- Grant Recipient
- 9586 Beaver Falls Road, Beaver Falls, NY
- 43.88555, -75.427203
Salem Christian Fellowship Church
In the early years of its establishment, the Town of Croghan had a large influx of European immigrants. By 1849, the population was 1,168 people, of which 522 were from France, Germany and Switzerland (1805 History of Lewis County, Franklin B. Hough, 1883). After arriving in the United States it was not uncommon for them to speak their native language with family or at religious meetings. Many developed their own churches to help adjust to their new home country. Salem Church is such an example.
In December of 1854, town residents came together to form a German-speaking church for local Protestant families. According to the church’s first meeting minutes, the church was given the name of the Evangelical Association of the Town of Croghan (Miscellaneous Record Book 2, Lewis County, NY Clerk’s Office). Early records demonstrate that church ceremonies and meetings were held almost exclusively in German. This church was also nationally affiliated with other German churches according to an 1872 pamphlet from Cleveland, Ohio that recognized them as a “Kirchen der Evangelischen Gemeinlschaft” or Church of the Protestant Community. In 1857, a separate, wooden church was built in nearby Beaver Falls, a hamlet of Croghan (1805 History of Lewis County).
On December 19, 1876 the Board of Trustees of the Evangelical Association of North America deemed the original 1854 meeting minutes to be insufficient “as a Church record of organization” (Evangelical Association of North America Meeting Minutes). The church reorganized under the name “Salem Church of the Evangelical Association of North America” (1805 History of Lewis County).
In 1889, an English-speaking sect broke away from the church and joined with the Methodist Episcopal Association (Salem Christian Fellowship Church website, 2004). They then built their own sister church. As time went on, church ceremonies and services became increasingly anglicized and the use of the German language became more infrequent, being reserved for special occasions (The Journal and Republican, 22 Jan 1903). By 1917, all services were held in English (Salem Christian Fellowship Church website, 2004).
At the Centennial celebration for the church its members were estimated to be around 220 people. The church went through renovations in 1910 and 1961 according to the church’s website and the stone work on the side of the church (Salem Christian Fellowship Church website, 2004). In 1968, the Evangelical United Bretheren merged with the Methodist Church. Thus a few years later, Salem Church combined with its sister church and the Salem church building was closed. In 1974, a few families met at the old church to “form a new Christian fellowship devoted to love, equality, and concern for all God’s children” (Salem Christian Fellowship Church website, 2004). As of 2019, the old church was still operational.