James H. (James Hadden) Smith.

History of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

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Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 85 of 125)
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preaching of the gospel in Christ Church Parish.

The number of communicants is about 400 ; the
attendance at Sunday school, which is under the
supervision of the rector, 250.

Society of Friends. — Numerous persons of this
persuasion had settled in the County, niostly in
the eastern portion, before the Revolution, and a
few had located in Poughkeepsie about the begin-
ning of the present century. Prominent among
these were the families of David and Benjamin
Arnold, the former of whom was the father of Will-
iam Arnold, the chair manufacturer, Levi McKeon,
a wealthy but unsuccessful banker in Poughkeep-
sie at an early day, Isaac and Henry Powell,and

Gardner, a sea captain. These were joined in the
early part of the century by Zadock Southwick,
who was for many years a prominent tanner in

* Rectorship vacant during the Revolutionary period.
+ Rev. Henry L. Ziengenfuss supplied tlie pulpit in 1874.



, Poughkeepsie. Meetings had been held here in
private houses shortly previous to his coining, but,
impressed with the importance of having a suitable
meeting-house, Mr. Southwick bought land and
erected one on South Clover street, near where the
Hedding M. E. church now stands, the use of
which he gave to the Society of Friends. That
was then the only building on that thoroughfare
between Main and Union streets. The upper
story was used as a school house, in which children
gathered together during the week were taught on
Sunday not only religious instruction, but also the
rudimentary branches now taught in our secular
schools. This was the first Sunday school opened
in Poughkeepsie, though different in character from
those of the present day. The building referred
to was erected about 1813-14,* and meetings were
held there until the present house of worship on
LaFayette street was erected, when they were
transferred to it. The school was numerously at-
tended and was continued for several years.

When Anna Berthwaite came here from England
and opposed the doctrines and teachings of Elias
Hicks, of Long Island, followed in 1828 by the
great division in the order, about one-third of the
members of the Poughkeepsie society separated, and
formed^what has since been known as the Orthodox
Society of Friends, the others in contradistinction
being known as Hicksite Friends, from their adher-
ence to the teachings of Elias Hicks. The Ortho-
dox Friends were then few in number, and it was
not until many years after, in 1862, that they built
their house of worship on Montgomery street,
between South Hamilton and Cannon streets. It
was first opened for public worship on Sunday,
May 10, 1863.

Washington Street M. E. Church.\ — Freeborn
Garrettson was the pioneer Methodist evangelist in
the valley of, the Hudson. His field was vast, ex-
tending to Canada on the north, to the borders of
New England on the east, and included the towns
on the west bank of the Hudson. As early as
1788 and '89 societies were organized in Rhine-
beck and adjacent places, and in the former year

* Statement of Edward C. Southwick, of Poughkeepsie. It would
seem, however, that this is too early a date, for Nov. 27, 18 19, a com-
munication appeared in the Dutchess Observer over the signature'of
Zadock Southwick, which complains of a species of proscription practiced
towards the Friends of that day, which denied them the use of the court
house, while it was accorded without objection to other denominations,
also to " play actors," and as a place of exhibition for children who were
receiving their education at this place. Had the Friends a meeting house
of their own, it is scarcely probable that they would have been applicants
for the favor.

tThe materials for this sketch are drawn from a History of Methodism
in Poughkeepsie, by Rev. W. H. Ferris, D. D., delivered in the Wash-
ington street M. £. Church, Poughkeepsie, Oct 12, 1878.

Duchess circuit first appears on the minutes of the
New York Conference, with a membership of ten.
That circuit then extended south to the Highlands,
east to Connecticut and Massachusetts, and north
to the vicinity of Albany. But' it was not until
1796 that the voice of a Methodist preacher was
heard in Poughkeepsie. During that year Mr.
Garrettson preached one sermon in the Reformed
church, then standing on the north side of Main
street. The field was then abandoned for years.
In 1800, WiUiam Thacher came to Poughkeepsie,
which then had a population of about 4,000, and
preached in the court house some half-dozen ser-
mons. In 1800 or 1 80 1, Bishop Asbury visited
Poughkeepsie, and pronounced it "no place for
Methodism." By this time Duchess circuit had
been divided, and its dimensions were nearly con-
fined to this county. The membership was 321.

Soon after, Mr. Garrettson made another fruit-
less effort to plant Methodism here. At that time,
however, there was one Methodist residing here,
John Gile.s, who had been a member of the society
in Ireland, and was at that time connected with a
class on the other side of the river. In 1803 or
1804,. the persistant Garrettson made a third and
successful effort, and after preaching the first
evening, formed a class, consisting of Charles H.
Duncomb and wife and John Giles. The next day
Peter O. La Dieu and his wife were added. Mr.
Duncomb resided at 334 Main street, " and it was
probably at his house that the infant class was
formed." The garret of his house, which was
reached by an outside flight of steps, was the place
of worship, and the nursery of Poughkeepsie

James Coleman and Hibbard were the circuit
preachers in 1803, and the ktter, aided by Dates
and Ensign, in 1804. Under Mr. Hibbard's preach-
ing the class increased to eight. Francis Ward
and Robert Dillon were the spiritual guides in
1805; and in that year a church thirty by forty feet
was built on the east side of Jefferson street, south
of Church street, on ground now occupied by the
Methodist burying ground.

In 1 8 14, under the preaching of James M.Smith
about 200 were added to the Uttle flock, and made
it necessary to finish the galleries. The congrega-
tion worshipped in the court house while this im-
provement was in progress.' Until August of this
year, Poughkeepsie remained a part of Duohess
circuit, but under the impulse of this revival it was
made a station with Mr. Smith as pastor. In 1816
Poughkeepsie fell back into Duchess circuit. In



1823, it again became a station, and has so re-
mained to the present time.

In 1826, the church in Jefferson street was taken
down, and such of the material as could be made
available was used in the construction of a new
one on Washington street, on the site of Eastman
College, and opposite the church now occupied by
the Methodists on that street. The ground on
which the new building was erected was purchased
in the interest of the Methodists, for $650, by Jo-
siah Williams, a wealthy gentleman, who came to
Poughkeepsie the previous year from New York_
and who also loaned the society, then burdened
with a debt of $900 on the old church, the money
needed in the construction of the new edifice,
which was of the same width as the old one, forty
feet, and fifty feet in length, with basement and
galleries, and a seating capacity for about 500. It
was dedicated Dec. 7, 1826.

In 1853, there were four hundred and two white
and forty-seven colored members. In 1836-7 the
membership had increased to 616; and in 1840,
when the Cannon street church was formed from this,
the old church had 318 members and the new one
156. The present number of full members is 439;
the attendance at Sabbath school, 282.

During the pastorate of G. S. Hare, the present
edifice was erected, and was dedicated September
7, 1859. The site cost $6,500. The entire cost
of ground, edifice and furniture was $29,400.03.
Poughkeepsie has been successively included in the
New York, Rhinebeck, Ashgrove, Rhinebeck, New
Haven and Rhinebeck districts. In 1835, it gave
name to the district in which it has since been

The succession of pastors since 1.806, is as follows :
D. Ostrander, F. Ward, R. Dillon, William Vre-
denburgh, William Swayze, P. Moriarity, T. Plany,
Zenas Covil, J. Crawford, Smith Arnold, E. Wool-
sey, Z. Lyon, Peter Bussing, to 1812 ; W. Anson,
W. Swayze, Marvin Richardson, Coles Carpenter
and Samuel Luckey, 1812-13 ; James M. Smith,,
Phineas Cook and Coles Carpenter, 1814; James
M. Smith, 1815; William Jewett, 18 16; Samuel
Cochran, J. B. Matthias, Aaron Pierce, 1817 ;
Samuel Cochran, J. B. Matthias and Luman
Andres, i8i8j Luman Andres, Smith Arnold and
Jesse Hunt, 1819 ; J. M. Smith, Smith Arnold
and Oliver Sykes, 1820; J. M. Smith and John
Reynolds, 182 1; Arnold Scofield and John Rey-
nolds, 1822 ; Robert Seney, 1823 ; James Young,
1824; Aaron Pierce, 1825-6; Marvin Richard-
son, i827-'8; W. Jewett, i829-'30j W. Thacher,

1831-2; George Coles, 1833-4; J. Z. Nichols,
1835 ; S. L. Stillman, i836-'7 ; Charles W. Car-
penter, 1838-9; P. P. Sanford, Robert Seney, J.
Lindsey, B. Griffen, M. L. Scudder, (during whose
term the church was remodeled and greatly im-
proved,) L. M. Vincent, W. H. Ferris, L. H.
King, Z. N. Lewis, M. D. C. Crawford, G. S.
Hare, S. D. Brown, J. L. G. McKown, DeLoss
Lull, J. E. Cookman, W. G. Lewis, Q. J. Col-
lins, William Lloyd, J. F. McClelland, C. R. North
and G. S. Hare, the latter of whom, the present
pastor, commenced his labors in April, 1880.

T^e Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie was organ-
ized July 12, 1807, by a council which convened at
the house of George Parker. The constituent
members were sixteen in number, as follows :
George Parker, William Young, John Harbottle,
John Forbus, Isaac Waddell, Benjamin Bunker,
William Goss, Benjamin Fuller, Jonathan New-
house, AnnVassar, Abigail Cornish, EdyBullm ore,
Ruth Bunker, Eleanor Waddell, Sarah Goss and
Naomi Burton. Meetings of the Baptist people
had been held in an irregular way from 1800.

Rev. Francis Wayland, Sr., father of an illus-
trous son of the same name and a member of
the council by which the church was constituted,
was immediately chosen pastor, in which office he
continued with fidelity and success about four years.

In 1808 a house of worship was erected on the
site of the present one. The land for that purpose
was donated by a venerable citizen — Col.Talmadge.
The, house, though small and unpretentious, in-
volved pecuniary burdens which were not fully
removed until the lapse of fifteen years.

In 1820 the church instituted a Sabbath school,
which is said to have been the first of its kind in
the town of Poughkeepsie.

About 1839 anew church e3ifice was erected in
LaFayette place, at a cost of $20,000, one-half of
which sum was the generous donation of Matthew
Vassar, Sr.

During the pastorate of Charles Van Loon,
from November, 1843, till his death in 1847,
large accessions were made to the church, and too,
an unhappy division occurred in 1844, which
parted the church into two bands, one remaining
in the new church in LaFayette place, the other
returning to the ancestral home in Mill street,
which, in the meantime, had been the property of
Universalists, who now own the church in La-
Fayette place. The two branches were reunited
under the pastorate of Rev. W. H. Wines in 1867,
and met together in the LaFayette place house.



After the division in 1844, Rev. Aaron Perkins
became for the third time associated with the
Baptist cause in Poughkeepsie. He retained
charge of the Central Church (the name adopted
by the LaFayette place band,) about two years.
Messrs. Fay, Hansell, Green, Goodspeed, Brackett,
Lawson and Wines, filled up the years of its exist-
ence with faithful services and with varied measures
of success. Several were beginners in the ministry
when they came here, and in other fields have
subsequently achieved a pure and wide renown.
The longest pastorate in the Central church was
that of J. B. Brackett, D. D., covering a period of
seven years.

In 1875, the building of the present fine church
on Mill street was commenced. It was completed
in 1877, and dedicated on the i6th of October of
that year. Its cost was $58,000, and including fix-
tures, $70,000.

The present membership is about 400; the at-
tendance at Sunday school, of which A. A. Dayton
is the superintendent, about 150.

The following is the succession of pastors to the
present time :

Revs. Francis Wayland, Sr., 1808 to 1812;
Lewis Leonard, 18 13 to 1822 j Aaron Perkins,
1822 to 1823 ; Rufus Babcock, Jr., 1823 to 1826 ;
Robert W. Cushman, nearly a year; Aaron
Perkins 1829 to 1833; G." Lansing Burrows, D.D.,
nearly a year; E. W. Dickinson and Thomas
Wilkes, brief terms; Rufus Babcock, Nov. 1839
to Sept. 1843; Charles Van Loon, Nov. 1843 to
1847; J. Hyatt Smith, two years ; Wm. F. Nelson,
W. J. Loomis and Thomas Goodwin, brief terms ;
Thomas E. Vassar, (supply,) more than a year;
Wm.O. Holman, nearly five years from June, 1857;
C. W. Chandler, ;* Rufus Babcock, two years to
1866; W. H. Wine?, 1866 to 1873 ; J- R- Ken-
drick, D. D., Sept., 1873 to July i, 1881.

First Presbyterian Church. — The organization
of this church is of comparatively recent date,
but the history of Presbyterianism in Poughkeepsie
takes us back to a much earlier period.

From Presbyterial records, it appears that a
Presbyterian church was in existence in Pough-
keepsie Precinct in 1749, and that Rev. Chauncy
Graham was pastor of it in connection with the
church at Fishkill. It joined the Presbytery of
New York Nov. i, 1750. Mr. Graham was dis-
missed from Poughkeepsie by that Presbytery, with
the consent of the people, Sept. 29, 1752, but re-
tained his connection with the church of Fishkill.

% Soon retired to take orders in the Episcopal Church.

Upon his representation of the state of the con-
gregation in Poughkeepsie, however, the Duchess
County Presbytery, formed by the sanction of the
Synod of New York and Philadelphia May 22, 1763,
ordered him to supply them two Sabbaths, and Mr.
Peck one, before its next session. Mr. Graham
complied, but Mr. Peck did not — for reasons
which the Presbytery "sanctioned." , At the
second meeting of the Presbytery, May 2, 1764,
" Poughkeepsie and Charlotte Precincts applied
for a candidate to preach to them on trial " ; but
the Presbytery, not knowing of one, permitted
them to invite any licensed candidate to preach
among them until its next meeting. On their re-
quest that the Presbytery " supply them by its
members until such candidates should be ob-
tained," Mr. Mead was ordered to supply them the
last Sabbath but one in June, Mr. Peck the last
Sabbath in August, and Mr. Graham the Sab-
bath before the next session of the Presbytery.
Mr. Peck, who seems to have been quite a recu-
sant, either obstinately refusing to obey his Pres-
bytery, or declining for some special reasons to
preach for the Poughkeepsie church, failed to ful-
fill his appointment ; not so, however, the others.
Nov. 12, 1765, the Presbytery ordained Wheeler
Case at the joint request of the Poughkeepsie and
Charlotte precincts, where he had alternately
preached for a considerable time, and settled him
in the pastorate over those churches. Oct. 12,
1769, Mr. Case requested, with the consent of his
people in Poughkeepsie, " to be freed half his time
from his labors with them till the next stated Pres-
bytery, which was granted." May 9, 1770, he was
allowed to continue his labors; but Oct. 11, 1770,
he was dismissed . at his request from his pastoral
relations to the church in Poughkeepsie. For
several years before the settlement of Mr. Case,
the two congregations of Poughkeepsie and Char-
lotte (Pleasant Valley) Precincts were supplied
under the care of the Presbytery by Deliverance
Smith, a licentiate, and Rev. Mr. Thompson, uncle
to the late Hon. Smith Thompson. Oct. 3, 1772
the Presbytery, in consideration of the "broken
circumstances " of the congregation in Poughkeep-
sie, ordered Mr. Kent to supply them the third
Sabbath in October, Mr. Graham the second in
November and the last in December, Mr. Mills the
last in November, Mr. Mead the third in January,
and Mr. Close the second in March.

From this time until 1786, Presbyterian interests
in Poughkeepsie were almost altogether uncared
for, from the unsettled condition of the country



incident to the war of the Revolution. In 1786,
Rev. Daniel Marsh, from New England, took the
pastoral charge of the few Presbyterians who re-
mained, and continued his labors for three or four
years, when he left them.

In 18 1 7 an effort was made to rehabilitate the
Presbyterian interests. A congregation was organ-
ized according to law, and occasional supplies
were received from the Presbytery of North River,
in which the Duchess Presbytery was merged.

All efforts to build up a Presbyterian church in
Poughkeepsie were abortive till 1826. On the
18th of September in that year, the North River
Presbytery reorganized the church with eighteen
members, and installed Rev. Alonzo Welton as
pastor Dec. 20, 1826.

The oldest of the present members, who num-
ber 457, are Hon. James Bowne, who joined the
church in 1828, and Hon. John Thompson and
Mrs. Mary C. Herrick, who joined in 1830.

The congregation first worshipped in an old frame
building on Church street, on grounds now occu-
pied by the Fourth Ward school, formerly known
as the Lancasterian school. Their first house of
worship, on Cannon street, now St. Mary's church,
was dedicated Dec. 19, 1826. It is the oldest
church edifice in the city.

The succession of pastors is as follows : Alonzo
Welton, installed Dec. 20, 1826, dismissed Dec.
14, 1831; Wm. Page, installed Jan. 23, 1833,
dismissed April 15, 1834; Sylvester Eaton, in-
stalled Nov. 30, 1836, dismissed April i, 1840;
Henry G. Ludlow, installed June 2, 1842, dis-
missed Sept. 17, 1858; Francis Brown Wheeler,
D. D., the present pastor, installed May 12, 1859.

The elders have been Joseph Allen, Daniel
Hebard, Wm. Williams, M. D., L. F. Philips,
Peter C. Tappen, Robert Wilkinson, Alvin Lath-
rop, Roderick Andrus, Wm. Sedgwick, Wm. C.
Sterling, Wm. Wilkinson, Joseph Bartlett, Sheldon
C. D. Raymond; and the deacons, Jeremiah Piatt,
James Lockwood, Charles H. P. McLellan, John
N. Candee, Jeromus Wiltsie, Wales A. Candee,
Isaac Tice, Alfred B. Smith.*

St PauVs Church, Poughkeepsie. — This church
is situated on Mansion Square, at the corner of
North Hamilton and Mansion streets. It is sohdly
built of stone and its walls, covered with ivy, are
pretty and attractive, amid the surrounding trees.

* We are indebted for the materials of this sketch to a Historical Dis-
course, ieWweteihy 'Rev F.B.Wheeler, the pastor, July 7, 1878, to
At Paughkeefsie Weekly Eagle of May 12, 1877; to The Sunday
Courier ol ^f^- t6. 187} ; and to supplementary information from Bev.
Mr. Wheeler.

The organization to which this building belongs is
an offshoot from the older parish of Christ church
and was formed in the year 1835. On the 28th of
September, 1835, St. Paul's church and parish were
duly incorporated by law, and the following gentle-
men were elected : John Delafield and George P.
Oakley, Wardens; EHas Trivett, N. P. Talmadge,
Chas. H. Ruggles, Paraclete Potter, James Grant,
Jr., A. S. Hatch, Hiram Veltman, S. B. Dutton,

The Rev. Mr. Hatch was called to the Rector-
ship, and accepted ; and the Vestry took immediate
steps for the erection of a suitable church building.
This was accomplished in the year 1836, by the
building of a wooden structure, in "the Grecian
Doric style," which was then fashionable, at a cost
of about $10,000. The Rev. Mr. Hatch continued
to be Rector till 1842, when he resigned, and in
the following spring the Vestry elected the Rev.
Dr. Milledoler, who occupied the position, for four
years, and in 1846 was succeeded by the Rev. Al-
bert D. Traver.

The death of Dr. Traver in December, 1866,
terminated a pastorship of twenty years' duration,
which was of substantial benefit to the church and
to the community. Shortly after Dr. Traver's
death the Vestry called to the Rectorship the pres-
ent incumbent, the Rev. S. H. Synnott, then of
Cooperstown, Otsego Co., N. Y., who took charge
in Feb. 1867.

In 1871, the wooden building erected in 1836,
was demolished, in order to make room for the
stone edifice which now occupies the ground. The
total cost of this building, including windows, fur-
niture, organ, &c;, was about $32,000, of which
one member of the parish contributed nearly $14,-
000, and many others in equally generous propor-

St. Paul's church, though somewhat distant from
the center of population in Poughkeepsie, and for
that reason disadvantageously located, yet by the
beauty of its edifice and the attractive character of
its services, has maintained both its prosperity and
its usefulness in an increasing degree from year to

Universalist Church. — The first preaching in
this vicinity of the doctrine of final salvation to all
men, occurred about sixty years ago, when a
teacher of this faith preached under the willows
which then stood on the east side of Washington
street, a short distance north of the Northern
■Hotel. Who was the preacher, how many were

* We are indebted to the rector, S. H. Synnott, for this sketch.



gathered on that occasion, or whether any converts
were made, tradition does not inform us, and but
for a trifling incident the fact would not probably
be remembered.

Nothing further is known of the preaching of
Universahsm in Poughkeepsie until a few years
prior to 1836; during which period Rev. T. J.
Hillyer, of North Salem, Rev. Thomas I. Sawyer
and Rev. Theophilus Fish are known to have
preached occasionally in the court house and vil-
lage hall, to fair audiences, and by their preaching
succeeded in awaking an interest that led to the
organization of the First Universahst Society of
Poughkeepsie in December, 1836.

In February, 1837, Rev. J. D. WilUamson, of
Albany, was called by the society and became their
pastor. During his pastorate, in 1843, the old
Baptist church in Mill street, which stood upon the
site of the present new edifice owned by that de-
nomination, was purchased by James E. Slater,
Benjamin Gile, John C. Holmes and H. D. Myers,
who put it in thorough repair, when the Univer-
salist society took possession, dedicated, and
worshipped in it, with Rev. Mr. Bartlett as pastor,
until November, 1844, when Mr. Bartlett was suc-
ceeded by Rev Gibson Smith, who preached for
the society till May i, 1845, when he was succeeded
by Rev. L. P. Rand.

On the division in the Baptist church, one branch
of that society, desiring to possess their old spirit-
ual home, made a liberal oflfer for it The persons
holding the title accepted it, and recovered the
property, with the approbation and consent of the
Universahst society, which afterwards worshipped in
the court, house and village hall, though they had
no settled pastor.

In 1850, the Presbyterian church in Cannon
street was purchased by the society and repaired,
and regular services were held ; but no pastor was
called till 1853, when Rev. W. W. King assumed
the charge and retained it till May i, 1855, when
he was succeeded by Rev. B. H. Davis, whose
pastorate continued until May, i, i860. Rev. H.
P. Cutting succeeded Mr. Davis and served as
pastor until May i, 1862. The church after that
time was rented for various purposes until 1873,
when it was sold to the Catholics.

No effort was made to resume services until
1879, though the legal organization was regularly
kept up by the election of trustees. In 1879, the
society purchased the Baptist church in LaFayette
place* and dedicated it November 19th. The
pulpit was supplied by the State Missionary Society

from that time until the spring of 1880, when Rev.
James Gorton assumed the pastoral care, but re-
mained only three months. The pulpit was again
supphed by the State Missionary Society and others
until the spring of 1881, when Rev. L. H. Squires
became and still remains the settled pastor. The
congregation numbers from fifty to seventy-five.*

The First Congregational Church of Poughkeep-
sie was organized in the Carnes building, 310
Main street, September 10, 1838, by eighty-six in-
dividuals, late members of the First and Secondf
Presbyterian churches, who unanimously adopted
a confession of faith and " principles of govern-

Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 85 of 125)