Rev. Johannes Michael Enderlein (1726-1800) -second Pastor of
Sand Hill Evangelical Lutheran Church from 1771-1776, Hummelstown, R.D.,
According to a compilation of notes made by your pastor, Rev. David S. Martin, the late Dr. William J. Hinke, historian for the Reformed Church, and Mr. Fred B. Koppenhaver, a fifth generation decedent of Rev. John Michael Enderlein, the following appears reasonably accurate intelligence concerning the missionary and ministerial activities of our second pastor here at Sand Hill.
Rev. John Michael Enderlein was a native of Bavaria, Germany. He was awakened to the seriousness of Christianity in his youth by Pastor Stack of Frankfort, graduated from the University of Leipsic, in 1751 and ordained in Germany the same year as a Lutheran minister. He emigrated to America, arriving at Philadelphia, Pa., Sept 24, 1753. There he taught church school for some time and concurrently entered upon the duties of a supply minister for outlying congregations in the Germantown area. On November 10, 1760 he married Ann Barbara Pfeiffer, a daughter of John Martin Pfeiffer of Phila, Pa. It was she who presented the family with a prayer book, as printed in Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1756, the work of John Arndt, the highly learned General Superintendent of the Principality of Luenberg. Some valuable family genealogical data has been preserved in this book.
In America Rev. Enderlein became closely associated with Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, now referred to as the Father of the Lutheran Church in America. Rev. Muhlenberg served at Trappe, Pa. covering a congregational area from Germantown to Pottstown, Pa. Rev. Enderlein served in the neighboring congregational area in Pa, from August 10, 1766, to July 1, 1770. At this church his son John Paul Enderlein, was baptized on March 1, 1767, while his oldest son, John Michael Jr. has been baptized in Philadelphia by Rev. Muhlenberg on Feb. 14, 1762. Fairly clear evidence exists that Rev. Enderlein preached in the area of the Nockamixon congregation as early as 1761, at which time the congregation was without a building, making it necessary to hold church services in a barn, until several years later when Nockamixon had a house of public worship. He also was elected as the first regular pastor of the neighboring Tohicken Lutheran Church about 1763 and at Springfield about the same time. On August 6, 1766, he was elected to serve as the first regular minister at Nockamixon Lutheran Church and in 1769-70 Indianfield, Bucks County, congregation was added to his pastorate. It is written that while some of those congregations were small when Rev. Enderlein came, they began to flourish into brighter days ahead. He made his last baptismal entry at Kellers Church, July 1, 1770 and then entered upon regular duties at Sand Hill in March of 1771. Shortly after in 1770 or 1771 Rev. Enderlein became the third regular pastor at the Maytown-Elizabethtown Lutheran congregation in Lancaster County, Pa. Since the Enderlein Family Bible contains an entry that in 1776 John Michael Enderlein, Jr., was educated in the Evangelical Lutheran religion and confirmed in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pa. it may reasonably be presumed that the minister's family resided at Elizabethtown, Pa. while he served the Sand Hill Church near Hummelstown, from March 1771-1777. However, we should carefully credit the Sand Hill Church for having Rev. Enderlein's service as early as March, 1771, while at Maytown he seems to have had his first communion season on May 12, 1771.
During the family residence at Elizabethtown and while serving the churches already organized at Maytown-Elizabethtown and Hummelstown and Sand-Hill the Rev. Enderlein extended his missionary work for the Lutheran church by serving as the first circuit rider to regularly visit the white settlements along the Susquehanna Valley to the north. This circuit rider missionary work was extended by Rev. Enderlein to Salem (Kissel) Church near Dauphin, Pa. as early as 1774; in Perry County at St. Michaels, Oct. 1774 to April 1789 as a fairly regular minister of the oldest Lutheran church in that county, and also serving at Botschafts Church, near Freeburg, Snyder County, before a house of worship existed; Salem Church at Salem, Snyder County. Rev. Enderlein was equally diligent in visiting the settlements along the east shore of the Susquehanna in the Lykens, Mahantago and Mahanoy Valleys as early as 1773. The church protocol for St. Johns Lutheran Church, near Berrysburg, Pa. (Lykens Valley) indicated as follows:
"Beginning of a school house perish in 1780 by Pastor John Michael Enderlein," it being the second oldest Lutheran Church in Lykens Valley, only Wert Church being older. As early as 1773 a congregation of Lutheran and Reformed faith existed at Schwaben Creek (Mahanoi in the Shamokin Region) today known as Himmels Lutheran and Reformed Church, Washington Township, Northumberland County and in 1774 a log school house was erected upon a 60 acre church tract where Rev. Enderlein, as a Lutheran Circuit Rider in 1774, administered public divine services and the Holy Sacraments while Mr. C. H. Kaufman was the local school teacher.
Rev. Enderlein's entries in Himmels Protocol appear regularly after 1776 and continue to 1787. At Zions Lutheran and Reformed congregation (Jackel Gap, or Stone Valley in Mahantango Valley) Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland, County, the Rev. Enderlein inscribed the protocol in 1777 and made his first baptismal entry April 14, 1777. This too was a school house congregation in typical Enderlein fashion of school building first, then church building later. Rev. Enderlein also served Fetterhoffs, or St. Peters Church in Armstrong Valley, near Fisherville, Pa. from 1795 to 1800. He was the only Lutheran minister to regularly serve from 1777 to 1800 in the valleys of the Mahanoy, Mahantango, Wisconisco, Armstrong and Powells Creed, besides serving the vast area already mentioned beginning near present Liverpool to Middleburg, Freeburg, Selinsgrove on the west shore of the Susquehanna. His activities on the west shore seem to have been carried so far north that when that Great Runaway of 1778 occurred he was driven back by the Indians along with other white settlers (Hallische Nachrichten). The Great Runaway of 1778 occurred along the west branch of the Susquehanna and ended mainly at present Sunbury, Penna.
A very interesting challenger to our present Christian devotions can be found in that consecration our early Lutheran ministers and their flocks must have had in this whole area for at Fetterhoffs Church, as will appear on page 133 of "History of Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Eastern Pennsylvania" is recorded:
On Sundays, the early worshipers of this church came with their guns on their shoulders; not so much on account of the wily savage, as on account of the wild beasts that might cross their pathway. For a number of years this was the only church in Armstrong Valley. The settlers of Powells Valley worshipped here. From all around the people came on horseback, or on the big wagon; more often on foot, walking many miles. It was nothing unusual for mothers to cross the ridge with their babes on one arm, and their shoes on the other. They were accustomed to go barefooted, but put on their shoes, which they carried with them, before entering church.
Such too could early have been the conditions at Sand Hill during Rev. Enderlein's pastorate. It is know by family tradition that Rev. Enderlein covered this wide area on horseback, often conducting a funeral service, a marriage and a baptism in the same home on the same day of his visitation. Visitations were necessarily far between.
As early as Oct. 16, 1773, Rev. Enderlein applied for a land grant in Lykens Valley however it is definitely confirmed that it was not until August 20, 1792, that Bactram Cailbraith sold to him the 250 acre farm in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County.
This farm had at that time another tenant and the condition of sale clearly indicated that Rev. Enderlein had yet to build his house upon it.
Sometime during the period of 1792 to the time of his death, March 4th or 6th, 1800 the Rev. Enderlein erected his house, probably the first and only home of his own that the aging itinerant Lutheran organizer of churches ever knew. When Rev. Enderlein made his last will and testament on Aug. 13, 1796 and upon probation of the will, March 29, 1900 he was survived by his wife, Anna Barbara, and his sons, John Michael, Jr., John Paul and Daniel, all of Lykens Valley and daughters Anna Mary, the wife of John Adam Lenker of Mahantango Valley and Elizabeth, wife of John Henry Wirth (the writer's line) then of Lykens Valley but later of Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland Co., Penna.
Rev. Enderlein was recognized as one of the leaders of the early Lutheran Church in America. He was one of the 27 Lutheran ministers who drafted and signed the first constitution of "An Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of North America" in 1781. For many years he was a recognized minister in the Ministerium of Penna. serving and ordaining new ministers with such recognized ministers as Rev. H. M. Muhlenberg and his famous sons, Nicholas Kurtz, Krug, Emanuel Schulze, Schmidt, Helmuth Horsel, Kunze., Wildbahn, Buskirk, Moeller, Melsheimer, Lehman and others. Rev. Enderlein was highly educated, university trained, a teacher and minister, awakened to the seriousness of Christianity while yet in his youth by Pastor Stark of Frankfort, willing and courageous enough to extend the Lutheran Church to the very edge of white civilization, being sometimes driven back by the Indians as in 1778 and being sometimes seriously misunderstood by his flock when he insisted that certain outlying congregations in "the Shamokin region" adopt the new constitution of 1781. Possibly all of the congregations that he served are still in existence, some of them definitely beautiful and flourishing in Christianity.
His earthly remains repose in St. Johns Lutheran graveyard, near Berrysburg, Penna. The grave is unmarked for present generations and we must therefore look upon the church schools, the churches and congregations with their early system of Christian and public education for all those pioneering wilderness inhabitant which Rev. Enderlein organized or served as the everlasting markers of his existence. This seems to have been the desire of Rev. Enderlein, and his descendants have followed accordingly.
ED. NOTE: It is not known by the editor if Rev. Martin ever published his pamphlet or book as he had planned. If he did the editor would welcome any information on the subject.
NOTE: The above was taken from "Geneology of Rev. Johann Michael Enterline 1726-1800 and Descendants", by William E. Enterline, Sr.
INDEXES TO THE FIVE MAIN ENTERLINE BRANCHES
Johann Michael Enterline II... John Paul Enterline... Daniel & Lucinda Enterline...
Anna Maria (Enterline) Lenker... Elizabeth (Enterline) Wirth...