James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 164 of 190)
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questions growing out of the use of the public school
funds, it was detached from the academy and organ-



izol into a separate district school. The original
academy building baa since been used by the ilistriet
under lease, free of expense except the cost of keep-
ing ii in repair.

During the year L868, Mr. Blair set apart a fund of
110,000, the interest of which was appropriated to
baying the board and tuition of five Bona of ministers
bf the Presbytery of Newton, and, at his suggestion,
■he Presbytery appointed a board of directors, con-
sisting of not less than five ministers and two ruling
ol'lcr-, to superintend it- management.

During the years L869 7", t" ■ pensate Mr.

• in pari for the loss sustained by the burning
..I the firsl Blair Hall, as well as practically to mani-
fest their interest in the scl I, the congregation

pf the Blairatown Presbyterian Church furnished thi

of tin- new Hall m( an expense of $200. Bed-

ri.i.iu- were also furnished by Daniel Hnlshizer, <•''

Btewartsville, Selden T. Scranton, I Ir. John < '. .f <»lm-

ion, I Rev. I >.n id Tully, at a cost of $60 each, and

by the congregations of Stillwater and Yellow Fra

Bhurches, al $70 each,

On tin- ilili "i Lpril, 1870, the real estate, includ-
ir 1 [all and some -■■• en and a half acres of

[and, was formally c ej '-'1 to a board of trust

be held in trust for the use and purposes of an acad-
ciii \ , ii mli I- the control and management of the board
nf directors appointed by the Presbytery.

In April, 1872, the late J. Blair Scribner, then the
bead of the publishing bouse of Charles Scri
Pons, pursuant in part to a plan proposed by his
lather in his lifetime, presented the academy with a
Valuable collection of books, whicb he designed to be
: instalment af the ''Scribner Library."

In the summer of L873, after a period of twelve
years of great prosperity, Mr. Stevens resigned the
principalship ol tin academy, and accepted that of thi
iute institute, at Newton, N. J. Steps were im-
mediately taken to secure a - lessor ; Inn. ov.

rotractcd and finally fatal illness of one
with whom ill. directors were a long while in corre-
ipondence, ii was not until the summer of 1875 that
arrangements were finally made for the reopening of
Die school in the ensuing autumn. This long period
(if inactivity was not, however, altogether lost. Dur-
year 1874, Mr. Blair had given tin- II. ill a
Jhorough renovation, stuccoing thi exterior, putting
up broad, covered piazzas along tin- entire front and
Iding, introducing jti am heating-appa-

ratil- ami an al. umlaut supply of Water, ami D

Other much needed improvements t.> tin- main build-
well a- t.i tin- stable and laundry, bj which

iforl ami appearance of t n

Improved, About this tin- direc-
eived a legacj of $500 from tin- estate of the
laic John I'. Smith, deceased, of Wan. n Co., N. -i ..
ami also u pledge from Mr. Blair t" increase lii> en-
dowment from $10, to t

In the mean while, the board hai ing bi on bo wise

and fortunate as to secure the services of Henry I>.
Gregory, A.M., Ph.D., the present experienced and
nt principal, the latter was installed at a
meeting of the alumni and friends of the academy,
in the Presbyterian church of the village, on the 8th
of September, 1875. Besides the inaugural of the
principal-elect, eloquent addresses were delivered
during the day and evening by the Rev. W. C I
tell, I '.!>.. president of Lafayette College, and the
I;. . . I.. II. Atwater, D.D.,of Princeton College. On
the following day the exercises of the school were re-
sumed nmler circumstances promising the highest

During the month oft Ictober, L875, a committee of
the board recommended and the directors adopted
the 6th day of April — the anniversary of the date of
Mr, Blair's first offer to give the site for the academy
and aid - ion— as the day to be obi

through succeeding j ears as " Founder's I taj ." Ad-
dresses on these occasions have been delivered by

Rev. Ja - McCosh, D.D., of Princeton, Rev. A.

Ballard, D.D., of Easton, by the principal of the
. and by Rev. Selden .'. < loffin, D.D., of Eas-

tin the 28th of March, 1876, Mr. Blair, having ob-
tained of the owner a part of an acre of land lying
betwei n the grounds of the hall and the public road,
conveyed the same and an invested fund ■•!' $36,500
to i he board ..t' directors appointed by the Presbytery,
and their successors in office forever, promising at
tin same time in a few year- to increase the said fund
I si pledge, we under-

stand, he i- at this time i March, 1881 i about to fulfill,
as well as to further improve the luiilding.

t n, the Itli of July, l v 77, a hope long deferred «:.-
fulfilled in the opening of the Blairatown Railway,
and the annoyance of the plodding and toilsom
ride from Portland no longer existed.

Dr. < Iregory, the present principal, for many years
in enviable reputation as a teacher in Phila-
delphia, and was for three year- prior to liis coming to
this place, jointly «r alone, principal of the Geneseo
Academy, Geneseo, N. Y. The academy nmler his
mi- from the first sustained an efficiency higher
than ever before, and is al this time one of the best
equipped and thorough preparatory schools in the
Middle States, [f the hopes of the directors are met
as now seems probable . it will at no distant day rank
he first in the land.

lh- principal, with hi tamth In - in the institu-
tion, where pupils from abroad are required to board,
and, with bis estimable wife, gives constant attention
tu the moral and intellectual culture of those under
his care. Seats are reserved for, and attendance re-
quired of, the pupils in the Presbyterian church.
Biblical instruction is given each Sabbath, and

family worship observed rningand evening. The

course of instruction for young ladies embraces the
- usually pursued in the highest seminaries of



the land. Boys and young men are prepared for col-
lege or for business life. While the elementary studies
— reading, spelling, penmanship, grammar, geography,
and arithmetic — are taught with thoroughness, the
attention of those competent to judge is called to the
character of the instruction in classics, mathematics,
and commercial arithmetic.

The academic year is divided into two terms : the
first begins in the first week of September and closes
the week before Christmas; the second begins the
first week in January and closes the last week in

The number of pupils enrolled the present year is
72; males, 43; females, 29; 51 were boarding pupils;
26 have studied music; 46 Latin, Greek, French, or
German ; 45 algebra, geometry, surveying, or book-
keeping ; 13 are from Pennsylvania ; 1 each from
Michigan, Iowa, the Indian Territory, Arizona, Cuba,
and Japan ; the remainder from New Jersey. Sev-
eral, as usual, will enter Princeton and Lafayette
Colleges at the beginning of their next terms.

With a healthy locality, easy communication, com-
modious and comfortable quarters, near enough to the
two great Presbyterian colleges of Princeton and Lafay-
ette to feel the impulse of their inspiration, free to a
'great extent from the corrupting influence of the large
town or city, and with a history that would do credit
to an older institution, the friends of the academy feel
assured that a bright future lies before it.

The board of directors, as at present constituted, is
as follows :

Rev. Thomas A. Sanson, President ex-officio, Blairstown, N. J.; Charles
E. Vail, Secretary and Treasurer, Blairstown, N. J.; Rev. Henry B. Town-
send, Pbillipsburg, N. J.; Rev. E. Clark Cliue, Oxford, N. J.-, Rev. Wil-
liam A. Holliday, Belvidere, N. J.; Rev.John B. Kugler, New Hampton,
N. J.; Rev. Robert B. Foresman, Johnsonsburg, N. J. ; Rev. Aliuisun A.
Haines, Hamburg, N. J. ; Selden T. Suranton, Esq., Oxford, N. J. ; Dewitt
C. Blair, Esq., Belvidere, N. J.


Previous to the year 1838 the residents of Blairs-
town — then called Gravel Hill — and vicinity were
chiefly a non-church-going people. The Sabbath was
largely a day for family visiting or personal enjoy-
ment. Hunting and fishing were freely indulged in
by many ; even public horse-racing on that day was
not an unknown source of amusement. The state of
religion, accordingly, must have been very low. The
few professing Christians were divided between the
Methodists, who had stated preaching appointments
here at least so early as 1811, and the Presbyterians.
The latter were generally members or attendants of
the church of Knowlton, five miles distant, where
that earnest and godly man, the Eev. Jehiel Talmage,
was faithfully preaching and laboring. Marksboro',
three miles distant in an opposite direction, was asso-
ciated with the Hardwick (now the Yellow Frame)
Church, under the ministry of the Rev. Benjamin I.

> By C. E. Vail.

Lowe, services being held at each church on alternate
Sabbaths. These, with an occasional afternoon ap-
pointment by the Knowlton pastor at the Gravel Hill
school-house, and the more frequent services of their
Methodist brethren, were the sum of the religious
privileges afforded them, and with these the people
for the most part seemed content.

In the year 1838 a Methodist church was built at
this place, partly through the aid of contributions of
the Presbyterians, with the understanding that the
latter should have the use of it at such times as would
not interfere with the appointments of the sister-de-
nomination. This arrangement, however, failed long
to satisfy all parties. Accordingly, pursuant to public
notice, the citizens of Blairstown and vicinity (the
name of the village having been changed by vote of
the citizens at a public meeting on the 24th of Jan-
uary previous) convened on Saturday, 22d of March,

1839, " for the purpose of electing trustees of a Pres-
byterian church contemplated to be built at that
place." John I. Blair was made chairman and Dr.
John Albright secretary of the meeting, and the fol-
lowing persons were unanimously elected trustees, —
viz., Isaac Crisman, Isaac Wildrick, Jacob Lanter-
man, Joseph Wildrick, John I. Blair, William Lan-
terman, and John Konkle. The usual oath of trust
and allegiance having been administered to them by
Peter Lanterman, Esq., justice of the peace, it was
resolved by said trustees "that we be known and de-
nominated as the trustees of the First Presbyterian
Church of Blairstown." John I. Blair was then
chosen president of the board.

The above incorporation was duly recorded in the
book of corporations in the clerk's office of the county
of Warren, at Belvidere, N. J., on the 3d of July,

A lot 80 by 75 feet, comprising a part of that occu-
pied by the present church, having been secured at a
nominal price from Mrs. William Hankinson, in the
corner of what was then one large field extending all
the way to the mill brook, work was energetically
begun upon the first church building under the direc-
tion of a building committee consisting of John I.
Blair, John Albright, Isaac Wildrick, Isaac Crisman,
and Peter Lanterman. The walls were erected and the
house inclosed during the summer and fall of 1839,
and the building finished in the summer and fall of

1840. It was a substantial stone structure, 50 by 40
feet in size, with a broad vestibule across the front
end, Gothic windows, handsomely rough-cast, and sur-
mounted by a well-proportioned belfry and spire. The
cost complete, with furniture, was $2865.93. The
builders were Jonathan D. Calvin, mason, and William
Bulgin, carpenter. It was furnished with a 218-pound
bell, for many years the only church-going bell to be
heard by the citizens of the beautiful valley in whose
midst the church was planted. This bell, though
comparatively so light, was sometimes heard up and
down the Paulinskill as far as Stillwater and Haines-



burg. After the demolition of the old church the
lull was broken by .sunn- buys who wore using it at a
charivari, ami, having been mended, i- nmv doing
duty for school purposes on the grounds of l.lair I [all.
The exterior id' the old elinreh was adorned with a

creeping vine, whose luxuriant foliage, ever changing
with the season, covered the entire east aide and much
ol the front of the building. The interior was mod-
eled alter the church Mill standing at Stillwater, but
was in some re-peci- ;ni improvement on the latter.
Massive galleries occupied the sides and front end; the
pulpit, the rear of the church. The arrangement of

the i-cats with two :ii-le. was that of the greatest

economy of ro , affording a seating capacity , exclu-
sive of galleries, of about -"on. So Mibstantialh had
the work in every part been done that when it W8S

taken down in 1870 to make way lor a Larger building,
it was, with perhaps the exception of the root and
windows, nearly as good a- new.

At a stated meeting of the Presbyter; of Newton
in October, 1840, the following action was taken :

'i I rganized into a distinct church, and be

held as a alfterohurch connected and to i mected will. Knowlton.

It,n Mi re. ilinv i.i \ .i.ii.i.ii. .1 .i.i. J ) CurroU, and Ji a) Clark

were appointed a c iltteo to proc I to Blaintown on atonday,tbo

19th ..I il.is i .Hi, mill, if tin.' way be . lear, organize • church in thai


At an adjourned meeting of Presbytery at Knowl-
ton, Nov, l'.">, 1840, the c nittee appointed to go to

Blairstown, and, if the way should be clear, to organize
a church there, reported "thai tiny had attended to

thai duty at the day appointed, and in accordance

with the directions of Presbytery did organize a
church oi' ii (15) members, all of whom wen- dis-
missed by the session of Knowlton upon the daj of

inization to join the church then and there

to l rganized." They reported, also, "that the

p. ..pie duly chose and the committee ordained two
ruling elders, — viz., Philip Rallli and Jacob Lanlcr-
luan." This report Was accepted and adopted, and

the church thus organized was recognized by the
name of "The First Presbyterian Church ol' Blairs-
tow n." with the following members :

Philip Hoi i.i John Harden, Henry

K s.n.\ or, J Mi line] Raub, E I

.ii ...v Raub

i» i HI mau(i r William), Marj Shlpman,

Rachel Lanterman (wife ol I 1

(if the above, Rachel Lanterman (wife of Jacob),
Mrs. Mary Snuver, Mrs. Sarah Snover, and Miss Mary
Shipman alone survive, and of them Mrs. Lanterman
alone lives within the bounds of the church at the
present time.

At the dedication of the church, he l"ili of

December, Isi". Rev. T. B. Condict, now of Still-
water, preached from Ex, w. 24, " In all places « here
I re* ird my name," etc.

The lirst meeting of the new Session was In I

II', 1840. Rev. Mr. (' lid, then supplying the


church, wa- moderator. During the winter of ]-)o

and I'll the ehureh was supplied by Presbytery.
i in the 28d of June, 1841, Mr. Condict wa- installed

pastor of Knowlton and Blairstown, at a -alary from
this ehureh of $300 per annum for one-half of hi-

time. At hi- installation Rev. James Clark, of Bel-
ridere, preached thi sermon; Rev. Elias S. Schenck,

of llaekett-tow n, gave the charge to the pastor; and

Rev. Joseph I.. Shafer, of Newton, that to the
On the 18th of December, 1841, Mr. Condict having

resigned, after a pastorate of six month-, to accept
a call to Stillwater, a meeting was held, wit!
David Longmore, a native of Inland, a- moderator.
lie i- described, by some who remember him, a- a man
oi superior natural al ilities but lacking in judgment
and prudence. Declining their call to the pastorate,
he served the united churches a- stated supply at the
same -alary a- thai paid his predecessor until the
spring of 1X-J3, when, at the request of the ehureh.-.

lie resigned his charge. He went from here to Phila-
delphia, afterwards to Milton, Pa., and still later to
West Jersey, where he died.

Upon the departure of Mr. Longmore steps were
taken to call the Re* . John M. Lowrie, afterward- the
learned and eloquent Dr. Lowrie, of Fort Wayne,
Ind. The latter was in-tailed pastor of the two

churches at an adjourned meeting of Pre-hytery, at
Blairstown, on Monday, the 16th of October, 1843.
In April, 1844, the membership of this ehureh was
reported a- 58.

• in the lil-t of September, 1X44, the number of act-
ing trustees having from various causes been some-
what ted I, Me - r-. Henry Freeman, Joseph J.

Snover, and Samuel II. Lantertnaii were elected addi-
tional member- of the board.

On the 31st of July, 1845, owing to continued ill
health of himself ami family, Rev. Mr. Lowrie ten-
dered, and the congregation voted to accept, hi-

u of 'In- pastorate. Similar action vva-

taken by the Knowlton Church, and Mr. Lowrie left
Blairstown, after a moderately successful pastorate of
about iw.. year-, mi the lith of August, 1845. After
. -, n ally successful subsequent career, during which

his lame became known in all the churches, he died

at In home in hint \\ ivn. on tin. Sfcth of Septem-
ber, 1867. Of his three -on-, tin- oldest, Lev. Mat-
thew P.. Lowrie, who was born at I'.lair-town, i- pas-
tor of the church at Galesburg, 111. : the second, Rev.
.lames (I. Lowrie. i- pa-tor at Mount Sterling) 111.:
the youngest i- the city engineer at Denvi

The widow and one daughter also -urvivc. The lat-
ter is teaching in Wilson College, at Chambei


\ i special meeting of Presbytery al Knowlton
during the month following Mr. Lowrie'- removal
Sept. n [lev. John A. Reiley was in-tailed

pa-tor ol' Knowlton and I'.lair-town. at a salary of
|500 per annum, divided equally between the two



churches, the membership of the Blairstown Church
being still reported at about 58.

On the 16th of November, 1847, this church voted
to increase the salary from $250 to $300 per annum.
During the following year, largely through the liber-
ality of Mr. J. I. Blair, a neat and comfortable two-
story frame parsonage, with an extension for kitchen
and another for study, etc., was built at a cost, in-
cluding the barn and improvement of the grounds, of
between $2500 and $3000, the desirable lot on which
it stands, together with the larger part of the cost of
building and improvements, being given by Mr. Blair.

At a meeting of the Session on the 1st of Novem-
ber, 1848, the following minute was entered : " After
frequent deliberations by Session and many inter-
views with different members of the church and con-
gregation, the Session resolved upon opening a paro-
chial school in connection with their church. The
services of Dr. I. W. Condict were procured as teacher,
as the school was to be opened on the 16th of Novem-

On the 20th of March, 1850, the following addi-
tional elders were elected by the congregation, — viz.,
Henry Freeman, John Bunnell, John L. Teel, and
Isaac D. Lanterman, who were solemnly ordained and
set apart to that office by the pastor of the church by
prayer and the laying on of hands on Sabbath even-
ing, March 31, 1850.

Within two months thereafter, on the 29th of May,
1850, the infant church was visited by a peculiarly
sore and mysterious providence in the death of Philip
Raub, one of the two original elders, whose character
as a Christian, a church officer, a friend, and a neighbor
was such as to make the loss seem almost irreparable.
His exemplary deportment, cordial and agreeable
manners, and eminent efficiency left a memory which
is still precious.

At the regular spring meeting of Presbytery, at
Knowlton, on the 18th of April, 1854, the relation
between Rev. Mr. Reiley and the Knowlton Church
was dissolved, Blairstown, whose membership was
then reported as 112, calling him for his whole time,
at a salary of $500 a year, with the use of the parson-
age and an annual donation visit. Three years later
this salary was increased to $600 per annum, and from
and after April 1, 1864, to $900.

At a meeting of the congregation on the 25th of
February, 1864, the following additional elders were
elected, — viz., Simmons S. Stevens, Abram Swisher,
George B. Shipman, Dr. John C. Johnson, and Charles
E. Vail, all of whom were, on Sabbath morning,
March 13, 1864, ordained by the pastor, Rev. John A.
Reiley, after an impressive sermon on the warrant,
nature, and duties of the office of ruling elder, the
whole followed by an exhortation to the elders new
and old, and one to the congregation. All the old
elders but one, being present, cordially welcomed their
newly-appointed brethren, giving them severally the
right hand of fellowship.

In the month of October, 1866, a letter of dismis-
sion to the Presbyterian Church of Harmony was
granted to Elder Henry Freeman, who thus severed
his official connection with this church after a faith-
ful and acceptable service of 22 years in the board of
trustees and of over 16 years in the eldership. Re-
turning to this neighborhood after an absence of
several years, he reunited with the church on the 24th
of December, 1871, and died on the 23d of March,

On the 27th of November, 1866, the Rev. Mr.
Reiley having decided to resign his pastoral charge
(he and his family having taken their final departure
from Blairstown on the 27th of October previous), the
Presbytery of Newton dissolved the relation which
had existed between him and this church for over 21
years. During this long period his labors as minister
and pastor, and his character as a citizen, were such
as to win the high appreciation of his people. The
continued growth and prosperity of the church, the
membership of which in the previous spring was re-
ported as 160, the founding of the Blair Presbyterial
Academy (the outgrowth of the parochial school of
1848), its prosperity and usefulness, with other objects
of vital importance to the welfare of this community
and of the church at large," will long remain as monu-
ments to his praise.

It is perhaps due to the memory of one so long and
intimately identified with the material, educational,,
and religious interests of this church and community,.
in what may be called their formative period, to give
a little more iu detail our estimate of his ministerial
and personal character.

As a man, he was genial, earnest, and sympathetic,,
and possessed of a devout and fervent piety. As a
friend, constant and true. As a citizen, energetic and
public-spirited, liberal, and intensely patriotic. As a
Christian minister, earnestly devoted to his calling,,
laboring in season and out of season ; of a truly
catholic spirit, equally removed from a false liberality
on the one hand and a narrow exclusiveness on the
other. While having strong convictions, and being
heartily in accord with the Westminster theology, he
was ready to embrace those who were not in all re-
spects in agreement with his views provided they
were evangelical. Perhaps not more than others
averse to study and close mental application, and cer-
tainly not through avarice, but to supplement an in-
adequate support, he was tempted to engage in secular
callings, to the detriment of his higher functions..
Here we would speak tenderly in view of the sad and
mysterious providence which, after a checkered expe-
rience of several years, befell him in his far-distant
Southern home, where in the fatal fall of 1878, in rapid
succession, six of his household, including himself,.
were swept away by that fell destroyer the yellow
fever, leaving a widow and three sons to mourn their

On the 11th of December, 1867, Rev. Thomas A.



Sanson was installed as pastor of the church at an
adjourned meeting of I'resbytery. Rev. T. Ii. Con-
dict presided. Rev. David 'fully, of Belvidere,
preached the sermon from Eph. v. 13. Rev. .Myron
Barrett, of Newton, delivered the eharge to the pas-
tor, and Rev. Benjamin S. Everitt, of Stroudsburg,
Pa., thai to the people. During the same month the

families of the congregation were divided into nine
districts, each of which was assigned to the B] ial

charge and oversight of a particular elder, and

monthly conceit- of pray it for missions were institu-
ted, to In held on the first Sabbath evening of each
month. In the month of February following, the
lir-t Babbaths of .March. June, September, and De-
cember -the first of each season— were fixed as the
regular times for the oh-er\anec of the sacrament of
the Lord'- Supper. All of the above arrangements

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 164 of 190)