Bernheim, Gotthardt Dellman




Principal 1868-1870

Birth: November 8, 1827, Iserlohn, Märkischer Kreis Nordrhein-Westfalen, Prussia.
Death: October 25, 1916, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA

Rev. John Herman Bernheim
Lisette (Dellman) Bernheim.

With parents and younger brother, the Reverend Charles H. Bernheim, came at age five to Western Pennsylvania. His father of a distinguished Berlin Jewish family, was educated to be a rabbi, converted to the Christian faith and became a Lutheran minister.

First Spouse: Elizabeth Crowe Clayton Bernheim
Married: April 25, 1854 in Charleston, S.C.

Children from First Marriage: Eight.

Second Spouse: Amanda Ella (Lease) Bernheim;
Married: April 22, 1897; Nokomis, Ill.

Education: From Pennsylvania, rode horseback to enter Theological Seminary and Classical Institute, Lexington, S.C., graduating in 1849. Received D.D. degree.

Ordination/License: Licensed 1843 and ordained 1853 by South Carolina Synod. Calls: Zion (later called Wenthworth Street, then St. Andrew’s), Charleston, S.C., 1851- 57. Transferred 1858 to North Carolina Synod: St. John, Cabarrus County-New Bethel, Stanly County; organized and was second pastor of St. Mark’s, Charlotte, 1861-65; St. Michael, Troutman; organized and served Ebenezer, Rowan County; St. Paul, Wilmington, to 1881. Transferred to Ministerium of Pennsylvania, 1883; Grace, Phillipsburg, N.J., nine years. Transferred back to North Carolina Synod, 1892; first pastor, St. Matthew, Wilmington, 1892-1901; supplied St. Paul in 1892; supplied St. Luke-Morning Star, Monroe, 1905-07. Other: In 1866 was authorized by the Conference to assist some members of Organ in establishing a new congregation nearer where they lived. In 1869 was elected to a threeyear term on the Board of Trustees of North Carolina College. Was also elected Recording Secretary of the Synodical Missionary Society. Was elected as a delegate to the Winchester convention of the General Synod South. Secretary, North Carolina Synod, 1861; president, two years. Service in educational institutions. Financial agent of North Carolina College, 1858, member of first board 1859 and college President, 1882-83; dean, later principal, Mt. Pleasant Female Seminary, 1868-70; dean and professor of Bible, Elizabeth College, Charlotte. Author of The Success of God’s Work, Localities of the Reformation, History of the German Settlements in North and South Carolina, The First Twenty Years of the History of St. Paul, Wilmington, N.C., and with the Reverend George H. Cox, History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of North Carolina (1902); contributed many articles to church periodicals. Retired in 1901 to Charlotte.

Magnolia Cemetery
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA

Source: Synod, Lutheran Church in America North Carolina. “Life Sketches of Lutheran Ministers : North Carolina and Tennessee Synods, 1773-1965,” 1966.


The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC) October 25, 1916, p. 11.

Rev. G. D. Bernheim, D. D., Oldest Minister of Lutheran Church in South, Has Passed–Born in Prussia–Minister, Author, Educator, Organizer.

Rev. Dr. Gerhardt Dellamann Bernheim, one of the most venerable and most beloved ministers of the Lutheran church, died last evening at 8:20 o’clock at his home on Elizabeth avenue, after an illness extending over two years or more. For several months Dr. Bernheim had been in a very feebled condition and, owing to his extreme age –89 years–his death was not unexpected. His death ends the career of one of the most influential men in the United Lutheran Synod of the South.

The remains were taken to J. M. Harry’s undertaking establishment and there prepared for burial.

Friday morning at 9 o’clock the body will be removed to St. Mark’s Lutheran church, to lie in state until 11 o’clock when the funeral service will be conducted by the pastor of St. Mark’s, Rev. Dr. John F. Crigler, assisted by Rev. Dr. M. M. Kinard, of Salisbury, and Rev. George H. Cox, pastor of St. John’s church, near Mt. Pleasant.

The body will be taken to Charleston, S. C. at 4:40 o’clock Friday afternoon over the Southern Railroad, the interment to take place in Magnolia cemetery in Charleston.

The pallbearers will be, E. J. Atwood, A. G. Jacobson, J. D. Barrier, Dr. C. A. Misenheimer, C. Valaer, R. C. Bieberstein, W. L. Bruns, A. R. Willmann.


Dr. Bernheim was born in Iserlohn, in the province of Westphalia, Prussia, on November 8, 1827. He was the son of Rev. John H. Bernheim and his wife, Lisette Dellmann Bernheim, his father also being a distinguished minister of the Lutheran church. The family arrived in Philadelphia when Dr. Bernheim was four and a half years of age, coming fro there to South Carolina. While still in his teens Dr. Bernheim entered Newberry College at Newberry, S. C., and received his classical education there. He also received his theological training there, the theological department being later removed and made the Lutheran Seminary now located at Columbia, S. C. Displaying an aptitude for learning that remained a striking characteristic through life, he became a strong factor in the upbuilding of the Lutheran faith in North and South Carolina and a leader in education and thought throughout the South.

Dr. Bernheim’s first charge as pastor, after graduation from the seminary, was at Charleston, S. C., where he organized the Zion Evangelical Lutheran church, which was afterwards merged into St. Andrews. After several years work in Charleston, Dr. Bernheim was called to the pastorate of old St. Johns’ Lutheran church in Cabarrus county, this state, then one of the most flourishing Lutheran churches in the South, being the center of a splendid German settlement noted for education, energy and ability.

While connected with this charge Dr. Bernheim was elected president of the North Carolina College, now Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute. Later he was made president of Mt. Amoena Seminary, thus serving as president of both the male and female colleges located at Mt. Pleasant.

In 1858 while still serving as president of the two colleges at Mt. Pleasant Dr. Bernheim went to Wilmington and organized St. Paul’s Lutheran church.

St. Mark’s Organized

It was about this time that Dr. Bernheim took the first step toward the organization of a Lutheran church in Charlotte. Being intensely interested in seeing this accomplishment he moved his family here from Wilmington in the latter part of 1860, and organized a church, it bring called St. Mark’s. He secured the ground for the church, a building being soon erected.

Dr. Bernheim was the first pastor of St. Mark’s and served the church with notable ability during the civil war and for some years afterward.

Dr. Berheim was an intimate friend of Rev. Alexander Sinclair, D. D., at that time pastor of the Presbyterian chruch, (First church,) and father of Mr. Alexander M. Sinclair, now residing on North Church street.

Knew President Wilson’s Father

In 1866 Dr. Bernheim went back to Mt. Pleasant to take up the presidency of Mt. Amoena Seminary again and served as pastor of Ebenezer Lutheran church in Rowan county at the same time. In the latter part of 1869 he went to Wilminton to become pastor of St. Paul’s church in Wilmington, which he had founded some years earlier. He lived in Wilmington and served as pastor of that church for thirteen years. His contemporary and warm friend there during a part of that period was Dr. Joseph ruggles Wilson, pastor of the Presbyterian church, and father of Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States.

Always interested in historical and literary events, Dr. Bernheim was one of organizers of the Wilmington Historical and Literary Society, being associated in that undertaking with the late J. G. Burr, Col. Edward Cantwell, Alexander Sprunt, Sr., and Alexander Strunt, Jr. The society has now been merged into the state organization for historical research

Goes Back to Mt. Pleasant

In the latter part of 1882 Dr. Bernheim was requisitioned again to serve the cause of education in his church and went back to Mt. Pleasant to become president of the North Carolina College. After a year there, he was called to the pastorate of the Lutheran church at Phillipsberg, N. J., where he served nine years. In 1892 he accepted the pastorate of St. Matthews Lutheran church in Wilmington, this state, and labored there for ten or twelve years.

From Wilmington he came to Charlotte in 1904 to take the position of dean of the faculty of Elizabeth College and to occupy the chair of Bible history, the congregation of St. Matthews at Wilmington bestowing upon him the title of pastor emeritus.

In addition to his work at Elizabeth College, he served as pastor for a few years at Morning Star Lutheran church, near Matthews in this county.

Author of Note

Dr. Bernheim all his life was an assiduous student and became as widely known as an author as he was as a minister. His book entitled, “German Settlement and German Churches in the Carolinas,” is a standard historical work and a valuable contribution to the history of the state and the South. He spent twenty-one years collecting data for it. His “History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of north Carolina,” is almost equally valuable and his contributions to church and secular literature is extensive and characterized by scholarly execution. The latter volume was written with the collaboration of Dr. George H. Cox, pastor of St. John’s, near Mt. Pleasant. “Localities of the Reformation” was another interesting volume, which Dr. Bernheim published after an extended visit to Germany, during which he visited all the places notable in the history of the Reformation. Dr. Bernehim’s father was also a poet of distinction.

Had Uncle at Court

An uncle of Dr. Bernheim’s, Dr. Moritz, was court physician to Emperor William, father of the present emperor of Germany. At the accession of Emperor Frederick William, father of the present emperor, Dr. Moritz went to the University of Berlin and became professor of chemistry there, holding that position until his death.

Twice Married

In 1854 Dr. Bernheim married Miss Elizabeth Crowe Clayton, of Charleston, S. C., who died in 1895. The children by this union are Mrs. Lisette Clayton Hood, of Charlotte; Mrs. Eloise Burkheimer, formerly of Charlotte, now of Rockingham; E. Clayton Bernheim, of Southbridge, Mass.; W. Augustus Bernheim, of Hamilton, Canada; Oscar F. Bernehim, of Allentown, Pa.

In 1897, Dr. Bernheim married Miss Amanda Lease, of Nokomis, Ill., who survives.

There were no children by the second marriage.

Also Surviving Dr. Bernheim are eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, John W. Kirby, Jr.; also an aged sister, Mrs. Selma Bernheim Parrish, of Charleston, S. C., and a number of nieces and nephews.

The funeral services Friday will be in keeping with the life and character of the distinguished man, the great volume of whose life was closed last evening.

A tribute worthy of him will be paid by church and state.