Lutheran Pastor's Home
This white frame house in the classical style was built by the congregation during 1842-44 for the Reverend William Sharts, who had accepted a call to serve as pastor of the Lutheran congregation of Williamsburg, Dundas County, providing that they constructed a suitable home for himself and his family. Lutheranism had come to Upper Canada in 1784 with the Loyalist migration from central New York State. Many Loyalists were German Palatines brought to the Mohawk River Valley in the early 1700s by Queen Anne's government to secure the area for the British. Most remained loyal to the British during the American Revolution.
By 1788, the Loyalist refugees who settled along the riverfront of Dundas County were already planning to build their first Lutheran church, a white frame edifice called Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. Services were held in German and hymns were sung from the "Marburger Gesangbuch". A parsonage was built in 1792 for the first pastor, Father Samuel Schwerdtfeger. A second larger home built in 1810 for Pastor John Weagant was lost to the Lutherans when he defected to the Anglicans in 1814 and took both church and house with him. The congregation made sure, in 1844, that legal ownership for their new parsonage was firmly in the hands of the Lutheran parish and not the pastor himself.
Some of the furnishings in the Lutheran Pastor's Home reflect a German heritage, notably books in the study and engravings and pictures that speak to Lutheran religious and domestic themes. By the 1860s, however, English had become the language of worship in most Lutheran churches.
Visitors will notice that the rooms exhibit comfortable middle-class prosperity, showing evidence of a young family of the professional class. The pastor has a home office with a separate outside entrance for parish visitors. Many clergymen also took an interest in education, whether as private tutors for university entrance examinations or as superintendents of the local common school.