The Rev. Joseph Welker was born in Hesse
Darnstadt, Germany on Nov. 11,1821. He graduated from
Gettysburg Academy and College in 1846 and from Gettysburg Seminary
in 1848. Pastor Welker was licensed by the Alleghany Synod in
1848 and ordained by the Pittsburgh Synod in 1851. He served
as pastor at Salem, St. Petersburg, Pa. from 1848 to 1951.
Pastor Welker arrived in Williamsport with his wife and children on
July 5, 1853, after having crossed the mountains in a covered wagon.
Thirty members were all that the young English Lutheran congregation
could claim, on his arrival.
work of pastor of a small church was difficult. Financially,
the church was always struggling. According to Pastor Welker,
"the minister’s salary has always been secured only with great
difficulty. At times, how to live was a matter of great distress. We
have been almost miraculously aided, else we could not have been
here until now. The people of our charge are for the most part
spite of the financial difficulty, the small congregation was in
need of a place of worship. Since the church was founded, the
members continued to worship in the building that housed the German
Lutheran church - the congregation they had left. A building
committee of two was appointed. A new church building on Market
Street property was proposed and construction commenced shortly
thereafter. The pastor recorded that he made all contracts,
hired all laborers, paid all bills and, indeed, labored with his own
hands digging in the cellar, laying brick and aiding in the
carpentry work. In a little more than a year after his arrival the
cornerstone was laid on October 7, 1854 and the dedication occurred
January 22, 1856.
he left the church in 1857, the congregation had more than doubled
and some seventy souls worshiped in the new building. Pastor
Welker later served churches in Aaronsburg, PA (1857-62),
Brookville PA (1862-66), and Rochester PA (1866-71).
married Christina Loy on January 1, 1849 and was blessed with 9
children He died October 20, 1895.
photograph to the left is found in the archives. On the back
is the following notation:
"Rev. Welker, Joseph - Death 10-20-95; Birth Date
11-22-1821; Birth Place - Hesse Darmstadt, Germany; Marriage 1-1-49
to Christiana Meeker who was a descendent of Thomas Wheeler married
Anne Halsey 5-15-1613. They lived in Concord, Mass.
My grandmother and grandfather met at Gettysburg
College where they both were attending."