the Progressive Church of Philadelphia, 
however, before he left. 

Bro. Kurtz is an able speaker. The attendance under 
Kurtz is described as healthy. Kurtz is instructive. Those 
who come into the church under Kurtz are likely to remain 
loyal. Kurtz is a scholar. He is one of the few ministers 
of the Church of the Brethren upon whom has been con- 
ferred the degree of D.D. 

D. Webster Kurtz was born October 9, 1879, near Hart- 
ville, Ohio. His father. Elder John Kurtz, minister and 
for many years bishop of the East Nimishillen Church, 
Stark Co., Ohio, was born in 183 1 near Reistville, Lebanon 
Co., Pa. His grandfather was Jacob Kurtz who migrated 
to Stark Co., Ohio, in 1854. His mother's name was Mary 
Bollinger, all of whose brothers were ministers in the 
Church of the Brethren. 

He was the youngest of twelve children and was reared 


on a farm where he spent most of his time till he was of 
age. He attended high school and taught three years in a 
rural school. He attended college at Ada, and Alliance, 
Ohio, and was graduated at Juniata College in the A.B. 
course in 1905. After attending Yale Divinity School, he 
received the M.A. and B.D. degrees together with the 
fellowship of his class, in 1908. This entitled him to a 
year's study in European universities. He spent over a 
year in the study of theology and philosophy at Leipzig, 
BerHn and Marburg universities. 

September 7, 1909, he was married to Ethel L. Wheeler, 
of Conn. From this time he taught Greek in Juniata 
College till April i, 19 10, when he accepted the pastorate 
of the First Brethren Church of Philadelphia. About 100 
members were added during the first three years. 

He was baptized by his father May 5, 1899; elected to 
the ministry December 20, 1904; and advanced to the second 
degree in 1906 at Brooklyn, N. Y. During the summer of 
1913 he took a trip to the Holy Land and to the World's 
Sunday School Convention at Zurich, Switzerland. 

Ordained to the Eldership, May 20, 19 14. 

Resigned at Phila., Aug. i, 1914 to accept Presidency of 
McPherson College, Kansas. 

B. The Geiger Memorial Church. 

For some time previous 'to the founding of this mission 
some of the workers of the First Church of Philadelphia 
felt the need of branching out in city mission work. God 
has always called to the strong churches to give of their 
wealth and workers for the further extension of the King- 
dom. A committee, consisting of the Pastor T. T. Myers, 
S. S. Brownback and J. W. Cline, was appointed to in- 
vestigate and report a suitable location for the mission. 
After a wide investigation this committee decided that the 
best opening available was in the neighborhood of Lehigh 
Ave. and 26th St. 

The mission was started on November 29, 1896, in the 
parlor of the residence at 2610 W. Lehigh Ave. with forty- 












five scholars on the first Sunday and sixty on the following 
Sunday. Bro. J. W. Cline, who had been recently elected to 
the ministry, was chosen superintendent and Bro. S. S. 
Brownback was assistant. Those quarters were soon out- 
grown, and early in 1897, ^^o. Brownback moved into the 
house on the southeast corner of Lehigh Ave. and 26th St., 
whose larger quarters served as the home of the mission 
for over a year. On November 2.'j, 1898, the Geiger Me- 
morial Chapel was dedicated. Dr. M. G. Brumbaugh 
preached the dedicatory sermon assisted by Brethren T. T. 
Myers, J. T. Myers and J. W. Cline, the pastor in charge. 
A commodious parsonage was also erected by its side. 
Here the mission church and Sunday School had its home 
until December 29, 1907, when the new commodious 
church edifice was dedicated. Dr. M. G. Brumbaugh again 
officiated, assisted by Brethren T. T. Myers, I. N. H. Beahm, 
C. A. Bame and J- T. Myers, the pastor in charge. 

The affairs of the mission were under the immediate 
direction of the First Church until 1906. On October 19 
of this year the little band of workers were organized into 
the Geiger Memorial Brethren Church, the service being 
conducted by Bishops S. R. Zug, A. L. Grater, T. T. Myers 
and J. T. Myers. Since that time the church has had a 
steady growth, numbering at the present time about 140 
members. From the founding of the church to the present 
time it has had the following pastors : 

J. W. Cline, from the beginning to September, 1900; C, 
O. Beery, November, 1900, to September, 1901 ; L. M. 
Keim, December, 1901, to May, 1905; J. T. Myers, Septem- 
ber, 1905, to September, 1911 ; A. J. Culler, September, 
1911 to 1914. 

The Sunday School has had a continuous growth and 
success and has an exceptionally good attendance and in- 
fluence when compared with the size of the church and the 
surrounding conditions. There are many churches in the 
immediate neighborhood and fully one-half the resident 
population is Catholic. It has grown from the small be- 
ginnings to an enrollment of 440 and an attendance during 
the season of about 275. It has maintained every form of 


Sunday School activity, Teacher Training, Teacher's Meet- 
ings, Cradle Roll, Home Department, Organized Adult 
Bible Classes, Circulating Library, Socials, Mid-week enter- 
tainments. Lectures, various forms of Athletics, and such 
other activities as the live institutional church finds helpful 
in winning and holding the young people of the city. Bro. 
S. S. Brownback has been superintendent ever since the 
beginning and Bro. E. T. Savidge has for many years been 
assistant. Great credit is due those who have so well taken 
charge of the Primary Department which has always been 
quite large. Sister Thomas had it in charge during the first 
years followed by Sister Croft, who later with her husband 
founded the Bethany Mission, then by Sisters Emily King- 
dom, Mrs. J. T. Myers and Mrs. A. J. Culler. During 
many of these years Sister Jessie Rae was assistant superin- 
tendent of the Primary Department, always being a most 
faithful helper. At the present time Sisters Kingdom and 
McCarty have charge of the department. The present pas- 
tor had the pleasure of baptizing some who started as in- 
fants in the Sunday School at the beginning, some of whom 
are now teachers and officers in the same school. 

From the early days the Christian Workers' Meeting has 
flourished. There has also at times been a Junior Christian 
Workers' Meeting and at other times a Temperance Society 
for the children. 

The Try-Circle (name of the Sisters' Aid Society) was 
organized about a year ago and has flourished remarkably 
well, doing much work for the needy, selling garments, and 
helping the church and Sunday School in many ways. 

The Pastors. 

The first pastor and one of the organizers of the work 
was Joseph W. Cline. He was born in the Shenandoah 
Valley, Va., in 1866, and received his education at Bridge- 
water College and the Temple University of Philadelphia. 
He also spent some time in Europe. He was the first super- 
intendent and pastor, and remained with the work for three 
years. He purchased the ground and directed the erection 


of the chapel and parsonage. In September, 1900, he was 
married to Miss Dora Emma Kuns, of IlHnois, after which 
they moved to Cahfornia, where they have since resided. 
During that time he was pastor of the East Los Angeles 
Church (three years) and of the Pomona Church for one 
year. He has since then been in business and active in the 
district and state Sunday School work. He was elected to 
the ministry and advanced to the second degree in Philadel- 
phia and ordained to the eldership in California. Bro. and 
Sister Cline have been blessed with two sons and one 

Bro. Chas. O. Beery was the second pastor remaining for 
one year. He received his early educational training at 
Mt. Morris College and later in Juniata College. He also 
took a further course in the Juniata Bible School. He was 
married to Miss Ella Replogle, of Iowa, in 1898 and came to 
Philadelphia in 1900. From the work here he was called to 
the Plum Creek Church, near Elderton, Pa., where he was 
pastor for four and one-half years. During the past eight 
years he has been pastor of the Tyrone Church. He writes 
that he still believes in the Old Book and Its Salvation. 

Lewis M. Keim, the third pastor of the church, was born 
near Harmonyville, Pa., August 2, 1873. His parents 
were members of the church at that place and all the six 
children were baptized at an early age, Lewis coming in 
at fifteen years of age. He was soon a Sunday School 
worker. He attended Brethren's Normal College at Hunt- 
ingdon and graduated from its English course in 1894. In 
July, 1893, he was elected to the ministry in the Coventry 
Church, after which he spent three years teaching school 
and preaching in the home congregation with occasional 
visits to adjoining congregations. 

In order to prepare more fully for the ministry he went 
to Juniata College in the fall of 1897 ^^^ was graduated in 
the class of 1901 with the degree of B.A. In November of 
the same year he became pastor of the mission. Soon after 
beginning this work he was married to Miss Mary Myers, 
of Shirleysburg, Pa. 

During his pastorate of nearly four years about forty 


applicants were baptized, the morning preaching service was 
estabhshed and plans for the organization of the mission 
into a church were discussed. After his pastorate here he 
accepted a call to the pastorate of the Plum Creek and Glade 
Run churches, where he remained three years. He is now 
Instructor in Ancient History in the Southern High School 
of Philadelphia. 

Elder J. T. Myers, the fourth pastor of the Geiger Memo- 
rial Church, served in that capacity from September, 1905, 
to September, 191 1. He was born in Somerset Co., Pa., 
in the Brothers Valley Church, September, 1851, and was 
baptized in February, 1867, in the Middle Creek Church, 
to which his parents had moved. He was elected to the 
ministry in 1871. The following year he came to Phil- 
adelphia and received a call to become pastor of the Ger- 
mantown Church. He accepted the call and remained as 
their pastor until 1877. During this time he studied under 
a Jewish Rabbi and attended the Lutheran Theological Sem- 
inary at Mount Airy. During 1875-6 he had charge of the 
" Briiderbote " or the "Brethren's Messenger." During 
the lattei* year, at the request of Brethren J. H. Moore and 
M M. Eshelman, he helped to start the publishing of the 
" Brethren at Work," he furnishing the printing out of both 
English and German type. He continued with the firm for 
one year, at the end of which time he sold out his interests 
to the other members of the company. 

In 1877 he was married to Belle Quinter, eldest daughter 
of Elder James Quinter, and having had a previous call to 
the Green Tree Church, they immediately moved into the 
Green Tree Church, where they served in His cause for 
twenty-eight years. He was ordained to the eldership in 
1905. In the fall of 1905 he received a call to this church, 
where he labored for six years. During his pastorate the 
church was organized and the new church built. Elder 
Myers is at present living at his home near Phoenixville, his 
health not permitting him to engage too actively in minister 
rial work.^ 

3 In 1913 he became pastor of the Parkerford church. 


The present pastor, Arthur J. Culler, was born of Breth- 
ren parentage, March 14, 1883. He was baptized when 
12 years of age and at sixteen was superintendent of the 
Mt. Pleasant Church Sunday School. He graduated from 
the Louisville, Ohio, High School, and after teaching school 
for one year, he took a full business course. In the fall of 
1903 he became a clerk in the editorial office of the Gospel 
Messenger, where he remained for one year. In 1904 he 
entered Juniata College, from which he graduated in 1908. 
In 1906 he was elected to the ministry and in 1907 advanced 
to the second degree. During the summer of 1907 he was 
supply pastor of the Altoona Church and during the summer 
of 1908 he served the Plum Creek and Glade Run churches. 
During the winter of 1907-8 he was student pastor of the 
Everett Church. During his college work he visited scores 
of churches in the interest of the Volunteer Mission Band 
of the college. 

In the fall of 1908 he came to Crozer Seminary and the 
University of Pennsylvania, during which year he assisted 
in the work at the Geiger Memorial and preached at the 
Bethany Mission, baptizing twenty-three applicants at the 
latter place. The following summer he was supply pastor 
in the absence of Bro. Myers. He then entered Union 
Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New 
York City, remaining there for two years. The summer of 
19 10 was spent in study and travel in continental Europe. 
He received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity in the spring 
of 191 1 and accepted a call to the pastorate of the Geiger 
Memorial Church for the fall of that year. In September, 
191 1, he was married to Miss Mary Stover, of Warriors- 
mark, Pa., since which time they have been engaged in the 
ministerial work of the church. In 1912 he was awarded 
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Columbia University 
for his work in the Department of Psychology and Re- 
ligious Education. 

Sister Mary S. Geiger. 

Widely known and loved throughout the Brotherhood for 
her devotion and zeal in the Master's cause, and for her 


interest in all the good movements of the church, Sister 
Geiger is more closely associated with the success of the 
Geiger Memorial Church than any one else. More than 
any pastor her consecration and faith has made the 
work possible. She still takes a live interest in all its 
affairs even though at the advanced age of 85 years. She 
was born February 25, 1828, and was confirmed in 
the Lutheran Church when fourteen years of age. Dur- 
ing her early years she came in contact with the Brethren 
at Harleysville and was impressed with their teachings. She 
was married to Dr. Henry Geiger in 1848, moved to Phil- 
adelphia in 1852 and was baptized in the Delaware River 
the same year. Dr. Geiger was elected to the ministry to- 
gether with David Harley in 1853 and took a great interest 
in the Sunday School and the work of the young people. 
During the trying years of the breaking up of the Marshall 
St. Church and the reorganization of the new Philadelphia 
Church their support in zeal and gifts went far to make pos- 
sible the founding of the new church. Dr. Henry Geiger 
died in. 1885, leaving a widow, son and daughter. Since 
that time she has been found in all good works and it was 
her thought to found a mission and later a church in his 
memory. She first supported the mission, later she fur- 
nished all the funds for the erection of the chapel and par- 
sonage, and later still for the present commodious church 
building. She has always borne a large share of the neces- 
sarily heavy expense connected with a city church, an ex- 
pense too heavy to be borne by the mission in these earlier 
days. The work is very close to her heart and we pray that 
much good may be accomplished in His cause in this part 
of His vineyard. 

A. J. Culler. 

C. The Founding and Development of Bethany 

Kensington is Philadelphia's manufacturing center. Mills 
and factories, in this section of the City, are multitudinous 
and the products are of great variety. There are carpet 





mills, woolen mills, cotton mills, hosiery mills, and other 
establishments that work in wood and metal. Consequently 
the residents, for the most part, belong to the laboring class. 
Again, as Philadelphia has been characterized as the City of 
Homes, Kensington may be described as that part of the 
City in which the homes have children in them. A high per- 
centage of the families are young and the children are at an 
age when they are most susceptible to moral and religious 
influence. The forms of vice which thrive in every city 
are equally thrifty in Kensington. Drunkenness probably 
stands first, followed closely by gambling, sexual immoral- 
ity and kindred evils. In a sentence, this is the home of 
great industries, of working people, of numbers of children, 
and many forms of sin and vice. 

It is in the heart of this section that Bethany Mission, of 
the Church of the Brethren, is located. From the stand- 
point of the need of the field and the opportunity of touching 
the youth of the streets, and the masses of laboring people, 
the location could not have been better selected. The his- 
tory of the Mission is necessarily biographical because two 
individuals are responsible for its incipiency and almost 
wholly responsible for its support. The two persons to 
whom Bethany Mission owes its existence are Samuel B. 
Croft and his wife, JuHa Croft. 

Samuel Croft was born near Covington, Ohio, on June 
TO, 1857. He wa? a son of David and Catherine Croft, the 
latter being a member of the Church of the Brethren. 

Julia Croft is a daughter of Larkin and Catherine Younce, 
both members of the Church of the Brethren, and was born 
near West Milton, Ohio, on August 29, 1863. 

Brother and Sister Croft were married on September 9, 
1882, and one year later came to Philadelphia where they 
have since made their home. On February 27, 1887, they 
were baptized at the old Marshall Street Brethren Church 
which now stands at Carlisle and Dauphin Streets and is 
known as the First Brethren Church of Philadelphia. They 
were active at the First Church for a number of years and 
it was here that Brother Croft was called to the office of 


After the building of the Geiger Memorial Church, at the 
request of the Pastor and others who were interested in the 
work there, Sister Croft devoted her time to that work for 
six years, at the end of which time they began work in 

Brother and Sister Croft had a strong missionary spirit 
from the beginning of their Christian life and at one time 
had almost decided to offer themselves to the Mission Board 
for the foreign field. They always contended that the 
Brethren as a people were too slow in taking hold of new 
territory and especially did they believe this to be true of the 
Philadelphia churches. With the exception of a few in- 
dividuals, the missionary zeal of our people at that time was 
exceedingly low. 

In the face of discouragements and protests against leav- 
ing the other Church, Brother and Sister Croft began to 
look out a location for a Mission. In doing this, several 
things were kept in mind. In the first place they looked for 
a neighborhood that was without a church and in need of 
religious influence. Furthermore, they desired to locate in 
territory that was untouched by any other Brethren Church, 
These two principles have been a great factor in the rapid 
growth of the Mission. It was thus that their missionary 
zeal and the crying need of the field conspired together in 
starting the work in this part of the City. 

After some difficulty, a house was rented at 3351 Ken- 
sington Avenue. This was a three-story dwelling house. 
The front room of the first floor had been used as a store- 
room. There was a tobacco store on one side of the build- 
ing and a club (speak-easy) on the other. Both were open 
seven days in the week and afforded an immediate problem. 

At this time the financial problem was perplexing, but 
Brother Croft had passed through a valuable apprenticeship 
as bookkeeper in different firms of the City and was now 
in business as a small manufacturer. He assumed all the 
financial burden of the work and Sister Croft took on her- 
self the responsibility of pastoral duties. She canvassed 
the entire neighborhood the very first thing, going from 
door to door in search of children who were not in Sunday- 


school. At the same time she distributed the following 
announcement : 


of the 

Brethren Church 

3351 Kensington Avenue 


Opens Sunday, June 12, 1904. 

A cordial invitation to all. 

At the stated time, sixty-seven scholars met in the old 
store room for the first Sunday-school session. The only 
minister present was Elder Walter S. Long. His wife was 
also there. The main audience was made up of boys and 
girls, many of whom had never been under religious in- 
fluence either at home or church. Thus the work was 

The purpose that Brother and Sister Croft had in view in 
starting the Mission was to gather the boys and girls from 
the streets into the Sunday-school and give them plain Bible 
instructions, and at the same time exert over them the 
strongest Christian influence. Thus it was hoped to reach, 
indirectly, the parents at home, for it was evident that they 
would have to be touched by indirect methods. It is hard 
to convince a man who loves his beer better than religion 
that he ought to attend religious service even once during 
the week. But the desired result came. Sister Croft 
gained entrance into the homes where, in many cases, the 
moral, religious and domestic conditions were appallingly 
abnormal. She plead for a better life, more wholesome 
home conditions, and for a family religion. She visited the 
sick, conducted funerals, counciled the perplexed, and told 
the Christ-story to the sinful. In brief, she superintended 
the entire work. Brother Croft devoted most of his time 
to business in order to support the Mission financially. 
They both spent a great deal of time planning their work 
in order to do the most in the shortest time, do it efficiently 
and at the least possible expense. 


The children of the neighborhood became greatly attached 
to the Mission and no less to Brother and Sister Croft, and 
they flocked together every Sunday to learn God's word 
and absorb, unconsciously, the Christian influence of the 
Mission. In a short time, seven rooms of the house were 
filled with classes and household furniture had to be sold in 
order to provide room for the school. 

Besides the Sunday-school, other branches of work were 
soon started. The mid-week Prayer Meeting was started 
for the older boys and girls. A Mother's Meeting was also 
organized. Thus the influence of the Mission began to 
touch the homes directly. 

It was discovered that many mothers were anxious to 
attend religious service but could not on account of home 
duties. This called the Home Department into existence. 
The home visitation in this work revealed the fact that the 
mothers were kept from church on account of having to 
care for small children; hence the Cradle Roll was or- 
ganized. These two departments have been constant feed- 
ing agencies of the main Sunday-school. 

One of the greatest problems was that of drink. Beer 
and other drinks of similar nature were used freely in the 
homes. It was clear that the first task was to save the 
children and young people from this awful curse. To do 
this the Loyal Temperance Legion was organized in 1905. 
During the lifetime of the Legion 205 boys and girls have 
taken the pledge against the use of drink, tobacco and pro- 
fanity. The influence of this little society has been exceed- 
ingly wholesome. A number of our young men who have 
never joined the Church are free from the habit of drink 
and tobacco. 

Up to this time there had been no regular preaching serv- 
ice. The " good seed " had been sown quietly and left to do 
its work under the influence of the Spirit. On October 6, 
1906, the first regular preaching service was held. Charles 
C. Ellis, now a professor at Juniata College, conducted the 
first service. He continued to help in the work for several 
successive weeks and occasionally he preached during his 
stay at the University of Pennsylvania. Preachers were 


secured week by week as they could be found. An effort 
was made to secure consecrated and spiritual men who loved 
children and young people. For four years ministers were 
supplied in this way. During this time C. C. Ellis, of the 
Church of the Brethren, G. B. M. Clouser, of the Baptist 
Church, and C. D. Rischel, of the Church of God, were the 
principal preachers, but in all, about forty different men 
were engaged. 

In 1907, three years after the work had been started, 
twenty-five had been baptized into the Church. The Home 
Department numbered fifty and the Cradle Roll twenty-five, 
while the Sunday-school enrollment had reached two hun- 
dred with an average attendance of ninety-five. The school 
needed more room. Every available corner of the old build- 
ing had been utilized. The neighborhood was not much 
built up and afforded no larger building than the one in 
which the school was then housed. Appeals for help to 
our own people were futile. But the Crofts had been 
looking ahead. They expected God to bless their work 
with results. One by one they had purchased three 
lots side by side at the corner of Willard Street and 
Kensington Avenue. This gave them a plot of ground 57 
by 103 ft. But the hope of a new building seemed Utopian. 
They did not have the means. Their business was small 
and profits meager and uncertain. The little congregation 
made it a matter of much prayer. Finally a business man 
of some means, acquainted with Brother and Sister Croft, 
learned of their hopes and anxieties with reference to the 
work and agreed to loan money for the erection of a new 
building. This was interpreted as an answer to prayer. 

After much careful and economical planning, the contract 
was let for an $11,000 building. The corner stone was laid 
on November 17, 1907. Elder J. T. Myers presided, Charles 
A. Bame and Martin G. Brumbaugh delivered the main 
addresses. G. B. M. Clouser, President of the Philadelphia 
Bible College, and M. C. Swigart, of the Germantown 
Church, were present and took part in the service. The 
building was pushed rapidly but cautiously in regard to ex- 
pense. It was planned with reference to the peculiar needs 


of the work and is entirely removed from ordinary church 
architecture both inside and out. It is a plain substantial 
brick building 38 by 76 ft. The main floor has four rooms : 
The Auditorium, seating about 200 people ; the primary and 
Prayer-meeting room, and two class rooms in which Brother 
and Sister Croft have lived in order to reduce their expenses. 
The basement is ten feet deep and has a heater room, two 
dressing rooms and a large room securely cemented and 
equipped with swings, sliding-boards, see-saws, etc., where 
the children are allowed to play and are thus kept off the 
streets. Special attention was given to the arrangement and 
location of windows with reference to light and ventilation. 
The floors are of hard wood and stained ; only the aisles are 
carpeted. These precautions were taken in order that the 
building might be cheerful and sanitary. In order to reduce 
the extreme heat of summer, three large electric fans have 
been installed which add greatly to the comfort of the build- 
ing and tend to maintain the attendance of church and Sun- 
day-school. In the basement, however, the heaters are run 
summer and winter in order to make it comfortable for the 
classes which meet there. 

On February 20, 1908, the school moved into the new 
building. With more room, it began to grow rapidly and 
with this increase came new and difficult problems. Teach- 
ers were needed, efficient officers were hard to get, and a 
Pastor seemed almost imperative, but the congregation was 
poor and could not begin to carry the added expense of a 
Pastor. But in spite of these things the work grew. It 
grew marvelously. At the close of the fiscal year of 19 10 
the average attendance of the Sunday-school had reached 
186; there had been 80 baptisms, and the average attendance 
of the Junior and Loyal Temperance Legion Society was 
about 75. The other departments had grown propor- 

At this point we must turn aside to account for the rapid 
growth of the Mission. The thing to be emphasized first 
is hard work. Brother and Sister Croft are persistent 
workers. Bethany Mission is their only child and they 
have given her their undivided attention. Sister Croft has 


been a real mother to the children of the Mission, a light in 
numbers of homes, and a power for righteousness in the 
community. Few can realize the stress under which she 
has labored. In ill health and against the advice of physi- 
cians, she stood by the work and never once slacked in her 
efforts. Brother Croft has worked for the Mission as few 
men work for their families. He and Mrs. Croft donated 
the ground on which the building was erected, borrowed the 
money which went into the new building, paid the interest, 
the coal, water, electric and gas bills, and have been re- 
sponsible for the janitor work. They have not spared them- 
selves, either in work or expenditure, to make Bethany Mis- 
sion a comfortable place of worship. Back of this labor 
and sacrifice there has been an ardent love for souls which 
has made the work joyful and sweet. 

The method of work has been a very potent factor in 
the growth of the Mission. The most effective work has 
been done in the homes and by house to house visitation. 
Special effort has been made to keep in close touch with 
every scholar. Books are kept with the accuracy of any 
business firm and definite and concise reports given annually. 
The support of the work is by free will contributions. The 
spirituality of the membership is not imperiled and the sense 
of the obligation to support the Master's work willingly and 
cheerfully is not stifled by church festivals, bazaars and 
similar functions. The keynote of the work has been 
evangelism. Rarely has a sermon been preached along 
with which an invitation has not been given to the unsaved 
to accept Christ. 

Finally, Bethany Mission has met a real community need. 
This is indispensable to the growth of any institution. 
Numbers of people in the community did not attend public 
worship anywhere because they were "just ordinary work- 
ing people," as they put it, and had a feeling that the larger 
churches were too cold and formal for them. Bethany Mis- 
sion, with its free, home-like atmosphere, has always endeav- 
ored to provide a congenial place of worship for all classes. 
It has attempted to be not only the working man's Church 
but every man's Church. 


Previous to the location of the Mission here there was no 
agency in the immediate neighborhood to comfort and coun- 
sel homes in times of distress, and domestic irregularity. 
There was no voice that cried out in the wilderness of sin 
against the saloon, the lewd show, gambling parlors and dens 
of vice. But the Mission workers have opposed these things 
in no uncertain sound. It has proven its right to the con- 
fidence and support of the community by supplying a vital 
religious need. These three factors explain, in the main, the 
rapid growth and development of the work of the Brethren 
in this section of the City. 

Now let us turn to the further developments of the Mis- 
sion. It was during the summer of 19 lo that the member- 
ship decided to call a Pastor. The writer of this article was 
chosen and took up the work in September, 19 10, the 
Church granting the privilege of attending school at Crozer 
Theological Seminary, and at the University of Pennsyl- 
vania. In December of the same year we were organized 
into a regular congregation. Elders A. L. Grater, J. T. 
Myers, and J. B. Shisler, conducted the organization which 
resulted in J. T. Myers being chosen as our Elder and S. B. 
Croft, Robert G. Jones, and Harvey D. Morton, as deacons. 
Owing to the inability of the Church to assume the debt on 
the building, the election of Trustees did not occur until July 
19 12, at which time the building was transferred to the 
Church subject to a mortgage of about $8,000. The Trus- 
tees, as elected, were William E. Gotwals, President; S. B. 
Croft, Secretary and Treasurer; Julia Croft, William An- 
geny and Alexander Dunn. 

The present status of the Mission may be gleaned from 
the 1913 report. The Sunday-school, with Sister Croft as 
Superintendent, has an enrollment of 481, with an average 
attendance of 261. The school is divided into three sec- 
tions and has a total of 30 classes including the primary de- 
partment which is under the supervision of Sister Myra 
George. The Home Department is under the direction of 
Sister Lillian Young and has a membership of 90, Sister 
Jennie Healey is superintending the Cradle Roll and has 
72 infants under her care. The Young People's Prayer- 


meeting is definitely organized with Brother Herbert Taylor 
as President. There are about 40 on the roll and they have 
contributed $50 annually to the Building fund for the last 
two years besides other benevolences. The Sisters' Aid So- 
ciety has been doing splendid work under the leadership of 
Sister Sallie B. Schnell of the First Church. They have 
just presented to the building fund a check for $100 and 
have contributed $26.00 to the general funds during the year, 
besides a contribution to foreign missions. The Junior and 
Loyal Temperance Legion has maintained an average at- 
tendance of 64 for the year and is doing a splendid work 
for the children of the neighborhood. Our Teacher-Train- 
ing Class has ten prospective graduates for this coming 
October (1913). The mid-week Prayer Meeting, and two 
separate organizations for young men and young women, 
constitute the remaining activities of our work. The sum 
total of baptisms since the work started is 187. 

The paramount need of the work at this time is a larger 
building. The Sunday-school attendance has exceeded three 
hundred several times during the past year and the Church 
at these times is taxed to its utmost capacity. All space has 
been utilized from basement to pulpit. There are hundreds 
of children in the community who ought to be in Sunday- 
school but the Brethren cannot hope to do much for them 
without a church large enough to accommodate them. The 
congregation here is poor but liberal with their meager earn- 
ings towards the Lord's work. Last year the contributions 
to the Building Fund amounted to about $1,100 and the 
running expenses for the year were about $1,600. The 
Trustees are beginning a campaign to raise $30,000 to en- 
large the building. This is a big undertaking for a con- 
gregation so poor and small, but something must be done to 
save these neglected souls, and we feel that there are those 
in the Brotherhood sufficiently interested in the Kingdom of 
Christ to help in this great work. 

Bethany Mission will stand as a life-long monument to the 
devotion and self-sacrifice of Brother and Sister Croft, and 
scores of men and women will point to this plain little 
Church as a saving factor in their lives. 


I think I could not close this sketch better than to quote 
from a letter written to me by G. B. M. Clouser, of the Bap- 
tist denomination, who did a large part of the preaching 
during the first years of the Mission. 

" Pemberton, N. J. 

"June i8, 1913. 
"Dear Mr. Bowman, — 

"... It was my privilege to be associated with Mr. and Mrs. 
Croft from the inception of the work in Kensington, and to 
watch its growth with keen interest under their patient persever- 
ing efforts. . . . The audience that I preached to gave me the 
impression that it was a semi-barbarous community, with moral 
standards very low, home training and restraint conspicuously 
absent, parents and children utterly destitute of religious in- 
struction, while the saloon was doing its deadly work — drag- 
ging down the home and the tone of the locality, degrading and 
damning the souls of fathers and brothers. 

" The planting of the mission seemed to work a mighty 
change among the people, and a change in every important 
sense, — physically, morally, and spiritually. A new light was 
seen, and a new life imparted to lives of little promise, but time 
has proved them to be of sterling worth. I have never in all my 
ministry witnessed such a change wrought in a similar com- 
munity in so short a time and one of such permanent char- 
acter. This is to be attributed to the policy of the Mission, and 
the nature of the ministry fulfilled in the homes of the people 
by Mrs. Croft. . . . The Mission was planted at the psycho- 
logical moment ; it met a great need in the community and re- 
mains as a monument to the consecration of two souls who had 
a vision of service, and followed it. 

"Yours Verv Sincerely, 
" G. B. M. Clouser." 
Paul H. Bowman. 


The history of the Upper Dubhn Church begins with 
1840. In this year Bro. John Reiff gave land for a church 
and free burial ground; and he was likely the chief mover 
in having the house erected. He was the father of Sisters 
Anna M. Brunner and Amanda R. Kratz. The deed is 
dated September 14, 1840. The lot contained ninety-five 
perches of land. It was deeded to the following trustees : 
Wm. Jones, John W. Price, John Sperry, Henry Sperry, 
John H. Umstad, George Price, Joseph Pennypacker and 
Wm. Price. It was designated that the lot shall be and for- 
ever remain a free burying ground. 

The meeting house itself was erected in 1840. It is a 
substantial stone structure, in size about 27 X 36 ft. (See 

Upper Dublin is recognized as an offspring of the Ger- 
mantown Church, is her youngest child. John W. Price, 
of Fitzwatertown, is regarded as the first minister in charge 
although the oversight seemed vested in him, John Umstad 
and Jacob Reiner conjointly, though this must have been 
subsequent to 1840, for at that date Jacob Reiner was 
not yet a preacher, and he would not be given immediate 
oversight after his election. In other words Germantown, 
Green Tree (then hardly recognized as a separate congre- 
gation yet) and Indian Creek were interested in the forma- 
tion of the new congregation. 

John U. Slingluff was about the only preacher who was 
called from rank and file of the membership to proclaim the 
Gospel. He represented the church in the District Meetings 
of 1867, 1868, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873 and 1875. He later 
moved to Kansas. 

An attempt was made October 28, 1893, to elect a minister 
from the membership ; but the effort resulted in no choice. 



Edwin Kirk who frequently represented the church at 
District Meeting, from 1870 to 1875, preached for the mem- 
bers at Upper DubHn. In 1876 the delegates from Upper 
Dublin were " rejected on account of being members of a 
secret society." From this time the name of Edwin Kirk 
is not found in the minutes. The minutes of the congre- 
gation in 1875 state that there was trouble with secret 

It was a common thing in the early days for members 
from adjoining congregations to go to Upper Dublin to 
worship. It seems this custom was more general then than 
now, likely because each local congregation now has serv- 
ices every Sunday. In the diary of Abel Fitzwater of 
Lumberville, near Phoenixville we find this entry, " May 1 1 
(1845) G. D. Price and John Francis preached at Upper 
Dublin." John Francis, who lived at Shannonville, had at 
this time regular appointments at Upper Dublin. 

The following have been deacons in the Upper Dublin 
Church : 

1. William Jones, born July 7, 1802; died March 18, 1862. 

2. Henry Sperry, born January 8, 1791 ; died July 5, 1859. 

3. Henry Slingluff, born January i, 1799; died February 

II, 1881. 

4. John D. Gamble, died December 7, 1888; aged 65 years. 

5. George Allen, died December 31, 1 891, in 84th year. He 

succeeded Gamble. 

William Slingluff was an active deacon. We find him 
occupying the chair in the council of August 29, 1885. 

Casper Slingluff and Howard Ellis were elected deacons 
August 28, 1886. J. Z. Gottwals was the elder present. 

Richard Rayman and John S. Schreiber elected deacons 
January 25, 1902. 

In the minutes of 1902 we read : " Bro. William H. Sling- 
luff one of our Deacons who was always at his place and 
gave his attention to all matters of interest to the church 
was called to his home beyond on the eighth of February 

At the beginning we have seen who were the original 
trustees. February 28, 1885, we find that John D. Jones 
was elected a trustee in place of Charles Smith resigned. 


George D. Price, the one surviving trustee, conveyed the 
property to George Allen, Charles Smith and Wm. H. Sling- 
luff on August 26, 1879. On the death of George Allen, 
Henry J. Walton was elected trustee, August 27, 1892. 

Friend Henry G. Slingluff was elected a trustee, August 
30, 1902. John S. Schreiber was elected to the same office, 
August 22, 1903. 

The first secretary of the church on record at Upper Dub- 
lin was J. Howard Ellis, who was elected February 27, 1875. 
He was a school teacher. February 28, 1885, he resigned 
and Henry J. Walton was elected in his place. August 27, 
1898, Helen Schreiber was elected secretary. She filled 
the office till August 12, 1908, when Sister Amanda R. 
Kratz was elected. 

We find that J. Howard Ellis was treasurer up to Febru- 
ary 23, 1901, when Bro. John S. Schreiber was called to fill 
the position. Who cared for the funds before Bro. Ellis 
we have not learned. 

The Oversight of the Church. 

We have seen that in the early days of the Upper Dublin 
Congregation she was looked after by Brethren John Price, 
John Umstad and Jacob Reiner. John U. Slingluff was a 
resident preacher here until about 1875, when he moved 
west. Whether or not he had the oversight we cannot at 
this writing state, but he likely had the principal care of the 

In 1885 Israel Poulson from Amwell, N. J., was received 
as a minister in the second degree. He had been previously 
elder in charge of the Amwell congregation. We find him 
in the chair at Upper Dublin, in the council of February 
28, 1885, or some months before his certificate was received, 
which was on August 29 of the same year. He was recog- 
nized rather as the pastor. 

Elder Jacob Z. Gottwals was in charge in 1886, and con- 
tinued to moderate the councils till March 10, 1888. About 
this time the Upper Dublin Church seems to have turned 
to the District Meeting to look after her affairs. For in 


1889 Jacob Connor, a member of the District Mission 
Board, was appointed to see to the welfare of Upper Dubhn. 
In the District Meeting Minutes of this year we have the 
following : 

" Brother Jacob Conner reports that he, Brother J. T. Myers 
and others, visited the Upper Dublin Church and gave them 
meetings every two week during the year, or nearly so, and find 
that the great need of the Church there in connection with 
Germantown, should be supplied with a resident minister, and 
until that is done, the work there is not likely to prosper." — 
D. M. Minutes, p. 85. 

In the next year's minutes, (1890) we find "Brother Jacob 
Connor reports that he visited the Upper Dublin church in their 
semi-annual council and preached for them occasionally. As 
Brother Connor will not further be charged with the care of the 
Church, he asks that their wants be considered without delay." 
— D. M. Minutes, p. 92. 

The minutes of District Meeting continue to tell the story. 
We read of 1891 : 

" Brother George Bucher was charged to provide during the 
year that the Upper Dublin Church be supplied with minis- 
terial service. Several appointments failed to be supplied by 
ministers appointed on account of sickness and rain. At one 
appointment the minister was present, but there were only two 
hearers. He reports that this church has warm hearted mem- 
bers who apparently pray for the welfare of Zion, but they are 
in need of proper and careful instruction by the proper parties 
on such subjects as the non-conformed principles of the Gospel, 
and the church visit which latter they seem to have lost sight 
of." — D. M. Minutes, p. 95. 

It would be in place to state here that Bro. Connor, dur- 
ing the two years he had charge, got Bro. E. A. Orr of 
Philadelphia to come up to Upper Dublin every two weeks 
to preach, and that he also had had Bro. J. B. Brumbaugh 
of Huntingdon who was attending Crozier Theological 
Seminary at Chester, to supply the pulpit for a time. At 
the council of February 13, 1889, during Bro. Connor's 
oversight, a committee was appointed to see how much could 
be raised to support a resident preacher. These were about 


the first practical steps at Upper Dublin toward a regular 

We find in one of the councils held by Bro. Bucher that 
he had taken Elder Frank Cassel of Hatfield along, and also 
had Bro. Connor "present for friendly counsel." 

The District Meeting Minutes fail to tell us anything 
about the work at Upper Dublin for the next year; but in 
1893 we have: 

" Elder H. E. Light was placed in charge of the Upper Dublin 
Church, and he, by the aid of F. P. Cassel, J. H. Price and 
others held meetings every Sunday until December, after that 
they had preaching every two weeks. Three council meetings 
were held, also one love-feast. The meetings of late have been 
increasing and some more interest manifested than formerly. 
Since Dec. 4th they paid all the expenses of all the ministers. 
They have dispensed with the basket collection and the benedic- 
tion. Two of the members have died during the year." — Dis- 
trict Meeting Minutes, p. 108. 

February 15, 1893, the congregation decided to make an 
appeal to the Mission Board for help to support a minister. 
This appeal was likely to the District Mission Board. 

There was something doing at Upper Dublin during the 
year of 1893-94. For the minutes of 1894 give us a new 
name in the representation from Upper Dublin — B. F. Kit- 
tinger. The minutes of this year have the following report : 

"Upper Dublin was placed in charge of H. E. Light, and he, 
by the aid of F. P. Cassel, J. H. Price, and others, held meet- 
ings every two weeks during the year. Three council meetings 
were held. The pastoral visit was made by H. E. Light. 

" At the love feast an election was held for a minister which 
resulted in a failure. The meetings were somewhat better at- 
tended than the year before. Upper Dublin paid all the expenses 
of the regular appointments, quite recently, through the Flome 
Mission Board, or influence of a part of it. Brother Kittinger, 
of Marsh Creek Church, Southern Pennsylvania, moved to 
Upper Dublin. He is a minister in the second degree and was 
duly installed, and received in his office by the Church in the 
presence of Elder H. E. Light." — D. M. Minutes, p. 116. 



In the light of the foregoing facts it is quite evident that 
to the administration of Elder H. E. Light is due the credit 
of putting the Upper Dublin Church on her feet, which 
fact is further emphasized by developments of the follow- 
ing year. 

"Upper Dublin Church was continued under the charge of 
H. E Light, Brother B. F. Kittinger being the resident min- 
ister , meetings were held every Sunday. Of late also a Sunday 
School was organized. The meetings are still increasing in num- 
bers. Two councils and two lovefeasts were held during the 
year. Also one protracted meeting. Two were added to the 
church by baptism. The prospects for reviving the church is 
encouraging, and by proper and judicious training this church 
might again be revived to its former strength and spirituality." 
— D. M. Minutes, p. 121. 

From 1895 to 1900 we find Elder S. R. Zug in the chair. 
The church had made an appeal to the General Mission 
Board of which Brother Zug was a member. It must have 
been a special satisfaction to him to look after the interests 
of this congregation for in the Upper Dublin Church he 
preached his first English sermon. This was November 
25, 1867. It gives satisfaction to the writer to read in the 
minutes of the congregation during this time, August 27, 
1898, "J. G. Francis read scripture." His paternal grand- 
father had preached in this house more than fifty years in 
a way that had caused some to marvel, and had not caused 
him to find favor in the eyes of some; and his maternal 
grandfather had had the oversight of this congregatioM for 
a number of years, during the trying period when it was 
falling from its early strength to the time it began to look 
for a modern pastorate. Upper Dublin has a peculiarly 
warm place in the heart of the writer of these lines. 

In 1900 we find Elder Jesse Ziegler in the chair, and in 
1901 Elder A. L. Grater. January 25, 1902, the Annual 
Meeting Committee appointed Jesse Ziegler elder in charge 
and he continued until 1913, when he was succeeded by 
Elder M. C. Swigart, of Germantown. 


The Pastorate. 


Israel Poulson is called pastor in the minutes, but he was 
hardly what we would now designate a pastor. He came 
to Upper Dublin in 1881, and returned to New Jersey in 
1885. Bro. Poulson seemed to do good work at Upper 
Dublin notwithstanding his reverses in New Jersey. He 
baptized eight persons during his sojourn. 

The first pastor properly so-called was Bro. B. F. Kit- 
tinger. He was received by letter, April 15, 1894. While 
he was not an efficient organizer, he was a good singer and 
a good man, one beloved. He remained here a number of 
years, likely till 1906, when he moved to Germantown. He 
had an interesting family of children, some of whom joined 
the church here. 

August 25, 1906, it was decided to call Bro. S. F. Myers 
as pastor at a salary of $300. He was retained year after 
year till 191 1, when Bro. J. M. Booz, the present incum- 
bent, was called. Bro. Myers still lives in the congregation. 
An Endowment Fund of $200 toward the support of the 
pastor was created March 28, 1909. 

The Membership. 

We have not learned the names of the original members 
at Upper Dublin. There are a few families who have been 
towers of strength — Slingluffs, the Ellises, and the Reiffs, 
including Sister Brunner and Sister Kratz. Sister Kratz's 
husband though not a member was very liberal toward the 
church, supplying a parsonage free for a number of years. 
Of late years Bro. John S. Schreiber and wife have been 
pillars. When we enter the city of the dead we find among 
others the following names — Smith, Reiff, Gamble, Sling- 
luff, McCool, Jones, Sperry, Fry, Thomas, Spencer, Allen, 
Haycock, Collom, etc. 

Up until 1875, one hundred and fifty persons had been 
members at Upper Dublin. From 1875 to 1900, twenty- 
eight were baptized and seven were received by letter, the 
largest ingathering being in the early part of 1880, when 
eleven were baptized by J. Z. Gottwals. Since 1900, twenty- 


three at least have been received by baptism and letter. 
Thus the total number of persons who have been within the 
fold at Upper Dublin are more than two hundred. Mem- 
bership at present twenty-six. 

Church Auxiliaries. 

The date of the organization of the Sunday School at 
Upper Dublin has not been exactly ascertained, but there 
was a Sunday School here in the days of Poulson. Perhaps 
Harry Walton was superintendent at that time. Other 
superintendents since have been Bros. Roman, Kittinger, 
Schreiber, Myers and Booz. A Sunday School library was 
authorized, January 25, 1902. The present enrollment is 
seventy-five. In the Home Department there are about 
twenty, and about a dozen on the Cradle Roll. The second 
teacher training class has graduated. The class of last year 
numbered six. Sister Amanda Kratz is the teacher. 

Prayer-meeting is now held every two weeks in the 
church on Wednesday evening. This is now the first time 
that a prayer-meeting has been authorized. 

It was decided, February 25, 191 1, to make an effort to 
organize a Sisters' Aid Society. Sister Anna Brunner was 
the instigator of the movement. The society was organized 
August 26, 191 1, with the following officers : President, Sis- 
ter Brunner; Vice-President, Sister W. H. Brooks; Secre- 
tary, Sister Shoemaker ; Assistant Secretary, Mrs. Gamble ; 
Treasurer, Sister Schreiber. There are twenty-six mem- 
bers in the Aid Society, but not all are members of the 

A Missionary Committee was appointed August 31, 1912. 
An Auditing Committee was authorized in February, 1909. 

The Report of the Annual Meeting Committee will likely 
be of interest. It was submitted a few years ago, perhaps 
in 1904. 

" We, the Committee sent by Annual Meeting, submit to the 
Upper Dublin congregation the following Report: 

" 1st. That all the members of the Official Board work in 
harmony with the decision of General Conference as to the 


order of dress and self-denial and to use every endeavor to 
mould sentiment in favor of Conference decision and non-con- 
formity and to fully instruct applicants for membership in the 

" 2d. We further decide to appoint five or more brethren and 
sisters to supplement the work of the Official Board to work 
for the order privately and from house to house. 

" Committee John S. Schreiber, Helen Scheiber, Anna M. 
Brunner, Richard Royan, Harvey Godshall. 

" Signed : L. T. Holsinger, 
P. S. Miller, 
D. Hays." 

Some important Resolutions were adopted at a Meeting 
of the Committee in Norristown, September 22, 1900. We 
give them at this place. 

" ( I ) Resolved that lines to be established shall not disturb 
the present church relationship, in present families of respective 
churches, nor their children who wish to connect themselves 
with the church. 

" (2) Recommended that the Stony Creek R. R. be the line 
between Mingo and Upper Dublin. 

" (3) Recommended that the line between Upper Dublin and 
Germantown be the Philadelphia city limits. 

" (4) It was moved, seconded and passed that we recommend 
that Norristown be organized into a separate congregation and 
to include the borough of Norristown. 

" (5) Likewise that Royersford mission be organized into 
a separate congregation, limits Royersford and Spring City." 

The Upper Dublin Church was presented, August 31, 
1912, with a beautiful communion pitcher by Bro. and Sister 
Ellis and family of Norristown, in memory of their de- 
parted daughter, Anna Myrtle. 

Some improvements have been made to the church prop- 
erty. There has been a general renovation of the church 
inside and out w^ith the coming of new life. A porch has 
been built at the front door. Tables were procured for the 
backs of the benches for love- feasts, in 1894. A heater 
w^as authorized placed in the church, August 13, 1901. 

There is considerable sentiment in favor of locating the 


house of worship in the town of Ambler. The present 
house is a mile or more out in the country with scarcely any 
members living in the neighborhood. There was agitation 
in 19 1 2 favorable to buying the Methodist Church in Am- 
bler, but it was finally decided not to buy ; but this does not 
mean that sentiment favorable to locating in town has in 
any measure diminished. With a church such as we have 
been considering, located in a favorable place in Ambler, 
with her present able, cultured young pastor, the Brethren 
of the Upper Dublin congregation have a bright outlook, 
and we expect them to achieve grand success for the Master 
in their allotted sphere. 

Overseers of this Congregation: 

1. John W. Price, 1840. 

2. John H. Umstad. 

3. Jacob Reiner. 

4. John U. Slingluff. 

5. Israel Poulson, 1881-1885. 

6. Jacob Z. Gottwals, 1886-1J 

7. Jacob Connor, 1 889- 1 89 1. 

8. George Bucher, 1891-1893. 

9. H. E. Light, 1893-1895. 

10. S. R. Zug, 1895-1900. 

11. Jesse Ziegler, 1900-1901. 

12. A. L. Grater, 1901-1902. 

13. Jesse Ziegler, 1902-1913. 

14. M. C. Swigart, 1913-. 



The history of the Church of the Brethren in New Jersey 
begins with 1733. In the fall of this year John Naas with 
four other heads of families, viz., Anthony Dierdorf, Jacob 
More, Rudolph Harley, and John Peter Laushe, crossed the 
Delaware River into what is now Hunterdon County, and 
settled at Amwell, thirty-eight miles northeast of Philadel- 
phia. The heartless bigotry of Christian Libe at Creyfelt, 
Germany, had for a time made John Naas inactive in the 
Gospel ministry; but Alexander Mack had gotten him into 
working trim again before going to Jersey. The mission- 
ary zeal which had characterized him in Germany again 
took hold of him at Amwell. Says Abraham Cassel : " Dur- 
ing his life time this church was the spiritual birthplace of 
more Brethren than perhaps any other in the Union." 

The growing work there demanded more preachers. We 
find John Bechleshammer a seasoned preacher already in 
1738, or only five years after the Brethren went to Jersey. 
He likely was elected a year or two after that event. George 
Klein was baptized at Amwell in 1739. He was there 
elected as an assistant in the ministry, perhaps shortly after 
the death of John Naas, who died in 1741. Klein moved 
to Northkill in Berks Co., Pa., in 1750, to look after the 
little flock at that place. Likely shortly after this date 
Gideon Rouser was called to help in preaching, for Morgan 
Edwards informs us that Elder Bechleshammer had one 
Gideon Rouser for his assistant. In 1790 Edwards gives 
us to understand that up to that date no elder had been 
ordained in Jersey to take Bechleshammer's place. In 1790 




the Amwell preachers, not elders, were WilHam Housel and 
Abraham Laushe. 

So up to 1790, so far as we can learn, the ministers in 
Jersey were: John Naas, born in 1669 or 1670; died May 
12, 1741; elected to ministry at Creyfelt, Germany. John 
Bechleshammer, elected between 1733 and 1738. George 
Klein, born October 9, 171 5; baptized in 1739; ordained at 
Northkill in 1757. Gideon Rouser. — . William Housel, 
born in Newwitt, Germany, 1728. Abraham Laushe, born 
at Creyfelt, Germany, in 1732. 

There is in the " Chronicon Ephratense " a narrative of 
great interest in connection with the colonial life of the Jer- 
sey church. We give it herewith. 

" In Dec, 1738, Beissel with many of the solitary made a 
considerable visit to the Baptists at Amwell, in Jersey. These 
people, from the time of their first awakening, had a great love 
for the work of the Lord in the Settlement; whereupon this 
visit opened the door for the breaking of bread together, which 
otherwise, because they were united with a congregation of 
Baptists ir^ Germantown, would not have been looked upon with 
approval. When the Superintendent returned home, he called 
together a church council, and announced with what love they 
had been received in those regions by the children of God. At 
the same time, he announced how concerned he was for those 
poor people, and that they would have to be helped out with a 
Brother from Ephrata. 

"These good people in Amwell specially availed themselves 
of this open Philadelphian church door, and made many a visit 
of more than a hundred Eng. miles to the Settlement, and built 
themselves up in the unity of the Spirit on the death of Jesus 
Christ. Thereby the Superintendent was induced to undertake 
another visit, on which he was accompanied only by Solitary 
Brethren. As many of the Baptists there stood in judgment 
against the work of God in the Settlement, some feared that the 
two parties might get into each other's wool, whereby the gen- 
eral edification might be hindered. Yea, some sought to bring 
the visitors to the then Baptist teacher, Bechtelsheimer (Bech- 
leshammer) by name, in hope that then matters might occur 
over which they might gloat ; but they were disappointed in 
this hope. The Superintendent, who bore in his heart the seal 
of the redemption of the whole world, started on his visit, and 


was received with all affection by the teacher referred to and 
his helpmate. They sat down with him and listened to him for 
more than an hour, during which there flowed from him in a 
flood all that the Spirit gave him. And as everybody thought 
the visitors might now be dismissed in peace, these good people 
first showed forth their particular love by treating them to a 
rich collation. ... So likewise the whole organization helped 
the visitors across the water again at its own expense. This is 
mentioned here with the intent that, if any of these dear people 
should still be living and should read this, they may know that 
their faithfulness shown towards the work of God has been 
held in hallowed remembrance. 

" Meantime some among them longed that there might be 
established among them a household, such as they had seen at 
the Settlement, for they had well-brought-up young people, and 
hoped that something useful might be accomplished among 
them. It would indeed have been easy to introduce the form 
among them, but to fill this effigy with the Spirit was not a 
human work. At that time there was among the Brethren at 
the Settlement one by the name of Elimelech, one of the Ecker- 
lins, whom the stars had formed for a priest and redeemer of 
the bodily life, so that while other Brethren spent their time in 
hard labor, he sought his own pastures and imposed his priest- 
hood upon people. 

" Beissel ordained Elimelech to be teacher at Amwell, and 
publicly consecrated him with the laying on of hands. From 
this the latter thought he would be the successor of the former, 
as he was now his ' right hand.' On his departure Beissel wrote 
him a letter which contained the following admonition : ' Con- 
tinue steadfast in prayer and with watchfulness of spirit for the 
flock of Christ, that thou mayest rightly divide the Word of 
Truth which hath been sown in you.' 

" This letter he took with him to Amwell, where he showed it 
to everyone as his credentials which he had received from the 
Superintendent. His people indeed sought to sustain him in his 
office, but when they noticed it was an imitated affair and not 
inborn, they lost courage, so that when he wanted to institute 
midnight meetings, like those in the Settlement, and invited their 
daughters to the same, they feared that offenses might arise, 
and dismissed him ; whereupon he returned to the Settlement 
again in disgrace. Thereupon several families in Amwell left, 
and removed to the Settlement, namely, Dietrich Fahnstick, 


Conrad Boldhauser, John Mohr, Bernard Gitter, etc., which 
added several SoHtary ones to the Sister's House, though none 
of them remained steadfast save one, Armella by name, who 
ended her course among them." — " Chronicon," pp. 122-125. 

In 1790 the Brethren in Jersey were yet so German that 
Morgan Edwards had difficulty in conversing with them. 
He tells us a little about their manner of worship. The 
communion " was administered at no set time ; but as often 
as a brother finds himself disposed to give the feast of char- 
ity, then the church is invited to meet at his house ( for they 
have no meeting-house) and when feet washing is over, and 
the right hand of fellowship and kiss of charity given, the 
Lord's Supper is administered, with the usual elements and 
singing of hymns." While there are things that Edwards 
evidently did not understand, yet from the above it can be 
gathered that the kiss between feetwashing and the com- 
munion is as old as 1790 at least. 

The early Jersey church was very active in missionary 
work. Already in 1733, John Naas crossed over to Great 
Swamp, • Upper Milford, in Bucks Co., Pa., preached to 
inquiring souls there, baptized six, thus laying the founda- 
tion for the church which was organized two years later, 
and which became a strong Colonial congregation. The 
interest taken by the Jersey Brethren in the work in Penn- 
sylvania is shown by George Klein moving to Northkill, 
Berks Co., in 1750, to look after the flock there. Although 
Elder Michael Pfautz had administered the Lord's Supper 
to a few members in Northkill in 1748, yet George Klein is 
really the founder of the congregation. Klein went out 
from Northkill into the Little Swatara region, baptized a 
number, and organized the Little Swatara Church in 1757. 
So Northkill (now Maiden Creek) may be regarded as a 
child of Amwell; and Little Swatara as either her child or 
grandchild, whichever you please. 

P. H. Beaver, of Montandon, Pa., in the "Almanac" of 
1872, p. 16, says: "Our great-grandfather, Wendel Becker, 
now Baker, immigrated from Palz, Germany, in the year 
1749, to America, and anterior to the Revolutionary War, 
removed to Buffalo Valley, from the church at Amwell, in 


New Jersey. . . . He was, therefore, the first, and for a 
time, the only member of the Brethren in Buffalo Valley." 
So here is another child of Amwell. Time fails us to tell 
of more. There are indications that the Jersey church 
thinks that she has brought forth so many worthy children 
that she is now old enough to lie down and die. 



When Morgan Edwards visited the Brethren in New 
Jersey in 1790, there were twenty-eight famihes of mem- 
bers with a total baptized membership of forty-six. His 
"syllabus" of the church there, February 2, 1790, is as 
follows : 

Churches of Tunkers in Jersey I 

Members 46 

Famihes 28 

Souls (allowing five to a family) 140 

Ministers, ordained o 

Ministers, licentiate 2 

The two unordained ministers of Amwell in 1790 were 
William Housel and Abraham Laushe, the latter being a son- 
in-law of Elder John Bechleshammer, the second and last 
elder of the church prior to 1790. Bro, Abraham Cassel 
states in a letter that both of these ministers were ordained : 
what his proof is I do not know. 

In 1790 the German language was still spoken among the 
Brethren, or at least among the descendants of Bechlesham- 
mer, for they could neither speak nor understand English. 
A great change, however, in the matter of language took 
place in the next two decades. In 181 1 Israel Poulson 
gave land for a meeting-house. It is likely that at this 
date already he was elder of the church, for he acted in that 
capacity for a long, long time. He was unable to speak 
German, and, being possessed of great influence, he hkely 
swung the church into the use of the English language. By 
the time of his death, the German had vanished from among 
the Brethren of Jersey. 

A secular historian of New Jersey states that a church 
house was supposed to have been built about a mile north- 
east of Headquarters, Delaware Township, as early as 1750. 







This is likely a mistake, as Morgan Edwards states in 1790 
that the Brethren in Jersey had no meeting-house, the meet- 
ings evidently being held in the private houses. By 181 1 
the Brethren had decided to build a meeting-house. In this 
year, May 27, as before stated, Israel Poulson, St., trans- 
ferred to the trustees of the Brethren, Gideon Moore, Sam- 
uel Fans and Henry Laushe, a tract of land in Amwell 
township 21/40 of an acre, for the purpose of building 
thereon a meeting-house. So the first meeting-house of the 
Brethren in New Jersey, a frame one, was built in 181 1, on 
the same ground on which the present house stands. 

April 13, 1839, the church "agreed to take a lot of Gid- 
eon Moore for a burying-place." This lot, the present 
cemetery, is a short distance south of the church. The old, 
original burial place of the first Brethren in Jersey is at 
some distance from the present church. The Amwell 
Church, the present one also frame, was rebuilt in 1856, at a 
cost of $1,600. The church property in 1880 was valued at 
$3,500. June 16, 1893, a committee of nine was appointed 
to procure a parsonage for the Amwell Church. October 
10 of the same year it was decided to build a parsonage, 
and the committee of nine was constituted a building com- 
mittee. The parsonage in Sergeantsville was the result. 
J. R. Laushe, Isaac Haines, and Henry Van Dolah were 
elected trustees, October 31, 1893, who were forthwith in- 
structed to take upon themselves a name of incorporation. 

Up until 1849 there was but one congregation of Brethren 
in New Jersey — the Amwell Church. We have stated that 
Wm. Housel and Abraham Laushe were the ministers in 
1790, and that Israel Poulson, Sr., likely was already before 
181 1. Bro. Abr. Cassel states that numerous of Abr. 
Laushe's descendants were in the ministry. In 1835 the 
Amwell Church began to keep a record of her church coun- 
cils. We quote : 

"At a meeting of the German Baptist Church which is in 
Amwell township, N. J., held on the nth of August, 1835, at 
their meeting-house, for the purpose of transacting business 
relative to the peace and good order of said church, it was 


resolved that there be a record made and kept of all important 
business transacted relative to said church affairs. 

" Israel Poulson, Elder, 
Gideon Moore, 1 ^ 
Jacob Waggoner, I ^^^^''"•^^ 
Abraham Laushe, Clerk." 

In the days of Israel Poulson it w^as the custom to call all 
ministers elders. If there were more ministers in the Am- 
well Church in 1835 than Israel Poulson, this church paper, 
an important one, does not show it. In 1790 a definite dis- 
crimination is made in the degrees of the ministry; when 
Israel Poulson died in 1856 no such discrimination existed. 
From this we may form an opinion of his housekeeping. It 
is thought that Henry Laushe was a minister before Israel 
Poulson : his son Isaac Laushe certainly was. The son 
Isaac was unsteady in his walk. He moved to Syracuse, 
Ohio, where he was killed in a sleigh by being struck by a 
railroad engine. 

Then following, on October 10, 1835, Edmund Dalrymple 
was elected as an "additional elder." The duties of the 
office as stated by the minutes of the council of that date 
were " administering church ordinances, baptism, marriage 
ceremony, etc." Dalrymple was not much of a preacher, 
but a good man and eloquent in prayer. He died August 
31, 1847, His death paved the way for division in the Am- 
well Church. John P. Moore had been elected a deacon in 
1840 in place of his father, Gideon Moore, deceased. John 
was elected an "elder," April 13, 1844. When Dalrymple 
died in 1847, it was stated that an election would be held for 
some one to take his place. Israel Poulson, Jr., was elected 
"elder " April 8, 1848. Inasmuch as he was elected to take 
the place of Dalrymple his seat was above John P. Moore. 
This gives us another glimpse into the housekeeping of the 
older Poulson. Here lay the cause of the division which 
took place the next year. 

But let us look for a moment at the other recorded events 
of note before 1849. We have seen the officials of the 
church in 1835: Israel Poulson, elder; Gideon Moore and 
Jacob Waggoner, deacons ; and Abraham Laushe, clerk. It 


was resolved apparently at this same meeting " That Gideon 
Moore, Henry Laushe, and Asa Moore be the trustees." As 
we have seen, in 1839 it was agreed to take a lot of Gideon 
Moore for a " burying place " ; and it was agreed at the fall 
council of the same year that Israel Poulson build a stone 
wall around it. Agreeable to the majority, Henry Laushe 
was appointed clerk, April 13, 1839. The election of John 
P. Moore to the deaconship and later to the ministry we 
have noted. April 11, 1845, Cyrus Van Dolah was ap- 
pointed clerk. And April 8, 1848, comes the election of 
Israel Poulson, Jr., as an elder in place of Dalrymple, de- 
ceased. Then follows this minute : 

"October 10, 1848. Our elder, John P. Moore, having 
brought confusion into the church and being a disorderly 
member and not willing to yield to the requirements of the 
church, they have thought proper to disown him as a member 
and to have no church fellowship with him." We need 
not pass judgment on this action, for we have the judgment 
of an Annual Meeting Committee more than thirty years 

April 7, 1849, William Waggoner was elected an "elder" 
and Enoch Hoffman a deacon. Waggoner likely took the 
place of Moore, deposed. At the same council "there was 
a piece of writing brought before the church, and was read 
by Henry Laushe, containing the following: 

*"We, the undersigned, as men and women that feel our- 
selves accountable before our Heavenly Father, after serious 
consideration in relation to matters and things concerning the 
Church in New Jersey to which we once belonged, feel that 
under the present state of things we cannot feel reconciled at 
this time, therefore we wish our names taken off until such 
times as reconciliation can be made. We conclude that you are 
aware of the reasons. 

" * William Moore Asa Moore 

Daniel Moore Sarah Brewer 

Catharine Shearman Caziah Cowderick: 

Silas Shearman Martha Moore 

Anna Moore Elizabeth Trimmer 

Mary Dalrymple Hester Carson 

172 the church of the brethren. 

Catharine Dalrymple William Moore 

Martha Cowderick Catharine Moore 

Jacob Fauss Lucy Ann Sine.' 

"The church took the above in consideration, and granted 
them their request. As they brought no accusation against the 
church, the church, from the above writing, has disowned them, 
and (decides) to have no church fellowship with them." 

We must now turn our attention for a time from the 
" Mooreites," until we have traced some of the subsequent 
history of the Am well Church. 

Israel Poulson, Sr., died February 14, 1856. The same 
year a committee was sent by the Annual Meeting to adjust 
fdifficulties in the New Jersey church. This committee con- 
sisted of Andrew Spanogle and Peter Long of Pennsyl- 
vania, and John Kline, J. W^ine, and Martin Miller of Vir- 
ginia. Elder Israel Poulson, Jr., refers to this committee of 
1856 when the committee of 1881 investigated the trouble. 
The seceding members knew nothing of this committee, but 
it evidently had to do with this trouble. Who had this com- 
mittee of 1856 come to New Jersey, and what the finding of 
the committee was, we have not been able to ascertain ; but 
the committee came immediately after the death of the 
older Poulson. It is not likely that the committee came as a 
result of his dying request : more likely it came following 
action by some one who thought that now, as Israel Poulson, 
Sr., was dead, the seceders might get favorable treatment. 
The finding of this committee likely suited Poulson, Jr., 
for his reference to the findings of this committee seems 
to indicate this. He also refers to the matter having 
been before adjoining elders. The seceders knew of the 
trial before "adjoining elders," but claimed that they had 
not received just treatment. What this finding was we 
do not know, but it was likely agreeable to the younger 
Poulson. John Umstad was among those who looked into 
this trouble. This investigation grew out of a feeling on 
the part of some of the Amwell Church that the expelled 
members had not been justly treated. We await the judg- 
ment of the Annual Meeting Committee of 1881. 



In the meantime the work of the Lord was moving on 
in Am well. February 14, 1861, Robeson Hyde and John D. 
Hoppock were elected "elders"; and Cyrus Van Dolah, 
William Moore, Paul K. Huffman, and Asa Park were 
chosen deacons. There seems to have been a reorganization 
or a replenishing of the organization at this time. 

There was quite an awakening in the Amwell Church in 
1864. From July 11 to 31 of this year John H. Umstad, 
John Slingluff, and "E. H." (likely Emmanuel Heyser) 
held meetings here. As a result, thirty-two persons were 
baptized by Israel Poulson.^ 

Abram Laushe was chosen a deacon to fill the place of 
Asa Parks, deceased, September 8, 1866. Thomas W. 
Brewer was elected deacon, September 10, 1870; and Joseph 
Haines and Theodore Stevenson, April 15, 1873. These 
are the last minutes of importance we have of the Amwell 
Church before the notable reversal of conditions in Jersey 
in 1880. 

We now turn our attention to that field of the Brethren 
in New Jersey afterward known as the Bethel Church. 

The beginning of the work in this section was due to the 
labors of Israel Poulson, Sr. He had preached in the 
homes hereabouts before 1848. The fruits of these labors 
made a church here a possibility. The first house was 
built in 1848 or 1849. The land had been given by Amos 
Dilts. This first house was quite small, a frame house, 
built at a cost of only $300. Outsiders to stigmatize called 
it the Hemlock house, it being built partly of hemlock. The 
Brethren gave it no regular name. When the new edifice 
was put up in 1878 it was christened " Bethel." 

The principal members here at first were Joseph Ruda- 
bock, Andrew Shepherd and wife, Annie Baker, Joseph 
Woodruff and wife, Samuel Case and Tunis Case. Wil- 
liam Waggoner, elected to the ministry in 1849, lived in 
this section. Israel Poulson, Jr., became the main preacher 
here, John Umstad and Jacob Reiner held special meetings 
with considerable success. And this became for years the 
main church in the neighborhood. 

1 Gospel Visitor of 1864, p. 269. 


Bethel seems to have become a separate organization from 
Amwell with Brother Robeson Hyde as the presiding minis- 
ter. The first record of minutes of councils held here are 
dated September i6, 1876. 

On this date the church "met at 2^ o'clock. Meeting 
called to order by Bro. R. Hyde. Prayer by Brother Hyde. 
The church then resolved to have a church record kept of 
all the proceedings of council meetings ; and for this purpose 
Amos Chamberlain was appointed secretary." Spring and 
fall councils, as was the Amwell custom also, were held. 

On Saturday, August 3, 1878, the church met "according 
to previous appointment, at two o'clock, to take into consid- 
eration the building of a new meeting-house on the old site. 
Agreed to take one week to raise more money." On August 
10, accordingly, the church again met in council and decided 
to build. Ephraim Gary, R. Hyde, and H. H. Anderson 
were appointed a building committee. It was agreed to tear 
down the old house on Monday the twelfth. 

"According to previous agreement the new meeting-house 
was dedi.cated to the service of Almighty God on December 5, 
1878. Services at ten o'clock by Bro. J. P. Hetric of Phila- 
delphia, Pa., by reading 225th hymn. Prayer by Brother 
Hetric. Bro. James Quinter of Huntingdon, Pa., preached the 
dedication sermon from the 27th Psalm, 4th verse." 

December 2, 1879, at a special meeting for the purpose, 
the following five brethren were elected trustees of the 
Bethel house : Ephraim Gary, H. H. Anderson, Servis 
Trimmer, Sidney L. Bush and John Heller. The Bethel 
Church sent Bro. R. Hyde as a delegate to District Meeting 
of 1880. The New Jersey churches were rather loose in 
organization, and seldom represented at District Meeting. 
While Brother Hyde was sent by Bethel organization in 
particular, he is credited in the District Meeting minutes to 
the New Jersey Church in general. 

Amos Chamberlain was succeeded as clerk by J. T. Gary 
in 1880, but as the latter did not come into possession of the 
minute book for some time, minutes are not again recorded 
till 1884. But we have brought the record of the Bethel 
Church down to 1880, the beginning of a new era in the 
Jersey church. 

Sand Brook Church, N. J. 









The beginning of the Sand Brook Church takes us back to 
1848, to the expulsion of John P. Moore from the Amwell 
congregation. On account of this trouble we have learned 
that eighteen more brethren could no longer walk with the 
Amwell Church, and were expelled April 7, 1849. These 
eighteen, with John P. Moore as their speaker, had organ- 
ized a separate church already on March 10, or nearly a 
month before their "expulsion" by Amwell. This church 
was locally called the " Mooreites," but they called them- 
selves "United Christians." They organized by adopting 
the following Articles of Association : 

"We, the undersigned, after careful and serious considera- 
tion, do unanimously agree to stand in union together as pro- 
fessed Christian brethren and sisters, in-as-much as we think it 
is an all-important matter and privilege that we have the indis- 
putable right to worship God according to the dictates of our 
own consciences, consistent with His word as we understand it, 
for which privilege we confess that we have great reason to be 
thankful; therefore we have concluded that by the assisting 
grace of God we design to try to keep the ordinances of the 
Lord's house according to the doctrines and principles of our 
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His holy apostles, as they 
are delivered to us in the Gospel, which our Savior says shall 
judge us in the coming day. Therefore we feel that we are 
under obligation, as much as in us lies, to try and live in union 
together in the church militant (because we feel that it has in 
time past done much hurt and made sore by being of different 
minds) ; and therefore we would that there should be no pre- 
eminence one above another, considered that in regard to the 
business that we design to transact of importance we want to 
be united in, and agreed to have officers in said church, and also 
did legally appoint as elder John P. Moore, and as deacons 
William H. Moore and Jacob Bouss (Fauss) ; and further 
agreed that our plan of receiving members in said church is 



that all the members present must be agreed, and, to excom- 
municate, all must be consulted before and agreed to; which 
subscribe our names, this tenth day of March in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine. 

" Signed 

"John P. Moore Elizabeth Trimmer 

William H. Moore Mary Dalrymple 

Daniel J. Moore Catharine Dalrymple 

William S. Moore Asa Moore 

Sarah Brewer Silas Shearman 

Catharine A. Moore Martha Moore 

Hester Carson Lucy Ann Sine 

Keziah Coudrick Catharine Shearman 

Martha Coudrick Anna Moore." 

While the " Mooreites " nobly refrained from lodging any 
complaints against any in the Amwell congregation, yet the 
nature of their sore may be gathered from this agreement. 
Preeminence of some in the old church, coercion against 
the dictates of conscience, and forcing measures through 
council without consulting all the members. They were in 
rebellion against the arbitrary kingship of Poulson. 

The Sand Brook Church began to grow immediately after 
its organization. By the end of the year 1849, they had 
received nine members. Their first council was held in the 
home of Silas Shearman, May 12, 1849. They lost no time 
in building a house of worship, the present stone one. Their 
council of April 13, 1850, was held in the meeting-house. 
At the first council they decided to observe the salutation of 
the holy kiss at communion. In the first council in the 
meeting-house, April 13, 1850. William S. Moore was 
elected clerk. At this council they also decided to receive 
members only by trine immersion. Councils were held in 
March and September. 

During the first decade, till i860, thirty- four members 
had been received. Among these was Charles W. Moore, 
who was baptized November 24, 1855. He was afterward 
deacon, preacher and elder. A week before Charles Moore 
was baptized, the church elected another preacher. We 
give the account as recorded in the minutes. 


"Sand Brook, November 17, 1855. 
" The church at this place being met together and duly organ- 
ized in public meeting, a resolution was passed that the Elder- 
elect should be subject to the deacons, and Henry T. Trout hav- 
ing received a majority of all the votes cast was elected elder 
on the day above named. 

" Witnesses present 

"John P. Moore 
Jacob Fauss 
William H. Moore." 

September 17, 1864, Charles W. Moore was elected a 

The total number of persons received into the Sand 
Brook Church from its organization in 1849 to its reentrance 
into the Brotherhood in 1880 w^as fifty-eight. Adding to 
these the nineteen who formed the original organization, 
the " Mooreites " as such, in their entire history, had in 
their communion seventy-seven persons. 

The Sand Brook Sunday School was opened in 1875. 
Charles Moore was elected superintendent; he continued in 
this office till 1899 at least. 

Reentrance into the Brotherhood. Before the Annual 
Meeting of 1879, Elder John P. Moore remarked to his 
nephew. Deacon Charles W. Moore, that he thought of 
going to Annual Meeting that year, and asked him to go 
along. The latter, however, received the suggestion with 
little favor ; but on thinking the matter over, decided to go. 
The elder by this time had given up the idea; but Charles 
decision was deep-seated and carried the day. Both went. 

On the train thither they met a preacher of the Brethren 
by the name of Daniel F. Good. Good became interested 
in the work in Jersey. Before reaching the place of Annual 
Meeting, Good stopped off, but forgot his baggage. As the 
train pulled out, realizing the situation. Good called out to 
Charles Moore to take the baggage into his custody. This 
the latter did. Good met him again at Annual Meeting and 
regained his possessions. This led to warm friendship. 

Some time later Good came to New Jersey, and held meet- 
ings at Sand Brook. But this action on the part of a 


brother was not looked on with favor by the Amwell ad- 
herents. A love feast was to be held at Bethel. Good per- 
suaded Charles Moore to go with him to the feast. The 
presence of these two men threw the good brethren of Bethel 
into a complete muddle. Should they ask Good to take a 
seat with the other ministers? This question delayed the 
opening of the meeting for hours. But the decision finally 
went against extending the courtesy to the strange preacher. 
An old member of the Amwell Church in those days declares 
that the Amwell members would as soon have worshipped 
with negroes as with the " Mooreites." After the Bethel 
feast, the two visitors made straight for their carriage. For 
some time Good was silent. Finally he exclaimed : " Well, 
if this is the union you have in New Jersey, I have enough 
of it!" On his way home Good stopped off and laid this 
matter before Elder D. P. Saylor of Maryland. The next 
year a committee was appointed to look into the matter of 
receiving the " Mooreites " back into the Brotherhood. 
This committee consisted of D. P. Saylor, R. H. Miller, M. 
Miller, C. Bucher, and S. Harley. We give the report of 
the Committee, which speaks for itself. 

"We, the undersigned brethren, a Committee appointed by 
Annual Meeting of 1880 to visit a number of petitioners of 
Sand Brook, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, report as follows : 

"According to appointment, we the undersigned (Elder 
Christian Bucher having failed to come) met with the peti- 
tioners in Council Meeting, in the meeting-house at Sand Brook, 
on Wednesday, August 18, 1880; and upon investigation we 
found that the petitioners were a remnant of members of the 
church in New Jersey, who adhered to John P. Moore, who had 
been expelled from the New Jersey church about the year 1849 
or '50, with others who had united with them in maintaining 
and keeping up a separate organization and worship, up to the 
present time; but expressing a wish to be in unison with the 
order of the general Brotherhood, petitions Annual Meeting 
for a committee, etc. 

" We find that John P. Moore was a minister in the second 
degree, and that a difficulty existed between him and the elder, 
and that Moore was finally expelled from the church without 
any elder or minister being present but those belonging to the 
New Jersey church and they themselves involved in ihe trouble. 


" Such proceedings being contrary to the general order of our 
Brotherhood, we decide the expulsion of Moore illegal, and 
hence he was never legally expelled; but inasmuch as he and 
those members who adhered to him kept up an organization as 
fully in the order of the Brotherhood as was the church that 
expelled them, we decide that under the circumstances their 
worship was in order, and all that were received by baptism 
should be recognized as members of the German Baptist 

" Hence we decide it best to hold this organization, comprised 
of John P. Moore, those who withdrew and followed him, and 
those received into their fellowship by baptism, shall be held a 
church of the Brotherhood, and the present organization be 
continued as it is till they and the adjoining churches see best 
to change it ; and we advise all to work for peace and union 
with the other church, and for harmony with the general 

" Signed by the committee — 

"D. P. Saylor, 
R. H. Miller, 
Moses Miller, 
Samuel Harley. 

"This report was read and explained to all the members of 
both churches present, and the vote of the Sand Brook church 
taken, and was by them unanimously accepted ; and a copy of 
these same was given to Elder Israel Poulson to be read to the 
church where he presides and offered to her members for their 

"D. P. Saylor, 
R. H. Miller, 
Moses Miller, 
Samuel Harley." 

The Sand Brook Church met in her first council after the 
visit of the Committee on September i8, 1880. John P. 
Moore presided with Gideon C. Moore as secretary. The 
report of the visit was satisfactory, and the church agreed 
to hold her love-feast some time in the future, in the old 
order. From this time full accounts of councils were kept, 
heretofore the minutes preserved having been very frag- 


On May ii, 1881, a special council was held for the pur- 
pose of electing a minister and deacon. Charles W. Moore, 
the only deacon, being elected to the ministry, two deacons 
were elected. The choices fell on Gideon Brewer and Asa 
Moore. All were then installed into their offices according 
to the order of the Brotherhood, by Elder D. P. Saylor. 
August 23, 1882, at a special meeting, John P. Moore was 
ordained to the eldership, and Charles W. Moore advanced 
to the second degree of the ministry. The officiating elders 
were Samuel Harley and Christian Bucher. 

Re-adjustments in Jersey. In 1881 a protest against re- 
ceiving the Sand Brook delegation, likely from the Amwell 
congregation, was sent to the District Meeting. The pro- 
test was voted down. A petition for an investigating com- 
mittee was also sent up to Annual Meeting. The report of 
this second committee is self-explanatory, and we herewith 
give it in full. 

"We, the undersigned, being a committee appointed by the 
Annual Meeting of 1881 to meet the Amwell church in New 
Jersey to investigate and settle certain difficulties between the 
above narned church and the other persons who had been sepa- 
rated from said church a number of years, met with the 
brethren of the Amwell church in council August 18, 1881. 

" The petition for the Committee contained two points. The 
first was a request to investigate the proceedings of a committee 
sent by Annual Meeting of 1880 to the Sand Brook church; 
and, second, to investigate difficulties existing between the 
Amwell and Sand Brook churches. The work contained in the 
first point devolved upon the undersigned alone, but that of the 
second point devolved upon the undersigned and Elders D. P. 
Saylor and R. H. Miller. These two brethren, having been on 
the committee whose work the undersigned were appointed to 
examine, were present at the investigation to present and ex- 
plain their proceedings as far as was necessary for them to do. 

" Bro. I. Poulson, the elder of the Amwell church, being one 
of the petitioners, represented the following charge and objec- 
tions to the work of the former committee. We investigated 
the objections separately with all the testimony we could obtain ; 
but while we investigated the objections of Bro. I. Poulson 
separately, we give our decision upon them together, as they 
are closelv connected. 


" It was plain to us that the proceedings of the church in the 
council presided over by I. Poulson, Sen., and which resulted 
in the expulsion of J. Moore and others, were not legal, since 
the elder and his son, I. Poulson, Jr., were parties in the church 
trials, and as they had no other elders present. The trial not 
being legal, the expulsion of J. Moore cannot be considered 
legal; but it did not seem so plain to us that the seventeen 
persons who withdrew from the church were not really sepa- 
rated from the church. The testimony that they were really 
separated or expelled was not as plain as was desirable to prove 
the fact; the difficulty having occurred over thirty years ago, 
and many of the witnesses being dead, and others very old, it 
IS difficult to obtain the testimony it is desirable to have to prove 
the facts in the case. But as the members of the Sand Brook 
church have manifested a desire to return to our general Broth- 
erhood, and as we are to exercise charity to all, we decide that 
the testimony brought before us was not sufficient to reverse 
the former committee's (work), and we therefore accept it, and 
give it to the Amwell church as the best we can do under the 
circumstances, and recommend to all the members of both 
churches Christian forbearance and brotherly love. 

" The second point in the petition will be investigated in the 
proper order and by the full committee, if it is judged neces- 
sary. This report was read to the church and explained, and 
after an exhortation, the viva voce vote of the Amwell church 
was taken ; and seventy-one of her members voted to accept the. 
report, and none to reject. 

" Signed by the Committee : 
"John Wise, 

James Quinter,. 

Christian Bucher." 

" We, the undersigned, being the full committee appointed by 
the Annual Meeting of 1881 to investigate matters of difficulty 
existing between the Amwell and Sand Brook churches, accord- 
ing to the petitioners of the Amwell church to the Annual Meet- 
ing for a committee, met in the Amwell meeting-house on the 
i8th of August, 1881, continuing the council which commenced 
on the previous day. 

" The first charge made by Bro. I. Poulson, in behalf of the 
Amwell church against the Sand Brook church, is the follow- 
ing: The organization of the Sand Brook church, composed of 
J. Moore and seventeen members who withdrew until they 


could be reconciled, was illegal; and, they assuming another 
name, put themselves beyond the jurisdiction of the church. 
On the above charge, we decide that in changing the name for 
the purpose of getting rid of the Amwell church they did 
wrong ; and we ask an acknowledgment of them. 

" Second, Bro. I. Poulson says they claim that they knew 
nothing of the committee of 1856, and that they had not a fair 
trial before the adjoining elders, both of which we deny. In 
regard to the above charge, we decide in regard to the first item, 
which relates to the committee of 1856, that the evidence proves 
a misunderstanding rather than a misrepresentation; and in 
regard to the second item, we decide that it was not clearly 
proved that there was a full and satisfactory investigation 
before the adjoining elders. 

" The third charge of Bro. I. Poulson was as follows : We 
purpose to show that the charge was not that J. Moore was the 
cause of all the trouble, and that the charge was not brought by 
my father alone, but that it was the church which brought it. 
On the first specification in the charge, we decide that the evi- 
dence proves that the charge of all the trouble was against J. 
Moore at the time of his expulsion ; but on the second specifica- 
tion we decide that it was not definitely proved who brought 
the charge against J. Moore at the time of his expulsion. 

"Fourth. The charge of Bro. I. Poulson was: 'They said I 
was elected in Dalrymple's place and to fill his place, and that 
I was thus installed.' This is not correct. We decide that on 
this charge there was not sufficient evidence to prove clearly 
that Bro. I. Poulson was installed in the second degree of the 
ministry at the time of his election, but it is very evident that 
there was trouble growing out of his installation." 

" This report was read to the church and explained, and a 
viva voce vote taken ; and fifty-five of the Amwell members 
present voted to accept it and two to reject; and of the Sand 
Brook church twelve members were present, and all accepted it. 

" Signed by the committee : 
"John Wise, 
James Quinter, 
D. P. Saylor, 
R. n. Miller, 
Christian Bucher." 

Other clouds were gathering in the sky for Elder Israel 
Poulson. He was not as wise in settling up an estate of 


which he was executor as he should have been. He moved 
to the Upper Dubhn Church in Pennsylvania, and without 
a church letter. 

October 24, 1882, the church appointed a committee to 
wait on J. M. Smouse, relative to his becoming pastor of the 
Am well Church. Smouse was engaged at a salary of $300 
per year, and began his labors December i of this year. 
Quarterly councils were instituted at the council of Decem- 
ber 8, 1882; and the first church treasurer, Cyrus Van 
Dolah, also elected. John D. Hoppock was ordained to the 
eldership December 28, 1882; bishops present, J. Z. Gott- 
wals and J. P. Hetric. 

In the council of February 28, 1883, a letter " from the 
bishops was read advising the church to take immediate 
action in the difficulty existing between the church and 
Israel Poulson." There were six charges against Poulson, 
embodying unfaithfulness to his bond as executor, causing 
division in the church, and removing without a letter of 
membership. The church after exhausting in vain all 
efforts for home settlement, called in a committee, which 
consisted of Elders Christian Bucher, Samuel Harley, and 
William Hertzler. This committee seems to have been ac- 
cepted by Annual Meeting, with the addition of Elder Moses 
Miller as chairman. Elders Gottwals and Hetric were also 
advised of the investigation. The committee met August 
28, 1883, and found Poulson guilty of procrastination which 
caused his bondsmen to suffer unjustly, and of careless- 
ness as administrator which led to division in the church, 
and was condemned for moving away without adjusting dif- 
ficulties and securing a church letter. He was relieved of 
the office of bishop, and required to make an humble ac- 
knowledgment of his short-comings, after which he was to 
be granted a certificate of church membership as a minister 
in the second degree. The church accepted the work of the 
committee by a vote of fifty-three to twenty-three. Poul- 
son met the conditions, and received the certificate of mem- 
bership August 29, 1883. 

Smouse left Amwell in shame, in the fall of this same 
year. At a special council January 5, 1884, Amos Haines 


was called to the ministry — J. Z. Gottwals and J. P. Hetric, 
elders present. 

And still there were troubles. The District Meeting of 
1884 was asked to send a committee to settle them. The 
committee appointed was C. Bucher, J. Z. Gottwals and 
Samuel Harley. Ten charges were presented to the com- 
mittee. Among them were the following : Some absenting 
themselves from public worship, validity of changing time 
of church meetings, validity of ordination of J. D. Hoppock, 
irregularity of the election of a brother to the ministry, the 
opening of the church to an expelled minister, and reporting 
his meeting in The Evangelist. The first and last were not 
commended; the others, not sustained. Other grievances 
the committee refused to consider, because they had already 
been before a committee from Annual Meeting. This com- 
mittee also decided that the Bethel branch was an organized 
church, and advised that a line be struck between it and the 
Amwell congregation. This committee rendered its deci- 
sion August 26, 1884. 

Amos Haines was advanced April 26, 1885. June 13 of 
this same year, the missionary cause was brought before 
the church and received approval. The matter was referred 
to the ministers, J. D. Hoppock and Amos Haines. During 
the first year $28.12 were collected. 

September 8, 1885, Elders Christian Bucher and Samuel 
Harley, by request, met with the church. This meeting 
was for the purpose of adjusting a general difficulty, which 
had its origin in the trial and resignation of Elder I. Poulson. 
The friends of Poulson, with few exceptions, absented them- 
selves from public worship, after having been repeatedly 
visited and admonished to attend. A motion to have Poul- 
son come back to Amwell and preach occasionally was lost. 
As it seemed impossible to accomplish anything, the matter 
was dropped with a recommendation from the elders that 
the members try to effect a reconciliation among themselves. 

Brother Haines feeling it his duty to prosecute his studies 
relative to the ministry asked December 30, 1885, ^o be re- 
lieved of his duty as speaker. He was retained till April i 
next. March 13, 1886, the Amwell Church changed from 


double to single mode of feet- washing. At the same time it 
was decided to have Brother Haines exchange pulpits with 
Joel K. Reiner, of Philadelphia, once a month. The Am- 
well house was repaired in 1887 at a cost of $140.75. 

On January 21, 1890, a committee sent by the District 
Meeting to ascertain wherein lay the cause of lack of har- 
mony in the Jersey Church met at Amwell. The committee 
was S. R. Zug, C. Bucher, and F. P. Cassel, Nothing 
seems to have been accomplished. 

Juniata College takes up the Jersey Problem. August 10, 
1892, Lambert M. Hyde, Clinton B. Wilson, and Henry Van 
Dolah were elected deacons. "Amidst a most excellent 
feeling of sympathy and Christian fellowship, the meeting 
closed with earnest prayer for the newly elected officers and 
for the congregation, by brethren John D. Hoppock and 
Amos H. Haines. May God own and bless the work." So 
writes Bro. W. J. Swigart, of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. 

September 10, 1892, the church certificate of F. F. Hol- 
sopple, a graduate of Juniata College, was presented, 
Brother Holsopple was a son-m-law of Elder James Quinter. 
On June 8, 1895, an election for a minister was held, and 
the choice fell on Ira C. Holsopple, brother of the pastor, 
who for a time had been residing in Jersey. He was in- 
stalled into the sacred office August 19, by Elder J. D. Hop- 
pock, Elder W. J. Swigart, and Amos Haines. 

Brother Frank Holsopple having accepted a call to the 
pastorate of the church at Parkerford, Pa., it was decided 
September 7, 1895, ^o call Bro. William Howe to Amwell. 
He was received into the church December 7. Brother 
Holsopple had labored in a judicious manner to bring about 
proper fellowship between Amwell and Sand Brook ; but he 
and Elder H. E. Light, who had charge at Sand Brook, 
failed to understand each other. 

There was still considerable indebtedness on the parson- 
age, and June 13, 1896, a mortgage of $1,046.80 was placed 
on it. Brother Howe was very conscientious, strict in his 
living, and laid great emphasis on Bible study. He soon 
began to find more favor at Sand Brook than at Amwell. 
September 6, 1896, it was decided not to keep him another 


year. He was called by Sand Brook, which about this time 
had united with the Bethel congregation. 

October 30, 1896, the Am well Church decided to call in 
Bro. J. C. Reiff, as a prospective candidate to hold an extra 
meeting. Brother Reiff was from the Green Tree Church, 
was attending Juniata College, and while there was elected 
by the Huntingdon Church to the ministry. He was called 
to the Am well pastorate December 19. 

To show how Am well stood in the customs of the brother- 
hood, a lady, in 1897, being very sick and realizing that her 
end was near at hand, and feeling a deep interest in our 
church and Sunday School work, desired to give to the 
church her organ, to be used in the Sunday School service. 
The gift was not accepted. 

Brother Reiff, though small in stature, at once started to 
straighten things out in Jersey. In the spring of 1897, 
Elder Charles W. Moore was informed that because of 
alleged charges against him certain members of Am well, 
prominently the Haines family, would not recognize him as 
a brother. Brother Moore followed the course outlined in 
Matt. 18, through the three stages. November 16, 1897, 
Elder C. "G. Lint, of Meyersdale, Pa., presiding, after due 
notice had been given to all members to attend, this trouble 
was considered. No charges were brought against Brother 
Moore, though proper notice and opportunity were given. 
Brother Reiff submitted the following letter which was 
accepted by a vote of seventeen to eight. It was decided to 
have it printed for convenience in sending it out. 

" Letter. 

" Sand Brook, New Jersey, 

" Nov 1897. 

"Dear : 

" In council on November i6th, the Amwell German Baptist 
Church finally decided, on condition of his future good conduct, 
henceforth to recognize Elder C. W. Moore as an elder in good 
standing, and with whom the church shall, on above condition, 
be in full fellowship, and not only with him, but also with every 
member of the body known as the Union Church of New 
Jersey, now under his care. 


" In order that we, the Amwell Church, may know of a 
surety upon whom we may, in the future, depend for sympathy, 
co-operation, and support in all the various workings of the 
church — to the extent only that they shall be in harmony with 
the spirit of the Gospel — we ask you to certify by letter, to L. 
M. Hyde, of Sand Brook, New Jersey, either your willingness 
or unwillingness, in the future, to be one among us — one in 
Christian fellowship, one who, by the grace of God, shall en- 
deavor to do all in your power to live and work harmoniously, 
peacefully, and Scripturally, for the glory of God and of 
Christ in the world. 

" If we do not hear from you by letter or otherwise, before 
Jan. I, 1898, we will take your silence to mean that you do not 
desire longer to be with us, and we will drop your name from 
the church register, to be replaced at any time thereafter, in 
regular order, at the joint pleasure of yourself and the Amwell 

" To be a member of the Amwell Church, from this time on, 
shall mean to try to live and act as though our past relations 
with the Sand Brook and Bethel churches had been only 

" The Amwell Church will welcome with open hearts and 
arms all present and past members, who shall be willing to 
remain or to come in the way herein indicated. 

" This letter cannot nullify any matter other than the one 
considered at the council herein specified. 

" A copy of this letter shall be sent to every active or inactive 
member now living, as they are known to the church. 

" Only to promote His cause and His glory. 

" The Amwell German Baptist Church. 

" L. M. Hyde, Clerk." 

Thus were the long ostracised " Mooreites " vindicated. 
Those unwilling to accept Brother Moore as designated in 
the letter, sent to the Progressive pastor of Philadelphia 
to come up and organize them into a congregation. Thus 
the old church of Amwell lost about one half of her member- 
ship; among them her secretary, treasurer, and a trustee. 
But Amwell and Sand Brook began to walk together. It 
was unanimously decided, March 5, 1898, that the Amwell 


and Sand Brook worship at Amwell Sunday mornings and 
at Sand Brook Sunday evenings. 

March 20, 1899, Brother Reiff resigned as pastor at Am- 
well, left New Jersey, and joined himself to the ' Dowey- 
ites " of Chicago. The Amwell Church now turned to the 
Annual Meeting Committee to Eastern Pennsylvania. 



The District Meeting Committee of 1884 — C. Bucher, S, 
Harley, and J. Z. Gottwals — decided that Bethel was a sep- 
arate congregation from Amwell, and advised a hne being 
struck between the two. Bethel had been first recognized 
by District Meeting as a separate organization in the spring 
of this year, with Robeson Hyde as her delegate. 

In 1885 Israel Poulson returned to New Jersey and took 
up his abode within Bethel limits. It was soon suggested 
that Brother Poulson relieve Brother Hyde in preaching one 
half of the Sundays. The church refused to vote on this 
matter hastily. Herewith is given the action of a commit- 
tee which met with the Bethel Church in 1886. 

The committee's report follows : 

"We convened in council October 2, 1886, at the Bethel 
church, New Jersey, to labor with the church on the propriety 
of Brother Israel Poulson preaching there for them, according 
to the advice of the elders of our late District Meeting. 

" Having heard all pro and con, we came to the conclusion 
that Brother Poulson should be a co-laborer with Brother Hop- 
pock and Brother Hyde, working together to build up the 
church, providing he lifts his membership at Upper Dublin and 
presents it to this church, helping to work and labor for union 
in all church affairs, attend council meetings, as it becometh a 
co-laborer; and then the members promise to attend all meet- 
ings, no matter who holds them, if otherwise possible." 

"William Hertzler 
Isaac Kulp. 

" P. S'. — By the consent of the church the elders present 
wrote the above proposition, which was almost unanimously 

" I. K., Secretary." 



Brother Poulson secured his letter from the Upper Dublin 
Church, and it was accepted by Bethel. For some cause, 
however, Bethel seems to have lost interest in the District 
Meeting, for after this she did not send a delegate until 
1892, when C. W. Moore represented her conjointly 
with Sand Brook. He continued to represent her each 
year, excepting 1893, till she united with the Sand 
Brook congregation. A very undesirable condition of 
affairs existed in the church about 1888. William Hertz- 
ler and Samuel Zug were present in council November 
9 of this year. They came as a result of a petition to Dis- 
trict Mission Board for help. A special hour for private 
prayer " for a better state of things in the church " was 
decided upon for November 21. On this date Elders Sam- 
uel Zug and Frank Cassel met with the church, when the 
congregation decided that they were willing to labor for the 
upbuilding of the church and for the general order of the 
Brotherhood. The brethren felt themselves in shape to 
commune, and decided to do so. In the spring of 1891 A. 
S. Chamberlain, who had previously been clerk, was the 
means of. a Progressive meeting in the neighborhood. A 
committee of Brethren was appointed to visit him and 
"kindly admonish him to do so no more." It was decided 
at the same time to get Brother C. W. Moore to preach 
every other Sunday if practicable for him to do so. Here 
we begin to see the coming together of the Bethel and Sand 
Brook churches. This tendency was furthered by a council 
held here April 26, 1892, with the Annual Meeting Com- 
mittee, when it was "Resolved that this church, though 
keeping its separate organization, is willing to work in union 
and harmony with the Sand Brook Church and the Brother- 
hood at large." Elder S. R. Zug, then of the Annual Meet- 
ing Committee, was prominent in the councils of the church 
at this time. 

From 1893 to 1895 Elder H. E. Light looked after the 
work at Bethel. He worked up interest in missionary con- 
tributions. In 1894 C. W. Moore was chosen to represent 
Bethel at both District and Annual Meetings. No lovefeast 
was held at Bethel in the spring of 1895, o'^t of deference to 


the one at Sand Brook. In the council of March 28, 1896, 
C. W. Moore was chairman. How Bethel now honors the 
man, when less than twenty years before she refused to 
recognize Bro. Daniel Good as a minister only because he 
was a companion to him ! 

We are not now surprised to read the following minute : 
"This is to certify that at the regular fall council, 1896, 
Bethel Church agreed to unite or consolidate with the Sand 
Brook Church, to be known as the Union Church, holding 
services, councils, and communions alternately between the 
two churches. Elder S. R. Zug being present and in the 
chair." During this time Bro. William Howe was preach- 
ing at Sand Brook. 

According to the list 134 persons were received into the 
Bethel Church from its beginning till it united with the Sand 
Brook Church. Not counting officials there were 58 mem- 
bers at the time of their union. The two Poulsons preached 
here. Robeson Hyde looked after matters, though not or- 
dained, when councils were first held. Amos Chamberlain 
was clerk and Sunday School superintendent. He was suc- 
ceeded as clerk by J. T. Gary in 1880, and as Sunday School 
superintendent by Ephraim Gary in 1891. Other prominent 
names in the work here are H. H. Anderson, Servis Trim- 
mer, Sidney L. Bush, John Heller, Joseph Trimmer, Israel 
P. Trimmer, Lambart B. Hann, A. Gary, and Sisters Edith 
and Caroline Gary. 

Sand Brook Recognized and Independent. — At a council, 
November 11, 1882, in the Sand Brook Church, the " report 
of the Annual Meeting" was read by Elder John P. Moore, 
which was satisfactory to all present; and it was urged by 
Elder John P. Moore that all work with the Annual Meeting 
and with the order of the Brethren. 

From now on the Sand Brook Church kept in close touch 
with the District Meeting, never failing to send a delegate. 
C. W. Moore represented her every year till and after the 
union with Bethel. Sand Brook now begins to fall in line 
with all church activities. Elder H. E. Light looked after 
her interests in connection with those of Bethel. Solicitors 
for the Mission fund were appointed in the spring of 1894. 


Councils from 1 894-1 896 were held in the home of Israel 
Poulson. First delegate to Annual Meeting was sent in 
1894. Jennie F. Green was appointed Messenger corre- 
spondent in March, 1896. 

The Annual Meeting Committee to eastern Pennsylvania 
now advised the Sand Brook and Bethel churches to unite. 
The Sand Brook Church in special council May 5, 1896, 
agreed to this advice. Bethel accepted it later. 

About the time of the union, an incident in connection 
with the work at Sand Brook took place which should not 
be overlooked. A young girl, a second Syrian maiden, 
attended services at Sand Brook. After the meeting she 
came to Brother Moore and inquired why he did not, inas- 
much as he was holding services in other school-houses, 
come to the one on the west side of Sergeantsville. Brother 
Moore was strongly drawn to hold a series of meetings in 
this school-house. Though dissuaded by many, he went 
ahead. As a result of his efforts eleven were added to the 
church. The influence of these meetings continued to work 
for a long time afterward. 

During this period of sixteen years — from 1880 to 1896 
— Sand Brook received into fellowship sixteen persons. 
Her membership at the time of union was thirty-one. 



Both the Sand Brook and Bethel congregations met in 
council at the Sand Brook house September 19, 1896, and 
" unanimously agreed to be known and recognized as the 
Union Church of New Jersey." At this council there were 
present Elder S. R. Zug, member of the committee to east- 
ern Pennsylvania, Elder H. E. Light, member of the Dis- 
trict Mission Board, and Elder J. D. Hoppock, as adjoining 

The elders of eastern Pennsylvania, at District Meeting in 

1896, appointed S. R. Zug and H. E. Light to effect, if 
possible, an ordination for the proposed Union Church of 
New Jersey. At the above mentioned council, it was unan- 
imously agreed to ordain C. W. Moore, which ordination 
was effected " according to the rules of the general Brother- 
hood." O. R. Fauss was elected clerk and John Q. Adams 
treasurer of the new organization. About this time Brother 
Wm. Howe was called in as pastor. 

The new congregation called for the District Meeting of 

1897. The call was honored. The District Meeting of 
1897 was held at Sand Brook, May 12-13. ^^ 1896 the 
plan of the Home for the Homeless was adopted. The love- 
feasts were to alternate between the two houses. Single 
mode of feet-washing adopted March 20, 1897. 

Besides the officers there were at the time of union, Sep- 
tember, 1896, in the Bethel branch 58 members; and in the 
Sand Brook 31 members; there were also five officers, two 
ministers, and three deacons ; making a total of 94 members. 
By July I, 1899, twenty-one persons had been received into 
the Union Church, one disowned, making a membership of 

Recent History. 

In a letter dated September 24, 1913, Bro. M. B. Miller 
thus sums up the recent history of the Brethren in New 

14 193 


" In the nineties (last century) J. C. Reiff of Huntingdon, 
Pa., took charge of the work in Jersey. Reiff was a strong 
factor in driving off what are now the Progressives. He Hves 
now in CaHfornia, having a secular calling, and is connected 
with some holiness movement. He resigned as pastor of the 
Jersey churches, March 20, 1899. 

" In council, the churches called Tobias Myers to preach for 
them indefinitely; and at this council, April 5, 1902, he was 
chosen to represent at District Meeting. 

"July 26, 1902, the churches, through the General Mission 
Board, called Bro. Hiram Forney of Goshen, Ind., to the pas- 
torate. He did not take charge till November, 1902. In the fall 
of 1904, Brother Forney resigned and left the work. 

" During the pastorate of Brother Forney, Elder Charles W. 
Moore died, June 16, 1903. Brother Moore was next to the 
last of the old Jersey preachers who had gone through those 
turbulent times of the Jersey church's history. He was the last 
of the Moores in the Sand Brook church. He was generally 
beloved, preached many funerals, and married many. 

"Elder Robinson Hyde, who died in 1901, went with the 
Progressives, about the time the Progressives organized in 
Jersey, which was about the last of the nineties. 

" Elder John D. Hoppock died in 1906. He was the last of 
the Jersey elders. He was of a genial disposition, of sterling 
integrity, and used good common sense and wisdom during 
those trying times through which the church went. 

" Seth Myers took charge of the Jersey churches in the spring 
of 1905, and continued in his work till the fore part of 1907, 
when he left. 

" During Brother Myers' stay, Henry T. Home was elected to 
the ministry. He was a nephew of Elder Charles W. Moore. 
Brother Home was a member of the Sand Brook church, but 
was elected by both churches in joint council. He was the 
only resident minister in Jersey after Myers left, till about July 
I, 1907, when Jacob F. Graybill took charge of the work. He 
stayed till August, 1909. Myers and Graybill were sent by the 
Mission Board of Eastern Pennsylvania. 

" Monroe B. Miller came into the Jersey churches April i, 
1910, as a volunteer minister in the second degree. Brethren 
Home and Miller worked together side by side, with Elder 
James Shisler as elder in charge. This kept up till the division 
of the District of Eastern Pennsylvania, shortly after which 


Elder Shisler resigned. His resignation was accepted Sep- 
tember II, 191 1. 

" J. Kurtz Miller was then chosen elder in charge. November 
5, 1911, H. T. Home and M. B. Miller were ordained to the 
full ministry. May 25, 1912, at a special meeting, the Amwell 
and Sand Brook churches in joint council almost unanimously 
decided to unite, forming one congregation, the same to be 
called by the mother name — Amwell Church of New Jersey. 
Elder H. T. Home was made resident elder in charge — ^J. 
Kurtz Miller retaining general oversight. 

"March 29, 1913, in special council assembled, the Mission 
Board of S. E, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and E. New York 
proposed to the church that M. B. Miller take charge as pastor, 
and that he be supported conjointly by the Amwell church and 
the District Mission Board. The church accepted the proposal. 
This is our position today, with J. Kurtz Miller, President of 
the District Mission Board, as general overseer. 

" By the grace of God we have a rather live Prayer-meeting 
and Ladies' Aid Society ; but our people take so little interest in 
Sunday School and preaching service. A new voice or some- 
thing entertaining brings people. Oh, for more power to reach 
the hearts of these lukewarm Christians ! " 

" The Brethren's Sunday School in New Jersey, near Croton, 
Hunterdon County, was organized in May, 1873, with Elder R. 
Hyde, superintendent, and at present (1876) shows an average 
attendance of about thirty scholars and ten visitors, making a 
total average of forty, besides teachers and officers. We take 
thirty copies of the " Children's Paper," and six of our scholars 
have come into the fold within the present year. 

"R. S. Chamberlain."^ 
1 " Brethren's Almanac " of 1876. 


A. John Naas. 

John Naas was perhaps the ablest preacher of the early 
church of the Brethren. Libe and Martin might be placed 
in his class; Naas was born in 1669 or 1670, at Norten, a 
town of Westphalia, twelve miles north of Emden, "He 
was among the first fruits of the Brethren in Creyfelt, and 
on account of his disinterested piety and great natural en- 
dowments, he was soon called to the ministry, in which he 
manifested so much zeal that his fielld of labor at Creyfelt 
appeared too small for his ardent desire to extend the 
knowledge of the newly discovered truth. Hence he made 
several very successful tours through the adjoining prov- 
inces as a traveling missionary, in which he suffered many 
privations, and once narrowly escaped being pressed into the 
army of the King of Prussia." 

Troubles with Christian Libe at Creyfelt caused him to 
desist from preaching for a number of years. He is re- 
ported, but erroneously, to have come to America with the 
second colony of Brethren in 1729. He arrived in 1733. 
See Brumbaugh's "History of the Brethren," pp. 108-124, 
for a lengthy letter which he wrote to his son in Switzer- 
land. He went almost immediately to Am well, N. J., where 
he founded an active church, and which remains " his monu- 
ment" unto this day. 

Abraham Cassel, from whom we quoted above, says fur- 
ther of him : " It is said by one of his contemporaries that 
knew him well, that he was unequalled as a preacher — being 
a German Whitefield or a Boanerges. Several of his hymns 
which are still in use by the Brethren also speak well of 
him as a poet or hymnologist. He is further represented as 
being very mild and charitable, almost to a fault, insomuch 



that he occasionally differed with the Brethren in the admin- 
istration of judgment to offending members. He died ripe 
in years and full of faith, on the 12th of May, 1741; and 
is buried amidst many of his spiritual children in the Breth- 
ren's graveyard at Amwell." It should here be added that 
his remains do not repose in the Brethren graveyard near 
the Amwell meetinghouse. 

He had two daughters and at least one son. One 
daughter was married to Bro. Wilhelmus Graw, in Creyfelt, 
who never came to America. The other was married to a 
Hannes Landis, who afterwards joined the Seventh Day 
Baptists and went to Ephrata. He was not long satisfied 
here, however, was again reconciled to the Brethren and 
became a member of the Conestoga congregation. The son 
remained in Switzerland at least for a time after the father 
came to America, to whom the father wrote the long and 
interesting letter concerning his voyage across the deep. 

John Naas may also be regarded as the founder of the 
Great Swamp Church, in Upper Milford, Bucks Co., Pa., 
as he was the first to preach there and was present at the 
organization in 1735. During his short life in America, of 
eight years, from 1733 to 1 741, he frequently appears in the 
work of the church. He was visited by George Adam 
Martin. In 1736 he accompanied some of the Germantown 
Brethren on a tour to Ephrata, where for a time he had a 
daughter living. His attitude toward this work is not so 
easy of explanation. The "Chronicon" says that he was 
greatly enamoured of the way of life of the Settlement. 
Again he is said to have opposed, with Peter Becker, Beis- 
sel's "awakening" in Germantown in 1738. He was also 
still living when Beissel was so hospitably received at Am- 
well, but does not figure in the visit. Some years later 
Beissel in his extravagant way refers to the Widow Naas 
in terms of great Christian love. 

Perhaps the truth is something like this. Naas with 
Becker saw the danger in Beissel and so concurred with 
Becker in opposition ; but not with Becker saw the good in 
the ultra-mystic. Naas was a big-hearted, tolerant man. 
We cannot but believe that he was back of Am well's attitude 


toward Beissel at the time of the visit. The whole Amwell 
organization helped the visitors back over the Delaware. 
But Naas kept himself out of Beissel's sight. Perhaps 
Beissel's eyes were holden that he saw him not — the state 
in which Beissel, in his marvelous spiritual pride, regarded 
Alexander Mack as being at Falckner's Swamp. 

The " Chronicon " says they broke bread together in Jer- 
sey, which certainly means they communed together. Naas, 
the tolerant peace-maker, had the spirit of the Brethren. 
Yet Naas was not Alexander Mack, our founder. Mack 
would not have kept back from personally meeting Beissel 
in Jersey. He had the spirit of Him 'who felt under obli- 
gation to lay down his life for the Brethren. This is Breth- 
renism ; this is loyalty to the Church of the Brethren. But 
John Naas was a grand, noble man, and torture could not 
make him renounce his Master ; and he yielded to the spirit 
that was in Alexander Mack — he was a brother and a Breth- 
ren preacher. 

B. Israel Poulson, Sr. 

The parents of Elder Israel Poulson are unknown. He 
was left by them at the age of seven near Centreville, N. J., 
where he was reared. He is said to have had Indian blood 
in his veins. He was bound over when a youth to a man 
named Jerry King, who utterly neglected his education. 
When he married his first wife, he was unable to write his 
own name. She taught him to read. She died soon with- 
out children. He then married her sister, who was long 
and lovingly known as Aunt Hannah Poulson. She was 
the mother of all his children. His home was at Head- 
quarters, now called Grover. In later life he married the 
widow of old Henry Laushe. 

He was greatly beloved by children. His habit was to 
lay his hand on their heads. He was always a welcome 
visitor. Every one clung to old " Uncle Israel." A certain 
false prophet once came into the neighborhood, announcing 
that the world was about to come to an end. A man not 
altogether of sound mind was asked what he would do. He 
replied : " I would hold on to Uncle Israel's coat-tail." 


He was always in demand as a preacher ; there was always 
a place for him. In church visiting he always walked, going 
across fields to cut off corners. His cane and his pipe were 
his ever-present companions. Unlike most elders in the 
Brethren Church, he played the fiddle. He was a man of 
medium height, had straight, black hair, and always wore a 
pleasant smile. He was not particular in the form of his 
dress, yet intended to conform to the order of the Brother- 
hood. Nor were the three degrees of the ministry clearly 
defined in Jersey in his day. He was a common man and 
took an interest in public affairs. He built the stone wall 
around the cemetery at Amwell. Three hundred dollars 
having been charged for assessing the township, Uncle Israel 
declared it was too much; it was robbing the people. He 
said he would do it for one hundred dollars. The work 
was given to him, and he was assessor for three years. 

In the early days, he preached in school-houses and in the 
private homes. The people flocked to hear him. And so it 
was decided to build a meeting-house. He gave the ground. 
If any in the nineteenth century should be called the father 
of the Jersey church, it was old Israel Poulson. And he 
belonged to Jersey exclusively. Outside of this state he 
was little known. In 1846 we find him among the Elders at 
Annual Meeting. 

Like all, he had his failings, which have been seen in the 
election of his son to the ministry and the expulsion of John 
P. Moore. But we believe, as in his vision of the scales 
which we herewith relate, that his good deeds had the pre- 
ponderance, and that he has found acceptance with the Great 
Judge of All. 

Visions of Israel Poulson, Sr. 

(Related to the writer by Bro. Abr. Cassel.) 

The Loaf of Bread. Once upon a time he seemed to be in 
an immense concourse of people, nothing but people as far 
as he could see. All seemed to be slowly pressing toward a 
certain point. Looking intently in the direction of the mov- 
ing, he could discern a large scales erected. Men were con- 
tinually being hfted into one side. Some would hold their 


side down ; but many, many would go up into the air. They 
were weighed in the balances and found wanting. Then 
it dawned on Brother Poulson that they were in the last 
judgment, and that he too must be weighed. How would it 
go with him ? He hardly knew. Sometimes he thought he 
might hold his side of the scales down, but then he doubted. 
They kept pressing closer and closer. Soon he would be 
weighed. His heart began to fail. Finally he was at the 
scales. He was placed in the balances. For an instant he 
seemed to hold his own, then he could feel himself slowly 
but surely rising. " Weighed and found wanting." He 
was just being condemned, when the judge was halted by 
some one running in the distance, frantically waving his 
hand, and calling at the top of his voice. It was a boy who 
held something under his arm. On he came, pushing 
fiercely through the crowd as fast as he could. The judge 
waited. The boy forced himself under the scales. Taking 
what was under his arm, in both hands, he gave it a toss up 
into the scale in which Brother Poulson was standing. 
Down came the scale in balance. "Accepted," pronounced 
the judge.. Brother Poulson looked down at his feet. 
There lay a loaf of bread. He recognized it as the loaf he 
had once given to a poor widow. 

The Laborers by the Way. At another time he seemed to 
be walking along a road. Many men were at work digging 
a trench. As he drew nearer there seemed to be a great dif- 
ference among the workmen. They divided themselves into 
two classes. One class was gloomy and listless. They 
worked hard but could make little headway. The others 
were cheerful and singing, and made the ground fly as 
though it had wings. They accomplished much. Why the 
difference? He could see no cause for it. They had the 
same kind of work. It seemed that they might be of equal 
strength. The gloomy ones were not sick. The sun beat 
with equal heat on both. The breeze that fanned the cheer- 
ful man, fanned the gloomy ones equally. Their tools were 
equally good. Every thmg was the same, yet what a dif- 
ference ! Why ? He could not solve the mystery. He 
would inquire of the foreman. "Why the difference in 


the work of your men ? " " The hard workers keep at their 
task only from a sense of duty; the cheerful ones love their 

Then Brother Poulson saw that this applied to our work 
for Christ. 

The Old Fiddle. He played the fiddle and " he could get 
music out of it." Once he seemed to have an old fiddle. 
He tried to produce music, but none would come. He 
tried again and again. He bent himself to the task. He 
vexed himself. But all in vain. He could get no music out 
of that " darned " old fiddle. 

It was a dream, a vision. What did it mean? He be- 
lieved the Lord showed him the visions, and that they had a 
lesson for him. What meant the vision of the old fiddle? 
He could get nothing out of it. The vision was as dry as 
the fiddle itself. It needed interpretation. 

Soon after he was to preach, but could not hit on a sub- 
ject. Finally he decided to take a subject on which he had 
preached once before. The sermon was one which seemed 
to him to have taken very well. He got up to preach, but it 
wouldn't go. He exerted himself, forced himself, worried 
himself, yea, even to sweating ; but all in vain. It was dry, 
lifeless. The sermon was a flat failure. 

"Trying to play on the old fiddle," he afterward said to 
himself. God had given him the vision as a warning. 

C. Israel Poulson, Jr. 

The younger Poulson was born April 14, 1821, at Head- 
quarters, N. J, He received his education in Moore's pubHc 
school, about a mile from Headquarters. He then clerked 
for a time in a store at New Hope, in Pennsylvania, but 
practically his life was spent in the vicinity of the Amwell 
Church. His occupation was farming, which he began on 
his own responsibility at the age of twenty-one. About 
this time, October 6, 1841, he was married. The partner 
of his new home, immediately north of the Amwell meeting- 
house, was Harriet Johnston. His children are Urania and 
William J. 


He was elected to the ministry April 8, 1848. The un- 
brotherly way in which he suffered himself to be placed 
above John P. Moore, even to the extent of expelling the 
unyielding Moore from the church, was a sowing which 
after thirty years was destined to bring him trouble and 
humiliation, and the extinction of his family in the church 
of the Brethren. Yet, during these years he did faithful 
work as a preacher. The author remembers him yet faintly 
when he stopped at his grandfather's home on the occasion 
of love- feasts at Green Tree. Our child heart went out 
toward him, and from our child impressions we believe he 
was a good man. 

He moved to Upper Dublin in the spring of 1881, imme- 
diately following his reverses in Jersey ; but he returned to 
his native state in 1885. He became a member of the 
Bethel Church, which, with Brother R. Hyde, he continued 
to serve till death, February 28, 1896. He is said to have 
been " off hand " in his preaching. The name Poulson 
stands out big in the history of the Jersey church during, 
and we might say throughout, the nineteenth century. It 
is to be regretted that it has not continued prominent into the 
twentieth. Let us learn the lesson to be learned from these 
two lives ! 

D. The Two Moores. 

They were not father and son, but uncle and nephew. 
The name Moore goes back to the beginning of the Jersey 
Church, Jacob Moore being one of the five original heads 
of fariiilies of Brethren who located at Amwell in 1733. 
Gideon Moore, father of John P. and grandfather of 
Charles W., was one of the two deacons of the church in 
1835, and a prominent and influential member of the Am- 
well fraternity. He was a trustee of the Amwell Meeting- 
house. In the minute of April 13, 1839, we find these 
words : " Agreed to take a lot of Gideon Moore for a bury- 
ing place." 

John P. Moore. John P. Moore was elected deacon of 
the Amwell Church, to fill the place of his father, deceased, 
November 11, 1840. April 13, 1844, he was elected 


"elder," or, correctly, to the ministry. October lo, 1848, 
he was illegally expelled, shortly after the election of the 
younger Poulson to the ministry. 

He then became the founder of the " Mooreites " who 
built their meeting-house at Sand Brook. It was he who, 
in 1879, first suggested going to Annual Meeting, which 
trip, with his nephew, Charles W. Moore, resulted in the 
readmission of the " Mooreites " into the Brotherhood. At 
a special council of the Sand Brook Church, August 23, 
1882, he was ordained elder — Elders present, Samuel Harley 
and Christian Bucher. 

He showed himself loyal to the Brotherhood. We find 
him reading the report of the Annual Meeting to his congre- 
gation, and urging his flock to be true to it and the order 
of the Brotherhood. He was also noted for going on the 
outer borders, into school-houses, to hold meetings. He 
started meetings in the Rockton school-house, which were 
kept up for many years. 

He lies buried at Sand Brook, which church is his real 

Charles W. Moore. Charles W. Moore, in a sense, was 
the complement of his uncle, John P. Moore. Had it not 
been for Charles, the " Mooreites " would have fallen short 
of getting back into the Brotherhood, and would never have 
secured full vindication. He was an earnest, zealous, pa- 
tient worker, but not much of a preacher. As he himself 
stated, his work was more to go out and gather others in 
that another might preach to them. As seen, he was deacon, 
preacher, and elder. He organized the Sand Brook Sunday 
School and was its superintendent for many years. 

Brother Moore was a man of faith. He believed that the 
gift of healing was not a lost gift today. He cited more 
than one case in his own experience to prove his position. 

An infant in the neighborhood was sick unto death. The 
doctor had given it up, stating that nothing could help it. 
Brother Moore called at the home. At the close of his 
visit, in leaving the house, he passed the cradle in which lay 
the dying infant. He felt a strong inward impulse to kneel 
at the cradle and to ask God to restore the child. He knelt 


and prayed. On reaching home he told his wife that the 
babe would recover. In a short time it was perfectly well. 
The hospitality of his home made Sand Brook a sacred 
spot to at least one heart. He was a good man, and an 
humble, and to know him was to love him. 

E. John Hoppock and Robeson Hyde. 

The leading preachers in Jersey seem to go in pairs. We 
have had the two Poulsons and the two Moores, and now we 
come to two preachers who were elected to the ministry on 
the same day and labored together for many years. Data is 
not at hand to give sketches of the lives of either. We can 
do little more here than preserve their names. 

John Hoppock and his family, through all the troubles in 
Jersey, stood by the old church. He was elder of the Am- 
well Church for many years. For many years he kept stor- 
ing away in his garret our church papers, and gave to the 
writer, as a gift, his whole valuable collection for the Breth- 
ren's Historical Society. While he was not a specially 
great preacher, yet to be in his presence was a sermon — you 
felt that you were with a man who was good through and 

Robeson Hyde labored chiefly in the Bethel congregation. 
See the account of that church. He continued with the 
old church until his end, but his able and useful son Lam- 
bert cast in his lot with the Progressives. This family, if 
any, makes us feel that all the Brethren of Jersey should be 
one again. There was in Brother Hyde something primi- 
tive, a freedom from conventionality, that made his pres- 
ence very enjoyable. 

There is within the Jersey homes, often unpainted on the 
outside, so much of Christian hospitality, so much of love 
and good-will, that one is made to wonder how the spirit of 
schism could ever find entrance. Satan is the author of it 
all. But as the Jersey Brethren resist him, he will flee from 
them. And surely the great home missionary spirit of John 
Naas, the father of the church in Jersey, must revive. As 
Bro. Frank Holsopple said, the Jersey Church is his mon- 
ument, and this monument must not be allowed to tarnish. 



Coventry, the second oldest Brethren Church in America, 
was organized, November 7, 1724. The charter members 
were nine : Martin Urner and wife Catharine, Henry Landis 
and wife, Daniel Eicher, Peter Heffly, Owen Longacre, and 
Andrew Sell. Martin Urner was chosen the preacher ; and 
his home seems to have been the chief place of meeting. 
Some time after Alexander Mack arrived in 1729, he or- 
dained Martin Urner to the office of Bishop. An account 
of the facts leading up to the organization of this old 
church, only ten months younger than the old Mother 
Church at Germantown, will be found set forth in the ac- 
count of the Missionary Tour of 1724. 

A love feast was held at Martin Urner's on Whitsuntide, 
in 1726. Members from both Germantown and Conestoga 
were present. But Peter Becker was not among the num- 
ber. Conrad Beissel officiated. " Extraordinary powers 
of eternity" were manifested; and the followers of Beissel 
called it the congregation's Pentecost. Says the "Chron- 
icon " : " On the first day of the festival everybody in the 
meeting was as though drunken with wine, and it was 
noticed that several, who had engaged in prayer, soon after- 
ward married, and so dragged the gifts of the Spirit into the 
flesh." After the meeting Beissel baptized eleven. This 
was the largest baptism up to this time in America. 

The Brethren were thrown into a quandary concerning 
Beissel. They had to admire his gifts, yet they looked upon 
him as a seducer and forbidder of wedlock. Their amaze- 



ment and perplexity were increased by a meeting on the 
following day, when "the powers of the new world were 
again poured out like a river, the singing was Pentecostal 
and heavenly; yea, some declared they heard angel voices 
mingling with it." Martin Urner became greatly distressed. 
He is said to have embraced his wife, exclaiming: " O, my 
dear wife ! I pray you for God's sake, do not leave me ! " 

Across the Schuylkill from Coventry, in back of Potts- 
town, is Falckner's Swamp, where already in 1724 families 
of Brethren had settled, and in this year had the Lord's 
Supper administered to them by the Brethren on their not- 
able Missionary Tour. Here Beissel did not have to en- 
counter so much the penetrating eye of Martin Urner, and 
here he was victorious. But in Coventry his way was pretty 
effectually blocked. Inasmuch as Falckner's Swamp, which 
later ceased to be a Brethren's settlement, was nearer to 
Coventry than to any other enduring congregation, we deem 
it proper at this place to give a brief account of the work 

Falckner's Swamp. 

A few of the Brethren who had arrived in Germantown 
in 1719, had settled shortly after their arrival at Falckner's 
Swamp. We have mentioned the love feast there in 1724. 
Beissel, on being made teacher in Conestoga, soon began to 
regard himself as General Superintendent of the work in 
America. Because of several newly awakened ones at 
Falckner's Swamp, Beissel in the latter part of 1727, sent 
Michael Wohlfahrt to look after the interests of the work. 
Wohlfahrt's report was so favorable, that Beissel with three 
others visited Falckner's Swamp, and on March 8, 1728, 
baptized eleven persons. In the following May five more 
were baptized. Through this activity Beissel acquired such 
a control of affairs at Falckner's Swamp that the German- 
town Brethren, later reinforced by Alexander Mack, were 
unable to dislodge him. Andreas Frey was appointed Elder 
here. He gave up his office and was succeeded by Michael 
Wohlfahrt. " Fie fell from his office with shame and dis- 
grace, and thereupon fell at the feet of the Superintendent, 


who revoked the judgment and received him again into spir- 
itual communion." Beissel now placed a John Landes, per- 
haps the son-in-law of John Naas, at the head of the work. 
But Landes was a novice, became puffed up, and lasted only 
six weeks. 

Beissel was unreconciled with a brother at Coventry and 
had placed two of the Germantown Brethren under the ban. 
The Germantown Brethren thought it proper to warn the 
newly awakened about Beissel. Beissel then wrote a letter 
to the Brethren at Germantown, sternly rebuking them for 
the falseness, deceit, and craftiness which they had prac- 
tised on the newly awakened ones. The Germantown Breth- 
ren showed this letter at Falckner's Swamp, and proposed to 
leave the Brethren judge in regard to the " insult " in the 
letter, for which purpose they appointed a meeting at which 
both Germantown and Conestoga were to be represented. 
Beissel was not minded to be subject to this arrangement. 
With arch-craftiness he sent six members from Conestoga 
to forestall it. Beissel's emissaries were received, and they 
maintained his hold. 

In October, 1730, Alexander Mack, who had come to this 
country the year before, undertook with several of his 
Brethren a visit to Falckner's Swamp. Be it remembered 
that Beissel had already in 1728 given back his baptism to 
the Brethren. Beissel, not knowing of the visit, was at 
Falckner's Swamp when they arrived. We quote from the 
" Chronicon," pp. 49-50. 

" Alexander Mack made an address and said : * The peace 
of the Lord be with you!' The Superintendent rephed: 
* We have the same peace ! ' Thereupon Alexander Mack 
asked why they had put them under the ban; and proposed 
that both parties should betake themselves to prayer that 
God might reveal to them which was guilty of the separa- 
tion. . . . They accordingly fell upon their knees, and after 
making their complaints to God, they arose, and A. M. 
asked : * Where is Conrad Beissel ? ' They pointed towards 
him and said : * There he stands ! ' He answered : * I am a 
stranger to him; I do not see him; let him speak,' It seems 
that his eyes were holden that he could not see him. This 


happened several times to the Superintendent, as not less to 
Christ himself and other holy ones. Thereupon the Super- 
intendent answered thus: 'I am the man after whom you 
ask.' A. M. then began asking the reasons why such things 
had been done. The Superintendent answered : Why they 
came here in so improper a manner to disturb the meeting; 
they should have chosen a different time for this matter ; and 
then spoke not a word more. • Then things became lively. 
One brother of Conestoga said : ' Alexander Mack, I regard 
you as a servant of God ! ' Peter Becker replied : * What 
kind of a servant do you consider him? a servant of his 
righteousness ? ' " 

Alexander Mack, humanly speaking, the great leader of 
the Church of the Brethren, had in the love of Christ won 
Beissel and he knew it ; but he realized that it would require 
a long time for the fact to become manifest; but in his long- 
suffering, he was willing to abide the Lord's revelation of 
his victory. The author of the " Chronicon " states that 
those who knew how affairs stood between the two congre- 
gations, knew also that a close union between them was im- 
possible; "for they were born of diverse causes, since one 
had the letter for its foundation, the other, the Spirit ; and 
while both had the same Father, they had different Mothers." 
Alexander Mack taught that the letter and the Spirit go to- 

The Elder at Falckner's Swamp in 1731 had trouble with 
his wife. This elder himself adhered to Beissel but the wife 
forsook him to be a solitary one with the Superintendent. 
The man told his wife that she was his, that he would not 
give her up, that she must be subject to her husband. Sev- 
eral times he brought her home by force. His outraged 
feelings carried him to the extent of violently assaulting 
Beissel, who afterward advised the wife to go to her hus- 
band. Once when a love feast was to be held, he tied her 
fast lest she should run away. After his death she joined 
the community, and lived with it till her death in 1779. 

"In 1734 the awakened at Falckner's Swamp, it being 
the seventh year of their awakening, began to break up and 
to move toward the settlement. They bought up the 


regions around Ephrata, so that in a few years the country 
for three or four miles around was taken up by them. 
Wherever there was a spring of water, no matter how un- 
fertile the soil, there lived some household, waiting for the 
Lord's salvation" (p. 66). 

Thus did Ephrata absorb Falckner's Swamp, which gave 
itself to Beissel. Falckner's Swamp above all other places 
seems to have peopled Beissel's newly found home on the 
Conestoga. During the troubles between Conestoga and 
Germantown when Falckner's Swamp was the bone of con- 
tention between them, Coventry though the nearest congre- 
gation to Falckner's Swamp, held aloof. Martin Urner 
held the love of his wife and the allegiance of his flock; but 
not so the Elder across the Schuylkill at Falckner's Swamp. 
Beissel carried away some from Coventry but even on them 
he did not have a lasting hold. The "Chronicon" tells us, 
p. dy, "After these (those from Falckner's Swamp) the 
awakened from the Schuylkill (Coventry) also came and 
settled down at the Settlement. From these the Sister's 
Convent gained a number; but only two, Drusiana and 
Basilla, natural sisters, endured till the end." 

"The Coventry Church," says Abraham Cassel, "in- 
creased fast, and in 1770 would have been a very large con- 
gregation had not so many gone away to get better lands 
elsewhere, as they were mostly husbandmen. Numbers 
went to what was then called the Conococheague, in Frank- 
lin and Perry counties, in Pennsylvania, and some also to 
Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. 

"The old Brethren were opposed to having a meeting- 
house. They held their meetings in a kind of rotation, at 
Martin Urner's and at four other places, and the custom 
then was that where the meeting was, most of the people 
stayed for dinner, and the afternoons were spent in private 
conversation, singing, and prayer, which was so edifying to 
the people that it was the means of drawing many into the 
church."^ Up to 1770 the Coventry Brethren were without 
a meeting-house. Only two years later, however, in 1772, 

1 See " History of the Brethren Coventry Church," by Isaac Urner, 
p. 20. 


they built one of logs, on the old Martin Urner homestead, 
on or near the site of the present church. 

" From corroborative facts known to me," continues 
Abraham Cassel, " I have no doubt but that the Coventry 
Church had hundreds of additions between its organization 
in 1724 and its census of 1770." 

There is a blank here in the history of the Coventry 
Church which we are unable to fill. No church records kept 
within the church herself, as in the Conestoga Church, have 
come down to us. Our only sources of information are 
external — Morgan Edwards' " History of the Baptists " and 
the "Chronicon Ephratense." Isaac N. Urner, LL.D., pre- 
viously mentioned, has this to say in the introduction to his 
"History of the Coventry Church" : "We are told that no 
early records of the Coventry Church were kept. It seems 
improbable that such a church would have no records, ' all 
the early preachers being men of talent and ability,' that the 
reasonable supposition is that the records have been lost." 

In 1770 the Coventry Church consisted of about twenty- 
two families, whereof forty were baptized. We give the 
names of these forty members in 1770 as given us by Mor- 
gan Edwards : 

Martin Urner and wife, Barbara, Peter Reinhart, Owen 
Reinhart, Henry Dasker and wife, Nicholas Harwick and 
wife, Abraham Grubb and wife. Christian Monsieur, Bar- 
bara Miller, Barbara Welty, Frederick Reinhart and wife, 
Barbara Urner, Elizabeth Ingles, Catharine Grumbacher, 
Catharine Bach, John Eiker, Jacob Pfautz and wife, Abra- 
ham Bach, Andrew Wolff, Esther Switzer {nee Urner), 
Wendel Dan f elder, Henry Bear and wife, Jacob Switzer 
and wife, Maud Reinhart, Jacob Light and wife, Philip 
Waggoner and wife, Elizabeth Halderman, Anthony Ber- 
nard and daughter, John Light and wife. 

While records of the doings of the early Coventry Church 
seem lost, yet we perhaps have a complete list of her minis- 
try. Abraham Cassel says : " The Coventry Church always 
had a very efficient local ministry, as her early preachers 
were all men of talent and ability, and were often visited by 
able preachers of other localities and of other denomina- 


tions, such as Morgan Edwards, Elhanan Winchester, 
George De Benneville, Peter Keyser, and others. Coven- 
try has always been quite Hberal in receiving good men of 
other persuasions." The early bishops of Coventry were 
right at the heart of the church. We find Martin Urner 
much in evidence in the colonial congregations, being the 
officiating elder at many ordinations. The second Martin 
Urner was a very able preacher and an intimate friend of 
Alexander Mack, Jr. Two years previous to the Revolu- 
tionary War the Prices enter Coventry territory. The early 
Elders of Coventry were leaders at the Annual Meeting. 

There is a peculiarity of the Coventry ministry — families 
produced them in groups. There were the three Urners, 
the three Reinharts, the three Prices, the two Harleys, the 
two Keims ; and the two Holsopples moved in as pastors. 

The eldership of the Coventry Church has been as fol- 
lows : Martin Urner, St., from 1729 to 1755 ; Martin Urner, 
Jr., from 1755 to 1799; Jonas Urner, from 1799 to 1810; 
George Price, from 1810 to 1823; John Price, Sr., from 
1823 to 1850; John Price, Jr., from 1850 to 1879; David 
Keim, from 1879 to 1897; Jesse P. Hetric, from 1897 to 
1912; M. C. Swigart, from 1912 to — . Coventry, though 
now almost two hundred years old, has only her ninth elder ; 
in other words the eight elders who have finished their terms 
of services have each been housekeeper on an average of 
almost a quarter of a century. Not only have their terms 
of service been long, but as intimated they have been ex- 
ceptionally strong men. 

The assistant ministry of Coventry we perhaps have as 
complete as the eldership. The first bishop, Martin Urner, 
Sr., had as his assistant one Casper Ingles. All that we 
know of him is that he filled this position. In 1770 Eliza- 
beth Ingles was the only one in the Coventry membership 
bearing the name. Likely before Ingles, however, was 
George Adam Martin. This brilliant but top-heavy man 
afterward went over to Beissel. He deserves biographical 
mention at the proper place. Peter Reinhart, Morgan Ed- 
wards tells us, was assistant to Martin Urner, Jr. Martin 
and Abraham Reinhart also preached but there is no reason 


to believe they were ever Elders. The last of the Reinharts 
died in 1842. 

In this same year died Jacob Harley, the older of the two 
Harley preachers. John Harley closed his labors in 1895, 
but we have not learned when he began them. Peter Hol- 
lo wbush was elected to the ministry in 1842, the year in 
which as we have seen two of the ministers died. Jacob 
Connor was elected May 25, 1872. 

Concerning the rest of the ministers called out of the Cov- 
entry membership we have more definite facts, as their elec- 
tions are recorded in the minutes. Minutes were first kept 
in 1872, the year in which Peter HoUowbush died. 

December 4, 1875, Isaac Urner Brower was elected to the 
ministry. Henry Cassel was the elder present who installed 
him. At the same time Jacob Connor was advanced. 

Elder David Keim requested, May 8, 1880, the election of 
an Elder, a minister, and two deacons. All were elected but 
the Elder. The election was held August 7, 1880. The 
choice for a minister fell on J. Y. Eisenberg; and Isaac U. 
Brower was advanced. Lewis Keim was elected to the min- 
istry July 22, 1893. Elder J. Z. Gottwals installed the 
newly elected minister. A young man was desired, likely 
to become pastor. Bro. Keim went to Juniata College to 
prepare for the new duties devolving upon him. He was 
advanced to the second degree of the ministry July 25, 1896. 
He never became pastor at Coventry, although he served two 
or three other churches in this capacity. He is the last 
brother to be elected out of the Coventry membership. 

January 4, 1902, Bro. Jacob Grater, a minister in the first 
degree of the Mingo Church, presented his letter at Coven- 
try and was accepted. He had accepted a position in a 
Pottstown bank. He entered heartily into the Master's 
work. Soon afterward, the pastorate at Parkerford be- 
came vacant, and Bro. Hetric promised to fill the place till 
a pastor was secured. Bro. Grater then filled the appoint- 
ments of Bro. Hetric in Coventry. October 4, 1902, Bro. 
Grater was advanced. September 30, 1905, he was granted 
a letter, having moved west. 

Bro. William Nyce, a minister of Royersford, moved to 


the Harmony ville branch of the Coventry Church, in 1905. 
Here his active aggressive spirit soon began to tell. See the 
account of the Harmonyville Church. 

The First Pastor. 

Elder J. P. Hetric was the first pastor of the Coventry 
Church. He had previously had charge of the Marshall 
Street Church of Philadelphia. Bro. Hetric was born in 
Armstrong Co., Pa., December 20, 1843. He had taught 
school. He was baptized into the Redbank Church by Elder 
Jas. Quinter in 1864. He was elected to the ministry on 
June 30, 1866, and advanced to second degree November 3, 
1867. He now attended school to fit himself more fully for 
his high calling, being graduated from Reid Institute in 
1870. He had charge of three churches in his home section 
before coming, in 1874, to Philadelphia, and at the latter 
place was ordained an Elder in October, 1879. In Novem- 
ber, 1882, he moved to Parkerford, Chester Co., as pastor 
of the Coventry Church. January 8, 1898, he resigned his 
pastorate with the view of securing a younger man for the 
place, but still retained the eldership of the church. He 
ceased to be elder of Coventry in November, 19 12, but still 
has the oversight of the churches at Parkerford and Roy- 
ersford. His work proclaims him a man of fine mind. 

On January i, 1898, Bro. Hetric had called a meeting of 
the officers of the church at Coventry and at Harmonyville 
and had given six reasons why he should be relieved of the 
burden of regular preaching. The official body appointed a 
committee of three to act on these reasons and report. Their 
report was as follows : 

" We, the committee apointed by the moderator, beg leave to 
offer the following as our report, 

*' 1st. We, after hearing the six reasons given by Bro. J. P. 
Hetric for retiring as the regular pastor of the Brethren's 
Coventry and Harmonyville churches, think it would be best 
for the good of the two churches to accept his statements as 
reasons for procuring more ministerial help; 

" 2nd. We recommend a young pastor to take charge of the 
regular services of the two churches." 

" Signed by the Committee." 


This report was adopted by the church, January 8, 1898. 
A committee of three was appointed to procure a new pastor. 

Nothing has been said of F. F. Holsopple as a pastor in 
the Coventry Church. It will be noticed in the fore- 
going action of Bro. Hetric that Parkerford is not included. 
Bro. Holsopple had become pastor of the Parkerford branch 
of Coventry already in October, 1895, ^^^ under him Park- 
erford became a separate congregation in June, 1898. 

The Coventry pastor committee secured the services of 
Bro. J. J. Shaffer of the Shade Creek congregation. His 
letter of membership there was granted him, September 26, 
1898. Bro. Shaffer continued with the Coventry Church 
only about one year. He resigned as pastor, August 6, 

Ira C. Holsopple, brother of F. F. at Parkerford, was now 
unanimously elected pastor. Bro. Holsopple's letter was 
accepted at Coventry, October 5, 1899; but he had begun as 
pastor already on August 25. He married into the congre- 
gation and seems at home here. He has given very accept- 
able service to Coventry during the last fourteen years. 

The Deacons. 

The names of the early deacons of the Coventry Church 
we have been unable to secure. August 7, 1880, Jonathan 
Keim and Stephen Brownback were elected to this office. 
Sept. 5 of the same year Wm. Y. Eisenberg was also elected 
a deacon. This election was likely held to fill the vacancy 
caused by the election of John Eisenberg to the ministry, 
John having previously been a deacon. 

J. B. Reiff and David G. Bergey were elected for the 
Parkerford field, December 27, 1890. Elder J. Z. Gott- 
wals installed them. The meeting was held in the Parker- 
ford house. 

In Coventry W. W. Kulp and John Buckwalter were 
elected deacons, August 13, 1892. Also at Coventry, J. H. 
Haldeman and Rudolph Harley were elected, August 4, 
1894, the charge being given by Elder J. Z. Gottwals. 

the coventry church. 215 

Other Officials. 

The first clerk of the Coventry congregation was John 
Y. Eisenberg. Through his efforts and those of Jacob 
Connor regular councils with authorized minutes were kept. 
Jacob Connor was made moderator and John Eisenberg 
clerk. This was in 1872. This first regular council was 
held November 2 of this year. Bro. Eisenberg's account of 
the matter is interesting and we record it. 

Bro. Eisenberg and Bro. Connor held a sort of caucus be- 
tween them and concluded that it would be well to have reg- 
ular councils and to have records kept. It would seem from 
these words that the councils at Coventry had been like the 
General Conferences at the beginning — called only when 
occasion demanded. There were no authorized minutes at 
this time as yet, says Bro. Eisenberg. John Harley kept a 
list of the members, but beyond this there were no records, 
unless individuals jotted down happenings for their own 
use. We have not been so fortunate as to find any records 
prior to 1872. 

Brethren Connor and Eisenberg presented the matter to 
the church, and the church decided to have regular councils 
and a secretary. Unexpectedly to himself, Bro. Eisenberg 
was chosen secretary; and Bro. Connor was made moder- 
ator. Bro. Eisenberg thought there should be some kind of 
a constitution ; so he drew one up, presented it to the church 
and it was adopted. Bro. Eisenberg now not wishing to 
thrust himself on the church as secretary resigned. But he 
was unanimously re-elected. On inquiry how long this was 
to continue. Elder John R. Price replied : " For life or during 
good behavior, like the members of the Supreme Court." 
Bro. Eisenberg continued as secretary till 1894; or one year 
after his removal to Royersford, when he resigned. He is 
still the custodian of the old minute book, Coventry seem- 
ing no more anxious to preserve them in a vault than she 
was to preserve her early minutes which Dr. Urner believes 
to be lost. ' What a pity ! But she is not the only congrega- 
tion thus minded. Bro. Eisenberg was succeeded as secre- 
tary by Bro. J. H. Haldeman, who still fills the position. 

The adoption of the regular council and the officering of 


it seems to have been a swing from one extreme to another 
■ — much elder authority being followed by little. It seems 
that the Brethren had been looking to the adjoining elders 
to decide matters for them, inasmuch as it was decided that 
Bro. R. Harley should hold the documents (a decision of 
Elders John H, Umstad, Samuel Harley and Henry Cassel) 
concerning the money coming to the church from Bro. 
Philip Hoffman's estate, in place of Peter Hollowbush, 

There seem to have been peculiar conditions in the con- 
gregation at this time. At the first council meeting the 
question was asked : " Is it the duty of the church to live out 
the decisions of the District and Annual Meetings?" This 
question was repeated again and again in the councils, but 
each time deferred. 

It may here be in place to state that there are strong 
reasons to believe that Bro. Jacob Connor fully merited the 
position he received as moderator of the council, though 
only a minister in the first degree. He seems to have been 
the embodiment of the missionary life of the congregation. 
A call for a missionary convention to be held at Myersdale, 
Somerset county, December 4, 1878, was issued. Notice 
was given in The Primitive Christian and also in The Pil- 
grim. The notice was read to the church on November 10, 
and it was decided "to send a delegate and to pay his ex- 
penses." Bro. Connor was sent. Three or four years later 
Bro. Connor gave an account of a missionary trip he had 
made to Lackawanna. It will be here in place to state that 
beginning with 1887, Bro. Connor served for one term on 
the District Mission Board and during that time looked after 
the Upper Dublin Church. Perhaps it was about this time 
that Bro. Connor moved to Gratersford in the Mingo 
Church. At his new home quite an interest was awakened. 
This was also the home of Elder Isaac Kulp and his talented 
daughter Emma, afterward the wife of the well known 
evangelist, Elder Isaac Frantz of Ohio. A neat brick 
church house was built at Gratersford. But the work went 
down. Bro. Connor now one of our oldest ministers is at 
present living in the limits of the Parkerford Church. 


For twenty-nine years, ending with 191 1, Wm. Y. Eisen- 
berg, brother of John, served the Coventry Church with 
great acceptance as treasurer. In recognition of his long 
and faithful service, the church presented him with a copy of 
the New Testament and Psalms, with appropriate resolu- 

Trustees are officials whose services are too often over- 
looked, but as we have not the names of the earlier ones, the 
later ones will also be withheld. But April 5, 1902, the 
Board of Trustees was fixed at five members, with instruc- 
tions to organize. In 1909 the term of trusteeship was fixed 
at five years. 

The Children of Coventry. 

Coventry as a congregation is only a decade less than two 
centuries old, and she is a mother congregation. The chil- 
dren of her youth are lost to her. To-day she does not 
know them when she meets them; and it is impossible for 
us in our present capacity to make known to her her early 
children — some farther west in the old Keystone State, some 
in Maryland, some in Virginia, likely some in the Middle 
West, perhaps some farther west. Some likely died many 
years ago and to-day have no tombstone to mark their rest- 
ing-place. And then her grandchildren, and great-grand- 
children, and great-great-grandchildren! What a family 
tree would be hers if constructed! But tangible children, 
near at home, she has, and she knows them as such. 

Coventry's home field was along the Schuylkill River, 
above being bounded by Northkill and below by Germantown. 
West of her was her sister, younger than she by only a few 
days, a sturdy German dame, and perhaps more prolific in 
offspring than even herself. 

The Nantmeal Mission. 

In August, 1773, Daniel Price, of Indian Creek, a descend- 
ant of Jacob Preisz, the itinerant preacher of the Brethren 
in Germany, bought land for his son George in Nantmeal 
Township, Chester Co. In 1774 George's name appears on 


the list of taxables. George Price lived in Nantmeal till 
1794, when he moved to Coventry Township. But during 
his sojourn in Nantmeal he opened up a Brethren's mission. 
Although in his later life the eldership of the Coventry 
church devolved upon him, he continued to look after Nant- 
meal until his death in 1823. Nor is Isaac Urner altogether 
correct in stating that the mission there afterward did not 
prosper, for the Brethren continued to preach there more 
than fifty years subsequent to that event. 

Elder J. Z. Gottwals, who preached the last sermon for 
the Brethren at Nantmeal, tells us that beside himself David 
Keim, Peter Hollowbush, John H. Umstad, and David Rit- 
tenhouse preached there. Some of these Brethren certainly 
labored in this field as early as 1850. After the death of 
George Price in 1823, no doubt his son and grandson took 
a lively interest in the work of the head of the Price family 
in the Coventry district. 

After Green Tree became a separate congregation, likely 
about 1845, she maintained a joint interest in the work at 
Nantmeal, or at West Nantmeal, as the writer so often 
heard his grandfather call it, and gathered some of the con- 
verts into the Green Tree fold. Some of the older mem- 
bers as Samuel Krause and James Guest came to regard 
Green Tree as more of a home than Coventry, though their 
membership was never transferred. Those to join Green 
Tree were Frances Krause, Levi Krause and wife, Emma 
Shick, Louisa Evans, Mary Boyer, — Witmore, Catharine 
Shannamon, and John Stover and wife. Among those 
holding membership at Coventry were John Essig and wife, 
Samuel Krause and wife, Joel Dillsworth, Daniel Krause's 
wife and daughter, Samuel Krause's mother, and James 
Guest and wife. Some of these members were very sub- 
stantial residents of the community. Some died, some 
moved away, and some brought reproach on the Brethren 
name. In 1880 a committee was appointed by the Coven- 
try Church to visit the Brethren in Nantmeal. This com- 
mittee, no doubt, recommended discontinuing the work, for 
it was about this time that it was dropped. Opposition on 
the part of the Methodists seems to have constituted the 
death blow. 

the coventry church. 219 

The Lumberville Mission. 

The writer was informed by a Mr. Showalter that the 
*' Morgan School-house " in Phcenixville was built by the 
Mennonites and Brethren as a place of worship, the two 
peoples alternating on Sundays in using it. The ground 
was given by the Phoenix Iron Co. As long as they con- 
tinued to use the house for worship it was theirs, but in 
case they ceased to use it, it was to revert to the Iron Com- 
pany. The Mennonites soon built a house of their own, 
and it is suggested that the Brethren turned their interest 
to Lumberville. This matter, however, has not been prop- 
erly investigated. 

As early as the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
Elder George Price had a preaching appointment every 
eight weeks at Methatchton, about two miles northwest of 
Norristown. It was a long drive and the old-time mis- 
sionary would start on Saturday afternoon and stop over 
night with Daniel Brower, a Mennonite, and the farmer im- 
mediately east of John Umstad. After service on Sunday 
morning, Bro. Price would return to Brower's for dinner. 
Frequently in the afternoon, he would hold out-of-door 
services in Brower's meadow. The old brother would preach 
in German and his son John, who frequently accompanied 
him, would speak in English. As a result of these labors, 
Mary and Elizabeth Brower, daughters of Daniel, united 
with the Coventry Church. 

It was not, however, till a number of years later, in 1833, 
that a permanent mission was started at Lumberville, now 
Port Providence. At this time Abel and Isabella Fitzwater, 
Isaac Price and wife, and John Umstad and wife, as the 
result of an awakening in the neighborhood, joined the 
Coventry Church. This led to the building of a joint house 
with the Methodists, at Lumberville, and the establishing of 
a permanent work in the neighborhood. For a fuller ac- 
count see the history of the Green Tree Church. 

The Mission at Parkerford. 
Very few members lived in Parkerford in 1840. Isaac 
Kulp and wife and Jonas Fisher and wife were among the 


number. Many members by the name of Frick lived not 
far away. Sarah Rinewalt is mentioned as an active young 
sister. She married James Wells. Susan Sidel, " who 
kept a record," lived here. While these members desired 
meetings, yet the Coventry Church saw here an opening 
for a mission. About 1840 meetings were held in the 
school house. All the Coventry ministers preached here, 
and these included John Umstad, Isaac Price, and James 
Quinter of Green Tree, for Green Tree was yet a part of 
Coventry. Father John Price was the elder. In this early 
day Sarah Ala j or also preached here. 

A notable revival followed these efforts. Perhaps James 
Quinter did most of the preaching. Peter Hollowbush, 
soon afterward elected a minister, entered the church. The 
need of a meeting-house was felt; and the present Parker- 
ford house was built in 1843. Jacob Frick superintended 
its erection. For a very interesting account of the work at 
this place see the history of the Parkerford Church by Dr. 
William Brower. 

• The Mission at Harmonyville. 

The name of Keim stands out above all others in the 
work at Harmonyville. The Keim home here was pur- 
chased already by Hans or John Keim, the great-grand- 
father of Elder David Keim. David Keim moved from 
Coventry Township, Chester County, to Harmonyville, 
Warwick Township, in 1845. He at once began to build 
up a Brethren interest here. " His labors were blessed, and 
he lived to see the interest grow and develop into the pres- 
ent Harmonyville Church, with its fine commodious Meet- 
ing-house."^ Harmonyville has recently been organized 
into a separate congregation. For a full account of the 
work see the history of the Harmonyville Church. 

Efforts in Pottstown. 

Pottstown affords to Coventry her city opportunity — an 
opportunity not yet improved. 

Action was taken, February 11, 1888, toward holding 

1 Urner. " History of Coventry Church." 


meetings in Pottstown. Out of thirty-seven members then 
hving there notified to be present with the committee ap- 
pointed to consider the matter, only thirteen came. The 
committee on its report April 7, 1888, was discharged and 
no further action it seems was taken. What a pity, for 
with only thirteen, including himself, Christ started the 
Kingdom of Heaven. 

January 20, 1909, Ira Holsopple spoke relative to start- 
ing a work in Pottstown for members there, it being in- 
convenient for them to attend at Coventry. But nothing 
seems to have been accomplished. May the Brethren yet 
have a strong church in Pottstown! 

The Coventry Meeting-Houses. 

Coventry was only two years behind the old Mother 
Church at Germantown in erecting a separate house for 
worship. The first Coventry house was built on the Urner 
farm in 1772, and was of logs. It stood until 1817, when 
it was succeeded by a house of stone. The logs of the old 
church were used to build a residence at Cedarville. 

Sister Stover and the Old Log Church should not be lor- 
gotten. Rudolph Stover had bought the old Urner farm 
about 1 8 10, at the time that Jonas Urner moved to Vir- 
ginia. His wife was a pious old sister, although her hus- 
band was not a member of the church. She loved the old 
log meeting-house. Here she had been fed on heavenly 
manna; here her thirsty soul had drunk in the water of life; 
here she had sat in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The 
old log structure became dilapidated, unfit for services, 
but she objected strenuously to tearing it down. The place 
was dear to her heart For two years or more deference 
to the pious sister saved the old log church; but finally the 
day of its doom was set. The evening before the day, at 
dusk, the aged sister was seen wending her way to the old 
Bethel. She entered. Curious persons peeped in at the 
door. Old Sister Stover had gone to her accustomed seat, 
was kneeling there for the last time to hold communion 
with her God. 

222 the church of the brethren. 

The Second Coventry Church. 

This was built in 1817. It was of stone and very sub- 
stantially built. It was almost impossible to get the stones 
apart when the walls were torn down. The house though 
built of stone followed in internal arrangement the frame 
house built in Amwell, N. J., six years before. The 
benches had no backs till about 1870. The house was 
heated by means of two stoves, with pipes coming together 
in a big drum over the central aisle. This method of heat- 
ing has been pronounced by some as too hot for the head 
and too cold for the feet, while others think the comfort 
given is not discounted by modern appliances. Elder 
George Price was the overseer of the work of construc- 
tion, and Bro. James Wells was the carpenter. About 
1880 an organ was placed in this church to be used only 
in the Sunday School. It was then used for evening meet- 
ings; and about ten years after its admission, it was used 
in the morning service. 

The Third House. 

Methods, means of carrying on the work of the Gospel, 
may grow old, may not adjust themselves to new condi- 
tions, but the truth changeth not. Heaven and earth shall 
pass away, but the Lord's words shall not pass away. And 
so even the second Coventry meeting-house, well built of 
stone, grew old and no longer met the needs of the work. 
August 4, 1888, it was decided to rebuild once more; but 
the action caused disorder in the flock. The matter was 
allowed to rest for a season. March 8, 1890, a plan for 
rebuilding was adopted without opposition. The side en- 
trances were walled up, and the entrance made through a 
vestibule at the end toward the road. The interior was 
brought up to date, with a loftier ceiling and an alcove back 
of the pulpit. During the rebuilding the Brethren were 
allowed the use of the school-house at Kenilworth, formerly 
known as Madison. A Sunday School addition, for some 
time urged by the pastor, was recently built to the north- 
west corner of the church. It is 24 X 26 ft. in size. 

Second Coventry Church, from Pen Sketch. 

Farm House where Annual Meeting of 1790 was Held, Coventry. 





The second church handed down the seats with reversible 
backs, every third one used at love-feast for a table, dimin- 
ishing the seating capacity one third, and placing one half 
of the communicants with their backs to the preachers. 
The new form of communion table, with table fastened to 
the back of each seat, was adopted, February i, 1908. In 
1892 a quadrupled silver communion set supplanted the old 
pewter vessels. It was decided to put a baptistry into the 
church, November 30, 1903. This came after years of 
discussion. It cost $161.40. 

The Graveyard. 

We quote from a letter of Dr. Wm. Brower of Spring 
City: "Martin Urner, Sr., donated the Coventry Breth- 
ren Graveyard in 1743. Coventry Church erected their 
first meeting-house in 1772, twenty-nine years after the 
starting of the burying ground. Unfortunately the site 
selected for a church house was fully a quarter of a mile 
away from the graveyard. In this historic burying ground 
lie buried six of the Elders who served the Coventry Church. 
I enclose the list. 

First Bishop. Martin Urner, Sr., born 1695; died 
March 29, 1755. 

Second Bishop. Martin Urner, Jr., born September 4, 
1725; died May 18, 1799. 

Third Bishop. George Price, born November i, 1753; 
died September 25, 1823. 

Fourth Bishop. John Price, born April 12, 1783; died 
April 4, 1850. 

Fifth Bishop. John R. Price, born April 3, 18 10; died 
March i, 1879. 

Sixth Bishop. David Keim, born January 5, 1803; died 
March 4, 1897. 

Dr. Isaac Urner, a descendant of the Urner fathers in 
Coventry and for many years President of a Baptist Col- 
lege in Mississippi, rehabilitated the old Coventry burial 
ground. He built a substantial wall around it and erected 
huge granite monuments to the Urner family. (See cut.) 
He left a fund of $5,000, the income of which is to be used 


in keeping up the cemetery. It is one of the best kept 
cemeteries in the state. 

Auxiliary Organizations. 

Coventry was the first of our congregations to adopt a 
modern church auxihary. Her Sunday School was started 
in 1842 or 1843. Sister Ehzabeth Harley, afterward 
Stem, and another young sister were at the bottom of this 
organization for the Brethren. A young Methodist was 
superintendent, but these sisters soon made it the property 
of the Coventry Church. It was first held in the school- 
house across the way. Sister Stem used to tell how she 
scrubbed up the school-house floor on Saturdays. The 
faithfulness of these sisters soon caused the church to 
look with favor on the new movement, and before long it 
was permitted to move into the meeting-house. But latent 
opposition now broke forth, and the Sunday School had to 
find refuge again in the school-house. But again it won 
its way back into the meeting-house ; and this time the Elder 
John Price came out in its favor and urged that it never 
again be allowed to go out of the church. 

Different Brethren for a short time served as superin- 
tendent, but we shall here mention only Jonas Leopold, who 
served from about 185 1 to 1858 or 1859, when he moved to 
Lancaster County. His missionary zeal led him here 
within the present bounds of the White Oak Church, to 
blaze the way for Brethren in Lancaster County to conduct 
Sunday Schools. Hiram Gibble then a youth attended the 
school, and here he caught the unquenchable Sunday School 
flame that has ever characterized him since amid strong, un- 
yielding opposition. Besides zeal, Jonas Leopold brought 
more than ordinary intelligence to the work ; with the result 
that the school was lifted to a higher standard. 

But opposition continued. It was hoped that if a minis- 
ter were superintendent the opposition would cease. 
Peter Hollowbush was given charge, but he had no zeal for 
this new work. The work lagged. Another preacher was 
tried; John Llarley this time was the experiment. He 


proved a splendid success. He would preach in the morn- 
ing at Parkerford, drive to Coventry, feed his horse, eat a 
cold lunch, and then spend the remaining time in getting 
things in shape for the Sunday School. He always wrote 
out notes on the lesson, and Elder J. P. Hetric pronounces 
them the best he ever saw. 

For a term or two a member of the Reformed Church was 
superintendent, thus calling attention to the union origin 
of the school. 

Subsequent superintendents have been Elder J. P. Hetric, 
John Buckwalter, R. E. Harley, W. K. Wise, and Charles 
Henzen, the present incumbent. 

The Coventry Sunday School at the beginning had a 
library. The blue and red ticket system was used. The 
superintendent and teachers filled all offices. There were no 
graded lessons, and Sunday School helps were undreamed 
of. The New Testament, studied chapter by chapter, was 
the text-book. But the school has kept pace with modern 
developments. A Home Department, with William Keim 
as superintendent, and a Cradle Roll, with Mrs. James 
Huy as superintendent, were organized at a teachers' and 
officers' meeting at Bro. John Buckwalter's in the fall of 
1908. The Home Department at present (1912) has a 
membership of about 40, with Sister John Buckwalter as 
superintendent. There are fourteen names on the Cradle 
Roll ; Sister Ira Holsopple has charge. A Teacher's Train- 
ing Class was organized also in 1908. There are four 
organized Bible Classes, two for men and two for women. 
The two sister's classes now look after the Sister's Aid 
Society work. The Coventry Sunday School has been car- 
rying the front line seal for three years. The present en- 
rollment is 236, 

The Sisters' Work. 

The Sisters' Home Mission work was approved by the 
Coventry Church as early as February 9, 1884. This was 
certainly one of the sisters' first efforts in the Brotherhood. 
The home mission work was construed to mean this society, 
to which the home mission funds were to be paid. This 


society became dormant for a period. It was revived about 
ten years ago (1902), was active for three or four years, 
then went to sleep again. As previously stated, the two 
organized Sisters' Bible classes now look after the Sisters' 
Aid Society work. 

The Christian Endeavor. 

A meeting for organizing a Christian Endeavor Society 
met in the Coventry Church, March 11, 1894. W. W. Kulp 
acted as chairman. The following officers were elected : 
President, George Smale; Vice-President, Emma Stauffer; 
Recording Secretary, Cora Harley; Corresponding Secre- 
tary, Ella Miller; Treasurer, Horace Wells. 

Three committees were authorized : 

Prayer-meeting — J. P. Hetric, chr., W. W. Kulp, Mrs. 
Harley, and Amy John. 

Look-out — J. P. Hetric, chr., Kate Frederick, Carrie 
Stamm, and Emma Stauffer. 

Social — Carrie Stamm, chr.. Flora Hetric, and Clara 

The Society met for the first time on Thursday evening, 
March 15, 1894. The meetings for a time were during the 
week; they were then changed to Sunday evening. For a 
number of years the meetings of the Christian Endeavor 
Society were the only services on Sunday evening, or until 
1899, a short time before Bro. Ira Holsopple came as pastor. 
The business meetings are held semi-annually. At first the 
Society represented at the conventions of the general Chris- 
tian Endeavor, but since 1898 has met with the other soci- 
eties of the Brethren in the Schuylkill Valley, the first meet- 
ing being at Valley Forge, instigated largely by J. G. Fran- 
cis, then a young preacher at Green Tree. 

The Coventry Church has shown herself appreciative of 
attempts to write up her history. After Dr. Isaac Urner, a 
descendant of the old Coventry Urners, had compiled a his- 
tory of the congregation and had had it published in hand- 
some binding, the following resolution, drawn up by Elder 
J. P. Hetric, was adopted by the church: 


"Resolved, That as a congregation comprising the Coventry- 
Brethren Church, we recognize the kindness done us by Prof. 
I. N. Urner, in preparing and pubHshing so complete and ac- 
ceptable a history of the congregation, as a church in council 
assembled do hereby extend to him our most grateful thanks." 


Coventry has shown the true Brethren spirit in caring for 
her poor and afflicted members. She has not tried to shove 
them off on secular institutions. Individual cases could be 
cited where considerable sums have been expended and have 
been continued through a long period of time. 

Already in 1872 there were two funds in the church — ^the 
Hoffman Fund with interest amounting to $2,597.27; and 
the Amole Fund amounting to $1,077.50. But nearly all 
of the Hoffman Fund was later returned to heirs, who in 
reality had forfeited all legal claims to it. The two Ham- 
ilton brothers later also left funds. These funds, however, 
were not alone limited to charity. 

Elder J. P. Hetric, soon after he began looking after the 
Coventry Church, introduced some very wise regulations 
concerning the charities of the church, which were adopted 
by the council on February 10, 1883. 

The Coventry Church has set about solving this congre- 
gational obligation in a systematic manner. The need of 
a permanent poor fund was realized, and a Poor Fund 
Committee was appointed, January 6, 1906, to draft plans,, 
for the regulation of such a fund. 

Relation to General Conference. 

In the troublous times about 1880, tending to division 
of the Brotherhood, Coventry held aloof from the General 
Conference. She refrained from sending delegates so as to 
maintain a neutral position. In 1884 she was unwilling to 
accept a committee sent from the General Conference. 
January 27, 1887, a committee from Annual Meeting waited 
on her to ascertain why she did not represent at Annual and 
District Meetings. In 1912 Bro. J. P. Hetric, her elder,. 


represented his district^ on Standing Committee. In 191 3, 
the District Meeting, accompanied by other district move- 
ments, was held in the Coventry Church. We thus see the 
old Coventry Church, after many years of troubles, working 
fully in accord with the general church machinery, 

Coventry was likely the first congregation of those led 
astray to return from the erroneous double mode of feet- 
washing to the single mode. An attempt was made to 
change, February 12, 1876; but the matter was indefinitely 
postponed. A query was sent this same year to District 
Meeting, asking if it would be wrong for Coventry to make 
the change. The change was consummated, August 9, 

Coventry first elected a Correspondent to the Gospel Mes- 
senger March 3, 1897, Sister Essie Kulp being called to the 
work. Sunday morning collections were authorized at the 
same time. Privilege was extended to each and every mem- 
ber to engage in feetwashing, September 26, 1908. 

While some are inclined to regard Coventry as a little 
too progressive, too ready to fall in line with worldly 
churches, and we have seen that her Sunday School and 
Young People's Society were started in conjunction with 
them, yet deep down in the congregation is a fine conserva- 
tive element that has ever brought her finally into proper ad- 
justment, and which finds expression in the ready adoption 
of the following resolutions : 

Elder J. P. Hetric presented several resolutions to the 
official members of the church, which were endorsed by them. 
The resolutions were presented to the council of July 23, 
1898, at the time that Parker ford was about being organized 
into a separate congregation. They follow : 

"Dear Brethren: It is with pain of heart and much regret, 
that we see many members of our congregation depart more 
and more from the distinctive principles of pure and primitive 
Christianity in those well defined phases of character and con- 
duct, that we feel it imperative necessity to call attention to 
the same in a public expression by the church. 

" Then, first, there seems to be a disposition on the part of 

1 Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and eastern New York. 


some of our members to attend and patronize festivals of any 
and every sort gotten up upon the pretext of aiding either 
religious or worldly enterprises, while pandering alone to the 
desire for carnal pleasure and ministering to the unrestrained 
lust of worldly sensualism, thus showing the trend of the 
heart to be more inclined to be a lover of pleasure than a lover 
of God, thus departing from the way of the Lord; and by 
example enticing others in the same way. We earnestly and 
urgently entreat our Brethren, old and young, to turn from, 
such course of life, and for time to come to refrain from going 
to, or patronizing any places that are in the least degree of 
doubtful Christian propriety, and especially since the word of 
God so plainly and so distinctly forbids it and exhorts us to 
forsake the same. 2 Cor. 6: 16-18 and Rev. 18: 4, 5. 

" Then, second, there is a disposition on the part of many to 
step still farther aside from the Gospel principles of plainness 
and modesty in apparel, and to follow more and more in the 
foot-steps of the wordly fashions and follies in undue decora- 
tions of themselves in the matter of dress—many wear the 
very gayest, most gaudy, and most showy feathers and flowers 
in their headdress. While some have even so far departed from 
the simplicity of Gospel apparel as to wear portions or imi- 
tations of birds in their headdress, thoughtless of the innocent 
lives of God's songsters thus wantonly sacrificed to gratify a 
taste lacking in humane spirit. The Bible enjoins most em- 
phatically and most positively modesty in our apparel as well 
as in our general tastes of life, i Tim. 2:9 and i Pet. 3:3. 

" We may not, yea, dare not disregard these plain injunctions 
of the Holy Scriptures, but at the peril of the soul's salvation. 
Let all them seek to conform more fully to the plain simple 
Gospel methods of life and conduct and thus fully meet God's 

These resolutions were approved by the church and 
ordered placed on the minutes. 


Perhaps as early as 1800, Elder George Price of Coven- 
try, grandfather of Elder Isaac Price, preached at the 
Methachton meeting-house, about two miles northwest of 
Norristown. The trip of about twenty miles was made by 
horse and carriage — rather a long drive before 10 A.M. on 
Sunday morning. So the faithful preacher would leave home 
on Saturday afternoon, and stop over night with Daniel 
Brower, who lived on the old Brower farm adjoining the 
Umstad farm on the east. Browers were Mennonites. 
After services at Methachton, five miles away, Elder Price 
would return to Brower's for dinner. He did not fail to 
reward this hospitality, for in the afternoon, in the summer 
time, he would hold open air services in Brower's meadow. 
Elder George was often accompanied by his son John. The 
father preached in German and the son in English. It will 
thus be seen that the original services of the Green Tree 
Church were German. To-day no German is spoken in 
the neighborhood. 

The first-fruits of this Gospel seed-sowing in Brower's 
meadow were Mary and Elizabeth Brower, who connected 
themselves with the Coventry Church. This was a number 
of years before 1823, the year in which Elder George 
Price died. Elizabeth Brower became the second wife of 
Nathan Pennypacker and the mother of Sister Fannie Fitz- 

The next important step in the history of the Green Tree 
church was the conversion of Bella Fitzwater, the sister of 
John Umstad. The Lord laid his hand on her in sickness. 
Sarah Righter, afterward the wife of Thomas Major, and 
also a prophetess, was called to see the invalid. Because of 
Mrs. Fitzwater's illness, her husband objected to her being 
baptized; but she was determined and declared that she 










would be baptized though she died In the water. And sick 
and alone, she was baptized. This was in 183 1. In this 
her determination may be found the faith which brought 
forth the Green Tree Church. 

There was a general revival all over this section of coun- 
try from 1830 to 1840. It was the spirit of this general 
awakening that had laid hold on Bella Fitzwater, Later in 
the fall of this same year, meetings held by the Brethren 
of Coventry in the neighborhood led to a great awakening. 
The example and prayers of Bella Fitzwater soon brought 
her husband, Abel Fitzwater, to the cross. Both John Um- 
stad and Isaac Price were present, but unconverted, at the 
baptism of their brother-in-law. John Umstad was inclined 
to get fun out of his sister Isabella's piety. But in two 
weeks' time both of these two future eminent preachers went 
down into the baptismal waters. Many more, during this 
year, were gathered into the fold. Among them were 
Joseph Pennypacker and wife, George Price and wife, and 
Samuel Supplee and wife. Though these events are given 
for the year 1831, there is reason to place them a year ear- 
lier, for it seems that Lydia Francis, wife of John Francis 
of Shannonville, must have been baptized in the early sum- 
mer of 1831. 

So large had become the flock around Lumberville that 
it was necessary to build a special fold for it. An agree- 
ment was entered into with the Methodists, who had also 
been holding meetings in the neighborhood, to erect a house 
of worship at Lumberville. It seems that this house was 
built in 1832. It was of stone, two stories high, the upper 
story being used for school purposes and the lower for 
church services. Nathan Pennypacker, noted for liberality, 
was solicited for aid, much being expected. He gave one 
dollar. He afterward explained that if it were a " Dunker " 
meeting-house, or one of another denomination, he would 
have given much more liberally. Subsequent history bore 
out the correctness of his anticipation of a union house. 

Now occurs an event in the history of this little mission 
which is destined to lead to great blessing throughout our 
entire Brotherhood — the conversion of James Quinter. Be- 


fore the Lumberville meeting-house was finished the newly 
converted Brethren held public worship in the school-houses 
and prayer-meetings at their homes. James Quinter, refer- 
ring to Bro. Umstad's home at this time, calls it the " Pil- 
grim's Rest," and Abel Fitzwater's home he designates a 
" Bethel." Among the school-houses utilized for public serv- 
ices was the one at the Green Tree. Writing to a sister in 
the neighborhood, Bro. Quinter thus describes his conver- 
sion : " How distinctly do I remember the meeting in the old 
school-house (the Green Tree) not far from your residence, 
where the bow, * though drawn at a venture,' sent arrows of 
conviction into my poor heart, which produced pain and sor- 
row, from which I could find no relief, until I found it in 
the healing virtues contained in the stream which flowed 
from the pierced side of the dying Savior." After services 
were held at the home of Bro. Umstad to a late hour of the 
night for the comfort and salvation of those under con- 
viction, Bro. Quinter tells of the solemnity to him of that 
night as he journeyed homeward toward Abel Fitzwater's, 
alone, " without Christ . . . having no hope and without God 
in the world." For some time he groped on in darkness, 
until one day while working in the barn at Fitzwater's, turn- 
ing the windmill, he suddenly stopped, the light beginning to 
dawn on his soul. " Fve got — Fve got it ! " he exclaimed, 
and ran to the house. " Fve got it — peace with God ! " 

The above event must have taken place some time in 1832, 
for in 1833 he taught his first school at Hobson's school- 
house, a mile from Royersford. In the spring of 1834, he 
returned to Lumberville to teach in the newly erected church 
and school-house. He taught here from 1834 to 1841. 
Soon after his conversion, he was impressed with a call to 
the Christian ministry. Although the impression continued 
to grow stronger, he quietly awaited the time of the Church's 
call. Finally in 1838, in a council meeting held in the home 
of Bro. George Price, a short distance west of Green Tree, 
he was elected to the ministry. 

Bro. John Umstad who was elected to the ministry in 
1834 took all the interest of an elder in the young preacher 
and opened doors of usefulness to him. During his four 


years of ministry in the Lumberville Church he preached 
considerably in the neighboring congregations. He held the 
first protracted meeting of the Brethren in Lawrenceville, 
now Parkerford, at which place his son-in-law, F. F. Hols- 
opple, led for several years the Lord's flock, and where his 
other son-in-law. Elder J. T. Myers, is now pastor. Bro. 
J. T. Myers was also for many years pastor and is now 
Elder of the Green Tree congregation, which was formerly 
the old Lumberville mission. How remarkable are the ways 
of the Lord ! It seems that he answered the prayers of Bro. 
Quinter for the welfare of these churches by placing his 
children at the head. 

Bro. Quinter also preached at the Union meeting-house, 
south of Shannonville, now Audubon. At such times he 
was the welcome recipient of the hospitality of John U. 
Francis, who joined the Church of the Brethren about this 
time, a man liberally educated, but whose wife Lydia had 
joined the church years before, and whose personal piety re- 
ceived the surpassing praise of Elder John Umstad. 

Bro. Quinter also assisted Bro. Umstad in holding a 
series of meetings in the little Towamencin meeting-house, 
now of the past, within the present bounds of the Indian 
Creek congregation. All of this work was not poetical, for 
in later years of popularity, Bro. Quinter told to the shame 
of the Green Tree Church, how he was obliged to walk 
great distances to fill appointments on Sundays while the 
horses of the Brethren were standing lazily in the stables. 

In 1839, he accompanied Bro. Umstad on a journey as far 
as the churches of Western Pennsylvania. The visit to the 
George's Creek Church led to his removal to that place in 
1842. From this time on, Bro. Quinter labored in other 
fields. He was ordained by order of Annual Meeting but 
be it remembered that he is a son of Green Tree ; and that 
Green Tree furnished this able and holy man to the Brother- 

Let us return to the old mission at Lumberville. The 
first love-feast in this section of the country was held in the 
new barn of Bro. John Umstad, wherein neither hay nor 
straw had ever yet lain — certainly a good way to consecrate 


a building to the office of holding God's blessings of the field. 
Be it here said that in those days it was the custom to hold 
love-feasts in the barns. It is said that at this love-feast, 
the project of building the Union meeting-house at Lumber- 
ville was started. If so, this love- feast must have been held 
in the spring of 1832, instead of 1833, as has been given. 

The members of the mission were zealous, and God 
blessed them in increase of both numbers and power. It is 
claimed by no less authority than James Quinter that the 
first prayer-meetings and protracted-meetings of the Broth- 
erhood were held in the Lumberville Church. Referring to 
these prayer-meetings in his last years, Bro. Quinter says: 
" Our prayer-meetings that were held in the beginning of .the 
church here afforded us very good opportunities for exercis- 
ing our gifts. While those meetings were excellent pro- 
moters of our spiritual life, they were good schools for our 
improvement in many ways. In these meetings, we exer- 
cised somewhat freely, as did the brethren and sisters gener- 
ally." Of the spirit of the meetings he writes : " And what 
blessed meetings we had in those days of the planting of the 
church at Green Tree. How simple and childlike were our 
exercises ! How warm our zeal ! How ardent our Chris- 
tian love to one another! How closely were our hearts 
drawn together in Christian fellowship ! And we loved 
God because He first loved us. Those were happy times, 
oases, or green and watered spots in the land of our pilgrim- 
age. Our sky was bright, and our sea, with the exception 
of some little breezes that would ruffle the surface occasion- 
ally, smooth." May the Green Tree Church never depart 
from her first love, and if she has or does may she speedily 
return that her candle-stick be not moved out of its place! 

There was a good deal of missionary activity in those 
early days. The Methachton region was in close touch with 
Green Tree; and before Green Tree's begmning, with Cov- 
entry. William Casselberry, formerly of Worcester town- 
ship, and his family were drawn to Green Tree. The first 
love feast in Worcester was held at his home. His wife was 
a member but he was not. She suggested to him how pleas- 
ant it would be, if he were a member, to hold a love-feast in 


their home. Notwithstanding this seeming obstacle, he 
offered her the home for the purpose, and the first, and per- 
haps only, love-feast in that section was celebrated. This 
was about 1820 or a little later. Wm. Casselberry was 
one of the first deacons at Green Tree ; and his two maiden 
daughters, Mary and Sophia, counted for much in their day 
in the life of the church here. As to the extent of the terri- 
tory of the Green Tree Church, when the Sunday School 
was started in 1869, Sister Maggie Kindy was appointed 
to solicit east of the Perkiomen Creek, She solicited as far 
as Worcester. 

The Brethren also used to hold meetings at what was once 
called Krupp's meeting-house at Jeffersonville. The Breth- 
ren's effort at Norristown was started by John Umstad. 

An effort of some magnitude was made east of the Per- 
kiomen Creek, near Shannonville, at that time largely a min- 
ing village, the copper mines being in operation. Members 
of different persuasions were laboring here with some suc- 
cess. The older Wetherills gave land for a union house of 
worship. For the erection of the church, money was raised 
in the neighborhood by subscription. The Episcopalians, 
Methodists, Presbyterians and " Dunkers " preached in the 

The Brethren started their work in this neighborhood 
about 1840, in the shape of prayer-meetings held in the 
homes of the members. Bros. William Cloward and Chris- 
tian Dettra, and Sister John U. Francis gave their homes for 
this purpose. Later the prayer-meetings were carried into 
the public house of worship. Whether this was Jack school- 
house or the union church we cannot now say. The meet- 
ings led to a series of meetings, which led to the notable re- 
vival in this section in 1840 or 1841. A number of miners 
were converted, and among others was the husband of 
Lydia Francis. 

It has been stated, by old members, as noteworthy that 
John Umstad held aloof from these meetings near Shannon- 
ville. He and John U. Francis were cousins — the latter 
being the older. Elder John Price, Sr., of Coventry, had 



the oversight of this whole field. Isaac, his son, preached 
frequently at this new mission at Shannonville. 

The Methodists in their services in the new union church 
were rather noisy, and by being so gave offense to the 
younger Wetherills, who were Episcopalians. Isaac Price, 
being of a somewhat excitable nature, was influenced in his 
preaching to some extent by the "amens" of the Methodists 
though the " Dunkers " did not approve much of this excite- 
ment. It is said that the Episcopalian services were not so 
well attended by the neighbors, as were some of the others. 
It was thought that this fact was not taken in good part by 
the Wetherills. It was also thought that they did not relish 
the idea of having the common people on a par in worship, 
though they did not object to the poor or common attending 
services under Episcopal control. It seems that they 
thought the proper thing to do was to have the property 
transferred to themselves, which transfer was soon brought 
about. A representative of the Wetherills, we are informed 
on good authority, arose in the meeting in the church on one 
occasion and publicly forbade the use of the church for wor- 
ship to all except Episcopalians. The Brethren and perhaps 
others then secured Jack school-house, across the road, for 
services. John Francis especially was strongly exercised 
against the Episcopalians, but finally forgave his beloved 
daughter for attending services there against his will. 

John Francis was then used for a time as a speaker, but 
was never formally elected to the ministry. We find him 
exercising at Methachton and Upper Dublin, where his 
speaking gave unusual satisfaction. Abraham Cassel tells 
of hearing him once at Methachton. No minister came and 
a John Francis, he related, was asked to conduct the service, 
which he did. Bro. Cassel states that no one was sorry that 
no preacher was present. Lack of recognition discouraged 
him from service. He was a grandson of Capt. Arnold 
Francis of the Providence Militia, who was used by Gen. 
Washington at Valley Forge to perform difficult missions, 
and who later was a prominent citizen. Many of the de- 
scendants of John Francis are to-day members of the Church 
of the Brethren, his grandson being the writer of these lines. 


We have seen how active was the Coventry Church in 
home mission work. Besides missions at Nantmeal and 
Lawrenceville, in Chester county, she had missions in Mont- 
gomery county at Lumberville and Shannonville and a joint 
interest in the work at Methachton. The work in Mont- 
gomery was rapidly developing into a separate congregation. 
The Lumberville mission before it was a separate congrega- 
tion began already to shoot out branches of her own. We 
find John Umstad very busy before he was the overseer. He 
had a hand in starting up the work at Upper Dublin. He 
was instrumental in baptizing the first ten members taken 
in at Mingo. He held aloof, however, from the work at 
Shannonville. He was making extended missionary trips 
out into the Brotherhood, as when he took James Quinter 
to western Pennsylvania. All these things took place be- 
fore there was a Green Tree Church. But conditions had 
ripened for a new congregation. John Umstad had the 
situation well in hand. He gave the ground for the erec- 
tion of the new church, — the union house at Lumberville 
not being satisfactory. The church received its name from 
an enormous evergreen tree, which stood on the corner of 
Umstad's lane and the public highway. A tree of the same 
kind now stands close to the church on the west side. The 
church, a stone one, with two doors on the east side, was 
erected in 1845. The house was dedicated June 6, 1845, 
and this may be regarded as the birthday of the congre- 

Some entries at this time in the diary of Albert Fitzwater, 
son of Deacon Abel Fitzwater, will be in place and of no 
small interest. 

" April 7 attended a church meeting at George D. Price's in 

" April 17 went to mill, stopped at new meeting house, helped 

" April 27, Sabbath. I heard G. D. Price preach at Lumber- 
ville. Afternoon was at prayer-meeting at J. H. Umstad's. 
Took tea there. 

" May II, G. D. Price and John Francis preached at Upper 


" June 6, Clear, flying clouds, and not quite so as yesterday. 
Had meeting morning and afternoon at the Green Tree. The 
house was dedicated. D. Rittenhouse, G. D. P., W. P., & J. H. 
U. spoke. 

"June 7, Clear, warm. Afternoon meeting at 3 o'clock. J. 
H. U., J. Price & J.Righter spoke. Evening we had love-feast. 
J. Reiner and W. P. spoke. We got home from meeting at 
12 P. M. 

"June 8, Sabbath. Flying clouds, very warm sunshine. 
Meeting at Green Tree. W. P., J. H. U. & Isaac Price spoke." 

G. D. P. stands for George D. Price; W. P., for William 
Price; and J. H. U., for John H. Umstad. 

It will be noticed that the writer of this diary attended 
a church meeting at George Price's. His was the first farm 
west of John Umstad's along the south side of the public 
road. It will also be remembered that at a council held at 
George Price's in 1838, James Quinter was elected to the 
ministry. These facts led us to think that Geo. Price's was 
a common place, if not the regular place for holding church 
councils. May he have been the original church clerk? 

After the church was built at Green Tree and the Breth- 
ren began worshipping there, the adopted place for bap- 
tizing was the Schuylkill River below Umstad's dam. Down 
the lane, across the wooden bridge spanning the canal, 
a hymn and a prayer in the open, through the crowds cover- 
ing the slope to the riverside, out into the liquid stream, 
kneeling in the water. " Dost thou believe that Jesus Christ 
is the Son of God?" ... A threefold immersion, the laying 
on of hands, prayer for the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, the 
salutation of Christian fellowship — the holy kiss — both in 
the water and on the shore, then back into the world but not 
of it, a new creature in Christ Jesus ! The banks of the 
Schuylkill below the dam is a place too sacred in the hearts 
of many for words to express — a scene for the brush of a 
master for the preservation of primitive Christianity. 

If not the first yet one of the first baptisms at this place 
was performed Nov. 11, 1846. Jacob Gottwals, afterward 
bishop of the congregation for more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury, and Ann, his newly wedded wife, were at this time 


and place, buried with Christ in baptism. There were only- 
three on this occasion; and strange to relate the other was 
B. F. Price, the only son of Elder Isaac Price, and after- 
ward the son-in-law of the other two. 

Ingatherings. — The Green Tree Church continued to 
grow. Just who and how many were baptized in the dec- 
ade that followed we have not been able to tell with abso- 
lute accuracy. From 1856 to 1858 was a time of great 
ingathering. Bro. Umstad writes in The Gospel Visitor 
of May, 1858, p. 159: "We have had quite a revival in 
some of the churches east where the Brethren believe in pro- 
tracted effort. ... At Coventry they have an unprecedented 
revival. Last Sunday they baptized thirty, and on the 15th 
of May, there will be forty-one more added to the church. 
We at the Green Tree get along more slowly, yet we ought 
not to complain, since there have been about twenty added 
to the church here this spring, and there seems to be a spirit 
of religious inquiry among the people much more than usual." 

The revival at Green Tree seems to have started with the 
series of meetings of two weeks held here by James Ouinter 
in December, 1856. Among other things Bro. Quinter 
says of the meetings : "A more solemn meeting throughout, 
we never witnessed. The meeting continued about two 
weeks; during which time, thirty-two were added to the 
church by baptism. And at the close of the meetings, there 
were others who offered themselves as candidates for bap- 
tism." "The recollection that several of the converts had in 
former years been our pupils, and that they had often bowed 
with us in our school-room, while we endeavored to implore 
heaven's blessing upon them, gave us increased pleasure at 
witnessmg their 'good confession.'" John Umstad then 
accompanied Bro. Quinter to New Jersey; and after their 
return to Green Tree, there was another baptism. Another 
revival in 1858, according to an aged sister, was almost a 
duplicate of this one. Some of the staunchest members of 
the church entered at this time. 

Preaching in 1876 by J. T. Myers, then the youthful pas- 
tor at Germantown, caused quite an awakening, and was the 
cause of his coming to Green Tree. Again from about 


1887 to 1890, under the preaching for four consecutive 
years of Bro. W. J. Swigart of Huntingdon, Pa., specially 
large harvests v^ere gathered. In 1887, there were at least 
fifty-six; in 1889, there were thirty- four. 

The Ministry. 

We have seen that Elder George Price of Coventry with 
his son John were the first ministers of the Brethren to 
preach in this neighborhood; but there was no organized 
work yet in the days of Elder Price. During the oversight of 
John Price, the Lumberville, now Port Providence, Church 
was built. About 1834, an election for a minister was 
held at Lumberville. Both John Umstad and Isaac Price 
were elected. Bro. Price objected; he thought that God 
had not called him. John Umstad had no objections, but 
entered, as was his wont, into the work with a vim. In 
those days of the oversight of John Price, Sr., William 
Price of Indian Creek came frequently to Port Providence 
to preach. But he was very German. This intermingling 
of labors of the Green Tree Church with the "church of 
the Plains," now Indian Creek, Hatfield and Springfield, 
continued throughout the days of John Umstad and Jacob 

An interesting incident in the lives of these two Prices — 
Elder John, Sr., and Elder William — is told by Bro. Jacob 
Connor. John and William had been assigned to the same 
bed; but there was another bed in the same room occupied 
by other Brethren. John and William were talking about 
their church troubles. All else was quiet. As to the occu- 
pants of the other bed, it seemed that "slumber's chain had 
bound them " ; but they hadn't. John complained to William 
that in his church (Coventry) he had so much trouble with 
"pride," i. e. with fashionable attire: "How is it in your 
church, William?" William's church was Indian Creek. 
" Well," answered William, " I have no trouble with pride," 
perhaps feeling that he was a pretty good house-keeper. 
Whereupon John answered in an undertone, even in the 
quiet stillness, as though the walls might have ears, " Then, 
my brother, the Devil must be English." 







L> ^ 



George Price, the brother of Isaac, was elected to the 
ministry a few years later. He never became prominent as 
a preacher. He was the last of the Coventry line of Prices 
to be elected to the ministry. The first was Elder George, 
then his son John, Sr., followed in turn by his son John, 
Jr., at Coventry, brother of Isaac and George at Green Tree. 

James Quinter was elected in 1838 and in his four years 
of ministry at Green Tree left a lasting impression for good 
not only in the neighborhood but also in adjoining con- 
gregations. As we have seen, there are grounds, consider- 
ing the loose methods of the day, for regarding John Francis 
as a preacher. He was converted about 1840. His abilities 
are spoken of as of a high order, but in a few years he 
became discouraged in his labors. By 1845 David Ritten- 
house was in the ministry. He was not regarded as able, 
but was very strict for the so-called order of the church. 
In the early fifties, he accompanied Jacob Gottwals in a 
horse and carriage trip to the Publishing House of Henry 
Kurtz in Poland, Ohio. This seemed to give to him the 
spirit of migration, for in 1854 he organized a company of 
Brethren in Eastern Pennsylvania, which migrated to 
Northern Illinois. There he became the founder of the 
Hickory Grove congregation. Members of his family 
founded other churches farther west. 

About August I, 1855, Jacob Z. Gottwals was elected to 
the ministry. About three or four years later, at the time 
that Emmanuel Heyser was elected to the ministry, he was 
advanced. At the Harvest Meeting of 1873, following the 
death of John Umstad, he, with Isaac Price, was ordained to 
the eldership. He continued to oversee the Green Tree 
Church till 1897, when he handed the following letter of res- 
ignation to the congregation: 

" Green Tree, Sept. 26, 1897. 
"I hereby kindly request the dear members of the above- 
named church to release me of the oversight as house-keeper 
of said church. 

"Jacob Z. Gottwals." 

His request was granted. He also had the oversight of a 


number of adjoining churches, and was appointed on several 
committees by District Meeting to visit churches. His 
unique distinction is that of being moderator of the first 
District Meeting in Eastern Pennsylvania. 

About 1858, Emmanuel Heyser was called to the ministry. 
He was the choice of the young men of the congregation. 
Young people's meetings, rather in the undesirable spirit of 
opposition to the old members, were held at the time at 
Green Tree. He was zealous in the work and found favor. 
After the war he went to Georgia and taught school among 
the negroes, at the same time preaching the Gospel to them. 
His work awakened the interest of the entire Brotherhood 
and offerings for his work were lifted throughout the 
churches. On the death of his second wife, he remarried 
outside of the church, and his work seemed to lose its pur- 
pose. The last brother to be elected to the ministry from 
the membership of Green Tree was J. G. Francis. He was 
born January 13, 1870. After completing the common 
school work, he entered Ursinus College, from which insti- 
tution he was graduated in 1891 with the degree of A.B. 
After a few years in business in Philadelphia, he spent fif- 
teen months in the Mt. Morris Bible School. While work- 
ing in the slums of Philadelphia, in 1893, the Green Tree 
Church had empowered him to exhort. Before going to 
Mt. Morris, he was formally elected to the ministry. 
After returning, in the spring of 1895, the Green Tree 
Church installed him into the ministry. He then spent a 
year in preparation for the ministry in Union Theological 
Seminary, New York City. The following year he com- 
pleted his theological studies in the Ursinus School of The- 
ology, receiving the degree of B.D. He also won the 
Peter's Prize in New Testament Greek. He was advanced 
in the ministry in 1899, before going to Reading. 

January 11, 1900, he married Mary Zug of Lebanon, Pa. 
He now moved to Reading, but the Mission Board, then in 
charge, thought it would not be for the good of the cause to 
employ him, because he thought they should do something 
toward his support. He later moved to Lebanon, where he 
engaged in painting and school-teaching. 


The new church life, marked by the keeping of church 
records, laid hold of the Green Tree Church in 1862. The 
first minute on record tells of the resignation of Elijah Bil- 
lew (Boileau) as treasurer. The minute is dated April 7, 
1862. J. Z. Gottwals was moderator. The Green Tree 
Church has taken advance steps in the matter of church 

The following query was sent to District Meeting in 1881. 
" Would it not be well at our next District Meeting to have 
a report from each church of the number of accessions, 
either by letter or baptism, during the past year; and also 
to have a portion of time set apart to discuss the best means 
of advancing not only the growth but the spirituality of 
the Church?" 

It was also from the Green Tree Church that the query 
went asking recognition for the Brethren Historical Society. 

In 1899 through the instigation of J. G. Francis, the con- 
gregation decided to keep a more complete record of church 
history. Bro. Francis was appointed the first registrar, and 
was likely the first member of the Church of the Brethren to 
hold such a position. He was authorized to secure a spec- 
ially prepared book in which to keep the records. The 
names of all members from the beginning of the congrega- 
tion were with great labor hunted up. Space was allotted 
in the book for the following information concerning each 
member: (i) Name; (2) time and place of birth; (3) time, 
place and performer of baptism; (4) marriage, time, to 
whom and by whom; (5) death, time of and burial place; 
(6) names of parents; (7) number of children; and (8) re- 
marks. The record of each individual is kept on one con- 
tinuous hne, extending almost across two long pages. The 
book is a magnificent one, bound in full morocco. 

When J. G. Francis moved from Green Tree in 1900, 
Isaac G. Price was appointed registrar; two years later 
when Isaac Price also moved away, Arnold Francis was 
made registrar. He still retains the position, though the 
records are looked after largely by the present pastor, C. F. 

It was decided September 3, 1862, that all wearing gold, 


etc., should be expelled. The council broke up in confusion. 
For a decade the church was practically lifeless. The stern- 
ness of Jacob Gottwals made him a terror to his children. 
But in after years he confessed with tears in his eyes : " I 
am afraid that we have been too severe on our young 
people." No records were kept of councils for several 

In the latter part of 1876, Bro. J. T. Myers, then the 
young pastor of the Germantown Church, was invited to 
hold a series of meetings. Children of old substantial lead- 
ers were converted. January i, 1877, twelve applicants for 
baptism were accepted. The church had tasted a new spir- 
itual life, A desire arose to have Bro. Myers as pastor; an 
invitation was extended to him ; and we find him accepted at 
Green Tree in July, 1877. The pastorate of Bro. Myers 
here continued till July, 1905, or for a period of twenty- 
eight years. He continues still to be its elder. After a 
stay of a few years in Philadelphia, as pastor of Geiger 
Memorial Church, he again for a short time resided within 
the limits of old Green Tree. The writer is one of many 
who would rise and call him blessed because of the work he 
did as pastor of the Green Tree Church. 

In 1880 the Green Tree Church entertained the District 
Meeting. The Committee of Arrangements was Samuel 
Griffin, Joseph Griffin, John Harley, Matthias Harley, and 
John B. Dettra. 

Green Tree has ever been in the van in adopting substan- 
tial new methods of church work. James Quinter credited 
her with the first protracted meeting and first modern 
prayer-meetings. On March 20, 1899, there was presented 
a query in regard to Young People's Meetings to be sent to 
Annual Meeting but it failed to pass District Meeting. 

October 3, 1881, the Sisters were authorized to organize 
an Aid Society for the relief of the Huntingdon Orphan 
Home. Sister Fannie Fitzwater, wife of Joseph Fitzwater, 
was for a long time at the head of this work. 

The matter of omitting the salutation before the commun- 
ion has been agitating the Brotherhood for years, and the 
privilege has finally been granted ; but Green Tree decided to 


omit the salutation before communion, October i, 1883. 
The first steps toward a new state district were taken here. 
April 3, 1882, a petition was sent to District Meeting asking 
for a delegate from the English churches to Annual Meet- 
ing; or, in other words, a representative on Standing Com- 
mittee. March 28, 1904, Green Tree requested plainly, 
sending a petition to District Meeting, asking that the Eng- 
lish speaking churches be organized into a separate district. 

While Elder John Umstad was a very strong opponent to 
Sunday Schools, yet from early Sunday School times. Green 
Tree has been a staunch and aggressive champion of the cause. 
The Sunday School here was started in 1869 by Joseph Fitz- 
water, a nephew of John Umstad. Bro. Fitzwater had 
great influence with Bro. Umstad and finally secured his 
permission "to go ahead and do all the good he could." 
The saving of the young for the Church was Bro. Fitz- 
water's great argument for Sunday Schools. He was super- 
intendent at the beginning and has been continuously super- 
intendent ever since — a record of forty-five years — a 
record unique for Sunday School work in our Brotherhood. 
For orderliness this school attained a reputation far and 
wide, and outside of the Brotherhood. In April, 1883, this 
church asked for a reversal of the decision of Annual Meet- 
ing against Sunday School conventions. 

While on this subject, more should be said about Joseph. 
Fitzwater. His mother was in a very important sense the- 
mother of the Green Tree Church; and her son since has 
been largely its life. He was always the writer's ideal 
deacon. He was church clerk. He was at all meetings and 
ready unto every good work. His liberality was boundless, 
and his home was ever the home of his Brethren. He was 
second to none in loyalty to his own church, but not so nar- 
row that he could not see good and would not co-operate 
with good in others. His soul beaming out through his 
radiant face was ever an inspiration. He was not a man to 
be driven, but one whose soul would almost leap out of him 
in following love. His spirit is revealed by a resolution he 
offered in a church council : " Inasmuch as there has been 
some misunderstanding between members of the Church in 


regard to various matters, we now pledge ourselves to for- 
give and try to forget the past, and henceforth will com- 
mune with and love each other as brethren and sisters." He 
was a great friend to the young. His cheery, breezy greet- 
ings on hot summer days as he entered the church just 
before Sunday School drew the boys and girls after him 
like a magnet draws iron filings. His after-teaching talks, 
always watered with tears, are never forgotten. 

At a council in 1898, J. G. Francis inquired if something 
could not be done in the congregation to further missionary 
enterprise. A committee of five — J. G. Francis, J. T. 
Myers, Jos. Fitzwater, John Bechtel and Howard Yocum — 
was appointed. 

In the cause of temperance Green Tree also has an envi- 
able record of loyalty to the order of the Brotherhood. 
Isaac Price was a bright and shining light. In 1888 J. T. 
Myers presented a query which was sent to District Meeting, 
requesting the churches of the District to use unfermented 
wine. The sisters' organization of the church was imbued 
with temperance zeal. They frequently had members of 
the W. C. T. U. to speak in the church. 

The doors of the Green Tree Church were thrown open 
for anti-secret conventions. For many years the Com- 
mencements of Upper Providence township were held within 
her walls. By wise policies Green Tree had made herself 
the church of the community. 

The inner spirit must ever have a formal outward mani- 
festation. The old stone walls which encased the life of 
the Green Tree Church at the first, built in 1845, was after 
the model built by Brethren in that day. On the east side 
were the usual old time entrances. On the opposite side 
was the table, with its long bench for preachers behind it. 
The raised pulpit came. The large ingatherings from 1887 
to 1890 awakened a desire to remodel and beautify the old 
church home. A Building Committee was appointed consist- 
ing of Joseph Fitzwater, Samuel Griffin, Matthias Harley, 
Jacob Cassel and John Reiff. The entrance was made from 
the north side where an ample vestibule was added. The 
pulpit, with an alcove back of it, was at the opposite end of 


the auditorium. South of the auditorium, and capable of 
being made one with it by shding doors, was erected the 
Sunday School addition. The aisles were carpeted and the 
walls papered. Without the walls were plastered and the 
roof made more peaked As thus remodeled the cosy coun- 
try church along the road at Green Tree gives a feeling of 
satisfaction to the most cultured aesthetic taste. 

Again in 1907, the inner walls having been frescoed, the 
church was repaired and recarpeted at a cost of $455.87. 
This was really a reception to the new pastor and his wife, 
Bro. and Sister C. F. McKee, who came September 9, 1907. 
With such a gracious reception how could the new pastorate 
be other than it has proved itself to be — one of efficiency 
and blessing? 

In 1899 a pool was built into the church. May 9 of this 
year was the first baptism. Grace, the daughter of Bro. 
Myers, was one of the four baptized. 

Green Tree has had many faithful members whose names 
are in the book of life, but we cannot mention all here. 
Those intimately acquainted at Green Tree will likely feel 
that the names of Jacob Oberholtzer, the blacksmith, and 
Joseph Umstad, both of whom long served the church as 
janitor and sexton, should be mentioned. Wallace Rambo 
and Lewis Famous also filled these offices for a short period. 

Ushers were first appointed in 1889. They were Lewis 
Dettra and John C. Reiff. Both afterward left Green Tree 
and were elected to the ministry. 

John Dettra, the youngest brother of Lewis, is a conse- 
crated business man at Oaks. He started a small flag fac- 
tory to the rear of his father's house, and has built it up 
till to-day it is claimed to be the largest flag factory in the 
world. Recently he fixed up the basement of the Green 
Tree Church for church purposes entirely at his own expense. 

Trustees. — The trustees of the Green Tree Church to 
whom John Umstad and Ann his wife conveyed two acres 
of land for $150, February 15, 1858, were John Conway, 
Joseph Fitzwater, John Bartholomew, Joseph Pennypacker 
and Samuel Supplee. Before this there seem to have been 
no trustees. The land that John Umstad gave in 1845 


likely was never legally transferred to the church. Addi- 
tional land for the cemetery was likely needed in 1858 and 
at this time the old and new tracts combined in one sur- 
vey were transferred to the church. The consideration was 
likely only the price of the new tract. 

By 1887 Samuel Griffin had become a trustee, and three 
of the original board were still serving. If others had been 
elected in the interval, they had ceased to be trustees by this 
time. Amos Gottwals and Abraham Landis were elected 
May 5, 1888. John U. Francis, Jr., formerly the eminently 
successful and well beloved merchant at Oaks, is also a 

Deacons. — ^We perhaps have the list of deacons of the 
Green Tree Church complete from the beginning. The two 
first deacons were Abel Fitzwater and George Price. Then 
follow William Casselberry, Elijah Billew, Joseph S. Penny- 
packer, John Conway, Joseph Fitzwater, Samuel Griffin, 
Jacob Cassel, John Reiff, John Harley, Amos Gottwals and 
John Bechtel, elected October 24, 1892. Harry Ellis and 
Irwin Force were elected September 3, 1900. Howard 
Yocum, Abraham Landis and George Hallman were elected 
April 27, 1903. 

Abel Fitzwater was the husband of Bella Fitzwater, the 
mother of the Green Tree Church. James Quinter was 
living in his home at the time of his conversion. The pious 
atmosphere of this home did much to direct his thoughts to 
religion. Bro. Quinter m later years calls it a " Bethel." 

George Price afterward became a preacher, but never 
exercised much in his office. 

William Casselberry was the father of the "Casselberry 
Girls" — Mary and Sophia, who eschewing marriage, de- 
voted themselves to the work of the Lord. They occupied 
a prominent place in the church work at Green Tree for 
many years. 

Conclusion. — The membership of the Green Tree Church 
at present is 300 in round numbers. The assessed mem- 
bership is given in the District Meeting minutes of this 
year (1913) as only 275; but only the paying members are 
included in this enumeration. Twenty have been baptized 


this year without a special revival being held. Eighty-three 
have been received by baptism since Bro. McKee has become 

The enrollment of the Sunday School is 232. There are 
three organized Bible Classes, a Teacher's Training Class, 
a Home Department and Cradle Roll. The Ladies' Aid 
Society is active. Green Tree still has a Christian Helpers 
Society. The Green Tree Church is alive and working. 



The history of the efforts put forth by the Brethren at 
Parkerford dates back almost to the commencement of 
the last century. As early as 1808 there were then two 
preaching points established at which meetings were held 
at intervals of four and eight weeks. One of these places 
was in the old School House in Parkerford near the mouth 
of Pigeon Creek. The other was in what was then Davis' 
School House on the opposite side of the Schuylkill, about 
two miles from Parkerford. At this early period there 
were four sisters living in this territory. One on the op- 
posite side of the river near Davis' School House, was sister 
Catherine March, or as she was then called, old granny 
March. She was the great-grandmother of Mrs. D. W. 
Brower, of Spring City. This mother March joined the 
church in her youth and died in 1848, in her eighty-fifth 
year. The meetings held in the Davis' School House at in- 
tervals varying from four to eight weeks were at her solici- 
tation. Two of these four sisters lived at the " old Park- 
erford Mill" — an aged sister, Mrs. Mary Parker (nee 
Hummel), and Mary Wilson, her daughter — mother and 
grandmother of the late Sister Susan Sidle, of Parkerford. 
The "old Mill" at which Sister Parker and her daughter 
Mary Wilson resided was a historic place even in their day 
— for it was here that Washington, with Generals Greene, 
Sullivan, Stirling and Armstrong with 8,000 Continental 
soldiers and 2,000 Militia, crossed the Schuylkill River, 
September 20, 1777, after the disastrous battle on the 
Brandywine. The third Sister on the Parkerford side of 
the river was Mary Shantz — nee Rinehart — wife of old 
Jacob Shantz, who lived about a half mile north of the 
Parkerford Mill. The place is now owned by Samuel 
Pennypacker. In corresponding with Elder Isaac Price in 


Union Church (Remodeled), Port Providence. 


^f . ""- " i? ""^^ 


in 1 


MU«M|^ ^ 


Parkerford Church. 


1882 in reference to the early work of the Brethren at 
Parkerford, preceding the estabHshment of the church — I 
learned that Elder John Price, father of Isaac Price, was the 
pioneer preacher, both at Parkerford and at Davis' School 
House across the river. Later on, old Father Price was 
assisted in this work by Bro. Isaac Price and Bro. John 
Umstad — and at a still later period Bro. James Quinter was 
also associated with these Brethren in filling these preach- 
ing appointments. The services at the Parkerford School 
House were held with some regularity about every four 

The School House had been built by the community to 
serve the double purpose of establishing a pay school and 
also a place for public worship. The House was built in 
two apartments, separated by a sliding partition — the front 
part of the building was fitted up with school desks and seats 
for the accommodation of children, — the rear of the build- 
ing was fitted up with pews, each rising higher than the 
one in front. On preaching occasions the entire house 
was made use of. In addition to the services held every 
four weeks on Sabbath afternoons, there were occasions 
at long intervals when there would be a few night serv- 
ices, when special efforts were put forth to reach the un- 
saved. But the last of these special evening services was 
a most memorable one, a great manifestation of the Spirit's 
presence and power to awaken the unawakened, a truly pen- 
tecostal season. I can do no better than to quote the exact 
language of Dear Bro. Isaac Price. He says: "We had 
several protracted meetings at Lawrenceville School House. 
But the last, following which the Church House was built, 
was a memorable one. We had what we called a ' glorious 
time'; preaching came easy. House crammed full, and on 
a certain Tuesday evening, sixteen on invitation came for- 
ward. The day before, on Monday, I had to go to West 
Chester to Court. Father attended Monday night and 
Tuesday night — who helped him I do not remember — but on 
Tuesday night I think Bro. Umstad was not there — and six- 
teen coming out. Father did not know what to do. He had 
never then been in such a meeting, with such a state of feel- 


ing — swearers, drunkards and such like came forward. 
And a great snow had fallen on Sunday, Monday and Tues- 
day. The roads were terribly drifted. And Father 
thought best to close the meeting. It was a painful thing 
to many of us." To those of us who knew Bro. Isaac Price, 
we know it must indeed have been a painful thought to have 
been deprived from participating in a meeting fraught with 
such power from on High. It was indeed a high day in 

In the spring following the great revival twenty-five or 
more were baptized. The following summer, 1843, the 
Meeting House was built. Before entering fully upon this 
part of our subject, it is proper to add that about 1830 or 
probably a little later, Sister Sarah Righter preached for 
some time at Davis' School House and also at the Parker- 
ford School House. When Bro. James Quinter was elected 
to the ministry. Sister Sarah Rinewalt got him to hold meet- 
ings at the old farm house, on the summit of Crab Hill, 
about a mile south of Parker's Mill. This old house is 
located near the big elm tree, which from its high elevation 
has stood for years as a notable landmark for many miles 

The ground for the new meeting house was bought of 
David Y. Custer for the sum of $110. The purchased tract 
had a front of one hundred and ten feet, and embraced one 
acre of ground. The conveyance was made to Jacob Frick, 
Peter Hollowbush and Isaac Kolb, Trustees. Deed was dated 
September 16, 1843, ^^^ recorded April 10, 1845. In the 
construction of the house, the Brethren entrusted the over- 
sight to Brother Daniel Scypes, who did the carpenter work, 
while Conrad Longacre had charge of the mason work. 
The house was dedicated with appropriate services on Sun- 
day, September 24, 1843. The membership as constituted 
at the time the house was built, would necessarily include 
the entire membership of the Coventry Church at that 
period, and this condition of the churches prevailed for 
more than forty years afterwards, for the Lawrenceville 
or Parkerford Church was so exclusively a branch of the 
Coventry Church during all these years, that a quarterly 


conference or a single Communion Service was not held 
within its sacred precincts. The annual love feast held 
every autumn in the old Coventry Church, was always the 
happy occasion for a reunion of the entire membership, not 
only of the Mother Church but embracing also her two 
branches at Parkerford and at Harmonyville. The first 
Communion Service held in Parkerford Church occurred 
on the fifteenth of May, 1886, just forty-three years after 
the church was built. Since 1886 Communion Services have 
been observed regularly in the month of May of each re- 
curring year. The first quarterly conference was held on 
Saturday, November 14, 1885, and from that time forward 
they had been alternated every three months with the Cov- 
entry Church, until the spring of 1896, when by mutual 
consent of the Coventry and Parkerford Churches it was 
agreed that Parkerford Church should conduct its own 
affairs, have its own quarterly conferences, have a separate 
treasury and be entirely free from the jurisdiction of the 
Coventry Church, except the church at Parkerford was to 
be under the charge of the Bishop of the Coventry Church. 

On Sunday afternoon, April 14, 1878, the Brethren of the 
Parkerford Church met and organized the first Sabbath 
School held in their church. Bro. David G. Wells was 
elected the first superintendent, since which time Sabbath 
School has been maintained regularly every year, and for 
several years past, the school has been kept open every Sab- 
bath throughout the year. The following persons have 
served as superintendent for a longer or shorter period: 
David G. Wells, Isaac U. Brower, Wm. Brower and John 
B. Reiff. The latter is our present superintendent and has 
served for quite a number of years. 

In the spring of 1889 a special meeting of the Brethren 
was held, to take into consideration the propriety of re- 
seating and remodeling the Meeting House. A Building 
Committee of three was appointed to carry out the plans, 
Committee Joseph Johnson, Samuel Rosen and Aaron 
Keiter. Upon the completion of the house and the refur- 
nishing of the same at an expenditure of about $1,200 spe- 
cial dedicatory services were held late in the fall of 1889, 


Elder J. P. Hetric was in charge, assisted by J. T. Myers, 
of Green Tree Church. The trustees of the church at that 
period were : Brethren John Frick, Henry Pennypacker and 
Aaron Keiter. 

The Brethren decided, in the fall of 1895, that hereafter 
they would have regular services every Sabbath, and, as a 
consequence of this decision, extended a call to Bro. F. F. 
Holsopple to become their settled pastor. Upon his accept- 
ance, they deemed it wise to procure a suitable house for a 
parsonage. On November 13, 1895, the present parsonage 
was bought for $1,700. This parsonage is near the Penn- 
sylvania depot and within a square of the Meeting House; 
it occupies the historic site of the old Colonial log school 
house of 1750 or thereabouts, of which records are still 
extant, showing that in those early days the length of the 
school term was far in excess of what it is even today. 

Parkerford Church has had several stirring revivals dur- 
ing the last twenty-five years. The first of these was con- 
ducted by Bro. J. P. Hetric, while pastor of the Philadel- 
phia Church, about 1880, when many precious souls were 
born into the Kingdom. About 1882 Brother J. P. Hetric 
settled at Parkerford and gradually took the oversight of 
the Parkerford Church as well as of the Coventry Church. 
He is still the Bishop of our little flock, for we number 
about one hundred communicants, whereas the Coventry 
Church has more than two hundred members. Bro. F. F. 
Holsopple served our church very efficiently for a period 
of five years. Our next pastor, Bro. T. R. Coffman, is now 
(at the writing of this article) rounding out his fifth year 
of very acceptable service in this part of the Lord's vineyard. 

The foregoing very valuable account of the Parkerford 
Church given by Dr. Wm. Brower, of Spring City, a des- 
cendant of the Urners, cannot be supplanted. Yet there are 
a few things that may yet be said about the work at Parker- 

When the minutes were first kept in 1885, we find that the 
council meetings were already alternating between Coventry 
and Lawrenceville, as Parkerford was formerly called. Sep- 
arate treasuries were authorized for Coventry and Parker- 


ford, July 22, 1893. Charles Urner had, however, years 
before been a treasurer at Lawrenceville. Seventy-seven 
members in and around Parker ford had signed in 1893 ^ 
request for a separate treasury at that place previous to one 
being authorized. In the matter of sending delegates, Park- 
er ford was to pay one third of the expense. 

At the council of July 2}^, 1898, F. F. Holsopple, pastor at 
Parkerford, presented the following petition for the Parker- 
ford Brethren : 

" Parkerford, Pa., June 4th, 1898. 
"We the Brethren at Parkerford in council assembled this 
day do petition the Coventry Brethren's Church to grant at 
July council that the Parkerford Branch of the Coventry 
Brethren's Church be constituted a separate church to be known 
as the Parkerford Brethren Church. 

" F. F. Holsopple, Moderator. 
"David Bergey, Clerk. 
"F. F. Holsopple and David G. Bergey were appointed a 
committee to present the above," 

This petition was granted by the Coventry Church, so the 
Parkerford Brethren Church was born July 23, 1898. 

Bro. F. F. Holsopple was the first pastor of Parkerford 
Church proper. Bro. Hetric had lived here while pastor of 
the whole Coventry Church. Bro. Holsopple had married 
Grace, the youngest daughter of Elder Jas. Quinter, and his 
coming here now to build up the work, makes us think that 
the Lord still had in mind Bro. Quinter's prayers for the 
work at Lawrenceville. Bro. Holsopple is of a family of 
preachers. His father is an elder, and two of his paternal 
uncles are preachers, his maternal grandfather was the well 
known Elder Christian Lehman and two of his own brothers 
are preachers, one being Bro. Ira, pastor at Coventry. But 
when he entered school at age of six, he believed he would 
be a school teacher. After teaching a number of years and 
graduating from Juniata College, he became pastor of the 
church at Amwell, N. J., September i, 1892 . In October 
1895, he came to Parkerford. During his five-year pastorate 
more than twenty were added to the church. The prayer 


meeting and Sunday School were revived, a Sisters' Mis- 
sionary Society and a Young People's Christian Helper So- 
ciety were introduced and the Parker ford Church was or- 
ganized into a separate congregation. Then his strong 
inclination to teaching caused him to accept a chair in 
Juniata College. 

For three years or more Bro. Hetric looked after the pas- 
toral needs of Parkerford. Bro. T. R. Cofifman came as 
pastor, from a pastorate at Tyrone, Pa., on April 3, 1904. 
He was born June 27, 1873, ^^ Hagerstown, Md. His edu- 
cation and teaching were largely along business lines until 
he was elected to the ministry in 1897. When he came to 
Parkerford the membership was a few less than one hun- 
dred. It is now one hundred and five. But it should be 
borne in mind that he has had many deaths to overcome, 
many of the old burden bearers of the church having passed 
away in the last few years. A Christian Workers' Society 
has been- organized, the Sunday evening session being spent 
in the study of Jewish history. The Sisters' Society has 
been kept active, and the Sunday School, numbering about 
one hundred, under the efficient superintendency of Bro. 
J. B. ReifT has come to the " front line." The second teach- 
er's Training Class is ready for graduation at this writing. 
There is a Home Department of thirteen, and a Cradle Roll 
of eight. Bro. Coffman was ordained to the eldership, 
December 10, 191 1, J. T. Myers and J. P. Hetric officiating. 
After the ordination of Elder Coffman, Elder Hetric and 
he had joint oversight of the church until the resignation of 
the latter in December, 1912, to take up the pastorate of the 
Pittsburgh Brethren Church. Elder J. T. Myers, of the 
Green Tree Church, is the present pastor. 


As it is necessary to have people before you can have a 
church, we shall first consider the members who moved into 
this town. But while we speak of the church in Royersford, 
we must not forget that some of the most active members in 
building up the work here, lived in the twin town across the 
river, in Spring City. There were Bro. David Wells, and 
daughters, Annie and Katie ; Sister Mary Taylor ; Dr. Wm. 
Brower, wife and daughter Blanche. These have all lived 
in Spring City for a number of years. All were members 
of Coventry. 

But we now come to The First Members in Royersford. 

Wm. Isett and wife were the first. They came from the 
Mingo Church, in the fall of 1882. In the spring of 1884 
the Price family moved here from Mingo Church also. 
Those members were Mrs. Price, son Wm., who had joined 
at Huntington in 1883, daughters Elizabeth and Elmira 
baptized at Parker ford in 1886. In March, 1884, Wm. 
Dettra and wife of Green Tree Church moved from Oaks 
Station to the outskirts of the town. They moved into the 
town proper, September i of the same year. Sister Roeller 
came from the Parker ford Church in March, 1889. Her 
husband was not then a member. Bro. Joel Freed and wife 
from Mingo settled down in Royersford. Sister Mary 
Freed, wife of Samuel Freed, moved here in July, 1890, 
from Mingo Church. In December of the same year, from 
the same church, came John Isett and family, consisting of 
himself, his wife Hettie, and daughters Kate and Sallie. 
Next came Sister Jos. Johnson from Coventry, in April, 
1891. Her husband is a member of the German Reformed 
Church. David Isett and his wife moved here in March, 
1892; and his brother Benjamin and wife, in December of 
the same year. Both families were from the Mingo Church. 
18 257 


Wm., Benjamin, and David are all sons of John Isett. In 
May, 1892, Bro. Wm. G. Nyce with his mother came from 
Norristown; they were originally from the Mingo Church. 
Early in 1893 came C. F. McKee from the Manor Church, 
Md. He came to take charge of the books of the Grander 
Stove Co., of which Bro. Wm. Price, his old schoolmate at 
Huntingdon, was a member and later president. Bro. 
McKee was married in 1897 to Sister Iva Kaler, also from 
the Manor congregation. Rev. John Isenberg came from 
Coventry in 1893. From the same congregation came the 
Hunsbergers in 1895, ^^ which year came also Bro. Robert 
Jones and family from Illinois. Jacob Grater and wife, a 
deacon and son of Elder A. L. Grater, came from Illinois in 
1896. Sister Emma Tyson of Coventry, a school teacher 
in Spring City, worked here during the school months. 

Thus we see that in a period of thirteen years a consider- 
able and very complex membership had gathered here, where 
before there had been no members. But it was a splendid 
body of workers, from which at least four ministers were 

The first' form of religious life here was manifested in 
prayer-meetings held m the homes of the members. After 
the prayer-meeting had been conducted for some time, some 
of the members thought it would be well to start a Sunday 
School. The idea found favor, but great trouble was en- 
countered in finding a place of meeting. Finally the Epis- 
copalians agreed to let the Brethren have the use of their 
hall, Winter's Hall, on the corner of Main St. and Second 
Avenue, in the afternoon, they having their Sunday School 
in the morning. The expenses connected with the hall were 
to be equally divided, the Brethren's share of the rent being 
$1.00 per Sunday. 

The first meeting of the Sunday School was held on May 
3, 1 89 1. This was the same day on which the Dauphin 
Street Church of the Brethren in Philadelphia was dedicated. 
The total number present was twenty-nine. There were 
five classes in the beginning. By 1898 they had increased 
to sixteen classes with one hundred and seventy-six scholars, 
making a total enrollment of one hundred and ninety-two. 


The first superintendent was Bro. David Wells, who the 
next year was succeeded by Bro. W. S. Price, who has been 
the efficient superintendent ever since. 

Men- who do things were connected with this school. 
April 5, 1892, W. S. Price, Dr. Wm. Brower and Joel Freed 
were appointed a committee to purchase a lot on which to 
build a church. A vacant lot on Walnut Street was bought 
for $450. W. S. Price, David G. Wells and Joel C. Freed 
were appointed trustees. Early in the next year, when it 
was decided to " proceed to build a church at once," this lot 
was deemed unsatisfactory, and it was sold for $500. The 
lot on the corner of Third and Washington Streets was then 
bought. It was decided to build of brick with Wyoming 
blue stone trimmings. A pool was placed in the church. 
The general plan of the remodeled Green Tree Church was 
followed, with the exception that the vestibule was within 
the main walls. All business was done in the name of the 
German Baptist Brethren Sunday School. It was necessary 
to mortgage the property to some extent, but the debt was 
reduced rapidly. Considerable help was given by neighbor- 
ing congregations. January i, 1895, the trustees were in- 
creased to five, the new ones being E. L. Markley and Frank 
Roeller. The first minutes of the Sunday School were kept 
in 1892. In this same year they purchased an organ, and. 
have a thoroughly up-to-date Sunday School. 

The Home Department of this Sunday School, the first 
work of the kind, was organized, November 5, 1896. 
Elmira Price was made superintendent. 

From the beginning there was preaching, if possible, 
every two weeks, after Sunday School. Bro. J. T. Myers 
did most of the preaching and did it free of charge; but 
Royersford was never lax in giving proper financial aid to 
those whom she called in to preach. In May, 1894, the mis- 
sion volunteered to pay $25 toward paying the Parker- 
ford minister if he would preach for them every other Sun- 
day evening. March 6, 1897, it was decided to have regu- 
lar Sunday morning preaching. The principal ministering 
Brethren who have assisted the church at this place are J. T. 


Myers, J. P. Hetric, John Isenberg, Jay G. Francis, Lewis 
Keim, Jesse Ziegler, and Abraham L. Grater. 

While many members had moved into Royersford, yet 
revivals did considerable in building up the membership. 
The first revival lasting one week, was held by Jesse Ziegler. 
There were no visible results. A year later J. T. Myers held 
a few meetings. Soon after they closed, Frank Roeller 
joined the church, placing his membership at Green Tree. 
He is the first fruits of the Royersford Mission. 

In January, 1894, Bro. Myers held a series of meetings 
for two weeks with the result that nine entered the fold. 
I. N. H. Beahm held meetings for three weeks in February, 
1895. He was assisted by J. G. Francis, who gave Bible 
readings in connection with the services. Two were added 
to the church, and were the first from Royersford to place 
their membership at Parkerford. Bro. Beahm preached 
some doctrinal sermons which made considerable stir in the 

J. T. Myers, Jesse Ziegler and Frank Holsopple held a 
series of meetings in the fall of this same year. Seven 
were awakened and were the first to be baptized in the 
baptistry. The baptism took place, January 24, 1896. 

In October, 1896, Bro. W. J. Swigart came two weeks. 
While there was only one accession, he awakened consider- 
able interest and no doubt did much to prepare the church 
for the harvest that soon followed. This harvest was the 
direct result of the labors of Bro. F. F. Holsopple, who 
garnered nine into the fold. 

In the fall of 1897 Elder D. F. Stauffer of Benevola, Md., 
and J. G. Francis conducted meeting. Four were added to 
the church. The total number baptized at Royersford up 
to 1898 was thirty-three. The number that had moved in 
was forty-seven. Deducting two deaths, the membership, 
January i, 1898, was thus seventy-eight. 

The Christian Helper Society. 

On January 2, 1894, it was decided to organize a Chris- 
tian Helper Society, and W. S. Price, Wm. Nyce, C. F. 
McKee, Frank Roeller, Annie Wells, Emma Tyson, Sallie 


Isett, Elmira Price, and Irene Frock were appointed a com- 
mittee to get it in shape. The idea was to get a society that 
would help the church, not one that would run away with it. 
Finally on May i of this same year, after two or three times 
reporting progress, the committee reported that it had or- 
ganized. W. S. Price was elected chairman and E. L. 
Markley, secretary. Two committees — the Sunday School 
and the Lookout — were immediately appointed. The good 
that this society did in inspiring the members and in build- 
ing up the young in Christian work was very great. It 
proved itself a worthy companion of the Sunday School. 
A Junior Christian Helper Society was also organized with 
Bro. W. G. Nyce in charge. Several of the churches of the 
Schuylkill Valley followed the lead of Royersford and or- 
ganized Christian Helpers Societies. The name here was 
changed July 6, 1903, to Christian Worker Society. 

A Sisters' Missionary Circle was organized in July, 1897. 
While clothing was gathered and sent to missions in the 
cities, flowers to cheer bestowed, and sewing done for the 
home poor, yet the main object at organization was to assist 
in paying off the church debt. In 1900 they paid $200 on 
the mortgage. April 15, 1901, they gave $100 toward pay- 
ing a note. These facts certainly proclaim that the sisters 
were doing something. 

Royersford Organized. 

It was decided, April 2, 1900, to have Elder J. P. Hetric 
come to conduct the organization of the mission into a sepa- 
rate congregation, with Elders J. Z. Gottwals and A. L. 
Grater present to assist. The minutes are as follows : 

"Royersford, Pa., Jan. 7, 1901. 

"Royersford Mission convened in meeting for the purpose 
of organizing said mission into a German Baptist Brethren 
Church. Elders present organized by electing J. P. Hetric 
chairman and Jesse Ziegler as secretary. 

"The boundaries of this organization shall be the borough 
lines of Royersford and Spring City, with the understanding 
that any modification of such lines as may be deemed necessary 


shall be possible by the mutual agreement with churches 

"Name. — It was decided that the name shall be the Royers- 
ford Brethren Church, 

" Officers. — It was decided further that two deacons should 
be elected. The choice fell upon Bro. C. F. McKee and Bro. 
W. S. Price, who were duly installed into their office by Eld. 
J. P. Hetric. Sister Price not being present she will be received 
at a later meeting. 

" The choice of presiding elder fell on Bro. J. P. Hetric. 

" Bro. B. Frank Roeller was elected clerk of the church, and 
Bro. C. F. McKee was elected treasurer. 

"Jesse Ziegler, Clerk." 

It seems that there was some difficulty over this organiza- 
tion, and the committee from Annual Meeting v^ras called in. 
So we have the following : 

" To all whom it may concern, Greeting. This is to certify 
that the committee appointed by the Annual Meeting to visit the 
churches of Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey recognize 
the organization of the Royersford church. 

" Respectfully submitted 

"W. R. Deeter 
"L. H. Dickey 
" D. Hays 


February 20, 1902, a committee was appointed to see 
about getting a pastor. In three days' time sufficient money 
had been subscribed to support one. But subscribing the 
money was not the only requisite for getting a pastor. 

J. Linwood Eisenberg had been elected to the ministry 
here, and on November 29, 1903, he was advanced. Bro. 
W. G. Nyce had been elected at Parker ford before the or- 
ganization of Royersford ; and J. Y. Eisenberg had for years 
been living in Royersford, so the church was well supplied 
with resident ministers. But there was no pastor. Bro. 
C. F. McKee was also elected to the ministry here, October 
24, 1906. But this was only a step preparatory to his be- 
coming pastor of the Green Tree Church. He was advanced 


January 19, 1907, and on April 7 following was given his 
letter of membership. 

Bro. Alva J. Specht, of Ohio, was secured as pastor. He 
had been teaching. He came to Royersford, July i, 1908. 
He was a minister in the second degree. He was well hked, 
but notwithstanding resigned his pastorate, May 12, 1909. 
The church accepted his resignation and passed resolu- 
tions expressing appreciation of his services. 

Bro. A. W. Dupler, of Ohio, was unanimously elected 
pastor, June 25, 1909 ; and Bro. Quincy Leckrone was called, 
October 3, 19 10. Bro. Leckrone still serves the charge. 
He is a clear thinker and able speaker. 

It became necessary to increase the body of deacons ; and 
November 29, 1903, Bro. B. Frank Roeller and William 
Harley were elected to this office. The board of deacons 
was diminished by one when Bro. C. F. McKee was called 
to the ministry. So we find that on April 7, 1907, two 
more were elected — W. J. Wadsworth and Alvin P. Harley. 

The first year the work at Royersford cost the Brethren 
there $53.62. For the nine years previous to 1907, the ex- 
penditures amounted to $8,299.79, or a little less than $1,000 
a year. In 1908 there was paid out $3,037.47. In this 
same year the church was chartered. 

The present membership is one hundred and two. The 
Sunday School has but one hundred and ten members but 
this does not include the Home Department and the Cradle 
Roll. There is a Teacher Training Class of fifteen. The 
Sunday School is thoroughly graded. 


Harmonyville is a small village about a mile from the 
famed Falls of French Creek, in Chester County. It has 
a graded school and a Brethren's Church. The church was 
organized, January 25, 1913, with about 70 members, a 
Sunday School of 159 scholars, thoroughly up-to-date, and 
a mid-week prayer-meeting. The pastor is Bro. W. G. 
Nyce; the deacons are Jonathan H. Keim, Leonard Keim, 
Thomas Brewer and Edgar K. Lloyd; the trustees are 
Hiram Keim, Jacob H. Stager and Jonathan Keim. At 
present the church has no elder. 

The prominent name in connection with the work at Har- 
monyville is Keim. Dr. Isaac N. Urner, in his history of 
the Coventry Church, of which Harmonyville till its recent 
organization, was a part, says : " Rev. David Keim ... in 
1845 nioved to Warwick Township, and soon commenced 
building up a Brethren interest there. His labors were 
blessed, and he lived to see the interest grow and develop 
into the present Harmonyville Church, with its fine, com- 
modious meeting-house. He was a bishop in the Brethren 

Harmonyville is only a few miles from Nantmeal, where 
a Brethren's mission was kept up for many years, but the 
two were entirely distinct, nor is the Nantmeal Mission in 
its death known to have given any members to Harmony- 

Originally the Brethren preached in the old school-house 
a short distance out from the village. David Keim 
preached here before he moved up to Harmonyville. In a 
year or two a new and larger school-house was erected in 
Harmonyville, likely in 1846, and the services were trans- 
ferred to the new house. Here the Brethren continued to 
worship till the meeting-house was built in 1880. 


harmonyville church. 265 

The Sunday School. 

The Harmonyville Sunday School is not a new institution. 
It was started in 1859 as a union school, the Methodists also 
worshipping in the school-house. The first superintendent 
was George Wennings, a Methodist, with Bro. Jacob Ehr- 
good as assistant and Bro. Jonathan Keim as secretary. 
Other Brethren active at the beginning were Hiram Amole, 
Keziah Amole and Keziah Keim. The second year Bro. 
Ehrgood was superintendent. In 1861 Jonathan Keim 
went west but returned two years later. He was now 
made superintendent and continued until the Sunday School 
had been in the church for a few years. The Methodists, 
having built a church in 1878 at some distance, withdrew 
and left the Brethren in exclusive control. As superintend- 
ent Bro. Keim was succeeded by Bro. Stephen Brownback, 
a deacon and son-in-law of Elder David Keim. He con- 
tinued in charge till the spring of 1894, when he moved to 
Philadelphia, where he became an equally prominent Sunday 
School worker. Hervey Keim now became superintendent 
at Harmonyville. He was followed by Leonard Keim. 
Harry Keim is the present incumbent. 

The Sunday School is the strong arm of the church at 
Harmonyville. As stated, it has an enrollment of 159. 
There are two organized adult Bible classes, numbering 45 
members each. The adult members are drawn from a 
radius of three miles. The school is graded throughout, there 
being twelve classes in all. This Sunday School takes an 
active part in the County Sunday School organization; and 
District Sunday School conventions have been held here. 
Harry Dickinson, teacher of the male organized adult Bible 
Class, is mentioned as a worker worthy of note. There are 
a Cradle Roll, Home Department and Teacher Training 
Class. Harmonyville has a front rank Sunday School. 

A Christian Helper's organization was started here, Jan- 
uary 5, 1900. It labored with the general organization in 
the Schuylkill Valley. The local organization was discon- 
tinued; and a Working Committee of Five was appointed 
July 21, 1906, to supervise all evening meetings. 

As to the church property — the ground was given by 


Samuel Keim, father of Jonathan. As stated the house was 
erected in 1880 at a cost of $1,000 above the generous free 
labor of members and the ground. It is a stone structure 
30 X 40 ft. There is a frame vestibule in front, about 10 
ft. X 10 ft. In 1895 a pool was constructed out in the 
yard, at a cost of $21.74. A stone annex 195^4 X 30 ft. was 
built to the rear, for Sunday School purposes, in 1909, at a 
cost of a little over $500. The church is lighted by an 
acetylene gas plant which was installed at a cost of $300. 
There are twenty jets within the building and one outside. 
The upkeep averages throughout the year a cost of 35 cents 
per week. It is said to be the best lighted church for miles 
and miles around. 

When the Sunday School addition was dedicated, Sep- 
tember 5 and 6, 1909, there was held a Grand Family Re- 
union of all who had ever been connected with the work 
at Harmonyville. 

A number of revivals have been held here. The most 
notable was the one held in 1886 by Bro. J. T. Myers, when 
22 were converted. There were ten converts in 1903, when 
Bro. Chas. Bame of Philadelphia did the preaching. 

The first business or council meeting was held at Har- 
monyville, December 2, 1893, the work being all the time 
till 1913 a mission of Coventry, From 1893 Harmony- 
ville, however, has had her own minutes. At the outset 
Elder J. P. Hetric was chosen chairman; H. C. Keim, 
secretary; and J. H. Stager, treasurer. A Financial Com- 
mittee of three was appointed : J. H. Stager, J. H. Keim, and 
David Haldeman. 

The Coventry council decided, November 26, 1887, on 
request from Harmonyville members, to hold a love- feast at 
Harmonyville. This was likely their first feast. 

July 24, 1909, a request was presented at the Coventry 
council, also from Harmonyville, to allow a separate organ- 
ization at that place. The Coventry council did not object 
if the Harmonyville members wished thus to organize. For 
some cause the organization was not effected, as we have 
seen, until January 25, 1913. 

harmonyville church. 267 

The Ministry. 

As we have seen, the ministry of the Brethren at Har- 
monyville began with David Keim. The Keim family has 
been so prominently, so extensively, and so continuously 
connected with the work at Harmonyville, that a short 
sketch of the family is in place. We glean chiefly from the 
History of the Coventry Church by Dr. Isaac Urner. 

The first of the Keim family came to America about 1709 
and settled originally in Oley Township, Berks Co. Sub- 
sequently members of the family moved out in different 
directions. One branch located in Reading, one in Bucks 
Co., and a third in Chester Co., at Yellow Springs. The 
head of this last branch was named Hans or Johannes, — 
in English, John. Afterwards this Hans settled at or near 
the present village of Harmonyville, in Warwick township. 
He had four sons, — George, John, Peter, and Stephens. 

George Keim was the grandfather of Elder David Keim. 
The parents of Elder David were Jacob Keim and Hannah 
Switzer, daughter of Ulrich Switzer and Hester Urner. 
The property of Hans Keim, great-grandfather of Elder 
David, was still in the Keim family in 1898, its owner then 
being Jonathan Keim of Pottstown. 

Deacon Jonathan Keim, whose name has frequently been 
mentioned in connection with the Sunday School, is a 
nephew of Elder David and father of Lewis Keim. His 
father Samuel gave the ground for the church. In his old 
homestead three generations of Keims have been reared, 
each consisting of four sons and two daughters. 

David Keim was born in 1802 and was evidently elected 
to the ministry before 1845. He was likely ordained before 
1872 as no record of his ordination is given in the minutes 
which were first kept in 1872. He died in 1897 ; aged about 
95 years. As a preacher he was very conscientious, ever 
warning against false teachers. He was deliberate, yet 
earnest in speaking. He was liberal in giving, having 
started the fund for building the Harmonyville church with 
a subscription of $100. 

Lewis Keim is the second Harmonyville preacher. For 
his biography see Geiger Memorial and Coventry Churches. 


William G. Nyce is really the first pastor of the Har- 
monyville Church. He was born, October 12, 1869. He 
was an aggressive church worker in Royersford, with his 
membership at Parker ford, when in 1900 he was called to 
the ministry by the Parkerford congregation. He married 
Lena Keim, daughter of Jonathan, of Harmonyville, and 
November i, 1905, moved to this place. When the church 
was organized here in the present year, he was unanimously 
elected minister or pastor, with the understanding that his 
duties were to begin at once. The entire care of the church 
here devolves upon him. 

The Deacons. 

The first two deacons of Harmonyville were Jonathan 
Keim and Stephen Brownback. They were elected at the 
Coventry council, August 7, 1880, the year in which the 
Harmonyville house was built. 

Brownback moved to Philadelphia in 1894; and Thomas 
Brewer was elected to fill the vacancy, November 11, of the 
same year. , 

The trustees are Hiram Keim, an old stand-by, Jonathan 
Keim, and Jacob H. Stager, As before stated, Jacob Stager 
was elected treasurer at the beginning. So acceptable have 
been his services that on the organization of the church, he 
was reelected to the position for life. 

The Hamilton brothers — ^John and Frederick — were 
bachelors for a long time, finally married, but never had 
children. They left a sum of money to the Coventry 
Church, known as the Hamilton Fund. The Fund figures 
frequently in the worthy doings of the Coventry congrega- 
tion. They lived in Harmonyville territory, and so are 
now properly claimed for this congregation. 



A. Autobiography of George Adam Martin.^ 

In the year 1733, I was strongly moved to repentance and 
a change of hfe, and all without any man's intervention, 
which confused me so that I did not know what to do. For 
my heart was troubled. Wherever I went or was, my 
conscience was so disturbed that I avoided all company and 
felt grieved at any vanity I met with. I was constantly 
frightened and alarmed, for my conscience smote me every- 
where; besides I was young, bashful and timid. I therefore 
went about like a lost sheep, and thought all people better 
than myself, which opinion indeed I still have. I never 
looked for much from men, and if I occasionally listened to 
some one preaching, I was not frightened by it, because I 
felt myself more damned than any preacher could damn me; 
nevertheless some little hope remained, and I thought per- 
chance I might yet be saved. Being in such a condition, I 
was baptized on my faith in the year 1735. This I did 
to honor God in Christ Jesus and intended to follow him; 
but had no further thought about the piety of a community, 
because my inner troubled state did not permit me to think 
about other things. All my thinking and striving were only 
as to how I might enter the kingdom of God. 

After my baptism, when alone in the woods, I knelt down 
behind a tree and prayed. After I had finished, it came 
into my mind to open the New Testament, and whatever I 
found under my right thumb that should be my precept dur- 
ing life. Then I turned up : " Study to show thyself ap- 
proved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 
2: 15). This troubled my mind excessively; sometimes I 

1 From The Chronicon Ephratense. 



took it to be a temptation; then, again, as if I had tempted 
God ; and again that the Spirit had mocked me. Taking all 
together I did not know what to make of it. To become a 
workman in the church of God, that I dared not harbor in 
my mind. Soon after I was led into such temptation for 
about sixteen weeks that I incessantly heard nothing but : 
" You are damned ! You are damned ! " This frightened 
me so that I enjoyed neither sleep, nor eating nor drinking. 
My father asked me what was the matter with me, but I 
dared not tell him, for I thought that never before had a 
person lived on earth in such a damnable state. At last I 
was delivered out of this bondage, received pardon, and be- 
came a recipient of the gracious visitation of my God in 
Christ Jesus, and of the power of regeneration, of which 
before I had known nothing. Thus by grace and compas- 
sion alone I became one of the redeemed of the Lord. 
After this I became cheerful and joyous in my Saviour, 
Jesus Christ, diligently read the Bible, exercised myself in 
prayer, took pleasure in divine things, and meddled with 
nothing but what concerned my salvation; besides I held 
the Brethren in high esteem and had a sacred regard for 
everything good. 

It happened in the year 1737 that my Superintendent 
(Martin Urner) was called upon to go to the Great Swamp, 
in order to baptize several persons. When he announced 
this at the meeting and asked who was willing to go with 
him, I was willing to go. After our arrival, when the 
meeting was over, the persons to be baptized were intro- 
duced, and a passage from Luke XIV was read to them, 
about the building of towers and waging war, which also 
was customary among them even in Germany; for when I 
was baptized this surprised me, and I did not know what to 
think of it. It was done as often as persons were to be 
baptized, so that you did not know whether you were to 
build or not, to go to war or not, or whether God had 
10,000 and the devil 20,000 men. As soon as you came to 
the water the hymn was usually sung : " Count the cost says 
Jesus Christ, when the foundation Thou wouldst lay," etc., 
which A. M. (Alexander Mack) had composed already in 


Germany. When these confused transactions were now 
also enacted here, as was customary, it suddenly seized 
me so that my limbs trembled, and it flashed like a flame 
through my whole being, and before I knew it I heard my- 
self speaking in an overloud voice. I was frightened at my- 
self, for I thought of nothing less than speaking. I said 
that it was not the Lord Jesus' intention to bring such things 
before candidates for baptism, for their purpose was to 
enter into their covenant with God by baptism, and to build 
upon the rock Jesus Christ; those who wished to build a 
tower besides the temple of God might have such things 
brought before them. This speech frightened everybody, 
and all were silent and dumb. At last our Superintendent, 
M. U. (Martin Urner), of blessed memory, said, "What 
shall we do then, for something must be said to the people." 
Without taking thought I answered : " The eighteenth Chap- 
ter of Matthew, about exhortation and punishment, might 
be read " ; which proposal was adopted from that hour, and 
is still customary with them to this day. 

This was the first stumbling block I found in their doc- 
trine. But because they adopted my suggestion throughout 
the whole country, and no person moved against me, but all 
were surprised and thought that this movement on the part 
of a young man which they saw and heard was the work of 
the Spirit of God, I greatly honored them, since they in so 
childlike a way gave all honor to God. Moreover they now 
noticed me more, especially did my Superintendent love me 
until he died, and he was much grieved when he had to lose 
me. But I did not respect the household of the Congrega- 
tion, and nothing of the kind touched me; but I was earnest 
in my calling to gain favor before God by my life and be- 
havior. I took no ofifence at any person, nor did I seek 
their esteem ; I only endeavored to follow the dictates of my 
conscience. But it happened by and by that they, contrary 
to my wish, chose me as their Superintendent, after I had 
already obediently moved across the waters of the Susque- 

Before this occurred it happened that Count Zinzendorf 
and many of his Brethren came into the country and occa- 


sioned a great stir, especially by his conferences. And be- 
cause all denominations were invited to them, I too was de- 
puted by my Superintendent to attend them. When I 
arrived at the conference, which was held at Oley, I found 
there some of our Baptists, Seventh Day men, Mennonites 
and Separatists. The Count himself was president, and 
for three days I heard queer and wonderful things there. 
After my return home I went to my Superintendent and 
said that I looked upon the Count's conferences as snares, 
for the purpose of bringing simple-minded and inexpe- 
rienced converts back to infant baptism and church-going, 
and of erecting the old Babel again. We consulted with 
each other what to do, and agreed to get ahead of the dan- 
ger, as some Baptists had already been smitten with this 
vain doctrine, and to hold a yearly conference, or as we 
called it, a Great Assembly, and fixed at once the time and 
place. This is the beginning and foundation of the Great 
Assemblies of the Baptists. After this general meeting had 
been established, the opportunity was offered to speak of 
various matters whenever we met. . . . 

(After 'referring to disputes in which he took part at the 
Great Assemblies, he continues:) It may be thought that I 
have deviated too far from my reasons why I left the Bap- 
tists ; but no, these are the very reasons, for I took offence at 
the foundation and origin, because the originators deviated 
from their aim and basis, which in my opinion is the love of 
God towards all men, and formed a sect like the Inspired, 
out of the great awakening which had taken hold of them 
in Germany, and aroused strife and hatred by their disputes. 

Now I return to our yearly meeting, at which the Euro- 
pean ban-branch continually became a topic of conversation, 
so that you always had to contend with these quarrels, until 
A. D. (Abraham Duboy) and M. F. (Michael Frantz) at 
last died. Then other and thinner branches came forth, 
with which it was still more difficult to deal, until at last they 
put me out. Then I thought the affair would end, but only 
commenced in earnest; for as quiet as ever I kept they let 
me have no peace. I was heartily tired of their affairs. 


Some, however, still adhered to me and could not leave me. 
They also were suspected and were avoided on my account, 
for whoever would not ban me himself had to be banned. 

Now I became puzzled, for the wild European ban- 
branches threw such a shade, mist, darkness and gloom over 
the eyes of my mind that I could not see the light of the sun 
in the Gospel. I still lay buried under the hellish ban-doc- 
trine, and my conflict was very great, for I was even afraid 
to doubt the ban-doctrine. In Germany I should willingly 
have entered the highest classes of the high schools, but here 
I had to attend high school against my will, had to learn 
the language of Canaan, and to begin with A. This, indeed, 
appeared very strange to me, because nearly everybody who 
knew me considered me a great doctor of Holy Writ. . . . 

(For additional information concerning the life of George 
Adam Martin, see "The Churches in Southern Pennsyl- 
vania," Chapter 9, Part I.) 

B. John Umstad. 

John Horning Umstad, the founder of the Green Tree 
Church, was born in Philadelphia, January i, 1802; and died 
April 26, 1873. When nine years old, his father moved to 
the Umstad farm. In 1829 he was married to Ann, daugh- 
ter of Daniel and Frances Brower. Daniel Brower's farm 
joined the Umstad farm on the east. Daniel was a Men- 
nonite and in the meadow of his farm the Brethren first 
preached in the neighborhood, perhaps before John Umstad 
was born. John H. and Ann Umstad had born to them 
four children, one son, who died in infancy, and three 
daughters. One daughter, Sarah, the only child to join the 
Brethren, died unmarried during the life of her parents. 
Catharine B. married Louis Detrich, who moved to Balti- 
more ; and Frances B. married Milton I. Davis, who became 
the owner of the Umstad homestead. 

John Umstad in his early days possessed a vivacity bor- 
dering on wildness. His spirit is manifested by different 
incidents told of him. His father owned another farm 
beyond the Perkiomen Creek. The barn was old and did 
not appeal at all favorably to John. One day it took fire 



and was well up in flames when John arrived on horseback. 
Putting the spurs to his horse he galloped at high speed 
round and round the barn, swinging his cap in the air and 
shouting: "Now, we'll have a new barn; now, we'll have a 
new barn ! " 

Young ladies were frequently in summer among the 
Philadelphia boarders on the Umstad farm. They were 
everywhere, to the extent of being a nuisance; and John 
likely loved fun for its own sake. There is a large island 
in the Schuylkill belonging to the farm, reached by a ford, 
some places upwards of four feet deep. The girls must 
go along across in the cart. In midstream John slipped out 
the keystaff. Our young ladies got to the rear of the cart. 
The picture that followed we leave to your imagination. 

He was even inclined to get fun out of his sister Isabella's 
piety. But the Spirit of God got hold even of him, and 
made of him a new creature. But we are told that with 
him, like the rest of us, the old man with his deeds was 
not all put oflf at once. He was converted in 183 1. This 
occurred at Coventry. He went there while in a troubled 
state. In speaking to the elder, " Pappy John Price," as 
he was called, he was invited to go along home. With 
characteristic openness, Bro. Umstad replied, "That is just 
what I expected to do." Soon after his conversion he laid 
aside his fashionable attire and conformed to the attire com- 
mon among the Brethren, so says his biographer in a history 
of "Montgomery County, Pa. But there is reason to believe 
that he became especially strict along this line only after 

He along with Isaac Price was elected to the ministry 
about 1834; and entered with his accustomed zest into the 
work. Isaac was inclined in preaching to give the Spirit 
time to move him. On one occasion, Isaac was not imme- 
diately moved, or perhaps he was overcome by feeling, at 
any rate he stood waiting. Bro. Umstad broke in : " Bro. 
Isaac if thee hasn't anything to say, thee had better sit 
down!" Whereupon Bro. Umstad got up and began to 
preach. After he became a member of the church, he al- 


ways used the Friends' language : no doubt he had been 
accustomed to it in his childhood days in Philadelphia. 

He was a great man for prayer. Often when away from 
home, he would arise early on Sunday morning, and, like 
the Savior, withdraw from men, perhaps into the woods, 
and pray alone to his Father in secret. A tenant farmer 
tells that frequently in the barn or elsewhere he would 
find him in prayer. One night this man was awakened from 
his slumber by a noise outside. On going to his window 
he beheld under the large buttonwood tree below the house, 
Bro. Umstad on his knees. An amusing incident is told. 
Once while visiting with an earnest Brother, the latter be- 
gan praying aloud in his sleep. " Brother, pray ! " he ex- 
claimed. Whereupon Bro. Umstad got out of bed, down 
on his knees, and began to supplicate a throne of grace. 

As a preacher, Bro. Quinter says of him : " Brother Um- 
stad's labors in winning souls were very successful. He 
labored not only in the public ministry, but also much in 
private. He was instant in season and out of season. The 
cheerfulness of his Christianity, added to his natural vivac- 
ity, made him an agreeable companion, and when in private 
with his friends he seldom failed to use the opportunity of 
recommending Christ to them, which was often done suc- 
cessfully. ... In his public preaching he was warm and 
pointed, and his direct appeals to sinners was often very 

On meeting strangers his constant question was, "Do 
you love Jesus ? " A certain unconverted man once said, " I 
hate to meet that man, for he always says : ' Well, Bub, do 
you love Jesus ? ' " 

He was both a home missionary and a foreign missionary. 
He was instrumental in starting several mission points near 
home. He opened the work in Norristown, did the first 
aggressive work in the Mingo region. But in those days 
of the horse and wagon, he did work that may well be called 
foreign. We find him as far west as Iowa. While at 
times he went alone, he frequently followed the Gospel 
method of going two by two. Perhaps his chief traveling 


companion was D. P. Saylor. We give D. P. Saylor's 
account of one of these trips. 

"Md., Nov. 14, 1855. 

"Dear Brother, — By these I inform thee of our health and 
happiness; and also (of) a visit of love Br. U. and myself have 
performed among the Brethren in Virginia and Maryland. We 
left my place on the morning of the 5th of September, and re- 
turned on the evening of the 17th of October, being out six 
weeks and one day. During this time we attended twelve love- 
feasts, ten in Virginia and two in Maryland, besides many other 
meetings, (perhaps forty) and traveled nearly 800 miles. 

" The next day after our return, being the 18th of October, 
our lovefeast at Beaver Dam came off, and on the 20th at 
Meadow Branch in the Pipe Creek Church, which made the 
number fourteen for Br. Umstad. 

" The Lord has remembered Zion, and the refreshing from 
His presence has been manifested. From a few of the churches 
we have heard since my return home, stating the number they 
have baptized since, and when I this evening added the number 
together, I find them to be fifty, nearly all young people. From 
one church, it is written, that the Lord's day after we had left, 
they had baptized 18, and among them only one married man; 
the rest were all young people. — 1 1 young women and 6 young 
men. The Brethren rejoice greatly ; so do I, and no doubt the 
angels in heaven participate in that joy. . . . 

"D. P. S." 

John Umstad was away from home so much that he al- 
most became a stranger to his family. Once on leaving 
home he said to his wife of his sickly daughter: " If Sarah 
dies bury her." He was comfortably fixed in things tem- 
poral, so that hard work was not imperative upon him. His 
farm was generally turned over to a tenant. He believed 
in a free Gospel, and so always paid his own traveling 
expenses. While at home he was always busy. He spent 
much of his time at home reading. He was a great reader. 
He was very hospitable, had many visitors. He was fond 
of fishing, having built a fish pond in his meadow. His 
father had built a dam in the Schuylkill River, across to the 
island, at which he had erected a carding mill, and later a 
grist and saw mill. The story is told that on one occasion 


Bro. Umstad had an engagement to preach, but thought 
that he would have time to go fishing awhile in the morning 
before services. He became so absorbed that he forgot 
all about the preaching. Suddenly the thought of his ap- 
pointment struck him. On entering the church, he found 
a waiting congregation. Without ado he entered the pulpit 
and announced his text : " I go a fishing." John 21:3. 

His style as a writer and likely as a speaker may be gath- 
ered from the following lines from his pen, on the death of 
little David Harshberger of Snake Spring Valley, Bedford 
Co., Pa. 

" Yes, that little David is no more ; he who seemed to be so 
lively, and so happy, and so merry, and so pleasing, is no more. 
Although he ran about his father's house as if all was his, and 
made for him, and the new mill, and father and mother, and 
grandmother, all, all seemed to him as his, him to serve, and 
him to obey. But he is gone to rest. He slept some ten 
minutes only in the great cold spring and never waked. The 
mother busy about her domestic duties could not long brook 
the absence of her darling boy, sends sis to seek him, but O that 
horrible scream ! With a mother's quickened pace she hasted, 
drew him from his cold, cold bed, clasped him to her more than 
frozen heart, but oh, the spirit's gone, her little boy does not 
answer, and the angels shout a new arrival among their 
heavenly throng." — Gospel Visitor of September, 1859, p. 288.. 

He was very liberal to the poor. On one occasion a poor 
woman came to his home begging. He gave her five dollars; 
whereupon she went to the house. His wife then came to 
him and asked what she should give. Not saying anything 
about what he had done, he replied : " Mother, just give her 
what you think is right." He carried out to the letter the 
Savior's command that when one makes a feast he should 
not invite his rich friends but the poor who could not recom- 
pense him again. On a certain Thanksgiving Day, he in- 
vited all the poor of the neighborhood to his festive boards 
He became so liberal that interference was deemed neces- 
sary. Unprincipled people would take advantage of his 
goodness of heart by borrowing money and never repaying. 
One such once told him that he would never pay till he waa 


sued. "Very well," replied Bro. Umstad, "then you will 
never pay." The man was afterward converted and paid 
the money. 

He always had family worship. While still young in 
Christian experience, he found it necessary to build a new 
barn. The workmen boarded with him. So many strang- 
ers in the home made the cross of family worship too severe; 
so the first morning passed away without the family assem- 
bling about the home altar, Bro. Umstad was conscience- 
smitten. Next morning he called the men together and thus 
addressed them : " I have been accustomed to having family 
worship, but thought I would pass it by while you men were 
here. I am convinced that I was wrong, so we will have 
our worship." His family worship led to the conversion of 
at least two of the workmen. 

While he was very popular in the Brotherhood, he was 
never appointed on a committee to look after church gov- 
ernment. On one occasion a query came up to the District 
Meeting from the Green Tree Church, asking what should 
be done with sisters who insisted on dressing after the 
worldly fashions. Isaac Price was puzzled. "From the 
Green Tree Church?" He knew of no such question be- 
fore a Green Tree council. All eyes were turned to John 
Umstad for an explanation. He sprang to his feet and 
pointing his finger at the fashionably attired ladies in the 
rear, exclaimed: "If those ladies had to dress in those 
clothes for Jesus' sake, they would not do it ! " 

But he was used on some very important committees. He 
was a member of the committee that brought about the re- 
entrance of the Far West Brethren into the Brotherhood. 
He was member of a committee to revise the hymnal, 
though the work finally devolved on James Quinter. He 
was also a member of the committee of 1859 that advised 
District Meetings as a method of efficient evangelism. 

"His health began to decline a few years before his death, 
and the winter preceding his departure he did not preach 
any, being so advised by his physician. As he lived close 
to the meeting-house, however, he occasionally met with 
the church and delivered a short exhortation. He preached 


his last sermon to the people of his charge, to whom he had 
so long ministered, April 13, 1873, and left home on the 
fifteenth to visit his daughter and her family at Baltimore, 
where he arrived on the sixteenth but little the worse for 
his journey. On the following Sunday night, the twentieth, 
he was taken with severe pains and paralysis of the lower 
parts of the body. The disease ran rapidly to a crisis, and 
he expired on the twenty-seventh, just a week after the 
attack. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, Louis 
Detrich, in that city, in the seventy-second year of his age, 
and after about forty years' devoted service in the ministry. 
" His remains were conveyed to his home, and on Thurs- 
day, May I, he was interred in the cemetery of the church 
he had helped to found so many years before. At his fu- 
neral there were in attendance nearly twenty ministers, and 
an immense throng of sympathizing friends and neighbors." 
The funeral sermon was preached by Elder Jacob Reiner, it 
having been agreed between them that the surviving one 
should preach the other's funeral. 





Among the early congregations organized by the Brethren 
was that in the " Greatswamp." The history of this church 
has never been recorded, and it ceased to exist so long ago, 
that the congregation that now worships in this same ter- 
ritory did not know the former ever existed. This was the 
first organized congregational activity of the Brethren in 
this vast territory where are now located the churches of 
the Indian Creek Group. There is so much that is of 
interest, and there has been such a far-reaching influence 
set in operation, that this early church well deserves a 
careful discussion here, and her history recorded. To write 
this history required years of research, but the writer feels 
satisfied that the fruits of these labors, in the facts of a 
unique history recorded for the first time, will be fully ap- 
preciated. Here, as elsewhere, we are indebted to Rev. 
Morgan Edwards for some of the earliest data and facts, 
and quote as follows : 

"Greatswamp. This society is distinguished by the 
above name, which is a name of a tract of land called the 
Greatswamp. The meeting is kept at the house of Mr. 
John Prick in Upper Milford Township, in the county of 
Bucks, about 40 miles northwest from Philadelphia. The 
families belonging to the society are about 20 whereof 28 
persons are baptized. Thus stood things with them in i/?^- 
Their beginning was in this manner. In the year 1733 one 


"greatswamp." 281 

Salome Miller and Joseph Miller her brother, John Brecht 
and wife, Peter Longanacre and Peter Rhode were bap- 
tized by Mr. John Naass. In 1735 were baptized by Mr. 
Peter Baker and Mr. Martin Urner, one Hanse Zuk and 
wife, John Sleifer, and John Frick and wife; and the same 
time had the Lord's supper administered to them by Mr. 
Peter Baker. This was the period of their existence as a 
society; and 11 their number. They have existed for 35 
years without any remarkable event, except that Count Zin- 
zendorf took away some of them in the year 1752. At first 
they were visited by ministers from other parts, and in- 
creased fast. Several of the Mennonites joined them. But 
since that time the increase has been inconsiderable. The 
first settled minister they had was Rev. Abraham Deboy." 

Since his ministry covered a period so early in the his- 
tory of Greatswamp, a brief biographical sketch is in place 
here. Edwards says of him, "He was born in 1679 at 
Epstein in Germany. Bred a Presbyterian (Reformed). 
Embraced the principles of the Baptists (Brethren), in 1712. 
Came to America in 1728. Settled at Perkiomen; and from 
thence went to the Greatswamp in 1738, where he died and 
was buried March, 1748." This brief record forms the out- 
line of his life, but is incorrect as to the date of his com- 
ing to America, which should be 1732. See Brumbaugh, 
page 144. Elder Duboy, it will be noticed by this date, was 
born the same year in which Alexander Mack, Sr., was, and 
became his assistant. He joined the church in the Marien- 
born district, but a few years later joined the mother con- 
gregation at Schwarzenau, and seems to have been a min- 
ister of considerable prominence. He was a modest man 
and very pious. He was unmarried. Bro. A. H. Cassel 
many years ago related to the writer that Bro. Duboy had 
a strange presentiment of his death. On the morning of the 
day on which he died, he informed the family in which he 
lived that the time of his departure had come. He dressed 
in a shroud prepared for the occasion and invited the family 
to join him in singing, " Nun fahr ich hin mit Freuden, ins 
rechta Vaterland," etc., then, after a fervent prayer, he re- 
clined on a couch and breathed his last, as one would fall 
into a quiet sleep. He was 69 years of age. 


Morgan Edwards informs us: "Since that time (1748), 
Mr. John Frick hath preached to them ; but is not ordained " 
(1770). He gives the following list of members: "John 
Frick, exhorter, and wife, Laurence Erboch and wife, An- 
drew Meinzinger, John Demud and wife, John Sleifer and 
wife, Henry Kun, Philip Goodman and wife, Philip Deal, 
Frederick Deal, John Redrock and wife, Egite Christian 
and wife, Lodowick Christian and wife, Jacob Staut and 
wife, Mary Christian, widow Rinker, Catherine Rinker, 
widow dinger, widow Crayling, Freny Trissel." 

Reference was made to the baptisms of 1733 and 1735. 
George Adam Martin makes reference to the baptism of 
1737, — " It happened in the year 1737, that my Superintend- 
ent (Martin Urner), was called upon to go to the Great- 
swamp, in order to baptize several persons."^ As he re- 
ports, in the Chronicon, it was at this baptism, in 1737, that 
Martin suggested the reading of Matthew 18, instead of 
Luke 14. This suggestion was accepted, and first followed 
in the Greats wamp, and has been the rule of the Brother- 
hood ever since. 

There are several distinct centers around which the his- 
tory of Greats wamp clusters. I am greatly indebted to 
J. G. Francis for information and facts found in his article, 
"An account of the early Brethren in the Greatswamp, as 
gathered from John M. Zuck, a great-grandson of Peter 
Zuck, one of the original members." 

" The Brechts or Brights lived about the center of the 
Brethren settlement near Zion Hill, some four or five miles 
above Quakertown, on the Philadelphia and Allentown road. 
North of Brights, were the Sleifers ; northwest, the Roth- 
rocks; west, the Fricks; southwest, the Zucks. The Breth- 
ren lived here at an early date. They were pioneers. They 
came here when this was virgin territory. It was then 
Indian land, and later became a part of the famous Walk- 
ing Purchase. It is only a few miles from Springtown, in 
the post-office of which we copied the following: ' Spring- 
town-Route of the Indian Walk, or Walking Purchase, 
September 19, 1739, led through Springtown. Here the 

1 Chronicon Ephratense, pp. 243, 244. 

"greatswamp." 283 

walkers — Marshall and Yates — dined with George Wilson, 
the first white settler, who located here in 1728, as an In- 
dian trader.' " It will be seen by these dates, that John 
Naas preached here, baptized members, and that the church 
was organized and a Lovefeast held a number of years be- 
fore the Penns had bought this land from the Indians. 

Mr. Zuck states, " this land is not swampy and never was. 
It is rather level, or not hilly, and the soil is good. The 
name Greatswamp is rather misleading. The Brethren lived 
in what is now Upper Milford, Richland and Springfield 
townships, near the intersection of the three townships, close 
to the Lehigh County line." 

Bro. Francis's account further states as follows : 

"On the north side of the Brecht farm is the old Brecht 
cemetery. It is east a short distance from the Philadelphia 
and Allentown road, just before you come to Zion Hill Lu- 
theran Church, along the road leading down to Shelley's Sta- 
tion. It would have been more correct to have called it the 
Bright and Rothrock cemetery, for it is right on the line 
between the two old farms and taken out of both, and in 
it the Rothrocks buried as well as the Brechts. Other fam- 
ilies also buried here. The little cemetery, about 40 feet 
wide and 60 feet long, is said to be full, but not a stone is 
marked, the little sandstones being scarcely visible any 
more. The southern part of the cemetery is surrounded 
by a crude wall, a wall running almost through the middle. 
This walled-in section was especially the Brecht cemetery. 
The whole cemetery is overgrown with trees. See cut. As 
long as the Rothrocks lived around here, they kept the ceme- 
tery fenced, but now it is completely neglected. The 
Brights have also all moved away, the nearest one lives in 

"But not all of the Brethren of the old settlement are 
buried here. A mile, or more, south of this cemetery, along 
the Philadelphia and Allentown road is the East Swamp 
Mennonite Church with its city of the dead. The Menno- 
nites have from the first been numerous here. Here lie the 
remains of Peter Zuck, one of the early Brethren, and also 
some of the Sleifers who were members. Peter has a well- 
preserved tombstone. On it are the words: ' Hier lieght 


hegrahen Peter Zuck. Er is geboren den 2oden August, 
im Jahr 1728, und is gestorhen den i^ten tag May im 
Jahr 1812.' His house was a preaching station. He is the 
second generation of Zucks in America. His father bought 
the old Zuck homestead in 1727, and it has continued in the 
family to the persent day. John M. Zug our informant, 
now in his eighties, being owner of a part of it. There was 
also preaching in a barn south of Zucks. This old barn 
when torn down was found to have some very sound logs. 
A certain rather profane fellow declared that the soundness 
was due to the preaching of the Brethren." 

The Settlement in Sacon Township. — There seem to have 
been two somewhat distinct settlements in the Greatswamp 
Church, or possibly one earlier than the other. While we 
know considerable about this settlement in Sacon Township, 
which we are now to consider, it is difficult to fix dates, and 
to locate just where the members lived. Several facts, 
however, are well established. The membership at one time 
must have been quite large, and in a large and flourishing 
community. Some of the families of members, of which 
we have knowledge, were large and of more than ordi- 
nary prominence. Some of these families have continued 
through succeeding generations, down to the present. 

The Old Cemetery. — So limited were all forms of records, 
that for a time it seemed hopeless to unravel the mysteries 
of this now historic setlement. The old cemetery was the 
only known clue, with which this history might be traced, 
but fortunately it turned out to be the key to the whole situa- 
tion, and, therefore, because of its importance, a brief de- 
scription of it is in place here. The first thing that strikes 
the visitor to this ancient God's acre is the substantial 
character of the wall, and the large amount of space the 
wall encloses. This size shows the great importance of the 
place, to a large community in time past. This large space 
in this city of the dead is probably fully occupied. There 
are many small stones, and plenty of evidence of many un- 
marked graves. There are some larger tombstones, and a 
few newer ones, and of more recent date, the cemetery itself 
being much neglected, and little cared for. Except for the 



Brecht and Rothrock Cemetery, Great Swamp. 

Mennonite Cemetery, where Peter Zug and Other Early Brethren 

ARE Buried. 

"greatswamp." 285 

size, one might suppose the place to be of Httle importance 
by its neglected appearance inside. But the size, and the 
substantial enclosure are abundant proof that a community 
was greatly interested in perpetuating what to-day is not 
visible. This wall is the crystallized thought of a commu- 
nity, its visible testimony to buried interests within. This 
walled cemetery is about loo feet square, and if the ground 
is fully occupied, as it seems to be, about 400 people lie 
buried here. 

The Old Deed} — Having learned something of the old 
cemetery, and its importance to the community, it will be of 
much interest to know something about the deed that estab- 
lished upon a little spot of ground, of which the cemetery is 
a part, such an important educational and religious center. 
It was almost three years from the time I began work upon 
the history of Greatswamp, until I found trace of this im- 
portant old document. I am greatly indebted to Rev. Jacob 
Rothrock,^ a lineal descendant of one of the Brethren fam- 
ilies of Rothrocks, of Greatswamp, and whose ancestors are 
buried in the old cemetery, for the privilege of copying from 
the Old Deed. In copying from this historic paper, I have 
followed literally the spelling and capitalization, so as not 
to destroy its unique identity. 

To All To Whom These Presents Shall Come John Kram, 
of lower Sacon township in the County Northampton, and 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, yeomen Peter Kram of the 
Same Place, yeomen Henry Kram of the Same Place yeomen 
Sons of Jacob Kram late of lower sacon township, Deceased 
Susana Kram Catarina Rigel Daughters of the Said Jacob 
Kram Deceased Send greeting Whereas Jacob Kram aforesaid 
Shortly before his Death Did order Peter Rhoads to Devide 
his land to and Among his Sons and to make Respective 
Draughts thereof and also Did order and Direct the Said Sur- 
veyor to Survey off a Certain piece at the Northwest Corner 
of his mill land Beginning in the graveyard being the North- 
west Corner of this land thence extenting by land of Isaac 
Rothdrock South four degrees and a half East eight perches 

iThe Original in possession Rev. Jacob Rothrock. 
2 Pastor of the Reformed Church, Lansdale. 


and four tenths of a perch to a post thence by his other land 
North Seventy-Seven degrees East ten perches and four tenths 
of a perch to a post North thirteen Degrees West to a post in in 
a line Between the Said Kram and Isaac Rothdrock four 
perches and four tenths of a perch thence by land of Said Isaac 
Rothdrock North Seventy nine Degrees and three quarters of a 
Degree ten perches to the Place of beginning Containing Sixty 
four perches of land which land So Described and Containing 
Sixty four perches the said Said Jacob Kram being intented by 
lawful Conveyance to give grant and Confirm unto the menoist 
and Baptice Societice for to Build a house thereon for Keeping 
School and Buplic worship therein and also for a graveyard for 
the Said Societice and other Neighbours which will chose to 
Burying their Deat (which Diet a Christian Death,) therein 
and to hold a Burial Sermon in the Said School house. 

But whereas the Said Jacob Kram before he could Complete 
his intention being taken with hard Sickness and made his last 
will and Testament by which he ordained and Devised all his 
other land Except the above Discribed Sixty four Perches and 
also Did ordain and Devise of all his Personall Estate But 
Did not Mention and Direct anything of the aforesaid Sixty 
four perches of land it is suposed that he hath forgot by the 
hart paine of his Sickness and Did Die in Respect to the Said 
Sixty four Perches of land intested. But whereas all the chil- 
dren then alive of the Said Jacob Kram being Contented with 
the mind of their father and did Wish that the Said Land might 
be Confirmed unto the Said Societice. 

But being allso Delayed until their two Brothers also Did 
Die intested. 

Now Know Ye all whom May Concern that we John Kram 
Peter Kram Henry Kram Catarina Rigel and Susanna Kram 
in Consideration of the love which we bearing to the Said Soci- 
etice as also for the Desire which we bearing that the intention 
and mind of our father the Said Jacob Kram might be fulfilled 
hath Respectively for our Self and our Respective heirs Re- 
leased Granted and Confirmed and by these present Do Re- 
lease Grant and Confirm unto Samuel Kauffmanof lower Sacon 
township County and Commonwealth aforesaid in trust and be- 
half of the Said menoist Societice and unto Samuel Rothdrok 
of the Same place in trust and behalf of the Said Baptic 
Societice all our Right title intress Claim and Demand of in 
and to the above Discribed Sixty four perches of land Here- 
ditaments and Appurtenances to have and to hold the Said 

"greatswamp." 287 

Sixty four perches of land Hereditaments and Appurtenances 
unto them the Said Samuel Kauffman and Samuel Rothdrock 
and their Successors in trust of the Said Societice to the only 
and proper use and behoof of the Said Societice for the use 
allthough as it is above Declared and Described Being the inten- 
tion of the Said Jacob Kram Deceased for ever and the Said 
John Kram Peter Kram Henry Kram Catarina Rigel and Su- 
sanna Kram Do testify that their Brothers Jacob and Abraham 
when they being alive they was of the Same mind with them 
and would have Done the Same as they themself have Done 
by these Present In Witness Whereof the Said Peter Kram 
John Kram Henry Kram Catarina Rigel and Susanna Kram 
have to these Present Set their Hand and Seal this first Day of 
April in the year of our lord one thousand eight Hundret and 

JoHANEs Kram (Seal) 
Peter Kram (Seal) 
Henry Kram (Seal) 


Catarina X Rigel (Seal) 



Susanna X Kram (Seal) 


It will be seen by the foregoing deed that the survey was 
made during the life time of Jacob Kram, and by his direc- 
tion, and likely the ground was occupied as designed many 
years before the deed was made. It will be noticed, further, 
that the graveyard was in existence already when the survey 
was ordered, — " Beginning in the graveyard, etc." How 
many years intervened I do not know, but we do know that 
Jacob Kram and two of his sons died before the deed was 
finally made. 

It is impossible to trace the history of the house, that was 
used for a long time, for school and church services. It is 
said it was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt. It seems in time 
there was no minister living there, and the Brethren from 
Indian Creek filled the appointments. The house was old 
and dilapidated, and the membership having nearly died out, 
the place was abandoned. With the introduction of the 


public school system, the place was handed over to the 
school directors, with the provision that the meeting house 
benches should be stored in the loft of the new school house, 
and on funeral occasions, the school desks should be re- 
moved and the benches brought down for the seating of 
the funeral assembly. Rev. Rothrock informs me, that as 
a boy, he assisted twice in making this preparation for 
funerals. No funeral probably was held here for many 
years. After the building of churches, funeral services 
were held elsewhere, and other graveyards located, and the 
place is little used now. It is a long chapter that extends 
backward into the forgotten past. The history of these 
generations is finished, and for the most part it is a sealed 
volume. A brick school house still stands on this historic 
spot, a living monument that reflects the light that shines out 
of past. 








Geographically, the early Indian Creek field was of vast 
extent, without boundaries of any kind, or congregational 

The Brethren have lived and labored here for one hun- 
dred and ninety-four years, and the field was once exceed- 
ingly rich in religious and family history, but much of it 
has passed into oblivion many years ago. While the Great- 
swamp Brethren Church was the first organized congrega- 
tion, the first preaching services by the Brethren were held 
in the present bounds of the Indian Creek, and when the 
Greatswamp ceased to exist as an organization, the entire 
region became Indian Creek territory, and the Indian Creek 
ministers supplied the preaching that revived the work, 
which later became the Springfield congregation. It is 
impossible to say now when the first regular preaching 
services were held in Indian Creek, or, indeed, when the 
church was organized. We do know, however, that some 
of those who constituted the first emigration of 1719, 
settled in the Skippack region, and were visited by the Ger- 
mantown ministers even before the Germantown Church was 

" Now we must consider the movements of the Baptists at 
Germantown. Peter Becker, in pursuance of the Superin- 
tendent's counsel, with two other Brethren, undertook in the 
autumn of 1722, a journey to all their Brethren scattered 
throughout the land, which was their first church visitation in 
America. They traveled through the regions of Shippack 
(Skippack), Falckner's Swamp, Oley, etc."^ 

Again, in 1724, after Germantown was organized, when 

^ See Chronicon, page 22. 
20 289 



the famous Missionary Journey was undertaken, this same 
region was visited: 

" Now, after God had so manifestly blessed their labors, they 
sought to work forward to meet the awakening, and resolved 
to undertake a general visitation to all their Brethren in the 
whole country. They fixed upon the twenty-third day of Oc- 
tober, of the year 1724, as the time for starting on their visita- 
tion from Germantown. They first went to Schippack (Skip- 
pack), etc."^ 

It is evident, therefore, from these and other records, that 
the Indian Creek territory early received attention from 
Germantown, and continued to do so for many years. We 
know, furthermore, that one of the Germantown minis- 
ters^ settled on the Indian Creek very early, and at the 
time of the first Lovefeast in Germantown, he is counted 
one of the members of the Germantown Church. It is not 
strange, therefore, that Indian Creek seems to have been 
regarded for many, many years, as a part, or branch, of 

Although I have continued diligent research for several 
years, I have been unable to find satisfactory data of the his- 
tory of the earlier periods of Brethren activity in the Indian 
Creek. I must be content, therefore, with tracing some iso- 
lated facts, and a brief history of the lives of some of the 
most prominent Elders, and their families. It is altogether 
likely that some ministers, even prominent in their day, have 
entirely escaped notice. Little remains of the earliest period 
after a lapse of one hundred and ninety years. What a 
wealth of history has perished where death has garnered 
six generations ! The little that remains was far too valu- 
able to be consigned to entire oblivion. Even what seemed 
to be so barren a field has yielded gratifying results, and I 
am sincerely thankful for even meager gleanings from many 
\ sources. I can only hope that what is here set forth will 
inspire some one to continue a faithful research for rich 
rewards that are yet possible, though now covered beneath 
the dust of a century, and more. 

1 See Chronicon, p. 24. 

2 See discussion of the Price family, later in this chapter. 

indian creek church. 291 

The Price Family.^ 

The history of this noted family for the past two hundred 
years, if it could be written, would fill a large volume. A 
brief sketch here is due this family, which has been promi- 
nent in the activities of the Church of the Brethren through- 
out her history in America. Jacob Price, or (John Jacob 
Preis), was the ancestor of the Price family in America. 
He was a noted preacher among the Brethren in Europe, 
almost as soon as the Church was organized. He came 
to America with the first emigration, in 1719. He settled 
for a short time in Germantown, where he became acquainted 
with Dirk Johnson, who about this time had obtained a 
warrant for 500 acres of land, on or near the Indian Creek. 
This warrant was granted August 15, 1719, and on Feb- 
ruary 19, 1720, 500 acres were surveyed for him. On the 
following 20th of June, 1720, Jacob Price purchased 200 
acres from Dirk Johnson and wife, Margaret. This lo- 
cated Jacob Price on the Indian Creek, where his descend- 
ants have resided ever since, and the Price homestead has 
continued in the family until the present time. Jacob Price 
made considerable improvements on his farm, but he never 
became a naturalized citizen. He had an only son, whose 
name was John, who was born in Germany, and was in his 
seventeenth year when he came to America. 

The following published account is quoted in "Sketches, 
of Lower Salford Township " : 

"Aaron, the brother of Moses, was hardly more distfn-- 
guished as the lineal head of the Hebrew priesthood, than was 
Jacob Price as the progenitor and head of a line of Elders 
and ministers among the Germah 'Baptists, or 'Dunkers* 
(Brethren), of Pennsylvania, continuing down to the present 
day. This Jacob Price, who was born in Witgenstein, Prussia, 
about the beginning of the eighteenth century (earlier), emi- 
grated in 1719, and settled at Indian Creek, Lower Salford 

« We are largely indebted to Abraham H. Cassel for the facts in re- 
gard to the earlier history of the Price family. He furnished much 
valuable information to Jas. Y. Heckler for his "Historical Sketches 
of Lower Salford Township," a copy of which was kindly loaned me 
by N. F. Heckler, and I hereby acknowledge my indebtedness to all. — 
The Author. 


Township, Montgomery County, where he took up land. He 
was small in stature — rather imperfectly developed physically — 
and not commanding in appearance, but a powerful preacher. 

" This man had one son, Johannas, also a minister at an early 
age. He became noted for his aptness in writing poetry. In 
1753, Christopher Sower, of Germantown, published a col- 
lection of his hymns, but in spite of his talents he became so 
weakly that his father feared that he would not live to have 
issue, and, so anxious was the parent to leave a name and 
posterity behind him that he encouraged his son to marry while 
still very young. He did so and was blessed with two sons." 

It seems to be a well established fact that the wife of this 
John was a beautiful Indian maiden who was selected for 
her physical perfection. One traditional account states that 
when the Indians removed from the neighborhood this 
beautiful girl, sick with fever, was left behind. Jacob 
Price, the father, was out hunting, and discovered the sick 
girl. He took her to his home, where she was tenderly 
nursed to health, and became the wife of John the weakly 
son. Another account says, her people lived in a log house, 
on the farm, on the other side of Indian Creek. She bore 
her husband two sons, the second born after the death of 
his father. When John Price died, it is said, the young 
widow in her sadness, longed for her own people and joined 
them, while the grandfather, Jacob, raised the two infant 
sons, Daniel and John. Certain it is that this woman has 
infused new life into the Price family, that has continued for 
a century and a half, and all her descendants may be proud 
of such blood and vigor. 

Jacob, being well advanced in years and bodily infirm, his 
son, John, now being dead, conveyed his plantation, con- 
taining 200 acres, to his oldest grandson, Daniel, with all 
the power vested in himself, being an alien and no citizen, 
February 7, 1741, on condition that he would pay to his 
brother, John, £600 in lawful money of Pennsylvania, or 
give him his equal half of the 200 acres. To secure the pay- 
ment thereof, Daniel gave his bond for the said amount, and 
in case Jacob, their grandfather, should die before John was 
of lawful age the money was to be given to Jacob Reiff in 


trust for the said John Price. The £600 were paid to his 
brother, John, April 3, 1753, when the latter signed a 
release, acknowledging the receipt of the said sum and re- 
nouncing all claim to the land. Daniel Price made applica- 
tion to have the plantation legally conveyed to him by patent 
which "was obtained from the Honorable John Penn, 
Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, December 10, 1742." This 
established Daniel Price on the ancestral homestead, and 
his male descendants became prominent elders and minis- 
ters in Indian Creek, Coventry, Green Tree, Germantown, 
Upper Dublin, Hatfield, Springfield, and other churches in 
Eastern Pennsylvania. Some of these will be noticed in 
proper order, in succeeding pages. 

John Price, the younger son before mentioned, in early 
life removed to Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where he 
and his family won high esteem and material prosperity. 
Some of the descendants are scattered throughout the middle 
west, — Elder D. E. Price, of Illinois, an ex-moderator of 
Annual Meeting, being one of them. But this branch of 
the family forms no part of the present history. 

Daniel was born December 11, 1723, and he was, there- 
fore, within one day of 19 years, when he received the 
patent for his grandfather Jacob's farm. Thus was laid 
the foundation for the material resources that have served 
the Price family for so many generations. He seems to 
have been a man of great energy and industry. " He 
cleared away the forests and brought the land into service, 
the meadows into grass, and the fields under cultivation." 
He added to his possessions, until in 1776, he was assessed 
for 345 acres. He had thirteen children, but only five sons 
and two daughters raised families. In 1783 he sold to 
his son John, 130 acres of the farm; and in 1787, 165 acres 
to his son William. He died in 1804; aged 80 years, and 
2 months. This William increased his holdings until he 
owned 322 acres. He died at the age of 45 years, in 1805. 
It will thus be seen that some of these early Prices had' 
large and valuable possession in farms, and later became 
mill-owners and merchants here and elsewhere. 

The following is a brief tabulation of ministers in the 
Price family at Indian Creek, and elsewhere : 

294 the church of the brethren. 

Elders and Ministers of the Price Family. 

First Generation. — Jacob Price, the great ancestor, was a 
prominent minister and elder, in Europe and America. 

Second Generation. — John Price, son of Jacob, was a 
minister and poet very young. He died at about 22 years 
of age. 

Third Generation. — There seems to be no record that 
either Daniel or John, of this generation, was a minister. 

Fourth Generation. — John, son of Daniel, son of John, 
son of Jacob, was for many years the elder of Indian Creek. 
He died September 7, 1829; aged yy years, 9 months, and 2 

George, of the same generation, and a brother to the 
above John, moved to Coventry, and was for many years a 
prominent minister there, and Elder of the Coventry Church 
from 1810 to 1823. 

Fifth Generation. — John, son of the above John, of the 
fourth generation, was for many years a minister at Ger- 
mantown and Upper Dublin. 

William W., brother of the above John, was a poet, and 
German hymn writer, a sweet singer, and a celebrated 
preacher. He was Elder of Indian Creek many years. 

John, son of the preceding George of the fourth genera- 
tion, was the noted " boy preacher," and succeeded his father 
as Elder of Coventry, from 1823 to 1850. 

Sixth Generation. — Isaac, son of the above John, of Cov- 
entry, was an active and able minister and elder at Green 

George, brother to Isaac above, was a fellow minister 
with him at Green Tree. 

John, Jr., a third brother, was a minister at Coventry, and 
succeeded his father, John, as Elder of Coventry, from 
1850 to 1879. 

Henry A., son of Daniel, son of John, son of Daniel, son 
of John, son of Jacob, was Elder of Indian Creek. He 
died in 1906. 

Caleb, son of Daniel, son of Daniel, son of Daniel, son 
of John, son of Jacob, was a minister at Hatfield and Upper 


Seventh Generation. — Jonas, son of Jacob, son of Wil- 
liam W., was for many years one of the leading ministers 
at Hatfield. 

Jacob M., son of Abraham, son of Jacob, is the present 
Elder at Indian Creek. 

Biographies, and creditable notice have been given else- 
where in this volume to the several Price ministers in their 
respective congregations of this District. For lack of ma- 
terial and information, as well as lack of space, I can not 
give extended biographies of the ministers in the home con- 
gregation of the Price family. I wish to add, however, a 
few biographical facts, and a few facts of general interest. 
The Price family has furnished a large number of teachers 
as well as preachers, during its succeeding generations. 
Throughout the history of the Indian Creek Church there 
have almost always been one or more Price ministers, and 
much of the time a Price has been Elder in charge. 

Bro. Abraham H. Cassel, many years ago, wrote as 
follows : 

**As most of the Prices are living in Montgomery County, 
and being acquainted with them in all their generations, I 
would say for them in general that they have ever been identi- 
fied with the most intelligent people of the country, and ap- 
pear to have been a priestly race of teachers and preachers as 
far back as we have any knowledge of them." 

Of William W. Price he wrote as follows : 

" William W. Price was the youngest son of Elder John 
Price, of the fourth generation. He was born August 29, 
1789, on a part of the old homestead at Indian Creek, and 
early in life while working yet with his father on the farm 
manifested an eager desire for knowledge, so that he embraced 
every opportunity to cultivate his mind, occupying all his spare 
moments in reading and other studies in which he made great 
progress until his sixteenth year when he was apprenticed to 
the tailor trade, which he followed till he arrived to manhood ; 
then he was requested to teach a school ; he accepted the offer 
and was for several years a successful teacher. In 181 3, being 
then in his twenty-fifth year, he married Mary Reiff and com- 
menced farming, besides working at his trade whenever he 


could. They had ten children, nine of which grew to man- 
hood and most of them have famiHes. In 1814 he was elected 
to the ministry, and about the year 1830, he was advanced to 
the office of Elder or Bishop, which he filled with untiring zeal 
and unflinching faithfulness until the day of his death, which 
occurred August 7, 1849, at the age of nearly sixty years. Of 
him it may well be said, 'He preached the word ; was instant, in 
season and out of season,' sowing the divine seed on every side. 
Besides the cares of a large family and the faithful discharge 
of duties to the church at home, he traveled a great deal as an 
Evangelist, visiting the surrounding churches and assisting 
them at their councils, communion seasons, etc. Occasionally 
he also took far trips as missionary to other states, and visited 
many of the churches in Maryland, Virginia, and through the 
interior of Ohio, long before our modern facilities for travel 
had been established, going in his own conveyance and also 
at his own expense, thus practically enforcing the precept: 
' Freely ye have received, freely give.' . . . He had a powerful 
voice and a very retentive memory. Besides his fame as a 
preacher he was also a great vocalist, having a thorough under- 
standing of the science of music and sang with a wonderful 
command and compass of voice. He was also a poet of 
considerable ability, and wrote quite a number of German 
hymns, besides making many translations of popular and 
favorite English verses, a small collection of which were col- 
lected by me and were published by J. E. Pfautz, at Ephrata, 
Pa., in 1858. He also wrote several sacred poems of con- 
siderable length, . . . which were never published ; besides mis- 
cellaneous matters in prose and verse." 

The Harley Family. 

Next to the Price family, in importance, is the Harley 
family. The latter having fewer prominent men, but its 
history is as old, and it has exerted likewise a very wide 
influence in Indian Creek and other Congregations of the 

Rudolph Harley, Sr., came to America in the first emigra- 
tion of 1719. We have little positive information, but a 
few points are important. He is the ancestor of the Harley 
family in America, and he was a minister at Indian Creek. 
Upon his arrival in America, he settled in Germantown, and 


about the year 1733, removed to Amwell, New Jersey. 
This was about the time when the celebrated Elder John 
Naas established the work in New Jersey. He seems to 
have removed to the Indian Creek in 1740, and in the year 
1744 purchased from George Stump a farm of 182 acres, 
which he owned until 1784. 

This brief information is mainly from his great-great- 
grandson, Abraham H. Cassel. A little more information 
will appear under the head of " Organized Effort." 

Information is not at hand to trace this family either 
by generations or by individuals, but a few facts are inter- 
esting. Some reference is made to Harleys in the history 
of other Congregations of the District. The Price and Har- 
ley families intermarried, and for several generations the 
work at Indian Creek was largely carried on by these two 
families. Rudolph Harley, Jr., married Mary, daughter of 
Elder Peter Becker; and his son, Samuel, married Cath- 
erine, 2d daughter of Elder Christopher Sower. This is 
how Elder Peter Becker, Elder Rudolph Harley, Sr., and 
Christopher Sower, ist, were great-great-grandfathers to 
Abraham H. Cassel. He, therefore, represents, in himself, 
four prominent families of Brethren. 

There were at least three ministers in later generations, in 
the family of Rudolph Harley, Sr., viz. : Samuel, Benjamin, 
and Jonas. 

Elder Samuel Harley. 

I must close this family by a brief biography of its most 
celebrated representative. He was " the fifth child of Abra- 
ham, born November 26, 1795." He was married to Eliz- 
abeth Klein and had two children. Jas. Y. Heckler, in 
"Sketches of Lower Salford Township," says of him: 

" He was a minister and Bishop, or Elder in the Dunkard or 
Brethren Church, and was one of the most eloquent and in- 
fluential speakers the church ever had. He became widely 
known and highly distinguished as a speaker and orator in the 
German language." 


The following is taken from " Cassel Family, by Daniel 
Kolb Cassel" : 

" Rev. Samuel Harley, son of Abraham, . . . was a farmer 
by occupation, and early in life became a member of the 
German Baptist or Brethren Church. It was not very long 
until he was elected to the office of deacon in which capacity 
he was often requested to offer prayer and to bear testimony 
to the sermons, which he did with so much ability that he was 
soon called to the ministry. He was a diligent reader of 
Scripture, of church history, of the church fathers and of 
religious authors, and improved rapidly as a speaker and orator. 
After the death of Elder William Price, in 1849, he was or- 
dained to the position of Bishop by the laying on of hands. 
He had much magnetic influence and in his preaching had a 
very persuasive way in declaring his ideas, appealing to sinners, 
convincing and converting them. He was the most eloquent 
German minister in the Brethren Church in his time, and wher- 
ever he went he drew large crowds of people. He was also 
very sociable and affectionate in his intercourse with his 
friends. He often went into other localities to preach, and 
when it was known that he was coming, the people would 
flock together 'to hear him. It was by his preaching that many 
people were converted to God and a number of churches were 
started, and eight or more meeting-houses were built under his 
care. As a minister and an orator he was very successful, and 
his abilities were of the highest order. . . . He died October 20, 
1878, aged 82 years, 10 months and 24 days." 

Samuel Harley was a son of Abraham, son of Samuel, 
son of Rudolph, Jr., son of Rudolph, Sr. Benjamin was his 
brother and Jonas was his son. 

Other Families. — There are other families, many of 
them no doubt, which have entered actively into the work 
at Indian Creek during these almost two hundred years, 
whose names are not even known to me. There are some, 
however, that have furnished prominent workers, ministers 
and lay members, that deserve brief notice, in fact deserve 
more extended notice than can be given here. 

The Nyce family is likely an old one at Indian Creek, and 
dates back to Germantown at an early day, and has repre- 
sentative workers in a number of Congregations in the Dis- 


trict. This family was represented in the Indian Creek min- 
istry during the past generation by Elder William P. Nyce. 
See " Elders of Indian Creek." 

The Cassel family is a very large and influential family, 
has had a continuous existence in this country for more than 
two hundred years. Members of this family have been in 
the Brethren Church for four or five generations. Like the 
Price and Harley families this one has also given ministers 
to other congregations. 

Abraham H. Cassel. — A conspicuous figure in our church 
history, and one of the most celebrated laymen in the 
Brotherhood, was Abraham H. Cassel. His biography has 
been written many times, and very fully in newspapers and 
magazine articles, and, also, in "The Cassel Family, by 
Daniel K. Cassel," and it is not necessary to record here 
an extensive account of his life. The frequent references 
to, and quotations from, his writings, in this volume, have 
already recorded in part his extensive labors of research 
into the early history of the Brethren. It is necessary, how- 
ever, to present here some biographical facts that shall give 
him a proper setting in his home congregation, four of 
whose prominent families, as stated, he so conspicuously 
represents. From "Biographies, Men of Montgomery 
County, Abraham H. Cassel," by Samuel W. Pennypacker 
(Ex-governor), I quote as follows: 

" This remarkable man, whose memory will be cherished as 
long as the German race exists in Pennsylvania, is a descendant 
in the fifth generation of Hupert Kassel (Cassel), who came 
to this county about 171 5. . . . 

"He was born in Towamencin township, Montgomery 
county, on the 21st of September, 1820, and reared in an in- 
terior German settlement, at such a distance from the outside 
world that only in recent years has a railroad approached 
within five miles of his residence; among a people whose 
highest ambition is the accumulation of land, which they only 
acquire by hard labor and rugged selfdenial ; and whose sole 
literary food is the Bible or sermon of the Dunker or Menno- 
nite preacher — a farmer like themselves. His immediate an- 
cestors and parents were plain and worthy people, whose views 
of life were limited to the sowing of the seed and the gather- 


ing in of the harvest ; and who felt in their consciences that 
to permit a child to spend his time over books was to start 
him upon the broad way which leads to destruction. . . . 

" His father finding that his fondness for books was increas- 
ing, and fearing that it would lead him entirely away from 
useful labor, sternly endeavored to repress it. Fire, money 
and light were denied him, and even the rod was not spared 
in the effort to crush the supposed evil propensity. The boy 
was therefore compelled to pursue his studies by stealth, as 
he had opportunity — in the wagonhouse, in the haymow, and 
late at night while others were asleep. About six weeks' tui- 
tion at a country school house was all the instruction he re- 
ceived. . . . He learned to write with a chicken feather, which 
a kind relative showed him how to split at the point. When 
a young man he began to teach school, and in this occupation 
continued for eight years. While boarding around in the 
farmers' houses, in lieu of salary, as was the custom, he found 
the opportunity of his life in learning the whereabouts of those 
rare old tomes, long since neglected and forgotten, which the 
religious enthusiasts who settled Pennsylvania brought with 
them across the Atlantic, or reprinted here for their spiritual 
delectation. In early youth he began to invest his spare earn- 
ings in books, and now, at the age of fifty-eight (in 1879), he 
has a library of over 10,000 volumes, which is in some re- 
spects one of the most remarkable in the world, and in its 
own particular specialties stands entirely alone. It would be 
impossible within the limits of such a notice as this to give an 
adequate idea of his valuable collection. It is in the main a 
theological and historical library in English and German, 
though not confined to those subjects of language. In the 
works of the fathers of the Church of the Reformed of the 
sixteenth century, and in the early printed Bible it is particu- 
larly rich. The literature of the Dunker Church (Brethren), 
specimens of which are difficult to find elsewhere, is here seen 
entire. It contains much literary bric-a-brac. 

"On the 1st of April, 1843, he married EHzabeth, daughter 
of Issachar and Elizabeth Rhodes, and they had eight children. 

" In addition to his library he owns a farm of seventy-five 
acres, and by industry and frugality has accumulated what is 
considered a competence by the unpretentious people among 
w^hom he lives." 

Bro. Cassel sold his library principally in three collections. 


viz. : "Mt. Morris College, Mt. Morris, 111. ; Pensylvania His- 
torical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. ; and Dr. M. G. Brum- 
baugh, for Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa. 

He died April 23, 1908^ aged 87 years, and is buried in 
the Harley, or Klein, Burying ground, at Klein's, or Fran- 
conia meeting-house. 

The Booz family has been identified with the work for 
several generations and has produced some active workers. 
Jacob Booz, of the past generation, was a minister for many 
years, — and his son, Jacob M. Booz, is now an Elder at 
Upper Dublin. 

Elder James Shisler, representing the Shisler family, is 
a very active minister in the present generation, and has 
been non-resident Elder of several congregations in the Dis- 

The Heckler family has furnished active workers for sev- 
eral generations, including James Y. Heckler, author of 
"History of Lower Salford Township" ; and " Ecclesiatir 
them, or a Song of the Brethren." 

Jesse Y. Heckler, a brother, was a minister in Nebraska, 
and Joseph, another brother, is a deacon, at Hatfield. 

Many other families might be mentioned in this con- 
nection, but I am either not familiar with their history, or 
they have been sufficiently noticed elsewhere. 

Organized Beginnings. 

Unfortunately we know but little of the earliest Indian 
Creek history, except as already noted in the principal 
workers and their families. We have already stated, how- 
ever, that services were held by the Germantown ministers 
from earliest times. Bro. Abraham H. Cassel wrote many 
years ago, about these times, viz. : 

" Several other Brethren soon settled in the vicinity, promi- 
nent among them was Johannes Kempfer, Ulrich Stauffer and 
George Reiff, who with their numerous descendants soon con- 
stituted the nucleus of the present Indian Creek Church, for 
as soon as a goodly number were within convenient distances 
they instituted public worship in their private houses and barns. 


Rudolph Harley and Jakob Preis (Jacob Price) served as 
exhorters or licensed preachers, and as the members here were 
mostly the offspring of the mother church at Germantown, they 
were for many years regarded as a branch of the Germantown 
Church and were therefore under their fostering care, and 
frequently visited by the Elders and officials of Germantown." 

After the death of his wife, at Germantown, in 1746, 
Elder Peter Becker moved to the Indian Creek, and resided 
there, with his daughter, Mrs. Rudolph Harley, Jr., until his 
death, in 1758. Jacob Price having died, the ministers dur- 
ing this period, resident, were Peter Becker and Rudolph 
Harley Sr., with frequent visits from Germantown, and 
Elder Abraham Duboy, of Greatswamp, also assisted for 
several years, until his death, in 1748. These were indeed 
the beginnings, but all these workers passed away before 
there was an organized and separate congregation. 

Generations passed away, and a new era dawns. John 
Price, the great-grandson of the above Jacob Price, " was 
born in 1751, and became a member early in life, and soon 
after an assistant in the ministry, and was ordained about 
1785. From that time the Indian Creek branch became an 
independent church."^ 

Eld. John Price was in the Eldership about 44 years, and 
seems to have had charge of the Church during the entire 
period, which was evidently a period of considerable ex- 
pansion of the work. But nothing can be said definitely 
about the growth, as there seem to be absolutely no records 
of baptisms for the first one hundred years or more. 

Meeting-Houses and Burial Grounds. 

Indian Creek. — It is impossible to say when the first 
meeting-house was built, but it was built on the grounds of 
the present Indian Creek Meeting-House, on which grounds 
there have been four houses, the first three being on the same 
site at the road. The First House was a small one, " like 
a small school-house," a frame structure, built of unfinished 
boards, painted red and the building was not heated or 

1 Notes, by Abraham H. Cassel. 










Grave of Elder Samuel Harley, 
Indian Creek. 

Gnave ok Elder Hkn'ky Price, 
Indian Creek. 


lighted. So tradition tells us, and the story is likely cor- 
rect enough, — and the picture is, indeed, entirely correct, if 
this house existed at an early date, as seems to be the case. 
The Second House was also of frame, built on the same 
site, but larger in size, — indicating the needs of the growing 
interest in the religious activity on the Indian Creek. I 
have not been able to find out how long these houses stood, 
but it is very evident these two served their purpose as a 
place of worship many years. The Third House occupied 
the same site, and was much larger. It was a substantial 
stone building, with a basement under a part of the build- 
ing, and is said to have been erected in 1850, or soon after 
that date. This house served the congregation for half a 
century, and, though Mingo, Hatfield and Springfield were 
cut off, and organized separately, the growing mother con- 
gregation could no longer be properly accommodated in the 
stone house of the fathers, and it was torn down in 1906. 
The Fourth House was built the same year. It had been 
decided to repair the old stone house but a strong sentiment 
developed for a new house. Elder Jacob M. Price and 
deacon Jeremiah Shelly were appointed as solicitors to see if 
the money could be raised. They started out, and on the 
afternoon of the third day, the amount, $5,500, had been 
raised. The stone for the basement wall of the new house 
of worship was taken from the old stone one. It is built of 
brick, size 50 X 70 feet, slate roof, and full basement story, 
audience room heated by hot air furnace. This splendid 
new church building was dedicated September 29 and 30, 

Burial Grounds. — There are two burial grounds in this 
neighborhood. The Price Burial Ground is located on the 
old Price homestead, within sight of the meeting-house, and 
is historic, having been used by the Price family for many 
generations, likely from the beginning. Family connections 
are also buried here, but not many others. Some years ago 
a burial ground was opened at the meeting-house, and this 
is the general public burial place. 

Klein. — This place is also called Franconia. The land 
was taken from the Klein farm, and is located in Franconia 


township, hence the two names. This meeting-house is less 
than two miles from Indian Creek, is a small, frame house, 
not large enough for love feast services. The following 
account of the dedication, I find in the notes of Abraham H. 
Cassel : 

"Dedication of our new Meeting-House, Franconia, 
Christmas, 1843. Jacob Wenger and Samuel Gibble with 
us all night, father sorely afflicted, could not go out. ist. 
Meeting, William Price, (preached) John 10:21, of the 
feast of Dedication, — its origin, and meaning. 2nd by- 
Wenger. Noon, Jacob Reiner, Hosea 11, 'I have written 
unto him the great things of my law but they were accounted 
as a strange thing.' 2nd. by Samuel Harley, Morning Jacob 
Wenger, John 2:5, German, then Berge and Henry Nice 
(Men.) spoke very well, then William Price concluded with 
a very appropriate Prayer. House crowded during the 
whole time." 

The Harley Burying Ground adjoins the Klein Meeting- 
house, and is, of course, very much older; for Elder Peter 
Becker, who died in 1758, is buried here and it, therefore, 
may be almost as old as the Price Burial Ground. This 
farm was owned by Rudolph Harley, Jr., and it is possible 
that he gave the ground about the time his father-in-law, 
Elder Peter Becker, died, in 1758. In the old deed, of 1800, 
"The graveyard, known as Harley's burying ground, lo- 
cated on this tract, was reserved in the conveyance when the 
farm was sold by Henry Harley to Isaac Klein, and was not 
sold." According to these facts, the burying ground is 
about one hundred years older than the meeting-house. 

Towamincin, also called Towamencing, in many old 
records. This meeting-house is also known as " Prey's," 
and "Reiff's," and has a very interesting history, and its 
locality. John Reiff was a minister among the " Funkites," 
a branch of Mennonites, and had a meeting-house built on 
his own land near the Skippack in Towamencin in 18 14. 
Upon the death of John Reiff, in 1826, the farm and the 
meeting-house passed into the hands of John Reiff, Jr. " By 
his will, dated August 14, 1830, he devised his farm and his 
mills to his only son, Henry P. Reiff, and the meeting- 


house with half an acre of ground, on the Forty- foot road, 
to the use of the Dunkard church (Brethren) forever."^ 

He was known as John Reiff, the miller, and he has been 
spoken of by old people who knew him, as a very fine man 
and a zealous Christian. He was married to Catherine 
Price, and was a faithful member of the Church of the 
Brethren. I quote the following from Bro. Abraham H. 
Cassel's notes, of this old place of worship: "Protracted 
Meetings at Reiff' s Meeting House on Christmas 1841.'* 
"Friday Evening, William Price i Mose 49:10 (5 lines 
quoted in German). James Quinter Saturday Morning 
James Quinter Isaiah 9:6-8 (text quoted in English, and 
some outline of the sermon). William Price also Isaiah 

"Saturday Evening John Umstad I. Kings 4:21 'Why 
halt ye, etc' James Quinter II. Cor. 4:13* We believe and 
therefore speak we so earnestly' — both with extraordinary 
power and ability, ist. night with Mrs. Reiff and daughter 
the rest with Bro. M. F. was greatly refreshed and well re- 
warded for coming. May the Lord grant me his grace and 
enable me to live up to the resolution I then formed — John 
Umstad sang the Beautiful Hymn * Hail the blest morn when 
the great mediator down from the regions of glory 
descended ' — with an effect the like of which I never heard 
nor seen before, after having made some remarks over it." 
Without any attempt to change, I have copied these per- 
sonal notes of a remarkable series of meetings held seventy 
three years ago. Such a trio of able and godly men could 
perhaps not have been duplicated anywhere in the Brother- 
hood. Because these men of spiritual power lived, our in- 
heritance is richer, and our opportunities and responsibil- 
ities greater. This meeting-house having served the com- 
munity so well for several generations, was torn down in 
1880, and the new house built almost on the same founda- 

Elders at Indian Creek. — Those who assisted in the work 
before the organization, 1723 to about 1785, were as 
follows : 

1 " Sketches of Lower Salford Township." 


Elders Jacob Price and Rudolph Harley, Sr., and Peter 
Becker from 1746 to 1758, were resident. Elders Peter 
Becker, (1723 to 1746), Alexander Mack, Sr., Alexander 
Mack, Jr., and Christopher Sower, of Germantown, and 
Abraham Duboy, of Greats wamp, were non-resident. 

Since the organization, the following are known to have 
been in charge: Elder John Price, 1785 to 1829. Elder 
William W. Price, about 1830 to 1849. Elder Samuel 
Harley, 1849 to 1878. Elder William P. Nyce, about 1886 
to 1889. Elder Henry A. Price, 1889 to 1906. Elder 
Jacob M. Price, 1906 to present. 

I have laboriously gleaned in a wide extended field of his- 
tory, and it may be some of the best I did not find, but 
I present with joy what I have here brought, in the hope that 
it may in part be worthy of those who toiled here in the 
past, and with the prayer that it may inspire the present 
generation to worthy emulation. 


The history of the Mingo Church in its separate existence 
dates from the year 1869 when it was first represented by 
its own delegates to the District Meeting of that year. 

Prior to the above date when all its territory was still a 
part of the Indian Creek Church, there had been much activ- 
ity by the Brethren in these parts and a strong membership 
had been built up both around the Mingo and the Skippack 
houses and also quite a few families lived in the vicinity of 
Methatchon House and also quite a little band in Norris- 
town where also a house of worship had been built. 

So that the territory now known as the Mingo Church, 
reaching from east of Norristown west to Pottstown touch- 
ing the Schuylkill River east of Royersford and following 
that stream for several miles, making the territory covered 
about twenty miles long and ten miles wide, at that time in- 
cluding Norristown and Royersford (which since have both 
been organized separately) contained four houses of wor- 
ship and a membership of approximately one hundred. 

At this time there were also the following ministers: 
Henry Cassel, Abram Cassel, Isaac Kulp, John Gottwals, 
John Isett, and Benj. Harley. Henry Cassel was an Elder 
and was placed in charge of the church. Also the follow- 
ing deacons : John Detwiler, Jacob Harley, Jesse Conner, 
Jeriah Saylor, Samuel Markley. 

Outside of these with their families, we should mention 
Frederick and Samuel Isett, Benj. Keyser, Abraham Alder- 
fer, Joseph Tyson, Philip Stearley, Henry Grater, Fred and 
John Isenberg, Michael Freed, B, F. Derr, Isaac Grater, 
Jesse Cassel, Dr. S. B. Detwiler, Harry Ashenfelter, Philip 
Rosenberger, Abram Zollers, Jacob Markley, Andrew Wan- 
ner, Abraham Moyer, Charles Starr, Henry Fry, Samuel 
Hendricks, Jacob Landis, John Alder fer, John Bean, Eliza- 



beth Brandt, Benj. Reiff, William Spare, R. Scheets, Wil- 
liam, Benj. and Jesse Clemmer, and their parents, Breth- 
ren Christman and Emery. Eighteen of the 46 families 
mentioned are represented in the present membership. 
Fifty-seven of the present members are direct descendants 
of the original families and 20 of these from one family, 
that of a deacon. Where are the other families? 

There was already about this time and a little before, con- 
siderable of an exodus to the west including Samuel Horn- 
ing, Minister, John Horning, Deacon, Isaac Conner, Samuel 
Horning, Jacob and Lewis Wasser. 

On account of some very local trouble there was some 
deflection to the River Brethren including among them John 
Haldeman, Jacob and Christian Haldeman and Daniel 

Henry Cassel, the first Bishop of the Mingo Church, was 
born July 11, 1814; was elected to the ministry, 1849, 
twenty years before the date of organization of the church. 
He had charge of the church from its organization to the 
time of his death, June 28, 1883. Bro. Cassel was an en- 
thusiastic and forceful speaker, and had good executive 
ability and the church prospered greatly during his incum- 
bency. It is only after his death, however, that any known 
records were kept of the church's growth and proceedings. 
After Bro. Cassel's death the church was without a resident 
Elder for several years. August 8, 1885, ^^ ^^ effort to 
have an ordination effected, Abram Cassel and Isaac Kulp 
were so nearly tie that both were ordained and they both 
took equal part in looking after the interests of the church 
without deciding which should be foreman, as is now 
usually done. 

In the spring of 1885 Abram L. Conner, an efficient young 
minister, with his family moved to Virginia. The follow- 
ing spring Isaac Harley, a deacon, and his family also went 
to Virginia. 

The first action that appears upon the church's records in 
reference to Sunday Schools was taken in April, 1886, when 
it was granted that schools might be organized at both 
Skippack and Mingo. There is a very fragmentary record 


of a Sunday School that was organized in the spring of 
1870 with Isaac Kulp, Dr. S. B. Detwiler, John Reiff, An- 
drew Wanner, Abram Zollers and others as leaders. After 
continuing for about five years it seems that it was dis- 
continued for several years and again had a short existence 
after which all records disappear. Since the year 1886, 
however, and before our territory was further subdivided, 
there have been as many as six Sunday Schools in operation 
at one time. 

In the spring of 1888, Jesse Ziegler and his family moved 
into the congregation and was elected Sunday School Super- 
intendent at Mingo. The same spring the District Meeting 
was also held at the Skippack House. 

In 1889 Jacob Conner, a minister in the second degree, 
moved into the Mingo Church from Coventry, Chester Co., 
and helped along in the ministry, which had become con- 
siderably weakened through death and emigration and ad- 
vancing years. Bro. Isaac Kulp especially about this time 
was so disabled physically that he could not serve the church 
in any active capacity, and Bro. Abram Cassel, having died, 
it also left the church without a resident Elder. 

On May 10, 1890, the church called Jesse Ziegler to the. 
ministry, and on February 14, 1891, Andrew Wanner was 
elected deacon. October 11, 1891, Jesse Ziegler was ad- 
vanced to the second degree of the ministry. October 31,, 
1 89 1, Samuel H. Price was elected deacon at Norristown.. 
William Johnson, a deacon, from Carroll Co., 111., having- 
moved into the Mingo congregation, his certificate was 
accepted, March 21, 1891. May 6, 1893, Bro. Isaac Cassel 
was elected to the ministry. 

Through the personal efforts of Isaac Kulp and his 
daughter Emma and the members at Gratersford, they had 
built up there a strong Sunday School and good meetings in 
a small and uncomfortable chapel. Bro. Jacob Conner and 
his family also having moved close to the village, they felt 
justified in making an effort to secure a house of worship. 
September 9, 1893, the church decided to build a house at 
Gratersford and appointed Michael Freed, Jacob Conner, 


Wilson Brunner, John Detwiler and Jesse Ziegler build- 
ing committee. 

August 17, 1895, Wm. F. Gottshall and Amos Ziegler 
were elected deacons. Bro. Robert Jones, a deacon from 
Whiteside Co., 111., having moved into the community with 
his family, their certificates were accepted March 14, 1896. 
In the fall of 1896, Elder A. L. Grater, also from Illinois, 
moved into this church, and September 4, 1897, he was 
elected as Elder of the Mingo Church. His son, Jacob 
Grater, a deacon, was also duly received into his office. 
The members at Norristown desiring that a greater effort 
be made in the town to do mission work, the church ap- 
pointed Sister Elizabeth Grater to take up this work. 

December 4, 1897, the church decided to call for next 
Ministerial Meeting of the District. This meeting, together 
with a special District Meeting, called to convene at the 
time of Ministerial Meeting, was held in October, 1898, in 
the Mingo House. 

After making a special effort to build up the work at was seen that it was indispensable to the suc- 
cess of the work there to have a minister live there and give 
the cause much attention. Early in 1898 Bro. William M. 
Howe came and took up this work. About this time Levi 
Ziegler and family moved in from Lebanon County. 

The church, having decided that more workers were 
needed, called Brother Jacob Grater to the ministry and 
Samuel Jones and Samuel Gottshall to the deacon's office, 
and ordained Jesse Ziegler to the Eldership on May 5, 1900. 

At this time the church also adopted a plan to take care 
of some bequests that had been made for the maintenance 
of the several cemeteries of the church, as well as some other 
endowment funds. A considerable fund has thus been 
gathered and permanently invested to support the work of 
the church. 

About 1890 the members at Royersford began to have 
services and Sunday School, and in 1900 organized into a 
church, thus taking a number of the Mingo members at the 
time and since, as they have moved into the town. 

In 1 90 1, Norristown was organized into a separate 


church and most of those living in the town and those who 
moved there since have left the Mingo Church and cast in 
their lot with the workers there. No less than about sixty 
members have taken out their certificates in the above two 

Daniel P. Ziegler, a minister, with his family moved in 
from Berks County, and his letter was received, May i8, 
1901. In the fall of the same year Bro. Samuel Markley 
died, aged 67 years. He was a devoted and active deacon 
for many years and in his departure the church lost one of 
its most faithful workers. 

December 7, 1901, Daniel P. Ziegler was advanced to the 
second degree of the ministry. It was also decided on 
account of Jesse Ziegler moving to Reading to elect a min- 
ister. March 19, 1902, Levi Ziegler was elected. 

The cause around the Methatchon House having weakened 
through members dying and moving away it was decided, 
December 6, 1902, to discontinue services there for the time. 
Some effort was made to revive the meetings, but finally the 
work was abandoned. Jesse Ziegler and family having 
moved back from Reading their certificate was accepted, 
March 5, 1904. 

Bro. Joseph N. Cassel moved from Hatfield in 1905 and 
the following spring was elected Superintendent of the Sun- 
day School at Skippack. 

P. A. Smith, a minister, from Reading, with his family 
having moved into the congregation, their certificate was 
accepted, March 7, 1906. 

Elder A. L. Grater having moved to Norristown, resigned 
as elder of the church and Jesse Ziegler was elected as Elder 
and Levi Ziegler and P. A. Smith were advanced to the 
second degree of the ministry, September 7, 1907. 

John Ziegler, a deacon, moved into this church from 
Berks County and May 5, 19 10, the certificates of himself 
and family were received; at the same meeting, Joseph N. 
Cassel was elected to the ministry and Reuben Haldeman 
was chosen deacon. 

On Thanksgiving day, 19 10, the local missionary and 
Sunday School meeting was held at Mingo. 


The members at Graters ford having nearly all moved 
away and the work having decidedly lapsed even after re- 
peated efforts to revive it and to keep up a Sunday School, 
at a Council, December 3, 19 10, the trustees were authorized 
to sell the property, which they did. The Mingo Church 
now has concentrated its efforts at Mingo and Skippack, the 
members of late years that have not gone into the larger 
towns having settled more around these houses. 

At the present the church has five ministers, — Elder Jesse 
Ziegler, Elder in charge; three ministers in the second de- 
gree, Isaac Cassel, Levi Ziegler, P. A. Smith, and one in the 
first, Joseph N. Cassel. 

The official board also includes seven deacons, Andrew 
Wanner, S. H. Price, Wm. Johnson, Wm. F. Gottshall, 
Samuel F. Gottshall, John Ziegler, Reuben Haldeman, one 
church clerk. Messenger Correspondent, a missionary com- 
mittee of three members, and a membership of nearly one 
hundred and forty. 

The Mingo Church furnished the first foreign Missionary 
sent out by Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In the fall 
of 1908 Sister Katherine Ziegler, daughter of Daniel P. 
and Mary Ziegler, left her mother ( father having died the 
same summer) for the India Mission-field as the representa- 
tive of the Sunday Schools of the District. 

Bishops of Mingo Church: (i) Henry A. Cassel, i869»- 
1883; (2) Abram Cassel and (3) Isaac Kulp, 1885-1890; 
(4) Frank P. Cassel (non-resident), 1893-1897; (5) A. L. 
Grater, 1897-1907; (6) Jesse Ziegler, 1907-. 

Jesse Ziegler. 


It is likely that for a number of years some members 
were living in this part of the Indian Creek territory, and 
that services v^^ere held once in a while in homes and school 
houses. As a young man, Abraham H. Cassel taught school 
in this neighborhood, and it was here that he got his wife, 
a Miss Rhodes. Among the earliest members here was 
Caleb Price, who taught school at the Eight-Square School 
House where the Brethren had preaching. He attended 
services at Upper Dublin later, was elected to the ministry 
there, and later moved to Ohio. His sister Mary was also 
a member early, married Abraham Price of Indian Creek. 
Among the earliest members, besides Bro. Caleb Price, and 
his sister, Mary, were : 

Old George Fisher and wife, John Kile and wife, Jacob 
Reiner and wife, Peter Custer and wife, Abel Ballew and 
wife, and a few other sisters. 

The Eight-Square School House. — Here, as in many other 
communities, in an early day, the Brethren figured promi- 
nently in combining the educational and religious activity of 
the community. There was need of a school house in this 
neighborhood. The community, or neighbors, proposed 
that if the Brethren would assist in this work, the school 
house would be built especially large so that the Brethren 
could hold preaching services therein. The offer was ac- 
cepted and the Eight-Square which became such a conspic- 
uous part in the life of this community, was built. I have 
not been able to fix the exact date when it was built, but 
events that follow will show the time when history was 
made in this famous school house ; certain it is, that it was 
built some time before 1840. Bro. Jacob Crauthamel, of 
Hatfield, says of this period : " I remember going with my 
parents to the Eight-Square School House to services when 



I was a small boy. My grandfather (Hunsberger) was 
active in building it, one of the main men. He was a Men- 
nonite, but thought much of the Brethren, and invited them 
to his home for dinner, at time of services. The Brethren 
had services every two weeks, no one else, but after the 
Brethren left, the Methodists had services sometimes." 
Just when these services commenced and when they en- 
tirely ceased, I can not say, but it was during this period of 
preaching at the Eight-Square that the foundation of the 
Hatfield Church was laid, many of the substantial famihes 
of the community constituting the foundation stones. 

The Revival Services at Eight-Square School House. — I 
am greatly indebted to our late Bro. Abraham H. Cassel for 
a brief record of a few services. It will be noticed that 
services were held, according to this record, at least as 
early as September, 1839. 

"September 29, 1839. 8 sq. School House, Hatfield, Isaac 
Lawshe John 5 : 14. Sin no more lest worse things come over 
thee, and other passages of the same Chapter, 

"William Price, German. 

"March 21, 1840. Saturday evening, Hockers old Free 
School House, on the cow path Road. James Quinter, John 
9: 35-6 (text quoted,) he showed, ist. what believing in him is, 
then 2nd. that all are not believers, that pretend to be. 

" March 22. School-House, Hatfield, James Quinter Acts 
16: 16-40 he showed ist. How happy man was in every event 
of his life if he is a Christian and gave a striking example of it 
from Paul and Silas singing Praises to God at midnight when 
confined in stocks and of their prayer being answered by an 
earthquake — also of the jailer's question ' What must I do to he 
saved' ist. What he did do and how we should take an example 
of him and do likewise. 

" Monday, April 27. School-House in Hatfield. John Price, 
Sr., I. Tim. 4: 16 (Quoted in English.) 

" William Price, Heb. 2 : 1-4. Baptismal services, Mary 
Price, Peter Custer and wife. 

" Saturday evening, May 2nd. At Bro. Isaac Lawshe's Wor- 
rington Bucks County. Israel Paulson I. John 3 : 1-3 (Quoted) . 

" Sunday Morning 3rd. Israel Poulson, John 14 : 1-2 Let 
not your heart, etc." ''Afternoon, Israel Paulson, Rev. 2 : 1-8. 


" Pfingsten, June 8. In School House, Hatfield, William 
Price, Ps 29. (Quoted in German.) 

"July 12, 1840. School House Hatfield, (Saturday even- 
ing,) John Umstead, H. Tim. i Chap. Jacob Reiner a good 

" Sunday Morning in woods. John Umstead Rom. 12. Wil- 
liam Preis Rom. 12, Ger. Silas Thomas, Baptized. 

" Saturday, August 29, evenings at County line School- 
House near Lexington. John Umstead, ' I am not ashamed, 

" Sunday Morning, New School House, Hatfield. James 
Quinter I. John 5: 8. (Quoted in English.) 4 Baptized. 

"April 4, 1841. School House, Hatfield. William Price, 
Luke 1 : 74-75 (Quoted in Ger.) 

"(2nd. Day Lovefeast May 22^ at Indian Creek,) Sunday 
Morning — Zuck (Abraham) done the principal Sermon. In 
the afternoon we held an Election for Ministers, on which 
occasion the Majority fell upon Jacob Reiner from Line Lex- 
ington, and Benjamin Harley of Stone Hill." 

Bro. Reiner was for many years the Elder of the Hatfield 
Church, perhaps until his death in 1889, and was especially 
active, and the main force in building up, and maintaining 
Pine Run. Under the head of ''Protracted Meetings," by 
Bro. Cassel, I find the following: 

" School-House in Hatfield, Christmas 1839, 5 meetings, 
evening, Wm. Price, John 3: 33-45, (Quoted Ger.), Jacob 
Reiner, Deut. 32: 29, (quoted in Eng.) Forenoon, James 
Quinter, Gal. 4: 4-9, Evenings, James Quinter, Phil. 3: 7-9, 
Forenoon, James Quinter, Mark 8: 38. (These texts quoted 
in English, at length.) 

"School-House, Hatfield, April 18, 1840. ist. evening John 
Umstead, John 14: 6 (text quoted, Eng.) Closed with a very 
warm Prayer-meeting. Morning James Quinter I. Cor. 15: 
57-58 (Text quoted.) Noon James Quinter^ I. Tim. 5: 24- 
25, (Text quoted in English.) John Price, Acts 17: 30-31, 
(Text quoted, Eng.) Very good. 2d Evening James Quinter 
I. Cor. 1 : 23-24 (Text quoted, Eng.) John Umstead a short 
testimony thereto. 2d. Morning William Price Ps., 2: 8-12 
(Text quoted, Ger.) John Umstead, Jacob Stover, James 
Quinter, no texts. 3 were received and baptized." 


These quotations are brief, but I think understood. They 
are exceedingly interesting from several viewpoints. Many 
of the important men of all the adjoining churches w^ere 
engaged in establishing this infant church. The character 
of the texts used from time to time is characteristic, and 
instructive. These quotations fix a definite period when 
protracted meetings, among us, were in their beginnings. 
It was a formative period of vast influence for expansion, 
well illustrated in the work at the "8 square/' Here were 
men who became national figures. The results are interest- 
ing here, and throughout the territory of the Indian Creek 
Mother Church, and for this reason I have devoted 
considerable space to recording these important matters. 
I hope the long research necessary to gather some details of 
this earlier period, will be repaid by some permanent inter- 
est and value of this record. 

The First Meeting-House. — The land was donated by 
Bro. Geo. Fisher, who afterwards moved to Ohio. After 
some timber had been hauled, before the house was built, the 
Brethren made some seats beneath the big white oak trees, 
and William Hertzler, then a young man in the ministry, 
and unmarried, preached to the assembled Brethren and 
their neighbors. This was the first service held upon these 
grounds, an appropriate consecration service. This first 
meeting-house was built of brick, about 30 by 40 feet, with 
preacher's platform and stand. The date seems to be about 
1 85 1, when this house was built, and it stood only about 15 
years. There were at the time of building about 25 mem- 
bers. The revival services at Eight-Square, often called 
the " big revival," was the immediate cause for the move to 
build the meeting-house. Among the converts were : Jo- 
seph Crauthamel and wife, and daughter Mary, Isaac Huns- 
berger and daughter Mary, Caleb Price's mother, Elizabeth, 
Aaron Wagoner and wife, John Miinsinger and wife, and 
others, 15 in all. When these converts from the revival 
were taken up, the church met at the home of Jacob Huns- 
berger, the friend of the Brethren. For many facts of this 
interesting period, from 1850 to 1865, I am indebted to 
Jacob and Elder Hilary Crauthamel, sons of Joseph Craut- 


hamel, and grandsons of Jacob Hunsberger, who were prom- 
inent figures in these times of the " building period." 

The Second Meeting-House. — A meeting was called to 
consider repairing, when it was found that the foundation 
had given way, the gable was cracked, and the house was 
too small for the increasing congregation. It was decided 
to build a new house at once. The old house was torn 
down, and the brick used in the new house, which is also 
of brick, and plastered. Joseph Crauthamel was on the 
building committee and carried the brick, barefooted. This 
house served the congregation until 1906, when a large addi- 
tion was built, and a heater placed in the basement. Regu- 
lar services commenced in Lansdale, in 1888, and in 1896, 
the present meeting-house there was built. Regular serv- 
ices are also now held in Souderton. Other church activ- 
ities, evergreen Sunday Schools at Landsdale and Hatfield, 
cottage prayer-meetings, teacher training class and teach- 
ers' meetings are maintained. 

May 7, 1874, the District Meeting convened in the Hat- 
field Church, and again in 1907. 

Minutes have been kept only since 1871, and from them 
Bro. Geo. H. Light, the present church clerk, kindly fur- 
nished some data. 

Ministers. — Elders William Price and Samuel Harley of 
Indian Creek were prominent in the work in Hatfield, in the 
earlier years, Harley being Elder in charge until the time of 
organization. Elder Jacob K. Reiner was born Mar. 22, 
1807; elected to the ministry May 22, 1841, and ordained 
to the Eldership about 1864, at the time of the organiza- 
tion of the Hatfield Church, and became Elder in charge. 
Died Jan. 12, 1889, and is buried at Pine Run. Jonas 
Price, Sr., moved over from Indian Creek, about the time 
of the revival, later elected to the ministry, and advanced. 
Moved to Elizabethtown, where he died, and is buried at 
Price's graveyard, Indian Creek. 

Elder F. P. Cassel was the next minister elected in Hat- 
field. He was born Dec. 16, 1849, baptized in 1865, elected 
to the ministry before 1879, ordained to the eldership about 


Elder Hilary Crauthamel was born Nov, 14, 1841. He 
was elected to the ministry Aug. 9, 1884. Some years later 
he was ordained to the elders.hip, and had charge of the 
church for a number of years, during the time of impaired 
health of Elder F. P. Cassel. Bro. Crauthamel died Febru- 
ary 14, 1914, and is buried at Hatfield. Ministers elected 
since: W. B. Fretz, May 11, 1889; Jacob M. Booz, Sept. 11, 
1909; G. H. Light, May 11, 1912. 

Deacons. — The following have been deacons in the Hat- 
field Church: 

James Custer, John Kratz, Jacob Rosenberger, Jonas 
Cassel, Jacob Detweiler, William Kratz, Joseph Heckler, 
Peter Frederick, Artemus Rosenberger, Frank Miinsinger. 


Just when Greatswamp Brethren Church ceased to exist 
as an organization can not be determined; but it is prob- 
able that a few surviving members were the means of reviv- 
ing the work that finally led to the organization of the 
Springfield Church. Certain it is, that several of the prom- 
inent Bishops of the Indian Creek Church, of the past gen- 
eration, preached in the old union meeting house ; this region 
had of necessity become a part of the vast Indian Creek 

Territorial Extent. — This territory of the Springfield 
Church is bounded on the east, by the Delaware River; on 
the south, by the territory of the Hatfield and Indian Creek 
congregations; on the west, by the Maiden Creek; and on 
the north, unbounded by any Brotherhood lines. This is 
a vast region of territory, for the most part, unorganized, 
extending east and west, 38 miles, and from the southern 
boundary indicated, northward as far as the habitation of 
man, covering thousands of square miles, and containing 
perhaps more than a million of population. Until about 
45 years ago, this was a part of the Indian Creek territory. 

History of Organised Effort. — While the Brethren began 
preaching in this territory in 1733, and continued, perhaps, 
for a century, it is probable that for a few years, at least, 
preaching had entirely ceased. When the work was re- 
vived, the center of activity seems to have been moved some 
distance. According to recollections of the older members, 
the earliest preaching services that were held in the present 
organized territory, which led to permanent results, were 
mainly held in the neighborhood of the present Springfield 
Meeting-house, at the homes of the following members : 

Moses Shuler, Harrison Traumbauer, Samuel Kaufif- 



man, David Yoder, Abraham Stauffer, Peter Kauffman, 
flenry Mover, Benjamin Price. 

Purchasing a House} — The next step in the development 
of the vi^ork v^as the purchase of a private home, with the 
intention of remodehng the same for the purpose of holding 
preaching services. But before the remodeling, Abraham 
Hottel offered an acre of ground nearby, for the purpose of 
building a meeting-house thereon. This offer v^as accepted, 
and the same year, the Springfield Meeting-house was built. 
Brethren Jonas Harley and Henry Price constituted a com- 
mittee for at least a part of these transactions by the Indian 
Creek Church, in what was soon to become Springfield ter- 

The Stone Meeting-House. — The deed given by Abraham 
Hottel, and Hannah, his wife, bears date, April 2, 1866, and 
was made to " Harrison Trumbauer and Abraham Stauffer, 
Trustees of the German Baptist Congregation at Springfield, 
in the county of Bucks." Brethren Daniel Booz, Peter 
Kauffman, and Henry Moyer, the latter still Hving, at this 
writing 19 13^ constituted the Building Committee. Daniel 
Booz was a mason by trade, and as such helped to build the 
walls, and also his son-in-law, Benjamin Price, and Henry 
Trumbauer. The house is built of stone, with slate roof, 
and is 36 X 40 feet, with basement, and an added room, 
12 X 12 feet. Much was contributed in lumber and labor 
by the members, and by some who were not members. 

Elder S. R. Zug informs me, that in 1866, he held a 
meeting at Texas in the home of Elder Moses Shuler, and 
then held a meeting in the Brethen house in Bethlehem, and 
the next day he went to Springfield to the dedication of the 
new meeting-house, and attended the love-feast and com- 
munion services held at the same place. This indicates 
where services were held at this time. 

Work in Bethlehem and Allentown. — A meeting-house 
was also built in Bethlehem, size 30 by 36 ft., frame, with 
slate roof. While some members were living in the city, the 
preaching services continued for a number of years. At 

1 This house was re-sold afterwards, and continued to be used as a 















one time there were more than twenty members Hving here, 
but some of them proved unfaithful, some died, others 
moved away. Some years ago, only a few members being 
left, services were discontinued, and the house is now falling 
into decay. Perhaps as early as 1850, preaching services by 
the Brethren, were held in Allentown. All the ministers 
of the old Indian Creek Church preached here, including 
Isaac Kulp and Henry Cassel, who later were Elders in 
Mingo. These services were continued for a period of 
more than twenty years, and at times much interest pre- 
vailed, and about 10 or 15 members lived in the city. It 
seems, however, there was no effort made at any time to 
start a Sunday School, or to build a house of worship, the 
services being held in the homes of the members. Many 
years ago, the interest was allowed to die out, some of the 
members proving unfaithful, the services were discontinued, 
and no effort seems to have been made to revive the work. 

Organisation. — About two years after the building of the 
Springfield Meeting-house, the scattered members in this 
territory were formally organized into the Springfield Con- 
gregation, in the year 1868. At the time of organization, 
Elder Moses Shuler was chosen Elder in charge, with 
Jacob Booz, minister, he having been elected at the time of 
the dedication of the meeting-house; and Harrison Trum- 
bauer and David Yoder deacons. Her name, however, does 
not appear in the District Meeting lists of churches, until 
1879; and not until 1881 did her first delegates appear at 
the District Council. In 1885, and again in 1898, the 
District Meeting was held in Springfield. 

Sunday-School. — In about 1867, a Sunday-school was 
organized at Springfield, and kept up for some years. Daniel 
Booz was the first Superintendent, and was followed by 
Benjamin Price. A feature of this school was a German 
class, taught by Sister Daniel Booz, some of the members 
of which committed whole chapters to memory. 

After some years this school was discontinued, and no 
school held for a long time. Some fifteen years ago, the 
school was reopened, and has continued with much interest, 
and is at present in a prosperous condition. The Sunday- 



school in Quakertown is also in a flourishing condition, and 
both schools seem to be increasing in size and influence. 

Prayer-Meeting. — Since much space was devoted in Chap- 
ter I, to the Greatswamp Church, much that might be in- 
teresting in small detail must of necessity be omitted in the 
later life of Springfield. I must, however, call attention to 
the Sunday afternoon prayer-meeting, that is said to have 
been maintained for many years. I am well satisfied that 
this is the type of Sunday afternoon worship which has 
come down through the church-life from former genera- 
tions, and is the bond of union with the spirit of the past. 
Around this home altar, all ages meet to worship, just as 
they used to do in the early days, and the early years, down 
in Germantown, 

The Emigration. — A few years ago a number of Brethren 
moved into this territory, in the vicinity of Quakertown, 
from central and western Pennsylvania. In all about thirty 
members moved in, including several ministers and deacons. 
This emigration extended influence and interest into a new 
community, that soon centralized in Quakertown. 

A New Church House. — A small building was purchased, 
and with a spirit of enthusiasm and united effort, the work 
of enlarging and improving and remodeling made rapid 
progress. The house is 36 X 52 feet, arranged for holding 
love-feast services. There is good interest at this preach- 
ing point. 

Oflicials, at this writing, 1913, are: Elder Benjamin 
Hottel, Elder in charge ; ministers, William F. Spidle, James 
F. Ream, John Ackerman; deacons, Henry Trumbauer, 
Henry Yoder, Allen Mohr, Mathias Steely, Simon Lint, 
Jacob Fox, Jacob Holsinger, Thomas Norris. 


The earliest preaching services in the vicinity of Norris- 
town were held at Methatchon. When the colonial gov- 
ennment confiscated all the property of Elder Christopher 
Sower, in Germantown, he retired, penniless, with his daugh- 
ter to this community, and they took up their abode in the 
spring house loft of some one who befriended him in his 
distress. During the years of his residence here, he preached 
somewhere around his home neighborhood, for he preached 
away from home, during these years. When he died, in 
1784, his funeral was held at Methatchon, where he was 
buried. It is possible that services were held continuously 
from that early date until a few years ago. For in 1800, 
and thereabouts, Elder George Price, of Coventry, journeyed 
more or less regularly from Coventry to Methatchon to 
hold preaching services.^ Alethatchon has much interesting 
history, which, however, forms no part of this chapter, 
except to show that the Brethren interest began about two. 
miles from Norristown. 

Elder J H. Umstad was likely the most active in establish- 
ing the Brethren cause in the city of Norristown, and per- 
haps did the first preaching. Just when these services were 
first held, and how regularly, I can not say, but the meeting- 
house was built in 1869, and services were likely held for 
several years before that time. 

Bro. J. Howard Ellis says of this period: "I remember 
coming here with Brethren John Umstad, Jacob Z. Gott- 
wals and my uncle John Slingluf three years previous to that 
time, when services were held in a hall, at the corner of 
Main and Barbados street." 

1 See " History of Green Tree Church." From other records we also 
learn that the Brethren from Indian Creek preached here, and this, 
region early became Indian Creek territory, and remained so until it 
became a part of Mingo upon the organization of that Church. Ger- 
mantown ministers also preached here. 



After the new meeting-house was built, Norristown be- 
came one of the centers of activity of the Mingo Church, 
and continued to be such for almost forty years. About 
1896 the members at Norristown desired that a special effort 
should be made to do mission work in the city, and upon 
this appeal the Alingo Church appointed Sister Elizabeth 
Grater to take up this work. " After making a special effort 
to build up the work at Norristown it was seen that it was 
indispensable to the success of the work there to have a min- 
ister live there and give the cause much attention. Early 
in 1898, Bro. William M. Howe came and took up this 

Norristown Church was organized Mar. 12, 1901 with 
one deacon, J. Howard Ellis and twenty-one members. 
E. C. Harley was elected deacon on that day. The preach- 
ing for several months was mainly by supplies. On Oct. 12, 
1904, Leonard Taylor was elected deacon. There is a well- 
attended weekly Prayer Meeting held. The Sunday School 
is at present in charge of E. C. Harley as Superintendent and 
has an enrollment of over one hundred. The present church 
membership is forty. 

Pastors. — William M. Howe was elected the first pastor 
and served from October 14, 1901 to October 7, 1902. On 
July 7, 1903 Elder T, F. Imler took charge as pastor and 
served until July 7, 1907. From Feb. 7, 191 1 to March 5, 
1912, Elmer F. Nedrow a student of Elizabethtown College 
was the pastor having preached a few months at Norristown 
before moving his family. Edgar M. Detwiler the present 
pastor took charge March 5, 19 12. 

Elders. — Elder A, L. Grater from October 12, 1901 to 
January 8, 1906. Elder T. F. Imler from January 8, 1906 
to June 10, 1907. Elder James B. Shisler from July 5, 
1907 to the present. 

2 Elder Jesse Ziegler in " History of Mingo." 




This congregation was organized on November 12, 1724, 
by Elder Peter Becker of Germantown and was the first 
organized church of the Brethren in Lancaster County. It 
was located south of Ephrata. 

The original membership consisted of seven members: 
Conrad Beissel, who was the first minister ; Joseph Shaffer, 
John Moyer and wife, Henry Hohn and wife and Veronica 
Frederick. The first deacon was John Hildebrand. Peter 
Becker was their Elder, although non-resident. 

Soon trouble arose, caused by Beissel deviating from the 
customs of the Brethren, especially by observing Saturday 
for the Lord's Day or Sunday. Much admonition did not 
help. Alexander Mack came to America in 1729 and the 
congregation agreed to let this trouble be decided by a vote 
of the majority of the membership. The vote resulted as 
follows : six brethren and five sisters voted with Beissel for 
Saturday, and twenty-four brethren and three sisters 
favored Sunday with Peter Becker. 

J. G. Francis contributes the following account of this 
division : 

" A quotation from Bro. M. G. Brumbaugh's ' History of the 
Brethren,' pp. 299 and 300 reads : 

"'On the authority of Abraham H. Cassel, the following 
somewhat remarkable method was used September 29, 1734, 
to determine the loyalty of the members. A great meeting or 
council of the congregation was held and Michael Frantz placed 
a rail on the floor of the barn in which the meeting was held. 



He then requested all who wished to join the new congregation 
to step to the right side, he leading the way. He requested all 
those who desired to follow Conrad Beissel to step to the left 
side of the rail, In this way a peaceful separation occurred.' 

" I also had personally from Abraham Cassel an account of 
this separation, and it is in my mind that our great antiquarian 
stated that the rail was placed on the bridgeway leading to the 
barn floor. But I do not wish to be dogmatic. Following my 
impression, however, in having a picture of the old barn taken 
for this history, I placed a fence rail, as will be seen in the 
picture, in the middle of the bridgeway, where if my impression 
is correct, Michael Frantz must have placed the original rail. 
This old barn is within the present bounds of the Akron con- 
gregation, near Millway station, and is owned by the Oil Com- 
pany. Some frame additions have been built to the original 

"According to my understanding of the matter the council 
was held in the barn, while the dividing was consummated in 
the open." 

After the reorganization of this congregation. Elder 
Becker had the oversight of it until 1734. Conrad Beissel 
on his own account founded the convent at Ephrata, leaving 
the Church of the Brethren in 1728. 

After Alexander Mack's death at Germantown in 1735, 
Michael Frantz was elected as minister in the Conestoga 
Congregation and Johannis Landis as deacon in 1735. 
From 1729 to 1734, thirty-seven persons were baptized by 
Elder Peter Becker. Their names appear in a record now 
in possession of Elder Hershey Groff, of Bareville, Pa. 
Many of the additions to this congregation by baptism and 
otherwise, together with elections of deacons, ministers and 
elders, are also found in said record and generally agree 
with the list given in Brumbaugh's " History of the Breth- 
ren," pp. 299-315. In Brumbaugh's work, p. 313, the state- 
ment occurs that from 1755 to 1763 no record was made. 
From the record above referred to, the following is taken to 
supplement the record of Brumbaugh: 

In 1753 George Miller, John Bengelbach and wife, Rudy 
Yound, Katie Hartman, Margaret Geib were added and 
Jacob Stoll elected to the ministry. 

Barn where Rail on Bridge-way Served to Divide the Brethren 


Graves of Conrad Beissel and Peter Miller, Ephrata. 

Saal and Sisters" House, Ephrata Cloister. 

Brothers' House, Ephrata Cloister. 


In 1754, Christian Stauffer and wife, George Ester and 
wife, Anna Frick, Elizabeth Frick were added. 

In 1755 Peter Wampler and wife, Henry Aller and wife, 
Christian Lanecker, Jr. (Longenecker), John Lehman, 
Jacob Hernley, Hanickel Ackerman, Barbara Flory, John 
Groff were added. 

In 1756 were added Henry Ester, Sister Wampler, Elias 
Ackerman, Lenhard Sebold and wife, Peter Pebel, John 
Frick, Christian Frick. 

In 1757 Sister Margreth, Elizabeth Boser, Maria Nus- 
baum, Michael Gall, Margred Byer, John Bock, Susan Bau- 
man, Sister Mosser were added. 

In 1758 Brother Keim and Wendel Mynig were added. 

In 1759 Balser Specht and wife were added. 

In 1760 no baptisms on account of temptation. 

In 1 76 1 were added John Bather and wife, Jacob Zug, 
Abraham Frantz and wife. 

In 1762 Maria Zug and Sister Hamacker were added. 

In 1763 were added Ann Lanecker and Philip Snell. 



Elders and Ministers in Conestoga Congregation. 

*i. Peter Becker,^ 1724-35. 
2. Conrad Beissel. Baptized 1724; left church in 1728. 

*3. Michael Frantz, 1735-48. Baptized in 1734; elected 
1734; ordained 1735; died September 25, 1748. 

*4. Michael Pfautz, 1748-69 (21 yrs.). Baptized in 1739, 
September 29; elected in 1744; ordained Septem- 
ber 25, 1748; died 1769, aged 59 yrs. Buried at 
Middle Creek Church, near Cocalico Creek. 179 
persons were baptized under his eldership. 

5. Jacob Stoll. Baptized in 1748; elected in 1753; died 

in 1822, aged 91 yrs. Buried at Middle Creek 
graveyard. In ministry 69 yrs. 

6. Jacob Sontag (Sunday). Baptized in 1743; elected 

in 1748; ordained 1763. 

1 The asterisk (*) means bishop or elder in charge of congregation 
for time indicated following the name. 


*7. Christian Longenecker, 1 769-1 772. Baptized in 
1755; elected in 1764; ordained in 1769. Seven 
persons were baptized under his eldership, 1769- 

First Division of Congregation was Unanimously 
Agreed to in 1772. 

Ministry at Time of Division. 

I. Conestoga. 
Bishops Peter Eichelberger and Jacob Stoll. 

II. White Oak. 

Bishops Christ. Longenecker; Johannis Zug, baptized in 
1749; elected in 1770; ordained in 1780. 

III. Swatara. 

Bishops Han Jacob Beshor, George Kline and others. 
*8. Peter Eichelberger, 1772-95. Baptized in 1752. 
Under Eichelberger and Jacob StoU's care, 151 per- 
sons were baptized. 
*5. Jacob Stoll, 1 795-1822. Under Stoll's care, 1795- 
1802, 16 persons were baptized. 
9. David Kemper. Baptized in 1791; elected in 1801 ; 
died in 1832 at age of 81 yrs. Under Stoll and 
Kemper from 1802-22, 204 persons were baptized. 

*io. Jacob Pfautz, 1823-64. Baptized in 1805; elected in 
1815; ordained in 1823. Died in 1864, aged 87. 
He was the son of Johannes Pfautz and grandson 
of Elder Michael Pfautz. Served as minister and 
elder 49 yrs. Buried at Middle Creek graveyard. 
Under Pfautz's oversight 484 persons were bap- 
tized. Congregation numbered 429 members in 

*ii. Abraham Zug, 1823-41. Elected in 1815; ordained 
in 1823; died 1841, aged 69 yrs. Buried at Tul- 
pehocken Meeting House graveyard. 




12. Christian Bomberger. Baptized in 1828; elected June 

4, 183 1 ; ordained June 4, 1862. Under the over- 
sight of Jac. Pfautz and Bomberger, 1842-61, 
nearly 500 persons were baptized. 

13. Samuel Myer. Baptized in 181 6; elected in 1822 or 

1824; moved to Ohio in 1842. 

14. Michael Landis. Baptized in 1819; elected in 1822 or 

1824. Moved to Ohio and left church. 

15. Christian Rupp. Baptized in 1834; elected May 28, 

1840; ordained in 1867. 

16. Joseph Myer. Baptized in 1840; elected August 31, 

1844; ordained in 1887 at age of 80; died in 1892, 
aged 85 yrs. Buried at Myer burying ground one 
mile south of Bareville. 

17. Jacob Reinhold. Baptized in 1844; June 2, 1845, ^ot 

elected, but was permitted to preach by a majority 
of Congregation; died in 1885 in Lancaster, aged 
70 yrs. 

18. Christian Brubaker. Baptized in 1848; elected June, 

1855, second acceptance April 25, 1889; advanced 
April 8, 1895; died 1901, aged 82 yrs. Buried at 
Longenecker's near Lititz. 

19. Israel Myer. Baptized in 1847; elected June 2, 1849; 

died of dropsy, October 4, 1870, aged 56 yrs. 
Buried at Mohler's cemetery. 

Second Division of Congregation was Unanimously 
Agreed to May 5, 1864. 

Ministry at Time of Division. 

I. Conestoga. 

Bishop Christ. Bomberger (non-resident) ; Christian 
Rupp and Joseph Myer. 

II. West Conestoga. 

Bishop Christ. Bomberger (resident) ; Jacob Reinhold 
and Christian Brubaker. 


III. Ephrata. 

Bishop C. Bomberger (non-resident) ; Israel Myer and 

Samuel Harley. 

*I2. Christian Bomberger, 1864-1880. Died May 21, 
1880, aged yS yrs. Buried at Middle Creek. Un- 
der the oversight of Bomberger and Rupp, many 
were received into the church by baptism. 

*I5. Christian Rupp, 1880-87. Died August 24, 1887, 
aged 82 yrs. Buried at Rupp family graveyard. 

*i6. Joseph Myer, 1887-92, father of Samuel R. Myer and 
of Elder John Myer, of West Conestoga Church. 

20. Samuel R. Myer. Baptized in 1864; elected August 9, 

1866; died 1876, aged 43 yrs. Buried at Myer fam- 
ily graveyard south of Bareville. Had a daughter 
who graduated at Millersville S. N. S. and is pre- 
ceptress and teacher of English and Elocution in 
Elizabethtown College from 1900 to present time. 

21. Rudy S. Reidenbach. Baptized in 1861; elected in 

1874; ordained in Spring Grove Congregation on 
December 18, 1897. Grandson of Elder Jacob 

"^22. John W. Graybill, 1892-99. Baptized in 1875 ; elected 
May 22, 1876 or 1877; ordained in 1892; died on 
October 5, 1899, aged 64 yrs. Was greatly beloved 
and his death much lamented. Buried at Earlville. 

"^■22,. Hershey Groff, 1900-1902, March 20. Baptized in 
1878; elected in 1885 ; ordained July 28, 1900. Re- 
signed eldership in charge March 20, 1902. Has 
records in his possession of baptisms since 1724, 
from which these facts have been largely gleaned 
and compiled. 
24. Jacob Pfautz. Baptized in 1880; elected in 1889; 
advanced to second degree August 5, 1892. 

*25. Isaac W. Taylor, 1899-1900; 1902-1911. Baptized 
in 1880; elected in 1891 ; ordained in Spring Grove 
Congregation on May 22, 1899. Non-resident 
elder of Conestoga Congregation from 1899- 1900, 
and from 1902-1911. 

conestoga church. 331 

Third Division of Conestoga Congregation in 1897. 

Ministry at Time of Division. 

I. Conestoga. 
Bishop John Graybill; Hershey Groff and Jacob Pfautz. 

II. Spring Grove. 

Bishop John Graybill; Rudy Reidenbach and I. W. 

III. Mechanic Grove. 

Bishop H. E. Light, residing in Mountville Congregation ; 
and George Bucher, moved in from Tulpehocken Congre- 

26. Abram H. Royer. Baptized on November 15, 1891; 

elected in 1897; advanced 1900. 

27. Martin Ebersole. Baptized in 1892; elected in 1899; 

advanced in 1906; ordained October 7, 1912. 

28. John G. Graybill. Elected in 1900; relieved of minis- 

try at his request in 19 10. Reinstated on December 

8, 1913. 

29. Diller Myer. Baptized in 1898; elected on November 

9, 1910. 

Deacons in Conestoga Congregation. 

1. Henry Mohler, baptized 1809; elected in 181 5. 

2. Jacob Bollinger, baptized 1811 ; elected in 181 5 or 1824. 

3. George Myer, baptized in 181 6; elected in 1824. 

4. Henry Mohler, Jr., baptized in 1813; elected in 1831. 

5. Abraham Graybill, baptized in 1816; elected in 183 1. 

6. Johannis Myer, elected in 1855. 

7. John Mohler, Sr., baptized in 1840; elected 1847, 1^44 

or 1845, May 26. 

8. David Royer, baptized in 1831 or 1834; elected June 2, 


9. Christian Wenger, baptized in 1854; elected June i, 

10. Michael Weidler, baptized in 1841 ; elected June i or 26, 



11. Samuel Harley, baptized in Montgomery Co.; elected 

May 8, 1861, afterwards in 1864 elected to ministry, 
and eldership in 187 1. 

12. Rudolph Gunkle, elected May 8, 1861. 

Deacons After Second Division in 1864. 

13. Isaac Shirk, baptized in 1861 or 1859; elected in 1864. 

14. Jacob S. Minnich, elected in 1864. 

15. Levi Rupp, baptized in 1861 ; elected May 11, 1866. 

16. Daniel Myer, baptized in 1864; elected May 11, 1866. 

17. Samuel R. Wenger, baptized in 1883; elected 1885. 

18. Isaac W. Taylor, baptized in 1880; elected in 1889. 

Afterwards elected to ministry and eldership. 

19. Christian Groff, elected 1890. 

20. Martin Ebersole, baptized June 12, 1892; elected 1898. 

21. John G. Graybill, elected 1899. 

22. Rife Myer, elected in 1899. 

23. Mahlon Myer, elected in 1900. 

24. Reuben Myer, elected 19 12. 

The present Conestoga Congregation numbers 212 mem- 
bers. Its officials are : Elder S. H. Hertzler, non-resident 
elder in charge, since 191 1. The ministry consists of Elder 
Hershey Groff, Elder Martin Ebersole, Jacob Pfautz, John 
G. Graybill and Diller Myer. Deacons are Samuel R. 
Wenger, Rife Myer, Mahlon Myer, and Reuben Myer. 

The church houses of this congregation are located as 
follows: Eby House, built in i860, 40 by 50, of brick at a 
cost of $762; located at Monterey; Bird-in-Hand House, 
built in 1888, 50 by 80, donated by Adam Ranck and Sam- 
uel Denlinger; cost to church $1,500 in money and plenty 
of trouble; Intercourse House, purchased in 1891 from 
Methodists at cost of $800; size 36 by 55. Preaching serv- 
ices are held at union houses at Earlville, known also as 
Carpenter's Church (size 40 by 50), and Bareville (size 30 
by 50). 

The present church activities consist of Sunday School 
organized at Bareville in 1894 and at Earlville in 1910; also 
a Sisters' Aid Society organized in 1904.^ 

2 This congregation held a local Sunday School meeting on Novem- 
ber 9, 1912, and a similar meeting November 2y, 1913. 












In 1887, May ii and 12, the District Meeting of Eastern 
Pennsylvania was held in the bounds of the Conestoga Con- 
gregation on Bro. Adam Ranck's farm, one-half mile from 
Bird-in-Hand. On October 28, 29, 1903, a Ministerial and 
Sunday School Meeting was held at the Bird-in-Hand 


The West Conestoga Congregation was organized May 5, 
1864, being one of the three divisions made of the Con- 
estoga Congregation. This occurred near Akron, at the 
home of Jacob S. Minnich, and was occasioned by the fact 
that the Conestoga Congregation was getting too large, 
having a membership of between four and five hundred. 

The officials at the time of organization were as follows: 
Elder Christian Bomberger, as elder in charge; Ministers, 
Jacob Reinhold and Christian Brubaker. The deacons were 
Michael Weidler, elected in 1855, and Jacob S. Minnich, 
elected at the time of the division. (For further par- 
ticulars, see Conestoga Congregation. ) 

The following officials have been elected since 1864: 
Jacob Hackman, baptized in 1862, was elected to ministry, 
May 24, 1866, and ordained August i, 1878; George 
Bingeman, baptized in 1868 or 1869, was elected to the 
ministry, January 18, 1873; John Myer was elected a 
minister May 29, 1879, advanced June 3, 1887, ordained, 
August I, 1898; Cyrus R. Gibbel, son of John B. Gibbel, 
baptized 1887, was elected to the ministry, April 25, 1889, 
advanced April 8, 1895. ordained July 26, 1906; David 
Snader, baptized 1890, was elected a minister on April 8, 
1895, advanced August i, 1898; Edwin B. Brubaker, 
baptized 1896, was chosen as a minister on August 6, 1900, 
and advanced January i, 1906; John W. G. Hershey's date 
of baptism is 1891 and of election to ministry is January i, 
1906, advanced January 2, 191 1 ; Adam G. Fahnestock was 
called to the ministry on January 2, 191 1, advanced to 
second degree on August 2, 191 3; Wallace Zook elected to 
ministry, January 15, 1914. All these ministers are living 
at this writing except the first two. Elder Jacob Hackman 
resigned eldership of West Conestoga Congregation in 












^ ) 7 6 9 ' 


r' 'iter .'fc 

Grave of Elder Michael Pfautz. 

Grave of Elder Jacob Stoll. 

Grave of Elder Jacoh Pkattz. 

(iu.WK OK I-J.IIKK L'llRISTLW l')0M- 


1900; died October 28, 1903, aged 79 years; buried at 
Millport. George Bingeman removed to Ohio. 

The elders or bishops of the congregation since organiza- 
tion are: Christian Bomberger, 1864-80; Jacob Hackman. 
1880-1900; John Myer, 1900-1912; Cyrus R. Gibbel, 
assistant elder, July 26, 1906 to October 22, 1912; elder, 

The deacons elected since 1864 follow: Joseph Pfautz, 
elected May 24, 1866; John Myer, baptized 1858, elected 
January 18, 1873; Jacob L. Minnich, elected May 19, 1879; 
George D. Schreiner, elected June 12, 1884; Nathan Bru- 
baker, elected May 21, 1891 ; Samuel N. Wolf, elected 
October 28, 1895; Henry Balmer, elected August 6, 1900; 
Andrew Bollinger, elected January 2, 191 1; Harrison 
Steely, elected in Mechanic Grove Congregation, May 13, 
1899, and moved to West Conestoga Congregation in 1909; 
Allen Balmer and Benjamin Bollinger elected January 15, 

The congregation has four church houses described as 
follows : Lehn House, a brick structure 40 by 50 feet in 
Manheim township; Lexington House, situated at Lexing- 
ton, is a frame building 44 by 50 feet ; Middle Creek House, 
a frame building 50 by 80 feet, built in 1874, is located in 
Ephrata township, Lancaster Co., two miles west of Lincoln ; 
Millport House is a union house built of brick and is located 
at Disston. 

The present activities of this congregation consist of a 
Sunday School organized at Lititz in 1896; one prayer 
meeting at homes of members held weekly, and a Sisters' 
Aid Society organized in 191 2. 

Other facts of special interest in the history of this con- 
gregation may be noted here. The territory of the West 
Conestoga Congregation was the scene of part of the labors 
of Elders Michael Pfautz ( 1710^1 769), Jacob Stoll (1731- 
1822), Jacob Pfautz (i 776-1864) and Christian Bom- 
berger (1802-1880). The graves of these four elders are 
at the burying ground of the Middle Creek House and the 
photographs of their tombstones are presented herewith. 


For more facts concerning these men see Conestoga Con- 

The West Conestoga Church was divided a second time 
into three divisions on March 24, 191 3: West Conestoga, 
Akron and Lititz. This leaves the membership of the West 
Conestoga Church about 260. 

During the eldership of Jacob Stoll, the Annual Confer- 
ence of the Church of the Brethren was held in the bounds 
of the West Conestoga Church (then called Conestoga) on 
May 19, 1820, at the home of Bro. Joseph Royer, near the 
Middle Creek house. In 1873 the District Meeting of 
Eastern Pennsylvania was held in the West Conestoga 
Church, and the Ministerial and Sunday School Meeting of 
said district was held at Middle Creek house, November 12 
and 13, 1913. 

The present officials of West Conestoga Church are: 
Elder Cyrus R. Gibbel, elder in charge ; E. B. Brubaker and 
Adam G. Fahnestock, ministers in second degree ; and Wal- 
lace Zook in the first degree. Deacons : Henry Balmer, 
Andrew Bollinger, Allen Balmer, and Benjamin Bollinger. 

Dber furj=9ffagteii 


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u nb 

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taS 3''iii're Cob{n gencl^tft, ban ehdtti 
^iu&e ill kP e4;u(e 32(uC^r3?lK 

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51 Ki I) ang/ 

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3. et-ti. 

3m 3^!>t 1806, 


(a) First Ephrata. 

The Ephrata Congregation came into existence May 5, 
1864, being one of three divisions into which the Cones- 
toga Congregation was divided, and named thus on account 
of the borough of Ephrata being the chief town in the 
bounds of this newly-formed church. See diagram, page 
— , and West Conestoga Congregational History for place 
and cause of division. 

The ojfficials at the time of organization were as follows : 
Elder Christian Bomberger, elder in charge, but residing in 
West Conestoga Church ; ministers, Israel Myer, and Samuel 
Harley, a deacon of the Conestoga Church, was elected a 
minister at the time of the division; deacons, David Royer, 
Rudolph Gunkle, Isaac Shirk and Jacob S. Minnich. (For 
dates of elections of foregoing officials see Conestoga Con- 
gregation. ) 

The following officers have been elected since 1864: 


1. William Price (Preis), baptized 1848; elected 1866; 
was elected a deacon. May 20, 1865; died November 22, 
1892, aged 70 years. Buried near Cocalico at Dissler's 

2. Isaac Shirk (being a deacon already in Conestoga Con- 
gregation), elected November 19, 1870; died at Akron, 
1885, aged 60 yrs. Buried at Brick Church, midway be- 
tween Ephrata and Akron. 

3. Israel Wenger, elected May 11, 1878, and ordained 
August 8, 1891 ; died December 2, 1907, aged 63 yrs^. 
Buried at Middle Creek in West Conestoga Congregation. 

4. Isaac Keller, elected October 24, 1882 ; advanced Jan- 
uary 25, 1890; died January 12, 191 1, aged 75 yrs. Buried 
at Keller Graveyard in Springville Congregation. 

23 337 


5. John W. Schlosser, elected October 4, 1890; advanced 
September 12, 1896; ordained August 22, 1908. 

6. Elias B. Lefever, elected October 22, 1892; advanced 
April 9, 1898; removed to California, where he was 

7. Henry Royer, elected September 12, 1896. He was 
suspended from the ministry on September 4, 1905, by a 
committee of Elders; then joined the Old Order Church. 


1. William Price, elected May 20, 1865; afterwards 
elected to ministry. 

2. John L. Mohler, elected November 19, 1870. 

3. Jacob Kilhefner, elected January i, 1875. 

4. Isaac Keller, baptized in 1870; elected May 11, 1878; 
elected to ministry on October 24, 1882. 

5. Hiram Snyder, elected April 24, 1883. 

6. Henry Royer, elected October 5, 1885 ; elected to min- 
istry in 1896. 

7. Aaron Gibbel, baptized 1881 in West Conestoga Con- 
gregation; elected August 8, 1891; elected to ministry in 
Springville Congregation. 

8. Albert Gelsinger, elected August 8, 1891. 

9. J. Bitzer Johns, baptized 1887; elected, October 21, 
1896; elected a minister in Springville Congregation. 

10. John R. Royer, elected October 21, 1896. 

Elders in Charge of First Ephrata Congregation. 

1. Christian Bomberger, 1864- 1880. 

2. Samuel Harley, 1880-1893. 

3. Christian Bucher, September 16, 1893 to April 11, 

4. Israel Wenger, April 11, 1896 to August 5, 1899. 

The first Ephrata Congregation kept no minutes of its 
proceedings until 1880. Bro. Edwin Konigmacher was the 
first clerk. In addition to the deaths above noted, the fol- 
lowing ministers died in the bounds of the first Ephrata 
Congregation: Israel Myer (see Conestoga Congregation, 
page 329) on October 4, 1870, and Samuel Harley on May 
6, 1896. 

ephrata church. 339 

(&) Second or Present Ephrata. 

The Ephrata Congregation of the Church of the Brethren 
as it exists today was organized on September 2, 1899, in 
Ephrata, Lancaster County. This organization is one of the 
two divisions into which the first Ephrata Church was 
divided on August 5, 1899, from the Conestoga Church in 
1864, the other being the Springville Congregation. 

At the time of the organization, Elder I. W Taylor, re- 
siding in Spring Grove Congregation, was chosen Elder. 
The other officials elected September 2 were : David Kil- 
hefner, minister, and the deacons, R. Gunkle, J. R. Royer, S. 
W. Kulp. There were one hundred and thirty-two mem- 
bers in the present Ephrata when the congregation was 
divided in 1899. Since that time the following ministers 
have been elected: S. W. Kulp, August i, 1903; George W. 
Weaver, April 10, 1909; Wm. K. Kulp, August i, 1912. 
Three deacons have been elected since the organization as 
follows: J. M. Miller and J. K. Kilhefner, August i, 1903, 
and S. K. Kilhefner, August i, 1910. David Kilhefner was 
advanced to the second degree of the ministry, August 9, 
1902. S. W- Kulp was advanced, August 3, 1907; George 
W. Weaver was advanced August i, 1910; David Kilhefner 
was ordained to the eldership, August 3, 1907. In the 
twelve years since its organization one hundred and thirty- 
four have been received into the church by baptism. 

The present officials are : Elder, David K. Kilhefner; min- 
ister, S. W. Kulp; deacons, J R. Royer, J. K. Kilhefner, J. 
M. Miller, H. S. Gibble, S. K. Kilhefner and A. Z. Taylor. 
George W, Weaver moved to Fairview Church in 19 12 
and Wm, K. Kulp moved to Mechanicsburg, Pa., in August, 
19 1 3, The present membership is two hundred and forty. 

This church has one church-house built of brick, 50 by 
65 feet, with a seating capacity of seven hundred, located 
in the town of Ephrata. It was built in 1889 at a cost of 
$3,000. The following Brethren constituted the building 
committee: J. B. Keller, A. W. Mentzer and E. Konig- 
macher. The present church activities consist of one Sun- 
day School, organized on June 8, 1889; a weekly Prayer 
Meeting held in the church; a Christian Workers' Meeting 


organized August i, 1909, and a Sisters' Aid Society, or- 
ganized August 9, 1902. The latter has done much in a 
practical way and has as its officers : President, Emma Hil- 
debrand; Vice-President, Emma K. Seltzer; Secretary, Ger- 
trude Shirk; Treasurer, Alice Taylor. 

The church has a temperance committee consisting of 
J. K. Mohler, H. G. Mentzer and S. W. Martin. The mis- 
sionary committee of this congregation consists of J. M. 
Miller, J. M. Neff and Miles Keller, and in 1912 was instru- 
mental in raising $900 for missions. 

Elders in charge of Second Ephrata Congregation : I. W. 
Taylor, September 2, 1899, to April 10, 1909; David Kil- 
hefner, 1909 to present time. 

Ministerial Meetings held in Ephrata Congregation are as 
follows : November 2, 3, 1904; October 26, 27, 1910. Spe- 
cial District Meeting, September 21, 19 10. District Meet- 
ing of 1913 was also held here. 




Lancaster City Congregation of the Church of the Breth- 
ren was organized on October 29, 189 1, from territory and 
members belonging to the West Conestoga Congregation. 
On August 19, 1872, the West Conestoga Congregation 
through and by her trustees, Jacob Minnich, Joseph Pfautz 
and John W. Byrne, bought a church property located on 
northwest corner of Mulberry and Grant Streets, Lancaster, 
Pa., belonging to the Evangelical Association of Lancaster, 
Pa. The Brethren first held meetings every eight weeks 
and later every six weeks, largely in the German language 
until the time of organization in 1891. The elders present 
at time of organization were: Jacob Hackman, Elder of 
West Conestoga Church, B. Z. Eby, Wm. Hertzler, H. E. 
Light, J. S. Newcomer, Samuel Harley, and S. R. Zug. 
Elder S. R. Zug, of Mastersonville, Pa., was selected as 
Elder in charge ; A. J. Evans, Clerk ; J. H. Bushong, Treas- 
urer; Benj. Evans, J. H. Bushong, and J. G. Kline, Trustees. 

From October 29, 1891, to September i, 1892, services, 
were held bi-weekly by such ministers as could be secured.. 
At the latter date, T. F. Imler and wife Sadie, of Waynes- 
boro, Pa., accepted a call to become pastor of the congrega- 
tion. A Sunday School had previously been started. At 
a church council held October 19, 1892, it was decided to 
create a fund for buying or building and the following So- 
liciting Committee was appointed : T. F. Imler, Benj. Evans, 
J. G. KHne, A. J. Evans, and Anna M. Shirk. The first 
love feast was held November 6, 1892, about seventy com- 

On July 26, 1893, Valentine Workheiser made a proposi- 
tion to the Church, offering a church property previously 
owned by the Western Methodist Episcopal Church in ex- 
change for the one now in use. After investigating, the 



church accepted this offer, August i6, 1893, making 
the exchange and paying $700 for church property 64 
by 130 ft. The last services in the old house were held 
August 27, 1893, and the first service in the second house 
on September 3, 1893. First series of meetings w^ere held 
by Elder H. C. Early of Virginia, beginning on October 29, 
1893, at close of which seven were baptized. Missionary, 
Sewing and Benevolent Society started April 28, 1894. 

The second house soon needed repairs and was too small 
to accommodate the audiences. A committee consisting of 
Benj. Evans, J. H. Bushong, and John Prange was ordered 
to purchase additional ground in the rear of the present lot. 
This was done for $800, making the entire lot 64 by 270 ft. 
On January 13, 1897, the church appointed S. R. Zug, T. F. 
Imler, and J. W. Myer as a committee on plans for a new 
house. This committee became later also the building com- 
mittee. The new house, 50 by 80 ft., was built by Wenger 
& Kreider, of Witmer, Pa., for $5,500, heating and seating 
excepted. Charter applied for through A. J. Eberly, and 
granted by Court, February 9, 1897. Closing services in 
second house held June 2^, 1897, S. H. Hertzler of Eliza- 
bethtown. Pa., preaching the last sermon. The third and 
present house was dedicated November 28, 1897, Elder Silas 
Hoover preached dedicatory sermon; Prof. Geo. B. Hol- 
singer, of Bridge water, Va., led the song service. The seat- 
ing of the second story cost $655 and seats were placed July 
16, 1898. 

The Girls' Sewing School was started in the missionary 
room on October 8, 1898, with Emma I. Welty as teacher. 
On July 21, 1899, it was decided to build a parsonage, which 
was done at cost of $2,200, 18 >< by 50 ft., completed Jan- 
uary I, 1900, and occupied by T. F. Imler, the pastor, Feb- 
ruary 12, 1900. 

The following ministers were elected since the organiza- 
tion : John W. Myer, October 7, 1896; John A. Hollinger, 
May 15, 1901 ; David W. Weaver, January 14, 1903 ; Harry 
B. Yoder, August 15, 1906; Geo. W. Beelman, January 11, 
1907. Deacons were elected as follows: Albert J. Evans, 
October 19, 1892; Uriah C. Fasnacht, January 9, 1895; 


Amos p. Dubble, October 7, 1896; Daniel Kautz and Hiram 
Graybill, on September 14, 1897; John Kline, July 12, 
1899; Wm. N. Zobler, April 11, 1900; David W. Weaver, 
April II, 1900; Harry B. Yoder, April 11, 1900; Charles 
Bower, May 15, 1901 ; Eli Myer, January 22, 1902; J. 
Albert Seldomridge, January 22, 1902 ; Wayne W. Felker, 
Geo. W. Beelman and Ira W. Miller, on October 11, 1905; 
Nathan Kilhefner and Franklin Byer on January 11, 1907. 
Advancements in the ministry were made as follows : J. W. 
Myer, May 15, 1901 ; D. W. Weaver, April 12, 1905; 
H. B. Yoder, January 11, 1907. Elders were ordained as 
follows: T. F. Imler, July 12, 1899; H. B. Yoder, August 
8, 1910. 

Growth and Development. 

In 1902 Elder T. F. Imler was called as Business Man- 
ager of Brethren Publishing House at Elgin, 111., and his 
resignation as elder in charge was accepted by the church, 
October 15, 1902. Elder I. W. Taylor was elected as elder 
in charge, accepting the call, November 20, 1902. On 
December 9, 1902, the church decided J. W. Myer should 
occupy the parsonage and take up the pastoral work, which 
he accepted. 

In 1904, the Brethren conducted Sunday School and 
preaching services in the Clay Street Chapel (colored). 
This gave practical experience to a number of members in 
the slum district of Lancaster. 

On April 11, 1906, the church chose Sister Kathryn Zieg- 
ler from the home congregation to be presented to the Home 
Mission Board of the District as a missionary to the foreign 
field. The next District Meeting accepted and recom- 
mended Sister Ziegler, encouraging her to prepare for mis- 
sion work. Sister Ziegler entered the mission field in India 
in the fall of 1908, after completing the English Bible 
Course in Elizabethtown College. 

In 1906 it was also decided to purchase a tent and work 
in the various parts of the city during the summer months. 
This work was continued during the year 1907. 

In 1906 it was mutually agreed between the West Con- 


estoga Church and Lancaster City Church to extend the lat- 
ter's territory. The present eastern Hne from Conestoga 
Creek along the road leading to Eden crossing the same road 
leading to a point near Henry Hess's place on Lancaster and 
Ephrata pike, and thence in a straight line to the Lancaster 
and Lititz pike, including this territory from this line to city 
limits. By this change the Union House at Eden (where 
the West Conestoga Brethren held services) became part of 
city church territory. In 1907 regular preaching services 
w^ere opened at Eden and are continued at this time. 

On January 21, 1908, J. W. Myer asked to be relieved 
from pastoral duties. H. B. Yoder was then called to take 
up the pastorate and serves in this position, now occupying 
the parsonage. On July 9, 1913, Elder L W. Taylor re- 
signed as Elder of the church, and Elder H. B. Yoder was 
elected as his successor in the oversight of this congregation. 

On July 19, 191 1, at a special council, it was agreed to 
open a new mission at 221 Coral St., and the following lo- 
cating committeee was retained to direct the work: H. B. 
Yoder, President; Geo. W. Beelman, Secretary; Ehzabeth 
Eby, Treasurer; J. W. Myer and Nathan Kilhefner. This 
committee appointed Sunday School ofificers, which were rat- 
ified by the church, July 23, 191 1, as follows: Superintend- 
ent, Ira W. Miller; Assistant, J. W. Myer; Secretary, 
Hannah Seldomridge : Assistant Secretary, Helen Kline ; 
Librarian, Eva Witmer; Assistant Librarian, Minnie Fisher; 
Treasurer, Walter Stump; Chorister, Ada Beelman; 
Mission Visitor, Lydia Baum; Teachers, Ira Miller, John 
W. Myer, John Baker, Cora Price, Florence Evans, Mary 
Myer, Catharine Wright. At the dedicatory services on 
July 30, 191 1, there were 108 persons in attendance. 

The present officials are : Elder H. B. Yoder, Elder in 
charge and pastor; ministers, J. W. Myer and Geo. W. 
Beelman. Deacons : John Kline, Daniel Myer, Eli Myer, J. 
Albert. Seldomridge, Wayne Felker, Ira W. Miller, Nathan 
Kilhefner, Hiram Graybill, C. Alfred Whisler. 

The present church activities consist of a Sunday School, 
Christian Workers' Meeting, and Sisters' Aid Society. The 
home department of the Sunday School was organized 


September i, 1908, with H. B. Yoder, Superintendent. The 
temperance committee is Geo. W. Beelman, Emma Landis 
and Cora Price. 

On April 13, 1904, the church appointed Sister EHzabeth 
Miller as city home missionary. She has become an active 
and faithful worker, living out the Savior's teaching in 
Matt. 25 : 34-40. She has brought many little children into 
the Sunday School with garments which she supplied. 

On January 14, 1914, the church elected B. F. Waltz to 
the ministry and John D. Ebersole and Harry W. Wolge- 
muth as deacons. 

Bishops of this congregation: (i) S. R. Zug, 1891-1899; 
(2) T. F. Imler, 1899-1902; (3) I. W. Taylor, 1902-1913, 
July 9; (4) H. B. Yoder, 1913. 


Before the organization of the Mechanic Grove Church, 
among the first members Hving in the territory now consti- 
tuting this church were the Eckmans, Cyrus Royer, Adam 
Stoneroad and John Hoake. These Hved near Re f ton and 
some soon moved to Ilhnois. 

Meetings were held from two to four times a year at the 
homes of Bro. Eckman, Cyrus Royer, and Tobias Herr, who 
Hved five miles east of Refton. It is said that John Um- 
stad, Wm. Price and Peter Hollowbush were among the 
early ministers to proclaim the Brethren's doctrine here. 

About 1890, the Brethren of the Conestoga Church began 
to worship at Refton in a meeting house of the United 
Brethren built in 1879. On March 19, 1896, Bro. Geo. 
Bucher, a minister of the Tulpehocken Church, residing near 
Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon Co., moved on a farm near 
Mechanic Grove. There were then sixteen members liv- 
ing in what is the present Mechanic Grove district. John 
L. Minnich of near Lititz, Charles Garner and wife, and 
Harrison Steely soon afterward moved in. Thus fourteen 
new members were added, and by October, 1898, the mem- 
bership reached 34. 

Bro. Bucher began to hold services in his home and at 
Bro. Minnich's, so that there was preaching in the neighbor- 
hood every month. The first members to be received by 
baptism which occurred in 1897, were Katie Minnich, aged 
fourteen years, and Fianna Bucher, aged ten. Katie Min- 
nich soon died and was the first one buried at the Mechanic 
Grove burying ground. 

The first council was held at Bro. Bucher's, April 17, 1897, 
for the purpose of organizing a new congregation. Elder 
H. E. Light presided ; Elder John W. Graybill was also pres- 
ent. At this council the organization of the Mechanic 




Grove Church resulted, being one of the three districts into 
which the Conestoga Church was divided in this same year. 
The officials of the organization were : Elder H. E. Light 
as Elder in charge, but residing in the Mountville Church; 
George Bucher, a minister in the second degree, and no 
deacons. Of the thirty-four members, twenty-three were 
present, nine brethren and fourteen sisters. 

The boundary line of this church, as adopted at the first 
council, was as follows: Beginning at Conestoga Creek, 
where Pequea and Lampeter Townships join, thence south 
to Long Lane through Strasburg to Gap ( Strasburg to be- 
long to the Conestoga Church). The territory of this con- 
gregation embraces the southern third of Lancaster County, 
being about twenty miles each way. 

At this same council J. L. Minnich was elected and in- 
stalled into the deacon's office and also chosen the first treas- 
urer. A petition to the District Meeting was drawn up, 
asking to be received into the care of the Home Mission 
Board, which was granted. 

At the second council, also held at Bucher's, George 
Bucher was ordained to the eldership, September 4, 1897, 
and given charge of the church. Mary Phillipy was ap- 
pointed correspondent to the Gospel Messenger. The ques- 
tion of building a house of worship at Mechanic Grove was 
also discussed. It was decided to begin to build with the 
means at hand, provided the Home Mission Board would 
assist to the extent of giving $400. This assistance how- 
ever was refused. A building committee consisting of J. L. 
Minnich, Cyrus Royer and George Bucher was appointed, 
the church having decided to build at any rate. Accord- 
ingly, a frame structure 50 X 50 ft., suitable for lovefeast 
purposes, was erected at a cost of $1,836.53 and dedicated 
October i, 1898, at which time the first lovefeast was held 
in the new church. The first lovefeast by this congregation 
was held at Elder Bucher's home, October 2, 1897. 

Next a movement was started to purchase a church build- 
ing at Refton. After appeals for aid had been made to 
the Conestoga and Spring Grove churches it was agreed to 
purchase the Refton House for $775 on January 22, 1898. 


Cyrus Royer, John Minnich and Edwin Pehlman were ap- 
pointed trustees of this house, which is a frame building 30 
X 40 ft. The first love feast held at this house, which was 
the second one held by this congregation, occurred May 21, 

About the same time it was decided that the council meet- 
ings as well as the love feasts alternate between the Mechanic 
Grove and Refton houses. Preaching services from this 
time on were held every fourth week at each of these houses 
with a monthly service at Elim, on another of Bro. Bucher's 
farms, five miles south of Mechanic Grove. Sunday School 
was organized in the Mechanic Grove House, April 26, 


The following elections of officials have been held since 
the time of organization: On May 11, 1901, U. C. Fasnacht 
and Rufus P. Bucher were elected to the ministry ; on Novem- 
ber 14, 1909, P. M. Habecker was called to the ministry. 
The following were elected as deacons : Harrison Steely, 
May 13, 1899; P. M. Habecker, September 8, 1906; Benja- 
min Kreider, November 14, 1909; Charles A. Livengood 
and Cyrus Stauffer, June 10, 191 1. On January 19, 1908, 
U. C. Fasnacht was advanced to the second degree of the 
ministry. Rufus P. Bucher was advanced in the ministry, 
December 6, 1908. 

At a council meeting held at the Mechanic Grove House 
in the presence of Elders I. W. Taylor and H. E. Light, a 
charge against George Bucher was adjusted. At a council 
meeting held September 21, 1907, at George Bucher's home, 
where I. W. Taylor, Hiram Gibbel and Hershey Groff were 
present, George Bucher was charged with having used the 
law against a brother. He refused to comply with what the 
church asked of him and stated that he would no longer 
work with the Brethren, expecting to unite with the Old 
Order Brethren. A council meeting held at the Refton 
House at which H. E. Light, Hershey Groff and L W. Tay- 
lor were present (the latter presiding), disfellowshipped 
George Bucher and wife, they having before this time identi- 
fied themselves with the Old Order Brethren. 

The present officials are : Elder S. H. Hertzler, Elder in 









I— I 










charge, residing in Elizabethtown ; ministers : U. C. Fas- 
nacht, R. P. Bucher, P. M. Habecker; deacons; Benjamin 
Kreider, Charles Livengood, Cyrus Stauffer. 

The growth of the work has been slow but steady, the 
membership numbering sixty-five on September 14, 1913. 
Of the original 34 members, only four were left on Septem- 
ber 14, 1913. In 1901, in the month of October, the Min- 
isterial and Sunday School Meeting of Eastern Pennsyl- 
vania was held at Mechanic Grove. The condition of the 
church in general at this time is good. 

Bishops of this congregation: (i) H. E. Light, April 17, 
1897, to September 4, 1897; (2) George Bucher, September 
4, 1897, to 1907; (3) Samuel H. Hertzler, Jan. 19, 1908. 


The Spring Grove Church of the Brethren was organized 
April 24, 1897, at the Blueball meeting house, having been 
a part of the Conestoga Church formerly. On this occasion 
the following elders were present : H. E. Light, B. Z. Eby, 
Israel Wenger, John W. Graybill, the last named being 
chosen as Elder in charge. Aaron W. Martin was elected 
deacon on the same date, but being absent was installed May 
19, 1897. 

On December 18, 1897, R. S. Reidenbach was ordained to 
the eldership and Samuel W. Taylor elected to the ministry. 
Isaac G. Martin and John Buffenmyer, Sr., were elected 
deacons. On said date John Graybill's resignation as elder 
was accepted and R. S. Reidenbach was given charge of 
the church. May 22, 1899, I. W. Taylor was ordained and 
by vote elected Elder in charge and served until now. At 
the same time, Samuel W. Taylor was advanced to the 
second degree of the ministry. The services of said date 
were in charge of the Elders, H. E. Light, John Graybill, B. 
Z. Eby, and John Herr. On April 23, 1907, Amos Taylor 
was elected deacon, Elders H. E. Light and Hershey Groff 
having charge of the services. On May 26, 1909, Amos M. 
Martin was elected minister and Jacob Redcay and Horace 
Buffenmyer were elected deacons. At this service Elders 
Hershey Groff, John W. Schlosser and David Kilhefner 
were present. On September 9, 19 13, Samuel W. Taylor 
was ordained to eldership and Amos M. Martin advanced 
to second degree of ministry. 

From the organization of this congregation to February, 
19 1 2, there have been thirty-two deaths and sixty baptisms. 
Twenty certificates have been received and seventy-six cer- 
tificates granted. Six members have been disowned and not 
reclaimed. The present membership is ninety-one. The 



officials at the time of the organization were R. S. Reiden- 
bach, elder, I. W. Taylor minister, S. W. Taylor, deacon, 
with a membership of about eighty. The present officials 
are: Elder, I. W. Taylor as Elder in charge; Elder, R. S. 
Reidenbach, and Elder, S. W. Taylor, and Amos Martin, 
minister; Deacons, J. B. Becker, John Buffenmyer, Sr. 

The congregation has three church buildings : the Spring 
Grove House, a frame building, 40 by 50 ft., located at 
Spring Grove, was built in 1892 at a cost of $3,000; the 
Blueball House, 30 by 40 ft., frame, located at Blueball, built 
in 1875 at a cost of $2,200; Kemper's Church House, near 
Murrell, a sandstone structure, built in 1864 at a cost of 

The present church activities of this congregation consist 
of one Sunday School at Voganville, organized in 1905, for- 
merly held at Spring Grove and Voganville, and Prayer 
Meeting in private homes of members. 

Bishops of the Congregation: (i) John W. Graybill, 
April, 1897, to December 18, 1897; (2) R. S. Reidenbach, 
1897-1899; (3) I. W. Taylor, 1899. 



On May 5, 1864, Conestoga Church was divided into 
three church districts; namely, Conestoga, West Conestoga 
and Ephrata. The Ephrata district consisted of the town 
of Ephrata and also of a large territory in the country north 
of Ephrata. On August 5, 1899, the Ephrata Church, 
numbering about three hundred and thirty-five members, 
was divided into two divisions or congregations. The town 
of Ephrata constituted the one division, called the Ephrata 
Church, and the rural section, called the Springville Church, 
constituted the other division. The newly formed Ephrata 
congregation consisted of one hundred and thirty-two mem- 
bers in the Borough of Ephrata and some adjoining territory 
and retained the old name Ephrata Church. 

The officials of the Springville Congregation at the time 
of its organization in 1899 consisted of Elder Israel Wenger, 
Elder in charge ; ministers, Isaac Keller, John W. Schlosser, 
and Henry Royer; deacons, John L. Mohler, Jacob Kilhef- 
ner, Hiram Snyder, Aaron Gibbel, Albert Gelsinger, J. Bit- 
zer Johns. Since the organization the following ministers 
have been elected: Aaron R. Gibbel, on October 5, 1907; J. 
Bitzer Johns, on August 27, 1908. The following have 
been elected deacons since 1899 : Reuben M. Hertzog, and 
John G. Martsall, on August 22, 1908. On the same date 
Aaron R. Gibbel was advanced to the second degree of the 
ministry and John W. Schlosser was ordained to the elder- 
ship. Mar. 14, 1914, J. Bitzer Johns advanced to 2d 

The congregation in 19 13 had a membership of two hun- 
dred and fifty-seven, with the following officials : Elder in 
charge, John W. Schlosser; ministers, Abram H. Royer, 
Aaron R. Gibbel, J. Bitzer Johns; deacons, Hiram B. 
Snyder, Albert Gelsinger, Aaron H. Royer, Reuben M. 
Hertzog, John G. Martsall, Jacob Redcay. 












The congregation has five church houses : Mohler's, a 
frame building 50 by 80 ft., located near Ephrata, built in 
1872, and cost $4,364.34 (this building was destroyed by 
fire, April 9, 1898, and rebuilt in the same year at an ex- 
pense of $2,414.44) ; the last building committee was Aaron 
Hummer, Samuel Mohler, Michael Keller, Levi Mohler, 
John L. Mohler ; the Springville House, brick structure, built 
in 1854, 36 by 60 ft., at Springville, had an annex built to 
it in 1889; the Denver House built in 1877, 36 by 40 ft., 
frame ; the Blainsport House is a frame structure, 36 by 40 
ft., built in 1866; the Cocalico House, 36 by 50 ft., built of 
brick, in 1909, at a cost of $1,500, with the following build- 
ing committee : Daniel Noll, Benjamin Burkholder and Sam- 
uel Snyder. 

The present activities of this congregation consist of an 
evergreen Sunday School at Springville, organized in 1904; 
and two midweek Prayer Meetings held at the homes of 
members. The following have been elders in charge of this 
congregation: Israel Wenger, August 5, 1899, to September 
4» 1905; John Herr, residing at Myerstown, 1905 to 1908; 
John W. Schlosser, 1908 to the present. 

The Annual Conference of 1846 was held on May 29, at 
Trout Creek, Lancaster County, in the present bounds of the 
Springville Congregation, on John Royer's farm, near 
Springville. The District Meetings of Eastern Pennsyl- 
vania were held in the territory of this congregation as 
follows: at the Mohler House, April 29, 1875; April 30, 
and May i, 1890, and May 6 and 7, 1908. 



The Akron Church was organized on April 5, 1913. It 
was formed from territory belonging to the West Conestoga 
and Springville congregations. At a council meeting of the 
Springville Church, held at Mohler's on March 15, 1913, 
permission was granted the members living in Akron and 
vicinity to join with part of the West Conestoga Church for 
the purpose of forming a new congregation, to be known as 
the Akron Church. Twenty-seven members were in this 
way taken from the Springville Church. 

On March 24, 19 13, the West Conestoga Church was 
divided into three divisions as follows : West Conestoga, 
Lititz, and Akron. The territory of the Akron Church con- 
sists of the Borough of Akron, Lancaster County, and 
vicinity, and ' some territory including the Brick Church 
House (Steinmetz's formerly) of the Springville Church. 

Steinmetz's Meeting-house. 

Bro. J. G. Francis deserves the credit for the following 
interesting history of this ancient landmark : 

" ' Memorandum Book of the German Baptist brick meet- 
ing-house, near Isaac Steinmetz's generally called Steinmetz's 

Ephrata Township, January the 12th, 1847. 
" ' Constitution 
" ' We, the undersigned, having agreed to form a constitution 
of a meeting house to be erected on the land of Isaac Steinmetz, 
in the township of Ephrata, Lancaster county, at the cross- 
roads, near Steinmetz's brickyard, as follows, to wit: 

'"The said house to be called "German Baptist Meeting- 
house." It shall be for the use of the religious denomination, 
called German Baptists, for them to hold religious meetings in 
the same at any time. Any preacher or preachers of any other 




H^^lH^r V 1 vR 

Steinmetz's Meeting House, near Akron. 

y y 

Grave of Elder Samuel Hari.ey, 



denomination, or some person for him or them, must obtain per- 
mission from all the Trustees of said house before he or they 
can go into the said meeting house, with the intention of 

" ' A part of said house may be occupied for teaching a day 
school any time it is considered necessary by the surrounding 

" ' No kind of exhibitions or lectures shall be allowed in said 

" ' One half acre of ground shall be given to build the said 
house thereon, and for the use of a graveyard. 

" ' Three Trustees shall be annually elected by the contribut- 
ing subscribers to said house, every year on the second Satur- 
day of every March, in the afternoon, between the hours of one 
and four. 

" ' The election shall be held by the Trustees then in office. 
" ' No votes shall be accepted at any of the said elections 
held as aforesaid, which are handed in by proxy. The election 
shall be held in said meeting-house. 

" ' Any man elected Trustee must live within one mile of 
said house. 

" ' Witness our hands, the day and year above written. 

Isaac Steinmetz 
David Martin 
Charles Bauman 
George Frantz 
Samuel Wolf 
John E. Pfautz* 

" All of those signing the Constitution were members of 
the Brethren Church but Samuel Wolf, and he later became 
one. From this constitution there is no evidence of any 
sharp dealing on the part of any Brethren. And the deed 
agrees with the constitution. It is dated April i8, 1848. 
Isaac Steinmetz received $30 for eighty perches of land, 
deeded by him to trustees David Martin, George Frantz and 
Isaac Steinmetz. The meeting-house was already erected 
at the time of drawing up the deed. It was finished in 
1847 ^"d was 36 by 50 ft. 

"This farm had belonged to Christian Brubecker. It 
came to Steinmetz through his wife Mary, daughter of Bru- 


becker. The south end part, also by the deed as well as by 
the constitution, could be used for a school house on consent 
of the Trustees. This fact reveals very clearly the relation 
of these old Brethren to the cause of public education. The 
door at the south gable end was the entrance to the school- 
room. The place of the old partition, now torn out, is very 
noticeable. In times of worship the partition could be so 
removed that those sitting in the school-room part could see 
and hear the preacher. The top and bottom parts were 

" For building the house $686.87 were subscribed by 206 
neighbors, or an average of $3.36 per neighbor, certainly a 
popular subscription. The heaviest subscribers were David 
Martin, John E. Pfautz and Isaac Steinmetz. In the list we 
find old substantial Brethren names — Christian Bomberger, 
Joseph Myers, Jacob Pfautz, Sr., Christian Rupp, Isaac 
Shirk and Michael Weidler. 

"The first election for Trustees was held March 11, 1848, 
when David Martin, Isaac Steinmetz and George Frantz 
were chosen. The following is a list of Trustees up to 1900, 
when elections ceased: 

1. David Martin, 2 yrs. 12. John Kilheflfer, 8 yrs. 

2. Isaac Steinmetz, 12 yrs. 13. John G. Kilheffer, 10 yrs, 

3. George Frantz, 8 yrs. 14. Jacob Holsinger, 3 yrs. 
4 John E. Pfautz, 19 yrs. 15. Aaron Hummer, 18 yrs. 

5. Joseph Landis, 4 yrs. 16. Jacob Neff, 5 yrs. 

6. John Albright, 4 yrs. 17. Samuel Kulp, 3 yrs. 

7. Charles Bauman, 9 yrs. 18. John Lefever, 7 yrs. 

8. Isaac Shirk, 4 yrs. 19. John Kilheffer, 4 yrs. 

9. Samuel Wolf, 6 yrs. 20. Wane Gulp, 2 yrs. 

10. Jacob B. Keller, 16 yrs. 21. John Klimes, 4 yrs. 

11. Jacob Kilheffer, 8 yrs. 

"Last election was held in 1900, but the elections were 
often neglected and then the old Trustees were simply con- 

"The house was variously called Steinmetz's, the Brick 
meeting-house, and the German Baptist meeting-house. To 
whom it belonged and the purpose of its erection are evident. 

" Shutters were put on the house in 1853. ^^ ^^5^ it 


was unanimously agreed to make some improvements to 
said house, by filling up, making out stone steps, and putting 
water spouts in front of said house. Cost $37-77/^. 

" School seems to have been held right along. In 1866 
it was necessary to lay a new floor in the school-room. This 
cost $66.57. These repairs seem to have led to charging 
the School Directors for the use of the building, for on 
March 30, 1867, the Trustees received from the School 
Directors $25, school rent. This sum or a little more con- 
tinued to be paid until 1884. 

"At a council in Mohler's Meeting-house in 1890, it was 
decided *to remodel the German Baptist Brick meeting- 
house.' The doors which had been on the side toward the 
road were now placed on the opposite side ; the total cost for 
remodelling was $245.83 — $9.17 more than necessary hav- 
ing been subscribed. 

"This is an old house whose history is worthy of pres- 
ervation. It is perhaps the pioneer brick meeting house in 
eastern Pennsylvania — logs and stones had previously been 
used. It is likely the mother of the work at Ephrata as well 
as at Akron. When the new house was built in Akron 
many wanted to tear down the old brick structure, but it 
found a champion in Sister Isabella Smith, who saved it 
from destruction. She has now over $200 subscribed to- 
ward repairing it. Regular services are no longer held here, 
but it will be convenient for funerals. A large cemetery, 
surrounded entirely with a neat iron fence accompanies the 
old church and will for generations afford a beautiful burial 
place for the Akron congregation." 

At the time of organization of this church the member- 
ship numbered seventy-seven. The officials then were : 
Elder in charge, Elder I. W. Taylor, Superintendent and 
Secretary of the Brethren Home at Neffsville; minister, 
David Snader in the second degree; deacons, S. N. Wolf, 
and A. J. Evans. On October 18, 191 3, the following offi- 
cials were elected : minister, S. N. Wolf ; deacons, George B. 
Wolf and Els worth Wenger. 

This congregation has two houses of worship. The Brick 
House above described. The Akron House was built in 


1898, a frame structure, 44 by 50 ft., and was remodeled for 
lovefeast purposes with a basement, since the organiza- 
tion of the church. It was rededicated, October 19, 1913. 
Elder John Herr, of Myerstown, preached the dedicatory 
sermon. The first lovefeast of this congregation was held 
November i, 1913, following a series of evangelistic 
meetings conducted by Elder J. H. Longenecker, of Palmyra. 
The church has a Sunday School at Akron, organized 
March 26, 1906, with the following officers: Superintend- 
ent David Snader; First Assistant, S. N. Wolf; Second 
Assistant, John P. Snader; Secretary, H. N. Wolf. There, 
is a weekly Prayer Meeting held at the homes of members. 


Lititz Church was organized on January lo, 191 4, with 
a membership numbering 120. Twenty-three of this num- 
ber were from the White Oak congregation. The West 
Conestoga congregation, however, furnished the bulk of the 
membership; namely, ninety-seven of the charter members. 
Elder I. W. Taylor, superintendent of the Brethren's Home, 
was chosen elder in charge; J. W. G. Hershey, clerk; and 
Nathan Brubaker, treasurer. The resident ministers are: 
Elder John Myer, and J. W. G. Hershey, in the second 
degree. The deacons are : George Shreiner, Nathan Bru-* 
baker and Horace Buffenmyer. The Sunday School of the 
new organization with an enrollment of 85 has been placed 
under the superintendency of Henry Gibbel. A Teacher 
Training Class is maintained. The sisters have an Aid 
Society of which Sister J. W. G. Hershey is president and 
Sister Florence Gibbel, treasurer. A plain frame house 
40 X 50 ft. built in 1887 is the home of this new con- 

The organization was preceded by a two weeks' series of 
meetings conducted by Elder J. G. Royer, of Mt. Morris, 111. 
Bro. Royer presided at the organization of the new congre- 
gation. His tact fulness likely had much to do with the 
frictionless evolution of the church. 

The Manheim Road and Market Street in Warwick form 
the northern boundary of the new church; the road from 
Hess's Mennonite meeting-house to Bushong's Mill bounds 
it on the east; the southern boundary is an irregular south- 
western line to the intersection of Peter's Road and the 
Lancaster and Lititz turnpike; the turnpike is the western 
boundary to Macpelah cemetery, thence a line northwest to 
southwest corner of Lititz borough, then north along bor- 
ough limits and on to Manheim Road. The Lancaster and 



Lititz turnpike had been the old boundary between the two 
old congregations, so it will be seen that a comparatively 
small part of the territory was given by White Oak, as was 
also the case in the membership. So much for the present 
status of the new congregation. 

Deacon Jacob S. Minnich was the first aggressive worker 
living within the town of Lititz. When the meeting house 
was built in the extreme eastern part of the town, Jacob S. 
Minnich and John R. Gibbel were the Locating and Building 
Committee. Both Bro. Minnich and Bro. John B. Gibbel 
lived east of town and John R. Gibbel, son of John B., lived 
also in the eastern part. Since then, the location of the 
membership has shifted and the church is far removed from 
the trolley and membership. There is a strong probability, 
therefore, that a new house of worship more conveniently 
located will be erected in the not distant future. 

In 1888 John B. Gibbel asked permission to hold prayer- 
meetings in Lititz on Sunday evenings. The request was 
granted. Then came the agitation for a Sunday School 
with Jacob Minnich in the lead. The congregation refused 
the request for a Sunday School ; but nothing daunted, the 
leader went on, declaring that since Annual Meeting upheld 
Sunday Schools, one would be organized. The school con- 
tinued for two years, when it was forced to close. After a 
few years it was revived, the church having later granted 
the privilege. It was specified, however, that a minister 
must be superintendent. Cyrus Gibbel was placed over the 
reorganized school ; he was succeeded by E. B. Brubaker, 
who in turn was followed by J. W. G. Hershey, who con- 
tinued in office up to the time of organization of the new 
congregation. The school has been evergreen since the 

The first effort for a new congregation was made by pre- 
senting a petition signed by Lititz members to the West 
Conestoga council in 1907. This petition was refused. A 
number of years having passed, the effort was repeated in 
191 3 and now the members of Lititz rejoice in the realiza- 
tion that all things come to them who wait. A meeting of 
the members of Lititz as an unorganized body was held on 


New Year's Day, 1914. Elder Samuel Hunberger of the 
Brethren's Home presided. It was decided by a unanimous, 
rising vote to organize, and also to petition West Conestoga 
to change the line from the one formerly suggested by a 
committee to the one which was later adopted. The 
Brethren west of the pike petitioned White Oak for a line 
and for the privilege of uniting with the members in the 
West Conestoga portion of Lititz. The petitions were 
granted with the happy result which we have noted. The 
new congregation has a territory of almost four square 
miles, with a population of about four thousand. 

A. Jacob Stoll. 

Jacob Stoll was born in 1731, baptized in 1748, elected a 
minister in 1753, and died in 1822, in his ninety-second 

It is not known positively when he was ordained a Bishop, 
but in an old manuscript the writer of this sketch has seen, 
it is mentioned that Elder Stoll " was sixty-seven years a 
Bishop." Whether the author of that manuscript had in view 
the time he was in the ministry, or whether he was really 
ordained an Elder two years after his election, we know 
not, but if the former, he missed it by two years, for from 
1753, when he was elected, to 1822, when he died, was 
sixty-nine years — the longest term of any brother in the 
ministry in Eastern Pennsylvania we know of. A close 
second is Samuel Haldeman, now living in Reedly, Cali- 
fornia, who was born, raised, baptized, and elected a minis- 
ter, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and afterwards 
moved to Schuylkill County, and from there to the West. 
He was born in 1820, baptized in 1840, elected in 1847, ^^^ 
is therefore now (1913) sixty-six years in the ministry. 
Both he and his wife are living yet. She will be ninety- 
three next April, and they have been married over seventy- 
one years. They are both able to attend meeting, and on 
last August 14, he gave a ten-minute talk in meeting, both 
edifying, and instructive. (From Eld. D. L. Forney, in 
Cos. Mess., Vol. 62, No. 39, page 614.) 

There was an Esther Stoll baptized prior to 1734. and 
also Esther Stoll in 1745, who were likely mother and sister 
of Elder Jacob Stoll. 

It was said by the old Brethren who lived contemporary 
with Elder Stoll that at the time of his call to the ministry, 



he had an engagement to get married, but after his election 
he and his fiancee talked the matter over and mutually 
agreed to cancel the engagement, lest his entanglement in a 
family relation might be a hindrance to his work for the 
Master, and so he was never married. 

Just where he was born, or where he had his home during 
his earlier life we know not, but it is known that he always 
led a simple life, and the probability is that he always lived 
in the same vicinity, and when he was older he is known to 
have lived alone over a spring house, on the farm of Bro. 
Joseph Royer, near where Middle Creek Meeting-house now 
stands. There he had his loom, he being a weaver by trade, 
and there he slept and lived, when not engaged in his duties 
as overseer of a large flock, scattered over a large territory. 

By this time some members of Conestoga had moved 
across the mountain into what is now Lebanon County, 
where the Brethren would have an occasional meeting at the 
Brethren's homes, and on such occasions Elder Stoll would 
take his staff, on Sunday morning early, and walk across 
the mountain, and preach, and in the afternoon walk home 
again. On one such occasion, when the meeting was at 
Brother Henry Royer's, on the farm now owned by a 
Brother Bucher, east of Reistville, when bidding farewell, 
sister Royer said she don't know what they will do when 
Elder Stoll don't come to preach for them any more; then 
he stamped his cane on the floor and said : " Then you have 
the same God you now have." 

Brother Samuel Gibbel at one time lived in the Conestoga 
district, and later moved to Lebanon County. One day he 
went to Elder Stoll and complained about a Brother for 
being so notoriously untruthful, that the people talk about it, 
thus bringing disgrace on the church. After waiting a little 
for a reply. Elder Stoll said : " Make him different." That 
was all he got. This information the writer has from a 
son of Gibbel. 

Elder Jacob Hollinger, when he lived, told the writer, that 
Elder Stoll was very simple in his living, that he wore knee 
breeches made of buckskin, which he wore at all times and 


places, and that by his trade he became acquainted with a 
storekeeper in Lancaster, who took such a Hking to him 
that he gave orders that when he dies, that preacher with the 
" Buckskin breeches " should preach his funeral, and he did.^ 

In conversation Elder Stoll had little to say, and in 
preaching his sermons were short and pithy, so that when 
the people were about ready to listen for what comes next, 
he would sit down, and when he was urged to preach longer 
sermons, he would say, " We must not preach people weary, 
but hungry, so that they come again the next time." 

When he was old, and knew that at best his life in this 
earthly house would be brief he gave instructions that he 
should be buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery, just inside 
the gate, so that people going in and out would have to walk 
over him, and when the grave was dug about the proper 
depth, they came upon a flat rock, on which they placed the 

Some years afterward the cemetery was enlarged which 
made it necessary to change the place of entry. His grave 
is marked by a small stone, with J. Stoll, 1822, on it. 
" Mark the perfect man, behold the upright, for the end of 
that man is peace." Ps. 37, 37. 

Elder Stoll, some time in his active life, wrote a book on 
religious topics and had it published in German, and with 
all diligent search so far the writer was unable to find a 
copy, but remembers having seen it years ago, and all he 
remembers of the title page is the name of the author, the 
peculiarity of which made a lasting impression on his mind; 
viz., "J. St-11." This proves that he had literary abihties 
above the ordinary of his time. (See cut of Title Page). 

S. R. ZuG. 

1 When Peter Miller, of the Beissel monastic community died, all the 
celibates were old and more or less feeble, so that it was determined to 
invite a clergyman to perform his last rites. Recourse was had to the 
minister of the nearest Dunker congregation, who was Jacob Stoll, 
living less than four miles from Peter Miller's residence. It is stated 
on good authority that Jacob Stoll preached the funeral sermon of 
Peter Miller on September 28, 1796, taking for his text Rev. 14: 12, 13. — 


B. Abraham Zug. 

Abraham Zug was born in Warwick, now Penn Town- 
ship, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was the youngest 
son of Elder Johannes Zug. 

He was married to Susanna Royer, from Middle Creek. 
They had four sons and one daughter: John, who after- 
wards became the Elder of the Tulpehocken Church ; Daniel, 
who moved to, and died in Franklin Co., Pa. ; Abraham and 
David, twins, who lived and died in Lebanon Co. ; and 
Catharine, who was never married. 

He was a tanner by trade and lived in Rapho Township, 
about a mile southeast of Mastersonville, where he carried 
on his trade for some years. About 1805 they moved to 
Lexington, Warwick Township, where he had a tannery, 
and where, in 181 5, he and Jacob Pfautz were elected to the 
ministry the same day. When his sons grew up, and 
needed work he sold out there, and moved to Lebanon 
County, where he bought a farm, near where Richland now 
is. Here he, and his wife, lived their remaining years, and 
now rest in the Tulpehocken Cemetery, not far away. 

They still belonged to the Conestoga Church, though 
living in another county, so in 1823 he and Jacob Pfautz 
were ordained Elders, and the same day Samuel Myer, and 
Michael Landis elected ministers, and Henry Mohler, Sr., 
and Jacob Bollinger, deacons. 

In July 1841 Elder Zug died in his 70th year. In his 
eldership he was frequently called to Little Swatara to 
assist in church work. He was a good counsellor, not 
radical, but firm, wise, and tactful, making few words, well 
considered, in a kind, mild voice, and always to the point. 

He stood well in the community in and outside of the 
church. At his funeral Thomas Leinbach, a Reformed 
minister, asked liberty to say something, which being 
granted, he eulogized the departed as a true model Christian, 
and his death as an irreparable loss to the community. 

S. R. ZuG. 


C. Christian Bomberger. 

Christian Bomberger was born in Penn Township, Lan- 
caster County, Pa., in 1801. Of his parents Httle is known, 
but his mother was a daughter of Christian Graybill, a 
prominent Brother. They were of German descent, and 
lived on the farm. Christian received a fair education. 
When he grew to manhood, he chose the profession of 

He was united in marriage to a Miss Fahnestock. 
Among the Fahnestocks were some prominent physicians, 
who proved helpful to him in his chosen profession. 

To them were born two sons and four daughters. They 
lived on a farm below Lititz until their sons started out for 
themselves; then they took to the farm, and the parents 
moved to Rothsville, where the doctor devoted his time 
to the church and the practice of medicine. In his medical 
work he used magnetism and faith cure to some extent and 
sometimes obtained results that were positively unexplain- 
able by the ordinary laws of Materia medica. He never 
undertook important surgical cases, but recommended them 
to skillful surgeons in Lancaster. 

In 1828 he and his wife united with the church. Three 
years later, he was called to the ministry. While he made 
a success of medicine, he had little faith in his ability to 
preach. So often did he say so to his wife that she grew 
tired, and on one occasion replied to him that God could 
open the mouth of Balaam's ass to rebuke his master, why 
could he not his? This gave him some courage at least to 
make an effort. From this time his influence grew, and he 
became a physician for both body and soul. In 1862 he 
was ordained Elder and given charge of the Conestoga 
Church. In 1864 the Conestoga Church was divided into 
three churches— Conestoga, West Conestoga, and Ephrata, 
with Elder Bomberger in charge of the three for the time 
being. He was one of the best counsellors of the district, 
and was therefore called from home frequently to aid in 
adjusting difficulties in many parts of the district. He was 
one of a sextette in eastern Pennsylvania, who were leaders 


in the district, the other five being Samuel Harley, St., of 
Indian Creek, John H. Umstad, Jacob Hollinger, John Zug 
and David Gerlach. His body is at rest in the Conestoga 
Congregation (Middle Creek Cemetery) and his labors for 
righteousness and peace are still felt among the churches 
where he labored. He fell asleep in 1880, in the 79th year 
of his age. 

S. R. Zug. 

D. Samuel Harley. 

Elder Samuel Harley, the second elder of the Ephrata 
Church, was born and raised in Montgomery County, Penn- 
sylvania, and came to Lancaster County while he was yet a 
young man. He was called to the ministry in the Ephrata 
Church in 1864, after having been elected a deacon in the 
Conestoga Church in 1861. He was advanced to the second 
degree of the ministry in 1867 ^^^ ordained in 1871. 

Elder Harley united with the church in the Indian Creek 
Congregation in Montgomery County. He was married 
to EHzabeth Johnson on May 14, 1843, ^^^ baptized with his 
wife the following spring. Their union was blessed with 
two daughters, the older, Mariette, was married to Yelles 
Cassel, a son of Abram Cassel, the antiquarian, and the 
younger was married to Jeremiah Kurtz, of Ephrata. He 
was married a second time on March 15, 1874, to Sister 
Catherine Royer, still living. 

Elder Harley was a highly respected man in his com- 
munity. As an elder, having charge of the Ephrata con- 
gregation, he was a good housekeeper, watching over the 
flock. His preaching was mostly in his own district and 
adjoining districts. He was often called to other churches 
for counsel. He officiated at three hundred marriages. He 
served several times on the Standing Committee at Annual 
Meeting. He was once a member of the Home Mission 
Board. He was not a fluent speaker but his words were 
to the point and with power. 

During the last few years of his life he retired from 
active church work on account of both mind and body fail- 
ing in health and strength. The call to come up higher 


reached him May 6, 1896, having attained the age of sev- 
enty-six years, two days. His funeral was largely attended. 
Interment was made at Mohler's Church burying ground. 
The text was Daniel 12:2, 3. The pallbearers were the 
four ministers of the Ephrata Church. Elders Samuel R. 
Zug and Christian Bucher officiated. 

E. John B. Gibbel. 

John B. Gibbel was baptized in White Oak Congregation 
in 1856, elected to the ministry, October 17, 1866, and later 
advanced to the second degree of ministry. He moved into 
the West Conestoga Congregation, March 18, 1873, near 
Lititz and labored in the latter congregation until the time 
of his death, January 20, 1889, dying very suddenly of apo- 
plexy of the heart, aged 56 years 7 months 22 days; burial 
at Middle Creek graveyard. He served 23 years in the 
ministry and two of his sons, Cyrus R. Gibbel and Aaron 
R. Gibbel, are ministers in the Brethren Church and his 
daughter, Elizabeth Gibbel McCann, served as a missionary 
in India from, 1897 to 1903 and 1904 to 1907, as wife of 
Elder S. N. McCann, of Virginia. 




White Oak Church was originally a part of Conestoga, 
although history informs us that a few members had settled 
in White Oak Land, prior to 1 736, in which year there was 
a love feast held. It was a part of Conestoga Church, and, 
although a considerable distance from the main body of the 
church, it was supplied in the ministry from Conestoga. 

The first minister who lived within the bounds of what 
later became the White Oak Church district, was Peter 
Hummer. He lived on, and owned, a large farm, a part 
of which is now owned by Allen Hoffer, about three miles 
west of Manheim. Where he came from, or when he was 
elected, we have no positive data. 

About 1753, or soon after, he bought a farm of 199^ 
acres, as aforesaid. It is probable that he was elected to the 
ministry soon after, for the White Oak settlement had no 
minister nearer than Jacob Stoll, and he lived at Middle 
Creek, from ten to fifteen miles away. In 1769 he, and his 
wife Catharine, sold 62 acres to Stoffel Miller, who, in 1774 
sold the same to George Gantz, who started what was long 
known as Gantz's tavern. In 1770, Hummer and wife sold 
the balance of said farm to his son-in-law Sebastian Keller, 
whose wife was Catharine Hummer, of whom more will be 
said later on. Sebastian Keller passed it to his son, Sebas- 
tian 2d, who spent his life there, and then passed it to his 
son Sebastian 3d, who sold it to his sister's son, John K. 
Snyder, who sold it to his brother, Samuel K. Snyder, who, 
about 1875, sold it outside of the family, thus showing that 
25 369 


it remained in the family about 120 years. Peter Hummer 
died in 1784, leaving seven children, four sons and three 
daughters; viz., Peter (who was married to Barbara, a 
daughter of the first elder, Christian Longenecker), Jonas, 
Joseph, Abraham, a daughter Susanna, married to Martin 
Shuh, one Elizabeth to Casper Lesher, and one Catharine to 
Sebastian Keller. One daughter Mary had been married 
to Stoffel Miller, but died before her father, making eight 
children in all. By a marriage contract, on record in Lan- 
caster, made between Peter Hummer and Susanna, widow 
of John Spencer, deceased, dated April 19, 1782, it appears 
he married his second wife. On September 3, 1784, he 
made his will which was probated September 18, 1784, 
which shows that he died between those dates. 

We may have to draw largely on Dr. Brumbaugh's His- 
tory of the Brethren, also as we have orally, from such 
men as Elders C. Bomberger, J. Hollinger, John Zug, and 
Abraham Gibbel, whose father was Johannas Gibbel, a 
deacon, and whose mother was a daughter of Hans Hum- 
mer, a brother of said Peter Hummer. These old fathers 
all lived contemporary with the fathers who were in touch, 
personally, with the work of the church almost from its 
beginning in White Oak Land, and their testimony can be 
taken as fairly authentic. In Brumbaugh's history, page 
520, etc., we have the statement that Catharine Hummer 
"made a wonderful stir in the colonial church, that her 
father Peter Hummer was a minister, and that she would 
accompany him in his preaching tours, and take part." Her 
father seems to have had full confidence in her visions, and 
he would, in his preaching, sometimes remark that God does 
in such a wonderful way manifest himself in his family, and 
his daughter would follow it up with relating her visions, 
and that in her trances she is permitted to commune with the 
spirits of departed saints. 

It was related by those who seemed to have it from good 
authority that she had these trances for years, off and on, 
but, as Dr. Brumbaugh mentions four in the fall of 1762, 
it seems they have become more frequent, and of longer 


On May 27 and ?8, 1763, there seems to have been a 
called General Conference (Kurtz's Brethren Encyclopedia, 
page 136) at which this trouble was considered by the 
Brethren. This meeting was in the Conestoga Church, of 
which White Oak was then a part. The decision is as 
follows : 

"The undersigned Brethren from their different places (of 
abode) have been here assembled in the fear of the Lord, in 
order to see, in heartfelt and compassionate brotherly love, how 
we might advise our Brethren, in God beloved, concerning the 
many woundings and different transgressions that have oc- 
curred since the exercises, visions, and doings of, and with the 
sister Catharine Hummer, in the White Oak country have 
happened — after we have yesterday heard the accusations of 
the Brethren against one another and their testimony, that they 
would not seek any division, but were willing to hear our 
brotherly counsel of love — we have (in the next place) all, 
every one of us, carefully heard and considered the mind of 
each, and every one of us, the undersigned Brethren, has de- 
clared his mind and advice freely, one after the other, and then 
we have further united in the fear of the Lord in this, that we 
would in union counsel our Brethren as follows : First, we be- 
lieve and judge, indeed, that Brother Hummer has brought too 
much of his humanity, (or human nature) into this movement, 
from which different fruits of disunion have grown. In the 
second place, however, we consider, that both sides have gone 
too far in words and judgmentsagainst one another, and hence 
it is our brotherly counsel, that Brother Peter Hummer should 
needs make acknowledgments, where he might have offended 
with regard of brotherly obedience, and if there are on both 
sides conviction and acknowledgment, then we advise, out of 
brotherly love, that on both sides, all judgments and harsh ex- 
pressions, might be entirely laid down, though we have not the 
■ same opinion of that noted (singular) occurrence, so that those 
who think well of it, should not judge those who are of the 
contrary opinion, and those who do not esteem it, should not 
despise those who expect to derive some use and benefit from it. 
" For the rest we advise you, beloved Brethren, receive one 
another, as Christ has received us, and pardon one another as 
Christ has pardoned us also, and let us everywhere consider, 
•v^ that all disputing, and judging, and despising should be laid 


aside, and thus remain, that every one leave to the other his 
own opinion, in the fear of the Lord, and altogether for con- 
science sake. Moreover, it is our advice that all unnecessary, 
and too frequent visiting should cease, and every one should 
earnestly abstain from all appearance of evil, and aim in all 
things after truth and uprightness, in order that truth may 
make us free from all that might still keep us in captivity, and 
prevent us from coming to a oneness of mind in Christ Jesus 
according to the will of God. If now one or the other should 
think we have not sufficiently judged the occurrence, let him 
consider that we cannot see the least cause for a separation for 

^conscience sake. Hence we have felt constrained not to criti- 
cise, or judge this (strange) affair, but rather to advise every 
one to a godly impartiality and patience that none may judge 
anything before the time, until the Lord come, who both will 
bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make 

-manifest the counsels of the heart, and then shall every man 
have praise of God according to his faith and its fruits. Signed 
by Jacob Myer, Peter Dirdorf, Martin Urner, Nicholas Martin, 
Lorenz Shrab, Henry Naff, George Schreiber, Christopher 
Saur, George Etter, Joseph Reutsh, Jacob Stutzman, John 
Shlipfer, Jacob Mohr, Mattes Schweitzer, Henry Raudenbush, 
Gideon Rausser, Daniel Letterman, Daniel Arnold, Anton 
Hartman, Sander Mack, Nicholas Letterman, Stephen Ulrich." 

It was further said that when she had those visions, no 
one could go into her room, lest they disturb her trance, but 
one young man of her acquaintance. He could go in, and it 
would not disturb her. In the summer of 1763 it developed 
that she was not true, and the church took her case up, and 
dealt with her. Then it happened, as it is often the case 
when members make mistakes, and are disciplined, they call 
it persecution. Hence the letter from her to Alexander 
'' Mack dated November 6, 1 763, in which she says : 

"The winter of persecution is here. Contempt and persecu- 
tion are strong. I am not only persecuted and hated by the 
world, but also by those that call themselves believers. They 
say that what has been done by me is idolatrous. They blas- 
pheme whereof they know not." 

" Dear Brother Sander, thou hast written me that the 
heaviest will weigh less than nothing in the end. I am imper- 


feet. May the Lord give his good Spirit into my heart, that 
when I am weighed I may have the right weight, and may be 
taken from this sorrowful world, into eternal rest." 

May this have been some of the " tribulation " which 
caused Elder Pfautz to fail to keep a record of baptisms 
from 1755 to 1763? (Brumbaugh's Hist., page 313.), 
Many did not believe in those visions, and therefore it 
caused a lot of trouble. It ended in 1763. The blow of his 
daughter's fall, in whom he placed so much faith, was so 
hard, that he did not preach any more (at least for some 
time) and that in a meeting once, when he was urged (it is 
said), he got up and quoted the sixth verse of the first 
chapter of the Song of Solomon, which reads in German: 
" Sehet mich nicht an das ich so schzvart:; bin, dcnn die 
Sonne hat mich also verbrannt. Meiner Mutter kinder 
sumen mit mir. Man hat mich ziir Hilterin der Weinberge 
gesetzt; aber meinen Weinberg, den ich hatte, habe ich nicht 
behiitet." Then he sat down again. 

By the way, Catharine Hummer afterwards married the 
young man who visited her in her trances, and her son 
became a prominent witch doctor, known far and wide. 
Catharine Hummer's husband was Sebastian Keller, who 
got the Peter Hummer farm in 1770. They had six chil- 
dren, viz. : John, who lived in Dauphin County, and had a. 
daughter who was married to a Mr. Shenk and lived near 
Deodate, and one married to John Ruhl, and lived near 
Elstonville, Lancaster Co. His second son was Dr. Sebas- 
tian the second, who lived on the home farm, and died in 
1839. His third child was Esther, married to George Bear. 
Next was Jacob, and George, and Rosina deceased, leaving 
a daughter, Magdalena Evans. 

Sebastian Keller the first was a member of the state legis- 
lature, when Lancaster was the state capital, and it was 
said he would walk to town, fifteen miles, Monday morning, 
and home again on Saturday afternoon. He made his will 
February 4, 1808, which was proven March 14, 1808. 
Sebastian second had tv^o children; viz., Dr. Sebastian third, 
who lived, and died, in Elizabethtown, Pa., whose son, 


Sebastian fourth, now lives in Steelton. The other was 
Ehzabeth, married to John Snyder, who Hved about one 
mile northeast of Mastersonville at a mill, whose children — 
four sons and four daughters — are all dead, but the youngest 
son, Cyrus K. Snyder, who lives in Pasadena, Cal. Sebas- 
tian second died in 1839. 

Other ministers were Peter Eichelberger and Jacob Stoll. 
who later became elders in the Conestoga Church. Eichel- 
berger was baptized in 1752, and Stoll was baptized in 1748. 
Hannes Zug was baptized in 1749, George Miller in 1753, 
and Christian Longenecker in 1754. Stoll was elected to 
the ministry in 1753, Longenecker in 1764, Zug in 1770. 
Of the other two, we have no record. Han Jacob Boshor 
was baptized in 1747. When elected we know not, but the 
record which Elder C. Bomberger, of Conestoga Church, 
had, and now in possession of Elder Hershey Groff, states 
that "the church district is getting large, and the member- 
ship spreading; it was agreed to divide. So they, in 1772, 
divided into three districts, with Peter Eichelberger and 
Jacob Stoll, ministers in Conestoga; C. Longenecker and 
Hannes Zug in White Oak; and John Jacob Boshor and 
George Kline in Swatara." The line between Conestoga 
and White Oak is mentioned as " the Lancaster and Schaef- 
ferstown road," which is to this day the dividing line be- 
tween churches. In 1 769, C. Longenecker was ordained to 
the eldership, and in 1780 George Miller and Hannes Zug 
were ordained by Christopher Sower and Martin Urner. 
Regarding the other three — or four with Kline — we have 
no record of their ordination, but considering the time at 
which they were baptized, and Elder Pfautz having died in 
1769, and Jacob Stoll having been elected in 1753, eleven 
years before Brother Longenecker, it is highly probable that 
they were ordained, at least, before that division of the 
church took place in 1772. 

Ulrich Zug came from Switzerland in 1727 to his wife's 
brother, Michael Bachman, four miles northwest of Lan- 
caster, who went to White Oak Valley and preempted by 
warrant about 1,000 acres of land which he afterward had 
patented. About 1 742, he sold to Ulrich Zug 345 acres and 

AflBBT tTSfi- -^ 


"Ji iO» OF I'lF'C SORK JULY tt i?, 

, .1 sa,»ti:eo bi rH£ ehethseh f743. 

•!'' a££TE8TCTKt:»«l)(iSIRri77a0R0AIJIEBr -i 
f SIS»0? 1780 AHC OlED A PS. 2 (821 \ t' 

mm zuGf 

. ANDREW 7Ur ~" 7 

Monument of Ulric Zug, Ancestor of 
ZuGs IN America, Erected through the 
Efforts of Mary Zug Francis, Lebanon. 

N a 



allowance, for "£6o and one ear of Indian corn for every 
100 acres to be delivered in Lancaster on November i for 
said Bachman yearly to the proprietors forever." 

Ulrich Zug had eight children, — six sons and two daugh- 
ters. According to the best information we have, they came 
to this country Mennonites but his wife was baptized to the 
Brethren Church in 1741 and he in 1742, their son Peter 
in 1747, John in 1749, Magdalena in 1748, Michael in 1752, 
Jacob in 1761 and Christian in 1769. 

In the spring of 1759, the children of Ulrich Zug divided 
the farm into two equal parts, of 175 acres, one to Jacob, 
and one to Michael, the others all releasing for their shares, 
all signing their names in German. The last we know of 
Peter Zug is in 1762, when he, with others, stood in defense 
of Elder George Adam Martin, and "opposed his excom- 
munication, and were anxious to reinstate him," etc. (Brum. 
Hist., p. 331 ). Whether he was married, or when or where 
he died, is all a blank to us. Jacob took half of his father's 
farm in 1759, after the death of both parents, but sold it to 
his brother Hannes in 1772, and moved to Washington Co., 
Md., where he died in 1794. One of his daughters was 
married to a Long, and was the grandmother of Elder David 
Long, late of near Hagerstown. One to a Wolf, on whose 
grandson's farm the Annual Meeting was held in 1857. 
One to Elder Nicholas Martin, who was grandmother of the 
late Elder Nicholas Martin of near Hagerstown. One son 
John moved to Bedford Co., Pa., and from there to Indiana. 
And two sons remained in Welsh Run district, from whom 
came Elder David Zuck, who lived in Fulton Co., 111., as 
also Elders John Zuck of Clarence, Iowa, and David, now 
elder of Welsh Run Church. 

Michael married Maria Wolf, and took a half of his 
father's farm, but later sold it, and moved to Somerset Co., 
Pa., where he died childless. 

Hannes, or John, and his father Ulrich were engaged in 
clearing a piece of woodland, when, while at work, he said 
to his father that he has it in his mind to take a wife. The 
father then asked him: "Hast du dann zvas im Zweck?" 
John answered: "Yes, sister Anna Heffelfinger." The 


father answered, " Shon recht. Ich will es den Armen 
diener sagen das£ sie gehen sie fragen oh sie dich aiich 
haven will. (All right, I will tell the deacons that they go 
and ask her whether she will have you.) This was quite a 
different way for trying to get a wife, from that now gen- 
erally in use. 

About 1760 John Zug and wife went with her father to 
the Beaver Valley, now Dauphin Co., Pa., near Beaver 
station where he had taken up a large tract of land, and 
where he promised to give them a farm to clean of brush 
and timber; but in 1762 the Tuscarora Indians from the 
valley up the river became so dangerous by murder, and 
arson, and robbery that by fall they decided to go back to 
White Oak until Hfe became safe again. So in that fall 
one morning they started on foot with their two children, 
each carrying one. After going a little way they saw a 
man lying in a buckwheat patch dead. He shouldered the 
man, who was yet warm, and took him along to the next 
house, not knowing when he might be the next one shot 
from behind a tree. 

Things in Paxtang and Beaver Valleys grew worse 
instead of better, and in 1763 a number of young and 
middle-aged men organized themselves into a company, and 
assumed the name, "The Paxton Boys," for the purpose of 
revenge. But the Indians learned of it, and went to an 
Indian town in Manor Township, about six miles southwest 
of Lancaster, whence the Paxton Boys trailed them, but 
when they arrived there, the marauders had gotten wind of 
their coming, and had left. The Indians misdirected the 
gang, who essayed to follow, so as to give the fugitives time 
to escape. When the neighbors learned of the trick the 
Indians played on the Paxton Boys, they had the Manor 
Indians placed in the Lancaster Workhouse for their pro- 
tection, but the Paxton Boys came back, burned the Indian 
village, broke into the workhouse, and killed every Indian. 
There was a little boy among them, and one man proposed 
to spare him, but before he had done speaking another one 
grabbed him by the legs, flung him around, and dashed his 
brains out against the wall, the bloody mark of which could 


be seen as long as the old prison remained, which was on the 
northeast corner of West King and Water Streets. 

Hannes Zug had four sons and four daughters; viz.. 
Christian, married to a Miss Rupp, and died young, leaving 
one daughter who was married to a Frick, two of whose 
daughters were married to two Swarrs, and lived near 
Landisville. John, married to a Miss Mohler, was given a 
part of the home farm, where he lived some years ; then sold 
it to David Sahm ; then he moved to Running Pump tavern, 
a'bout two miles west of Elizabethtown, where he lived ten 
years ; then he bought a farm near Carlisle where he lived, 
and died, leaving one son, Jacob, who lived in Carlisle, and 
died there. Joseph, married to Barbara Eby. He got the 
home farm, where he lived and died, aged 51 years. He 
had four sons and one daughter, Andrew, Joseph, John, 
Benjamin, and Catharine, who was married to Peter Eby. 
Elders S. R. Zug and B. Z. Eby* were grandsons, and S. Z. 
Witmer and J. C. Zug great-grandsons of his. Abraham 
was a tanner and lived some years in Rapho Township. His 
wife was a Miss Royer. Later he carried on his trade at 
Lexington, and from there he bought a farm in Lebanon 
Co., near where Richland now is. He was elected a 
minister in 181 5, ordained 1823, died 1841, aged 69 years. 
Of his family more will be said in another chapter. One 
daughter was married to Jacob Deardorf, and moved to 
Franklin Co. Another was married to a Mr. Ream, and 
rnoved to Ohio. One was married to Jacob Kinsey and 
lived near Cornwall, Lebanon Co., and one was married to 
Abraham Shissler, and the last lived, and died, near Bain- 
bridge, Lancaster Co. Hannes Zug was baptized in 1749, 
elected a minister 1770, ordained by Christopher Saur, and 
Martm Urner in 1780, and died 1821, in his 90th year. 

Christian, fifth son of Ulrich, had a farm near Lititz. He 
had four sons and several daughters. Jacob lived in Cum- 
berland Co., Pa. He was baptized by Elder Moses Miller 
at the age of 97 years and his wife at the age of 86. He 
lived yet about a year. He had several children, among 

1 Elder B. Z. Eby opposed Sunday Schools as long as he could, but 
Old Order "^^'^ '"Produced into his church, he left, and went to the 


them a son Christian, living in Pittsburgh, became a multi- 
milHonaire. Christian lived at a place called Papertown, 
Cumberland Co. Of his descendants we know little. 
David lived in York Co. Two of his grandsons, Jacob and 
Peter, lived in Bainbridge some years ago. Abraham had 
his father's farm, which he gave to his two sons, Christian 
and Henry. One daughter of Abraham's was married to 
Joseph Aldinger, one to Joseph Graybill, one to Jacob 
Stehman, and one died unmarried. 

Henry, Ulrich's sixth son, moved to the Potomac River, 
in Washington Co., Md. From all the information we 
could gather James Zug, or Zook, who lived near Arcanum, 
Ohio, was a grandson of Henry. Three of James's daugh- 
ters are living there now, one a Mrs. Caylor, and two had 
been married to James and Reuben Gilbert. 

Ulrich Zug's oldest daughter Magdalena was baptized 
1748. She was afterwards married to Michael Frantz, son 
of Elder Michael Frantz. He was also baptized in 1748. 
Shortly after 1770 they moved to Botetourt Co., Va. Elder 
Isaac Frantz, of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, is a great-great-grand- 
son of theirs, and their descendants are numerous through- 
out the West. 

Christina, the other daughter of Ulrich Zug, married a 
Musselman, when she was fourteen years old, and they 
united with the Mennonites. A son of theirs, many years 
ago, had a fruit tree nursery near Manheim, and two of 
that nurseryman's children, Jacob, and his sister, about 30 
years ago, lived along the state road below Manheim. 

Andreas Eby lived about one and one half miles south of 
Manheim. He and his wife were baptized in 1767. Some- 
time after 1772 he was elected to the ministry, and the 
writer heard his grandmother, who was Eby's daughter, 
relate that when she was eight years old, which must have 
been 1777, the Revolutionary conscriptors came and took 
father, and two horses, to the camp in Lancaster, but a man 
who knew him, one day came to the camp, and was surprised 
to find him there. He then went to headquarters and ob- 
tained his release, because he was a minister, but the horses 
they kept. When the war was over they brought one horse 


back, but so poor that his ribs could be counted from a dis- 
tance. She was then thirteen years old, and said, " Oh, how 
I pitied that horse ! " They said the other horse was 
dead. Those were troublous times that tried men's souls. 
Jacob, known as "Jockley " Hirshy, and wife were baptized 
in 1768, and in war times was a deacon, who lived about 
a mile west of Andreas Eby. One night the conscriptors 
came to his place, and brought a neighbor along by the name 
of Long, whom they caught at his home, a little south of 
Hirshy's, and he let on as if he would gladly go along, but 
Hirshy objected, and while they were fussing around with 
him, Long examined the conscriptors' muskets, which had 
flintlocks, and slyly shook off the priming from the pans, 
and then went for the door, and the men ran for their guns, 
and followed, and snapped, but they missed fire, having 
no priming, and Long ran, shouting, "Hurrah for King 
George." That was the last seen or heard of Long by any 
one that knew him. The supposition was they caught him 
afterward, and shot him. Hirshy did not go to the war, 
but how he got off we are not able to tell. 

Next we know anything of Andreas Eby was in 1789, 
when he was on Standing Committee. When he was or- 
dained, we have no date, but he died in 1 798. 

The church prospered after said division. The list of 
baptisms contained in the record kept by the Conestoga 
Church, after 1772, the time of the division, to 1800, is 138, 
and is mentioned to contain only those of Conestoga, while 
that in Brumbaugh's history is 68, and most of them, if not 
all, are known to have lived in the White Oak district. 
From 1772 to 1799 the two lists have not a single name in 
common so that it is highly probable that one is the list of 
Conestoga, and the other kept by someone of White Oak, 
of which Dr. Brumbaugh got possession. It is remarkable 
that with all diligent search and inquiry, not a single record, 
or mention, of any work done by the White Oak Church, 
from the time of its separation from the Conestoga Church, 
in 1772, to its subdivision in 1868, could be found, except 
said list of baptisms, and the trouble between C. Longe- 
necker and J. Zug, which we have in Annual Meeting 


minutes, and what we have orally, by tradition, from the 
fathers. So far we see that in 1789 the ministers of the 
White Oak Church were C. Longenecker, John Zug and 
Andreas Eby. Elder Eby died in 1798, and lies buried on 
his farm now owned by S. G. Summy, and his grave is 
marked by a rough field stone on which is carved A. E., 

In 1759 the farm of Andreas Eby was assessed as 200 
acres, and his brother Hans Eby's 150, both adjoining, and 
constituted their father's farm. Their mother's name was 
Barbara, who was baptized in 1749. She had two sons, 
Andreas and Hans, and four daughters, Maria, Elizabeth, 
Barbara and Regina, all unmarried and members of White 
Oak Church. 

Andreas and his wife Elizabeth had seven children; viz., 
John who later became the Elder of Codorus Church, York 
Co.; Elizabeth, unmarried; one, the wife of Yount; and 
Anna, wife of Christian Myers (the last two of Codorus) ; 
Madgalena, wife of Daniel Shumaker, who lived, and is 
buried on the home farm; Barbara, wife of Joseph Zug; 
and Maria, wife of Christian Streit. Four daughters lived 
and died in White Oak district, and the other two daughters, 
and son John in the Codorus district. 

The following minutes partly explain the trouble in the 
White Oak Church for years. The initials of names of 
Brethren only are given, and to prepare the reader, I will 
here give the full names of those signified : Christian Longe- 
necker, Johannes Zug, Alexander Mack, Martin Urner (by 
J. L. and J. St. we do not know who is meant), Jacob 
Hershe, and Johannes Gibbel. In ancient times personal 
matters which could not be settled at home were taken to 
Annual Meeting, and there considered, instead of sending a 
Committee, as is now the rule. 

" Annual Meeting, 1799, Pipe Creek, Md. 
"Article I. — Whereas there has existed for a long time a 
great difficulty between Bro. C. L. and Bro. J. Z., the overseers 
of the White Oak Church ; and whereas there have been ex- 
pressed very grave accusations, and hard sayings by C. L. 


against some Brethren, who shall be named hereafter, it has 
come to pass that Bro. C. L. has selected six Brethren, and J. 
Z. has also selected six Brethren, and they (both) have agreed 
to obey or submit to the advice or united counsel of those 
Brethren to which also the members (of the church) have con- 
sented. So we have assembled ourselves, we trust, in the fear 
of the Lord, and with a fervent prayer to God, that he would 
bless our hearts with wisdom and understanding, in order to be 
enabled to counsel our dear Brethren wisely, and to come to 
conclusions evangelical, or according to the doctrine of the 
Gospel, And after having heard the complaints and accusa- 
tions (of both sides) we have become entirely agreed, and be- 
lieve all, that Bro. L. has done grossly wrong against Bro. Z. 
and also against Brethren A. M. and M, U.'s transactions, and 
against J. L. and J. St., and whatsoever else might have been 
done (of the same nature). 

" Further, we believe also that wrong has been committed by 
J. Z. against L, but not so grossly as Bro. L. has done. Hence 
it is our unanimous conclusion, that when C. L. believes in his 
heart, and cordially makes acknowledgment before this present 
brotherly and members meeting, and also before — (his own) 
meeting, and asks for pardon, and also makes heartfelt con- 
fession for the suspicious (and offensive) expressions against 
the old Brethren, and against J. St., then we will, and it is 
hoped the members will, bear with him in patience, and he may 
continue to serve as overseer in W. O. Church. And what 
concerns Z. we have agreed that when he makes acknowledg- 
ment before the members, that he has also done wrong, and 
asks pardon, he shall also serve as overseer with L., yet so that 
in important matters, such as baptism, breaking of bread, re- 
ceiving and excluding (members), he should not go on without 
L.'s knowledge and consent ; but with regard to holding meet- 
ings, attending funerals, solemnizing marriages, he shall have 
equal liberty with Bro. L. 

" Now whoever of them will not submit to this above stated 
counsel and conclusion shall stand still in his office until he is 
willing to accept it, and when it is accepted of both, there shall 
be hereafter no more heard of those things which are past. 

"Unanimously concluded by us, the subscribers: Martin 
Urner, Martin Gaby, Henry Banner, Peter Leibert, Jacob Ban- 
ner, Philip Engler, Michael Pfoutz, Martin Garber, Baniel 
Utz, Philip Levy, Valentine Pressel, Stephen Ulrich." 


It will be noticed that the above minute starts out by say- 
ing that "there has existed for a long time a great diffi- 
culty," etc. Just how long, or when, or from what, it had 
its beginning, we have no means of knowing, but the follow- 
ing facts may give some light on this point : 

In John Winebrenner's "History of all Religious Denom- 
inations," on pages 560-565, we have the facts given that 
William Otterbein, formerly a Reformed minister, and 
Martin Boehm, a Mennonite minister, have been holding 
meetings together, and causing quite a stir among their 
hearers, getting many followers, and that in order to ac- 
complish more and better results, they had their first con- 
ference in Baltimore, in 1789. The writer further says, 
" Big meetings were resolved on, the first was held in Lan- 
caster county, Pa.," and that it was largely attended by 
Lutherans, German Reformed, Mennonites, and others. 
They, then, coming together from such various preexisting 
orders, and worshiping together, "gave rise to the name 
'United Brethren in Christ,' which name was afterward 
adopted by the church" (namely in 1800). 

They "elected William Otterbein and Martin Boehm, as 
superintendents, or bishops; and agreed that each should act 
according to his own convictions, as to the mode of 
baptism." Now this meeting was said to have been held in 
Donegal Township, and resulted in many conversions. But 
not all were ready and willing to unite with this new organi- 
zation, believing that there is but one mode of baptism, that 
is right, and that is triune immersion. Jacob Nissley, a 
minister of the River Brethren, who is dead for some time, 
told the writer, that a delegation of those dissatisfied ones 
went to the vicinity of Manheim, to confer with Elder C. 
Longenecker, with a view of uniting with the Church of the 
Brethren, but that Elder Longenecker told them that the 
Brethren Church was not any more on the true foundation, 
that they have the form, but lack life and spirit, and advised 
them to start a church for themselves, and build on the true 
foundation. Mr. Nissley said he had his information from 
the founders of the River Brethren Church. The delega- 
tion as abovesaid were : Jacob Engle, Hans Engle, C. Rupp, 


Hans Stern, a Mr. Heiges, and Schaeffer. Some of them, 
if not all, came out from the Mennonites, and none from 
the Brethren Church. The writer in Winebrenner's history, 
on page 553 says, in a footnote, that "they were sometimes 
called River Mennonites from the circumstance that some 
of their first ministers had stood in connection with the 
Mennonites." On the same page, in giving the history of 
the church, he says : " At a later period some ministers and 
lay members of the Taufer united with them." 

Abraham Gibbel told the writer that Hans Stern, one of 
the delegation of six, as aforesaid, unhesitatingly told him, 
that after they went home from Elder Longenecker, they 
consulted and concluded that they would take the advice, 
but none of them being baptized, they went across the Blue 
Ridge, to Elder George Miller, in the Swatara Church ; and 
asked him to baptize them, but told him that they would 
then organize for themselves, upon which he refused. This 
must all have transpired before 1798, for in that year Elder 
Miller died. They then began their church by one baptizing 
another, and he then baptized the rest. The difficulties in 
W. O. Church, therefore, must have started early in the 
nineties, at which time he (Longenecker) published his 
pamphlet, in which he made rude expressions, derogatory to 
the church and a number of Elders. 

It is reasonable to suppose that if Elder Longenecker had 
been at peace with the church, and the church with him, and 
he had done his duty, the River Brethren Church would 
never have been organized; that is, if they had been honest, 
and sincere, and the presumption is that they were. 

We have no information that anything was done in re- 
gard to the said difficulty until four years afterward, in 
1803, the case was again taken up in general conference, and 
the following action taken : 

"Annual Meeting, 1803, place unknown. 

" Our cordial and united greeting of love to all our beloved 
Brethren and members of the White Oak Church. We wish 
much grace, mercy, and blessing from God the Father of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to all our fellow members, 


united with us in love and faith, as also especially to our dear 
Brethren C. L. and J. Z. It is our heart's desire that the good 
God would make us all faithful laborers in his vineyard ; for 
all that were hired by that householder, were hired to labor in 
his vineyard, to which we wish you all much grace, blessing, 
and salvation from God. The cause of our present writing is 
this: Since we, or some of us, have been informed by our dear 
Brother Martin Gaby, who, on his journey to us, passed through 
White Oak, and also had meeting there, that Bro. C. L., since 
the big meeting, has only been a few times at meeting, and now, 
for a considerable time has not come any more at all to meet- 
ing, so that some Brethren feel oppressed in their minds on 
account of the word or expression which is found in that con- 
clusion made at that big meeting ; viz. : * That Bro. J. Z. should 
not go on with baptism, breaking of bread, receiving and ex- 
cluding without L.'s knowledge and consent ' ; hereupon we, the 
undersigned Brethren, have conversed on the matter, and are 
of one mind on it, and now the same as it was at that time 
(four years before), and is in part also expressed in said con- 
clusion, though briefly, that we all considered that Bro. L. had 
done wrong grossly, and if he would believe it from the heart, 
and confess and make acknowledgment, we, and hoping the mem- 
bers, would bear with him in patience, and then he should serve 
as overseer in W. O., and thus should Bro. Z., in such impor- 
tant matters not go on without his knowledge and consent. 
But if Bro. C. L. withdraws from the service, or from the duty 
of his office, contrary to the doctrine of the Apostle, where he 
says: 'If any one has an office let him attend to the same,' 
(Ger. translation Rom, 12: 7) if now Bro. L., withdraws him- 
self from the service of the church, as overseer, so as not to 
attend the meetings, then he deprives himself of this honor, 
that Brother Z. cannot counsel with him, if he, Bro. L., does 
not attend meetings, according to his duty. So it is our unani- 
mous mind, that on this account Bro. Z. should not be bound, or 
hindered, to go on in his office, and faithfully discharge its 
duties, and prove himself a faithful laborer. But if Bro. L. 
acknowledges, according to said conclusion, and endeavors to 
be faithful in his office, then we desire and hope the members 
will receive him, and not lay obstacles in his way. We mean 
on account of things that are past." 

(Signed by most of those who signed the other of 1799.) 


The following year, 1804, the case was again before the 
conference at the Pipe Creek, Md., and decided as follows: 

"Art. 10. Our cordial and united greeting of love to our 
beloved Brethren, especially to C. L. and J. Z., and also to 
Brothers J. H. and J. G. We desire and wish you all that may 
tend to the glory of God, to the salvation of souls, and in the 
edification of the church. Inasmuch as it appears that Bro. C. 
L. assumes more authority in the service of the church than it 
pleases us and the church, and Bro. J. Z. has given more out 
of his hands than is pleasing to us and the church, so that it 
causes pressure and offense ; therefore it is our loving counsel 
to you that you should keep house in the service of the church 
in union and control so that Bro. C. L. should make the com- 
mencement in meeting, (preparatory) to prayer, and then it is 
all the same who is speaking first, and when the meeting is to 
be brought to a close, then the beloved brother J. Z. is to make 
the conclusion. At the next meeting the loving brother J. Z. 
is to make the beginning, and it is immaterial who may speak 
first ; and when the meeting is to be closed, the loving brother 
C. L. shall conclude, and so on. In important matters, brother 
Z. should do nothing without counseling brother L. ; and so 
likewise should brother L do nothing without counseling with 
brother Z. so that union is preserved. But he who will not 
keep house thus and give satisfaction to the church, and will 
not accept the apostolic counsel of love of the beloved old 
Brethren, such should be silent, and can not serve the church 
in his office. Further if a person desires to be baptized, and 
makes known a preference by which brother he would like to 
be baptized, then that brother, with the counsel of the church, 
is to satisfy the candidate, and forward him. With these lines 
we have given nothing new, but adhere to the conclusion which 
has been laid down already six (five) years ago, by the beloved 
Brethren. We have further to notice that there were very 
rude expressions made by brother L., saying that ' there is gone 
forth a spirit of Satan, and rules in the church, and of this J. 
Z. is the head,' etc., and even the church has been compared to 
the rebellious company of Korah. Such should be acknowl- 
edged and recalled by all means." 

Two things stand out very prominent in, and through this 
trouble, which lasted ten or more years; namely, if any one 
tries to rise in the estimation of the church by pulling 


another down, he will make a failure ; and second, the long 
suffering, patience, and forbearance the old Brethren had 
in dealing with erring members. 

In 1808 Elder Longenecker died, aged 76 years, and is 
buried at Longenecker's Church near Lititz, with his son 
Solomon on one side of him and his grandson, Elder Chris- 
tian, on the other, and it was said he was not fully recon- 
ciled to the church. 

His wife's maiden name was Margaret Geib. They had 
nine children, two of them died young, and the other seven 
were : First, Solomon, who lived near Lititz, on the farm on 
which Longenecker's Meeting House now stands, now 
owned by S. B. Longenecker. He had one son Christian, 
who later was the Elder of White Oak Church, and was 
elected about 1828, or 1830, ordained about 1841, died 1855, 
aged 64 years. His grandson Linn Longenecker is now a 
minister in White Oak. Second, Abraham, who lived near 
Linglestown, Dauphin Co. The late noted and well known 
writer, C. H. Balsbaugh, was a grandson of his. Third, 
Daniel, who moved to Adams Co., Pa. He had sixteen 
children, two of whom, Daniel and Samuel, were noted 
ministers. Fourth, Elizabeth, married to Michael Huber, 
but died before her father, leaving five children; viz., 
Barbara, Elizabeth, Christina, Mary and Michael. Fifth, 
Barbara, married to Peter Hummer, Jr., who also moved to 
Adams Co. Sixth, Mary, wife of David Ober. She lived 
near Mt. Hope, and belonged to the Mennonites. Prof. H. 
K. Ober, of Elizabethtown College, is a great-grandson of 
hers. Seventh, another, the wife of Valentine Gensel, of 
whose family we know nothing. 

Elder Longenecker was born in 1731, and died in 1808, 
aged yd. His wife born 1735, died 1796, aged 63. His 
father Hans Longenecker was born in Europe in 1703, was 
baptized by Elder Michael Frantz prior to 1739, died in 
1767, aged 64, and his wife Elizabeth born 1709, died 1781, 
aged 72. In 1754 his son Elder Christian was baptized, 
who in 1764, was elected minister, and in 1769, at the death 
of Elder Pfautz, was ordained Elder. We have records of 
four other sons of Hans; namely, Hannes, Jr., Peter, 


Henry, and Ulrich, and his descendants are now found in 
Lancaster, Dauphin, Lebanon Counties, widely scattered, 
both in location and religious faith. 

Elder Longenecker's father-in-law, Conrad Geib, was 
born in Europe in 1694, and died in 1762, aged 68, and his 
wife Margaret born 1703, died 1765, aged 64. 

The land for two miles on both sides of Chiques Creek 
from Manheim northward, at some time in the past, belonged 
to the Longenecker family. The Fretz family also lived 
near Manheim. And Abraham Longenecker and wife, who 
was Barbara Fretz, moved from the vicinity of Manheim, 
across the South Mountain, and had four sons : Peter, Jacob, 
Daniel and Abraham ; and three daughters : one married to 
Christian Witmer; one to Samuel Oberholzer; and one to 
Isaac Eshelman. 

Elder J. H. Longenecker, of Palmyra, is a grandson of 
Peter, and as there was but one family of Longenecker's and 
Fretz's in the vicinity of Manheim in those days, the pre- 
sumption is strongly that Abraham was a grandson of Hans, 
Sr., likely a son of Peter. Barbara Fretz, no doubt, was a 
sister of Hannes and Magdalena Fretz, who were baptized 
in 1776. 

After Elder Longenecker's death, Johannes Zug was the 
only minister in the White Oak Church. He opposed an. 
election, fearing some brother might be elected with whom 
there might be trouble again, choosing rather to do all the 
work alone, though over 70 years old, than go through 
another experience like that which he had. This lasted 
several years, when he finally consented to have an election 
for a minister. When the time came to hold the election he 
declined all responsibility, even refusing to vote. When the 
voting was over, the result was a tie, and when it was shown 
to him, he said, " Jetzt will ich auch stimmen" (now I will 
vote too), and then voted for Henry Gibbel, thus breaking 
the tie between him and Joseph Hershy. This election took 
place about 18 10, for in 1814 Brother Gibbel was on the 
standing committee at Pipe Creek, Md., Annual Meeting. 
(Min. of A. M., Pub. 1909, page 36.) He is buried in the 
family graveyard on his farm (late Kreider's farm) near 


Kreider's Meeting House, and near Manheim. His grave 
is marked by a small head stone, on which is carved, " H. 
Gibbel, 1825." 

Between the election of Elder Gibbel and 1822, were 
elected to the ministry, Daniel Fretz, and Jacob Haller. 
Just when either was elected or ordained is not known, no 
records being kept, but it is known that Brother Fretz was 
Elder in charge in 1822 (Elder Zug having died the year 

In 1822 Abraham Gibbel was elected to the ministry, 
about 1828 Christian Longenecker, who was a grandson of 
the first Elder of White Oak, David Gerlach in 1837, John 
S. Newcomer in 1841, Peter Werner about the same time, 
Philip Ziegler in 1845, Jacob Rider about 1847, Samuel 
Graybill in 1855, Samuel R. Zug in 1865, and John B. 
Gibbel in 1866. These, so far, were the ministers of White 
Oak Land from its first settlement, in 1736, in their order 
of election, to the division in 1868. 

About 1 84 1 the White Oak Church was divided into two 
districts, known as Upper and Lower White Oak, by a line 
from the Susquehanna river at Marietta, by the nearest 
road, to Sporting Llill, thence by shortest road to where 
Union Square now is, thence about one mile, by road, north- 
east to the next Manheim road, then by that road to Man- 
heim, and from there, by the state road to Schaefferstown. 
The distance from Sporting Hill to Manheim, by the nearest 
road, is about two miles, and the way the line was made is 
about seven. The object of making the line that way was 
to cut Elder Fretz into the lower district. Who was re- 
sponsible for it we have now no means of knowing, but the 
division did not give general satisfaction, and in order to 
carry it through, it was suggested that members living in one 
district, who would prefer to have their membership in the 
other, should have the privilege to do so. With this proviso 
the division was effected. 

About the same time, that part of White Oak Church, ex- 
tending across South Mountain into Lebanon County, with 
parts of Conestoga, and Little Swatara, was organized into 
Tulpehocken Church. 



By said division the ministers in the lower district were : 
Elder Daniel Fretz, Christian Longenecker and David Ger- 
lach. Elder Fretz, having the misfortune to be kicked by a 
horse, fracturing his leg, and being then 65 years old, his 
memory and voice failing, insisted on having Brother 
Longenecker ordained, and a minister elected, both which 
were accomplished, and brother John S. Newcomer elected. 
The upper district had Elder Jacob Haller and Abraham 
Gibbel, ministers. The same year Peter Werner was 
elected to the ministry in the upper district. 

Jacob Haller was not given to preach long, or entertaining 
sermons, but very pointed and instructive. The writer well 
remembers that at a love feast in 1861, when he was 84 years 
old, and in the presence of a number of strange ministers, 
he stood up and lifting up his hand, said in German, "I 
believe that I could guess what you all think. You think 
I might keep my seat, and let the others talk, but if I can I 
will try to say much in a few words." 

On one occasion when a Brother who was a little forward 
had consumed much time, and said but little, Elder Haller 
arose and said: "I will say something too if something 
comes to me worth saying." Then he stood a little, looking 
on the table, and again looking up, said : " I believe nothing 
comes, so I will give the time to others who may have some- 
thing to say." This, no doubt, was meant as a reproof. 

Abraham Gibbel was different. He was a fluent and 
entertaining speaker and expounder, voluble in conversation, 
with pleasing address, and his services were much in demand 
from the beginning. He was elected about 1822. Daniel 
Fretz was then Elder in charge of White Oak Church, and 
when the members came before the Elders to vote, one after 
another said: "Jacob Myers, Jacob Myers." Now Jacob 
Myers and his brother (not a member) had a store in 
Petersburg, and kept liquor, as all rural stores did at that 
time. Then Elder Fretz became excited, and said : " Some- 
thing must be done. We dare not elect a man to the 
ministry who sells liquor," and went out among the mem- 
bers and asked them: "Have you been in to vote?" If 
they said : " No," then he said : " Well, go in, but don't vote 


for 'Yoke Moyer,' " and when the votes were all in, Brother 
Gibbel had a majority, and was declared the choice. 

It was, of course, not long until Bro. Myers found out 
how the work was accomplished, and went to Bro. Gibbel 
and asked him to decline to serve, but he said he has not 
asked for it, and will not renounce it. The result was that 
Myers left the church, joined the Universalists, preached 
for them, and made political speeches, was a ready talker, 
and lived to an old age. He was an uncle of Elder Grabill 
Myers, remembered by many now living. 

Brother Gibbel prospered in the ministry for about ten 
years, when, for some mistakes, he lost his membership. 
Not long after, he was restored again, and also soon rein- 
stated in office, but this proceeding delayed his ordination 
as Elder. 

In the summer of 1846, a love feast was held on the 
premises of Bro. John Grofif, where an election was held for 
a minister which resulted in calling Philip Ziegler. Quite 
shortly before that meeting it became manifest that Bro. 
Gibbel had blundered again, and was disowned, and Peter 
Werner soon after also, so that Bro. Ziegler would have 
been practically left alone, but he availed himself of the 
privilege granted at the division, and, with his wife, they 
claimed their membership below, and from that time on the 
ministers of the lower district supplied the regular appoint- 
ments in the upper district. 

These incidents, happening one after another, caused 
many members to change their membership to the lower 
district, leaving but a small number standing loyal to the 
upper church. 

In 1847 Elder Jacob Wenger, of Little Swatara, and 
George Hoffer (2d degree) of Big Swatara met with the 
remnant of the Upper White Oak Church, in council, un- 
known to Elder Longenecker, who had practical charge of 
both churches, and held an election, which resulted in calling 
Jacob Rider to the ministry, and Joseph W. Gibbel, as 
deacon, and restored Abraham Gibbel and Peter Werner 
to membership. 

This work was recognized by some and by others not, 


which created more or less confusion and bad feeHng, and 
resulted in a committee from Annual Meeting consisting of 
Andrew Spanogle, Peter Long, and Samuel Lehman of 
Pennsylvania, and PhiHp Boyle and Daniel P. Saylor of 
Maryland who met both churches in joint council, on the 
premises of Philip Ziegler, in 1851, who probed the trouble 
to the bottom, and by their report wiped away the crooked 
line made ten years before, and merged the two churches 
into one again, and ordered that Jacob Rider and Joseph W. 
Gibbel be recognized and respected in their respective 
offices, and that Abraham Gibbel and Peter Werner be held 
as private members, which report was almost unanimously 

In 1855 Elder Christian Longenecker died, in his 64th 
year of age. In 1856 David Gerlach was ordained, and 
given charge of the church. About this time Abraham 
Gibbel and Peter Werner became urgent to be again rein- 
stated in their office as ministers, but the Elders (Fretz, 
Haller and Gerlach, then living) were slow to make a move, 
too slow for them, and they began to appoint, and hold 
meetings so that they were both disfellowshipped again. 
They had a following of twelve members, including them- 
selves. They held one lovefeast, elected a minister and 
deacon, and for several years tried to build up a church. In 
the meantime they baptized one, but their effort was not 
successful and finally quieted down. In 1862 Gibbel and 
Werner were again both reconciled and received back into 
church fellowship, and one after another of their followers 
came back again, with few exceptions. In 1864 Abraham 
Gibbel died in his 74th year. The same year Daniel Fretz 
died in his 89th year. In 1865 Jacob Haller died in his 
88th year. In 1867 Peter Werner died in his 74th year. 
Thus four conspicuous characters were removed from the 
White Oak Church, by death, in a ripe old age, in less than 
three years' time. 

In 1868 White Oak Church was again divided by a line 
extending from Marietta via Mount Joy and Sporting Hill 
to Manheim by nearest road, and thence by nearest road to 
Mount Hope. The lower district to retain the old name, 


and the upper chose the name Chiques, after a creek that 
passes diagonally through the district. At the division in 
1868, the ministers in White Oak were: David Gerlach, 
Jno. S. Newcomer, Samuel Graybill and John B. Gibbel, 
and the deacons were: Jacob Stehman, Henry Stehman, 
John Minnich and Jacob Sonon, with about three hundred 
members. The Chiques' ministers were: Philip Ziegler, 
Jacob Rider, and Samuel R. Zug, and the deacons were: 
Benjamin Zug, Samuel Gibbel, and Joseph W. Gibbel, with 
about two hundred members. 

In the winter of 1869 ^"d 1870 Dr. J. M. Dunlap, one of 
the school directors of Manheim borough, Lancaster Co., 
brought an old deed to the office of an attorney-at-law, in 
Lancaster, in presence of the writer of this sketch, and asked 
advice in regard to selling the property mentioned in the 
deed, and using the money realized by such sale in a school 
house then being built. While the doctor and the lawyer 
were consulting about the matter, the writer read the deed. 
While he has forgotten the date, and the name of the party 
who made it, he distinctly remembers the following con- 
tents: the deed' was made for the use of four religious de- 
nominations, viz. : Lutherans, Reformed, Mennonites, and 
Dunkards (Brethren) for the purpose of building a church, 
which was specified to be used alternately; namely, one was 
to have the use of it one Sunday and the week following, 
another church was to have it the next Sunday and the week 
following, and so on, so that each church had the use of it 
every fourth week. The deed was made to four trustees, 
each church being represented by one : namely, the Brethren 
by Henry Giebel, the Mennonites by a Mr. Hershy, a Mr. 
Bartruff was trustee for one of the other churches, and the 
fourth has been forgotten. The house was often seen by 
the writer, and was of logs, one story, about 30 X 40 ft. 
The house was so used by the churches, but as they got 
houses of their own they gradually dropped out. 

In 1772 Baron Stiegel, the founder of Manheim, deeded 
to the Lutherans the land on which they have their church, 
and burying ground ; later the Reformed, in town, and the 
Mennonites about one mile north, had their own, and the 


Brethren began to have their meetings in their private 
homes, so that this house ceased to be used. Then it began 
to be utiHzed for school purposes long before the free 
school law was passed, and afterward, until 1870. 

It is not likely that the Lutherans would have joined in 
this union movement after they had one of their own, and 
Henry Giebel was baptized in 1748 and lived to be ^2 years 
old, so that in all likelihood this house was built between 
1762 and 1770. Although we spent time and money in 
search of that deed, we failed to find it. It is even not re- 
corded. But we found the lot on which the house stood. 
In February, 1870, the legislature of Pennsylvania passed a 
special act authorizing the school directors to sell, etc. 
They sold it to Benjamin Donavon who lived alongside (in 
whose deed reference is only made to the act of assembly), 
and he sold a part of it, with the old house, to sister 
Barbara Manly, who, with her daughter Ann, lived in that 
house some time, and then razed it and built on the spot a 
new double dwelling, now owned by the daughter, who was 
since married to a Mr. Ritter, now dead, and it is nearly 
in the center of the town. 

Later White Oak Church. 

Before the first division of the White Oak Church terri- 
tory in 1868, it contained all of Lancaster County north 
and west of Lititz and Lancaster, and extended northward 
across the Blue Ridge Mountain into Lebanon Co., west of 
Schaefferstown. In 1841, White Oak ceded the part of its 
territory in Lebanon Co. to what was then organized into 
Tulpehocken Church. 

In 1868, White Oak Church was divided into two 
divisions known as White Oak and Chiques. Elder David 
Gerlach was resident Elder of White Oak after said division 
and also had charge of Chiques Church until April, 1869, 
when Philip Ziegler was ordained Elder by Jacob Hollinger 
and William Hertzler, and given charge. Elder Gerlach 
continued in charge of White Oak with ministers John S. 
Newcomer, Samuel Graybill and John B. Gibbel, and 


deacons Jacob Stehman, John Minnich, Henry Stehman and 
Jacob Sonon. The membership numbered about 300. 

In 1871, Dec. 25, B. Z. Eby was elected minister and B. 
G. Musser, deacon. In September, 1872, Hiram Gibble 
was elected a deacon and on January i, 1873, H. E. Light 
was chosen a minister in place of John B. Gibbel who 
intended moving- into West Conestoga district. About the 
same time, Jacob Stehman, a deacon, died. 

In 1876, Elder Gerlach had a stroke of palsy while 
preaching at a funeral, which incapacitated him; so in 1878 
at a lovefeast held at Bro. John Hernley's, J. S. Newcomer 
was ordained by Christian Bomberger and Samuel Harley 
and given charge of White Oak Church. In 1879 Elder 
Gerlach died in the sixty-eighth year of his age. 

In 1877 Hiram Gibble was elected to the ministry, and 
Israel Graybill and Tobias Herr to the deacon's office. 
About this time Samuel Gibble, a deacon, moved in from 
Chiques Church. In 1880 George Bingeman, a minister, 
moved in from West Conestoga Church, and Samuel Gray- 
bill died in 1881, aged 72 years. 

In 1882, White Oak Church was divided a second time 
by cutting off the southern end, now known as Mountville, 
with Elder Newcomer in charge, and H. E. Light, minister, 
and B G. Musser and Tobias Herr, deacons. The northern 
division retained the old name White Oak, which constitutes 
the present White Oak Church. The White Oak Church 
of to-day is bounded on the north by the Blue Ridge Moun- 
tain, on the east by the Lancaster and Schaefferstown Road, 
on the south by Mountville Church, and on the west by Fair- 
view and Chiques churches, with the exception that the 
eastern boundary has been slightly moved westward since 
the organization of Lititz Church on January 10, 1914. 

The officers of White Oak Church after the division of 
1882 were: rriinisters, B. Z. Eby, Hiram Gibble, and George 
Bingeman ; deacons, John Minnich, Henry Stehman, Samuel 
Gibble and Israel Graybill. The membership at the time 
of this division is not known, but at present it numbers 
about 465. 

In 1883, B. Z. Eby was ordained an Elder and given 
charge of the White Oak Church. He continued in this 








position until 1906 when he moved to Fairview Church. In 
1900, Hiram Gibble was ordained and succeeded B. Z. Eby 
as Elder in charge. Other ordinations in this church oc- 
curred as follows: H."E. Light in 1888; Israel Graybill and 
Reuben S. Graybill in 191 o; N. B. Fahnestock in 191 2. 
Ministers were elected as follows: Israel Graybill in 1883; 
Reuben S. Graybill in 1885; N. B. Fahnestock in 1898; 
Linn B. Longenecker in 1906; Charles D. Cassel in 1907; 
Israel B. Graybill in 1910. The following were elected as 
deacons: Reuben Graybill and Nathaniel Minnich in 1883; 
Abraham Longenecker in 1885; Samuel G. Keller in 1888; 
N. B. Fahnestock in 1895; T. S. Beck in 1898; Eugene 
Brubaker and Israel B. Graybill in 1907; Levi Fahnestock 
and Isaiah G. Gibble in 191 1. 

Deaths of officials occurred as follows : Elder J. S. New- 
comer died in 1902, aged 92 years ; Elder Israel Graybill, in 
191 1, aged 74 years; Elder Reuben S. Graybill, in 1913, 
aged 74 years. 

Prayer meetings are held at private homes. The first 
Sunday School in this church, after the division of 1868, by 
authority of the church, was organized in 1902 in Manheim, 
with Elder Hiram Gibble as superintendent, and T. S. Beck 
as assistant superintendent. After an existence of several 
years, it was discontinued on account of opposition. In 
1912 the congregation by a good majority decided to or- 
ganize again and chose N. B. Fahnestock, superintendent. 

The building of the first house of worship in the White 
Oak Church occurred in 1859, when two were erected: one, 
known as Kreider's near Manheim, and the other, Longe- 
necker's near Lititz. The latter was rebuilt in 1912 (see 
illustration) and made much larger than the former one. 
Other meeting-houses in this congregation were built as 
follows: White Oak, near Elstonville, in 1872; Grayhill's, 
near Elm, in 1881; Manheim, in 1893. Several of these 
houses are intended for lovefeast occasions. Prior to 1881, 
the communion meetings were held in barns of members. 

Bishops of later White Oak Church: (i) David Gerlach, 
1868-1878; (2) John S. Newcomer, 1878-1883; (3) B. Z. 
Eby, 1883-1904; Hiram Gibble, 1904, September 19, to the 


After the division of White Oak Church in 1868, the 
part cut off was organized with about 200 members, three 
ministers, PhiHp Ziegler, Jacob Rider and Samuel R. Zug, 
and three deacons, Benjamin Zug, Samuel Gibble and 
Joseph W. Gibble, under the name of Chiques Church, and 
in charge of Elder D. Gerlach. In 1869 Philip Ziegler was 
ordained by Elders Gerlach, Jacob Hollinger and Wm. 
Hertzler, and given charge of the church. 

In 1 871 Jacob L. Eshelman was elected to the ministry, 
and died in 1892, aged 68. In 1874 Elder Ziegler died in 
his 70th year of age. In 1873 Abraham L. Eshelman was 
elected a deacon. In 1877 privilege was granted to raise 
funds to re-build the Chiques meeting house. 

In i88o- A. L. Eshelman was elected to the ministry, and 
B. R. Zug and D. M. Eshelman, deacons. 

In 1882 a plan for re-building Chiques meeting house was 
proposed in council and passed by a vote of 31 to 8, and 
that summer it was rebuilt, by J. G. Stauffer and M. G. 
Gibble, building committee. In raising, the framework, 
from lack of proper support below, and the weight of people 
working above, broke down, by which two men and a boy, 
John Shenk, Jacob G. Gibble and John Werner, were killed, 
and a number injured, which caused some trouble in the 
church for several years. 

In 1875 Jacob Rider was ordained, and in 1883 he died, 
aged 79 years, whereupon Elder C. Bucher, of Tulpehocken 
Church, was chosen Elder in charge, until 1885, when S. R. 
Zug was ordained by Elders Samuel Harley and Wm. 
Hertzler, in presence of Elders J. Hertzler, C. Bucher, J. S. 
Newcomer, and B. Z. Eby. 

In 1884 Jonas P. Price came from Montgomery Co., Pa., 
to Elizabethtown, where he married his fourth wife, and 





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lived here until he died in 1895, aged 82 years. He was in 
second degree, and is buried in the Price grave-yard, near 
Indian Creek Meeting House. 

In 1882 John Gerlach, and 1885 Henry S. Zug, received 
as deacons, by certificate; and in 1889 H. S. Zug elected a 
minister and D. M. Hiestand a deacon. 

1 89 1. C. C. Madeira, a minister, first degree, received 
by certificate. 

1893. Elder Wm. Hertzler presented his letter from 
Spring Creek, and in 1896 died, aged 68 years; and same 
year A. L. Eshelman died, aged 65 years. 

1892. Three deacons were elected, viz.: D. R. Forney, 
Eli Brubaker and Isaac S. Gibble. In 1895 Daniel M. 
Eshelman was elected to the ministry, and in 1897 S. H. 
Hertzler was elected a minister. In March, 1899, S. B. 
Fahnestock was elected a deacon, and D. M. Eshleman 
advanced to second degree. In December, 1899, S. B. 
Fahnestock was elected as minister and S. H. Hertzler 
advanced to second degree. 

In the spring of 1902 Chiques Church was divided into 
four districts, all of which organized soon after, viz. : 
Chiques, West Green Tree, Elizabethtown, and Fairview. 

Chiques Church, at its organization in 1902, had as 
ministers, S. R. Zug as Elder, and H. S. Zug, second degree ; 
and as deacons, B. R. Zug, D. M. Hiestand and I. S. Gibble. 

In September, 1902, P. C. Geib was elected a deacon. In 
1903, I. S. Gibble was elected a minister (died 1906, aged 
52), and S. S. Eshleman was elected deacon. In Novem- 
ber, 1905, John C. Zug was elected a minister. April, 1906, 
S. S. Eshleman was elected a minister, and H. B. Shearer 
and S. G. Wenger deacons. 

On April i, 1906, S. R. Zug and John C. Zug moved to 
Elizabethtown, but by consent of both churches continued 
their membership and ministerial labor in Chiques Church. 

In 1905, H. S. Zug was ordained Elder. In May, 1909, 
Allen B. Ruhl was elected a minister and advanced to second 
degree August 24, 1912. In year of 1910 Elder S. R. Zug 
and John C. Zug moved their membership to Elizabethtown 
where they lived. In 191 2, Henry Hess was elected a 


deacon. On November 29, 19 13, Henry L. Hess was 
chosen minister and Monroe G. Hollinger, and Benjamin G. 
Stauffer, deacons. 

In 1 871 the first Sunday School was allowed and later 
was organized in Chiques Meeting House, it being the first 
among the Brethren in Lancaster County. 

The officials of the church now are : H. S. Zug, Elder; S. 
S. Eshleman, and A. B. Ruhl second degree ministers, and 
Henry L. Hess, first degree. Deacons are : B. R. Zug, P. 
C. Geib, H. B. Shearer, S. G. Wenger, Monroe G. Hollinger 
and Benj. G. Stauffer. The membership is 258. 

The second Sunday School was organized in 1898, in a 
leased meeting house, near Mt. Hope. Both schools have 
been kept up since. The first Chiques Meeting House was 
built in 1856. It was not arranged for love feast, and 
needed much repairing, hence rebuilding. 

In 1 910 a new church house was built, suitable for hold- 
ing lovefeasts, known as Mount Hope Meeting House, into 
which the Sunday School was moved from the leased meet- 
ing house. 

A Christian Workers' Meeting was organized in this con- 
gregation in February, 1907, with M. G. Gibble, president, 
and Minnie Ginder, secretary. 

Bishops of Chiques Church : ( i ) David Gerlach, 1868- 
1869; (2) Philip Ziegler, 1 869-1 874; (3) Jacob Rider, 
1875-1883; (4) Christian Bucher (non-resident), 1883- 
1885; (5) S. R. Zug, 1885-1910; (6) H. S. Zug, 1910. 




I — I 








The Mountville Church district was taken from the 
White Oak in 1882, and organized into a separate church 
with ministers, Elder John S. Newcomer and Henry E. 
Light. The deacons were B. G. Musser and Tobias Herr. 
The membership numbered about two hundred. 

Since the organization of this congregation, the following 
ministers were elected: Tobias Herr in 1883, Amos Hotten- 
stein in 1885, Henry S. Sonon in 1890, Milton G. Forney 
in 1898, Isaiah N. Musser in 1902 and William N. Zobler 
in 1910. Advancements to the second degree of the min- 
istry occurred as follows: Tobias Herr in 1885, Amos 
Hottenstein in 1890, Henry S. Sonon in 1898, Milton G. 
Forney in 1902 and I. N. Musser in 1910. In 1900 Tobias 
Herr was ordained. His death occurred in 1901 in the 
seventy-fourth year of his age. Other ordinations to the 
eldership were made in 1909 when Amos S. Hottenstein and 
Henry S. Sonon were made elders. 

Deacons were chosen by this congregation as follows: 
Henry Herr and John H. Herr, August 13, 1883; P. S. 
Hottenstein, November 27, 1890; B. Hershey, April 8, 
1898; Henry Bender, May 28, 1902; Benjamin M. Brenne- 
man, December 26, 1905 ; Elam Weaver and Daniel S. Neff, 
November 16, 1910. 

The present officials are: H. E. Light, Elder in charge; 
elders, A. S. Hottenstein and Henry S. Sonon; ministers, 
M. G. Forney, I. N. Musser, W. N. Zobler; deacons, B. G. 
Musser, John Herr, P. S. Hottenstein, H. Bender, D. S. 
Neff, Elam Weaver, J. A. Seldomridge. The membership 
at present numbers three hundred forty-five. 

Church Houses. 
Petersburg House. — The Petersburg House is the oldest 
place of worship in a special meeting-house in the Mountville 



congregation. The old log meeting-house, or block house as 
it was called, is still remembered by many. It stood where 
the new brick house now stands. It was not built by the 
Brethren nor for the Brethren. Jacob Hershey, April 2, 
1831, conveyed for one dollar "a certain lot of ground 
situated in the township of East Hempfield " with the pur- 
pose in view of " promoting the worship of Almighty God 
and the Gospel of Jesus Christ ... to and for the use, 
benefit and behoof of the society called Mennonists and the 
meeting-house thereon erected and being for their place and 
hour of public and divine worship and next after and at 
all such times when it will actually not be used for that 
purpose by the said society called Mennonists, that all and 
every Protestant minister or preacher of the Gospel may 
hold public meetings therein for divine worship without 
hindrance or molestation forever." 

The father of Jacob Hershey, himself a Mennonite, was 
Benjamin, Jr., who inherited this land from his father, 
Benjamin, Sr., in 1790. They were doubtless Mennonites. 
The log architecture of the old house was prerevolutionary 
and the house itself was likely built before our independence. 
In fact tradition tells us that when it was built every 
settler brought a log towards its erection. Most of the 
logs were likely brought by Mennonites, but enough of other 
persuasions to give to the house the union character that was 
afterwards recognized in the deed given by Jacob Hershey. 
There can be no doubt that it stood for many years on 
private property deeded to nobody's trustees. 

It was early used as a neighborhood schoolhouse. The 
fathers of many of the old residents now living attended 
school here. Among them was the father of Elder Amos 
Hottenstein, who must have gone to school here as early as 
1825. Later, a part of this house was used as a residence. 
The Lutherans likely worshipped within the old log walls 
until 1847 when they built their present house of worship 
in Petersburg. 

The Brethren had been worshipping in this neighborhood 
in private homes, among them that of Brother Jacob Steh- 
man. About 1840 he erected over his spring a house in- 


tended especially for worship but only when his turn came 
for meeting, perhaps every twelve or twenty-four weeks. 
This was a step in the direction of special houses of worship, 
which at the time were violently opposed. He lived some 
distance north of Petersburg and the said spring is one of 
the sources of the Conestoga Creek. Perhaps the Brethren 
began to worship in the block house when the Lutherans 
withdrew. We were certainly in it by 1850. The meet- 
ings in Stehman's spring-house ceased when the block house 
was secured for worship. Jacob Graybill's barn just west 
of Petersburg was a place long used for lovefeasts. 

The Mennonites transferred their remaining claim in this 
old property to the Brethren, September 29, 1867, likely 
about the time they erected a new house for their own 
private use. The tract on which the old log house stood 
contained one hundred and twenty perches. The new brick 
schoolhouse was erected on this tract where the driveway 
now goes in, about i860. It was erected by the permission 
of the Brethren and showed the friendly attitude of the 
Brethren towards public education. The Mennonite interest 
at this time was waning. 

The present brick house, 45 X 60 feet, was erected by the 
Brethren in 1873 at a cost of $2,674.29. This was the first 
lovefeast house in the White Oak congregation, and was 
built amidst great opposition. The Graybills were very 
anxious to have their old family cemetery incorporated into 
the new cemetery of the congregation at this place. The 
liberality of Herman Graybill and his father in giving 
towards the erection of the new house secured the desired 
end. The survey for the Petersburg cemetery was made 
July 31, 1878. Including the Graybill cemetery this church 
burial place contained 'j'j.y perches, the ground costing the 
church $78.25. The tract of land below the church con- 
taining 643/2 perches was purchased by the Brethren in 1875 
at a cost of $657.50. The brick schoolhouse was removed 
some years after the new meeting-house was built. Sunday 
School was organized in this house in 1898. 

Neffsville House. — On September 28, 1869, Jacob Graver 
conveyed to Christian Brubaker, trustee for the West Con- 


estoga congregation, and to Henry B. Rohrer, trustee for the 
White Oak congregation, for $549-373^ one acre and one 
hundred and thirty-three perches of ground in Neffsville. 
On this tract perhaps the next year the two congregations 
erected the present brick structure, in size 40 X 50 ft. The 
house was built on White Oak ground. April 9, 1901, the 
West Conestoga congregation for one dollar released her 
interest to the Mountville congregation. This is the oldest 
meeting-house now standing in the Mountville district, but 
in interest it is about the weakest. There are some indica- 
tions of reviving interest. 

Mountville House. — Mountville is a town four miles east 
of Columbia. While this belonged to the White Oak 
Church, yet a substantial brick church house, covered with 
slate, 70 X 40 ft. with basement, was erected in 188 1 at a 
cost of $3,500. The new house of worship was dedicated 
September 25 in the same year with services morning, after- 
noon and evening, in the presence of a large congregation. 
Elder James Ouinter, of Huntingdon, Pa., preached in the 
English language in the morning and evening and Elder 
Wm. Hertzler of Spring Creek congregation preached in the 
German language in the afternoon. 

A tract of ground consisting of one acre and ninety-eight 
perches on which this building stands was bought March 31, 
1881, for $675. On May 2y, 1884, twenty-nine perches 
were secured in addition. Both of these tracts were 
donated to the congregations by Joseph Stoner. On March 
29, 1886, the church bought two acres and two perches addi- 
tional at a cost of $600, thus making the church property in 
Mountville to consist of three acres and one hundred twenty- 
nine perches. On this ground are a cemetery and a sub- 
stantial dwelling house for the janitor. Sunday School was 
organized here in 1899. This house together with the 
Petersburg house are the main lovefeast houses of this 

Manor House. — The name of Herr stands foremost in 
the history of this house of worship. On April 22, 1751, 
Abraham Herr bought from the Penns 4243/2 acres of land 
in Manor township. Of this tract, Abraham and his wife 

Nkffs VILLI-: Meeting House. 


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Manor Meeting House. 


Anna on May 20, 1751, transferred to Jacob Martin, 
perhaps their son-in-law, 163 acres. This descended to 
Jacob's son Isaac in 1783. May 3, 1784, Isaac conveyed 
this land to John Herr, likely a descendant of the original 
Abraham Herr. John willed this property to his son 
Abraham as his portion, Abraham being the oldest son of 
a family of seven children. Abraham still lived in the 
original log house but built the large limestone house in 
1808. His son, Henry Herr, Sr., as early as 1830 had 
joined the Brethren Church. This was the first break the 
Brethren made into this old preeminent Mennonite family. 
Henry Herr, Sr., had married his grandfather's daughter, 
and it was some time after this event that he and his wife 
joined the Brethren. 

By 1830 John Gerlach, tenant farmer and brother of 
Elder David Gerlach and also a member of the Brethren 
Church, lived in this neighborhood. Whether statements 
by him set Henry Herr to thinking and reading, we know 
not; but think and read he did, with the result that he be- 
came a member. David Gerlach, Christian Longenecker 
and John Newcomer were the first preachers of the Brethren 
in this section. Preaching services were held in the home 
of Henry Herr as early as 1835. Other families from this 
strong Mennonite region to join us were the Witmers, 
Lefevers, Shenks, Brennemans, and Neffs. Tobias Herr 
was the only minister elected from this section, and Henry 
Herr, Jr., and Benjamin Brenneman the only deacons. 

April I, 1876, Henry H. Herr, Jr., transferred for one 
dollar to Benjamin Musser and Tobias H. Herr, trustees for 
the Brethren, one acre and one hundred and thirty-three 
perches of land for the erection of a house of worship and 
for a cemetery. The Manor church-house was built the 
same year, being a brick structure, 36 X 40 ft. 

A Sunday School was organized here in 1910. Henry 
M. Herr, son of Elder Tobias Herr, was superintendent con- 
tinuously to 1914. Henry Gerlach succeeds him. 

The old Herr homestead descended to Elizabeth Herr 
Brenneman, now the widow of Deacon Benjamin Brenne- 
man. She recently sold it to Ephraim Gerlach, a Mennonite, 
whose father Daniel was a member of the Brethren Church. 


The Brethren of Manor, however, do not believe that this 
has cut them off from Heaven's blessings and are ready to 
push forward with undiminished faith. 

Salnnga House.— When Bro. John H. Herr and wife 
moved to Salunga in 1870, there was only one member 
living here, a sister Mary Ann Hoofstetter who, however, 
moved away about this time. She had a brother David in 
Pittsburgh, Pa., who manufactured Hostetter's Bitters, a 
product made by his father in Salunga. The son became 
very wealthy. The Hostetter burial ground was located 
back of the present Salunga church house. The wealthy 
son offered to give five hundred dollars to the congregation 
which would build a meeting-house here and keep up the 
burial ground. 

Prayer meetings well attended were held in the home of 
Brother and Sister Herr who were anxious for Brethren 
to preach there. Elder Henry Light promised them services 
if they would open their house for this purpose. Brother 
Light preached about a week to a crowded house and several 
united with the church. 

Brother Herr was now instructed to buy an acre of land 
adjoining the Hostetter cemetery which was transferred to 
the Brethren's trustees April i, 1887, for $600. John H. 
Herr, elected a deacon in 1883, was one of these trustees. 
Mr. Hostetter not only gave his five hundred dollars but 
also donated to the church in addition the strip of ground on 
which the sheds stand. Later, another small strip of land 
was added to the Salunga property. 

The house was built in 1887 at a cost of $3,000. It is a 
frame structure, 40 X 50 ft., and is arranged for lovefeasts. 
The dedicatory sermon was preached by Elder William 
Hertzler, December 12, 1887. Sunday School was organ- 
ized here in 1908 with Bro. Amos Hiestand as superin- 
tendent, who is still serving the church in this capacity. 
The average attendance at the Sunday School is seventy- 
five. At present twenty-four members live in this village 
and ten members live in Landisville. 

Although this congregation has four Sunday Schools, it 
has as yet no Christian Workers' organizations. 

D. C. Reber. 


Fairview Church, one of the four divisions of the former 
Chiques Church, was organized June 9, 1902. Elder 
Hiram Gibble was elected Elder in charge. Other ministers 
were : C. C. Madeira, second degree, and S. B. Fahnestock, 
first degree. There were no deacons. The membership 
numbered 131. In the same year, H. B. Gibble and J. B. 
Brubaker were elected deacons. 

1903. Herman Balmer was elected deacon. 

1905. S. B. Fahnestock was advanced to second degree 
of ministry. 

1906. J. B. Brubaker was elected minister, and J. B. 
Kolp and Elmer Heisey deacons. 

191 o. Allen G. Baker was elected minister. 

In 1912, George Weaver, a minister, moved here from 

On August 28, 1913, S. B. Fahnestock was ordained an 

There is only one meeting house in this district, known as 
Fairview, built in 1894, and originally arranged for love- 
feast occasions. 

A Sunday School was organized here in 1904. 

The officers now in Fairview Church are : Elder in 
charge, Hiram Gibble; ministers, Elder S. B. Fahnestock, 
John B Brubaker, Geo. Weaver, and A. G. Baker; and 
deacons, Henry B. Gibble, Herman Balmer, J. B. Kolp, 
and Elmer Heisey. The present membership is 134. 




In 1902, a part of former Chiques Church was organized 
with a membership of 210, as West Green Tree Church. 
The officers at that time were: S. R Zug, Elder, D. M. 
Eshleman, second degree minister; deacons: D. R. Forney, 
and Eli B Brubaker. In the same year, in Sefytember, an 
election was held for a minister and a deacon. The result 
was a tie between Hiram E. Kaylor and S. S Shearer, 
when both were installed as ministers and Abraham L. Frey 
as deacon. In 1906 N. W. Eshelman, in 1907 H. S. Eshel- 
man, and in 191 2 Allen Ober, were elected deacons. In 
191 1, Nathan Martin brought his letter here from Eliza- 
bethtown as a minister in the first degree. In 19 10 A. L. 
Frey, a deacon, was granted a certificate and moved to 
Elizabethtown. D. M. Eshleman was ordained in 1905, 
September 5. • In 191 2, August 17, N. W. Eshelman was 
elected a minister, and W. S. Longenecker a deacon. 

Advancements of ministers to the second degree of the 
ministry were made as follows: September 5, 1905, Hiram 
E. Kaylor and S. S. Shearer; March 7, 191 1, Nathan 

The first Sunday School in West Green Tree Church was 
organized at Green Tree House, in 1902, and another in 
the Rheems House, 1908. The officers of West Green Tree 
Church now are: D. M. Eshleman, Elder; H. E. Kaylor, 
S. S. Shearer, and Nathan Martin, ministers in second 
degree, and N. W. Eshelman, first degree; and deacons: 
D. R. Forney, E. B. Brubaker, H. S. Eshelman, Allen Ober, 
and W. S. Longenecker. Membership, 245. 

The first meeting-house built in what is now West Green 
Tree Church was built in 1869, and the next in 1903, at 
Rheems, both arranged for lovefeast occasions. 

In 1 91 2 a meeting-house was bought from the Methodists 
in Florin. 


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Of the beginnings of the Brethren in EHzabethtown, 
Elder S. R. Zug says : 

"About 1870, the Brethren used occasionally to have a 
preaching service in the old United Brethren Church in EHza- 
bethtown. At that time there were not over a dozen members 
in town. 

"In 1875, the old school house on Mechanic Street was sold 
and the party who bought it at $425 then offered it to the 
Chiques Church at the same price, to be utilized as a meeting 
house which offer was accepted and meetings were held there 
regularly until the meetings became too large. So then in 1888, 
Brother Jos. H. Rider, son of Elder Jacob Rider offered to 
donate a large lot of ground on Washington St. for the church 
if it would build a meeting house on it large enough to hold 
lovefeasts in it. This offer the church readily accepted and the 
same year built a brick meeting house on it 50 X 80 ft. with 
basement. The other was sold and converted into a dwelling 

" A Sunday School was started in the old house some years 
before the new one was built and was then transferred to the 
new and has since been kept up and has been growing and 

Thirty-two years later than the time referred to in the 
above quotation, namely on May 2, 1902, the Elizabeth- 
town Church was organized, having been cut of¥ from the 
Chiques Church. Its membership numbered one hundred 
and sixty, of whom about one hundred and ten were present 
at the organization. This was done in the presence of 
Elders J. H. Longenecker, G. N. Falkenstein, H. E. Light 
and S. R. Zug. Elder S. R. Zug was elected as the Elder 
in charge; J. H. Kline was elected Treasurer; I. W. Eshel- 
man was elected Recording Secretary, Jos. H. Rider, Ad- 



dison Buch and Tobias Hoffer were chosen trustees. Other 
officials at the time of organization were : ministers, S. H. 
Hertzler, in second degree, G. N. Falkenstein, an Elder 
connected with Elizabethtown College as trustee and Prin- 
cipal, I. N. H. Beahm also in second degree; deacons, J. 
H. Kline and A. W. Martin. 

The territory of this church extends from a mile east of 
the town to the Susquehanna River, being bounded on the 
east and south by the West Green Tree Church ; on the north 
by the Spring Creek Church. In September 1903, the latter 
ceded some of its territory to the Elizabethtown Congrega- 
tion, making the Swatara Creek at Middletown and the Har- 
risburg pike the boundary line, and at the same time also 
transferred its interest in the Swatara Hill church house. 

The official body of the church has been increased as 
follows : D. C. Reber moved here as a minister from 
Brooklyn, N. Y., in July, 1902, having been elected a teacher 
in Elizabethtown College and at present its President. In 
1903 J. H. Kline was elected a minister; in 1904 H. K. 
Ober; in 1906, Nathan Martin; in 191 1, R. W. Schlosser 
and J. G. Meyer. The last three were called to the ministry 
in compliance with the advice of Annual Conference of 1890 
requesting churches to hold elections from time to time to 
increase our ministry with a view of using such ministers 
wherever the church may need them. In 19 10 Elder S. R. 
Zug and his son, John C. Zug, a minister in first degree, 
placed their membership in this church, but removed to 
Palmyra in 19 12. 

In 1903, J. M. Pittenger, a minister, located at the college 
as a member of the faculty. Other ministers who were 
teachers at the college were: J. H. Keller in 1904, W. H. 
Sanger in 1905-6, E. E. Eshelman in 1907-10. In 1909 
Elder I. N. H. Beahm and in 191 1 Nathan Martin moved 
away. In 1910, C. C. Madeira, a minister in second degree 
in the Fairview Church, located here. In 1909 Levi Mohler, 
a minister in second degree, moved here from Cumberland 
Co., and his son, Harry B. Mohler, resided here from 
. On account of the college being located in this congrega- 


tion a number of ministers have come and gone as students, 
whose names are omitted here they having been only tran- 
sient members. 

Deacons have been elected as follows : I. W. Eshelman 
in 1902, Isaac L. Hoffer and Amos G. Longenecker in 
1903 ; John M. Gibble, J. S. Hackman and David B. Kline 
in 1912. 

Advancements to the second degree of the ministry were 
made as follows: December 15, 1904, D. C. Reber and J. 
H. Kline; March 12, 1908, H. K. Ober; February 8, 191 1, 
John C. Zug. 

On October 20, 1904, S. H. Hertzler and I. N. H. Beahm, 
then President of the college, were ordained as elders and 
the former chosen as assistant Elder of the church. 
Ordination committee was J. H. Longenecker, H. E. Light 
and John Herr. 

The present officials are: Elder S. H. Hertzler, Elder in 
charge; Elder G. N. Falkenstein; Dr. D. C. Reber, J. H. 
Kline, H. K. Ober, Levi Mohler, C. C. Madeira, ministers 
in second degree; and R. W. Schlosser and J. G. Meyer in 
the first degree; and deacons, A. W. Martin, L W. Eshel- 
man, L L. Hoffer, Charles Bower, A. L. Frey, John M. 
Gibble, J. S. Hackman and D. B. Kline. The membership 
is over three hundred. 

Church Activities. 
After the organization of this congregation, preaching 
services were conducted in Elizabethtown every two weeks 
in the morning and every two weeks in the evening, preach- 
ing in both the German and English languages at the morn- 
ing service. On April i, 1904, it was decided to have 
preaching every Sunday, one week in the morning, and 
the next week in the evening, and also to have services at 
the College Chapel every two weeks in the evening while 
school was in session. After September, 1906, services 
were held at the College Chapel one Sunday in the morning 
and the next Sunday in the evening alternating with the 
services in town, thus giving the congregation two preaching 
services each Sunday while school was in session. 


In addition to the services at college and town, there was 
preaching at Bainbridge until 1907 every four weeks and 
also at Royalton in U. B. Church, every six weeks until 

1907, and at present at Newville, a union church, every 
month in the afternoon after the Sunday School. Also 
preaching services at Swatara Hill every six weeks at ten 
o'clock A.M. Following the Sunday School, every two 
weeks there is preaching at the Stevens Hill house. Every 
eight weeks the Elizabethtown ministers preach at Middle- 
town at 2:30 P.M., alternating with the ministers of the 
Harrisburg Church. Thus the Lord's Day program is as 
follows: Sunday School in town at 9 A.M. followed by 
preaching at 10 A.M. in town or at College at 10:30 and 
sometimes at Swatara Hill. In the afternoon, Sunday 
School at Newville at i : 30 and at Stevens Hill at 2 o'clock, 
preaching at same place at 3 o'clock or at Middletown at 
2 : 30. In the evening Christian Workers' Meeting preced- 
ing the preaching in town at 7 P.M. or at the college at 7 : 30. 

The mid-week services are as follows: Monday evening 
once a month the Sunday School teacher's meeting, Tues- 
day evening at'7:30 Prayer Meeting, Wednesday evening 
Teacher Training Class in town and College Prayer Meet- 
ing. Every Saturday evening at the college two classes 
meet for mission study. 

The council meetings at first were held semi-annually in 
March and September. . After September, 1903, they were 
held quarterly on the Thursday evening before full moon in 
March, June, September and December. In December, 

1908, the time for quarterly council was changed to the first 
Thursday of the afore-mentioned months in the evening, 
but for the March council, the time is afternoon and 

Evangelistic meetings have been held in the Elizabeth- 
town Church since the organization as follows : 

1903. W.M.Howe at college. 1906. J. K. Miller at college. 

1904. W. M. Howe at college. Reuben Shroyer in town. 
S. S. Beaver in town. David Weaver in town. 

1905. J. G. Royer at college. 1907. F. P. Cassel in town. 



1908. Jesse Ziegler in town. 191 1. H. K. Ober in town, 

1909. J. A. Long at college. John C. Zug in town. 
I. N. H. Beahm in town. 1912. G. B. Rover at college. 
G. S. Rairigh in town, R. P. Bucher in town. 

1910. G. M. Lauver at college, 191 3, W. B, Stover at college. 
B. F. Heckman at college. S. A. Honberger in town. 

Since the organization, about 125 persons have been re- 
ceived by baptism. 

Love feasts are held in spring and fall of each year. At 
first the time for love feast was during the week, beginning 
at 1 130 P.M. and continuing till the following noon, fur- 
nishing meals to the public also. In March, 191 1, it was 
decided to have the spring love feast on Sunday and the 
fall during the week. Since March, 19 12, both feasts are 
held on Sunday evening with all-day services and closing 
Monday noon. Visitors are entertained at the homes of 
members instead of at the church. September, 1910, the 
church decided that sisters shall break bread and pass the 
cup during the communion service. 


On September 6, 1902, Elizabethtown Church decided to use 
unfermented wine in communion service at love feast. Also 
ministers are excused from financial contributions for defray- 
ing current expenses of the congregation. 

On March 24, 1904, decided that an indoctrinating talk of 
fifteen minutes shall be given to the membership at each regular 
council meeting. On December 15, 1904, decided to assess 
members for the purpose of raising funds for church expenses 
which assessment is made by the official board. At the same 
time the method of electing the officers of the Sunday School, 
Christian Workers' Meeting, and Missionary Reading Circle 
was adopted as follows : A nominating board consisting of the 
official board, officers and teachers of the Sunday School, the 
Sunday School Advisory Committee shall' nominate the officers 
of the various church auxiliaries by ballot to be ratified by the 

In September 1905, the pastoral visit to be made by the 
Elder was asked for and granted. On March 8, 1906, decided 
that all members shall hereafter be received on certificate by 


being asked to promise in open council or to visiting Brethren 
to be loyal to church as governed by the Gospel and the de- 
cisions of Annual Conference. Also that there shall be Prayer 
Meeting and Bible Reading each week on Tuesday and Thurs- 
day evening respectively. 

In March, 1907, decided that Sunday School shall open at 
9 A.M. and preaching at 10 o'clock. In 1908, the qualifications 
for Sunday School officers and teachers were adopted as fol- 
lows : The Sunday School teachers and officers shall have the 
same qualifications as delegates to District and Annual Meeting. 
In 191 1 decided to have preaching in town morning and evening 
each Sunday during the college vacation. 

Permanent Committees, 

The church has four standing committees: (i) A Look- 
out Committee, created in 1904, whose duties are to invite 
people moving into town to come to our church services. 
This committee has been abandoned and the work assigned 
to the Superintendent of the Home Department and its vis- 
itors. (2) A Sunday School Advisory Committee, of five 
members, created in 1903. (3) A Temperance Committee, 
of three members, created in 1912. (4) A Missionary 
Committee, of four members, created in 191 3. 

Church Auxiliaries. 

At the initiative of J. M. Pittenger a Missionary Read- 
ing Circle was organized in June, 1904, while he was a 
teacher at the college. The circle consists of a Town 
Branch and a College Branch. The town branch held bi- 
weekly meetings for a number of years studying mission 
books under the direction of a teacher. Their offerings 
were placed in the Church Fund for the support of a Foreign 
Missionary. The organization consists of a president, vice- 
president, secretary and treasurer. 

The following have been most actively identified with 
the town branch : A. G. Longenecker, C. M. Neff and 
Martha Martin as Presidents ; Martha Martin and Elizabeth 
Hoover as Secretaries and S. G. Graybill as Treasurer. One 
hindrance to the success of this branch has been the lack of 


a suitable time for holding its meetings and so it was aban- 
doned December ii, 19 13. 

The college branch of the Circle holds weekly meetings on 
Saturday evening during the school year. This branch reg- 
ularly subscribes for the Missionary Review of the World 
for the college library. For several years a beginner's 
class and an advanced class in mission study have been con- 
ducted simultaneously studying books on missions. Several 
members of these classes have volunteered to give their lives 
to mission work. Elder J. F. Graybill and wife, Elder J. 
M. Pittenger, B. Mary Royer, Kathryn Ziegler, all of whom 
are now in foreign mission work, have been active members 
in the college branch. Also Elmer F. Nedrow and Elder 
R. A. Nedrow, who are now in the Lake Ridge Mission in 
New York State. Some of the funds raised by this branch 
have been used to purchase mission books for the college 
library and some funds were sent to mission points. Dur- 
ing revival services at the school, it cooperates actively for 
the saving of souls and holds religious services at the homes 
of aged, or shut-in members in town. 

A Christian Workers' organization was effected in 1907 
by electing the following officers: J. Z. Herr, President; 
Martha Martin, Secretary; and H. H. Nye, Treasurer, to 
serve for one year. Others who have since served as pres- 
ident of the organization are M. A. Good, S. B. Kiefer, R. 
W. Schlosser, and Isaiah F. Basehore. 

On March 29, 1900, a Sisters' Sewing Circle was organ- 
ized with the following officers: President, Lizzie Master- 
son, Vice-President, Lizzie Will ; Secretary, Salome Engle ; 
Assistant Secretary, Mary Stauffer; Treasurer, Annie E. 
Hertzler. Others present were Mary Rider, Annie Hawk, 
and Amanda Witmer. The present membership is about 
forty. Meetings are held every other Wednesday after- 

The practical work of the Circle consists of making gar- 
ments, quilts, and cash donations. From 1903 to 1906, 
sixteen dollars was paid annually for the support of an 
India orphan. Nine dollars was sent to India sufferers in 
1902. Boxes of clothing were sent to Washington, D. C, 


St. Joseph, Mo., Chicago, 111., Brooklyn, N. Y., Reading, 
Pa., Mt. Carmel, Pa. About one hundred dollars was do- 
nated to Elizabethtown College, and ten dollars to Kansas 

Mrs. J. H. Rider has been president for twelve years and 
Mrs. S. H. Hertzler was treasurer from the beginning until 
her death in October, 19 12. 

The Sunday School has been the strong right arm of the 
church in Elizabethtown and one of the chief factors in 
church growth and progress. Before the organization of 
the congregation, even before the present commodious house 
of worship was built, the Sunday School was there, not how- 
ever without considerable opposition. Among the pioneer 
Sunday School workers in Elizabethtown may be mentioned 
I. N. S. Will, S. H. Hertzler, Jos. G. Heisey, J. H. Kline, 
Jos. H. Rider and wife Mary. J. H. Eshelman has been 
superintendent continuously since 1903. Among the as- 
sistant superintendents may be mentioned S. P. Engle, A. G. 
Longenecker, S. G. Graybill and Chas. Bower. 

The Sunday School officers are chosen for one year and 
assume their duties the first Sunday in January. The offi- 
cers consist of Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, 
Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treas- 
urer, Chorister, Assistant Chorister, Superintendent of the 
Primary Department, Superintendent of the Home Depart- 
ment, Superintendent of the Cradle Roll. The method of 
choosing these officers is described on page 411. 

Outpost Sunday Schools have been conducted at Mount 
Ober, Newville and Stevens Hill. In the summer of 1906, 
the Mount Ober Sunday School was superintended by 
Nathan Martin and conducted two quarters. In 1908 E. E. 
Eshelman was superintendent and preached every two 
weeks at the same point. 

Newville is a village one mile west of Elizabethtown, 
where the Brethren have conducted Sunday School in a 
union house since 1902. W. A. Withers and S. G. Gray- 
bill had charge of this Sunday School the first few years. 
Others who have served as Superintendent at this place are 
A. G. Longenecker, Daniel V. Shenk, Leah Sheaffer, Martha 


Martin, David Kline. Other denominations also conducted 
Sunday School here at times. 

The most flourishing outpost Sunday School is the one at 
Stevens Hill, about five miles west of Elizabethtown. Here 
in a school house, Sunday School was conducted almost 
uninterruptedly since 1904. Those who have labored in this 
work here are A. G. Longenecker, D. C. Reber, Elizabeth 
Kline, B F. Wampler, Mrs. B. F. Wampler, M. A. Good, 
I. W. Eshelman, Isaac Madeira and wife. 

After the house at Bainbridge was sold, April, 1908, and 
much interest was manifested in preaching services at 
Stevens Hill, the advisability of erecting a house of worship 
there was considered in June of 1908. The matter was re- 
ferred to the Sunday School Advisory Committee, who was 
instructed to canvass the sentiment of the community, in 
regard to the project. The community favored the work. 
Later, plans for a church house adapted for Sunday School 
purposes were presented by the same committee and on 
March 2, 191 1, the church decided to build a church house 
40 by 60 feet frame structure, about a quarter of a mile 
east of the school house. (See picture of this edifice.) 
The building committee consisted of D, C. Reber, Chair- 
man; A. G. Longenecker, Secretary, and L W. Eshelman, 
Treasurer; John M. Gibble and Jos. G. Heisey. On 
Thanksgiving Day of 191 1 the house was dedicated with 
services forenoon and afternoon conducted by Elders John 
Herr and J. H. Longenecker. The cost of the church was 
$3,191.33 and the land and shed for horses cost $350. A. Z. 
Witmer, John M. Gibble, and A. G. Longenecker were 
appointed trustees for this house of worship. When A. G. 
Longenecker resigned as superintendent in December, 19 12, 
prior to moving to Palmyra, R. W. Schlosser was appointed 
by the church to have charge of the Sunday School and 
preaching at this point for the year 191 3, and J. S. Hack- 
man was elected trustee in Longenecker's place. Revival 
services were conducted at this house in August, 19 12, by 
Elder H. B. Yoder, of Lancaster, and several were received 
into the church by baptism. In 1913, this congregation 
conducted three evergreen Sunday Schools. 


The supervision of these Sunday Schools is given into 
the hands of the Sunday School Advisory Committee. This 
committee is organized according to the following consti- 
tution : 

Constitution of Local Sunday School Committee. 

I. Object: 

1. To inspire. 

2. To guard. 

3. To direct. 
II. Field: 

1. The entire Local District. 

2. With all its resources. 

III. Formation: 

1. Five members. 

2. Named by official Board, confirmed by open council. 

3. Except the beginning, one to be nominated every 

year for three years. 

IV. Qualifications: 

1. Sound in the faith. 

2. Organizing ability. 

3 Same as delegates to Annual Meeting or to accept 

V. Duties: 

1. To discern all the Sunday School resources and needs of 
the district, and to endeavor to meet them. 

2. To decide places and number of Sunday Schools, if more 
than one. 

3. To organize any new Sunday Schools where needed, and 
wisely give any and all necessary assistance. 

4. To advise all Sunday School officers and teachers with 
regard to any improvements that may be made, or thus mutu- 
ally to consider. 

5. To make full report of the Sunday School work, and 
when properly accepted, such report to be sent to State Dis- 
trict Sunday School Secretary, 

6. To hold Sunday School meetings quarterly in harmony 
with Annual Meeting Minutes, Ans. Article 7, p. 158 of A. M. 
Minutes, 1897. 

7. To make the Sunday School a nursery to the Church, en- 
deavoring to further the Sunday School cause, and to keep 


the entire work in harmony with the teachings and simplicity 
of the Gospel. 

8. To organize themselves with rules to be confirmed by 
official Council. 

9. To gather and compile statistics. 

a. Giving No. of pupils in each and all schools in church. 

b. Number of members' children not m any of the 

Brethren's Schools. 

c. Number of members' children in other Sunday 


The following Rules and By-Laws to further govern the 
work of this committee were adopted in 1908: 

Rules and By-Laws of the Local Sunday School Com- 
mittee OF Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. 

I. Officers. 

The ofiicers of this Committee shall consist of Chairman, 
Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. 

IL Duties of Officers. 

1. The Chairman shall preside at all business meetings of 
the Committee; he shall represent the Committee in general 
supervision of all the Sunday Schools in the Elizabethtown 
district, and also serve as a member of the Library Committee 
of each Sunday School. 

2. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall 
perform the duties of that officer. 

3. The Secretary shall keep a full record of the proceedings 
of all business and public meetings, present the same for ap- 
proval, and when approved, record them in a minute book; he 
or she shall perform all other duties common to this office. 

4. The Treasurer shall have charge of all moneys of the 
Committee, and shall pay all expenses incurred, when so 
ordered by the Committee. 

in. Business Meetings. 

I. This Committee shall hold its regular business meetings 
on the first Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise agreed 
upon by the Committee. 


2 Special meetings may be called at the request of the 

IV. Quorum. 

Three members of this Committee shall constitute a quorum, 
one of the three to be the Chairman or Vice-Chairman. 

V. Order of Business. 

The order of business shall be as follows, subject to such 
change as the Committee may decide : 

1. Prayer. 

2. Reading and approval of minutes. 

3. Unfinished business. 

4. Miscellaneous business. 

a. Report of officers. 

b. Report of out-post Sunday Schools. 

c. Election of officers in January. 

d. Arrangement of programs for the April and October 

public meetings. 

e. Organization of Sunday Schools. 

/. Reports to be presented at Spring and Fall Councils. 

5. New business. 

The Sunday School Advisory Committee originally con- 
sisted of three persons : a deacon, a lay brother and a lay 
sister. The first committee appointed, March 6, 1903, was 
J. H. Kline, H. K. Ober and Elizabeth Myer. In June, 
1908, the committee was enlarged to five members without 
any restrictions. The following have served on this com- 
mittee : 

1. J. H. Kline, 1903-1904. 6. D. C. Reber. 1908- 

2. H. K. Ober, 1903-1905. 7. I. W. Eshelman, 1908- 

3. Elizabeth Myer, 1903- 8. Martha Martin, 1910-11. 

4. A. G. Longenecker, 1904-12 9. Elizabeth Kline, 191 1- 

5. Nathan Martin, 1905-10. 10. J. G. Meyer, 1912- 

This committee makes a statistical and general report of 
the condition of each Sunday School under its oversight 
annually and in a large measure deserves credit for bringing 
about the following marks of progress in Sunday School 


1. Superintendent of Primary Department since 1907. 

2. Teacher Training class since October, 1908. 

3. Home Department since September, 1909. 

4. System of Grading and Promotion since 191 1. 

5. Two local Sunday School meetings annually since 1907. 

6. Monthly Teachers' Meetings, 19 12. 

The first class in teacher training, consisting of Martha 
Martin, Laura Hess and Ada Leicht, was graduated in 
1910 with E. E. Eshelman as teacher. The second class 
consisted of seven ladies taught by Lydia Stauffer and was 
graduated with public exercises in the church in 19 12. The 
third class taught by Martha Martin consists of eight per- 
sons and graduated in 19 14. The superintendents of 
the Primary Department were Mrs. G. N. Falkenstein, Mrs. 
B. F. Wampler, and Elizabeth Kline. Elizabeth Myer was 
the first Superintendent of the Home Department and is the 
present incumbent. There are three organized adult Bible 
Classes in the Elizabethtown Sunday School. 

General Meetings. 

The District Meeting of Eastern Pennsylvania was held 
in Elizabethtown in 1902. The first Ministerial Meeting of 
the same district was held on November 21-23, iS93- Both 
these meetings were held while Elizabethtown was yet a 
part of the Chiques Church. Since the organization of the 
Elizabethtown Church, the Ministerial, Sunday School and' 
Missionary Meetings of Eastern Pennsylvania were held at 
EHzabethtown on November i, 2, 1905, and October 30, 31, 
1907. The Local Sunday School and Missionary Meetings 
of the District were held here July 4, 1907, July 5, 1909, 
and July 4, 19 12. 

Missionary Activity. 

A healthy missionary sentiment exists in this church fos- 
tered by missionary teaching in Sunday School, preaching 
and Reading Circle. The annual missionary offering 
ranged from sixty-three dollars to $127, half of which was 
given to home mission board and the other half to the world- 


wide work. The total missionary funds thus raised in the 
twelve years by solicitors amounted to $1,048. This does 
not include about $200 given toward the building of the 
Harrisburg Church, nor the Annual Conference offering. 
The congregation contributed between four and five thou- 
sand dollars to the Brethren Home at Neffsville, $450 to the 
erection of the Orphanage at the same place, and $32,300 
to Elizabethtown College. 

In 1906 the question was asked, "Will the Church support 
a foreign missionary if funds can be raised?" The church 
said, "Yes." In June, 1907, a plan for raising money to 
support a foreign missionary was adopted. At the close 
of each council meeting, a collection of envelopes previously 
distributed to the members is lifted. The matter of sup- 
porting a brother or sister in the foreign field by this church 
after having been repeatedly agitated, was decided Decem- 
ber II, 1913, by authorizing the official board to find a suit- 
able person to be approved by the church at a future time. 

Pastoral Visit. 
The pastoral visit was made by Elder S. R. Zug from 
1905 to March, 191 1. Then Elder S. H. Hertzler was 
asked to make it. The work of the Elder in charge is espe- 
cially arduous because of the college being located here. 
Elder Hertzler has been paying an annual pastoral visit to 
the teachers and students of the college with a view of bring- 
ing about cooperation and unity in church and school, and 
through these means a cordial relation has been established 
that has been very helpful in maintaining the observance of 
those practices of the church which most colleges of the 
Church of the Brethren have lost. 

Miscellaneous Matters. 

Since the election of J. H. Kline to the ministry, the office 
of treasurer of the church was ably filled by A. W. Martin. 

The temperance committee of the church consists of D, C. 
Reber, Martha Martin and J. Z. Herr. 

The missionary committee is composed of Martha Mar- 
tin, Elizabeth Hoover, John Buffenmyer, Anna Wolgemuth. 


In March, 19 13, the following committee was appointed 
to provide better accommodations for the growing needs of 
the Sunday School in town: S. H. Hertzler, D. C. Reber, 
John M. Gibble, J. H. Eshelman, Jos. G. Heisey, Addison 
Buch and Tobias Hoffer. This committee's plan was 
adopted December 11 and Jos. G. Heisey, John M. Gibble 
and D. C. Reber were appointed to execute it. 

Bishops of the Elisahethtown Church: (i) S. R. Zug, 
1902-1912; (2) S. H. Hertzler, Assistant Elder, 1904-12; 
(3) S. H. Hertzler, 191 2. 

On June 4, 19 14, C. C. Madeira, Levi Mohler, and D. C. 
Reber were ordained elders. Ordination commitee : S. R. 
Zug, J. H. Longenecker, and John Herr. 

D. C. Reber. 



A. Peter Hummer. 

Peter Hummer, the first minister living in what later 
became the White Oak Church, resided about three miles 
west of Manheim. He had a brother, Hannes Hummer, 
not a minister, who lived about two miles northeast of him, 
in a direct line, whose wife was Veronica Heffelfinger, a 
sister to the wife of Elder Johannes Zug. 

We have no data as to when Peter was baptized, or 
elected, and about all we have of his life and family is given 
in connection with his work under head of the activities of 
White Oak Church. 

B. Christian Longenecker. 

The biography of Christian Longenecker, the next min- 
ister in White Oak Church, is given as fully as we can give 
it, in connection with his work, under White Oak Church, 
with this exception, that his father, Hans, was a brother in 
the church in 1739, who had five sons we know of, Hans, Jr., 
Peter, Christian, Henry and Ulrich, who were all members, 
except Peter we know not, but his wife was. 

C and D. Johannes Zug and Andreas Eby. 

The biographies of these Elders are given so fully under 
the head of the White Oak Church, that we deem it super-* 
fluous to add much more. 

These are all the ministers the White Oak Church district 
ever had prior to 1800, and were elected in the order here 
named. Andreas Eby died in 1798, age unknown, and 
Elder Zug died in 182 1, in his 90th year, and is buried in 
the family graveyard, on the home farm, where his father 



and mother were buried, about 60 years before, and where 
his son Joseph, in the fall of 1821, and his grandson 
Andrew, in 1824, were buried, — four generations. The in- 
scriptions on the gravestones are almost entirely worn away 
by age and weather, so that some of their descendants 
erected a new wall around the graveyard, now belonging to 
them by deed, on record about 40 years ago, and erected a 
large granite stone, with the inscription of all on, in memory 
of loved ones gone before. An illustration of said new 
granite stone, which weighs about 25^ tons, is herewith 
given, all in the rough, but on the side of the inscription. 

E. Henry Gibbel. 

Henry Gibbel lived a little south of Manheim, and was 
elected to the ministry about 1810. When he was ordained 
we know not, but he served on Standing Committee in 18 14. 
He died in 1825, and is buried on his farm. 

He had no children, but they adopted his brother's daugh- 
ter, who was married to Andrew Hoerner, who got the 
farm. After them, their son-in-law, Cornelius Kreider, 
had it, and after his death, their son John Kreider had it, 
and is living there now. Andrew Hoerner was a deacon 
in the church. 

F. Daniel Fretz. 

Sometime between 181 2 and 1822 the White Oak Church 
had two elections for ministers, just in what years we know 
not, but the result was the election of the following, in the 
order named : 

Daniel Fretz and Jacob Haller. 

Elder Fretz had charge of the church in 1822. He was 
married to Jemima Sullivan, of Scotch descent. He lived 
about 2^ miles northwest of Manheim, adjoining land with 
Elder C. Longenecker, and he, in connection with Abraham 
Longenecker, a son, were the executors of Elder Longe- 
necker, who died in 1808. 

He was a shop carpenter, turner, and undertaker. He 


wrote many wills, always in German, which, when probated, 
had always to be translated. He had three sons and three 
daughters, all dead now, and all died outside of the father's 
church. They belonged to other churches, but had faith in 
their father, as a Christian, and at his funeral selected 
Dan. 12: 3 as a text. 

Elder Fretz was a devout Christian, a ready and fluent 
speaker, always in German. In council he was ready to 
give expression to his views, but always in a mild way, so 
that he had many friends, and few enemies. 

When he became older his mind gradually failed him. 
He said some things, and after a few moments he would 
repeat the same, having forgotten that he had said it, and 
so in his preaching. His voice was naturally weak, and in 
his preaching his sympathies were sometimes aroused, which 
caused him to weep. Then his voice was hardly more than 
a whisper. 

In the spring of 1864, the writer, with another Brother, 
paid the church visit to Elder Fretz. He was sitting up in 
his room. His youngest son lived with him, in a small one- 
story house, which, with the surroundings, and no doubt the 
attention he received, was not at all inviting. Yet he was, 
like John on the Isle of Patmos, " in the Spirit," and did 
not notice material things around him; for he repeatedly 
said : " There is nobody in the world that has it as good as 
I have. When I need anything, it is brought to me, and 
I need not worry about anything." He often repeated the 
poet's language : " Ich weisz ich musz von allem los, eh' ich 
in deinem Friedenshoosz, kann bleiben ohne wanken," 

In going away from his place our conclusion was, that 
while his mind and body were strong, he worked himself, 
through the merits of his Redeemer, into Heaven, and now, 
when both fail him, he is there, waiting for his transition 
into the spirit world, there to enjoy the full fruition of his 
labor in life. 

In his preaching he would often say : " We have three 
principal enemies to contend with, viz. : The Devil, the 
world, and self; and when we have once conquered self, then 
the other two cannot affect us much." 


In the summer of 1864 he died in his 89th year, and is 
buried in the family graveyard, by the side of his wife, who 
preceded him about 20 years. 

When he was about 65 years old, he and his son Daniel 
were out riding on horse-back, and they had occasion to go 
through a field, when the son got off and opened the bars. 
The father rode through. When the other horse was led 
through, he turned around and kicked, fracturing Elder 
Fretz's leg below the knee, which was not set properly, and 
healed crooked. This caused him to limp, and made walk- 
ing a task for him all the rest of his life. 

G. Jacob Haller. 

Elder Jacob Haller lived about a half mile east of Man- 
heim, on the same little farm where his father, Jacob Haller, 
lived. He was born, and elected to the ministry, and died, 
in each case, but shortly after Elder Fretz, and always lived 
and labored in the same church, except a few years when it 
was divided, and afterwards merged again. This is our 
reason for taking the two together in giving their biog- 
raphies. Each of them labored in the ministry for about 50 
years, nearly the whole time together. They lived only 
about three miles apart, and were never known to disagree. 

Elder Haller was not a fluent and entertaining preacher, 
but his remarks were always to the point. He was some- 
times hard to understand, and would frequently use parables 
and allegories, so that many hearers might have had occasion 
to say, like the people in the Savior's time, " explain unto us 
the parable." 

When Elder Haller was old, he related, in conversation, 
his experience in the ministry. When he was elected it 
made him feel good that the church had so much confidence 
in him; but when he came to meeting, he was expected to 
preach, and when he had made the attempt in the morning, 
he would go home, and in looking over his effort, and seeing 
the many imperfections, he would be placed upon the rack 
of torment all that afternoon, because of which he knows 
that he stayed away from meeting more than a hundred 


times ; but when he was older he got over that, and said he 
would try to redeem some of his lost time. 

He had a sister, married to a man named Smith, whose 
son Joseph was married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Elder 
Haller (first cousins), who both lived in the Lost Creek 
Church, in Juniata County, Pa., about 80 miles from Elder 
Haller's home, to whom he made frequent visits, always on 
foot, having no horse. He made those visits when over 80 
years old, so on one visit a brother of Lost Creek Church 
said to him : " You are reputed to be rich, and we cannot 
understand why you always walk so far." His answer 
was : " Yes ; I am rich, but I own no horse. I am content, 
and godliness with contentment is great gain, — the greatest 
wealth a man can have in this life." On his trips he visited 
and rested along the way. 

He was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth 
Gibbel, a daughter of Jacob Gibbel, and she died young. 
He afterwards married Polly Kinsey, who also died long 
before his death. She was a daughter of Jacob Kinsey, and 
a granddaughter of Johannes Zug. 

He had one- son Joseph (who was weak-minded, but en- 
tirely harmless) and four daughters, viz. : Elizabeth, before 
mentioned; Mary, married to Jesse Heslet; Barbara and 
Katie, both single, who kept house for him until he died. 

When he was old, he related his experience in his con- 
version. He and his wife were under conviction sometime, 
but labored against it in different ways, to no purpose. So 
one Saturday evening they went to a dance in Manheim and 
spent the night in a frolic. This only made matters worse, 
so they yielded, and in two weeks later they were baptized, 
having in the meantime changed their mode of dress to the 
order at that time prevailing in the church. This they did 
as a precaution against drifting back again into their former 

Sometime in the late summer of 1865, he was bitten by a 
dog, in the hand, which developed into blood poisoning, 
which, after much suffering, caused his death in November, 
1865, ""^ ^^is 88th year, and is buried in the Gibbel grave- 


yard, less than a mile southeast of Manheim where his two 
wives are buried. Thus ended the lives of two (the other 
being Elder Fretz) of the most noted, as well as the most 
consecrated Christian Elders of the Church of the Brethren 
of their time. Peace to their ashes ! 

H. Christian Longenecker, Second. 

He was born in Warwick Township in Lancaster Co., 
in 1 791. He was a grandson of Christian Longenecker, the 
first Bishop of White Oak Church, and the only child of his 
father, Solomon. He was married to a Miss Becker, with 
whom he had four sons and four daughters, viz. : Peter, 
Christian, Emanuel and Abraham ; Elizabeth, married -to 
John Minnich, who afterward became a deacon; Barbara, 
married to Christian Brubacher, who was later elected 
minister ; Leah, married to Henry Zimmerman ; and Rachel, 
married to Abraham Kreider, — all dead now. He was 
elected a minister about 1828. 

In conversation once, in a company of Brethren, he said 
he never was angry. When the others expressed surprise, 
he said there was one occasion when he had a horse that 
balked, and refused to work, he felt a little different. If 
that was not anger, then he was never angry. 

He was the only Brother in all the surrounding churches, 
that wore a full beard, at that time, and when he was urged 
to change, he said it cost too much. He explained the cost 
this way. His conscience required him to wear a full beard, 
for some time, but he did not want to appear odd from his 
Brethren ; so one day a choking spell came on him, without 
any known cause. He thought he was dying. There 
he vowed that if God would spare him, he would obey his 
conscience. The spell passed, and now it was up to him to 
pay the vow. He was ordained about the year 1841, and 
in 1855 he died in his 64th year. He is buried by the side 
of his wife, who preceded him, and on the same block with 
his father and mother and grandfather, in the cemetery at 
Longenecker's Church, near Lititz. 


I. David Gerlach. 

David Gerlach united with the church young, and was 
elected to the ministry in 1837. Some years later, he 
married Sister Catharine McGinn, and moved to Mount Joy, 
where they lived all their subsequent life. 

He was one of a family of five sons and one daughter 
that we know of, viz. : Henry, John, Jacob, David, Samuel, 
and Mattie; three of the sons, and the daughter, were mem- 
bers of the church. It is not known whether the parents 
belonged to any church. 

Elder Gerlach was ordained in 1856, and immediately 
placed in charge of the White Oak Church, rather under 
Elders Fretz and Haller. The latter said : " Another may 
willingly have the line, if he is allowed to keep a hold of the 

He was an eloquent preacher of the whole truth, yet he 
would handle his subjects in such a way as to give no 
offense, even though some would disagree with some of his 
views. He was known to say that he cannot eat, or sleep 
well if he knew that some truth-loving soul was grieved by 
anything he did, or said. 

His kindheartedness sometimes would lead him to do 
evil, that good may come. As an instance, the church de- 
cided a case by a large majority, according to advice of 
Annual Meeting, but some Brethren were sorely displeased. 
At the next council he brought it up again for reconsidera- 
tion. The result was the same as before, but still failed to 
satisfy all; so he brought it up the third time with the same 
result, when he stood up in council, declaring that under the 
circumstances he cannot carry out the decision, because of 
opposition, not because he was opposed, but because he could 
not muster up courage enough to quell the opposition, 
though he had the body of the church to back him up. 

During the first ten years of District Meeting, from 1867, 
he served six times as Moderator, and five times on Stand- 
ing Committee. 

In 1879 Elder Gerlach died in his 68th year, and is buried 
at Kreider's Church near Manheim. The text used at his 
funeral was his own selection, I Cor. 15 : 58. 

biographical. 429 

/. John S. Newcomer. 

Elder John S. Newcomer, of Mountville, Lancaster 
County, died May 20, 1902, aged 92 years and 20 days. 
The deceased was blind for over three years. In his 
younger days he served several years as a deacon in the 
Church of the Brethren and was then elected to the ministry 
which ofifice he held for about fifty-seven years. However, 
during his later years he could not serve owing to his ad- 
vanced age. Funeral services were conducted by Elder B. 
Z. Eby and the home ministers from 2 Tim. 4 : 5-8. 

H. E. Light. 

K. Samuel R, Zug. 

Ancestry. — ^Ulrich Zug and wife, whose maiden name 
was Bachman, came from Switzerland about the year 1727 
and settled in Lancaster Co., Pa., where they raised a family 
of six sons and two daughters. 

They were Mennonites, but in 1742 he was baptized to 
the Brethren Church. He died in 1758. 

John or Hannes Zug, one of his sons, was born in 1731, 
and was baptized in 1749. He married Anna Heffelfinger 
about 1758, was elected to the ministry 1770, and was or- 
dained as an Elder in 1 780 by Martin Urner and Christopher 
Saur. He died in 1821 in his 90th year. They had four 
sons and four daughters. One son Joseph, about the year 
182 1, while overheated took a cold plunge bath, took sick, 
and died, aged about 51 years. He was married to Barbara 
Eby, and they had four sons and one daughter. One of 
his sons Benjamin Zug was born July 12, 1802. He 
married Elizabeth Ruhl in 1824. They were baptized about 
the year 1828. He was elected to the office of deacon in 
1848, and died in 1886, aged 83 years. She died in 1892 
at the age of 90. They had five sons and two daughters. 

Birth and Early Life. — One son, Samuel Ruhl Zug, the 
subject of this sketch, was born February 29, 1832, and was 
reared on the farm. As was customary in those days, 
farmers' boys were not expected to go to school before the 
holidays, especially not when they were old enough to work. 


When frost set in, causing other outside farm work to 
cease, then getting in the winter's supply of firewood was 
in order. This was made ready for the stove, by hand with 
ax and saw. Threshing at that time was not finished in a 
few days by steam and separator, but by the slow process 
of treading out the grain on the barn-floor by four and six 
horses guided by a little fellow that sat astride the leader. 
This continued for weeks, Saturday being the cleaning up 
day. Rye usually was thrashed with flails. 

School Privileges. — From the above it is easily under- 
stood that his school privileges were meager indeed. In 
1850 Samuel asked his father for the privilege to learn the 
trade of blacksmithing. The father said : " No, not this 
summer; we want to build a house, but if you stay at home, 
and help us until fall, you may either learn a trade, or go to 
school at Lititz, Pa." This came to the young man as a 
genuine surprise; especially so, since the Brethren at that 
time were opposed to high schools. 

On the 1st of October, he went to Mr. Beck's school at 
the above named place, and the following March, he was 
taken sick with typhoid fever and never went to school 
afterward. After this, he taught school for four winters 
in succession. 

His Marriage. — In 1852, he was united in marriage with 
Fannie W. Shelly, and in 1861 he and his wife were con- 
verted, and were received into the Church of the Brethren 
by baptism at a lovefeast on the farm of Samuel Graybill 
near Manheim, Pa. 

Ministry and Eldership. — He was called to the ministry, 
October 11, 1865. In the year 1868, the Chiques Church 
was cut off from the old White Oak congregation, and 
organized with about 200 members and 3 ministers, viz. : 
Philip Ziegler, Jacob Rider, and S. R. Zug. The new 
organization received 89 accessions during the year. In 
1 871 Brother Zug was advanced to the second degree, and 
in 1885, on Thanksgiving Day, ordained to the Eldership, 
and was given the oversight of tlie church. The older 
ministers at this time had died. The membership now 
numbered about 400. In the fall of 1867 through the effort 


of Brother Zug, the first series of meetings were held in 
the Chiques house, this being the first among the Brethren 
in the county, and continued every year since. 

Sunday School. — In 1878, he asked permission to organ- 
ize a Sunday School, which privilege was granted, but not 
to be held in the church. In the spring of 1879 he renewed 
his request when the use of the meeting-house was granted, 
and the first Sunday School among the Brethren in the 
county was organized. 

New Organisations. — As time went on, the membership 
of the Chiques congregation grew until they numbered over 
700. The subject of dividing the same was agitated for 
years. Several efforts having failed, Elder Zug by request 
of the church finally submitted a plan at a special council 
held March 28, 1902, recommending that the church be 
divided into four congregations, which plan was adopted. 
This gave to each church a good lovefeast house, and to 
the weakest church numerically 125 members. The four 
churches were formally organized and named as follows: 
Chiques, West Green Tree, Fairview, and Elizabethtown, all 
except Fairview retaining Elder Zug as their Elder in 

When S. R. Zug was elected to the ministry, there were 
but two organized churches in Lancaster County, three 
ordained Elders (one of those dying three weeks later), and 
ten ministers in first and second degree, with a membership 
of about 1,000. At this time (191 3) there are 14 organ- 
ized churches, 20 Elders, and 38 ministers in first and second 
degree and over 3,000 members. 

At the time when Bro. Zug was called to office, there were 
no series of meetings, no Sunday Schools, no English 
preaching, except at funerals and by special request. The 
members generally were opposed to more than a common 
school education, but a marked change has come. The 
above named things, which as a rule were regarded as in- 
novations, are not only tolerated now, but are regarded as 
indispensable to the cause. Elder Zug held the oversight of 
the Chiques Church until 1910, when he resigned, and was 
relieved, and the charge given to Elder Henry S. Zug. 


In 191 2 he resigned the charge of Ehzabethtown con- 
gregation. In 1905 he was also reHeved of the care of the 
West Green Tree Church. 

Other Orga7tications. — On July 23, 1891, the West Con- 
estoga Church, of which Lancaster City was a part, con- 
cluded that the city should constitute an organization of its 
own. October 29, 1891, the church was organized with a 
membership of 31, without a resident official. On this date, 
Elder S. R. Zug was chosen as their Elder in charge. For 
a time he had to depend on ministerial help from other 
churches. By solicitation of the Elder, T. F. Imler, of 
Waynesboro, moved to Lancaster and by the united effort of 
these two good men many people were added to the Lord 
and a fine, large, substantial church building erected, which 
was soon paid for. 

On July 12, 1899, T. F. Imler was ordained, and the 
church placed in his care, thus relieving Elder Zug. The 
church at this time numbered about 140. 

July 20, 1895, the York City Church was organized with 
a membership of about 160, Elder Zug being chosen as their 
Elder. This charge he held until 1899, when Jos. A. Long 
was ordained to the Eldership, and was chosen as Elder in 
charge. So in two days, Elder Zug was relieved of the 
charge of two city churches. The York congregation at 
this time had about 230 members, and a project was set on 
foot before Elder Zug left, to erect a large new house of 
worship, which was since built. 

On the evening of November 19, 1895, the church at 
Harrisburg was organized, with 15 members and no resi- 
dent official. Elder S. R. Zug was chosen to take the over- 
sight. Here as at Lancaster the Elder had to depend on 
ministerial help from other churches, holding their services 
in rented halls. In 1899, a lot was bought with a one story 
dwelling for $3,000. This was converted into a place of 
worship and was used until 1904, when a large new brick 
building was erected, and was dedicated in May, 1905. 
Several ministers moved in temporarily but did not stay 
more than about a year each. On January 7, 1901, Brother 
A. L. B. Martin was elected to the ministry. Elder Zug 


resigned in 19 ii, when Elder G. N. Falkenstein became his 
successor by choice of the church. The membership at this 
time was 92. 

Elders Wm. Hertzler, S. R. Zug and others had been 
engaged in evangelistic work at Ridgely, Md., for several 
years, and in the fall of 1883, Brother Zug attended the first 
love-feast ever held on the eastern shore of Maryland, said 
service being held in an old saw mill. 

On August 2, 1884, the above-named Elders assisted in 
organizing the Ridgely Church, with a membership of 22. 
The oversight was placed in the hands of Elder Zug, which 
charge he held for a number of years. About the year 
1901, he was also chosen as Elder of the congregation in 
Philadelphia under the supervision of the Committee from 
Annual Meeting. 

Mission Board and Missions. — From its incipiency, Elder 
S. R. Zug was a leading spirit in missionary effort in eastern 
Pennsylvania. In 1879, he was elected a member on the 
Home Mission Board, and was re-elected from time to time, 
continuously, with the exception of one year until 1894. 
During this time he rendered much valuable help by his 
wise counsel and active service in the field. At this time 
he resigned from the Home Mission Board, giving as his 
reason his appointment on the General Missionary and Tract 
Committee, he being chosen as a member of said committee 
in 1893, and two years later, was reappointed for a term 
of three years. During this time the India Mission was 

District and Annual Meeting. — The first District Meeting 
was held in 1866, where Elder Zug was present, and he 
has attended every District Meeting ever since without a 
break, covering a period of 47 years. This is remarkable 
indeed. He was also elected either as Writing Clerk, Read- 
ing Clerk, or Moderator of the meeting for upwards of 
twenty years in succession. Four times he was sent as a 
member of standing committee, and represented the local 
church at Conference for many years. He attended 11 
Annual Meetings prior to 1883, and every one since. 

Ministerial Meetings.— He was the prime mover for the 


first Ministerial Meeting In eastern Pennsylvania, which 
was held in Elizabethtown in 1893. These meetings have 
been held annually ever since with the exception of the year 
1894, — all of which he attended. 

Home for the Homeless. — Through his efforts and those 
of Elder B. Z. Eby of Manheim, Pa., who enlisted others 
in its favor, after obtaining permission of District Meeting 
of 1895, the Home for the Homeless was established with 
considerable opposition. He was a Trustee of the insti- 
tution from the beginning until 191 2, being relieved at 
this time on account of age. A farm of 75 acres was 
bought near Manheim, for $4,500. Additional buildings 
were put up at an expense of about $7,000. In 1909, the 
location of the Home was changed, and a large substantial 
brick building erected near Neffsville, Pa., in which Elder 
Zug took a prominent part. 

Financial Reverses. — Financially, Elder Zug had his mis- 
fortunes. From 1889 to 1894, he lost about $10,000 in 
different ways, principally the result of misplaced confidence 
in a friend who failed, which almost made him bankrupt; 
which, in addition to his church work, was enough to un- 
nerve, and even unbalance, an ordinary man; but by the 
help of God, and his wife, and children, he survived it all; 
and has as he believes sufficient to keep him the short time 
yet allotted to him on earth. 

Brother Zug was blessed with a good wife and helpmeet 
in his ministerial duties. She traveled with him over 53 
years in wedded life; over 40 in the ministry. He recog- 
nizes that she is entitled to much credit for any good or 
success that has come to the church and the world through 
his instrumentality and labors. 

In times of sorrow, trouble, or trial, she would always 
encourage him not to pout, or show any signs of displeasure, 
but to deport himself in a way that is characteristic of 
Christ, our elder Brother. On July 10, 1905, she passed 
over into the spirit world. Together they had four sons. 
Since her departure, he has had his home with the youngest 
son, John C. Zug, who was born April 26, 1866, elected to 
the ministry in the Chiques congregation, November 25, 


1905, and advanced to the second degree at EHzabethtown, 
February 8, 191 1. At the earnest soHcitation of Elder J. 
H. Longenecker, he moved to Palmyra in the fall of 1912, 
where he was ordained to the Eldership on September 6, 
1913. Here the aged father now lives, is well cared for, 
and is contented and happy, still rendering acceptable service 
in the ministry. 

Method of Work. — Of Elder Zug it may appropriately 
be said, "he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost, 
and of faith, and much people was added unto the Lord." 
He is a born leader, a wise counselor, and a man of strong 
convictions, but always open for better light. His spirit of 
aggressiveness (as is always the case) has often brought 
him enemies. 

His method of church work, however, was not to rule 
with a rod of iron, " neither as being lords over God's 
heritage." Possibly he had the spirit of forbearance and 
leniency almost to a fault. The writer often heard him 
remark that he would rather err on the side of mercy, than 
on the side of enforcing rigid discipline, and in meting out 
justice. When his views would not prevail in a council, he 
made special effort to exercise a forbearing spirit toward 
those who may have differed with him, only asking similar 
treatment when the majority came to vote his way. 

His long self-sacrificing life has been crowned with great 
blessings, and with marked success. May many stars be 
added to his crown ! 

One of these days it will be said of Elder Zug, he has 
passed away, and many of us will say what Jonathan said to 
David: "Thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be 

J. H. Longenecker. 



At the time of the separation of the Swatara Church from 
the main body of the Church of the Brethren north and 
northwest of, and including Lancaster County, in 1772, it 
included as elders and ministers : Han Jacob Boeshor and 
George Klein, in the eastern settlement of members, at Little 
Swatara and North Kill Creeks, respectively; and George 
Miller and Adam Hamacher, in the western settlement at 
Conewago and Big Swatara Creeks. 

George Milkr was baptized in 1753. He lived and raised 
his family near Conewago Creek, and his was the only 
family of members known to have lived on the Lancaster 
County side of Conewago, belonging to Swatara Church. 

The families of Jacob Metzger and Christopher Brauser 
lived on the northwest side of Conewago, below Middle- 
town. These are the only members known to have lived 
near Conewago at that time, prior to Elder Miller's death, 
which occurred in 1798, aged 76 years, 9 months, and is 
buried on his farm by the side of his wife, who died two 
years previous, aged 69 years, 6 months, about two miles 
northwest of Elizabethtown. A more extended account of 
his work, and family, will be given in connection with that 
of Elder George Klein under the head of Little Swatara 
Church, because Henry Miller, a son, married into the Klein 
family, thus bringing the two families, and their work, into 
a closer relationship. 

Nothing is known of Adam Hamacher, or his work in 
the church, since 1770, when Morgan Edwards mentions 












4^« ft 


him, and his wife and daughter, as a minister, and members 
of the church. We have a record which states that about 
1798 or 1800, the Swatara Church was divided into two 
parts: the one, called Big Swatara; and the other Little 
Swatara, from the fact that the one is traversed by the 
main stream of Swatara Creek, and the other by a branch 
of the same, called Little Swatara. The Heffelfingers, 
Hamachers, Balsbaughs, Henrys, Etters, and others lived 
in the Swatara Valley, on both sides of the Creek; hence the 
settlement received the name Swatara Church. 

No records being kept in many of the churches, in ancient 
times, much of what is now known of their work is from 
hearsay, and from results that followed. 

What became of Adam Hamacher, or when he died, is 
not known ; but it is known that Valentine Balsbaugh, a son 
of Bro. George Balsbaugh, and grandfather of the late C. H. 
Balsbaugh, the noted writer, was married to Elizabeth, a 
daughter of Elder George Miller, and was forty-three years 
old at his father-in-law's death, and has long been the 
Bishop of the church ; the presumption is that he was elected 
to the ministry in Miller's lifetime, as assistant, and after 
his (Miller's) death had charge of the church. 

In 181 1 George Basehore moved from Little Swatara to 
a farm near Hornerstown, in Big Swatara, where he lived,, 
and in 1841, died and is buried on the farm on which he 
lived. He was married to a Fackler from that locality,., 
which may have had something to do in his moving there- 
He was a minister before coming there, and was a son of 
Jacob and Christina Basehore. He was born in Schuylkill 
Co., Pa., in 1775, and was in his 67th year when he died. 
He had a brother, Benjamin, who was born in 1768 and 
moved to the valley of Virginia. Where he lived, in Vir- 
ginia, we failed to find, but we found a German poem the 
heading of which states it was composed by him, while in 
jail, in Virginia, and, by request of his children, printed, as 
follows : 

EiN ScHoNES Geistliches Lied, 
welches von einem Mann namens Benjamin Boeshor, im Staat 
Virginien, aufgesetzt wurde, wahrend er im gefangnis^ 



schmachtete, und welches nunmehr auf verlangen seiner Kin- 
der gedruckt worden ist. 

1 Bewahre mich O Gottes Sohn, — 
In dieser bosen Zeit, 

Und shau herab von deinem Thron, 
Auf die Unbarmherzigkeit, 
Und verlasz uns nicht. 

2 Erhalt uns doch zu deiner Treu, 
Und mach in uns doch alles Neu, 
Und mach uns von der Siinden frei, 
Dasz wir zu deinem Lob und Dank 
Dienlich sei, wie es der Herr begehrt. 

3 Nimm von uns Herr du treuer Gott, 
Die schwere Straf, und grosze Noth, 
Die wir mit Siinden ohne Zahl, 
Verdienet haben alzumahl, 

Dasz wir dir dienen Treu. 

4 Ja nimmer gehe falsch im Handel, 
Noch im reden, noch im thun, 
Willt du fiir den Herren wandeln, 
Dermaleins auch seelig ruhen, 
Vater hilf mir doch. 

5 Ach wollst du Gott bewahren, 
Rein vor diesem argen geschlechte, 
Und lasz uns dir befohlen, 

Dasz sichs uns nicht fehle 

Der Gottes Hauf im Volk erhaben. 

6 Mein vertrauen stets zu dir, 
Mach mich an meiner Seelen reich, 
Reichthum Zeitlich Gut das wahret 
Nur ein kleine Zeit 

Und hilft doch nichts zur Seligkeit. 

7 Es liesz auch nicht der treue Gott, 
Die drei Manner im Feuer ohne Noth, 
Sein Engel sandt' er bin, 

Bewahrt vor des Feuer's Gluth, 
Und half ihnen aus aller Noth. 


8 Nun well ich doch verurtheilt bin, 
Durch Bosheit und verdrisz, 

So schafft doch Gott gewisz dahin, 

Wie es endlich bleiben musz, 

Und kanns kein Mensch verhindern. 

9 Wie ich verspert in starker Mauer, 
Und eiserne Thiir und Fenstern dran, 
So kann ich doch dem Herren vertraun, 
Dasz ers gewisz doch andernkann, Halleluja! 

10 Es wird gewisz doch arger sein, 
Die ewige Grub und Finsternisz, 
Wo Finsternisz und ewige Pein, 

Der verlorne leiden musz unendlich da. 

11 Solche art der Schalkheit Briider, 
' Welches Gott verboten hat, 

Schandet alle meine Glieder 
Und beraubt mir was ich hab — 
Herr vergib es doch. 

12 Himmel Schreiend sieht es aus, 
Wann man hilft in groster Noth, 
Und der falsche Bruder geht voraus, 
Scheriff und Layer nimmt doch Rath, 
Schweisz und Blut ist Preis. 

13 O was Greul finden wir, 
Hier in diesen guten Zeit, 

Ach was Geitz und Wucher hier, 
Mit grosser Unbarmherzigkeit, 
Und denket nicht an sein End, 

14 Recht getreu ist hoch zu preisen, 
Heuchelei ist Gott ein Greuel, 
Will man Gottes Kindlein heissen, 
So verscherze doch nicht dein Heil, 
Zur ewigen Freude zu gehen ein. 

It was learned from Samuel Basehore, a grand nephew 
of said Benjamin Basehore, that his imprisonment was for 
debts which he was unable to pay, and that after his release 



he returned to Lebanon County, Pa., and lived, and after- 
wards died, near the Union Canal water works ; but it is not 
known when he died, or where he was buried. In 1815 he 
was a member of Standing Committee It is not known 
whether George Boeshor was ever ordained, but the pre- 
sumption is he was not. 

Elder Balsbaugh was a son of George Balsbaugh and 
wife, who came to America from Germany, in company 
with George Henry and wife, and others, in 1754, and took 
a farm, jointly, on Spring Creek, where Spring Creek meet- 
ing-house now is on their farm. There is where Valentine 
Balsbaugh was born, in 1755, on St. Valentine's day, Feb- 
ruary 14. 

Sometime after, on account of some disagreement, the 
Balsbaugh family moved to the west side of Swatara Creek, 
on a farm, about a mile east of Hanoverdale, where George 
Balsbaugh lived the rest of his days, and where he died in 
1802, and is buried at Spring Creek, in his 66th year of age. 

On this farm his son Valentine lived, and died November 
26, 1 85 1, in his 97th year of age, and where his remains lie 
buried in the family graveyard, on the farm. 

He had a daughter Elizabeth who was married to Lorenz 
Etter, who was born April 2, 1 787. He was a minister, but 
when elected we have no record, neither of his ordination, 
but it is known that he was ordained, and given charge of 
the church, when Elder Balsbaugh became too old and 
feeble to attend to the needs of the church, probably between 
1836 and 1840. He died November 9, 1853, and is buried 
in the Balsbaugh graveyard. 

Jacob Hollinger was born in Lancaster County in 1797, 
and died in 1877, in his 80th year. His wife Catharine died 
same year, in 84th year, both buried at Spring Creek. 

They moved to Dauphm County about 1826, where 
shortly after he was elected to the ministry. He was 
married to Catharine Shumaker and raised two sons and 
six daughters. The sons, Joseph and Daniel, were both 
ministers, and ordained elders. Joseph died some years 
ago, in Illinois, and Daniel now lives in Conewago Con- 


gregation, recently organized, having been a part of Spring 
Creek district, and he being over 80 years old. 

Sometime between 1835 and 1840, George Hoffer was 
elected to the ministry, but some years after, he began to 
preach a doctrine different from the way the Brethren did, 
and after several years' trial to get him to desist, he was 
silenced, and about 1857 he left the church, and united with 
the Zion Children, commonly known as Brinserites, and 
preached for them the rest of his life. The doctrine in 
dispute was Acts 2 : 38, Hoffer maintaining that baptism is 
not essential to remission of sins. 

In 1 85 1, William Hertzler moved from Tulpehocken 
Church, Lebanon Co., where he was elected to the ministry 
in 1847, to his father-in-law, John Hoffer's farm in the 
Big Swatara Church district, in Dauphin Co., about 3 miles 
northwest of Elizabethtown, where he lived until 1894, 
when he moved to Elizabethtown, where he died of cancer, 
in 1896, and is buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery, 
Dauphin Co., In his 69th year of age. 

David Etter was elected to the ministry in 1867. 

In the fall of 1868 the Big Swatara Church was divided 
into two districts, by making Swatara Creek the line between 
them. The meeting for that purpose was held in the old 
Spring Creek meeting-house. At the same meeting, John 
Etter and William Hertzler were ordained to the Eldership 
by Elders John Zug, and David Gerlach, Bro. Etter to have 
charge of the district northwest of Swatara Creek, under 
the old name of Big Swatara; and Bro. Hertzler as assistant 
to Elder Hollinger, but he practically had charge of the 

Benjamin Kline, a minister, had moved from Little 
Swatara Into this district in the vicinity of Hilemandale, and 
was ordained an Elder after Jacob Hollinger, but at the 
time of the division of the district, he was fallen asleep. 

The Big Swatara Church, under this new organization, 
had about 200 members, and ministers : Elder John Etter, 
who was elected In 1853; Jacob Kiefer elected in 1858; and 
David Etter In 1867; and deacons: Peter Balsbaugh and 


David Smith. In the following year, this church had a 
very successful revival, and over 60 accessions by baptism. 

In 1869, David Smith was elected to the ministry, and 
Isaac M. Gibble, John Kiefer, Samuel Reed, and Benjamin 
Basehore, deacons. 

In 1871, Samuel Reed was elected a minister, and Adam 
Shope and Abram Balsbach, deacons. 

In 1877, John H. Witmer and Christian Hernly were 
elected deacons. 

In 1882, John H. Witmer and Adam J. Shope were 
elected ministers, and Abraham Fackler and Andrew Miller, 

In 1889, Samuel Balsbaugh and John Aungst were elected 

In 1904, Emanuel Kline and Isaac Baker were chosen 
deacons, and in 1908 Clayton Miller and Josiah Gingrich 
were elected deacons. 

In 1899, John A. Landis, and in 1901, Thomas Patrick 
and David Etter, Jr., in 1904, Amos M. Kuhns, and in 1912, 
Clayton B. Miller, were elected ministers, and in 1910 
George Aungst and David Baker were chosen deacons. 

In 1884, Elder John Etter died in his 65th year. 

In 1887, David Etter was ordained an elder, and in 1899, 
he died in his 80th year. 

He died while he was baptizing his granddaughter. 
When he had immersed her the second time, he fell over, 
and when he was brought out on the shore, he was dead. 
This caused a wonderful stir, and ended the baptismal 
service for that day. It caused the question to be raised 
whether that girl should be baptized as if no effort had been 
made, or whether the ceremony should be finished from 
where it was broken off. It was made a question to Elders 
at District Meeting, and discussed from both angles, and 
was decided according to the latter view. 

In same year Samuel Reed and John H. Witmer w^ere 
ordained elders, so was David Smith. Elder Smith died 
in 1900, in his 83d year, and Elder Reed died in 1901, in 
his 68th year. The four elders, John and David Etter, 
David Smith and Samuel Reed are buried in the Hanover- 


dale Cemetery; also Jacob Kiefer who died in 1884, in his 
80th year. 

In 1905, Adam J. Shope was ordained an elder. 

The officials now are : Elder J. H. Witmer, who has 
charge of the church, and Elder A, J. Shope, and John 
A. Landis, Thos. Patrick, David Etter, A. M. Kuhns and 
Clayton B. Miller, ministers; and Abm. Fackler, S. Bals- 
baugh, Jno. Aungst, Emanuel Kline, Josiah Gingrich, Geo. 
Aungst and D. Baker, deacons, with a membership of 310. 

On November 19, 1896, a council meeting was held in 
the Hornerstown meeting-house at which, by request, Elders 
S. R. Zug and J. H. Longenecker were present, where a 
petition, signed by eighteen members of Harrisburg and its 
suburbs, was presented, asking to be organized into a church, 
which was granted, making the city limits the line between 
this new organization, and the mother church, from which 
it was taken. More of this organization will appear under 
the head of the Harrisburg Church. 

In 1905, some of the rural territory of Big Swatara 
Church was ceded to Harrisburg, including Steelton, High- 
spire, and Middletown. 

Sunday School. — The first Sunday School in the Big 
Swatara Church was held in the Conewago meeting-house, 
about 1865. It was a union school, and its first superin- 
tendant was Elder Wm. Hertzler, but the first Sunday 
School held in Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, or Berks 
County, by authority of the Church of the Brethren, was 
organized in 1876, in the Hanoverdale House, and proved a 
success, in spite of opposition. They now have four Sun- 
day Schools : at Hanoverdale, East Hanover, Hornerstown 
and Paxton. 

In March, 1905, a Sisters' Aid Society was organized in 
this congregation. 

Meeting Houses. — The first church house built by Big 
Swatara Church was built on land then of Wendel Henry, 
in 1848, of limestone, 38 X 42 feet, and was known as the 
Spring Creek House, after a stream passing nearby. 

The next church house was built in Conewago Township, 


not far from a creek of that name, a brick house, in 1854, 
known as Conewago House. 

The third meeting-house built by this church was in Han- 
over Township, known as Hanoverdale House, built in i860. 
This was larger than the others, intended for lovefeast oc- 
casions. For up to this time lovefeasts were held in barns, 
and always in summer. 

The fourth was built in Paxton Township, known as 
Paxton House, in 1865. These four meeting-houses were 
built before the division in 1868, and by that division, the 
two first came on the side, called Spring Creek, of which 
more later, and the two last named, in the Big Swatara 
Church. We now continue with this church after the divi- 
sion. In 1869 a church house was built in East Hanover 
Township, and is known by that name, located about 5 
miles east of Hanoverdale. 

In 1878 another house was built at Hornerstown. and in 
1 881, one was built, across the mountain, in Fishing Creek 

By a hurricane at night in September, 1896, the Han- 
overdale House was partly demolished, so that the church 
decided to take it down entire, and rebuild, which they did, 
and after the division, the East Hanover House was built 
in 1869, the Hornerstown House in 1878, and the Fishing 
Creek Valley House in 1881. The Hanoverdale House is 
the only one arranged in which to hold lovefeasts. 

Bishops of Big Swatara Church. 

1. Valentine Balsbaugh, 1798-about 1840. 

2. Lorenz Etter, about 1840 to about 1853. 

3. Jacob Hollinger, about 1 853-1 868. 

Bishops of Later Big Swatara. 

4. John Etter, 1 868-1 884. 

5- • 

6. David Etter, 1 887-1899. 

7. John H. Witmer, 1899- 


"In 1745, George Besher, Michael Frantz, Peter Heck- 
man, John Frantz and others settled in this district. They 
were baptized by Elder George Kline of the Northkill con- 
gregation. Elder Kline was the first elder (in charge, or- 
dained in 1750), assisted by Peter Heckman, who was or- 
dained soon after 1770. On August 12, 1780, the above- 
named Michael Frantz was ordained elder by Elders Sower 
and Urner, and George Beasher (Baszhaar) and Jacob 
Moyer were ordained deacons (ministers). As early as 
1770, there were forty-five active communicants. Their 
names follow: Peter Heckman, minister, and wife, John 
Heckman and wife, Michael Frantz and wife, Nicholas 
Gerst and wife, Jacob Moyer and wife, George Beasher, 
David Marge and wife, Simon Merrich and wife, John 
Frantz and wife, Christian Frantz and wife. Rose Schnables, 
Jacob Smith and wife, Eliza Kentzel, Adam Henrich, Mrs. 
Cryder, Philip' Ziegler and wife, Jacob Breneisen and wife, 
David Kleine and wife. Widow Benedict, Elizabeth Bene- 
dict, Sophy Kish, Leonard Sebalt and wife, John Grove, 
Jacob Baker and wife, Jacob Deal and wife, Hans Stohner 
and wife, Jacob Beashor and wife."^ 

It is unfortunate that there is no record of this historic 
church that we know of from 1780 to 1858, — a space of 
78 years, excepting statement in account of Big Swatara 
Church. Nevertheless, by strenuous research, we were en- 
abled to find data to fill up this gap, at least so far as elders 
are concerned. We do not claim accuracy in every detail, 
but in the main, facts are obtained from reliable sources. 

Elder Hans Jacob Beashor (Baszhaar) was the son of 
Hans George Beashor, who immigrated to America prior to 

^ Brumbaugh's History, p. 320. 



1738, and settled a few miles northwest of Millersburg, 
Dauphin Co., Pa. 

He was married to Christine Alderfer, and had a family 
of nine children. 

Elder Hans Jacob Beashor is without doubt the Jacob 
Beashor who signed the Annual Meeting minutes of 1790 
and 1814. 

Elder Hans George Beashor, son of Elder Hans Jacob 
Beashor, was born February 8, 1775, and was married to 
Christine Fackler, of Big Swatara, and no doubt it was this 
marriage that caused his removal later to Big Swatara. 

Elder Joseph Merkey was born November 28, 1782. It 
will thus be seen he was about 30 years of age when Elder 
Hans George Baeshor moved to Big Swatara about 18 12. 
It is stated by Dr. Basehore, of Palmyra, that Hans George 
Baeshor was Elder in charge of Little Swatara at the time 
he moved away. Joseph Merkey being 30 years of age 
may at this time already have assumed considerable of the 
burdens of the ministry. He was a small man and rather 
weak physically. His talk was good, and to the point, but 
there was not-much of it. He died March 12, 1869; buried 
at Merkey's Cemetery. 

David Merkey was born May 11, 1795. He was the 
youngest brother of Joseph, and Elder before John Hertzler, 
but John moderated the council meetings before David died, 
and before his ordination, being better adapted to the work. 
David Merkey died December 2, 1873; buried at Merkey's 

Elder Jacob Wenger, son of Christian Wenger, was born 
March 10, 1801. He was elected to the ministry in the 
Brethren Church about 1835. He was ordained by 1850, 
his Eldership coming in between that of Joseph and David 
Merkey. He was a big, strong man, and had a powerful 
voice. He was a man of high standing, of pleasant ap- 
proach, and was regarded as a strong preacher. It is 
thought by his daughter that he was preaching as early as 
1835. He was associated with Joseph Merkey, who was 
about 20 years older. The question arises whether Joe 


Merkey was Elder before Wenger? But Wenger was the 
controlling and leading spirit in the church. 

"Watch and pray" was not duly observed on his part. 
The tempter was on his track, and lo, behold, he made a 
misstep, which he at first confessed, and afterwards denied, 
and of course, he was disowned by the church. Because of 
his denial, it was impossible for him to return to the 
Brethren. This occurred between the years 1854 and 1856. 
Afterwards he first held meetings of his own, but during 
this time baptized but one person — a woman, who said she 
was deceived, thinking Wenger a minister of the Brethren. 

She wished to come to the Brethren later, and would have 
been admitted, without re-baptism, had it not been for the 
presence of who, though a young minister, in- 
sisted on the order of the Brotherhood being read to the 

She then joined the Brinsers, and afterwards came back 
to the Brethren by re-baptism. Wenger also joined the 
Brinser Church, and quite a large number of Brethren went 
with him, but practically all came back. 

Truly this was a trying time for the Little Swatara 
Church. At times the clouds rose so black and thick that 
there was apparent danger of the church being disrupted, 
but the tide turned, the storm was subdued, there was a 
great calm, and Israel again prevailed. 

He died January 6, 1881. He was married to Lydia 
Frantz, who was born February 27, 1801, and died October 
14, 1853. It was the year after her death he made the 

He and his wife, his father and grandfather, with their 
wives, are all at rest in the Wengert graveyard, near 
Jonestown. His son, Jacob F., was a preacher of the 
Brethren. He was elected late in life, and never attained to 
fluency of speech. He was born 1831, and is buried at 
Jonestown. His son David had also belonged to the Breth- 
ren, but while yet young joined the Brinsers, among whom 
he became a preacher in his old age. 

Benjamin Kline was born July 12, 1791, and was elected 
to the ministry in the Little Swatara Church. Inasmuch as 


Benjamin Kline was lo years older than Jacob Wenger, he 
may have been preaching as early as 1825. He moved 
away from the Little Swatara congregation, during the time 
of supremacy of Jacob Wenger, to the Big Swatara district, 
where he was later ordained to the Eldership. This was 
not far from 1865. Kline was a good talker. He died 
September 11, 1868, and is buried at Kauffman's meeting- 
house, 2 miles north of Annville.^ 

The following elections for officers were held in this 
church: 1858, John Hertzler was elected to the ministry; 
i860, Abraham Pfautz was elected to the ministry; date of 
advancement unknown; ordination a few years before his 
death. April 24, 1875, John Hertzler was ordained; Jacob 
W. Myer, Senior, was elected minister, and Henry Lentz 
and Elias P. Ziegler, deacons. Elders present : Samuel 
Harley, John Etter, and Christian Bucher. June 7, 1876, 
Jacob W. Myer, Senior, was advanced to second degree, and 
Daniel R. Kline and Jacob F. Wenger were elected ministers. 
At the same time, Benjamin Balsbaugh was elected deacon. 
April 7, 1883, at Frystown House, Samuel Myer was 
elected minister, Samuel Z. Gettel, deacon, and Daniel R. 
Kline advanced to second degree of ministry. January i, 
1890, Samuel Myer was advanced to the second degree of 
the ministry and William Oberholtzer elected deacon. 
Present: S. R. Zug, and David Etter. October 13, 1894, 
Edward M. Wenger was elected minister, and Jacob Pfautz, 
deacon. August 8, 1898, Edward Wenger was advanced 
and J. W. Myer and John Ziegler, who moved to Mont- 
gomery County in 1910, were elected deacons. December 
II, 1899, Jacob Pfautz was elected minister. December 10, 
1900, J. W. Myer, Junior, was elected minister, and Elias 
W. Edris and Alfred M. Lentz, deacons. May i, 1901, 
Jacob W. Myer, Sr., was ordained to the full ministry, and 
Jacob Pfautz advanced to the second degree. June 10, 
1902, Elias W. Edris was elected minister. December 8, 
1902, Ira D. Gibble was elected deacon. August 8, 1904, 
E. M. Wenger was ordained to the Eldership, and J. W. 

2 For much of the foregoing information, the writer is indebted to the 
extensive genealogical writings of Michael Zug, late of Lebanon, Pa. 


Myer, Jr., advanced to the second degree. August 14, 

1905, Ira D Gibble was elected minister and Samuel Sher- 
man, deacon. April 14, 191 1, Henry Z. Ziegler was elected 
to the ministry, Ira D. Gibble advanced to the second 
degree, and Jacob Merkey and Samuel Ziegler elected 
deacons. August 13, 1906, Jacob Pfautz was ordained, 
Elias Edris advanced to the second degree, and Henry 
Ziegler elected deacon. January 2, 1892, John H. Lentz 
was elected deacon. 

Officials that Served in the Church that Are Not on 
Record. — Elders : Joseph Merkey, David Merkey, and Jacob 
Wenger; Jonathan Hunsicker, Benjamin Kline, and Samuel 
Gettle, ministers ; and deacons : Samuel O. Myer, George 
Gibble, John Grouse, Peter Gettle, and John Merkey. 

Present Officials of this Church. — Elder E. M. Wenger, 
who has charge of the church; Elder Jacob Pfautz, Jacob 
W. Myer, Elias W. Edris, Ira D. Gibble, all in the second 
degree, and Henry Ziegler in the first degree; and deacons: 
John H. Lentz, Alfred M. Lentz, Samuel N. Sherman, 
Jacob Merkey, and Samuel Ziegler. 

Obituaries of Ministers. — John Hertzler, born September 
10, 1826; died August 27, 1901. Buried at Frystown. 
Abraham Pfautz, born June 17, 1826; died February 2, 

1906. Buried at Frystown. Jacob W. Myer, born Jan- 
uary 29, 1832; died May i, 1906. Buried at Myer Home- 
stead. Samuel Myer, born May 21, 1857; died April 19, 
1894. Buried at Myer Homestead. Jacob F. Wenger, 
born October 7, 1831 ; died December 15, 1881. 

Houses of Worship. — This church at present has six 
houses of worship the oldest of which is the Merkey 
House, near the Blue Mountains. This house was built in 
the year 1848, stone building, having a seating capacity of 
about 500. Valuation $1,500. 

The Ziegler House, near Rehrersburg, was a brick build- 
ing having a capacity of seating about 300. This, how- 
ever, was rebuilt in the year 1875, placing in Its stead a new 
frame building 50 X 70 feet, seating about 900. Valua- 
tion $4,000. 

Frystown House, a frame building erected in the year 


1875, having a capacity of about 700. Valuation $2,500. 
Thus we notice that in one year two houses of worship 
were built. Hereby we can see what may be done where 
there are willing minds to promote the cause of Christ and 
His Church. The Moyer House is a brick building erected 
in the year i860, having a capacity of about 500. This 
was rebuilt in 1884, brick, 50X72 ft., capacity about 900. 
Valuation $4,000. Light's Meeting House was built in 
1877, a frame building, capacity about 700. Valuation 
$2,500. Fredericksburg House is the last built in the year 
1 910, a brick building, capacity about 600. Valuation 
$2,500. In the Moyer and Ziegler Houses, lovefeasts are 
held alternatively. Other houses, not belonging to the 
Brethren where regular worship is held, we may name — 
Union House, Kutztown, and Shuberts. 

Union Meeting House, 

This is one of the old landmarks of Bethel Township, 
and deserves more than a passing notice. This meeting- 
house land was given by Rudy Hunsicker, who died in 1768. 
More land was given by his son, Jacob Hunsicker, for the 
only use, purpose, and benefit of the different congregations 
in that part of the country. 

" This Indenture Made the Fifth day of August in the year 
of our Lord one thousand, eight Hundred and twenty-six, etc." 

On the land donated by Rudy Hunsicker, a school house 
and dwelling house, combined, was erected. On funeral 
occasions this building was used for preaching services. In 
1812, this building was repaired. After serving its useful- 
ness, a new meeting-house was built in the year 1859. 

At this time there was considerable friction. The 
Church of the Brethren desiring to have a church of their 
own, built suitable for lovefeast purposes, is what brought 
about the commotion. Preparations were made to build a 
church, on the opposite corner where the Union Church 
stands, which again was reconsidered, and decided to build 
a house, about a mile further east, and thus we have the 
Moyer House built in i860. 


The Brethren have regular services at both houses, 
although close together, and the attendance is good at both 

The meeting-house built in 1859 again had served Its use- 
fulness, and a new house was built in its stead in the year 
1913, 40 by 60 feet, 14 feet high, with a basement 40 by 
40 feet for Sunday School, and 20 by 40 feet for preparing 
meals on funeral occasions if wanted. Building Committee, 
E. W. Edris, W. H. Hunsieker, and Sol. Meyer. The 
house was dedicated August 30 and 31, 1913. The follow- 
ing ministers representing the different denominations 
officiated, viz. : Saturday afternoon, Alfred Gingrich and 
Henry Kreider; Saturday evening, Ammon Brubaker and 
Geo. Lentz; Sunday forenoon, Jacob Longenecker, Jacob 
Pfautz and E. W. Edris; Sunday afternoon, A. J. Bachman 
and Oliver Bitner; Sunday evening, Rufus Bucher, Henry 
Light, John H. Bicksler and Emanuel Garis. Preaching in 
main room and basement. All the services were well at- 
tended. E. W. Edris, Moderator. 

Union House Cemetery. 
The first land given for a burial ground was first owned 
by Christian Brightbill and Christian Lantz. Christian 
Brightbill purchased his land from Thos. and Richard Penn,. 
then Bethel Township, Lancaster County, dated the 6th day 
of February, 1738, and Christian Lantz purchased his land{ 
from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then Bethel 
Township, Dauphin County, dated the 19th day of Sep- 
tember, 1752. It is believed that the first land was given 
by the said Christ Lantz, and the executors of the said 
Christian Brightbill, somewhere between the years 1750 and 
1769. But no deed was given that time. It was given 
free. The next land was also given free without a deed by 
Abraham Lantz, son of the said Christian Lantz, and Chris- 
tian Brightbill, son of the said Christian Brightbill, some- 
where between the years 1769 and 1798, and the land was 
given again free by Abraham Lantz, and John Brightbill 
between the years of 1833 and 1840. Then it again being 
necessary to have land, when John Brightbill, son of John 



Brightbill, and Michael Wolf, son-in-law of Abraham 
Lantz, gave or sold land and gave each a deed to Joseph 
Hunsicker, Abraham Lantz, and John Light, appointed 
trustees for the said graveyard, or burial ground, dated 25th 
day of March, 1853. They each gave a deed for all the 
land given by their forefathers, so there is a full right for 
the property, as the deeds will show. It was again neces- 
sary to have land; accordingly, land was purchased in the 
year 1886, from Adam Brightbill, son of John Brightbill, 
by A. G Gettel, H. M. Lentz, and Wm. H. Hunsicker, 
trustees. A deed was given dated April 23, 1886. This 
last bought land was laid out in blocks, and sold from five 
to ten dollars each. At this time also a committee was ap- 
pointed to frame rules to govern the association. As to the 
name it was decided that this association shall be known and 
styled by the name of "The Union Cemetery Association" 
of Bethel Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. 

The present officers of the Association are : President, E. 
W Edris ; Secretary, W. H. Hunsicker ; Treasurer, Monroe 

This city of the dead is nicely located, and many, many, 
have been laid to rest there, awaiting the general resur- 
rection in the last day. 

The following clipping from a certain periodical dated 
January 5, 1900, sets forth the Union Meeting House in its 
true light : 

"A Liberal Church 

Bethel Township Landmark's 

Wide Open Doors 

Union Meeting House 

Successor of a Haven of Religion and Education — Large 
Enough to Take in Those of All and No sects — The Graveyard. 

"At a cross-roads in Bethel township, half way between Mt. 
Zion and Fredericksburg stands what is known as the ' Union 
Meeting House.' 

"On its site stood fifty years ago one of the first school- 
houses of the country, which served both as dwelling house, 
and school house, as was generally the case in ye olden time. 


" When the free schools were forced on Bethel and on most 
of the other Townships of the County, a brick building was 
erected on an opposite corner of the cross-roads, and the old 
structure, having served its time and uses, was torn down. 

" In its stead was built the above-mentioned * Union House.* 
The name was a good and expressive one, for it was erected 
by a veritable union among the good folk of the vicinity, a 
union of purpose — the purpose of having a convenient, com- 
mon, liberal place of worship for all Christian creeds and be- 
liefs, and the doors have always stood wide open to all who 
accept the Bible and the doctrine of the New Testament as the 
foundation of their religious belief. Close by is a graveyard, 
where repose the remains of some of the early settlers of the 
countysite, among whom are numerous members of the old 
and respected Grove family, now almost extinct ; the Hun- 
sickers, the Wolfs, the Moyers, the Brightbills, the Lights, the 
Lentzs, and many others. 

" The Burial Ground. 

"Burial lots are for sale to all on reasonable terms, to Jew 
and Gentile, Baptists and Lutheran, High Church and Low 
Church, and within its consecrated precincts may lie down 
together, the infidel with the orthodox believer, the one with 
the privileges of the other. 

"Among the sects that make use of building as a place of 
worship, are the ' German Baptists,' the ' River Brethren,' and 
the 'United Brethren in Christ,' though a number of other 
denominations have conducted services in it. 

" The German Baptists have preaching every four weeks, 
and their services are conducted by Revs, Jacob W. Moyer, 
Abraham Pfautz and Edward Wenger. 

" The River Brethren, another branch of the Baptists, hold 
meetings only four times a year — every twelve weeks. The 
latter held a protracted series of meetings, lasting a week, in 
the latter part of December, conducted by Revs. Jacob Martin, 
and Jacob Brubaker, both of Lancaster County, Pa. 

" The U. B. people also have at different times, more or less 
regularly, held church services, but were on several occasions 
grievously annoyed by the beastly rowdy element among the 
big boys, which exist to a more or less disgraceful extent in 
even the quietest and most Christian community. 


" Color and a Name. 

" The church building bore for many years the name of the 
'Brown meeting house,' owing to the color of its paint, but 
last summer it underwent some necessary repairs when it was 
painted white, and it will of necessity lose that cognomen. It 
is also known as Wolf's meeting house. 

" A Union Sunday School is held during the warmer seasons 
of the year; most of the officers being German Baptists, be- 
cause they are the most numerous in the neighborhood. The 
books used are in the English language, but the singing is un- 
accompanied by instrumental music. The German Baptists are 
opposed to organs. 

" The affairs of this Union Church are managed by a Board 
of Control elected annually. The regular election was held on 
New Years day, with the following result : President Elias W. 
Edris; Treasurer, Edward Wolf; Secretary, Wm. H. Hun- 
sicker ; Trustee, Adam H. Hunsicker ; Janitor, Ezra Hummel. 

" It is a fact significant of the wide-open-door policy of this 
organization, that at least two of the above named officials are 
not connected with any Church as members. 

"E. G." 

Sunday Schools. — The church is alive along the different 
lines of church activities. At present it has four organized 
Sunday Schools. The first Sunday School was organized 
at Frystown in the year 1887. In 1898, it was divided into 
four different schools at different places, viz., Frystown, 
Merkey's, Ziegler's, and Union House. All these schools 
are fairly well attended. Frystown Sunday School is an 

The present superintendents are, viz., Frystown: Henry 
M. Frantz; assistants, Geo. Miller, and William Ziegler. 
Ziegler's : Jacob Merkey ; assistants, Samuel Ziegler, and 
Elias Frantz. Merkey's: Samuel Sherman; assistants, 
Calvin Boeshore, and Frank Ebling. Union House: Adam 
L. Light; assistants, Elias Myer, and Levi Wenger. 

District and Annual Meetings. — The District Meeting of 
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was held twice in this 
church, the first time in the Frystown House in the year 
1 88 1, and the second time in the Moyer House in the year 


In the year 1871 the Annual Meeting was held in this 
church on the farm of John Merkey, 9 miles from Myers- 
town, the nearest railroad station. The delegates and all 
those that came by railroad were taken to the place of 
meeting by private conveyance. Quite a contrast to present 
facilities at our Annual Meetings. Forty years have made 
a wonderful change in our Brotherhood. Who would now 
think of locating Annual Meeting 9 miles from a railroad 

Prayer Meetings, Etc. — The church has its weekly prayer 
meetings the year round, and during the summer at three 
different places, making actually three weekly prayer meet- 
ings. During this last winter (1912) a revival meeting 
was held at Frystown; during these meetings 39 expressed 
their desire to embrace their Savior, and to be joined to the 
body of believers. The church is in a fairly healthy and 
prosperous condition, yet not without their trials and ad- 
versities which meet the faithful ones on the way. The 
present membership reaches about 350. May the future 
become brighter and brighter for this old historic church! 
Little Swatara Church held a local Sunday School meeting 
afternoon and evening, November 2, 1912, and a similar 
meeting in 1913. 

Elders in Charge of this Church. 

1. George Klein, 1 757-1 783. 

2. Han Jacob Beshor, . 

3. Hans George Beshor, -18 12. 

4. Joseph Merkey, -1869. 

5. Jacob Wenger, . 

6. David Merkey, about 1 869-1 873. 

7. John Hertzler, 1875-1901. 

8. J. W. Meyer, Sr., 1901-1906. 

9. E. M. Wenger, 1906- 

Ohituaries of Officials of Little Swatara Church. Not on 
Record. — Ministers: Benjamin Kline, born July 12, 1791; 
died September 11, 1868. Buried at Kauff man's meeting- 
house, north of Annville. Joseph Merkey, born November 


28, 1782 ; died March 12, 1869. Burled at Merkey's Ceme- 
tery. David Merkey, born May 11, 1795; died December 
2, 1873. Buried at Merkey's Cemetery. Philip Ziegler, 

born January 25, 1764; died . Buried at Ziegler 

farm. Jacob Wenger, born March 10, 1801 ; died January 
6, 1 881. Buried near Jonestown. Jonas Hunsicker, born 
January 2.y, 1813; died December 12, 1869. Buried at 
Union House. Samuel Gettle, born April 20, 1828, elected 
1867; died August 17, 1874. Buried at Ziegler House. 
Daniel Kline, born August 20, 1837; died November i, 
1899. Buried at Ziegler House. Deacons: John Merkey, 
born January 10, 1803; died January 22, 1885. Buried at 
Ziegler House. Peter Gettle, born October 21, 181 7; died 
February 12, 1892. Buried at Union House. William 
Ziegler, born January i, 1825; died January 29, 1875. 
Buried at Ziegler House. Elias P. Ziegler, born May 18, 
1835; ^^^^ October 9, 1882. Buried at Ziegler House. 
Henry L. Lentz, born December 22, 1830; died July 7, 1904. 
Buried at Union House, John Crouse, born November 3, 
1820; died April 18, 1901. Buried at Frystown. Ben- 
jamin Balsbaugh, born November 14. 1821 ; died November 
I, 1905. Buried at Merkey Cemetery, 


The history and record of the Tulpehocken circuit of the 
" Church of the Brethren," Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, 
follows : 

Abraham Zug's moved from Warwick Township, Lan- 
caster County, as members of the Conestoga circuit, to 
Jackson Township, Lebanon Co., near to where now Rich- 
land Station is, in the month of April, 1813, — there being 
already three families, as members there, which made them 
four families — nine members. In October or November, 
181 5, Abraham Zug was elected to the ministry by the 
Conestoga circuit, this territory was yet a part of the 
Conestoga circuit. Jacob Pfautz was elected to the ministry 
the same time, he living near the Middle Creek meeting- 
house, Lancaster Co. In the year 1823, the said Abraham 
Zug and Jacob Pfautz were ordained to the full ministry, 
or as Elders, or Bishops of and for the Conestoga circuit. 
The said Abraham Zug died July 18, 1841, aged 69 years, 
4 months and 2.2. days, in the above-mentioned home. At 
the death of Elder Abraham Zug, there were about fifty__ 
members in the Lebanon Valley, holding their membership 
in the three following circuits : Conestoga, White Oak, and 
Little Swatara. 

Adjoining Elders advised an organization, to be known 
as the Tulpehocken circuit, which advice the members hold- 
ing their membership in the Conestoga and Little Swatara 
circuits accepted, and an organization was effected on the 
5th day of October, 1841, electing John Zug, son of afore- 
said Abraham Zug, to the ministry; and Daniel Royer and 
Jacob Oberholtzer as deacons. About 35 votes were cast. 
The following Elders were present to officiate : Jacob Pfautz, 
Daniel Bollinger, William Price, John Price, and David 



In September, 1842, Moses Pfautz was elected to the 
ministry. Elders Jacob Pfautz and John Price officiated. 
f In the fall of 1844, those members which held their mem- 
\ bership in the White Oak circuit, also agreed to hold their 
Vmembership in the Tulpehocken circuit. (In the spring of 
1844 the White Oak circuit held their love feast at Jacob 
Bucher's, near Cornwall.) May 2"^, 1846, John Gibble and 
Jonathan Hertzler were elected deacons. May 29, 1847, 
Daniel Royer and William Hertzler were elected to the 
ministry, and John Zug advanced to second degree. Elders 
Jacob Pfautz and Daniel Bollinger, present. September 18, 
1853, Isaac Brubaker was elected to the ministry. Elders 
Daniel Bollinger and Christian Longenecker, present. June 
5, i860, at love feast at Elder John Zug's, Christian Bucher 
and Samuel Kurtz were elected deacons. June 10, 1861, at 
lovefeast on farm of Samuel Kurtz, tenant to Samuel Loose, 
Jr. (Graybill's old farm). Christian Bucher was elected to 
the ministry. Elders Jacob Hollinger and Daniel Keller, 
present. John Zug was ordained to the full ministry in the 
year 1861. Elders Jacob Hollinger and Joseph Merkey, 
present. September 21, 1865, at the home of George 
Bollinger, near Reistville, George Bucher was elected to the 
ministry, and John Kline to the deaconship, and Christian 
Bucher advanced to second degree. Elders Jacob Hol- 
linger, and David Gerlach, present. May 18, 1871, at 
Heidelberg House, George Bucher was advanced to second 
degree, John Herr was elected to the ministry and Abraham 
Myer, deacon. One hundred and sixty-eight votes were 
cast. Elders Jacob Hollinger, and John Etter, and min- 
isters, John Hertzler, Abraham Pfautz, Joseph Hollinger, 
and S. R. Zug, present. April 3, 1875, at Heidelberg 
House, Christian Bucher was ordained, John Herr advanced 
to second degree, and Abraham Myer elected to the min- 
istry, and Jacob Nissley to the deacon's office. Only 119 
votes cast, roads very bad. Elders William Hertzler, and 
John Etter, present. May 27, 1879, at lovefeast at Heidel- 
berg House, Martm Heisey was elected to the deacon's 
office. Elders Jacob Rider, and John Hertzler, present. 
April 30, 1 88 1, council meeting in Heidelberg House. 


Jacob Nissley was elected to the ministry, and Benjamin 
Smith and Cyrus Bucher, deacons. Elders Samuel Harley, 
and John Hertzler, present. April 29, 1882, at Heidelberg 
House, Reuben Royer was elected deacon. Elders Samuel 
Harley, and John Hertzler, present. April 25, 1885, 
George Gibble received as deacon by letter from Little 
Swatara Church. Accepted April 2^, 1885. October 20, 
1885, at lovefeast, Heidelberg House, Martin Heisey was 
elected to the ministry. Elders William Hertzler, Samuel 
Harley, and John Hertzler, present. January 30, 1886, 
council at Heidelberg House, Nathan Gibble, Ephraim 
Brubaker and Levi Bollinger were elected deacons. Only 
two were intended, but the last two were tie. Elder Samuel 
Harley, present. In April, 189 1, Deacon George Hess 
from Maiden Creek, and Deacon William Oberholtzer 
from Little Swatara Church, moved into our circuit, and 
were received as deacons by letter July 25, 1891. De- 
cember 21, 1896, William H. Oberholtzer was elected to the 
ministry, and Martin Heisey advanced to second degree. 
Elders H. E. Light, J. H. Longenecker, and Israel Wenger, 
present. In Heidelberg House. December 20, 1897, in 
Heidelberg House, John Herr was ordained, Joseph Wil- 
helm and Edwin Kurtz elected deacons; one was intended, 
but these two were tie. Elders John Hertzler, J. H. Longe- 
necker, and Israel Wenger, present. August 20, 1900, at 
Heidelberg House, Jacob Nissley was ordained ; William H. 
Oberholtzer was advanced to second degree; Joseph L, 
Wilhelm was elected to the ministry ; and Mohler Bucher, a 
deacon. Elders J. H. Longenecker, John Hertzler, and 
Israel Wenger, present. Two hundred and fifty votes cast. 
March 16, 1903, at Heidelberg House, John L. Royer was 
elected to the ministry. All the adjoining Elders were 
present. August 21, 1905, at Heidelberg House, Benjamin 
Zug was elected to the ministry; Harry Hacker and John 
Gibble, deacons ; John L. Royer, advanced to second degree. 
Elders present : C. Bucher, Jacob Myer, and E. M. Wenger. 
July 15, 1906, S. Z. Gettle was received as deacon, by letter 
from Little Swatara Church. March 28, 191 1, at Heidel- 
berg House, Michael Kurtz was elected to the ministry. 


Jacob Wenger to the deacon's office, and Benjamin Zug ad- 
vanced to the second degree. From the time of organiza- 
tion, 1841, up to January i, 191 2, there were 17 Brethren 
elected to the ministry and 21 to the deacon's office. 

Official Force, January i, 1^13. — Ministers : Elder John 
Herr, Elder Jacob Nissley, Elder W. H. Oberholtzer, J. L. 
Royer, second, B. F. Zug, second, Michael Kurtz, first. 
Deacons: S. Z. Gettel, Harry Hacker, John Gibble, Jacob 

Obituaries of Officials. — Elder John Zug died July 19, 
1873, at 8 o'clock, at the advanced age of 76 years, 2 
months and 5 days. Interment and funeral services at the 
Heidelberg House, July 23, in presence of the largest 
funeral gathering ever witnessed in this part of the county. 
The last night he lived on earth, he desired that those by his 
side should sing the hymn : 

Meine Seele lobe Gott. 

Meine Seele lobe Gott. 
Der ein machtig heilig wesen, 
Gans volkommen auserlesen, 
Der dir hilft aus aller Noth, 
Meine Seele lobe Gott. 

Moses Pfautz died December 29, 1845, aged 33 years, 6 
months and 11 days. Buried at Tulpehocken House. 
Jacob Oberholtzer died November 14, 1865, aged 60 years, 
9 months and 10 days. Preaching in mansion, buried in 
Gibble's graveyard, now Heidelberg House. Daniel Royer 
died August 11, 1862, deposed from the ministry about one 
year, aged 55 years, 2 months and 6 days. Buried at Mill- 
bach House. William Hertzler moved to Big Swatara 
circuit, now Spring Creek, Dauphin Co., in 185 1. John 
Gibble died June 25, 1881, aged 78 years, 3 months and 14 
days. Funeral Tuesday, June 28, at the Heidelberg House. 
Jonathan Hertzler died December 25, 1887, aged 86 years, 
6 months less 2 days. Funeral Friday, December 30, at 
Tulpehocken House. Isaac Brubaker died April 8, 1866, 
aged 50 years, 3 months and 24 days. Services in mansion, 
buried in family graveyard. Samuel Kurtz died October 


25, 1897, aged 70 years and 8 months. Buried at Heidel- 
berg House. George Bucher, left with family for Con- 
estoga Church, March i8, 1896. John Kline disowned 
September 25, 1880. Abraham Myer expelled from the 
church January 29, 1891. Cyrus Bucher moved to Astoria, 
Illinois, in spring of 1882. Reuben Royer moved to 
Newton, Kansas, in spring of 1886. George Gibble again 
moved to Little Swatara in spring of 1893, died August 7, 
1894, aged 88 years, 3 months and 23 days. Buried at 
Heidelberg House. Benjamin Smith died June 18, 1898, 
aged 50 years, 5 months and 9 days. Buried at Cornwall 
House. George Hess died January 22, 1902, aged 78 years, 
10 months and 21 days Edwin Kurtz resigned March 19, 
1906. Ephraim Brubacher died May 16, 191 3. 

There is no record of names of members, at the time of 
organization of the church. However, among the earlier 
members, we would mention the Zugs, Bollingers, Widders, 
Gibbles, Royers, Buchers, Geibs, Brubachers, Klines, 
Weavers, Oberholtzers, Hertzlers, etc. 

In our church record we find 23 Bollingers, 23 Klines, 24 
Buchers, 25 Gibbles, 25 Weavers, 27 Brubachers, 32 Geibs, 
56 Royers. 

Division of Tiilpehocken Church District. — March 18, 
1901, Elder Christian Bucher asked to be relieved of the 
charge of the church on account of age and failing health; 
the church granted it, and gave Elder John Herr the charge 
of the church. The church numbered 483 members. De- 
cember 16, 1 901, the church agreed to divide into two 
districts, making Crowstown road the line. East of said 
road retains the name of Tulpehocken, with a membership 
of about 300, having John Herr as their Elder, Jacob 
Nissley and W. H. Oberholtzer as ministers; Ephraim 
Brubaker, Levi Bollinger and Ed. H. Kurtz as deacons. 
In the spring council of 1903, it was unanimously agreed 
by both districts that the line be changed from Crowstown 
to Prescott road, with the exception of Elder C. Bucher, and 
deacon N. P. Gibble and their household, who shall hold 
their membership in the Midway district. June 7, 1842, it 
was agreed that the line between the counties of Lancaster 


and Lebanon, shall be the line between Conestoga and 
V/hite Oak circuits in Lancaster Co., and Tulpehocken 
circuit, Lebanon Co., in the presence of Elders David Pfautz, 
Christian Long, Joseph Rothrock, Daniel Bollinger, and 
John Price. April 30, 1887, the Tulpehocken Church 
agreed with the Little Swatara Church, that the line between 
the two circuits shall be one mile north o£ the Reading and 
Harrisburg turnpike, and run parallel with it. On the east, 
the Tulpehocken Church extends to the city limits of 

Houses of Worship. — Five houses of worship, viz. : 
Tulpehocken, Millbach, Heidelberg, Myerstown, and Rich- 

Tulpehochen House (Royer's) was built in the year 1840. 
Building Committee : Daniel Zug, Johan Weber, Jacob 
Royer. Seating capacity 600. Valuation $3,000. Stone* 
building, 30 X 40 ft. This being the oldest house, we here- 
with present copy of conditional part of deed, Jacob Royer 
and wife to German Baptist Church. 

This Indenture made the 7th day of December, 1840, Be- 
tween Jacob Royer of Jackson Township, Leb. Co., Pa., and 
Catharine his wife, of the one part, and Jacob Bollinger, of 
Township, County and State aforesaid, Trustee of the German 
Baptist, who call themselves Old Brothers Society Meeting 
house, and the lands and burying grounds belonging thereto, 
and Abraham Zug, Jr., and Jacob F. Diener of the same place. 
Trustees of the School Department to be established in the 
above named Meeting house, and the School room, wherein the 
School is to be held, of the other part; Whereas John Lantz 
and Anna his wife by their Indenture &c. did grant &c. unto 
said Jacob Royer &c. &c. And whereas the members of the 
said Old Brothers Alias German Baptist Society of the Cone- 
stoga family, them belonging thereto, do view the necessity of 
a meeting house for public worship, or divine service for them- 
selves their own use and behoof of the said German Baptist, 
Alias Old Brothers, which is to say and them who belong to the 
Conestoga Family, have agreed amongst themselves & for their 
heirs and successors to build and erect a meeting house for the 

* About 25 years later, an annex 24 by 30 feet of brick was made. 
















































purpose aforesaid, and whereas others of the neighborhood 
which do not belong to the same Society; However stand in 
need of a Burying ground and a School house. Now compro- 
mise with the members of the said Old Brothers Alias German 
Baptist Society belongmg to the Conestoga family, therefore 
the said Jacob Royer and others the members of the said Con- 
gregation belonging to the Conestoga family, with others, their 
neighbors also view the necessity of a good Education as 
essential to the rising generation and to the form of our Re- 
publican institutions as forming the only true political and 
moral basis of the same. Now have agreed to build, and did 
erect and build the said meeting house, on the following de- 
scribed piece or parcel of land, for the purpose of Public 
worship in the second Story, and for a School to be taught in 
the first Story of said house as aforesaid, Agreeably to their 
written and verbal contract made as follows, in writing, says 
that the said Jacob Royer Sr. Give the following described lot 
of Ground for a Burying Ground, to erect a house thereon for 
a School and meeting house to the Old Baptist Brotherly So- 
ciety belonging to the Conestoga family, On the following Con- 
ditions agreed upon: Every person, or persons who die a 
natural and honest death be it a member of said Society, or 
any body else, is and shall be admitted and allowed to be buried 
on the said burying grounds, no matter to what Society they 
belong, without hindrance or molestation, and the funeral 
sermon to be held in the meeting house by such persons, as he, 
or they who have the funeral shall choose to have for to Preach 
the funeral Sermon, and that the meeting and School building 
be erected, the meeting room for Divine Service to be in the 
upper part, or second Story in said house, and the School room 
to be in under, in the lower part, below the meeting room, say 
in the lower Story of said house. And that every person, or 
persons, who was helping to erect or supported, or taking part, 
or hath taken part or share, or do take part or share at the said 
School house and School by supporting the same, shall have a 
right to the rules and regulations of the School and School 
room, which the same shall require as a member to vote for 
trustees, as far as respecting the School apartment, in lower 
Story, &c. &c. 

There are a few living yet, who remember that they went 
to school in the basement of Tulpehocken Church before 


the public schools were fully inaugurated. There were 
only two desks, one on either side; but they extended 
through the w^hole length of the building, and the teacher's 
desk at the end. Among the teachers were — Hoffman, Levi 
Carver, William Killinger, Jacob Kline, and William 
Hertzler. The school term was four months in the year 
during the winter. It was a subscription school, 3 cents a 
day, only when present, and children came from near and 
far, and many are the fond recollections of the fathers and 
mothers yet living, of the school in the basement of the 

Even when public schools were fully established in the 
township, several terms were yet held in this church under 
the supervision of the school board, after which a separate 
building was procured close by, and today there is a newly- 
built school house only about fifty feet from the church. 
Truly church and school go together. 

Millhach House was built in the year 1850, with Daniel 
Zug and Daniel Royer as Trustees. Seating capacity, 350. 
Valuation $2,000; brick building. 

Originally Seth Royer and Isaac Gibble, of the neighbor- 
hood of Klein feltersville, thought that a church should be 
built in their neighborhood, and offered to give very sub- 
stantially towards its erection. Their action led to the erec- 
tion of the brick house, 36 X 46 ft. The original cost of 
erection was $1001.72, of which there was paid 

By members, excepting Isaac Gibble. . . .$ 321.82 

By Friends 200.93 

By Isaac Gibble 105.00 

By Seth Royer 373-97 


The Building Committee consisted of Seth Royer and 
Isaac Gibble. In former years there was considerable con- 
fusion and contention about this meeting-house, when on the 
17th day of April, A. D. 1861, an Act of Assembly was 
passed authorizing Daniel Zug and Daniel Royer, the 
trustees, to sell the aforesaid meeting-house. This was 
done by public vendue on the 6th of July, A. D. 1861. The 


property was purchased by Seth Royer and Isaac Gibble, for 
the use of a meeting-house and graveyard for the sum of 
twenty-five dollars. May 9, 1875, Seth Royer died; and on 
July 8, of same year, Allen W. Mentzer was elected trustee 
in his place. In 1876, the house was blown down. The 
cause given was that the carpenter work was not sufficient. 
Besides gratuitous labor, the cost of repairs was $449.31. 
Money was raised by subscription — 1 1 7 subscribers. April 
2, 1878, A. W. Mentzer moved to Ephrata, and John Erb 
was elected in his place. Isaac Gibble, undoubtedly a 
trustee since 1861, died in 1881 ; and April 7, 1882, Reuben 
Bollinger was elected to the office. After his death 
Ephraim Erb filled the place. February 2;^, 1889, one 
fourth acre of ground was bought of George Bucher for 
$50, for burial purposes. In 19 10, land was given by 
Ephraim Erb, on which sheds were erected. At present we 
have abundant shedding at all of our meeting-houses, to 
shelter the horses, during our worship. " A righteous man 
regardeth the life of his beast." 

Richland House was deeded to Adam Schaeffer in trust 
for the use of the German Baptist Brethren, German Re- 
formed and ITutheran congregations September 9, 1870. 
In 1896, the Lutheran members disposed of their undivided 
third to the other two. In 1901, the Brethren received sole 
control and ownership of the house. Seating capacity, 300. 
Valuation, $2,000. Brick building. 

Richland Hall Converted into a House of Public 

Rules and Regulations. 

Richland, June 3, 1870. 

Your committee to whom was referred the duty of drafting 
suitable rules and regulations for the control and government 
of the joint ownership and use of the Hall after its purchase 
and conversion into a house of public worship and for Sunday 
School purposes — beg leave to present the following as the 
result of their deliberations : 

I St. The property shall be conveyed to the use of the Ger- 
man Baptist, German Reformed, and Lutheran denominations 


of Richland, and shall be owned and controlled by the mem- 
bers of said three denominations exclusively — each denomina- 
tion to pay its proportionate share of the purchase money for 
the building. 

2nd. Whenever circumstances should render it necessary to 
promote the cause of religion and preserve the peace and good 
ends of these several denominations that either the one or the 
other should prefer to withdraw its claims to worship in said 
building, in such case the party withdrawing shall effect an 
amicable settlement with the parties remaining in possession of 
said building for such consideration in money to be paid the 
party withdrawing as their interest in said building and Justice 
may demand, provided that such money paid to the denomina- 
tion withdrawing must be again invested for a house of public 
worship within the limits of Richland. 

3rd. The limits or boundary within which these regulations 
shall exist and operate shall be known as follows, viz. : Com- 
mencing at dwelling of Jacob K. Landis thence to George Stief 
— thence to Adam Loose — thence to tenant house of John 
Smaltz — thence to John Kreitz — thence to Peter Forry — and 
thence to Jacob Landis the place of beginning — including all 
those named but none beyond, and none shall be chosen a 
Trustee whose residence is not within these prescribed limits 
unless no member capable of serving of either one of said de- 
nominations should be found within, in which case the nearest 
resident of said denomination may be chosen. 

4th. The time for occupancy of the house shall be amicably 
divided by weeks into three equal parts, and each denomination 
shall have its allotted and regular week for worship, but should 
any one denomination not fully occupy its time, it may be 
allotted to another on application to the proper trustee. The 
Sabbath School shall be conducted on the Union System which 
heretofore existed in this place. Ministers in good standing of 
other religious denominations shall be permitted for special 
and funeral occasions to preach in said building when not en- 
gaged by regular or previous appointment — Funeral occasions 
are to take special precedence. 

5th. As soon as convenient after the adoption of these regu- 
lations — and at a meeting of which due notice shall be given, 
each of said denominations shall elect one of its own members 
a Trustee and elect their successors annually on the second 
Tuesday in May of each year. The qualification of voters for 


said Trustee shall be prescribed by each denomination as it 
seems fitting. In case of death, removal, or resignation of any 
member serving as a Trustee, the vacancy shall immediately be 
filled by the denomination in which it occurs. 

6th. The said Trustees shall immediately after their election, 
organize by designating one of their number for President, one 
for Secretary and one for Treasurer. 

7th. The President shall call all meetings and preside at 
same. Sign all orders for money drawn and attested by the 

8th. The Secretary shall keep correct account of all business 
of the board. 

9th. All money collected and received shall be promptly paid 
over into the hands of the Treasurer, who shall charge himself 
therewith — and keep strict accounts of all moneys received and 
paid out. 

loth. The duty of Trustees shall be to complete the purchase 
of the building, and without delay attend to making all neces- 
sary alterations, and repairs in manner following — Have the 
stage now in the room taken down, and lay an even floor 
through — excepting an ordinary sized platform raised eighteen 
inches above the floor with common pulpit fixtures and arrange- 
ments, and good close backed seats for the whole room some- 
what similar to those few now in the Hall. Have substantial 
steps put up at front door, and pavement laid in front of build- 
ing, and make such improvements as a majority of the board 
of Trustees shall deem necessary. Provide fuel and light, allow 
regular and special appointments, and have general supervision 
over the building. 

nth. All expenses incurred by the Trustees for alterations, 
repairs, fuel and light, shall be defrayed with money collected 
at dedication of building, and by general contribution. 

I2th. No one of these three denominations shall act arbi- 
trarily, or independent of the others respecting any matter in- 
volving the rights of all. Nor shall any voting or election be 
had, except as already provided, for Trustees, who in the dis- 
charge of their duties shall respect the wishes of a majority of 

Richland, June 3, 1870. 
Pursuant to public notice previously given, the members of 
the several denominations, met at the depot office, — and on 


motion Abraham Zug was called to preside — After a free dis- 
cussion and interchange of opinions — the foregoing regulations 
were unanimously adopted. C. E. Hoffman, 

Daniel Hostetter, 
William Becker. 

September 9, 1870, a deed was tendered by Edwin W. 
Landis and Malinda his wife, Levi D. Landis and Amelia 
his wife, to Adam Schaeffer in trust for the use of the 
German Baptist, Reformed, and Lutheran congregations. 
March 28, 1896, the Lutheran members of the church at 
Richland disposed of their one undivided third part of, or 
interest of, said church conveyed by deed to Jacob Dillman 
and Isaac F. Landis in trust for the German Baptist and 
Reformed denominations. On October 12, 1901, the Ger- 
man Reformed members of the church at Richland disposed 
of their one undivided one-half part of or interest of said 
church conveyed by deed to deacons of the German Baptist 
Brethren in trust for Tulpehocken Church. Thus ends the 
Union Church. The house now belongs wholly to the 
Brethren. However, for want of more room, the proba- 
bilities are that in the near future the Brethren will follow 
suit, and dispose of the whole, and invest the money in a 
new church building, at a new place where there is more 

Myerstown House was built in the year 1876. Seating 
capacity, 500. Valuation $3,000. Brick building. 

Heidelberg House was built 1867. Original size, 
50X70 ft. In 1900 an annex of 12 feet in length. 
Present seating capacity, 900. Valuation $4,500; stone 
building. The first meeting was held November 23 and 24, 
1867, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday fore- 
noon. The first hymn that was sung was " Lobe den Herrn 
den Machtigen Konig der ehren." The first Scripture was 
read by Bro. Jacob Reinhold, reading Hebrew 3 : 1-9, taking 
the 4th verse for his text. In the evening Bro. William 
Hertzler took for his text Heb. 4: 12-13, followed by 
Brethren Hollowbush and Kiefer. 

' In 1913 the old church was sold and a new church was built on 
Race St., 50 by 80 feet, brick, which was dedicated February i, 1914. 



First Lovefeast Held in Heidelberg House. 

Extract from Elder John Zug's record : 

" 1869, October den 15, und i6'«°- 
Wurde zum ersten mal Liebes und Abendmahl gehalten in dem 
Heidelberg Versamlung Haus, von der Tulpehocken Gemeinde 
von Lebanon und Berks Co. Es war schon angenehm Wetter 
wahrend der ganzen Zeit, und Freitag Abends bei dem Abend- 
mahl herschte eine angenehme Stille bei der Volksmenge im 
Haus und zusehende und der Herr war mit uns. 

Die predig Briider die gegenwartig waren von den angrenz- 
enten Gemeinden und Districten der Briiderschaft, waren Elder 
und Bruder David Merky, Elder und Bruder David Eshleman 
von Maiden-Creek, Elder und Bruder William Hertzler von 
Conewago, Dauphin Co Bruder Samuel Graybill von Weis- 
eichen land, Lancaster County, Bruder Samuel R. Zug, von 
Mastersonville, Bruder Jonas Price, von Hatfield, Montgomery 
County, Bruder Daniel und Jacob Hollinger von Ober Cumber- 
land, Bruder George Smith von Schuylkill Co. und Bruder 
Joshua Koenig von Berks Co. Maidencreek District. Diese 
oben erwehnten Bruder predigten aus dem Wort des Herrn zu 
den Menschen wahrend der Zeit das die Versamlungen im 
gang waren, welche anfingen Freitag Morgens den I5*'°- Octo- 
ber um 9 Uhr, und Samstags Mittag um 12 Uhr zu ende ging 
als den i6*«°- 

Des Herrn Abendmahl und Brod brechen wurde geleited 
durch den Eltesten und aufseher Bruder von der Tulpehocken 
Gemeinde. Die lehr Briider John Hertzler und Abraham 
Pfautz, von der Kleine Swatara Gemeinde, waren auch gegen- 
wartig, aber sie entschuldigten sich weil sie so wie einheimisch 
und nahe bei uns sein, und iieberliesen es den vorerwehnten 

Im ganzen genommen, waren die Versamlungen gesegnet 
mit Gnade und Liebe Gottes. Demselbigen Gott der allein 
weise ist, sei ehre durch Jesum Christ in ewigkeit. Amen. 
Romer, Cap. 16. v 27 

Das vorhergehende ist geschrieben fiir Unterricht und An- 
decken fiir die Nachkommeschaft in der Tulpehocken Ge- 
meinde, und soil aufbewahrt bleiben in der Gemeinde bei den 
vorgesetzten Bruder. So viel von mir, einem geringen alten 
Bruder von etwa mehr als 'J2 Jahr alt 

John Zug. 


Sunday Schools. — The first Sunday School was organized 
by George Bucher in the Cornwall House (now Midway 
district), in the year 1880. This was kept up for several 
years. In 1881, Bro, Cyrus Bucher organized the first 
Sunday School in the Heidelberg House. This also was of 
short duration, owing to the fact that following year, Bro. 
Bucher moved to Astoria, 111. At present, there are four 
schools, viz. : Heidelberg, Tulpehocken, Myerstown and 
Richland. These schools owe their existence to the Heidel- 
berg school, which was reorganized in the year 1891, with 
John Herr as superintendent, and N. P. Gibbel, assistant 
superintendent, Ed. H. Kurtz, secretary, and S. G. Spayd, 
treasurer. At this time very few of the members took an 
interest in Sunday Schools. There were no members as 
teachers, and even the officers, aside from the superin- 
tendents, were outside of the church. However, by the 
grace of God, in the course of a few years nearly all became 
members of the church. In 1897, the Tulpehocken and 
Midway Sunday Schools were organized, W. H. Ober- 
holtzer, superintendent, and F. L. Reber, assistant of the 
Tulpehocken, and Benjamin Smith, superintendent, and 
Joseph Wilhelm, assistant of Midway. In 1901, a Sunday 
School was opened in Richland for the winter months, with 
Isaac King, superintendent, and Jacob M. Gettel, assistant. 
This was kept up for two winters. Second year Jacob 
Dillman was superintendent. In 191 1, this school was re- 
organized for the year round, with Harry Hacker as super- 
intendent, and Michael Kurtz, and Jacob Wenger as assist- 
ants. The Myerstown Sunday School was organized in fall 
of 1910, with W. H. Oberholtzer as superintendent, and 
Peter Phillippy, assistant. Each of the respective schools 
have an enrollment of 100 and over. The present super- 
intendents are, viz.: Heidelberg: H. F. King, C. R. Bucher; 
Tulpehocken : Samuel Wenger, David Layser ; Myerstown : 
W. H. Oberholtzer, Peter Phillippy ; Richland : F. L. Reber, 
Jacob Wenger. 

In the fall of 191 1, the Tulpehocken Sunday School was 
closed, and not reopened in the spring, on account of its 
close proximity to Myerstown and Richland, being only 


about one and one half miles distant from either. In the 
spring of 1912, a Sunday School was organized in the Mill- 
bach House, with J. L. Royer as suj>erintendent, and Baron 
Heisey and Harry Dubble as assistants. This seems to be 
a very promising field for Sunday School, having over 100 
enrolled, with an average of about 80. On November 16, 
1912, a local Sunday School meeting was held at the Tulpe- 
hocken House, and November 8, 191 3, a joint Sunday 
School meeting of the Tulpehocken and Midway Churches 
was held at Myerstown. In December, 191 1, a Sisters' Aid 
Society was formed with headquarters in Richland, Mary 
Hess Reber, President ; Mary Brubaker, Secretary ; and 
Lydia King, Treasurer. There are in progress three weekly 
Bible classes, viz., Myerstown, Richland, and Reistville. 
Under the blessing of God, there was a steady growth in 
the Tulpehocken Church. At the time of organization, 
1 841, there were 50 members. Under the Eldership of 
John Zug, and Christian Bucher up to 1901, the church 
grew to the number of 483. After the division of the 
district, December 16, 1901, under the Eldership of John 
Herr, up to 191 1, the church grew from 300 to 400, the 
present membership. Praise God from whom all blessings 

Bishops of Tulpehocken Church. 

1. Jacob Pfautz, 1841- 

2. John Zug, 1861-1873. 

3. Christian Bucher, 1875-1901. 

4. John Herr, 1901- 


At the division of Big Swatara Church in 1868, Spring 
Creek Church had as officers : Jacob HolHnger and WilHam 
Hertzler, Elders; and Joseph HolHnger, minister; and 
Abraham Balsbaugh, Samuel Gibble and Daniel HolHnger, 
deacons. About 250 members. Elections for deacons : 
1869, Joseph Witmer and Isaac Struphaar; 1873, M. R. 
Henry and J. H. Longenecker; 1881, Henry S. Zug; 1885, 
Daniel Struphaar and Benjamin Longenecker; 1890, S. Z. 
Witmer and Jacob Heagy; 1895, John Booser and Allen D. 
Bucher; 1900, J. H. Gingrich and Jos. B. Aldinger; 1904, 
Andrew Clendenen; 1903, Harvey S. Gibble; 1906, George 

Election of Ministers. — 1869, Geo. S. Becker and Daniel 
HolHnger; 1876, J. H. Longenecker; 1878, Cyrus Bom- 
berger; 1881, John Ensminger; 1887, D. Struphaar and 
Alfred B. Gingrich; 1894, H. B. HolHnger and S. Z. 
Witmer; 1900, Allen D. Bucher; 1906, Daniel K. Kreider; 
1909, Jacob H. Gingrich; 1910, Aaron H. Hoffer. 

Ordinations Since 1868. — 1893, Geo. S. Becker and Jacob 
H. Longenecker; 1903, Cyrus Bomberger; 1905, Alfred B. 
Gingrich; 1909, H. B. HolHnger and S. Z. Witmer. Elder 
George S. Becker died December 4, 1904, in his 76th year, 
and his wife the day following, in her 78th year, buried in 
one grave, in the Spring Creek Cemetery. 

The old Spring Creek meeting-house, near Hershey, on 
the late Henry farm, was built in 1848, of limestone, 
38 X 42 feet. In this house the meeting was held which 
divided Big Swatara district in 1868. In 1854, the Cone- 
wago meeting-house was built, less than two miles north of 
where Elder George Miller was buried in 1798. In 1869, a 
meeting-house was built, known as South Annville, 2^ 






I— t 






I — I 










miles south of Annville. This was the first house built 
after the division. In 1886, the first lovefeast house was 
built near the old Spring Creek House, and known by the 
same name, 50 X 80 feet, with basement, and the old house 
was converted into a dwelling for the janitor. 

The Palmyra House was erected in 1892, and is 40 X 50 
feet; and the Annville House, built in 1906, 48 X 78 feet, 
was the second lovefeast house in the Spring Creek district. 

Another lovefeast house was built in 191 1, known as the 
Bachmanville House, 40 X 55 feet, and dedicated May 16, 
1912. John Herr and Rufus P. Bucher preached the dedi- 
catory sermons. The Building Committee consisted of J. 
B. Aldinger, A. H. Hoffer, J. F. Booser, Wm. Gruber, A. 
Y. Gruber. All these meeting places are well supplied with 
shedding for teams, and their aggregate cost is over $30,- 
000, free of debt. 

The first Sunday School, organized by authority of the 
church, was in the Spring Creek House, in 1889, and was 
kept up ever since; that at South Annville in 1891 ; Cone- 
wago in 1893 ; Palmyra in 1894; Bachmanville in 1908; and 
Annville in 1907. All these schools have been reorganized 
from year to year ever since. 

The Missionary Committee of the Spring Creek congre- 
gation consists of Frank S. Carper, Aaron Grubb, and 
Harrison Gipe. The Sunday School Advisory Committee 
is composed of Geo. W. Henry, A. G. Longenecker, Aaron 
Grubb, W. E. Glasmire, and Benj. Ebersole. 

In the spring of 19 12, Spring Creek Church district was 
divided into three separate churches, which were all organ- 
ized soon thereafter, viz. : the one retaining the name Spring 
Creek, having the Spring Creek and Palmyra Houses, and 
ministers: J. H. Longenecker, Elder; and deacons, Andrew 
Clendenen and Geo. Hoffer. A few weeks after organiza- 
tion, Frank S. Carper was elected minister, and Harrison 
Gipe and Milton Basehore, deacons. In the fall of the same 
year. Elder S. R. Zug, and J. C. Zug, a minister, moved 
here from the Elizabethtown Church. On September 6, 
^9^3> ]■ C. Zug was ordained to the Eldership by Elders 


S. H. Hertzler and John H. Witmer. The membership is 

Bishops of Spring Creek Church. 

1. Jacob Hollinger, Elder, 1 _^_ . 

2. Wm. Hertzler, Assistant Elder, j'^^^~^ ^77- 

3. Wm. Hertzler, 1877-1893. 
4- J- H. Longenecker, 1893- 


Maiden Creek Church is located north and east of the 
city of Reading. It contains territory that is of historic 
note in the Church of the Brethren. Northkill congrega- 
tion, Falkner's Swamp, and Oley are within its bounds. 
As early as 1724, Peter Becker preached at Oley, and a love- 
feast was held. A number of members joined the church. 
The church was from the first a prey for Moravian and 
Ephrata missionaries, and that spirit has not died out to this 
day. Elder George Kline ministered to them for many 

In 1770 about twelve families were identified with the 
Oley congregation. Twenty persons were in communion, 
as follows: Martin Gaby, minister, and wife; John Yoder, 
minister, and wife; Conrad Price and wife, David Price 
and wife, David Kinsey and wife. Christian Kinsey and 
wife, Peter Kleine, Elizabeth Ellis, Margaret Harpine, 
Catherine Plank, Daniel Kleine and wife.^ 

August 12, 1780, at a meeting held at Little Swatara, 
Elders Christopher Sower and Martin Urner ordained Mar- 
tin Gaby as Elder, and Bro. David Kinsey as minister, in 
the Oley congregation. 

Owing to frequent removals, and being a hotbed of sec- 
tarianism, the church did not prosper. Even to this day, 
there is no church in our district that is making less prog- 
ress, although lawful efforts have been made to revive the 
work, but in vain. Pricetown meeting house is the second 
or at most third meeting house built in this country by the 
Brethren. At this time it is the only original house stand- 
ing without being remodeled, in a fairly good condition. 

The deed to this property is well preserved by the church, 
given in the year 1807, by Elder Martin Gaby. 

1 Brumbaugh's History, p. 298. 



" This denture made the i6th day of Sept. in the year of our 
Lord One thousand eight hundred and Seven, Between Martin 
Gaby of Ruscombmanor Township in the County of Berks, and 
State of Penna., the Elder, and Susanna his wife of the one 
part, and the Society called Old Baptist Society, in and about 
the Township of Ruscombmanor Aforesaid, of which the said 
Martin Gaby, David Kinsey, John Beyler and Christian Kinsey 
are the present Trustees of the other part Witnesseth, that the 
said Martin Gaby and Susanna his wife for the promotion of 
the Gospel, and for and in consideration of the sum of Five 
Shillings to them in hand paid by the said, etc., etc. 

It is a fact, however, that the house was built about 
thirty years before the deed was given, as may be seen by 
an article which appeared in The Reading Eagle of August 
1 8, 1894. This article in the main is correct. It is here- 
with given in full: 

" At Pricetown, on an eminence near the fork of the road, 
leading to the ruins of the Oley Furnace, stands the old stone 
church of the German Baptist denomination, popularly known 
as Dunkers. This is said to be the oldest building of the kind 
in the United States. It was erected in 1777. In its archi- 
tecture it has not been changed a particle since, though its walls 
show the wear of the elements.^ 

" Ministers of the denomination who have traveled all over 
the country, occasionally visit the building, and these say that 
while there were churches of this kind built sometime before 
the date just mentioned, all these have disappeared or were re- 
modeled to such an extent as to make it impossible to see what 
the original building looked like. But the one at Pricetown re- 
mains unchanged and will probably stand as it does today for 
many years to come, since good care is taken of it. 

"It is a plain 30X25 one story building with a 16X16 ad- 
dition, both parts being constructed of rough stone. The walls 
are nearly two feet thick and have outworn several shingle 
roofs. In the early part of the last century, love feasts were 
held in this building regularly. 

" The cooking was done in the addition for which purpose it 
was erected, and the sisters then brought the food into the main 
building, where the feast was held. In those days, a culinary 

2 The Germantown house was erected in 1770, but has been altered. 














, — 











Oh ^ 

MoHKsviLLE Meeting House. 



department was distinctly necessary here. People from all 
over the country and from many beyond its borders attended 
these feasts. There was no other Dunker Church then within 
a radius of 40 miles, and with the exception of the Wertz and 
Spies churches there were no other houses of worship for a 
great distance. Services held in the old Dunker church were 
always well attended, no matter how bad the weather. But 
now at least a dozen churches have sprung up in the territory 
formerly covered by this one. 

" The first members of this denomination who reached Amer- 
ica landed in 1719, having emigrated from Holland and Ger- 
many. The greater number settled in Germantown, but a few 
reached Oley Township and Lebanon and Lancaster counties. 
From 1730 to 1745, they were numerous in Oley, but by 1760 
many had moved away. In 1724, a general meeting which was 
attended by members from all over the colonies was held in 
Oley in one of the large farm houses. There was no house of 
worship in that section at this early date. In the same year 
that this big meeting was held in Oley, an extended pilgrimage 
was made by 14 brethren to all parts of America where there 
were Dunkers. This was called an ' Apostolischer Kreutzung.' 
Seven of these Brethren were on foot and seven on horseback. 
At all points they passed where there were Dunkers living, they 
stopped several days to preach the Gospel. In many places the 
whole party of fourteen stopped at one place. In 1742, another 
well attended conference^ of this denomination was held in 

"About the year 1766, Martin Gaube,* one of the most en- 
thusiastic of the Oley Dunkers, became of the opinion that the 
church could do much more work if it had a regular building 
in which to worship. By this time there were quite a number 
of Dunkers in what is known as Ruscombmanor and Alsace 
townships, so Mr. Gaube decided to move to the former place 
and build a meeting house on his own account. He purchased 
a number of acres of land of Conrad Price, who then owned 
all the land on which the present village of Pricetown stands, 
and about the year 1775, erected a dwelling on his tract. 

" Two years later he built the meeting house. From 1778 to 
the opening of the last century services were held here about 7 
times a year by itinerant ministers. Between 1775, when Gaube 

•3 This was not a Brethren conference but one of the several instituted 
by Zinzendorf. — Editors. 
* Gaby. 


moved to Ruscombmanor into his newly erected house, and 1778 
when their meeting house was finished, services were held 
during the summer under a large oak tree that stood alongside 
the Gaube residence, and in winter in his house or barn. It is 
traditionary that these open air services always attracted such 
large crowds that, although the tree's shadow was large, many 
had to stand in the sun, which was considered a great concourse 
in those days of widely separated homes. The meeting house 
was afterwards erected quite near this tree, and the house of 
Mr. Gaube. 

"This tree^ stands today. It must be considerably over 150 
years old, but its appearance suggests a tree in its prime. It casts 
its big shadow over its old companion, the meeting house, and 
far beyond into the graveyard which is just back of the house 
of worship. Its height is over 60 ft. and the trunk has a di- 
ameter of about 5 feet. 

" The lower part of the tree appears to be solid, which prom- 
ises many additional years of life for the historic old oak. As 
is shown by the picture accompanying this article the tree is not 
gnarled or scantily branched, but it exhibits all the vigor of a 
young tree. 

" In 1807, Martin Gaube conveyed to the Baptist Society, com- 
posed of members in Ruscombmanor and the surrounding town- 
ships, a one Acre lot of ground and the house of worship erected 
thereon, together with the burying ground bounding the church 
on the west side. Outside of the private burial places, this was 
the first graveyard in that section of the country. Before the 
erection of the numerous other churches all people who had no 
burial places of their own interred their dead here irrespective 
of denomination. 

" The trustees of the society at the time Mr. Gaube gave the 
church and ground were : Martin Gaube, David Kinsey, Chris- 
tian Kinsey and John Beyler. Among the principal members 
were the Kenzie, Rublemoyer, Faint and Price families. 

" Between 1807 and 1830, the church flourished but then many 
of the members gradually moved away. Shortly after 1832, it 
is said that there was not a single member living in the town- 
ship. There were, however, a few in Alsace, who kept their 
eye on the property and gave Lutheran and Reformed ministers 
the privilege of using the building occasionally. 

'^ The old oak tree has since given way to the elements, and is no 
more, but one very big maple tree still remains on the south side of 
the grounds. 



" They also allowed a Union Sunday School to be held in the 
Church. This Sunday School has been kept up every year ever 
since, and, outside of Reading is the oldest in the county. Among 
the early ministers who occasionally preached in the meeting 
house were : George Price, John Price, Henry Kassell, (Cassel), 
John Tzug (Zug) Samuel Harley, Jonas Price, William Hart- 
zell (Hertzler) and Christian Bucher. 

" Sometime before 1846, Samuel Fox moved from Alsace to 
Ruscombmanor. Mrs. Fox, who was a very enthusiastic 
worker, of the denomination, was instrumental in getting Bun- 
ker ministers to visit the place more frequently. 

" On Christmas eve, 1846 Rev. Tzug held services, and from 
that time on ministers paid regular visits to the place, and the 
church commenced to assume a more thriving aspect. Jeremiah 
Rothermel, of Temple, was the first regular minister of the 
church. Since his election, services have been held every six 
weeks. He delivered an occasional sermon up to a short time 
before his death, which occurred a few years ago. Subse- 
quent preachers were: Augustus Hoch, of Pricetown, Jacob 
Yoder of Centreport, David Eshleman of near Centreport who 
was made a bishop while preaching here; Joshua and Israel 
Koenig, Chas. Madeira, Henry Kline, of Muhlenberg, and Jona- 
than G. Reber of Centreport. The last two are serving at 
present (1894) 

" To this day, the meetings are in most cases well attended 
by people who are not members. Protracted meetings are held 
nearly every winter. Services are always attended by members 
of the church from distant parts of the county, even during 
inclement weather, when the carriages of the members can be 
seen going through the village. They use only the very plainest 
pattern of carriage, and they are very nearly all alike, dura- 
bility and strength being the primary consideration. When the 
writer visited the church on a recent beautiful Sunday fore- 
noon, the services were opened by the singing of a familiar 
German hymn by the congregation, the preacher reading off 
line after line to his audience. 

" The interior consists of a plain room. The walls are en- 
tirely free of paper,' paintings, fresco or kalsomine. The win- 
dows are without ornament or decoration of any kind. The 
seats are plain wooden benches with a straight board for a back. 
There is no pulpit or pulpit furniture. The preacher is not 
even given the prominence of having a raised platform on which 
to stand while addressing his audience. His bench is no softer 



than that of any of his hearers. He has a long table in front 
of him, on which is placed his Bible and hymn book. Back of 
the table stands a long bench. His bench and desk face the 
audience, and this is the only distinction that his office affords. 
The graveyard just back of the church, the wall of which can 
partly be seen in one of illustrations accompanying this article, 
presents an appearance as plain and unassuming as the edifice. 
There is a high and substantial wall around it. None but the 
very plainest of tombstones are allowed to be ereceted here, not a 
particle of ornamentation being tolerated, high stones and monu- 
ments being out of the question, as are also ornamental fences. 
In this burial ground there are no family plots, but all rest side 
by side like members of one family. Around the church are 
scattered a number of big trees, and under these hitching posts 
were formerly planted. One of the finest of these trees was 
struck by lightning several years ago and subsequently had to 
be removed. Since then a comfortable and substantial shed 
has been erected along the side of the graveyard wall. 

"Martin Gaby died in the year 1812, and was buried in the 
Pricetown Cemetery. The inscriptions on the tombstone are 
in German and somewhat hard to decipher. As nearly as can 
be made out it is as follows : 

Hier ruhet 

Martin Gaby 

Er wurde geboren 

den g^^"" tag May, 1742 

und Starb 

den 20^^'' January, 181 2 

Er war ein lehrer der 

Deutschen Taufer Gemeinde 

Wurde Alt 69 yr. 8 mo. 10 tag' 

Elections held before Organization. — April 8, 1864, an 
election was held at the house of Bro. Jacob Yoder for two 
deacons, but after the election, three were declared elected 
viz. : A. Godwalt, V. Hartman, S. Klein. Present : Elder 
John Zug, Joseph Merkey, David Merkey, Jacob Kline, John 
Hertzler, George Gibble, and John Merkey. May 15, 1865, 
an election was held at the house of Bro. Valentine Hartman 


for a minister, in the presence of Christ. Bomberger and John 
Zug. The lot fell on Bro. Augustus Hoch; at the same 
time, Bro. Jacob Kline was advanced to the second degree. 
30 votes were cast. Bro. Hoch refused to serve. He was 
admonished time and again, but still refused, and also blas- 
phemed the Brethren and ministers, and was finally dis- 

April 28, 1866, an election was held for a minister at the 
house of Jacob Yoder, and the lot fell on Jeremiah Roth- 
ermel. At the same time, three deacons were elected, viz. : 
Jacob Yoder, John Kemerer and Emanuel Yoder, in the 
presence of Elder John Zug and officials of Little Swatara 

Apparently about this time a separate organization was 
effected. The minutes were lost. 

The above elections were all held in this district while yet 
identified with the Little Swatara Church. 

There are two church houses : Mohrsville and Pricetown. 
Mohrsville House, built 1867, brick, capacity 400, valua- 
tion $2,000, and Pricetown House previously described. 

Mohrsville House Remodeled. 

April 15, 1899, it was decided to remodel the Mohrsville 
meeting house so as to be suitable for lovefeast occasions.^ 
Considerable work had to be done to get the basement into 
a proper condition. New benches were placed in the main 
room, a platform was erected, with other minor changes. 

Lovefeasts were held before this meeting house was re- 
modeled at the following places, viz. : Elias Geib's near 
Fleetwood; George Hess's, near Fleetwood; Mary Levan's, 
near Pricetown; 1887, Daniel H. Reber's, near Bernville; 
1888, John Kline's, near Bernville; 1890, Friend William 
Ernst's; 1891, Daniel H. Reber's, near Bernville; 1892, 
Henry Miller's, at Bern; 1893, Harrison Stoudt's, near 
Centreport; 1894, Sister Rachel Fox, Stoudt's Ferry Bridge ; 
1895, Isaac Degler's, south of Bern. 

Elections after Organisation. — Joshua King was baptized 
in July, 1868, and within one year was elected to the min- 

* Up to this time lovefeasts were held at private homes, in the barn. 


istry. Later on, he moved to the eastern shore of Mary- 
land. About the year 1874, Israel King was elected to the 
ministry. After serving a number of years, he died. 

George Hess and John Kline were elected as deacons at 
the same time. Date unknown. 

David Eshleman moved into this church, and was re- 
ceived as a minister. Later on was ordained. Died and 
buried at the Mohrsville graveyard. 

November 26, 1887, Henry S. Kline and Charles Madeira 
were elected to the ministry, and Elias Kemerer and Daniel 
H. Reber as deacons. Elders present : Samuel Harley and 
John Hertzler. 

April 18, 1 89 1, a certificate was granted to Charles Ma- 
deira and wife, who moved to Chiques Church; also to 
George Hess (deacon) and wife, who moved to Tulpe- 
hocken Church. 

April 18, 1 89 1, Jonathan G. Reber was elected as minis- 
ter; advanced in 1900. 

April 24, 1898, Nathaniel Yoder was elected to the min- 
istry. Believing his ministry was not edifying, he for- 
warded a petition to Elders' Meeting of the District for a 
committee to relieve him of his office. Said committee, 
with the church, granted his request, and he was relieved of 
his office September 25, 1909. 

Spring of 1900, Elder C. Bucher resigned as Elder in 
charge. His resignation was accepted, and John Herr was 
elected to take charge of the church. 

March 16, 1904, Elias G. Reber was elected as deacon. A 
certificate was granted to him and his wife in 1907, for 
Elizabethtown. However, before he left, he took sick and 

April, 1902, Henry S, Kline moved to Reading Church. 

October 19, 1907, lovefeast was held at Mohrsville House. 
Brethren Edwin Ernst and Benjamin Fox, Junior, were 
elected to the office of deacon. At the same time John Herr 
handed in his resignation as Elder in charge, which was 
accepted, and William H. Oberholtzer was elected in his 



In the spring of 1909, Elder Spencer Beaver and wife 
were received in their office by letter. 

The present officials of the church are: Elder W. H. 
Oberholtzer, Elder in charge, assisted by Elder Spencer 
Beaver, and Jonathan G. Reber in 2d degree ; deacons : Ed- 
win Ernst, and Benjamin Fox. The present membership 
is 45. The church is not making much progress; however, 
the little band of members seem to be in earnest in the cause 
of the Master, having their regular worship at the Mohrs- 
ville House, and also at Pricetown, and occasionally at the 
home of members. They have their weekly prayer meet- 
ings and a Sunday School at the Mohrsville House with an 
average attendance of about 30. This Sunday School was 
organized April 14, 1901, with J. G. Reber as Superintend- 
ent and Absalom Yoder, Assistant. A sister, whom the 
Lord has blessed with considerable means, having the wel- 
fare of the cause of Christ at heart, especially the Maiden 
Creek Church, bought a property close to the Church, erected 
a double brick building thereon and donated the whole to 
the church. At present Elder Spencer Beaver and wife 
occupy one part of the house, and the other part is rented 
by the church. Would there were many more members so 

Obituaries of 

Officials of Maiden Creek Church. 







(i) Adam Godwalt. . . 

Moved to Ohio. 

(2) Valentine Hartraan 

Dec. 7, 



16, 1867 


(3) Samuel Kline 

Sept. 3. 



9. 1865 

Becker's premises, near 

(4) John Kemerer .... 

Oct. 3, 



27, 1882 


(5) Emanuel Yoder . . . 

Feb. 19, 



18, 1886 


(6) John Kline 

Oct. 28, 



15, 1894 


(7) Elias Kemerer. . . . 

Aug. 22, 



14, 1902 


(8) Daniel H. Reber. . 

Apr. 28, 



6, 1912 

Reber Cemetery, near 

(9) Elias G. Reber 

Dec. 6, 



28, 1907 

Reber Cemetery, near 


(i) Jeremiah Rother- 


May 17, 



12, 1890 

Hinnershitz Church 

(2) Jacob Yoder 

May 2, 



26, 1881 


(3) David Eshleman. . 

June 22, 



4. 1873 


(4) Israel King 

Apr. 10, 



29. 1888 




fully consecrated to the Lord, as to do service unto Him, 
that will speak after our bodies moulder in the earth! 

In 1883 the district meeting of Eastern Pa. was held at 
the Mohrsville House. 

Elders in charge of this church: i. 2. Jere- 

miah Rothermel, -1890; 3. Christian Bucher, 1890-1900; 
4. John Herr, 1900-1907; 5. Wm. H. Oberholtzer, 1907-. 


The Schuylkill Church occupies the southwestern part of 
Schuylkill Co., that section lying between the Blue Mt. on 
the south, and Second Mt. on the north. It is bounded on 
the west by the Big Swatara congregation, the line being 
near Inwood. It extends indefinitely east, its horizon in 
that direction apparently being Cressona. Tower City 
(now Shamokin) Mission bounds it on the north; on the 
south it is bounded by the Little Swatara Church, of which 
it was originally a part, until 1877, when by mutual agree- 
ment it became a separate church, and organized under the 
present name, with Elder Geo. Smith as the housekeeper, 
and Bro. Joshua Struphaur as one of the ministers, and 
John Haldeman, Levi Butz, and David Yothers as deacons. 

Bro. Smith had charge of the church until 1885, when for 
some gross charge he was disowned. He was a man of 
considerable talent, and before he became identified with 
the Church of the Brethren, he was a prominent minister in 
the U. B. church. About the year 1879, Bro. Michael Hal- 
deman was elected to the ministry, in which capacity he 
served until 1899, when he left the church, and became iden- 
tified with the Old Order Brethren. 

In the fall of 1893, D- C. Kutz was elected to the ministry. 
After the disowning of Bro. Smith, Elder John Hertzler be- 
came the Elder in charge, which place he filled until his 
death in 1901. 

In the fall of 1901, Elder J. W. Myer was chosen as their 
Elder, serving in said capacity until he resigned on account 
of ill health. Since then Elder E. M. Wenger had charge. 
Elias Kintzel also served the church in the office of deacon, 
but is deceased. Other Brethren serving in the deacon's 
office are Edward Herring, Samuel Zerbe, John Neidlinger, 
and Frank Haldeman. William Kintzel was elected to the 



ministry in the year 1904, while still unmarried. Another 
election was held in the spring of 191 1, which resulted in 
the electing of Elias Morgan to the ministry and Frank 
Haldeman as deacon. 

Samuel Haldeman moved to Schuylkill Co. in 1852 and 
later on moved out west. He was elected to the ministry in 
the Indian Creek Church in 1847. He was born October 
25, 1820, and was married to Harriet Horning August 14, 
1842. His wife was born April 24, 1821, being younger 
by six months. Both have attained the age of ninety-three 
years. On Aug. 14, 19 13, they rounded out seventy-one 
years of married life. Few, if any, have attained to the 
age of Elder Samuel Haldeman and wife, who at present 
are living at Reedley, Cal. He has been in the ministry 
sixty-six years. For some years, Bro. Haldeman has been 
able to use his voice but little in public speaking, but his 
occasional short talks are much appreciated by the con- 
gregation, and few are more regular in church attendance 
than our aged brother and sister. The Wednesday evening 
prayer meeting finds them often in their accustomed places. 

John Holdeman moved here in 1853. The next year he 
taught schobl. In 1854 he was married to Sarah A. Strup- 
haur, whose grandfather, Michael Struphaur, was the first 
preacher of the Brethren in Schuylkill County. 

George Smith was the first Elder of the Schuylkill 
Church. He joined the Brethren Church about 1870. He 
was received without re-baptism, having been immersed 
thrice, in entering the United Brethren Church, where he 
had formerly been a minister, preaching at Highspire, Pine 
Grove, and other places. He was an excellent German 
preacher, well versed in the Scripture, and widely read. 

All is well that ends well, but to be true to history we 
are obliged to put on record that he did not die as a brother. 
Because of misconduct on his part (see Romans, i : 27), he 
was disowned by the church. 

Meeting Places. — In the early part of this church's his- 
tory, the meetings were principally held in Struphaur's 
meeting house. Later meetings were held in several school 
houses, and some private homes. The church in council 













decided to build a meeting house in Swope's Valley in the 
summer of 191 1. This church was dedicated April 14, 

In the absence of suitable church houses, the love feasts 
were so far held in barns. The principal places for the 
love feasts were : John Haldeman's, William Kintzel's, 
Widow Elias Kintzel, and Jacob Morgan's. This is the 
only church in the district where love feasts are yet held in 

Houses of Worship. — Old Struphaur, built about 1865, 
frame, about 24 X 30 ; cheaply built. New Struphaur, 
built in 1888. Cost $836, frame, 34 X 36. Swope's Val- 
ley, built in 1911-12, frame, about 32X38. Bro. Wolf 
undertook to build it if church gave $250. 

Sunday Schools. — The church early became interested in 
Sunday Schools. Having at present an interesting Sunday 
School, a number of the Sunday School pupils united with 
the Church. Visiting members always feel at home with 
the saints at Schuylkill. They are especially noted for 
their hospitality and good will. Probable size of member- 
ship is 85, 

Bishops of this Congregation: (i) George Smith, 1877- 
1885. (2) John Hertzler, 1885-1901. (3) J. W. Myer, 
Sr., 1901-1905. (4) E. M. Wenger, 1905-. 


This church was organized from a part of Big Swatara 
Church, at a council held in the house of brother and sister 
Joseph C. Eshleman, No. 340 S. 14th Street, Harrisburg, on 
the evening of November 19, 1896, by Elders David Etter, 
Jacob H. Longenecker, and Samuel R. Zug, with three 
Brethren, and about twelve Sisters. 

After the members present had unanimously voted in 
favor of an organization, with the approval of the Elders 
present, Elder S. R. Zug was chosen to have charge of the 

There being then no minister or deacon in the city, it 
was decided that the officials of Big Swatara Church should 
be asked to supply them until they are in a condition to help 
themselves, which was kindly accepted. 

The first meetings were held in a hall, on the third floor, 
at the corner of 13th and Market Streets, but in the spring 
of 1897, Studebaker Hall, on the second floor, on north 3d 
Street was leased, where Sunday School and meetings were 
held, until 1899, when the lot, with an old one story frame 
dwelling, on Hummel Street, was bought for $3,000. This 
house was changed, by removing partitions, into a meeting 
house, and was so used until 1904 when the new church 
was built, at a cost of over $8,000, on the same lot, large, 
with movable partitions, which is expected to last for some 
time, and is all paid for. 

In 1897, Frank Haas, minister, moved here, but left again 
in 1898. 

In 1898, Brother John M. Mohler was engaged as Pastor, 
and labored and cared for the spiritual needs of the little 
flock for a year or more. After he left, his son-in-law 
Harry Spanogle came for some time, and by the combined 



efforts of all concerned, there were soon some additions by 
baptism, and removals from neighboring churches. 

In 1898, A. L. B. Martin was elected a deacon, and in 
1900, J. C. Eshleman and A. H. Maugans were elected 

In 1 90 1, A. L. B. Martin was elected a minister, and 
Aaron H. Hoffer a deacon. 

In 1903, J F. Graybill was elected a minister, and in 1906 
D. H. Widder. 

In 1906, D. E. Miller was elected a deacon, also in 1906 
Addison Hoffer. In 1909, Isaac Baker, a deacon, moved 

In 1906, D. E. Miller, a deacon, in 1907, J. F Graybill, a 
minister, in 1908, A. H. Hoffer, a deacon, and in 191 1, A. 
L. B. Martin, a minister, all moved away. In 19 12, Adam 
Hollinger and Abraham K. Hollinger moved in. 

In May, 1906, a Mission Sunday School was started in 
the northwestern part of the city, which was kept up since. 

In 1905, more territory was ceded by Big Swatara Church 
to Harrisburg, including Steelton, Highspire and Middle- 
town, and in 1907, August 4, a regular meeting once a 
month, in the old Lutheran Church in Middletown, was es- 
tablished, and has been kept up since. 

In 191 1, Elder S. R. Zug resigned as Elder in charge, and 
pressed its acceptance which was granted, with the proviso 
that he be retained as advisory Elder, and Elder G. N. 
Falkenstein was elected to have charge. 

The officials now are G. N. Falkenstein, Elder in charge ; 
the ministers are D. H. Widder, Adam Hollinger and Abm. 
K. Hollinger, and the deacons J. C. Eshleman, Addison 
Hoffer and Isaac Baker, and the membership numbers 90. 



The work of the Tower City^ Mission, now known as the 
Shamokin Church, was organized as early as the year 1889. 
Of course the field had been canvassed a number of years 
previous to this time by a number of ministering Brethren, 
Brethren Hiram Gibble and D. P. Ziegler having labored 
more extensively than any other of our Brethren. Bro. 
Hiram Gibble, as we will notice later, was Elder in charge 
for a number of years. 

Among some of the first Elders that took an active part 
in this mission were William Plertzler, John Hertzler, David 
Etter, J. H. Longenecker, H. E. Light, John Herr, Hiram 
Gibble, and some Brethren in the second degree. Elders 
William Hertzler, John Hertzler, and J. H. Longenecker 
were among the first to have charge of the mission, fol- 
lowed by H. E. Light, Hiram Gibble, and E. M. Wenger. 
The last named having charge of the church at the present 
time, by authority of the church and Home Mission Board. 

Bro. D. P. Ziegler was elected as early as 1891, as one 
of the ministers located in this territory. Later on Bro. 
William Kopenhaver was elected to the ministry, followed 
by placing their choice on Bro. Geo. H. Miller, now located 
at Mt. Carmel, about 8 miles from Shamokin, where his 
services are rendered. Bro. Kopenhaver is at the present 
located at Pottsville. The Brethren that served the Church 
in the capacity of deacons were Bro. Lucas, George Tobias, 
Geo. B. McKinney and William Forry. The first two 
named have died, and the last two in recent years moved 
to the Midway Church, in Lebanon, Pa. 

1 Since there are no members now living at Tower City, from