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 86 of 125)
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ment and discipline."

Rev. Almon Underwood was induced to come
and labor with the infant church, and commenced
his services on the last Sabbath in August, 1837.
The church worshipped in the Carnes building,
where it was organized, until August 5, 1838, when
it removed to the building formerly owned and oc-
cupied by the Second Presbyterian church, on the
corner of Mill and Vassar streets, now used as a
Jewish synagogue, which was purchased for its

During the pastorate of Mr. Rice — 1855 to
1 860 — active measures were taken to secure a lot
in a more central location, upon which to build a
a larger and better arranged house of worship. A
desirable lot, situated on the north side of Mill street,
between Garden and Washington streets, was
purchased, and the corner-stone of the present
church edifice was laid June i, 1859. The building
was completed and dedicated June 5, i860. The
lecture room having been completed, public ser-
vice was commenced in it Oct. 9, 1859, and con-
tinued there till the dedication of the main edifice.

Following is the succession of pastors ; Almon
Underwood, i837-'44; Levi F. Wal4o, i844-'s4;
Chauncey D. Rice, 1855-60; Moses Tyler, 1861-
'62; James Leonard Corning, 1863-69; Henry
Loomis, Jr., i869-'7i ; James C. Beecher, 187 1-
'75 ; and E. A. Lawrence, the present pastor, who
commenced his labors Sept. 12, 1875.

The African M. E. Zion Church was organized in
1837, by persons who formerly belonged to the
First M. E. Church of Poughkeepsie, which, at

* This sketch is prepared from a historical discourse delivered by
Henry D. Myers at the dedication of the church Nov. 19, 1879, and
from S. P. Heermance's Reminhcemes, published in The Sunday

t This church disbanded about a year after the Congrej^ational church
was organized, many of its members returning to the First Presbyterian
church, from which they separated on the question of old and new
school ; others uniting with the Congregational church. It was in exis-
tence some three or four years.



one time, numbered fifty-eight colored members.
Their first house of worship was erected in 1 843,
on the site of the present one, on Catharine street,
between Mansion street and Cottage place; and
the present one, a brick structure, in 1862, at a
cost of about $4,000. The old church was re-
moved to the rear of the present edifice, and was
soon after fitted up, and rented in 1863, to the
Board of Education for the use of a colored school,
for which purpose it was used for several years.
In 1879 it was fitted up for a public hall, for which
purpose it has since been used. The present pas-
tor is Rev. Jacob Thomas, who entered upon his
present pastorate in June, 1878, having previously
served a pastorate of three years from June, 1861.
The present membership is sixty ; the attendance
at Sabbath school, which is superintended by the
pastor, about the same number ; the average at-
tendance being about thirty-five. The church is
free from debt.

The Cannon Street M. E. Church, the second
offshoot from the Washington street M. E. Church,
was organized in April, 1840, by Rev. C. W. Car-
penter, with the sanction of the latter church, of
which he was then pastor. About one hundred
and fifty-six (the number reported to the next
Conference) withdrew from the parent church to
form the new one. Soon after, Thomas M. Brewer,
Thomas Simpson, Wm. Wall Reynolds, Edmund
B. Bailey, Henry Way, David Norris and Egbert
B. Killey were elected trustees, and assumed the
financial responsibilities of the new enterprise.
The old Baptist church in Mill street, (from which
the Baptists had removed to their new church in
LaFayette Place, built in 1839,) was rented for the
use of the society. In 1842, that building was
sold to the UniversaUsts, and on the first of Novem-
ber of that year was vacated by the new society,
which worshipped for a while in the village hall,
and subsequently in the court house, where they
continued to hold services until the completion of
the present church on Cannon street, the corner
stone of which was laid by Bishop Janes, May 26,
1845. The total cost of the edifice and site was
$8,650. It was dedicated Dec. 25, 1845.

The following is the succession of stationed
ministers of this church: Revs. Fitch Reed,
1840-42; Hart F. Pease, 1842-44; John P.
Merwin, 1844-47; Benjamin M. Genung, 1847;
Seymour Van Deusen, 1847-49; George F. Ket-
tell, i849-'si; D. W.Clark, i8si-'53; W.
Jewett, 1853; R. A. Chalker, i8s3-'s4; J. W.
Beach, 1854-55 ; L. W. Peck, i856-'57 ; George

F. Kettell, 1858 ; Wm. J. Foss, 1859 ; George W.
Lord, 1859 ; A. D. Vail, i86o-'6i ; A. M. Hough,
1862; Alex. Mc Lean, 1863-64; E. R. Keyes,
i865-'67; E. L. Prentice, i867-'7o; M.S.Terry,
i87o-'73; P. R. Hauxhurst, i873-'76; W. H.
Ferris, D. D., 1876-79; Winslow W. Sever, 1879
to the present time.

The German M. E. Church was organized in
1847, by C. Lyon, in the Washington street M. E.
Church. The late Rev. Daniel Duerstein was the
missionary, aided by a German member of the
Presbyterian church, Jacob Bahret ; and Mr. Duer-
stein was appointed the first pastor. The congre-
gation worshipped at Duerstein's house, on the
corner of Church and Jefferson streets, (the first
floor of which was fitted up for that purpose,) until
Oct. 28, 1849, and later, while their church was
being built, in the Lancasterian school house in
Church street, until March 31, 1850.

The first sermon in the German language was
preached July 18, 1847, by the late Rev. J. Sauter,
presiding elder, at the court house, and quite a large
number of Germans were present. Mr. Duerstein
preached his first sermon in the house of the
late Jacob Bahret, in Jay street, to fifteen
persons. Their growth was rapid. Their first report,
in 1 85 1, shows a membership of fifty-one.

August 18, 1849, ^ l°t was purchased in South
Bridge street, of James Kenworth, for a site for a
church. The first service was held in the base-
ment of the new edifice — a small frame structure
—April 7, 1850, and Sept. 22, 1850, the church
was dedicated by C. Lyon, presiding elder. The
erection of a parsonage was commenced in 1862,
and finished in May, 1863, at a cost of $1,250.
Rev. George Abele, who was the pastor, collected
the entire amount, $800 of which was subscribed
by the generous citizens of Foughkeepsie.

Mr. Duerstein remained the pastor until May,
1850. His successors have been : Revs. Anthony
Romig, C. Herdell, Leonard Mayer, F. G. Gratz,
John Swahlen, C. F. Grim, J. G. Lutz, G. Abele,
John Sauter, George Mayer, Wm. H. Kurth, J.
Seidel, John Flad and C. HofFroge, the latter of
whom is the present pastor.

First German Lutheran Church of Fough-
keepsie* In the year 1847 the German residents
of Foughkeepsie held a religious meeting in the
village hall, which drew together Lutherans, Roman
Catholics and Methodists. Rev. Mr. Duerstein
preached; but when, after several Sundays, it was

* We are indebted for the materials of this sketch to the pastor, Rev.

G. C. Berkemier.



discovered that he was a Methodist, the Lutherans
withdrew and secured the basement of the Re-
formed church, where they were served by Rev.
Gustavus H. J. Derkston, a Ucentiate of the New
York Ministerium. His Ucense was not renewed
and he disappeared. Feb. 14, 1850, Rev. E. H.
Schluster became the pastor and remained until
1852. Rev. Aug. Schmidt succeeded him and re-
mained until 1856. Up to this time the congrega-
tion worshipped in the lecture room of the Re-
formed church, but on the destruction of that edi-
fice by fire the lecture room of the Episcopal
church was secured. Their pastor was succeeded
by Rev. J. Hoffman, of Rome, who organized
them under the name of The First Evangelical
Lutheran German Church of Poughkeepsie. They
then hired the Universalist church for services, and
an effort was made to secure a church property of
their own, but it failed. Mr. Hoffman resigned
the pastorate in May, 1857, when a Mr. Wilkin-
son offered his services as pastor. In 1858, Rev.
G. Manz, a licentiate of the New York Ministerium,
became the pastor. A large stone house was pur-
chased and the lower part fitted up for church pur-
poses, at an expense of $1,500. In April, i860,
Mr. Manz resigned and was succeeded by Rev.
Aug. A. H. Schubert, who resigned the next year.
In October, 1861, Rev. C. H. Siebke, of Rondout,
accepted a call. The society abandoned the pur-
chased property, which proved burdensome, and
again rented the Universalist church.

In 1864, a lot seventy-six by one hundred and
six feet on Grand street was purchased^ and on the
13th of June the corner-stone of a church edifice
was laid thereon. Nov. 14th, the Rev. H. N.
Pohlman, President of the New York Ministerium,
dedicated a fine brick church, which was erected
at a cost of $8,000, with but $2,500 of debt re-

In December, 1865, Rev. Mr. Siebke resigned
the pastorate. In January, 1866, 'Rev. Frederick
Von Rosenberg accepted a call. He terminated
his ministry in April, 1869, and was succeeded by
Rev. W. Busse, who remained until September,
1874, when he was followed by Rev. Mr. Hoeck,
who resigned in July, 1878.

During the ministry of Rev. Mr. Hoeck many of
the members felt the necessity of English preaching,
and with the consent of their pastor Rev. Geo.
Neflf, who had moved from Wurttenberg to Pough-
keepsie, preached for them in the English language
every Sunday evening for nearly a year, ending
September, 1877, when, on account of difficulties

between the pastor and people, English preaching
was discontinued.

A month after the termination of Mr. Hoeck's
pastorate he was succeeded by Rev. G. C. Berke-
mier, who had then just returned from Europe,
where he finished his studies. Mr. Berkeraier is
now successfully working among this people, who
number 130 members.

The Second Reformed Dutch Church of Pough-
keepsie. — Nov. 2, 1847, the Classis of Poughkeep-
sie met and approved in form of the application
for a second church, and the following were ordained
as officers : Tunis Brinkerhoff, Charles P. Ad-
riance, Abraham G. Storm, Joseph H. Jackson,
elders ; James W. Bogardus, Casper D. Smith,
Albert Brett and John P. Flagler, deacons.

The corner stone of the church edifice was laid
May 22, 1848, and the church was dedicated Feb.
22, 1849.

Rev. Charles Whitehead, the first pastor, entered
upon his labors with this church Sept. i, 1849, and
was installed Oct. 7, 1849. Mr. Whitehead re-
signed the pastoral charge July 19, 1852, and Nov.
16, 1852, Rev. Charles S. Hageman, of Nyack, was
called to the pastorate. He was installed Jan. 15,
1853. He was succeeded by Rev. Joachim El-
mendorf, D. D., the present pastor, who received
a call to the pastorate Oct. i, 1872, and was in-
stalled Nov. 20, 1872.

In 1875, the church was altered and repaired
and a new chapel built and furnished, at a cost of
$12,459.12. The chapel was dedicated in Octo-
ber of that year.
The original number of members was fifty-two. The
number of members on the church roll in 1881,
was 331, while the number actually resident in the
parish was 229. The church is valued at $24,000;
and the chapel, at $7,500; and the parsonage,
erected in 1853, at $6,000.

The Children of Israel, (Jewish Synagogue,)
organized in 1848, worshipped for many years in Pine
Hall. They now occupy the building erected by
the Second Presbyterian church, on Mill and Vassar
streets. The present rabbi is Rev, Adolph Ettinger,
who has officiated for some six years. The mem-
bership numbers only eighteen.

Bedding M. E. Church. — In the winter of
1852-3, the, overcrowded condition of the Wash-
ington Street, or First M. E. Church, necessitated
the formation of a new society, to which at the
May Conference of 1853, a pastor was appointed.
The German M, E. Church in Bridge street was
rented. A Sunday school was organized May 2 2d



and a society pn the 30th of the same month. The
corner stone was laid late in July. The church
was dedicated April 5, 1854, by Bishop Janes.
The cost of the church and grounds was about
$13,000. This church is now the largest numeri-
cally of any Protestant denomination in the city.
It reported 600 members in the spring of 1881,
and an attendance at Sabbath school of 225.

The following is the list of pastors : W. H. Fer-
ris, S. Fitch, W. C. Smith, J. B. Wakeley, L. H.
King, B. M. Adams, D. Buck, W. C. Smith, G. H.
Gregory, A. L. Culver, W. H. Evans, Edmund
Lewis and F. Hamlin.

Church of the Holy Comforter. — The establish-
ment of a "free church" in that part of the city
in which this church is located, had at different
times been mentioned as a desirable object, and
efforts were made to conduct services in that part
of the town in the winter of i854-'5, but were un-
successful. The object, however, was not forgot-
ten. The project was revived, and in December,
1858, a room was procured by the exertions and
contributions of members of Christ Church, and
conveniently fitted up for divine service. Services
were conducted in this room by Rev. S. Buel, on
the evening of Jan. 9, 1859, and were continued
on successive Sabbath evenings until Jan. 26th,
when they were suspended. Decided interest was
manifested in them, and the prospect of establish-
ing a free church, whose services would be appre-
ciated and well attended, was encouraging.

Wm. A. Davies determined to erect a church
which should be the realization of this object. An
organization by the above name was effected May
10, i860, and by deed and gift of May 20, 1859,
Thomas L. Davies and Wm. A. Davies * conveyed
to this corporation a plot of land 125 feet square,
eligibly and beautifully located in Davies' Place, on
which Wm. A. Davies reserved the right to build a
church. The corner stone of that edifice, was
laid July 14, 1859, by Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter,
D. D., LL. D., provisional bishop.

In November, 1859, services were resumed in
Shaw's Hall, on Sunday evenings, and continued
till March 25, i860, when they were finally sus-
pended in that place, to be resumed in the same

* Thomas L. and Wm. A. Davies are sons of Wm. Davies, to whose
memory a tablet of Caen Stone, with carved and cupsed gablet, and sup-
ported by shafts and capitals of black and white marble, is inserted in the
nave wall, north of the chancel arch. They are grandsons of Rev. Thomas
Davies, a missionary of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, in
Litchfield County, Conn., before the Revolutionary war, whose ancestors
were firm adherents of the church, and zealous in the work of church
building, and in promoting the welfare E\nd the establishment of the

part of the town in the church of the Holy Com-
forter after its opening. Rev. John Scarborough
was chosen rector March 3, i860. The church
was consecrated Oct. 25, i860, by Rt. Rev.
Horatio Potter. Regular services were be-
gun in the newly consecrated church Oct. 28,
i860. Rev. Mr. Scarborough continued rector
of the parish until the fall of 1867 ; and
was succeeded in October of that year by Rev.
Robert Fulton Crary, the present rector, who is a
grandson of Robert Fulton, of steamboat fame,
from whom he received his given name. The
present number of communicants is two hundred
and ninety-seven.

St. Mary's Church (Roman Catholic) was or-
ganized July 20, 1873, by Rev. Edward McSweeny,
who came here from New York for that purpose at
the instance of Cardinal McCloskey. Mr. Mc-
Sweeny has retained the pastoral charge to the
present time, assisted since Jan. i, 1881, by Rev.
John B. Creedon.

St. Mary's Church is an offshoot from St. Peter's
Church * of this city, and worships in the building
on Cannon street, which was erected in 1826, by
the First Presbyterian Society. This edifice was
purchased of the Universalists by Rev. P. F. Mc-
Sweeny, D. D., then pastor of St. Peter's Church
in this' city, but now of New York, and in 1873.
was purchased by St. Mary's Church for $10,000.
It was renovated and beautified, and dedicated by
Cardinal McCloskey July 20, 1873. In 1876 the
chapel was enlarged, and the church frescoed and
painted inside and out. The congregation now
numbers 1,200.

Connected with this church is a parochial school,
occupying a large four story brick building on
South Hamilton street, near Main street, which
was erected in 1880, at a cost of $5,000. The
attendance is one hundred and forty. It is a pay
school, but it is conducted by the Sisters of Chari-
ty in the interest of the church. The attendance
at Sunday school is two hundred and forty scholars.

The Sabbath school which has been supported
from the organization of the church, and has always
been under the supervision of the rector, numbers
about 300 scholars. In 1871 an industrial school
for girls was established by the parish, and weekly
meetings have since been held under the supervi-
sion of the lady teachers of the Sunday school.
Here instruction is given in sewing. The average
attendance is about seventy-five.

* Of this church, of which Rev. James Nilan, D. D., is pastor, as well
as the CAwrcA of the iVa/K/ufy— of the same denomination— of which
Rev. G. Bruder is pastor, we have been unable to get a history.




Auxiliary Religious, Benevolent and Char-
itable Institutions — -Young Men's Christian
Association — Hudson River State Hospital
— Old Ladies' Home — Vassar Brothers'
Home for Aged Men — St. Barnabas' Hospi-
tal — House of Industry — Charity Organi-
zation Society — Poughkeepsie Orphan House
and Home for the Friendless.

YOUNG Men's Christian Association of
Poughkeepsie, was formed Aug. 21, 1863.
The hbrary, which was estabUshed when the present
building was first occupied, in 1872, contains
thirteen hundred volumes of a miscellaneous char-
acter, mostly contributed by citizens. The reading-
room is supplied with sixty-eight papers, of a mis-
cellaneous character, and six of the leading
magazines of this country. The gymnasium, which
was established on a small scale when the building
was fitted up, was enlarged in 1880, and supplied
with all the modern appliances, at an expense of
$1,000. The association numbered two hundred
and forty-seven active, seventy-four associate, and
twenty-one honorary members, as per report of
Dec. 5, 1880. The successive presidents have
been: John H. Mathews, 1864-68; Leonard,
C. Winslow, 1869; John L Piatt, i869-'7o;
Mitchell Downing, 1871-74; E. P. Piatt, i87S-'78;
Benson Van Vliet, 1879-81.

7%e Hudson River State Hospital for the In-
sane. — In 1866, the Legislature authorized the
Governor to appoint commissioners " to receive by
gift or contract for the purchase of a suitable site,
on or near the Hudson River, below the city of
Albany, upon which to erect the Hudson River
Asylum for the Insane." The commissioners ap-
pointed under this act were : Hon. A. W. Palmer,
of Amenia, Hon. W. S. Kenyon, of Kingston, Dr.
J. M. Cleaveland, of Utica, John Falconer, of New
York City, and Hon. D. M. Madden, of Middle-
town. Jan. 9, 1867, the commissioners reported
that they had received " by gift, from the citizens
of Duchess County, a site consisting of 206 acres
of land," situated a mile north of the limits of the
city of Poughkeepsie, a " location geographically
central easily accessible by river and railway, and
distinguished for its salubrity and commanding
beauty." The same year (1867) the Legislature
appropriated $5,000, for the purchase of an addi-
tional and adjoining eighty-four acres, which " was
required to secure the privacy of the exercise

grounds of the patients, and to ensure the control of
the stream rising within its limits." But the tract
when surveyed was found to contain 333 acres,
instead of 290, owing to the fact that the first
deeds were based on old and inaccurate surveys.

Dr. Joseph M. Cleaveland, who had been pro-
fessionally connected with the State Lunatic Asy-
lum at Utica some nine years, and previously with
the New York Hospital for three years, has
been Medical Superintendent from its establish-
ment. The building was commenced in 1868 and
finished and opened for patients in October, 1871,
at an entire cost of $1,215,000.

The Old Ladies' Home in the City of Pough-
keepsie ^2& incorporated Dec. i, 1870, for "the
support of respectable, aged and indigent Protestant
women who are unable to support themselves, and
have been actual residents of the city of Pough-
keepsie (as it is now or as it may be hereafter en-
larged) for at least five years next preceding their
application for such support." The applicants for
the charter were Henry L. Young, George Van-
Kleeck and Charles W. Swift, of the Reformed
church ; Lewis F. Streit and John Thompson, of
the Presbyterian church; James H. Dudley and
Abraham Wiltsie, of the Congregational church;
Matthew Vassar, Jr., and John F. Hull, of the
Baptist church ; Stephen M. Buckingham and Ed-
gar M. VanKleeck, of the Episcopal church ; Wm.
W. Reynolds and Albert B. Harvey^ of the Metho-
dist church ; and Joseph Flagler and George Gorlies,
of the Friends' Society. These gentlemen, with
the exception of Mr. Young, for whom Jonathan
R. Warner is substituted, are named as the first

This institution was founded by Jonathan R.
Warner, who purchased the three story Ionic brick
building on the corner of South Hamilton and
Montgomery streets, formerly the Duchess County
Academy, and fitted it for its present purpose at
a cost of nearly $30,000. Mr. Warner likewise
contributed toward an endowment fund $10,000,
on condition that a like sum should be contributed
by the citizens of Poughkeepsie. The latter
amount was secured through the exertions of Mrs.
Alice Fowler, and the fund has since been increased
by legacies and gifts to $27,000. The income from
this fund, which in 1880 amounted to $1,954.01,
together with entrance fees, annual subscriptions
and contributions, supports the institution, the ag-
gregate expense incurred for which in 1880, was

Vassar Brother^ Home for Aged Men in the



City of Poughkeepsie was incorporated Oct. 18,
1880, for "the support of respectable aged in-
digent Protestant men who are unable to support
themselves, and who have been actual residents of
the city of Poughkeepsie for at least five years
next preceding the application for such support."
The first trustees, twenty-one in number; were:
Matthew Vassar, Jr., John G. Vassar, Adam Caire,
Benson VanVliet, Homer A. Nelson, John F.
Hull, George H. Tompkins, Edward VanKleeck,
Robert E. Taylor, LeGrand Dodge, Albert Tower,
Luther Elting, Wm. W. Smith, Jacob Corhes,
Wm. C. Smilie, Wm. J. Carpenter, John P. H.
Tallman, Wm. T. Reynolds, Frederick W. Davis,
Alson Ward and James H. Weeks.

This institution was founded by Matthew Vas-
sar, Jr. and John Guy Vassar. The building was
begun in July, 1879, and finished in August, 1880.
It is a large, commodious and imposing brick
structure, designed for the accommodation of fifty
inmates, and occupies nearly an acre of ground
on the corner of Main and Vassar streets, extend-
ing to LaFayette Place, which was the site of the
home of the late Matthew Vassar, the founder of
Vassar College. The arrangements for the com-
fort of its aged inmates are complete and well con-
sidered, and all its appointments are of the best,
most comfortable and substantial character.

St. Barnabas Hospital. — In the winter of 1870
-'71, Dr. Edward H. Parker, of Poughkeepsie, in-
vited the rectors of three Episcopal parishes in the
city to meet at his house to take into consideration
the project of establishing a hospital which should
be free to all in need of its benefits. The project
was discussed and deemed feasible, and the num-
ber of trustees determined on — nine. At a second
meeting held soon after, the rectors came prepared
to nominate trustees — three from each parish — the
rector of each parish being one. A charter was
obtained under the general act March 16, 1871,
and states its object to be "to maintain and sup-
port a hosjpital for the care and treatment of sick
and disabled indigent patients." The first trustees
were Revs. P. K. Cady, R. F. Crary and S. H.
Synnott, W. A. Davies, S. M. Buckingham, R.
Sanford, Dr. E. H. Parker, Benjamin VanLoan
and Winthrop Atwill ; and the first officers : W.
A. Davies, President ; Rev. Dr. P. K. Cady, Vice-
President; Rev. S. H. Synnott, Secretary; S. M.

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 86 of 125)