By Capt. Franklin Ellis276
The Lutheran Church is no doubt the oldest religious organization in Germantown. Its records do not, however, afford much information earlier than 1746, while those of the Reformed chruch date back to 1728. Under the head of schools, will be found the name of a minister appended to a receipt,--Joh. Fr. Haeyer. This is dated Jan. 18, 1711. If this was the Lutheran pastor, it shows that that church was coeval with the founding of the colony. For Thirty-five years, however, this seems to be the sole item to be obtained.
The record of baptisms commences Jan. 18, 1746, when there was baptized "Petrus, son of John and Maria Heiner."
Under date of April 14, 1811, is recorded the marriage of "George Deninger to Betsey Lawrens."
There is also entered the death of "Ursula Maria Schumaker, June 25, 1810, eighty years of age, thirty years a widow; buried on Wednesday following her death. Text, John xiv. 2."
We have no full and accurate record of the pastors of this church. Christian Hartwick was the incumbent from 1746 to 1760, and Rev. Johannes Reis followed Mr. Hartwick. Dr. Augustus Wackerhagen was pastor thirty-two years. Rev. Mr. Quitman from 1810 to 1816. Rev. William B. Askam was pastor seven years, and Rev. Mr. Gulick, the last incumbent preceding the present, was pastor eighteen years. This record accounts for about one hundred years of the pastorate, though not in the order of succession, leaving unaccounted for, sixty or more years.
The first house of worship was erected far back in the time of the fathers, but the date is difficult to obtain. It stood, as elsewhere mentioned, on the hill very near to the present residence of J. Fingar. It was a beautiful site, and it is easy to believe that the congregation were loath to change to the present place, on the south line of the town. The location of the congregation, which had changed considerably from the settling of the colony one hundred years before, rendered the removal both proper and desirable.
The second house was erected nearly on the site of the present, in 1812. The latter was built in 1867, and dedicated in June, 1868. Rev. Dr. Pohlman preached the sermon.
The present organization of the church consists of Rev. W. H. Luckenbach, pastor; Wm. Rockefeller, clerk; Conrad C. Lasher, Jr., Jonas Lasher, and John A. Rockefeller elders; Wm. H. Rockefeller, Peter R. Rockefeller, and Peter Potts, Jr., deacons; John H. Moore, George W. Feller, and Jacob Sipperly, trustees; Peter Potts, superintendent of Sunday-school. There are three hundred volumes in the library.
The old papers of the church are a valuable collection, including not only history, but also important evidence as to titles and other matters of frequent legal inquiry. Through the courtesy of Ephraim Lasher, Esq., we are able to add the following items. There are preserved the following papers, many or all of them originals, valuable even for the autographs of early settlers, founders of civil and religious institutions. A deed from Johannes Heiner and Christopher Hagadorn, June 15, 1741, to Samuel Miller. Witnesses, Gilbert Livingston and Henry Livingston. A deed, Dec. 2, 1753, from Johannes Lyck to Martin Lyck. A deed April 7, 1773, from Uriel Heyser and Eva Blass, widow to Samuel Miller. Witness, Gerhart Cuck and Christian Philip. A deed, Sept. 16, 1775, Henry Funk to Johannes Hainer. Witnesses, David Manhard, Christian Philip, and Philip P. Clum. Deed, June 13, 1787, Martin Luyck to Conrad B. Lasher. Deed, Sept. 13, 1799, Gideon Hornbeck to Conrad B. Lasher. Deed, May 12, 1774, Samuel Provost to Samuel Miller. Deed, Dec. 5, 1800, Gideon Hornbeck to Conrad B. Lasher. Deed, February, 1771, Anthony Lispenard and Mary Carroll to Conrad B. Lasher. A deed on parchment from Johannes Heanor, Aug. 15, 1758, of forty acres "for the use of the Palatine minister and his successors forever, who shall likewise teach a school there." The will of Rev. Johannes Christopher Hartwick, pastor from 1746 for many years. Bond of the elders and deacons of the Lutheran church,--George Lasher, Ludwick Botts, and Philip Schumaker,--given to Wm. Hagadorn and Bernard Heanor, June 15, 1741.
The original date of the patent of six thousand acres for the Palatines, appears in many places in these papers,--Nov. 17, 1725.
When the Lutheran church desired to erect their new church, in 1812, they made the following appeal for assistance:
"April 1, 1812.
"The Lutheran church of Germantown, Columbia Co., commonly called East Camp, being in a very decaying condition, and threatening every moment to fall into ruin, by which the lives of many might be endangered, the vestry of said church have thought it to be their Christian duty, with the consent of the members of the congregation, to break down the same and erect a new one. But as the number of members is small, and not competent to such an undertaking, they find themselves under the disagreeable necessity to implore the assistance of the charitable friends of religion, while they trust in the benevolence of their fellow-Christians, and are confident that their German brethren will not suffer a place to be destitute where many of their ancestors have landed and encamped. They pray the Lord to shower down the choicest blessings upon their benefactors, and to reward their kindness both her and in the world to come.
"John Shultis, } Trustees
Conrad Lasher was appointed to receive the contributions.
Other papers are a deed, March 23, 1771, Folkhart C. Douws to Conrad B. Lasher; catalogue of papers held by the society in 1788.
The following paper evidently belongs in the "box" of the Reformed church: "A settlement, Oct. 30th, 1759, of Rev. Johannes Caspar Revil, minister of the High Dutch Reformed church, and the elders, Johannes Moul, Jeremiah Kilmer, Peter Sharp, Nicholas Dick, with the deacons, Peter ------ and Simeon Korn."
There is also the bargain between the two churches dividing the original forty acres set apart for religious purposed equally between them.
An inventory of the property of the church, Feb. 24, 1802: lst. A parsonage, house, stable, and eight acres of land; 2d. One hundred and forty-four pounds due by Jacob Salspaugh at seven per cent interest; 3d. One hundred and seventeen pounds due by John Hyser and Peter Hyser, at seven per cent interest; 4th. Twelve pounds rent for the above parsonage; 5th. Alms money received the past year, three pounds and four shillings; 6th. Forty-five acres wood lot.
The trustees signing this paper were Jacob Salspaugh, George Lasher, and Barent Shultis. Their election is certified to by the pastor, Frederick H. Quitman.
The certificate of incorporation bears date April 22, 1799. The trustees at that time were Barent Shultis, Peter B. Lasher, and John Kortz. The corporate name was "Christ Church," and the elders certifying to the election were George Lasher and Barent Sipperly. The certificate was acknowledged before Robert Livingston.
Still further illustrating the old history both of the church and of property in connection with it, we add the following memorandum of a deed of release, Aug. 28, 1788, Philip Salspaugh to Johannes Salspaugh. They were two brothers, sons of Philip Salspaugh, whose will bore date April 8, 1788:
Philip releases to Johannes eight parcels of land, part of the old patent of November 17, 1725, to the trustees of the people, John Heanor, Christopher Hagadorn, and others. The descriptions are in accordance with a map executed by Cadwallader Colden in 1740. That old map on parchment is in existence, but is not easily read. A copy of it, also very old, is now in the possession of Erastus Coons, Esq., of Germantown. The eight parcels are: 1st A part of No. 320, ten acres, one rood, twelve perches; 2d. A part of lot No. 269, thirty acres, three roods, two perches; 3d. A piece bounded eastward by lands of Aaron Whitmore, south by lands of Sharpe, four acres, two roods, twenty-nine perches; 4th. A piece "beginning at a soft maple-tree at the most northeasterly corner of Philip Salspaugh's lot, bounded in part by lands of Johannes Kortz, and also by lands of the Lutheran church lot 96, and by a road leading from Robert Livingston's mills." Abram Delamater's lands are also mentioned in describing this piece, and those of Conrad Snyder and William Schopmouse. The piece contained thirty-six acres, three roods, thirty-one perches; 5th. The north parts of Nos. 95 and 93, six acres, three roods, thirty-six perches; 6th. A tract lying on the north side of the road leading from Peter Sharp's to the river, containing seven acres; 7th. The northern most part of lot 75, "beginning at an ancient stone-heap, southeast corner of Conrad Snyder's land" containing one acre and fifteen perches; 8th. A piece lying on the west side of the house of Peter Sharp, and is part of lot No. 134, beginning at an ancient corner-stone northeast corner of lot 134, containing one rood, thirty perches.
In 1821 these same parcels are conveyed by John Salspaugh to Philip I. and Jacob I. Salspaugh.
The trustees of the Lutheran church in 1831 were John B. Shultis, Jeremiah Proper, and William Feller. They then deeded a quarter of an acre to Philip I. and Jacob I. Salspaugh, "bounded on the north by the old burying-ground."
The parsonage of the Lutheran church of the old times stood south of James C. Fingar's, on the farm of Philip H. Rockefeller. It was taken down seventy years ago or more.
These lovely Graphics by: