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Proceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society online

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record, of which the members and the community can point to
with pride.

All history is interesting, especially the early history of
movements or efforts which are made looking to the betterment
of the social, moral and religious conditions of a community or
county. The founding and establishing of all churches must be
considered or regarded from this viewpoint. When the first
movement was started to conduct religious services near where
the present church is now located we do not know. For some
time services were held in the barn on the farm now owned and
occupied by T. G. Helfrich. . It seems that no house of worship
was erected. A burial ground, however, was in existence a
short distance back of the present barn. A single tombstone
remains with the following inscription: "Hier Ruhet Anna
Cathrina Mulrin ist Geboren im Jahr, A D 1733 und gestorwen
A D 1775 den 18 August. Mein Leib ruhet in der Erd doch
komt entlich auch die zeit dast ich Mich dort sehen wert in der
Froen ewigkeit."

Judging from the date of death we infer that this movement
was started before there were any churches in Allentown. When
the services were discontinued we do not know. The inhabitants
of this section, however, felt the need of a house of worship more
conveniently located. The nearest church to the north was the
Egypt Church; to the west, the Jordan; to the south, Allentown,
and to the east, Howertown or Shoenersville.

How long the erection of a new church or the organization
of congregations was agitated we do not know. The first meeting
looking forward to the erection of a church was held November
II, 1848, at the house of Andrew Sheldon, at which time sixty-one
persons expressed a willingness to contribute towards the erection
of a church. A subscription list was at once started. When


Rkv. J. S. DuBBS, D. D.


Rev. G. p. Stem.
(i 900-1 901.)


an amount of money sufficient to warrant success had been
secured, the fathers of the two congregations began their work
in earnest, and in the fear of the Lord. The second meeting was
held April i, 1849, in Mickley's schoolhouse, afterwards called
Butz's schoolhouse, at which time an organization was effected.
This schoolhouse is still standing on Thomas J. Butz's farm,
between Hokendauqua and Mickley's.

After Peter Miller, Solomon Kemmerer, George Kemmerer,
Peter Mickley, Jacob Mickley, Thomas Butz, David Eberhard,
John Schadt and David Biery had each given two hundred dollars
and Joseph Biery, Daniel Roth and Peter Roth had each given
one hundred and fifty dollars, the undertaking was considered

The following is a free translation of the introductory article
of the first and only constitution of the church :

"On the ist day of April 1849 a number of inhabitants
of South Wheithal Township Lehigh Co. gathered at Mickleys
schoolhouse to confer regarding the erection of a new church.
The assembly was unanimouslly in favor that as soon as possible
the erection of a church should be begun. For this purpose the
above named assembly appointed a committee of 8 persons to
draw up a constitution for the new congregations. The selection
fell upon the following persons: John Schadt, Jacob Mickley,
Jr., Peter Mickley, Jr., Peter Miller, David Eberhard, Thomas
Butz, George Kemmerer, Charles Troxel."

The committee, according to instructions, prepared a con-
stitution with a few changes. It was afterwards adopted with
a few amendments added, since which it has served the congrega-
tions until this time.

On the afternoon of the same day and at the same place
the two congregations were regularly organized and the first
consistory of the Reformed congregation and the first council
of the Lutheran congregation were elected. From the Reformed
congregation the following were elected : Elders, David Biery
and Peter Roth; deacons, Reuben Schreiber, Jacob Seiple,
Henry Schadt and Peter Butz; trustee, John Schadt; presi-
dent of the consistory, Charles Troxel. For the Lutheran
congregation the following were elected: Elders, Solomon
Kemmerer and Reuben Paul; deacons, Nathan Eberhard, Jesse
Reichard, David Gross and Thomas Paul ; trustee, George Kem-
merer, and president of the church council, John Scheirer. Thomas
Butz was elected treasurer of the joint consistory and served in
that capacity until after the building and dedication of the
church, after which David Eberhard was elected treasurer and
served until the time of his death, August 21, 1869, after which
his son, Nathan Eberhard, was elected, who served until Whit-
monday, 1899, when Tilghman Helfrich was elected and has
served up to the present time.

Rev. a. J. G. DuBBS, D. D.


Nathan Eberhard also served as secretary of the joint con-
sistory until 1899, when James Kemmerer was elected and served
until his death. His son, George, served for a few years, after
which Henry Long was elected, who is serving in that capacity
at present.

At the meeting on April i, 1849, the following Building
Committee was appointed: Jacob Mickley, Peter Miller, Peter
Mickley and David Eberhard. Most of the work of the founda-
tion and building was done by the members themselves, the
Building Committee taking the lead. The land belonging to the
congregations and on which the church stands was given by
David Beary and Daniel Roth. Joseph Biery gave the ground
on which the sheds are erected. That the Building Committee
were men of action is seen from the fact that the cornerstone of
the new church was laid on Whitsunday, May 27, 1849, less than
two months after the meeting in the schoolhouse. Rev. J. C.
Becker, D. D., preached in the morning and Rev. Jeremiah
Schindel, who became the first Lutheran pastor, preached in the
afternoon. Rev. J. S. Dubbs, D. D., was also present and assisted.
Rev. F. W. Mendsen laid the cornerstone.

The new church was dedicated on Saturday and Sunday,
November 17 and 18, 1849. On Saturday afternoon, Rev. J.

5. Dubbs, D. D., preached and Rev. Jeremiah Schindel preached
on Sunday forenoon. The collections amounted to $235.86.
The original building cost $5,494.42, of which $4,378.42 was
contributed in money and $1,116 in labor and hauling. All was
paid for at the final settlement shortly after the dedication and a
balance of $12.03 remained in the treasury. The account of the
money and labor contributed by the members have been care-
fully kept by the secretary, Nathan Eberhard.

How many persons entered into the organization of the two
congregations we do not know, but we have a complete list of
the names of the persons who communed from the first communion
to the present time.

The first communion of which we have any record, and
probably the first communion held in the new church, was held
by the Reformed congregation. May 12, 1850, at which time
64 persons partook of the Holy Communion. The second
communion was held October 27th of the same year, when 39
persons communed.

The first communion of the Lutheran congregation was
celebrated October 6, 1850, at which time 65 persons partook
of the Holy Sacraments. The second communion was held
March 23, 1851, when 26 persons communed.

The first class was confirmed in the new church October

6, 1850, by the Lutheran pastor and numbered 5.

The first confirmation of the Reformed congregation was
held April 13, 1851, when 22 persons were confirmed.

Rev. J. H. DuBBS, D. D.
(i 860-1 863.)


The first church register extends from the founding of the
church to 1863.

The largest number of communicants up to 1863 in the
Reformed congregation was April 6, 1861, when 112 communed.
The smallest number communing was on April i, 1854, when
38 communed.

The largest communion of the Lutheran congregation was
held in October, 1858, when 85 communed. The smallest number
communing was on March 23, 1851, when 26 communed.

The first record of death is Margaret Grueber, born March
30, 1770; died December 8, 1849.

The first record of baptism is a child of George Rece and
wife, baptized Septernber 8, 1850.

The first improvements to the property were made in 1868.
The Building Committee consisted of the following persons :
Peter Miller, Thomas Butz, Jacob Mickley, George Kemmerer,
Reuben Schreiber, George H. Stem, Charles Henninger and
Edward Houseman. There was also a Ladies' Furnishing

John Minnich and Edwin Houseman had charge of the
carpenter work and outside painting. The frescoing and graining
was done by Anthony "Goth, of Bethlehem. The cost of the
improvements and repairs amounted to $4,789.57. Of this
amount $4,231.42 was expended by the Building Committee
and $567.15 by the Ladies' Furnishing Committee, who had
collected $659.73. After some delay the final settlement was
made and a balance of $26.20 was turned over to the church

The remodeled church was dedicated November 28, 1869.
Rev. D. Kuntz, of Nazareth, preached in the morning; Rev. A.
J. G. Dubbs, D. D., of Allentown, in the afternoon, and in the
evening the pastors of the church had charge of the services.

In 1876, the basement was repaired. The old stone partition
wall was taken out and the two separate rooms made into one.
This room was used for the Sunday School, until the spring of
1908, when the Sunday School took possession of the new chapel.

In 1 88 1, the congregations decided to erect a tower and
steeple, together with a house for the organist. The Building
Committee consisted of T. Franklin Butz, George H. Stem,
Reuben Hausman, Dennis Fry and Alfred T. Mickley. The
tower and steeple are 139 feet high and cost $2,567.63. The
cost of the organist's house was $790.16.

After the tower was completed a magnificent bell of 1,800
pounds was placed therein by T. Franklin Butz, Mrs. Eleanor
Weaver and Mrs. Eliza Troxel, children of Thomas Butz, one of
the founders of the church. The bell bears the inscription,
"The Thomas Butz Family Memorial." The dedication of the
tower, steeple and bell took place January 8, 1882.

Rev. J. D. ScHiNDEL.


During the latter part of the summer of 1882, a fine pipe
organ of eighteen stops was presented to the church by George
H. Stem and family. The same bears the inscription, "To the
praise and glory of God. Presented by George H. Stem and
family to the Reformed and Lutheran congregations of South
Whitehall Church, 1882."

The organ was dedicated September 24, 1882. Rev. T. O.
Stem, of Kaston, preached in the morning and Revs. William
Rath and E. A. Gernant, of Allentown, in the afternoon, the
pastors having charge of the evening services.

The instruments in use before this organ was presented were
the one purchased August 17 and dedicated September 26, 1851,
and the cabinet organ, secured through the efforts of Joseph
Gackenbach, and dedicated May 21, 1,871.

Beyond the ordinary yearly repairs and improvements,
nothing special was done to the church until the semi-centennial
year, 1899. The Building Committee consisted of Henry Lazarus,
Tilghman G. Helfrich, James F. Schreiber and Alfred T. Mickley.
The church was rededicated June 4, 1899. Rev. W. Wackernagel,
D. D., preached in the morning. Rev. W. F. More and Rev.
J. F. Lambert preached in the afternoon. Rev. G. P. Stem
preached in the evening. Rev. M. O. Roth, Franklin H. Moyer,
Morris Schadt and Rev. J. J. Schindel were also present and
assisted. The cost of the improvements amounted to $3,000 and
were all paid for when the semi-centennial was celebrated, Novem-
ber 12, 1899.

A Missionary Society was organized by the Reformed con-
gregation. May 17, 1874, and by the Lutheran congregation in

The erection of a suitable Sunday School room was agitated
for some time, definite action being taken in the fall of 1906,
when the congregations voted in favor of the erection of an annex.
Work on the same was started in the spring of 1907. The corner-
stone of the new annex was laid with appropriate services, June
23rd. Revs. Thomas H. Krick and J. J. Schindel conducted the
devotional services. Rev. A. T. W. Steinhaeuser, of Allentown,
delivered an address in German and Rev. R. M. Kern, of Allen-
town, delivered an address in English. Rev. J. D. Schindel laid*
the cornerstone.

The dedication of the annex took place June 7, 1908. Rev.
J. F. Lambert, of Catasauqua, preached in the morning. Rev.
C. M. Jacobs, of Allentown, and Rev. G. P. Stem, of Siegfried,
delivered addresses in the afternoon. Rev. David Scheirer, of
Howertown, preached in the evening. Rev. T. H. Krick and
Rev. J. J. Schindel conducted the devotional services. Rev.
J. D. Schindel, D. D., was present at the three services, but owing
to throat trouble, by the advice of his physician, took no part in
the services. Rev. O. H. Strunk, of Schuylkill Haven, was
present at the three services and made an earnest plea for the
liquidation of the debt. The subscriptions and cash collections

Rev. J. J. ScHiNDEL,
(1899- )

Rev. Jeremiah Schindel,

Rev. T. H. Krick.
(1901- )


amounted to $550. The building is made of cement blocks,
manufactured by Long & Mickley. The Building Committee
were Tilghman Helfrich, president; Henry E. Long, architect;
Henry E. Fenstermaker, secretary; James W. Eberhard, treasurer;
James Marcks and Richard Lazarus.


Inasmuch as the original name of the church was South
Whitehall Church and was no longer proper, the congregations
by a unanimous vote. May 22, 1899, changed the name to St.
John's Church of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations of
Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pa. The church was also
for some time known as the Sheldon's Church, but is best known
as Mickley 's Church.


For the Reformed congregation the following have been
the pastors :

Rev. J. S. Dubbs, D. D., 1850-1852.

Rev. A. J. G. Dubbs, D. D., 1852-1860.

Rev. J. H. Dubbs, D. D., 1860-1863.

Rev. W. R. Hofford, D. D., May 3, 1863, to January 31, 1901.

Rev. G. P. Stem, assistant to Rev. Hofford, 1 900-1 901.

Rev. Thomas H. Krick, August i, 1901 —

For the Lutheran congregation :

Rev. Jeremiah Schindel, 1 850-1 859.

Rev. B. E. Kramlich, 1859-1860.

Rev. W. G. Memmy as supply, 1 860-1 861.

Rev. F. J. F. Schantz, D. D., 1861-1866.

Rev. Carl Schlenker, supply, 1 866-1 867.

Rev. J. D. Schindel, June i, 1867, to June 27, 1908.

Rev. J. J. Schindel, 1899—

The following have been the organists:

F. G. Bernd, 1850-1851.

Jacob Slemmer, 1 851-1852.

John S. Faust, 1852-1861.

John Leonard, 1 861-1869.

Benjamin Seam, 1870.

Joseph Gackenbach, 1 871-1872.

James A. Fatzinger, 1 872-1 874.

James B. Snyder, 1 874-1 893.

Alfred J. Benner, 1 894-1 903.

Alfred J. Held, 1903 —

The following have been the superintendents of the Sunday
School :

Samuel Miller, Nathaniel Krause, Alfred W. Troxel, William
K. Derr, Benjamin Seam, William Stem, James P. Geiner, Edward
Haaf, Tilghman G. Helfrich, James J. Kemmerer, William E.
Erdell, Franklin Krechel, William E. Newhard, Gustavius Reich-
ard, Charles Hefifelfinger, Henry Long, Henry Fenstermaker.

BuTz's School House.

Founders and Organizers of Mickley's
Church, Whitehall Township.

By Miss Minnie) F. Mickley.

William Penn, in his "Reflections and Maxims," says, "It
is one of the fatalist errors of our lives, when we spoil a good
cause by ill management, and it is not impossible but we may
mean well and in an ill business; but that does not defend it."

It was the example of their forefathers, who fled from the
religious persecution in Alsace Lorraine and the Rhine Pfaltz,
that the people of Whitehall followed in the building of Egypt
Church, and two generations later in the building of this church.

I have copied the names of the sixty-one men and women
who contributed. They met at the hotel, November ii, 1848,
six months before they met in the schoolhouse for organization,
April I, 1849. Then they prepared to act, and at this meeting
the following persons were appointed to prepare a constitution for
the government of the church: John Schaadt, Jacob Mickley,
Peter Mickley, Peter Miller, David Eberhard, Thomas Butz,
George Kemmerer and Charles Troxell. The constitution pre-
sented by this committee was adopted, and with few changes is
still used by the congregations. The officers were also named at
this time. The following Building Committee was appointed:
Jacob Mickley, Peter Miller, Peter Mickley and David Eberhard.
Most of the work of the foundations and much of the building
was done by the members themselves, the Building Committee
taking the lead.

The cornerstone was laid on Whitsunday, May 27, 1849,
less than two months after they organized in the schoolhouse.

The following list I found in an old desk that belonged to
my grandfather, Jacob Mickley:

As we the undersigned have held a meeting on Nov. nth,
1848 in South Whitehall township, county of Lehigh at the house
of Andrew Sheldon for to build a Church in the said township
just below the house of Mr. Sheldon on the lands of David Biery,
Daniel Rhoads and Joseph Biery,

Peter Rhoads Pres.
Jacob Sherrer Sec.



Peter Roth.


Thilman Scheirer.


Jacob Scherer.


Joseph Reichard.


Jacob Mickley Jr.


George Kress.


David Biery.


Moses Diefenderfer.


Jacob Heckenswelder.


Owen Kuntz.


David Everhard.


Thomas Geitner.


John Schadt.


Jonas Scheirer.


Joseph Biery.


J. P. Butz.


Reuben Paul.


Peter Hoffman.


Charles Troxell.


Stephen Lentz.


Andrew Sheldon.


Abraham Worm an.


H. Patterson.


Tilghman Freiman.


Peter Mickley.


Jacob Seipel Jr.


George Kemerer.


St off el Freyman.


Jacob Schriber.


Jonathon Semel.


Thomas Butz.


Reuben Schad.


John Scheirer.


John Sheatz.


David Gross.


Peter Kolb.


Conrad Meyer.


Josiah Scherer.


Solomon Kemerer.


Benjamin H. Schaad,


Jacob Mickley Sr.


Solomon Wenner.


M. Rickard.


Owin Bortz.


John Shaadt.


Paul Newhard.


Heinrich Schaadt.


James Ringer.


Jacob Gruber.


Maria Ringer.


Daniel Roth.


Henry Schneider.


Peter Miller.


Daniel Scnyder.


Joseph Miller.


Daniel J. Rhoads.


George Seipel.


Solomon D. Heiser.


S. Miller, widow.


Jacob Roth.


Robert Mclntire.

Peter Rhoads was president of the meeting held at the hotel
of Andrew Scheldon, one of the first elders, and one of the
descendants of one of the organizers of Egypt Church. Daniel
J. Rhoads was also a descendant of one of the early Whitehall
families prominent in the building of the Egypt Church. David
Biery and Daniel Roth gave the land for the church and old
burying ground.

Jacob Sherer lived in Whitehall. Whether he was a descend-
ant of the Sherers, of Berks County, I do not know.

Jacob Mickley, Sr. and Jr., are descendants of John Jacob
Mickley, who is mentioned in the Egypt records in August, 1801,
as architect. His grandsons, Jacob and Peter Mickley, were
members of the Building Committee of this church.

David and Joseph Biery were the descendants of Joseph
Biery, of Berks County, whose son, Henry Biery, was one of the
builders of the Egypt Church in 1785.


Nathan Eberhard, one of the deacons, and David Eberhard
are descendants of Joseph Eberhard, who was one of the early
members of the Great Swamp congregation in Lower Milford,
some of the family being members of the Egypt Church.

John Schaadt, an elder and member of the committee who
drew up the Church Constitution, was a grandson of one of the
early members of the Reformed Church of Egypt, one of the
builders of the second church in 1781.

Reuben Paul, elder of the church, is a descendant of John
Paul, mentioned as a member of the Egypt Church in 1785.

Thomas Paul was one of the deacons.

Charles Troxell was one of the Troxell family, whose ances-
tors gave part of the land on which the Egypt Church was built
in 1764, and whose ancestor was a child of Peter Troxell, one of
whose sons was the first baptism, mentioned in 1734, of the
Egypt congregation. He was president of the consistory of the
Reformed congregation.

George Kemmerer, trustee and member of the committee
that prepared the constitution, and Solomon Kemmerer were the
descendants of the Kemmerers, of Salisbury Township, where
they were active members of the Salisbury Church. Solomon
was one of the first elders of Mickley's Church.

Thomas Butz, great-grandson of Peter Butz, who settled in
Butz Dale (Gass), Berks County, where the family were members
of the Long Swamp Church, was the first treasurer of this church
and a member of the committee that prepared the constitution.

The Ringers were descendants of George Ringer, one of the
early settlers of Whitehall, whose ancestor was one of the elders
of the Egypt Church.

Maria Ringer was one of the two women, whose names are
mentioned as contributors.

Jacob and Reuben Schrieber were descendants of Philip
Jacob Schreiber, who was elder and trustee and architect of the
Egypt Church in 1801.

Paul Newhard was a descendant of Michael Newhard, who
was one of the deacons of the Egypt Church in 1801.

The late Dr. Schindel, in a sketch of the Lutheran congre-
gation of Egypt, says that an effort was made to build a church
at Helf rich's Spring, where there was a cemetery in which the
Millers and Helfrichs were buried.

Peter Miller, a member of the Building Committee, was a
descendant of Catherine Miller, who was buried in the old ceme-
tery. His parents were baptized and confirmed at Egypt. I
do not know who S. Miller, widow, was.

The Roths, Ringers, Eberhards, Sherers and Schaadts
attended the services which were held in the old grist mill, but
later became founders of this church. These people, no doubt,
preferred that location, as it was nearer their homes.

Henry and Daniel Schneider were descendants of Stephen
Schneider, who settled in Whitehall before 1765, and were, no
doubt, related to the John Schneider, whose children were scalped
by the Indians in 1763. They were prominent members of the
Egypt Church.

Peter Kolb belonged to the Kolb family, who lived near the
Jordan, whose ancestors, no doubt, belonged to the Jordan

Tilghman and Christopher Fryman belonged to a Whitehall
famil.y Tilghman Freyman died a few years ago.

The Scheirers are descended from Adam Scheirer, who was a
member of the Union Church; John Scheirer being president of
the first Church Council of Mickley's Lutheran Church.

David Gross, Jacob Seipel and Jesse Reichard were elected
deacons at the first church meeting held in the stone schoolhouse,
April I, 1849.

Peter Hoffman was a descendant of Michael Hoffman, one
of the early settlers and an officer of the Egypt Church.

Andrew Scheldon (his son, the late John Sheldon, of Phila-
delphia, told me) came to Whitehall from Western New York,
and he, no doubt, became interested in the building of the
church through his wife, Anna Mickley.

Conrad Meyer was of Lower Milford, where his ancestors
were mentioned as belonging to the Great Swamp Church.

Jonathan Semmel was a descendant of Martin Semmel, who
was a member of the Jordan Church, and was among the early
Whitehall families.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of
this church, Rev. Dr. J. D. Schindel, in his address, said, "Fifty
years ago our fathers and grandfathers met and organized this
church. They have all passed away, the work and the church
remain. Fifty years from to-day the little children here will be
in our places. We who remember the beginnings, not one of us
will be here." To-day we meet without the kindly presence of
Dr. Schindel, and to those who attend this church, I know it is
with a feeling of sadness to all of us that he can not join in the
greeting of the Lehigh County Historical Society. As a member
of the Historical Society his absence and loss is keenly felt. We
know what great interest he would have taken to-day, and while
trying to compile this little sketch of the organizers of this church,
I miss the knowledge that he could have given me of the people of
whom I write, for he was the link between the past and present,
a pastor who knew his people, who could mention the names of
every member of each family. We all remember his kindly

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