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In the beginning of the present century a number of Lutheran families settled in Juniata Township, as the Beistleins, Smiths, Lenigs, Swartzs, Crists, Burrels, and others.  Most of these attended preaching at Bloomfield, and some few at Loysville, the distance of six to twelve miles.  After the erection of St. Andrew's (Shuman's) Church in 1831, most of them worshipped there, and the rest at Bloomfield.  All however were deeply impressed with the urgent necessity of having the Gospel preached in their midst.  Hence, in 1839,

Rev. John William Heim,

commenced to preach for them occasionally in the school-house on the hill near Bosserman's mill, now near Markelville.  At the same time a Sunday-school was also started and held at this school-house.  These visits of Father Heim convinced the members more than ever of the necessity and advantage of having among them the stated ministrations of the Gospel and of a suitable house of worship.  The attendance at the school-house was very encouraging.  Measures were then taken to erect, as soon as practicable, a house of worship conjointly with a sister denomination.  The following is a copy of the heading of the subscription circulated for aid towards the erection of the proposed church-edifice.

"We, the undersigned, citizens of Juniata Township and parts adjacent, in Perry County, composed of Lutheran and Presbyterian professors, feeling ourselves in a great measure destitute of the preaching of the Gospel among us, to obviate which, we do hereby agree to form a union to enable us to raise money for the erection of a house for public worship in the neighborhood of William Bosserman's mill on Big Buffalo, and on the land of Marx Bealor, who offers a piece of land for that purpose as a free donation; and we cordially invite the friends of religion, both German and English, to join us in this undertaking, and be sharers in the privileges and advantages of the proposed institution, believing as we do, that righteousness exalteth a nation, and sin is the reproach of any people.

"We, therefore, to realize said object, do promise to pay the several sums annexed to our names respectively, to such person or persons as shall be hereafter appointed for that purpose.  Witness our hands the 7th January, 1840."  

Messrs. Daniel Swartz and John Bealor were appointed the building committee.  A sufficient amount was soon subscribed to justify the building committee to proceed in erecting the proposed house of worship.  Mr. Marx Bealor also deeded a piece of land to the use of the congregations as the site for the church-edifice and the graveyard.*  From this deed, we make the following extract:

"This Indenture made the 7th day of August, 1840, between Marks Bealor of Juniata Township, Perry County, State of Pennsylvania, and his wife, Elizabeth, of the one part, and Philip Myers, Samuel Lupfer, and William Bosserman, Trustees of a religious society in said township and parts adjacent, composed of Lutherans and Presbyterians united, now about erecting themselves into a congregation, of the other part, ---Witnesseth that the said Mark Bealor and Elizabeth his wife, for and in consideration of the many blessings of the Gospel among men and in order to secure and promote it in this corner for the happiness and comfort of themselves, their children, and neighbors, and all others, and also for and in consideration of one dollar to them in hand paid by the said Trustees and before the ensealing and delivering thereof, the receipt whereof they do hereby acknowledge and thereof acquit and forever discharge the said Trustees above named, their successors and assigns, do by these presents grant, bargain, sell, &c., two and one-half perches over one-half acre, to have and to hold the said piece or lot of groud, tot he said Philip Myers, Samuel Lupfer and William Bosserman, Trustees aforesaid, their successors and assigns forever, for the establishment and support of a church and suitable pastors for said congregation according to justice and their articles of association,"  &c.  See Deed-Book, Letter I, p. 272.  The above article of subscription and deed were written by George Monroe, Esq.  

*On the piece of land offered by Mr. Marx Bealor, and now embraced in the graveyard adjoining the church, a number of persons were buried long before the church was built.  The tombstone of the first person buried here, bears the following inscription in German:  "Hier ruhen die Gebeine von Sarah Bealor, Tochter von M. Bealor, Starb 6th August, 1810.  Alter 8 Jahr, 8 Monat, und 26 Tage."

The Lutheran congregation was regularly organized in October, 1840, by the election and installation of Mr. John Beistlein, Elder, and of Mr. Daniel Swartz, Deacon.  There were the first officers of the congregation.

Rev. Heim composed also the following church constitution in the German language:


In the name of God 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.  We, the Church-Council and Church-members, do therefore, on this 4th day of October, 1840, bind ourselves to observe most faithfully and in as far as in us lies in the following Constitution:

Of the Church and Graveyard.

Our church, called -------, erected on the ground given for the purpose by Marcus Bealor, containing eighty-two rods, situate in Juniata Township, Perry County, and State of Pennsylvania, is and shall always remain a Union church for the use of the two religious denominations, namely, the Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed, and so it shall continue until by mutual agreement the one denomination purchase the right of the other.  And in this church no other doctrine shall be preached and taught than that of the Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed Churches according to the Bible and the Augsburg Confession.  One denomination shall not interfere in the divine worship of the other, &c.  [The remaining part of this Constitution is in every respect the same as that prepared for the church at Loysville, and therefore we refer the reader to that.]

To the above constitution, we, the Church-Council and Church-members, herewith subscribe our names:

John Bealor; Samuel Lupfer; Joseph Bealor; John Sosseman,John Dumm; John Crist; Joseph Carl; David Bealor; Philip Reamer; George Gibbons; John Leiby; Wm. Raffinsberger; John Beistlein; Philip Myer; George Carl, John Myer; Samuel Reisdorff; Daniel Swartz; Jacob Lenig; Frederick Reisdorff; Michael Earhart; Jonas J. Smith.

The above Constitution has gone into disuse, and each congregation manages its affairs according to its own Synod's form of government and discipline.

The corner-stone of the new church was laid in October, 1840, when Rev. Heim and Rev. Fred. Becher officiated.  A difference arose among the members respecting the plan on which the church edifice was to be built.  Some were in favor of a gallery on three sides, and some were opposed to having any gallery.  The question was then put to vote.  The majority voted to have no gallery at all; but for the sake of peace the majority yielded to the minority, and in this way peace was easily restored and the edifice was raised, though for a long time some were dissatisfied, and perhaps justly too, with the three galleries.  The edifice is thirty-five feet long by thirty feet wide.  It is a log-frame structure.  Inside it has high galleries on three sides, supported by heavy posts and cross-beams, a high pulpit, high seats, and is in many respects badly arranged.  It seems to have been adapted on purpose to make preaching go hard.  It is truly surprising that in those days a much cheaper way of building far more convenient church-edifices did not suggest itself to the minds of the people in Perry County.

The church was dedicated in April, 1841, and called St. John's Church.  Rev. Heim and Rev. Ernst were present and preached on the occasion. The Sunday-school was now removed to the church.  

Rev. Heim preached here once every four weeks, exclusively in the German language.  The members scattered throughout Juniata Township were collected and much encouraged by having a church and regular preaching in their midst.  The Sunday-school was encouraged and flourished.  

After having attended a course of lectures on the Catechism of the Church, on Saturday, the 2d of December, 1843, the following persons were admitted to communion by confirmation:

David Titzel; Michael Smith; Jonas Beistlein; Michael Kleckner; Mrs. Ann Mary Kleckner; Mrs. Margaret Crist; Mrs. Margaret Schultz; Mrs. Mary Weiskessel; Mrs. Nancy Zollenberger; Lydia Carl; Catharine Frantz; Mary Crist; Sarah A. Burrel; Susan Beistlein; Margaret Reisdorff.

On Sunday (December 3d), the whole number of communicants was seventy-one, though it is certain that they were not all members of this congregation.  Rev. Heim had communion here but once a year, and, with the above exception, always in spring and sometimes on week-days, as follows:  Sunday, May 19th, 1844, sixty-three communicants; Sunday, March 23d, 1845, forty-five communicants; Sunday, April 19th, 1846, forty-nine communicants; Sunday, May 16th, 1847, fifty communicants; Wednesday, April 19th, 1848, forty-nine communicants; and Wednesday, April, 18th, 1849, catechumens and old members, fifty communicants.  This was the last communion he held here.  On Tuesday previous, namely, the 17th of April, 1849, the following persons were confirmed:

George W. Titzel; Josiah R. Titzel; Daniel Crist; Jonas Lenig; Edward Kepner; Peter Beistlein; Rebecca Titzel; Magdalene Lenig; Catharine Beistlein; Margaret Beistlein.

Rev. Father Heim fell asleep in Jesus on the 27th of December, 1849, having organized and served the congregation as pastor about ten years.  As some of the catechumens could not read the German language, Father Heim attempted sometimes to explain to them the doctrines of our religion in English, though this was difficult for him to do and very unsatisfactory to the catechumens.  Preaching in the English language had here become highly necessary.

In 1849, the church was roughcast outside and plastered inside, and other improvements were made.

According to a division made of the charges served by Rev. Heim and Rev. Martin, at Bloomfield, in February, 1850, this congregation was attached to the Bloomfield charge, and early in the spring of 1850, the

Rev. Jacob Martin

commenced his pastoral labors here.  On the 19th of May, 1850, he held the first communion at this place, when thirty-seven members communed.  He preached here once every three weeks, about one-third in the English language.  Some of the fathers were very much displeased at him for preaching in the English language in their church, --in  the church they had built.  They thought in an unwarrantable innovation, a new measure not to be tolerated.  But the fathers were gradually overruled by the pressing want of the sons.  The transition from the German to the English language was slowly but surely going on.  The German-speaking portion of the congregation blamed Rev. Martin for introducing English preaching, and were offended at him for it.  Hence, at his second communion, on the 3d of November, 1850, only twenty-nine communed.  Time has, however, fully vindicated the course Rev. Martin pursued in this matter.  He did a good work, and prepared the way for his successors.  After Rev. Heim's departure not a single person, has to this time (1862), come to be catechized in the German language.  Thus clearly showing the folly of resisting the introduction of the use of the English language.

During the winter of 1851, Rev. Martin instructed a class of catechumens in the Catechism, and on Saturday, the 22d of March, the same year, the following persons were confirmed:

William T. Kepner; Mary Ann Burd; Priscilla Jane Boyer; Julian Burd; Susan Frantz; Mary Frantz; Mary A. Raffinsberger; Hannah Bealor; Mary Beistlein.

On Sunday, the 23d, the whole number of communicants was forty-nine.  On Sunday, the 4th of March, 1852, Rev. Martin held his last communion here, and also, at the same time, he preached his farewell sermon, having served the congregation about two years.  In June following, he was succeeded by the 

Rev. William Gerhardt,

who preached here once every three weeks, alternately in the German and English languages.  The Lutheran congregation bought at this time a church-record, and after this entries were regularly made of baptisms, confirmations, &c.  The young members demanded that half of the preaching should be in the English language, and the old members could no longer deny the request.  On the 14th of May, 1853, the following persons were confirmed:

George Fleisher; William Titzel; John A. Beistlein; Samuel Beistlein; Ezra P. Titzel; Levi Smith; John Beistlein; Elizabeth Miller; Lucetta Smith; Mary Zollenberger.

Rev. Gerhardt resigned and preached his farewell sermon at this place on the 12th of June, 1853, having served the congregation only about one year.  The Bloomfield charge was then vacant about eight months.  Having accepted a call from the charge, the

Rev. Adam Height

commenced his pastoral labors here on the1st of March, 1854.  Having preached only about seven months in the charge, for reasons not necessary to state, he ceased his ministry in September of the same year.  The charge was then again vacant about eight months.  Having accepted a call from the congregations composing the Bloomfield charge, the

Rev. D. H. Focht

entered on the discharge of his ministerial duties in the charge on the 1st of June, 1855, and preached his introductory sermon at St. John's Church, on Sunday, the 10th of June, from Col. I:28:  "Whom (Christ) we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Having been for some time faithfully instructed in the Catechism in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion, on Saturday, the 24th of November, 1855, the following persons were confirmed:

David Wolf, John S. Dougherty (baptized); Mrs. Eliza Yeager; Caroline Anders; Elizabeth Anders; Sophia Yeager; Hetta Swartz; Sarah Ann Burrell.

Two of the above have since gone to the eternal world.  They died in peace and the hope of heaven.

"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 Sunday, the 25th, the whole number of communing members was seventy-five.  Fifteen others also communed.  This meeting commenced on Tuesday evening previous.  The catechumens, who had hitherto met only once a week, were now met once every day,  and received instruction and engaged in singing and prayer.  The Gospel was preached every evening during the week.  These exercises were well attended, and lasting impressions for good were made and precious souls converted to God.

On the 10th of April, 1856, Mr. David R. P. Bealor and his wife Nancy were received as members of this congregation by certificate, and on the 25th of October of the same year the following persons were confirmed:

Lemuel O. Foose; William J. Foose; Levi Swartz; Isaac Strasser (baptized); Mrs. Sarah Smith (baptized); Marg. Murphy (baptized); Mrs. Elizabeth Beistlein; Elizabeth Strasser; Sarah A. Taylor; Eve Smith; Mary Ann Brown; Magdalene Brown.

"The soul that on Jesus hath lean'd for repose,
I will not, I cannot desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never--no, never--no, never forsake!"

The prayer-meeting and Sunday-school are well attended and piety and intelligence are advancing among this people.  Surely the Lord has richly blessed the members of this congregation, for which we are unfeignedly thankful.  Having labored another year and diligently catechized a class of catechumens, on the 28th of November, 1857, the following persons were confirmed:

Emanuel Whitekettle; Charles Whitekettle; Wm. Henry Flickinger; Levi Hiram Flickinger; David Beistlein; Mary Ann Crist; Cath. Elizabeth Crist; Lydia Ann Smith; Martha Kepner; Sarah A. Murphy (baptized).

Two of the above young brethren have since gone to their long rest in heaven.  They fell asleep in Jesus.

"Who, who would live always, away from his God;
Away from you heav'n, that blissful abode,
Where the rivers of pleasure flow o'er the bright plains,
And the noontide of glory eternally reigns:
Where the saints of all ages in harmony meet
Their Savior and brethren, transported to greet;
While anthems of rapture unceasingly roll,
And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul."

At this time (on Sunday, the 29th), eighty-two members communed, and on account of sickness and other causes twelve members were absent.  This meeting commenced on Tuesday the 24th, and closed on Monday evening the 30th.  During this time the pastor catechized the youth once every day and preached every evening  and also in the daytime.  The attendance was good, and the Lord was present to bless.  All the catechumens and a number of others professed to have found peace to their souls in an entire consecration of themselves to God by faith in Jesus Christ.  May they prove faithful to their covenant vow, and let their light shine by living a godly life!

In October, 1859, Dr. Jacob M. Miller was received as member of this congregation.  After having been instructed in the Catechism about four months, and being found possessed of the requisite doctrinal and spiritual attainments, on the 24th of November, 1860, the following persons were confirmed:

Josiah W. Houanstine; Daniel D. Rey; Mary Kepner; Sarah Ellen Foose; Eliz. Orwan (baptized); Mar. Orwan (baptized); Sarah Ellen Boyer (baptized); Margaret Burrel; Elizabeth Whitekettle; Sarah Whitekettle; Catharine Burrel; Barbara Burrel.

"O may my heart, by grace renew'd,
Be my Redeemer's throne;
And be my stubborn will subdu'd.
His government to own.

"Let deep repentance, faith, and love
Be join'd with godly fear;
And all my conversation prove
My heart to be sincere."

In March, 1861, Prof. George W. Leisher and his wife Catharine, George Long and his wife, Mary, and John Lyons, were received as members of this congregation.  May the Lord bless these dear friends and make them abundantly useful in their present church relation!

On the16th of November, 1861, Mrs. Jane G. Titzel was received by certificate as a member, and on the 22d of March, 1862, Mr. John P. Boyer and his wife Jane Ann were confirmed.  The Lord bless these friends!

The members of this congregation, at this time number about one hundred, are making commendable progress in the cause of souls and the blessed Redeemer.  The use of the German language in the pulpit will, before long, be among the things that were.  This is the only congregation of the Bloomfield charge that still requires an occasional sermon in German; but as the aged pass gradually away, and as the youth all speak the English, the use of the German language must necessarily pass soon away.

Since the organization of this congregation in 1840, the following brethren have at different times served it as its officers:


John Beistlein, from 1840-1852
Jacob Lenig, from 1852 to 1859
Jacob Kepner, from 1855 to  1859
David Crist, Esq., from 1859 yet in office
George Fleisher, from 1859 yet in office


 Daniel Swartz, Sen., from 1840 to 1841
John Fusselman, from 1841 to 1843
David Crist, Esq., from 1843 to 1844
Jonas J. Smith, from 1844 to 1846
Jacob Lenig, from 1846 to 1847
Jacob Kepner, from 1847 to 1849
Thomas Lenig, from 1849 to 1850
Henry Titzel, from 1850 to 1857
George Fleisher, from 1852 to 1855
James Foose, from 1855 to 1858
Jonas J. Smith, from 1855 to 1859
David R. P. Bealor, from 1857 to 1860
Joseph Flickinger, from 1858 to 1861
Thomas Lenig, from 1859 yet in office
Lemuel O. Foose, from 1860 resigned
Ezra P. Titzel, from 1860 yet in office
John Beistlein, from 1861 yet in office


Valentine Burrel, from 1843 to 1851
Jacob Lenig, from 1851 to 1854
Valentine Burrel, from 1854 to 1860
Jacob Lenig, from 1855 to 1860
James Foose, from 1860 yet in office
Thomas Lenig, from 1860 yet in office

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