Adolph Nussman

My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was a pioneer preacher!

I’ve long had an interest in genealogy/family history, and one of the people I’m interested in learning more about is Adolph Nussman. Nussman was recruited by Lutherans in North Carolina in the 1700s because they did not have a pastor. Nussman, in Germany, answered the call and became the first Lutheran pastor in North Carolina. Nussman, called “the Lutheran apostle to NC,” came from Germany in 1773 (age 34), supported the American Revolution, was tortured by the Tories (British loyalists), and planted a bunch of churches over the next couple decades before eventually dying of wounds believed to have resulted from the torture at the age of 55.

Following the Revolutionary War, he called for more pastors. By the time George Washington was inaugurated as America’s first president, there were five Lutheran pastors leading the ministry. Adolph Nussman served 3 congregations and oversaw the 20 churches in NC.

In making the call for more pastors, Nussman described the kind of people needed. He said they must have “determination, courage, and a genuine apostolic spirit.” Most emphatically he asked for unmarried men, explaining that “an American wife in our circumstances is definitely better adapted” to frontier life.

He went on to make a great statement about Christ-following leadership …

Whoever is inclined to worry and feel offended over unfavorable and stupid remarks had better not come to America; and whoever has not sufficient strength of character to undertake unpleasant tasks, which are inevitable, would likewise do well to stay far from here. On every hand there are obstacles to overcome, but wise is he who does not magnify them through impatience. I myself have always been happiest when I bore the burdens laid upon me calmly, seldom, if ever made any complaints, and always fulfilled my duties. … But whoever has a genuine zeal for religion and shows a noble attitude toward life will find friends and support also in this country.

The advice fits today’s leaders as well!

Adolph Nussman is buried at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Concord, NC (Cabarrus County). I believe they erected a new monument at his grave-site a few years ago.

When Nussman came to North Carolina, he brought a friend, Johann Gottfried Arndt (or Arends), who was a teacher at the time. Interestingly, Arndt was was ordained shortly after arriving in NC. I mention Arndt because I keep trying to find a connection between him and Joleen who descends from Aurandt / Aurand / Arndt families in PA (who also came from Germany). But as hard as I’ve tried, I don’t think there’s a connection. 🙂

Any genealogists researching Adolph Nussman who find their way to this post, please leave a comment or email me through the contact page.

55 thoughts on “Adolph Nussman

  1. I read your account of Adolphus Nussman and was wondering if you would like more info on him and his descendants. I am a geneologist who has done extensive research on the German families of Cabarrus & Rowan Counties, decendants of those whom Nussman served. I would be glad to share info.

    1. Mr Callahan, In your research of rowan families would yu have any information on the Josey, (Johse, Jose ) family? They are part of Organ Church.

    2. Ben Callahan I just read your comment and I am also a descendant of Adolphus Nussman . My Grandmother on my fathers side was born a Nussman and was orphaned at a young age about 10 I think and put up for adoption I can’t find any information about what happened to her parents. If you could be of any help to clear up this time period for me I would be very great full.
      Thank you
      Rhonda Rogers Knight

      1. Hi Rhonda, Remember that I did all that research on her? I doubt that he would know about our leg of the family. Feel free to call me sometime and I’ll fill you in. 701-261-9054. Your cousin, Deborah (Fear) Bass

  2. My grandmother Ellen Goodman Rives was a direct descendant of Pastor Nussman. I would be very interested in any information that is available on Pastor Nussman and his descendants. Some of the Goodman family is meeting in the Raleigh area the first weekend in November, 2011. I can be contacted at

  3. My husband is a descendant of Pastor Nussman and I would LOVE to have any info that you have and are willing to share.

  4. Searching for geneology information on the Nussman family name in Virginia.
    There is a very old book by Adolf Nussman that we found in some boxes in the attic of Samuel Lewis Nussman,III who is deceased. One would think that our line stems from Adolf Nussman.
    We have grown our family name in Virginia to Samuel Lewis Nussman V (He and his wife now live in North Carolina. Any information you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely, Pat Nussman (Richmond, VA)

    1. Hi Patricia, My great, great, great, great, grandfather was Adolphus Nussman. I recently discovered this thru my grandmother’s birth certificate & adoption papers. Her name was Ethel Mae Nussman. When she was adopted her name changed. Her mother died in childbirth having her little brother & the father (George) didn’t think he could raise a girl. Anyway, I am a licensed & ordained minister in MN & would so LOVE to get any information that you may have about my (4) Great Grandfather. I would even drive to Richmond, VA to see the book that he wrote. Please respond 🙂 Deborah Fear – email:

    2. Patricia L. Nissan, I am also a descendant and attend St. John’s Lutheran Church. I am interested in the book you found by Nussman. Can you tell me if it was a diary, sermons, or religious material. Would love to speak with you personally about this. You may contact me at

    3. Hey Patrica. He is also my Great Great Great Great Grandfather as well. Wow. I can’t believe how many people I am related too. He was Catherine Nussman Earnhardt’s grandfather. She was married to Peter Earnhardt, who died in the Civil War. She would be the Great Grandmother, I think, of my Mom’s Grandmother.

  5. Samuel Lewis Nussman does indeed descend from Adolphus Nussman through his son Paul C. Nussman. Paul’s son, Solomon, actually once owned the land where my house in North Carolina is located. I would also love to find out more about the book by Adolphus Nussman. Tradition states that Adolphus kept extensive records of his time at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Cabarrus Co. NC but none of these records have ever been found. I would be glad to share any info and can be reached at

    1. Hi Ben, I’m very new at this. I’m 55 years old & just discovered this part of my heritage. You see, my grandmother’s birth name was Ethel Mae Nussman & she was adopted out as a little girl when her mother died in childbirth with her 5 year old brother. I know from my aunt who recently passed away that Ethel’s father (George) didn’t think he could raise a girl alone, so kept the boy. Anyway, all of this is extremely fascinating to me. I recently acquired a copy of her birth certificate from a cousin along with her adoption papers & so my search has begun. This is what I know so far (with a few questions): Her father was George Nussman born in 1861 or so. His father was John Levi (born 1822 who was a younger brother to Solomon). Their father was Paul C. Nussman (born 1777) & his father was Adolphus Nussman. I’m looking at a sketchy family tree that someone on the east coast sent me when I googled the Nussman name & found a famous fisherman out there 🙂 To my surprise (thru someone who helped me at the library), I am connected to this family tree. I am so excited to find out this spiritual heritage as I am a licensed & ordained minister in MN. Any & all info that you would have I would greatly appreciate regarding my family tree. My name is Deborah Fear & my email is

  6. It is nice to see relatives collabarating on this fine family line.Joan Bost I am also a descendant of the Nussmans and the Bosts-my last g-father living in N.C was Daniel Bost(Adolphs son in law)(1800s)if you ever want to discuss my email is Ben and Patricia I may be interested in the book and any further info on the Bosts/Nussmans depending on costs,comparism to info I already have,etc.I love this saying by Adolph.Blessings to all!!!

  7. My mother’s great-grandmother was Catherine Nussman Earnhardt, one of the founding members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Rockford, NC. Catherine was a daughter of the second wife of Adolphus Nussman. I am putting together a bio for my mom, so I’m thrilled to find all the information available about him!

  8. I’m JoelJosey, a descendant of John Josey from Organ church. John was one of the 20 men who built Organ church. He was there when Nussman and Arends arrived. I have been doing research on the Families of Organ. But with little luck. I’m sure there is some connection there.
    Organ has a large stone mountment to both Nussman and Arends, it details their journey and their time there. For anyone looking into Arends, he is buried in Lincolnton Nc near the courthouse square, next to the road { I think it’s the old white church cemetry}. Also the Catawba co, Museum has his Bible.
    If anyone can give me any insight on finding some of my folks from Organ, It would be Thankfully welcomed. Also will share what info I do have. contact info

  9. My 4th great Aunt Elizabeth Rintelmann/Rendleman/Randleman was the first wife of Adolph Nussman. Her father, my 4th great grandfather Christoph Rintelmann went with John Christopher Layrle/Lyerly back to Germany to bring back the first Lutheran Minister Adolph Nussman and School Teacher Godfreit Arndt. Adolph married his second wife Barbar Lyerly daughter of John Christopher Layrle/Lyerly after My great Aunt died. She raised my Aunt’s children as well as having 4 of her own. If you read the Randleman/Rendlelman/Rintelman Reunion 1981 book, there is much information on them as well as on his family.

    1. Hi, Sandy
      My name Is Joel Josey, My 7th Great Grandfather was Johann Jose {John Josey} who was one of the 20 men who signed to build Mt. Zion [Organ] Church. I have been doing research on the Josey’s with little luck. Was wondering if you have any Josey’s in your research. I have a good bit of info on the Church. Some of the Josey decendants still worship their, so i have had pretty much full access to the church. Would like to chat with you and compare notes. Joel

      1. You know I had seen your name on here, then ran across the name in a document online but can’t remember where I saw it. The only thing in the book I have shows your Johannes Jose as one of the ones building the Organ church. There is also a Map of Land grants on Dutch Second Creek showing John Josey owned 13-385. It states 13-385 John Josey to Fred. Josey 214a. Another entry on the map 11-89 John Josie which is right next to Christop property 4-835 657a. These were original land grants around the Organ Lutheran Church on Dutch 2nd Creek in southern Rowan Co, NC. Deed book and page where the grants are recorded were copied by David Atwell Rendleman in 1963. Lastly there was a Allan Jose who married Pearl Emily Rendleman b. 4-5-1897, Eugene, Or, md 3-17-1922 daughter of Edward Rendleman son of Isaac Rendleman. Pages 18, 54, 240 in the book.

      2. Hi Joel, I found this on Johannes Melchior Joos Josey (born 1727) Have you looked under Joos? I have found a lot of info on Johannes Joos from Germany. If you don’t have ancestry you can use for free the to get as much info if not more.

        1. Sande,

          Thank’s for the info, I’ll take a look at it. But I don’t think Johannes Joos is our guy. I know that all the sites have him listed as the Josey from Organ church. But he is not, Johann Melchior Joos came into Charleston SC and Died there in 1773 age 42. He is buried at St. John’s Lutheran ch. In Charleston SC. He had 2 daugthers. I have become the Black sheep of the family over this, LOL but facts are facts. Info can be found by searching colonial settlers of SC. I do have some info on Organ church If you need it. Thanks again Joel

        2. Sande,

          Their wouldn’t by chance be a date in that book of the orginal John josey landgrant. I have a John Josey I believe to be our truc line, he was in Rowan alot earlier than what most think he was their. Have been unable to find dates for the grants, I know He got 2 grants next to the church, some of the property is still in the family hands. When ever you get a chance to look . Thank’s again Joel

          1. She doesn’t give a date. The numbers I gave you……………..First number is the deed book, second number is the page the deed is on.

          2. Thank’s again Sandi,

            I have found may enteries for these land grants, but none ever have a date. I find that odd. Guess i will have to go to Salisbury and see if they have them there, they may be at the captial tho.


    2. Hi Sande, How do I find the book that you spoke of? What interesting history you wrote about 🙂 My 4th great grandfather was Adolphus Nussman. I would LOVE any information you have about him or his first wife (your 4th great aunt)! It’s interesting to discover that Elizabeth was just 19 when she married Adolphus who was 35 at the time. I’d love to hear back from you! Deborah Fear. My email address is

  10. My husband James Bost is a descendent of Adolphus through Elizabeth and Daniel. Please add me to the list of people interested in more information. I am especially interested in the story of his torture at the hands of the Tories, the name of the ship he came on, and his own Germanic history. Thank you! Jan Bost (

  11. Hello I guess we are distant cousins. My Grandfather was Ira Cecil Nussman he was the great, great, great grandson of the Rev. My Mother was Connie and my name is Norma Merrell Tate. I have been researching the family tree for some time and knew about the Rev. Do you have any older records of the family that you could send me? I would dearly love to have them if you happen to have them. I even have a photo of the old Organ Church somewhere that belonged to my Grandfather. I would have to search for it though. I doubt if there is not to many of those left.
    Hope to hear from you soon. I have just found you and would love to stay in touch w/ you and your family.
    Blessings to you and yours,

    1. Hi, Norma. Thanks for joining the conversation!

      I’m not sure how helpful I can be; I don’t have a lot of info myself. It’s been a while since I’ve bug into this, but I’d like to get back into it. Others here may post info from time to time as well.

      It’s hard to believe I wrote this post more than 6 years ago!

  12. My name is Petrus Marianussman Paat. I am a descendant of a Nussman from Indonesia. All I remember was that father’s maternal grandfather was a Nussman from Germany who married and Indonesian woman from North Sulawesi. I have always wanted to know my Nussman roots. Help!!! Thank you in advance for helping.

  13. My 4th great Aunt Elizabeth Rintelmann/Rendleman/Randleman was married to Adolph Nussman. She was his first wife and they had 3 children. She was b. in Salisbury, Rowan Co, NC. He married after Elizabeth’s death to Barbara Layrle and had 4 more children with Barbara. I don’t know of a Nussman that was married to an Indonesian woman. Do you have her name or his name?

  14. Sande, thanks for your help in this conversation!

    Do you know if the 1981 reunion book is available online? I couldn’t find it. I was able to do a search at Google Books and found references to Nussman, but I’m not able to view. If it’s not available online, it would be nice to see a scan! 🙂

    Thanks again!

    1. Randy, I will check book section to see if it’s online. If not, I’ll see if I can get legible scans from my handheld scanner and send to you. I have both of Billie Sneed Webb’s books. I was fortunate to get the second book directly from her. She was cleaning out things after the passing of her husband last year and ran across a box full of new books, but not sure she has any left.

    2. Randy, Her first book is on the LDS book site. But you will have to go into one of their history centers to read it. I’m surprised the second one isn’t on there. Have you ever search books on their site? Here’s the link directly to the book. If it doesn’t go to it, just search randleman and it should be the first entry. I will still try to scan.

      1. Sande, thanks for the help. I didn’t make out too well with the links, but will try again later.

        Incidentally, I am a descendant of Elizabeth Rintelmann/Rendleman/Randleman through her daughter, Elizabeth, who married Daniel.

        As I look more into this now, I want to do much more research on Daniel & Elizabeth (Rintelmann) Bost’s grandson, “John” Caleb Bost (1844-1923) who was a Methodist circuit rider in Arkansas.

        FYI, I just found a document on Nichol Bast of Germany, which includes a lot of info on descendants of Adolph Nussman.

        1. The link is to her first book, but in order to see it you will have to go to a LDS Family History Center near you. You won’t be able to see it online. Ok, I have scanned the pages, If you’ll give me your email I’ll email you the scans as I don’t believe I can post them here.

    3. I sure appreciate that this sight is available 🙂 Does ANYONE know of a picture of Adolphus? I would so love a copy of any kind of painting / image of him.

  15. My great (5 times) grandfather is Adolf Nussman. I am Samuel Lewis Nussman V and my son is the Samuel Lewis Nussman VI. We currently live in NC and are going over to Organ Church today for the first time. I would love to collaborate/share ideas with anyone on here. I have just recently got into genealogy and want to preserve everything I can. Let me know. My email is

  16. Adolph Nussman was Catherine Nussman Earnhardt’s grandfather. She was married to Peter Earnhardt, who died in the Civil War. She would be the Great Grandmother, I think, of my Mom’s Grandmother. Which would make him my Great Great Great GREAT Grandfather!

Leave a Reply to Richard Reavis Cancel reply