St. Mark's Lutheran Church

St. Mark's Pastors

Rev. Joseph WelkerJoseph WelkerThe 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.

The 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 poor.”

St. Mark's Lutheran Church, built 1854-56In 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.

When 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).

The Rev. Joseph WelkerHe married Christina Loy on January 1, 1849 and was blessed with 9 children  He died October 20, 1895.

The 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."