St. Matthews church was founded in 1836 as a Reformed Church by adherents of the German Reformed movement. From an account by Alfred Nixon, Clerk of Lincoln County Court, the history and origin of the church follows:
"May 22nd, 1836. A meeting of the citizens and members of the German Reformed Church in the neighborhood was held at the dwelling house of Mr. Michael Finger for the purpose of consulting upon the propriety and necessity of building a meeting house. "After a sermon was preached by Rev. John G. Fritchey, John Coulter was called to the chair and Benjamin Norris appointed secretary. The question was then put to the congregation whether they would build a Meeting House which was unamimously agreed to in the affimative. "And after mature deliberation it was agreed to build a church on the road leading from Lincolnton to the Island Ford on land which John Ramsour (Tanner) agreed to give for the purpose of erecting a house thereon for the worship of Almighty God. "It was further resolved that we build a house one story high, forty feet long and thirty feet wide. "John Ramsaur and John Coulter were appointed Trustees, in order to raise subscriptions and superintend the collection and disbursement of the money. "It was also resolved that the chair appoint three other persons in conjunction with the trustees, where upon Joseph Finger, John Blackburn and Jacob Summerow were appointed. David R. Bennick was appointed Secretary for the Society.
"June 4th 1836. We the undersigned promise to pay to John Carpenter and John Ramsour, Trustees, the sum annexed to our names for the use and purpose of building a German Reformed Church to be known by the name of Saint Matthews for the use ot a German Reformed Congregation there, said church to be built on a tract of land lying on the Island Ford Road, just above Daniel Hallman's. Jr.. which John Ramsour, Tanner, hath this day conveyed to the said Trustees, One half of the said subscription to be paid as soon as there is two hundred dollars subscribed, the other half to be paid within six months after the building is commenced.
"July 23rd, 1836. After the aforesaid proceedings a meeting was held at the house of Mr. Jos. Finger by the building committee for the purpose of drawing off the dimentions of said church. It was unanimously agreed upon that the building of the church be advertised and let to the lowest bidder on the 13th of August A. D. 1836 at the six mile post above Daniel Shrums on the Island Ford road. "On that instant the building committee met and sold the building of said church to the lowest bidder of whom Mr. Joseph Finger gave the lowest bid, and then entered into the succeeding contract. [for $265.00]."
Today, St. Matthews church is known as St. Matthews United Church of Christ. The current pastor is the Rev. H. Linn Finger who follows the tradition of the Finger family of ministering to descendants of the families who settled in the area two-hundred years ago.
BOLICK, ROBERT, 1st Lt. in 89th Regiment, NC Troops (4th Regiment, Company C, Senior Reserves.) [B-246]
CAMPBELL, D. A., Served in Lt. Gen. Theophilus Hunter Holmes Regiment, Company B, Freeman's North Carolina Infantry Battalion. This unit served both as the Salisbury Prison Guard Battalion and as Capt. Henry P. Allen's Company, North Carolina Local Defense Troops at Fort Fisher, NC. [NARA]
CARPENTER, WILLIAM D., Sergeant, Resided in Lincoln County where he enlisted at age 32, May 23, 1861. Mustered in as Private and was promoted to Corporal in May, 1862. Promoted to Sergeant in December, 1862. Present or accounted for until killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863. [NCT-7:156]
FINGER, DAVID WARLICK, Corporal, Company B, 23nd Regiment, NC Troops - Born in Lincoln County where he resided as a farmer prior to enlisting in Lincoln County at age 20, May 23. 1861. Mustered in as Corporal. Present or accounted for until he died at or near Winchester, Virginia, on or about October 17, 1861, of disease. [NCT-7:157]
FINGER, DOCTOR FRANKLIN, Private, Company K, 46th Regiment, NC Troops - Born in Catawba County where he resided as a farmer prior to enlisting in Catawba County at age 17, March 13, 1862. Present or accounted for until wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 1862. Returned to duty in March-April, 1863. Present or accounted for until wounded at Wilderness, Virginia, May 5, 1864. Reported absent wounded through December, 1864. [North Carolina pension records indicate that he survived the war.] [NCT-11:231]
FINGER, FRANKLIN CROOKS. Enlisted as a Private in Co. K, 16th Regiment, NC Troops (no record). Franklin was born 7 October 1847 in Lincoln County, NC. He was younger than the minimum enlistment age but enlisted anyway, probably lying about his age. He died on 12 February 1865 "from a disease contracted in the army" according to his grave stone. His age was stated as "17 yrs 4 mos & 5d." His gravestone was shared with two of his brothers, Monroe Peter Finger and Robert Pinkney Finger. Another brother, Major Sidney M. Finger, who served in the CSA, was buried at Eastview Cemetery in Newton, NC. [Southern Finger Family]
FINGER, MONROE PETER, Private, Company E, 34th Regiment, NC Troops - Born in Lincoln County where he resided as a tanner prior to enlisting in Lincoln County at age 26, September 11, 1861. Mustered in as Private. Promoted to Corporal in May, 1862 - February, 1863. Wounded in the knee at or knee Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 1-3, 1863. Hospitalized at Lynchburg, Virginia, where he died on June 25, 1863, of wounds. [NCT-9:297]
FINGER, ROBERT PINKNEY, Private, Company I, 11th Regiment, NC Troops - Resided in Lincoln County where he enlisted at age 20, March 11, 1862, for the war. Present or accounted for until killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863. [NCT-5:88]
HARTZOGE, SAMUEL FAIR, Served in Company B, 6th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, CSA. Nothing more is know at this time.
KEENER, FRANK, Private, Company A, 23nd Regiment, NC Troops - Resided in Lincoln County where he enlisted at age 20, May 23, 1861. Present or accounted for until wounded in the side and/or abdomen and captured at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 1862. Hospitalized at Frederick, Maryland, until paroled and transferred to Aiken's Landing, James River, Virginia, where he was received on October 19, 1862, for exchange. Returned to duty on an unspecified date. Wounded in the mouth and head and captured at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-5, 1863. Hospitalized at Gettysburg until transferred to David's Island, New York Harbor, July 17-24, 1863. Paroled at David's Island and transferred to City Point, Virginia, where he was received on September 16, 1863, for exchange. Returned to duty prior to May 1. 1864. Reported absent without leave from May 5 through December 31, 1854. [NCT-7:160]
LITTLE, JOHN G., Private, Company E, 32nd Regiment, NC Troops- Enlisted at Camp Vance on May 21, 1864, for the war. Present or accounted for until he surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. [North Carolina pension records indicate he was wounded at "Wilmington in February, 1864."] [NCT-9:51]
RUDISILL, HENRY A., Private, Company G, 57th Regiment, NC Troops - Resided in Lincoln County where he enlisted at age 26, July 4, 1862, for the war. Reported present through December 31,1862. Sent to hospital from camp near Port Royal, Virginia, February 21, 1863. Died in hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia, March 3, 1863, of "febris typhoides." [NCT-14:157]
SHRUM, JAMES F., Private, Company I, 11th Regiment, NC Troops - Resided in Lincoln County where he enlisted at age 26, March 17, 1862, for the war. Present or accounted for until he died in hospital at Petersburg, Virginia, December 15, 1862, of "pneumonia." [NCT-5:94]
NCT = North Carolina Troops - 1861-1865-A Roster, N.C. Dept. of Achives & History, Raleigh, NC (1983-2001)
B = NC Confederate Militia, Officers Roster As Contained in the Adjutant General's Officer's Roster, Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., 1992
[Marker photographs by Derick S. Hartshorn-all rights reserved]
Derick S. Hartshorn - © 2006