MG-292. SALEM UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST DEPOSIT OF GERMAN REFORMED SALEM CHURCH OF HARRISBURG RECORDS, 1787-1916.
The German Reformed Salem Church of Harrisburg was founded in 1787. Its records were deposited by its successor, the Salem United Church of Christ, the sanctuary of which currently stands at the corner of Chestnut and Third Streets in Harrisburg, Pa.
CHURCH RECORDS, 1787-1916
Charters, 1818, 1858, 1870. Various charters related to the German Reformed Salem Church. Included is a printed copy of the Articles of Association. Listed in Article III is a breakdown of property owned by the Church. "They also own and have in fee simple, in common with the Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church of Harrisburg, all that certain property or Real Estate, late a burying ground, situated in the said borough of Harrisburg, and bounded by Fourth street; lot of A. L. Roumfort; Chestnut street; lot of E. Byers; Colored burying ground; Meadow Lane; property of Presbyterian Church, and Blackberry alley."
Deeds, 1807, 1857-1872. Four deeds of the German Reformed Salem Church. Included is a deed entitled "Lots sold by Lutheran Congregation of Harrisburg, May 23, 1859," in which the "colored grave yard" is mentioned as a contiguous tract. The deed states: "Whereas the said three several and contiguous pieces or lots of ground have, by the direction of a majority of each of the vestries of said Churches, been divided into fifteen several lots or pieces of ground, numbered respectively from One (1) to fifteen (15) inclusive, Beginning at blackberry Alley next the Lutheran Church on Fourth Street, and running down Fourth Street to Chestnut thence down Chestnut to the African grave yard, thence along Meadow Lane to the Presbyterian grave yard."
Minute Books, 1813-1887. Minutes of the German Reformed Salem Church consist of handwritten notes that show the date, the location of the meeting, and the names of those who presided at the meeting. Topics include raising funds for the construction of the new church, policies and procedures, and the hiring of new pastors. Also documented is a record of a church proceeding against Ms. Fanny Jones accused of displaying an "immoral and unchristian like manner." Dated May 10 and 13, 1843, many members of the church congregation testified that Ms. Jones had "carried on" with married men and entertained people of questionable character in her home at different hours of the day. In testimony given by a witness, Fanny Jones "seemed equally familiar in talking both to blacks and whites." Other entries mentioning African Americans include: April 12, 1857, a notice on a lecture that was delivered by Reverend Brown on the Aspects of the Missionary cause of Africa and a March 28, 1859 entry mentioning "the colored graveyard" in relationship to the German Reformed Church lots. On the following page is a rough map of the lots at the Harrisburg cemetery that shows the location of the African Graveyard in relation to the German Reformed and Lutheran lots.