Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Rev John Emory Berkstresser 1925-1929

The Rev John Emory Berkstresser (1894-1987) came to Delmar in 1925 to be the minister at the First Baptist church.  He arrived with his wife, Louise Mildred Nall Berkstresser (1894-1976) and two children; Mildred Louise Berkstresser (1920-1993) and John Emory Berkstresser (1922-1979).  The Rev Berkstresser had attended Howard College in East Lake, Alabama.  It was a college for the training of young men to teach the gospel.  Rev. Berkstresser was the minister of a couple Baptist churches in the Sylacauga, Ala. area (Central Alabama) before coming to Delmar.  He was born in Sylacauga. 
His father, also a John Emory Berkstresser, was born in the Pennsylvania Dutch region of Pennsylvania.  In 1863 he was attending Gettysburg College when Robert E Lee arrived.  John Emory joined the Union army.  After the American Civil War he became a doctor and joined the carpetbaggers that went south.  He settled in Sylacauga.  He was an inventive man and had several patents from a syrup pitcher to an automatic switch for railway crossings.
The Rev John Emory Berkstresser's grandfather was also a minister and perhaps that is whom he decided to follow.   Nevertheless he arrived in Delmar about April 1925 from Greensboro, Maryland and lead his flock in an evangelistic style.
above May 1928 News Journal newspaper Wilmington Delaware


DELMAR, Del., Dec. 26 - Ladies night was observed by the Delmar Klan No. 2, K. K. K., with an entertainment and supper in the church hall of the Baptist church, on Wednesday evening, from 8 to 11 o'clock.  Benjamin F. Marsh was master of ceremonies.  Led by Mrs. Paul R. Lowe, the audience sang "My Country, Tis of thee" Addresses were made by S. Ker Slemons, the Rev. J. E. Berkstresser, pastor of the Baptist church, the Rev. W. C. Little, of Midway, Del., and Taylor L. Thompson, Grand Dragon of the Realm of Delaware. One hundred partook of the supper which was served by the Ladies Aid Society of the Baptist Church.

Above from The Evening Journal (Wilmington) 6 Dec 1925

He was a well liked minister and tried to tender his resignation when he grew homesick for Alabama but his Church refused to accept it and he stayed a while longer.  Finally in July of 1929 he resigned to take over as minister at First Baptist in Decatur, Alabama.  While here the church building was enlarged and a social hall was added.  After leaving he returned to visit Delmar a few times and in 1941 after being gone 12 years the local paper still carried an entry when his daughter, Mildred, married Earle Smith in Alabama.  He remained in Alabama the rest of his life.

from Wicomico County and Delmar in Vintage Postcards  By John E. Jacob

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