CHURCHES BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS
A HISTORY OF THE
LUTHERAN CONGREGATIONS IN
PERRY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
REV. D. H. FOCHT, A.M.
ST. DAVID'S (BILLOW'S) CHURCH
IN WHEATFIELD TOWNSHIP
Home | Back
This church is located in Wheatfield
Township, about five miles southwest of Petersburg, and near the site of the old
Fio Forge. Some of the members of this congregation had belonged to Mount
Zion in Fishing Creek Valley, some to Mount Pisgah, a few to Petersburg, and a
number seldom attended preaching anywhere. To all the places named, the
members here had a considerable distance to go. During the summer of 1845,
Rev. L. T. Williams preached occasionally at Fio Forge school-house. The
members, in union with another denomination, felt encouraged and able to build a
church in their midst. We are informed that no corner-stone was
laid. The edifice was erected in the summer of 1845, and was consecrated
to the services of God in November, 1845, by the name of St. David's
Church. Rev. Messrs. John W. Heim, Jacob Shull and Lloyd Knight, were
present and conducted the various religious exercises on this solemn
occasion. The church-edifice is a frame, about thirty feet by forty in
size, is weather-boarded and painted white, is entered by two front doors, and
has inside two aisles, a low pulpit, and no galleries. It is well located,
presents a pleasing external appearance, and the internal arrangement is
Rev. Lloyd Knight
of Bloomfield commenced to preach have
regularly once every four weeks after the church was consecrated. He was
the first pastor of the congregation, which was regularly organized on the 20th
of June, 1846, with twenty-seven communicant members. The names of the
first officers we have not been able to learn. No entries were made in the
church-book at first, and very imperfectly and irregularly afterwards.
On the 14th of November, 1847, after having been instructed in the Catechism,
the following were confirmed:
Rachel Billow; Rebecca Findley; Mary A. Findley; Priscilla White.
During the summer of 1848, another class of catechumens was instructed by the
pastor and on the 4th of November, 1848, the following twelve persons were
Henry Souder; George Wetsel; Joseph Leppert; Joseph Matlock; Samuel Matlock;
Mrs. Catharine Leppert; Mrs. Rebecca Strough; Louisa Matlock; Hannah Billow;
Caroline Mickey; Alesonna Wetsel; Mary A. Frey.
As this is the first time the names of communicants were recorded, we will give
the names of the members who communed with the above twelve persons on Sunday,
the 5th, viz.:
Henry Leppert, Sr.
Henry Leppert, Jr.
At this time (1848) the congregation numbered about forty members. Having
preached here three years and a half, Rev. Knight resigned in June, 1849, and
was succeeded, on the 1st of July of the same year, by
Rev. Jacob Martin
who preached here once every three
weeks. In February, 1850, this congregation was united with others to form
the Petersburg charge. Rev. Martin preached here only one year, resigning
on the 1st of July, 1850. If any persons were confirmed by him here, their
names were not recorded, and can therefore not be given by us. For about
four months the Petersburg charge, as now formed, was vacant.
Rev. John P. Hiester,
having accepted a call, commenced his labors
as pastor of the charge in November, 1850. Whilst he was pastor a number
of persons were confirmed here; but for want of a record we are unable to give
their names. Having served the congregation about three years, he resigned
in November, 1853. The charge was then vacant about six months.
Having received and accepted a call, the
Rev. George A. Nixdorff
entered on the discharge of his pastoral
duties in the charge in June, 1854. We can find no record of admissions to
membership whilt he was pastor of this congregation, though there were some
accessions. After he had served the congregation in the Gospel about four
years, he resigned in May, 1858.
It is to be greatly regretted, that whilst Rev. Messrs. Martin, Hiester and
Nixdorff were pastors of this congregation, no record was kept of their official
ministerial acts. It is to be hoped that a matter of such vital importance
will not be neglected hereafter by this or any other Lutheran congregation in
Perry County. A word to the wise will suffice. After a vacancy of a
few months, the
Rev. William H. Diven
accepted a call, and commenced his labors as
pastor on the 22d of August, 1858. After having been instructed for some
time in the doctrines of the Christian religion, on the 18th of December, 1859,
the following eight persons were confirmed:
Joseph Marshall; Martha J. Billow; Ruth Ann Fisher; Matilda Cooper; Sarah
Cooper; Susan Heiner; Mary A. Green; Eliza S. McConnal.
On the 7th of October, 1860, Eli Young by baptism and John Ziegler by
confirmation were admitted as members of this congregation.
We regret that for want of church-records and other authentic documents our
historical sketch of this congregation could not be made fuller. We
availed ourselves of every source of information, and herewith submit the result
of our investigation. In compliance with the wish of many, we will yet add
a list of all the members of this congregation at the present time, June, 1862.
Wm. Henry Ensminger
Mercy A. Green
Henry Leppert, Sen.
Henry Leppert, Jr.
"Jesus shall reign where'er
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
"People and realms of ev'ry tongue
Dwell on his love with grateful song;
And with united hearts proclaim
That grace and truth by Jesus came."
Home | Back