Information form St. Paul's Evangelical
Lutheran Church web site: http://st.pauls.church.home.comcast.net/Main/History.htm
The new St. Paul's church was completed and dedicated
in October and Council installed early in November, 1867.
The neighboring congregations of St. Luke's, White Hall,
and St. Mary's of Silver Run, MD unanimously agreed to
join St. Paul's as a Lutheran charge. On November 25, a
call was extended to Rev. Samuel Henry, then at St. John's,
to become pastor of the newly organized church at a salary
of $650 plus free house rental. He accepted and served
until 1869. He and approximately 100 members of St. John's
had been instrumental in the planning of this new "town" church
and it has been suggested that St. Paul's was initially
intended to be a move for St. John's to a new location.
High standards of industriousness and dedication had been
exhibited in bringing the church from start to completion
in little more than a year. They were apparently equaled
by expectations of high morals in service to the church,
as well as in personal life. Church Council reprimanded
its members for such immoral acts as appearing in places
of ill repute and other deeds unbecoming a Christian, by
suspension - in one case for eight months. Failure to attend
church or Council meetings brought a visit from a Council
committee to discuss the situation. Records suggest church
members were disciplined for various other causes as well!
In 1870 Pastor Alleman and Church council met to plan
a Congregational Festival for Thursday, August 18th, for
all members of St. Paul's Church and Sabbath School. A
committee was appointed to arrange for "religious
exercises" from 9:30 - 10:30 and 2:30 - 3:30. A group
of ladies arranged for dinner at noon and supper at 5:00.
Families provided the food and all sat at a common table.
The festival was held in a grove near the Conewago bridge
on the Littlestown Railroad. Members met at the church
and proceeded to railroad cars which provided the transportation
to and from the grove, complete with a "Marshall of
In the summer of 1873, the Children's Missionary Society
was organized with 19 boys and 16 girls. At the same time,
Council took disciplinary action against several members
of Sabbath School and church in response to rumors of behavior
contrary to Christian character or for indifference to
attendance to church duties. These tasks of Christian discipleship
being fulfilled, it was decided to hold a Christmas Festival
on Christmas evening.
Early in 1874, St. Paul's invited the councils of St.
John's, St. Luke's, and St. Mary's to meet with them to
discuss uniting into a four-church charge. All were in
favor, agreeing to pay a combined $1300 per year and share
St. John's parsonage. After further discussions however,
they concluded that a four-church charge was too great
of a demand to make on one minister. Rev. Alleman agreed
to preach for St. John's charge after Rev. Williams left,
only if they could find no other minister. In November
of 1874, Rev. Alleman "withdrew" as our pastor
and all four churches were without a minister. Uniting
the four was again discussed, but they resolved instead
to keep St. Paul's and St. Mary's as one charge.
As the end of 1878 approached, it was again necessary
to find a suitable parsonage to rent. The committee could
find nothing better than two rooms which they rented for
six months. This situation prompted a decision to buy or
build a parsonage. In February 1879, Dr. Stephen Gettier
agreed to sell St. Paul's his property on Frederick St.
for $1000. This lot seems to have adjoined St. Paul's lot
at that time. After purchasing this property, the old house
was put up for public sale, apparently for razing, as the
brick and stone were to be reserved from the sale. An additional
40,000 brick were also purchased for this parsonage project.
Thus St. Paul's acquired our first parsonage at 107 (now
West King St.) in 1879. Total cost for the project was
In the fall of 1881, with St. Paul's 15th anniversary
approaching, the building was given a facelift inside and
out. The exterior was painted red, the steeple and trim
painted and the bricks "lined" in white. In the "audience
chamber" the altar bannister, pews, and stair railing
were varnished in walnut and the pulpit area was modernized,
also in walnut. The pavement in front of both the church
and parsonage was also repaired. The start of all of this
work was dependent on raising an initial $600 towards the
cost. When the work was completed, the church held a "reopening
service" on Christmas Day, and in the evening a Sunday
School Anniversary program was presented.
Following a number of different strategies for meeting
salaries and expenses, finances improved somewhat in 1888.
Early in the year, Rev. Wire's salary was raised to $1000
and a room was added to the parsonage. The privy and coal
shed were moved, and fence replaced. The basement rooms
were improved and the Sunday School rooms rearranged. A
partition was replaced with a glass partition which could
slide up to convert two rooms to one. A side door and window "switched
places" to provide separate entrances to each section.
All the benches (pews) were removed and replaced with chairs,
small ones for the "infant room". Total cost
of all of the Sunday School room renovations was $850.
The pews plus a number of lamps and lamp fixtures were
sold at public sale for $20.94.
Our tower clock was built in 1889 by the E. Howard & Co.
clock builders of Boston, Mass. It was stenciled on the
side "May 1, 1889 In Memory of Sarusha B. Bishop".
It was an 8-day clock, with a pendulum and two sets of
weights and pulleys in separate shafts to drive the clock
mechanism and a striker for the bell. Pictures as it appeared
prior to its removal in March 2003 (retired) follow. It
was purchased by a nonprofit group who is restoring a courthouse
in Wharton County, TX, to be reinstalled
there, duplicating a tower
clock that their courthouse originally had. Their donation
to us, in memory of Sarusha Bishop, will be used on our
|One final picture of interest from the
sanctuary attic is the weight and inclined plane that
was used with a steel cable (visible) and an overhead
pulley to raise and lower the sanctuary chandelier
so that it could be lit and extinguished as necessary
from trap doors in the attic floor above it. These
doors are still in place today, hidden by the ornate
circular decoration in the very center of the sanctuary
|Council minutes for 1892 make no reference to an
anniversary observance to mark 25 years. It appears
it was church business and interests as necessary -
obtaining funds for bill payment, replacing the roof,
refreshing the interior, etc. dominate the church business.
Rev. Wire resigned to accept a call at Zelienople,
PA. The first two pastors called as replacements declined,
but Rev. E. E. Blint accepted in April, 1893, at a
salary of $800 plus free use of the parsonage. When
it was recognized that the stoves used for heating
the church were worn out, pastor and council arranged
for the installation of a steam heating system. Two
steam furnaces were purchased and installed in the
fall of 1893 at a total cost of $697.
In the summer of 1894, council voted permission
to relocate the choir from the "gallery" to
the upper left-hand corner of the "audience
chamber". They also were then considering
the possibility of moving the organ and granted
four Sundays off as summer vacation to the pastor,
to be taken at his discretion. Also in 1894, an
oral agreement was secured by council from town
council that Littlestown would appropriate $20
per year for oiling, regulating and winding the
clock in the steeple of St. Paul's.
Established in October, 1867. Original membership
filled from St. John's, Littlestown.
Major Building Programs: 1876- Original church organ added. 1879 - Parsonage
1888 - Sunday school area remodeled, pews replaced, improvements to the
basement. A room added to the parsonage.
1889 - Tower added to the steeple to house the town clock.
1898 - Electric lights installed. Original organ replaced with a pipe
1902 - Extensive improvements made to the church. Furnace and bathroom
added to the parsonage.
1911- Steam heating system installed. Completed in 1916. 1918 - Slate
1924 - Brick exterior covered with stucco. Interior and exterior painted.
1927 - Interior of church renovated and 40 ft Sunday school addition
built onto the rear of the church. New Mohler pipe organ replaced 1898
1941 - Oil furnace installed. Front of the church faced with brick. Sides
were also faced following WW II.
1956 - 18t floor Sunday school addition elevated to the nave level, new
first floor added to the Sunday school, and the basement modernized.
1959 - Purchased adjoining property to the church and razed it to establish
a parking lot. 1965 - New parsonage built.
1967 - Pipe organ rebuilt.
1973 - Folding curtain partitions installed in adult Sunday school room
and social room. 1980 - Improvements made to tower and cross replaced
with stainless steel model.
1982 - Ceiling of nave insulated and ceiling fans installed.
1983 - Church office renovated.
1993 - Natural gas furnace and air conditioning installed.
2003 - Elevator addition and handicap accessibility improvements.
???? - 18t Chancel Choir and director were appointed by council. 1960
- Children's choirs were established in the early 1960's.
1985 - Three octaves of hand bells purchased and a hand bell choir was
formed. 1989 - Two octaves of choir chimes and a fourth hand bell octave
1990 - Four vocal choirs and three hand bell choirs in place. Several
additional hand bells added as memorials.
f 2002 - Additional hand bells purchased to complete five full octaves.
Rev. J. J. Hill- 1905 to 1916 (11 years)
Rev. D. S. Kammerer-1925 to 1958 (33 years) Rev. R. C. Camac - 1967 to
1989 (22 years) Rev. Dr. C. 1. Suehr - 1989 to 2000 (11 years)
19 Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary students have interned at St. Paul's
between 1960 and 2003.
|Dr. Charles Glatfelter,
Proftssor Emeritus of History, Gettysburg College,
addressed the congregation ofSt. Paul's on
October 18,1992, in ceremonies marking the
125th anniversary of the founding of the church.
This transcript is used by permission, which
is gratefully acknowledged:
The white man, immigrants, our forefathers have been west of the
Susquehanna for more than 250 years. Most early immigrants located
in settlements, not off to themselves.
The oldest settlement in what is now Adams County was located in
the southeastern part along the Monocacy Road, which passed through
what is now Hanover, Littlestown, Taneytown on to the Potomac,
and it had a name by which it was well known. It was the Conewago
Settlement and it dates from the 1730's, some 260 years ago. Almost
every settler in the Conewago Settlement was German or Swiss. Most
of them were Lutherans or Reformed in Europe. They were interested
in having the Church in their new homes, on their own terms, however,
and not quite the way they had known it at home. One of the things
they did not like particularly was the extent of authority in the
Church back home.
Now between 1735 and 1743, a Lutheran pastor passed through the
Settlement on his way to Maryland and Virginia about twice a year,
in the spring and in the fall. He didn't live here in Littlestown
- there was no Littlestown of course - he lived near New Holland
in Lancaster County and his name was John Casper Stoever. He baptized
Lutheran children and Reformed children.
One of the outstanding characteristics of the Lutheran and Reformed
churches in Pennsylvania in the eighteenth and into the nineteenth
centuries was the fact that they suffered from a terrible shortage
of pastors who could be considered regular Lutheran or Reformed
At the same time, these people started out quite poor. It's hard
to imagine moving into a brand new country where there was almost
nothing of civilization already created, and these people were
very poor until they had found markets somewhere for their surplus
wheat and their surplus skins and their surplus meat. It took a
while for that to happen.
In the Conewago Settlement and in many other settlements there
was much intermarriage where the father was Lutheran and the mother
was Reformed or the father was Reformed and the mother Lutheran.
In a situation such as I've described, this terrible shortage of
pastors, the poverty, and the intermarriages in many settlements,
Lutheran and Reformed people banded togetherthey formed two congregations
- one Lutheran and one Reformed - they built one church - and we
know this as the Union Church. Lower Bermudian was a Union church;
most of the early churches in York County were Union churches.
But interestingly enough, there was not a Union church in the Conewago
Settlement, and that might have been because there were quite a
number of people there, maybe enough to support two congregations.
Now the first Lutheran church in the Conewago Settlement was founded
in the eastern part and we know it today as St. Matthew's Lutheran
Church in Hanover, which is preparing to celebrate its 250th anniversary
next year. They've had a hard time deciding where they wanted it
to be - they're now at their third location. First of all, they
were between Hanover and McSherrystown and then they were out near
Utz Potato Chip Company, before Utz was there of course, and now
they're in town.
The first Reformed church turned out to be in the western part
of the Conewago Settlement, and we know it today as Christ United
Church of Christ. Pardon me for calling the United Church of Christ
people Reformed from this point on. This church Christ Reformed
Church - is where it's always been - they have never had the urge
The Conewago Settlement was a success. The population grew, there
was material progress and it eventually produced two additional
congregations in the settlement. In 1763 a man by the name of Richard
McAllister, who was not German, but Scotch-Irish, laid out a town
in the eastern part of the Conewago Settlement, and that is the
town of Hanover. Almost immediately - almost immediately - some
of the Reformed people in the eastern part of the Conewago Settlement
established a Reformed congregation in town, and we know it today
as Emmanuel Reformed Church in Hanover.
|Now if the Reformed were going
to do that in the eastern part
of the Conewago Settlement, would
you not expect the Lutherans
to do the same thing in the western
part? And indeed, in 1763, the
very year in which Hanover was
formed, a congregation developed
in the western part of the settlement,
which was a Lutheran congregation.
It was called the Congregation
in Germany Township - that was
its first name - and the first
pastor opened a congregational
register in which to record baptisms.
He had a most beautiful handwriting.
If! envy him, it's that he could
write a better hand than I've
ever been able to write, or ever
expect to be able to write. This
is what he wrote on the first
page of that register - he wrote
it in German, but I'm going to
read it in the English:
|" Church Book for
the Evangelical Lutheran
Congregation in German Township.
In the year of Christ 1763,
the thirteenth of November,
this Church Book was begun
to the Glory of God and for
the use of the Christian
congregation; in which not
only the names of all Christian
children, but also the birth
and baptismal dates together
with their witnesses are
The beginning was made by Carl Frederick Wildbahn, Evangelical
Lutheran pastor. Where did he live? Here in Littlestown?
Well, there was no Littlestown yet, no - he lived in Hanover.
And where did he preach? Almost exactly the time that he
opened a Church Book for the Congregation in Germany Township,
he began to make entries in the register ofSt. Jacob's, the
Stone Church in Codorus Township in York County, and if you
'know where that is, you can't reach it in fifteen minutes.
He was also the pastor in Winchester, Virginia. He was also
pastor in Sharpsburg, down near the Potomac. At times, this
man had as many as eight or nine congregations he tried to
serve from his home in or near the new town of Hanover.
In the first five years, Pastor Wildbahn entered forty-three
baptisms in the register for the Congregation in Germany Township
- forty-three in five years, which means there were a lot of
Lutherans in and around the western part ofthe Conewago Settlement.
And he entered a lot of baptisms in his other registers, too.
Now therefore in about two years, 1763, 1764, and 1765, we
went from two congregations in the Conewago Settlement to four.
It is obvious that they were not tiny, struggling congregations.
A congregation of forty-three baptisms in five years can't
be a tiny, struggling congregation.
But now, at almost the very same time there was another important
development. In 1765, Peter Little laid out a town along the
Monocacy Road, which in his early deeds he said "shall
forever afterwards be called Petersburg". Within five
or ten years, people were calling it Littlestown in spite of
the founder's admonition.
The land that Peter Little owned, and it came to several hundred
acres, just happened to be a short distance east of this "Church
in Germany Township", which before very long got a "churchly" name
- St. John's. Some towns that were founded about this time
were not particularly successful. They did not grow for a long
time; they did not grow very much. Peter Little's town was
a success, and within a few years after he laid it out, the
York County Court decreed a road that was supposed to start
in the mountains opposite Shippensburg and come south and east
and head towards Baltimore, and it just so happened that it
intersected the Monocacy Road in the middle of Peter Little's
town, so all of a sudden this town is at the crossroads of
two important roads, and it continued to grow.
I grew up in a town which was along the Northern Central Railroad,
in which there was a foundry started in the 1850's, a foundry
which attracted people, a foundry which tended to give people
of that time some encouragement, uplifted them and within a
few years they got a charter from the York County Court as
the borough of Glen Rock. Almost at that very same time, the
Lutherans in that town, who had belonged to a congregation
out in the country, decided that there should be a Lutheran
church in Glen Rock. And within a very short time, there was.
Now at almost exactly the same time that the foundry was established
in Glen Rock, Amos Lefever, a good Lutheran member of St. John's,
founded a foundry in Littlestown, and within a short period
of time, there was a railroad that came from Hanover to Littlestown.
During the Civil War, the leaders in the community of Littlestown
decided that Littlestown should be separated from Germany Township
and should be chartered as a borough with its own self-government.
And in 1864 that happened.
It is striking that between 1850 and 1860 the population of
Littlestown went from four hundred to seven hundred and by
1870, it was eight hundred fifty - a town that in twenty years
had more than doubled. How long, how long would it be before
the Lutheran and Reformed people who lived in Littlestown would
decide that they wanted their own congregation in town? The
Reformed apparently decided just before the Civil War that
they wanted their congregation in town. Their efforts were
probably diverted by the war, but in August of 1868, they laid
the cornerstone of Redeemer's Church. The weekly newspaper
of the Reformed Church soon thereafter carried a story written
by someone who had been at that cornerstone laying, and listen
to what he said:
" The erection of
this building is of great importance
for the interests of our Reformed
Church in that Section. Christ
Church, in which the people
worshipped for years, is two
miles from town. The necessity
of having a church in town
was felt long ago, but it was
not met until now. A commendable
feature of the movement is
that the members in the country,
instead of resisting it, as
is often the case, cheerfully
lend their aid and are taking
an active part".
Well, so much for the Reformed - they got their congregation,
and if they're interested in its history, they'll be celebrating
an anniversary quite soon.
Let's corne from
the Reformed, over there in the
eastern part of town to the Lutherans
in the western part. We have
to go back a little bit and get
a running start.
Ever since Carl Frederick Wildbahn was founder and first pastor
of St. John's, either every Lutheran minister who served St.
John's or almost every Lutheran minister had lived in Hanover.
In the late 1850's, St. John's was part of the Hanover charge,
which consisted of five congregations. In 1858 the Synod agreed
that the Hanover charge should be divided, that St. John's
and St. Luke's at Bonneauville should be taken from the Hanover
charge, and become what we might call the Littlestown charge,
and that the new pastor should take up his residence in or
near Littlestown. St. John's decided to build a parsonage,
only a few doors west of where we are now, and the pastor moved
into the parsonage early in 1860.
Now the country is about to be engulfed in war, and little
or nothing happens until almost precisely one year after Lee's
surrender at Appomattox, when St. John's -let me repeat it
because this is incredible - St. John's buys this lot - and
proceeds to build a church. In the fall of 1866, in September,
the cornerstone for this church is laid and the newspapers
report in the succeeding months that "there is progress",
that "the Lutherans are building a new church in Littlestown,
and that the Reformed are about to do the same". And then
the church is finished. On October 13, 1867, one hundred twenty-five
years ago last Tuesday, this church was dedicated.
One of the newspapers said that "there was a vast concourse
of people there". One of the newspapers says "five
railroad cars were jammed with people from Hanover who carne
to the dedication" and that this church was modeled after
the old St. Mark's (obviously not the new St. Mark's) - the
old St. Mark's in Hanover, which was a peaceful secession of
persons from the old St. Matthew's church. One of the newspapers
says that this church could comfortably seat five hundred people;
one of them says later that this church could seat comfortably
six hundred people, and one of them says that this church could
set comfortably seven hundred people. Before I leave today,
I want to count how many people could comfortably sit in this
church and find out if was five hundred or six hundred or seven
There were six preachers here to participate in this dedication
service. One of them went back home to Baltimore and wrote
a story that appeared in the Lutheran Observer, which was the
weekly Lutheran newspaper. He said, "The pulpit is in
a recess, with a platform large enough to support the erratic
propensities of even Henry Ward Beecher" which I take
to mean that there's enough room for a preacher to pace back
and forth while he was preaching.
But.. but.. at some point between the time this lot was bought
by St. John's and this church was dedicated, the relations
between John and Paul became strained. The people who built
this church decided at some point, and I don't know when, that
they were going to organize their own congregation. And this
they did, this month in 1867, and early in 1868 they got from
the Adams County Court a charter which turned an unincorporated
association called St. Paul's into a corporation known as St.
Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church. It seems to me that it
was all but inevitable that the people who wanted a church
in town would want to organize a separate congregation. That's
what happened at Redeemer's, that's what happened over and
over again, that is precisely what happened in the case of
the church in which I grew up and in which was confirmed in
Glen Rockexactly what happened.
So the people of St. Paul's asked the people of St. John's
to meet so that they could talk over some things. "Let's
talk over how we could share the services of Rev. Samuel Henry" -
who lived in the parsonage a couple of doors west of here - "how
can we share in his services?" The people of St. Paul's
pointed out that they had helped to build that parsonage; they
had a certain right to it and they would like to sit down and
discuss what that right was. They also wanted the right to
bury in the graveyard. Some of the founding fathers of my home
congregation chose not to be buried up on the hill in Glen
Rock where the Lutherans have their cemetery, but out in the
country at Fissel's which had been the mother church, and the
people of St. Paul's thought that they ought to have the right
either to bury at Mt. Carmel or out at St. John's.
The fact is that the leaders of St. John's said, "No,
we don't want to talk to you". And the next thing they
said was "We want Pastor Henry out of that parsonage".
So they went to the Justice of the Peace, presented their case,
and said, "give us a warrant so that the constable can
go and put Pastor Henry out", The Justice of the Peace
gave the warrant. The constable went and he was met by about
twenty-five fathers of this congregation who in a way not described
prevented the constable from serving the warrant.
There were two other people who not only prevented the constable
from serving the warrant but roughed him up and so the next
thing you know, there is a case in the Court of Common Pleas
of Adams County, a case against twenty-five persons, and I'm
going to read what the description of the case is: "for
resisting an officer in the discharge of his duty, arising
out of an attempt to dispossess Rev. Samuel Henry from the
Lutheran parsonage at Littlestown". There was also a case
against the two men who had roughed up the constable - that
charge was assault and battery. That case was heard in the
court about a year after this church was dedicated. What happened
was this - Pastor Henry decided, "I've had enough" so
he left and went pretty far away - he went to New Jersey. Then
the court in Gettysburg, the judge in Gettysburg, looked at
the case, came to the conclusion that the Justice of the Peace
had no jurisdiction in the first place, and since Pastor Henry
was out now, the case collapsed.
The West Pennsylvania Synod - it hasn't existed since 1938,
but there might be a couple of people here who remember the
time there was a West Pennsylvania Synod that included Adams
County - the West Pennsylvania Synod, in deciding where to
meet in 1868 decided it would meet right here, so they came
here and by coming certainly gave their blessing to what had
happened. Ifthey had thought that what had happened here was
very much out of order, they would not have come. Obviously
while they were here, they tried to settle the dispute. They
appointed a committee and the chairman of that committee was
Rev. Samuel Simon Schmucker, who had founded the Seminary,
who was the chief founder of the college in Gettysburg, who
was one ofthe best known, probably the best known, and one
ofthe best respected Lutherans in Adams County - in the Synod
in fact - and he tried to bring the two sides together. One
side - you may guess which side - said, "No, we're not
going to talk". Consequently, all the committee could
do was say, "Why don't you make whatever private efforts
you can, over a period of time, to smooth things over".
Now, wouldn't it be better in 1992 not to cover this ground
at all? Would it be better in 1992 not be truthful about what
happened one hundred twenty-five years ago? Would it be better
not to confront again the fact that we are all fallible human
beings? I don't hear this much anymore, but when I was a youngster,
I heard this over and over again: "we are creatures who
fall far short of the Glory of God". Obviously, I've answered
these questions, and I wasn't altogether sure but that someone
might come up here and throw me out for covering the ground
again. It does appear to me that the founders of St. Paul's
did follow a proper course of action in their willingness to
compromise, and work out their differences with the mother
congregation. But before you become all that smug, "we
were right then, we are right now, we have always been right
in between" - on this one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary
maybe the best advice for you and for me - for all of us, comes
from the same St. Paul after whom this congregation and church
were named. In the tenth chapter of his first letter to the
Christian Church at Corinth, "Therefore let anyone who
thinks he stands take heed lest he fall".