CHURCHES BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS
A HISTORY OF THE
LUTHERAN CONGREGATIONS IN
PERRY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
REV. D. H. FOCHT, A.M.
CHRIST'S CHURCH AT BLOOMFIELD*
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*This is a discourse delivered by
the writer, on the 4th of October, 1857, based on Ps. 143:5, "I remember
the days of old." On that day, and for the last time, divine worship
was celebrated in Christ's old Union Log Church. The discourse was
prepared specially for the occasion, and hence the directness of address and
appeal. As a memento of the solemn occasion of leaving that old church
edifice, by request, the discourse is given entire and unchanged.
After the Indian wars had closed and Revolution had
successfully ended, the settlers in this valley located permanently, and, from
all we can learn, the Lutheran portion of the population was the first to enjoy
the stated preaching of the Gospel. Of the original founders of the
Lutheran congregation at Bloomfield,** we can give the names of only a
**Perry County was organized in 1820, and until 1825 the County
Courts were held at Landisburg. In 1825 the site now occupied by
Bloomfield was a clover-field, and selected as the location of the county town.
The Comp family and Shover settled in this vicinity in about 1780; the
Cless family in 1785; the Clark, Fritz, and Meyer families in about 1790; the
Westfall family in 1791, and the Slouch in 1795; the Smith, Crist and Sweger
families in 1800, and the Roth family in 1803. Besides these, a number of
others had settled in this part of the valley at the close of the last century,
but the exact time of their arrival we cannot learn. These families were
scattered over an extended territory, and at that time the population was
comparatively sparse. When visited by a minister of their Church, they
came together the distance of six, eight, or even twelve miles, through dark,
pathless forests, over hills and streams, to hear the glad tidings of peace and
salvation by faith through Jesus Christ. Private dwellings, barns,
school-houses, and the shaded woods served them as places for divine worship. It
is highly probable that they were occasionally visited, from 1780 to 1788, by
the Rev. John G. Butler of Carlisle. Immediately after this, the
Rev. John T. Kuhl,
commenced visiting and preaching for the
Lutherans in Sherman's Valley, and in 1790 located near Loysville. From
1788 to 1795 he preached also for the scattered members of the Church in the
vicinity of Bloomfield. Of his success here, and of the condition of the
congregation at that time, we have no authentic information. Some time in
1795 or '96, Rev. Kuhl left Sherman's Valley; but where he located after he
resigned here, we have no means of knowing. Soon after this, the members
in Sherman's Valley secured the spiritual labors of the
Rev. John Herbst,
who located at Carlisle, Pa., in 1796, and
took charge of the Lutheran congregation at Loysville, and preached also
occasionally for the members here. We have been informed that he
administered the sacraments among the members of the congregation, and it is
probable that the congregation was regularly organized by him some time between
1797 and 1800. As the members were favored with occasional preaching, they
naturally felt the want of a suitable home of worship, and such a house they now
resolved to build.
THE OLD UNION LOG
This church was built jointly by the
Lutherans and German Reformed on one acre and a half of land, which they bought
of Jacob Lupfer for twelve dollars. This land was located by Mr. Lupfer in
1787 by order from the Land Office, surveyed for church purposes in 1802, and
conveyed be deed to the two denominations on the 14th of May, 1804, and is now
embraced in the borough of Bloomfield. Those of the members who were able
to do so, furnished, each, one round or more logs. These logs were fine
white pine, oak, and some poplar. After all the required timber had been
brought together, the church edifice was raised on Saturday, the 19th of June,
1798. The building was thirty-six feet long by thirty feet wide. In
erecting the edifice, heavy cross-beams were inserted for a gallery, which was
however not constructed till about twenty-two years after. Soon after the
building had been raised, Mr. Andrew Shuman covered it with a substantial roof;
but, as we are informed, nothing more was done towards its completion till
1802. Thus for four years the edifice stood without doors, windows or
floor. There was then no stove in the church (as it was called), and
preaching only in summer. The congregation sat on slabs laid on blocks
sawed from logs, and the minister, when preaching, stood behind a little ,rough,
wooden table. The earth served as floor, and the roof as the only covering
over head, whilst the naked walls, without doors and windows, surrounded the
attentive congregation. In winter, the minister preached in private
dwellings in the vicinity. At that time, during the cold seasons of the
year, there was preaching there but seldom. The pastor resided at
Carlisle, about eighteen miles off, and the roads in the depth of winter must
have been almost impassable across the North Mountain and through the dreary
forests of Sherman's Valley.
In 1801, Rev. Herbst resigned at Carlisle, and consequently ceased to visit the
members here. In 1802, a floor was laid to the church, doors were put up,
and windows round below; the spaces for windows round above were closed with
boards; the seats remained as before, except that they were now raised on the
floor, and the minister, as before, stood behind a small table when he
preached. It is probable that about this time, or within a few years
after, a stove was secured for the church.
As the draft of the church-land, made in 1802, clearly shows, the ground on
which the church was located and the lands all around it were at that time well
timbered with large forest trees. About one acre and a half, lying
northwest of the church, had been cleared a long time before, but was now densly
covered with young pine bushes and sumac, and part of it was afterwards included
in the graveyard. A large pine tree stood in front of the church, facing
what is now High Street. Near where the brick school-house now stands was
a pond of water, in which at that time an abundance of frogs sported, and all
the low ground from the pond down to Big Spring was overgrown with underbrush
and greenbrier. The church was located on an eligible site. The
place is considerably elevated on a dry gravel bank, which slopes away towards
the north and rising sun; northwest of it Limestone Ridge rises gradually in
bold relief, and, on the southeast, it overlooks Bloomfield and a small but
beautiful valley, when, at a distance of about one mile and a half, the view is
bounded by the gracefully rising Mahanoy Ridge. A short distance west of
the church the road forked,---one road passed in front of the church and led to
Carlisle; the other passed back of the church, over ground now embraced in the
graveyard, and led to Juniata River at Newport. At the time when the
church was erected, all the lands around it, and nearly all that are now
embraced in the borough of Bloomfield, were covered by a dense forest of large
timber and underwood. There was then not a house nearer than the old
building on Mr. David Lupfer's farm and the dwelling of the late Mr. Barnett,
each of them nearly a mile off. The church stood lonely in the woods to
tell that God was worshipped there.
The graveyard was commenced soon after the erection of the church. Peter
Moses was the first person buried here, and a Mr. Cless the second. The
graveyard, back of the church, leans against Limestone Ridge, and from a gradual
ascent looks down towards the southeast. The dead were buried here many
years before their graves were inclosed by a fence. The graveyard is now
quite large, and the many white marble slabs, dotting it all over, tell the sad
story of man's mortality.
Of those who helped to build this house of worship, not one is left to tell us
its early history in detail. They have all passed away with the rush of
time, and many of them now repose here in "God's acre." And
soon, too, this building, which our forefathers erected, in which they
worshipped the God of their fathers in prayer and sweet hymns of praise, will be
levelled with the ground, and all the hallowed recollections associated with it
will perish from the memory of man. When the dark and unbroken forest
shaded all around, our gray fathers met on this sacred spot, marked out a space
in the fork of the road, and with holy reverence concluded to build a temple to
the honor and glory of God. They did build such a temple. And here
they listened with sweet delight to the story of the Cross, sang Zion's hymns,
and their orisons paid. And here, hard by the temple of their God and of
our God, many of them laid their bodies down in peace to rest till the
resurrection day. No bell tolled their funeral dirge, and many have no
stone set up to mark their resting-place. A forest of tall trees in the
winds sighed plaintively over their graves and mantled the upturned earth with
yellow leaves. How solemn the retrospect! How all has changed! and
after us changes will still go on. It is well for us to "remember the
days of old," and learn to live for another and better world.
"O may our feet pursue
Our pious fathers led;
While love and holy zeal obey
The counsels of the dead."
After Rev. Herbst ceased to preach in
Sherman's Valley, the congregation at Bloomfield did not, for some time, enjoy
regularly the blessing of the preached word. We are informed, however,
Rev. Frederick Sanno,
who preached regularly at Loysville, preached
also occasionally to the members here, and administered the sacraments among
them. We have also been told by an aged member of the Lutheran Church,
Rev. Henry Ludolph Spark,
who taught school in Spring Township and
donated the land on which Ludolph Church is erected, lectured or preached, from
1802 to 1806, for the members in this vicinity and baptized their children,
though it does not appear that he officiated in the church. Mr. Spark was
not a regular minister, but as the members had no regularly ordained pastor, he,
as a pious school-master, sometimes preached and performed the ministerial
functions. Such was the state of things at that time. From 1806 to
Rev. Frederick Oberhauser,*
*Mr. Oberhauser was from Holland,
and is said to have been a man of considerable erudition. For a number of
years he preached at different places in Saville and Toboyne Townships, and, in
1815, he confirmed a class of catechumens in the house now occupied by Mr.
Andrew Shuman, near St. Andrew's or Shuman's Church. He also practised
medicine. In Holland he may have been a regular minister, and for some
time he preached in Northampton County, Pa.; but when he preached in Sherman's
Valley, he did not stand in connection with any Synod. We have met with
the following notice of this death: "Died, on Thursday last (the 12th
of April, 1821) in Toboyne Township, Perry County, in the 75th year of his age, Dr.
Frederick Oberhauser. His remains were attended to the grave (at
Blain?) by a large concourse of people." -- The Perry Forester.
After his death his large library was sold. Nearly all the books were in
the Dutch language. Father Heim bought a large number of them, and some
forty volumes of them are now in the writer's library.
who preached in Saville Township, in the
neighborhood of Ickesburg, and also of Blain, occasionally visited the members
here and preached for them in their houses. The congregation did not enjoy
the regular services of a recognized pastor till 1809, when the
Rev. John Frederick Osterloh
took charge of nearly all the Lutheran
congregations in Sherman's Valley. He preached here once every four weeks
in the German language. It is said, that whilst he was pastor here, and
for some time after, the congregation had in one corner of the church a barrel
full of oats, and a trough fixed in the fork of a tree near the church, where
the horse fed whilst the parson preached. At that time the people
consulted convenience rather than taste, and adapted themselves to the
circumstances by which they were surrounded. At present some people think
it too hard to go a few miles to hear the Gospel preached. Then it was not
so. Then people went over hills, passed streams, not on smooth and level
roads, but by by-paths and without paths, not on horseback and in carriages but
on foot, from six to ten miles, without uttering a word of complaint.
Then, as we are told, in summer they generally carried their shoes till within
sight of the church, when they put them on instead of taking them off, as Moses
was commanded to do, because the ground was holy. And then, during the
warm season of the year, the men went to church without coat, having on a
home-spun white linen shirt and jacket thrown over it, and the women had on a
sun-bonnet as a covering for their heads, and garments spun, wove, and made by
their own hands. Thus, in their dress they were plain, in their
intercourse with each other unaffected, and in their worship without hypocrisy,
simple and devout.
The congregation was organized by Rev. Osterloh on a better and firmer basis
than that on which it stood before. Mr. George Cless was elected to
the office of Elder, and Mr. Mathias Meyer to that of Deacon. These
fathers remained in office for many years. The congregation, now enjoying
the stated ministry of a pastor, gathered strength and advanced
prosperously. The scattered members were drawn together from great
distances, and were glad to hear the word of God and engage in the solemn
exercises of the sanctuary. The youth, who had grown up without church
connection, were brought under the benign influence of the Gospel, and
instructed by the pastor in the doctrines of our holy religion. Accessions
were made to the membership of the congregation, and the hearts of those who
mourned over the desolations of Zion and longed for the bread and water of life,
were made to rejoice in God their Savior.
As no church-record was kept by this congregation till 1855, we are wholly
dependent on the memory of our informants for the names of persons who were
confirmed here from time to time; nor is the time of confirmation and the number
confirmed always certain. Under these circumstances, we are unable to give
the names of more than about two-thirds of those who were admitted to full
As the church edifice was unfit for occupancy in winter, Rev. Osterloh met and
catechized the youth in private dwellings. In the spring of 1810, the
following persons---the first, so far as we can learn, that were ever confirmed
here---were admitted to full communion:
Jacob Clouser; Conrad Roth; Henry Roth; Henry Lenig; John Cless; John Meyer;
George Sunday; George Yeager; Andrew Shover; Martin Smith; Catharine Smith; Mary
Ann Crist; Mary Yeager; Susan Roth; Sophia Shover; Susan Richter; Catharine
Westfall; Margaret Westfall; Magdalene Smith; Elizabeth Roth; Elizabeth Slouch;
Sarah Cless; Elizabeth Cless; Catharine Cless.
With but two or three exceptions, all the above persons have already gone to the
eternal world. They have run their race, and now reap the fruit of their
deeds while on earth. In 1811, another class of catechumens was
confirmed. Of this class the following are the only names we could learn:
Matthias Grove (baptized); Benjamin Smith; Elizabeth Meyer; Mary Miller;
We have not been able to find that any others were confirmed until 1814, when
the following persons, and a number of others whose naems are not recollected,
were admitted to full communion:
Jacob Burd; Jacob Lenig Mrs. Catharine Meyer; Mrs. ---- Doren; Catharine Meyer;
Susan Meyer; Maria Smith; Elizabeth Smith.
This was the last class of catechumens Rev. Osterloh confirmed here. As he
neglected the congregation somewhat, the members became dissatisfied with him,
and petitioned Synod to permit them, in connection with other congregations, to
give Rev. Heim a call. Synod granted this petition. Rev. Osterloh
resigned and in June, 1816, according to a resolution of Synod, the
Rev. John William Heim
became the regular pastor of this
congregation, which, in connection with the other Lutheran congregations in
Sherman's Valley, he served till his death on the 27th of December, 1849.
He was a faithful, laborious, and successful minister of the Gospel of
Christ. Here he preached once every four weeks, exclusively in the German
language. The heading of a subscription in our hands, for the year 1818,
shows that the members were willing to support him. It reads thus:
"May 3d, 1818. We subscribe our names towards having Mr. Heim preach
in the church in Juniata Township, Cumberland County, at Christ's Church.
he is to preach every four weeks." Forty-two dollars and ninety-four
cents were subscribed. As the congregation was yet comparatively small,
and the members generally poor and scattered over a large extent of territory,
we are agreeably surprised that they contributed so liberally towards the
support of the Gospel. Having instructed a class of catechumens
faithfully, some time in 1818, Rev. Heim confirmed the following persons, with
some others, whose names cannot now be recollected:
Daniel Swartz; Jacob Swartz; John Smith; Daniel Cless; John Lenig; Philip
Gensler; Adam Cless; Mrs. Julia Shatto; Mrs. Susan Foose; Esther Doren
(baptized); Sophia Meyer; Rebecca Meyer; Margaret Meyer; Eve Lesch; Catharine
Clark; Martha Smith; Catharine Smith; Eve Smith; Catharine Smith; Catharine
Lenig; Catharine Miller.
The members of the congregation were much encouraged by the pastoral labors of
Rev. Heim, and great success crowned his unwearied efforts to save immortal
Perry County, which had been a part of Cumberland, was organized by an act of
Legislature, passed May 22d, 1820. The courts were held at Landisburg till
1825. Bloomfield, so called from the name given to the tract in the
patent, is of recent origin, its site having been a clover-field no longer ago
than 1825. In that year, it was selected as the site for the county town.
After the church had stood about twenty-two years, it was completed on the 19th
of June, 1820. Seats were now constructed, and a pulpit, wine-glass
shaped, and supported by a high post, was built against the northwest wall; a
round, isolated altar was placed in front of the pulpit; windows were inserted
round above; the roof inside received an arched board ceiling; the gallery, on
three sides of the house, was erected and ceiled with boards below, and was
supported by thick posts under strong cross-beams. All the wood-work was
painted white, and the other part of the inside of the church received a coat of
plaster. Mr. Michael Clouser superintended the carpenter work. After
the church had in this way been completed, it was consecrated some time in July,
1820, and received the distinctive name, Christ's Church. The
ministers present at the consecration, were Rev. J. W. Heim of the Lutheran
Church, Rev. Jacob Shull of the German Reformed Church, and Rev. Joseph Brady of
the Presbyterian Church. Several sermons were preached in the German
language, and Rev. Brady preached a sermon in the English language. The
concourse of people, assembled on this joyful occasion, is said to have been
As Rev. Heim resided near Mifflintown, Juniata County, about thirty miles off,
till the spring of 1828, he catechized here once every three or four
years. We have not been able to learn that any were confirmed at
Bloomfield between 1818 and '25, though it is probable that one class at least
was during that time admitted to full communion. During the summer of
1825, Rev. Heim met and instructed a class here, and in the fall of the same
year between thirty and forty were confirmed, of whom the
following persons were the most:
Michael Clark; Samuel Comp; John Anders; John Shuman; William Delancy; Henry L.
Smith; Henry Swartz; Jacob Clouser; Jacob Roth; Daniel Pickard; Jonas Lesch;
Samuel Beistlein; Mrs. Hannah Heckendorn; Mrs. Elizabeth Shuman; Mrs. Elizabeth
Lyons; Elizabeth Miller; Elizabeth Crist; Catharine Swartz; Margaret Smith;
Sarah Smith; Lydia Smith; Elizabeth Shuman; Mary Ann Lenig; Barbara Clark;
Catharine Lyons; Elizabeth Attig; Mary Fusselman; Rebecca Eisenhauer; Catharine
Beistlein; Rebecca Bausum; Rebecca Otto; Elizabeth Leppart; Hannah Gressley.
Some of the above persons are at present among our most useful aged members of
the church; but many of them have passed away into the eternal world. Rev.
Heim labored in season and out of season, and, having so many an remote
congregations to serve, he could not catechize at each preaching-place as often
as we now do. But when he did lecture on the Catechism, the young people
came the distance of six to ten miles. It was then deemed not only a duty,
but a most delightful and glorious privilege, to attend a course of lectures on
the fundamental doctrines of our holy religion. So religious instruction
ought to be yet regarded, and so it is yet regarded by all who have correct
views of the design and advantage of such a course of lectures. Early and
thorough instruction, imparted in the spirit of the Master, in the truths of our
religion, cannot be over estimated. Ignorance in regard to the doctrines
of Christianity is not only the mother of vice, but also very often of
infidelity; an the neglect of indoctrinating the youthful mind invariably
results in a sickly, fitful, and erratic sort of religion, if religion it may be
called. Religion is a subject for both head and heart. We must think
aright before we will feel aright; we must know aright before we can act aright;
we must have our heads set aright by the word of truth before our hearts
can be set aright by the spirit of truth. Catechization, like preaching,
may be abused by men without grace; but catechization, like preaching, under
God's blessing, is the means of good to souls---good that could not be
accomplished by any other means; and generally, if attended to in the right way,
such seasons of instruction result in the awakening and conversion of souls--in
a revival of genuine religion.
In the spring of 1828, Rev. Heim moved to Loysville, and after that usually
catechized here once every three years. Having instructed a class, in
June, 1830, he confirmed the following persons, and a number of others whose
names cannot now be remembered:
John Miller; John Ludman; Henry Smith; John K. Smith; William Smith; Andrew
Comp; Jacob Shearer; Mrs. Margaret Smith; Elizabeth Smith; Catharine Smith;
Catharine Frey; Margaret Burrel; Elizabeth Powel; Lydia Powel; Martha Powel;
Elizabeth Smith; Catharine Smith; Sarah Meyer; Catharine Reisdorff; Miss ----
Sweger; Miss ---- Sweger.
May those of this class, still in the church militant, be prepared to foin the
"Faith sees the bright,
Unfold to make his children way;
They shall be cloth'd with endless life,
And shine in everlasting day."
In May, 1833, with a number of others, whose
names cannot be ascertained, the following persons were confirmed here:
Henry Fleisher; Jacob Smith; Jonas J. Smith; John Shearer; George Shearer; David
Miller; Benjamin Reiber; Jacob Burrel; Daniel Comp; John Rhodes (baptized); Mrs.
Susan Rhodes; Mrs. Hannah Smith; Mrs. Hannah Hassinger; Mrs. Catharine Lenig;
Mrs. Catharine Miller; Mrs. Mary Smith; Magdalene Comp; Mary Clark; Frances
The congregation was evidently in a prosperous condition at this time.
Many confirmed in this class are still members of the Church here and elsewhere,
adorning their Christian profession by a godly life and extensive usefulness in
the Church. Well might Father Heim rejoice in the hope of seeing his
instruction, his prayers, and his tears yield an abundant harvest. May the
truths he taught them be in their hearts as good seed, bearing fruit unto
"Let those that sow in
Till the fair harvest come;
They shall confess their sheaves a great,
And bring rich blessings home."
In August, 1835, the following persons, and
some others, were confirmed:
Daniel Reider; John Tressler; Henry Reider; Jacob Crist; Jacob Fleisher; Jacob
Smith; Samuel Smith; John Brown; Benjamin Smeigh; Jacob Smeigh; Mrs. Mary Sweger;
Mrs. Elizabeth Smith; Catharine Reider; Ann Smeigh; Sarah Comp; Sarah Sweger;
Catharine Brown; Catharine Troup; Catharine Tressler; Lydia Smith; Catharine
Smith; Barbara Lenig; Mary Jumper; Mary Troup; Mary Halbach; Elizabeth Reisdorff.
Of those who were this time admitted to full communion in the Church, many still
remain among us, bearing witness to the excellency of the Gospel of Christ by
their consistent walk and conversation; some few of them to the hurt of their
souls have gone out from among us, and some have gone to try an unseen
world. May all now living, prepare to meet their God!
"Draw us, O Savior,
with they grace,
And lift our thoughts on high,
That we may end this mortal race,
And see salvation nigh."
In May, 1839, a large class of catechumens
was confirmed. The following persons were some of this class:
Jacob Super; Henry Titzel; John Titzel; Samuel Tressler; Thomas Lenig; Beneval
Shade; John Brown; John Burrel; William Hassinger; John Earhart; George Eckert;
John Lenig; Jacob Long; John Leppert; Daniel Smith; John Super; Mrs. Elizabeth
Long; Mary Lenig; Rebecca Tressler; Barbara Lenig; Elizabeth Smith; Elizabeth
Smith; Catharine Shearer; Mary Shearer; Elizabeth Comp; Mary Earhart; Nancy
Leppert; Barbara Super; Mary Doren; Catharine Doren; Barbara Lesch; Catharine
Frey; Mary Frey.
Many of these are now among the most active members of our Church. Some of
them o more among the living. May those who survive, strive to obtain the
crown of life! Soon will all our labors end, and
"With joy shall we
stand, when escaped to the shore;
With harps in our hands, we'll praise Him the more;
We'll range the sweet plains on the bank of the river,
And sing of salvation for ever and ever."
In May, 1841, a large number of persons were
confirmed, of whom the following were some:
Andrew Titzel; Solomon Tressler; David Shearer; John Swartz; George W. Swartz;
Henry Burkepile; Samuel Carl; David Long; Samuel Smith; Jeremiah Burkepile; ----
Smith; Mrs. Hannah Burkepile; Elizabeth Tressler; Susan Tressler; Sarah Carl;
Sarah Shearer; Elizabeth Titzel; Elizabeth Frey; Ann Wax; Mary Smith; Mary
Reisdorrff; Barbara Lenig; Susan Bender; Elizabeth Foulk; Eve Foulk.
Most of those confirmed this time are still among us, and actively engaged in
the glorious cause they then espoused. The race of life is before them,
may they run it with patience, and press forward to the heavenly Jerusalem!
"O Lord of hosts, thou
God of grace,
How blest, divinely blest, is he
Who trusts Thy love, and seeks Thy face,
And fixes all his hopes on Thee!"
On the 23d of September, 1842, the West
Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church convened in this house, and remained
in session a number of days.
Though Father Heim had now attained that age when most men seek rest in
retirement, he nevertheless prosecuted his calling, and was actively and
zealously engaged in the cause of his divine Master. In September, 1845,
he confirmed the following class of catechumens:
John Sweger; Peter Stone; George Stone; John Stone; Samuel Stone; John Cless;
Frederick Cless; Peter Hair; Jacob Jumper; Frederick Jumper; Elizabeth Sweger;
Mary Ann Sweger; Ann Eliza Clark; Margaret Clark; Sophia Comp; Nancy Baker; Ann
Foulk; Barbara Foulk; Christiana Doren; Jane Hair; Mary Ann Hair; Sarah Cornman;
Margaret Kleckner; Sarah Ann Kleckner.
This was the last class of catechumens Father Heim confirmed here. Before
the time had come to meet another class, the Lord said to him, "Well done,
thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Thus he fell asleep in the Lord, on the 27th of December, 1849.
"And now has come his
His triumph day. Illustrious like a sun,
In that assembly, he shining from far,
Most excellent in glory, stands assured,
Waiting the promised crown, the promised throne,
The welcome and approval of his Lord,
.....and round him gathered, clad
In white, the vouchers of his ministry---
The flock his care had nourished, fed and saved."
Father Heim continued to preach here to the end of his life,
having served the congregation about thirty-three years and a half.
He preached exclusively in the German language, and was the honored instrument
of adding many to the Church, and of directing them to Christ. Under his
pastoral care, the congregation was firmly established and built up. His
charge was an extended and laborious one; but being possessed of a remarkably
strong physical constitution, he bore up amid all his labors, and prosecuted his
calling with energy and untiring zeal to the end. In dangers often, he was
undaunted; in labors constant, he finished his work in a good old age, departed
in peace, and now reaps an ample reward in a world of surprising glory.
Many of those he confirmed are gems in the crown of his rejoicing; many of them
are here to-day; who will soon follow him and their brethren. But as we do
not intend to preach Father Heim's funeral sermon, we will follow the thread of
THE ENGLISH CONGREGATION AT BLOOMFIELD.
We must now go back about six years.
During the sessions of the West Pennsylvania Synod, held at Bloomfield in
September, 1842, some of the ministers present preached in the English
language. Soon after that, some of the members, who understood that
language best and saw the necessity of introducing its use in the pulpit,
desired Father Heim to associate with himself some minister who could preach in
English. But, unable to preach in the English language himself, Father
Heim was also averse to having any one associated with him for the purpose of
preaching in that language. It is to be regretted that Father Heim, like
many others at that time, set his face against the introduction of the English
language, when its use in preaching was so much required; he conceived it to be
an unwarranted innovation, and opposed it. Such a course was, and could
not but be, detrimental to the interests of the congregation. Father Heim
meant it well, however injudicious his policy was on this subject. As he
was unyielding, the President of Synod interfered, and in an indirect way
accomplished the desired end. In a letter to the writer, the
Rev. Levi T. Williams,
who was then stationed at Petersburg, this
county, gives the following account of the rise, organization, and progress of
the English Lutheran congregation:
"According to the directions of Rev. A. H. Lochman, D.D., then President of
the West Pennsylvania Synod, I preached a trial sermon at Bloomfield some time
in January, 1844. I was also to preach in the German language; but as I
found the German speaking members considerably opposed to that, I deemed it best
to get Rev. Jacob Shull, a German Reformed minister, to fill that appointment
for me. In order to reconcile the German speaking members to English
preaching, and to prevent a division of the congregation, no further appointment
was made until every means had been used to induce the opposing party to
countenance the enterprise. When every effort had been made in vain, it
was finally resolved to organize an English Lutheran congregation, wholly
separate from the German. This was effected on Friday, June 14th, 1844,
when the following brethren were elected as officers, viz.:
Jacob Crist, Sen., David Deardorff; Elders
H. C. Hickock, Esq., George Attig; Deacons
"A call was then extended to me. This call I accepted. My
introductory sermon I preached on Sunday, the 14th of July, the same year, in
the brick school-house near the old Union church. Soon after this our
Presbyterian brethren relieved us of the necessity of worshipping in a filthy
school-house, by kindly tendering us the use of their church, which I then
occupied till I resigned. I have no account of the number of members who
joined in the organization, but there could not have been more than eight or
ten. I preached for them every third Sabbath. The first communion
was held on Sunday, Dec. 8th, 1844. On Saturday previous (the 7th) the
following persons were confirmed, viz.:
Alex. C. Klink; Mrs. Rebecca Attig; Mrs. Frances Sheaffer; Mrs. Eliza Eby; Mrs.
Mary Ickes; Charlotte Attig.
"The second communion was held on the 25th of May, 1845. On Saturday
previous (the 24th), the following persons were admitted to full communion by
the rite of confirmation:
Richard Fritz; John Waggoner; Joseph Bender; Mrs. Eliz. Waggoner; Mrs. Elizabeth
Holmes; Harriet Crist; Rebecca Bender; Mary Cormichal; Margaret Smith
(baptized); Cath. Cormichal (by certificate).
"I preached my farewell sermon on the 7th of September, 1845."
So far the statement of Rev. Williams.
Rev. Williams resided at Petersburg, and preached there, at Bloomfield, Newport,
Mount Pisgah, and some other places. After he had resigned here, he
accepted a call from Franklin County, and was succeeded by
Rev. Lloyd Knight,
late of the Theological Seminary at
Gettysburg, Pa. Whilst pastor of the charge Rev. Knight resided at
Bloomfield. In a letter he gives the following account of his labors
"I took charge of the English Lutheran congregation at Bloomfield on the
1st of October, 1845. In the winter following, we were blessed with an
outpouring of God's Spirit. Many old members renewed their covenant and
some new ones were added to the Church.* Our first communion was
held on the 1st of February, 1846. Thirty-six members reported
themselves as communicants on Saturday previous, and as some of the fruits of
the revival, the following persons were admitted to full communion by
Dr. Jonas Ickes; William Erb; Thompson Graham; George Henzel; Samuel Hassinger;
George W. Brown; Mrs. Cath. Ann Gallatin; Margaret Holman; Eliz. Arford; Mary
Shade; Sophia Bidelman.
(*In the Lutheran Observer, February 20, 1846, we find the
following notice of this work of grace:--"Revival.--An extensive
work of grace has been in progress at Bloomfield, Perry County, Pa., in the
congregation under the care of Brother Knight. Our correspondent
remarks: 'We have had a glorious state of things in our midst. God
be praised! For the last six weeks much interest has been felt on the
subject of religion. About six weeks ago, assisted by rev. Babb and a
student from Gettysburg, we commenced a protracted meeting, and it was not long
until the Lord commenced a precious work in our midst, the result of which, I
trust, will never be forgotten by many souls. Some of the most wicked and
abandoned are now clothed and if their right mind. Last Sabbath we
communed, when there was an accession to our little congregation of eleven or
twelve new members. To God belongs all the praise.' ")
"At this time the whole number of communicant members was
forty-seven. Soon after this I commenced instructing another class of
catechumens, and on the 7th of June, 1846, the following persons were admitted
to full communion by confirmation, viz.:
John Roth; Mrs. Elizabeth Hall; Mrs. Elizabeth Bidelman; Mrs. Susan Boden; Nancy
Bear; Isabella Everhart; Sarah Lamar (by certificate).
The following is a document well worthy our attention now, as it is illustrative
of the spirit of the charge then:
"At the annual meeting of the vestries under the charge of Rev. L. Knight,
held at Bloomfield, Perry County, Pa., on the 29th of August, 1846, the
following resolutions, among others, were unanimously adopted, and ordered to be
transmitted to the Lutheran Observer for publication, viz.:
"Resolved, That we have
abundant reason to thank Almighty God for the prosperous condition of our
congregations, and for the spirit of unanimity which prevails in our Councils.
"Resolved, That the labors, zeal, and piety of our beloved pastor
meet our entire approbation, and that the means employed for the advancement
of Christ's kingdom give general satisfaction.
"Resolved, That Sabbath-schools are of primary importance as
channels through which the waters of life may freely flow into the hearts of
rising generation, and as efficient instrumentalities by which the children of
the Church, and at large, may become thoroughly imbued with the principles and
spirit of genuine Christianity, have their minds an hearts fortified against
evil influences, and especially against the wily assaults of the infidel and
Jesuit; and we believe it to be the imperative duty of the members of each
congregation, to encourage and aid the establishment and support of these
schools with their influence, their personal exertions, and the pecuniary
means with which God has blessed them.
"Resolved, That we recognize the solemn truth that
'Prayer was appointed to
The blessings of God designs to give;'
and we believe the social prayer-meeting to
be eminently calculated to secure the influences of divine grace,--to call
down the blessings of Heaven,--to impress and awaken sinners,--to build up
Christ's followers,--to strengthen the hands of the pastor,--to further the
best interests of the Church militant,--and to promote the honor and glory of
God, and should therefore be regularly maintained, in a flourishing condition,
in every congregation.
"Resolved, That the preaching of the Gospel is the most prominent
agency established by the Lord Jesus Christ for the building up of his
kingdom, and churches should therefore be established, pastors appointed over
them, and the public worship of Almighty God be faithfully maintained; and
while we expect the faithful performance of his whole duty on the part of the
pastor, we on our part know that the 'laborer is worthy of his hire,' and
regard it as an indispensable requisite to the welfare of the Church, that he
be provided with a liberal salary, punctually paid at stated periods.
"Resolved, That it is the duty of every denomination to support
its religious newspaper, and we therefore respectfully urge it on our brethren
to subscribe for the Lutheran Observer themselves, and to induce others
to do the same.
"PHILIP EBERT, Chairman
"HENRY C. HICKOK, Secretary*
(*See Lutheran Observer, September 11, 1846)
In September, 1846, H. C. Hickok, Esq.,
attended Synod at Chambersburg, Pa., as the lay representative of the Bloomfield
On the 18th of April, 1847, Mrs. Sarah Power was received as a member by
certificate, and on the 4th of December, the same year, the following were
admitted to full communion by confirmation:
John H. Shade; Mrs. Sarah Shoemaker; Mrs. Eliza Lupfer; Ann Boyles; Mary Boyles;
Isabella Ickes; Sarah A. Huss; Rebecca W. Huss.
In September, 1847, Mrs. Christian Long of Newport, as delegate of the charge,
attended Synod at Mifflinburg, Union County, Pa.
On the 12th of November, 1848, after having been duly instructed, the following
persons were confirmed:
David Tressler; Conrad Weary; Andrew Hansel; Mrs. Tamer Miller; Mrs. Charity
Marshall (baptized); Mrs. Margaret Sweger; Sarah A. Roth; Mary A. Cless.
In September, 1848, Mr. A. Billow, as lay representative of the charge, attended
Synod at Berlin, Adams County, Pa.
In the fall of 1848, the English Lutheran congregation was, on certain
conditions, permitted to worship in the old Union church. Hitherto it had
the use of the Presbyterian church.
On the 27th of May, 1849, Mrs. Susan Smeigh was admitted to full communion by
the rite of confirmation.
Rev. Knight gives the following summary of his labors at Bloomfield:
"I received thirty-four persons into the church, baptized thirty-five
infants, and attended fifteen funerals. Having served the charge
three years and a half, I resigned in June, 1849. I labored under great
disadvantages. At Bloomfield we had no house of worship of our own, and
had to contend with the prejudices against English preaching, &c. At that
time the whole charge was composed of Bloomfield, Newport, Petersburg, Buffalo
on the Susquehanna, St. David's or Billow's, Mount Pisgah, and on the 12th of
June, 1847, the seventh congregation was added to the charge, namely, the
Buffalo or Stone church above Ickesburg, making an area of twenty-seven
miles. During the three years and a half I was pastor of the charge, there
were added to the various congregations, 158 members by confirmation and about
25 by certificate. Had three revivals of religion,---one at Bloomfield,
one at Newport, and one at Mount Pisgah. I attended 49 funerals, and
celebrated 49 marriages. I left the charge in a flourishing and prosperous
condition, and much against the will of the people. I found the charge in
October, 1845, with 166 communicants, and left it with 396, ---an increase of
230 members. I shall ever recur to the time I spent among that dear people
as a green spot on life's dreary way through this world of difficulties and
sorrows. It was my first charge, the charge of my youth and of my love;
and though the ties which united us together as pastor and people have long
since been broken and buried in the past, they are nevertheless engraven on the
heart, never to be forgotten. And when our labor is done on earth and our
heavenly Master finds us worthy of admission into his rest above, may we not
hope to meet there the dear people to whom we ministered here, and
whom we, under God, brought into the Church of Jesus Christ. God grant it!
Amen." To this we also add our sincere---Amen.
When Rev. Knight resigned, the English Lutheran congregation at Bloomfield
numbered about seventy members, as many already as the German, if not
more, and all these were brought into the Church in about four years. How
strikingly this shows that there was great necessity of preaching in this place
in the English language! Rev. Knight accepted a call from the Lutheran
congregation at Hollidaysburg, Pa., and the
Rev. Jacob Martin
of Hollidaysburg, Pa., succeeded him at
Bloomfield in July of the same year. In a letter, Rev. Martin says:
"I commenced my pastoral labors in the Bloomfield charge on the first
Sabbath in July, 1849. The charge was then composed of Bloomfield,
Petersburg, Billow's or St. David's, Mt. Pisgah, Newport, Buffalo near
Ickesburg, and New Buffalo on the Susquehanna. After the death of Father
Heim, a convention of the Church-Councils of the Lutheran congregations in Perry
County was held at Bloomfield in Feb., 1850, and the congregations which Rev.
Heim had served, together with those under my pastoral care, were so divided and
arranged as to form three pastorates, namely, the Loysville, the Bloomfield, and
the Petersburg. My charge (the Bloomfield) was then composed of five
congregations, namely, Bloomfield, Newport, Shuman's or St. Andrew's, St. John's
near Markelville, and Buffalo west of Ickesburg.*
(*For the division of the charges, see -----)
Whilst pastor of the charge I confirmed between 125 and 150
persons. I cannot give the names of those who were confirmed by me, nor
the time when they were confirmed. About one-fourth of the preaching was
required in the German language."
In September, 1850, Mr. Christian Long of Newport, as delegate of the charge,
attended Synod at Berlin, Union County, Pa.
In the fall of 1848, the English Lutheran congregation at Bloomfield was, on
certain conditions, allowed to worship in the old Union church. At the
close of 1849, Father Heim departed this life, and thus the German part of the
congregation was left without a pastor. As Rev. Martin could preach so
well in both languages, he was able to give full satisfaction to both
congregations and to meet all their wants. The Convention referred to
above, so divided the congregations as to throw the Germans at Bloomfield into
Rev. Martin's charge. And in this way he became the regular successor
of Rev. Heim, and thus the German and English congregations were united into one
congregation. This was the best and only way the matter could be
arranged. Some of the Germans, it seems, were however for some time
dissatisfied, being influenced by persons not of our Church and not friendly
disposed towards her. The matter was brought before Synod in September,
1850, when and where the following action was taken on the subject:
"The committee appointed to draft resolutions in reference to the division
of the Bloomfield and Loysville charges, respectfully report:
"Resolved, That whilst we
approve of the steps taken and the action had by the Convention regularly
assembled for the division of said charges, we regret the spirit manifested by
the delegates of the German congregation at Bloomfield, led astray and
beguiled by unbecoming foreign influence.
"Resolved, That we recommend to said German congregation entire
acquiescence in the arrangements made in the formation of said charges."
A copy of the foregoing action of Synod was
sent to the parties concerned, and all acquiesced in the decision
pronounced. After that the united congregation went forward in harmony and
peace. Rev. Martin preached once every three weeks, alternately in the
German and English languages.
Having been faithfully instructed, on the 17th of November, 1850, the following
persons were confirmed:
Mrs. Barbara Burkepile; Mrs. Catharine Eckert; Mrs. Mary Bumbaugh; Mary Jane
Comp; Mary Eliz. Fritz; Sarah Wax; Mary Ann Clouser.
On the 22d of June, 1851, the following persons were admitted to full communion
David L. Beaver; Margaret Jane Martin, Margaret Roth; Caroline Roth; Maria S.
In September, 1851, Mr. David Tressler, Sen., as delegate of the charge,
attended Synod at Newville, Cumberland County, Pa.
Having served the charge about two years and nine months, Rev. Martin resigned,
and at Bloomfield preached his farewell sermon on the 28th of March, 1852.
He accepted a call from the Berrysburg charge, Dauphin County, Pa., and in June
of the same year, he was succeeded by the
Rev. William Gerhardt,
who, in a letter, gives the following brief
account of his labors here:
"Being called from Elizabethtown, I entered on my duties as pastor of the
Bloomfield charge on the 13th of June, 1852, when I preached my introductory
sermon at Bloomfield from Heb. 13:17. I served five congregations, viz.,
Bloomfield, Newport, Bealor's, Shuman's, and Buffalo above Ickesburg.
During the year, I preached 144 sermons, besides funeral sermons, lectures,
&c. I instructed and confirmed the following forty-seven persons [the
names of these persons are given at the proper place]. I labored in the
charge until the 20th of June, 1853, when I accepted a call to Mount Bethel,
Northampton County, Pa. At Bloomfield I preached my farewell sermon on the
12th of June.
"I labored hard, and have reason to believe that God blessed my
labors. I saw the necessity of a more churchly spirit among our people,
and therefore introduced the liturgy, and endeavored by combing the form and the
life, to accomplish this end. I would not have left the Bloomfield charge,
but it was too laborious for me. My health failed and I was obliged,
though reluctantly, to leave Perry County for an easier charge. The people
were very kind to me. Simple and unaffected in their manners, kind an
generous in their disposition, I always felt myself at home in their families,
and their hearts were always accessible to the pastor to extend advice and
instruction. I always look back with pleasure to my one year's stay in
Perry County, as in many respects the most agreeable since I have been in the
ministry. God bless the dear people! I preached my farewell sermon
from 2 Cor. 13:14, which sermon, from the nature of the circumstances at
Shuman's Church on the 19th of June, had the peculiarity of being a sacramental
sermon, a funeral sermon, and a farewell sermon at one and the same time."
In September, 1852, as delegate of the charge, Mr. Christian Long of Newport
attended Synod at Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pa.
At a meeting of the different church-councils of the charge, in February, 1853,
among others, the following resolutions were passed.
"Resolved, That each congregation furnish a Record-book, a large
Bible, and a Hymn-book and Liturgy for its pulpit.
"Resolved, That as infant baptism in the church-edifices has
heretofore been neglected, and in order to resuscitate the practice, the
officers and members of our congregations be required to aid the minister in
On the 19th of March, 1853, after being instructed in the Catechism of the
Church, the following persons were confirmed:
Andrew Cless; George Cless; Daniel Cless; William Cless; Carson Hair; William
Hair; Conrad Jumper; Samuel Foulk; Eliz. Jane Lenig; Mary Ann Lenig; Maria Cless;
Margaret A. Cless; Mary J. Smeigh; Ellen E. Smeigh; Mary A. Swartz; Eliz. Ellen
Miller; Catharine Bumbaugh.
Rev. Gerhardt preached to each congregation once every three weeks. At
Bloomfield only about one-third of the preaching was required in the German
language. Thus in divine worship the German gave way to the English
language. After Rev. Gerhardt's resignation, the charge was vacant about
Rev. Adam Height,
of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pa.,
having accepted a call, commenced his pastoral labors in the charge on the 1st
of March, 1854. He resided at Bloomfield. The charge embraced the
same congregations as before, except that Rev. Height preached also occasionally
at Millerstown. At Bloomfield only an occasional sermon in German language
was now required. In September, 1854, as delegate of the charge, Mr. Henry
Harman attended Synod at Shrewsbury, York County, Pa.; and at this time, for
reasons not necessary to state, Rev. Mr. Height ceased to exercise the functions
of ministry here, after having served the charge only about seven months.*
(*See the Minutes of the West Pennsylvania Synod, of September,
1854, p. 42)
On the 5th of June, 1854, the charge bought at Bloomfield of Mr. Conrad
Roth, a house, lot & c., now the Lutheran Parsonage, for eleven hundred
Rev. David H. Focht,
of Chambersburg, Pa., having received and
accepted a call from the charge, entered on his ministerial labors on the 1st of
June, 1855. On Sunday, May 27th, previous to the commencement of his
pastoral year, he preached his introductory sermon at Bloomfield, from Col.
1:28, to a large and attentive congregation. This congregation requires
preaching in the German language no more. What a change hath time
wrought! only eleven years ago all the preaching in this church was in
that language. In this Church your pastor has hitherto preached once every
three weeks; in the new church he will be able to preach oftener. In
1855, the charge consisted of Bloomfield, Newport, St. John's at
Markelville, Shuman's or St. Andrew's, and Buffalo or Emanuel's church above
Ickesburg; and in June, 1856, when the congregation at Mansville was organized,
it was also added to the charge. Thus the charge consists now (Oct.,
1857), of six congregations, and is much too large to enable a man to do justice
to himself and his people.
As a delegate of the charge, Mr. Henry Titzel attended Synod in September, 1855,
at Shippensburg, Pa.
Soon after the present pastor had taken charge of the pastorate he commenced at
Bloomfield to instruct a class of catechumens in the doctrines of our holy
religion. A meeting was held, commencing on the 6th of November, 1855, and
closing on the 20th. During this time the pastor preached every evening,
catechized, and sometimes had anxious meeting each day. God blessed his
word to the good of the people, and we trust there are many here who can in
truth say that they found Jesus precious to their hearts. This was a
glorious season of grace from the presence of the Lord. Having been
prayerfully instructed, and giving evidence of a sincere desire to glorify God,
on the 10th of November, 1855, the following persons were confirmed:
Henry Rice; David I. Rice; John Rice; Jacob Fritz; John Beaver; Samuel M. Ickes;
John Sweger; Geroge W. Stouffer; John Stouffer; Josiah Lenig; Jacob Hair; Mrs.
Sarah Rice; Mrs. Susan Jumper; Mrs. Mary Shade, (baptized); Eliz. Cornman,
(baptized); Mary Cornman, (baptized); Catharine Comp; Margaret Comp; Catharine
E. Rice; Margaret Rice; Margaret W. Rice; Sarah Fritz; Ellen Simonton; Susan
Hair; Elizabeth Ketner.
May those of who were confirmed at this time prove faithful to their covenant
vows to the end, and then be received to the bright mansions above! This
is the sincere prayer of their pastor. O that God may help each one to run
the Christian race with patience, ever trusting in Jesus as a present Savior,
and finally through grace receive the crown of glory! God bless you, may
"How blest the sacred tie
In union sweet, according minds,
How swift the heav'nly course they run,
Whose hearts, whose faith, whose hopes are one."
On the 1st of December, 1855, the
subscription for the erection of a new church was started. Of this we will
soon give a full account.
A number of others were found willing to attend catechetical lectures, who were
faithfully instructed for some time. A meeting was held from the 11th to
the 16th of March, 1856. Rev. J. Evans assisted the pastor on this
occasion. Souls were converted to God and the hearts of Christians were
made glad in God their Savior. On the 15th of March, 1856, the following
persons were confirmed:
John Jumper; John Frantz; William Bumbaugh; Samuel Messimer, (baptized); Mrs.
Elizabeth Clouser; Mrs. Christiana Rice; Miss M.E. Everhart (baptized); F. Eliz.
Landis, (baptized); Catharine Clouser, (baptized); Elizabeth Clouser,
(baptized); Sarah Jane Tressler; Hannah Jane Beaver; Sarah Ellen Beaver;
May you, my dear friends, never forget the hymn you united in singing around the
throne of grace when about sealing your covenant with God:
"I love thy Zion, Lord!
The house of thine abode;
The church, O blest Redeemer, sav'd
With thine own precious blood, " &c.
On the 29th of June, 1856, Mr. Israel
Messimer and his wife Catharine were received as members by certificate.
In September, 1856, Mr. John Wilson of Newport, as delegate of the charge,
attended Synod at Chambersburg, Pa., when by a resolution of the West
Pennsylvania Synod, the Bloomfield charge became connected with the Synod of
Having attended a series of lectures on the Catechism, the following persons
were confirmed on the 11th of October, 1856:
Philip Roth; Henry Shaffer; Catharine Shaffer; Lydia Ann Sweger.
"Awake, my soul, stretch
And press with vigor on;
A heav'nly race demands thy zeal,
And an immortal crown."
In January, 1857, a meeting of ten days'
continuance was held. Rev. C. Kuhl preached five sermons on the
occasion. A number of persons professed to have experienced a change of
heart during this meeting.
In March following a meeting of eleven days' continuance was held, during which
time the pastor preached fourteen sermons. The attendance was good, and
some twelve or fifteen professed to have found the pearl of great price.
may they grow daily in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!
On the 7th of March, 1857, the following sisters were confirmed:
Miss Wilhelmina Kain and Miss Christiana Kain.
May these young sisters prove faithful, and then they have the promise of the
crown of life!
In May, 1857, Mr. Jacob Reisinger, as delegate of the charge, attended Synod at
Perryville, Juniata County, Pa.
On the 23d of August, Mrs. Catharine A. Tressler was received as a member by
The weekly prayer meeting and the Sabbath-school have thus far been regularly
kept up and have generally been well attended. May they prosper more and
more and prove a great blessing to many souls!
And now, my brethren, we have to this time somewhat minutely traced the history
of this church and congregation. To-day, October 4th, 1857, we worship
within these walls for the last time. Sixty years have they stood and
echoed the minister's voice, and served as a temple of God to many souls; but
soon they will be levelled with the ground and be no more. It becomes us
well at this time to "remember the days of old." Here your
fathers worshipped in singing hymns and offering prayers to God; but their
spirits have long since gone to the eternal world and their bodies to the silent
grave. This house, also, which they erected, will soon be no more The old
must give way to the new. And here, in infancy, many of you were dedicated
to God in holy baptism. Here you first heard the story of the Cross
proclaimed by the servant of God. Here, at this altar, you renewed your
covenant vows on bended knees with tears and fervent prayers. Here the
heart of many of you was renewed by the Holy Ghost, and here you first recorded
the Lord's dying love in the holy Lord's supper. How solemn this
place! With this house many of you have grown old; and, O, how many of
your brethren, who were wont to assemble with you here, have preceded you to the
world of spirits! Your aged pastor, Father Heim, who preached Jesus to you so
long from this pulpit, has long since been silenced by death. And after
this day, this pulpit will be ascended by the minister of the Gospel no more;
these walls will resound with hymns of praise no more; from this place prayers
will ascend the hill of the Lord no more; and crowds of attentive hearers will
throng these seats to listen to the glorious Gospel of the Son of God no
more. All, all will soon pass away like a dream and be no more. But
though we must part with this consecrated house, this temple of God we will not,
no, we cannot forget it. Whilst life and memory endure, we will remember
Zion. Our earliest, liveliest, holiest, and most sacred and cherished
recollections of divine worship are associated with this house of God.
Here our eyes were often bathed in tears of sorrow and joy, and here we found
Jesus unspeakably precious to our hearts. But we must part with our aged
house of God. So the, adieu ye sacred walls,---aged house of God,
adieu! We bless God that thou dist serve us so long and so well.
Let us now go hence, resolved by the grace of God to enter the new house of
worship with better hearts and renewed spiritual strength, so that when we have
accomplished our work on earth, we may enter that house, not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God. The Lord grant it
for Jesus' sake. Amen.*
(*So far the discourse)
On Thursday, the 10th of December, 1857, some of the members of both
denominations met and tore down the seats, pulpit, board-ceiling, gallery, and
tore up he floor, &c., of the old church, and divided the lumber equally
between them. For twenty dollars the Lutheran Trustees then sold to the
German Reformed their half of the naked wall and roof, which were soon after
also pulled down and used by the Reformed for various purposes. This was
the end of the old, log, Union church.
CHRIST'S LUTHERAN CHURCH.
The old Union church having become
dilapidated and in winter uncomfortable, the want of a new, larger, more
convenient, and entirely Lutheran church had been deeply felt for some
time. After some deliberation the following heading of a subscription for
the erection of such a church was drawn up and circulated with encouraging
"We, the undersigned subscribers, promise to pay the respective sums
opposite our names towards the erection of a Lutheran Church at New
Bloomfield, Perry County, Pa., to be used for the preaching of the Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ according to the Old and New Testament, our only infallible
rule of faith and practice. Dec. 1st, A.D. 1855"
On the 18th of January, 1856, according to previous notice, the members of the
Lutheran congregation met in the old Union church to elect a Building Committee
and consult on other matters pertaining to the erection of the new church.
A hymn was sung. The pastor then offered a prayer, after which he stated
the object of the meeting. The vote being taken it was found that the
following brethren were unanimously elected the building committee, viz., Samuel
Comp, Dr. Jonas Ickes, Henry Rice, John Beaver, Sen., and Jacob Stouffer.
This committee was then instructed to consult with the German Reformed brethren
respecting the propriety of dividing, equally, the ground on the southeast front
of the graveyard, held jointly by the two denominations; to see other churches
and lay before the congregation the plan of the proposed new church; to contract
for the erection of the new church edifice; and, finally, to superintend the
erection of the new church, and see to it that it be built according to the
contract. Without delay, the committee entered on the discharge of their
duty with energy and unanimity.
According to previous announcement, the Elders, Deacons, and Trustees of both
denominations met in the old Union church on the 28th of February, 1856, to
divide the ground held jointly by the Lutherans and German Reformed. Dr.
Jonas Ickes was chosen President and Rev. Samuel Kuhn Secretary
of the Convention, and the following action was had:
"The President of the meeting, Dr. Jonas Ickes, stated that the object of
the meeting was the equal division of that part of the church lot, and of the
church edifice thereon erected, bounded on the south by High Street, east by an
alley and the school-house, north by the lower or southern graveyard fence, and
west by lands of Samuel Klinepeter. On due deliberation the following
resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, 1. That the ground above described, which was the
joint property of the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations, be divided
equally between said congregations, after cutting off an alley on the east
sixteen feet wide, and also one on the west twelve feet wide, in order that each
of the said denominations may employ and use said ground, when so divided, for
the purpose of holding and using church edifices as their exclusive
"Resolved, 2. That the division line is to be occupied by a
fence to be built and kept in repair at the equal expense of the two
"Resolved, 3. That neither of the two churches be built in
from the alleys more than five feet.
"Resolved, 4. That the German Reformed church edifice shall be
built on the extreme west end and the Lutheran church edifice on the extreme
east end of said lots, alleys and spaces excepted as stated in the 1st and 3d
"Resolved, 5. That the error in the deed, relating to the
right of the Lutheran congregation to a piece of ground purchased jointly by the
German Reformed and Lutheran congregations for the use of an additional
burying-ground, be so amended and corrected in the deeds of conveyance as that
the Lutheran congregation may be recognized as joint owner of said piece of
"Resolved, 6. That within the space of two years, dating from
the first of April, A.D. 1856, to the first of April, A.D. 1858, the old church
building, now standing on the above named property and known as the 'Union
church,' shall be taken down and all the material equally divided between the
two congregations owning it.
"Resolved, 7. That the Trustees of both congregations be
instructed to employ Daniel Gantt, Esq., to survey the ground and make the deeds
of conveyance forthwith, and that the expenses thereof be defrayed equally by
the two congregations.
"The minutes having been read, they were, on motion, unanimously
approved. The meeting adjourned indefinitely.
On the 3d of May, the same year, the building committee contracted with Messrs.
William Stoufer and Thomas Sutch, Jr., for the erection of the Lutheran
church-edifice. Dr. Ickes wrote the article of agreement.*
*To the great regret of the congregation and remaining members of
the Building Committee, soon after this Dr. Ickes moved to Monmouth, State of
On the 5th of May the building committee and contractors met, and,
assisted by D. Gantt, Esq., in the use of the compass, staked off the ground on
which to erect the church-edifice. On the 5th of September following, the
bricklayers commenced to raise the wall.
The laying of the corner-stone.
On Friday evening, the 19th of September,
1856, the Rev. Joseph R. Focht preached in the old Union church from Jeremiah
On Saturday, the 20th, at the same place, the Rev. Joshua Evans preached at 10
o'clock, a.m., a suitable discourse from Pet. 2:5. After the delivery of
the sermon, about seventy dollars were obtained by subscription and
collection. The assembly proceeded then to the foundation of the new
church edifice. Here a hymn was sung. The pastor then read the usual
liturgical lesson, and announced the names of the documents deposited in the
cast corner-stone. The following paper was read, and the documents
mentioned therein were deposited with it in the corner-stone:
"In the name of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen."
"1. The Lutheran congregation at
New Bloomfield, Perry County, Pennsylvania, having deeply felt the want of a
new, larger, and more convenient house of worship, resolved, in reliance on the
aid of God and for the promotion of His glory, to erect this house, wherein the
pure Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be preached, and the sacraments of
the New Testament administered in accordance with the inspired Scriptures of the
Old and New Testament, our only infallible guide in matters of faith and
"2. The doctrines to be preached and taught in this church shall be
in strict and full agreement with the doctrinal basis of the General Synod of
the Lutheran Church in the United States, viz., the doctrinal articles of the
Augsburg Confession, which, though subordinate to the Holy Scriptures, we
believe do teach the fundamental doctrines of the word of God. Every
doctrine, or shade of doctrine, which in anywise deviates from or conflicts with
this creed or basis of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the United
States, is hereby excluded from this house.
"3. The Formula of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in
the United States for government and discipline, or a constitution in no way
conflicting with said Formula, is and shall always be the rule for the
government and discipline of the congregation worshipping in this church.
"4. This house we build with an eye single to the glory of the Triune
God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for our present and eternal good, the good of
our children and successors, and the good of the community at large.
"Having thus set forth the rule of our religious belief, the form for our
government and discipline, and the design for which we build this house--
"Be it therefore known to all to whom these presents shall come, that this,
the corner-stone of Christ's Lutheran Church at New Bloomfield, Perry
County, Pennsylvania, was laid in the name of the Triune God, on the twentieth
day of September, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, and the
eighty-first year of the Independence of the United States of America, Franklin
Pierce being President of the United States, and James Pollock Governor
of the State of Pennsylvania.
"And when the tooth of time shall have demolished these walls, and all
those who aided in raising them shall have gone to their graves, may those, who
shall uncover this stone, learn from this document the religious belief and
benevolent design of their forefathers, and be thereby incited to prosecute and
extend the great and glorious cause of the Divine Redeemer, to whom with the
Father and Holy Ghost be given praise and honor, thanksgiving and glory, now and
"1. The ministers
Rev. David H. Focht, Pastor loci.
Rev. Joseph R. Focht, Pastor of the Dillsburg Lutheran charge, York County,
Rev. Joshua Evans, Pastor of the Newville Lutheran charge, Cumberland County,
Rev. Samuel Kuhn, Pastor of the German Reformed church at New Bloomfield,
Perry County, Pa.
"2. The church-council consists of the following persons:
Rev. D. H. Focht, ex officio chairman.
John Beaver, Sen., William Lenig: Elders
Samuel Comp, Jacob Stoufer, David Tressler: Deacons
"3. The following are the building committee:
Samuel Comp, John Beaver, Sen., Henry Rice, and Jacob Stoufer.
"4. The contractors are:
Messrs. William Stoufer and Thomas Sutch, Jr.
"5. The documents deposited with this paper are the following:
1. The Holy Bible (English). @. The Lutheran Hymn-Book (English,
revised edition, miniature). 3. Luther's Smaller Catechism
(English, General Synod's 6th edition) 4. Proceedings of the 31st
Convention of the West Pennsylvania Synod. 5. The Lutheran
Observer of Sept. 19th, 1856. 7. A copy of each of the county
papers, viz.: a. The People's Advocate and Perry County Democrat
of Sept. 17t, 1856; b. The Perry County Freeman of Sept. 18th, 1856; c.
The Perry County Democrat of Sept. 18th, 1856."
The documents all being deposited, Rev. S.
Kuhn offered a prayer to God for His blessing on the exercises. A hymn was
then sung, after which Rev. J. Evans dismissed the assembly by pronouncing with
the apostolic benediction. Thus ended the exercises connected with the
laying of the corner-stone.
On the 23d of October the bricklayers finished the walls. The building was
then put under roof and closed in. Thus it stood till the spring of
1857. The spire and rod were put up in June and on the 20th of October,
1857, the church being now ready for consecration, the building committee and
contractors made a final settlement. The contractors received three
thousand dollars for their work. The congregation found the bell, the
lamps, and all the furniture; and the basement was as yet left
Consecration of the Church.
On Thursday evening, the 22d of October,
1857, the Rev. P. Willard preached the first sermon in the new church, from
Matt. 25:46. "And these shall go away into everlasting
punishment." Theme: The burial of the soul. On Friday,
23d, at 10 o'clock, a.m., Rev. George A. Nixdorff preached from Psalm
135:3-5. This evening, Rev. P. Willard preached from Prov. 3:15.
Theme: The value of religion. A large congregation was in
attendance. On Saturday, the 24th, at 10 o'clock, a.m., the Rev. B. Kurtz,
D.D., LL.D., preached from Matt. 20:29-34. The two blind men.
This evening, the Rev. J. Evans preached from John 16:19, 20. On Sunday,
the 25th, at 10 o'clock, a.m., Rev. Dr. Kurtz preached the dedication sermon to
a densely crowded congregation, from Matt. 6:10, "Thy kingdom
come." About eight hundred dollars were then secured by subscription
and collection; but as over a thousand dollars were required to cover all
liabilities, and as it as deemed inconsistent to dedicate the house to God so
long as the expenses thereof were not met, the dedication services were deferred
till evening. This evening, the Rev. P.M. Rightmyer preached from Psalm
137:5-6. Subscriptions and a collection were then obtained to the
amount of two hundred and twenty-eight dollars. All liabilities being thus
met by the liberality of the people, the pastor proceeded to consecrate the
church by the distinguishing name, Christ's Evangelical Lutheran Church,
to the service of God, according to the consecration formula in our
Liturgy. Rev. J. Evans offered the dedicatory prayer. To-day the
church could not near contain all the people assembled. The work is done;
bless the Lord, O, my soul! This evening, Dr. Kurtz preached also in the
Presbyterian church at Bloomfield. On Monday evening, the 26th, the pastor
preached from Heb. 11:13, "And pilgrims on earth." Here ended
the exercises connected with the dedication of the new church.
This is a neat and well-built brick church-edifice, fifty-eight feet long by
forty-three feet wide, has a basement forty three square feet, a Gothic front,
is surmounted by a tall spire and sweet-toned bell, is eligibly located, and
reflects much credit on the taste and skill of the architects and on the
liberality of the congregation. The internal arrangement is tasteful and
Having attended a series of lectures on the Catechism of the Church, and being
found possessed of the requisite qualifications, on the14th of November, 1857,
Mrs. Louisa Woods was received as a member by certificate, and the following
persons were confirmed:
Amanda Jane Kissinger; Harriet Fritz; Maria Roth; Cath. Elizabeth Roth; Marg.
Rebecca Eckert; Matilda A. Huss.
"May we, a little band of
We sinners, sav'd by grace,
From glory unto glory chang'd,
Behold thee face to face."
In May, 1858, the Synod of Central
Pennsylvania held its fourth annual convention in this church. Mr. Samuel
Shuman, as delegate of the charge, attended the sessions of this
On the 1st of October, 1858, Mr. William Ferguson and Isabella his wife were
received as members by certificate, and on the 16th of the same month, the
following brethren were confirmed:
David Holmes (baptized); Henry M. Sweger; William C. Stahl.
"Onward, now, to glory
More than conqu'rors ye shall prove;
Though oppos'd by many a foe,
Christian soldiers, onward go!"
In February, 1859, during a protracted
meeting, in which the pastor was assisted by the Rev. I. J. Stine, it pleased
the Lord to pour out his spirit on the congregation, and a number of persons
professed to have found peace by faith in Jesus Christ. Some of these,
after having been still more fully instructed, were confirmed on the 12th of
March, 1859, viz.:
George W. Black (baptized); Mrs. Sarah E. Rice (baptized); Mrs. Catharine R.
Weaver; Mrs. Angeline Shade; Miss Lydia Sweger.
"Thy pard'ning love so
free, so sweet,
Dear Saviour, I adore;
O keep me at thy sacred feet,
And let me rove no more."
In May, 1859, Mr. Samuel Comp, as delegate of
the charge, attended Synod at Mifflinburg, Union County, Pa.
On the 12th of November, 1859, Mrs. Lucinda Peck was received as a member by
certificate, and the following persons were confirmed:
John Comp; Andrew P. Comp; Joseph Hair; Ann Eliza Holmes; Mary Eliz. Stoufer;
Sarah Ann Stoufer.
"Religion should our
Amidst our youthful bloom;
'Twill fit us for declining age,
And for the awful tomb."
In May, 1860, Mrs. Darius J. Long, as
delegate of the charge, attended Synod at Petersburg, Perry County, Pa.
On the 4th of August, 1860, Mrs. Mary C. Tressler was received by certificate as
a member, and on the 3d of November of the same year, the following were
George Tressler; William H. Shade; Margaretta
"But drops of grief can
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do."
In May, 1861, as delegate, Mr. Samuel Comp
represented the charge in Synod at Belleville, Mifflin County, Pa.
On the 26th of October, 1851, Mr. George Rempfer and his wife Nancy Ann were
received by certificate as members of this church, and Miss Sophia Swartz and
Miss Catharine Ann Eckert by confirmation. And on the 12th of April, 1862,
Mr. Peter S. Albert, and Mr. Joseph Abrams and his wife, Amanda, were also
received by certificate. May these friends be richly blessed in their
"Kindred in Christ, for
his dear sake,
A hearty welcome here receive:
May we together now partake
The joys which only he can give.
"Thus, as the moments pass away,
We'll love and wonder and adore;
And hasten on the glorious day
When we shall meet to part no more."
In May, 1862, Mr. Christian Long, Sen., of
Newport, as delegate of the charge, attended Synod at Selinsgrove, Pa.
The basement story of Christ's Church, hitherto unfinished, was completed in
May, this spring, at an expense of about two hundred dollars. Mr. Isaiah
Kitner did the plastering and Mr. Joseph Fredericks the carpenter work.
The room is forty feet square, and well adapted for Sunday-school, weekly
For a few general remarks in regard to the Bloomfield pastorate, the reader is
referred to the end of this chapter. May heaven smile graciously upon all
the dear people of this charge!
The following brethren have at different times served as officers since the
organization of the English Lutheran congregation in June, 1844:
Jacob Crist, from 1844 to 1850
David Deardorff, from 1844 to 1846
John Rice, from 1846 to 1850
David Tressler, from 1850 to 1853
William Erb, from 1850 to 1854
John Beaver, from 1855 to 1858
William Lenig, from 1855 to 1858
Samuel Comp, from 1858, yet in office
Henry Rice, from 1858, yet in office
Henry C. Hickok, Esq., from 1844 to 1846
George Attig; from 1844 to 1846
Alex. C. Klink, from 1846 to 1850
William Erb, from 1846 to 1850
Dr. Jonas Ickes, from 1850 to 1855
John Roth, from 1850 to 1855
Andrew Hensel, from 1850 to 1855
Samuel Comp, from 1855 to 1858
David Tressler, from 1855 to 1858
Jacob Stoufer, from 1855 to 1858
John Roth, from 1858 to 1861
John Rice, from 1858 to 1861
Jacob Fritz, from 1858, yet in office
George Tressler, from 1861, yet in office
William Titzel, from 1861, yet in office.
Jacob Crist, from 1844 to 1850
David Tressler, from 1850 to 1853
John Rice, from 1850 to 1855
Samuel Comp, from 1855, yet in office.
John Beaver, from 1855, yet in office.
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