New Horizons Genealogy

"Specializing in New England and New York Colonial American Ancestry"

Notes on the History
Presbyterian Church
Town of Greenville
Greene County New York

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The number of names that have been attached to this church and settlement are very confusing. In Mar. 1790, the western part of Coxsackie was taken off and formed into a town by the name of Freehold. The marriage record seems to indicate that the particular settlement in the Town of Freehold, was first called Lottania, though the Rev. Beriah Hotchkin spoke of himself as "minister of the gospel in Freehold." On Apr. 18, 1794, the church adopted the name of the Congregational Church of Greenfield; and on that day called the Rev. Beriah Hotchkin. In the year 1796, the Immediate locality where the church stood went by the name of Newry. This was retained for about four years and on Mar. 3, 1800, it was resolved to readopt the name of Greenfield for the Society. The Town of Greenfield was formed from Coxsackie and Freehold, on Mar. 26, 1803. On Apr. 6, 1808, the name of the town was changed back again to Freehold, and on Mar. 17, 1809, the final change was made to Greenville. The name of the Society was changed to Greenville at about the same time. On Aug. 16, 1814, the Society incorporated under the name of the "Trustees for the Greenville Religious Society". When the Society became Presbyterian, in 1824, the name was changed to "The Greenville Presbyterian Society." On Oct. 3, 1826, a new incorporation was effected with the name: "The Trustees of the Presbyterian Society of Greenville."

The first church edifice was erected in 1793, a little northwest of the present site. It was never completed. About 1800, it was bought by Benoni Austin and moved to where the Episcopal church now stands. It became a dwelling, afterward a tavern, and then a students' dormitory. On Nov. 12, 1799, it was voted to build a new meeting house. It was raised Aug. 27, 1800; it stood near the present site. "This edifice had a lofty spire, a spacious gallery, unpainted box pews, and an octagonal pulpit supported by a lofty column. The building was Elon Horton. The site was the gift of Augustine Prevost. It was dedicated Sept. 18, 1801." At a Society meeting held on Sept. 19, 1803, it was voted that the pew ground be sold for the purpose of finishing the Meeting-house. The sale was to commence on Oct. 3. Thomas George was appointed contractor to finish the church; and Daniel Miller and Francis Hickok, a building committee.

"In 1845 changes were made in this church edifice. At a meeting of the Board of Trustees held Mar. 20, 1844, at which James Stevens was chosen moderator, it was voted to enlarge and remodel the house of worship, and to raise two thousand dollars for the purpose. The building was increased in width, the tall spire taken down, and a dome substituted. The square box-pews which occupied the body of the church, the south and northwest corners, and a portion of the galleries, and in which a part of the congregation set with their backs to the preacher, were removed and replaced by the slips of more modern times. The galleries which had extended along three sides of the building were also removed from the two sides, and the quaint pulpit taken away." The removal of the galleries on the sides made it possible to substituate long windows in place of small ones, which had been one above the other. The rebuilt church edifice was burned to the ground, shortly after midnight early Sabbath morning, January 9th, 1859. In 1860, the present church was erected on the same site.

Authorities for the foregoing: Beers' History of Greene County; History of the Greenville Presbyterian Church, by Mrs. James Stevens and Miss Anna Botsford, a pamphlet published in 1913; and the original church records.