St. John's Lutheran Church

Conover, North Carolina

St. John's history

History of St. John's since 1798

Written by the Rev. C.O. Smith May 15, 1949
On the Occasion of the Laying of the Corner Stone of the New Church

St. John's was founded by a group of "Pennsylvania Dutch". Unfortunately the early records of the founding of St. John's congregation have been lost if any were kept. The only thing we have from that remote period is the deed. Since this was, at that time, Lincoln County, this deed is recorded in Lincoln Court House, and begins thus: "This indenture made this 28th day of November in the year of our Lord 1798 between Henry Bobe (Pope) of the County of Lincoln and State of North Carolina of the one part, to the elders of the United Congregation Of St. John's and their successors in office forever in trust for the said congregation consisting of Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians". It further says: "Being a part of a tract of 350 acres granted by His Excellency, William Tryon, Esq., Governor of North Carolina, to Henry Bobe by a King's patent Bearing date of the 13th day of October in the year of our Lord 1765".

Thus, while the deed was executed in 1799, the congregation must have been organized before that date. In the first place, Henry Pope must have been living here when Gov. Tryon's King's grant was made to him in 1765, 34 years before the deed was made to the church. Again if there were elders to whom the deed was made in 1798, there must have been a congregation prior to that date to elect these elders. Then, the people who organized this congregation were "Pennsylvania Dutch", and we know that this immigration from Pennsylvania began in 1750 and was in full flow by 1760. Besides under MARKED stones there lie the remains of Philip Baker, born in 1764; of Martin Accert (Eckerd), born 1759; of Theobold Hunsucker, born 1744; of his wife, Magdelena, born 1750; of Daniel Woodring, born 1764; of Polsar Sigman, born 1754; of his wife , Margaret, born 1757; of a Summit, born in 1741; and others. How old were those whose remains lie in unmarked graves, or in graves with uninscribed stones, we do not know; and there are goodly number of such graves in the graveyard.

(Incidentally, in this cemetery lie the remains of 4 Lutheran Pastors, and of the wives of two Lutheran Pastors; The Rev. Daniel Moser, born 1790 and dies 1839; the Rev. Daniel Henkel, 1795-1831; the Rev. D.E. Fox, 1835-1866; the Rev. D.A. Goodman, 1837-1917; and the wife of the Rev. J.S. Koiner and of the wife of the Rev. C.O. Smith).