Rev. Benjamin Knepper

Rev. Benjamin Knepper

The Benjamin Knepper photograph above is from the Reverend. Earl Gindlesperger’s 1941 book " The Wills Creek Charge”. Page 11 and page 12 of that book provide a detailed biography of Rev. Knepper.

Rev. Knepper was locally well known in his day, and appears in many accounts of various Somerset County, Pennsylvania familes. The 1906 three volume book set "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" reports the following on his life: "There have been some long pastorships in Somerset county, but that of Benjamin Knepper would stand out as a remarkable one in the history of any denomination. Entering the ministry in 1846, he became pastor of the charge of which Wellersburg was the natural center. Although his career as a minister continued for forty-nine years, he never had but this one charge, serving it until he had almost become a nonogenerian. During his long pastorship, he baptised 2,329 persons, confirmed 945, married 466 couples, and officiated at 766 funerals. Rev. Knepper was born in 1816 and died in 1906.". Volume 3, pages 42-46 of that book set has an extensive Knepper family history that includes additional information on Benjamin.

A June 28, 1896 article in the New York Times stated “The Rev. Benjamin Knepper completed on Thursday, June 18, his fiftieth year as pastor of the German Reformed Church at Wellersburg, Penn. According to the rules of this denomination, the half century as pasto9r of one church entitled Mr. Knepper to be placed on the retired list. Thursday evening fully 1,000 people turned out to do honor to the occasion. Twelve ministers of the same denomination were present and participated in the ceremony. The Rev. Mr. Knepper’s record shows that he has baptized 2,440 persons, officiated at the funerals of 1,200, and married 1,100 couples. He has been one of the most prominent ministers of his conference.”.

The 1949 book “The Genealogy of Michael Korns, Sr. of Somerset County Pennsylvania ” states “The religious life of the Germans in Southampton Township, Somerset County was not overlooked. Nor was the need for a proper place in which to worship, for the Wellersburg Reformed and Lutheran Church was organized about 1803, among the earliest members were: the Korns, Uhls, Hoymans, Witts, Wilhelms, Reichers, Wingers, and Gaumers. The Reverend Benjamin Knepper had served that congregation continuously for almost half a century. He conducted his service and delivered his sermons in German during the early years, later in English.”.

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