From the Muskingum Valley Review, Sunday, August 2, 1998:
German churches aided
settlements, by Diana McMahan
middle of the 19th century, the arrival of many German families
enriched the small communities, such as Matamoras, and the rural areas
beyond. Many were merchants and
craftsmen, others were farmers.
families made great contributions to the communities [was typed as commities,
but I believe she meant communities].
They were all hard-working people; they added German foods to the hill
culture as well as their skilled handwork and Teuton ideas. Where enough of them lived together, they
built solid churches with the old gravestones that were more often in German
script and carried valuable information about their native homeland.
northeast end of Washington
County, several German
churches were formed for the many immigrants who settled in this area. It has been suggested that the heavy forests
and the wide river reminded the newcomers of their native Rhine Valley
and the Black Forest.
organized church nearest to Matamoras was the German Methodist Episcopal Church
on Alloway Road.
Organized About 1860
location of this church was on Township Road 14, a short distance after it
turns off County Road No. 9 at the Stonerock home.
congregation organized about 1860 and land for the church and cemetery were donated
by Mr. and Mrs. Kollman, great-great-grandparents of Bradley Alloway, his
brothers and sisters.
remember the small church that stood by the road in the middle of the
cemetery. Many feared it would be
destroyed, a victim of time. However,
the church building was purchased by former resident, Gale Motz, and moved to
the Mill Creek Road,
where the owner has done much toward restoring it.
first members of this church were Peter Englehardt, Anna M. Englehardt, John
Killmer, Mrs. Kollman, John Singmaster, Philip Newman and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph
minister of the church was Rev. Reinhart, and class leader was Jonas Neun. The first list of trustees included John
Neun, Peter Englehardt and Tunis Neun.
In 1881, trustees were Peter Englehardt, Conrad Miller and John Kellneer
A list of
early pastors included Henry Henkey, Frederick Schimmelfenig, Carl Melitzer,
John Kupp, J. G. Reiber and Rev. Moehring.
Sunday School was held every Sunday and church whenever the pastor could
History of Washington County, 1881, mentions several other German
congregations. Regarding the old log
German church on Bell Ridge, the Independence
Township sections states,
year 1847 or 1848, the German element in this vicinity had become strong enough
to establish the German
Lutheran Church. The first members of this were Adam Yost,
Martin Sippel, Henry Goodballet (Gutberlet), Christian Hanselman, John Kinsel,
John Wagner, William Saelick and their wives, also Mrs. Huffman, a widow, and
others. A church building was erected on
land given by Messrs. Yost and Holstein. The first preacher was the Rev. Bairnes. The present minister (1880) is Rev. Wintrin.”
1882 History of Monroe County tells
the history of churches in Brownsville,
located about five miles from Matamoras.
“The sixth church organized was the German Evangelical
Church, at Brownsville, Aug. 30, 1856. They bought a lot with a house on it, which
they remodeled and used as a meeting house.
In 1866, they built a new frame church edifice, 24-by-30 feet, present
pastor Rev. R. Leuscher, membership twelve families. A treasured 1870 record book of the “Zion
Evangelical Church of Brownsville” was given to the Matamoras Area Historical
Society by Ernest Thode. Beautifully
written in German script, this book contains members’ names: Schmidt, Kraft,
Reinherr, Dornbusch, Gross, Machetanz and others. Ernst Waernecke, who lived at Archers’ Fork,
was a member.
In Lawrence Township, “The first German Society in
the township was organized in 1845, as the German Methodist
Church. A log building was put up and a burying
ground laid out on the ridge in the northwest corner. This house is still standing and services are
still held in it at regular intervals.”
Newport Township also had a German Church. “A Methodist Church known as the German
Church was organized at an early day, and a little log church erected on the
west bank of Newell’s Run, in the northwest part of the township. It was occupied until about 1873, when its
society passed its membership to the Pine Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church in Lawerence Township.”