Abdel Ross Wentz.

History of the Evangelical Lutheran synod of Maryland of the United Lutheran church in America, 1820-1920 online

. (page 1 of 56)
Online LibraryAbdel Ross WentzHistory of the Evangelical Lutheran synod of Maryland of the United Lutheran church in America, 1820-1920 → online text (page 1 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fENNiAL History







Bequest of

Frederic Bancroft








1820 - 1920



Professor of Church History in the Gettysburg Theological Seminary,

Curator of the Lutheran Historical Society, Author of ^^ The

German Element in York County, Pennsylvania. "


A Brief Sketch of Each Congregation of the Synod


Biographies of the Living Sons of the Synod in the Ministry
Edited by the Same Author



E V A l4 & E. t? C AL P R £ S S

- ^i.iRRIijBtJ.^G' '





"Remember the days of old: consider the
years of many generations." — Deut. 32: 7.

"The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of
Jacob is our refuge." — Psalm 46: 7.




The Lutheran Cliureh in America lias a history of which her
sons and daughters may well be proud. Her influence was very
potent in the earliest settlements in Georgia, along the Delaware
and on Manhattan Island. The Pilgrim Fathers largely came
from Leyden where for thirty j-ears they had lived in Holland
which had become a republic chiefly through the influence of the
Lutheran Reformation.

From our earliest history the Lutheran Church has exerted a
wide influence in the moral and religious life of our people. The
freedom of conscience for which it always stood, the sincere piety
it fostered everywhere, had much to do in shaping the best po-
litical, social and religious life of the nation.

In some respects the Lutheran Church is an outstanding Ameri-
can Church. In our Colonial history, the settlements of Lu-
therans along the frontier largely bore the brunt of the depreda-
tions of savages who at various times were incited to murder and
rapine by emissaries from other lands. During the war for In-
dependence, the Lutherans stood solidly with Washington and
shed their blood willingly in the struggle for freedom. In that
momentous conflict one third of the population of the country
was Tory. But the Lutherans were not Tories. So in the war of
1812. In the war between the States, the Union had no more
loyal supporters North of Mason and Dixon's line than the Lu-
therans. And in the recent great war with the central powers
of Europe the Lutheran Church was exceptional in the number
of her sons who followed the flag and in her response to every
call and need of the Government in its conduct of the war.

The best blood of Europe that came to our shores flowed in the
veins of those who came in quest of religious freedom. The
Palatines who came very early to Baltimore and through Penn-
sylvania into western Maryland were largely influenced to leave
their mother countries beyond the seas by reason of persecution.
Hence, when they entered into the making of a new country they
cut away from the eeclesiasticism and from the Church Govern-
ments which obtained under the monarchies of the old world.
Congregations were organized and synods were formed in har-
mony with the genius of what has become the greatest republic



of the atjos. No ecclesiastical connections nor even formal fra-
ternal relations were maintained with the Churches of the Fa-
therlands. The Lutheran Churches were not only American in
spirit but thoroug'hiy and distinctly American in practice.

The Maryland Synod was or<>'anized almost simultaneously
with the General Synod. The first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh
presidents of the General Synod were members of the Maryland
Synod. The first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth
sessions of the General Synod were held in Maryland Synod
Churches. A large number of the leading ministers and laymen
not only in the Lutheran Church but in the country- generally
have been connected with the Maryland Synod.

The Maryland Synod is distinguished by its prominence in the
educational, eleemosynary and missionary work of the Lutheran
Church. The Colleges and Seminaries at Gettysburg and Selins-
grove were largely inspired and aided in their beginnings as well
as through their entire history by the Maryland S^'uod. She fur-
nished the first Presidents for Gettysburg, Selinsgrove, Witten-
berg and Midland Colleges. The Deaconess Home and Mother-
House, and the Home for the Aged are located on her territory,
while all the benevolent and eleemosynary institutions of the
Church receive the Synod's unfailing suj^port. The beginnings
of Home Missionary work were largely under the direction of
the Maryland Synod. The first missionaries bej'ond the Pan-
Handle and later beyond the Mississippi were sent forth from her
Churches. Both the Boards of Home and Foreign Missions have
had their headquarters on its territory.

The writer has been a member of the Maryland Sjaiod for more
than twenty years. He recalls the meetings of synods and con-
ferences with unfeigned pleasure. There is a spirit of fraternity
and brotherly cooperation that is both admirable and character-
istic. There is enthusiasm for everything that makes for the ad-
vancement of the Kingdom of our Lord. Delightful fellowship,
whole-hearted service, mutual confidence, are marked features
of the SA'nod 's life.

The following pages tell only a part of the story. Many of the
best things cannot be written in a book. The Committee consist-
ing of Professor Abdel Ross Wentz, L. Russell Alden, Esq., and
the writer, entrusted the entire literary work in the preparation
of the history to Professor Wentz. A son of the Synod, preacher,
historian, scholar, and teacher of young men preparing for the
Gospel ministry, he has performed his task well.

Ezra K. Bell.


As we stand on tlie bow of some great ocean-liner hustling it-
self across the trackless deep, we feel only the rush of change,
the toss of the waves, tlie buffeting of the winds, and the heaving
of the mighty deep. As we look forward from the bow we have no
certainty of progress or of definite direction. But when we go
back and stand on the stern of the vessel we see the wake of the
ship, boiling out even as we watch it and stretching off' in a
straight line behind us. Then we know that we are held to a
course, that we are making progress and that we are moving in a
straight line and therefore towards a goal. We cannot see our
destination but we know that we are going somewhere because we
can s'ee that we have come from somewhere.

So the past is the wake of history. It is an argument for a
definite direction in the world 's events. Our review of a century
of Maryland Synod history- ought to help us in some measure to
understand the divine goal of daily events and the will of God
for the future of our Zion.

This volume is a part of the Maryland Synod's o])servance of
her centennial year. It is intended to make us mindful of our
heritage and our responsibility. It is not history for history's
sake, not a narrative of facts long since past and unrelated to the
present. It is rather a means of helping us, as individual congre-
gations and as a Synod, to understand our relation to the living
present and our responsibility to the j)romising future.

The story of these hundred years in the Synod is an inspiring
one. No one can read the record without feeling that the hand
of God directs the affairs of the Church. But while the growth
and achievements of the century should sw^ell our breasts with
pride and fill us with gratitude to God for the past, the contem-
plation of her progressive development in powers and resources
should fill us with a sense of obligation and point the finger of
duty to the coming age.

This is not a history of Lutheranism in the State of Maryland,
but only a history of the Mar3-land Synod and her churches.
There are a number of Lutheran churches in the State that do
not belong to the Synod. Such are the twenty-four congrega-
tions of the Sy nodical Conference (thirteen in Baltimore, two in



Wasliington, two in Accident, and one each at Colgate, Cumber-
land, Glen Arm, Jjintliicum Heights, Mechaniesville, Overlea,
and Preston), the fifteen congregations of the Joint Synod of
Ohio (nine in Baltimore and one each at Washington, EUicott
City, Fullerton, Glen Arm, Laurel, and Ferryman), one of the
Swedish Augustana Synod in Baltimore, one of the Iowa Synod
at Woodlawn, and several without s.ynodieal relations. These do
not come within the scope of this volume.

The plan of the book includes three main parts, the historj' of
the S^-nod as a whole, the history of tlie churches constituting
the Synod at present, and biographical sketches of the sons of the
Synod now in the ministry.

In portraying the life of the Synod as a whole we have first
sketched the Lutheran movements and settlements within the
State before the organization of the Synod. These materials
have been gathered from sources too num^erous to mention here.
The original plan to sketch the early history of the Lutheran
Church in America outside of Mar3'land had to be abandoned be-
cause it would have led too far afield. That subject can easily be
traced in other books. For the European origin of these early
Lutherans in Maryland the reader is referred to Chapter Five
of my ' ' German Element in York County, ' ' pages 96-174.

The history of the Synod as such, from the organization to the
present, has been gathered mainly from the Minutes of the body.
The original protocol of the Synod, we regret to say, has not been
available. For over two years we have conducted a search for
the protocol and first constitution. But in vain. We believe they
have been destroyed.

The subject of the jarotocol often occupied the attention of the
Synod. As early as 1840 the manuscript protocol was pro-
nounced "irrecoverably lost," and a committee declared it im-
possible even to secure a complete file of the printed minutes.
Four years later, how^ever, the protocol is reported found and
measures are taken for its safe keejDing. In 1858 it was consigned
to the care of Dr. Morris, but ten years later he reported that a
part of the archives had been lost again. In 1871 it is reported
that the old protocol and other papers of the Sjmod have been
sent to Dr. Diehl "to be placed with the archives of the Synod
in the church in Frederick." This is the last trace of those valu-
able papers that can be found. It would seem that tlie.v were re-
moved from Frederick when Dr. Diehl left that church, but dili-
gent search among his heirs and effects has failed to reveal them.

But we have succeeded in gathering a complete file of the pub-
lished minutes of the Synod from various sources, and from these


we have gathered practically all of our materials for the stor^' of
the Synod as such.

For the materials in the congregational sketches we are in most
cases indel)ted to the pastors of the churches. They were gath-
ered largely from the church records and congregational archives
of the individual congregations. Some of the materials are to be
found also in published form. Such are Williams' "History of
Frederick County," Williams' "History of Washington Coun-
ty," P. H. Miller's "History of Grace Lutheran Church of West-
minster and Sketches of Lutheran Congregations in Carroll
County," M. L. Culler's "Early History of the Lutheran
Churches in the Middletown Valley," Bell's "History of the
Leitersburg District," L. B. Hafer's "Brief Sketch of Trinity
Lutheran Church of Taney town," Ferdinand Hesse's "History
of the Smithsburg Charge," C. S. Jones' "History of St. Paul's
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore County," Sarah C.
Trump-'s "One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Immanuel
Lutheran Church of Manchester," L. H. Waring 's "History of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown," Diehl,
Schmucker, and Kuhlman on the Frederick congregation. Culler
and Trump in "The Martinsburg Lutheran" for December,
1918, and F. R. Wagner's "Historical Sketch of St. Paul's Lu-
theran Church of Frostburg. " Much credit is due also to Dr.
Victor Miller for his persistent efforts from 1900 to 1913 in gath-
ering from the pastors many materials for the history of their

About one-third of the congregational histories could be pub-
lished in practically the same form in which they were prepared
by the pastors. Another third we prepared from data submitted
by the pastors. For the other third we had to secure the data as
well as write the history.

The selection of portraits to illustrate the congregational his-
tories was a delicate matter, and in some cases the pastor simply
could not bring himself to make a selection from among the many
good subjects that might have been available, and in those cases
no illustrations of laymen appear. With only two exceptions we
have been able to present a picture of every pastor in the Synod.
We appreciate this splendid cooperation.

As to the third part of the volume the editor wishes to assume
responsibility for the form in which most of the biographical
sketches appear. He had much difficult}^ in overcoming the
modesty of many of the "sons of the Synod" and in securing a
measure of uniformity in the sketches. Four or five subjects be-
longing in this chapter refused to respond.


Our main prohleiu tlir()ii<>li()ut llie l)()()k was ('Oiidensation.
When we consider the size of tlie Sxnod and her a<2,e, the even
greater age of some of her congregations, the prominence of the
Synod and her men in the work of the church, the many aspects
of her life, and the varied lines of her activity, we readil}' under-
stand that the full history of the S.ynod's hundred years would
retpiire many volumes of this size. The minutes alone for these
hundred years cover nearly 5,000 pages. Volumes have had to
be condensed into sketches. Doubtless many omissions will be
noted bj" the informed reader. Then be it remembered that we
have made special effort to maintain proper proportions. AVe
have been obliged to condense greatly and to omit many things
we wanted to include. But we have not retrenched: we have
faithfully carried out the main plan authorized by tbe Synod two
years ago.

If the plan of the work had included footnotes many interest-
ing but isolated events, many extraordinary occurrences, and
many pi(iuant and original anecdotes might have been introduced
to enliven the reading. Then, too, complete bibliographical and
other source references could have been included. But these were
not regarded as essential to the main record and had to be

Our obligations are hereby acknowledged to Pastor Richard
Schmidt for his article on the German Synod of Maryland, to
Miss Mary Baylies for her account of the Wonian's Home and
Foreign Missionary Society of the Maryland Synod, to the pas-
tors who so kindly cooperated in securing their congregational
histories and materials for illustration, to the sons of the Synod
who furnished data from which to make their biographies, and to
the many individuals who so willingly responded to our many in-
quiries for information to be used in the volume.

In typewriting the manuscript for the printer and in gathering
the tables presented in the volume we have had much valuable
assistance from Mr. Luther A. Gotwald of the Gettysburg Semi-

Abdel Ross Wentz.

Gettijslutrg, Pa., March 30, 1920.

Table of Contents


Chapter I. Early Lutheran Settlements in Maryland 11
Chapter II. Early Lutheran Expansion and the Spe-
cial Conferences of Pastors 33

Chapter III. The Organization of the Synod 43

Chapter IV. The Growth of the Synod 55

Chapter Y. Leading Personalities 57

Chapter VI. The Pastors of the Synod, 1820-1920 83

Chapter VII. Missions: Home, Foreign, and Inner ... 103
Chapter VIII. Educational Activity and Literary Prod-
ucts 127

Chapter IX. Doctrinal and Liturgical Development . . 147

Chapter X. Synodical Relations 161

Chapter XL Conventions and Officers 175

Chapter XII. Clerical Roll for the Centennial Year .... 179

Chapter XIII. The Churches of Baltimore and Vicinity . 189

Chapter XIV. The Churches of Washington and Vicinity 281

Chapter X\'. The Churches of the Middle Conference . 325

Chapter XVI. The Churches of the Western Conference. 437

Chapter XYII. The Churches of the Mountain Conference 503

Chapter XYIII. Ordinations and Licensures 519

Chapter XIX. The Sons of the Synod 527

Indexes 633

"We have heard with our ears, O God, our
fathers have told us, what work Thou didst
in their days, in the days o£ old: Thou didst
drive out the heathen with Thy hand, but
them didst Thou plant." — Psalm 44: i, 2.

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." —
I Samuel 7; 12.



Maiyland was orig-inally founded as a refuge for Roman Cath-
olics. People of that faith were at that time the objects of sore
persecution in England. The first settlers of Maryland, who
reached the colony in March, 1634, were oppressed Catholics from
England, about three hundred in number. But from the begin-
ning Protestants were admitted to the new colony. This was not
because of an.v advanced views of religious toleration but because
the colony was British, and the Catholic proprietor, Lord Balti-
more, did not dare to exclude Protestants from the colony of a
Protestant nation. The spirit of the age was bitterly intolerant,
but in this case prudence dictated liberality. And so it was that
people of all Christian denominations began to pour into the
promising colony, and sixt}^ years after the colony had been
founded primarih' as an asylum for persecuted Roman Catholics,
the children of that faith constituted but one-twelfth of the pop-

The first Lutherans to settle in Maryland were Swedes. They
came in 1645, onh' eleven years after the colony had been
founded, and settled in what is now Cecil County. They consti-
tuted the out-post of that large Swedish settlement that had be-
gun on the Delaware River (then New Sweden) seven years be-
fore. In 1649 these Swedish Lutherans built the first Lutheran
church in what is now the state of Maryland. It is said that in
1660 there were nearly three hundred Lutheran families in that
locality. But the settlement was not permanent. With the pass-
ing of New Sweden this solitary Lutheran settlement in Mary-
land vanished also, and it made no contribution to the Lutheran
element that later constituted the Mar^dand Synod, except per-
haps by contributing some iiidividuals to the settlements in west-
ern Maryland. Nearly a century was to pass before the first
permanent settlement of Lutherans was made in the colony of
Maryland. Then nearly another century was to pass before the
Maryland Synod was born.

As the history of our American Republic covers less than half
of the historj' of the white man in our country, so the life of the



organized Maryland Synod eoYors only a little more than half
of the histor}^ of Lutherans in the State.

The Lutheran Synod of Maryland is now just a century old.
But the history of Lutheranisni in Maryland goes back nearly a
century before the organization of the Synod. There were in-
diYidnal Lutherans and Lutheran settlements and Lutheran con-
gregations in Marjdand some ninety years before synodical or-
ganization was effected. The beginnings of these pioneer Luther-
an settlements go back beyond the establishmeiit of the American
Republic, beyond the Revolutionary War, back to the early dec-
ades of the Eighteenth Century.

Three of these earliest Lutheran settlements in particular need
to be considered as heralding the dawn of Lutheran history in
Maryland. They are Baltimore, Conococheague, and Monocacy.
The oldest of these is Monocacy. But all of them have long since
ceased to be preeminent in the Lutheranisni of the state. The
settlement of Monocacy was soon overshadowed and absorbed by
Frederick. That of Conococheague dwindled into insignificance
beside Hagerstown. And the old Lutheran community in Balti-
more belonged to the Maryland Synod only a short time and has
long since lost its Lutheran confessional character.

Let us review briefly the life of these three pioneer Lutheran
communities. The.y mark one stage in the westward movement
of the American frontier, the meeting point between civilization
and savagery, and thus they help constitute the crucible in which
the different European nationalities have been moulded into an
entirely new product known as the American. At the same time
their character and their history as church communities hold the
germ and promise of much of the subse(iuent history of Luther-
anisni in the state of Maryland.

On the Monocacy.

The first Lutheran congregation in the state of Maryland was
Monacacy. The Monocacy settlement was in Frederick Count}',
ten miles north of the present city of Frederick, at the point
where the route of travel from Pennsylvania crossed the Mono-
cacy River. This settlement was one of the results of the gradual
expansion of the population from the Atlantic seaboard west-

The pioneers of the Monocacy ^"alley came from Pennsylvania.
In the .year 1710 as a result of the great increase of German im-
migrants to America the Lutheran population of Pennsylvania
had begun to grow rapidly. Many of these Lutherans had settled
in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, just east of the Susquehanna


River. From that point there was a natural avenue leading
southwestward into Virginia. This was the highway that from
time immemorial had been used by the Indians in their wander-
ings from north to south and vice versa. It included a series of
fertile valleys now known as the Cumberland, Shenandoah, and
Virginia Valleys. Crossing the Susquehanna where Wrightsville
now stands it followed the limestone belt in a southwestern direc-
tion across York County (York and Hanover) and the southeast-
tern part of Adams County (Littlestown), across the state line
into Carroll and Frederick Counties, Maryland; and so to the
Potomac. This route of travel afterwards figured prominently
in the history of our country.

It was this great natural highway from eastern Pennsylvania
to Virginia that brought the first Lutheran settlers to Maryland.
As the population in eastern Pemisylvania increased and the
good lands there were gradually taken up the hardy pioneers
pushed westward across the Susquehanna. But out of regard for
the rights of the Indians the Pennsylvania authorities did not
permit settlement on the lands west of the river until 1729. So
already several years before that date some of the immigrants
into Penn's colony had moved across the forbidden Indian lands
of York County and had pushed on to the hospitable soil of Mary-
land and Virginia. It seems probable that in 1727 or the follow-
ing year a small number of Germans from Pennsylvania had
taken up their abode on Maryland soil in the Monocacy Valley.
These were mostl}' Lutherans.

A year or two later when the Pennsylvania government au-
thorized settlements west of the Susquehanna the Indian trail to
the south and southwest was converted into a wagon road and
soon hundreds of Germans from Penns.ylvania were coursing
along this highway to the rich lands of western Maryland and
northern Virginia. Then, too, Lord Fairfax of Virginia and Gov-
ernor Ogle of Maryland were holding out special inducements to
the Germans to settle within their respective domains. Early in
1732 the Governor of Virginia ceded a tract of some 25,000 acres
to Jost Hite, a German, and Jacob Van Meter, a Dutchman, on
condition that they would settle two hundred German families
on the tract. Hite and Van Meter traversed Pennsylvania and
New Jersey and even went to Germany and Holland in search
of settlers for their lands, and directed them all to Virginia by
the way of the well-known ' ' Monocacy Road. ' ' The consequence
was that soon a large volume of immigration began to flow from
Pennsylvania to Virginia.

Then Charles Lord Baltimore tried to outdo the Governor of


A'irgiiiia. in attracting- colonists. He oli'ercd the lantls between
the Monocacy and the Pennsylvania line in tracts of two hundred
acres each to families that would settle there and he asked only
the rental of one cent an acre and no rent to pay for the first
three years. It is not surprising that many of the Germans on

Online LibraryAbdel Ross WentzHistory of the Evangelical Lutheran synod of Maryland of the United Lutheran church in America, 1820-1920 → online text (page 1 of 56)