American History & Genealogy Project


"K" Surnames

Koontz, David James

The first president of the first colored Lutheran Synod of the United States, and as far as we know, in the world, was Rev. David James Koontz, who had been ordained by the North Carolina Synod in 1880, and was a faithful, honorable and honored member thereof, until the formation of the Alpha Synod.  

Pastor Koontz was born in Davidson county, N. C., in the year 1846.  He was a slave and belonged to a Lutheran family, whose name he bore with pleasure and pride, as hundreds and thousands of slaves have done all over the sunny Southland.  He was baptized by a white Lutheran pastor, and in due time was confirmed by Rev. W. A. Julian, now an honored member of the South Carolina Synod, who also installed him as pastor of the Pleasant Grove Church, which is the first colored Lutheran Church the North Carolina Synod organized and received.  

He was, considering the limited advantages he enjoyed, quite a good, plain, practical preacher.  Preaching once at night during the sessions of the North Carolina Synod, he won the admiration of all who heard him.

Unfortunately, Pastor Koontz died suddenly and unexpectedly in Concord, N. C., May 27, 1890, in the forty-fifth year of his life, dying all too soon according to human view, as he was so much needed among his people.  He was serving the Concord Mission at the time of his death.  The whole community deplored the death of this humble, quiet, God-fearing man.  He lies buried in the old Lutheran Cemetery at Concord to await the resurrection morn.  He was truly a good and holy man, an honor to his race and a faithful minister in our dear great Lutheran Zion.  

Source: J. C. Jensson,  American Lutheran Biographies (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A. Houtkamp & Son, 1890), 415-416.

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