Rev. Herman (Harmon) Aull

Annals of Newberry, Part Two by John A. Chapman, page 658-64


One of the most beautifully significant features in the in­cipient declaration of the Gospel is the selection for that purpose of a few unlettered men, some of whom were laboring for their living in the humblest of occupations, namely, that of fishermen - the most notable among them being, as that class of laborers have ever usually been, addicted to coarse, irreligious behavior. Only Divine Wisdom could perceive under their uncouth exteriors the more excellent way waiting to be shown to them. We have reason to believe that two of them, James and John, were turbulent, vindictive men before such showing; and that a third one, Peter, was a fickle boaster and profane swearer. Yet there was in their rugged natures seed which in the former, under spiritual pulture, sprang up into faithfulness unto death, and love the purest for God and fellow-man; while the Holy Ghost caused to flourish in the vacillating heart of the latter the very enthu­siasm of constancy to the cross. It is true, there was one who, before he was called to preach the Gospel, had acquired much learning at the feet of a great teacher; and he was chosen to disseminate among the learned what had been de­clared to the simple by the unskilled in worldly wisdom; but before he could be fitted for his office he had to be prostrated physically and morally and be conltiuually buffetted afterwards by the messenger of Satan, until he became wise through the foolishness of preaching.
My memory reaches back to some unpretending men whose devotion to the cause of Christ may somewhat illustrate the meaning of the above introduction; and serve also to show, that Zion is now-a-days, as she ever has been, upheld by the pure, simple energy of the humble.
Along an extent of perhaps ten miles up and down the Saluda River there stepped forth from the rustling corn field some half-dozen men of mature age and sound judgment - of little liability to be deceived, honest and inflexible, who felt assured that they were called to preach the Word. They were men of very limited book learning, and knew not how to convince themselves or others of the truth by process of reasoning - that is to say, by logic. They did not all come forth at the same time. From the year 1824, when the Synod of South Carolina was organized, to 1831 or '35 it became known, from time to time, that Jost Meetze and Michael Rauch, between Lexington Court House and the Saluda, had ventured to proclaim the great Glad Tidings to their neigh­bors, and between the Saluda and Newberry, Jacob Moser, Godfrey Dreher and Herman Aull stood up to show the people their transgressions and the only way of escape from the con­sequences of them. There were others, but these whose names are here mentioned were seen and heard by myself; and it is
of the last named, Herman Aull, I propose to write a short account, because I knew him, and because he was a citizen of Newberry County (District); and, indeed, because some of his numerous descendants, I think, are my warm friends.
Herman Aull (or as he was more frequently called Harmon Aull) was not born in the Dutch Fork, that is, in the area of country irregularly laid off, by a radius varying from five to ten miles long, around a centre fixed at Pomaria Depot on the Greenville and Columbia Rail Road. He came into this neighborhood from one of the most southern counties - probably Beaufort. It is impossible to ascertain any facts relating to his parentage or to the colony of immigrants from which he became separated to seek his better fortune further on in the interior of South Carolina. From the fact that he was bound to one Mr. John Sultan, as an apprentice to learn the carpenter's trade, he must have been a boy when he came into the community where he lived and died. At the time of his arrival in the Dutch Fork, the German language was the mother-tongue in every family. It comes within my easy recollection how the Dutch Fork people struggled against the encroachment of the English language. They soon became completely surrounded by settlements of Irish and Scotch who of course spoke En­glish destined, at it was easily foreseen, to supplant the Ger­man; which really did come to pass, in the course of a half century. The chang~ from one language to the other, how­ever, was very gradual, and brought about a patois, or dialect which was called, "Broken English." Well-marked traces of this can be recognized at the present time on both sides of the Saluda from Prosperity to Columbia. Herman Aull's mother-tongue was undoubtedly the German. I was young when I for the first time heard him preach, and this "Broken English" was plainly perceptible in his utterance. For in­stauce, such phrases as "The Grace of God," "Come hither, souls," he pronounced, "De crace of Cot," "Come heeder, souls." This was also the manner of Mr. Meetze, Mr. Rauch and others. I was about sixteen years of age when I heard these pioneer preachers, and fifty-six years have not obliterated my remembrance of the pensive emotion excited by the tender persuasiveness this "Broken English" gave to their preaching; similar to the charm given to the Waverly Novels by the dialect of the Scottish Highlpnders.
Sixty years ago, the young men of the Dutch Fork retained many of the wild, frolicksome habits which their forefathers
brought with them from the Fatherland. Perhaps the wildest of these customs was, to ramble throughout the night of Christmas Eve, in companies of a dozen persons, from house to house, firing heavily charged guns, and having thus aroused the family they would enter the domicile with stamping scramble to the blazing fire, greedily eat the praetzilies and schneckilies, imbibe, with many a rugged joke and ringing peal of laughter, heavy draughts of a compound liquor made of rum and sugar, butter and alspice stewed together, and then, .
"With monie an eldritch screetch an' hollo,"
rush out into the night to visit the next neighbor.

It was narrated by people of old, that Herman Aull, in the vivacity of youth, was easily led to participate in all the jovialty which marked the behavior of the young in his day. He, however, did not permit the vagaries of youthfulness to encroach upon the soberness of manhood. I could mention other names of men in the Dutch Fork besides Herman Aull whose follies in the first half of their lives served as contrasts by which the beauty of holiness in their latter days shone with brighter lustre.
What caused Mr. Aull to change his ways I am unable to state; but a change did take place in his mind and conduct, to the extent of urging him to apply, in 1831, to the Synod of South Carolina for license to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Before this, he married Miss Christina Rikard, and had combined the occupation of the farmer with that of the carpenter. There can be, I think, no labor of the hands so suggestive of the duty to meditate long and prayerfully upon the claims of Christianity, so persuasive to the spirit of man to yield obedience to the Spirit of Christ, as the tilling of crops and the building of homes. That must be a dull hus­bandman who can cast forth his seed over his field without calling to mind the parable of the sower, and dwelling upon its simple but searching applications. That must, likewise, be a dull carpenter, who while "planing his wood" does not feel a thrill of delight in the thought that his Lord and Master "was the same trade as he." I cannot refrain from inserting here the pathetic ballad so well recited by Dr. Alleman in his
baccalaureate sermon, delivered some years ago, before the students of Newberry College..............
Now, whatever might have been the circumstances impelling Herman Aull to abandon his ways of carelessness, whether of sudden or gradual influence, it is not remembered, he did turn earnestly to his Saviour, and in him became a new creature. In 1831 he was licensed to preach, and four years afterwards in 1835, he was fully ordained. His field of work was mostly at St. Paul's, in those days called Kibler's Church; though he often preached beyond the Saluda in Lexington and Edgefield. It was in St. John's Church, near the Pomaria homestead, where I heard him, for the first time. Though young, I was old enough to notice, and I have retained firmly in my memory some remarkable f\eaturcs of his person and manners. He was small of stature, and quick in his move­ments. His hair was black and strait, and his eyes were brown and bright. In the pulpit he would frequently depress his chin upon his breast, and glancing his gaze from under his eye brows pause and bestow over his congregation looks of sternness tempered with pity. The hymn he gave out at that time was one which I believe must have been his favorite - his song of repentance. In the Book of Worship it is numbered 369. From the feeling manner of bis reading, it seemed that every stanza must have recalled tbe days of his waywardness..............
In his "Broken English," he pronounced the word, "hither," "he-e-der," with a tremulous and prolonged emphasis that was truly touching.
The Rev. Herman Aull labored as a preacher from 1831 to the time of his death, in 1852 - twenty-one years. I think he might have truly said to the people, whom he endeavored to instruct in the way of salvation, that he eat no man's bread for naught; but wrought with labor and travail that he might not be chargeable to any of them. I, myself, when visiting his house professionally in 1842 saw him coming from his field to greet me. His face was moist with the sweat of labor and his shirt-sleeves were rolled above his elbows. As I took his hand, and felt the palm hardened by contact with the plough-handles, I could not help admiring the old man.
Two sons, John P. Aull and Calvin W. Aull, and several daughters were born from the marriage with Christina Rikard. After her death he married a widow Werts whose baptismal name was Eve Riser. From this union came Jacob Luther Aull and Louisa, the widow of the late Nathan A. Hunter.
These preachers of the Lutheran Church in the interior of South Carolina ought to be retained in honorable and affec­tionate recollection. They were the short, massive, unpolished pillars upon which rest the arches of the temple of Luther­anism along the Saluda River. Let some others, possessed of facts, and inclined to honor the worthy dead, write brief chronicles of Meetze, Rauch, Dreher, and the rest of these early farmer preachers, to hold them up for somewhat longer remembrance in the Church of their upholding, as I have at­tempted to do for Herman Aull, whose heart was not the weakest among theirs in love and zeal for the cause of Christ....O. B. M., SR.
John P. Aull, one of the sons of the Rev. Herman AulI, was a man who was long and favorably known to the people of Newberry County, as a man of sterling integrity of character, enterprise and industry. He was the organizer, and for many years the president and manager of the Newberry Steam Mill Company. He took pride and pleasure in his work and made his institution second to none of the kind in the country. It is in this way that true nobility of character is shown. Measured by this standard John P. Aull was of gentle, even noble birth. This writer knew him for many years - had some business transactions with him and found him always a true man. Mr. Aull, brought up in the Lutheran Church, lived and died in that communion. He was born February 22, 1822; married first Caroline McQuerns; second Eugenia L­
Smith; and died at his home by the Steam Mill, January 1st, 1879, leaving several son's and daughters, who, we hope and believe, are worthy descendants of Rev. Herman Aull, who was rated by my oId friend, Dr. Mayer, as one of the best of men. There are two children, James H. and Carrie, by the first marriage; and by the second mariage there are William B.; Edward P., and Henry P., in Florida; Drucilla. wife of D. C. Lake, now in Texas; S. Beauregard; Leila E., wife of A. J. Sitton, of Pendleton; John I. H. and Anna Bachman.
William Calvin, another son of Rev. Herman Anll, married Nancy Stockman. He died of wounds in the war in 1863. His children are John M., George B., now County Commis­sioner of Newberry County; Lizzie, married a Taylor; Mary, wife. of J. M. Werts; Adam L. Aull, and Fannie, wife of David Cromer.