St. Johnís Reformed Church, Napier Twp.

History: This congregation was organized by Rev. John Dietrich Aurandt in 1806. The following heads of families were the original members of the church: John Schell, Sr., Tobias Hammer, Herbert Otto, Peter Schell (all of whom were church officers), John Mowry, Benjamin Bisel, John Fisher, Henry Darr, Abraham Whetstone, John Corley, John Winegardner.

The first church in which the congregation worshiped was built jointly by the Reformed and Lutheran congregations in 1806, and is still standing in the old cemetery, one-fourth of a mile west of Schellsburg. It is still used on funeral occasions (in 1884). It is a log building, 25x30 feet (now weatherboarded in 1884), two stories high, with galleries on three sides, a wineglass pulpit, and a very large altar--nearly in the center of the church. The building was not finished at once, but piecemeal; two hundred and twenty-five dollars and ninety-five and one-half cents in money was spent in its construction. For three years the church was without a stove, and for several years the members sat on logs instead of benches. The original membership of this congregation was thirty-seven. The present brick church in the borough was built in 1851 at a cost of twenty-two hundred dollars. It stands on land deeded to the church by John Schell, the founder of the town.

There are now eighty members in the church, and forty in the Sabbath school. The pastors of this congregation have been: Revs. John Dietrich Aurandt; John Henry Gerhart, 1811-29; George Leidy, 1835-43; Jacob Ziegler, 1844-9; Henry Heckerman, 1850-9; Joseph Hannabery, 1859-62; N. H. Skyles, 1863-73; W. D. LeFevre, 1873-7; H. S. Garner, 1878.

(Source: The History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pa., Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1884, p. 280-1.)

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