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At the end of the 17th century and early 18th century, Lutherans from Sweden and Germany began to establish settlements along the eastern and western shores of the Delaware River in areas such as Philadelphia, Pennsville, and Swedesboro. Some of these Lutherans eventually emigrated to the area now known as Friesburg. In 1726, Salem County’s oldest Lutheran congregation was born and ministered to by the Reverend Peter Franberg.
Jacob Fries and his wife Margaret were emigrants like those who came to Philadelphia from Europe. After they completed their service to John Michael Miller of Pilesgrove, who paid for their passage from Holland, the Fries’ settled in the area which came to be known as Friesburg. On their land, a frame meetinghouse was built, and a school.
The congregation grew and, in 1739, a wooden church building was constructed on Jacob Fries’ property. Thirty years later, upon Mr. Fries’ insistence, the present 3-story brick structure was erected on this site. Jacob Fries encouraged the congregation to support the construction of the new building. Jacob helped to build, kiln the bricks, supply the wood, and legally transferred to the congregation the portion of his property where the old church and school stood. As one of the founding fathers, Jacob Fries was a church elder until his death and is buried along with his wife Margaret in Emanuel’s cemetery.