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Livingston New York Church History

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The Reformed Church Of Linlithgo

It has been stated in another part of this book that the church at Albany extended its missionary work to the settlements along the Hudson before the year 1700. It is not improbable that the manor of Livingston may have been thus visited, but owing to the sparse settlements within its bounds no effort was made to organize a church until after 1720. As most of the leaseholders were very poor, the expense of building a church was cast upon Robert Livingston. It appears that the governor of the province, upon a representation of the case, thought it too great to be borne wholly by Mr. Livingston, but recognizing the importance of having a place of worship on the manor, he commended the purpose to the Christian public in the following certificate, which authorized Mr. Livingston to solicit aid from those who were inclined to promote so desirable an object:


" Whereas, Robert Livingston, Esq., sole Proprietor of the Manor of Livingston, hath proposed and doth propose to establish a church or meeting House, and to send for and call some able and pious Dutch Reformed Protestant minister from Holland, according to tlie Constitution and direction of the Reformed Church in Holland, agreeable to the discipline and government of the Dutch Church, as is established by the Synod at Dort, in the year 1618 and 1619, to officiate therein for the inhabit.ants and sojourners within the Manor, agreeable and suitable to the Vulgar language and education of the said inhabitants, which pious work, and the building of such church or meeting-house will require a larger sum of money than can be reasonably expected to bo advanced by any one particular person,

" I, being willing and desirous to promote and encourage so pious an undertaking, have therefore thought fit to grant unto the same Robert Livingston leave and license to collect and receive the free and voluntary charity and contribution of any of the inhabitants within the said province towards carrying on and finishing the same; and for his so doing this shall be his sufficient warrant.

" Given under my hand and seal this 21st day of June, 1721.

"W. Burnet,

"Capt.-General and Governor of New York."

The appeal for help was not in vain. With the funds secured, and with a liberal share of his own means, Robert Livingston erected the first church in the southern part of Columbia county in the fall of 1721. It was first occupied for public worship Jan. 13, 1722, by Dominie Petrus Van Driessen, the pastor of the Albany church, who again held one of his occasional services in this locality. The house was a plain but very substantial frame, and .stood on the site now occupied by the Memorial chapel, at Linlithgo. Beneath the church was constructed the Livingston family vault, which has been used by eight successive generations of the lord of the manor; and adjoining was a grave-yard for the use of the tenants. In the will of Robert Livingston, executed Feb. 10, 1722, he set aside forty acres of land, opposite the church, for a minister's home-farm, and sixty acres, farther east, to be used towards the minister's stipend. He also built a house, on twenty acres of land, east of the church-yard, which was bequeathed for the use of the clerk of the church, who was to combine with that ofiice the duties of instructor of the youth of the manor.

These temporal provisions having been made, the organization of the church proceeded accordingly. It was effected July 4, 1722, by the selection of the following consistory: Elders, Robert Livingston, Jacob Vosburgh, and Cornelius Martense; Deacons, Tobias Ten Broeck, Robert Van Deusen, and Wilhelm Hallenbeck. In addition there were as members Johannes Sparr, Johannes Scherp, Andreis Brussie, Jochem Radclift, Solomon and Mary Schutt, Alida Livingston, Doretha Vosburgh, Maritje Ten Broeck, and Cornelia Decker.

A month later Lendert Konyn, Jan. Decker, Johannes Cool, Killian Winn and his wife, Maritje, Lena Whitbeck, Johannes Spoor, Jr., and Peter Cool became members; and in 1723 Johannes Dyckman and his wife, Janitje, Dirck Hallenbeck, Christoffel Muldor, Chias Brussie, Andreis Rees, Conradt Ham, Cornelia Hogeboom, Johannes Shutts, Matthaus and Robert Van Deusen, Gysbert Osterhout, Jan. Vosburgh, Johannes Petri, and Peter Haver were added to the list. At a later period Johannes Spoor, Jacob Decker, and Philip Spickerman became members.

In 1755, the membership of the church aggregated one hundred and ninety-five, but as many had died, or left to join other churches, the actual membership was no more than fifty. The elders to this period were, in addition to those first named, Jeremias Miller, Johannes Dyckman, Conradt Ham, Johannes Shutts, Johannes Cool, Abram Vosburgh, Rieger Schermerhorn, Jacob Schermerhorn, Samuel Hallenbeck, William Hallenbeck, Robert Van Deusen, Hendrick Smith, Hendrick Mesick, Jochem Van Valkenburgh, and Robert Livingston, Jr. The deacons for the same period were Jan Decker, Lawrence Knickerbocker, Lendert Konyn, Jan Vosburgh, Johannes Cool, Jacob Decker, Johann Conradt Petri, James Gardner, Henry Mesick, Martin Ham, Michael Schmidt, Dirck Ten Broeck, Johannes Schaurman, Casper Ham, Johannes Ton Eyck, Hendrick Stever, Johannes Best, and Peter Vosburgh.

Dominie Petrus Van Driessen continued his missionary labors with the church ten or fifteen years, moderating at consistory meetings as late as 1834. His brother Johannes supplied the pulpit regularly in 1728; but from the organization of the church in 1722 till 1756 the church was dependent on ministerial supplies, and the ministrations were irregular, — weekly, monthly, quarterly, and often but once a year. Among those who served the church in this manner were Rev. J. W. Mancius, in 1748, and Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen, in 1751.

On the 12th of September, 1756, Rev. Johannes Casparus Freyenmoet became the first regular pastor of the church, in connection with the churches of Kinderhook and Claverack. The terms of his engagement are given in a sketch of the latter church. He remained until 1770. From this period until 1779 the church was again dependent on supplies. Dominie Gerhard, Daniel Cock, and others serving in that capacity. Meanwhile, the events of the Revolution had forced the retirement of the Rev. John H. Livingston from New York to Albany. Sickness in his family there caused his removal to Livingston manor, where the consistory secured him as their pastor. He accepted, conditioning his stay upon the close of the war, relief from sickness, or a wider sphere of usefulness. He remained, preaching in English and German, until the summer of 1781.

In September of the same year the Rev. N. Lansing became the pastor of the church, in connection with those of Aucram and Taghkanie. On the part of the manor church a comfortable house on the glebe by the church was promised, and the other congregations obligated themselves to convey his reverence to and from his appointments, and give him ministerial entertainment: " Sie sullen verplicht zyn eenwarde te halen, met paest, wagen, oft slee, als by Kempt om to prediken; en vorzien, met bequam herbergen, verquicken ter tyd als zyn predich beust daar valt en vok wederum te huis bringen."

He continued his labors three years. Until Oct. 27, 178G, the church had again only occasional services; but that year the Rev. Jeremiah Romeyn commenced his pastorate on a salary which the society was too much weakened by the removal of members longer to pay than 1793. Then the church became connected with Red Hook, and in that relation retained Mr. Romeyn until 1804. The next pastor was the Rev. Herman Vedder, remaining from 1806 to 1814, and was the last to serve the church before its removal to Johnstown.

'The old Manor church had become so dilapidated by the wear of nearly a hundred years that it failed to furnish a comfortable place of worship. A new house was demanded, but as the members lived principally in the eastern part of the town, it was decided to locate it at some point where they would be best accommodated. A very fine lot, in the eastern part of Johnstown, was selected, upon which, in 1814, was built a neat brick church, which was consecrated in November, 1815, and which was used until the present edifice took its place, in 1854.

In September, 1815, the Rev. A. N. Kittle became the pastor in connection with Red Hook, and continued until July, 1827. He was succeeded in October following by the Rev. E. Holmes, who remained until January, 1835. In 1833 the present parsonage was erected. From 1835 till 1841 the Rev. John H. Van Wagenon served the church conjointly with Greenport, and from 1842 till 1847 the Rev. J. D. Fonda maintained the same relation. In July, 1847, the Rev. C. E. Crispel entered upon a ten years' pastorate, which was one of the most eventful in the history of the church. During his connection the present handsome edifice was erected. The corner-stone was laid July 13, 1854, and on the 22d of August, 1855, the house was formally dedicated by the Rev. Dr. Demarest. It is a very spacious two-story brick structure, finished in a plain but attractive manner, and will seat five hundred persons. The church, parsonage, and glebe lot of seven acres are estimated worth $J0,000. Adjoining the house is a fine cemetery, and underneath it a vault of a branch of the Livingston family.

From March 5, 1858, till 1867 the pastoral office was filled by Rev. C. J. Shepard, who was followed the same year by the Rev. F. M. Kipp, Jr. His connection terminated in 1869, and since February, 1870, the present pastor. Rev. Thomas S. Dusinberre, has presided over the interests of the church. It numbers at present (1878) ninetyfive families, who furnish one hundred and thirty-one communicants. From 1814 till 1870 the church supplied the neighborhood of Linlithgo as a preaching station; but that place became, in the fall of 1870, a separate work. The present consistory is composed of Elders James Ham, Alexander Patrie, Henry Allen, and Oliver J. Reeves; Deacons, Charles E. Bingham, George B. Walker, J. J. Harvey, and James Allen.

The church also maintains a good Sabbath-school, having seventy-five members, superintended by Myron Ham.

The St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Of Livingston

About 1764 a Lutheran church was organized in the town of Livingston by the Rev. John F. Ries, the pastor of the Churchtown .society. The ofiicial board elected that year was composed of Elders Johannes Michael Muchler and Johannes Erchenbrecht; Deacons, Nicholas Schirtz and Philip Bortel. In 1765 and 1767, Frederick Proper, Bartholomew Simon, Michael Wolf, and Johannes Shirtz were chosen as elders, and Augustus Schmit, Hannes Schutt, Jacob Proper, and Balthusar Simon deacons.

Among those who were members of the church, or adhered to it as attendants upon its worship from the time of its organization until 1770, were Andreis Shirtz, Wendel Pulver, Johannes Bortel, Wilhelm Tator, Philip Erchenbrecht, Clement Lehman, Adam Schafer, Adam Decker, Ilenrich Ham, Benjamin Decker, Jacob Kuhn, Christian Haver, Wilhelmus Lehman, George Minckler, Andreis Schaurman, Johannes Proper, Peter Herder, Nicholas Wieler, Christophel Blatner, Heinrich Stahl, Hannes Ham, Samuel Miller, Jorus Cook, Johannes Schermerliorn, Hannes Luyck, Jacob -Hoifman, Nicholas Bonesteel, Matthaus Race, Nicholas Dyckman, Stoffel Hagadorn, Heinrich Riefenburgh, Hermanns Jacobi, Conrad Jager, Wilhelmus Schneider, Diedrich Shutts, Michael Hallenbeck, Jacob Kilmer, Heinrich Wagner, George Finkle, Johannes Spickerman, Jacob Mickler, Johannes Schaurman, Johannes Mickle, Vcit Rossman, Johannes Mohr, Jacob Blatner, Heinrich Ostrander, Conradt Meier, Bastian Jacobi, Michael Fingar, Peter Hess, Jacob Best, Andreas Mohr, Jonas Miller, Samuel Lasher, Dirck Van Dyck, Heinrich Tiel, Petrus Schmidt, Wilhelmus Wiederwax, Andreas Scherp, Jacob Rossman, Wilhelmus Becker, Jacob Geretsie, Heinrich Dunspaugh, Jan Vosburgh, Johannes Silvernagel, Tiel Ham, Thomas Mesieg, Jacob Fredenburgh, and Wilhelm Becker.

A plain frame meeting-house was built on the " postroad," near the old Stickles place, which was used until after 1820. It was generally called the " Piet Bush Church." A cemetery at this place has become so much neglected that it is hardly observable from the highway.

In 1821 a new house of worship was erected on a few acres of ground two miles east from the Blue Store, which was consecrated, Nov. 25 of that year, as the " St. John's Church." A board of trustees was formed, composed of David Prossius, Adam Weaver, John D. Feller, Mathias Hoot, Henry W. Snyder, and George Rowe. This house was used until 1861, when the present edifice was erected. It stands nearly opposite the site of the second church, is a large and attractive frame structure, and will seat three hundred persons. Connected with the church is a good parsonage and a large cemetery. The estimated value of the entire property is $12,000.

The services of the church were first in the German language, but were changed to the English about fifty years ago. The clergy connected with the church as pastors and supplies, so far r.s we have been able to learn from the imperfect records, were: 1764-91, Eev. John F. Ries; 1791-1800, Rev. Johann F. Ernst; 1800-15, Rev. Frederick H. Quitman; 1816-50, Rev. Augustus Wackerhagen; 1851-61, Rev. H. Wheeler; 1861-63, Rev. William H. Emerick; 1863-64, Rev. W. J. Cutler; 1865-67, Rev. J. Selmser; 1868-69, Rev. William H. Emerick; 1870-72, Rev. J. D. West; 1872-74, Rev. J. Selmser; 1875-77, Rev. James Leffler; 1877, Rev. J. A. Rosenberg.

The membership of the church at present is one hundred and fifty, who support a Sabbathschool, having an attendance of seventy-five scholars. J. Hutchins is the superintendent.

The Livingston Reformed Church At LinLithgo

The Livingston Reformed Church At LinLithgo was organized Nov. 9, 1870, by the Hudson classis, with sixteen members. The consistory chosen was composed of Elders John N. Haver, Thomas Miller; Deacons William H. Haver and John H. Harvey. A plain but neat brick structure, having accommodations for two hundred and twenty-five persons, was erected the same year at a cost of $6000., It stands on the site of the original Linlithgo church, and over the family vault of the first lord of the manor, which contains the dead of eight generations of the Livingston family. The present edifice was erected chiefly by the contributions of the surviving members of that family, and has been named " The Livingston Memorial Chapel."

After the removal of the Linlithgo church to Johnstown, this place was served as a preaching station of the old church until the present society was organized. The Rev. Harvey D. Schermerhorn became the first pastor, and remained until 1872. Since that period the clergy have been the Revs. Snyder, Van Santvord, and Myers. The church is at present supplied by the pastors of the neighboring churches. It has about thirty members and the following consistory: Elders, M. N. Miller, Walter Kline; Deacons, W. F. Crofts and Amos Harvey.

The Methodist Episcopal Chapel At Glenco Mills

was erected in 1869 by Isaac Shaurman, for the Methodist society of West Taghkanic. It is a neat little frame chapel, with one hundred and fifty sittings, and cost $2500. The trustees elected, Sept. 20, 1869, to assume the care of this property were Ira Williams, Norman Niver, John H. Schermerhorn, Jonas W. Rockefeller, Solomon Avery, R. A. Roarbeck, Simeon Decker, Samuel L. Myers, and Abram M. Myers.

The Methodist class at Glenco Mills is yet united with the West Taghkanic church, having religious services in connection with that body.

A Sunday-school has been maintained at the place since 1850, and at present numbers sixty members. Ira Williams and Norman Niver have been the superintendents.

The Methodist Episcopal Church At Union Corners

The Methodist Episcopal Church At Union Corners, formerly Pleasant Vale, was organized in 1849. Prior to that time the class at this place was connected with West Taghkanic. It consisted of Jeremiah Niles, leader; John P. Friese, local preacher; and members from the Coon, Stall, Ingalls, Darling, Northrup, Ferris, Hilton, Austin, Fulton, Rose, and Near families. In 1854 a very neat and commodious frame church was erected on a large lot, on which is also a parsonage and a cemetery. The house was repaired in 1877, and is now in every way and sense an inviting place of worship. The estimated value of the entire property is $6000. The members of the church number sixty, and are connected with Jackson Corners in a circuit which is in charge of the Rev. C. Gorse. Other clergy who preached at this place from 1842 to 1877 were Revs. Lewis McKendree, L. Pease, John Campbell, Lorin Clark, Jeremiah Ham, Samuel M. Knapp, Thomas Jerrolds, Aaron Hunt, Jr., Harrison C. Humphrey, Ira Ferris, Thomas Ellis, Joseph Elliott, Aaron Coons, John J. Graw, Henry H. Birkins, Aaron Coons, George B. Clark, William A. Mackey, Charles Saeger, and N. H. Bangs.