Our May 2011 meeting was at Bethlehem (Steltz) church – known throughout the county as the place where the church is in one state (Pennsylvania) and the cemetery is in another (Maryland).
Rev. John C. Dorr, pastor was our greeter and turned the meeting over to various church members. A slide show of the tearing down and building of the current building was very interesting – several of the members present told stories about the construction. Many original documents were on display for us to look at. As we explored the interior of the church, we saw a drum from the Steltz band and some acid colored stained glass windows in the basement, along with other church artifacts.
The original church was built in 1795 on land that Philip Steltz sold to the congregation. In 1935, the church had out grown the two story log structure and decided to relocate across the road. This church was built for a total of $46,616.38 – and the debt was paid within three years.
Those of us who were able to walk through the cemetery before it rained found the Fried tombstones have an unusual feature to them. Lila demonstrates the hidden picture. (left)
Lila also pointed out this rare tombstone that was signed by the carver. (right)
The church has an excellent website: www.bethlehemsteltz.com/cemetery for researchers. There is a form that one can fill out to request information on burials. You will find two spread sheets: alphabetical listing and burial plots. The alphabetical listing has a great deal of information and references. There is also a cemetery layout map. Church members are accepting obituaries and any information that people might have on those members who attended the church. A history of the church is also on the website.