1907 Hebron Church History - Chapter 4

 

History of the Hebron Church, Madison County, Virginia 1717-1907

CHAPTER IV

THE CHURCH BUILT AND THE CONGREGATION PERMANENTLY ESTABLISHED UNDER REV. GEORGE
SAMUEL KLUG. 1739-1764

Though God buries his workmen, he still carries forward his work. Rev. George
Samuel Klug became Rev. Stoever's successor. Little is known of his life in
Europe and little information exists as to his protracted labors as the second
pastor of the congregation. He was born at Elbing, Polish Prussia, about the
beginning of the eighteenth century, and studied theology at Helmstedt under
Abbot Mosheim. In 1736, through the advice of Rev. Daniel Rittersdorf, pastor
primarius of the church of St. Mary and Senior of the Ministerium at Elbing, he
was induced to accept a call which the commissioners of the church then in
Germany were authorized to extend him, to become assistant pastor[36] to Rev.
Stoever in Virginia. After examination before the Lutheran Ministerium of
Danzic, he was by their authority publicly ordained in the principal church of
St. Mary, August 30, 1736, and a testimonial was given him by the Evangelical
Ministerium there.

Soon after his ordination he started to London on his way to Virginia, to enter
upon his duties as assistant pastor, while Mr. Stoever continued in the work of
collecting money in Germany. He arrived in London in January, 1737, bearing
recommendations and letters to Dr. Ziegenhagen from Rev. Stoever who had
furnished him money for his travelling expenses. He lodged with Rev. Mr. Palm.
Here he remained about two years. The reason for his long stay in London is not
positively known, but it seems to have been caused by some trouble between him
and Rev. Stoever. The latter, in his will, shows clearly that Mr. Klug had been
engaged through the suggestions of Michael Holt to the Ministerium at Danzig.
Prof. W.J. Hinke, D.D. offers the explanation of the difficulty between them:
"Mr. Klug[37] was secured by the machinations of Michael Holt, who thereby tried
to supplant Mr. Stoever. I infer that he made false representations to the
ministers at Danzig, and on the strength of them Mr. Klug was engaged. When
Stoever heard of it he was at first very angry, but finally submitted to the
inevitable, and gave him money to travel to London. That Mr. Klug was not on the
best of terms with Stoever seems to be implied in the attitude of Dr.
Ziegenhagen towards Stoever, in the continued silence of Klug, refusing to
answer Stoever's letters, and in the absence of any reference to him when the
older Stoever advises his son about the future of the congregation."

He left London some time after September 28, 1738, for he carried a letter
bearing that date from Dr. Ziegenhagen to the congregation at Philadelphia. He
is known to have been in Virginia, May 20, 1739. This was the year of his
arrival, according to Rev. Brunnholtz.[38]

At once he entered upon his ministerial duties, gathering his scattered flock
and preaching in the German chapel. The two commissioners had returned. They and
the church officers were called together at the home of Michael Smith, May 20,
1739, the subscription lists were looked over and found correct, and the funds
collected and due were turned over to the congregation. We give a translation of
the last page of the old subscription book. It was made by the late Rev. Paul
Menzel, D.D., of Richmond, Va. "The accounts of this collection books were
looked over and found correct at Michael Smith's house in Orange County,
Virginia, by me as pastor of the Virginia Evangelical congregation, in the
presence of the vestrymen and elders of the congregation in the year 1739, May
11, 12 old calendar; and the money due the congregation was paid out in gold to
it. God grant that it may be used to His honor and to the edification of the
members of the congregation.

This is the wish of George Samuel Klug, born in Elbing, Polish Prussia, at
present minister of the divine Word with this congregation. Orange County, A.
D., 1739, May 20."

On the 21st of July following, a farm[39] of 685 acres of land was bought of Mr.
Thomas Farmer, for five shillings sterling and deeded to Michael Clore and
George Utz, trustees for the German Congregation. This is the farm so often
spoken of as having been bought with money secured in Germany. It was located at
the Great Mountains in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock River in the northern
part of Madison County, near the Champlane farm. It was patented by Mr. Farmer
in 1734, and with additional lands was repatented by the church in 1794.

The work of building the church began soon after his arrival. To build such a
house was no small undertaking in those days. It required much labor and time to
fell the trees, hew the logs for the strong framework, saw the weatherboarding
and ceiling with whipsawas, rive, shave, and joint the shingles, and make all
the nails in the blacksmith shop. But perseverance overcomes all difficulties,
and at length the heavy timebers were ready. the framework reared, and the work
completed in 1740, as the date on the great girder shows.

It was a frame structure, rectangular in form, fifty feet long by twenty-six
wide by thirty high, with a small vestry room, nine by thirteen feet, attached
to the north side just back of the pulpit. There was a door at each end and
doubtless one on the south side. A gallery to which a stairway led extended
across each end. The pulpit, as the custom was at that day, was goblet shape,
set up high against the side of the house, and was reached by steps. The roof
was really self-supporting, but the walls were further braced by a great girder
laid across the plates midway between the ends. The interior was ceiled, the
overhead ceiling being curved. The weather boarding was sawed to a feather edge,
and all the nails used inside and out were shopmade. Every piece of work about
it shows that these sturdy Lutheran pioneers built to endure.

The year the church was completed, the congregation addressed a letter[40] of
thanks to all their benefactors, high and low, in and outside of Germany. It was
dated, Orange County in America, August 29, 1740, and signed in the name of the
congregation accepting the unaltered Augsburg Confession. George Samuel Klug,
pastor, Michael Cook, Michael Smith, Michael Holt, Michael Clore, George Utz.

Strange as it may now seem, negro slaves were bought by the congregation,
between 1739 and 1743, to work the church lands. "This is one of the rare cases
wiherein Germans departed from their dislike of the institution of slavery."
This institution was then recognized and sanctioned by law, and some of them had
their own slaves. It was not considered wrong by many Christians to buy, sell,
or own them. As the institution existed in the colony the congregation took
advantage of it, and the purchase was made with money obtained in Europe. Pastor
Klug was himself a slave owner. The inventory [41] of his property, taken after
his death, shows that he had six in his possession. The year of the purchase by
the congregatioin and number are not known. Neither do we know the number owned
at any one time, except in 1743 when there were seven, and in 1748 when there
were nine. The number has been put at thirty and as high as sixty. But these
figures are certainly too high. A conservative estimate, we think, would be from
twelve to fifteen at most. The average price of a slave in 1740 was about twenty
pounds. Estimating the number first bought at nine (and this is quite likely)
the cost would have been a hundred and eighty pounds or about nine hundred dollars.

The pastor and congregation were carrying out Rev. Stoever's purpose which was
to buy twelve and use them in clearing and farming the church lands, and thus
provide a salary for himself and an assistant pastor without burdening the
church members. He also though that by treating them well and by instructing
them in the Word of God that they might become Christians and much good be done
them and others in this way. And we know that in later years some of them were
communicant members of the church.

Some time after the church was completed, a good and substantial school-house
was built and a congregational school was started-- the first German school of
its kind in the South. It is known to have been in operation as early as 1748--
how much earlier, we know not. The idea of the school and the provision made for
the means to establish it were Rev. Stoever's but the actual establishment of it
was the work of Rev. Klug. Some of our members still speak of the old house. It
was a frame building about sixteen by thirty feet and divided into two rooms.
This school was not kept up regularly, yet it appears at intervals for more than
a century. The school now known as Warwick Academy, one mile from the church,
conducted by Prof. John D. Fray, A.M., had its beginning in a little house on
the church lot, a short distance from the site of Rev. Klug's school-house. The
instruction given in this first school comprised, it is said, religion, reading,
writing, and arithmetic.

From 1743 to 1753, Moravian missionaries, in their travels, visited the
neighborhood of Hebron church several times. If they tried to win converts from
among his people, they did not succeed well. From their diaries [42] we have
gathered some facts about the congregation and its pastor. It seems certain that
Pastor Klug visited and preached for the Germans in the regions now comprising
Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, and Frederick Counties. In 1747, he was visiting
and preaching on the Shenandoah River twice a year. His parish at Hebron, the
following year, consisted of about eighty families within a circle of a few
miles. The congregation at that time (1748) had a beautiful church and
school-house and parsonage with several hundred acres of land and seven slaves
to work it. The pastor's salary, November 25, 1743, was eight hundred pounds of
tobacco.

"In or about 1746, the vagabond[43], Carl Rudolph, visited Madison County before
going to Frederick, Maryland, and gave trouble for a time" to both pastor and
people.

In June, 1749, Pastor Klug visited some of the Lutheran ministers in
Pennsylvania and spent two weeks with them. How comforting it must have been to
him, who stood as the only representative of his church in Virginia, to come
into contact and association with the ministerial brethren of his own faith! Dr.
Muhlenberg says,[44] "He complained that he stood so entirely alone in that
large and extensive country, as most of the inhabitants are English, and was
without the opportunity of being cheered and edified by his German colleagues in
office." We are not surprised at his loneliness and desire for fellowship with
ministers of the same faith and the same language. Rev. Peter Brunnholtz refers
to the same visit in a letter[45] of July 3, 1749: "When we had returned from
Lancaster we had a visit from Pastor Klug, of Virginia, three hundred and thirty
miles from here, who went there ten years ago. He desired to see our
arrangements and become acquainted with us. We received him kindly. He left
rather quietly and pleased." He adds the prayer, "God grant that the journey may
be a blessing to him."

"In 1754, Mr. Muhlenberg says[46]: 'We have recently received discouraging
accounts from there,' but he does not say of what nature. In an unprinted letter
of Mr. Muhlenberg, dated September 12, 1753, found in one of his manuscript
books, after mentioning some circumstances out of the history of the
congregation and the provision for pastor's support, he says, 'His Reverence
Pastor Klug can live there and wait on his office peacably and comfortably.
Whether any great hunger for the Word of God and of books manifested itself
then, I cannot say with certainty, but I have heard from some one (si fabula
vera est) that some years ago they burned a pile of treatises. We had the honor
several years since to see Pastor Klug here in Pennsylvania and were astonished
at his hearty and vigorous bodily constitution. May our gracious and almighty
God strengthen our brother and fellow laborer, especially as to his soul, make
him his chosen instrument and voice in the Virginia desert, especially as he
appears to have such robust, bodily strength and so healthy a spleen.'" Dr.
Muhlenberg's language shows plainly that he did not have the highest opinion of
his Christian zeal and spiritual earnestness in discharging the duties of his
high office.

He had some trouble with his people, the exact nature of which does not appear,
because he did not keep within proper bounds in regard to things indifferent,
and ran into extremes; but he lived on good terms with the clergy of the
Episcopal church.

No records of his work are to be found, except in the baptismal register of the
church and then only for fourteen years. During that time, he baptized only
about sixty infants, so far as we can ascertain. No doubt the list is incomplete
and does not properly represent the number.

He is spoken of as a man of ordinary ability, open to conviction, and orthodox
in doctrine. He was not a Pietist, nor over-zealous in the work of the Master.
Having a salary provided without effort in his part, without contact with
ministers of his own church, and with many and great difficulties to meet in his
work, it is not a matter of surprise that we are led to the conclusion that
during his long pastorate the church did not greatly prosper.

After twenty-five years of service, he went to his reward about the beginning of
1764. This we know from the records of Culpeper County. He was alive March 7,
1763, and appeared at court as one of the witnesses[48] of Peter Clore's will.
An inventory[49] of his property was presented in court, May 17, 1764, and
ordered to be recorded. He must have been dead only a short while. His body was
laid to rest in front of the chancel under the church. Though he had his faults
and had some trouble with his people, he must have been held in high esteem. His
widow Susanna, whose maiden name does not appear and who in later years married
Jacob Meadley, was given the use of the parsonage for seven years after his
death. He had a son who was educated in an English academy and studied theology.
He traveled to England and returned with regular orders. The following persons
married daughters of Rev. Klug: Godfrey Yager, Michael Broil, Matthias Broil and
William Lutspeck. His descendants could be found in the county after many years.

[36] Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., Vol. XIV., No. 2, p. 156.
[37] Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., Vol XIV., No. 2, p. 158.
[38] Hallische Nachrichten Series, No. 2, p. 402.
[39] Deed Book 3, pp. 298-300, Orange Co., Va.
[40] Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., Vol. XIV., No. 2, p. 168.
[41] Deed Book A, p. 367, Culpeper Co., Va.
[42] Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., Vols XI., XII.
[43] Hebron Church, Article III., Lutheran Visitor, April 15, 1886, by Dr.
Schmucker.
[44] Hallische Nachrichten, Series No. 2, p. 288.
[45] Hallische Nachrichten, Series No. 2, p. 402.
[46] Hallische Nachrichten, p. 656; and Hebron Church, Article III., Lutheran
Visitor, April 15, 1886, by Dr. Schmucker.
[48] Will Book A, Culpeper Co., p. 310.
[49] Will Book A, Culpeper Co., p. 367.

 

Additional Comments:
Note: There really was no footnote numbered 47 in the original book. They just
skipped the number.

 

 

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