The Evangelical Lutheran

Church Of

St. Thomas

At Churchtown


Columbia County,

New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis32




Page 247


    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Thomas at Churchtown, was organized some time before 1750.  That year the society, which was composed of members living many miles around, erected its first house of worship.  It was an unassuming building in the architecture of that period, and was used until 1836, when the present house was erected.  This was modernized and enlarged in 1860, and is now a spacious two-story frame edifice, with accommodations for five hundred persons.  Adjoining is a comfortable parsonage.  The joint value of the two is estimated at twelve thousand dollars.  There is also cemetery in connection, which repose the remains of Deacon Lodowick Potts, who died in 1847, age eighty-three years; and Pastors John F. Ries, John G. F. Uhl, and Jacob Berger, all of whom gave the church faithful service.


    The first pastor of the church was the Rev. John F. Ries, who continued this relation from 1760 until his death, in 1791.  The Rev. John Frederick Ernst succeeded next, in 1793.  At this time there were eighty-seven members, and the following official board:  Trustees, William Melius, William Becker, Jacob Carner; Elders; Jacob Rossman, Peter Miller, and Simon Michael; Deacons, William Butz, Frederick Flint, V. Miller, and Peter Lowry.  Upon the close of his pastorate the Rev. John G. F. Uhl assumed the office, and ministered to the people for thirty-five years.  He died in June, 1845.  The subsequent pastors, in the order of their connection, have been the Revs. J. Berger, H. wheeler, J. C. Duy, Levi Schell, J. A. Rosenberg, and the present, C. Diefendorf.


    The aggregate membership of the church since its organization has been very large, and at present numbers three hundred and fifty.  The official board is constituted of Elders Robert Ham, Isaac Hallenbeck, and Henry Niver; Deacons James Ham and Wm. Miller; and Trustees John Cookingham, Reuben Miller, and Leonard Miller.


    The services of the church for the first half-century were in the German language, but are now in the English, to conform to the changes in the population of this section.


    A good Sunday-school, having one hundred and twenty-five members, of which Richard Miller is superintendent, is maintained.