Poughkeepsie (N.Y.). Christ Church.

The records of Christ church, Poughkeepsie, New York (Volume 3) online

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Instituted Rector of Christ Church
December 2d, 1900

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Chapter I; 1755-1762 Page 1

The Visits to Dutchess County of the Rev. Samuel Seabury,
Missionary from the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel in Foreign Parts.

Chapter II; 1763-1777 Page 12

The Rectorate of the Rev. John Beardsley. The Purchase of the
Glebe. The Charter of Incorporation. The Erection of the First
Church Building. The Removal of the Rector by Order of the
Council of Safety. Names of Contributors to the Rector's Salary,

Chapter IH; 1777-1787 Page 55

From the Removal of Mr. Beardsley, the First Rector, to the
Arrival of Mr. Van Dyck, the Second. The Revolution. The
Glebe. Pewing the Church. The Arbitration with Trinity
Church, Fishkill.

Chapter IV; 1787-1798 Page 78

The Organization of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
The Relation of Christ Church to Extra-Parochial Conditions.
The Debt on the Church Building. The Sale of the Glebe. Set-
tlement with Trinity Church, Fishkill. Lawsuits with Trespass-
ers on the Glebe. Short Rectorates. The Bell. The Steeple.
Adoption of New Seal. Name of Corporation Altered. Vestry
By-Laws. Episcopalians at Red Hook. St. Ann's Church,
Beekman. Changes in Congregation of Christ Church. Gift
from Trinity Church, New York City. Names of Pewholders,
Chapter V; 1798-1810 Page 103

The Purchase of a Parsonage. The Rectorate of the Rev.
Philander Chase. The Organization of St. Peter's Church,
Lithgow. The Parish Register. Diocesan Convention Held in
Christ Church. The Rectorate of the Rev. Barzillai Bulkley.
The Settlement with the Rev. John Beardsley. Improvements to
the Interior of the Church Building. Names of Pewholders,



Chapter VI; 1810-1845 Page 133

The Rise of the Low Church Party. Bishop Hobart. His
Churchmanship. The Rev. John Reed. His Life- Work in Christ
Chxirch. Personnel of His Congregation. Origin of the Connec-
tion of the Potter Family with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
The First Church Building as it was in 1820. The Communion
Silver. The Founding of the Sunday School. The Purchase of a
Burial-Ground. The Erection of the Seccmd Church Building
in 1834. The Spread of the Episcopal Church in Dutchess County.
Dr. Reed's Old Age and the Call of an Assistant Minister. Dr.
Reed's Death. Names of Pewholders, 1810-1832.

Chapter Yil; 1845-1875 Page 172

The Rise of the High Church Party. Its Work for Church Exten-
sion, Schools and Hospitals. Churchmanship in this Parish. The
Rev. Homer Wheaton. The Parish Library. Repairs to the
Church Building. The Font. The Chandeliers. The Dove.
The Parish School. Social and Economic Conditions in Pough-
keepsie. The Organization of the Church of the Holy Comforter.
Church Schools. St. Barnabas's Hospital. Reminiscences of
1842-1847. Erection of a Sunday School Room, 1848. The Sun-
day School Church BeUs. The Chancel Altered. Vestments.
The Development in Church Music. Observance of Christmas.
Personnel of the Congregation. Special Services. Business
Matters. The Rev. Dr. Cady. Dutchess Convocation. -

Chapter VIII; 1875-1910 Page 218

Origin of the Broad Churchmen. The Rev. Dr. Henry L. Ziegen-
fuss. Christ Church Becomes a Broad Church Parish. Chancel
Fiu-nishings. Introduction of Organized Work. Chronological
List of Parochial Organizations. Erection of the Third Church'
Building. The Parish House. The Tower. Death of Dr.
Ziegenfuss. Social and Economic Changes. Rectorate of Dr.
Cummins. Mrs. Charles H. Buckingham's Gift. The Future
and the Need of an Endowment.




The Rectors of the Parish, Assistants, Curates, and Ministers in

Charge 263


Wardens of the Parish, 1773-1910 303

Vestrymen, 1773-1910 304

Delegates to Diocesan Convention, 1785-1910 307

Secretaries of the Vestry, 1773-1910 309

Treasurer of the Corporation, 1773-1910 310

Clerks — Choristers — Choirmasters, 1773-1910 310

Sextons, 1784-1910 314

Organists, 1808-1910 315

Representatives of Christ Church sent by the Diocese of New York

to the General Convention 315

Clergy, who, before ordination, were aflSliated with Christ Church 316

Bibliography of Parish Records 319

List of Gifts and Memorials forming part of the fabric and furnish-
ings of the present church building 324

Memoranda of Repairs and Improvements made to theVhurch, the

Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Buckingham 335

Endowment Fund 337

Correspondence, proceedings, etc., of Christ Church, Poughkeep-
sie, and Trinity Church, Fishkill, regarding their joint inter-
ests in the Glebe 340

Correspondence, proceedings, etc., of Christ Church, and the Rev.

John Beardsley, regarding the twenty-three acre lot . . 362
Correspondence, proceedings, etc., in the call to the Rectorship ex-
tended to the Rev. Henry Van Dyck 399


Index to Subjects 421

Index to Persons 425



Opposite Page
The Rector of the parish, the Rev. Alexander G. Cummins,

A.M., Litt. D Frontispiece

Christ Church from the northeast 1

The glebe-house. Erected 1767. Sold 1791 30

"" Map of the glebe, dated 1787, showing the trespass of Samuel

Curry 92

The parsonage. Purchased 1799. Sold 1852 106 '

The Rev. Philander Chase. From a miniature, painted on

ivory about 1798 110

The Rt. Rev. Philander Chase, D.D 118

Interior of the first church building, about 1820 .... 148
The present church building from the northwest ; showing the

location of the monument to Willoughby 158

Exterior of the second church building, erected 1834 160
Pen and ink sketch, made in 1834, of the screen which was in

the second church from 1834 to 1854 164

The Rev. John Reed, S.T.D 166

The Rev. Homer Wheaton 174

Interior of the study of the present church 178

The dove On page 178

The Parish School building. Market and Pine Streets 180

The Davies Memorial Parish School House. Erected 1889 182

The Rev. Samuel Buel, S.T.D 194

Interior of the church that was erected 1834 196

The rectory. Erected 1853. Sold 1880 214

The Rev. Philander K. Cady, S.T.D 216

The Rev. Henry L.Ziegenfuss, S.T.D 218

Easter decorations 1888. The last Easter in the second church 222
The southwest corner of the English burying-ground about

1884 244

The corner-stone and main entrance of the present church . 248

The tower. Erected 1889. The gift of Mr. Albert Tower 250
Interior of the present church. From a photograph taken in

1910 252

The Rev. Samuel A. Weikert, A.M 254

The memorial service. May 29th, 1910 256

Out-of-door popular service, Sunday, October 2d, 1910 258
The Albert Tower, Jr., Memorial Rectory. Erected 1903.

The gift of Mr. A. Edward Tower 260




From the northeast

Copyright, 1910, Frank B. Howard

PART I, 1755-1810




IN 1755 the Rev. Samuel Seabury, Rector of St.
George's Church, Hempstead, Long Island, made a
missionary journey into Dutchess County. He
came in response to an invitation from some of the
members of the Church of England who were residents
here, and who were anxious for the services of their
Church from which they were cut off.

The visit occurred in November, as, upon his return to
Hempstead, he entered upon the parish register of St.
George's that, on November 1st, 2d and 3d, he had
baptized "at Fishkill" one adult and ten children. Mr.
Seabury gave an account of this visit to the Venerable
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the
records^ of the Society, on file in their London oflSce, thus
refer to it: "The Rev. Mr. Seabury, the Society's
Missionary at Hempstead in Long Island, writes, by his
letter dated April 19, 1756, that his parish in general is
in a good state, &, at the request of the people of Dutchess
(Duchess) County (80 miles from Hempstead) he made
them a visit, and staid six days, & preached four times to
large assemblies; it is a country of a large extent, con-
1 S. P. G. Annual Report, February, 1757, pp. 48, 49.


The Records ofChrist Church

taining about 10,000 souls, with only one Dutch Minis-
ter, one Presbyterian or Independent Minister, & one
Quaker's Meeting but that little attended; & many of
the people desired him to recommend them to the chari-
table care of the Society, & assured him they would
purchase a Glebe and build a Church, could they be
assisted in the support of a minister; & there are also a
great many Germans among them, who are averse to the
joining themselves to any other Communion than that
of the Church of England; in consideration of all which
the Society hath directed Mr. Seabury to take these
poor people under his care, & to do them what good
services he can at present, consistent with his more
peculiar care, & when they have built a Church &
purchased a Glebe, as they promise, the Society propose
to send a Missionary to them."

Mr. Seabury thus became Missionary to Dutchess
County, by appointment of the S. P. G., in 1756.
Under this commission he came again, in June, 1757,
recording, later, at Hempstead, the baptisms of six
children "at Fishkill" on June 26th and 27th, and of one
child, June 29th, "at Philipse's Manor."

About this time the substance of the letter he had
written on April 19th, 1756, to the S. P. G., became known
in Dutchess County. Exception to it was taken, and
there was published (anonymously) a pamphlet entitled
A Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend in Dutchess
County. The chief objections raised in this pamphlet
were to Mr. Seabury's statement that it was at the re-
quest of the people in Dutchess County he had visited
them; to his statistics regarding the population of the
county; and to his account of the friendly attitude of
the Germans toward the Church of England. The


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anonymous writer said Mr. Seabury had visited "only
in Rombout," implying he could not be well informed
about the county in general.

Before replying to this attack upon him, Mr. Seabury,
in March, 1759, made another journey to Dutchess,
taking care not to visit "only in Rombout." His
record of baptisms shows that March 16th he was "at
Poughkeepsie," March 18th "at Fishkill," March 19th
"at Rombout Precinct," and "at Bateman's Precinct"
the same day.

Returning home he wrote a letter, dated Hempstead,
March 30th, 1759, replying to his unknown critic, which
he printed in pamphlet form. Two copies of this pam-
phlet are known to be in existence, one in the library of
Trinity College, Hartford, the other owned by Mr.
Seabury's descendant, the Rev. Dr. William J. Seabury,
of the General Theological Seminary, New York City.
The title-page declares it to be A Modest Reply to A
Letter From a Gentleman to his Friend in Dutchess County
Lately published by an anon-i-mous writer. By Samuel
Seabury, A.M., Missionary from the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. New York.
Printed in the Year MDCCLIX.

After reprinting the anonymous letter in full, Mr.
Seabury made answer to it point by point. He said his
authority for his statement of the number of other minis-
ters in Dutchess County he had thought good, and "is
assured the Gentleman, Bartholomew Noxon Esq., had
no design to impose on me. The subject of the Gentle-
man's Discourse with me was to convince me that
Dutchess County was a place proper to be recommended
to the charity of the Society. Upon this occasion the
Gentleman observed. That he verily beHeved, that if a


The Records ofChrist Church

Clergyman of Abilities, Modesty & Virtue could be
procured to officiate at stated Turns at the Fish-Kills,
Rombout Precinct, Poughkeepsie and that Part of the
Nine Partners, or Crom Elbow, bordering on the Fish-
Kills and Poughkeepsie, a considerable Church would
soon be gathered. And that from thence the Clergyman
would frequently have occasional Calls to sundry other
Places in the County."

Bartholomew Noxon, who, it thus appears, was
consulted by Mr. Seabury in 1755, was a Beekman man
of substantial property and standing. His father,
Thomas Noxon, was some-time Master of Trinity
School, New York City, and Bartholomew Noxon him-
self was a staunch Churchman; he owned a house in
Poughkeepsie, which he bequeathed by will to his son,
Dr. Robert Noxon, and which is now one of the oldest
houses standing in the city, being known as No. 81 and
No. 83 Market street, near the corner of Noxon. Bartholo-
mew Noxon's will also mentions his books on law and on
divinity, Bible, and Common Prayer Books.

Henry and Jacobus TerBoss of Rombout Precinct had
been Mr. Seabury's other informants upon the points
called in question by the anonymous letter. The popu-
lation of the county in 1755 had been represented to
him by these men as 10,000, which was a fairly close
guess to the figures of the official census of 1756,^ those
being 14,147.

In defence of his statement that he had visited Dutch-
ess County by request, Mr. Seabury reiterated that he
had been invited to come to Fishkill, and added, "my
invitation was signed by Messieurs John Bailey and

1 Documentary History of New York, Vol. 1, p. 696.


The Records oj Christ Church

Thomas Langdon Esqrs in their public character as
Church Wardens."

An interesting issue is raised in this last clause, the
question presenting itself, when, and by whom, were
these "Church Wardens" appointed?

September 22d, 1693, the General Assembly of the
Colony of New York passed an act entitled^ An Act for
Settling a Ministry, and Raising a Maintenance for them
in the City of New York, County of Richmond, West-
chester and Queen's County, which provided for six
"Protestant" ministers, who were to be supported by
the tithes of the people. One was to be appointed in
New York City, one in Richmond County, two in West-
chester, and two in Queen's County. The passing of
this Act was an attempt on the part of the English
administration of the colony to "establish" the Church
of England in New York, the Governor claiming, after
it was passed, that, under the Crown, he had no legal
right to appoint any ministers but those of the State
Church in England. In its actual workings the law was
attended by much opposition, and by many difficulties
and complications. The injury thus done to the Church,
by inflaming against it the minds of the Dutch and
English Presbyterians, was considered so great that an
effort was finally made in 17692 ^q repeal the Act. The
Assembly bill for this purpose failed on a technicality,
but the War of the Revolution soon accomplished the
result intended by the bill.

The Act of 1693 provided for an established ministry
in four counties, where wardens and vestrymen were

1 Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, pub. 1901 by
the State, Vol. 2, p. 1076.

2 Dix: History of Trinity Parish, Vol. 1, p. 325.


The Records of C hr i s t Church

to be regularly elected, and tithes collected. There is
no evidence that it was ever extended to cover Dutchess
County, and it is diflBcult to conceive of its require-
ments in regard to tithes being complied with in this
community, composed, as then, of Friends and Pres-

Hence, it is hardly to be supposed that Mr. Seabury's
invitation was extended under the operation of the
Ministry Act. If some members of the Church of
England met, and appointed two of their number
"Church Wardens," whom they authorized to communi-
cate with Mr. Seabury, no account of such action has been
preserved, and its potency apparently ceased with the
delivery of the invitation, for Messrs. Bailey and Lang-
don are not again mentioned in connection with Church
affairs. On the other hand, something of this kind must
have occurred, if Mr. Seabury's statement is strictly

Proceeding in his argument, Mr. Seabury said: "The
places proposed for settling the Church are Rombout,
Poughkeepsie, and the South Part of Crom Elbow pre-
cincts. * * * So great is the Encouragement for the
settling of a Minister of the Church of England to serve
in those places above mentioned & on the Borders of
Beekman's and Philipse's Precincts, that not less than
103 Persons, ten of whom only are single, have already
subscribed for the Building of a Church for the Worship
of God according to the Liturgy of the Church of Eng-
land. * * * The Gentleman (Judge Terbus) who has the
Care of the Subscription, assured me that he made no
doubt but that there were Fifty more in those Places, to
whom a Church might be set convenient, that would
subscribe; exclusive of Poughkeepsie and Crom Elbow


The Records oj Chr i s t Church

where the subscription had not been offered, but had
been promised Encouragement by Persons of the best
Credit and Influence; where, 'tis presumed, from the
promised Encouragement, there will be not less than 100
more subscribers. And tho' I would not insinuate that
all these Subscribers are Professors of the Church of
England, yet it is certain that many of them are so, and
sundrys of them are removed here from Hamstead, and
all of them are Friends to the Church and see the
Necessity of encouraging it."

The date of the opening of the subscription, to which
Mr. Seabury refers, is not mentioned in his pamphlet,
but the Rev. Dr. Ladd, in his Founding of the Episcopal
Church in Dutchess County, New York, says it was
first offered in 1756. The circulation of this subscrip-
tion is the basis for the statement on the memorial tablet
placed upon Trinity Church, Fishkill Village, that that
parish was "organized" in 1756. In the light of Mr.
Seabury's letters, all through the period of his connection
with Dutchess County, the weight of sentiment, only,
can be attached to this, for "organization," historically
and literally considered, did not take place in the county
until 1766.

Mr. Seabury made more and longer visits in Rombout
Precinct than in other portions of the county, and it is
evident a cordial welcome was given him there, for he
speaks at length in his pamphlet of the crowded audien-
ces to which he preached. His services were held in pri-
vate houses and in the Dutch church at Fishkill Village.
Mr. Seabury's commission from the S. P. G. in 1756 was
as Missionary to the whole county, however, and his
reports to the Society, combined with his entries upon
the register of St. George's parish at Hempstead, afford


The Records oj Christ Church

a record of the dates of his six visits to this field. Briefly
tabulated they occurred:

1755, November 1,2, 3, "at Fishkill."
1757, June 26, 27, "at FishkUl."

June 29, "at Philipse's Manor."

1759, March 16, "atPoughkeepsie."
March 18, "at Fishkill."

March 19, "at Rumbout Precinct."
March 19, "at Bateman's Precinct."

1760, June 19, "at Nine Partners."
1760, November 2, "at Fishkill."

November 4, "at Beekman Precinct."
November 5, "at Rombout."
November 6, 7, 8, 9, "at Crum Elbow."
November 11, "at Philipse's Manor."
1762, June 6, 7, "at Fishkill."

June 9, "at Beekman Precinct.'*
June 10, 11, "at Fishkill."
June 13, "at Nine Partners."
June 14, "at Rombout."

The archives of the Society foj* the Propagation of the
Gospel contain reports from Mr. Seabury on these visits,
which evidence his faithful labor to extend the Church.
April 28th, 1760, in a letter on file in London, he said, "I
have made a visit to Dutchess County where I had the
pleasure of being kindly received by a great number of
people, many of which I believe would long ere now have
joyned in erecting a Church and qualifying themselves
for a Mission had it not been that they have been exposed
to great expenses in the present day." These great
expenses were probably incident to the campaign about
Lake George, which had just occurred, and to which
Dutchess County contributed many men.

Mr. Seabury made two visits in 1760, after the above
was written, and on March 25th, 1761, wrote again, saying,


The Records of Christ Church

*'I have also visited Dutchess County Since my last, &
on Sunday November 2d last I preached in the Dutch
Church in Fish Kills to a more numerous assembly, both
morning & evening, than had ever attended me there at
any one time before, & on the Tuesday following I
preached at Beekman's precinct in said County about 12
miles distant from Fish Kills, & on the Thursday &
Sunday following I preached at Crom Elbow in sd
County 20 miles from Fish Kills, & at the several places
in said County I baptized 38 children & 5 adults.

"There is a great disposition among the people in
Dutchess County to have the established Church fixed
among them; but the friends of Church, in common with
their neighbors, having been very much scattered in
their situation from one another, it is hard to come to a
resolution with regard to the place to fix the Church on;
However being convinced that many have improved in
Christian knowledge & in Christian tempers & Disposi-
tion I shall continue to visit them, if it please God to
preserve my health, according to the directions of the

The difficulty to reach a decision regarding the loca-
tion of a church continued. September 30th, 1762, Mr.
Seabury reported to the Society:** Since my last I have
made a journey into Dutchess County where I preached
two Sundays to very Crowded assemblys And three
Week Days in Different parts of the County And
baptized one Adult and thirty-three children. The
County being very extensive & the people Devoted to
the Established Church Living in Different precincts, the
Difficulty of Reconciling them to one place for fixing a
Church I believe to be the Reason they have not yet
begun that necessary work."


The Records of Christ Church

His last mention of his work here is under date of
March 26th, 1764: "It is now the 2d year since I visited
Dutches County, where the harvest is Great, and where
I intend, God willing, to make another visit, & where I
hope the Society will Send Some very pious young
Clergyman to make them a Tender of his service. Even
though they Should not Qualify themselves for a Mission
According to the Rules of the Society."

One hundred and eight baptisms (nine adults and
ninety-nine children) were recorded by Mr. Seabury at
Hempstead as the result of his ministrations in Dutchess
County. Among these are to be found few family names
that were afterward identified with the Church of Eng-
land in Dutchess, or even associated with the
county in other ways. The few exceptions are those of
Southard at Fishkill, Crannell at Poughkeepsie, Carman
and Noxon of Beekman and Germond and Beadle of
Crom Elbow. ''

The Southards and Carmans and Germonds were
Hempstead people (the Germonds originally, and pro-
perly, Germaine), and had belonged to St. George's
parish. St. George's register mentions, beside these, the
families of Baldwin (Balding), Losee, Cornell and
Kelsey, representatives of each of which settled in Dutch-

Travelling conditions, in the years when Mr. Seabury
went back and forth between Long Island and Dutchess
County, were diflficult and fatiguing; the journeys were
on horseback, and the roads were few and heavy; the
stops were at private houses, in most of which the plane
of living must have been primitive. Communication
between the several settlements was infrequent and
events were few, so that the coming of the Missionary


The Records oj Christ Church

into each section was a matter of absorbing interest to
the sparsely peopled neighborhoods.

Mr. Seabury's message was of the evangelical preach-
ing type. Not but that he drew a clear distinction
between the Church of England and other religious
bodies, for he was a convinced Churchman, but his
method of reaching the people, to whom he had been
sent to minister, seemed confined to preaching sermons
and baptizing. Nothing is said of the celebration of the

In organization of the scattered inhabitants of Dutch-
ess County who belonged to the Church of England,
Mr. Seabury accomplished little or nothing. This was

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