St. Peter's (Beard's) Lutheran Church – Leitersburg
Beard's Church is best known in Washington County as one of the oldest Lutheran Congregations, if not the "oldest" in the County. The original Congregation was located on the banks of the Antietam Creek and possibly existed before the year of 1743. In June of 1787, the Church built on its present site, a building constructed with logs and with galleries on three sides and a pipe organ. The Congregation located on land secured from Major John Beard, thus the name "Beard's" Church was derived. To decide on the location, two lads, Peter Beard and Michael Stephey drew cuts and Peter Beard winning, the name of the Church became St. Peter's. Had Michael won, the Church would have been located differently, and would have been named St. Michael's).
The third Church was constructed of brick in 1860-63, 42' x 60' at a cost of $1,600.00 suffered damage in 1891 when a large walnut tree fell on a gable end. The remodeled edifice was dedicated on November 1892 with a new tower and bell added. Teams of horses and buggies caused a traffic jam on that day and many people were turned away. The lumber from the fallen walnut tree was used for the material in the construction of a new pulpit, chancel, rail, and lectern.
In 1966, a social room and educational wing was added and dedicated. In 1991, a new kitchen and work area was constructed. In 1994, a security and fire system was installed. In 1995 a newly constructed cupboard along with 2 new refrigerators were added to the kitchen area. In 1996, a new and larger holding tank for the water system was installed. Also, at the same time the Church pews were refinished and a third book holder was added to the pews to accommodate the Church Bibles. In 1998, a new public address system was installed along with very extensive repairs made to the Church steeple due to dry rot and water damage. The wooden exterior of the Church was covered with new vinyl and aluminum covering during that year, also. In the year of 1999 a new central air-conditioning was installed in the Church Sanctuary along with all of the adjoining rooms, and the exterior of the Church received a fresh coat of paint.
"Beard's" Church was aligned with St. Paul's, Leitersburg - Trinity, Smiths burg, and Mt. Moriah, Foxville in 1828 thru 1880. In 1880 the Leitersburg Lutheran Parish was formed with Beard's and St. Paul's Leitersburg with Jacob's Church being added in 1916. Jacob's closed their doors in 1972 and Beard's and St. Paul's severed their association in 1990. This severance leaving Beard's completely independent and operating on its own has proved advantageous to the Church as the roll of members and the attendance increased very tremendously. Our prayers are that with God's Precious Blessings, Beard's Church will continue to grow each and every coming year.
See also Maryland State Archives