Rev. John Caspar Stoever

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Johann Caspar Stoever, II

Also Known As: "Johann Stöver", "John Caspar Sstoever"
Birthplace: Lüdorf, Wermelskirchen, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Death: May 13, 1779 (71)
Cleona, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Place of Burial: Cleona, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Johann Kaspar Stoever, Sr. and Gertraudt Anna Stoever
Husband of Maria Catarina Stoever
Father of Captain John Casper Stoever, III; Anna Margaretha Elsser; Anna Christina Fernsler; Anna Maria Margaret Yetter; Johann Adam Stoever, Sr. and 6 others
Brother of Jacob Stover; Johann Michael Stoever; Anna Elisabetha Catherine Stoever; Maria Katherina Stoever; Maria Christina Stoever and 4 others

Occupation: 1st ordained Lutheran Minister in US (with father) - both ordained 4/8/1733 Trapp, PA, He was Pastor of the Lutheran Congregation of the Hill Church for 46 Years from 1733 to 1779 at Cleona, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
Managed by: Tobias Rachor (C)
Last Updated:

About Rev. John Caspar Stoever

He was born at Luedorf in Amt Salinger Duchy of Berg Germany baptism sponsors Casper Stogver and Johann Christopher Ederwein.

John was a brilant child. He read German, perfectly at age of 6. Studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French.

On 8 Apr 1733 he was ordained in the ministry. His work as pastor was of great value and is recorded in the biographical works of the Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Casper Sr. and Jr. were among the earliest emigrants from the Duchy of Berg Germany to gain prominence in the North American church. John Casper Stoever Jr. formed the Lutheran congregation at Muddy Creek New Holland Brickersville and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In his personal folio of 553 pages originally bound in ornamental pigskin, printed as early as 1538 title page was missing, but its contents revel it was a collection of writings of Martin Luther.

John Casper Stoever Jr. and Maria Catarina were parents of eleven children.

RECORD: 1. Mrs. Walter A. Rumbarger & Mrs. John L. Merkling, Christain Rumbarger Descendants and Ancestors, chart 1967. 1930-1967 Hand written chart - 35" inches wide and 12.5 feet long. Researched and complied by the above. Genevieve (MC Ginnis) Rumbarger RR#1 Box 70 Farmersburg, Ohio and Meneve L. (Rumbarger) Merkling Roegan Tr. Momma, Wis. 53716.


DAR Record:

  • STOVER, JOHN CASPER SR Ancestor #: A110848
  • Birth: 12-21-1707 GERMANY
  • He was a chaplain in the Revolutionary War,

John Caspar Stoever (II) was the first ordained German Lutheran Minister in America. He was ordained on his wedding day, April 8, 1733. His father was also ordained the same day.

He was naturalized by the act of March 29, 1735. This gave him all rights, privileges and advantages of natural-born subjects of the Province of Pennsylvania. Parliament passed a law making it possible for the courts to grant British citizenship to foreigners.

John Caspar Stoever, (II), became a naturalized citizen on the 24th of September 1741. Earl Town became the center of Pastor Stoever's activities until 1742.

At this time John Caspar Stoever, (II) changed his residence from Earl Town to Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, PA.

John Caspar Stoever, (II) and several other men formed the Lebanon Land Company. They purchased large tracts of land and later gave some land to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, called Salem Church.

John Caspar Stoever, (II) was a well-dressed colonial pastor and an educated man full of energy and ambition. While he was an educated man, his manner was sometimes violent and rough. He started numerous churches and accumulated a large amount of wealth. He served as scribe for the people on civil matters, such as deeds; many of the old deeds of Lancaster County are in his handwriting. In 1762, he was authorized by the government to issue marriage licenses and then to perform the marriages.

Arrived in America aboard the ship "James Goodwill" on Sept. 11, 1728.

•Note: From "German Lutheran and Reformed Churches in the Pennsylvania Field, 1717-1793" by Charles Glatfelter:
"John Casper Stoever the younger. Lutheran. According to his autobiography, was born December 21, 1707, at Luedorff, Berg, Lower Palatinate. Son of John Casper Stoever the elder. Studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and theology under a succession of private teachers, including his father and four pastors, one of whom was Valentine Kraft. Arrived in Philadelphia September 11, 1728, in company with his father. After one signature to the required oaths, there is the abbreviation "Miss.," while after the other there is "S.S. Theol. Stud." They arrived just thirty days after the death of Anthony Jacob Henkel.

In his autobiography, Stoever wrote that, during the voyage down the Rhine and across the ocean, he had preached on Sundays and that, upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, he had continued to do so. Taken literally, these words mean that there was no break in this activity on his part, and that Stoever became a preacher in the Pennsylvania field--if not a pastor--in September 1728. Given the recent death of Henkel, there was a pressing need (and it was also a growing need) for both preaching and administration of the sacraments. Probably Stoever did not begin his private or personal register of baptisms and marriages, in the form in which we now have it, until after 1740, about the time he began opening registers for several of his congregations. The earliest baptism he entered--though not necessarily the first which he performed--was dated November 19, 1729. Between then and December 1731 he performed fifty-nine which appear in the register. The earliest marriage entered--though again not necessarily the first performed--was dated March 18, 1730. He recorded ten marriages performed in that year and an equal number in 1731. There are no lists of communicants and confirmands in his private record. It is possible that he did not begin administering communion and confirming until after he was ordained, but the heading of his marriage register demonstrates the position he believed he held in the spring of 1730: "Record of persons united in Matrimony by me, John Casper Stoever, Evangelical Lutheran Minister in Pennsylvania, Anno 1730."

Sought to regularize his ministry by receiving ordination. The Swedish Lutheran clergy refused him, arguing that they had no authority from their church in Europe for such an act. Nor did they offer to seek the necessary permission to examine and ordain him, as they might well have done. Stoever next turned to Daniel Falckner, pastor in New Jersey, who in 1731 listened to him preach a sermon and then also refused his request. Shortly before this, and after an irregular ministry of three years, Philip Boehm had secured the assistance of Dutch Reformed pastors in New York in obtaining his ordination in 1729 according to established Reformed procedures. Probably Stoever knew that there was no possibility of similar help for him from the Lutheran pastor in New York, William Christopher Berkenmeyer, to whom an unordained man performing pastoral acts in places to which he was not regularly called was anathema.

About this time there is an unexplained gap in the entries in Stoever's register. No baptisms were recorded between March 1732 and January 1733, and no marriages between May 1732 and April 1733. By the time the entries resumed at the normal level later in the year, Stoever had achieved his objective. On April 8, 1733 Christian Schulz, who had arrived in Philadelphia about six months earlier, ordained both Stoevers, father and son, to the ministry. The ceremony took place in the barn at Providence in which the congregation was worshiping at the time. The father, whose whereabouts between 1728 and 1733 are still not entirely accounted for, then returned to his Virginia congregation. The younger Stoever may have promised Schulz to serve his three congregations until his return from a trip to Europe in search of financial and other help.

Married April 8, 1733, on the day of his ordination, Maria Catharine Merkel (1715-1795). They had eleven children.

Schulz's departure for Europe in 1733 and his failure to return left Stoever the only ordained German Lutheran pastor in Pennsylvania until the arrival in August 1742 of his former teacher, Valentine Kraft. "At the present time," wrote the representatives of Schulz's congregations in 1739, "there is not one German Lutheran preacher in the whole land except Casper Stoever, who is now sixty English miles distant from Philadelphia."

Schulz's three congregations, which united to send him to Europe in 1733, were Philadelphia, New Hanover, and Providence. Stoever served them for two years. For Philadelphia he began two registers in 1733. His last recorded communion in the provincial capital occurred in June 1735. Sometime after he cast his private register into its present form, Stoever added to the record by entering the name of a place (not necessarily an organized congregation) with which he identified the recipients of his pastoral acts. Among the places named for the years before he withdrew from the three congregations were Germantown, Goshenhoppen, Maxatawny, Manatawny, Colebrookdale, Oley, and Moselem.

In or about 1735 Stoever moved the center of his activity into the Conestoga settlement. On March 7 of that year (1734 by the Old Style calendar), the proprietors granted him a warrant for 200 acres on a branch of Mill creek in Lancaster county. The survey made on May 10, 1736 enclosed a tract of 295 acres, for which Stoever secured a patent deed on November 11, 1741. (Lancaster Warrant S-85; Copied Survey C-182, p. 186; Patent A-9, p. 474, BLR). This land was located a short distance south and west of the present Lutheran church in New Holland. Stoever's pastoral activity in Conestoga began as early as 1730. He was instrumental in organizing four congregations in the settlement at some time between 1730 and 1743. These were, with the approximate period of his pastorate in each case, Muddy Creek (c. 1733-1759), Earl township (c. 1733-1744), Lancaster (c. 1733-1742), and Warwick (c. 1743-1754). The beginnings of Stoever's labors here coincided roughly with those of the Reformed Conrad Templeman, who explained to the Holland fathers in 1733 how the Reformed in the Conestoga settlement had begun meeting for worship in 1725, how Philip Boehm came to administer the sacraments, and how the steady growth of the settlement had led to the formation of six preaching places, or congregations. Stoever may have assisted in a similar development among the Lutherans in the Conestoga settlement.
Along with eight other residents of Lancaster county, Stoever was naturalized by the act of March 29, 1735 and thus acquired "all rights, privileges and advantages of natural-born subjects" of the province of Pennsylvania. In 1740 Parliament passed a law making it possible for provincial courts to grant British citizenship to foreigners. John Casper Stoever of Lancaster county took advantage of this statute and was naturalized on September 24, 1741. (NFP, p. 17)

While living in Conestoga, Stoever also preached in the Tulpehocken settlement, where his activity at Reed's church had begun about 1735. His work there was characterized by frequent contention and several resorts to the civil authorities by both friends and foes. His supporters withdrew from Reed's in 1742 and began building Christ, Tulpehocken . Before the church was completed, however, they quarreled with their pastor and dismissed him. Nevertheless, Stoever's presence and influence in and near this settlement continued to the end of his life. At one time or another he was pastor at Little Tulpehocken (1742-1760s, 1774-1779), Northkill, Blue Mountain, and Atolheo (1746-1757).

As early as 1735, Stoever began crossing the Susquehanna river to perform pastoral acts in the Kreutz Creek and Codorus settlements. He began a register for the Codorus Lutherans in 1741 and entered about 200 baptisms before withdrawing two years later. Beginning in 1735, prompted in all probability by his father's absence from his Virginia parish, he extended his visits west of the river to include the Conewago and Monocacy settlements as well as Hebron and other places in Virginia. During the next seven years he followed this route abut twice annually, and extended his ministrations to non-Germans. For example, in 1735 and 1737 he baptized five children of Thomas Cresap, an agent of the Maryland proprietors who figured prominently in the Maryland-Pennsylvania border conflicts then raging in York county.

A second important move for Stoever took place in or about 1743. On June 6 of that year he sold the property on Mill Creek. (Lancaster County Deed N, p. 448). On March 6, 1744 (1743 by the Old Style calendar) the proprietors granted him a warrant for 300 acres in Lebanon township, now in Lebanon county. On October 2, 1745 they issued a second warrant for 100 acres for "an addition to his other Land Situate in Lebanon Township." The interest and quitrent for the land covered by the first warrant were scheduled to begin in 1737, which means that either Stoever or someone else had begun to improve it about that time. The survey made on April 2, 1745 for both warrants included 376 acres 104 perches along the Quitopahilla creek, for which Stoever secured a patent deed on December 22, 1752. (Lancaster Warrants S-353 and S-450; Copied Survey A-1, p. 282; Patent A-17, p. 224, BLR) This land was located in the Quitopahilla settlement, between Annville and Lebanon, and about twenty-five miles northwest of his first farm. Stoever's Reformed colleague and friend in Conestoga, Conrad Templeman, took up land and moved into the area at about the same time.

While Stoever continued to serve some of his congregations in Conestoga and Tulpehocken, the move into the Quitopahilla settlement meant an eventual, significant rearragement in his parish. Probably about 1740, Stoever had organized the Lutherans in a union church at Quitopahilla and about 1752 he organized Bindnagel's both of which congregations he was serving when he died in 1779. If there was a Lutheran church at Swatara, he was undoubtedly its pastor. In any event, he did serve two congregations which were successors to Swatara: Fredericksburg (c. 1766-c.1774) and Jonestown (c.1765-1779). There may have been a third such congregation: Ziegel, which he served from about 1765 to about 1774. Beginning about 1750, there was a church named Grubben, near Lebanon, of which he was the Lutheran pastor. When the town of Lebanon was laid out and settled, he became pastor of the Lutheran congregation there. Although he continued to serve it from its organization until his death, there was almost continuous division among the members, and Stoever often had to share the pulpit with other pastors.

There is evidence that in the 1730s and 1740s Stoever had a conception of and concern for a developing Lutheran church in Pennsylvania. The wide extent of his activity is such evidence. In addition, he did try to interest at least one religious leader in Europe, John Philip Fresenius, in sending ministers and other forms of help for the Pennsylvania field. After the death of Casper Leitbecker in 1738, he may have had a part in trying to persuade Bernard van Dieren to come to Tulpehocken. For a few years after Valentine Kraft came into Pennsylvania in 1742, he and Stoever tried to cooperate with each other and several other ministers in a joint effort to improve conditions, but they accomplished little. Kraft and Stoever probably ordained David Candler for the work west of the Susquehanna river, but unfortunately the latter died the next year. Clearly, Stoever was not as successful as Philip Boehm who, once he secured regular ordination, worked indefatigably against heavy odds to interest a European church in committing substantial aid to the Pennsylvania Reformed, and who kept at it until such aid was forthcoming.

The man who brought substantial help to the Lutherans was Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who arrived in late 1742 with a regular call to the three congregations in the Philadelphia area which Stoever had left seven years before. The two men, who were about the same age, developed an immediate dislike for each other. As early as January 1743, Muhlenberg†† wrote in his journals that "a certain man, named Stoever, who calls himself a pastor, slandered Mr. Zigenhagen and me to one of our deacons." (MJ 1:84) Four years later, for reasons unknown, Muhlenberg wrote Stoever a most presumptuous letter, stating that "it has been my desire that Your Reverence might be a useful tool in our church in Pennsylvania," but for that to happen, "by means of a real, inner conversion of heart," he would have to "repair the manifold evils which you have introduced among the unconverted, distracted youth, partly on account of incompetence for your high and important office." He hoped that Stoever would "proceed honestly to acknowledge the countless mass of sins which you have heaped up, partly in your own person and partly in connection with the office which you have assumed, and you will repent of them as sins." Following repentence, he promised "we shall offer Your Reverence our assistance in every possible way and acknowledge and receive you as our brother and colleague." Muhlenberg also proposed that Stoever undertake an extensive course of reading in theology and church history, offering to lend him the necessary books, some of whose titles he included in his letter. (Quoted in Lutheran Church Quarterly 21(1948)::180-182)

†† Muhlenberg and Stoever were obliquely related in another way. Rev. Christopher Emmanuel Shulze , married Eve, the Rev. Mühlenberg's daughter. It was Christopher's father who had ordained Stoever and his father in 1733.

Apparently the Hallensians were not satisfied with the progress of Stoever's rehabilitation by the time of the first ministerium in 1748, at which one of the topics discussed was "why other so-called preachers, as Stoever, Streiter, Andreae, and Wagner were not invited." (DH, p. 11) Two years later, partly because of the advice given him by his father-in-law, Conrad Weiser, who was well-acquainted with Stoever, Muhlenberg was ready to invite him to the forthcoming meeting. But, if we can believe his journals at this point, his colleagues insisted that the invitation must be for an informal conference after the meeting, an arrangement which Stoever understandably rejected. In recounting these events in his journals, Muhlenberg came about as close as he ever did to showing an appreciation for the pioneer work of his colleague. "Mr. Stoever, in the first years of his ministry, before there was any other preacher here, devoted a great deal of diligence and labor to his ministry," he wrote, "consequently his honorable life in the early years and his dishonorable life in recent years up here and farther down in the country are almost balanced in the eyes of the simple country people." (MJ 1:243)

The doubts were not all on one side. In 1753 Fresenius informed Gotthilf August Francke that Stoever had written to him several times, asking whether he and Tobias Wagner "should connect themselves with the men sent out from Halle," since "the people called the Halle men Pietists and Moravians" and they themselves had questions about their orthodoxy." (Quoted in Lutheran Church Review 12 (1893):187-188). When, after a hiatus of six years, the ministerium was revived in 1760, and Wagner had returned to Europe, Stoever put in an appearance at the meeting as an uninvited guest--a clear indication of his dissatisfaction with an independent ministry. Finally, in 1763 his name was placed on the roll.

Between 1763 and 1773, when he last attended, Stoever was present for six of the seven ministerium meetings for which minutes or other records have been preserved. Relations between him and the Hallensians appeared at last to have become genuinely warm. When Muhlenberg visited him near Lebanon in 1769, he said he was "entertained in Christian and hospitable fashion," even though he arrive late at night and had to rouse the Stoevers out of bed. After examining his host's library, Muhlenberg marveled at finding "a collection of theological books, both new and old, such as I had not expected to find in a remote country district." (MJ 2:421) Yet, when Muhlenberg prepared a lengthy letter to Halle in 1778, describing the conditions of the Halle missionaries and the other pastors then associated with them in the ministerium, he ignored Stoever entirely. Strange as it seems, there is simply no mention of his name. Muhlenberg summed up what may well have been his conviction all along when he wrote in 1780, after Stoever's death, that "as long as the old preacher, Mr. Stoever, was living, he was prejudiced against the Halle Ministerium." (MJ 3:377)

After joining the ministerium, Stoever continued to make changes in his parish. From about 1763 to 1765 he served Heidelbergtown or Schaefferstown. In 1768, at the request of the ministerium, he took over four congregations previously served by Theophilus Engelland (Bishop's, Hill or Maxe, Hummelstown, and Middletown) and served until other arrangements could be made for them in 1770. Even in the last years of his life, he was called back to congregations which he had prevously served: to Little Tulpehocken (1774-1779), Hill or Maxe (1776-1779) and Warwick (1777-1779).

In addition to his extensive and continuing pastoral activity, Stoever was also a farmer, miller, town proprietor, and man of substance. One of the things Muhlenberg noted in his journal that he had learned about Stoever in the year 1749-1750 was that he was "in a position to serve [congregations] without necessary support because he has considerable means of his own." (MJ 1:243) When the original promoters of the new town of Lebanon went bankrupt and the sheriff sold the rights in 1763, Stoever became one of the new proprietors. In 1771 young Frederick Muhlenberg, who was then serving country congregations in the vicinity, called on Stoever in Lebanon, only to find him in a small house, collecting ground rent. They talked at some length. "While we were still engaged in conversation," Frederick wrote, "the master of the house returned and brought some money. The conversation between them now turned to acceptance and rejection, the giving of notes, etc., which I did not understand." (Quoted in Lutheran Church Review 25(1906)::348)

For forty-five years, Stoever was the senior German Lutheran pastor in the Pennsylvania field. In his rugged way, he continued to minister year after year. Up to the end, there was usually a party favoring him and another in opposition, a situation to which he must long since have grown accustomed, and perhaps one which he relished. On May 13, 1779 he was fatally stricken while conducting a confirmation service. Two days later he was buried at the Quitopahilla church. The news spread rapidly. On May 16 someone informed Muhlenberg in Philadelphia of what had happened. "Old Pastor Stoeber fell down and gave up the ghost last Ascension Day in the church at Libanon," he wrote in his journal, "just as he was about to examine and confirm a group of young people." (MJ 3:242)

Stoever made his will on the day before he died, abundantly endowing his wife and surviving sons and sons-in-law with farms, ground rents, and money. The inventory taken on June 8 showed that his library consisted of at least 170 books, a total which may not have included the German books which were to be divided among his children and the "school Books of different Tongues" which were bequeathed to "the Seminaries at Philadelphia." Ironically, it was eventually decided that the closest thing to "the Seminaries at Philadelphia" was the St. Michael's and Zion's congregation, the citadel which the Hallensians had occupied since 1742. 3

•Note: THE AUGUSTUS LUTHERAN CHURCH, Trappe, is the most noted in the township (of Providence). The old church building, erected in 1743, is still standing in a good state of preservation. Ten years before this time the Lutheran congregation of Providence was organized. In 1732, John Christian Schultz became the first pastor, and remained one year, leaving as a successor John Casper Stoever.

The New Hanover Lutheran is the oldest German Lutheran congregation in America. Its first pastor was Justus Falkner, who came here in 1703, having been ordained and sent by Andreas Rudman, the Swedish provost at Philadelphia. In 1717, Rev. Gerbard Henkel settled here and many of his descendants are still in this neighborhood. From 1720 to 1723 this church was frequently visited by Rev. Samuel Hesselius, Swedish pastor at Morlatton. In 1732 Rev. John Christian Schulze took this charge, and he in turn was succeeded by Rev. John Caspar Stoever.



[Will of John Caspar Stoever]

In the name of God. Amen. I, John Caspar Stoever of Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, State of Pennsylvania, minister of the gospel being at the present time very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind, memory and understanding, thanks be given to God. Calling unto mind the mortality of my body, do make and ordain this last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say, I recommend my soul into the hands of the Almighty God, that gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial, and as touching such worldly estate where with it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

First: I give and bequeath to Catherine, my dearly beloved wife, two-eighths part of the quit rents due me from the town of Lebanon yearly, and every year during her natural life after my decease provided she paying the taxes and quit rents accruing thereon.

Secondly: I will and order that my said wife Catherine may live and possess the two locked rooms in the upper left, and the kitchen, and sufficient room in the cellar in the same house where I now live quietly and unmolested during her natural life, as also the use of the stable for one or two sows, and likewise the use of the garden next to the house, and the sole and whole use of the linen and wool now in her possession, and the sole and whole use of the kitchen ware; Also I bequeath unto my beloved wife Catherine two cows and one wedder, two beds, bedsteads and curtains, two locked chests, two tables, two looking glasses, one desk, six chairs, one spinning wheel, all the pewter in the kitchen, and a dresser and two pipe stoves, during her natural life besides all her clothes of which she shall have her full liberty to dispose and give to whom she pleases before her decease.

Item: I give and bequeath part of the plantation whereon I now live containing one hundred and ninety-one acres and allowances to my loving son Adam, to his heirs and assigns forever for the consideration of fifteen hundred pounds, old money as mentioned in the Almanac, viz: one half soe for three pounds and a dollar at seven and six pence, and so likewise with the Spanish and French Gold on condition that he, my son Adam, his heirs and assigns, can pay yearly, on the first day of May unto Caspar Stoever, his certain Attorney, heirs and assigns, or in case of his dying to his after named Executors, in the first five years yearly fifty pounds and in the other five years yearly seventy five pounds and the remainder of the fifteen hundred pounds after that yearly, one hundred pounds until the whole is paid, and that all in Silver or Gold according to the old rate, besides to his mother ten pounds hard money at the signing of the deed as a reward.

Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved son John, his heirs and assigns, forever a plantation joining to my son Adam's land, cont?aining one hundred and eighty six acres land and allowances for the consideration of thirteen hundred pounds, old money, as men?tioned in the Almanac, viz: one half soe for three pounds, and a dollar for seven shillings and six pence and so likewise the French and Spanish Gold, on condition that he my son John his heirs and assigns can pay yearly on the first day of May unto Caspar Stoever, his certain Attorney, heirs and assigns, or in case of his dying, to his after named Executors in the first five years, yearly fifty pounds and in the other five years, yearly seventy five pounds and the remainder of the thirteen hundred pounds after that yearly one hundred pounds till the whole is paid, and that all in Silver and Gold according to the old rate besides to his mother ten pounds hard money at the signing as a reward.

Item: I give to my living son Tobias his heirs and assigns forever a plantation adjoining to the both aforesaid plantations containing about two hundred and sixteen acres, for the consideration of eleven hundred pounds old money, as mentioned in the Almanac, viz: one half soe for three pounds, and a dollar at seven shillings six pence and so likewise with the Spanish and French Gold, on condition that he my son Tobias, his heirs and assigns can pay yearly on the first of May unto Caspar Stoever, his certain Attorney, assigns or in case of his dying, to his after named Executors, in the first five years, yearly fifty pounds, and in the other five years, yearly seventy five pounds, and the remainder of the eleven hundred pounds after that yearly one hundred pounds till the whole is paid and that all in Silver or Gold, according to the old rate, besides to his mother ten pounds hard money at the signing of the deed as a reward. As also that he my said son Tobias shall give a good and lawful writing to me and my son Adam's heirs forever a right of the creek running thru his land for watering my meadow and hereafter my son Adam's meadow and his assigns.

Item: It is my will that my three beloved sons, viz: Adam John and Tobias retain in their own hands each of them the sum of six hundred pounds for their portions or shares of the said premises they may reduce each of them six hundred pounds of the whole, one hundred pounds there from conditioned by each, to give yearly to his mother certain sums of necessaries during the course of her life as mentioned in another piece of writings. And whereas my eldest son John Caspar Stoever hath some time ago some land of his father and agreed for certain good causes, by certain writings to give up his right to prerogative as the first born having no further demand to make than two hundred pounds hard money which are to be paid from the first gains coming in.

Peter Elser my son-in-law is to have likewise five hundred pounds in hard money of which he has received already three hundred pounds, has also no further demand upon my estate except two hundred pounds which are to be paid so soon as possible, in good lawful bonds signed by the owners of my real estate.

Philip Fernsler, my son-in-law is to likewise have five hundred pounds in hard money of which he has received some years ago two hundred pounds, his demand also does not exceed three hundred pounds which is to be paid unto him in lawful bonds as before directed.

Peter Yeter my son-in-law shall also be entitled to five hundred pounds hard money of which he has received fifty pounds, remainder also to be paid unto four hundred and fifty pounds which also must be paid in good lawful bonds as before directed.

Furthermore, I do give and bequeath unto my youngest son Frederick the corner lot with the house upon it in Lebanon with the benefit of the two eighth parts ground rents belonging to Lebanon as his own property. The organ I bought of Stiegel standing in Wegman's house, one of our horses with the saddle, his bedding table and chairs, the silver spoons we have, and a silver cup, one desk and one looking glass and one bedstead, all the money now in possession, both Congress and hard money, of which mentioned particulars he shall not be master of till he has his full age, which will be in September of the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty and under obligation that from the mentioned money he shall pay the funeral note for his father and mother whenever they are called hence. And if any?thing remains of household goods and can after my wife's decease the said shall then be sold and be equally divided among all my children or to their representatives, After my decease my oldest son may take the best suit of clothes, the rest of my sons may divide the remainder as equally as they can. All my school books of different tongues I give to the seminary at Philadelphia, the German books shall be equally divided among the children. And there will remain nine hundred and fifty pounds in lawful bonds.

It is my will that my beloved wife Catherine, in case the bequeathed ground rents should come to nothing, or the said town of Lebanon should be destroyed by some accident, shall get her living and maintenance out of the aforesaid nine hundred and fifty pounds, but the remainder thereof shall be equally divided among my children after her decease.

Also, I will that my hereafter named executor, or two of the survivors of them shall have full power and authority to sign and give lawful deeds for my Estate after my decease, and lastly, I do hereby constitute, name and ordain my beloved wife Catherine executrix and my oldest son John Caspar Stoever and my son-in-law Philip Firnsler Executors of this my last will and testament, and I do hereby utterly disallow and revoke all former wills, testaments, legacies and executors, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness here of I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and seventy nine. Signed, sealed pro-nounced and declared by the said John Caspar Stoever as his last will and testament in the presence of us.

Wit: Samuel Meyley Christopher Ulrich Martin Uhler 4


According to the church records, the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Warwick was founded in 1730. A number of congregations in Lancaster county were organized during this period. Churches were established at Muddy Creek, Manheim, New Holland, Strasburg, Bergstrasse and Lancaster. Much of this mission work was the work ofthe Rev. John Casper Stoever who became the first pastor of Emanuel.

Paster Stoever comes to life in the pages of history as a man with indefatigable resources. In many respects, a remarkable servant of the Lord who traveled long, tiresome distances and ministered to several congregations at the same time. He began the official records of Emanuel church and tried to update them on the basis of the best available evidence. Toward the close of his ministry, the congregation spoke of him in an affectionate attitude as "our old pastor." He retired from the pastorate in 1754. In addition to Stoever's church records, he also kept a personal diary written in German and French. It is said that his personal opinions and gossipy items were written in French. Indeed, some of his notations would be mate- rial for a modem soap-opera!

Within a few months after Pastor Stoever came to Brickerville, (1743), he was instrumental in the purchase of twenty-nine acres from John Penn, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn. The cost amounted to $22.00 in our currency, or, four pounds, nine shillings and nine pence in British currency. Thus, with the acquisition of the twenty-nine acres, the congregation erected a crude, log-cabin church, according to traditional sources.

•Note: John Caspar Stoever House built in 1795


John Caspar Stoever was a Lutheran pioneer. He once owned part of Lebanon and acted as the controlling member of the Lebanon Land Company, which was purchased with 6 other members on October 31,1763.

The Stoever's, who were active figures in colonial Pennsylvania missionary enterprise, were natives of the Rhine Valley, Germany. On September 11,1728 they traveled on the "James Goodwill" and arrived in Philadelphia.

As early as 1737, he was warranted 300 acres of land situated between the present Borough of Cleona and the City of Lebanon. On this immense tract he selected a spot along the Quittapahilla (meaning "Snake-hole") Creek, where he built his house. Being of commodious dimensions, forty by sixty feet with stone walls three feet thick, served three purposes: first, as a domicile; second, as an asylum of refuge from the surprising incursions of the Indians; and thirdly, as a mill where for forty years he ground the neighbors' grain.

In 1737, he started the erection of the mill, which was only completed in 1740. A part of the building was also taken in use by him for a dwelling house, for which purpose two rooms on the first floor, and four on the second floor were utilized. The mill portion contained four sets of burr stones to grind flour and chop grain for feed.

The career of this imposing colonial figure came to its close on Saturday, May 13,1779. He died in the midst of a conformation service which he was conducting at his home

because his depleted physical energy would not permit him to travel to the Hill Church. The funeral services were held in this church and interment was made in the adjoining cemetery. In 1895, grateful and appreciative posterity was moved to erect a monument to perpetuate the forceful personality and the assiduous missionary endeavors of this Lutheran pioneer.

The actual house which is still standing today was built by John Stoever, and his wife, in 1795 on land bequeathed to him by his father, John Caspar Stoever. In the front of the house, above the porch roof, are two tablets of stone, bearing the translations:

"God bless this house and who goes here in and out."

John Stoever Angenes Stoever 1795 "Peace be in the house and with those outside." This house is build A.D. 1795

Family Tree.

  • Name John Caspar Stoever Rev.
  • Birth 13 Jan 1684/1685, Frankenburg, Hesse-Nassau, Germany
  • Death 13 May 1779, Lebanon Co., PA
  • Burial Hill Church, north of west of Lebanon, Pa.
  • Occupation pastor Of the Hebron Church founded by the 1717 Germanna Colony
  • Religion Lutheran
  • Father Dietrich Stoever <PS05_212.htm> (~1660-)
  • Mother Magdalena Eberwein <PS05_213.htm> (1657-)
  • Spouses:
  • 1 Gertraudt? <../PS15/PS15_376.htm>
  • Death bef 1733
  • Marriag ebef Nov 1707
  • Children
  • * Anna Elizabetha Catherine <PS05_106.htm>
  • * Johann Caspar (1707-1779)
  • 2 Maria Magdalena Poole <../PS15/PS15_377.htm>
  • Marriage bef 1733

Notes for John Caspar Stoever Rev. Johann Kaspar Stover

John Kasper Stoever, (I) was a Lutheran educator and pastor. He left Germany in the spring of 1728 to go to the Land of Penn (Pennsylvania, USA). John Kaspar Stover, (I), his son John Caspar Stover, (II) and his daughter Elisabetha Carherina Stover left England the 15th of June 1728, aboard the ship JAMES GOODWILL and arrived on the 11th of September 1728. Apparently, his wife had died before they left Germany, because there are no records of her on the ship and John Kaspar Stoever, (I) remarried shortly after arriving in this country. The Stover's changed the family name to Stoever. He became an ordained Lutheran minister on April 8,1733, in Trapp, PA. He was ministering to the needs of the German Lutheran Congregation in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. He went to Germany in 1735 to raise money for the church and died on the return voyage in 1738. [In the original publication of his baptisms and marriages published in 1896, it says "Rev. Johann Casper Stoever died at his residence, west of Lebanon, Pa, May 13th, 1779, and was buried at Hill Church, north of west of Lebanon, Pa.]

There are extensive notes from Holtzclaw on the colony up at: <>

Rev. John Caspar Stoever served as minister from 1731 to 1779. His personal records have also been published on the Web at <>, including "Early Lutheran Baptisms and Marriages in SE Pa., The Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever from 1730 to 1779," with an index by Elizabeth P. Bentley. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD 1982, and available at: <>

Hinke, Wiliam John, 1871-1947. ÒThe 1714 colony of Germanna, VirginiaÓ Virginia magazine of history and biography. Vol. 40-41 (1932-33) (OCoLC)1642879 Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, (1932 1933) v. 40, p. 317-327; v. 41, p. 41-49 ; 24 cm.

Blankenship, Rosemary C. ÒGermanna colonies materialsÓ [Locust Grove, VA : Germanna Community College,] 1989 Book FORMAT: [37] l. ; 30 cm.

From <> German Pioneers to Pennsylvania Passenger Ships' Lists Includes People from the Palatine


[List 8 A] List of the Mens Names above 16 years old aboard ye James Goodwill, Master David Crokatt, Commander, from Rotterdam to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, arrived the 11th September 1728: (including) Johan Caspr. Steffer, Sr. and Johan Casper Steffer, Jr.

"At a Council held in the Courthouse of Philadelphia, September 11th, 1728..... A List was presented of the Names of Forty two Palatines, who with their Families, making in all about Ninety persons, were imported here in the Ship James Goodwill, David Crockat, Master from Rotterdam, but last from Deal, as by Clearance from the officers of the Customs there, bearing Date the Fifteenth day of June, 1728." From the Minutes of the Provincial Council, printed Colonial Records, Vol. III, p. 331. [List 8 B] Palatines imported in the Ship James Goodwill, David Crockatt, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from [Deal] as by clearance dated...... Subscribed the forgoing declaration 11th September 1728: Johann Caspar Stsver, Miss. and Johann Caspar Stsver

BEYOND GERMANNA: A Newsletter of Genealogy and History

"Germanna" refers to the location in Virginia where Lt. Gov. Spotswood settled families of Germans in a five-sided palisaded fort in 1714. Today Germanna would be found in Orange Co. in a horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River where State Route 3 crosses the Rapidan River. A modern feature is Germanna Community College.

The Colony of 1714, also known as the First Colony, moved on to Germantown in present day Fauquier County. In 1717 twenty-odd families of Germans were settled about two miles west of Germanna. Most of this Colony of 1717, also known as the Second Colony, moved to the Robinson River area of present day Madison County. Their life centered around Hebron Lutheran Church. Many more Germans, perhaps 100 families, continued to come to the west and north of Germanna until the time of the Revolution.

Today the term "Germanna Colonist" is applied to all Germans who lived east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the modern counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison and Rappahannock which were formed from the counties of Spotsylvania, Orange, Stafford, and Prince William. The Carolinas and Kentucky received the first wave of Germanna descendants. Beyond Germanna is a newsletter/journal, privately published and now in its ninth year, which is concerned with the Germanna colonists including their origins in Germany, journey to the New World, settlements, history, genealogies, associated families and dispersion to other areas. Beyond Germanna is published six times a year with ten pages per issue. One year's volume costs twelve dollars and may be ordered from the publisher, with a check payable to him.

John Blankenbaker P.O. Box 120 Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Back volumes are also available at the same price. For more information contact him at

The March 1996 issue had these articles: "How Many John Rectors?", "A Correction to the Rector History", "Dedication of German Town Historical Marker","History of the First Settlers at Germanna, Virginia (Part III)", "The State of Virginia in 1721", "The Jemima Martin Bible" and "How Land Was Granted in Colonial Virginia (Part I)".

The May 1996 issue included articles entitled: "Dedication of the German Town Marker," "History of the First Settlers at Germanna, Virginia (Part IV)", "The Children of Samuel and Susannah Martin of Woodford County, Kentucky", "Revolutionary War Claims", "Life in a Palatine Town in the Sixteen Hundreds" and "How Land Was Granted in Colonial Virginia (Part II)". The July 1996 issue included these articles: "Corrections to the Yager History", "How Land Was Granted in Colonial Virginia (Part III)", "Early Patents in Madison County, Virginia (with a new map)", "Tobias Wilhite, Grandson of Johann Michael Willheit", "Photo of Gemmingen Church", "The Children of Samuel and Susannah Martin (Part II)", "Culpeper Classes (#37, 70, 73 and 74)", "First Three Generations of Henry Huffman Family (in chart format)" and "James Holtzclaw".

The September 1996 issue included these articles: "The Consequence of the Plantation Trade" (with commentary), "Immigrant's Chest" (including a photo), "The John Henry County Map of Virginia of 1770" (including a map), "Ann Margaret Bunger", "Selections from Wills and Commentary", "Early Patents in Madison Co., Virginia" (map of patents included). The November 1996 issue, the last of Volume 8, had these articles "The Family of Lewis Fisher and Anna Barbara Blankenbaker", "Dear Cousin Lucy", "Early Patents in Madison Co., VA, III" (with a map), "Where Was Germanna Located?", and "The Surname Index, Volume 8". The January 1997 issue, the first of Volume 9, has these articles "Church Order" (the 1776 constitution of the Hebron Lutheran Church with the names of the male members), "Elizabeth Yager Carpenter" (correcting her parentage), "The Sons of Harmon Rector" (corrections to the Rector history), "Zachariah Blankenbeckler", "Selections from the Records of Hebron Church". The March 1997 issue has articles: "Journey to Pennsylvania" (the story of Gottlieb Mittelberger's voyage in 1750), "A Trilogy of Family Stories" (Walk, Trumbo and Leyrle), "Early Patents in Madison County, Virginia, Part IV", "Culpeper Classes" (Numbers 92 through 95), "Rabbit Holes". The May issue for 1997 has articles, "The German Estate of Lewis Fisher of Culpeper County, Virginia", "Uriah and Maximillian Rector", "The Father of Uriah Rector", "James Aylor of Boone County, Kentucky", "Diary and Account Book of Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman", "Agreement Between the Rev. John Caspar Stoever and His Wife", "Attempt to Rewrite the History of the Germanna Foundation".The July 1997 issue has articles, "The Jacob Crigler Family", "The Baptisms of the Children of Christopher Crigler", "Thoughts on the Finks Family", "John Frederick Miller", "A Petition of the Earl of Orkney", "A Petition of Alex. Spotswood to the King". Contributors include Cynthia Crigler, Clovis Miller, and John Blankenbaker. Other items are from the records at the Virginia Library and the Public Record Office in London. Also a photograph of the village of Freudenberg is included. The September issue for '97 includes these articles, "Captain Scott or Captain Tarbett?" which includes documentation from Her Majestys Customs Excise Library and from the Public Record Office in London, "George Teter of the Robinson River Settlement in Virginia" by Franklin H. Cochran, "John Gerhard", a note based on findings by Nancy Dodge, "Early Patents in Madison County, Virginia" a continuation of the the land plots by John Blankenbaker, and a notice of the Virginia Chapter of Palatines to America Fall Conference at the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia. The article on the ship captains, by John Blankenbaker, offers an alternative to the view that Captain Scott brought the Colony of 1717 to Virginia.

The November 1997 issue has articles, "George Moyer, 1717 Colonist" by Nancy Dodge, "Isham Tatum" by Joan Hackett, "Journey to Pennsylvania" by Gottlieb Mittelberger, "Early Documentation of the Gaar/Garr Family" by John Blankenbaker based on the Gaar/Garr Genealogy, "Introduction to Virginia Land History" compiled from articles by Stephen Broyles, Culpeper Classes, 88, 89, 90, 91", and Surname Index, Volume 9.

The first issue of the tenth volume (1998) has a lead article by Klaus Wust, "The Year of the Destroying Angels - 1738", Jimmy Veal has updated and corrected information on his Holt family, "Hold/Holt Origins in Germany", Cynthia Crigler determines that Margaret Aylor is an unknown in "Who Was Margaret Aylor", John Blankenbaker adds a chart on the two following generations of descendants of Susanna Clore Weaver Crigler Yager, John also has a note on "The Early Patents in the Little Fork of the Rappahannock River", and Warren Holt Talley recounts "An Unusual Experience" in Germany.

Friends of Germanna. On special occasions, Mr. Blankenbaker has given talks at reunions/meetings in North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Oregon. He last gave three talks on September 20, 1997 at the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia, under the auspices of the Virginia Chapter of the Palatines to America. The talks were "The Piedmont Germans", "The Second Germanna Colony and Others", and "The Evangelical Lutheran (Hebron) Church". Beyond Germanna has been noted by subscribers as "professional and informative", "great publication", "best newsletter I've seen", "incredible", "very informative" and "outstanding work".

John Blankenbaker (610)388-1305 Beyond Germanna P.O. Box 120 Chadds Ford, PA 19317 email: <>

This article was published in the Souvenir Program for Lebanon's Bicentennial, celebrated June 30 - July 5, 1940.


Historical Annals of Lebanon County

"This history of Lebanon has been prepared with the hope that it will offer some enlightenment to present and future generations concerning the hardships and splendid accomplishments of our forefathers, whose work has made it possible for us to have the bountiful advantages which we enjoy today; and with the trust that this record of their success will serve to stimulate us to greater achievements."

"Scotch-Irish settlers were probably here before 1720, but the principal settlers of Lebanon and environs came here in 1723 from the Schoharie Valley in N. Y. State. Following these early settlers came successive waves of Swiss and French Huguenots, along with many Germans of the Mennonite, Dunker, Reformed and Lutheran Faiths. Before that time, the Indians dwelt in the beautiful Valley, which abounded in deer and other game. However, the Indians actually held title to all the land within the limits of Lebanon County until 1732. On September 7 of that year the chiefs and sachems of the Delawares made a treaty with the whites ( through Governor Patrick Gordon ) by which they disposed of all land in Pennsylvania lying between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers and south of the Blue Mountains, not previously purchased. This plot included what is now known as Lebanon County. The Indians gave up the land of their own free will, and for it received brass kettles, blankets, guns, shirts, flints, tobacco, rum. and many trinkets in which their simple hearts delighted."

"In 1723, fifteen families of Germans came to the present Lebanon County and Berks region. About 1725 Balzer Orth and his boys, Balthazer (aged 11) and Adam (aged 7), were among those residing here. In August, 1729, Michael Burst arrived and squatted two miles northwest of the present city of Lebanon. When George Steitz arrived he located southeast of Burst on the Quittapahilla. From 1725 to 1735 there was another great influx of Germans of varied religious opinions. Because of their industry and thrift. combined with the goodness of the soil. Pennsylvania forged ahead in agriculture, with exportation of farm products to keep pace with the increasing population."

"Gala indeed was the year 1731 in the history of the wilderness colony, for that marked the performance of the first marriage ceremony. The contracting parties were George Reynolds and Eleanor Steitz, daughter of George. The rite was performed by the Rev. John Caspar Stoever, the first Lutheran Minister to come to Lebanon."

"It is to George Steitz that credit is given for the laying out of the present city of Lebanon during the decade 1740-1750. It is recorded that Steitz and Francis Reynolds took out warrants for adjoining tracts of land in what was then Lebanon Township -- a part of Lancaster County. After the death of George Reynolds in 1762, his land fell into the possession of George Steitz, and with these he ( Steitz ) laid out additional lots. The town originally had been made for the township but for many years it was called Steitztown or Steitza, after the fashion of calling a town for the proprietor."

"The town grew. About 1756 there were over 200 homes, and during the perilous years of 1750 to '60 Lebanon was a refuge for those families driven from their frontier homes by the savages. As many as 60 families took refuge in the house of John Light at one time. On March 28, 1799, Lebanon became a borough, but the first election was not held until the first Monday in May, 1821. At this election, held by Leonard Greenawalt and Philip Huber, commissioners, the following officers were elected: Chief Burgess, Jacob Goodhart; assistant burgess. Jacob Arndt; councilmen, John Nagel, Conrad Fasnacht, Jacob Light, Adam Ritscher, Leonard Greenawalt, John Uhler; high constable, Rudolph Kelker. The election was held 22 years later for the reason that the people never accepted the provisions of the Act of 1799, and so it remained dead, until February 20, 1821, when a new Act was passed repealing the first act and creating anew the borough of Lebanon with a charter of more ample powers than the previous Act."

"That year (1821) Lebanon contained 300 dwellings, 10 taverns, 10 stores, 1 grist mill, 1 clover mill, a foundry, and many mechanic shops. The original Market House stood on the south side of Ninth street."

"During the prosperous years of 1751 to 52 a much-needed improvement, a road to Lancaster. was begun. The road is now Ninth street. Conrad Weiser was busy arranging affairs with the friendly Indians and with the settlers on the basis of an alliance against the French and the hostile tribes threatening Pennsylvania. But in 1755, the entire region was startled by the news of Braddock's defeat at Fort Duquesne. On a black day, October 16th, 1755, the sad news came that more than 20 persons had been killed by Indians in this territory."

"On June 26, 1756, while four young men of the Bethel Congregation were plowing near Swatara Gap, they were attacked by a band of hostile Indians and cruelly murdered. Scouting parties were organized and in the autumn of 1756 an actual skirmish with Indians was fought two miles northeast of Hebron Church. According to the historians of the times, about 150 white people were the victims of these raids. Following the French and Indian War, came the Revolutionary War, at the end of which America declared her independence, and in which theatre of war Lebanonians played a vital role. "After the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773, little Lebanon, despite some hanging back on the part of other residents of Pennsylvania, was one of the first to respond to the appeal of the city of Boston and to send contributions to those who were suffering for the cause of liberty. On Saturday, June 25, 1774, the inhabitants of Lebanon and adjoining townships met at the inn of Captain Philip Greenawalt to consider the state of public affairs. Elected as leaders were Major John Philip DeHaas, President; and John Light, Secretary. At this meeting the group declared unanimously: "1. That the late act of the British Parliament by which the port of Boston is shut up is an act of oppression to the people of that city and subversive of the rights of the inhabitants of America." "2. That while we profess to be loyal subjects of Great Britain we shall not admit to unjust and iniquitous laws as we are not slaves but freemen." "3. That we unite with the inhabitants of other portions of our country in such measure as will preserve us our rights and our liberties."

"A committee was appointed to collect contributions for the Bostonians. Philip Greenawalt, Thomas Clark, Michael Ley, Kellian Long, and Curtis Grubb, committeemen, sent flour and other supplies to Philadelphia where it was forwarded with other contributions to Boston. By May 10, 1775, all males between the ages of 15 and 50 had their names enrolled for military purposes. Two companies had been organized under the leadership of DeHaas. By the fall of '75, Greenawalt formed a battalion with Philip Marsteller as Lt. Col.; Caspar Stoever, Capt. of 1st Co.; Philip Weiser, Capt. of 3rd Co.; Leonard Immel, Capt. of 6th Co.; John Gossert, 2nd Lt. of 7th Co.; John Rewalt, of 9th Co.; and George Frank, Ensign of 8th Co. In the spring of '76, Peter Grubb, Jr., organized a company and went with Col. Miles' battalion, participating in the disastrous battle of Long Island, where the Pennsylvania Germans forever covered themselves with star-spangled glory." "In December of 1776, 1,000 Hessian prisoners with many Tories passed through Lebanon on their way to Reading. By the end of August, 340 Hessian prisoners arrived in Lebanon in charge of Col. Grubb and most of them were kept in the Moravian Church at Hebron, much to the disgust of the pastor. Arrangements had been made to move them to a log church in Lebanon, but since that log church (Old Salem) was to be used for a powder-magazine, at the Moravian church they remained."

"Lebanon's role in the Revolution was an important one, since it was a depot of supplies, and a storehouse for ammunition during the occupancy of Philadelphia by the British. It was during the Revolution that the furnaces at Cornwall supplied large quantities of iron for cannon and balls. The inhabitants not only volunteered in service but also contributed flour and meat, clothing and leather, and hauled it to Valley Forge during the terrible winter of '77 and '78. Families participating in this were the Earlys, Henrys, Kreiders, Millers, Meilys, Immels, Orths, Schaeffers, and others."

Our earliest known ancestor was Dietrich ST…VER and wife Magdalena EBERWEIN of Frankenberg, Germany. Their son, John Kasper ST…VER, (I), left Germany with his son, Johann Casper ST…VER, (II), and daughter, Anna Elisabetha Catherina ST…VER in the spring of 1728. They arrived in Philadelphia on September 11, 1728 aboard the ship James Goodwill.

The spelling of the family name changed to STOEVER shortly after arriving in America. Both father and son were well known Lutheran Ministers in the Pennsylvania and Virginia areas. The younger STOEVER was the first German Lutheran Minister ordained in the US. <>

"Despite the war, however, the town continued to grow. It was just before the War that the first fire company was organized, July 17, '73. George Hoke was elected the first president, and at the close of the War (February 22, 1780) the Union Fire Company organized with Judge Philip Gloninger as president. The first fire company was known as the Cedar Fire Company and was formed with 48 persons subscribing."

"Through storm and strife the people marched. Today on the brink of another World War, it shall be remembered that Lebanon served well in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the World War I."


The following history comes from Pastors and People: Pastors and Congregations, vol. 1, by Charles Glatfelter, published in 1980:

This Lutheran Congregation in the Tulpehocken settlement was organized by Casper Stoever and his followers in 1742, after Reed's church was lost to the Moravians and after some Lutherans who wanted to build Christ church nearby made it plain that they didn't want Stoever as their regular pastor....

This congregation was located in Tulpehocken township; it is now Jefferson township. This writer has not found the name Little Tulpehocken in the 18th century documents, but it is used to help distinguish the congregation from Christ, Tulpehocken, near Stouchsburg.

In 1742 Stoever began a register for "the Evangelical Lutheran congregation down at the Tulpehocken near the Northkill". He pastored there into the 1760s and used it as his base. Emmanuel Schultz succeeded him. Since 1853 it has worshipped with the Reformed congregation in a union church. It is located about 1 mile sw of Bernville.

In 1744 a warrant for 110 acres was granted to Michael Shower and Jacob Miller 'for the use of the Lutheran Congregation situate in Tulpehocken township'. A tract of 35 acres was surveyed, one of whose courses ran along the Tulpehocken creek. On 11/2/0/1747 a patent deed was granted to Jacob Miller, Simon Munch, Conrad Ernst, Mathias Smith, Henrich Gruber, and Martin Batteicher, for the 'use of the Minister and Society of Lutherans residing, and to reside, in and about the said township of Tulpehokin' (filed in Lancaster Warrants). The first church was completed during the 1740s; there is a record of a marriage performed in it in 1749.


Sestercentennial History Hill Lutheran Church, 1733-1983, Vol. XVI, coyright 1983 by Lebanon County Historical Society, Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.


Of course among these must be named first of all the zealous young circuit-rider of the Lutheran Church in America of that day-the Rev. John Caspar Stoever. He was the first great organizer of Lutheran congregations in Pennsylvania.

He was born at Luedorf in Amt Sollingen, Lower Pfalz, Germany, on Dec. 21, 1707.

His father by the same name-John Caspar Stoever, Sr.,-a teacher and church organist for years-like the son, after liberal educational training, added theological studies to his curricula and prepared for the Christian ministry before leaving the Fatherland. In 1728, disturbed by Jesuitical persecutions of the most violent character, both father and son determined to leave their country and migrate to America with the purpose of re-establishing themselves in the New World. After nearly a three-months' voyage, they arrived in Philadelphia on the vessel "James Goodwill," (David Crocket, Master), with ninety fellow Palatinates, on September 11th, 1728.

On the list of passengers their names were respectively entered as John Caspar Steffer, Senior, and John Caspar Stefifer, Junior. These names are found on the original and official roll of allegiance to England and the Provincial Government, as "John Caspar Stoever, Missionaire, and John Caspar Stoever, S.S. Theol. Stud." They presently took up residence at the Trappe, from whence they branched out, far and wide, through primeval forests and over primitive roads and through unbridged streams in their ministry to the scattered settlements of their countrymen in present Montgomery, Lehigh, Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. For about a year and a half this combined service continued. Later the elder Stoever took up his ministerial work in Spottsylvania, Va., while the younger man continued in his constantly expanding field in Pennsylvania. On April 8, 1733, he was ordained as minister at the Trappe by the Rev. J. Christian Schultz, then the Lutheran minister here and in Philadelphia. On the same day he was married here to Mary Catharine Merckling, daughter of Christian and Catharine (nee Brucker) Merckling. Both ceremonies were doubtless performed in a barn, used at the time being for public worship. About this time he took up his residence at New Holland, Lancaster County, from whence he became the pioneer Lutheran circuit-rider of Pennsylvania and beyond. His private Record of Official Acts shows that he baptized and married, organized congregations and opened Church Records from Philadelphia to the Blue Mountains and from the Delaware to beyond the Susquehanna and the Potomac to the west and south. The Church Records of more than a dozen first churches of these parts show that Stoever was their organizer, and in most instances part-time pastor.

In 1737 he began to build his permanent residence-in the form of a mill, fort and home at Sunnyside on the Quittapahilla Creek, near his Hill?top Church, founded four years before. It took him three years to complete this elaborate structure-razed only a few decades ago-into which he moved with his little family about the year 1740. And here he continued to reside until his death. Here his family grew to 11 children, six sons and five daughters. Enfeebled by age and infirmities, he ended his years by a stroke of apoplexy, while engaged in instructing his catechetical class in his home on Ascension Day, May 13, 1779. He was aged 71 years, 4 months and 22 days.
That he was a man of great zeal and energy, thoroughly interested in bringing the Gospel to his German countrymen, scattered over three Provinces and organizing them into congregations as well as stimulating them to erect their first rude church-edifices is manifest from the records. That he also possessed a somewhat worldly spirit mingled with a stubborn self-will that brought him temporarily into disrepute with Muhlenberg and his fellow-ministers is shown by his possession of over 800 acres of land on the Quittapahilla and his being the leading member of the Lebanon Land Company, after George Steitz had failed in his project of laying out the town of Lebanon, and by his part in the disputations of the Rieth's and Christ churches on the Tulpehocken and the early history of Salem's Church in Lebanon, as well as his record and attitude towards the Minis-terium of Pennsylvania and adjacent States-the Mother Lutheran Synod, founded by Muhlenberg in 1748. But this does not concern us now. That he performed a great and invaluable service in the establishment of the Luth?eran Church in this Country in its earliest stages is acknowledged by all his?torians, who know his career, and should make the present flock of the Hill Church point with pride to the name of its illus?trious founder. Though it took over a hundred years until his true worth was fittingly set forth by a memorial shaft, a suitable monument was erected and dedicated, over his ashes in the Church's adjoining "God's acre" in 1895, during the pastorate of the late Rev. W. H. Lewars.

But we must not forget the laymen who shared with their first pastor in laying the foundations of this now two-hundred-year-old congregation.


Thanks to the carefully-kept official Church Records, the historian can trace correct data as to the men and times when this church was organized. The title-page of the original Church Book, or "Protocol"-as the pastor calls it--informs us that it was secured and started in 1743 as the official record of the pastoral acts here performed by the first three pastors, and that into it were copied and transferred from his private record all such pastoral acts as Pastor Stoever had performed during his ten previous years of active ministry since the congregation's organization.
Translated, this title-page reads as follows:

"Church-Book and Protocol for the Evangelical-Lutheran Congregation at the Quittapahilla in Lebanon Township, in which both the names of baptized children and those united in the hallowed bonds of matrimony are recorded hitherto, even since the year 1733, recorded in my own private Manuscript (Record), but now faithfully transferred from the same into this Book, devoted to the regular use of above named Congregation by me, John Caspar Stoever, the regularly called Evangelical-Lutheran pastor, as well of this as of certain other congregations in Lancaster County of the Province of Pennsylvania. Done this 13th day of December in the year of Christ 1743" [post-scripts]

"After the death of the sainted Pastor Stoever, continued by me, Frederick Theodore Melsheimer, Evangelical-Lutheran Minister, begun the 12th of August in the year 1779.

"Later continued by me, John George Lochman, for the time being the Pastor at said and other joint congregations, begun the 1st of August, 1794."
Hence we learn that when he gathered and first ministered unto this "Congregation on the Quittapahilla" Pastor Stoever was a young man in his 26th year. As we have seen, in 1740 he moved into his home on the Quittapahilla, and here his large family was reared, and here he resided until the time of his death-a period of 39 years. The home became an early landmark of the Valley and an interesting history of domestic, industrial and community sheltering activity was enacted within its three-feet-wide solid walls of masonry and their capacious and varied rooms.
For a correct list of the original lay membership one is referred to two documents that date from this period of beginnings. The one is this original and official Church Record Book. The other is an Agreement, or Pledge, wherein the two congregations (Lutheran and Reformed) mutually bind themselves as to the observance of twelve points of agreement to which both the pastors and male members add their names on the nth day of August, 1744, the day before the Dedication of their newly erected, or completed, church edifice. These twelve rules and regulations refer to the confessional basis of the preachers, the Scriptural doctrine to be proclaimed in its common pulpit and the, guarding against false teachers. They also pre?scribe the manner of the discipline of its members and the equal rights and powers of each congregation with alternate Sunday services, and the dis?position of the benevolences of each flock, as well as the equal obligations of the cost and upkeep of the church edifice and mutual rights to the cemetery. To these binding rules twenty-six Lutherans added their names, "signed, sealed and delivered at Lebanon," in the presence of twelve witnesses, on the above-named date.
This document is now in the archives of the State of Pennsylvania, from a photostat copy of which these names have been secured. It throws light on the fact and time of the formation of a Union congregation, the dedica?tion of the first church edifice and that, already in 1744, a nucleus of the present town of Lebanon, must have been in existence. But it leaves the facsimile of baptism of the heylmann family in hill church Record of 1733 question of an earlier Lutheran congregation and the place of their earlier worship an open and debatable one. Some-especially later Reformed mem?bers,-have contended that the organization was only effected in 1743, or 1744, and that it was a Union flock from the beginning. But the late Dr. T. E. Schmauk has maintained that from the title page statement it is evident that Pastor Stoever ministered regularly to this "Church on the Quitobehoehle" since 1733."" His inference is that their first "rude, log cabin" was not completed, i. e., not fully equipped, until 1744, when the Reformed settlers of this vicinity joined them in completing or transform?ing said cabin into a comfortable and churchly edifice, which was dedicated on August 12, 1744.

It is from these two records that we can reliably construct a list of the first participants in the church life of this congregation. From the "Agreement" of 1744 we learn that the church glebe upon which was erected the first edifice and the burial grounds laid out was bounded on the southeast by John Kreuter's plantation, on the south-west by Thomas Clark's, on the north-west by Peter Heilman's and on the north-east by John Ringer's. Thus we have the four settlers immediately adjoining the church property in 1744. The following persons are the signers and witnesses of this agreement:

  • Adam Reinil (Reinoehl) Martin Riestatter John Adam Kettering
  • John George Marsteller John Peter Kucher John Jacob Dietz
  • Anastasius Uhler John Frantz Fuchs (Fox) John Egidius Hoffman
  • Adam Ullrich Henry Blum Martin Meyly
  • Philip Hallinger John Albright Light John Bindnagle
  • Balzar Wartman Valentine Kister John Michael Boltz
  • Daniel Reinil Philip Bryer John George Argebrecht
  • Peter Heilman Jacob Zimmerman John Huoy
  • George Burger John George Ellenberger
  • Witnesses to above Agreement:
  • John Egidius HofTman Andrew Imfeltz Michael Eberhart
  • Philip Schnatterly John Weydman Balthasar Orth
  • Lewis Rammler Eirich Heul David Buehler
  • Martin Kreis John Nicholas Youngblood
  • John Schmeltzer
  • John Caspar Stoever Present Evang.-Luth. Pastor
To this list must be added such names as appear as the heads of families from the Baptismal Register of the Church-Book up to the year 1744, as given in chronological order (that is of first entry into this record) though a number of them be found to be repetitions, as follows:
  • Peter Kucher John Dieterich Rober Jacob Fueger
  • Baltzios Fischer Carl Schally Peter Haeddrich
  • James Stuart Peter Ruth John Adam Kreuel
  • James McNees John Adam Kettering Peter Heydt
  • Anastatius Uhler George Meyer Michael Meyer
  • John Martin Meyly Jacob Froelich John George Maintzer
  • John Bindnagle Michael Bortz Francis Reynolds
  • John George Ergebrecht Adam Zerby George Caspar Faust
  • Benneville Klein Jonas WoLflf William Huber
  • Christoph Labengeiyer John Albrecht Siechele Jacob Bickel
  • John Martin Riestaetter William Kally Michael Lauer
  • Peter Heilman Christoph Meyer John Brown
  • Jacob Bentz John Geo. Haeddrich Adam Heilman
  • George Glassbrenner David Dreher Peter Baumeartner
  • Michael Boltz Michael Umberger Peter Maucker
  • John Henry Peter Jacob Kintzer
These lists cover all names on record as having been under the pastoral administration of Rev. Stoever up to 1744, when the union of the two congregations was effected and the church dedicated. They included prac?tically all the Lutheran settlers in the range of the Quittapahilla Valley from the stream's sources to the present Bindnagle's Lutheran Church, a distance of ten or twelve miles.

It is noticeable that a number of the sur-names of these first settlers are still preserved in the community and several of them found on the present church roll. We notice especially that John Peter Heilman's descendants have been connected with the flock since he-one of the founders and a member of the building committee in 1744, was married and had a family, down to the present generation-the sixth or seventh in line. He was a young man of but twenty years when he immigrated hither, and took out his patent for a large plantation to the northwest of the Church-glebe in 1732. On January 29, 1739, he was married to Salome Frey. They became the parents of thirteen children, from whom an unbroken line of devoted church-workers have descended. A noted descendant of this ancestor is Dr. Eugene A. Heilman, now of Philadelphia, author or compiler of "Health Lessons," a text-book widely used.
It should be added here also that the noted John Peter Kucher, whose fine home-erected 1761-stood until the end of the last century on the banks of the Quittapahilla, just east of Lebanon, the ground now occupied by the Bethlehem Steel Company's Works,-was a member of this flock in its first decades, but who later joined the Hebron Moravian Church; and from another member, Balthazar Orth, sprang the illustrious Hon. Godlove S. Orth of Indiana fame. (Congressman, Minister to Austria, Declined nomination as Governor, and Cabinet Member in President Haves' Adminis?tration. )

So also has sprung from Henry Kollicker (Kelker), an early member and elder of the Reformed congregation, whose grave and monument are found in the local cemetery-another nationally famous character in the person of Hon. Alexander Ramsey, territorial and State Governor of Minnesota, as well as other noted Pennsylvania descendants by the name of Kelker.

In like manner another early Reformed member and fellow-elder, John Adam Heilman, settled here (in Heilmandale) in 1738, and with John Peter Heilman of the Lutheran flock, a co-member of the Building Committee in 1744, has left a noted progeny to the present day, many of whom were continuously active in this Union Church, through all the past generations.

In 1903 the Reformed congregation withdrew from the Union Hill Church and erected nearby a new edifice of sandstone for their own exclusive use, where they have worshipped ever since and been served by the pastors of the Annville charge.

During the pastorship of Rev. Stoever - lasting for forty-six years and having as Reformed colleagues Revs. Templeman, Miller, Stoy and Bucher - doubtless the most important work was done for the permanent establish?ment of the congregation. Among the most salient events were the found?ing, or organization of the same; the erection, completion and dedication of the first edifice; the union with the Reformed people of the community; the ingathering of the constant stream of new settlers in the vicinity, and the dismissal of members, who, with others, Pastor Stoever organized, first, into the Grubeland (or Gruben) congregation, about two and a half miles to the south-east of Lebanon-the first child of this mother church-and then another portion into Salem's Lutheran Church of Lebanon, with the erection and dedication of their first log edifice in 1766. He had preached for several years previously to his increasing membership residing in Lebanon, - the services conducted in a house - rather than lose them to the Moravians, who in 1750 had erected their stone church in Hebron, which was so much nearer Lebanon, and had already drawn Peter Kucher and Balthazar Orth into their fold.

Moreover, there was established here a parochial, or church school as early as 1747, according to Prof. Charles L. Maurer's "Early Lutheran Edu?cation in Pennsylvania," a volume brought out the past year (1932), which school was the very first in then Lebanon Township, now Lebanon County, just as the Hill Church was itself the pioneer of all churches in the county, and so became the mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, or great-great-gandmother of all the Lutheran and Reformed churches in the county. This school-building served for about forty years, when it became dilapidated. How much attention-though doubtless a general over?sight-was given this school by Pastor Stoever is not known. But that the school was maintained during more than thirty years of his pastorate is a matter of record and is to his credit.

The years of Rev. Stoever's pastorate were exceedingly busy ones for the pastor. His field at first extended over a half-dozen present counties of

PennSylvania and even beyond the State's limits down to the Potomac River, if not beyond, as organizer, founder and whilom pastor of newcongregations. When one remembers that he was, during his initial years as pastor here, also in pastoral charge of churches at York and Lancaster, Earltown (New Holland), Muddy Creek (East Cocalico Township, Lancaster County), Warwick (Brickerville), Tulpehocken and Northkill (Bernville), Churches of Berks County, and the Jordan Church of Lehigh County, one can see, indeed, what a busy life he led. One must believe that he visualized in some degree, while thus enduring all the hardships of the wilderness, the schools, colleges, churches and national life to come, and was thus entitled, as a Lutheran circuit-rider, to what the late President, Theodore Roosevelt, said to the praise of the Methodist circuit-riders, viz.: that "the whole country is under a debt of gratitude to these pioneer preachers, who shared all the hardships in the life of the frontiersman, while at the same time ministering to that frontiersman's spiritual needs, and seeing that his pressing material cares and the hard and grinding poverty of his life did not wholly extinguish the divine fire within his soul."

The pastorate of Rev. Stoever also covered the years of intense local excitement during the French and India n War (1754 to 1763), when the murderous raids of the savages reached some of the very doors of his mem?bers' homes, and when quite a number of his parishioners were out on guard and repelling these cruel depradations. And in his declining years the com?munity was again aroused and tremendously agitated by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, when a number of his flock were again at the front fighting its battles, and at a time when hundreds of captive Hessians were brought to the community as prisoners of war (Hebron and Lebanon churches) adding greatly to the excitement of this neighborhood.

Among his own membership, who had already been commissioned for the Continental Army, were his own son, John Caspar Stoever, Jr., of the Hill Church, as Captain of the First Company in Col. Philip Greenawalt's Bat?talion, and Philip Marsteller as Lieut-Colonel of the same battalion. He was connected with the Lebanon congregation, and had the distinction of being a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention; of rising to prominence during the Revolution as pay-master of the militia; and assistant forage master, for which services he received a letter of commendation from General Washington, at whose funeral in 1799 he was an honored pall-bearer.

When, therefore, the aged pastor was released of his growing infirmities and his increasing burde ns by his sudden death on Ascension Day (May 13) of the year 1779, the Church life of the community had been well estab?lished and he had merited his well-earned rest. "His death brought about a great change in church affairs at Lebanon," writes Dr. T. E. Schmauk in his history of "Old Salem."

•Note: The Lebanon County Historical Society, Twenty-second Annual Meeting December 19, 1919 Biographical Sketch of the Rev. John Caspar Stoever, (1709-1779) REPORT OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON BIOGRAPHY The Standing Committee on Biography, Messrs. Thomas S. Stein, Wm. M. Guilford, M.D., and John L. Rockey, reported as follows:

Mr. President and Fellow Members:-

Each individual lives in a world of his own, so to speak. His traits of character, his extent of knowledge, his modes of thought, his powers of observation, his temperament, his feelings, his ideals, all unite in creating a world for him different in many respects from that of his fellowmen.

The same is true of different generations. The manner of life, the degree of education, the discoveries and inventions of the age, the progress of science and art, greater enlightenment and culture, deeper insight into problems of life, all these have the effect of producing a mode of existence quite different from that of preceding and succeeding ages.
It is a difficult matter for a person of one generation to judge correctly one of another epoch. We must transfer ourselves, as it were, to another age, to another world. To judge or estimate correctly an individual of the past by present standards will give a distorted picture. And yet we desire to know of the successes and failures, the experiences, the trials, and the victories of those who have gone before.
Hence we ask you to go back with us nearly two hundred years, to inspect a wonderful career of a remarkable man. But let us be careful not to measure him with our own yardstick.
On Sept. 11, 1728 there arrived at Philadelphia on the ship, Good Will, a young Lutheran theological student, 21 years of age, hailing from the Electorate of Hesse, Germany. His name was John Caspar Stoever. His first year in Pennsylvania was spent at The Trappe, Montgomery County, then
known as Providence. The second year he removed to New Holland, Lancaster County. During these and subsequent years, he traveled extensively, visiting different sections in Eastern Pennsylvania and organizing churches. He was exceedingly active and of untiring energy.

Stoever was not as yet ordained. The need of ministers in that age was very great, and the people were willing to accept the services of one unordained, if they could get no other. Indeed, often a pious layman filled the place of the regular preacher.

In 1731 young Stoever went to New Jersey and called upon Rev. Daniel Falkner, an early pioneer Lutheran pastor, to ordain him. For some reason or other, this was refused. In 1733, however, Stoever was ordained in a barn, at The Trappe, by a Rev. Schultze. From this time on he becomes more identified with the Lebanon Valley, though he had visited it before. In 1731 he had been in this section and united inmarriage Francis Reynolds and Catharine Steitz, the sister of Lebanon's founder.
The appearance of the first minister in a primitive community is a remarkable event. How the pious people must have looked up to and almost adored him! And those not noted for piety could not but respect and honor him. He became the leader of the community. Education with piety, plus energy, pave the way to a higher standard of living.
On the other hand, what a life of hardship, sacrifice, and self-denial was the lot of the pioneer minister! An undeveloped territory, few roads and bridges, long journeys on horseback, exposure to the severities of the climate, the rough elements of all primitive settlements, the wild beast, and the savage Indian, all these combined to make life a constant struggle. Truly one who chooses such a career must have resources to a higher power, to renew his strength from day to day.
The need and desire of ministers was very great in those times. Referring to this fact, Dr. Lochman, a former pastor of Salem Lutheran Church of Lebanon, writes as follows: "Hunger for the Word of God and zeal for public worship must have been great at the time, for the hearers, gathered from near and far, suffered no danger to keep them away."
Among the pastorates of Rev. Stoever were these: New Holland, 1730-1746; Hill Church, 1733-1779; Lebanon, 1755-1773; Rieth's Church, 1735-1743, where he was pastor of the opposition, which in 1743 built a new church. Rev. Stoever was also pastor of two churches now extinct; of the Swatara Church, two and one-half miles northeast of Jonestown, for over twenty years; and of the "Grubben" Church, 212 miles southeast of Lebanon, for some twenty years.
One of the first things Pastor Stoever did in a charge was to start a protocol or church-record. Many of the oldest Lutheran records in this section of the State were begun by him. Our pioneer did not always have smooth sailing. At one time he was deposed by Zinzendorf, when the latter had gained the upper hand in the quarrel at Tulpehocken. Nor could he altogether agree with Muhlenberg, the Patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America. Only in 1763 did he join the Synod. In 1737 Rev. Stoever began to erect the substantial stone mill, a short distance south of Cleona. On April 8, 1733, he had married Mary Catharine Merkling, and now needed a home of his own. At one end of the mill were a suite of domestic apartments, which Rev. Stoever occupied from 1740 to 1779, the year of his death. The walls of this mill-homeare three feet thick, and the structure is solid and substantial at the present day.
One would think Pastor Stoever was busy enough without the cares of business. What induced him to take up milling, while the duties of a large pastorate engaged his attention, we do not know. But we know that, while grinding in his mill, he kept on preaching, and marrying, and burying, and organizing new churches, and starting protocols. In 1745 he is on record as having united in wedlock John Conrad Tempelman, his Reformed contemporary, and Maria Elizabeth Buch.
Now comes a time when Rev. Stoever looms up prominently in civil affairs, as the moving spirit of a land company which obtained possession of Lebanon's town lots.
Between 1740 and 1750, Steitz and Reynolds laid out their land into town lots. Owing to the unsettled condition of affairs throughout the country, the town-lot project did not make rapid progress. It seems that Steitz, for some reason or other, failed. He assigned several tracts of land to his grandson, Geo. Reynolds, who was unable to hold them. The result was that in 1763 the town lots were sold by the sheriff of Lancaster County, John Hay. They were purchased by a party of seven men, at the head of whom was Rev. John Caspar Stoever. The others were "Christian Wegmen and Philip Greenawalt, two inn-keepers; Caspar Schnebele, a shopkeeper; Geo. Hock, a tanner; John Ulrich Schnebele, a carpenter; and Christian Gish, a blacksmith." As Rev. Stoever was the best educated man of the lot, he often acted as scrivener.
About 1760 Steitz had granted lots to the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of Lebanon, which, as yet, had no buildings of their own, but worshiped in private houses. Steitz seemed to recognize the need of the situation and met it squarely.
In 1779 Pastor Stoever's career had a sudden close. He had been a sound, sturdy man, and had had only one severe spell of sickness-in 1750. But now, when 71 years of age, he had begun to give way. On Ascension Day, instead of going to the Hill Church to confirm a class of catechumens, he requested the class to meet him at his home on the Quittapahilla. Here, while in the act of confirming the class, he fell over dead.
He was buried in the Hill Church Cemetery. The inscription on his tombstone reads as follows: "Here rests Asleep in his Redeemer JOHN CASPAR STOEVER, First Evangel Lutheran Preacher in Pennsylvania. He was born in the Lower Palatinate, Dec. 3, 1707. He with his wife, Maria Catharine, begat eleven children, four of whom preceded him into eternity. He died May 13, 1779. His age was 71 yrs., 4 mos., 3 wks., and 2 ds."
His wife lies buried at his side. She survived him a number of years, dying in 1795. One hundred years afterwards, a monumental shaft was erected in Hill Church Cemetery to the memory of Rev. Stoever. As said, the Stoevers had 11 children, some of whom died young. At his death he left his real estate, divided into three farms, to his three sons, Adam, John Caspar, and Tobias.
John Caspar was a captain in the Revolution, commanding the first company of Philip Greenawalt's battalion. He built the Henry S. Heilman home, at Sunnyside, now occupied by his son.
Another son, Frederick, was a squire and was burgess of Lebanon, 1826-1827. He was the youngest of the boys, and erected a store building and carried on business, where now stands the Weimar Hotel. Frederick's son, Jacob, was editor of the "Lebanon Morgenstern," Lebanon's only paper in 1809. He had purchased it from Lebanon's first printer, Jacob Schnee.
But we have digressed from father to grandson. We can go no farther, because the Stoever posterity is numerous at the present day. Before Mrs. Stoever's death, she saw 75 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren.

We have now given a brief sketch of the life of Rev. John Caspar Stoever, not with the idea of stating anything new, but with the object of drawing attention to his busy and energetic life. He was an educated man, a scholar, having a thorough knowledge of Latin, Greek, French, and Hebrew, to say nothing of German and English.
He was untiring in his labors, but rather set in his ways, somewhat haughty and independent. His manner was rough and sometimes violent. Like every man, he was, to a large extent, the product of his times.
He was a reservoir of almost unlimited energy, traveling for 50 years over eastern Pennsylvania, when roads were few and dangers many. No doubt, he was the best known man in the Quittapahilla region, "combining the qualities of an outspoken country squire and landlord with those of a sturdy and self-denying minister of the Church."

•Note: On the ship James Goodwill, Sept. 11, 1728, came Rev. John Caspar Stoever, Sr., a native of Frankenberg, in Hesse, a Lutheran clergyman, who located in Virginia, went to Europe in 1737, and died on board the vessel on his attempted return to America, and Rev. John Caspar Stoever, Jr., born at Luedorff, in Solinger Amt, Duchy Berg, in the Palatinate, Dec. 21, 1707, and died at Lebanon May 13, 1779. 5


Ancient and historic landmarks in the Lebanon Valley By Philip Columbus Croll


LET us to-day follow the Quittapahilla Creek for half a mile in its meandering course, from where it washes by the home of Mr. Heilman, last visited, and it will lead us to an interesting relic of the first settlement of this region. It is the old mill-homestead of the Rev. Johann Casper Stoever, the first German Lutheran minister ordained in Pennsylvania. It is located just' an eighth of a mile south of the village of Cleona, and about two and a half miles west of Lebanon. It is a landmark of the olden times that holds for us a fascinating charm.

The building, which is a large and substantial stone mill-structure — originally provided with a suite of domestic apartments, and occupied by this pioneer of Lutheranism as the permanent abode of himself and family for a period of forty years—was erected in the years 1737-40. The strong and substantial character of the building required three years of time to complete it. It is a massive structure, considering the times and the meager facilities of building; in dimensions about 40 by 60 feet. Its walls, three feet thick, are most of them as solid to-day as when first erected, though composed of simple, undressed surface stones, many of them no larger than a man's fist. The mortar is as firm as cement, and no pen-knife has yet been found strong enough to break its cohesive service. The writer has thought that if all the Lutheran stones that first composed the walls of the spiritual building of this denomination in America, had been as firmly cemented as this good Lutheran pastor bound together the stones of his earthly abode, this now honored and numerically strong denomination would much sooner have assumed firm and conspicuous proportions in this country.

Whether it was from a generous desire to supply these early settlers with bread for the body as well as for the soul, that this pastor built a mill almost simultaneously with the church, or whether he saw in it a chance to grind more cash into his own pockets, we can not tell and would not wish to insinuate. Suffice it to say that for more than a hundred and fifty years the waters of the Quittapahilla have here turned the machinery that has ground out the one kind of grist for the customer and the other for the owner. It was either the grist of this mill, or that of his large parish, probably both together, that made its first owner comparatively wealthy. For at his death Rev. Mr. Stoever was the possessor, besides this mill-property, of over five hundred acres of the richest land in the valley, which, divided into three large farms, were left to three of his sons, Adam, John Casper (a Captain in the Revolution, whose home we visited last week), and Tobias.

This antiquated pile of masonry, constituting this pioneer minister's earthly abode, was further provided with an arched mural fortification, the foundation walls of which are still visible on the southwest corner of the building. There was also a stockade, or log-barricade, used for defense against savage foes when they made their forays in that period. And here the neighbors were frequently sheltered, when in all this community manifold depredations were committed by the red men.

The illustrious builder of this home was a native of the Electorate of Hesse, now Prussia. There he was born, December 21, 1707, the son of honorable and pious parents. After teaching school for two terms in the Rhenish Palatinate, he sailed from Rotterdam, with ninety of his fellow Palatinates, on the ship "James Goodwill," and landed at Philadelphia September u, 1728. On the ship's register his name is recorded as Johann Casper Steover, S. S. (Theol. Stud.), and is distinguished from another person of the same name, a near relative, who registered as Missionaire, and settled as pastor of the Lutherans in Spottsylvania, Va. The latter died a few years later at sea, on a return trip from Europe, which he had revisited. The former, after about a year's temporary abode at the Trappe, then known as Providence, Montgomery county, Pa., took up his abode at the Conestoga, near the present town of New Holland, Lancaster county, Pa. Here he lived until about 1740, when he moved to his newly-finished house on the Quittapahilla.

Wherever this young pastor dwelt, he reached out beyond, visiting his scattered countrymen and organizing them into congregations. Thus we find him in charge of supplying the first Lutheran churches in Montgomery, Berks and Lancaster counties, even before he was ordained. In 1732, Rev. John Christian Shultze, a Lutheran minister ordained in Germany, arrived in this country, and took charge of the congregations at Philadelphia, Providence and New Holland, by which Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg was called ten years later. Shultze early visited Stoever, and being obliged in less than a year to return to England and Germany to secure ministers and money for the relief of Lutherans in Pennsylvania, he ordained Stoever and placed him over these congregations. This ordination took place at the Trappe, in a barn, being the only place of worship this congregation could then afford, and it claims to be the first solemn setting apart to the holy office of a German Lutheran on Pennsylvania territory. Pastor Stoever must have been a prince at organizing churches. We find his name associated with almost every Lutheran congregation that was founded during the fiist decade and a half after his arrival in America, in what is now Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon and York counties. At the Trappe, New Holland, Lancaster, Warwick (Brickerville), Tulpehocken, Nothkill (Bernville), Heidelberg (Schaefferstown), Bethel, at Jordan, Krupps, the Hill Church (Berg-Kirch), and at York, his name is associated with the laying of the foundations. Out of these small beginnings have directly grown dozens of strong congregations, and indirectly developed much of the Lutheranism of this State and beyond. For it is quite certain that eastern Pennsylvania is the cradle of the greater portion of American Lutheranism, that to-day numbers its communicants by many hundred thousands.

The organization of the Hill church in 1733, which, however, was long designated as "The Church on the Quiltapahilla," doubtless led Pastor Stoever to rear his home near it. Hence, having built* this abode he removed hither from the Conestoga in about 1740, and here raised his family. Here transpired what is of domestic interest for more than the latter half of the long life of this enterprising and energetic dominie.

There are two incidents of peculiar interest associated with this ancient landmark. The one is the friendly hospitality shown a fellow pastor and his family upon their arrival here from the Fatherland. This family was no less a one than that of the Rev. John George Eager, the first American progenitor of the well known Baughers of the Lutheran Church. When this ancestor, after a brief pastorate in Simmern, Germany, arrived with his small family in Philadelphia, October 23, 1752, Pastor Stoever, by previous arrangement we presume, was there to meet him and take him to his own home "on the Quittapahilla." Here the new-comers were hospitably quartered for eight months. Meanwhile (June gth, 1753) the third child was born unto these recent immigrants, which was named Catharine Margaret, and at whose baptism by Pastor Stoever, the dominie's wife and hostess stood as sponsor. Rev. Eager had meantime received and accepted a call as pastor from the Lutheran church of Hanover, Pa., which he served for three months before removing his family from this hospitable abode. It is worthy of mention in this connection that by a singular and happy coincidence, two descendants of these friends and yoke-fellows were afterwards intimately associated as co-workers in the early history of Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg—the one in the person of Dr. Henry Louis Baugher as professor of Greek and as President of the institution for a period of thirty-six years, and the other, Prof. Martin Luther Stoever, LL.D., as principal of the preparatory department and as professor of history and Latin in college for a period of twenty-eight years.

The other incident alluded to is that connected with Pastor Stoever's death. Although feeble and sickly for years prior to his demise, this energetic servant of God did not unbuckle his gospel harness until the end came. His debilitated condition, however, sometimes incapacitated him to leave his house, when, if possible, he sought to minister to his people there. Thus he had requested his catechetical class of the Hill church to meet him at his home on Ascension Day (May 131!:, 1779), anxious that they be confirmed on that day in order to be ready to participate with the congregation in the celebration of the Lord's Supper on the coming Whitsuntide. Accordingly the class here convened, and after a lengthy and fatiguing service of review and examination, concluding with the rite of confirmation, the pastor, utterly exhausted, fell over and expired in the presence of his family, some members of his flock and the class upon whose heads he had just laid the hands of confirmation. His funeral took plage a few days later at the Hill church, where in the adjoining graveyard his ashes repose. It is possible that the near future will see a fitting monument rise here to do honor to a life so abundant in labors and so self-sacrificing and heroic in its efforts to help and befriend others.

Before taking our leave of this interesting old mill-manse—now the property of Henry S. Heilman, who in 1879 purchased it of a Mr. Shenk, and soon thereafter undertook to make some internal repairs—let me say that much of the building's interior and exterior is as it was in the days of Stoever. ' Tis true, the domestic apartments have

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Rev. John Caspar Stoever's Timeline

December 21, 1707
Lüdorf, Wermelskirchen, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
May 6, 1734
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States
March 10, 1736
Earl Twp, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
August 21, 1738
Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States
November 21, 1740
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States
April 26, 1743
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States
January 27, 1746
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States