From Our Kin, by Laban Miles Hoffmann, 1915

Adam Costner was the pioneer of the Costner family in this section of the country. When first he came to America, and to the south from Germany, the name was spelled "Kastner" with the broad sound of the "a," making the name not much different in sound from the later and present spelling.

I regret very much that I have been unable to ascertain the family name or even the Christian name of his wife. These, like most of the other German fathers, who settled here, came from the upper or southern Rhine country of Germany. Following a current of emigration from that country, started many years before by the religious persecutions of the Protestants, who were given refuge in England by Queen Anne, they went from Germany to England.

The English Government desirous of settling their colonies in America with a good class of citizens sent them in their ships to Pennsylvania. I have no means of knowing just when that was, but tradition has it that they did not live in Pennsylvania many years but following the general range of the mountains they moved from about York County, Pennsylvania, following an Indian trail and came to N. C., which was then pretty well settled east of the Yadkin River. These pushed on beyond the settlements, crossing the Catawba River probably at Tuckasegee ford and still pressing on through the wilderness westward crossed the South Fork River at or near Friday Shoals and set up their Ebenezer a short distance below the Friday Shoals and above where Philadelphia Church stands on the west side of the river which home and surrounding lands still remain the goodly heritage of their descendants.

At that time which must have been from 1750-53, or perhaps a little earlier, the country was an unbroken forest occupied by the Indians and abounding in wild animals of all kinds, game and fish. Jacob Costner, son of Adam the pioneer, purchased land from the State by patent dated 1753, and that is the earliest grant of land I recall that was made to anyone in that section. I did not find any earlier grant noted on the records of the Secretary of State, nor did I find any grant to Adam Costner the pioneer, though it is said he entered and owned large tracts of land in that community.

These and the other German pioneers, I think, dwelt in peace and friendship with the. native Indians. They had probably learned in Pennsylvania, the happy effect of kindness and justice upon the disposition of the natives. The records of the colonial days show that at times these old pioneers in obedience to the call of the State went on various expeditions against the Indians at a distance but I have no evidence of their making any trouble in this community. However in this I might be mistaken. Michael Rudisill, one of the old fathers of that day, left his wife and little children surrounded by the Indians and made a visit back to Pennsylvania. And it is said the Indians were kind to them.

These pioneers were Lutheran people and soon set up a place of worship. It was known as Kastner's Church. Philadelphia is the successor of Kastner's. I have been unable to fix the date of the organization of this church, though I have exhausted all probable sources of information. I have been able only to rescue a fragment of the old German records from 1809 forward several years. Jno. Smith conveyed the land where Philadelphia Church now stands to the congregation in 1798.

The earliest grave in what is now used as the cemetery of the church is that of our good old pioneer. A marble slab stands bearing this brief inscription: "Adam Costner, died in 1767." There is no mark or sign of the grave of his wife. So far as I can find his children must have come with him.

Our Kin