Among these persecuted families were Conrad Weiser and his father.Although he first settled in the province of New York, this man Conrad Weiser was to become a most important factor in the early organization of the Allemaengel Lutheran Church.How this came about, will be shown by repeated reference to him throughout this history.
Besides the Lutheran and Reformed, there were many other Protestant sects among the early German, Swiss and Dutch arrivals in Pennsylvania.Considering the causes for their departure from their homelands, we may safely presume that many of them came here without wealth.As a rule, they were poor peasants, and many of them consumed their scant means in the journey across the ocean.Passage to America at that time, amounted to about $ 75.00 in present (1945) U.S. currency.
Among these new German arrivals was Conrad Weiser
arrived at Tulpehocken at the completion of the building of Reith's (Reed's) Church, in October 1727.He
family became members of the Lutheran congregation.In the absence of the regular minister of that Church, Weiser
became the reader of sermons.
The regular Lutheran clergyman was John Casper Stover, with whom Weiser
took issue and organized a movement to oust him from the pulpit.Weiser
, being Pietist Lutheran, believed in the concepts of religion advocated at Halle University in Germany, and desired to have this congregation served by a young clergyman trained there.He
admired the brilliant young clergyman who served the Reformed congregation, The Rev. Peter Miller, who preached inspiringly and stirred the emotions.Miller and Weiser
became intimate friends, a relationship which lasted until death parted them.
Casper Leutbecker joined in the campaign against Stover and declared that he
was in a position to secure the services of a young clergyman trained at Halle.He
announced that a young cleric, named Bagenkoff, was on his
way to America to serve at Reith's.A parish house was built for the expected preacher.Leutbecker, a tailor by trade, however moved into it.He
busied himself organizing classes for confirmation and preached in the pulpit of the church.The new preacher never arrived.Leutbecker announced that Bagenkoff had died at sea, and then installed himself as pastor of the church.
At this point Weiser became suspicious of the acts of Leutbecker.The ousted Rev. Stover was still holding services in barns and farmhouses.Weiser
followers could not gracefully support Stover, whom they had attempted to depose, and at the same time they were distrustful of the self-appointed Leutbecker.The controversy led to that period of Colonial Church history (1734-1743) known as the Tulpehocken Confusion.It reached its ridiculous stage when, in 1736, both parties vied with each other in suits of law to obtain sole possession of the Church keys.It was at this point that Weiser
friend, the Rev. Peter Miller joined the Brothers-In-Wisdom at the Ephrata Cloisters.Weiser
was now a very perplexed Christian.
gave up his
associations with the Moeavians and severed his
connection with the Ephrata Cloister.However, he
did not abandon all of the tenets which he
had professed while with the Brethren.
It is claimed that Weiser
finally yeilded and returned to full communion of the Lutheran Church.
EARLY RESIDENTS OF ALBANY TOWNSHIP WITH THE DATES OF THEIR ARRIVAL AT PHILADELPHIA AND THE NAMES OF THE SHIPS ON WHICH THEY CAME ACROSS.
Among the early residents of Albany Township, from old tax lists of 1758 and1759, are the names of a number of persons who were among the organizers of Allemaengel church, or who are mentioned as parents of children, in the early baptismal records of the church.Where no date of arrival is given, the names are not to be found on the ship list.Some of these early residents lived in Montgomery County before settling in Albany Township.This fact is noted in the list which follows.Of course, it is possible that many more lived at places closer to Philadelphia before coming to Albany Township, but in the absence of church records, etc., definitely showing this to be true, it is not possible to prove this unless the family happens to have records.
However, through the influence of Conrad Weiser
, the main body of the warlike bands was kept in check.As Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Militia, he
succeeded in protecting the Province by keeping the Iroquois Indians in a state of neutrality.He
built a chain of forts, spaced from 15 to 20 miles apart, and block houses, 5 to 10 miles apart, along the Blue Mountains, between Hunter's Mill, at the Susquehanna Gap, and the Lehigh Gap at Slatington.
There at the house of Conrad Weiser
met the Chiefs of Five Nations.Tradition has it, that he
also called on the LeVan family in Maxatawany Township, at the sight of the LeVan's Mill, which at present writing is being restored to its original appearance.He
also promoted a conference of the various German religious sects and denominations of Eastern Pennsylvania, which convened in Oley, Berks County, on February 10, 11 and 12, 1742 in the home of John DeTurk.His
aim was to encourage the different denominations to work harmoniously together as one great church, to bring the Baptists, Mennonites, Schwenkfelders, Quakers, Lutherans, Reformed, and Moravains under one Synodic roof, but here again he
failed.During this conference the first baptism of Indian converts in Pennsylvania was reported.
While on this visit, a mutual attraction between Weiser's
eldest daughter, Anna Marie, and the young clergyman developed, which culminated in their marriage on April 23, 1745.
In their extremity, I several times sent my assistant, Mr Kurtz to minister to them, and persuaded my father-in-law (Conrad Weiser
) to obtain a grant of land for church and school purposes . . . .".