Before the Revolutionary war many German people found their way to the new world, and several of our Valley counties were largely settled by them. They were, for the most part, Lutherans and Tunkers, or German Baptists, and have transmitted their religious faith, with their steady habits, to their posterity. They brought their German Bibles with them, and for several generations the language of the fatherland was used by them in their households. Indeed, many of the older people never learned to read or speak English. Before the close of the Revolution a considerable part of the best lands in Augusta county was occupied by people of this race.
Other German people also came at an early day, and their descendants are now numerous in the county. These were Protestants of the "German Reformed" faith, who hold to the theology of John Calvin. The denomination originated in the Palatinate, adjacent to Prussia. They were subjected to persecution by their Roman Catholic rulers, and at one crisis Frederick William, King of Prussia and father of William the Great, interfered efficiently for their protection. The first immigrants of this faith formed settlements in Pennsylvania in 1684, and their first minister in America was the Rev. Philip Boehm, who came here in 1720. There is no essential difference in the creeds of the "German Reformed" and Presbyterians of Scotch or Scotch-Irish descent, but distinct organizations are kept up at various places in the county, showing the tenacity with which people cling to the usages in worship of their forefathers. Bethel church, of the one denomination, and St. John's, of the other, are almost side by side; and a similar spectacle is exhibited in the village of Churchville, the hamlet so called because it contains no less than four churches.
Peter and George Hanger, the ancestors of the numerous family of that name, settled in Augusta in 1750, it is said, having been born in Germany, but coming here from Pennsylvania. The former lived at Spring Farm, near Staunton, and died there in 1801. In 1870 he was appointed a justice of the peace, but declined to qualify. One of
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..