1. Intro to The Civil War Years of First Lutheran Church Pittsburgh


“These were indeed times that tried men’s souls. The great Civil War absorbed the State and a great conflict spread throughout the Church. “American Lutheranism” as represented in the teachings and publications of Dr. S.S. Schmucker and in the positions of the Lutheran Observer was being more and more earnestly contested by the ever-increasing forces of sound, confessional Lutheranism. Dr. Passavant’s paper, The Missionary, and The Lutheran in Philadelphia were founded to maintain the positions of the conservatives. The lines were being sharply drawn; men terribly in earnest on both sides of the field girded themselves to defend their beloved Lutheranism against principles and positions which they regarded fatal to its true development in this country. There was a bitterness and intolerance on every hand.” ~  From The History of The First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh 1837-1909

Welcome to the gathering place for historical content regarding the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grant Street, Pittsburgh and its parishioners during the Civil War.

This site originated as a project undertaken by the History & Archives Committee at First Lutheran Church as a way to gather historical images and texts from this specific time period into one place. It was the brainstorm of a visiting graduate student to our parish, Mr. Vince Slaugh, a civil war history enthusiast whose home church is Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Lancaster, PA -a church with a shared history with our own First Lutheran. Vince’s talent for genealogical research, and his knowledge of the civil war, was the catalyst for this project.

Having recently completed the celebration of our congregation’s 175th anniversary, and with the approaching 150th anniversary of The Civil War, it seems a fortuitous time to examine the sacrifices made by our church’s forefathers in the preservation of the Union, the establishment of our congregation, and the construction of our present edifice on Grant Street, as well as the spread of Lutheranism in America.

We will present this information to our Adult Sunday School Class on Sunday, April 26 and Sunday, May 2 from 9:45-10:45 in Holy Cross Hall of our church at 615 Grant Street.  Guests are welcome. Please note: Sunday May 2 is the City of Pittsburgh Marathon.  Please allow for extra travel time and take note of street closures.  More info from the City of Pittsburgh may be found here: Marathon.

~Michelle Cleary

Chair, History & Archives Committee

First Lutheran Church

March 2015


Note to Reader: The panoramic timeline provided weaves together the stories of the country, the city, our parish, and our synods, to allow the reader to experience the story as our parishioners would have. Within the timeline, the reader will find the ability to click links to explore some subjects in further detail.  In addition, a summary narrative on each individual subject – the biographies of the Union soldiers, the history of our parish and the history of our synods – may also be explored by clicking subsequent tabs.  A list of sources has been provided for those who may wish to read more on their own.  



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