JOHN MICHAEL ENDERLEIN (later Enterline). Lutheran.
Born 1726 in Germany. Was probably the 'Johann Michel Aenderlin" who was
born in September 14 of that year in (6580) Fischbach and whose baptism
two days later was recorded in the (6581) Niederwoerresbach-Fischbach Lutheran
register. Came to Pennsylvania at an undetermined date. Married November
10, 1760 Anna Barbara Pfister. Was an active member of the Philadelphia
congregation. Told Henry Melchior Muhlenberg in 1762 that he had been spiritually
awakened by two pastors in Frankfurt. (MJ 2:490) Was assistant teacher
in the Philadelphia parochial school (1764-1766).
At the age of forty, and certainly at the urging of Muhlenberg and his colleagues, became catechist at Tohickon (Tohecka), Nockamixon, and Indianfield, serving there from 1766 to 1770. Took charge of congregations in northwestern Lancaster, southern Dauphin. and southwestern Lebanon counties from 1770 to 1778. These included Maytown, Elisabethtown, Bishop's, Hummeltown, Hill (Maxe), and Mount Joy (in Lebanon county).
On October 16, 1773, together with Bernard Hubley, took out a warrant for 250 acres of land "about 7 Miles from the river Susquehana in Wikinisco valley...in upper Pextang Township" in what is now Dauphin county. On November 30, 1773 the surveyors laid out Pine Ridge, a tract of 266-1/2 acres. Enderlein and Hubley obtained a patent deed for this land on July 1, 1774. (Lancaster Warrant E-222; Copied Survey C-50, p. 155; Patent Deed AA-14, p. 567, BLR) In 1792 Enderlein entered into an agreement to purchase about 250 additional acres along the Wiconisco creek. This was for two of his sons, and they completed the purchase a few months after his death. (Dauphin County Deeds O, pp. 117, 119)
By 1778 - the exact date is unknown - Enderlein had moved to the vicinity of Berrysburg, in upper Dauphin county. In a letter to Halle in October of that year Muhlenberg wrote that Enderlein had taken his family into a new settlement "toward Shamokin," as he put it, but that he was then in flight from the threat of Indian attacks. (HN 2:733)
Spent the rest of his life in upper Dauphin county. May have been serving congregations in this section of the frontier even before he moved north with his family. Since he was the only resident Lutheran minister in the area until the late 1780s, he may have served all or almost all, of the Lutheran congregations founded there before that time. Unfortunately, the available evidence does not permit one to be as precise or complete as one would wish. There is some evidence for Enderlein's activity at Fetterhoff's, Lykens Valley, and Lykens Valley (St. John's) in Dauphin county; at Himmel's, Mahanoy township, and St. Peter's in Northumberland county; at Bauerman's, Mohr's, and Row's in Snyder county; and at Pfoutz Valley in Perry county. Was affiliated with the ministerium, but only nominally. On record as having attended meetings in 1770, 1772, 1776, 1778, and 1782. Was never ordained by authority of the ministerium. Until 1786 was classed as a catechist, one who was authorized to preach and baptize, but not to confirm or administer communion.
Beginning in 1787 was called a licensed candidate, which meant that he was authorized to perform all of the duties of a pastor under the supervision of a neighboring ordained pastor. It is difficult to believe that Enderlein did not overlook the restrictions and carry on as a fully ordained pastor long before 1787. After he had not attended a ministerium meeting for more than ten years and had not sent in the required sermon and diary, the synod of 1793 asked the question: "Whether Mr. Enderlein was still regarded as a licensed candidate?" The answer was affirmative, but his name appears no more in the minutes. (DH, p. 266)
When he went into upper Dauphin county in the 1770s, Enderlein had committed himself to one of the less desirable sectors of the church, materially speaking. He persisted there for more than twenty years, though not without some difficulty. There are three examples. In 1780 his Reformed colleague. Samuel Dubendorff asked Muhlenberg to admonish him "so that he refrains from disputation concerning the Heidelberg Catechism, because this only causes unedifying strife and unkind dissension between the members of the two communions inasmuch as most of the families are intermarried in such a way that Reformed men have Lutheran wives, and vice versa, etc." Muhlenberg obliged, probably in the "friendly way" that Dubendorff requested. (MJ 3:308, 321)
Two years later, the ministerium listened long and carefully to the complaints about a new constitution which Enderlein had introduced into one of his congregations, at length asking that he withdraw it and "that both parties make concessions and bear with each other in patience." Enderlein also agreed to withdraw from the congregation if that became necessary. (DH, pp. 182, 183)
Two years later, in 1784, a delegation "from Shamokin" appeared at the ministerium and asked "whether some other preacher than Catechist Enderlein may not hold Communion Service, as they are not satisfied with him." The ministerium frowned upon the request, but asked one of their number to investigate. Nothing came of this, and presumably the serious objections disappeared; at least no further complaints were recorded in the minutes of the ministerium. (DH, p. 194) At the same time, from the early 1780s on, Enderlein was in effect an independent minister.
Died March 6, 1800 and was buried at St. John's church, near Berrysburg. Made his will on August 13, 1796. Described himself as being of Upper Paxton township, Dauphin county, and "at present in the Seventyeth Year of Age." Provided [carefully?] for his wife during her lifetime. Mentioned three sons and two daughters. The will was probated on March 29, 1800.
Sources: MJ; DH; Dauphin County Will Book B-1, p. 4. His copy of the 1748 Lutheran liturgy is at the LTS, Gettysburg. Mrs. Annette K. Burgert, Worthington, Ohio, kindly shared with the author her information from the Niederwoerresbach-Fischbach Lutheran register.
INDEXES TO THE FIVE MAIN ENTERLINE BRANCHES
Johann Michael Enterline II... John Paul Enterline... Daniel & Lucinda Enterline...
Anna Maria (Enterline) Lenker... Elizabeth (Enterline) Wirth...