CHURCHES BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS
A HISTORY OF THE
LUTHERAN CONGREGATIONS IN
PERRY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
REV. D. H. FOCHT, A.M.
LEBANON CHURCH AT LOYSVILLE
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LEBANON CHURCH AT LOYSVILLE.*
(* For much and important information relative to this church, we are indebted to Jacob Crist, Esq., of Loysville)
At an early date a number of Lutheran families settled in Tyrone Township, in a district of country in the centre of which Loysville was afterwards located. Here the Zimmermans, Loys, Hammers, Hollenbachs, Bernheisels, Fleishers, Bowers and man others made their homes. They were joined by others from time to time. As above stated, these members of the church enjoyed the visits of Rev. Butler, and perhaps some other minister, before they had a stated pastor. Rev. Butler left Cumberland County in 1788, and shortly after that, the
Rev. John Timothy Kuhl,
of Franklin County, Pa., commenced to visit the members of the church in Sherman's Valley, and in 1790 he moved among them and became their first regular pastor. In an old document belonging to the congregation at Loysville, it is said: "In the year of our Lord 1790, the Germans in Sherman's Valley secured the Evangelical Lutheran minister, the Rev. John Timotheus Kuhl, as their pastor." The late Mr. George Fleisher, of Saville Township, who died in 1855, aged eighty-four years, when nineteen years old with a team moved Rev. Kuhl's family and effects from Franklin County to this Valley. Rev. Kuhl resided near where Loysville is now located. From the above documentary notice, we infer that he visited and preached to the members scattered at various places in the whole Valley. Before the erection of Lebanon Church at Loysville, he preached in barns and private dwellings at different places in that neighborhood. Encouraged by a minister living in their midst, and united in their desires and efforts, the members proceeded, in 1794, to build a house of worship, which they denominated,---
This church edifice was erected on a piece of ground containing two acres and forty-two perches, donated for church and school purposes by Martin Bernheisel and Michael Loy, both of whom were members of the Lutheran Church. Subscriptions by the members towards the erecting of the edifice were generally paid in lumber, labor & c. The building was of large and choice pine logs, which were all hauled together on a set day by those members who had teams. Mar Zachariah Rice (grandfather of Henry Rice, Esq., of Bloomfield and others of that name) arrived early in the morning with a fine pine log, which he had cut at what was called "The Barrens" above Mr. J. Bixler's mill in Madison Township. Mr. Rice intended to have the first log on the ground, as this was in those days esteemed a great feat; but to his surprise, when he arrived, he found that he was anticipated by Mr. Abraham Bower, who had brought a log part of the way on the previous evening. This was, however, considered unfair on the part of the latter. As near as can be ascertained, the church was forty feet long by thirty feet wide. Messrs. Michael Loy, George Hammer, and Peter Scheively, were the Building Committee and John Calhoun did the carpenter work. The building stood for some years in an unfinished state, during which time the congregation managed to worship in it occasionally. The gallery was then erected on three sides, the roof was ceiled inside with boards, the walls were plastered inside, and a small, cup-shaped pulpit was put up against the wall on a post about five feet high. The pulpit was painted white, and ascended by a high flight of steps. The church was, in 1808, weather-boarded and painted white. Hence it was afterwards generally called "The White Church." "This church was built by some thirty Lutheran families and two or three German Reformed . The Lutherans were, however, so generous as to give their Reformed brethern an equal right to it." In 1850, this old church edifice was sold (the pews excepted) to Mr. J. B. Zimmerman for eighty-three dollars.
A short time after the church had been built, a large school-house was erected on the same lot of
ground and near the church. A partition divided the school-house inside, and a large chimney occupied the centre. One end of the house was occupied by the teacher and his family, and the other by the school. For many years a sort of congregational school was kept here. Schools of this kind
were common in those days, and it is to be regretted that each congregation has not such a school in our days.
Two or three persons were buried on this lot of church-ground before old Lebanon Church was built. After the erection of the church, a portion of ground was appropriated for a graveyard, where the gray fathers and founders of the church, their children, and children's children and many others, now rest in hope. Since then the graveyard has been enlarged several times.
Rev. Kuhl served this congregation and some other preaching places in the Valley till about 1796. Beside the erecting of the church, we are, for want of information, unable to say what success attended his ministry, or where he labored after he left Sherman's Valley. In 1797, the congregation was supplied with preaching by the
Rev. John Herbst,
pastor of the Lutheran Church at Carlisle, who preached here once every four weeks and also occasionally at a number of other places in the Valley. He is said to have been a good man, though not an able preacher. In 1798, the following persons were confirmed by him at Loysville or Lebanon Church:
John Arnold; Solomon Bower; Jacob Bower; Charles Smith; John Cooney; Daniel Cooney; Henry Cooney; William Cooney; Benjamin Rice; William Brickley; Jacob Miller; John Miller; George Gottschall; Benjamin Moses; Margaret Steidel; Magdalene Steidel; Sarah Borrel; Susan Miller; ----- Lubkey; ----- Lubkey.
The above names Mr. Jacob Arnold gave from memory and he thinks that Mr. Solomon Bower and himself are the only survivors of those who were then admitted to full communion in the church. In 1801, Rev. Herbst resigned at Carlisle, and was succeeded there, in 1802, by
Rev. Frederick Sanno
who preached at Loysville once every four weeks, and occasionally at some other points in Sherman's Valley. He was highly esteemed by the members, and very successful in his labors. As this was the only congregation that had at that time a church and enjoyed regular preaching, the members all around for many miles came to Lebanon Church to worship. To give an idea of the strength of the congregation, and to show who the members were at that time, we will subjoin the names of the catechumens and communicants. This list of the names of the members may be interesting to those now living. It is to be regretted that no other entry of admissions by confirmation or of communicants was made till 1850. On the 25th of March, 1804, the Rev. Sanno confirmed the following fifty-one persons:
Adam Scheder; Charles Lubkey; Jacob Miller; Daniel Schaeffer; Daniel Motzer; Philip Stambach; George Klein; John Schwieger; John Fenichel; Solomon Gottschall; Jacob Albert; Susan Schaeffer; Magdalene Bower; Catharine Motzer; Esther Bower; Catharine Gottschall; Magdalene Gottschall; Samuel Schaeffer; John Breiner; Jacob Weary; John Zimmerman; Daniel Spohn; Barbara Arnold; Sarah Steidel; Maria Breiner; Maria Arnold; Elizabeth Hartman; Christiana Olinger; Maria Fusselman; Elizabeth Fusselman; Elizabeth Billman; Catharine Arnold; Barbara Spohn; Susan Zimmerman; George Ernst; Michael Ketner; Valentine Borrel; Adam Lob (now Lyons); Daniel Stambach; Maria Hammer; Elizabeth Steidel; Christiana Stambach; Magdalene Lubkey; Anna Maria Ernst; Maria Ketner; Catharine Hammer; Maria Weary; Christiana Long; Margaret Weary; Justina Fenichel; Susan Gottschall.
With the above persons, admitted by confirmation, the following ninety members communed on the 26th, it being Sunday:
Adam Bernheisel; Barbara Bernheisel; Christopher Bower; Solomon Bower; Nicholas Loy; Jacob Ketner; Frederick Breiner; Maria Breiner; George Fleisher; Jacob Steidel; Magdalene Steidel; Henry Zimmerman; Margaret Zimmerman; Peter Moses; Agnes Long; Adam Smith; George Miller; Peter Reisdorff; John Fusselman; Henry Bernheisel; Eve Bernheisel; Henry Moses; Elizabeth Scheibly; Susanna Reinsmith; George Wolf; Daniel Smith; Charles Smith; Regina Smith; Jacob Miller; Daniel Fusselman; Conrad Ernst; John Lob (english, Lyons); Jacob Haman; George Kremer; John Loy; Michael Loy; Barbara Haller; John Schaeffer; Barbara Schaeffer; Christiana Reisdorff; Anna Hollenbach; Susanna Gamber; Margaret Lubkey; Magdalene Keiner; Maria Kremer; Jacob Klinger; Jacob Smith; John Ketner; William Brickley; Peter Breiner; Henry Frey; George Fleisher; Sarah Fleisher; Magdalene Fusselman; Jacob Stambach; George Breiner; Jacob Schauer; Philip Stambach; Catharine Stambach; John Stambach; George Hammer; Anna Maria Hammer; Jacob Breiner; Catharine Weary; John Swartz; William Reed; Abraham Kistler; Maria Kistler; Susanna Kistler; Conrad Hallman; Sarah Hallman; Peter Schauer; John Billman; Christiana Billman; Magdalene Breiner; Magdalene Kessler; Maria Eliz. Hollenbach; Justina Miller; Christina Sauder; Elizabeth Webb; Michael Loy; Margaret Loy; Maria Lupfer; Susanna Ickes; Maria Bloom.
The whole number of communicants was, at this time, one hundred and forty-one. Making due allowance for many who could not attend, as is usual on such occasions, and considering the sparseness of the population, we perceive at once, that the Lutheran portion of the population was large at that early day. With few exceptions, all the above-named persons have gone to the eternal world, though the descendants of most of them are still members of Lebanon Church, or some other Lutheran congregation in the county. Rev. Sanno met another class of catechumens, for instruction in doctrines of the Christian religion, and on Sunday, the 2nd of November, 1806, the following fifty-three persons were admitted to full communion, by the rite of confirmation:
Jacob Miller; Jacob Sweger; Daniel Smith; Henry Smith; Samuel Cooney; Adam Kessler; Solomon Gutshall; George Funfrock; John Moses; Martin Motzer; Simon Wingart; Daniel Ritter; Sarah Fleisher; Catharine Burrell; Sarah Billman; Elizabeth Billman; Catharine Ernst; Catharine Tressler; Margaret Loy; Susan Loy; Mary Kessler; Barbara Kessler; Christiana Guttshall; Catharine Shoemaker; Catharine Swarner; Ann Smith; Elizabeth Funfrock; Mary Reed; Elizabeth Reed; Elizabeth Brickley; David Ernst; Joseph Briner; George Finicle; David Wolf; Adam Wolf; Henry Swarner; Christiana Smith; Mary Smith; Sarah Cooney; Elizabeth Cooney; Salome Cooney; Elizabeth Cooney; Mary Ritter; Sarah Lutman; Margaret Deck; Barbara Deck; Mary Biegelman; Rebecca Biegelman; Rebecca Bower; Lydia Bower; Hannah Motzer; Elizabeth Briner; Elizabeth Finicle.*
(*These names were furnished us from memory by Mrs. Sarah Burrell, then Miss Sarah Fleisher, and one of the catechumens, but now an aged and pious mother in the Church.)
Only a few of the above persons are yet with us, lingering on the verge of eternity; all the rest have crossed the narrow stream, and now reap the reward of their doings whiltst in the flesh.
In the Spring of 1808, another large class of catechumens was admitted to full communion by confirmation. Their names can not be remembered. This was the last class confirmed here by Rev. Sanno, who ceased his ministry in Sherman's Valley in 1809.
Whilst Rev. Sanno was pastor at Loysville, the congregation flourished, and may be said to have enjoyed a glorious revival of religion. About one hundred and fifty new members were added to the church by him. He lectured on the Catechism diligently, and with great unction from on high. For weeks he met the catechumens daily, instructing and exhorting them, and singing and praying with them. Often they were all bathed in tears, some asking what they must do to be saved, whilst others rejoiced in a sense of pardoned sin, and acceptance with God by faith through Jesus Christ. Those were precious seasons of refreshing from the Lord, and those who participated in them speak of them at this day with rapture and holy delight. We have met with aged persons, who were then catechumens, and who can now
scarcely find language to describe the interesting scene, and deep feeling, on days of confirmation, when all the catechumens were publicly examined on the doctrines of our holy Christianity as set forth in our Catechism, and when the pastor and congregation, on bended knees, united in fervently imploring Almighty God to bless them, and keep them unto eternal life,---when, in a standing posture, all united in singing with full heart and voice: Komm, O Komm, du Geist des lebens, wahrer Gott von ewigkeit! and when the young men first, two by two, proceeded to the altar, paid their vows, and, on bended knees, covenanted with God, and received the benediction of the pastor; and then, also two by two, the young females, all dressed in white, came forward, and before men and angels witnessed a good profession, and received the right hand of Christian fellowship. Whilst the catechumens were confirmed, a verse was sung, or a prayer offered at intervals, so that the interest of the occasion was sustained for hours, and tears of sorrow for sin, and of joy in the Holy Ghost, bedewed every face.
"Twas the same pleasure fills
The breast of worlds above;
Where joy, like morning dew, distils,
And all the air is love."
Rev. John Frederick Osterloh
Succeeded Rev. Sanno in 1809. Whilst pastor of the Lutheran congregations in Sherman's Valley, Rev. Osterloch resided on a small tract of land of his own, in Saville Township, now belonging to Mr. Henry Fleisher. He preached regularly once every four weeks at Loysville, Bloomfield, St. Peter's in Spring Township, in Fishing Creek Valley at private dwelling, and, it may be, at some other places in the Valley occasionally. At that time, all the territory in Perry County, west of the Juniata, was included in his charge. He confined himself only to a part of this territory, whilst the other part was supplied by men who stood in no connection with Synod. Though Rev. Osterloh confirmed, at different times, large classes of catechumens at Loysville, for want of a church-record their names cannot now be given. This is to be regretted.
In June, 1811, Mr. C. Geiger, of Fishing Creek, as lay delegate of the charge, accompained Rev. Osterloh to Synod, held at Philadelphia, Pa. At this convention of Synod, Rev. Osterloh reported 65 infant baptisms, 137 communicants, 45 confirmations, 6 deaths and 2 schools.
In May, 1812, Synod convened at Carlisle, Pa. Mr. Peter Moses, of the congregation at Loysville, took his seat in Synod as delegate from the charge. This time Rev. Osterloh reported 62 infant baptisms, 30 confirmations, 115 communicants, 11 funerals, and 4 schools. In the proceedings of this session of Synod, we find the following action: "As to the petition of the congregation at the school-house near Carlisle (Sulphur Spring?), asking Synod to permit Rev. Sanno to serve them as pastor. This congregation was advised to secure the ministerial service of Rev. Osterloh; and, at the same time, the petition of the congregation at Longsdorff's (near Mechanicsburg), and of that on the Conodoguinett, praying that Rev. Osterloh may serve them as pastor, was granted." From this it appears that Rev. Osterloh did not confine himself to Sherman's Valley. The members in this Valley became dissatisfied with him. They alleged, and justly, too, that he neglected them.
At the meeting of Synod, held at Reading, Pa., in June, 1813, Rev. Osterloh reported 89 infant baptisms, 61 confirmations, 264 communicants, 7 deaths and 4 schools. This report included the two or three congregations he served in Cumberland Valley.
In the minutes of Synod, held at Easton, in June, 1814, it is said: "In regard to the petition from the members of Zion's Church, Mifflin Township, Cumberland County, praying Synod to allow Rev. Osterloh to serve them in connection with his other congregations, it was Resolved, That this petition be cheerfully granted." Thus, instead of devoting all his time and energies to the building up of congregations in Sherman's Valley, Rev. Osterloh neglected them very much. Hence, most of the members were dissatisfied with him, and he accomplished little or no good among them. In this state of alienation, early in the spring of 1815, some of the members belonging to the Loysville congregation invited Rev. Heim to preach for them. Rev. Heim had received license at Easton, Pa., on the 8th of June, 1814, and was now residing near Mifflintown, Juniata County. It seems that he yielded to the request of the people at Loysville, and that they were all highly pleased with him and his preaching. Against all this, Rev. Osterloh protested as unwarranted interference. Thus, in the minutes of Synod, held at Frederick, Md., in May, 1815, it is stated: "No. 7 is a letter from Rev. Osterloh, in which he complains of the interference of Rev. Heim with one of his congregations; also a letter from the members of that congregation, praying that Rev. Heim may be permitted to serve them as pastor." The committee appointed to adjust this difficulty, reported as follows: "Respecting the congregation in Sherman's Valley, your committee is of the opinion that it would be best were Rev. Heim to accept a call from it and serve it as pastor. On motion, Synod authorized Rev. Heim to take charge of said congregation."
In the summer of 1815, Rev. Osterloh moved to Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, and according to resolution of Synod, the
Rev. John William Heim,
then residing near Mifflintown, Juniata County, became the regular pastor of the congregation at Loysville, in May, 1815. In his journal of ministerial acts, Rev. Heim says: "On the 18th of June, 1815, I preached the first time at Lebanon Church, from Matt. 9:13, and baptized an infant." He preached here regularly once every four weeks, and visited occasionally other congregations in Sherman's Valley. At St. Michael's Church, in Foutz's Valley, at Liverpool, and at the church near New Buffalo, all in Perry County, he commenced preaching in June, 1814; at Loysville in May, 1815; and in June, 1816, other congregations were added to these. Thus, in the minutes of Synod, held in Philadelphia, Pa., in June, 1816, it is said: "No. 1 is a letter from Sherman's Valley, in which the members of the congregation in Toboyne Township (at Blain) request that they, besides other congregations, may be served by the Rev. Candidate Heim. On motion, Resolved, That Rev. Heim have permission to accept a call from these congregations." Rev. Heim was thus, by Synod, constituted the regular pastor of the congregation at Blain, Bloomfield, and St. Peter's, in Spring Township, in June, 1816; in short, he was
pastor of all the Lutheran congregations in Perry County, except the congregation at Fishing Creek Valley, in relation to which, in the minutes of the same session of Synod, we find the following action: "No. 11 is a petition of the congregation in Sherman's Valley, Rye Township, in which the petitioners pray Synod to send them a minister. Resolved, That the pastor residing at Carlisle take charge of this congregation." The Rev. Benjamin Keller, of Carlisle, soon after united this congregation with his charge, and served it for a number of years successfully.
The charge of Rev. Heim, from this time till 1828, embraced Mifflin County, Juniata County, and nearly the whole of Perry County; and he must have preached for twelve or more regularly organized congregations, and visited occasionally some six or more preaching stations. To all these congregations he preached about once every four weeks in the German language, often on week days, and sometimes in the evening. He was never idle, and almost always from home, following up his appointments from day to day. In 1816, he reported to Synod 170 infant baptisms, 107 confirmations, 578 communicants, 14 funerals, and 3 schools. This report included the congregations he served in Mifflin and Juniata Counties.
Under the pastoral supervision of Rev. Heim, the congregation at Loysville prospered exceedingly, especially up to about 1840. It is a matter of sincere regret that no church records were kept here during his long and successful ministry. It is said that he made an entry of baptisms, confirmations &c., for his own private use; but unfortunately, after his death, nearly all his manuscript papers were scattered, torn to pieces, used for wrapping
paper, and otherwise destroyed. His sermons in manuscript, of which there was a large number, went to ruin in the same way.*
(*So far as we know anything to the contrary, the only manuscript papers from the hand of Rev. Heim, that were saved, were furnished us by his brother, Mr. J. George Heim, and consist of fifty-two skeletons of sermons, a journal of his ministerial acts from June 1814, to May, 1817, a part of a system on doctrinal theology, and a catalogue of the funerals he attended from 1814 to
September, 1826. These papers are now in our hands, and the Journal, especially, has furnished us with many important
Hence, we are wholly dependent for dates, names and all other information, on the frail memories of the aged. Rev. Heim usually catechized once every three or four years, and then the young people came together from great distances all around, and the classes of catechumens were very large. The names of not one-third of those he confirmed at this place can now be
remembered, nor is the time of their confirmation in all cases certain.
Rev. Heim says: "On the 16th of October, 1815, I catechized the young people at Lebanon Church." And afterwards he says: " On the 9th of December, 1815, at Lebanon Church, I held the preparatory exercises with the catechumens and members." The following persons are a few of those who were confirmed this time:
Daniel Hall; Catharine Titzel; Miss ---- Stidel; Jacob Bender; Henry Swarner; Miss ---- Stidel; Abraham Kistler; Mrs. ---- Hall; Miss ---- Stidel; David Tressler; Salome Tressler; Elizabeth Loy; Henry Stambaugh; Mary Billman; Catharine Bernheisel; Jacob Wormley; Sarah Ebert; Mary Bernheisel; George Wormley; Susanna Garling; Christiana Bernheisel; George Titzel; Esther Bower; Lydia Minich; John Titzel; Rebecca Bower; Rebecca Tressler; John Loy; Sarah Kremer; Barbara Shissel; Elizabeth Titzel; Elizabeth Kremer.
In his journal, Rev. Heim says: "On the 12th of February, 1817, I baptized two infants at Lebanon Church and commenced catechizing a class of catechumens." Afterwards he adds: "On Sunday, the 6th of April, 1817, at Lebanon Church, I confirmed the catechumens, administered the Lord's Supper and baptized four infants." This was the second class of catechumens he confirmed here, consisting of about sixty persons, some of whom were the following:
John Tressler; Margaretta Rice; John Beaver; Magdalene Ickes; John Kistler; Christiana Stambaugh; Jacob Bernheisel; Sarah Tressler; John Weary; Rebecca Tressler; Joseph Tressler; Elizabeth Shoemaker; Barbara Smith; Mrs. ---- Frey.
At the meeting of Synod in June, 1819, at Baltimore, Md. Rev. Heim was permanently ordained as a minister
of the Gospel. At this time reported 8 congregations, 246 infant baptisms, 83 confirmations, 507 communicants, 17 funerals and 8 schools. This report included the congregations he served in Juniata and Mifflin Counties, though
not the preaching stations, of which he visited as many, perhaps more, than he had regularly organized congregations.
In the spring of 1821 (?), Rev. Heim confirmed at Loysville a class of seventy-one catechumens. The following persons are some of them:
William Rice; William Snyder; Samuel Shoemaker; Michael Loy; George Billman; Michael Ickes; Jacob Shoemaker; Mr. ---- Stoever; John Shoemaker; Mrs. ---- Hench; Jacob C. Smith; Mrs. --- Reisdorff; John Smith; Miss ----- Tressler; Daniel Preissler; Miss Sarah Rice; John Preissler; Miss Elizabeth Rice; Daniel Minich; Miss Catharine Briner; George Minich; Elizabeth Hartman; Conrad Comp; Miss Mary Shoemaker; Samuel Hench; Miss Sarah Smith; Daniel Hallman; Miss Catharine Fusselman; Samuel Kistler; Miss Sarah Fox; Moses Hall; Miss Mary Fox; Henry Long; Miss Mary Bower; George Bernheisel; Miss Hannah Bower; Jacob Bender; Miss ---- Orris; George Orris; Miss ---- Orris.
In 1822, Michael Loy sold to "the Trustees of the German Lutheran and Presbyterian congregation of Lebanon Church, in Tyrone Township," eighty perches for one dollar. Vide, Deed Book A, pg. 418. This land was bought to enlarge the graveyard.
At this time the congregation was evidently in a highly prosperous state. In April, 1824 (?), between sixty-five and seventy persons were admitted to full communion by the rite of confirmation. The following were some of them:
Conrad Rice; Jonathan Minich; Jacob Loy; Samuel Loy; Martin Stambaugh; William Stambaugh; Mr. ---- Kiner; Mr. ---- Gutshall; John Hohenshilt; John Ickes; William Trostel; Samuel Shull; William Kistler; John Long; Henry Orris; Jonas Rumpel; George Rumpel; Benjamin Fusselman; Peter Schaeffer; William Bitner; John Shoemaker; Benjamin Rice; Susan Ickes; Elizabeth Loy; Sarah Shull; Catharine Shull; Elizabeth Hench; Hannah Kremer; Margaret Kremer; Sarah Titzel; Elizabeth Rubrecht; Elizabeth Kistler; Susan Bender; Catharine Bitner; Catharine Stambaugh; Mary Shuman; Margaret Kochenderfer; Hetta Dunkelberger; Elizabeth Tressler; Mary Fusselman; Sarah Wolf; Elizabeth Briner; Mary Smith; Mary Kleffman; Mrs. ---- Shoemaker; Mrs. Elizabeth Bender; Mary Minich; Elizabeth Ebert; Mary Crist; Sarah Crist; Mary Shoemaker.
At the meeting of the Pennsylvania Synod, held at Reading, in May, 1825, Rev. Heim reported 8 congregations, 235 infant baptisms, 47 confirmations, 609 communicants, 43 deaths, and 8 schools. In September, 1825, Mr. Solomon Bower, of Blain, as lay delegate of the charge, accompanied Rev. Heim to the first convention of the West Pennsylvania Synod, held at Chambersburg, Pa. After the organization of this Synod, all the Lutheran congregations in Pennsylvania, west of the Susquehanna, were attached to it. Hence, when we hereafter refer to Synod, we mean the West Pennsylvania Synod.
In the spring of 1826, being Easter, at Loysville, Rev. Heim confirmed a class of catechumens, consisting of about forty persons. The following are some who belonged to this class:
Solomon Bernheisel; Samuel Shuman; Daniel Long; Mr. ----- Hollenbach; Mr. ----- Gutshall; George Hohenshilt; Mr. ---- Kich; Nicholas Bitner; John Arnold; George Ernst; David Flickinger; John Briner; Jonathan Briner; David Miller; Samuel Reisdorff; Elizabeth Flickinger; Hetta Ickes; Elizabeth Ritter; Mary Fusselman; Mary Rice; Abraham Trostel; John Shoemaker; John Baltozer; Elizabeth Loy; Mary Reisinger; Frances Bernheisel; Margaret Kochenderfer; Esther Arnold; Margaret Clouser.
In 1827, the congregations in Perry County, belonging to the Loysville charge, united in buying of George Loy fifteen acres of land, adjoining the church land, as a glebe. A house was erected on this parcel of land, which has since served as a parsonage; afterwards a barn was also built on this ground. Some five or six years ago the congregation sold a few acres of this land.
The old Constitution of the church being lost, Rev. Heim wrote the following one in the German language:
In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. God is a God of order, and therefore everything that is to meet with His approbation and redound to His glory, must be done in the
spirit of order, of love and peace. Whereas, the Constitution of the hereinafter named church and congregation is lost, we do hereby declare said first Constitution null and void in case it should ever be found; and We, the church-council and church-members, solemnly covenant, on this the 8th of September, 1827, strictly and conscientiously to observe the following Constitution:
of The Church, The Graveyard, and the School-House
Our Church, called Lebanon, built on ground given for the purpose by Martin Bernheisel and Michael Loy, containing two acres and forty-two perches, situate in Tyrone Township, Perry County and State of Pennsylvania, is, and shall always remain, a Union Church and shall so be used by the two religious denominations, namely, the Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed, until, by mutual agreement, the one denomination purchase the right or interest of the other. In this church it shall never be permitted that any other doctrine be preached or set forth, than our Evangelical Lutheran and German Reformed, as contained in the Bible, the Augsburg Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, in our German vernacular language. One denomination shall not interfere in the Divine worship of the other, but one shall worship on one Sunday and the other on the Sunday next following, except when there is a funeral, and then that denomination to which the funeral belongs shall have the use of the church.
The land on which the church and school-house are erected together with the graveyard, is the perpetual and inalienable property of the above named congregations, deeded and assigned to their use,
where to bury their dead in an orderly and Christian manner. No stranger, nor any one else, not paying to one of the above-named congregations, shall be allowed to bury his dead here, without first asking permission of the Trustees of the congregations, and paying for the ground what said Trustees may deem just and right; and the money so obtained shall be appropriated to the use of the congregations. The documents, deeds, & c., of the land on which are erected the above church and school-house, shall be delivered to the Trustees for safe-keeping as soon as this Constitution is adopted and recorded in the Church-book.
of the Pastors.
The pastors who preach in the above church must have entered the ministry in a regular way, as James says, chap. 3:1, "Be not many teachers," and as also our Augsburg Confession teaches in Article 14. Further, they must stand in connection with one of our Lutheran or Reformed Synods, must preach the word in purity and sincerity, and adorn their profession with a godly life. Their election, or call, shall always be determined by the majority of votes cast, and the same shall be done in case they are to be dismissed. If complaint be made against the pastor, the words of Paul must be heeded, 1 Tim. 5:19, "Against an elder receive no accusation;" if, however, the cause of complaint be of a more serious nature, then the different degrees of Christian admonition, as specified in Matt. 18:15-17, must be observed: "If they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone."
Elections for pastors shall be conducted as follows: Each congregation shall elect its own pastor, and when necessary dismiss him, without the interference of the other congregation; the same shall also be observed in regard to this support. In case the congregations have, however, only one pastor, then both congregations shall unite in supporting him. And we feel ourselves under solemn obligation to give our pastors their salary annually, freely and cheerfully, according to the word of St. Paul, Heb. 13:16-17, "To do good, and to communicate, forget not," so that we may by their ministry and the grace of
God be edified in all that is good and confirmed to eternal life.
of the Church-Council.
The Church-Council of the above congregations
shall consist of the following officers:
One Treasurer and one Secretary, each of whom shall serve three
Two Trustees, one of each congregation, who shall serve three years.
Two Elders, one of each congregation, who shall serve three years.
Two Deacons, one of each congregation, who shall serve three years.
Every year a new officer shall be elected, so that one of the old officers may
remain in office. The old Church-Council may be re-elected. The
duties of the officers are the following:
1. The Trustees shall---a.
Endeavor with the help of God, to set their own household and the whole
congregation a worthy example by their Christian deportment. b. Take
care that the deeds and other important documents of the church are
preserved. c. That the property of the church be not injured or
destroyed and that the house of worship and other buildings belonging to the
church, be kept in good repair. d. That Evangelical doctrine and
Christian discipline be maintained and perpetuated in the church.
2. The Elders shall---a. Set the church a truly Christian
example. b. See to it that the debts of the church be paid, and her best
interests promoted. c. Advance the interests of the schools by visiting
them as often as possible. d. Settle discords and controversies in
the church, and thus promote peace. e. If the pastor desire it, they
shall accompany him in his visits to the sick. f. They shall keep an
account of all moneys received and paid out, and in every proper way seek to
promote the best interests of the church.
3. The Deacons are---a. To afford the congregation an example
of a truly Christian life. b. To render all necessary aid in the
services of the sanctuary and the administration of the sacraments.
c. To collect the alms, keep a correct account of the money collected and
pay the same into the hands of the Treasurer, as often as he may deem it
necessary for the good of the church. d. To see that according to
God's command the minister is properly supported and that during divine service
all things be done decently and in order.
Elections for officers, and all other congregational elections, shall be openly
announced in the church, so that all who are entitled to a vote, may have an
opportunity to vote; and those persons who are elected by a majority of
votes, shall, at the next meeting for divine worship, be installed by the pastor
into their respective offices. Should any member of the Church-Council
conduct himself unworthily (which may God forbid!), and so as to make his
removal from office necessary, it shall in such case be the duty of the
Church-Council to investigate the matter of complaint, and then to lay their
action in the case before the whole congregation, whose duty it shall then be to
decide in the matter.
The congregational settlement shall be made annually, on Easter Monday, by the
Church-Council, and an entry thereof shall be recorded in the
of the Church-Members
Every one who would be a member of this
church, must of necessity possess the following qualifications, and perform the
duties here prescribed. He must,
1. Have been admitted by confirmation
to the Lord's Supper.
2. Lead a truly Christian life, and set his household a good example.
3. Promptly and cheerfully help to bear the expenses of the church,
according to his ability.
4. Willingly receive admonition from the Church-Council, or Pastor, when
found in the wrong.
5. In case a member commits a moral offence (which may God in mercy
prevent!), so that the congregation consider him unworthy of membership, or of
participating in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, the Church-Council,
together with the Pastor, shall then regularly investigate the charges
preferred, and if said charges are found well sustained, they shall then
decide by vote whether such offender shall be debarred from the Lord's table--
the Pastor has no vote unless there be a tie, and then he has the casting
vote-- and if the majority of votes are cast against such an offending member,
he shall then be denied the privilege of coming to the table of the Lord,
until he gives satisfactory evidence of true repentance for his sins, by a
genuine reformation of his life, according to the order and requirements of
the New Testament.
To the above Constitution, We, the
Church-Council and church-members, herewith subscribe our names:
Henry Titzel; John Ritter; Michael Loy; George Loy; John Kretzing; Jacob
Hartman; Henry Shoemaker; Jacob Maul; Joseph Tressler; Frederick Dumm; Jacob
Bernheisel; Henry Kell; David Tressler; Henry Trostel; Adam Swarner; Henry
Klein; John Wormly; John Shatto; John Loy.
The above Constitution has long since become obsolete, and on the basis of it, a
few years ago, a new one was adopted, with the provision, that each congregation
manage its own affairs, according to the government and discipline of the
General Synod of each denomination.
In April, 1828, Rev. Heim moved from near Mifflintown, Juniata County, to
Loysville, Perry County, and took possession there of the parsonage bought the
previous year; about this time, also, he ceased to preach at Lewistown,
and in Decatur Township northeast of Lewistown, and, instead of those
congregations, he soon after added to his charge the congregation in Fishing
Creek Valley, and St. Andrew's (Shuman's) near Ickesburg, both in Perry
County. Thus his pastoral labors in Mifflin County ceased. In 1830,
Rev. George Yeager took charge of the congregation at Lewistown, and the
churches therewith associated.
In May, 1828, a class of about forty catechumens were at Loysville admitted to
full communion by the rite of confirmation, of whom the following were a few:
Frederick Hartman; John Trostel; Charles Dunkelberger; William Loy; Phebe Shull;
Elizabeth Notestein; Rebecca Rice; Hannah Dunkelberger; Mary Stambaugh; Susan
Bernheisel; Mary Zeigler; Julian Kremer; Catharine Kremer; Catharine Hallman;
In October, 1828, Rev. Heim reported at Synod, convened at York, Pa., 8
congregations, 260 infant baptisms, 81 confirmations, 606 communicants, 35
deaths, 6 schools and $25 collected for the Synodical Treasury.
Mr. Casper Wolf, of the congregation at Loysville, as lay delegate of the
charge, attended Synod in October, 1829, at Bedford, Pa. At this
Convention of Synod, Rev. Heim reported 8 congregations, 264 infant baptisms, 98
confirmations, 746 communicants, 39 deaths and $22 collected for the Treasury of
Synod. At this time Synod organized an Education and Missionary Society,
of whose Executive Committee Mr. George Loy of Loysville was elected a
member. Synod elected Rev. Heim to represent it, as delegate in the
General Synod, whose sessions he also attended at Hagerstown, Md. He was a
great friend and advocate of the General Synod.
Though two classes of catechumens were confirmed at Loysville between 1828 and
1833, we have not been able to ascertain the number of each class, nor the names
of those who were confirmed.
In October, 1830, Mr. Nicholas Ickes, as delegate of the charge, accompanied
Rev. Heim to Synod, held at Greencastle, Pa. At this time, Rev. Heim
reported 8 congregations, 267 infant baptisms, 65 confirmations, 684
communicants, 31 funerals, 8 week-day schools, 4 Sunday-schools, and $25
14 for the Synodical Treasury. He exerted himself very much to have a
Sunday-school established in connection with each of his congregations, and
gradually succeeded in his efforts. At this Convention of Synod he also
heartily advocated the passage of the following resolution, which he religiously
observed at home: "Resolved, That we will observe the 21st of
November, of this year, as a day of prayer for the extension of the kingdom of
God, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the congregations in our
charge." At this Convention of Synod he was elected a director of the
Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa., for the term of five years. As
long as he lived, he took a deep interest in the prosperity of the institutions
of learning at Gettysburg.
Synod convened in October, 1831, at Indiana, Indiana County, Pa., when Rev. Heim
reported 8 congregations, 237 infant and 40 adult baptisms, 38 confirmations,
648 communicants, 50 funerals, 8 week-day schools, 4 Sunday-schools and $25.20
collected for the Synodical Treasury. he also reported the following
regular congregations as constituting his charge at this time, namely,
Mifflintown, Tuscarora ( near Perryville, and both in Juniata County), Lebanon,
Bloomfield, Zion (at Blain), St. Peter's, Liverpool and St. Michael's in Foutz's
Valley. Besides these, he also preached regularly at Zion's Church in
Fishing Creek Valley, and at St. Andrew's (Shuman's) near Ickesburg.
Reiber's Church or school-house, in Perry County, was reported as vacant.*
(*Reiber's (German, Rauber's) Church or rather school-house, was
built more than fifty years ago for church and school purposes, and the
Lutherans had preaching here occasionally, and perhaps at times regularly, till
about 1830. It is located in Spring Township, an old-looking building,
with an old and large graveyard adjoining it. Not Lutherans, but others
still preach occasionally here. When the Pisgah Church was built, about 2
miles east of Reiber's, the members generally united with the former, and
abandoned the latter was worth very little.)
Synod convened at Hanover, York County, Pa., in October, 1832. Mr.
Philip Fusselman of the Loysville congregation took his seat in this convention
as lay delegate of the charge. Rev. Heim was elected Treasurer of
Synod. He reported this time 8 congregations, 228 infant and 20 adult
baptisms, 125 confirmations, 800 communicants, 33 funerals, 8 week-day schools,
6 Sunday-schools, $20 for the Synodical Treasury, and $37.33 for missionary and
educational purposes. At this meeting of Synod, a committee reported as
follows: "No. 7 is a petition of the congregation at Lewistown,
praying Synod to enlarge that pastoral charge, and thus enable it to support a
pastor. Your committee would recommend that this petition be read before
Synod." The petition was read, and then Synod "Resolved, That
Rev. Heim, at the expiration of his current pastoral year, cede the Mifflintown
and Tuscarora congregations to the Lewistown charge." With this
resolution Rev. Heim complied at the close of his current pastoral year, which
was in May, 1833, and ceased also, at the same time, to preach at St. Michael's
in Foutz's Valley and at Liverpool, so that, till the next meeting of Synod, his
pastoral labors were wholly confined to that part of Perry County lying
southwest of the Juniata.
In 1832, Rev. Heim was chosen one of the first Trustees of Pennsylvania College,
at Gettysburg, Pa.
In the spring of 1833, a large class of catechumens was confirmed at Loysville.
Of this class the following are the only names that could be remembered:
F.W. Heim; Levi Hollenbach; William Bernheisel; Joseph Dunkelberger; John Stump;
Henry Titzel; Catharine Heim; Elizabeth Briner; Mary Wolf; Julian Shaeffer;
Frances Ebert; Mary A. Billman; Margaret Burrell; Mary A. Ickes; Maria Wormley.
After the confirmation of this class, we have not been able to ascertain the
names and numbers of the four or five large classes of catechumens who were
admitted to communion in the interval between 1833 and 1843.
In October, 1833, Synod met at Mifflinburg, Union County, Pa. Mr. Henry
Shoemaker, as lay delegate, represented the charge. Rev. Heim reported 4
congregations,* 257 infant and 11 adult baptisms, 41 confirmations, 783
communicants, 27 funerals, 4 week-day schools, 4 Sunday-schools, $24.93
collected for the Treasury of Synod and $29.10-1/2 for missionary and
beneficiary educational purposes. In the minutes of this convention of
Synod we find the following action on two petitions from Juniata County:
"Two petitions from the congregations at Mifflintown and Tuscarora were
presented. The first, subscribed by forty members of said
congregations, prays Synod to annul the resolution of their minutes of last
year, according to which, Rev. Mr. Heim was no longer to serve those
congregations, and to grant them the privilege of retaining him as their
pastor. The second petition, also subscribed by thirty-nine
members of the same congregations, praying for the service of Rev. Mr. Weyl, of
Lewistown. Delegates from these congregations being present, and after
hearing the grounds of their petitions, and duly considering all the
circumstances, on motion it was
"Resolved, That Rev. Mr. Heim continue to preach for these
congregations in the German language, and that Rev. Mr. Weyl serve them in the
According to this action of Synod, Rev. Heim preached once more, but only during
the ensuing year, in Juniata County.
(*Why he did not, at this time, report six congregations, we
cannot tell. He certainly preached regularly to the following organized
congregations, viz. Zion at Blain, Loysville, St. Peter's, St. Andrew's,
Bloomfield, and Mount Zion on Fishing Creek. It may be he considered two
of these congregations as only preaching stations.)
Synod met in October, 1834, at Somerset, Pa. Mr. Samuel Ickes
attended as delegate from the Loysville charge. Rev. Heim reported 6
congregations, 153 infant and 2 adult baptisms, 94 confirmations, 666
communicants, 23 funerals, 5 week-day schools, 4 Sunday-schools, $11 for the
Synodical Treasury, and $34 for missionary and educational purposes. The
Seminary at Gettysburg being then somewhat embarrassed with debt, on the
circulation of a subscription among the members of Synod, Rev. Heim put down his
name for one hundred dollars towards meeting the wants of that
theological institution. At this session of Synod, two petitions were also
handed in, and disposed of as follows:
"1. A petition from the
Mifflintown and Tuscarora congregations, with forty-six names appended,
praying Synod to grant them permission to call a minister who can preach in both
2. A petition from the same congregations, subscribed by forty-six
communing members, praying for permission to continue the Rev. Mr. Heim as their
pastor. After much consultation on the contents of these letters and the
petitions of the congregations, during which the brethren fully expressed their
views, on motion it was
"Resolved, That Synod recommend to both brethren, Rev. J.W. Heim and
Rev. C. Weyl, to give up said congregations at the end of the year, so that, in
connection with other congregations a new pastorate may be formed; provided,
however, that Brother Weyl continue to visit the congregations until the end of
Brother Heim's year."
In accordance with this recommendation of
Synod, Rev. Heim ceased to preach in Juniata County, and to the time of his
death he confined his pastoral labors exclusively to Perry County, serving the
following congregations, viz., Zion's, at Blain; Lebanon, at Loysville; St.
Peter's, in Spring Township; Christ's, at Bloomfield; St. Andrew's, near
Ickesburg; Mount Zion, in Fishing Creek Valley; to which he added St. John's,
near Markelville, in 1840, and Ludolph's (Germany), near Elliottsburg, in
1842. Besides these congregations, he preached also occasionally at
preaching stations. It is inconceivable how he could do justice to himself
and so many and remote congregations.
Mr. John Wormely, of the Loysville congregation, as delegate, attended Synod in
October, 1835, at Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pa. Rev. Heim reported
at this convention 4 congregations, 193 infant and 4 adult baptisms, 39
confirmations, 729 communicants, 23 deaths, 3 Sunday-schools, $ 9.20 for the
Synodical Treasury and $23.65 for the missionary and educational causes.
In October, 1836, Mr. Henry Shoemaker, of the Loysville congregation, attended
Synod as delegate at Lewistown, Pa. Rev. Heim now reported 6
congregations, 147 infant and 3 adult baptisms, 21 confirmations, 530
communicants, 36 funerals, 3 Sunday-schools, $13.03-1/2 collected for the
Treasury of Synod, and $24 for the cause of missions.
Mr. David Tressler, of the congregation at Bloomfield, attended Synod as
delegate in September, 1837, at Blairsville, Indiana County, Pa. At this
convention of Synod Rev. Heim reported 6 congregations, 200 infant and 3 adult
baptisms, 31 confirmations, 611 communicants, 38 funerals, 5 Sunday-schools,
$13.37-1/2 collected for the Synodical Treasury, $5 for missions, and $18.81 for
educational purposes. From the minutes of this session of Synod, we learn
that some persons at Loysville preferred charges against Father Heim. The
nature of the charges does not appear. A committee was appointed by Synod
to meet at Loysville on the 14th of November, 1837. This committee
consisted of Rev. J.G. Schmucker, D.D., Rev. B. Keller, Rev. N. Stroh, and Rev.
D. Gottwalt, and Messrs. Sener, of Carlisle and Hoffman, of Mechanicsburg.
These gentlemen met at the time and place designated and after having carefully
investigated the matter of complaint, they pronounced Father Heim clear of all
blame, and censured his accusers. The action of the committee was
afterwards approved and confirmed by the Synod.
In October, 1838, as delegate, Mr. Henry Shoemaker attended Synod at New Berlin,
Union County. As the manuscript proceedings of this session of Synod were
lost, and only a sketch of them was reproduced from memory, Rev. Heim's report
does not appear.
Synod convened in October, 1839, at York, Pa. Mr. Henry Grubb attended as
delegate from the charge of Father Heim, who reported 6 congregations, 183
infant and 3 adult baptisms, 41 confirmations, 633 communicants, 25 funerals, 3
Sunday-schools, $18.12-1/2 for the Treasury of Synod, and $28 for the cause of
Synod met in Pittsburg, Pa., in October, 1840. Father Heim did not attend
this convention, nor send a report of his ministerial acts during the
year. This was the only instance, during his long ministry, that he failed
to take his seat in the annual Synodical convention. But the distance this
time was great, and age was also beginning to make its mark on his robust
body. Hence he stayed home, and was for so doing cheerfully excused by his
brethren in the ministry.
Mr. D. Minich, of Loysville, as delegate, attended Synod at Boalsburg, Centre
County, in October, 1841, when Father Heim reported 6 congregations, 188 infant
and 3 adult baptisms, 53 confirmations, 679 communicants, 25 funerals, 3
Sunday-schools, $26.25 collected for beneficiary education, $18 for missionary
purposes, and $18.38 fo the Synodical Treasury.
In September, 1842, Synod held its sessions at Bloomfield, Perry County, in Rev.
Heim's charge. Mr. David Tressler, as delegate, represented the charge in
Synod. Father Heim reported 6 congregations, 139 infant and 3 adult
baptisms, 15 confirmations, 568 communicants, 1 Sunday-school, $8 collected for
the Treasury of Synod, $8 for missions and $8 for beneficiary education.
In spring of 1843, a class of catechumens was confirmed at Loysville. The
following were a few of this class:
William Lutman, John Swarner, John Tressler, David Evans, Mrs. --- Bausum;
Caroline Tressler, Mary A. Tressler, Eliza Tressler, Sarah Tressler, Elizabeth
Kistler, Mary Snyder, Eliza Bausum.
Synod convened in October, 1843, at Aaronsburg, Centre County. Mr. Solomon
Bernheisel, as delegate of the Loysville charge, took his seat as a member of
this convention of Synod. Father Heim reported 6 congregations, 155 infant
and 2 adult baptisms, 31 confirmations, 682 communicants, 16 funerals, 4
Sunday-schools, $6 collected for the Synodical Treasury, $10 for beneficiary
education, $10 for missions, and $5 for the Theological Seminary.
Mr. Daniel Foulk, of the congregation at Bloomfield, as delegate, attended Synod
at Hanover, York County, in October, 1844. As the proceedings of convention of
Synod were not published in pamphlet form, we have not at hand Rev. Heim's
In September, 1845, Synod met at Carlisle, Pa. Mr. J. Zimmerman attended
this convention as delegate of the charge. Father Heim reported 6
congregations, 125 infant and 3 adult baptisms, 39 confirmations, 816
communicants, 29 funerals, 5 Sunday-schools, $9.35 for Treasury of Synod,
$15.12-1/2 for education, $15.17 for home missions; $7.83 for foreign missions,
and $5 for the Professors' Fund of the Seminary at Gettysburg.
As delegate of the charge, Mr. George Beistlein attended Synod at Chambersburg,
Pa., in September, 1846. This time Father Heim reported 6 congregations,
108 infant and 3 adult baptisms, 61 confirmations, 764 communicants, 18
funerals, 5 Sunday-schools, $5.30 collected for Synod's Treasury, $25 for
beneficiary education, $5 for home missions, and $5 for foreign missions.
Synod convened in September, 1847, at Mifflinburg, Union County. Mr. J.
Dunkelberger, as delegate, took his seat in this convention. Rev. Heim
reported 6 congregations, 124 infant and 1 adult baptisms, 32 confirmations, 747
communicants, 22 funerals, 6 Sunday-schools, $10 collected for the Treasury of
Synod, $32.81 for education, $18.76 for home missions, and $12.73 for foreign
In May, 1848, Rev. Heim confirmed at Loysville a class of catechumens (the last
class he confirmed here), consisting of the following sixteen persons:
Samuel Culler, Rudolphus J. Heim, Samuel Kistler, John G. Loy, Samuel Tressler,
Mr. ---- Comp, Mr. ---- Comp, Sarah Tressler, Frances Minich, Sarah Briner,
Margaret Briner, Mary Briner, Ann Loy, Caroline Swab, Lydia Kunkel, Miss ----
Synod met at East Berlin, Adams County, in September, 1848, when Mr. Wm.
Messinger, as delegate, represented the Loysville charge, and Father Heim
reported 6 congregations, 129 infant and 1 adult baptisms, 79 confirmations, 843
communicants, 34 funerals, 6 Sunday-schools, $10 for Synod's Treasury, $33.83
for education, $15.44 for home missions, and $7.33 for foreign missions.
In September, 1849, Synod convened at York, Pa. Mr. Henry Shoemaker, as
delegate, represented the Loysville charge. At this convention of Synod
Rev. Heim reported 6 congregations, 100 infant baptisms, 10 confirmations, 712
communicants, 23 funerals, 9 Sunday-Schools, $5.12-1/2 collected for the
Synodical Treasury, $38.87-1/2 for beneficiary education, $13 for home missions
and $10 for foreign missions. This was the last time the Lord granted
Father Heim the delightful privilege of meeting his ministerial brethren in
As no church-records were kept by any of the congregations whilst Rev. Heim was
pastor of them, we supposed it would be most satisfactory to the reader to have
before him the annual parochial reports made at Synod by Father Heim. An
idea of his labors and success, and of the condition and growth of the
congregations, can thus be formed far better than from vague and general
statements. These reports, are, moreover, an important item in the history
of the Loysville charge, as it then was, and they tell their story far better
and more truthfully than can be done by any attempt on our part. From
them, each one can draw his own inferences. For our part, we say,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Father Heim prosecuted his labors with unabated zeal to the end of his sojourn
on earth. According to a resolution of the last session of Synod, the last
sermon he preached to his congregations was on the sanctification of the
Sabbath, a subject well suited for one who was himself soon to exchange
labor on earth for eternal rest in heaven. We have often heard this
discourse spoken of as one of his ablest and most successful pulpit
efforts. His labors were soon to end, and for him the day of rest was near
Some time in the fall of 1849, the subject of building a new
church at Loysville was agitated by the members. At times, especially
during communion seasons, the old church was too small, in winter it was
uncomfortable, and in general it had become dilapidated. A general
congregational meeting was called, and the subject of building a new church was
discussed. A diversity of opinion prevailed: some thought the old
church was good enough; others were for repairing it; but the majority were in
favor of building a new one. Father Heim was present. During the
discussions a messenger came for him to attend a funeral. Before leaving,
he arose and feelingly addressed the meeting, in substance, as follows:
"Brethren: The object for which you have met is a good and
important one. The enemy of the church of Jesus Christ wants no more new
houses erected for the true worship of the true Go, and he is without doubt
present to defeat the glorious enterprise in which you are about to
engage. I exhort you not to give heed to his wicked suggestions, but to go
forward hand in hand, trusting in God, and seeking his glory in the erection of
a new house to His name and for His worship."
This short, but appropriate address from their aged pastor had the desired
effect. Before the meeting adjourned, all were agreed to build a new
church. Father Heim saw the subscriptions for the new church taken, and
put his own name down for fifty dollars, which were taken out of his
estate after his death.
The time for Father Heim's departure had now fully come. After languishing
on a bed of sickness for a few days, he fell asleep in Jesus and in peace, on
Thursday evening, the 27th of December, 1849, aged 67 years, 4 months, and 19
days, having served the congregation at Loysville, as pastor, thirty-four
years and about four months.
"Sweet is the scene where
Where holy souls retire to rest;
How mildly beams the closing eye!
How gently heaves th' expiring breast!
"So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore.
"Triumphant smiles the victor's brow,
Fann'd by some guardian angel's wing.
O'grave! where is thy victory now?
And where, O death! is now thy sting?"
As the life, character and death of Father
Heim are fully detailed in another chapter of this work, we will proceed with
In February, 1850, a convention of delegates from the congregations Father Heim
had served, and those under the pastoral care of Rev. J. Martin, was called to
meet in Bloomfield. The congregations composing the Liverpool charge, were
at this time served by Rev. William Weaver, and were not embraced in this
call. The following are the proceedings of this convention.
"According to notice previously given, the congregations (by their
representatives), composing the charge of the late Rev. J.W. Heim, and those at
present under the care of Rev. J. Martin, met in convention in the Borough of
Bloomfield, Perry County, Pa., on Friday the 18th of February, 1850, in the
morning, at 11 o'clock, for the purpose of taking into consideration the
propriety of arranging said congregations into three different pastorates.
A hymn having been sung, and prayer offered by Mr. R. Adams, the Convention was
temporarily organized by calling Mr. Samuel Shuman to the Chair, and appointing
Col. John Tressler, Secretary.
"The credentials of the delegates were then called for, and it was found
that twenty-eight delegates were in attendance, representing fourteen
congregations. After a short time had been spent in consultation, prayer
was again offered, and the Convention adjourned to meet in the afternoon at
half-past one o'clock.
"The convention met according to adjournment, and was opened with
prayer. On motion, the Convention was permanently organized by continuing
Mr. Samuel Shuman, as Chairman, and Col J. Tressler, as Secretary.
"A motion was now made and seconded, that the congregations represented in
this Convention, be so arranged as to make three different charges. After
a lengthy discussion, the vote was taken and the motion was decided in the
affirmative. The question then arose, How shall these congregations be
divided, so that their arrangement may be as judicious as possible? A plan
of division was then submitted, which, after some discussion, was finally
"The upper, or Loysville charge, to be composed of the following
congregations: Zion, Lebanon, St. Peter's, and Germany (Ludolph's)
"The middle, or Bloomfield charge, to be composed of Ickesburg (stone
church), Shuman's, Bealor's, Bloomfield, and Newport.
"The lower, or Petersburg charge, to be composed of Pisgah, Fishing Creek,
Billow's, Petersburg, and New Buffalo Churches.
"Resolved, That the proceedings be signed by the officers, and that
the Secretary cause an abstract of the same to be published in the Lutheran
Observer and Kirchenbote.
(*See Lutheran Observer, Feb. 22, 1850)
The Loysville Charge, as reorganized by the
After the death of Father Heim, the Loysville
charge was vacant about ten months, and as reorganized, consisted now of four
congregations. Hitherto the Loysville congregation, as well as all the
other congregations of the charge, had preaching exclusively in the German
language. Father Heim was unfriendly to the introduction of the English
language in divine worship in his congregations. On this point he made a
sad mistake, though he no doubt thought his course in the matter was
right. In October, 1850, the
Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff,
of Milton, Pa., having accepted a call from
the above charge, entered on the discharge of his pastoral duties. Without
delay, he introduced the use of the English language in worship in all the
congregations of his charge. This was a measure much needed, and for want
of it the growth of the congregations had been for a long time greatly retarded.
The New Church
This church was commenced in the spring of
1850. The corner-stone was laid on the 23d of June, the same year, by Rev.
S.S. Schmucker, D.D., of the Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, who preached on
the occasion an appropriate sermon in a grove a short distance north of the site
of the church, and deposited in the corner-stone a copy of the Bible in German
and English, German and English hymn-books and catechisms of both congregations,
a copy of the Lutheran Observer and of the German Reformed Messenger,
a copy of each of the Perry County newspapers, a list of the names of
subscribers, and a copy of the congregational constitution of 1827. The
ministers present on this occasion were Rev. Dr. Schmucker and Rev. J. Martin, Lutheran,
and Rev. C.H. Leinbach, and Rev. A.H. Kremer, German Reformed, and
perhaps others. Messrs. John Tressler, Solomon Bernheisel, George Billman,
Lutherans and Jacob Bernheisel, Daniel Ritter, Jacob Shearer, German
Reformed, were the building committee. Messrs. George Shaeffer and
George Wetzel did the carpenter work; Messrs. David Shearer and John Shearer did
the stone and brick work; Mr. Israel Messimer did the plastering, and Mr. John
Newcomer the painting. The church is 65 feet long and 43 feet wide.
On Sunday, the 2d of March, 1851, the church was consecrated. The
ministers present on this occasion were Rev. F. Ruthrauff, pastor, Rev. B.
Kurtz, D.D., Rev. J. Martin, Rev. M.J. Alleman, Lutheran, and Rev. C.H.
Leinbach, pastor, Rev. J.F. Mesick, Rev. N. Gehr, German Reformed.
Though the church is large, on this occasion all assembled could not be
accommodated. Some withdrew to the school-house close by, where Rev.
Alleman preached for them, whilst Rev. Dr. Kurtz preached the dedicatory sermon
in the church. One the morning of the day of consecration, a debt of
nearly one thousand dollars still rested on the church. An appeal was made
to the audience, and in the forenoon, about $760 were obtained in subscriptions
and otherwise, and in the evening about $300 more. The church has an end
gallery, and will seat some six or seven hundred persons. The basement is
divided into several apartments, for Sunday-schools and pastor's study.
The edifice is surmounted by a steeple, containing a bell weighing 955
pounds. The church, fixtures, and bell, cost about $6000, the whole of
which, we believe, is now paid. The church is convenient internally, and
has an imposing appearance externally. It is a Union church, that is, it
is owned jointly by the Lutherans and German Reformed.
At the time this church was dedicated, and in regard to Union churches, the
editor of the Lutheran Observer made the following judicious remarks,
which we cannot refrain from introducing here. "We regret," says
the editor, "to find that they (the congregations at Loysville) have built
a Union Church, because it is so very difficult, when pastors and people of
different denominations are thus circumstanced, to 'keep the unity of the spirit
in the bond of peace.' This evil has long been felt, and hence the Synods
of both churches have passed resolutions, disapproving of and dissuading from
the erection of houses of worship of this kind. If even harmony should
prevail while the two use the same building in common, the period will
ultimately arrive, when the wants of the two will demand separate houses of
worship; then the trouble, and perhaps even litigation, will arise in dividing
the property. We have heard of so many melancholy instances of this kind,
that we are surprised that both German Reformed and Lutherans have not profited
sufficiently to guard against all such causes of inconvenience and
contention. One object aimed at in erecting Union churches, is to save
expenses; but it is a saving which tends to strife and spiritual poverty, and
ought not to be encouraged." Would that all heeded these words of
admonition! This was the last Union church, or more correctly, disunion church,
the Lutherans helped to erect in Perry County, and our fervent prayer is, that
it may continue the last!
When Rev. Ruthrauff took charge of the Loysville pastorate, he induced each
congregation to make regular entries in the church records. Discipline was
also introduced, and in general, the affairs of the congregations were conducted
in a way far better than had hitherto been customary. He was an able
minister of the Gospel, and infused into his people that proper respect for
their own church, which they very much lacked before, and some do yet. He
catechized the young almost constantly, was faithful and useful. Though
now dead, he started influences for good that will never die.
On the 3d of May, 1851, at Loysville, the following persons were admitted to
full communion by the solemn rite of confirmation:
John B. Zimmerman; John Arnold; Samuel Rinehart; John Swab; John G. Kiner; David
Metz; Israel Messimer; Jeremiah W. Kiner; George Peck; John Hollenbach; Jacob
Bausum; Elizabeth Zimmerman; Julian Bausum; Elvina M. Bernheisel; Caroline C.
Bernheisel; Catharine E. Kepner; Sarah A. Billman; Eliza Minich; Diana Minich;
Catharine Hopple; Matilda Shock; Margaret Metz; Susanna Metz.
On the 20th of September, 1851, John Kistler and Mrs. Louisa Loy (baptized) were
admitted to full communion by confirmation, and Joseph Abrams and Mrs. Amanda
Abrams were received by certificate from the Lutheran church of Rev. D.H. Focht
in Franklin County.
On the 30th of May, 1852, Victor George Tressler and John Minich were admitted
to full communion by the rite of confirmation.
In September, 1852, Col. John Tressler, as delegate, represented Loysville
charge in Synod, convened at Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. He was
elected by Synod as one of its lay delegates to the General Synod, to be held at
Winchester, Va., in May, 1853. He attended this convention of the General
The above, as to the number of accessions to the congregation, is the result of
Rev. Ruthrauff's labors here; but it is by no means the whole of the good those
labors produced in the congregation. Eternity alone can fully disclose the
happy effects his influence had on many souls. Having served the Loysville
charge about two years, he resigned in November, 1852, and accepted a call from
Centre County.* The charge was then vacant about four months.
(*For a satisfactory sketch of the life and labors of Rev. F.
Ruthrauff, see "The Evangelical Review," vol. xiii, pp. 570-581.)
Rev. Reuben Weiser
of Chambersburg, Pa., then accepted a call
from the charge and commenced his pastoral labors on the 1st of April,
1853. At this time about one-half of the preaching was required in the
German language, and one-half in the English. Rev. Weiser preached both
In September, 1853, Col. John Tressler, as delegate, attended Synod at
On the 16th of May, 1854, Rev. Weiser admitted the following persons to full
communion by confirmation:
James R. Lackey; Henry T. Swarner; Mrs. Sarah Bausum; Sarah M. Weiser; Elizabeth
Ewing; Margaret Stuber; Mary M. Swab
John R. Delaney; Benj. Wormley (these received by certificate)
In September, 1854, Mr. Solomon Bower of Blain, as delegate, represented the
charge in Synod, held at Shrewsbury, York County, Pa.
The Synod of Central Pennsylvania was organized in February, 1855, at
Aaronsburg, Centre County. As Perry County was embraced within the bounds
of this Synod, of course the congregations in the county become connected with
this Synod. Mr. John B. Zimmerman, as delegate, attended the convention
called for the organization of the Synod of Central Pennsylvania.
Early in the spring of 1855, George Rempfer, Miss Catharine V. Weiser, and it
may be some others, were admitted to communion by confirmation. The names
of this class of catechumens were not recorded in the Church-book.
In May, 1866, the first annual convention of Synod of Central
Pennsylvania was held at Mifflintown, Juniata County. As delegate of the
Loysville charge, Mr. Solomon Bower attended this convention of Synod.
Having served the charge about two years and a half, Rev. Weiser preached his
farewell sermon at Loysville, on the 16th of September, 1855, from Acts
20:22. He accepted the Presidency of Central College of Iowa. The
charge was now vacant about six months. During this time St. Paul's
Lutheran Church in Madison Township, consecrated in December, 1855, was added to
the charge. On the 25th of May, 1856, the
Rev. Philip Willard
of Danville, Montour County, Pa., having
accepted a call from the charge, entered on the discharge of his pastoral labors
here. He had five congregations to serve, and the charge was now large and
required hard labor. Rev. Willard applied himself to his task with energy,
being "instant in season and out of season," and the Lord owned
and crowned his labors with abundant success. Immediately he commenced
instructing a class of catechumens at Loysville in the doctrines of our holy
Christianity, and on the 21st of September, 1856, the following persons were
admitted to full communion by the rite of confirmation:
John M. Rice; Andrew T. Kistler; William H. Rice; William Minich; Emanuel
Freeman; Absalom Swarner; Jacob Wolf; George W. Kepner; David L. Rice; Rebecca
Kistler; Catharine Rice; Elvina Heim; Cath. A. Heim; Sarah Shatto; Mary Sosseman;
Nancy Sosseman; Catharine Wolf; Elizabeth Wolf; Rebecca Stuber; Mary J. Stidel;
Mary E. Kepner; Catharine Weaver; Matilda J. Loy (baptized).
Rev. Willard labored with untiring zeal, and the Lord gave him favor with the
people. The word had free course, run and was glorified. All the
congregations of the charge were revived and sinners were converted to
God. In the Lutheran Observer, Nov. 21st, 1856, we read
"Revival: We learn that a work of grace is in progress in the church
at Andesville (Loysville), Pa., under the care of Brother Willard. Many
have already been added to the church, and many others are preparing to
join." Again in the same paper, March 27th 1857, it is said:
"Rev. P. Willard, of Andesville (Loysville), has been in a constant revival
since early last fall. Hundreds have been hopefully converted. By
the expiration of his first year in his present charge, he will have added
upwards of two hundred souls to his membership by confirmation, independently of
an equal number of dead and delinquent members who have been revived."
Rev. Willard, "as his manner was," visited from house to house,
"reasoning with them out of the Scriptures," and catechizing and
preaching almost incessantly, and everywhere sinners were awakened and the
hearts of Christians made glad. On the 5th of April, 1857, the following
persons were at Loysville admitted to full communion by confirmation:
David L. Tressler; Josiah E. Tressler; John Wolf; Andrew Comp; Jacob Rempfer;
David Bower; William Hassinger; Josiah Bower; George Comp; William Hollenbach;
Samuel Hollenbach; Jacob Kleckner; Catharine Comp; Mary E. Tressler; Mary J.
Dromgold; Eliz. E. Hollenbach; Sarah Schwab; Susan Baughman; Isabella Billman;
Mary E. Shope; Sarah A. Comp; Phebe H. Kepner; Elizabeth Shoemaker; Magdalene E.
Sosseman; Sarah E. Kleckner; Susan Kleckner; Matilda Shope; Jemima C. Dromgold;
In May, 1857, Mr. Solomon Bower of Blain, as delegate, attended Synod at
Perryville, Juniata County. During this summer Rev. Willard faithfully
instructed a class of catechumens in the Catechism, and on the 26th of December,
1857, the following were received at Loysville to full communion by
Jacob Arnold; W. Cornelius Hutchinson; Catharine Hull; Mary A. Hull; Sarah Wolf;
Catharine A. Loy; Susan M.V. Willard; Mary E. Kepner; Mary A. Yohn; Mary E.
Heim; Mary J. Wormley; Sarah E. Kepner
Levi Adam; Mary E. Adams (received by certificate).
During the fall of 1857 and the beginning of '58, Rev. Willard and the people of
his charge made a noble effort to secure the location of the Lutheran Missionary
Institute at Loysville, and for this purpose from eight to ten thousand dollars
were subscribed by them; but for various reasons, not necessary to state here,
the Institute was located at Selinsgrove, Snyder County, Pa.
Mr. John Kistler, as delegate, in May, 1858, attended Synod at Bloomfield, Perry
On the 14th of November, 1858, the following
persons were confirmed at Loysville:
George Baltozer; Absalom Weaver; Catharine Rempfer.
Having served the charge faithfully for two years and a half, Rev. Willard
resigned in November, 1858, and accepted a call from the Mifflintown
pastorate. The whole number of members admitted to full communion at
Loysville, whilst he was pastor, was sixty-nine; he also baptized at this
place thirty-seven infants. The congregation was, perhaps, never before
in a more prosperous condition than during his ministry. Here, as in all
the congregations of the charge, he kept up almost continual instruction to the
young in the Catechism. At Loysville, he preached once every two weeks,
alternately in the German and English languages. The following is a
synopsis of his labors in the whole charge, during the two years and a half he
was pastor of it. He says, "I preached 600 times; received by
confirmation, baptism, and certificate, 313 into full communion in the church;
baptized 40 adults and 170 infants; preached 50 funeral sermons; solemnized 31
weddings; lectured on the Catechism 600 times, and also frequently at prayer
As the membership had greatly increased, and the charge was so large and
laborious, and as Rev. Willard's health and strength began to fail, he desired
the charge to be divided, or an assistant to be employed. As no assistant
was employed, Rev. Willard deemed it his duty to resign, and the charge was
divided. The Blain and St. Paul's congregations, considering themselves
able to support a pastor, united in forming the Blain charge. By
this secession the Loysville charge was somewhat weakened, and therefore
application was made to the Bloomfield charge, for Emanuel congregation near
Ickesburg. The Bloomfield charge, not wishing to express any opinion on
the subject, allowed said congregation, on certain conditions, to unite with the
Loysville charge if it chose to do so. The congregation did so unite on
the 1st of June, 1859.
We may here remark, that many of those persons who were added to the churches of
the Loysville charge by Rev. Messrs. Ruthrauff, Weiser and Willard, would have
been lost to the Lutheran Church, had it not been for the timely introduction of
the use of the English language in divine worship. A deeper tone of piety,
also, began to prevail; prayer meetings were established in all the
congregations; church government was recognized and discipline was enforced;
catechization, instead of being a formality, was made an instrument of great
good to many souls; and the Gospel was preached with power and unction from on
high, the necessity of repentance, faith, and a change of heart wrought by the
Holy Ghost, were clearly set forth and earnestly enforced, all of which, with
God's blessing, resulted in extensive awakenings and revivals of religion.
The congregations most evidently passed over into a new life, and now occupy a
position far higher and very much better than they did before; they display more
energy, exhibit more piety, and manifest more respect for themselves as
Lutherans. They have learned to appreciate their own Church, her soundness
of doctrine, her excellency of government, her invaluable system of
catechization, and her scriptural simplicity and correctness in practice.
Some there may be, who see in every one else, something that pleases them better
than their own; but this is surely not the case with the intelligent, the pious,
the leading men of the congregations.
After the resignation of Rev. Willard, the charge was vacant about six months,
and consisted now of the following congregations, viz., Loysville, Mount Zion
(formerly St. Peter's), Ludolph's (Germany, near Elliotsburg), and Emanuel
Church near Ickesburg.
Rev. G. M. Settlemoyer
of Wittenberg College, Ohio, having accepted
a call from the charge, entered on his pastoral labors in April, 1859. He
preached regularly once every two weeks to each congregation. Having for a
length of time instructed a class of catechumens at Loysville, on the 10th of
March, 160, he confirmed the following persons:
Joseph Stuber; Jacob Culler; Samuel Comp; Josiah Comp; William W. Witmer;
Alexander Chestnut; John Loy; Mary E. Loy; Caroline Minich; Hannah Stuber; Sarah
E. Low; Sarah Copenhaver.
At the same time, or shortly before, the following were received by certificate,
viz., George Snyder, Henry Kiner,and Miss Sarah A. Murphy.
In May, 1859, as delegate of the charge, Jacob Crist, Esq., attended Synod at
Mifflinburg, Union County, Pa., and in May, 1860, Mr. Benj. Rice at Petersburg,
After having instructed another class for more than six months in the Catechism,
on the 2d of March, 1861, the following persons were admitted to full communion
Benjamin Weaver; Henry Weaver; Henry Sosseman; Miss Sophia Rempfer.
At the same time, Michael Null and Mrs. Rebecca Weibly were received by
Having served the charge two years, Rev. Settlemoyer resigned it in April, 1861,
and immediately after this, the Emanuel Church, near Ickesburg, seceded from the
Loysville charge, and united with the Blain charge. The Loysville charge
consists, therefore, at this time of only three congregations, viz., Loysville,
Mount Zion and Ludolph's. Having been vacant about four months, the
Rev. Pete Sahm,
of Somerset County, accepted a call and
commenced his pastoral labors in the charge on about the 1st of September, 1861,
and has since labored in it with great acceptance and success. On the 15th
of September, he preached his introductory sermon here, in the German language,
in the forenoon, from 2 Cor. 5:20, and in the afternoon of the same day in the
English language from Heb. 13:17.
In October, 1861, Mrs. Kepner and Miss Priscilla Kepner were received by
certificate as members of this congregation.
Having been for several months carefully instructed in the fundamental doctrines
of our holy religion, and being found possessed of the requisite qualifications,
on the 15th of March, 1862, the following twenty-five persons were admitted to
membership by the solemn rite of confirmation:
John H. Arnold; Henry Rice; Martin Luther Tressler; Henry Sahm; George W. Heim;
Martin Bernheisel; Luther Bernheisel; Jacob Schwab; Daniel Zug; William Rhodes;
David Kleckner; Emanuel Wagner; Leah Ellen Rhodes; Mary Shoemaker; Sophia Bear;
Rebecca Wagner; Matilda Ann Minich; Matilda E. Tressler; Mary Ann Sunday;
Josephine M. Kepner; Mary A. Rice; Isabella Rice; Leah Schaeffer; Louisa Kiner;
"Salvation, O the
'Tis music to our ears;
A sov'reign balm for ev'ry wound,
A cordial for our fears.
"Buried in sorrow and in sin
At hell's dark door we lay;
But we arise by grace divine,
To see a heav'nly day.
"Salvation! let the echo fly
The spacious earth around;
While all the armies of the sky
Conspire to raise the sound."
In May, 1862, Mr. S. Dunkelberger represented
the charge in Synod at Selinsgrove, Snyder County, Pa.
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