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May her efforts to redeem society be so honored by the great Head
of the church that, men, speaking of her, will say: "There was the
hiding of His power."



It should be said at the outset of these brief records that Rev. Dr.
E. P. Sprague, who has so ably told the story of the Presbyterian
Church in his "Historical Sketch," published in 1876, kindly gave the
present narrator permission to use the results of his researches as far
as might be necessary. The privilege is accepted with many thanks.
Where a field has been so carefully gleaned, as this one has, there
are not many straws of new information for a subsequent writer to
pick up, especially one living at a distance from whatever sources,
aside from the document mentioned, might be available. The reader
is therefore cautioned not to expect very much in addition to what
has already been recorded by Dr. Sprague.

This church was organized by members of the New England col-
ony, in 1769. Attempts were made to unite the two churches into
one, but, owing, perhaps, to early training and tradition, this could
not be effected, although both churches worshipped together under
Dr. Clark until 1787, when the New England church became strong
enough to support a minister, and one was duly settled over them.

Before this time the Rev. David McGregore preached for them on
two or three occasions, and there is a letter extant, supposed to have
been written in 1767, entreating his presence and assistance that
he might open tlie way for the "resettlement of the Gospel" among
them. Rev. David McGregore was a pastor of the Presbyterian
Churcli in Londonderry, N. H., and was a man of considerable note
in New England. He was one of the pioneer preachers in New
Hampshire. Many of his printed sermons are to be found in the
library of Brown University. It is recorded also that a Rev. Mr.
Miltimorc was requested by the church committee to preach on
']"hanksgiving Day, in 1782. It is probable that the reference here
IS to the Rev. David Miltimore, who preached about this time in
Newbury, ISIass.

The first settled pastor of the church was Rev. John Warford,
of Amwell, N. J. He had been laboring as a missionary in the north-


em part of this state, under the direction of the synod of New York
and Philadelphia, and it was while he was engaged in this work that
the New England congregation had the opportunity to hear him
preach. He visited this place in the summer of 1787, and that he
made a favorable impression is shown by the call which was made
out for him in September of that year. Mr. Warford was bom in
1745. It is conjectured that his birthplace and early home was some-
where on Martha's Vineyard. He graduated from Princeton Col-
lege in 1774. He was licensed to preach the year following, by the
Presbytery of New Brunswick, and was by them ordained and in-
stalled pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Amwell, July 31st, 1776.
The call to the New England church here was signed by ninety-one
persons, the name of John Williams standing at the head of the list.
The salary promised was £120, New York currency. It was pro-
posed also to build him a convenient parsonage; to give him the use
of 176 acres of the glebe lands, and to pay into the Widows' Fund
£116, 13s. 4d., Proclamation money.

The church at Amwell regretted deeply the necessity of parting
with Mr. Warford, and would not have consented to let him go,
could they have provided suitably for his support. The church at
Salem, as this place began to be called in 1786, offered rather a lib-
eral salary for those days, if we take into consideration that the pas-
tor had the use of a large farm, aside from the cash payments. Tra-
dition has it that Mr. Warford lived on what came to be known as
the Hawley place, a little southeast of the village.

Mr. Warford began his work in Salem in 1788, but was not in-
stalled until the following year. His pastorate continued during the
remainder of his earthly life. The records of this period are very
scant. The loss of two volumes of church records by fire, about
1840, has deprived us of interesting facts concerning these early days,
and is the more to be regretted for the reason that in the first of
these volumes was a history of the church in Mr. Warford's hand-
writing. This first pastor is known to have been an able man, and
earnestly devoted to his parish. He was deeply interested in the
founding of Washington Academy, and was one of the original
twenty-five trustees. The church grew and prospered during his
ministry, but the financial burdens which they undertook to carry
proved heavier than they anticipated. A debt of £809, 12s., id. at
the time of Mr. Warford's decease rested on the church. A settle-


merit was made, however, with his widow, to whom this money was
due, four years later.

Two pastors in the village of Salem finished their course in the
year 1802. They had labored side by side for years, and both had
done a lasting work in shaping the course of the infant community,
by holding up before the eyes of the people the lofty ideals of the
Christian faith. These men were Rev. James Proudfit and Rev.
John Warford. The date of Mr. Warford's death is May 19th of that
year. The inscription on his tombstone is perhaps the only writ-
ten testimonial of his character that remains to us from that genera-
tion: "He was an affectionate Pastor, Husband, Parent and Friend;
An Evangelical Preacher, Meek in his disposition. And grave in his

After the death of Mr. Warford, the pulpit of the Presbyterian
Church was vacant four years. There seems to have been two can-
didates before the church, Rev. Walter FuUerton and Rev. Samuel
Tomb. A part of the congregation preferred Mr. P\illerton for
their pastor, and the other part preferred Mr. Tomb. At one time a
compromise was resorted to, and a call was extended to Rev. Will-
iam Morrison, pastor of the First Church in Derry, N. H. This
call was not accepted. The majority of the congregation seemed to
favor Mr. Tomb, and he finally received a call to become pastor of
the church on a salary of $600. The expenses incidental to moving
the pastor's effects from Newbury, Mass., were met by subscription,
and the use of five sleighs was pledged for the purposes of trans-

Rev. Samuel Tomb was born in the town of Wallkill, N. Y., Jan-
uary 1st, 1766, two years before his parents took up their abode
in Salem. Mr. David Tomb, Samuel's father, vv'as -an elder in Dr.
Clark's congregation, and we may well believe that whatever inclina-
tions Sanuiel may have felt towards the ministry, were wisely encour-
aged. Mr. Tomb prepared for college partly in Salem and partly
Hackensack, N. J., under the two noted teachers, Mr. Thomas Wat-
son and Rev. Peter Wilson. He was a student in Columbia College,
and afterwards studied theology under the direction of Rev. James
Proudfit, his pastor, and Dr. John Mason, of New York. He was
licensed to preach by the Associate Reformed Synod of New York
and Philadelphia, in 1789. He became pastor of the church in New-
market, N. H., in July, 1793, after decHning two calls to Antrim, in


the same state. He removed to Newbury, Mass., in 1797. The writer
had the pleasure of reading Mr. Tomb's " Introductory Sennon ''
which was preached the first Sabbath after his installation at Newbury.
This sermon was preached September 2d, 1798, from the text: "We,
then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive
not the grace of God in vain." II Cor. vi: i. The sermon is in two
parts, the first setting forth in an interesting way the duties of a
minister; and, the second part, which was doubtless preached in the
afternoon of that day, had to do with the responsibilities of the peo-
ple. Other sermons which Mr. Tomb preached during his pastorate
in Newbury ought to be noted here. One is a fast day sermon,
preached March 31st, 1803, to "a congregation that was seeking a
pastor." (Could it have been the Presbyterian Church in Salem, N.
Y.?) The text was Acts i: 24: "And they prayed, and said. Thou,
Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these
two thou hast chosen." The first head of the sermon was: "It is
the duty of a people to apply to God by prayer for direction in the
choice of a Gospel minister." The second : " Those only are quali-
fied for the office and work of the ministry whom God hath chosen
for that purpose." The third and last head was: "There are ways
and means by which God shows a praying people the man of his

An ordination sermon by Mr. Tomb still exists in print; also a
discourse on Washington. After the close of the Revolutionary
war there was much vituperation and abuse passing from mouth to
mouth and we may believe that those in high places received their
full share of it; an evil which, even in these more enlightened days,
has not altogether vanished from the earth. The sermon on Wash-
ington is an eloquent and emphatic setting forth of the precept:
"Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." All these
discourses are to be found in the collection of pamphlet sermons in
the library of Brown University, and they are of value, not only for
the historical interest that gathers around them, but for the spiritual
truth they contain.

Mr. Tomb was installed pastor of the church in Salem by the
Presbytery of Columbia, on February 19th, 1806. One pleasing
feature of the installation services was that the Rev. Walter Fuller-
ton, who was the choice of one portion of the church when Mr. Tomb
was also a candidate for the same pulpit, gave the charge to the peo-


pie. Mr. Fullerton had for four years been pastor of the church in
Antrim, N. H., where Mr. Tomb, in 1792, had decHned to settle.

Mention has been made earlier in this chapter of the revival of
1824. Mr. Tomb had been sowing the seed for many years with
no very marked results, and, as a consequence, both pastor and ses-
sion became discouraged. Mr. Tomb remarked in the preparatory
lecture just previous to this quickening of religious life, that "none
were uniting with the church to take the places made vacant by death,
and he felt as if the church was almost ready to die out."

The starting point of this revival was the sermon of an unknown
minister who, one Saturday night, came out of his way to visit this
place, because there were to be no religious services in the place
whither he had intended to go. It was so ordered by Providence
that this stranger was invited to preach in the Presbyterian church
the following day. He accepted the invitation, and preached a strik-
ing sermon from Job i: 3, where the account is given of Job's sub-
stance. The morning service excited much interest, and a large
company of persons gathered for the social meeting in the evening,
at the close of which the elders of the church were requested to re-
main. He then asked each one in turn how long he had been a
church member, how long an elder, what his own religious state was,
what work he was doing for the Master, what the condition was of
religion in his neighborhood, what prayer meetings were held, and
what Christian work performed. He addressed similar incjuiries
to several ladies, who had not yet left the church, and exacted from
each and all a promise to visit their neighbors immediately and con-
verse with them on the subject of personal religion. The revival
continued two months in full vigor, and extended, as has been said,
to the Associate Reformed Church, the two pastors working har-
moniously together. Both churches seemed to take a new lease of
life from this gracious event, which resulted in three hundred addi-
tions to the churches, one lumdred and seventy-five of this num-
ber, uniting with Mr. Tomb's congregation. The stranger, whose
visit was fruitful of so much good to the community, passed on his
way the next morning. Nothing further is known of him than what
is recorded concerning his services on that memorable Sabbath.
Even his name has been forgotten.

Another revival occurred in 1831, the closing year of Mr. Tomb's


pastorate, and one hundred and fifty-four persons united with the

Mr. Tomb died March 28th, 1832, in the 67th year of his age,
at the close of a pastorate lasting twenty-six years. His closing days
were marked by the calm assurance that belongs to those whose
hearts are fixed, trusting in the Lord. Those who recall his tall fig-
ure, his long hair and flashing eye, bear witness also to his power as
a preacher of the Word. It is a cause for gratitude that he lived
to see the large results of his ministry, which afforded him visible
proof that his labor in the Lord had not been in vain.

The relations existing between Mr. Tomb and his brother minister
of the Associate Reformed Church, Dr. Alexander Proudfit, were
remarkably pleasant, and we may well believe that their power was
multiplied many fold because they were united in their efforts to build
up the kingdom of God. This friendly spirit has continued to be the
characteristic of the two churches even down to the present time.
Very beautiful are the words of Dr. Halley addressed to the people
of the White Church in 1867: "Shortly after your church was
planted in this valley, another vine, in the good providence of God,
w^as afterwards transplanted from New England to this place, and
thus the descendants of the Puritans and Covenanters have both
erected their places of worship, and long may they flourish, striving to
outvie each other in love to the Saviour and zeal for the ordinances
of his grace." This, it is safe to affirm, is the devout wish of many

Three weeks after Mr. Toml) retired from active service, a call was
extended to Rev. John Whiton, of Middle Granville. The congrega-
tion had become acquainted with him through the assistance he had
rendered during the revival which was then in progress. Besides,
he was Mr. Tomb's choice for his successor. The call was accepted,
and Mr. Whiton was installed by the Presbytery of Troy, March 21st,
1832. Mr. Tomb presided over the service. Rev. Dr. Beman, of
Troy, preached the sermon and gave the charge to the people. Rev.
Alvah Day gave the charge to the pastor.

Rev. John Whiton was a native of Stockbridge, Mass. He grad-
uated at Williams College in 1818, studied theology in Andover Sem-
inary, and was ordained November 27th, 1822. He had been pastor
in Middle Granville eight years, before coming to Salem.

Although Mr. Whiton was an interesting preacher and was much


endeared to his people, his pastorate here was comparatively brief,
owing to financial difficulties into which, says Dr. Sprague, "his very
kindness of heart was largely the means of betraying him". He re-
signed in June, 1837.

The membership of the church during this period was larger than
it had been before, or has been since, viz.: 426. The offerings for
benevolent objects were liberal, and it would seem that Mr. Whiton
led the way in the matter of giving. Dr. Sprague relates the instance
of how one winter morning he gave away his overcoat to an old man
who had been traveling in the stage, and whose scanty raiment was
a poor protection from tl^e cold

"Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side."

It was during this pastorate that the church suffered a great trial
in the loss of their house of worship by fire, shortly after they had
expended $3,000 for repairs. Their courage, however, was equal to
the emergency, and the brick walls we see to-day, although they sub-
sequently passed through another fire, are the same that inclosed
their new place of worship.

Mr, Whiton was pastor in Enfield, Mass., after leaving Salem. In
1841 he went to West Stockbridge, Mass., his latest charge, where
he remained until 1849. During the latter days of his life he was
one of the trustees of Williams College. He died on Thanksgiving
Day, 1868, in his 73d year, at the residence of his step-son in Wol-
cott, N. Y.

On the 7th of November, 1837, Mr. Whiton's successor. Rev. A. B.
Lambert, was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of Troy.
This was the beginning of a pastorate lasting twenty-eight years, the
longest in the history of the church. Dr. Lambert was then a young
man, and a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary. He
was born at South Reading, Mass. He was trained in a pious home,
and early became a member of the Congregational Church in that
place. He graduated at the University of the State of New York,
from which institution he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity
in 1854.

A debt of $7,000 rested upon the church when Dr. Lambert entered
upon his duties as pastor, but by the use of wise measures and care-
ful management the debt did not prove to be a hindrance to the


spiritual interests of the congregation. This debt was increased to
$10,000 tAvo and a half years later, when another fire left only the bare
walls of the church standing. Then the burden was heavy indeed,
but the people, as though they were becoming accustomed to these
"trials by fire", went to work in a matter-of-fact way, and rebuilt their
church. In 1853 the last dollar of this heavy debt was paid, to the
great relief of both pastor and people. The impulse afforded by
these efforts to throw off the burden of debt, and the sense of free-
dom which was experienced when these efforts were crowned with
success, caused them to make various improvements in the interior
of the church, until it was both comfortably and beautifully fur-

In the division that occurred in the ranks of the Presbyterian
body at the time of the old and new school controversy, it would be
natural to expect that this church would side with the new school;
but skill was needed to prevent strife and hard-feelings on the part
of those cherishing different opinions. In this crisis the pastor
showed himself to be wise and judicious. In taking its place where
it naturally belonged, the church maintained "the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace."

From time to time during these twenty-eight years the church was
blessed by seasons of special religious interest, particularly in the
years 1838, 1840, 1843, 1849 ^.nd 1857. Two hundred and fifty-five
persons united with the church during Dr. Lambert's pastorate. In
1847 ^s he was considering a call to another charge, the congregation
held a meeting, and showed their desire to retain him by voting
that it was their "wish and desire" that he should remain with them;
when he resigned in 1855, they raised his salary to $900, and re-
quested that his resignation should be withdrawn. He remained ten
years longer as pastor of the church.

During his first twenty-five years in the ministry. Dr. Lambert
was absent but once from his pulpit on account of sickness. He had
preached to his own congregation one thousand nine hundred and
eighteen times, besides two or three times as many sermons and serv-
ices conducted elsewhere.

Dr. Lambert was a warm friend of the youth of the community,
and was ready with a word in season, either of warning or friendly
counsel. He loved to speak of his former instructors, such as Dr.
Charles Hodge, of Princeton, and Prof. Prentiss, of Union Seminary.


This latter institution was just beginning its useful career when Dr.
Lambert was a student, and he was the only living member of the
first class that graduated there, at the time of his death.

In 1887 the Presbytery of Troy, of which Dr. Lambert was a
prominent member, passed resolutions of affection and esteem for
this servant of God, who had been fifty years in the ministry. The
second resolution is especially touching, in view of the affliction
which had come to Dr. Lambert in the loss of his eyesight. It reads
as follows: " Resolved, 2. That we ofifer him our warmest congratu-
lations on his long and useful life, his general good health, and his
intellectual activity; and our congratulations that, while his earthly
vision be obscured, his eyes do see the King in His beauty, and be-
hold the land that is very far ofT."

Dr. Lambert gave the best part of his days to Salem, and his re-
turn to this quiet valley, after ministering in other places, to pass the
evening of his life was pleasant for himself and his former friends.
The beautiful home-life which he enjoyed was not the least of the
rewards which his Master bestowed upon him. Surrounded by the
loved ones who had ministered to him during these waning years, he
fell asleep, November 29th, 1893.

From December, 1865, to November, 1867, Rev. John Henry
Brodt served in this church as a stated supply, at the salary of $1200.
Mr. Brodt was born in Troy, N. Y., June 2d, 1827. He was a some-
time member of the class of 1852 in Williams College, and a graduate
of Union Seminary in New York. He went to California in 1854,
and labored twelve years as "preacher, teacher, editor and active cit-
izen". In 1867 he accepted a call to the Park Presbyterian Church,
New York, and afterwards became pastor of the New England Con-
gregational Church, Brooklyn. He removed to Dansville, N. Y.,
in 1872, on account of failing health, and there his decease took
place September 8th, 1875.

When Mr. Brodt came to Salem, a debt of $2,000 rested upon the
congregation, but this was soon paid, and the church prospered in
many ways under the energetic leadership of this gifted man. Res-
olutions of respect to his memory were adopted by the session of
this church, which testify to his power as a preacher, to the earnest-
ness and efiliciency of his work in every good cause, and to his worth
as a man.

Rev. Mr. Brodt was succeeded by Rev. Edward P. Sprague, D . D.,


who was installed April 29th, 1868. Rev. A. D. Eddy, D. D., of Lan-
singburgh, preached. The charge to the pastor was delivered by his
father, Rev. Daniel G. Sprague, of South Orange, N. J., and the
charge to the people by Rev. John Henry Brodt.

Dr. Sprague is a descendant in the sixth generation of Ralph
Sprague, who landed at Salem, Mass., 1628, and who, before coming
to America, resided in Upway, Dorset county, England. The family
have lived in New England ever since.

Edward Payson Sprague entered the University of New York in
i860, and graduated in 1864 at the head of his class, taking also the
first Greek prize. He was ready to join the army, and would have
done so, had not the quota from his state already been filled. He
graduated from Andover Seminary in 1867.

On June loth, 1868, Dr. Sprague was married to Sarah Frances
Dering, of Setauket, L. I. Her ancestry has been traced back to the
days of the Norman conquest. The head of the family was killed in
the battle of Hastings, fighting in the defense of Harold.

After thirteen years of faithful and successful work in Salem, Dr.
Sprague was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church,
Meadville, Pa. His labors in Salem were brought to a close Octo-
ber 23d, 1 88 1, and he was installed over his new charge in November
of the same year. Six years later he was installed pastor of the
Second Presbyterian Church, Auburn, N. Y. He obtained the de-
gree of Ph. D., by passing the required examinations at Allegheny
College, in Meadville, and the honorary degree of D . D. was con-
ferred upon him by his Alma Mater in 1884. A further word re-
mains to be spoken concerning Dr. Sprague, since he is again pastor
of this church by his acceptance of a call extended to him in March,
1895, t>ut before this can be done a brief record must be made of the
three intervening pastorates.

In January, 1882, Rev. David M. Hunter took up the work where
Dr. Sprague laid it down, and carried it on faithfully for six years,
when, owing to Mrs. Hunter's delicate health, he was obliged to give
up his work in Salem, and go to Colorado. The beautiful new chapel
that stands beside the church edifice was built during this pastorate,
with money left by a citizen of Salem for that purpose. Mr. Hun-
ter was a Scriptural preacher, quiet in his delivery, and always care-
ful to urge home the claims of the Master upon each individual in
the audience. During these years he sowed good seed, and the


healthful influence of his ministr}^ is felt in the community to-day.
He left Salem in April, 1888.

The next pastor was Rev. William Frazer, who, like his predeces-
sor, was a young man. He came to Salem in October, 1888, and
remained until February, 1893. A season of special interest took

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