A number of German immigrants who arrived in Galveston during the 1840s and 1850s settled in the Rosehill community. The families of George Sherer, Henry Theiss, Jacob Theiss, and C. W. Winkler founded Salem Lutheran Church in 1852, with the Rev. Gottlieb Ebinger as their first pastor. They worshipped initially in private homes, then erected a church building at this site on land donated by C. W. Winkler in 1857. The congregation affiliated with the Missouri Synod in 1868. The following year, George Sherer gave his family cemetery, situated about one mile northeast of this location, as a church burial ground. The fellowship established a parochial school about 1870 and later built a schoolhouse on adjacent land given by Henry Theiss. In 1880 a frame edifice with steeple was constructed here to replace the original church.
Until the 1930s, men customarily sat on the left side of the church and women on the right, and services were conducted in German. Additions to the cemetery in 1943 and 1954 increased its size to five acres, which members of the congregation tended on cleanup days scheduled twice a year. The old frame church was destroyed by fire in 1964 and replaced by a new edifice, dedicated Feb. 5, 1967.