Richard Mather Bayles.

History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time online

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is a frame building sixty-one by twenty-five feet on the ground,
standing near Shay's lane. The interior is tastefully decorated
with oil paintings, and the house is furnished with stained glass
windows. It has a seating capacity for about three hundred.

St. Patrick's church, located at Richmond, was built in the
year 1861. It is of brick, seventy-one by forty feet in size, and
is capable of seating about four hundred people. It owes its
existence largely, if not wholly, to the persevering efforts of
Rev. Father Barry, who for many years was its faithful pastor.

St. Rose of Lima, located on Castleton avenue, at the corner
of Roe street, West New Brighton, was erected in 1864, on a
lot seventy-five by one hundred and fifty feet, which had been
purchased of William Jones for nine hundred dollars. Its
building was due to the energy of Rev. Father Conrou, then
pastor of St. Peter's church at New Brighton. The church was
appropriately dedicated on Sunday, December 4, 1864, by the
celebration of high mass, and a performance of classic music by
artists from St. Peter's church, of Barclay street, New York,



436 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

and the " Italian Opera Company." A notable event took
place here on Sunday, May 22, 1881, when one hundred and
fourteen males and an equal number of females were confirmed
by Archbishop Corrigan, assisted by Father Poole, pastor of
the church, and others.

In 1850 a number of the members of the Reformed church in
Richmond, residing at such a distance therefrom as to render
their attendance inconvenient, organized a new church at Bloom-
ingview, now known as the " Church of the Huguenots." A
plain but substantial church building was erected on land
donated by the Hon. Benjamin P. Prall, and the Rev. James

A. M. Latourette, a descendant of a Staten Island Huguenot
family, became its first pastor. Soon after, however, he re-
signed his charge, having connected himself with the Protest-
ant Episcopal church.

Mr. Latourette was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas B. Greg-
ory, who also, after a brief term, resigned. The Rev. Herman

B. Stryker, a native Staten Islander, and son of the Rev. Peter
Stryker, formerly pastor of the church on the north side, then
supplied the pulpit for several years. After his resignation,
the Rev. Dr. Francis M. Kip assumed the duties of the pastoral
office.

" The First United Independent Christian Church of Staten Is-
land" (Unitarian) was organized at the house of Minthorne Tomp-
kins in Stapleton, February 19, 1851, by the election of Dr. A. Sid-
ney Doane, Minthorne Tompkins, Daniel Low, F. S. Hagadorn,
William Emerson, P. C. Cortelyou, John C. Thompson, H. M.
Harding, John Crabtree, A. J. Hamilton, John Bendernagel,
and Philip Bender, as trustees. This society held their meet-
ings at the Lyceum in Stapleton, where the Reverend Messrs.
Bellows, Chapin and Osgood often kindly officiated until the
Rev. John Parkman, of Boston, who had recently become a
resident of the island, accepted the charge.

On the 21st of September of the same year (1851) "The Con-
gregational Church of the Evangelists of New Brighton" was
established by the initative of Messrs. James Parker, Lucius
Tuckerman, W. C. Goodhue, George W. Jewett, John Crabtree.
A. J. Hamilton, George A. Ward, Robert C. Goodhue, William
W. Russell, Smith Ely, S. M. Elliott, John D. Sloat, J. E. Kun
hardt, William F. Gary, John Jewett, Jr., L. G. Wyeth and
Mrs. M. Pendleton. This society held their meetings at the



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 437

Belmont house, New Brighton, Mr. Parkman preaching on al-
ternate Sundays there and at the Lyceum, for about six months,
when, unable to obtain a suitable place for worship, the organi-
zation was dissolved, and the members joined the congregation.
Mr. Parkman was called to the pastorate of the united body,
and the name of the corporation was changed to that of " The
Church of the Redeemer,'' Messrs. Daniel Low, George A.
Ward, W. C. Goodhue, John F. Raymond, Lucius Tuckerman,
H. M. Harding, A. J. Hamilton, John Crabtree and Daniel G.
Garrison being the board of trustees. A building for church
purposes was erected on Richmond turnpike at the foot of Cebra
avenue, an isolated situation, apparently selected because, be-
ing about eqni-distant from the several villages, it was not morn
inconvenient to one than to another. It was dedicated June
29, 1853. The church flourished and increased, and it was
thought necessary to enlarge the building. This was done, and
the number of pews almost doubled.

In a comparatively short time, however, the disadvantages
of the situation became more and more manifest ; the roads
were bad, and there were no sidewalks; most of the congre-
gation lived at a distance; access to the church was difficult,
almost impracticable at seasons to those on foot; the zeal of
many of the original members diminished; some died, more left
the island, and their places remained empty. Mr. Parkman,
with his family, went to Europe, and was succeeded tempora-
rily by Rev. Charles Ritter, and by Rev. R. P. Cutler, and
finally in November, 1865, after an unsuccessful attempt to in-
duce Mr. Parkman, on his return to Boston from Europe, to
resume his former charge, the church was closed, the building
sold and removed, the land also sold, and the proceeds invested
in United States bonds. The corporation was continued, how-
ever, and its members patiently awaited the time when more
favorable circumstances should call it to renewed activity. That
time came in 1868, when the population of New Brighton, hav-
ing greatly increased. Rev. W. R. G. Mellen, then secretary of
the Hudson River Conference, gathered the congregation to-
gether, and attempted its reorganization. Meetings were held at
the Union Sunday school room in New Brighton, at which he
conducted the services, and after much patient and earnest en-
deavor on his part, the desired result was attained. A reor-
ganization was effected, and Messrs. Daniel Low, George W.



438 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

Jewett, John C. Henderson, Charles C. Goodhue, George W.
Curtis, John H. Platt, Edward B. Merrill, J. Frank Emmons
and Andrew M. F. Davis, were chosen trustees. A lot of land
on the corner of Clinton avenue and Second street, New Brigh-
ton, was purchased, and a church edifice erected thereon at the
cost of nearly $15,000. The larger part of this sum was paid
by the funds in hand and by subscriptions, but a debt of nearly
$6,000 remained.

Rev. W. C. Badger was called to the pastorate, but was com-
pelled by ill health to resign in about eighteen months.
The pulpit was afterward supplied by different clergyman for
a while, but for several months the services were conducted by
Mr. George W. Curtis, who read such printed sermons as he
judged would interest and help the congregation. In May, 1871,
Rev. W. R. G. Mellen, who had, in the meanwhile, been preach-
ing at Detroit, was settled as pastor, and remained in charge
until May, 1874, when circumstances compelled him to resign.
After this the services were principally and gratuitously con-
ducted by Mr. Curtis, in the manner above mentioned, to the
continued delight and satisfaction of the hearers.

During this period a fine organ was purchased and paid for,
mainly through the exertion of Mr. J. W. Simonton, who had
gratuitously conducted the musical services of the congrega-
tion since the reorganization; the debt was paid off, Mr. Daniel
Low, deceased, having contributed largely for that purpose,
and the society was enabled to give assistance to other weak
churches, and to deserving charities.

The revenues of the " Church of the Redeemer" were raised
by subscription and not from the rent of pews, the seats being
absolutely free. All persons of both sexes, of full age, who
had been stated attendants on worship with the society for
one year, and had contributed five dollars annually to its
treasury were entitled to take part, and to vote at all its pro-
ceedings.

When, after a few years, Mr. Curtis relinquished the con-
duct of the services the society invited various clergymen to
preach, and finally asked the Rev. Alphonso Weeks to become
the pastor. He was obliged to decline and the religious ser-
vices were then suspended. The church remained unoccupied
for a time, but in 1884 it was let to a Baptist society which holds
regular worship in the building.



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 430

The First Edgewater Presbyterian church is located on
Brovvnell and McKeon streets, Stapleton. It was originally
called "The First Presbyterian Church of Clifton." The or-
ganization took place Wednesday afternoon, May 14, 1856, at
the residence of G. W. Gerard, Townsend avenue, Clifton,
when the Third Presbytery of New York city met for that
purpose. There were present of that body Rev. Dr. Samuel
D. Burchard, A. E. Campbell, Rev. W. Roosevelt, D. T. Mc-
Laughton, and Elders David Stevens and J. C. Hines, the com-
mittee appointed by the body for this service. After religious
service, twenty-one persons from the Reformed Dutch church of
Stapleton, and live from other churches presented letters of
dismissal to the new church, and having assented to the con-
fession of the faith and covenant were organized into a Pres-
byterian church. John D. Dix, E. S. Saxton, and G. W. Ger-
ard were elected elders; E. A. Ludlow, and - - Davidge deacons;
and were forthwith installed. Rev. Dr. Burchard officiating.
The first communion of the Lord's Supper was celebrated in the
home of Elder Gerard, May 18, 1856, when all the members of
the church were present.

Rev. Alonzo Brown became pastor of the church October 1,
1856. This pastorate was dissolved November 30, 1857. The
Rev. Samuel W. Cruttenden was the next pastor, and served
the church from April, 1S58, until November 9, 1859. On the
25th of January, 1860, the Rev. W. Howell Taylor was elected
pastor, and he continued as such until October, 1864. The Rev.
J. H. Sinclair was next invited to supply the pulpit for eight
months. February 20, 1865, the Rev. David R. Frazer, of Bal-
timore, was called to become the pastor. He resigned the
pastorate, and was on October 8, 1868, released from the same.
In December, 1865, the first official steps were taken toward the
building of a new church, and resulted in the purchase of the
present church edifice, then occupied by the Dutch Reformed
church, and owned by them. On April 13, 1868, a congrega-
tional meeting was held to consider an overture from the Re-
formed Dutch church of Stapleton respecting a union of the
two churches, which was effected. At a meeting of the congrega-
tion, May 20, 1868, the name of the church was changed to the
"First Presbyterian Church, Edgewater."

The Rev. Dr. J. E. Rockwell, of Brooklyn, was elected pastor
of the church August 5, 1868. His pastorate was terminated by



440 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

his death, in the year 1882, after a long and useful ministry.
On October 29, 1882, the Rev. G. M. McCampbell, the present
pastor, was called to the church.

The chapel, or Sunday school room of this church, which
formerly stood on Gorge street, now Broad street, was destroyed
by an incendiary fire. After this the present one was erected.
This costly and commodious chapel of the church, erected in
1876, stands on the corner opposite the present church edifice,
and is used for Sunday school purposes and the weekly devo-
tional and other meetings of the congregation. It is a spacious
and elegant brick edifice, erected chiefly, if not wholly, through
the munificence of a lady, who donated $8,000 for the purpose.
The present membership numbers two hundred and forty. There
are three hundred children in the Sunday school. The benev-
olent contributions during the last year amounted to $1,400,
while for congregational expenses $4,000 were raised.

The Calvary Presbyterian church, of West New Brighton,
was organized November 17, 1872, under care of the Presbytery
of Brooklyn. It was organized with thirty-five members, most
of these having been previously connected with the Dutch re-
formed church of Port Richmond. The following were its first
officers : R. N. Havens and Augustus W. Sexton, elders ;
Ralozie Fuller and William J. Ladd, deacons. The chapel,
situated on the corner of Bemenl and Castleton avenues, had
been erected before the organization of the church. It was
built during the summer of 1872, at first to accommodate the
Sunday school, which had been organized May 14th of that
year. The church was really the outgrowth of a Sunday school.
From its beginning until April, 1873, the pulpit of the church
was supplied by the Rev. James S. Evans, D. D., who, as syn-
odical superintendent of church extension, had rendered great
assistance in effecting the organization. On the evening of
March llth, 1873, a call was extended to the Rev. J. Milton
Greene, pastor of the Second Presbyterian church, of Brook-
lyn, which was accepted by him, and he was installed pastor of
the church on the evening of March 3d, 1873. He continued to
minister to the church for eight years, when he resigned to
enter upon missionary work in Mexico. During this time, be-
ginning in May, 1881, Presbyterian services were conducted in
the old school house between Travisville and Linoleumville, by



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 441

Rev. J. Milton Greene and Chaplain Jones of Sailors' Snug
Ha rbor.

Constant growth characterized the organization, so that in
September, 1874, it was found necessary to enlarge the chapel
by one half of its original size. The present pastor, Rev. T. A.
Leggett, was installed in December, 1881. The church has had
a healthy growth, and its present membership is two hundred
and fifty. The Sabbath school is one of the largest on the
island, and is admitted by all to be the most popular and
flourishing.

The chapel, since its enlargement, is capable of seating from
four to five hundred people; and the interior is beautifully and
tastefully finished and furnished. The church owns land ad-
joining the chape], and expects to erect upon it a substantial
church.

The "German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John,"
at Port Richmond, was organized October 17, 1852. This be-
longs to the sect, U. A. C. (Unaltered Augsburgian Confession).
This confession was drawn up at Augsburg by Melancthon, and
by him and Luther presented to the Emperor Charles in 1530.
The original members were: John Rathyen, Paul Schmidt,
Charles Keutgen, John Hettsche, Carl Senne, A. Knopp, Ernst
Senne, Louis Koenig, John C. Schiegel, Augustus Senne, J. H.
Matthius, Diedrich Senne, Gottlieb Bertsch, Carl Neidthart,
Adam Fuegel, A. Hulsebus.

The pastors of the church have been as follows: Bernard de
Schweinitz; Fr. Boeling, from 1853 to 1855; H. Roel, from 1855
to 1856; J. F. C. Hennicke, from 1856 to 1857; K. Goehling, from
1858 to 1859; M. Termenstein, from 1860 to 1867; J. E. Gottlieb,
from 1867 to 1875; C. Frincke, jr., December 5, 1875, to 1884;
J. P. Schoener, April 19, 1885, to the present time.

In 1884 the church had one hundred and fifty-seven commu-
nicant members. The congregation has a day school of sixty-
two pupils, mostly children of the members. The school had
a few years since one hundred scholars. It is conducted in
German and English. Some studies are given in either lan-
guage. It is prominently a religious school. The church edi-
fice was purchased from the Methodists. (See Trinity M. E.
church).

The Unitarian church on the Turnpike road was purchased



442 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

in 1865, by this congregation, who were then worshipping under
the leadership of Rev. Karl Goehling. The price, which included
a fine pipe organ and the other furniture of the house, was
three thousand five hundred dollars. The building was re-
moved to the corner of Beach street and Richmond road, on
ground donated in part by Albert Ward. Esq., for the site of a
church. This congregation had previously used the Methodist
Episcopal church on Cebra avenue for their meetings.

There is a Lutheran church at Edgewater, of which we have
been unable to procure information. It has a parish school
connected with it.

The organization of St. Peter's congregation having been per
fected Rev. Dr. L. Mohn proposed Mr. Jacob Ganss, a student of
theology, as preacher, to whom accordingly a call was sent.
Mr. Ganss preached his first sermon here on the first Sunday of
the Advent of 1881. His zeal for the welfare of the congrega-
tion was of such a sacrificing nature as to insure the success of
Doctor Mohn's undertaking according to the principles advo-
cated by him. After having passed a most satisfactory exam-
ination he was by recommendation of the classis of New York
ordained a minister of the gospel, and on November 16, 1883,
was duly installed as minister of the "German Evangelical
St. Peter's Church of Kreischerville," by three members of the
classis of New York. A full choir of ladies and gentlemen
was organized and is under the leadership of the minister. One
of the members of the congregation acts as organist. Services
are held every Sunday from 10 to 11 A. M., and Sunday school
meets from 9 to 10 A. M. A weekly lecture for the benefit of
the church is given by the minister.

The church is located in the midst of a small village near
the Staten Island sound. The front of the church is visible
from the public highway leading from Tottenville to Rossville.

The establishment of a German church here dates back to
the year 1881, where the now deceased Rev. Dr. L. Mohn, of
Hoboken, N. J., by his zeal in bringing about German worship,
was moved to begin his labors in a small chapel, kindly offered
by the Methodist Episcopal congregation in the village.

On the 23d day of October, 1881, the church was incorporated
by the Honorable Classis of New York, and the first consistory
was organized by representatives of the classis. The increased
popularity of the services rendered the auditorium inadequate



HISTOUY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 443

to the number of members in attendance, so that it became
necessary for the congregation to provide a church of its own.
The large majority of the congregation being German and of
German extraction, consisting mainly of employees of the firm
of B. Kreischer & Sons, Mr. B. Kreischer, the senior member of
the firm, having been an inhabitant of the place since 1852,
seeing the necessity of a house of public worship, proceeded to
erect a fine church for their benefit at his own expense.

He personally superintended the erection of the building,
from laying the foundation to the completion of the structure.
On the first day of July. 1883, a fine little church was ready
to open its doors to those who were anxious to hear the praise
of the Lord expounded in the German language, the building
having cost Mr. Kreischer fifteen thousand dollars. In the pres-
ence of every member of Mr. Kreischer s family the church was
delivered to the congregation, and services to celebrate the oc-
casion were conducted by the Rev. Dr. L. Mohn, assisted by
the Rev. Jacob Ganss. The Sunday school connected with the
church, and which is in charge of the consistory, was at the
same time organized.

At the present time there are about two hundred members of
the congregation, and one hundred and sixty children belong-
ing to the Sunday school. The meetings of the consistory are
held in a room fitted up for that purpose in the church build-
ing. The first preacher and founder of the church was Rev.
Dr. L. Mohn. The present members of the consistory are :
Charles C. Kreischer. Edward B. Kreischer, elders ; August
Nyck, secretary ; Julius Meerowski, George Werner, deacons ;
Edward B. Kreischer, treasurer.

Two societies of the Young Men's Christian Association
have been organized on the island. The association of the north
shore was organized in Trinity Methodist Episcopal church,
July 15, 1867, and was incorporated on the 3d of September fol-
lowing. The incorporators were : Mathew S. Taylor, George
A. Middlebrook, Mnlford D. Simonson, John D. Vermeule and
Eugene DuBois. The corner stone of their beautiful edifice
was laid Tuesday, August 15, 1871, with appropriate cere-
monies, and was dedicated November 22, 1872.

The building contains a reading room, sitting room, associa-
tion meeting room, and an auditorium capable of seating four



444 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

hundred and eighty persons. The total cost of the building
was $19,755.92.

On the 18th of June, 1883, a band of young men, numbering
thirty-seven, met in the Sunday school room of the Brighton
Heights Reformed church and resolved themselves into a soci-
ety under the name of the Young Men's Christian Association
of the East Shore. As the society gained a footing and its vari-
ous branches of work were organized, religious meetings were
held as often as twice a week, besides a meeting on Saturday
afternoon for boys. Literary entertainments and debates were
held during the winter, occasional lectures were given, a read-
ing room was provided with the weekly and daily papers, and
a library of about five hundred volumes. A parlor, supplied
with an organ and other attractions, was open every evening,
social receptions were occasionally held, and a gymnasium was
fitted np for the use of members. At the end of the first year
the membership of the association numbered one hundred and
fifty, divided into three classes, active, associate and sustaining.



CHAPTER IX.



EDUCATION AND LITERATURE.



The Schools of the Colonial Period. The Public Schools under the State Gov-
ernment. -Richmond County College. Brighton Heights Seminary. Staten
Island Academy. The Natural Science Association. Newspapers. George
William Curtis. John Adams Appleton. The Smith Family.



IN respect to intellectual culture and attention to popular
education Staten Island has ever sustained a creditable
position in its generation. It has indeed been remarkably
favored in this particular, even more so than most localities in
its neighborhood. Always the home of men prominent in scien-
tific, literary, educational or political fields men who were
among the foremost in the councils of the province, state or
nation, in the various fields of mental action, it has profited by
their leadership, energy and enterprise. Then again, being-
situated, as it were, under the wing of the great American
metropolis, it has had the benefit of its attractions, patronage
and benefactions.

The early inhabitants of the island gave assiduous attention
to the education of their children. Very meagre fragments
only of history may now be found to tell us how they accom-
plished this work, but enough may be found to convince us that
they appreciated the importance 'of giving their children the
common education of the times. The first education was very
naturally of a religious character, and given under religious
patronage. The earliest note that we find touching this subject
is one in the records of the " Society for the Propagation of
the Gospel in Foreign Parts," an English society sustained
under the auspices of the Episcopal church, for the year 1710,
which is as follows :

"Mr. Mackenzy, the Society's Missionary in Staten Island,
in the Province of New York, having informed them how much
they wanted School-Masters to instruct the Children of the
English, Dutch and French, in the said Island, and having



446 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

recommended Mr. Adam Brown and Mr. Benjamin Drewit
for that Purpose, the Society made choice of them both."
These early schoolmasters were also sometimes called cat-
echists. The two seem to have been continued at least that
number was employed during the two years following, but
in 1712 the men appear to have been changed. That year
Francis Williamson and John de Puy were employed as school-
masters under the patronage of the " Society.' They received
ten pounds a year for their salary, and their work was emi-
nently satisfactory, as the testimony of the missionary, Rev.
Mr. Mackenzy, together with the approval of the justices of
the county abundantly proved. So beneficial to the people
did the work of these early schoolmasters appear to be that the
society determined in 1713 to employ three more catechists
or schoolmasters at once.

We have the report of Mr. Brown of Eichmond, one of these
teachers, the report being dated April 10, 1713, by which we
learn that he had continued to keep school in the south precinct
of the county ; that he had taught, during the year preceding,
thirty-five children to "read, write and cypher ; " and the cat-
echism of the church, with the explanations thereof, to such as



Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesHistory of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time → online text (page 43 of 72)