620 Hope Station Road
City Directories and History: Saint John’s Lutheran is one of the loveliest of churches in South Carolina. Please enjoy the images and reading the historic marker associated with this historic congregation.
St. John’s is unusual architecturally, reflecting a more sophisticated design than is usually found in rural 19th century churches in South Carolina. This ca. 1809 church is believed to be the oldest frame Lutheran church building in South Carolina. St. John’s retains some beaded siding, a dentilled cornice, and a jerkin-head tin roof. The front façade features paneled entrance doors with an arched panel above, and an unusual configuration of windows with matching pairs in three successive tiers. The rear reveals a semi-circular chancel, believed to date from ca. 1892, with two Gothic style
windows. All other windows feature solid-paneled shutters, surmounted by semi-circular window arches. The interior features a wooden barrel-vaulted ceiling and wide board walls. Narrow wooden stairways in the front corners of the church give access to a slave gallery. It is believed that St. John’s Church was established in the 1750s by German settlers. The present building is believed to have been constructed in 1809 as the third structure to serve the St. John’s congregation. A small, rectangular mid-nineteenth century clapboard school building is located east of the church, within the nominated acreage. Located to the north of the church is the church cemetery which contains several early graves with fieldstone markers. Listed in the National Register December 8, 1978. [Courtesy of the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History]
St John’s Pomaria (half-mile off U. S. Highway 176, two miles east of Pomaria)—This congregation was born in a little log cabin in 1754 under the leadership of a Reformed minister from Switzerland, and was named the “German Calvinistic Church of St John’s in the Fork.” Sometime between the date of organization and 1826 it became Lutheran. In 1809 a House of Worship called the “White Church” was built on a grant of land given by King George I of England in 1724. This structure still stands and is the oldest frame Lutheran church building in South Carolina. In it is to be seen in the rear the balcony where the slaves sat as they worshiped. Its architecture shows something of a Reformed influence in that the altar is surrounded by a circular rail and the pulpit is behind this with a soundboard overhead.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
Shealy Family History: John Windell Shealy was the first of the name that came from the old country to this. A man named John Adam Epting brought over a small colony from the city of Heidelberg, consisting of Shealy, Leitzey, Setzler, Cromer and Myer, in the year 1763. They were all Lutherans, and were among the founders of the present St. John’s Church. John Windell Shealy married Miss Epting, daughter of Mr. Epting, the pioneer of the colony, in the year 1770, and settled near where W. C. Shealy now lives.
The fruits of this union were twelve sons and one daughter. I can give the names of only eight of these sons; the others I have never learned were Vindell, William, Adam, John, Henry, Matthias, David and Andrew. Of these, William, Windell and David married Wertses; Andrew married a Miss Sawyer, and the daughter a Mr. Quattlebaum. Whom the other sons married, if they ever married, I am unable to say.
Mr. Shealy, tho pioneer, died in the year 1814, and was buried near the place where he first settled. He lived long enough to see all his sons fully grown; and they were all strong, robust men. They stood six feet in height, and the least and lightest one of them weighed 175 pounds. In those days, when men defended themselves, on all ordinary occasions, with the weapons given them by nature, these twelve brothers, if they felt their rights assailed, could have given any other twelve, or more, a lively tussle.
Mr. Shealy owned all the lands in and around Little Mountain at that time, and settled not a few of his children on them; hence this is the Mecca of the Shealy’s. Within a few hundred yards of the residence of Mr. W. C. Shealy is the spring of fresh, cool, clear, bubbling water used by the original John Windell Shealy, and it still has in it a portion of the gum placed there by Mr. Shealy over one hundred and twenty years ago. The men of this family, like others who are the salt of the earth, are farmers, cultivators of the soil, and attend to their own business and let others’ alone. Some of them are preachers of the gospel, ministers in the Lutheran Church—they are all Lutherans—and one is a teacher of youth, whom I have heard mentioned as a man of large brain and heart, but of small body, like my friend Squire Padgett of Edgefield.
(Information from: The Annals of Newberry Co., SC – O’Neall and Chapman, Aull and Houseal Publishers – 1892)
A stop on the Little White Church Jaunt – A Driving Tour
A R&R Share: St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pomaria was first established in 1754 by Rev. John Glasser of Switzerland. In 1809, the congregation built a new church, referred to as the “White Church”, a beautiful painted wood frame structure which served the congregation for 141 years. It was added to the NRHP in 1978. It stands behind the present church which was built in 1950, and contains a cemetery, although most of the markers have been lost to time. My ancestor, Adam Epting, was one of the founders of the White Church. Martha Pickett – 2/1/18
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
IMAGE GALLERY – 2012
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.