Kellers Church, Pennsylvania

How did Kellers Church, Pennsylvania get its name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Kellers Church, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.

Village in northeastern Bedminster Township on Ridge Road (Route 386). It is one of the oldest communities north of Doylestown. St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, located there, is the second oldest Lutheran Church in the county. The congregation was founded in 1744 by Henrich Keller and two or three other early settlers. Henrich Keller, whose name the village bears, with his wife and four children, emigrated from Germany to America at the age of thirty years, arriving at Philadelphia in the Ship Glasgow, Walter Sterling, Commander, September 9, 1738. He was a native of Wyerbach, Baden, born January 9, 1708, son of Wilhelm and Gertraut Keller. At the age of twenty he married Juliana Kleindinst, daughter of Peter Kleindinst, an official of Wyerbach. When he took the oath of allegiance at Philadelphia he gave his name as Johann Henrich Keller, but soon thereafter dropped the first name and was known simply as Henry Keller. He probably settled immediately in Bedminster Township near Kellers Church. He became influential and acquired large tracts of land in Bedminster and Haycock. At his death, October 17, 1782, he left all his children a large competency for those days. His descendants today are numerous, many filling responsible positions in business and professional walks of life. Among them in the county is Hon. Hiram H. Keller, President Judge of the Bucks County Courts.

John Keller, of Bucks County, son of Henry Keller, was a native of Haycock Township, in that county, born about 1735. He was a farmer, a member of the First Constitutional Convention of July 15, 1776, and served in the General Assembly from 1776 to 1779; he was an active partisan, and commanded a Bucks County battalion of Associators under Gen. John Lacey during the campaign of 1778. Like many other Pennsylvania worthies, we have of him but a meager biographical record. It is probable he died about the close of the Revolution.1

In the days of Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, who exercised some supervision over the Kellers Church congregation, it was known as “Tohecka congregation,” from its proximity to Tohickon Creek. This resulted in considerable confusion in the early church records with those of Tohickon Church at Keelersville in the same township. Dr. William J. Hinke, the historian of Tohickon Church, in a paper read before The Bucks County Historical Society, May 2, 1931, refers in an interesting way to this confusion. Later Kellers Church became known as “Stange Kirche,” or “Bar Church,” from the circumstance that its bulging walls were held together by a long iron bar running through the structure. A log schoolhouse was built by the congregation in 1751 or 1752, and no doubt the first public service was held there. The first church building, also of logs, must have been built soon after the erection of the schoolhouse. A parsonage was also built about the same time and Dr. Muhlenberg sent Rev. Lucas Rauss to take charge. The second church building (the “Stange Kirche”) took the place of the log structure, 1762-64. At a later period in the church’s history Rev. Anthony Hecht was called to the pulpit. He purchased and brought from Germany the church’s first organ. In a paper read before the Buckwampun Literary and Historical Association in 1897, Asa Frankenfield related an incident showing the difficulties attending burials in those days. Rev. Hecht was a teacher in the nearby school. His health breaking down under his double duties as pastor and teacher, he died on December 29, 1794, at the age of 31 years, after preaching only about a year. On the day of the funeral, probably because of badly snow-drifted roads, his remains were carried by twelve men the entire distance of two and a half miles from his residence to the old graveyard. The second church building was replaced by another in 1841, at which time the Reformed congregation, just organized, became joint owner with the Lutherans. It has been a union church ever since. The present large brick structure, regarded at the time of its construction as one of the finest in the county, was built in 1894 at a cost of $12,000. One of its exterior features is a tall round bell and observation tower, surmounted by a graceful steeple supported on columns. The village enjoys an exceptionally good location overlooking the beautiful Tohickon valley, with a view of Haycock Mountain in the distance to the northwest. Kellers Church has been a post office since July 13, 1877, when Charles Scheetz was appointed postmaster.


MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.

  1. W. H. Egle, M.D., “The Constitutional Convention of 1776-Biographical sketches of its members,” in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 3, P. 444-445. []

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