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Blain Presbyterian | Centre Presbyterian | Dick's Gap Church | Gap Church
Lebanon Lutheran
| Limestone Church | Loysville Reformed | Mt. Pisgah Lutheran
Mt. Zion Lutheran
Middle Ridge Church St. Michael's Lutheran | St. Peter's Church
Sherman's Creek Presbyterian
| Shermansdale Presbyterian | Zion Church at Blain

Also see:  Churches Between The Mountains & List of Members of the Landisburg Charge


The Blain Presbyterian Church (also known as the Upper Church) was one of the 3 original Presbyterian Churches in this area.  A committee reported that a church should be erected at Alexander Morrow's or James Blaine's place, for the residents in the upper end of the valley.  A graveyard was already in existence (prior to April 1766) at James Blaine's.  

The congregation was organized by c1767; with services most likely held in the resident's homes.  A new church was eventually built near James Blaine's, near where the 'Upper Church' still stands, adjoining the existing graveyard.  It was a long, low, log building, standing near the schoolhouse on "Church Hill".  Records indicate that the lot on which the church sat, originally belonged to James Blain.  

Membership of the Blain Church eventually declined and by c1920-21, the organization no longer existed.  The property of the church was taken over by the Church Hill Cemetery Association.  


Centre Presbyterian Church was one of the first three churches organized in Perry County.  On September 9, 1766, Thomas Ross, John Byers, Edward Allet, John Hamilton and Hugh Alexander, in trust for the congregation in Tyrone Twp., took up lands upon which the church stands.  The incorporating charter was signed on April 17, 1767, by Gov. William Findley.  

The church grounds contained about 7 acres.  The parsonage, home of the sexton and the old Centre school were all contained on this land.  The adjoining graveyard reportedly has old gravestones dating back to 1766.  

A log church was first erected in 1767.  Two services were held on Sunday.  Tradition says that during the early years, while services were held, men with guns stood guard incase of an attack by the Indians.  

In 1793, the log church was replaced by a stone church.  Reportedly, some of the logs from the first church, were used when a barn was constructed on the old Wormely farm.    A third church was built in 1850 and has been remodeled several times.


Dick's Gap Church was reportedly the first church erected in this area, though much of it's early history remains unclear.  It was located in Miller Township; 4 miles east of New Bloomfield and 3 miles west of Bailey's Station.  Tradition states that an old Indian trail ran by this church.  

It is thought that Dick Gap's Church was erected to serve the lower end of the portion of Perry County, lying west of the Juniata.  

The church was constructed on land which was warranted in 1766, by Nicholas Robinson.  The church was 18x20 and was built using pine logs; with worshipper's reportedly using tree stumps for seats.  This church was reportedly still in an uncompleted state by 1798, meaning that the spaces between the logs were not yet filled in and by some accounts, did not have a roof.

It's exact location is questionable.  At one time it's location was
described as being in "an unenclosed graveyard, in which trees of great age are growing near to and even upon graves, and many graves are covered with boulders, seemingly to prevent ravages of wolves."
H. H. Hain wrote in his book, History of Perry County, Pa., "..consensus of opinion that the old church stood to the east or left of the present Church of God, and somewhat nearer the ridge which runs in the rear of the church."  "There is a gap in the ridge known as Dick's Hill, which probably accounts for the name Dick's Gap.  It has long since ceased to be known by that name, and is now called Pine Grove.."

There are also various reports that this site included a graveyard; where graves of both traders and Indians are buried. One of the early pioneer's of this county, Marcus Hulings and his wife, are also reportedly buried here.  

This church was reportedly abandoned around 1803; reportedly standing for years as an "abandoned pile of logs."  The Middle Ridge Church took its place.  


The Gap Church was built around 1780.  It was located in Half Falls Mountain Gap, reportedly near a beautiful spring.  The Church reportedly burned down c1800.  In 1880, Professor Wright, historian, stated that the foundation stones could still be seen.  

This church was reportedly used by the residents of Buck's Valley and Watts Township.  

A lifelong resident of Bucks Valley, Mr. I.E. Stephens, reportedly went to the top of the mountain, on the road leading from Buck's Valley to New Buffalo, and beginning at a large oak tree, took 30 steps due west and then 30 steps due south and was able to locate the remnants of the old foundation.


A Lutheran congregation was first organized in Loysville in 1790 by Rev. John T. Kuhl.  The first services were reportedly conducted in the barns and homes of the area residents.  Services were preached in German until c1850, when Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff began alternately preaching in English. 

In 1794, both Martin Bernheisel & Michael Loy donated 2+ acres of land, on which a church and school building were to be built.  The church  was approximately 30x40 feet.  The Church was weatherboard and painted white in 1808 and was then known as the "white church".   This Church was used until c1850.  

By 1828, the congregation here had built a parsonage and purchased an additional tract of land, containing 15 acres. 

By March, 1851 a new Church had been erected, this one being made of brick.  At the time, Rev. F. Ruthrauff was pastor for the Lutherans and Rev. C.H. Leinbach, for the Reformed.  

The congregation was mostly of the Lutheran faith; but those of the Reformed faith were equal owners.  The church(es) was used jointly by
both denominations until 1909, when the Reformed purchased the interest of the Lutherans (Loysville Reformed Church).   At this time, the Lutheran congregation erected a new church, Tressler Memorial Church

Confirmation & Communion lists of the Lebanon Church at Loysville.

Also see the section of the book, Churches Between the Mountains, for more information.  


The Limestone Church was also known as 'Sam Fisher's Church' or the 'Lower Church'.  It's congregation was also formed quite early, by 1766, but the Presbytery refused to acknowledge this congregation as a separate entity because it was located quite near the Centre Church.  

An early Presbyterian church was located at Green Park; on the site of the old burying ground on the farm of John Garlin.  Sam Fisher was the original owner of the 36-acre lot where the log church was built.

The church was finally accepted as an organized congregation by the Presbytery on June 24, 1772.  Records indicate that the church was abandoned by 1820. 


The early history of the Reformed Church is identical with the Lutheran Church, as above described as the Lebanon Lutheran Church, as the two were joint owners of the Old Lebanon Church.  


The Lutheran residents of Carroll Twp. reportedly worshiped at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church and also at St. Peter's Church.  By 1838, they held their own services regularly; becoming an organized congregation about a year later.  
In 1842, a lot of ground was donated by Abraham Jacobs, for the building of a church, with the stipulation that when the Lutheran congregation was not using the building for services, it would be made available for any Christian denomination to use for services.  
A frame church was built and dedicated in September, 1842.  The church is located in Carroll Township, on the southern side of Sherman's Creek, near the site of Sutch's schoolhouse (b. c1775-80).  Also on the site is an old graveyard where many of the pioneers are reportedly buried.  

Also see the transcribed section of the book, Churches Between the Mountains, for more information.


The early beginning of the Mt. Zion Lutheran Church is identical with St. Peter's Church, herein described.  Together they shared in the old Union church building, known as St. Peter's Church.  

The Lutheran & Reformed congregations separated in 1857; the Lutherans becoming known as Mt. Zion.  They erected a new church of their own and it was dedicated on 30 May 1858.  

Confirmation listings for Mount Zion.

Also see the section of the book, Churches Between the Mountains, for further information.


Middle Ridge Church was first organized in 1803 (it replaced Dick's Gap Church).  A Church building was erected in 1804.  

By an Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature of April 16, 1829, this church was incorporated with two others; the church at the mouth of the Juniata and Sherman's Creek.   The trustees of the Middle Ridge Church were told to sell the building but were unsuccessful.  After a period of no use, the building was vandalized.  Its doors were torn off, pews were torn out and carried off, even a portion of the roof was taken.  Eventually, only the foundation of the old church was left.  


St. Michael's Lutheran Church was regularly organized c1770-73. It was the 7th Church to do so in the area now known as Perry County and the first of the Lutheran faith.  Baptismal records, dating back to October, 1774, have been located for this congregation.  

The land for the church was conveyed by John Pfautz (Pfoutz, Fouts) of Greenwood Twp. to John Long & Philip Huber and the whole Lutheran congregation of Greenwood Twp. on a deed dated February 15, 1776.  

In the very early days, services were held in the homes of the early settlers, but the grounds, later belonging to St. Michael's, were used for burial.  It is said to be the only cemetery, at the time, in the valley.  Tradition states that pioneers were tied to a (no-longer standing) Hickory tree, at the corner of the church grounds, and were used as targets by Indians and were later buried here; this is reportedly how the graveyard came to be.  

The congregation worshipped in the pre-existing large schoolhouse from 1770 to 1798.  The edifice of the new Church building was erected on March 19, 1798.  The new building was made of logs and was 35x45 feet, with a gallery on three sides.  The Church was consecrated on May 25, 1800. In 1802, the congregation purchased another acre of ground from John Long.  This building stood until it was replaced in 1847 by a new one.  

In April, 1862, St. Michael's became part of the Liverpool charge.  

For more information, see the section for this church, in the book, Churches Between the Mountains.


The first date of services for this congregation appear to have begun as early as 1788.  Both the Lutheran and Reformed congregations were organized here in 1809.  Until 1815, both denominations used an old schoolhouse which stood on the site that now occupies the St. Peter's Union Church.  It is thought that the property upon which the old schoolhouse sat was owned jointly by both congregations.  

An agreement dated December 23, 1815, was made between both the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations  It was for the construction of a new church built on lands given for this purpose, by John Gamber.  
The new log church was constructed; measuring about 35x40 feet, with a gallery on 3 sides and a cup-shaped pulpit mounted on a high post.  The Church was dedicated in the spring of 1817; it was located in Spring Township.  This building stood until 1857, when it was replaced by the present brick church.  The brick church belonged to the German Reformed congregation; at this time the
Lutheran Congregation also built their own church.  

In April, 1824, fourteen acres of land was purchased from Samuel Ickes, for a parsonage for the pastor of the 'German Reformed Presbyterian Church'.  The land was purchased by:  Philip Stambaugh, trustee of the Zion Church in Toboyne Twp.; Henry Kell, trustee of the Lebanon Church in Tyrone Twp.; Philip Kell, trustee of St. Peter's Church in Tyrone (later Spring) Twp.; William Hipple, trustee of the Fishing Creek Church (now in Rye Twp.); Casper Lupfer, trustee  of Christ's Church in Juniata Twp.  

Confirmation listings for St. Peter's.

Also see the section of the book, Churches Between the Mountains, for further information.


The Shermansdale Presbyterian Church is also known as the Sherman's Creek Presbyterian Church (and in some records is also referred to as Swisshelm's).  The church is known as the "forerunner" of the Shermansdale Church.  The early history and organization of this church are in part, unclear.  The church is first mentioned in the minutes of Presbytery in the spring of 1778, as "Sherman's Creek" congregation.  

The church was located between Fio Forge and Dellville; but the date of construction is not clear.  Records from 1801 report that the church was moved, first to Boyd's (known as the Matlack farm) and in 1802, "to Swisshelm's" (later known as Adam Zorger's property). Tradition states that at the graveyard in Zeigler's field and at Boyd's fording (Matlack's), there were built small places of worship.  
A log church was built in 1804, at Pine Hill, approximately 100 yards
from Sherman's Creek.  This location is about 2-1/2 miles east of the present church.  This log church stood until c1843.  It was dismantled, and various materials from the old church were used in the construction of the new one.   This church is about a half mile north of Shermansdale; the lands were donated by William Smiley.  

The Shermansdale Church was united with the New Bloomfield Church at one point. 


On January 10th, 1801 James Adams of Toboyne Twp. conveyed 2 acres of land for the construction of a German meetinghouse and graveyard, to Christopher Bower, Henry Zimmerman, Adam Hubler and Peter Brown, Trustees.  

Since preachers only came to this area occasionally, the residents traveled to Loysville for services. 

Rev. William Heim organized this congregation in 1815.  The first members of the Lutheran Church Council were:  John Sieger and Henry Zimmerman as Elders and Abraham Bower, Solomon Bower and John Stambach as Deacons.  

The Synod granted the request of the congregation for Rev. Heim to be their pastor in the Spring of 1816.  

The building of the church was financed by subscriptions.  In May, 1816, construction on a new joint German Lutheran and German Reformed Church began (this church was referred to as the "Old Stone Church").  The Constitution (Church Rules) appears to have been drafted by Rev. Heim, in German script, and a copy was laid in the Church corner-stone.  The document was signed by:  Henry Wentz and John Zimmerman; as Elders; Jacob Wentz, John Berkir, Jacob Shuman, as Deacons; Solomon Bower, Jacob Kroemer, Jonathan Faust, Jacob Arnold, as Trustees; Henry Zimmerman, John Garber, Henry Wentz, George Faust, as the Building Committee.   Other signatures:  George Leiby; Daniel Wentz; Daniel Gutshall; Jonathan Sieger; George Stroup and David Kern.  

The church was consecrated by the name of Zion Church, in May, 1817 by Revs. Heim and Walter for the Lutheran congregation and Rev. Helffenstein for the Reformed Congregation.  

The church edifice was made of stone.  It was a substantial structure, measuring 45x50 feet.  It had a high gallery on three sides.  The pulpit was high and was ascended by a flight of stairs.  The altar, located in front of the pulpit, was circular, elevated one step from the floor and entirely surrounded by a balustrade.  The building also had a cupola and bell.  The church had the capacity to hold 600 to 800 worshippers.  

Rev. Heim preached here regularly, once every 4 weeks, only in the German language, from 1815-1849.  After his death, Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff began preaching here.  Rev. Ruthrauff preached in the English language.  

In November, 1860, the Formula was appended to the Lutheran Hymn-Book.  The Formula was adopted, with some opposition, as the Constitution of the congregation, being as the old Church Rules or Constitution had become obsolete long ago.  The congregation was also incorporated in January, 1861.  

By 1863, a parsonage was purchased by the congregations.  Around this same time, both the Lutheran & Reformed Congregations were debating on whether or not to build a new church building. In November, 1865, a decision was made at a joint meeting, to tear down the old stone church and erect a brick Church in its place.  

The final service in the old stone church was held on June 17,1866; the next day, the process of tearing it down was begun.  The cornerstone of the new church was laid in the same spot as the older one, on August 26, 1866. 

The new brick Church was dedicated on February 24, 1867.  

In 1892, the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations met to discuss whether their Union Church should be repaired or if their union should be dissolved, thus allowing each congregation to build their own churches.  Each congregation met and took a vote: the Lutherans voted to dissolve the union and the Reformed voted to repair the existing church and keep the union.  By 1897, both congregations had agreed to dissolve their union.  The church was put up at a public sale on December 17, 1897; at which time the Lutherans bought the building and lot for under $700.   

Confirmation listings for the Zion Congregation.

Further information on this congregation can be seen here.

For further information, see the transcribed pages from the book, Churches Between the Mountains.



Churches Between The Mountains; A History of The Lutheran Congregations in Perry Co., PA; Rev. D.H. Focht; Baltimore; T. Newton Kurtz; 1862.
The Story of Zion; Betty Mort Mumper; Blain, PA; Office of Communications of the Zion United Church of Christ; 1987.
History of Perry County, Penna.; H.H.Hain; Harrisburg, PA; Hain-Moore Co. Publishers; 1922.

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

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