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Old St Paul back with grave markers

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Old St. Pauls' & Cemetery, Newton, Catawba County, North Carolina, USA

2035 Old Conover Startown Rd (828) 464-9786

St. Paul's Church is located in Catawba County, about two miles west from Newton. It was at first called the "Dutch Meeting House," while Rev. Arends referred to it as the "South Fork Church."

This is one of the oldest churches in Catawba County. The deed for their land was made May 20, 1771; however, there is reason to believe the church was started a few years before land was purchased, possibly about 1768. The property was jointly owned by Lutherans and German Reformed.

The first house of worship was a small log building, and stood where a part of the graveyard is now. The second building, which is the present one, was built about 1808. The walls of this building are of large hewn logs,weatherboarded on the outside and ceiled inside. Some of the timbers of the old building were used in this one. Homemade nails were used in its structure. This building has a gallery, which originally was used by African Americans. The building is rectangular in shape, with a door in each end and on one side. There was, at first, a high goblet-shaped pulpit, which was later replaced by a more modern one.

The first services conducted here were by visiting ministers, or by one or more of their laymen. Rev. Adolphus Nussman probably visited and ministered to these people soon after he came to America.

However, J. G. Arends is generally regarded as the first pastor of this congregation. He, like Pastor Nussman, first lived in Rowan County, but in 1785 moved to Lincoln County, and served all the Lutheran churches West of the Catawba River.

St. Paul's Church originally belonged to the North Carolina Synod, and may have taken part in the organization of that Synod in 1803. Then, after the Tennessee Synod was organized in 1820, a part of the congregation left the North Carolina Synod and united with the Tennessee Synod. In 1846, or possibly a little later, a part of the congregation withdrew from the Tennessee Synod and united with the newly organized body, called the Tennessee Synod Reorganized, under the leadership of Rev. Adam Miller, Jr., but later united with the Joint Synod of Ohio.

It should be noted here, that a part of the original St. Paul's Congregation remained associated with the North Carolina Synod, up to and beyond this time. In fact, the North Carolina Synod held its annual convention of Synod in St. Paul's Church in 1848. Now, when we remember that the Reformed congregation also shared in the ownership of the church property, and worshiped at stated times, in the same building, we need not wonder, if confusion existed.
In 1905, the Tennessee Synod Congregation built a house of worship of its own, at Startown, some two miles away, and relocated there. The name, St. Paul's Church, is retained, and the congregation is a continuation of the church at the old location, connected with the Tennessee Synod. Meanwhile, the group that adhered to the North Carolina Synod continued
in that relationship for a while, but later on discontinued as a separate congregation, and its members united with other Lutheran congregations in the surrounding community.

In course of time the Reformed brethren also withdrew and built a house of worship of their own which leaves Old St. Paul's in the hands of the American Lutheran Church, which is the successor of the Joint Synod of Ohio in that locality.

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