Part of the PAGenWeb




Home | Back

Table of Contents

Millerstown, laid out in 1800, is on the northwest bank of the Juniata, where an old Indian village stood in olden times.  This is probably the oldest town in Perry County, and considerable business used to be done here, being located at the east end of a long range of mountain passes.  At present it is in statu quo.  Members of the Church resided here fifty years ago.  They attended preaching at St. Michael's Church in Pfoutz's Valley, and so far as we know anything to the contrary, had no preaching by a minister of their own Church in town, till the beginning of 1847 when the 

Rev. William Weaver

located here.  Some of the members had hitherto belonged to St. Michael's Church, and some, living in town, and its vicinity, were as sheep without a shepherd.  Rev. Weaver preached for them in a school-house in the borough of Millerstown, and, perhaps, had also the use of one of the churches for some time.  His labors were successful, and the prospects were truly promising.  In March, 1850, a congregation was organized, and it is said that "upwards of forty persons united themselves in that organization."  On Saturday the 4th of January, 1851, six persons were admitted to membership by vote and certificate, and the following ten persons were confirmed:

Lewis Acker                                                Lydia Harman
Lewis Grubb                                               Elizabeth Harman
------ Grubb                                                  Ann Eliza Harman
John Harman                                              Hannah Puntius
Mrs. Mary Harman                                     Sarah Jane Puntius.

On Sunday, the 5th, the Lord's Supper was administered.  In a few weeks after this, Rev. Weaver resigned.  He had accomplished a good work, and it is to be regretted that he did not stay longer among this people.  The members labored under the disadvantage of not having a church-edifice of their own; but at the very time they were agitating the subject of erecting a house of worship, their pastor resigned and no church was built.  

After Rev. Weaver had resigned, the Rev. J. Martin, then pastor of the Bloomfield charge, preached an occasional sermon for the members at Millerstown till the spring of 1852.  After this, the members had no preaching till the spring of 1854, when Rev. A. Height of Bloomfield visited them occasionally and preached for them in a school-house.  At this time the prospects of building a church were flattering.  A kind friend of the good cause offered to donate a desirable lot of ground for the purpose.  But, then, Rev. Height ceased to preach in September of the same year, and thus the members were again destitute, and the prospects of building a church vanished.  On the 1st of October, 1856, the

Rev. Josiah Zimmerman

located at Millerstown, as a missionary for the whole field extending from river to river.  He preached at this place regularly in a school-house, and had for some-time also the use of one of the churches in town.  On the 20th of February, 1857, he reorganized the congregation with seven members, to which, soon after, fifteen more were added, so that the congregation then consisted of twenty-two members.  Rev. Zimmerman says:  "Soon after I came to Millerstown I organized a class of catechumens.  I instructed them in my study and on the 12th of April, 1857, the following persons were confirmed:

Ephraim Acker                                                Elizabeth Hall
Peter Hall                                                         Sarah E. Hall
Samuel Rice                                                    Elizabeth Jones
David Richabaugh                                          Sarah R. Jones
John Slutterbach                                             Susan Marlatt
Mrs. Mary Ann Lyons                                      Sarah A. Richabaugh
Mrs. Rambach                                                Mary A. Slutterbach
Sophia Rice

Rev. Zimmerman accomplished a good work.  When he resigned, on the 1st of April, 1859, the congregation numbered about forty members.  In August, 1859, the

Rev. J. A. Hackenberger

commenced to preach here, also in a school-house.  But finding his field of labor too large to accomplish much good, he resigned, in August, 1860, all the preaching-places on the Juniata, and thus opened the way for the formation of the Millerstown charge.  For nearly a year the members here had no preaching.  In May, 1861, Synod requested the pastor of the newly-formed Thompsontown charge to supply the congregation at Millerstown; but the pastor of that charge found himself unable to comply with this request.  Synod's Committee on Home Missions then secured a missionary for this destitute field.  On the 6th of July, 1861, the

Rev. William O. Wilson,

the present pastor, located at Millerstown and commenced his pastoral labors.  For the first year he received $150 of the Synod's missionary funds.  For some time he explored the field and preached at a number of places, some of which he afterwards gave up and concentrated his labors to fewer points.  At Millerstown he has hitherto been preaching in the new school-house or academy.  A church was wanted very much to insure success.  Hence, efforts were soon made to build one.  For this purpose Mr. John Kinter very generously donated a lot of ground near the borough of Millerstown, and preparation was made to erect a church.  On Wednesday evening the 25th of September, 1861, Rev. P. M. Rightmeyer preached in the Methodist Episcopal Church from Eph. 6:10-12.  At the same place, on the 26th, Rev. D. H. Focht preached a sermon suitable to the occasion from Eph. 2:19-22.  The assembly proceeded then to the site of the foundation of Samuel's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the documents were deposited, and the corner-stone laid in the usual way*.  The building is to be frame, and thirty-five by forty feet in size.  

*Excepting names and dates, the declaration with the documents was the same as that deposited in the corner-stone of the Centre Evangelical Lutheran Church (see next section), and need therefore not be inserted here.

On the 29th of December, 1861, the congregation was organized once more.  On this occasion the Rev. W. H. Diven assisted the pastor and the following paper was approved and subscribed:

"We, the undersigned, now regular members of the neighboring Evangelical Lutheran congregations, and in good standing in the same, living at Millerstown and its vicinity, Perry County, Pa., deeply sensible of the necessity of having the Gospel of Jesus Christ regularly preached in our midst, of having our children instructed in the doctrines of the Christian religion, and of having the sacraments administered according to the command of God's word, do, on this Sunday the 29th of December, A.D. 1861, organize ourselves into an Evangelical Lutheran congregation, by electing an Elder or Elders and Deacons, holding the Bible as our only infallible and inspired rule of faith and practice, affirming our assent to the doctrinal basis of the Synod of Central Pennsylvania, and of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the United States, and adopting the Formula of said General Synod, or a Constitution consistent therewith as our rule of government and discipline.  In doing this we subscribe our names as members of Samuel's Evangelical Lutheran Church, looking to Almighty God for his blessing upon this our humble undertaking, and praying that his word among us may have free course, run and be glorified, sinners be converted, saints be edified, and this congregation be perpetuated from generation to generation, till time be no more, through Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and Holy Spirit, be praise and glory, honor and thanksgiving, now and forever.  Amen.  Signed by

Samuel S. Taylor                                        Susan Marlatt
Ephraim Acker                                            Caroline Freeburn
Samuel H. Kleffman                                   Elizabeth Kleffman
Jacob Slutterbach                                      Lydia Ann Acker
Mary A. Slutterbach                                   Henry Weiland
John Slutterbach                                        Mary Slutterbach
Hannah Taylor

From the above number, and on the same day, the following brethren were elected and installed as the officers of the congregation, viz.,

Samuel S. Taylor, Elder.
Ephraim Acker, 1 year, Deacon
Samuel H. Kleffman, 2 years, Deacon

On the 27th of April, 1862, Mrs. Hannah Harman, Mrs. Elmira Jane Wright, and Mrs. Mary Louder, were received as members by certificate. 

In May, 1862, Mr. S. S. Taylor, as delegate, represented the charge in Synod at Selinsgrove, Pa., and Synod promised to advance $200 from its missionary fund towards the mission the coming year.

The new church it is expected will be ready for consecration in August of this year, 1862.  The congregation has suffered much for want of a house of worship, and has struggled hard to build one.  Now, however, the long-desired and much-needed object is nearly reached.  We trust a brighter day will now dawn for this long-distracted and neglected congregation, and that it will now enjoy the stated ministrations of the sanctuary, and be permanent in its growth.

The present pastor has hitherto labored amid innumerable difficulties in the charge, growing out of a want of church-edifice and of an adequate support.  He labored hard and endured much self-denial, besides suffering severe affliction in his own person and family; but, as a good soldier, he prosecuted his labors with patience and sowed with tears, and, under God, he has accomplished a good work.  The charge is now established permanently and order is brought out of chaos.  May the Lord of the harvest bless the pastor and congregations.

"Mighty Savior, spread thy Gospel,
Win and conquer, never cease;
May thy lasting, wide dominions
Multiply and still increase;
Sway thy sceptre,
Savior, all the world around."

Home | Back

Table of Contents


This site is maintained  by Cathy Wentz-Eisenstadt
Copyright 2003-2010.  All Rights Reserved.

This page was last updated on:   03/03/2009

People for better PA Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access)
Learn about the grassroots effort to make older PA state death certificates available on-line!!  Please consider helping.