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Rev John Stough page 5

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restful after such a long, toilsome, and dangerous journey. The people chose John Stough to conduct religious services. At that time he was still a layman. Stough goes on to say: "A young couple came requesting me to marry them. The young man, clad in skins of animals, carrying his gun and the game he had shot, the young lady following close to the man of her choice, came to my cabin. We told them we had no license to perform a legal marriage. They said they did not care; they intended to live together, and there was no minister in the country. They argued that since he could read sermons he could read marriage ceremonies also. We concluded we had better solemnize their nuptials, and did it backwoods style, without any license myself or asking them for one."

The young man was Yost Heck. He was the first blacksmith. His bride was the daughter of James Goff of Welsh ancestry.

"A log building serving a double purpose was soon erected by these hardy pioneers a short distance south of Walter C. Spiggle's present residence and west of Miss Florence Startzman's home. This was the meeting house and school. The colonists chose John Stough as lay reader. He had charge of the divine services at the meeting house, led in prayer, read the Holy Scriptures, and an exposition of the same from the Book of Sermons which was presented to the colony by the Saint John's Lutheran congregation of Hagerstown. There was no choir, but everyone sang. The schoolmasters in the pioneer days were usually the lay readers, but not so in the German settlement. John Christian Whitehair (Weiszhaar) taught "the young ideas how to shoot". He was the first schoolmaster within the limits of Preston County."

Other far-spread communities in the Allegheny Mountains sought the services of John Stough. In the story of his life he refers to the anxious parents who wanted their children baptized and the Lord's Supper administered. He says: "The duty of preaching became more and more impressed on my mind, and my Brethren thought I could and must preach for them and others,"

Stough had a strong sense of vocation. Although his chief responsibility was to his Salem flock he included other places. He rode horseback, conducted services and preached sermons almost daily for weeks at a stretch. One of his missions was at Morgantown under the patronage of Michael Kern, a founding father of the village. Some days he would ride twenty-five miles and preach two or three times. On occasion, several of his parishoners would accompany him, and listen attentively to the same sermon.

He served the Salem parish as a lay-preacher from 1787 to 1806.

"Elizabeth Haguemyer bore John Stough four children: Charlotte, Mary, Samuel, and Susan. She was the first person to be baptized at


Felix G. Robinson


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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