zionch.html Untitled
 Johannes Hahn: background
History Lessons:
 Donation of Johannes' Bible
 St. Paul Lutheran Church, Newton, NC
 Zion Lutheran Church, Hickory, NC
 Furor over a baptism
 Hawn marriages in Catawba County, NC
 Hawn burials in Catawba County
This 'n' That:
 Hahn coat of arms
  Historian Yoder's view
 George M. Yoder, historian
 Palatines to America
 About Catawba County
 Bollinger leads migration
 Memories of Hahn Chapel
 Memories of Cape Girardeau
 Letters from visitors (16 pages)
 Photos of some Hawns


By James Simpson
Church Historian
(Born December 24, 1933 died February 18, 1999)
According to the best of our knowledge and resources, the following is a brief history of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church compiled in fifty year periods.


(Zion Church's history) can be described as a spiritual renaissance in the lives of many pioneer families in what is now Catawba County. Settlers from Germany, many of them Lutherans, had come to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia for the purpose of religious freedom. As they moved southward and eastward intoworshippers North Carolina, a need for a house of worship was paramount in each settlement or community.

 The Rev. Adolph Nussman, a former Catholic priest, and Johannes Gotfried Arends, a school teacher, began work in the Rowan County area around 1773. Twelve years later, Arends (who was ordained in 1775) moved to Lincoln County and took charge of all the churches west of the Catawba River.  

As he traveled from settlement to settlement on horseback, teaching and preaching the Word of God, Arends and the people saw a need for another church in this area.

Old St. Paul s’ Lutheran Church (Lutheran and Reformed) in Newton was the first church started in what is now Catawba County. A number of the members of St. Paul ~ Church saw the need for a church in the western portion of Catawba County, so they organized in 1790 and formed Zion Lutheran Church.

And so it was that Zion, the first exclusively Lutheran church in what is now Catawba County (Catawba County was not formed until 1842), was organized in 1790 under the leadership of Arends.

The deed for Zion called for a ten acre tract of land and was made on October 12, 1790 by Christian Nigh (Nay) to Martin Speigel and Johannes Hahn (Hawn). Trustees, at a cost of five pounds. In his journal, Rev. Arends referred to Zion as the “New South Fork” to distinguish it from St. Paul’s which had been established a few years earlier as a joint Lutheran-Reformed congregation and called “South Fork.”

The original deed is on file in the Register of Deeds office in Lincoln County, since the land was a part of Lincoln Counly at that time.

Since the camera was not yet in existence, no known picture or artist’s sketch exists of the original building. However, historical documents describe the church as being made of logs and hand-finished planks and measured approximately 30 by 36 feet. It was two stories high with a balcony on three sides and a high pulpit over which a sounding board was placed. The church, according to one report, was finished with neatness and considerable ornament for that period of time and was dedicated in 1792.

All sermons were preached in German until 1840.

A school for public instruction was also built nearby at this same time and a church cemetery laid off. Trustee Hahn, who gave considerable help in the building of the new facilities, lived to see them completed, but died shortly thereafter in 1793. He was the first person to be buried in the cemetery and his grave is marked with a a stone cross inscribed in German and Latin.

henkel The oldest known picture of former pastors is that of The Rev. Paul Henkel and wife. The young Pastor Henkel assisted Pastor Arends in 1803 and is con­sidered Zion’s second pastor.


began a new fifty year period of continued Christian growth in the life of Zion. As the church grew in faith and membership, the people felt a need for increased instruction in the Word of God.

In 1882, the congregation realized a need for a new church. With the help of a $400.00 bequest from the Marcus Yoder Will for that purpose, a new church was built and the cornerstone laid April 30, 1884. The Rev. J. C. Moser was pastor when the church was finished and dedicated on March 20, 1885.



According to one hand-written account, the first sermon preached in the new brick church was by Beneficiary P. G Wike, a student of theology at Conover College on July 13, 1884. His text, from the 10th chapter of Romans, was “whoever Calls Upon The Name Of The Lord Shall Be Saved.”

The first communion service in the new church was on November 8, 1884.

marked the end of Zion’s first one hundred years of Christian ministry. It also signaled the beginning of a second century of commitment to God’s work and sharing the Gospel with all people.

Having just completed a new sanctuary five years earlier, no new buildings were erected during the next fifty years. However, Zion continued to update and renovate its existing facilities in order to better serve its people and pro~ vide a meaningftul place of worship.

It was during this next half century that Zion became more involved in lay ministry, and more emphasis placed upon Christian education for all members of the congregation, as well as reaching out to those outside the church.

The following auxiliaries were organized and became actively involved in the life the the church: Women of the Church, 1910 Young People’s Children of the Church, 1918 Light Brigade, late 20s.

Light Brigade at the church about 1930. They are left to right back row: Mrs. Clorette Sigmon Moretz, Mrs. Winnie Beard Ward, Mrs. Ruby Yoder Donkle, Mrs. Lula Bowman Huffman, Mrs. Coleen Same Holder. Middle row: Mrs. Revonda Bowman Rhodes, Mrs. Neva Same Smith, Mrs. Nina Yoder Pitts, Miss Lorene Link. Front row: Herman Beard, Orland Yount, Odell Yount, James Propst

All of these organizations except for the Light Brigade, are still active in the life of Zion today, although some of the names have changed.

As best can be determined, Zion first celebrated Homecoming on August 21, 1938 during the pastorate of Rev. C. E. Lutz, with approximately 500 people present. The Rev. Roy B. Setzer, a son of the congregation, delivered the sermon after which Holy Communion was observed. Also included in that first Homecoming celebration was a decoration of graves in the old cemetery, a picnic dinner, a memorial service for deceased pastors, led by Mrs. Loy Deal, and a reading of the church history by Walter Hahn.


became the decade of political unrest in Europe and Asia, which eventually resulted in World War II. Even in war, Zion shared in the cause of justice and freedom as more than forty of her members served in active duty in the United States armed forces. One, Pvt. Albert Lee Ward, made the supreme sacrifice as he was killed in action.

In spite of the war, Zion continued to serve the Lord and on January 1, 1940 became a self-sustaining parish.

Prior to that time, Zion was associated in a joint parish at different times with Bethlehem, Holy Trinity, and New Jerusalem. The parsonage, which belonged to all three churches, was sold and a new brick parsonage for Zion was built in 1941. Rev. John D. Barringer became the first pastor of the newly independent Zion Lutheran Church.

Due to a growing membership and a need for additional Sunday School space, Zion built its first educational building in 1949 under the leadership of Pastor Don M. Michael. What a memorable and inspirational time that must have been! Classes, that for 67 years had met in different areas of the sanctuary or out on the church grounds when weather permitted, could now study God’s Word in their own individual classrooms!

With a broadened vision of community involvement and seeing a need for a multi-purpose building, a new parish center was constructed in 1976. Pastor George T. Moore provided the leadership for this bold undertaking, although the building was not completed during his tenure. He was, however, present and participated in the note-burning service on January 10, 1982.

A bequest to Zion from the will of Maude McCaslin was instrumental in the financing of this facility. groundbreaking groundbreaking2 In order to meet a growing congregation amidst an area of rapidly increas­ing population, Zion began to plan for a new house of worship that would provide for the needs of its people for the twenty-first century. With a generous bequest of $100,000 from the Elenora Deal Hood Will and under the leader­ship of Pastor Floyd W. Bost, Zion took a giant step forward in building a new sanctuary at a cost of well over one-half million dollars. The new building was completed and a service of dedication held on February 15, 1987.

It is interesting to note that all of Zion’s present facilities were made possi­ble, in large part, through the generosity of three faithful people who loved their Lord and their church. By leaving a part, or all of their estates to Zion, they not only gave back to God in response to His having blessed them, they also left a legacy by which they will forever be remembered as “good and faithful” servants.

Such examples of good stewardship are certainly worthy of our emulation, and we, as God’s people, should consider making a love gift to Zion in our Last Will and Testament.

The year 1990 marked the beginning of Zion’s third century of Christian wit­ness. God truly blessed Zion congregation and fulfilled His promise made long ago when He said, “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am Tin the midst of them.” From a humble beginning of a few God-fearing people in a wilderness area more than two hundred years ago, Zion has grown to 706 baptized believers. Zion has surely felt God’s presence and has become a staunch Christian congregation that continues to witness to and share the “Good News” of the Gospel.


At a time when the North Carolina Lutheran Synod celebrates its 200th anniversary, Zion continues in its 215th year to celebrate its heritage and to spread the Gospel in Western Catawba County. Zion has a glorious Christian heritage. While it is fitting to celebrate, God forbid that we rest upon any lau­rels or take excessive pride in our accomplishments! As we celebrate, let us not forget our responsibilities to insure that Zion will continue to be the instrument of God’s word that will be a “lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path” of those who follow us in the centuries ahead. But let us not for a moment think we can do it alone!

We must first and foremost always be mindful that God working in, through, and among His people has made Zion the beacon of Christian witness that it is today. Without God’s continuing presence, love and mercy, Zion’s history would have perished long ago.

Pastors Who Have Served Zion
J. Gottfried Arends, 1790 1807
Paul Henkel (assisted Arends) 1803)
Philip Henkel (assisted Arends) 1805 — 1807
Philip Henkel (fuiltime pastor) 1807 — 1812
Daniel Moser (preached 7 yrs before being ordained).
Christian Reitzel 1840 — 1847
Timothy Moser 1847 — 1852
Henry Goodman 1852— 1865
Polycarp Henkel 1865 — 1870
J.  M. Smith 1870 — 1881
J.  S. Koiner 1881 — 1883
J.  C. Moser 1883 1885
B. S. Brown 1886 — 1887
J.  C. Moser 1888 — 1906
J.  D. Mauney 1907 — 1909
B. L. Stroup 1909 1915
V. L. Fulmer 1915— 1917
W. D. Haltiwanger 1917 — 1925
W. G. Cobb 1926 — 1927
. H. L. Lingle 1927 1931
C. E. Lutz 1931— 1939
John D. Barringer 1940 — 1942
W.L. Smith 1943 — 1945
D. B. Summers 1945 — 1949
Don M. Michael 1949 — 1951
Jacob H. Young 1951 — 1956
Luther R. Sloop 1956 — 1964
Ed H. Orinson 1964 — 1969
George Moore 1970 — 1976
Dennis Setzer 1976 — 1981
Floyd W. Bost 1982— 1991
W. Edward Harper, Jr. 1991 - 2000
James Stephenson (Interim) 2000 - 2003
John N. Woodard 2003 — Present

Please see the list of burials in the Zion church cemetery.

Addendum from Linda Cashen Gaunt:

The father of Henry H. Hahn, Joshua Hahn Jr.'s father was Joshua Hahn Sr. who married Elizabeth (Eve) Hinkle in 1790 in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Following Eve's lineage, she was the daughter of Jacob Henkle and Barbara Mary Deiter. Jacob was the son of Johann Justus (Jost) Henckle and Maria Magdalena Eschmann. Jost was the son of Reverend Anthonius Jacob (Anthony Jacob) Henckel and Maria Elizabeth Dentzer.

Did you know that the Eve Hinkle in my research was the sister of Reverend Paul Henkle ... and your site has Pastor Henkel assisting Pastor Arends in 1803 and being con­sidered Zion’s second pastor ... are one in the same???

Anthonius Jacobus was the second child and oldest son of Georg. He, no doubt, attended the village school before he entered the University of Giessen on May 5, 1668. He passed his theological examination at the University and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor at Eschelbronn on February 28,1692. He married his second cousin Maria Elizabeth Dentzer (1672 - 1744) at Kirchain, Germany. To them were born the thirteen children.

The following is data secured by Dr. Burt Brown Barker in researching Germany: This entry in the Church Journal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Daudensell by Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel: On September 27th my little son, John Melchoir, has been changed from mortality to immortality and given a Christian burial on the 29th of the same month. May he rest in peace, and God will awake him to immortality after that. He had spent his life of 10 years, 7 months, 2 weeks and 2 days." [translation]

This entry in the Church Journal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Daudensell by Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel: On September 27th my little son, John Melchoir, has been changed from mortality to immortality and given a Christian burial on the 29th of the same month. May he rest in peace, and God will awake him to immortality after that. He had spent his life of 10 years, 7 months, 2 weeks and 2 days." [translation]

Again in the Daudensell Church Journal: "On September 25th my dear little daughter, Maria Christina, fell sleep peacefully in the arms of our Lord and was buried in a Christian manner on the 28th at the age of 4 years, 7 months, 2 weeks and 2 days." translation]

Once again in the same church journal: "On December 22nd my little daughter Benigna Maria, followed her little sister and paid the debt of nature and was buried in her little ouch on the 23rd with a funeral sermon, a the age of 1 year, 2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day." [translation]

The other two children who died before Anthony came to America are only known by name. No records of their deaths were found. They were the eldest and youngest sons, John Nicholas and John Phillip.

The only child to marry before coming to America was the eldest daughter, Johanna Frederica, who married Valentine Geiger in Germany. They came with the Henckel Family to America.

Anthonius Jacobus was active in the Lutheran ministry, serving five congregations in the Palatinate until June 1717, when he left his last parish at Neckargemund and appears to have reached Philadelphia in the following September.

Three Ships from Rotterdam arrived in Philadelphia in September of 1717: On 19 Sep 1717, ship lists were turned in showing that Captain Richmond had imported 164 immigrants, Captain Tower had imported 91 immigrants, and Captain Eyers had imported 108 immigrants. Among the immigrants listed were Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel and Valentine Geiger (son-in-law to Reverend Henckel) to Hanover, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In 1717, a group of Lutherans, headed by the Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel and his son-in-law, Valentine Geiger arrived on one of three vessels which reached Philadelphia in September, 1717.

In 1718, Anthony Jacob Henckel acquired a tract of 250 acres in Hanover township, where as Muehlenberg testifies, he "ministered for a number of years to the first settlers of that region."

He was accompanied by seven surviving children, four sons and three daughters, and other companions who formed a colony at New Hanover County, in what is now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.The land on which they located was largely virgin forest. The colony soon erected dwelling houses, a school house and later a church; hence, it was distinctly a pioneer colony.

Described by his contemporaries as being six feet tall with great physical strength, he was bold and courageous and had a vigorous missionary zeal. As a Lutheran minister, he traveled on horseback as a circuit preacher into the wilderness in southeastern Pennsylvania, to the Germans in Virginia, and to the German Lutheran congregations within distance of his home. Credited with the establishment of the Lutheran Church in Germantown, a memorial tablet was placed in St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1917 citing him as the founder and first pastor of St. Michael's Church. On August 17, 1728, as he was returning home one dark night from the sick bed of one of his congregation, his horse stumbled and threw him off. He was taken to the home of Herman Goothausen where he died that night. His wife Maria Elizabetha died January 24, 1744 at seventy-three years of age. They are both buried in St. Michael's Lutheran churchyard, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In his will Anthony Jacob Henckel left to his two youngest sons, John Justus and Anthony Jacob, the 250-acre home farm in New Hanover Township, then in Philadelphia County, now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The History of Pendleton County states that he was a Hofprediger or Court Pastor who came to America to serve in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Death was caused by a fall from a horse.

From an old newspaper clipping: Anthony Jacob Hinkle, founder if the first German Lutheran Church in America, in 1717, Old St. Michael's, Germantown, Pa.. Three of the old preacher's sons fought in the battle of Germantown over the grave of the father when the British destroyed the church and pipe organ, scattering the papers over the churchyard

This page was compiled by Linda H. Setzer,. Write to Linda Setzer [email protected]@embarqmail.com (remove one @ before sending).
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