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the Rev. John Bachman; clergyman, naturalist, social reformer, and founder of Newberry College
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It's hard to imagine working for almost six decades of one's life, but the Rev. John Bachman actually served one church--St. John's Lutheran in Charleston, South Carolina (below)--as pastor for 56 YEARS! During that time, Bachman was deeply involved in speaking and writing about theology and religion. He helped establish the Lutheran Synod of South Carolina and twice served as its president (1824-1833 and 1839-1840).

This portrait (below) of the Rev. John Bachman as a young man came from p. 164 of A History of the Lutheran Church in South Carolina. The original hangs in the Bachman Room at St. John's Lutheran Church in Charleston SC.

This portrait of the Rev. John Bachman (below left) appears on p. 24 of Recollections of Seventy Years, an 1888 autobiography by Daniel Alexander Payne (below right), who--befriended and encouraged by Bachman--studied for the ministry and went on to become sixth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

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The Rev. John Bachman also influenced the life of Boston Jenkins Drayton (d. 1866), a member and lay minister of the "colored" congregation of St. John's Lutheran Church. When Bachman encouraged Drayton (portrait below right) to go to Liberia, Africa, as a missionary, the South Carolina Lutheran Synod ordained Drayton; St. John's African American congregants underwrote his mission.

The Liberian government provided land on which Drayton built a school-church, and black members of St. John's continued financial support. Eventually, however, disappointed by the politics of fundraising, Drayton resigned the ministry and became a regional governor in Liberia and then Chief Justice of the country's Supreme Court.

Another black congregant influenced greatly by the Rev. John Bachman was Jehu Jones (1786-1852)--the first African American Lutheran minister ordained in North America. Born into slavery in the Charleston area, Jones was freed and became a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in the 1820s and was ordained in 1832 by the New York Lutheran Synod. When roadblocks impeded his initial mission of establishing a church in Liberia, he returned to Charleston and was jailed because of laws prohibiting the "immigration of freed slaves"--even though he was born in the U.S. Upon his release Jones moved to Philadelphia to establish St. Paul's Lutheran Church and built a sanctuary that still stands. He also started African American congregations in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, eventually ministering to an estimated 2,700 black families.

As he aged, the Rev. John Bachman developed a shock of hair so white it disappears in this stained and faded formal photograph (below). On back of the photo--a gift to the Newberry College Archives from Owen Holmes of Newberry SC--is a signature and an inscription to a parishoner from: Your Friend & Pastor, John Bachman.

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You can access detailed information about Bachman's life and work by clicking on the links in the column at left.

Please check back later as we add to this section.

Please revisit this Web site often at and plan to attend the Symposium on Nature, God & Social Reform in the Old South: The Life & Work of the Rev. John Bachman in April 2006.