north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Friedens Church, among the oldest Lutheran churches in the state, claims an establishment date of 1745. That date is based on the fact that German settlers came to the area in the mid-1740s. In his 1929 history R. D. W. Connor stated that a Lutheran congregation began on the Haw River about 1745. Others have observed that this might have been Friedens, Low’s, or St. Paul’s. “Friedens Kirche” in German means church of peace. The church was known also as “Shoemaker’s” for a prominent member family.

     The standard history of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina states that records prior to formation of the Synod in 1803 are “pitifully incomplete.” The first document related to Friedens dates from 1791 when the congregation received from the state a land grant of fourteen acres. (That date was commemorated with a centennial address at the church in 1891.) The grant refers to the graveyard and tombstones in that yard bear dates as early as 1751 with others worn away. William T. Whitsett, a local historian and a member of Friedens, contended that the proper founding date for the church was 1771 when worshippers reorganized, moving from the original log structure to a frame church. No Lutheran churches in the state had regular pastors until the arrival of Adolph Nussbaum in 1773 and J. G. Arends shortly thereafter.

     Friedens was a union church with Lutheran, German Reformed, and Calvinist members. The Reformed members withdrew in 1857 to establish St. Mark’s near what is now Elon University. A brick sanctuary built in 1861 burned in 1939; the present building was erected in 1940. Friedens, site of several synod meetings, was mother church to a number of area Lutheran congregations.

Jacob L. Morgan, ed., History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina (1953)
William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, VIII, 738-787
R. D. W. Connor, North Carolina: Rebuilding an Ancient Commonwealth, 1584-1925 (1929)
Walter Whitaker, Centennial History of Alamance County (1949)
Greensboro Daily News, June 7, 1927, and July 20, 1947
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Friedens Church

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources