Northampton Co., Pennsylvania
Organized 1770, first church of logs, built 1771; second edifice of stone, still standing, erected 1836; remodelled 1870 and 1905. Close to this historic old structure lie buried many generations of the Dreisbach family. Among these may be mentioned Simon Dreisbach (born in Oberndorff, Wittgenstein, Germany, in 1698, immigrated to America in 1743, died at his home near Kreidersville in 1785), the founder of the oldest branch of the Dreisbach family in America; his sons, Yost (1721-1794) and Simon (1730-1806), both distinguished for their patriotism and active services in the War of the Revolution, the latter a member of the building committee of the original Zion's Church; Simon's son Jacob (1756-1817) and his son Jacob (1794-1825), making four generations in one line.
When the extended family gathers for the third reunion in 2001, one of the prime places of interest will be Zion Stone Church. The sons of immigrant Simon Dreisbach, Sr. were active in its founding, and many Dreisbachs are buried in the church graveyard.
Simon's son Jost had started the Indian Creek congregation, nestled between the Indian Land and Moore township congregations near the Blue Mountains in northern Northampton County. These three congregations were unable to provide enough for the salary for a pastor, and Simon Jr. worked to try to unite them into a single congregation.
When most of the members of the Indianland and Moore township congregations decided at the last minute to remain at their original locations, the members of Indian Creek, the Germans in Allen township, and a few others determined to go ahead with their plans [for a new church.]Simon Dreisbach's descendant Fred Varker recalls his various visits to the Stone Church:
On June 18, 1772 Andrew Friderichs and William Pythan laid the cornerstone for a church. Friderichs and Henry Helffrich dedicated the new stone church on November 15, 1772, the day after a union agreement was formally ratified. Nine days earlier, six officers of the Indian Creek church agreed that since the new "church is now finished and we have abandoned the church at Jost Dreisbach's we deem it reasonable that we shall have no further use for the church vessels here, but desire to transfer them to the new Stone church." Accordingly, they turned over the baptismal dish, chalice, table cloth, and collection bags. Perhaps it could be said that the final step in endowing the Allen township church with what remained of Indian Creek was not taken until 1920, when the last remaining tombstones were removed from the old graveyard, encased in concrete, and placed in the graveyard of the Stone church.
A union register for the "Stone Church in Allen Township" was begun in 1772. Later, each congregation had its own.
On December 7, 1772 Peter Friedt sold to Valentine Waltman, George Edelman, George Michael Bastian, Casper Erb, Adam Driesbach, and Simon Driesbach, trustees of the Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed congregations in Lehigh, Moore, and Allen townships, two acres, "to perform Divine Worship in the Church already built on the said hereby granted Premises after the manner of their respective Religions and at their pleasure to erect Churches or School Houses thereon, and to educate (in the Buildings made or to be made) their Children in the German Tongue."--Pastors and People, Charles H. Glatfelter, 1980, p. 388
|I first visited Zion Stone Church in January 1995, inspired by the
publicity I was receiving in connection with the Dreisbach
reunion that was to be held in October of that year. I was impressed
by the magnificence of the pastoral setting and by this simple, solidly
constructed church standing on a small knoll, with its well-kept cemetery
on gently sloping ground. According to a published cemetery record,
there are some 50 graves bearing Dreisbach names. A granite and bronze
lists 60 men buried there who were veterans of the Revolutionary War; seven
of them are Dreisbachs.
A subsequent visit to the church and cemetery was made in 1998 in connection with a fund-raiser to improve the 'Old Graveyard.' Topsoil was needed as well as tombstone repairs (the first burial was in 1772). There were raffles, a bake sale, flea market, etc. and tours of the cemetery were conducted by church historian Harold Smith.
Another fund-raiser was held in October, 1999. Descendants of the Simon Dreisbach line may be interested to know that contributions in amounts of $50 or more can be designated for perpetual care of specific graves. Trust fund certificates are issued to donors.
Those who attended the first reunion will recall that the church invited everyone to the Sunday morning service. There was a display of pewter communion vessels and collection bags which were transferred in 1772 from the early church at Jost Dreisbach's residence. Generous refreshments were provided by members of the church following the morning service and tours of the cemetery were given.
Remarks by Fred Varker representing the DFA at our Saturday meeting:
It is an honor and privilege for me to represent the Dreisbach Family Association in expressing to Zion Stone Church our appreciation for your support of our DFA Reunions, both in 1995 and now in 2001. I would take this opportunity to publically thank Michael Lerch and his father Donald for cleaning and replenishing the Founder's Monument and the concrete "Reunion Monument" behind the church. Your work is sincerely appreciated by the DFA. This church has stood for 230 years as a testimonial and monument to the spirituality, faith and dedication of Simon Dreisbach, Sr. and many generations of his descendants down through the years to the present when there are approx. 20 church members who are Dreisbach descendants-- it is our wish that this church shall be here 230 years from now for our descendants to cherish as we do. As a token of our appreciation, I herewith present to ZSC this monetary gift which represents contributions from many of our members at our several meetings yesterday. Thank you.
Map of Kreidersville Area
Virtual Visit to the Zion Stone Church Graveyard