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(Pastor of Christ's Lutheran Church,
New Bloomfield, Perry County, Penna.)



Publishing Information:

Baltimore; T. Newton Kurtz; 151 West Pratt Street; 1862.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by David H. Focht, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

As A Humble Contribution 

The Author.


In May, 1859, the Historical Society of the Lutheran Church in the United States passed the following resolution:

"Resolved, That the ministers of our Church be requested, each to prepare a brief statement from church-records in his charge, of the date of the formation of each church, the successive pastors in charge, the present number of communicants, the language or languages employed in public worship, together with any important events in its history, and sketches of the life of the pastors, and forward the same in a letter by mail to our Curator, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania."

Previous to the passage of this resolution, the writer of these pages had prepared historical sketches of the churches of his own charge, and afterwards at the request of others he extended his researches to all the Lutheran congregations in Perry County.  The result of his labors is now before the reader.

Until a late date, no church-records were kept by most of the older congregations, and as the aged who had some knowledge of their early history were passing rapidly away, it was thought that something should be done, and done soon ,to rescue from oblivion the history of those congregations; it was thought, also, that such a history would be interesting and instructive to the present and future generations.

At first it was supposed that the task thus assumed would be an easy and pleasant one; and if nothing more than a general statement of facts had been required, this supposition would have been correct.  But vague generalities would have been unsatisfactory in a local history, and not in accordance with the wish of those for whose benefit it was specially designed.  The only course left for the writer was to enter into a detail of particulars.  Here, however, the difficulties he encountered were great, often almost insurmountable, owing to the want of data.  In such cases, collateral aids were called into requisition.

The author availed himself of every source of information within his reach.  He consulted scores of aged persons, overhauled the minutes of the different Synods, sought out old documents in the hands of individuals, in the archives of the different churches and of the court-house of the county, turned over the leaves of the Church periodicals, especially of the Lutheran Observer, and of the different secular papers published in the county, and corresponded with all those of whom it was supposed information could be obtained.  Sometimes he was successful, but as often disappointed, in eliciting the information he wanted.  He flatters himself, however, with the conviction, that not a fact of essential importance escaped his notice.

Great care was taken to verify all the data, to arrange the facts and material in chronological order, and to allow the facts so arranged to tell their own story, and frequently in their own language.  The history of each church is brought down to June, 1862.  As the circumstances of the different congregations were often so similar, repetition was sometimes unavoidable.  Each congregation has a history of its own, and it was deemed proper to give that history without regard to the many or few points in which it coincided with the history of other congregations.  The style is adapted, as much as possible, to the nature of the subjects treated.  our indebtedness for aid from different persons and sources is noticed at the proper place. 

After the completion of the work, it was the author's design to "forward the same by mail to the Curator, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania."  This design was, however, overruled by the wish of the Synod of Central Pennsylvania, and the protestation of the members of the churches in Perry County, all of whom expressed a strong desire that it might be given them in a permanent form.  This request the writer could not set aside, especially when he remembered that from local histories, in which facts are minutely detailed, a general history of the Church must be constructed, and that in this respect these humble pages might contribute their mite.  And though these sketches contain many facts and incidents of recent date and still fresh in the memory of many, the writer was reminded that time, in its onward march, will invest them with interest increasing in proportion as they fade from the recollection of men and sink away into the past.  It was argued, also, that by this means there would be placed in the hands of those who cherish veneration for departed ancestry, love for the Church, or long association or present residence, a record of religious history of peculiar interest,---a record which parents would wish to hand down to their children; that there are many, who still worship God where their fathers sung the praises of the Most High and their orisons paid, and who often meditate with deep solemnity over their silent graves; and that there are not a few, now dwelling in the far West, where they are surrounded by new scenes, but still bound to old ones by ties that can not be broken,--to all these it was supposed no service more acceptable could be rendered than by giving them, in a permanent form, a remembrancer of the old, middle-aged, and new churches with which are associated their earliest and latest recollections, and of the old and new graveyards in which repose the ashes of their dearest and nearest friends.

These sketches were prepared amid the constant interruptions and many hindrances incident to the duties a pastor owes a large charge.  They are not what we could wish them to be, yet they are all we could make them in three years' hard labor,---labor snatched from hours we should have had for rest.  Only he who has made the experiment can fully appreciate the works of this kind, and fully comprehend the difficulties connected with their preparation.  We send this volume out into the world, assured that those who can form any conception of the labor required in its preparation, growing out of the want of documents, of lost and faded records, of deciphering bad German manuscripts, of the sameness of material to be presented, and of the vagueness of traditions to be consulted, will with readiness appreciate any merit it may possess, and with mildness censure the defects from which it does not claim to be free.
New Bloomfield, PA.
Sept. 24th, 1862


The document placed in the hands of committee, No. 17, is a history of all the Lutheran congregations in Perry County, Pa., by the Rev. D.H. Focht of New Bloomfield.  Said history traces the rise and progress of the congregations from their earliest inception to the present time.  The document bears evidence of great care and patient investigation in its preparation.  It contains much of importance to the Lutheran Church, and will contribute,--if published, as we trust it will be,---to Lutheran literature.  We congratulate Rev. Focht for his success in collecting so many valuable statistics in this document, and hope that he will have it published as soon as possible.  As an expression of the opinion of your committee, we would beg leave to offer the following:

Resolved. That this Synod recommend the publication of said history.

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Synod, this history contains matter that should be particularly interesting to the members of the Lutheran Church in Perry County, and that a copy should be purchased by every family.

Resolved, That this Synod use its influence in introducing this work among Lutherans generally within its bounds.

Respectfully submitted,
P. Willard
W.H. Diven
G.M. Settlemoyer
Samuel Comp

Belleville, PA., May 4th, 1861

On motion, this report was accepted and adopted.  See Minutes of Synod pp. 26, 27.

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