African American Genealogy in Cabarrus County: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1858-1859

29 Apr 2014

Relgion So Sweet sheet music from Slave Songs of the United States edited by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison (New York: A. Simpson & Co., 1867).

African American genealogy often becomes more difficult for the researcher when using records before the 1870 federal census. The task of checking church records and deeds of sale for persons whose last names may have changed several times prior to the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 and again upon the conclusion of the Civil War takes a great deal of time, even with the growing body of published sources available.

Unfortunately, pre-Civil War Cabarrus County sources for researchers of African American genealogy are few. However, there are several pages from the records of St. John’s Lutheran Church which list fifteen black members of the congregation in 1858 and 1859. These pages provided the communicants’ names, owners’ names, and the dates of baptism and/or confirmation into the church. The records were probably written by Gotthard Dellman Bernheim, who was the pastor of the congregation from 1858 to 1861.

These pages have been transcribed with Rev. Bernheim’s original spelling and punctuation left intact. The designation “do,” which appears in the list of communicants, is the abbreviation for “ditto,” indicating the information is already given in the preceding entry.

List of colored communicants (p.131)

No. NameMaster’s or Missus’s Name
1. WilliamJohn J. Baringer
2. SylvaDaniel Miller
3. Mary Jane do. do.
4. Eliza Miss Young
5. SarahDavid Barrier
6. Caleb Augustus do. do.
7. Elijah LeviMrs. Mary Kimball
8. ElijahJohn Faggart
9. Andrew JacksonFree
10. JaneChristopher Melchor
11. Mary do. do.
12. HenryDr. John L. Henderson
13. William FranklinMr. David Barrier
14. Emeline Adaline do. do.
15. Harriet CarolineMrs. Margaret Kimball

Additions of colored members (p. 161)

March 28th, 1858: The following colored persons were baptized & confirmed 1 William, servant of John J. Baringer; 2 Sylva & 3 Mary Jane, servants of Danl Miller; 4 Caleb Augustus, servant of David Barrier; 5 Andrew Jackson Reid, a free boy. Also were the following baptized, colored persons confirmed; 6 Sarah, servant of David Barrier; 7 Elijah, servant of John Faggart; 8 Levi, ser of Mrs. Mary Kimball; 9 Jane & 10 Mary, servants of C. Melchor. Total 10 persons.

August 8th, 1858: Henry servant of Dr. John L. Henderson (Total) 1 (person)

April 24th, 1859: The following colored members were confirmed, 1. William Franklin, 2. Emeline Adaline, servants of Mr. David Barrier; & 3 Harriet Caroline, servant of Mrs. Margaret Kimball, Total 3 persons.

This information comes from a microfilm copy of the records of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church given by Sarah E. Walker.

Courtesy Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room