Brief Histories Of The Churches Connected With The Presbytery of New York. Pre: 1949 Part V

  Article Tools

Print This Page

E-mail This Page To A Friend


Fort George Church

The Fort George Church was organized and led by one minister for thirty years. Lyman R. Hartley, as a student associated with Daniel H. Martin of the Fort Washington Church, began missionary work with a Sunday School and preaching services in a private house at 564 West 185th Street, in April, 1916. The work grew so rapidly that soon both morning and afternoon sessions had to be held. The Church Extension Committee secured a generous gift from a member of the Fifth Avenue Church, and lots were purchased at the northwest corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and 186th Street. Here in the chapel that was erected the Fort George Church was organized on February 6, 1918. In October 1927 the beautiful stone church edifice was dedicated.

Ministers: Lyman R. Hartley, 1918-48; L. Richard Mellin, 1948_.

Fort Schuyler Church

One of the newest churches in the Presbytery is the Fort Schuyler Church, which was organized February 26, 1928 at East 177th Street and Dewey Avenue in the northeast section of the Bronx. Services were first held in a tent, and later a church and a parish house were built, these buildings being very largely provided for by gifts of a member of the Fifth Avenue Church.

The ministers: Curtin L. Oswald, 1927-30; S. Edward Young, 1931-35; D. Keith Irwin, 1935-43; John W. Dubocq, 1943-47; Elmer A. Talcott, 1947_.

Fort Washington Church

When the Presbytery of New York in 1911 approved the action of the West Church in disposing of its property at 31 West 42nd Street, in order that it might merge with the Park Church, it accepted the agreement which the West Church had voluntarily made. This was that from the proceeds of the sale there would be established a new church for Presbytery with an adequate building and provision for its early years. The site chosen was on Washington Heights. Land was secured and a commodious church building erected at the northeast corner of Wadsworth Avenue and 174th Street. While the building was being erected temporary meetings were held in a house at 603 West 178th Street. The Fort Washington Presbyterian Church was organized March 27, 1913, and the dedication of the new building took place in March 1914.

This new church was happy in its auspicious beginning and desirous of perpetuating the same spirit of sharing with others, and was largely responsible for the organization of the Fort George Church.

The ministers: Daniel Hoffman Martin, 1913-20; John McNeill, 1920-24; Wesley Megaw, 1925_.

Forty-Second Street Church (Dissolved)

In 1846 there was enrolled by the Presbytery the Forty-Second Street Church which had a house of worship at 233 West 42nd Street. It was known also as the Bloomingdale Church. The gathering of this group was largely the work of Rev. John C. Lowrie, who had a long history as missionary and later General Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions. He organized this church while carrying on his executive responsibilities. Following Mr. Lowrie there were able and efficient men, but the strength of the church declined and it was dissolved in May 1875. The building was used by St. Luke's Lutheran Church until 1923.

The ministers: John C. Lowrie, 1846-50; Edward E., Rankin, 1850-63; William A. Scott, 1863-70; William W. Newell, Jr., 1871-73.

Fourteenth Church (Dissolved)

The Fourteenth Church was organized January 10th, 1823. It erected a house of worship on the south side of Provost Street (now Franklin) near the foot of Varick Street. It was largely a private venture of the Rev. James Ogilvie, who had gathered the people together and personally assumed the financial responsibility for the building. In 1825, however, he became discouraged and sold the building to the Provost Street Baptist Church, and the Presbyterian congregation was dissolved.

The church edifice had an interesting history. The Baptist congregation used it until 1832, but it too disappeared. A private individual bought the building and rented it, and later sold it to the Fourth Associate Reformed Church, which later became the New York Presbyterian Church.

Fourth Church

On July 4, 1779, six men put their signatures to a covenant "to hold communion with one another as a Praying Society," and this original paper is still preserved. Out of this movement, which held meetings in private houses for several years, there developed in 1785, under the leadership of Thomas Beveridge, who had been sent by the Scottish Associate Synod, the First Associate Congregation of New York City.

In 1787 the first church building was erected on Nassau Street near Maiden Lane. As in other churches of the time, the floor was sanded and candles in tin sockets hung around the walls. Here the congregation worshipped for twenty-two years, although for an extended period the church had no pastor. The numbers grew, however, so that in 1809 a larger building was erected on the same site with the addition of some adjoining ground leased from the Dutch Church.

The third building was erected in 1824 at Grand and Mercer Streets. The fourth building, which the church occupied in 1854 was the former home of the Scotch Church at Grand and Crosby Streets. In 1853 the name of the church was changed to the Grand Street Presbyterian Church, at which time the congregation first affiliated with the Presbytery. The next home of the congregation was at 124 West 34th Street, where in 1867 there was dedicated a new church, free of debt. This change made advisable a new name, and that of Fourth Presbyterian Church of New York City was adopted. In 1894 the congregation removed to its present home at the southwest corner of West End Avenue and 91st Street.

In 1795 the oldest Society in connection with the church, the Benevolent Society, was organized for the purpose of relieving the needy and distressed of the city. The first grant was of L10 toward the support of two ministers on their way from Scotland to Nova Scotia.

Beginning with 1869 until 1890 this church conducted what was known as the West Side Mission Chapel on West 33rd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, and later at 439 W. 33rd St.

The ministers of the Fourth Church: Thomas Beveridge, 1785-89; John Cree, 1792-94; Thomas Hamilton, 1802-18; Andrew Stark, 1822-49; John Thomson, 1851-61; 1864-75; Samuel R. Wilson, 1861-63; Joseph R. Kerr, 1875-98; J. Wilbur Chapman, 1899-1902; Pleasant Hunter, 1903-06; Edgar Whitaker Work, 1907-24; Benjamin F. Farber, 1926_.

First Free or Day Street Church (Dissolved)

There were eleven churches organized in New York in the years 1830-1840 which called themselves Free churches, and four of them were associated with the Presbytery. Their primary idea was the elimination of the bought or rented pew. Here is an example of an idea which did not succeed at the time, but later became practically universal. It is interesting to read that two of these churches tried to solve their financial problems by planning for stores on the street floor, the income of which was to defray the expenses of the church.

Personal evangelism marked the spirit of these churches, and there is a note in the Session records speaking of the great number of persons who "spend the Lord's day in loitering about the halls and docks and others continue on board the steamboats, canal boats and sloops, not attending public worship in any church, thereby profaning the Sabbath. Therefore the elders shall be a committee to consider this subject." For the most part they were strongly anti-slavery. They maintained high ideals of Christian life. No one could be admitted to church membership who would not promise to abstain from the use of distilled spirits and avoid making or selling the same. There was a trial of members of one of these churches for violating the Holy Sabbath, because they traveled so as to arrive in the city in a public conveyance on the morning of the sacred day. They made a public  profession of their sin and promised to abstain from similar acts in the future.

The First Free Church was organized September 22, 1830, with the Rev. Joel Parker as minister. The congregation met in different halls for a while, their first church building being erected in 1831 at the northeast corner of Dey and Washington Streets. The church flourished from the inception, nearly seven hundred members being added in the first four years. Pastoral changes, however, and other causes, brought about unsettlement and lack of unity, and in 1838 the church was dissolved. Most of the members with their pastor united with the Broadway Tabernacle Church.

The ministers: Joel Parker, 1830-33; Jacob Helffenstein, 1837-38.

NOTE: Did you find this information helpful to your research?  Please post your comment to  the Message Board.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brief Histories Of The Churches Connected With The Presbytery of New York. Pre: 1949 Part V
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of books: The Presbyterian Church in New York City by Theodore Fiske Savage; published by The Presbytery of New York 1949
Time & Date Stamp: