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Johann Peter (Hans) Gruber

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Bucks County Georgiamap
Surnames/tags: Salzburger in Pennsylvania Evangelical Lutheran Church
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The Founding of Peace Church in 1743

A land application filed which states: "Land Application -0984124 1737-1748 Bucks County, Pa. Warrant issued in Mr. Parson's absence. May 11, 1746--John Philip Debartholet 56 acres near Tohichon Bucks Co. granted by a warrant 14 January 1743 to Peter Gruber who forfeited."

It looks like he donated the land to build a new Lutheran church in Bucks County Pennsylvania:

Main History Page Martin Luther and The Reformation Peace Church Today Parts of the following accounts on this page are paraphrased from the book:

Faith and Community A History of Peace-Tohickon Evangelical Lutheran Church By Susan Wombwell Clemens, 1992

By 1625, German, Dutch and Scandinavian Lutherans came to the New World seeking religious freedoms, They initially settled in New Amsterdam (New York City). In 1638, more Lutherans came to Delaware. Later, in the early 1700's many Germans arrived in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Pastor Henry Melchior Muhlenberg came to Trappe, Pennsylvania in 1742, seven years later he founded the first Lutheran synod in North America. This brings us to the founding of our own congregation in Bucks County, over 250 years ago. (links to ELCA Homepage references)

In 1743, on a piece of land approximately one mile north of the present location of Peace-Tohickon Lutheran Church was the property of a German settler named PETER GRUBER. His family, along with neighbors formed the first congregations known in that time as St. Peter's Union Church. Lacking a separate church building, these families likely met in Gruber's home or barn for worship services.

Muhlenberg notes that "regular ministers" began visiting the congregation sometime between 1743 and 1744 at Birkensee (German pronunciation of the English word, Perkasie. This area of land, located in the Manor of Perkasie was originally part of William Penn's land grant from King Charles II in England. The name Perkasie is derived from the local Indian word for this area, "Poekskos-sing". Transcribed literally, it means, "Where hickory nuts were cracked".) (link to Perkasie Historical Society?)

The term "Union Church" comes from the sharing of two separate congregations in the same building. At the time, neither the Lutherans nor Reformed congregations of this area could afford to build separate places of worship. Thus, Upper Bucks County is home to many former Union Churches that often share similar names within a single community, with one congregation Lutheran – and the other belonging to the United Church of Christ. The early name of the Peace Lutheran congregation was called Tohickon Lutheran church, reflecting its close proximity to the Tohickon Creek nearby.

The first actual church building was standing by 1753 when a portion of land was deeded over to the trustees of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations. The actual details of this building are unknown, and it is assumed that the building may have been a typical log type structure. Thirteen years later on May 8th, 1766 a new stone church was dedicated on the site. Henry Rapp, the Lutheran Pastor named the new church "templum pacis" or Peace Church. In the years that followed, Peace Church stood through the American Revolution and the birth of a new nation. The bond between the Lutherans and St. Peter's Reformed congregation continued to grow throughout the early 1800's.

With the combined resources of the two congregations in 1838 a new stone church was erected for $3,000.00 (This building still exists today as St. Peter's United Church of Christ). The new church boasted a new wooden floor, replacing the dirt floor of the old church. The new building also had another modern marvel – a heating system. Finally, a new Krauss Organ was installed to provide music for the sanctuary.

That mid 1800's saw many changes to the area surrounding the church. While the land directly around the church remained rural farmland, Perkasie grew tremendously with the coming of the "Iron Horse". Much of this growth can be attributed to the North Pennsylvania Railroad (RR Map) extended its line into upper Bucks County. As an interesting footnote; the run of the line from Philadelphia to Allentown reached an abrupt halt where "The Ridge" met the Railroad. The wall created by the mountainous ridge required the building of the tunnel. The tunnel, which is still in use today was hand dug and completed by 1853. In its day, the Perkasie tunnel was one of the longest in the world.

From the founding of the church, until the early 1900's the liturgy of Peace-Tohickon Lutheran Church was always spoken in German. During the First World War, pressure was put upon German speaking Lutheran congregations to conduct their services in English. Peace gradually complied by interspersing more and more English services until the German voice was silent in the church. Today, Peace-Tohickon conducts a partial service in German on our annual "Old Fashioned Sunday" in October. On Christmas Eve 1999 Peace once again recognized their German heritage by singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night) in German.

Another interesting feature from the early 1900's were the "wagon sheds" next to the church. Although many families walked to the church, more came from the surrounding countryside by horse and buggy. The church built 6 to 8 parallel rows of sheds to accommodate and protect the horse and buggy during the inclement weather. By 1933, the sheds fell into disrepair and were torn down. 100 tons of crushed stone later created a modern parking lot for the new vehicle -- the automobile.

Music has always been at the heart of the Lutheran service. In 1918, a Durner Organ was installed for $2850. This nine stop, air driven instrument gave plenty of exercise to the church sexton who was in charge of hand pumping during the service. Finally, in 1930 when electricity arrived at the church, the air was supplied via electric blowers, much to the relief of the church sexton. In the time following World War II, growth and prosperity was felt across the nation. Both the Reformed and Lutheran congregations grew in numbers and programs. It became evident in the 1950's that the current church building would need major modifications or a more radical solution. That radical solution was to arise in 1957. Earlier in the decade "seeds" were planted by the Ministerium to encourage the dissolution of Union churches. Later in the decade it became clear that both congregations would benefit by creating separate worship facilities. Thus, a bond that lasted 215 years was legally broken on August 25, 1957. In the end, the Reformed congregation stayed in the 1838 stone building. The Lutherans set out to build their own church.


Notes

An excerpt from the document attached to Johann Peter Gruber states: Contrary to some opinions, this work by Rupp does not duplicate nos. 9041-9042 by Strassburger, although there are thousands of names which are duplicates. Strassburger's work, however, is more accurate and more reliable than Rupp's. See also no. 9330, Urlsperger. The Salzburgers mentioned above were immigrants from Salzburg, Austria. Source Page # : 93

Gruber, Hans Peter Place : Philadelphia Year : 1733 Primary Individual : Gruber, Hans Peter Source Code : 9041 Source Name : STRASSBURGER, RALPH BEAVER. Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808. Edited by William John Hinke. Norristown [PA]: Pennsylvania German Society, 1934. 3 vols. Vols. 1 and 3 reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1964. Repr. 1983. Vol. 1. 1727-1775. 776p.

Source Annotation : Contains 29,800 names, with annotations written by Krebs (see no. 4203). Various references to the names in Strassburger will be found in other listings, mostly where authors have attempted to line up their information with that in Strassburger. This work (often referred to as Strassburger and Hinke) is much superior to no. 7820, Rupp, and no. 1804, Egle. It forms a revision with additions to Rupp and Egle, and was prepared and edited with great accuracy. Vol. 1 contains captains' lists, 1727-1775; vol. 2 has facsimiles of all signatures of signers of oaths of allegiance and oaths of abjuration, and was not included in the G.P.C. reprint; vol. 3 has captains' lists from 1785-1808, and indexes to captains, ships, ports of departure, and surnames in all volumes. The set was originally vols. 42-44 of the Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings.

NOTE: Dr. Calvin D. Gruver in Minnesota on July 13, 2000 states that in the first years from 1733-1740 Hans Peter and his family could have been in Philadelphia as he has seen his name there on the first surveys on a place named NORTHERN LIBERTIES OF PHILADELPHIA.

For certain Hans Peter Gruber boarded the ship Charming Betty at London, England. As the Ship sailed from London. List 35C) from the Courthouse of Philadelphia October 12th., 1733. Present The Hon Patrick Gordon, Esq, Lieu Governor, Thomas Griffits, Esq, Mayor.

The Palatines whose Names are underwritten, imported in the Ship Charming Betty, Jn Ball, Master, from LONDON, did this day take and subscribe the Oaths to the Government. Johann Kettner ; Adam (SA) Spag George Michel Kettner; Nicholas (X) Burger Heinrich Mockli (with and umlaut over the "o") Peter (O) Stocker; Hans Peter (X) Gruber; Johan Paul Vogt Samuel Ludi ; Johans Lang Christian Anderich (?); Johan (+) Lang, Jun Ulrich (U) Leebegoot ; Nicholas (NH) Heltzel Johan (X) Leebegoot ; Nicholas (NH) Heltzel





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