St. John's Lutheran Church

Celebrating the 250th Anniversary

The church history reads "the leader of the group settling in the Fork was Johannes Adam Summer, considered by historian Duncan Wallace 'the first white settler in the present Newberry County'...sailed from Rotterdam in 1743, spent several years in Pennsylvania, then led his followers to the low-lying hill country in Fairfield overlooking the 'Esvapadema (Broad) River. He then crossed the river at Cohee Shoals and made their homes in the verdant fields along Crims Creek".

In the Colonial Council minutes of February 5, 1754, "The compactness of the German settlement in the Forks of the Broad and Saluda Rivers made possible a church organization and it was for the service of these settlers that the Rev. John Gasser, Reformed Minister, left Switzerland in 1752. Coming by way of Pennsylvania, he did not reach Charles Town to petition for land until 1754, but at that time he had agreed with the settlers to preach in two churches, one in the lower part of the Fork, the other farther on. He was given his bounty of 50 acres.

The first church was built in 1754, a small, crude log cabin served as a church and a school house. After nine years, the young congregation was sufficiently established to apply to the Colonial Government for a grant of land. On October 5, 1763, a royal grant of 100 acres on Grames (Crims) Creek between the Broad and Saluda Rivers was issued under the seal of King George III by Thomas Boone, Governor in Council, to John Adam Epting and Peter Dickert, elders of the congregation and their successors for a glebe and a church building.

The "White Church", built in 1809, still stands across the road from the present sanctuary built in 1950.