Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church 1920 and today (2016)
Source: Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Maryland 1820-1920, Wentz; History of Western Maryland, Scharf; Deed information: Land Records of Washington County Book T page 825, provided by Joe Davis.
At the close of the eighteenth century the need for a house of worship was strongly felt in the region now known as Bakersville. There were only a few families and they were of different faiths, but the majority Methodists, German Reformed and Lutherans.
They came together, and at a point in the edge of a clearing,
they built a log church around 1800.
George had moved into the area in 1773 and owned 286 acres at the intersection which would become Bakersville. George died in May 8, 1813 and was one of the first to be buried in the “burying ground”. Incidentally, at the time the deed was recorded the crossroads was not Bakersville but was known as Carey’s Cross roads.
Later, in 1823 finding this house too small, they tore it down and replaced it with a very large stone structure, that was also used as a school house. Among the early contributors were Peter Palmer, Henry Poffenberger. Martin Newman, John Brantner. John Knode. Henry Zook. William Reynolds, Joseph Roberts, Henry and Jacob Dovenberger. Watkins James, and Otho Baker.
These three congregations worshipped in this house for a quarter of a century, when the Methodists either died out, or merged with the Lutherans and Reformed. These two congregations grew very rapidly, and finally, in 1853, they mutually and willingly agreed to separate, the Reformed people moving two miles west and building for themselves a church at Mount Moriah.
The Lutherans built a new meeting house known as Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, in 1854. This building was remodeled in 1888 at a cost of one thousand dollars and with a seating capacity of three hundred. The land where this church, with adjacent cemetery, now is, was donated by John and William Reynolds.
The first Lutherans were Germans and therefore conducted the services in German.
The English ministers of whom we have record were:
Rev. George Diehl, from 1840 to 1852
Mrs. Alice Reynolds, who died in 1912, bequeathed
the church $3,000. Just before her death she had donated an additional acre of
ground to the cemetery. Miss Savilla Welty, who died in 1916, bequeathed the
church $500. Out of these bequests the congregation in 1913 purchased new pews
and a new carpet costing $1,200. We made two visits to photograph the cemetery, click here.
In 1918 a pipe organ and a new lighting system were installed at a cost of $1,976. For thirty-two years Mr. Cornelius Snively was been treasurer of the church.
The communicant membership in 1920 was one hundred thirty. The Sunday school of which Mr. J. H. Brill was superintendent numbers one hundred twenty-seven. The Women's Missionary Society had a membership of twenty-one; the Young People's Missionary Society nineteen, the Mission Band twenty-nine and the Christian Endeavor thirty.
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Salem Evangelical Church's Address:
Phone: (301) 432-2155