Famed Anglican William White ministered to Continental Congress in York

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Anglican William White (1748-1836), rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, and Presbyterian George Duffield served as chaplains to Congress during that body’s stay in York Town. Here, William White is seen in a panel painted in connection with the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1927. He stayed with a Lutheran pastor named Kurtz in York. Background posts: Research topic: 18th-century helicopter could have aided pastor, Declaration signer’s marker mounted in obscurity and York church gained new cupola by ‘stealth’ .
Anne Eckert Johnson was born in Gettysburg but lives in Richmond, Va.
She is seeking information on the Kurtz family that goes back generations in York County.
Here’s a recent request: …

My great, great, great, great grandfather, Johann Wilhelm Kurtz, was a younger brother of Johann Nicolas Kurtz whom you mentioned on page 37 of “Nine Months in York Town”. This reference got me involved in researching both of these relatives who came from Germany to PA as Lutheran missionaries at the request of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. I’m hoping that you can tell me the name of the South Carolina delegate whom JNKurtz housed during the nine months that the Continental Congress stayed in York. Thanks so much for any help that you can provide. I found your book fascinating.

As far as researchers know, the Lutheran pastor Kurtz accommodated Anglican chaplain William White during Congress’ stay in York during 1777-78.
The German Reformed pastor, Daniel Wagner, took in George Duffield, a Presbyterian who served as chaplain to Congress.
The couplings made sense. The high church Anglicans would have been closer in a number of ways to the high church Lutherans.
And the Wagner-Duffield pairing would have been aided by the Swiss and Reformed connections between the Zwinglian German Reformeds and the Calvinistic Presbyterians.
The record does not show Kurtz housing delegates. Certainly, he would not have done so for a full nine months – the length of Congress’ visit. Delegates were constantly coming and going.
For more on pastor Kurtz, see Charles Glatfelter’s “York County Lutherans.” If you have information on the Kurtzes, e-mail Anne Eckert Johnson, johnsonhome2@verizon.net.
Here’s a bit more on White, from my book “Nine Months in York Town.”

After the Revolution, White became the first Episcopal bishop in Pennsylvania. The Episcopal Church was the American expression of the Anglican church. White was a well-connected patriot. He was a friend of George Washington, and Robert Morris, the statesman who helped finance the Revolution, was his brother-in-law. Many of the nation’s founders attended Christ Church. He preached there every Sunday until well into his 80s. By the time of his death, he was known as the “Father of the Episcopal Church.”

Note: A program to celebrate the anniversary of the Articles is set for 2-4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Colonial Courthouse replica, 157 W. Market St. Details: 848-1587. For better or worse, I will give the main address, which will include discussion on the painting of White (above) and other visitors recognized in art in the 1927 celebration. The York County Heritage Trust owns the paintings.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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