The St. John's Evangelical

Lutheran Church



Columbia County

New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis418


        About 1764 a Lutheran church was organized in the town of Livingston by the Rev. John F. Ries, the pastor of the Churchtown society.  The official board elected that year was composed of Elders Johannes Michael Muchler and Johannes Erchenbrecht; Deacons, Nicholas Schirtz and Philip Bortel.  In 1765 and 1767, Frederick Proper, Bartholomew Simon, Michael Wolf, and Johannes Shirtz were chosen as elders, and Augustus Schmit, Hannes Schutt, Jacob Proper, and Balthusar Simon deacons.    

      Among those who were members of the church, or adhered to it as attendants upon its worship from the time of its organization until 1770, were Andreis Shirtz, Wendel Pulver, Johannes Bortel, Wilhelm Tator, Philip Erchenbrecht, Clement Lehman, Adam Schafer, Adam Decker, Henrich Ham, Benjamin Decker, Jacob Kuhn, Christian Haver, Wilhelmus Lehman, George Minckler, Andreis Schaurman, Johannes Proper, Peter Herder, Nicholas Wieler, Christopher Blatner, Heinrich Stahl, Hannes Ham, Samuel Miller, Jorus Cook, Johannes Schermerhorn, Hannes Luyck, Jacob Hoffman, Nicholas Bonesteel, Matthaus Race, Nicholas Dyckman, Stoffel Hagadorn, Heinrich Riefenbburgh, Hermanus Jacobi, Conrad Jager, Wilhelmus Schneider, Diedrich Shutts, Michael Hallenbeck, Jacob Kilmer, Heinrich Wagner, George Finkle, Johannes Spickerman, Jacob Mickler, Johannes Schaurman, Johannes Mickle, Veit Rossman, Johannes Mohr, Jacob Blatner, Heinrich Ostrander, Conradt Meier, Bastian Jacobi, Michael Fingar, Peter Hess, Jacob Best, Andreas Mohr, Jonas Miller, Samuel Lasher, Dirck Van Dyck, Heinrich Tiel, Petrus Schmidt, Wilhelmus Wiederwax, Andreas Scherp, Jacob Rossman, Wilhelmus Becker, Jacob Geretsie, Heinrich Dunspaugh, Jan Vosburgh, Johannes Silvernagel, Tiel Ham, Thomas Mesieg, Jacob Fredenburgh, and Wilhelm Becker.

     A plain frame meeting-house was built on the "post-road," near the old Stickles place, which was used until after 1820.  It was generally called the "Piet Bush Church."  A cemetery at this place has become so much neglected that it is hardly observable from the highway.

     In 1821 a new house of worship was erected on a few acres of ground two miles east from the Blue Store, which was consecrated, Nov. 25 of that year, as the "St. John's Church."  A board of trustees was formed, composed of David Prossius, Adam Weaver, John D. Feller, Mathias Hoot, Henry W. Snyder, and George Rowe.  This house was used until 1861, when the present edifice was erected.  It stands nearly opposite the site of the second church, is a large and attractive frame structure, and will seat three hundred persons.  Connected with the church is a good parsonage and a large cemetery.  The estimated value of the entire property is $12,000.

     The services of the church were first in the German language, but were changed to the English about fifty years ago.  The clergy connected with the church as pastors and supplies, so far as we have been able to learn from the imperfect records, were:  1764-91, Rev. John F. Ries; 1791-1800, Rev. Johann F. Ernst; 1800-15, Rev. Frederick H. Quitman; 1816-50, Rev. Augustus Wackerhagen; 1851-61, Rev. H. Wheeler; 1861-63, Rev. William H. Emerick; 1863-64, Rev. W. J. Cutler; 1865-67, Rev. J. Selmser; 1868-69, Rev. William H. Emerick; 1870-72, Rev. J. D. West; 1872-74, Rev. J. Selmser; 1875-77, Rev. James Leffler; 1877, Rev. J. A. Rosenberg.

     The membership of the church at present is one hundred and fifty, who support a Sabbath-school, having an attendance of seventy-five scholars.  J. Hutchins is the superintendent.