“St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Harney”

Carroll County Times article for 14 August 1994

By Jay A. Graybeal

During the summer of 1889 a group of Harney Lutherans met to discuss building a church. The early history of St. Paul’s Church was written by J. P. Garner and published a century ago in the Taneytown Carroll Record newspaper:

The Committee appointed by the Lutheran church council of Mt. Joy to consider the propriety of building a Lutheran church at Harney, met July 15th. 1889. Dr. J. C. Bush was elected chairman, and D. J. Hesson secretary. After the subject was thoroughly discussed, and it was decided to build, Mr. George I. Shriver and J. L. Hesson were appointed a committee to see about a suitable place for the building, and the price asked for the lot.

On July 19th., the committee met to hear the report of Shriver and Hesson about the lots. Mr. Shriver reported that a lot 100 feet front and 200 feet deep, could be purchased from Mr. George Fream for $150.00, and after viewing the site it was decided to purchase it, and Dr. J. C. Bush, S. D. Reck and George I. Shriver, were appointed to procure a deed for the same, at the proper time.

Abraham Waybright, William H. Lightner and Joseph Spangler, were then appointed a soliciting committee with the power to enlarge the committee to six if necessary.

On motion of Wm. Lightner, it was decided that the church should be built 40 by 70, and Abraham Waybright moved that it be built of brick; both carried. On motion of Rev. Heilman, it was decided that the church be deeded to the trustees at Harney, and, should they fail to raise an organization, the Mt. Joy congregation be given the first chance to buy it. Dr. J. C. Bush, Geo. I. Shriver and S. D. Reck were appointed trustees.

On Oct. 15th., 1889, a people’s meeting was held, the object of which was to hear the report of the soliciting committee and their deliberations on the same. Wm. H. Lightner moved that the sum necessary to be subscribed, before the subscriptions be binding, be fixed at $2000. As an amendment, Mr. George Valentine moved that it be fixed at $1800., which was accepted.

On Nov. 6th., the solicitors gave the following encouraging report of the amount subscribed;

William Lightner, . . . . . . . . . . $1131.00
Abraham Waybright. . . . . . . . 455.00
J. L. Hesson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495.00
Making a total of $2081.00
The report was very satisfactory to all Dr. J. C. Bush then made the motion “that we proceed to build a Lutheran church at Harney, and that eleven men and the pastor as chairman ex-officio, be appointed a building committee to erect the church, who shall have the power to select a chairman, and elect a sub-committee of three to oversee the erection of said church, in accordance with the purposes and wishes of the committee as a whole, and that this committee of three shall exercise no power not delegated to it by the committee of eleven, and that all business be performed strictly according to parliamentary rules.”The above was accepted, and the following were elected a building committee; Dr. J. C. Bush, Abraham Waybright; Wm. H. Lightner, Abraham Hesson, J. L. Hesson; George I. Shriver, S. S. Shoemaker, W. A. Snider, George Valentine, W. E. Myers, and D. J. Hesson. D. J. Hesson was elected treasurer. MORE LIMITED SP.



LUTHERAN CHURCH (continued.)
The following were elected a sub-committee; Abraham Waybright, William H. Lightner, and S. S. Shoemaker. It was then decided to build a church with a tower, and have a bell. The sub-committee was then instructed to see about getting stone on the ground, and they, with the pastor, to determine the size of the church, and see where the brick could be procured and at what price.

On Nov. 13th., it was decided to build the church on the west side of the lot, and on Nov. 15th., the committee met again to hear the report of the sub committee, and ascertain the exact size to build at this time. It was decided to build 88 feet wide, 65 feet long and 16 feet to the square. A resolution was then passed giving the majority of the committee of eleven the right and power to reconsider any question at any time; a center tower was also recommended, this however, was reconsidered later, and the tower built at the east corner. The size of the building was also reconsidered, and quite a number of different plans and views presented, and quite a number of discussions arose before the building was completed. S. B. Florence of near Emmitsburg agreed to put up the stone work for 65 cents per perch, and the brick work for $3.00 per 1000. Mr. Clayton Bucher at first contracted for the carpenter work, but, after Mr. Bucher had commenced work, some trouble arose and the committee met and reconsidered the matter, and declared Mr. Bucher’s contract void.

Mr. Henry Kemper was next seen, and agreed to do the work for $1.37 1/2 per day, but, for some reason, Mr. Kemper was unable to do the work and Mr. Joseph Smith was employed on the following terms; Smith to have $2.00 per day, his foreman $1.75, and his other hands $1.50, allowing the committee to employ as many hands as they wanted, and at any price they could get them for, but Smith to have a general supervision over all.

On January 6th., 1890, a congregational meeting was held at Shoemaker’s Hall, at which time the constitution was unanimously adopted, and signed by the following persons as charter members; John C. Bush, Abraham Hesson, A. M. Waybright, Jeremiah Meals, J. W. Black, Charles E. Myers, Walter R. Bush, Gordon H. Hess, Martin Slagle, Geo. I. Shriver, C. F. Reindollar, W. E. Myers, D. J. Hesson, S. S. Shoemaker, J. L. Hesson, E. G. Sterner, W. H. Lightner, Annie E. Black, Rachel Drach, Sarah R. Lightner, Emma L. Shriner, Mary E. Hill, and Sabina Reck.

From the records kept we learn that the committee of eleven held twenty two different meetings, before the building was completed. During the summer of 1890, while the church was being erected, Rev. Heilman, pastor of Mt. Joy congregation, had quite a number at work trying to raise money to help pay for the building. He gave five boys each five cents, and told them to speculate with it, and see how much they could make out of it, until the church was ready for dedication; they were Morris Bishop, Frank Reindollar, Glenroy Black, Clyde Black and Vernon Black. The boys decided to form themselves into a company, and all work together, this done they were ready for business.

They invested their quarter in eggs; of course they bought as cheap as possible, and sold for as high a price as they could; some places they could buy their eggs for five cents per dozen, and Mr. J. W. Black, who was then huckstering, would take them to Baltimore and sell them, and invest the money in oranges and other small articles; these they would sell and invest again in eggs, and thus they kept on until they had a sufficient amount of money to start a small stand on the street, then they invested in ice cream, watermelons, oranges, candies, &c., and sold on the street every Saturday evening and were liberally patronized; thus they continued all summer, and in the fall, they held a picnic, and when all was summed up it was found that they had cleared about $42.00.

Five of the young ladies also started out at the same time, but they took a different plan, as is natural with the gentler sex, they preferred begging to speculating; of course some did sell small articles, such as lead pencils, taffy, &c.; the exact amount raised by the girls cannot be ascertained, but they, like the boys, did well, although their amount, we are told, was a few dollars less.

The corner stone of the church was laid on Sunday afternoon, May 4th., 1890, and the building was dedicated to the service of God on October 26th., 1890. The actual cost of the church was $4496.96. The amount to be raised on the day of dedication was $1456.30, and the amount subscribed was $1437.94. Since that time the church has grown from a mere handful of faithful workers to a membership of nearly 125, and a Sunday school numbering nearly 200, and a Christian Endeavor society of nearly 100.

The first officers of St. Paul’s Lutheran church were Dr. J. C. Bush, A. M. Waybright, D. J. Hesson, J. L. Hesson, John T. Ohler and Martin Slagle, who were installed on Jan. 20th., 1890. It was understood that this congregation was to be a part of Mt. Joy charge, and was organized under the pastoral care of Rev. H. M. Heilman, which was finally ratified by the Lutheran Synod at Hanover. Rev. Heilman faithfully served as pastor for several years, when he resigned to accept a charge at Altoona, Pa.

For a short time after this the congregation was supplied from Gettysburg, and finally Rev. Wm. Gardner Minnick accepted a call, and began his pastoral work on Dec. 1st., 1893 and to-day, not only does this congregation have a very handsome church, but also a beautiful cemetery has since been added, which contains 96 lots, and is located along the Gettysburg road about 1/4 mile from the church, and is known as Mountain View Cemetery.

Mr. Garner’s history of Harney will be included in the Historical Society’s new publication entitled “Carroll Record Histories of Northwestern Carroll County Communities.”
Photo Caption: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Harney, Md., photographed by J. W. Baldwin in 1905. From a copy print, gift of J. Robert Everhart, 1984.