Frederick A. P. (Frederick Augustus Porter) Barnard.

The Record of a century of church life of the Reformed Church, Warwick, N.Y., 1804-1904 online

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3 1833 03122 0111

Gc 974.702 W268r

The Record of a century of
church life of the Reform





I804 -





MAR 26 1996

iTEM #iL/_


G. S.

XL1B 7-102

•S^ 14 169 8 2 13



THK ri:formku church.



Taber Knox, Chairman.

Samuel Pelton.

Ferdinand Van Derveer Sanford.

Clinton Wheeler Wisner.
Rensselaer Armstrong Demarest.


HE Warwick Reformed Church passed the hneof
its first century of life on the eighth of Janu-
ary, 1904, the oldest church organization saving
one in the Village of Warwick. For the past,
with its blessings and the service of its saints, for the
present with its prosperity and enlarging usefulness,
for the future, with its holy hope and glorious oppor-
tunity, we ascribe glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Ghost. It is a delight to call to remem-
brance the things of the past, to record the labors and
trials and the achievements of those whose works are
our heritage to-day, while it spurs us on to better things
for the days that lie before us.

In taking up the work in hand we find the history of
the Church of Presbyterian Order and Reformed Faith
in Warwick one that is altogether unique. While our
Reformed Church organization dates back only to Janu-
uary, 1804, when the Classis of Paramus organized the
church at the request of forty-four persons, the organi-
zation then effected was in a sense only a transfer of
ecclesiastical relationship from the Presbytery of Hud-
son. Unfortunately, in consequence of the loss by fire
of the records of the Presbytery of New York, with
which the church was first connected, and the absence
of proper records of the local society, the history of the
Presbyterian body is obscure. Unquestionably, how-
ever, a congregation of the Presbyterian order was in ex-
istence in Warwick as long ago as 1750, as is proved by
the records of pastors serving the church from that date


conjointly with the Presbyterian Church at Florida,
N. Y. The property where the church stands to-day
was deeded originally to the "Trustees of the Presby-
terian Church of Warwick," and by a curious arrange-
ment continued in the control of such trustees and their
successors of the "Presbyterian Church of Warwick"
until the eighteenth of March, 1890, or eighty-six years
after any worshipping body bearing such a name had
existed. Then the trustees took action by which the
management of the property legally passed into the
hands of the Consistory of the Reformed Church.

Manifestly a very large part of the historical matter
that must be of essential interest in connection with our
church, lies behind the century of Reformed connection
in the earlier days of Presbyterian attachment. Our
historical narrative therefore opens with the carefully
prepared history of the earlier Presbyterian body writ-
ten by the former pastor, the Rev. Vernon B. Carroll, in
1887, and published at that time in the Warwick Ad-
vertiser. This history is the result of most painstak-
ing examination, with true historical spirit, of all avail-
able material, and may be accepted as thoroughly
accurate. The history of the century and of the eight
auxiliary organizations connected with the church at
the time of our centennial celebration follow.

May the perusal of the record thus made as a loving
tribute to the past, bring renown to the great Head of
the Church, who from the beginning saw to-day and the
days to come of our children and our children's children.

Taber Knox,
Samuel Pelton.
F. V. Sanford,


R. A. Demarest.



|H1S IS TO CERTIFY that we, the undersigned, the Minister,
Elders and Deacons of the Reformed Dutch Church and Congre-
gation of Warwick, in the Town of Warwick, County of Orange
and State of New York, in and by virtue of the act entitled, "An Act to
Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies," passed March 27,
1801, do, on this day, incorporate ourselves in conformity to said act,
and shall henceforth consider ourselves as a body politic to be known
and distinguished by the name of the "Consistory of the Reformed Pro-
testant Dutch Church and Congregation of Warwick."

Witness our hands and seals this i8th day of March, 1807.

Elders —

Deacons —

Orange County, ss. :

Be it remembered that on this eighteenth day of March, one thous-
and eight hundred and seven, personally appeared before me John
Wheeler, one of the Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas for said
county, Charles Hardenburgh, minister, and Cornelius Demarest, John
Pelton, Edward P. Ackerson, John G. Ackerson, David C. Demarest,
Andrew Onderdonk, Isaac Halstead and James Murray, being members
of the Consistory of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church in Warwick,
all came personally well known and acknowledged that they executed
the within instrument of writing for the purposes therein contained. I
having inspected the same do allow it to be recorded.

A true record entered March 24, 1836, at 11 o'clock a. m., by











Presbyterian Organization - - about 1750

Incorporation of the Presbyterian Church - 1791

Reformed Dutch Organization - - 1804

Date of Incorporation - - _ . 1807


First Church Building begun - - - 1773

Second Church built - - . . 1812

Third Church built .... i848

Present Church built .... 1890


Jonathan Elmer, .... 1750-1754

Samuel Parkhurst, - - - 1762-1768

Amzi Lewis, .... 1772-1777

JohnJoline, ... - 1795-1802

Charles Hardenbergh, - - - 1804-1807

John I. Christie, - - - 1812-1835

Benjamin Van Keuren, - - - 1836-1837

James Stewart, - - - 1838-1842

Ferdinand H. Van Derveer, - - 1842-1876

Vernon Bond Carroll, - - - 1876-1886

Peter Crispell, - . . . 1887-1894

TaberKnox, ... - 1894-









poR many ol the details iu the fulhnving article the writer
was indebted to the Rev. Henry A. Harlow, at the time
Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Hudson. Other
sources of information are indicated in the notes.



HE Reformed Church of Warwick was organized
by a committee from the Classis of Paramus,
January, 1804, (a) For more than a half cen-
tury previous to this date, however, religious
services had been maintained in Warwick under the
direction of Presbyterian pastors and Presbyteries, (h)

The date of the first ecclesiastical organization cannot
be discovered. Ruttenber & Clark's History of Orange
County places it at 1764-5; but upon what data this
statement is founded it is impossible to tell, (b) It is
probable that the church was organized by the Presby-
tery of New York, and was officially connected with this
Presbytery until the organization of the Presbytery of
Hudson in 1795.

Most unfortunately, the minutes of the Presbytery of
New York, previous to 1775, are lost, (c) We find a
memorandum— the source of which we are unable, at
present, to discover— to the eflfect that on Oct. 22, 1784,
the "Presbyterian Church and Congregation of Warwick
was organized (under act of April 6, 1784,) by John
Wheeler, Francis Baird and John Dennison, themselves
being the first trustees, no minister, elders or deacons
existing." (rf) This does not seem to have been the
proper ecclesiastical organization which was, as above
suggested, of much earlier date. Apparently it was the
creation of a corporate body for the purpose of holding


the church property which, as we shall see, had been in
possession of the church, in part, as early, at least, as
1770 (e); and in other part, since 1773-4. (/) This in-
corporation was legally effected in 1791, the certificate
of incorporation being dated Oct. 24 of that year, (g)
But though we can find no official statement concerning
the organization of the Presbj^terian Church of War-
wick, the record of certain pastors connected with this
church remains. Thus we learn that the Rev. Jonathan
Elmer was pastor over the Presbyterian Churches of
Florida and Warwick 1750-1754. [h) After his departure
the church seems to have been shepherdless for eight
years (i); for it was not until June 13, 1762, that the
Rev. Samuel Parkhurst became pastor of the same two
churches. He ministered to these churches until his
death, which occurred March 8, 1768. (j) Then follows
an interval of four years, during which the flock was
again without a leader, (i) Rev. Amzi Lewis was or-
dained and settled as pastor of Florida and Warwick
April 9, 1772. "In 1777 Mr. Lewis left these places
with the consent of the church." (j) It was in 1770,
just previous to his settlement, that two acres of land
were given to the church for burial purposes, and "for
the use and benefit of the said Presbyterian Church of
Warwick." (e) This gift, and the settlement of a pas-
tor, are indications of a revived interest in church mat-
ters. This interest is further declared by the erection
of a house of worship during the pastorate of Mr. Lewis.
(/■) Nevertheless the ecclesiastical relation, which lasted
five years, does not seem to have been altogether satis-
factory or peaceful. The Presbytery of New York,
under date of May 8, 1776, has this record: (k) "Mr. Amzi
Lewis having laid before the Presbytery a letter to him
from the Committee of the Congregation of Warwick,


and asked advice respecting its contents, the Presbytery
having duly considered the matter, appoint Mr. Thomas
Lewis, Mr. Hart, Mr. Close, Mr. Chapman and the
Moderator, with each an elder, a committee to meet at
Warwick on Tuesday, the 2nd of July next, at 2 p. m.,
to inquire into the state of that congregation and to do
everything in their judgment necessary to overcome, if
possible, the difficulties at present subsisting among
that people; or if it shall appear necessary, to dissolve
Mr. Lewis' pastoral relation to them. Mr. Chapman to
open the committee with a sermon."

The report of the committee. May 6, 1777, nearly a
year later, was at first deemed by the Presbytery to be
incomplete. ''But upon due inquiry of the members of
the committee now present, the Presbytery are satisfied
that due pains were taken, and that the deficit is only
in their records; and accordingly their judgment is con-
firmed." This judgment was, no doubt, in favor of the
dissolution of the pastoral relationship between Mr.
Lewis and the church of Warwick. Notwithstanding
this action the troubles in the congregation do not seem
to have been removed. The next minute— the final
notice in the records of the Presbytery of New York,
cjncerning Warwick - is under date of June 10, 1777,
at a meeting held at Wallkill: (k) "As the congre-
gation of Warwick is at present destitute of a min-
ister, and has made no application to us of any
kind since Mr. Lewis' dismission, we think it our in-
dispensible duty, from a tender concern for their wel-
fare, to inquire into their present state; and do appoint
Mr. Close to preach there the first Sabbath in Septem-
ber, to take proper measures to inform himself of the
circumstances of that congregation, and to report at our
next stated Presbytery. Mr. Kerr is appointed to


preach there the fourth Sabbath of June, and Mr. King-
the first Sabbath of August."

After this there is no record of pastoral or Presby-
terial care over Warwick for a period of eighteen years
(1777-1795.) During this interval occurred the organi-
zation by trustees (1784) mentioned above (see text for-
note d) and the legal incorporation of the church in
1791. This incorporation seems to have been the condi-
tion upon which the church received the quit-claim
deeds of the real estate formally granted to the church
in 1793, by William Wickham and the heirs of John
Morin Scott, (e) It is expressly declared in these deeds
— "And whereas the proprietors and inhabitants be-
longing to said church have incorporated the same, as
is by law directed, by certificate of incorporation dated
October 24, 1791, &c., and a survey thereof being made,
by Richard Edsall, surveyor, on August 16, 1791, &c.—
this indenture witnesseth, &c."

The next step was an effort to repair the church edifice
which had been left unfinished since the dismission of Mr.
Lewis, and during the succeeding years of the Revolu-
tionary war. (/) Accordingly, we find that a subscrip-
tion paper, which still remains, (l) was circulated through
the congregation in order to raise the necessary funds.
This paper opens with the preamble— "Whereas the
Presbyterian Church of Warwick has been for a long-
time destitute of a stated pastor, to administer the word
and ordinances amongst them, by reason of which the
meeting house has gone much out of repair," &c. No
doubt the hope of obtaining the ministrations of the
word was a cheering one to the people after their long
deprivation from religious privileges. But though the
house was finished in 1792-3, if ) no pastor seems to have
settled until 1795. (m) In this vear Rev. John Joline


began his labors in Florida and Warwick, giving two-
thirds of his time to the former place. His installation
was delayed, for some reason, until 1797. The service
was held at Florida, rwi Mr. Joline was dismissed in
1802 and died December 13 of the same year, [o i His
pastorate had thus covered a period of seven years.

We have a copy of an inventory of the property held
by the church of Warwick, about this time, which is
of some importance as well as interest. It reads—
"An account and inventory of all the estate, both real
and personal, belonging to the Presbyterian congrega-
tion of Warwick, taken this 30th day of March, 1796,
by the trustees appointed by law, to have care and
management of the temporalities of said congregation,
viz.: two acres of land, on which there is erected a
meeting house, from which no annual revenue doth
arise." (Signed by trustees.) From this it would ap-
pear that interests other than temporal doubtless ex-
isted, i. e., spiritual interests; in other words, a church,
and a session having care and management of said
spiritual interests; also, that, presumably during the
life of the donors of the land, and therefore with their
full knowledge and consent, a church building had been
erected on this land. This plainly shows that it was not
the intention to limit the use of the land to burial pur-
poses alone, but to employ it more generally, as the quit-
claim deeds suggest, "for the use and benefit of the said
Presbyterian Church." le p. i

The next reference to the church of Warwick in the
minutes of the Presbytery of Hudson, is under date of
April 20, 1802. "The congregations of Warwick and
Pittsburgh ( q i which are within our bounds, but for some
time past have made no application for supplies, iri de-
sired to be considered under our care, and have supplies


afforded them. The Presbytery agreed to comply with
their request." is) In the same connection we read: (t)
"An apphcation from the churches of Amity and War-
wick was made requesting that Mr. Benjamin Prime
might be ordained at large, and continued as a supply
with them. Mr. Prime joined in the request. Presby-
tery unanimously agreed that such a proceeding was
contrary to their rules and practice, and therefore could
not grant their request." '*Mr. Prime was appointed
supply at Warwick for one-half his time till next stated
meeting of Presbytery"—?', e. till September of the same

''September, 1802, supplies were appointed for War-
wick. Mr. Prime all his time at Deerpark." (u) (Port

"April, 1803, supplies appointed for Warwick."

"September, 1803," do (v).

"April, 25, 1804." do.

"September, 4, 1804, Presbytery was informed that
the church of Warwick had chosen a candidate to preach
for them without proceeding agreeably to the rules of
Presbytery; whereupon Messrs. King and Baldwin were
appointed to draught a letter upon the subject to be sent
to the church of Warwick." (w)

Evidently ecclesiastical restraints had sat lightly upon
the people of Warwick. It is equally evident that news
traveled very slowly in those days. During the year
beginning April, 1803, the Presbytery of Hudson had
thrice granted pulpit supplies for Warwick, as above
noted. But a Reformed Dutch Church was organized
three months before the close of this period, (in January,
1804,) and negotiations looking toward such organization
had been in progress since Feb. 23, 1803. (x)

Here, then, we begin to look for our historical informa-


tion concerning the early church of Warwick, no longer
to the records of the Presbytery of Hudson, but to those
of the Classis of Paramus of the Reformed Dutch
Church. The Stated Clerk of said Classis has kindly
loaned us to copy, the original petition of the people of
Warwick (y) addressed to this Classis, and presented, if
not originally drafted, also, by the Rev. Mr. Eltinge of
Paramus. This petition, bearing date of Feb. 23, 1803,
was received by Classis May 19, 1803. The record is as

"The following petition of 44 subscribers, supposed
heads of families from Warwick, dated Feb. 23, 1803,
was presented to Classis by the Rev. W. E. Eltinge, re-
questing this Classis to furnish them, from time to time,
with preaching and catechizing, and to organize them in
due time into a congregation.

Resolved, That the request be granted, and that they
be furnished with preaching and catechizing.

Resolved, Further, that either of the above ministers
(supplies) with an elder, be hereby authorized to organ-
ize the above petitioners into a congregation, whenever
it may be done consistently with the rules of the church
and the wishes of the petitioners." (z)

Pending the organization of the church under the care
of Classis, the people of Warwick sent a duly qualified
delegate to Classis to ask for supplies. The wording of
the certificate is curious, as manifesting a want of ac-
quaintance with ecclesiastical laws, and it is valuable as
confirming the statement of Mr. Henry Pelton, in his
"Recollections," (page 5,) that it was the design of the
congregation to organize as the "Reformed and Presby-
terian Church and Congregation of Warwick." (f )

The certificate reads as follows: "At a meeting of the
heads of families of the Reformed and Presbvterian


Church and Congregation of Warwick, held on Tuesday,
the 27th day of September, instant, it was unanimously
agreed that Cornelius Demarest and John G. Ackerson,
or either of them, should wait on the Classis of Paramus
at their next session, for the purpose of applying to said
Classis for obtaining supplies for said church and con-
gregation. F. Baird, Clerk."
Dated 27th Sept., 1803.

The action of Classis on this petition was taken Oct. 5,
1803. "An application from the people of Warwick was
laid on the table requesting supplies for the ensuing

''Resolved, That their request be granted, and that any
minister belonging to this Classis, with an elder, be
authorized to organize the people of Warwick into a con-
gregation, whenever, in their opinion, a proper oppor-
tunity offers." iz)

Accordingly, within three months after this action,
the organization was effected, January, 1804, as appears
from the Record of the Consistory of the Reformed
Church of Warwick, and from the following classical
minute: "April 4, 1804. Upon request from the people
of Warwick, and according to a former resolution of
Classis, the people of Warwick were, on the second Sab-
bath of January last, organized into a congregation, by
the name of the Congregation of Warwick. Signed.

W. Eltinge, (^i V. D. M.
Stephen Hopper, Elder.

"Andrew Ackerman was the first delegate admitted to
Classis of Paramus." \Z)

The final minute of Classis concerning this new Re-
formed Church is under date of Oct. 2, 1804. "Mr.
Charles Hardenbergh, a candidate for the ministry un-


der care of this Classis, presented a call made on him by
the Consistory of the congregation of Warwick, in the
county of Orange, which call being approved by Classis,
he then declared his acceptance thereof, and requested
to be admitted to examination."

"After satisfactory examination his ordination was
ordered to take place on the second Sabbath of Novem-
ber next, in the church at Warwick. Committee: Revs.
Solomon Freleigh, N. Lansing, W. Eltinge, Primarii; N.
Schoonmaker, G. G. Brinkerhoff, Secundi. To preach
the sermon— Primarius, Rev. Solomon Freleigh. (^) Se-
cundus, Rev. N. Lansing." iz)

Under Mr, Hardenbergh's pastorate, the church was
incorporated by the law of March 27, 1801, under the
title of the "Consistory of the Reformed Protestant
Dutch Church and Congregation of Warwick." (• ) The
date of the certificate of incorporation is March 18,
1807. It is signed by Charles Hardenbergh, Minister;
Cornelius Demarest, John Pelton, Edward P. Eckerson,
John G. Ackerson, Elders; David C. Demarest, Andrew
Onderdonk, Isaac Halstead, James Murray, Deacons.

It was witnessed before John Wheeler, one of the
Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the county of
Orange. The record was entered "March 24, 1836, at 11
o'clock a. m., by Lebbeus L. Vail, Clerk."

The subsequent history is written in the Records of
the Consistory of the "Reformed Protestant Dutch
Church of Warwick," though, unfortunately, these
records are quite meager in their reference to the early
years of the church.

;i. See "Minutes of Classis of Paranius." "Consistorial Record of
Reformed Cluircb of Warwicli."

h "R. <!<: C. History of Orange Co., i88i."— Page 131. See same
date in ■'Samuel Eager's History of Orange Co., 1846." — Page 435. Per-


liaps it is confouuded with tlie date of the origin i>t" the Baptist Chuixli
of Warwick, now Old School.

c. So we learn from the Rev. Dr. Alexander, Stated Clerk of the
Presb3'tery of New York, who also informs us that the last reference to
Warwick on the books of that Presbytery is 1777. Warwick was "not in
the official list of ministers and congregations in the Synod of New
York and Philadelphia. 1788."— H. A. Harlow. The period from 1777
to 1795 was one of confusion, and all church records are imperfect. Dr.
Alexander raises the question— "did Warwick secede, with its pastor
and other ministers, to form the Morris Independent Presbytery in
1779?" This is not probable.

</. "As to the organization by trustees even before the existence of
elders and deacons, I would account for it in this way. Through the
colonial period, dissenters, led chiefly by Presbyterian lawyers, had
since 1720 earnestly and repeatedly asked from the colonial government
and from Parliament, incorporation — corporate rights — but always in
vain. When independence was secured, it was not to be wondered at
that the idea prevailed that corporate rights was the principal thing,
and if secured, all other matters would follow as a matter of"—
Rev. H. A. Harlow, who refers to "Civil Status of Presbyterianism in
the Province of New York," by Charles W. Baird, D. D.

But seven years before this^ i. f , in 1777, the Presbyterian Church of
Warwick was an ecclesiastical organization, subject to the superintend-
ing control of the Presbytery of New York. At this date, 1784, it had
apparently been seven years without a pastor, and so remained desti-
tute till 1795. During the troublous times of the Revolution the church
was thus measurably disorganized, but scarcely could havebeen extinct.
Immediately after the close of the war, this tjuasi organization— or re-
organization — was effected. (1784 )

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Online LibraryFrederick A. P. (Frederick Augustus Porter) BarnardThe Record of a century of church life of the Reformed Church, Warwick, N.Y., 1804-1904 → online text (page 1 of 9)