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 Fayetteville Evangenlical Lutheran Church


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Fayetteville Evangelical Lutheran Church
Fay [Fayetteville], Lawrence County, PA

The first Lutherans who settled in this community came chiefly from Mifflin county. At the meeting of the Pittsburgh Synod in 1849, the Missionary President called the attention of the Synod to this "little band," and asked that some provisions be made for their spiritual care. By the direction of the Home Mission committee, Rev. Samuel DeWitt, of Shippenville, Pa., visited them August 19, 1850, and organized them into a church. This church was to be known as the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Wilmington, Pa. A constitution was adopted November 28, 1851, and was signed by the following persons:

Jared Hamm Sr.
James Richie
William Heim
Joseph Ort
Susanna Ort
Mary M. Heim
John Koser
William Bupp
John Gephart
George Weaver
Nancy Alexander
Mary Hamm
Sarah R. Heim

The first officers were: James Richie and John Koser, elders; and William Heim, Lewis Ogden, and Jared Hamm, deacons. The early days of this congregation were full of vigor. A number of people of English descent had settled in the community, and the majority of these were led to make their church home with the Lutherans. In a few years the membership of the congregation was increased to more than one hundred. A lot in New Wilmington was purchased by the congregation December 26, 1850, and some preparations had been made for building, when plans were changed, and it was decided to build at Fayetteville, two miles southeast of New Wilmington. A lot was donated by Jamison Watson. Ground for a cemetery was also donated by the same person. Here a church was erected in 1854 at a cost of over $,1, 000.00. The church was dedicated free of debt January 14, 1855. Rev. Henry Baker, D.D., assisted the pastor, Rev. J. H. Brown, and preached the sermon for the occasion. The building committee consisted of Isaac Miller, Thomas Ashmore, John Koser, Jared Hamm, and William Harrah. A vigorous Sunday-school was organized very early in the history of the congregation. Mr. Jared Hamm, Sr. (now deceased), was the superintendent of this school for many years. Another Jared Hamm, son of the first, now fills this important position. Doctor R. B. Clarke, another faithful member of the congregation, taught the Bible class for twenty-seven years. In 1867 an excellent parsonage was erected on a lot adjoining the church. The lot was donated by Mr. Knott. The cost of the parsonage was $1,718.53. The congregation was a part of the Mercer mission of the Pittsburgh Synod for the first few years, and it was largely due to the prosperity of this one congregation that the mission in 1857 became self-supporting. More than one hundred persons were received into the fellowship of the church in two years. The attitude of the congregation during the General Council controversy was unique. When the pastor and the people saw that the leaders of the Pittsburgh synod were determined to carry that entire organization into the General Council movement, they held a meeting and petitioned the Synod to grant them an honorable dismissal, giving them the privilege of selecting such synodial fellowship as they might deem best. The petition was granted, and the pastor and congregation maintained an independent position until October, 1868, when they united with the Pittsburgh Synod of the General Synod. The following pastor have served this congregation: Rev. George Hammer, 1852; Rev. Henry Reck (supply); 1853; Rev. Jeremiah H. Brown, 1854-1861; Rev. Victor Miller, 1862-1871; Rev. J. B. Miller, 1871-1872; Rev George W. Leisher, 1873-1877; Rev. M. G. Earhart, 1877-1881; Rev. A. B. McMackin, 1881-1883; Rev. M. O. T. Sahm, 1884-1885; Rev. D. F. Giles, 1885-1886; Rev. J. M. Wonders, 1888-1891; Rev. M. L. Furst, 1892-1895; Rev. W. G. Slonaker, 1896-1903.

Owing to deaths, removals and other causes, the membership has been reduced to fifty-eight. The community is strongly Presbyterian.

Source: History of the Pittsburgh Synod, 1904, pages 434-435.

Lutheran Church, Fayetteville - from the Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908


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