Kurtz, John Nicholas

Kurtz, John Nicholas, one of the earlier Lutheran ministers in this country, was born at Lutzelinden, in the principality of Nassau -Weilburg, and came to this country in 1745. He pursued his studies at Giessen and Halle, and was regarded by Dr. Francke as peculiarly fitted for missionary labor among his countrymen in America. He was the first Lutheran minister ordained in this country. He labored successively at New Hanover, Tulpehocken; Germantown, and York, Pa., although he frequently spent whole months in visiting the destitute places of the Church, preaching, catechising, and administering the sacraments. During his residence at Tulpehocken the services of the sanctuary were often conducted at imminent risk of life, as the ruthless Indian lay in wait for victims, and whole families were sometimes massacred. The officers of the church stood at the doors armed with defensive weapons, to prevent a surprise and to protect minister and people. In travelling to his preaching stations and visiting among his members he was often exposed to danger from the attack of the tomahawk and scalping-knife. He was pastor at York when Congress, during the Revolution, held its session there, and bishop White, the chaplain, was his guest. As an evidence of his interest in the American struggle, it is mentioned that, after preaching on the Lord's day, he invited his hearers to collect all the articles of apparel they could spare, and send them to his residence for distribution among the suffering, destitute soldiers. When he reached his threescore years and tell he felt that it was his duty to retire from the active duties of the ministry. He removed to Baltimore, where he spent the remainder of his days in the family of his son, John Daniel Kurtz (q.v.), until 1794, when he peacefully passed away to his rest. He was held in high estimation by his contemporaries as a man of great learning and earnest piety. (M. L. S.)

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