With the large number of German Immigrants who arrived in the Dutch Fork in the 1740’s and 1750’s a place of worship was needed. The date of organization of Bethel Lutheran Church was agreed upon as 1762. However no formal records have been found and several other dates of organization have been mentioned. It was mentioned by one source that it could have been organized as early as 1750.  

On November 13, 1787, a group of ministers from the area met in Zion Lutheran Church, Lexington County to organize a kind of ecclesiastical body that would supervise all the German Churches in the interior portion of the state. It was called “Corpus Evangelicum or Unio Ecclesiastica” and consisted of both Lutheran and Reformed churches. The purpose of this group, in addition of supervision, was to seek proper incorporation of all the German churches by the legislature of the state. 

By an act of legislature, Act number 1414, dated February 29, 1788, Bethel was one of fifteen congregations incorporated. The name listed in the act was “THE GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH OF BETHEL ON HIGH HILL CREEK”.  The name on the petition was “THE PROTESTANT SOCIETY OF BETHEL CHURCH IN LEXINGTON COUNTY, ORANGEBURG DISTRICT.”  The original petition is on file in the South Carolina Archives. 

The second church was probably erected before 1800. From “The Lutheran Churches in South Carolina” by Jacob F. Schirmer, published in 1875, there is a reference to a small hewn-log church being erected prior to the arrival of Pastor C. E. Bernhardt in 1800. The church was located about two and one half miles up High Hill Creek from the first church. 

The October 10, 1810 records indicate the following congregations from South Carolina joined the North Carolina Synod, “Bethel Church, St. Peter’s Church and Zion Church”. 

Bethel used the German language in her worship services and in 1814 a group of Members withdrew and formed Saint Michael’s Church, using the English language. It was not until 1817 when Godfrey Dreher came as assistant Pastor. Bethel began using the English language every other week. Bethel used this partial use of German until 1822. 

In 1822 Michael Rauch, began his service as pastor of Bethel and served for 24 years. This was his second period of serving Bethel as he had served a short time when he was a “licensed preacher”.  Rauch met with five other ministers on January 14, 1824 in Saint Michaels’ Lutheran Church and organized the South Carolina Synod. At various times, Bethel has been in a parish with Saint Peter’s, Zion, and Salem;  Bethlehem; Saint Paul’s, Newberry; Saint David’s; Saint John’s, Calk’s Road; Saint Matthew’s; Saint Stephen’s; Saint James’; Saint Nicholas’; Saint Michael’s; Saint Andrew’s; Mount Vernon, Mount Olivet, Spring Hill, and Mount Herman, Peak. 

There are indications that Bethel had some colored or black members, Pastor Michael Rauch reports 10 colored baptisms in 1841, five baptisms in 1845 and six colored communicants that same year. 

The church was rebuilt and dedicated in the spring of 1843. This was a frame building and across the road, about 400 yards from the second log church, on Bush River Road. The building stood until 1881 when it was torn down in order to build another church.

The new church was dedicated on August 2, 1882, and the sermon was preached by the Reverend J. A. Sligh.

 (However,  in the Schirmer book published in 1875 it states this church stood until 1865 when it was destroyed by Sherman’s army.)



Amanda A. Ballentine, William J. Ballentine, Nancy Ballentine, Drayton L. Ballentine, Elvina J. Ballentine, James W. Ballentine, Mary A. Ballentine, Minnie Ballentine, Drury Bouknight, Leah Jane Bouknight, M. E. Bouknight, Jesse Bouknight, Michael Bouknight, Simon F. Bouknight, Sarah C. Bouknight, J. Jacob Bickley, Ella C. Bickley, Daniel Bickley, J. Martin Bickley, Elizabeth Bickley, Alice ), Bickley, Wesley Bickley, Bingaman B. Bickley, Barbara Ann Bickley, Margaret I. Boon, Jacob M. C. Boon, Ofelia Boon, Ann S. Boon, Francis Bickley, and Sealy Bickley. 

Jacob Coogler, Martha Coogler, Catharine Commolander, Lucy Commolander, Elizer Commolander 

Sarah M. Derrick, David Derrick, Susanna C. Derrick, Rebecca Derrick, Emanuel Derrick, Rutha Derrick, Abner J. Derrick, Amanda Derrick, Walter F. Derrick, Noah S. Derrick, Anna E. Derrick, Mary C. Derrick, George A. Derrick, Mary Delia Derrick, Louisa C. Derrick, Mary Emma Derrick, Elmore Derrick, Julious C. Derrick, John D. Derrick, Cora Derrick, Jane M. Derrick, Relinza Derrick 

Adolphus Ellinger, Mary Ellinger.  

John B. Hiller, George W. P. Hiller, John H. Hiller, Louisa J. Hiller, Bingiman B. Hiller, Hattie 0. Hiller, Adia  Hiller. 

Wade Jumper 

Elizabeth Lowman, Malissa R. Lowman, Alice A. Lowman, John F. Lowman, Jemima Lowman, Isiah Lowman, John B. Lowman, Mary M. Lowman, Martha Ann Lowman, Micheal Lowman, Govan Lowman, Elizabeth Lowman, Harriet Lowman, Henry Lowman, Commings Lowman, Charlott Lowman, William Lowman, Paul E. Lowman, Sarah A. Lindler, Hattie Lindler, Ada V. Lindler. 

Caroline Mickler, Jacob F. Metz, Mary C. Metz, John F. Metz, Mary E. Metz, Barbara C. Metz, David S. Metz, Anna E. Metz, Sarah Ann E. Metz, Robert A. Metz, Ann E. Metz, Cansada Metz, Isibella R. Metz, Ellen Metz, Sabastian Metz, Charlie Metz, Soloman Metz, William Metz, Andrew Metz, Angella Metz, Josaphene Metz, Comings Metz, Anna Metz, Mary R. Metz, Calvin Metz, Julia R. Monts, William D. Monts, Noah C. Monts, Jacob L. Monts, Sidney Monts, Mary Monts, Martha McCartha, William McCartha, David McCartha, George McCartha. 

Nancy A. Riddle, Elizah T. Rauch, Rachel C. Rauch, Daisy Ann Rauch. 

Sally Sheely, George R. Sheely, Loura A. L. Sheely, Francis L. Sheely, Noah D. Sheely, James P. Sheely, Peason G. Sheeley, Mary J. Sheeley, Frances E. Sheeley, Sarah L. Sheely, Catharine Sheeley, Henry A. Swygert, Sarah E. Swygert, Jemima Swygert, Mary T. Smith, Hariet Adell Smith, Mahala E. Smith, Charlie Wingard Smith 

Christina Wingard 

Wesley Younginer, Virginia Younginer. 

In 1927 the Lexington Water Power Company proposed building a dam over the Saluda River creating a large lake. Many people would be forced to leave their homes and communities. This would mean the entire Bethel church property would be covered with water. Bethel members began considering a new location for their church. But at the suggestion of the Rev. Dr. Walton H. Greever of the Southern Seminary faculty, the Bethel and Mount Vernon councils met to consider a consolidation. Such an important action would involve a settlement with the Lexington Water Power Company, the purchase of a suitable site, the building of a new church, the opening of a new cemetery, with graves to be moved from the old one. 

On July 22, 1928 the Joint Council adopted a resolution that the two congregations constituting Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church and Mount Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church take all necessary steps at the earliest time possible to merge themselves together into one congregation to be known as Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, the church building to be located in White Rock, SC, it being understood and agreed that in such merger all property now belonging to the two congregations would become the property of the merged congregation, and that members of the joint council as now constituted be continued in office as the council of the merged congregation for at least one year, pending adoption of a new constitution & other steps in reorganization. 

The resolution was approved by the two congregations. At the time of the merger Bethel had 265 members and Mount Vernon 120 members. 

The Lexington Water Power Company reached an agreement with Bethel to pay $10.000 in cash for their property, all the rough lumber needed in the new church building, and to move at the company’s expense, the graves of those whose families wished it. 

The cemetery committee consisting of; John P. Richardson, George P. Lowman and Thaddeus D. Derrick secured land from Mrs. Bessie Addy just west of White Rock on Highway 76. Included in the acreage was a family cemetery belonging to J. Calvin Shealy, who offered to give this plot also for the new Bethel cemetery. 

When work started on the church the building committee consisted of J. W. Shealy, J. Wilbur Warner, Samuel Lowman, B. F. Derrick, Forrest C. Shealy, with Pastor J. B. Haigler, Dr. W. H. Greever, and C. E. Hotinger as advisory members. The ground was broken on August 22, 1929 for the building. J. B. Urquhart, an architect of Columbia designed the brick edifice, Gothic in style. The supervisor of construction was Will Koon who also made the chancel furniture, given by Mrs. Melissa Lowman. Charles E. Hotinger, superintendent of the Lowman Home and member of Mt. Vernon, was the congregational representative to work with Mr. Koon. Bethel held its last service in the old church on September 15, the merger of the two congregations began on October 1.  

The new Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church was incorporated in the State of South Carolina on December 17, 1929. The merged congregation worshiped in the Mount Vernon building for about a year while the new church was being constructed. 


J. P. Addy, Mrs. Bessie Addy, Leo Addy, Lewis Addy, Mrs. Oscar Amick. 

Mrs. Tommie Bickley, Lula Bickley, Pearl Bickley, Hollis Bickley, Wilbur Bickley, Mrs. Wilbur Bickley, Mrs. Kate Bickley, Morgan Bickley, Mrs. Morgan Bickley, Julius Bickley, Mrs. Julius Bickley, Drayton Ballentine, E. A. Ballentine, Mrs. E. A. Ballentine, Verta Ballentine, Blanche Ballentine, Rudolph Ballentine, Eugene Ballentine, Bonnie Ballentine, Lonnie Ballentine, Mrs. Lonnie Ballentine, Oland Ballentine, Mrs. Sam Boozer, Louise Bouknight, John W. Bouknight, Mrs. John W. Bouknight, Vera Bouknight, Rulie Bouknight, Drury L. Bouknight, George Bouknight, Mrs. George Bouknight, Rosaline Bouknight, Caro Bouknight, J. B. Bouknight, Mrs. J. B. Bouknight, Curtis Bouknight, Miller Bouknight, Ryan Bouknight. 

Willie Coogler, Estelle Coogler, Melvin Cummerlander, Mrs. J. M. Clark. 

Mrs. Amanda Derrick, Thad Derrick, Mrs. Thad Derrick, Walter Derrick, Ada Derrick, Kathlene Derrick, B. F. Derrick, Mrs. B. F. Derrick, Gladys Derrick, Charles Derrick, Lillian Derrick, Lucile Derrick, Elmer Derrick, Mrs. Elmer Derrick, Hattie May Derrick, Leroy Derrick, Mrs. Leroy Derrick, Mrs. Jane Derrick, Eusebius Derrick, Mrs. Eusebius Derrick, James Barret Derrick, Clarence Derrick, Willie H. Derrick, Bessie Derrick, George Derrick, Mrs. George Derrick, Curtis Derrick, Charles Derrick, Oscar Derrick, Delmar Derrick, J. D. Derrick, Sr., Mrs. J. D. Derrick, Sr., Carl Derrick, John Derrick, Jr., Mrs. D.J. Dickert. 

Mrs. Sallie Epting, John Epting, Earl Epting, Mary Epting, Vera Epting, Ernestine Epting, Bessie Lee Epting, James Epting, Sarah Epting, Mrs. Herbert Eargle, Mrs. D. R. Eargle, W. R. Eleazer, Mrs. W. R. Eleazer, Cleo Eleazer, George Eleazer, Mrs. George Eleazer, Clara Belle Eleazer, Beulah Eleazer. 

J. J. Fulmer, Mrs. J. J. Fulmer, Mrs. Percy Foxworth. 

Mrs. Bessie Guise, Colie Guise, Albert Parker Guise. 

G. J. Hiller, Mrs. G. J. Hiller, Robert Miller, Heyward Miller, Travis Hiller, Ben Hiller, Mrs. Maggie Harman, Leon Harman, Mrs. Leon Harman, Mrs. J. B. Haigler, Frank Haltiwanger, Mrs. Frank Haltiwanger, Mrs. Della Haltiwanger, Haywood Haltiwanger, C. E. Hotinger, Mrs. C. E. Hotinger, Robert Hotinger, Mrs. Emma Huffard. 

Carl Jacobs, Eunice Jacobs. 

Mrs. Mattie Kleckly, Leola Kleckly, Claude Kleckly, Mrs. Walter Keith, Mrs. Frank Keith, Vonreagh Keith. 

Frank Lever, Mrs. Frank Lever, Mrs. George Little, Mrs. Preston Lindler, Robert Lindler, Govan Lowman, Mrs. Govan Lowman, Lillie Ann Lowman, S. E. Lowman, Mrs. S. E. Lowman, Dr. Wells Lowman, J. B. Lowman, Mrs. J. B. Lowman, G. P. Lowman, Mrs. G. P. Lowman, Walter Lowman, Clyde Lowman, Pauline Lowman, Lois Lowman, Joseph Lowman, Mrs. Joseph Lowman, John Lowman, Mrs. John Lowman, Carl Lowman, Paul Lowman, Lessie Lowman, Fannie Belle Lowman, Josephus Lowman, William Lowman, Mrs. William Lowman. 

 J. U. Meetze, Mrs. J. U. Meetze, W. W. Meetze, W. R. Meetze, Mrs. W. R. Meetze, Iceline Meetze, Walter Meetze, Marie Meetze, Clifford Meetze, Jacob Meetze, Oliver Meetze, Seber Meetze, Mrs. Seber Meetze, Calvin Meetze, Mrs. Calvin Meetze, Herbert Meetze, David Meetze, Charles Meetze, Mrs. Charles Meetze, Sam Meetze, Irvin Meetze, Willie Meetze, Jacob J. Meetze, Mrs. Jacob J. Meetze, Willie Leon Meetze, Estelle Meetze, Luther Meetze, Mrs. Luther Meetze, Esther Redora Meetze, Noah Monts, Mrs. Noah Monts, Bessie Monts, James Monts, Mrs. James Monts, Samuel Monts, Mrs. Samuel Monts, George Monts, Mrs. George Monts, Sidney Monts, Arthur Monts, Mrs. Arthur Monts, J. C. Monts, Claude Monts, Julia Monts, William McCartha, Mrs. William McCartha, Arthur McCartha, Mrs. Arthur McCartha, Murray McCartha, John McCartha, Mrs. John McCartha, Heber McCartha, Mrs. Heber McCartha, Ernest McCartha, Mrs. Ernest McCartha, Carl McCartha, Ethel McCartha, Hugh McCartha, Walter McCartha, Mrs. Walter McCartha, Marie McCartha, Raymond McCartha, Leon McCartha, Silas McCartha, Jessie McCartha, Harry McCartha, Bessie Maxwell, Mrs. Olive Moore. 

Mrs. Chas. Onley. 

Mrs. Thomas Quattlebaum. 

Eddie Riddle, Mrs. Eddie Riddle, John Riddle, Mrs. John Riddle, Lucile Riddle, Fannie Riddle, Edna Riddle, Ernestine Riddle, George Riddle, J. P. Richardson, Mrs. J. P. Richardson, Julia Richardson, Harvey Richardson, Lucy Delle Richardson, Alonzo Richardson, Perry E. Richardson, Mrs. Perry E. Richardson, Jacob L. Richardson, Willie Richardson, Mrs. Willie Richardson, Henry Richardson, Jacob Richardson, Berley Richardson, Mrs. Berley Richardson, Ruth Richardson, Robert Richardson, Forrest Richardson, Clyde Richardson, E. T. Rauch, Mrs. E. T. Rauch, Mary Rauch, Rachel Rauch, Cummings Rauch, Thomas Rauch, Jr. 

Mrs. Houck Sandel, J. B. Shealy, H. L. Shealy, Callie Shealy, E. U. Shealy, Mrs. E. U. Shealy, J. E. Shealy, Ward Shealy, Darwin Shealy, Elizabeth Shealy, W. Brodie Shealy, F. C. Shealy, Mrs. F. C. Shealy, R. B. Shealy, Mrs. R. B. Shealy, Charles Shealy, Robert Shealy, Lucy Shealy, G. J. Shealy, Mrs. G. J. Shealy, Ruth'Shealy, Ehrlene Shealy, Gurnelle Shealy, OIlie Shealy, Mrs. OIlie Shealy, Estelle Shealy, Olla Shealy, Noah Shealy, Mrs. Sallie Shealy, Curtis Shealy, Eula Lee Shealy, Ellis Sheely, Frank Sheely, Mrs. Frank Sheely, Floyd Sheely, Grady Sheely, Roselle Sheely, Sarah May Sheely, Caroline Sheely, Ross Sheely, Mrs. Ross Sheely, Harold Sheely, Charles Smith, Herbert Smith, Mrs. Herbert Smith, Willie Smith, Reba Smith, Jake  Swygert, Mrs. Jake Swygert, Themas Swygert, Mrs. Themas Swygert, William Swygert, Cecil Swygert, Eusebius Swygert, Mrs. Eusebius Swygert, Belton Swygert, Lula May Swygert, J. L. Sites, Mrs. J. L. Sites, Earl Sites, Perry Slice, Mrs. Perry Slice, Evelyn Slice. 

Mrs. Fannie Wessinger, F. D. Wessinger, James Wessinger, Mildred Wessinger, Hall Bradley Wessinger, J. W. Warner, Mrs. J. W. Warner, Geo. D. Whites, Mrs. Geo. D. Whites, Perry Whites, Samuel Whites, Julius Whites, Minnie Whites, Mrs. Lonnie Wessinger, 

Mrs. Herbert Younginer, and John Yeany.



John Nicholas Martin, 1767-December 1774

Frederick August Wallberg, 1787-ca. 1795

Adam Nicholas Marcard, 1800

Christian Eberhard Bernhardt, February 1801-August 1809

Godfrey Dreher, ca. 1810-1813

John Philip Francklow, 1814-1820

Jacob Moser, ca. 1821

Michael Rauch, 1822-1846

George F. Haltiwanger, Jr., 1846-January 1850

James David Stingley, 1850-1853

Jesse B. Lowman, 1854-1866

James Noah Derrick, 1867-1870

William Alexander Houck, 1871-1873

Jacob Hawkins, April 1876-December 1878

Peter Miller, 1879-1884

Jacob Schaeffer Moser, September 1884-September 1885

John Eusebius Berly, August 1886-july 1890

Willis Alexander Deaton, June 1891-November 1893

Sidney Calhoun Ballentine, June 1894-April 1905

Jesse Bowman Haigler, October 1905-December 1912

Verley Lorenzo Fulmer, February 1913-April 1915

Henry Smith Petrea, May 1915-December 1918

William Addison Dutton, March 1919-October 1921

Julian Bachman Harman, January 1922-December 1922

Jesse Bowman Haigler, October 1926-May 1930

John Jacob Long, June 1930-July 1942

Daniel Murray Shull, November 1942-May 1946

Paul Gerberding McCullough, August 1946-July 1952

Virgil Alonzo Cameron, January 1953-July 1956

Charles Elbert Holmes, June 1957-November 1958

Guy Calvin Cruse, April 1959-

(NOTE: In her book “Bethel’s Pastors”, Ms. Mary Elizabeth Boozer writes a small history of each pastor, supply pastor and ministerial sons) 



Ludwig Hocheimer perhaps in 1775-1786interval

Frederick Joseph Wallern, ca. 1786

John George Bamberg, in late 1790s

John Herman Winkhouse, late 1809-1810

Carl August Gottlieb Storch, spring of 1810

Robert Johnson Miller, October-November 1811

John Yost Meetze, 1812-1813

Paul Henkel, July 1811 and July 1814

David Henkel, 1812-1813

Emanuel Albert Wingard, summer 1874

Levi Bedenbaugh, 1874-1875

Jefferson Alien Sligh, December 1878-December 1879

James H. Summit, October to December 1885

Jacob Steck, early 1886

Jacob Killian Effird, occasionally in 1886

Michael Middleton Kinard, summer 1886

Andrew Jackson Bowers, October 1890-May 1891

Clarence Kesler Derrick, summers 1925 and 1926

Leroy Emerson Blackwelder, August 1956-May 1957 and December 1958-March 1959



Jesse B. Lowman

Patrick Henry Elmore Derrick

David Sheely

Guy Reginald Cruse


The Bethel congregation celebrated their Bicentennial Anniversary in September 1962. Another large celebration will take place in 2012 as Bethel moves toward their 250th Anniversary. 

For a complete history of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church please see the books listed below. 

This church history is from these books: “A History of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church” compiled by Guy C. Cruse in 1962 – “A History of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church”, compiled by Guy C. Cruse in 1987 and “Bethel’s Pastors” compiled by Mary Elizabeth Boozer in 1978. Ms. Boozer includes a small history of each pastor in her book.

Submitted 2012 by Shirley F. Trotter