Portrait of Samuel Simon Schmucker

Samuel Schmucker (1799–1873)

Born in Hagerstown, MD, Schmucker was only 15 when he went to the University of Pennsylvania. He became an ordained minister in 1820 after studying at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Samuel Simon Schmucker portrait

Schmucker and Gettysburg College

Rev. Schmucker was the founder of both the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg in 1826 and Pennsylvania College (later known as Gettysburg College) in 1832. He also founded the Lutheran church body known as the General Synod.

Schmucker was a controversial figure because of his theological positions and his outreach to the African American community. In 1820 he delivered the first sermon in English to African-Americans in Gettysburg and, in 1835, allowed the first black man, Daniel Payne, to enroll in the Seminary. In the days before public high schools, Schmucker helped found an academy in Gettysburg for the education of girls.

After 38 years of teaching at the Seminary, Schmucker retired in 1864, but remained a trustee of Gettysburg College until his death.

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