Reformed United Church of Christ
Although the Reformed-Washington County Church was founded even prior to 1776, there are no authentic records or documentation. Its first regular pastor was Rev. Jacob Weymer, who was first put in charge of the congregation in 1770, and who continued to serve it until his death, which occurred in 1790. During his pastorate the oldest church edifice was erected, in the year 1774, at 201 North Potomac Street. It was the first within town limits and the oldest church building in Washington County that has been in continuous use.
The congregation elected William Heyser, a member and deacon of the congregation, building-master, who was assisted in the construction of the church by his colleagues, Philip Osten, Peter Wagner, and Jacob Hauser, who carried the work on to the laying of the corner-stone. Work did not begin for about four years from the gifted land.
On this occasion Rev. Frederick Ludwig Henop, Reformed pastor at Frederick Town (Frederick), who had been invited to be present, preached on the words contained in Colossians iii. 17, " And whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." At this service, which was held on the ground on which the church was to be built, there was likewise present Jacob Weimer, Reformed pastor in Elizabethtown, Rev. George Young, Lutheran pastor, and Rev., also Lutheran pastor of Fredericktown ; William Heyser, builder, and Philip Oster, Peter Wagner, Jacob Hauser, deacons. The following were the members of the first congregation : William Baker, Ernst Baker, Yost Wegand, Isan Guadig, Johannes Karr, Frantz Greilich, Herman Greilich, Andreas Link, Eustagines Jung, Wilhelm Couralh, Henrich Doutweller, Jacob Fischer, Johannes Steinscyfer, Frantz Wagner, Ernst Ditz, Rutholple Bley, Johannes Oster, Michael Eberhart, Matthaub Saylor, George Herdii, George Clampert, Johannes Nicholas Schister, George , Hanadam —, Valentin , Jacob Hauser, Peter Diller, George Frey, Johannes Frey, Conrad Eichelberger, Philip Klein, Ernst Kremer.
The congregation was comprised of German speaking immigrants, which were Hagerstown’s earliest inhabitants. Built by Germans upon a solid foundation, the church has endured with several modifications, for over two centuries.
The corner-stone was laid on the l0th of August, 1774. The ground occupied by the church was given by Jonathan Hager, founder of the town, and a member of the congregation who was killed on December 6, 1775, by a rolling log while engaged in cutting timber for the church edifice. There is no record of the date of consecration of the church.
The congregation worshiped there for many years with an unfinished interior. One possible reason is that William Heyser, also Captain Heyser organized a company of German volunteers and led them to support General George Washington. Captain Heyser was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine and returned home to complete the building.
The dedication probably took place about 1778.
Improvements in the church building were made from time to time, and the entire structure was remodeled and placed in its present condition in 1867-68. About the same time a chapel was erected beside the church, on the site of the old lecture-room. Two or three years afterwards the tower of the church, which had been left unchanged when the remodeling took place, was replaced by a new one. The new spire, however, was blown down by a violent tornado in June, 1878,—a heavy loss to the congregation. The bells, which were cast in 1785 in Rotterdam, were returned there in 1885, when the tower was rebuilt. The Sunday-school connected with the church numbered, in 1881, thirty odd teachers and over two hundred scholars.
It is my understanding that the sanctuary remains the original 1774 sanctuary.
The church has a Möller organ built by M.P. Moller Pipe Organ Company in Hagerstown in 1928. It has been improved and enhanced throughout the years. The church also has a large number of beautiful stained glass windows, which were added between the years 1880 and 1908.
Church Website: http://www.zionhagerstown.org/Zion_Hagerstown/Welcome.html
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_Reformed_United_Church_of_Christ (Excellent historical overview)
Unfortunately on the day of our visit in June 2015 to photograph the cemetery, the gates were locked and we could not gain access. The photo album below was done through the fence. Many of the stones can be read.
In the cemetery of the Reformed Church, which was provided for early members, some of those interred here:
Alexander Armstrong 9.8.1798 to 10.29.1870
John S. Barr dod: 7.6.1856
Beall 4.10.1796 to 5.1843
Samuel Beeoher dod: 10.8.1821
Ludwig Carl Bodman 11.29.1752 to 4.1.1828
Bragunier dod: 2.11.1879
Bragunier 5.30.1788 to 1.16.1838
Daniel Burgesser dod: 3.14.1865
Frederick Bryan dod: 7.26.1871
Jonas Cramer 10.14.1755 to 8.14.1835
William Freaner dod: 4.12.1870
Gruber dod: 12.29.1857
Jacob Gruber dod: 9.16.1875
Michael Hammond dod: 11.13.1857
Daniel Heister, " the patriot, the soldier, and the statesman 1747 to
Henneberger dod 9.11.18596
William Heyser dod: 9.10.1836
Hoffman 10.23.1789 to 3.6.1870
Humrichouse dod: 2.13.1837
Humrichouse 7.6.1791 to 10.5.1876
Keller dod: 9.19.1846
Kershner 4.12.1787 to 10.6.1857
Knode 9.26.1751 to 2.2.1828
William Kreps dod: 2.28.1822
Elizabeth Hager Lawrence 8.1.1785 to 8.5.1867 (only grandchild of Jonathan Hager, founder of Hagerstown, and the wife of Upton Lawrence)
Benjamin Leight dod: 10.14.1848
Alexander McCamman dod: 4.5.1869
McNamee dod: 8.11.1858
Daniel Middlekauff 8.6.1794 to 10.23.1855
Gottleib Mittag 3.7.1776 to 11.4.1828
Henry Middlekautf 10.18.1766 to 3.13.1837
Margaret Post dod: 3.7.1810 (wife of Rev. Christian F. Post)
Jonathan Rahauser, pastor 12.14.1764 to 9.23.1817
John S. Rahauser 2.23.1794 to 6.29.1818
Daniel Rench dod: 12.2.1831
Martin Rickenbaugh 4.3.1793 to 2.16.1874
David Schnebly 5.8.1770 to 10.4.1842
Jolin Seitz dod: 3.30.1831
Jacob Stahl 2.2.1762 to 9.6.1831
Sarah Thornburg 12.17.1796 to 12.9.1830
John Tice, Sr. 11.26.1770 to 7.27.1833
John C. Ulrich dod: 3.4.1848
Andrew Wagoner dod: 8.22.1872
Johannes Weller dod: 1.1.1800
Isaac S. White, Sr. dod: 1844
Ann Williamson dod: 8.16.1857
Elizabeth Wingert dod: 12.12.1806 (wife of Peter Wingert, and daughter of David Hager)
1.11.1784 to 8.30.1861
Frederick Wolfersperger 5.8.1780 to 12.6.1821
There are 708 souls buried here. The oldest burial is of Peter Rench in 1771. The last burial was in 1991. There are no spaces available, however, the church has established a memorial garden for cremated remains of members. The ashes of Jonathan Hager are interred here.