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Full text of "History of the First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City, New Jersey : in four discourses preached in the month of July, 1876; also, the discourse preached at the close of services in the church building, Sunday morning, April 29, 1888"

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City, New jersey. 



lltll^lN 1^1 S°^^.T,T.P,IIP.LIC LIBRARY 

3 1833 02712 3626 

Gc 974.902 J4Si 

Imbr'ie, Charles K.isselmAn 

1814-1391 . 
History of the First 
. Presbyterian Church . „ „ 


>^^^ ^^^^^-^^ 


J^-y^ c<^ A^ 










Pastor of the ChurcJ:, 



Allen County Public Ubrary 

900 Webster Street 

PC Box 2270 

Fort Wayne. IN 46801-2270 






Preface, ....... 5 

Sermon I., ...... 7 

Sermon II., . . . . . . -31 

Sermon III., . . . . . • 5^ 

Sermon IV., . . . . . . -65 

Preface to Sermon V., .... 91 

Sermon V., . . . . . . -95 

List of Trustees, . . • . .121 

History of the Sunday-School, .... 126 


The first four of the following discourses were preached in the 
First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City on successive Sabbath 
mornings in the month of July, 1876, in compliance with the rec- 
ommendation of the General Assembly of the year 1873 (see 
Minutes of the General Assembly, page 490), that that month in 
the Centennial year of the country should be used as the occasion 
for presenting from the pulpit the histories of the churches in our 
denomination throughout the land. It was intended to publish 
them immediately after their delivery. But owing to circum- 
stances, which need not be here stated, this design was postponed. 

Even at that time it began to be very plain, as will be seen in 
the close of the fourth discourse, that, sooner or later, the church 
building must be removed and the congregation seek other quar- 
ters. When, at length, after twelve years of further labor it was 
decided to dispose of the church building, the desire was revived 
that these discourses should be published and be followed by the 
sermon preached by the pastor at the closing services held in the 
church just before his announcing the dissolution of the long con- 
tinued pastoral relation between himself and the congregation. 
This sermon is the fifth in the present volume. It was judged 
best to print the former ones just as they were originally delivered, 
without pausing to correct them in reference to the changes which 
had occurred in the interval. A number of persons represented 
as living in 1876 have since deceased. These and some other 
changes are simply noted in the margin ; and a few other notes 
are there added also to explain or illustrate the statements in the 
discourses. It may be proper to state that the corporate title of 
the church whose history mainly occupies the following pages 
has always been "The Presbyterian Church of Jersey City." But 

6 Preface. 

as other Presbyterian churches have since been organized within 
the city, it has usually been called for the sake of convenience 
" The First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City." And this title 
is used in reference to it throughout this history. 

These discourses, such as they are, are now sent forth to the 
many attendants upon the services held in former and in later 
years, in this old historic building, in the belief that they, at least, 
will be interested in seeing revived these scenes of the past, and 
in the hope that they may be prompted thereby to look forward 
with increased faith and hope and longing toward the coming 
Kingdom of God when our separations shall be at an end and we 
shall be forever together with the Lord. 

Chas. K, Imbrie. 

Jersey City, September i, 1888. 


• " So he built the'house, and finished it ; and covered the house with beams and 
boards of cedar. And then he built chambers against all the house five cubits high ; 
and they rested on the house with timber of cedar. And the word of the Lord came 
to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt 
walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to 
walk in them ; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David 
thy father : And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my 
people Israel." — i Kings vi. 9-13. 

Such is God's promise concerning the temple built by- 
Solomon. Such is the condition upon which the promise 
to Israel rests regarding it. And such is the glory which 
was sure to follow the performance of the condition. In a 
certain and proper sense this is true of every house builded 
for the proclamation of the Lord's name and for the decla- 
ration of His truth and for the administration of His ordi- 
nances and the worship of His people. That sure promise, 
" If thou wilt walk in my statutes and keep all my com- 
mandments, I will perform my word unto thee," is for 
those who worship in these also. And it is this which sets 
such buildings apart from buildings devoted to other pur- 
poses. While they last it confers upon them a glory and 
an honor which renders them places of peculiar blessedness 
to those who are therein accustomed, from generation to 
generation, to meet the Lord in His ordinances. And 
when, in the course of time, these structures have passed 
away it associates these buildings with the tenderest and 
most precious memories. 

It has been judged by our General Assembly appropriate 
to this Centennial year, in which our land rejoices together 
over the national mercies with which the century has been 
crowned, to devote the Sabbath before our National Anni- 

8 History of the 

versary, for presenting the history of the several churches 
of our denomination. Such a record of the beginnings and 
progress of places devoted to God's worship is not without 
Scriptural warrant. Not only is the history of the rise and 
formation of the worshipping congregation of God's people 
recorded, but the very stones of memorial in the channel of 
the Jordan and on its banks are held in honor. With what 
minute detail, in the Scriptures too, has the Spirit of God 
honored the gradual erection of the tabernacle in the wilder- 
ness and also this v£ry temple of Solomon, The very carved 
work of the sanctuary was precious (Psalm Ixxiv. 6, 7). True, 
there were special occasions for this in these particular cases, 
inasmuch as God only could, of right, prescribe the forms and 
circumstances of His own worship. But apart from this, 
what minute detail is given as to the preparation and silent 
erection of the stones of the building, the arrangement of 
the chambers and other particulars of mere construction. 
And so precious was the very building itself that even when 
the foundations of the second temple were laid, as has not 
been deemed unworthy of record by the Spirit of God, it 
was not without sore weeping that the greater glories of 
the earlier House of the Lord rose up in their memories. 
Nor is it wrong to bring to remembrance the names of the 
men whose zeal and activity have been instrumental in God's 
hands for founding and building these houses of God where 
so many have enjoyed the holy ordinances of Christianity 
and had their souls nourished for heaven. It was no mean 
recommendation which the Jews offered to Christ in behalf 
of the centurion, when they said of this benevolent Gentile, 
" He loveth our nation and hath built us a synagogue," 

Not that we need carry this to excess. Not that Chris- 
tians should ever forget that we are but pilgrims and stran- 
gers here after all, and our true house of worship, as " our 
citizenship," is above and in the future, and that all these 
present places of solemn worship — the old temple, the syna- 
gogues, and the New Testament churches — just as our na- 
tions and our earthly habitations are temporary, and are 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. g 

passing away to give place to the permanent liouse and 
kingdom of God in the future, whereon alone our hearts 
are therefore to dwell. Even of the temple Christ could 
say with a sort of indifference, " The time cometh when 
neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem shall men 
worship the Father." And yet perhaps even in the king- 
dom there shall be a fond fecollection of the old sites and 
the old tabernacles of the Lord wherein God's people have 
been refreshed in the wilderness ; and there shall be many a 
sweet conversation of the saints pointing back to sacred 
scenes on the journey toward the place of rest. The staves 
which had carried the ark of the covenant during its wan- 
derings were indeed drawn out when the ark had found a 
settled rest in the new temple ; and yet the ends of the 
staves were still placed in view as a fond remembrance of 
God's past mercies toward His tabernacle and His people 
while they were still in the weary wilderness. 

Let us then trace the beginnings and progress of our 
branch of the Church of God in this city. 

The Presbyterians were among the first, if not the very 
first, who held regular worship in this part of what is now 
called Jersey City, and known at that time as " Paulus' 
Hoeck" (Paul's Corner). The Episcopalians are known to 
have held worship here nearly as early. Mr. Winfield, in 
his "History of Hudson County," p. 391, states that St. 
Matthew's Episcopal Church was organized August 21, 1808, 
and that Trustees were elected in December of the same 
year. He states also that at first the services were held in 
the " Jersey Academy," built by the town authorities, and 
completed in Februar}^ 1S07. Whether the Episcopalians 
had services before their organization in 1808 I do not 
know. The Rev. Dr. Taylor also states* that a desire was 
expressed by the inhabitants of Jersey City to have a Re- 
formed Dutch Church organized in 1807. But nothing came 

*" Annals of the Classis and Township of Bergen," by Benjamin 
C. Taylor, D.D., p. 343- 

10 History of the 

of this. Now, as nearly as I can make it out, for several years 
previous to these dates (in 1804) the Presbyterians were 
holding services. Mr, Stephen Seaman, son of one of the 
early elders in the Presbyterian Church here, and now* living 
in this city, tells me that his father's family removed here 
from Ellis' Island in 1805. And he states distinctly that at 
that time the old Academy building (of which I shall speak 
presently) had just been finished, and that regular Presby- 
terian services were held in this building when his father's 
family took up their abode here. These services were con- 
ducted most probably by Supplies obtained from the Pres- 
bytery of New York or the Presbytery of Jersey. It must 
be understood, however, that at this time there was not a 
regular organization. These were merely assemblies for 
Presbyterian worship. The organization took place in 1809. 
I have in my possession a letter f in the handwriting of the 
late Rev, Samuel Miller, D.D., of Princeton, N. J., in which 
he says : "The history of the Presbyterian Church in Jersey 
City is short and easily told. On the loth day of January, 
A.D. 1809, a Presbyterian church was organized in this city 
by him who now addresses you " ; and he further says : 
" My impression is that it was the first church of any de- 
nomination that was organized in the place.":}: This marks 
the organization clearly. I supplement this by a reminis- 
cence of the Rev, Dr, B. C, Taylor,§ of Bergen, who informs 
me that he has a distinct recollection of Dr. Miller telling 
him that when he came to Jersey City and organized the 
church, he ordained two elders. Who these elders were is 
not certainly known. The probability is that one of them 
was Mr. James Morrison, who is known to have afterward 

*In 1876, 

t An extract from a sermon preached by him at the dedication of 
the Presbyterian Church of Jersey City in 1845. 

X The Episcopalians were four and a half months earlier in organ- 
ization, but not in preaching services, 

% In 1876. Since deceased. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. ii 

long served in that capacity. And I judge that the other 
was Mr. John Seaman, although his son thinks not. Mr. 
Stephen Seaman tells me that he is sure his father was not 
ordained elder of the church until some years after his ar- 
rival. But this would still allow four years to intervene ; 
and I presume, as no other name offers, that he was the 
other elder whom Dr. Miller ordained. The impression of 
Dr. Taylor is that Dr. Miller stated to him that this organ- 
ization died out. And some others also have the impres-' 
sion that it was extinguished. But this is evidently a mis- 
take. Dr. Miller's own language is: "They continued 
worshipping in the school-house which they were occupying, 
if I mistake not, until about the year 1824." But in addi- 
tion to this, Mr. Stephen Seaman, who has lived here ever 
since,* assures me that the church's services were never dis- 
continued, but went on until the year 1827, when the con- 
gregation- had erected a building and moved into their new 
edifice in Grand Street — the same building which afterward 
passed into the possession of the Reformed Dutch Church. 
On the same authority we find that these services were reg- 
ularly held in the same place (the Academy building), with 
occasional exceptions, when for one reason or another the 
congregation met in a private dwelling. The history then 
of the First Presbyterian Congregation of Jersey City was 
continuous and not broken up and then afterward replaced 
by a second organization. Beginning with stated preaching 
about the year 1804, it became regularly organized, accom- 
panied by the ordination of elders, in 1809, and thence on- 
ward maintained regular worship by supplies until it was 
incorporated in 1825, and not very long afterward occupied 
its new building in Grand Street, and so continued until its 
transfer to the Reformed Dutch Church. It was a period 
of feebleness, indeed ; but nevertheless of continued life for 
about twenty-three years. 

I now return to Dr. Miller's paper. He says further : 

* In 1876. 

12 History of the 

" What is now a populous citj^ was then a small village, 
or rather an inconsiderable hamlet, and the congregation 
was, of course, feeble, and. found some difficulty in main- 
taining the ordinances of religion. They worshipped in a 
public school-house, and continued to occupy that building 
for a number of years ; part of the time in connection with 
a small body of Episcopalians who worshipped every other 
Sabbath in the same humble edifice. During this period it 
was my privilege, a number of times, to preach to this con- 

I quote this passage as it refers to the town itself, to the 
place in which the people worshipped, and to the mode of 
supply. Of these I wish to speak. 

As to the town at the time, Dr. Miller calls it " a small 
village," or rather, " an inconsiderable hamlet." He refers, 
of course, to old Paulus Hoeck. This was a sand heap, 
made at high tide an island, with a salt marsh and a stream 
running through what is now Warren Street, toward Greene 
Street, from Communipaw Cove below to Harsimus Cove. 
It became the property of "The Jersey City Associates," 
incorporated about the same time that Presbyterian preach- 
ing was begun, or five years earlier than Dr. Miller's 
reference. It was bounded off from the adjacent land 
(or Mr. Cornelius Van Vorst's farm), by this stream of 
water, which, extending from cove to cove, though shal- 
low at low tide and even dry in parts, was, at high tide, 
filled to the depth of six feet, and was easily traversed 
throughout by rowing-boats. Mr. Stephen Seaman tells 
me that his father, in the very earliest years of the century, 
moved from New York and kept house on Ellis Island, 
and that often the passengers from Philadelphia to New 
York were detained late at night, and were poled, in a cov- 
ered boat, to the island, and the inmates were roused to get 
them supper. He also states that this same island was 
often resorted to from Paulus Hoeck by pleasure parties 
who went thither to enjoy the cool shade and the oyster 
suppers. Quite a bed of these shell-fish was kept supplied 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 13 

at the end of the island. Paulus Hoeck itself, looked, as I 
said, like a sand bank. The beach, or landing, was just as 
it had always been. Roadways had been cut through, which 
are now our streets. Three years before (1802) there were 
resident on the island only thirteen persons.* And when 
the Seaman family came in 1805, Mr. Seaman judges that, 
on the whole island, there were not more than a dozen 
houses, with the remains of two forts. 

Among these houses, however, was one structure, in which 
we are particularly interested. It is the one in which, for 
more than twenty years, our Presbyterian predecessors, led 
by different ministers, worshipped God, on alternate Sab- 
baths, with the Episcopalians under the charge, first, of the 
Rev. Timothy Clowes, and next under that of the late Rev. 
Edward D. Barry, D.D. This house still stands — a relic of 
the past — a few yards from us, on Sussex Street, between 
Washington and Warren Streets.f After many inquiries, 
I have not been able to ascertain certainly who erected this 
building or the date of its erection. The statements are 
conflicting. Mr. Winfield states that it was finished in 
February, 1807.:}: Mr. Seaman, on the contrary, states that 
it was already built, and was new when he arrived in 1805, 
and that worship was then held in it. In the *' New Jersey 
Register," a small volume published in 18 10 by Timothy 
Alden, and loaned to me by Hon. Robert Gilchrist, § of this 
city, there is given (p. 100) an account of the incorporation 
of "The Jersey Academy." This took place May 12, 1808. 
The Trustees were Amasa Jackson, Joseph Lyon, Henry 
Caldwell, David Hunt, Samuel Beach, Philip Williams; 
and Reuben Winchell was Preceptor. It has always been 
known as " The Academy." And it is certain that it was 
built for school ^nr^osQS. Dr. Benjamin C. Taylor's sugges- 
tion is therefore probably correct, that it was erected by the 

* Winfield's History. He gives the names. 

t In 1876. Since removed. J Winfield's History, p. 392. 

§ Deceased 1888. 

14 Hist of y of the 

township of Bergen as a public school-house and afterward 
was incorporated, and that the use of it for church purposes 
was an afterthought. I have already referred to Mr. Sea- 
man's statement that it was just finished when his father's 
family came here to live in* 1805, and that at that time it 
was already used both for school and church purposes. In- 
deed it is certain that both were provided for ; for the lower 
story was fitted up as a school-room and the upper story 
arranged for religious services. After the incorporation of 
Jersey City in 1820, it was called ''The Town Hall," and 
was used, I am told, when the city ceased to be governed 
by the "Select Men," in 1838, for the induction of the 
Hon. Dudley S. Gregory, the first Mayor, into office. There 
has been a question whether it has always stood on the 
same foundation. Dr. Theodore"^ ,Varick* has a clear 
remembrance of two cells having been built underneath it, 
during his boyhood, for the retention of prisoners, and of 
his looking through the bars, with boyish awe, at the places 
of criminal confinement. And he has a very strong im- 
pression^ that the building was, at that time, moved back a 
considerable distance from its former position on the street. 
That the cells were built, there is no doubt. The place of 
them is pointed out to-day. But the recollection of others 
of the old inhabitants is so clear (^.^., Mr. David Smith and 
Mr. Seaman), that it has never been removed, that we 
judge it stands now where it always did, but that it was 
altered for the purpose already mentioned. As all agree, 
it faced on what is now Sussex Street. One authority (Mr. 
W. Stone, of Jersey City,) declares that it originally stood 
with the gable-end toward the street. It stood, however, 
alone. As our Presbyterian friends went up to it there was 
no other house near. A row of Lombardy poplars stood in 
front, and a pathway led from the Grand Street side across 
the lot. Those who attended worship from that side were 
accustomed to drive from Grand Street across the lot in the 

* Since deceased, 1887. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 15 

rear of the building. What is now Washington Street was 
opened. From below the Academy a continuous hill rose 
as one looked along Sussex to Greene Street. This was one 
of the forts alluded to. In the same manner a rising ground 
stood on Essex Street, at the foot of Washington Street, 
about forty feet distant. Here was the second fort. There 
was a redoubt, or hollow, along which soldiers could pass 
from one to the other in safety. This passed down Wash- 
ington Street. This I have from Mr. Seaman, who tells me 
that he has several times seen " little Stephen Decatur," as 
he calls him, bring out his men from the vessel below and 
exercise them in the place between the two forts, on the 
ground fronting the church where we now are. I mention 
this circumstance as it will account for the apparent dis- 
crepancy in the recollection of those who remember this old 
place of worship and school several years later, in their 
childhood. Some of these recall it as standing on a hill. 
To others it stands out in memory as being on a level, or 
even somewhat in a hollow. Approaching the place of 
worship from Grand Street, it did, of course, seem to be on 
a hill, because part of Grand Street was low. While stand- 
ing in front of the building and looking up east and south 
along Sussex Street and toward Essex Street, it seemed, 
viewed from the higher rising ground, to be (in contrast 
with the bank of sand) in a depression. 

In this unpretending building, through weakness and dis- 
couragements, those who preceded us worshipped God ; 
Presbyterians and Episcopalians both endeavoring to lay 
the foundations for these separate branches of the Church 
of God, for those who should come after them. And a 
number of families who still continue to attend the services 
of the Presbyterian, Reformed, and Episcopal churches re- 
tain pleasant memories of their regular rides to this old 
house of worship, in their early childhood. It was an early 
time indeed for Jersey City ; a time when the houses were 
so few in this now compactly-built city that a family car- 
riage starting from what is now Henderson and Second 

1 6 History of the 

Streets, and travelling to the church along the Newark road, 
could be easily seen for the whole distance by a person 
standing on Grand Street, beside the church." 

Who were the preachers who ministered to this congre- 
gation it is difficult now to tell. All agree that there was 
quite a number of them. Among these we are sure that 
Dr. Samuel Miller, then of New York, appeared occasion- 
ally. For he distinctly says : " During this period it was 
my privilege a number of times to preach to this congrega- 
tion, who continued worshipping in the school-house." Be- 
sides him, I find, in an old almanac loaned me by our At- 

* To give some further idea of the place in those early days, I quote 
some personal recollections from the Jersey City Evening Journal of 
Jan. 19, 1883, in a communication by the late Samuel Bridgart, who 
came to Jersey City in 1819, and lived here until his death. He says of 
the year 1819 : "At that time there were only 400 inhabitants in the 
tract, of whom Mr. David Smith is the sole survivor now living within 
its bounds." . ..." In the central portion were very high sand hills, 
on one of which a British fort was located. The residence of Mr. 
David Taylor now occupies the site of that fort. An intrenchment 
ran from the fort to the bay. The old revolutionary burying-ground 
was on the spot now bounded by Washington, Sussex, Morris, and 
Warren Streets, and when the sand hills were graded for building 
purposes, the remains of soldiers and others were unearthed. By 
order of the late Chas. Dummer, these remains were placed in sugar 
hogsheads and buried near the corner of Washington and Morris 
Streets. I saw the remains of a British officer dug up. His skull was 
in a good state of preservation. His epaulets and sword had been 
buried with him." . ... Of the primitive ferry, which then plied be- 
tween Jersey City and New York, he says : " There were two boats — 
th^ Jersey and the York. They were catamarans, with the paddle in 
the middle and the whole decked over. It took twenty minutes to 
cross the river in summer, but in the winter the boats were frequently 
caught in the ice and carried down as far as Staten Island. A Maj. 
Hunt was the proprietor at one time, but was bought out by Cadwall- 
ader & Colden. The ferriage was a shilling, or twelve and a half cents. 
On the site now occupied by Colgate & Co.'s soap factory stood Lyon's 
Hotel, whence the mail coaches plying between New York and Phil- 
adelphia started. The building still stands in Grand Street." .... 
"There were no churches in Paulus Hook at that time, but the 
Presbyterians occupied the old school-house, which now adjoins St. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City, \J 

torney-General, Robert Gilchrist, Esq., the name of the Rev. 
Eliphalet Price, of the Presbytery of Jersey, mentioned as 
a supply for Jersey (z. e., the towns of Jersey) and Hacken- 
sack ; and also the name of the Rev. Alexander Frazer, of 

The Presbyterians were the first to gather strength 
enough to build and occupy their own edifice. During 
almost all these years they had no regular pastor, nor in- 
deed were they legally incorporated, as I shall show, and 
for the all-sufificient reason, I suppose, that they had no 
property to be held. But they were now to take a new 

Matthew's Church. They divided possession with the Episcopa- 
lians. On the west side of the school-house, a beautiful spot, cov- 
ered with greensward and shaded by lofty poplars and spreading 
button-balls, and on the edge of the bank, under one of the latter, 
was the then famous ' Indian Spring,' to which the people flocked 
for potable water. There was another fine spring in Essex Street, 
west of Warren, which poured forth a cold stream of pure water out 
of a hollow log. There was no house near the school-house, the 
nearest being on what is now York Street, east of Greene Street, on 
Sussex Street, east of Greene Street, on Morris, east of Washington, 
and on Essex Street. All the land west of Warren Street was salt 
meadow, until the upland was reached. The only avenue of ap- 
proach to Paulus Hook was a road which has since become Newark 
Avenue. It may not be generally known, that at the foot of what is 
now Morgan Street — then called North Point — Robert Fulton built 
his first steamboat. The old wind-mill stood north of Montgomery 
Street and east of Greene Street, where the Pennsylvania Railroad 
yard now is. It was considered the best mill in America, and was 
owned by Isaac Edge. The old ' Jersey Bank ' was at the corner of 
Grand and Greene Streets, where the Morris Canal and Banking 
Company's office now is. INIr. Durand was president and T. B. Kis- 
sam cashier. The bonds were not stolen by the officers. There 
were few curbs aud gutters to the streets in those days. There was, 
of course, no railroad, and New York depended for its food supplies 
upon wagons. Teams of from four to six horses used to^come into 
the market ground, where Washington Square now is, all the way 
from Pennsylvania, bringing produce and returning with 'store 
goods.' On that little plot the produce of Sussex, Warren, Morris, 
Passaic, Bergen, and other counties changed hands." 

18 History of the 

step. And this forms the second epoch in the history of 
Presbyterianism in Jersey City — the building of \.\\€\x first 
house of worship. 

I say their first house of worship ; but I may add it was, 
by a number of years, the first house of worship built here 
by any denomination. And if any doubt should exist 
whether the Presbyterians were the first to hold religious 
services in this city, certainly none exists, that in God's 
good providence they were the first to build a house 
for His worship. And indeed it was so truly the only 
regular church building in the place for several years, 
that, on the Sabbath, persons of all denominations — Epis- 
copalians, Reformed Dutch, and others as well as Presbyte- 
rians — were, in the habit of attending service there, although 
the church was distinctively Presbyterian. 

In Dr. Miller's paper, already referred to, we read as fol- 
lows: "A short time before the year 1824 they called the 
Rev. James S. Olcott to be their minister. He was their 
first stated pastor, and, under his ministrations, they became 
so far strengthened and encouraged as to undertake the 
erection of a house of worship." 

At this time, therefore, I find the first notice of the incor- 
poration of the congregation. I hold in my hands the orig- 
inal paper, endorsed " Incorporation of the First Presbyterian 
Church and Congregation of Jersey City," and marked as 
recorded in the Clerk's office in the County of Bergen, on 
the 24th day of December, 1825.* This paper sets forth 
that the subscribers have been duly elected trustees of a 
church and congregation in Jersey City, have taken the pre- 
scribed oaths, and that the church is to be known and distin- 
guished by the name and title of " The First Presbyterian 
Church and Congregation of Jersey City." And then follow 
the signatures and seals of the first trustees, six in number: 
Samuel Cassidy, Robert Gilchrist, E. R. Dayton, John Con- 
dit, John Seaman, A. J. Yates. I wish you to note this 

* Book W. 2 of Deeds. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 19 

fact, for it has been doubted whether this was ever a Pres- 
byterian organization. And even within a few days I have 
heard it intimated that there was some doubt whether it 
was a Presbyterian or a Reformed Dutch. This point, yoti 
see, is clearly settled. 

As has already been mentioned, the Rev. James S. Olcott 
had now been for several years their pastor, and they went 
on to build a suitable church. The money for the building 
was raised in good part by him from various quarters. Dr. 
Miller's words are : " In this enterprise Mr, Olcott was act- 
ive and successful. He solicited contributions not only from 
the members of his own congregation, but from the friends of 
Presbyterianism in the neighboring parts of New Jersey and 
in the city of New York." For the lot on which the build- 
ing was placed the congregation was indebted (as were also 
so many other Churches — the Episcopal, the Methodist, 
the Catholic, and finally this church where we now are) to 
the liberal foresight of the company called " The Jersey As- 
sociates," who, as already stated, became the proprietors of 
what was called " Paulus Hoeck," and who immediately 
laid out certain portions of land for church purposes. Mr. 
David Smith, of this city, states that this was in 1804. On 
application to these, at different times as they were needed 
by the several churches now occupying the ground, deeds 
for four full lots each were granted to four different c^enomii- 
nations — Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Method- 
ist — in a straight line running through from Sussex Street 
to York Street. The first occupied wdiS that of the Presby- 
terians. The appropriation of this was peculiar. At first 
it is said to have been offered ^ by the Associates to an or- 
ganization that might possibly be formed by the Dutch 
Classis on the south side of Grand Street as far back as 
1807, provided they would erect a suitable building within 
two years ; and also that an application was made by the 
Rev. John Cornelison, of Bergen, and the Rev. Peter Stry- 

* Dr. Taylor's History, p. 343. 

20 History of the 

ker, of Belleville, to the Classis to have such an organization 
effected, at " the desire of the inhabitants of Jersey City." 
A committee was appointed by the Classis and ministerial 
supplies provided ; but in 1808 the committee reported that 
there were too few communicants and that the. organization 
was impracticable. The gift, therefore, was not made, and 
the ground lay unappropriated until 1825, when the same 
land was deeded to " The First Presbyterian Church of Jer- 
sey City," then worshipping in the "Town Hall," for the 
purpose of erecting a church. We shall see presently that 
this title was some time after relinquished and the land was 
transferred to the Reformed Dutch Church, who now hold it. 
I hold in my possession an extract from the records of the 
Jersey Associates. It appears that the order of application 
for the Presbyterians was as follows : The first application 
was made by the Rev. Alexander G. Frazer, of the Presby- 
tery of Elizabethtown, for land in order to build a church 
and for a cemetery, in behalf of " The Presbyterian Church 
of Jersey City and Harsimus." This was as far back as Sep- 
tember 5, 1818. On the second day of November, 1818, 
leave was granted, and four lots on the north side of Grand 
Street were donated and accepted. , The grant was made to 
them under the title of " The Presbyterian Congregation of 
Jersey City and Harsimus," and the proviso was added that 
the building be erected in three years from date. This land 
was the same as that afterward occupied by the Catholic 
church in Jersey City. From the same document I find 
that soon after, or on the 9th day of November, 1818, 
Mr. John P. Durand was appointed a committee to select 
other lots than those chosen. He reported at the next 
meeting, and the lots assigned were those on the south side 
of Grand Street — the same as those -in 1807 offered to the 
Reformed Dutch and not appropriated from failure to 
comply with the conditions. At the same meeting Mr. 
Kissam, as secretary, applied for ground on which to build 
a Protestant Episcopal church.* The condition above- 

* Statement in MS. given me by the late Hon. D. S. Gregory. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 21 

named, of building in three years, was not fulfilled by the 
Presbyterians, and the land now twice offered by the Asso- 
ciates was still unappropriated. 

But in 1825 the Rev. James S. Olcott, having now become 
the pastor of the church, again renewed the application, and 
a committee was appointed '' with power to agree to such a 
grant for the purpose aforesaid as they may deem advisa- 
ble." This application was made just one month and eight 
days after the incorporation of the church. The result was 
that upon the appointment of the committee, or soon after, 
the grant was renewed by the Associates and the lots on the 
south side of Grand Street were deeded to '' The First Pres- 
byterian Church of Jersey City." * The building was begun 
in 1826. The corner-stone was laid May i8th of that year 
by Col. Richard Varick, President of the Jersey City Asso- 
ciates.f This was exactly 50 years ago last May.;}: The 
builder was Mr. Jacob D. Van Winkle, of Bergen, with Mr. 
Stephen Seaman, now living in Jersey Avenue,§ one of his 
carpenters. It is stated by two persons still living in Jersey 
City that worship was held in the building before the pews 
were put in, the congregation being accommodated for the 
service with boards to sit upon. Mr. David W. Stone, born 
here in 18 16 (now of North Plainfield, N. J.), and whose fa- 
ther had a pew in the building, informs me that he remem- 
bers well that general subscriptions were made for the build- 
ing and taken out, in part at least, for pews, and that the 
pews were drawn for ; that each pew was valued at twenty- 
five dollars, and also that each one paid one dollar for paint- 
ing his pew. As the building had eighty pews on the ground 
floor, this, if all were sold, must have amounted to two thou- 
sand dollars. It is not probable that all were sold. 

The building, at first, had no end gallery. Indeed this 
was not put in, I believe, for eight or ten years afterward. 

* Dr. Taylor, in his Annals, p. 344, says that this was in 1828. This 
is evidently an error, as the building was begun in 1826. 
■f Winfield's History, p. 387. X A.D. 1876. 

§ 1876. 

22 History of the 

One corner of the building was upon the marsh ; and in 
heavy rains and high tides there was danger to the building. 
Dr. Benjamin Taylor, of Bergen, has a recollection of one 
occasion when Mr. J. Morrison, the elder, came up in haste 
to the Reformed Dutch farmers, and procured teams and 
wagons to hasten down and fill in, so as to prevent the 
sinking of one end of the house. 

To show the enterprise of the Presbyterian body, and 
also to suggest the difficulties with which they had to con- 
tend in erecting and maintaining this only house of worship 
in the place, I beg you to note that at this period the City 
of Jersey, so called, had been incorporated only about six 
years. It was, and continued to be for twelve years longer, 
under the rule of a Board of Selectmen and their President. 
And the inhabitants numbered less than one thousand.* 
Two years later (1829) there were only ten hundred and 
twenty-five. In this frame building our Presbyterian pred- 
ecessors met to worship God, under the pastoral care of 
the Rev. James S. Olcott, for about four years.f 

They and their pastor were in connection with what, at 
first, had been called the Presbytery of New York ; after- 
ward (in 1 8 10, that Presbytery having been divided) the 
Presbytery of Jersey, and within the bounds of the Synod 
of New York and New Jersey. But in 1825 it became the 
Presbytery of Newark, and waa, in connection with the 
Synod of New Jersey ; the old Synod of New York and New 
Jersey having that year been divided into two — the Synod 
of New York and the Synod of New Jersey. The elders 
were John Morrison, John Seaman, and Benjamin Decker. 
The trustees I have before mentioned. 

The very circumstances of the case as thus exhibited, and 
indeed their own statement to the Presbytery made after- 
ward on the event of their passing over to the Reformed 

* For these and following statements as to incorporation — induc- 
tion of first Mayor, etc. — see Winfield's History, pp. 287, 288. 
t Dr. Miller says " five or six years," which is plainly an error. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 23 

Dutch body,* shows that they were comparatively few, and 
that they got on only by painstaking and self-sacrifice. 

In the month of July the Rev. James S. Olcott sought 
from the Presbytery the dissolution of the pastoral relation. 
The cause for this, as stated by the Rev. Dr. Miller, was 
Mr. Olcott's failing health.-j- The request was granted, the 
pastoral relation was dissolved, and Mr. Olcott for the rest 
of his life preached elsewhere. This step produced another 
change in Presbyterian affairs in Jersey City. This was the 
transfer of the congregation and the property to the Re- 
formed Dutch Church. It forms the third salient point 
in the history of the Presbyterian Church here. 

A good deal of controversy arose on this subject at the 
time of the dedication of this building in which we are now 
assembled. Let me endeavor to give a true statement 
of the case, after a careful search. I think, that on the 
review, you will not judge anybody to have been much 
to blame. The following I find well confirmed by the 
statements from both sides, and by written documents 
in my possession. Let me state it, and close my remarks for 

It appears that after Mr. Olcott left them, the congrega- 
tion became even more feeble than before, and the Session 
had difficulty in getting forward. I find, however, from 
their memorial that they nevertheless tried faithfully to 
procure a pastor. Just before this time (in 1828) the pastor 
of the Reformed Dutch Church in Bergen, the Rev. John 
Cornel ison, had died, and his successor, the Rev. Benjamin 
C. Taylor, had been installed. A prominent candidate in 
the minds of some, for that pulpit, had been the Rev. Ste- 
phen H. Meeker, settled at Bushwick, on Long Island. A 
number of the Reformed Dutch people, who lived in Ahas- 
imus and Jersey City, were warm friends of his. These 

* See extract from the minutes of the Presbytery, in a statement 
of the elders, on a following page, 
t Dr. Miller's MS., before referred to. 

24 History of the 

persons, now seeing the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church 
in Jersey City vacant, proposed that Mr. Meeker should be 
called ; and they offered in that event to fall in with the 
enterprise. There was no proposal, however, on their part 
that its ecclesiastical relations should be changed. Moved 
by this impulse, the elders invited Mr. Meeker to preach in 
the Presbyterian Church. This fully accords with Dr. Mil- 
ler's statement, who says that " Mr. Meeker preached for 
them several times with great acceptance." The congrega- 
tion thereupon called him to the pastorate. Mr. Meeker 
delayed for some time to reply ; and finally, being pressed 
for an answer, he informed them that he could not accept, 
as he did not wish to leave the Reformed Dutch Church. 
According to the elders' own statement, the question was 
then distinctly put to him: "Whether he would accept a 
call to Jersey City if a Reformed Dutch Church was organ- 
ized ? " To this he responded in the affirmative. The Rev. 
B. C. Taylor was now approached, by Elder Morrison and 
others, to ascertain if the church at Bergen would yield 
some of its own members to the enterprise, provided the 
Presbyterian congregation went over to the Reformed 
Dutch body. Dr. Taylor tells me that he replied he would 
do nothing unless a regular application should be made to 
the Classis for organization, giving the number and names 
of the families who should apply. This brought the matter 
to a crisis. A public meeting of the Presbyterian congre- 
gation was called for the 3d day of January, 1830, to con- 
sider the question of a change of their ecclesiastical rela- 
tions. The meeting was held on Sabbath, after divine 
service. I think Dr. Taylor preached. It is in a manu- 
script of the church that Elder John Seaman presided, and 
Mr. Andrew Anderson acted as secretary. A statement of 
the efforts to obtain Mr. Meeker as pastor was then made, 
with the result that the trustees had solicited from him a 
distinct answer to the question, " If we become a Reformed 
Dutch Church, will you accept the pastorate?" and that he 
had replied in the affirmative. And the Session and trus- 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 25 

tees then and there asked the congregation to decide 
whether they would make the change. A statement was 
then made (I think by Dr. Taylor, for he tells me that he 
did make such a statement at some time) of the difference 
between the Presbyterian and the Reformed Dutch churches. 
These having been found to relate to minor matters affect- 
ing the time for which ruling elders are elected, the congrega- 
tion then passed two resolutions, as follows: " i. Resolved, 
That it is expedient to effect a change of our church rela- 
tions from the Presbytery of Newark to the Classis of Ber- 
gen of the Reformed Dutch Church." This was passed ; 
ayes 68, noes 2. Dr. Taylor tells me he heard one No, very 
decided, and he named the man. There might, he says, 
have been others ; but he did not hear them. The ofificial 
report gives two in the negative. *' 2. Resolved, That the 
Session and trustees of this church be and they hereby are 
empowered to carry this resolution into effect." One of 
the elders was about removing from Jersey City. The Ses- 
sion dismissed all the members, without exception, to the 
new Reformed Dutch Church to be organized, and then 
dismissed each other. The trustees of the church soon 
after executed a sort of quit-claim for the property to the 
trustees of the new Dutch Church ; and a subsequent act 
of the Jersey Associates, at the suggestion of the late Mr. 
Peter Bentley, transferred not long afterward the property 
to them. The Classis of Bergen met, and the application 
for organization was made. " A petition signed by forty- 
eight heads of families, and thirty-eight communicants, was 
presented to the Classis on the i6th day of February in that 
year (1830), and was acted upon favorably. A Consistory 
was duly elected and ordained, and thus the church was 
duly constituted."* The organization was thus effected, the 
property passed into their hands, and they became and still 
continue to be the First Reformed Dutch Church of Jersey 
City.f From the records of the Presbytery of Newark, un- 

* Dr. Taylor's Annals, p. 344. t In 1876. Disbanded April, 1886. 

26 History of the 

der date of October, 183O, we learn that " a communication 
from the elders of the church of Jersey City was received 
and read, and it was ordered that it be put on the files of 
the Presbytery." This communication was dated February 
16, 1830, the same day on which the petition (as above 
stated) was presented to the Classis. A copy of that com- 
munication, attested by the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery, 
I hold in my hands. It sets forth what I have stated, viz. : 
the change and the reasons for it from the beginning. It de- 
clares that the congregation was convinced that the step was 
the best to be taken under the circumstances. It then pro- 
ceeds to say that it was from no intended disrespect what- 
ever to the Presbytery that the case had not been first 
presented to the Presbytery for its consideration and that 
the Session had acted in accordance with the resolutions 
adopted by the congregation, but simply because it had 
been evident to them that to have waited until the Presby- 
tery had been consulted would have materially impeded 
their efforts to procure the minister whom they hoped to 
receive. The Presbytery heard this communication, but I 
think took no action. The church, I find, is regularly re- 
corded on their roll, sent to the General Assembly, for seven 
years afterward as the Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 
But in April, 1838, a committee of inquiry having been 
appointed by the Presbytery to ascertain the existing con- 
dition of the congregation, a report was made and the church 
was dropped from the roll of the Presbytery. This tells the 
whole story. And now, looking at all the facts of the case 
in evidence, I think the just line is drawn as follows : In 
the first place, the Presbyterians had no one to blame for 
the change but themselves. It was a clearly understood 
and almost unanimous determination of the people to pass 
over their organization and their property for what they 
considered to be a suitable equivalent (due support) to the 
Reformed Dutch body. And in the next place, if any one 
or more of them objected — as they had a right to do and 
did — it was still only the objection of a very small minority, 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 27 

and could not affect the validity of the transfer. It was, 
whether advantageous or not, the act of the Presbyterian 
congregation themselves, and they could justly find no fault 
with any one. On the other hand, it seems not unreason- 
able to suppose that our Dutch friends did not shed many 
tears upon the transfer being made. This, I say, tells the 
whole story. And all thoughts of debate or dissatisfaction 
may hereafter be buried out of sight. 

Thus, after continuing about twenty-six years in exist- 
ence from the first regular preaching of the Gospel to them, 
and exactly twenty-one years since its organization (from 
January 10, 1809, to January, 1830, when the meeting 
to make the change was held), the First Presbyterian 
Church of Jersey City passed out of existence by the act 
of the congregation itself, and for fourteen years afterward 
there existed no Presbyterian church in Jersey City what- 

Mr, Meeker continued pastor of the new Reformed Dutch 
church for only a few months, and then returned to his for- 
mer charge in Bushwick, L. I., where he remained until his 
death, which took place only a short time ago. The con- 
gregation went forward harmoniously in its new church re- 
lations. Presbyterians coming to the city, of which there 
soon began to be many, cast in their lot with the First Re- 
formed Dutch church, and thus for fourteen years they con- 
tinued to worship together. As an interesting reminiscence, 
I hold in my hand a diagram of the pews in the old church 
edifice before the gallery was put in, with the name of each 
occupant as they were seated ©n the Sabbath — Presbyte- 
rians and Reformed Dutch seated side by side. This was 
about the year 1836. This list of names and their position 
in the church would doubtless call up many pleasant and 
some sad memories to those who can recollect them — 
names, they are, honored in Jersey City ; a few of them 
still remaining with their descendants, but others gone be- 
fore to the assembly above. 

This Reformed Dutch church had in succession as pas- 

28 History of the 

tors* after Mr. Meeker, the Rev. James R. Talmage, Feb- 
ruary 8, 1 83 1. It was then still a feeble church. The con- 
nection lasted until January 30, 1833, during which time 
twenty-three were added to the church-roll. Mr. Talmage 
was followed November 19, 1833, by the Rev. Matthias 
Lusk, who continued pastor for fifteen years, until October 
26, 1848. During his ministry the communion-roll reached 
about one hundred, and the families attending about 
the same number. The church was refitted and a lecture- 
room attached, and the congregation was freed from debt. 

We pause here, as it was during his ministry that the later 
effort was made to introduce Presbyterianism again into Jer- 
sey City. 

In the summer of 1853 the old building was removed 
nearly opposite its former site to the north side of Grand 
Street, in order to make room for the present fine stone 
structure of the First Reformed Church, and was afterward 
known by the name of " Park Hall." It was destroyed by 
fire on the night of December 12, 1864. The origin of the 
fire is, I believe, unknown. 

This brings us to the fourth important period in this his- 
tory ; the time when a successful effort was made to revive 
and perpetuate the First Presbyterian Church of Jersey 
City, and which issued in the organization of our present 
congregation and the building of the edifice where we are 
now seated. The details of this movement are too many 
and too interesting to be taken up now. I shall, therefore, 
reserve this account until next Sabbath morning. 

And now, as we pass from this review of our early his- 
tory, so feeble and so changeful, let me remind you — 

I. That as beginnings are very important in all valuable 
earthly enterprises, so are they also in God's worship ; and 
hence the Scripture admonishes us not to despise the day of 
small things. How small was Abraham's family in the be- 

* For account of successive pastors during the following fourteen 
years, see Dr. Taylor's Annals, pp. 344, 345. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 29 

ginning, and now they are as the sand upon the sea-shore, 
and the consequences connected with them as a race, as 
immensely great as they are enduring. Compared with the 
gorgeous temple of Solomon, how small was the tabernacle 
in the wilderness built by a travelling people, and taken 
down and set up at every step and carried from place to 
place. And yet God was there in the beginning, just as 
truly as He was amidst the grand chorus of trumpets when 
they praised the Lord on high. How feeble were many of 
the early apostolic churches, and with what feeble steps did 
the church progress from land to land through continental 
Europe and in Great Britain. You see the same in Amer- 
ica — the log-church, the small rude cabin, the feeble and 
struggling congregation, and then the prosperous people 
and the commodious and even stately building. 

2. Let us remember this, and let us remember further 
that the zeal and self-sacrifice expended for these early ef- 
forts and for this progress are gifts and graces to be emu- 
lated. God approves them ; God blesses them. These men 
work and give and pray for the generations to come after 
them. Let us never then despise the day of feebleness in 
Christ's churches here, or in our Western wilds, or in foreign 
lands. God blesses the spirit which can give and labor and 
pray in faith and hope for such enterprises. Whereas, shame 
be to him who can unite and sail gayly on only when the 
tide is strong and the wind is favorable and the company 
large and enthusiastic. Such religious zeal partakes largely 
of the flesh. It is the spirit, which in true love for God's 
worship will have that worship and will provide for it at 
great odds and with great labor and under great difficulties, 
that shows itself to be of Heaven. 

3. And let us remember, too, that while such enterprises 
change, and churches change, and congregations pass away, 
yea, even God's own temple on Moriah crumbles to dust, 
the true church, the true temple is the spiritual one, the 
" living stones built by God for a habitation of God through 
the Spirit." And this lives and must live forever. And 

30 History of the 

when all the present and all past organizations, civil or ec- 
clesiastical, have spent their day and done their work and 
passed away, then shall be the gathering of all into the one 
assembly of the Lord — into the heavenly city where the 
apostle saw no temple therein, " for the Lord God Almighty 
and the Lamb are the temple thereof ; and they shall see 
His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads, and they 
shall reisfn forever and forever." 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 31 


" Unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put 
His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shall come." 
— Deut. xii. 5. 

"And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that 
thou hast made before me : I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put 
my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." 
—I Kings ix. 3, 

" In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless 
thee." — Exodus xx. 24. 

" Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness : 
come before His presence with singing-. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and 
into His courts with praise : be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." — Ps. c. i, 
2, 4- 

" I say unto you. That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that 
they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." 
— Matt, xviii. ig, 20. 

'* Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus ; likewise greet the church 
that is in their house." — Rom. xvi. 3, 5. 

" Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering ; (for he is faithful 
that promised); And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good 
works : Not forsaking the assembUng of ourselves together, as the manner of some 
is ; but exhorting one another : and so much the more as ye see the day approach- 
ing."— Heb. X. 23-25. 

God is unseen. But He is nevertheless to be worshipped 
by outward acts. He is indeed to be worshipped in spirit 
and in truth. And this is essential to all true worship of 
God. Without this, the costliest buildings, or the most 
elaborate and impressive ritual, or the most fervid service, 
or the most profound prostrations, are as nothing. This is 
all true. And yet, formed as man is with a body as well as 
a soul, his very spiritual exercises necessarily having their 
outlet (and especially during social worship) in external 
forms and ceremonies, there must be some such outward 
expression of his inward, spiritual devotions, or there can 
be very little social worship whatever. Now this fact makes 

32 History of the 

it a necessity that there should be some locality for the 
gathering together of God's people, " that with one heart 
and with one mouth they may glorify God." Hence the 
appointed yearly feasts of the Lord's house and the special 
place for their observance under the Old Testament. Hence 
God's promise respecting it : " In all places where I record 
my name I will come unto you and bless you." Hence the 
synagogues of Israel in Christ's time, which, "as His man- 
ner was, He regularly attended" (Luke iv. i6). Hence the 
place by the " river-side where prayer was wont to be 
made." Hence the divine injunction under the new dis- 
pensation, " Forsake not the assembling of youselves to- 
gether, but exhort one another, and so much the more as 
ye see the day approaching." And again, " If the whole 
church be assembled together in one place, and all prophe- 
sy and there come in one unbelieving or unlearned, he is 
reproved by all, he is judged by all, the secrets of his heart 
are made manifest, and so he will fall down on his face and 
worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed." 
Sanctified human nature cries aloud everywhere for acts of 
social worship and a place in which together to meet God. 
It is true that distinct and definite places set apart distinct- 
ively for the service of God are not essential to the fervor 
or spirituality or acceptableness of either private or social 
worship. Our fathers, like the early Christian Church, often 
enjoyed the purifying communications of the Holy Spirit, 
and felt the sweetness of Gospel truth when gathered to- 
gether on the lonely shore or in the private dwelling. In 
times of persecution they met together and found God 
amidst rocks hardly accessible to their pursuers, and expe- 
rienced the joys of God's worship, with no canopy over 
them but the heavens, as truly as they could have done in the 
fairest of tabernacles. And yet the Church has ever found, 
wherever opportunity offered, the great advantage of dis- 
tinct places appropriated to the worship of God, and asso- 
ciated in every pious mind with the holy exercises of Chris- 
tian worship, both for the due cultivation of the Church's 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 33 

own graces, and also for the most advantageous training of 
her young children in the ways of God's truth. Social 
worship, in a word, is, in its way, as truly a necessity for men's 
best spiritual welfare as is private worship. And it is no 
unmeaning phrase which the Psalmist utters when he cries : 
" In the midst of the congregation I will give thanks to Thy 
name "; or again, " I will pay my vows unto the Lord now 
in the courts of the Lord's house, in the presence of all His 
people." Nor was it all a superstitious feeling which in the 
new-born church in the earliest days prompted " all that be- 
lieved to be together," " continuing steadfastly, day by day, 
with one accord in the temple "; " all gathering together in 
Solomon's porch." For in these appointed places the Lord 
meets with His people, and in the joy and grace of true 
social worship, the earthly houses of His service become, as 
Bethel to Jacob, the places where heaven is opened and 
where we see, with spiritually anointed eyes, the ladder 
which reaches from earth to heaven, whereon the angels of 
God ascend and descend to bring blessings to the heirs of 


Oh, it is joy for those to meet, 

Whom one communion blends, 
Council to hold in converse sweet, 

And talk as Christian friends. 

'Tis joy to think the angel train, 

Who 'mid heaven's temple shine. 
To seek our earthly temples deign. 

And in our anthems join. 

But chief 'tis joy to think that He 

To whom His church is dear. 
Delights her gathered flock to see. 

Her joint devotions hear. 

Then who would choose to walk abroad 
While here such joys are given ; 
" This is indeed the house of God, 
And this the gate of heaven ! " J 

I have already traced the origin and progress of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Jersey City from its feeble begin- 
3 _ - 

34 History of the 

nings (soon after the incorporation of the Jersey City Asso- 
ciates, in 1804, and their purchase of the island known as 
Paulus Hoeck), in their early assemblages for divine worship 
in the old Academy about the year 1805, up to the time of 
the church's organization by the Presbytery of New York 
and the ordination of the first two elders by the hands of 
the Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D. (then pastor of the Wall St. 
Pres. Church in New York), Jan. 10, 1809; from this point 
onward in their continued worship in the Jersey Academy, 
on alternate Sabbaths with the Episcopalians, through min- 
isterial supplies from the Presbyteries of New York and of 
Jersey, up to the year 1824, when they received their first 
settled pastor, the Rev. Mr. Olcott, from the Presbytery of 
Newark. Then followed their legal incorporation, in 1825 ; 
their erection of their first house of worship on Grand Street, 
in 1826; the dissolution of Mr. Olcott's pastoral relation, in 
1829; and the final transfer of the congregation and the 
property, by general consent, to the Classis of Bergen, in 
1830. We have also seen that for fourteen years subse- 
quently the Presbyterian Church in Jersey City was extinct, 
Presbyterians, with the Reformed Dutch, worshipping har- 
moniously together in their old home on the south side of 
Grand Street. 

We have come now to the fourth important period in our 
history ; the time when a successful effort was made to 
revive and perpetuate the Presbyterian Church in Jersey 
City. The prominent movers in this scheme were generally 
attendants at the Reformed Dutch church. The Rev. Dr. 
Miller* states that the movement was prompted by a num- 
ber of individuals who had opposed the transfer of the con- 
gregation to our Reformed Dutch brethren (adding, "for on 
the vote of transfer there was a respectable minority"), to- 
gether with other Presbyterians who had joined them. The 
first part of this statement I regard as an error. Their own 
official statement, already referred to, gives only two in the 

* In his address at the dedication of the new building in 1845. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 35 

minority. Dr. Taylor heard only one loud No. Besides, it 
was nearly sixteen years afterward when Dr. Miller's address 
was delivered. As to the second part of the statement there 
is no doubt. Many other Presbyterians had come into the 
city. The population was growing rapidly and there was 
every prospect of success for the new movement. From 
1830, when the church had passed to the Dutch Reformed, 
the population had grown in 1845 from 1,100 to 4,258,* or 
nearly fourfold. One authority gives the population as 

Prominent among the promoters of this movement were 
the late David Henderson and Dudley S. Gregory. Indeed 
we may say that it was mainly owing to the energy and 
liberality of these gentlemen — both now gone — that the en- 
terprise was indebted for its successful and speedy accom- 
plishment. Let us now trace the steps taken to realize 
their plan. 

• As early as the year 1843, ^ find, by a careful comparison 
of dates, that there had been regular Presbyterian worship 
in Jersey City, continued for, at least, five or six months. 
This had been instituted by a number of Presbyterians who 
had come to the place from the north of Ireland and from 
Scotland. The meetings were held in the Lyceum on Grand 
Street. I believe that the chief leaders in that movement 
did not usually attend at the Reformed Dutch church in 
Grand Street. At the same time, it is known that some of 
those who were afterward prominent in the undertaking to 
establish our church were among those worshippers in the 
Lyceum. Mr. Henderson was. So was Mr. Gregory. So 
was Mr. Isaac Paterson, who presided at the first meeting to 
prepare the way for this church of ours. So were a num- 
ber of others who identified themselves afterward with our 
church as soon as it was organized. Some of these yet live 
among us. One lady tells me that she attended these 

* Winfield's History. 

t Article by Hon. D. S. Gregory published at the time. 

36 History of the 

meetings, to which I have referred, through a whole sum- 
mer. And this has been clearly ascertained to be in 1843. 
I was at first inclined to believe, from report, that these 
meetings took place in the " Temperance Hall " or " Wash- 
ington Hall," as it was then called, a building yet standing^' 
near the Police Station ; and, as almost the only public 
building existing at that time, was used for public purposes 
generally. But I have been convinced that the meetings in 
the " Temperance Hall" were those held by the Baptists, 
although they were sometimes attended by Presbyterians, 
and among others by some of those who were early identified 
with our own church. The place of the Presbyterian meet- 
ings, therefore, was, as I have already stated, in the Lyceum 
on Grand Street, and the services were held on both Sab- 
bath mornings and afternoons. 

The pulpit was supplied by several persons. But the 
regular stated supply was the Rev. David Sims. Mr. Sims 
was a native of Scotland,-}- an ordained minister, and taught 
school at Douglass farm on Long Island. He came regular- 
ly over from New York, and was, for the most part, enter- 
tained by Mr. Isaac Paterson, who then lived in Morris 
Street, below Washington Street, in a house which has long 
since been removed to give place to the brick dwelling num- 
bereql untij re^cently No. 49. I have diligently searched the 
records of the General Assembly in New York to find out 
Mr. Sims' ecclesiastical connection, but without success. 
He probably belonged to the United Secession body. Nor 
do I know why he withdrew from this enterprise or why 
the meetings came to an end. End, they did, however. 
But they were not without their result. For they afforded 
an additional proof of the growth of the Presbyterial element 
in Jersey City and helped to prepare the way for the move- 
ment which followed early in the next year. It began to be 

* In 1876, Since removed, about 1886. 

t The account of Mr. Sims is from a lady still living in Jersey City 
who attended the services, 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. ^ 37 

evident to those interested that the time had arrived for a 
more decided effort and for concerted action. And this led 
to the first meeting to bring about a regular Presbyterian 

The first meeting for this purpose was held in the month 
of February, 1844, at the house of Dr. William F. Clerk, 
and his brother, Mr. Andrew Clerk, in Morris Street, the 
fourth door from Hudson Street, on the north side. The 
object, as expressed in the invitation issued, was to take 
into consideration " the propriety of forming a Presbyterian 
Church, and erecting a house of worship in this city." Mr. 
Isaac Paterson, who still lives among us, though now very 
ill and failing,* was called to the chair, and Dr. William F. 
Clerk was appointed secretary. A free interchange of views 
was held, and it was at length " Resolved, That it is expe- 
dient to form a Presbyterian Church and to erect a building." 
Immediate measures were then taken to obtain organiza- 
tion from the Presbytery of New York, and to secure the 
stated services of a minister. The Presbytery of New York 
was chosen, rather than that of Newark, because it was 
more convenient, and because a number of those who would 
join the enterprise were in churches connected with that 
Presbytery.f There was living at that time in New York 
the Rev. John Johnstone, then preaching, for a short time, 
to the United Presbyterian Church in Jane Street. Mr. 
Johnstone was a native of Scotland, and had been settled 
as pastor over the Eglinton Street Church, in Glasgow, in con- 
nection with the United Secession (now U. P.) Church.:}: He 
had been an early friend of Mr. David Henderson (I believe 
that Mr. Henderson's father had attended on his ministry), 
and had come to this country in 1844, and was at this time, 
and when called to this church, a member of the Second 

* 1876. Since deceased. 

t Notes in MS. prepared by Hon. B. F. Randolph. 
X Note from Rev. James Harkness, of Jersey City, formerly of Scot- 
land, Since deceased, 1878. 

38 History of the 


Presbytery of New York. The attention of those engaged 
in the new enterprise in Jersey City was at once turned to 
him. And at the same meeting of which I have spoken (in 
February, 1844), Messrs. David Henderson, L. D. Harden- 
burgh', and E. C. Bramhall were appointed a committee to 
secure Mr. Johnstone to preach on Sabbath evenings. The 
report of the committee was favorable, and at a meeting, 
also held in Mr. Clerk's house soon afterward, it was re- 
solved to secure the Lyceum in Grand Street, and to fit it 
up for Sabbath-evening services. Mr. Johnstone preached 
for the new enterprise, and with so much acceptance, that 
at a meeting held in the same place, Feb. 28, 1844 (Mr. Leb- 
beus Chapman presiding), a committee was appointed to 
obtain subscriptions for the regular support of a pastor, and 
also to address a letter to Mr. Johnstone, requesting him 
to supply the pulpit regularly, and offering him one thou- 
sand dollars per annum, and holding out expectations, in 
the event of their being organized, that he would undoubt- 
edly be called to be their pastor. The committee was suc- 
cessful in their efforts to raise funds, and they wrote to Mr. 
Johnstone, who accepted the invitation to preach. A peti- 
tion was then prepared, under date of February 13,* 1844, 
requesting the Presbytery of New York to organize the 
young congregation. The petition is signed by forty-five 
names. They are : Thomas Stevenson, James Bunckle, 
James Morrison, Jr., William E. Smith, Andrew Clerk, 
Thomas W. James, Erastus Randall, Luther T. Stowell, 
Charles Scott, William F. Clerk, A. Gunn, Lewis D. Har- 
denburgh, David S. Huntington, Dudley S. Gregory, Henry 
J. Taylor, E. J. Stinson, Edward Stevenson, James Gopsill, 
Samuel Davidson, N. Sanderson, B. W. Ryder, Isaac Pat- 
erson, Samuel Craig, John Jelly, George- Duncan, William 
Rhoads, John Nash, William Clerk, Daniel Baldwin, T. L, 
Smith, John Bell, Henry Southmayd, John Perrine, Henry 
Amsden, E. C. Bramhall, Henry M. Alexander, David Hen- 
derson, David Paterson, J. D. Miller, Alexander Wilson, 

* This is, I think, a clerical error for March 13. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 39 

A. B. Marks, Oliver S. Strong, Lebbeus Chapman, Asa Van- 
dergrift, and David Easton. Many of these names are still 
familiar to us. Only five of them, however, owing to the 
changes by death and removal, are now in this congregation. 

The petition was favorably received by the Presbytery on 
April 16, 1844, and they appointed the Rev. Gardiner Spring, 
D.D., Rev. William W. Phillips, D.D., and Elders Sampson 
and Couch, to visit Jersey City and organize the church. 
The meeting of the congregation for organization was held 
in the Reformed Dutch Church on Grand Street (the old 
homestead), on Monday, April 22, 1844, and then and there 
the committee of Presbytery already named organized the 
church. The Rev. Dr. Phillips preached the sermon, and 
the Rev. Dr. Spring delivered an address, and ordained 
three elders — there chosen by the congregation — viz., Oliver 
S. Strong, Luther T. Stowell, and Lewis D. Hardenburgh. 
As the nucleus of the new church there were received by 
the committee of Presbytery the following eleven persons, 
on certificate from other churches, viz.: Oliver S. Strong, 
Mrs. Margaret Strong, Isabella Nicholson, Lewis D. Har- 
denburgh, Mrs. Ellen Hardenburgh, Lebbeus Chapman, . 
Mrs. Eliza Chapman, Edward Charles Bramhall, Luther T. 
Stowell, Mrs. Mary Stowell, and B. W. Ryder. Six of 
these were from the Reformed Dutch Church in Jersey 
City, and five from Presbyterian churches in New York. 
On the loth of May, 1844, the committee reported the or- 
ganization to the Presbytery of New York. The name of 
the new church was entered on their roll, and Mr. O. S. 
Strong took his seat in Presbytery as the representative of 
the new church. 

On the next day after the organization, a meeting of the 
Session was held and a summons of the congregation issued 
to call a pastor, if the way should be clear. The congrega- 
tional meeting was held on Monday, 29th April, 1844, at 
the Lyceum.* There was but one nomination. The Rev. 

* April 29, 1844. The same day of the year upon which, forty-four 
years afterward, the closing exercises were held in the church building. 

40 History of the 

John Johnstone was unanimously elected as pastor, at an 
annual salary of one thousand dollars. The Rev. Dr. Will- 
iam W. Phillips presided, by invitation, at this meeting. 

The call having been duly presented by the Presbytery 
and accepted by Mr. Johnstone, the meeting for the installa- 
tion of the pastor was held in the Reformed Dutch Church 
in Grand Street on Monday, May 20, 1844. At this service 
the Rev. John Goldsmith, of Newtown, L. I., preached from 
Matthew xvi. 18 — " Upon this rock," etc. The Rev. Jona- 
than Greenleaf, of Wallabout, Brooklyn, presided. The 
Rev. Edward D. Smith, of Chelsea Presbyterian Church, 
New York, gave the charge to the pastor, and the Rev. 
Jared Dewing, of Greenbush, N. Y., the charge to the peo- 
ple, and closed with prayer. The Sabbath-school was begun 
by a call on the people for teachers on Sabbath evening, 
May 4th, and the organization of the Sabbath-school took 
place soon afterward. Mr. Lebbeus Chapman was the first 
Superintendent. The meeting for formal organization as a 
corporate body had been held in the Lyceum, March 5, 
1844, and at that meeting the following gentlemen were 
elected trustees, viz. : Dudley S. Gregory, David Hender- 
son, Lewis D. Hardenburgh, Oliver S. Strong, Henry 
Southmayd, Erastus Randall, and Henry M. Alexander. 
Oliver S. Strong was elected President of the Board of 
Trustees and Henry M. Alexander was elected Secretary.* 
The first communion service was held June 30, 1844, and it 
was ordered to be administered on the last Sabbath of each 
quarter. At this first communion eight members were re- 
ceived on certificate and two on profession of their faith. 
The names of these are as follows : Alice M. Johnstone, 
Margaret J. C. Johnstone, Nancy Scott, Emily Hubbard, 
Thomas H. Shafer, Isabella Stewart, Margaret Caldwell, 
and Harriet Randall (on certificate), and Isabella Lightbody 
and Erastus Randall (on profession). Thus, with a congre- 
gation numbering forty-five heads of families, and with a 

* Notes in MS. prepared by Hon. B. F. Randolph. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 41 

communion-roll of twenty-one members, the Presbyterian 
Church of Jersey City was revived after a silence of fourteen 
years and sent forward on its mission. 

The way was now open for some movement to erect a 
new house of worship and a home for the resuscitated 
church. Even before the installation of the pastor had 
taken place, plans were already well matured (in the spring 
of 1844) foi" this purpose, the result of which was the erec- 
tion of the building in which we are now assembled. I do 
not know that originally it was the purpose of those in the 
lead of the new enterprise to complete their design by re- 
erecting the old Wall Street church if it could be purchased. 
Yet this idea must have occurred to them ; for I find by a 
comparison of dates in our own trustees' records and those 
of the trustees of the First Presbyterian Church in New 
York, that before that congregation had determined to build 
entirely anew and to relinquish the use of the material of 
the building in Wall Street (which was after May, 1844), 
our trustees had on April 13th of that year not only con- 
ceived the idea of the purchase of the Wall Street building, 
but had appointed as a committee, Mr. O. S. Strong, Presi- 
dent of the Board, and Mr, Henry Southmayd to confer with 
a committee of the trustees of the First Church in New 
York, with full power to make the purchase of the Wall 
Street church if it could be bought. And on the i8th of 
April the same committee were empowered to close the 
purchase on whatever terms were possible. Indeed, I think 
that the idea of selling their building at all was first sug- 
gested to the Wall Street people by our trustees ; for the 
records in New York as late as May 13, 1844, state that the 
Wall Street congregation were still in doubt whether they 
would not build an improved edifice from the old material ; 
and it was not until June 20, 1844 (or over two months after 
the appointment of our committee), that they mark the first 
application from our Board of Trustees for the purchase of 
the building, and refer the matter to their building com- 

42 History of the 

With what particular person the idea originated of under- 
taking the novel enterprise of conveying a stone edifice so 
far and reproducing it in its original proportions, I do not 
know ; although, as I said, it is quite certain that it came 
from this side of the river,* The building originally stood 
on the north side of Wall Street, between Broadway and 
Nassau Street, and nearly opposite New Street. 

And now, as the enterprise was a novel one, and espe- 
cially as this beautiful building, which has so long been an 
ornament to our city, has a histor}', I may turn aside in 
closing this discourse to speak a few words of what was the 
First Presbyterian Church of the city of New York. 

The history of the church building which we occupy goes 
back to the very rise of Presbyterian worship in the city of 
New York, and hence we must extend our view to that 
point. The rise of the Presbyterian Church in New York 
dates from the year 1707, almost one hundred years before 
the beginnings of Presbyterian preaching, as I have shown 
you, in Jersey City. The materials for forming such a 
church in New York at that time were a number of 
French Protestant Huguenots and of Presbyterians from 
Scotland and Ireland. The first motion toward organic 
life was in the preaching of two Presbyterian ministers — 
the Rev. Francis McKemie and the Rev, John Hampton 
from Virginia, in the house of Mr. William Jackson, in the 
lower part of Pearl Street. These gentlemen were arrested 
by the order of Lord Cornbury,f Governor of New York 
province, for preaching without a license in the province, 
Mr, McKemie was confined two months, and after trial, 
though set free, was sentenced to pay as costs ^83 "js. 6d. 
This was in 1707. This persecution did not kill Presbyte- 
rianism, however. The congregation worshipped in private 
houses. Ten years later the first organization took place. 

* Mr. Andrew Clerk's recollection was, I believe, that it was first 
proposed by Mr. David Henderson. 
t Discs way's " Earliest Churches of New York," p. 131. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 43 

In 1717 John Nicholl, Patrick McKnight, Gilbert Simpson, 
and Tliomas Smith, with a few others, were organized as a 
Presbyterian church and connected with the Presbytery of 
Philadelphia. They called the Rev. James Anderson, of 
that Presbytery, who was thus the first settled Presbyterian 
minister of New York City. 

About this time a small diversion was made by some who 
preferred the usages of the New England churches. An 
inconsiderable number left the new organization and were 
served by Mr. Jonathan Edwards, then a young man of 19, 
and afterward the world-wide-known President Edwards of 
Northampton Church and of Princeton College. This di- 
vision, however, soon, subsided. Mr. Edwards declined to 
remain, and the party who had withdrawn returned. The 
Wall Street church was thus always Presbyterian, and never 
Congregational, as has been asserted. 

The First Presbyterian Church of New York at first wor- 
shipped in the City Hall, which then stood where now the 
United States Treasury building stands, at the corner of 
Nassau and Wall Streets. And they continued there about 
three years.* They were not, however, all this time with- 
out thinking of building. In 17 18, or one year after their 
organization, they had purchased lots on Wall Street, near 
Broadway, the same site on which the building we now oc- 
cupy formerly stood. And in 1719 the first Presbyterian 
house of worship in that city was built. Funds for the 
purpose were obtained not only in this country, but from 
abroad. A charter was obtained from " the Council." But the 
Vestry of Trinity Church interfered. They had great influ- 
ence at court, and the authorities for more than half a cen- 
tury refused a charter of incorporation to the Presbyterian 
Church in New York, and what was more, they thus pre- 
vented the church from receiving as a corporate body any 
legacies. I ought to add now, that this act of intolerance 
on the part of Trinity was more than atoned for, however, 

* Disosway's " Earliest Churches," p. 133, et seq. 

44 History of the 

when (after the war of the Revolution) the Vestry of that 
church generously opened their doors — St. George's and 
St. Paul's chapels — to the Presbyterians of Wall Street and 
of the Brick Church, whose edifices had been left by the 
British untenantable, to hold regular services. And these 
were used by the Presbyterians until the year 1784. And 
especially was it atoned for when the same Vestry donated, 
for the support of the oldest Presbyterian minister in New 
York, a house in Beekman Street, the interest of which 
(about $500, I believe,) was enjoyed for years by the Rev. 
Gardiner Spring, D.D., and since his death is to-day, I be- 
lieve, received by the Rev. Dr. McElroy, the oldest living 
minister now in New York.* As the authorities denied incor- 
poration the Presbyterians were obliged to vest their title 
for building and ground in the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland. And so the title stood for sixty years, 
or until after the Revolution, and then the Trustees of the 
General Assembly reconveyed the property to the Trustees 
of the Wall Street church.f The building thus erected in 
Wall Street in 1719 remained until 1748. 

And now we reach the interesting occasion for erecting 
the second Wall Street edifice. In 1740 the Rev. George 
Whitefield came to America. The Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton 
had been, from 1726J the pastor of the Wall Street church, 
in the place of Rev. Mr. Anderson, who had resigned. And 
Mr. Pemberton was the only minister in New York who 
would open his pulpit to Whitefield. To this congregation 

* In 1876. 

t "William Smith, in his 'History of the Province of New York,' 
published in London, 1757, states that the grant of a charter of in- 
corporation was refused by Col. Schuyler, also by Gov. Barbour, and 
those who held the title to the church property in Wall Street con- 
veyed it March 16, 1730, to the Moderator of the General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland; and the General Assembly, August 15, 
1732, executed, under seal, an instrument declaring that the property 
was held for the use of the Presbyterians residing in or near New 
York." (Notes in MS. by Hon. B. F. Randolph.) 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 45 

in Wall Street thus is due the honor, under God, of paving 
the way for Whitefield's influence in New York. The effect 
of Whitefield's preaching, in the additions to the Wall Street 
church, was so great that the house became too strait for 
the families of worshippers. And this led to the construc- 
tion of the second Wall Street building, which was the 
same one of 1 719 thoroughly renewed and enlarged in 1748. 
Mr. William Smith, in his " History of New York," pub- 
lished 1757, just referred to,* describes this reconstructed 
building as " being of stone, railed off from the street, 80 
feet long and 60 wide. The steeple was raised on the south- 
west end {i. e., in front and toward Broadway), and was 145 
feet high." 

The congregation in 1757 consisted of from twelve to 
fourteen hundred souls, and was under the charge of the 
Rev. David Bostwick. And then Mr. Smith adds what I 
want you particularly to note : " In the front, toward the 
street, between two long windows, is an inscription, gilt and 
cut in black slate, six feet in length." I wish you to note 
this because there is a singular coincidence which I have 
discovered, which links that fine old Wall Street building 
of 1748 with our own history, and the removal of the later 
building (its successor) to Jersey City. That tablet was not 
of black s/ate, as Mr. Wm. Smith says, but of black marble, 
els I will show you presently. He does not give the inscrip- 
tion. But the inscription was this — it was written in Latin : 

Auspicante Deo 

Hanc -^dem 

Cultui Divine Sacram 

In perpetuam 



Prime fundatam 

Denuo penitus Reparatam 

Ampliorem et Ornatiorem 



* Randolph's Notes in MS. 

46 , History of the 

Neo-Eboracensis Presbyteriani 

In suum et suorum usum 


In hac Votiva Tabula 

D. D. D. g. 

That is, — 

Concordia, Amore, 

Necnon Fidei, cultus et morum 


Suffulta clariusq' Exornata 

Annuente Christo 
Longum perduret in uiEvum. " 

Under the good hand of God, 

This temple 

Sacred to the perpetual celebration 

of Divine Worship, 

First erected 

In the year of our Lord 17 19, 

and afterwards thoroughly reconstructed 

and built larger and more beautiful 

A.D. 1748, 

The Presbyterians of New York, 

Building it 

For the use of themselves and their children, 

In this votive tablet 

Give, Devote and Dedicate. 

May it, supported and 

Far more illustriously adorned 

By concord, love, and also by 

Purity of Faith, of worship and of discipline 

Under Christ's favor 

Endure through a long distant future. 

A beautiful inscription and a prayer truly answered. Now 
for the coincidence. This building stood until 1810 (sixty- 
two years), and then gave place to the present building with- 
in whose reconstructed walls we now sit. In putting up the 
building of 1810 in Wall Street, however, or afterward, that 
old tablet, praying for a long continuance of divine worship 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 47 

in the edifice, seems to have been mislaid until it was for- 
gotten. But when the church was sold to our trustees, to 
be transferred to Jersey City, suddenly the old tablet (now 
seen to be of black marble) is brought to light. And, in 
searching the records of the trustees of the First Presbyterian 
Church of New York, I find that at the very same meeting 
of the Board, April 22, 1844, which records that the contract 
for the sale of the building to the Trustees of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Jersey City had been signed, there 
follows immediately this notice, viz. : "The Treasurer re- 
ported that he had found in the old church-yard grounds in 
Wall Street, a Tablet of black marble executed in 1748 with 
the following Latin inscription " (which is there given as 
above), " which tablet he had caused to be removed to the 
new grounds, and recommends that the same be inserted in 
the Tower of the new church in Fifth Avenue." It was in- 
serted, as the present pastor,* the Rev. Wm. M. Paxton, 
D.D., informs me, in the pastor's study in the church, and 
there it remains to this day. Thus, at the very time when 
the church building was about to be demolished and then 
transported in a renewed form for a new generation, the old 
prayer written in marble ninety-six years before, comes to 
light as a witness that the prayer was heard and answered. 
And now I must state another singular fact regarding Wall 
Street church and Whitefield. While Whitefield was in Phila- 
delphia preaching on one occasion at night, there stood a 
young boy holding a lantern to give light to the preacher. 
The boy became absorbed in the preacher's theme, and 
when Whitefield, at length threw the fervor of his soul into 
one of his tremendous appeals, the boy, overcome, dropped 
the lantern, which was dashed to pieces. That boy, then 
converted, was afterward the celebrated Dr. John Rodgers, 
a native of Boston, called in 1765 from the Presbyterian 
Church at St. George's, Delaware, to be the pastor of the 
Wall Street church, and under whose abundant labors that 

* A.D. 1876. 

48 History of the 

church became doubled and even trebled in attendants, and 
who is styled the father of Presbyterianism in New York. A 
grandson of his, as you know, and others of his descendants 
were, until their removal elsewhere, worshippers with us in 
this church almost from its organization. Years after the 
occurrence above narrated, and when Dr. Rodgers was set- 
tled, Whitefield recalled, it is said, the circumstance to his 

During the existence of the building put up in 1748, the 
numbers of Presbyterians had so much increased, that soon 
after Dr. Rodgers' installation, a new brick building was 
erected and a congregation gathered as a Collegiate church 
with that of Wall Street. This building was placed on the 
triangular lot at the corner of Nassau and Beekman Streets, 
called "The Vineyard." For funds to build this church, 
Dr. Rodgers solicited subscriptijons " literally from door to 
door." It was known as the " Brick Meeting-House," and 
was dedicated January i, 1768. During the war of the 
Revolution the Wall Street church became a barrack for 
soldiers, and the " Brick Meeting-House " a hospital where 
scenes, terrible to relate, are recorded to have happened.* 

Some time after the war the Wall Street congregation 
purchased a lot alongside of the church and erected a 
charity school under the care of the Session and trustees. It 
went into operation in 1799, and was supported by annual 
collections, and was finally placed under the Public School 

The Rev. Jas. Wilson, made colleague of Dr. Rodgers in 
1785, remained two years, and in 1789 the Rev. Samuel 
Miller was ordained and installed ; and he, with Dr. L. Mc- 
Knight and Dr. John Rodgers, the senior pastor, were Collegi- 
ate pastors of the two churches. In 1798 a third Collegiate 
church was built in Rutgers Street, with the Rev. Philip 
Milledoler, D.D., as the first pastor, with the understanding 
that he should serve that church entirely. So things con- 

* See Disosway, p. 145, et seg. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 49 

tinued until the year 1809, when the collegiate plan being 
found burdensome, the churches amicably separated. Dr. 
Samuel Miller was pastor of the Wall Street church and the 
Rev. Gardiner Spring was soon settled over the Brick church, 
Dr. Rodgers continuing his connection with both. And 
Dr. McKnight voluntarily resigned.* 

Here once more I pause, to resume this history on the 
next Sabbath. 

Beloved Brethren : As we review this picture and repeat 
the many honored names of the past, what a deep impres- 
sion we get of the changeableness of all that is here. We 
see in this present day, as in all the previous history of God's 
people, that the " fathers pass away and the prophets do not 
live forever." And yet, how true it is, that the faith of 
God's real people is ^always the same, and its fruits as mani- 
fest at one time as at another. And how God's people are 
linked together by their distinctive principles, by their char- 
acter and by their deeds of piety, from generation to gen- 

" Let saints below in concert sing 

With those to glory gone ; 
For all the servants of our King 

In earth and heaven are one. 

" One family — we dwell in Him — 
One church, above, beneath. 
Though now divided by the stream, 
The narrow stream of death. 

" One army of the living God, 
To His command we bow. 
Part of the host have crossed the flood 
And part are crossing now." 

Yes ; passing on to the Kingdom prepared. Here, for a 
time only to do our work in our own day and to do it in 

* Disosway, p. 149, says, " Dr. McKnight voluntarily continued his 
connection with both churches." This is doubtless a typographical 
error by repetition of the previous lines about Dr. Rodgers. 


JO History of the 

faith and love and hope. Let us gather zeal and courage 
from those whose labors we have been contemplating, to do 
our part faithfully ; and here, in this city, where we inherit 
the labors of those gone before us, let us show by our deeds 
that we are indeed followers of those who through faith and 
patience inherit the promises. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 51 


" And I saw no temple therein : for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the 
temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in 
it : for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." — Rev. 
xxi. 22, 23. 

This is one of the texts which not only convey a truth, 
but teach another truth by contrast. The description is 
that of the heavenly city, the symbol of the heavenly rule 
over the kingdom of God on the renewed earth. And the 
meaning is that our condition will be so changed that the 
glorified saints will not need, as now, those appliances for 
social worship and for near approach to the King of glory, 
but will have direct and immediate vision of and access to 
Him. The truth by contrast is that in our present state of 
preparatory training, and of " absence from the Lord," we 
do need these helps. And hence all through the experience 
of the Church we have these temples for God's worship, and 
they have a history — a history often of the deepest interest — 
a history of man's labor and self-denial and liberality, and 
also of God's gracious favors — a history which will be bright 
with holy gladness forever as it is remembered that " this 
and that man was born there." The memory of them will 
not die out then in the future, but will live, and God will 
be praised for these aids to us while passing on to glory. 

Let us, then, turn again to review further God's mercy 
toward this church where He has gathered us. 

On the last Sabbath I gave you an account of the suc- 
cessful attempt to revive the First Presbyterian Church in 
Jersey City in the year 1844, with the antecedents of that 
effort. This seemed to render needful a summary, in part, 
of the history of the First Presbyterian Church in New 

52 History of the 

York, including the early beginnings of that congregation 
in 1707 ; their organization in 1717 ; the building of the first 
edifice in Wall Street in 1719 — its enlargement in 1748 ; the 
subsequent collegiate history with the Brick church and 
then with the Rutgers Street church, under the pastoral 
care of Drs. Rodgers, McKnight, Miller, and Milledoler, up 
to 1 8 TO, when the collegiate relation ceased. Throughout 
all this time the Wall Street church building of 1748, already 
described, remained. The time was now arrived when the 
congregation in Wall Street determined to rebuild again, 
and this time on a still larger and handsomer scale. This 
brings us to the erection in New York in 1810 of the pres- 
ent building in which we now are. This edifice was in the 
course of re-erection from December 9, 1809, to August 11, 
181 1. The congregation meantime worshipped in the old 
French Huguenot church in Pine Street. In May, 181 1, 
when the Presbyterian church was nearly finished, Dr. Rod- 
gers died, and Dr. Samuel Miller was left the sole pastor. 
The new edifice was built by the voluntary contributions of 
the members of the congregation, and is described as a 
" costly, noble, and large brown-stone edifice." It cost 
forty-seven thousand dollars. To give some idea of the ap- 
pearance of the building as it then stood in Wall Street, I 
am indebted to our elder, Hon. B. F. Randolph, who has 
gathered the following particulars from an article published 
March 20, 1830, in the New York Mirror, which gives a 
brief account of six of the early churches of New York City, 
accompanied by small engravings of the same.* One of 
these represents the Wall Street Presbyterian church " with 
the iron fence in front. The front of the church was then 
as it is now. The steeple was different. There was a base 
for the steeple, extending from the second-story window in 
front as now, above the ridge of the roof. Above this were 
two cupola-shaped structures, one over the other, of which the 
upper one was the smaller, each having six, or perhaps eight, 

* New York Mirror, vol. 7, p. 89. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 53 

windows, with a column between each two of the windows. 
Over the upper cupola was a small dome, with a rod extend- 
ing upward from the centre, on which were first a ball, then 
an ornament resembling a star with rays, and over that a 
vane. The fence and yard were level with the street, and 
the entrance to the church seems to have been level with 
the street also." The Mirror article states that " the edi- 
fice of 1810 is 95 feet in length and 68 feet in width. It is 
built of brown freestone, with pillars of the same in demi- 
relief, with Corinthian capitals." . . . . " The yard is small 
but neat, and is inclosed with an iron railing. The congre- 
gation is under the pastoral charge of Rev. Mr. Phillips." 

Dr. Miller continued to be the pastor for three years after- 
ward, when, in 18 13, he was called to the chair of Ecclesias- 
tical History in the Theological Seminary newly established 
at Princeton, New Jersey. He was succeeded first by the 
Rev. Philip Melancthon Whelpley, D.D., in 181 5, who died 
very young in 1824, and then by the Rev. Wm. W, Phillips, 
who was called from the Pearl Street church. New York, 
and installed January, 1826. Dr. Phillips was still the pastor 
when the building was removed in 1844 to Jersey City. 

This fine edifice of 1810 remained an ornament to the city 
of New York until 1S34. On September 13th, in that year, 
from some unknown cause, it took fire and was partially 
consumed. You see from this that the building, as we re- 
ceived it, was the church of 18 10 repaired. The following 
particulars of that fire, gathered by B. F. Randolph, Esq., 
are of interest. The Journal of Commerce, in an article 
copied into the New York Observer, September 20, 1834, 
stated that " On Saturday, September 13th, at about half- 
past five o'clock in the afternoon, the elegant church in 
Wall Street, known as the First Presbyterian Church, was 
discovered to be on fire between the ceiling and the roof, as 
indicated by smoke issuing through fissures of the latter." 
When the writer reached the upper window of the residence 
of a friend, which overlooked and nearly adjoined the church, 
he says : " A sheet of flame was streaming through the roof 

54 History of the 

a little to the east of the ridge and about two-thirds of the 
distance from the steeple to the rear of the building. For 
a considerable extent in every direction from this flame 
smoke was pressing upward through the shingles, and ere 
long the whole body of the roof was a mass of living fire, 
sending forth volumes of flame. Several thousands had 
congregated and were gazing with intense interest. The 
fire ascended the steeple both within and without ; the bell 
in the meantime being rung until the rope burnt off and 
portions of the roof fell through the ceiling into the body 
of the church. The steeple burned with more fury than the 
roof. The bell tumbled through the floors." The top of 
the cupola was but partially burned when the timbers that 
supported it gave way, and it came down with a heavy 
crash into the body of the church. The woodwork was de- 
stroyed. " The walls stood firm, and the stonework of the 
tower extended to the height of perhaps 60 feet. The 
insurance is $20,000. Most of the furniture was saved, 
such as chandeliers, cushions, and books," including the 
Bible and Psalm Book, valued as having been used in the 
time of Dr. Rodgers. " The origin of the fire is unknown, 
no fire having been carried into the building, to the knowl- 
edge of the sexton, for two months." 

Hon. Rynier H. Veghte, of Somerville, New Jersey, then 
residing in New York, was, at the time, connected with the 
fire department of the city of New York, and aided in the 
attempt to save the church. The longest ladder reached 
the base of the steeple, and with hose in hand Mr. Veghte 
ascended the ladder after Mr. George Robinson. As the 
latter was entering the building from the top of the ladder, 
Mr, Veghte, from his lower position, discovered the extent 
of the destruction already occasioned by the fire to the roof, 
and hastening to Mr. Robinson, succeeded in drawing him 
back just in time. They descended instantly to the street, 
when the roof fell in, and then the roof came crashing down, 
falling outward toward the street. The roof, steeple, and 
windows were entirely destroyed. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 55 

Within one year after this disaster the church was rebuilt 
at a cost, as I find from the books of the Trustees, far ex- 
ceeding the insurance of $20,000, and renovated into the 
beautiful edifice which, nine years later, we received at their 
hands, and which we now occupy. 

The great fire of 1835 in New York, did not reach it. It 
was reopened for divine service, as we find by a notice in the 
New York Observer of September 5, 1835, on Sunday, Sep- 
tember 6, 1835, on the very anniversary of the day when it 
was last occupied a year before. When completed it pre- 
sented in Wall Street exactly the same appearance as it does 
now in Jersey City, with the following exceptions : The 
building was then longer by one window ; there was in Wall 
Street no basement such as we now have. And the uphol- 
stering was of a light blue, which we also used for a number 
of years and then substituted eight years ago the present 
drab color. And the pulpit in Wall Street was of the same 
shape and appearance as it used to be here previous to the 
year 1868. 

This brings the history of the Wall Street church up to 
the year 1844, and its transfer to this city. 

The reason which led to the sale of the building was, of 
course, the determination of the congregation in New York 
to remove to the upper part of the city. For a number of 
years the tide of population, and especially of attendants in 
the churches, had been tending up-town. And the draught 
made upon the churches began now to be more and more 
seriously felt. In the case of the Wall Street church there 
were also additional reasons. I find from the records, that 
in rebuilding their edifice after the fire, they had expended 
more than double what was received by insurance. This 
difference had been raised by loans, and it lay as a debt 
upon the congregation. Besides, owing to the diminishing 
numbers in attendance the expense of maintaining the 
church and meeting the interest, occasioned for several years 
an annual deficit of over $4,000 ; until the debt amounted 
to what they call (and truly so for those times), the enor- 

56 History of the 

mous sum of $42,000. This led to the determination to re- 
move. It was hoped that the sale of the property would pay 
the debt, buy the new ground on Fifth Avenue, and build 
the church. The result was a great disappointment in this 
respect. But that was the expectation. As already inti- 
mated, up to May, 1844 (a full month after our Committee 
had been appointed to buy the church if possible, and to 
transport it), the congregation of the Wall Street church 
had by no means decided to relinquish the old material and 
to build entirely anew. Under that date I find the New 
York Building Committee, Messrs. Geo. B. Butler and A. R. 
Thompson, with the architect, proposing a plan for building 
a house of worship in either Gothic or Grecian style, in an 
enlarged and much improved form. It was to be 125 x 65 feet, 
with a tower 225 feet in height, and was to be constructed 
from the old material, at a cost of $34,000. The Building 
Committee presented the proposal, but made no recommend- 
ation. So the matter stood until the meeting of the New 
York Trustees, June 20, 1844, when the Building Committee 
from Jersey City presented the formal offer to buy and trans- 
port the edifice. The proposal, after its reference to the 
New York Building Committee, was finally accepted. The 
contract was signed Wednesday, July 10, 1844, on their part 
by J. Kearney Rodgers, President of the Board of Trustees 
in New York, and on our part by Oliver S. Strong, President 
of the Board of Trustees in Jersey City. The price of the 
building as it stood was not at first agreed upon. The offer 
on their part was to sell at $3,300. On our part the Com- 
mittee was authorized July 3, 1844, to offer $3,000, but if 
$3,300 was demanded, to take it for whatever it could be 
bought and also to contract for the removal of the church 
when purchased, and for its erection in Jersey City. The 
price finally agreed upon in the contract was $3,000. By a 
record in New York of August 23, 1844, the sale included 
the following items, viz. : '' The building, the iron railing on 
the east side of the building, the stone wall connected with 
the church and said railing and also the coping and flag- 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 57 

ging, the fixtures of the said church, including stoves, cush- 
ions, lamp, chandeliers, and carpets; it being understood 
that the tablets, bell, iron safe, and communion service, are 
exempted from the sale "; and the cash was to be paid on 
the 20th of August of that year. This money was advanced 
by Messrs. Dudley S. Gregory and David Henderson on a 
bond given them by the Trustees of the Jersey City church. 
It was also stipulated in the contract " that the purchasers 
shall remove the building and the rubbish created by taking 
down the same by the first day of September, 1844"; i- ^m in 
about eight weeks after the contract was signed. 

To complete the history of the case as to New York, I 
should add just here that the First Presbyterian Church of 
New York, having now disposed of their Wall Street edi- 
fice, of course decided to build entirely anew, and that the 
sale of all the Wall Street property brought the sum of 
$148,000. The corner-stone of the new church at the cor- 
ner of Fifth Avenue and Twelfth Street was laid Sept. 17, 
1845, just after the removal and erection of the Wall Street 
building to Jersey City, the congregation worshipping mean- 
time in the Union Theological Seminary Chapel in Univer- 
sity Place. The church was finished at a cost of $55,000, 
and was dedicated Jan. 11, 1846, Dr. Phillips delivering the 
dedication sermon from Ps. cxxiv. 1-3, " If it had not been 
the Lord, who was on our side," etc.* 

This is the place to state, in reference to the legal aspects 
of the sale, that it has been rumored that there was some 
legal objection raised against the sale of the Wall Street 
property to persons out of the State of New York, and that 
a decision was rendered establishing the legality of the sale. 
If there had been such a question raised and such a decision 
made, it would have been interesting and desirable to have 
it on record. And I was desirous of discovering the facts. 
But after various inquiries in the proper places, I do not 
find any stable ground for such a rumor. And I am in- 

* Disosway's " Earliest Churches," p. 142. 

58 History of the 

formed by Judge B. F. Randolph, who has kindly made the 
search, that if any such decision was rendered it has not 
been recorded. The only two facts which I have been 
enabled to discover having any bearing on this subject, are 
in the records of the trustees of the First Presbyterian 
Church of New York. The first is under date of June 20, 
1844 — at the same meeting when our trustees made offer 
to buy the church. It is there stated, after referring our 
application to the Building Committee, that the Committee 
advised, " That a petition be made to the Chancellor of 
New York in relation to the sale of the church and grounds 
in Wall Street, praying such an amendment as the Counsel 
of the Board may advise, and for a confirmation of the sales 
already made at auction." The other is under date of April 
8, 1846, where the form which had been adopted for a deed 
of pews in the new church building on. Fifth Avenue, to 
such as had owned pews in Wall Street, is recorded. In that 
form of deed these words occur : 

" Whereas, The corporation of the First Presbyterian 
Church of the City of New York, upon their application to 
the Court of Chancery of the State of New York for that 
purpose first had, and the order of said Court thereupon 
granted, did sell and dispose of the property of said cor- 
poration, situated on Wall and Nassau Streets in said city, 
and with the money received from the sale thereof did 
purchase other property on the Fifth Avenue of said city 
and erect thereon their present church "; " And, whereas," 

This shows that some application for leave to sell was 
made. But it is believed to have been the application made 
under the ordinary requirements in such cases, and not 
because there was any special doubt or difificulty in this 
case which called for a special decision. 

I return now to the re-erection of the edifice in Jersey City. 
The sale being now effected, everything was ready for the 
transfer. The next point was where to put the building. 
It was not at once decided to place it where it now stands. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 59 

On the contrary, the first idea was to set it facing on Sus- 
sex Street. And for this purpose, as the Jersey Associates 
had so liberally provided for church buildings in the way 
already mentioned, and as the Presbyterians had resigned 
the ground already donated to them to the Reformed 
Dutch congregation, application was made by Messrs. D. 
S. Gregory and Henry Southmayd for a like favor now. 
This application was very generously granted, on condition 
that the trustees of the church should make the formal 
application and give an acknowledgment of the receipt of 
the lots, so that no new donation of land should be expected 
for the same denomination. The grant of land this time 
was not, however, of four lots, as had been the case pre- 
viously to the other churches, but of two lots, it being 
understood that two other lots besides should be given by 
friends of the enterprise. These friends were found in the 
persons of Mr. D. S. Gregory and Mr. David Henderson. 
Each of these gentlemen gave one lot. Thus four lots were 
obtained facing on Sussex Street. Soon, however, this 
purpose was altered, and it was decided to make the church 
face on Washington Street. But on this spot the Asso- 
ciates had no lots. An exchange, therefore, was effected. 
Messrs. Henderson and Gregory held four lots on Wash- 
ington Street (viz., Nos. 41, 43, 45, and 47) adjoining the 
public square. They each gave one lot. In addition to 
these, Mr. Gregory gave a deed to the church for the other 
two lots (Nos. 43 and 45), and, by request of the Trustees 
of the church, the Associates then gave in exchange to Mr. 
Gregory for them, two lots (Nos. 27 and 29) on Sussex Street. 
Thus the four lots on Washington Street, with only a light 
ground-rent of $60 per annum, owned by the estate of W. 
W. Woolsey, and which had always existed upon the prop- 
erty, became, by three deeds, the property of the Presbyte- 
rian Church. 

But even now the location was not fixed. It was next 
thought best, if possible,* to place the church on Grand 
Street, especially as, two years before, the citizens, by a 

6o History of the 

vote, had acceded to a proposal granting leave to the au- 
thorities to modify the public square. Hence, on the 28th 
of April, 1844, it was resolved by the Trustees ''that the 
President of the Board be authorized to address a commu- 
nication to the Mayor and Common Council of Jersey City, 
proposing an exchange of the property on Washington 
corner of Sussex Street, now owned by the church, for the 
southwest corner of the public square, bounded by Wash- 
ington and Grand Streets, for the purpose of erecting their 
church thereon." But this proposal produced a loud 
clamor. Improper motives were insinuated. And the 
result was that the Trustees, under date of May 3, 1844, 
directed the President to withdraw the application, and the 
following letter was addressed to the Mayor and Common 
Council of Jersey City : 

" To THE Mayor and Common Council of Jersey City : 
" Gentlemen : — By direction of the Board of Trustees of 
the Presbyterian Church, I respectfully beg leave to with- 
draw the proposition made by them in the communication 
addressed to you on the 24th ultimo, in reference to an 
exchange of a portion of the public square for an equal 
portion of ground belonging to them. The Trustees hav- 
ing learned, with regret, that in making this proposition 
improper motives have been imputed to them in certain 
quarters, and being unwilling that the object in which they, 
with others of their fellow-citizens, are engaged should be 
connected with anything which might, in the slightest 
degree, lead to an excited and perhaps uncharitable discus- 
sion amongst any portion of the community, they take this 
the earliest opportunity to put the vexed question at rest. 
The Trustees, however, respectfully beg leave to state, that 
in making the said application to the Common Council they 
neither asked a favor from, nor sought to obtain any advan- 
tage over, the people ; but believing that the proposed 
modification of the public square had long been considered 
by a majority of the citizens as a desirable improvement of 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 6i 

the same, they merely renewed a proposition which had 
been acceded to by the city authorities about two years 
ago, after having been sanctioned by a vote of the people. 
" I am. Gentlemen, 

" Very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 
" Oliver S. Strong, President!''^ 

This ended the proposed change and brought the matter 
back to the former purpose, and the church was built where 
it now stands. 

The transfer was a great undertaking, and was watched 
by many with marked interest. It was done under the super- 
vision of Andrew Clerk, Esq., the architect whom you have 
all so well known as a resident among us and member of 
this congregation.f All the materials were brought over 
the ferry in carts by Mr. Richard Bumsted, of Jersey City, 
the builder, who still lives among us. An arrangement was 
entered into with the Ferry Co. to transport the materials 
at five cents a load. And it may give you some idea of 
the work to know that the company issued 7,456 tickets 
($372.80) for this purpose. The process of removing began 
in July and ended in September, 1844. The faced stone 
was regularly marked as it was taken down, and after being 
brought over was deposited in the lot now occupied by the 
" Club House,":}: and each stone as needed was put up again 
in its original position. The stone containing the tablet 
marking the date of erection was, however, a new piece. It 
was brought from Belleville in the winter, and such was the 
state of the roads that the truck lay mired for a consider- 
able time -until assistance could be obtained to extricate it. 
The inscription was cut on the ground here. Mr. Andrew 
Clerk, the architect, had been appointed on July 9, 1844, to 
superintend the whole work of erection, and the church was 

* No date in the printed form, but doubtless of May 3, 1844. 
+ Since deceased, 1886. % A.D. 1876. 

62 History of the 

built, upon the basis of a plan submitted by him at the same 
meeting. At the close of his labors. a very gratifying reso- 
lution of approval was tendered him for the care and success 
which had been shown in the work, and also for the liberal 
terms on which he gave his services. The contractor for 
the mason work was Mr. Wm. Bumsted, of Jersey City, and 
the carpenter work was assigned to Mr. John M. Trimble, 
of New York. The contract required in both cases that the 
work should be finished by April 15, 1845. The whole con- 
tract for transporting and re-erecting amounted to $13,394. 
This was exclusive of the basement, which it was decided to 
add to the original building. 

The work of erection having been started, Messrs. Strong, 
Gregory, and Henderson were appointed, Sept. 11, 1844, a 
committee to make arrangements for the laying of the 
corner-stone. And on Monday afternoon, the 30th of Sep- 
tember, 1844, the ceremony took place. In the previous 
week there had appeared, in the public prints, the following 
article : 


in Jersey City is in the process of erection, and will be a sub- 
stantial stone edifice of imposing appearance. Its dimen- 
sions are 62 by 72 feet inside the main room ; the toAver and 
vestibule occupying 18 feet in front. The height of the 
steeple from the ground will be 180 feet. Taken as a whole, 
it will not be exceeded by any church in this State in propor- 
tions and beauty. The contract for the work is in the hands 
of faithful men. The site is fronting west on Washington 
Street, which street is 80 feet wide ; south, along Sussex 
Street, north, on one of the public squares, and is surrounded 
by shade trees of considerable size. The ground was given 
by the Associates of the Jersey Company and by two of our 
citizens. The Trustees are making preparations to lay the 
corner-stone, with religious ceremony, on Monday after- 
noon, the 30th inst The first church erected by 

the Presbyterians in this place .... was transferred to the 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 63 

Reformed Dutch Church, which congregation now occupies 
it, and, we are happy to say, are in a prosperous condition. 
As the city and suburbs have more than quadrupled in in- 
habitants since then, there being now about 5,700 inhab- 
itants therein, we hope the new undertaking will be blest 
with permanent success. It will be recollected that the 
materials are thos6 of the Wall Street church, New York, 
and when rebuilt in Jersey City it will present the same 
appearance as the old church, will contain the same pews, 

and be furnished in the same manner It will contain, 

in addition, a commodious and dry basement for church and 
school purposes, and the steeple will be altered so as to ad- 
mit a clock for the benefit of the city." * 

I have searched diligently, but can find no published ac- 
count of the laying of the corner-stone. But from the testi- 
mony of living witnesses and other sources of information, 
I have ascertained the following facts : On the day appoint- 
ed, Sept. 30, 1844, the ceremony took place. A platform 
was erected on the south side of the building site, where the 
exercises were conducted. The Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D., 
of Princeton Theological Seminary, who, as pastor of the 
church, had laid the corner-stone of the building in New 
York in 18 10, was expected, as had been publicly an- 
nounced, to perform the same service on this occasion. He 
was, however, detained; and the Rev. John Johnstone, the 
pastor in Jersey City, took Dr. Miller's place, and laid the 
stone. It was the stone immediately under the right-hand 
pillar as you enter the middle door. Within the stone was 
deposited a wide-mouthed jar, made for the purpose, at the 
pottery in Jersey City, and in which were deposited news- 
papers and periodicals of the day together with a number of 
new silver coins of the year obtained from the U. S. Mint 
by Mr. Oliver S. Strong. Several addresses were made, and 
prayer, of course, was offered, including that of dedication ; 
but I have not been able to ascertain by whom these ser- 
vices were performed. 

Thus the corner-stone was laid, to the hearty satisfaction 

64 History of the 

of those engaged in the enterprise. It was to them a new 
pledge of the speedy fulfilment of their wishes. 

Here I must pause for the present. In one more discourse 
I hope to complete this history with an account of the 
church's completion, its growth in members, its officers, and 
other incidents. 

To how many has this sacred enclosure been a place of 
peace and blessedness ! The scenes which then occurred 
are gone by. And many who had a part in those scenes 
are gone from here. May God so bless His word here 
preached to us that we shall meet the beloved ones of God, 
gone before to the land of rest and glory. Let us rejoice 
that amidst all the strange and unexpected changes among 
our Lord's churches here on earth, prosperous or adverse, 
nothing is unforeseen by Him. Men's plans and efforts are 
all under His control to establish His Gospel and to provide 
for the edification and comfort of His people in Gospel 
truth. The opposition of men or their concurrence all fall 
within His purposes. And however weak may be the in- 
cipient efforts to build for His praise, or however inter- 
mitted and interrupted the progress. He can exceed His 
people's hopes, and " bring forth the topstone with shout- 
ings of Grace, grace unto it." 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 65 


*' He reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the 
hanging of the court-gate : so Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the 
tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord fiUed the tabernacle." — ExODUS 

xl. 2;^, 34- 

' ' I will wash mine hands in innocency : so will I compass Thine altar, O Lord. That 
I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works. 
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honor 
dwelleth." — Psalm xyid. 6-8. 

" How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts 1 My soul longeth, yea, even 
fainteth for the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house : they will be still praising Thee. For a day 
in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of 
my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." — Psalm Ixxxiv. i, 2, 4, 11. 

" In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month 
Zif : And in the eleventh year, in the month Bui (which is the eighth month) was the 
house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. 
So was he seven years in building it." — i Kings vi. 37, 38. 

I HAVE quoted these passages of Scripture that you may 
see how God's faithful people and God himself also both 
turn with delight to the earthly tabernacles built for His 
worship. In the passage from Exodus you observe how 
plainly the heart of man and the heart of God unite in their 
deep interest in the place. The work on man's side, long 
continued in preparing it step by step, is finished, and the 
house built for God is ready for His occupancy. And man 
waits and watches for God's entrance. He does not need to 
wait long. At once God marks His approval of the event 
in a ready entrance into this abode prepared for Him by 
human hands. No sooner is all ready, than "the cloud 
covers the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the 
Lord fills the tabernacle." So true is it that although 
"heaven is God's throne and the earth is His footstool," 
yea, even that " the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him," 
yet there have been spots on this earth where God has loved 

Ci& History of the 

to dwell, and which " He has desired for His habitation." 
And note, too, in the other texts, how, from that time for- 
ward, both turn to the same places, the house of God at 
Shiloh, and its successor, the temple at Jerusalem, with the 
liveliest interest. On the one hand, mark the longing of 
David (the true representative in this respect of all God's 
people) for that sacred place. " Lord ! I have loved the 
habitation of Thy house and the place \^here Thine honor 
dwelleth." See how he delights in these earthly places 
where God makes His abode (for that is the true meaning 
of the word ' tabernacles *) : " How amiable are Thy taberna- 
cles, O Lord of Hosts; my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth 
for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out 
for the living God. A day spent in Thy courts is better 
than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house 
of my God than to dwell in the courts of wickedness." And, 
on the other hand, see how the Lord reciprocates this fervor 
of zeal in His people toward the places of His manifested 
presence, in His notice of the very materials of its construc- 
tion and of the progress toward completion of His earthly 
habitation. Its very stones are precious in His sight. For 
you see from the last text above given, that the Holy Spirit 
does not hesitate to take space in the Holy Scripture to re- 
cord the laying of the foundations of the temple of the Lord, 
and then also to mark how it progressed in building, the 
time which its building occupied, and its completion in all 
its parts. Surely, then, there must be a good service ren- 
dered in noting these things in other earthly temples of the 

Let us, then, turn once more, and see how this work pros- 
pered with us. 

I have already brought the history up to the laying of the 
corner-stone in Jersey City. From that time the building 
went forward without interruption until it was completed in 
the following May (1845). It was erected exactly as the 
building had stood in Wall Street, with the following excep- 
tions:—!. The basement. This had not existed at all in 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 6y 

New York, and was added to the building by the Jersey City 
congregation, at a cost of $842. It must be noted here, also, 
that the six pillars in the lecture-room (viz. : those on the 
two sides), are relics from the old Reformed Dutch church 
(South), at the corner of Liberty and Nassau Streets, New 
York, which was bought and transformed into the, New York 
City Post- office.* The three middle pillars were new. The 
audience-room in the basement was originally not so deep by 
seven feet as it is now ; and there was, besides, only one small 
room in the southeast corner, which served for the pastor's 
study and also a trustees' room ; the rest of the space in the 
basement being unoccupied, except when, for some years, it 
had rooms fitted up in it for the sexton. The fine study and 
church parlor which we have now, were put in a number of 
years afterward. 2. The length of the building was short- 
ened by one window, or seven feet, for the purpose, I believe, 
of bringing the building within the lots appropriated to it. 
The width was diminished one and a half feet. 3. The mason 
informs me that the steeple was exactly as it stood in New 
York, with the exception of the changes necessary to intro- 
duce the clock, and that it remained unfinished all the winter 
of 1844-45, but was completed before the dedication. 4. The 
former copper gas-pipes were excluded and sold, and the 
handsome chandeliers were altered to hold oil-lamps. This 
continued until 1852, when the Jersey City Gas Co., then 
just established, introduced their light by putting in new 
pipes, and again utilizing the fine old bronze chandeliers on 
the reopening of the church on that occasion, Sunday even- 
ing, December 19, 1852. The opportunity was used by the 
pastor for preaching a sermon from our Lord's words in John 
viii. 12 : "I am the light of the world." 5. The clock was 
added, and the bell in the steeple was new : the sum of 
$500 having been voted toward it, which was afterward in- 
creased to $622 when hung. The clock was put up by Mr. 

* Statement by Hon. D. S. Gregory and by Mr. Erastus Randall, of 
Jersey City. 

68 History of the 

S. Penfield, at a cost of $450. The money for it was raised 
by a general subscription at first, and afterward supple- 
mented by a grant from the City Council with the under- 
standing that the bell should be rung in cases of fire. 

Two sad accidents marred the satisfaction with which 
this building was seen slowly rising. The first occurred in 
New York during the taking down of the building. Con- 
trary to the order of Mr. Bumsted the contractor, who was 
obliged to be absent in the early hours of that morning, 
owing to the hurrying of the work on this side of the river, 
the workmen had carried up a heavy chain cable to the top 
of the wall for the purpose of pulling the wall down. This 
chain they had coiled up, leaving the end of the chain hang- 
ing over. Two men stood within the coil. By some means 
the end of the chain commenced running. Nothing could 
stop it, and the two men were swept irresistibly to the 
ground. Mr. Thomas McDowell, a young Scotchman of 
promise, who had written of his welfare to his mother only 
the day before, was dashed on his head to the stone pave- 
ment. He lingered at the city hospital, on Broadway and 
Duane Street, unconscious, except for a short interval, until 
the next day, when he died. Mr. Robert Canning was 
dashed in his fall across the iron railing and caught on his 
arm, which was thus torn from the shoulder socket. After 
much suffering he still lived, and united with the church at 
the next communion. A collection was ordered by the 
church in his aid, and permanent employment procured for 
him as flagman on the New Jersey Railroad, where he served 
for many years afterward, and died among us a few years 
ago. The second accident occurred on this side of the river, 
when the church was nearly finished. One of the carpen- 
ters, whose name I have not been able to obtain, was hurled, 
while putting up the gutter, from the scaffolding to the* 
ground, and died almost immediately. 

Measures were taken, while the building was in progress, 
to secure appropriate church music. Mr. D. M. Hoidridge 
was then chorister. And to aid in this object an offer was 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 69 

made by Mr. D. S. Gregory to put up, with the aid of the 
ladies, an organ. Mr. Jardine, of New York, was the builder. 
The instrument was put in at a cost of $2,000, toward which 
the ladies raised $375. It was understood to be the prop- 
erty of Mr. Gregory, and so recorded. But by his liberality, 
at the request of the congregation, it was used by them 
gratuitously until the debt for it was liquidated. It is 
proper to mention here, also, that to carry on and complete 
the building $12,000 were advanced by Mr. D. S. Gregory 
and Mr. David Henderson. A mortgage on the building 
to that amount, at first for five years and then for ten, at 
six per cent., was issued by the Trustees. The final payment 
of these debts in full in the year 1864, when a determined 
effort was made to clear off all incumbrances (as will be 
afterward more fully stated), is within your recollection. 
The whole cost of the church, including the basement, was 


It was not without urging that the building was erected 
within a reasonable time. The work was delayed after re- 
peated protestations from the Trustees. And I find by the 
record that it was not until the threat was held out to the 
carpenters and masons that the penalty for non-fulfilment 
of contract would be exacted, added to the importunities 
of the architect and the offer of an additional douceur of $50, 
that the work was expedited. At length the top stone was 
put on, the inside work was finished, the building was com- 
pleted, and the house erected for God's worship was ready 
for use. The public were invited to the dedication services 
by the following notice in the public prints : 


" The Trustees have made arrangements to have this edi- 
fice dedicated to the worship of Almighty God on the next 
Sabbath. On which occasion the venerable Dr. Miller, of 
Princeton, now in the vigor of a ripe old age, will officiate 
at the morning service Dr. Miller was at the dedi- 
cation of the church in New York in 18 10, ... . and his 

70 History of the 

life has been spared to see the same building shipped to his 
own State. Dr. Phillips, long the pastor of the old church 
in New York, will preach on this occasion in the afternoon, 
and the Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, will preach in the 
evening. Altogether it will probably be one of the most 
interesting occasions that Jersey City has witnessed for 
some time." 

The dedication of the church took place according to this 
programme on Sunday, May 25, 1845. Overflowing houses 
attended the services. As had been advertised, the Rev. 
Dr. Miller, who had been the pastor thirty-four years before, 
when the building was first erected, preached the sermon. 
The Rev. Dr. Phillips, as was very appropriate, preached in 
the afternoon. As an incident of the evening service, when 
Dr. Sprague, of Albany, preached, I may mention that he 
referred to a serious loss which the church had met in Feb- 
ruary, four months before, in the death of one of three ex- 
cellent women (of whom this church has had so many to be 
tiiankful for during its history), Mrs. Margaret Strong, wife 
of Elder Strong. He referred to her consistent Christian 
activity, and to her helpfulness in setting forward this church, 
whose dedication she did not live to see. And he espe- 
cially mentioned that it was chiefly by her zeal that the 
money was raised by subscription to furnish the communion 
set (which has been so long used in this church), — a fact 
which we should have no means of knowing but from this 

Dr. Miller's discourse in the morning excited great atten- 
tion. Necessarily, he was obliged to make reference to the 
former Presbyterian organization and building which had 
been transferred to the Reformed Dutch Church. This 
caused a very considerable commotion. Almost immedi- 
ately the Consistory of the Dutch church addressed a letter 
to the Session, asking friendly conference and stating that 
Dr. Miller's statements were unintentionally not exactly in 
accordance with the facts. A committee was appointed by 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 71 

the Session to visit Dr. Miller in Princeton. He asked for 
a plain statement of the errors and said he would correct 
any that could be pointed out. This request for an exhibit 
of the errors was sent, with a fraternal letter, to the Consis- 
tory. But there the matter dropped. 

I have already given you in full the facts of this case as 
exhibited in official documents, and there is no need for any 
further reference to the matter. 

The work was thus finished and all went on prosperously. 
Old occupants of pews in Wall Street, delighted to see the 
old walls once more standing, came to the opening service, 
and again and again came afterward to see their old home 
in God's house in its familiar features, and to sit in their 
old pews. The church itself was an imposing feature in the 
young and growing city. The congregation was united and 
was increasing, and all seemed fair in God's good providence 
for a useful and honorable career. 

The first communion service in the new building was held 
on Sunday afternoon, June 29, 1845, j^st one year after the 
first communion, held in the Lyceum, after the organiza- 
tion. And on that occasion they had the pleasure of wel- 
coming ten new members — eight on certificate and two on 
confession of their faith. Their names are as follows : D. 
M. Holdridge, Frances Holdridge, Justus Slater (afterward 
elder), Esther Slater, Robert George, Ann Jane George, 
Robert Canning, and Margaret Ann Canning. These were 
on certificate ; and on confession — Aaron Bonnell and Phebe 
A. Bonnell. 

Everything, as I said, seemed now to be prosperous, 
when, alas ! God having brought the church to this happy 
condition, a sad event almost immediately clouded all hearts 
and foreboded almost irreparable damage. I allude to the 
tragic death of Mr. David Henderson, the chief abettor of 
this enterprise. 

There are those now living who can remember how eager 
Mr. Henderson was to get the church completed, so that it 
could be dedicated and he could be at liberty to be absent 

72 History of the 

in the mountains upon business. So eager was he for this 
that he sometimes detained and fed the workmen at his 
own house in order that they might continue working at 
extra hours for expediting the building. And yet, alas ! so 
mysterious are the ways of God, so uncertain the calculation 
of man. That visit was to throw all into gloom. The dedi- 
cation service had hardly passed when he went away into 
the Adirondacks. He returned and stayed for a short time, 
until August, and meantime his familiar face was seen for 
one Sabbath or two in his pew. Then almost immediately, 
accompanied by his pastor and his own family, he went 
again into the mountains. All went well until September 
3d. On Tuesday, the day previous, Mr. Johnstone, his 
pastor, left him to return home, bearing with him the last 
writing that Mr. Henderson ever penned — a letter of con- 
dolence to his friend, Mr. Gregory, on the death of Mr. 
Gregory's sister, Mrs. Catlin. The day after Mr. Johnstone 
left, Mr. Henderson, accompanied by his guide, John Che- 
ney, went into the woods to what is now known as " Calam- 
ity Pond." He had always had a dread of firearms. And 
yet, strange to say, as the time for the meal approached, he 
took off his belt with its loaded pistol, and laid it down 
hastily, with the hammer resting on the cap, upon the rock 
at his feet. The blow on the hammer exploded the cap, 
the pistol was discharged, and the ball passed into his body. 
He sank immediately. His first words, as he looked around 
at the wild and deep woods, were, " What a place for such 
an accident ! " Then calling his son, a boy of twelve, to 
him and bidding him be obedient to his mother, he com- 
mended his departing soul to God and died. It was a ter- 
rible scene, as you may well imagine. And yet whose 
imagination can come up to the reality, for that guide, for 
that young, fatherless boy, and for that widowed woman, 
as, later in the day, she sees from the house the guide return 
without her husband and talking hurriedly to Mr. Hender- 
son's nephew, imagines instantly some mishap ! Beyond 
all control, she hurries to them to hear the terrible news. It 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 7'^ 

was not long that the system could bear such a shock, and 
in two years she followed after. The news of Mr. Hender- 
son's death was three days in reaching Jersey City. It 
came by express on Saturday morning. A paragraph in 
the Jersey City Sentinel of September 6th, then the only 
newspaper in the city, announced the sad event, and filled 
the whole city with sorrow. He had lived here more than 
twenty years. He had been forward in all public improve- 
ments. His retiring habits and his kindness of heart were 
well and widely known. And all felt that a great and public 
loss, not to be repaired, had been sustained, I need not say 
that this church mourned. There is on record in the Trus- 
tees' book a most worthy tribute to his memory. They 
gave vent also to their appreciation of his liberality and de- 
votion to this church by the tablet which hangs against 
yonder wall, and to which, I may say here, even some far 
away in other lands desired to subscribe, in token of their 
affection. But nothing could fully express or could com- 
pensate their loss — a loss which indeed, I may add after 
having perused the records of this church through that 
whole time and subsequently, seems to me one which truly 
was never wholly repaired. 

Mr. Johnstone continued sole pastor until 1848. It had 
been adjudged best for various reasons, and was so decided 
December 13, 1847, that he should have an associate. The 
first plan was to establish a mission preaching-station at 
Hoboken, which was to be supplied in part by the associate 
, pastor. And a committee, of which Mr. J. D. Miller was 
chairman, was appointed to select a room at that place. 
After some correspondence with Princeton, the Rev. Lewis 
H. Lee, a graduate of that Seminary, was called. He was 
ordained and installed as associate pastor with Mr. John- 
stone by the Presbytery of New York on Wednesday, No- 
vember 15, 1848. On that occasion Mr. Johnstone pre- 
sided. The sermon was preached by the Rev. James W. 
Alexander, D.D., of New York, from i Tim. iii. i. The 
Rev. John M. Krebs, D.D., of New York, gave the charge 

74 History of the 

to the pastor, and the Rev. William Snodgrass, D.D., of the 
same city, the charge to the people. Before Mr. Lee's in- 
stallation, however, the project of a mission-field at Hoboken 
was given up. 

This associate pastorate continued for about a year. Dif- 
ficulties in sustaining the church arose, and after several con- 
ferences with the Session, Trustees, and others, Mr. Lee, on 
the nth of December, 1849, presented his resignation to a 
meeting of the congregation, who, with regret and a cordial 
testimony to his zeal and faithfulness, agreed to accept it. 
And on the 7th of January, 1850, the Presbytery dissolved 
the relation, thus leaving Mr. Johnstone alone again as 
pastor. The difficulties of carrying the church forward, 
howevei* still continuing, the Session and Trustees called a 
conference of the leading persons in the church. The result 
was that Mr. Johnstone, who was now advanced in life, 
thinking it best on the whole, agreed to resign the active 
duties of the pastorate, and at length determined to resign 
the pastorate altogether, on condition of his receiving $600 
per annum during his natural life. This the congregation 
agreed to at a meeting held May 20, 1850, at which the Rev. 
John M. Krebs, D.D., of New York, presided ; the congre- 
gation adding warm expressions of their attachment to Mr. 
Johnstone and of satisfaction in his zeal and faithfulness. A 
bond was given, and this sum was paid to him up to the 
time of his death, which occurred fourteen years afterward. 
They also assigned a pew for himself and family, in the de- 
sire that he would still continue with them as a worshipper. 
Thus, after a pastorate of six years, the relation was dis- 
solved by the Presbytery of New York, May 27, 1850. 

At the same meeting of the congregation which agreed 
to receive Mr. Johnstone's resignation, on the .terms men- 
tioned, the Rev. David King, then just leaving the Theo- 
logical Seminary at Princeton, was unanimously chosen as 
pastor, at a salary of $1,200, and the same commissioners 
were appointed to represent the congregation in both mat- 
ters before the Presbytery ; namely, Messrs. Luke Lyman, 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 75 

T. H. Shafer, A. S. Jewell, O. S. Strong, and F. B. Betts. 
In dissolving the pastoral relations between Mr. Johnstone 
and the church, the Presbytery appointed Mr. David King 
to preach in the pulpit on the following Sabbath, June 2, 

1850. On Monday, June 3d, the Presbytery of New York 
again met, the call for Mr. King was tendered to him, and 
on Wednesday evening, June 12, 1850, Mr. David King was 
ordained and installed as sole pastor. At this service, the 
Rev. Dr. William W. Phillips presided, and offered the 
ordaining prayer ; the sermon was preached by the Rev. 
John D. Wells, of Williamsburg, L. I. ; the Rev. J. B. 
Rockwell, of Brooklyn, gave the charge to the pastor, and 
the Rev. N. C. Locke the charge to the people. 

Everything now seemed to betoken prosperity. Mr. King 
was a preacher of fine address, and he won all hearts to him. 
His fine, melodious voice added to the attractions of his 
preaching. But alas ! in God's providence, disappointment 
again awaited the congregation. Mr. King had been settled 
hardly four months when a disease of the throat showed it- 
self. The congregation, on October 26th, very kindly gave 
him an intermission for several months, in hopes that rest 
would restore him. During this time of intermission the 
Rev. William W. Eddy preached as stated supply a short 
time, but long enough to endear himself to the congrega- 
tion, some of whom still remember him. On leaving this 
church, he entered upon his noble work as foreign mission- 
ary at Sidon, in Syria, where he still labors, with his family 
in the same service grown up around him, approved of all 
for his zeal and fidelity. 

On January 27, 185 1, Mr. King announced to the Session 
of the church that he was able to resume his duties, and 
Mr. Eddy's services terminated, the congregation passing a 
resolution expressing their grateful sense of the value of his 
ministrations. This short rest did not, however, achieve for 
Mr. King what had been hoped for. And on March 11, 

1 85 1, at a proposal from him to resign his pastorate, the con- 
gregation, rather than to have the relation dissolved, agreed 

y6 History of the 

to a further intermission of six months, and undertook to 
supply the pulpit in the meantime. Mr. King then visited 
Scotland, his native land.' 

During this second interval the congregation were sup- 
plied statedly by the Rev. Wilson Phraner. He also is re- 
membered here with much affection. On leaving the church 
he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sing 
Sing, New York, where he still lives useful and honored. 

Before the close of the allowed vacation Mr. King re- 
turned and resumed his duties. But it was soon too evi- 
dent that his malady was not cured, and amidst the deep 
regrets of the congregation he insisted upon withdrawing. 
At a meeting of the congregation held October 8, 1851, 
he offered his resignation. It was sadly accepted, and the 
relation was dissolved by the Presbytery of New York, Oc- 
tober 14, 185 1, after a pastorate of about sixteen months. 

During the four and a half years of the sole pastorate of 
the Rev. John Johnstone, the population of the city was 
increasing greatly. And the church grew in strength and 
numbers. The congregation was large, and the communion- 
roll up to the time of the Rev. Lewis H. Lee's accession 
as associate pastor, numbered 122 names. The joint pas- 
torate of these two ministers also, which lasted about 
fourteen months, was attended by a regular and gratifying 
progress. So that when Mr. Lee first, and Mr. Johnstone 
shortly afterward, had closed their ministry here, there were 
166 persons in communion with the church, of which 45 
were on confession of their faith. 

The ministry of the Rev. David King, although only 
about 20 months in length, and so much interrupted, was 
very fruitful in results. The congregation was not only 
enlarged, but there were added 62 names to the list of the 
communicants, of which 21 were upon confession of their 
faith, and the whole number of communicants had risen to 
228 at the time of his removal. 

These three men are all now gone to their rest. Mr. 
Johnstone continued to live for a few years later in Jersey 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 77 

City. In 1853 he returned to reside in Moffatt, Scotland, 
where he died on the 4th of May, 1864, in the 8ist year of 
his age. 

The Rev. Lewis H. Lee was called, immediately upon his 
leaving this pulpit, to the then young and growing Second 
Presbyterian Church of Rahway, N. J. He labored there a 
number of years, resigned, and became pastor of the Pres- 
byterian Church of Waterfoirit»N. Y., where he died in 
1862, after a ministry of 14 years. 

The Rev. David King, after resting for some time subse- 
quent to his leaving this pulpit, thought himself able to 
settle, and was called to the pastorate of the Presbyterian 
Church in Stillwater, N. Y. He had been there only a few 
months when he was obliged to succumb to the disease 
which had all along assailed him. He uiLhdiLii lu Wiidir- 
f irJ '^^ """' there died May 15, 1853. A sermon com- 
memorative of his life was preached in this pulpit by the 
present pastor, on Sunday morning. May 22d, from 2 Cor. 
iv. 12 : " So then death worketh in us, but life in you." 

Thus all the pastors of the church, previous to the pres- 
ent one, have passed away. During the short interval 
which followed Mr. King's release from the pastorate here, 
the pulpit was supplied statedly for a number of weeks by 
the Rev. James Vernor Henry, who for many years lived 
among us with his family, and formed part of our congre- 
gation. More than three years ago, he also followed the 
others to the place of rest. 

It may be desirable to note that at this time three steps 
of some interest were taken. The first of these was, that 
on September 5, 185 1, the original motion was made for the 
organization of a Second Presbyterian Church here, and 
notice was ordered to be given from this pulpit of a preach- 
ing service to be held in the Mission School room on Sab- 
bath afternoon of September 7th. This movement after- 
ward developed into what now has long been known as the 
Second Presbyterian Church of this city. 

The second incident was, that at this time the prospect 

78 History of the 

of the growth of the city was such that it was decided to 
change the relations of the church from the Presbytery of 
New York and to unite with the Presbytery of EHzabeth- 
town, with a view of ultimately having, what we since have 
in part, a distinct Presbytery for Hudson County. The res- 
olution to consult the Presbytery of New York v/as adopt- 
ed by the congregation at the same meeting which agreed 
to consent to Mr. King's resignation. The Presbytery, 
however, having remanded the subject to the congregation 
for decision, as the only party that could decide such a 
question, by a vote of the congregation taken at a subse- 
quent meeting it was decided to make no change. 

I mention as the third incident, that owing to certain 
difficulties which had occurred previous to Mr. King's in- 
stallation, a proposition was made in 1850 to unite with 
their old friends, the First Reformed Dutch Church. The 
terms, however, upon which the proposition was to be dis- 
cussed were not agreed upon, the Presbyterians desiring 
that the name should not come in question. The Reformed 
Dutch Church, on the other hand, thought that this point 
should be considered. The Reformed Dutch Church there- 
fore declined to act, and the proposition was withdrawn. 

Before Mr. King left Jersey City a meeting of the con- 
gregation was called and held November 14th, at which he 
presided, and the name of the Rev. Charles K. Imbrie, of 
Rahway, was proposed to the people. In consequence 
of this a subsequent meeting was called to consider the 
question of calling Mr. Imbrie to the pastorate of this 
church. This meeting was held December 8, 185 1. At this 
meeting the Rev. Edward E. Rankin, of New York, pre- 
sided ; and then and there your present pastor, who had at 
that time been pastor for eleven years of the First Presby- 
terian Church of Rahway, N. J., was called to take the pas- 
toral charge of this congregation. He came and preached 
in this pulpit for the first time on Sunday, December 14, 
185 1. After due consideration he decided to accept the 
call, and was installed as pastor of this church by the Pres- 

First Presbyterian CJmrch of Jersey City, 79 

bytery of New York on Wednesday evening, February 11, 
1852. At these services the Rev. Edward E. Rankin pre- 
sided. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Lewis H. Lee, the 
former associate pastor. The Rev. Edson Rockwell, of 
Brooklyn, preached the sermon ; the Rev. William Bannard 
gave the charge to the pastor ; the Rev. Frederick Clark, of 
Astoria, the charge to the people ; and prayer was offered 
by the Rev. Ravaud K. Rodgers, of Bound Brook, N. J., 
grandson of the Rev. Dr. Rodgers, the first pastor of the 
Wall Street church. New York. And so began the pastor- 
ate which, in God's providence, amid some trials and many 
conscious defects, and yet attended with many gracious 
blessings among a kind and affectionate people, has con- 
tinued nearly twenty-five years.* 

This brings us to the present time. During this interval 
several changes in the structure of the original building have 
been effected which may be here mentioned. In 1852 the 
gallery was changed from the form of slips to the form of 
square front pews, with a slip in the rear of each, and the 
iron railing was placed along the front. It was contem- 
plated at that time also to place another row of pews in the 
front on the ground floor along the breadth of the building. 
But this was abandoned. Some time later the last two 
square pews on each side of the church by the door were 
changed into the present form. In 1856 the church was 
entirely renovated. The old Wall Street upholstery was 
removed and the present substituted. The basement lec- 
ture-room was enlarged and the back part fitted up and di- 
vided into an infant school and a large and commodious 
study. In 1868, during the pastor's absence in Europe, the 
old closed pulpit was removed and substituted by the pres- 
ent open-platform structure. In 1871 the basement was 
again thoroughly refitted by the ladies, the partition be- 
tween the two back rooms being removed and the present 
handsome church parlor fitted up. 

The building has nowf stood in Jersey City thirty-two 

* A.D. 1876. t In 1876. 

8o History of the 

years, or within two years as long as it stood in New York 
City. And it seems rather singular that the building should 
thus have twice gone through the same experience of being 
erected when the population around was large and church- 
going, then of passing through all the changes incident to 
an up-town movement of the people, and finally, seeing its 
locality more and more entrenched upon by the encroach- 
ments of business and commerce, until its removal seems 
but a question of time. So it is in this changing world. 

During the existence of this church there have been 
added to the communion-roll, up to this present year, 1876, 
close upon 800 persons (796) — i. e., twenty-five persons on an 
average each year. Of these, 528 have united on certificate, 
and 268 on profession. This increase has been in general 
very regular. At two different seasons, however, during 
the present pastorate, the manifestation of the renewing in- 
fluences of God's Spirit have been wider than usual and the 
ingatherings have been larger than during ordinary years. 
God has blessed us with harmony. In all the varied insti- 
tutions of the church, the Session, the Diaconate, the Sab- 
bath-school, the ladies' societies, and in the plans adopted 
for advancing the interests and usefulness of the church, 
God has preserved us well-nigh entirely from all unpleasant 
differences, and has bound us together as pastor and people 
with one heart. We have indeed been called to administer 
discipline ; but the cases calling for it have, by God's good- 
ness, been few ; and as to severe discipline, very few. It is 
a matter for gratitude that the church members as a whole 
have ever walked with Christian propriety. 

It is with pleasure we record that of our communicants 
four have become ministers of the Gospel, and three have 
gone to foreign lands, and one to the far West, as missiona- 
ries. We have also received to oiir communion one from 
the far East, a Chinaman, who, after examination through 
an interpreter, publicly renounced heathenism and was pub- 
licly baptized in the faith of Christ in the presence of the 

First Presbyteriati Church of Jersey City. 8i 

I have already spoken of the first elders, Messrs. Strong, 
Stowell, and Hardenburgh. Since then there have been in- 
stalled as elders, — June 30, 1850, Thomas H. Shafer and 
Justus Slater; January 26, 185 1, Ellis F. Ayers and James 
S. Davenport; May 6,^1855, William R. Janeway and Will- 
iam H. Talcott; December 14, 1863, Bennington F.Ran- 
dolph and Edwin Wygant ; December 8, 1867, Horace S. 
Allen, Nathaniel C. Jaquith, Titus B. Meigs, David M. 
Stiger, Thomas H. Shafer, A. S. Jewell, and John Rodgers. 
All these having been previously duly elected, were ordained 
and installed, or simply installed at the times above named, 
with the exception of Messrs. A. S. Jewell and John j^od- 
gers, who declined to serve. Mr. Shafer was reinstalled 
December 8, 1867, he having been absent in another city 
for a time and having returned. 

In the early years of the church the Elders served also as 
Deacons until the year 1850, when Mr. Abraham Hoagland 
and Mr. Ellis F. Ayers were elected deacons. Mr. Ayers 
declined to serve and Mr. Hoagland was ordained alone 
June 30, 1850. Since that time there have been elected and 
ordained to this ofifice, — January 26, 185 1, Joseph Bunnell 
and Edwin Wygant ; May 6, 1855, N. C. Jaquith and Erwin 
Crane; December 8, 1867, Henry W. Buxton, James R. 
Henry, Charles Jaquith, and Joseph F. Randolph, Jr. Of 
all the Ruling Elders, Messrs. B. F. Randolph, D. M. Stiger, 
and T. B. Meigs alone remain with us. Messrs. H. S. Al- 
len and James S. Davenport have removed from the city, 
but have not withdrawal their membership. Of the Deacons, 
Messrs. James R. Henry, Joseph F. Randolph, Jr., and 
Henry W. Buxton only are still among us.* These officers 

* In 1876. Since this date the following were elected Elders, De- 
cember 7, 1879, viz. : Messrs. Henry W. Buxton, Flavel McGee, Mat- 
thias Smith, and William Evtan. Mr. Smith declined to serve ; the 
others were ordained January 4, 1880. At the same time (December 
7th) Mr. John B. Huntting was elected deacon. He declined serv- 
ing, and was therefore not ordained. He has nevertheless ever 
since rendered most efficient service to the congregation in every 
duty which the office could require. 

82 History of the 

have all proved faithful men. And it is an exceedingly- 
great comfort to your pastor, as I am sure it is to the mem- 
bers of this church, to call to recolldction the many years of 
service during which they have gone in and out among us, 
steadily performing their official duties to this church and 
honoring the Lord by their Christian deportment. No dis- 
cord has ever marred our delightful intercourse with one an- 
other. Some of them have passed away in blessed hope to 
their reward ; others have left this field to be diligently em- 
ployed in other spheres of Christian service. A few, as I 
have said, still remain, to be, under the Lord's hand, our 
helps and guides to the congregation as we pass through 
the wilderness to the land of rest, — wise counsellors, kind 
friends. Christian brethren, all. Doubtless, when the chief 
Shepherd shall appear, they " shall receive the crown of 
glory which fadeth not away." 

The early Trustees, chosen in 1844, ^ have also mentioned : 
Gregory, Henderson, Strong, Hardenburgh, Southmayd, 
Randall, Alexander. These are names still well remem- 
bered in this congregation. Since that time many others 
have been elected to manage our temporal affairs whose 
names will be found on a subsequent page.* To the labors 
and discretion, and, in a number of cases, to the untiring 
energy and large liberality of these men this church owes 
much, under God, for its continuance, for its prosperity, 
sometimes under critical circumstances, and for the success- 
ful prosecution of our work. If the spirit which has per- 
vaded their body be any proper criterion, we must believe 
that what they have done has been done with a desire to 
promote the honor and success of Christ's Church. And 
although they derive their authority from the State only, as 
the incorporated representatives of the congregation in civil 
affairs, yet the service which thSy have rendered and the 
zeal which they have manifested without any hope of per- 

* See list of the Trustees of the church during the successive 
years of its history on pages 1 21-125, 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 83 

sonal reward and oftentimes at much sacrifice is not forgot- 
ten of Him whose servants all faithful officers in any de- 
partment of His cause, truly are. May His reward be given 
to them and theirs in that day. The present Board is com- 
posed of the following members, viz. : Flavel McGee, Benj. 
G. Clarke, H. A. Coursen, Wm. E. Stiger, T. B. Meigs, J. A. 
Kunkel, and A. S. Jewell. 

It has always been the aim of the pastor to bring this 
church to recognize its obligations to aid in the preaching 
of the Gospel through all the earth and to be alive to the 
appeals arising from the wants and sorrows of men, tem- 
poral and especially spiritual, everywhere ; in a word, that 
this church should fulfil the Lord's command to " preach the 
Gospel to every creature," and the Apostle's injunction, " to 
do good to all men as we have opportunity, and especially 
to them of the household of faith." And for this reason he 
has invoked the prayers and the gifts of this people in be- 
half of these objects. I have spoken of the sending forth 
from our number representatives to the Home and Foreign 
fields. Besides this the gifts of this congregation have been 
yearly bestowed in generous measure to all the Boards of 
the Church, and to many other affiliated schemes for fulfill- 
ing Christ's work on earth. I had thought of presenting to 
you in full the amounts bestowed for these objects by this 
church and which I have enumerated to you year by year. 
But let this pass. I am sure that in the very highest and 
most self-sacrificing contributions, we have done little com- 
pared with the great mercies received by us from Him who 
gave His very self for us. Let me then only say that these 
gifts have increased yearly and that the donations made by 
this church to help others have quite equalled or even ex- 
ceeded what has been done for the maintenance of the truth 
among ourselves. 

For assistance in this beneficent work of the church, we 
have been much indebted to two institutions whose work 
has been conducted by the ladies of the congregation. 

The oldest of these is the Ladies' Mite Society. It would 

84 , History of the 

be hard to set forth specifically the large amount of work 
done by the faithful women who have labored in this de- 
partment. It has not only given generous and wise aid in 
meeting many specific wants for the comfort of the congre- 
gation, but besides this it has given large aid in meeting the 
need for clothing by our missionaries in the West. 

The other association of the ladies is of more recent 
growth. It was founded indeed since the union of the Old 
and New School branches of the Presbyterian Church in the 
United States of America. It was organized at first, and 
soon after the union, as the " Zenana Society "; and more 
recently, in November, 1872, as our " Woman's Foreign 
Missionary Society." Year after year it has labored on 
steadily in this cause and has raised hundreds of dollars an- 
nually to assist in establishing the Gospel in Japan and 
other places. It has been cheered in this work by the ready 
aid of the youthful members composing " The Chrysanthe- 
mum Band." 

Our Sabbath-school has occupied so important a place 
that the history of the church would not be complete with- 
out a somewhat detailed statement respecting it. This has 
been carefully prepared by our esteemed deacon, Mr. James 
R. Henry, who has for many years been connected with our 
Sabbath-school and who long occupied the position of its 
secretary. The statement will be found on a subsequent 

I must not forget to state that for many years this church 
has been entirely free from any debt, each year's accounts 
being fully met as the year passed. At the beginning of its 
history indeed it was necessarily thus incumbered by reason 
of the large cost of the building. Notwithstanding the lib- 
eral donations made at the outset toward the building fund, 
there still remained a considerable amount of indebtedness 
when the building was finished. This consisted mainly of a 
balance owed to Mr. Dudley S. Gregory and to the estate 
of David Henderson, deceased, who had liberally advanced 
the money for the completion of the church building. This 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 85 

balance amounted to $12,000. Besides this, there was due 
also to these gentlemen, for other bills paid, the sum of 
$3,169, making a total of $15,169. To the architect, Mr. 
Andrew Clerk, also there was a considerable sum c^e. He, 
however, very generously offered to remit all other claims 
against the church upon receipt of a bond at 6 per cent, for 
$350. There was further due to Mr. Gregory for the organ, 
beyond what the ladies had raised, the sum of $1,625, 
making a total indebtedness by the church at' the start of 


In addition to the above, when the Rev. John Johnstone 
resigned his pastoral ofifice here, the Trustees, as already 
stated, had given him a bond for the payment of $600 annu- 
ally during his lifetime, as a token of respect and an acknowl- 
edgment of the value of his services by the congregation. 

It may be readily understood that all this was a consider- 
able burden to the young church in its early history. For 
relief from this indebtedness the church was under obliga- 
tion, first of all, to these gentlemen themselves, who held 
the bonds. Mr. Andrew Clerk, having at the first released 
the congregation, as just stated, from all obligations to him 
whatever, beyond the bond for $350 at interest, some years 
after, very generously released them entirely by returning 
the bond itself, and received from the Trustees a special 
vote of thanks for this new token of his kindness. The Hon. 
Dudley S. Gregory also, and the heirs of David Henderson, 
Esq., after remitting, in 1855, the interest which had accrued 
upon their bonds for the preceding five years, agreed to de- 
mand no interest on the bonds for the future, if the Trustees 
would engage to pay regularly the annual interest due to the 
Rev. Mr. Johnstone. This the Trustees agreed to do, with 
a vote of cordial thanks to those gentlemen for this arrange- 
ment, as being substantially a yearly gift of that amount to 
the church. This sum of $600 per annum was regularly paid 
to Mr. Johnstone up to the time of his death in Scotland, 
May, 1864, and afterward continued to the surviving mem- 
ber of his family for the rest of the current year. An ad- 

86 History of the 

ditional act of kindness was done by Mr. Gregory and the 
heirs of Mr. Henderson, in subsequently agreeing to cancel 
all further obligation of the church to them, in consideration 
of two bcyids of $5,000 each, given them by the church, with 
interest at 6 per cent. Mr. Gregory further agreed to remit 
all accrued interest on the balance still due him for the organ, 
and to receive, as payment in full, the part of the principal, 
$864, yet unpaid. These generous proposals were also 
accepted by the Trustees with special thanks. This con- 
tinued until 1864, when Mr. Johnstone died. Meantime a 
number of the members of the congregation had been very 
liberal in their donations, so that notwithstanding the above 
obligations, the current expenses were paid, the church was 
once and again refitted and repaired at considerable outlay, 
the salary of the pastor from time to time generously in- 
creased, and also the standing debt in a measure reduced. 
But in November of 1863, on a motion in the Board of Trus- 
tees by Mr. F. B. Betts, it was decided to make an effort to 
remove the church from all remaining indebtedness. To 
carry out this resolve, Messrs. Benjamin G. Clarke, Hampton 
A. Coursen, and James R. Thompson, hearty and liberal 
supporters of the church, were appointed a committee. Their 
efforts were completely successful. By their own personal 
liberality and the generous contributions of other members 
of the congregation at their solicitation, they reported in 
April, 1864, just previous to Mr. Johnstone's decease, that 
funds had been collected to pay off the entire standing and 
floating debts of the congregation, and to leave some balance 
for future use. This was a great satisfaction to the congrega- 
tion, and called forth a vote of hearty thanks to these gentle- 
men for their assiduity. From that time to the present hour 
the church has been entirely free from debt, any remaining 
deficiency at the close of the year being met by special gifts 
at the time. 

[Note added, October 10, 1888 : 

The next effort was to remove, if possible, the ground-rent 
of $60 per annum, which had been paid from the early his- 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 87 

tory of the church. This effort was made about the year 

1872. The direction of this matter was committed by the 
Trustees to Flavel McGee, Esq., one of their number. By 
his faithful and wise efforts arrangements were made with 
the parties then living in New Haven, Conn., who held the 
ground-rent of the lots. The money was paid, and a con- 
veyance of the quit-rents was made by Theodore B. Wool- 
sey and his wife to Benjamin G. Clarke, Esq., dated May 5, 

1873, at New Haven, Conn. Mr. Clarke, a member of the 
congregation and Board of Trustees, held the same until the 
releases spoken of below were effected, and then made a con- 
veyance of the quit-rents to the church under date of No- 
vember 5, 1880. And the property, from that time, came 
into the unincumbered possession of the congregation. 

The last effort as to the property was to obtain release 
from certain conditions imposed in the original deeds given 
to the church, and which stood in the way of the sale of the 
property at any time, or the removal of the church elsewhere, 
or the cessation of public worship there. It was, I believe, 
at the suggestion of the Hon. Bennington F. Randolph, and 
with the expressed wish of the Hon. D. S. Gregory, not long 
before his decease, who saw, from the changes taking place 
in the population of the city, that it would be desirable for 
the congregation to remove at some time, that the effort 
was undertaken. Mr. Gregory himself, and also Mr. David 
Henderson, were the grantors who had caused the insertion 
of these conditions in the original deeds. Mr. Gregory con- 
veyed a release to the congregation from the restrictions 
June 7, 1871 ; and he advised that application should be 
made to all the heirs of the estate of David Henderson, de- 
ceased, to grant a like release. Mr. Flavel McGee undertook 
and effected this service. Application was made to all these 
heirs in this country and abroad for their individual release. 
It was in every case granted, the last release being made 
April 16, 1880. From this time the whole property became 
the unconditioned possession of the congregation to sell or 
to remove it, as they might deem proper.] 

88 History of the 

I have already stated why this church was organized by 
the Presbytery of New York instead of one on this side of 
the river. It continued in this connection until the year 
1870, when the union between the Old and New School 
branches of the Presbyterian Church having been effected 
after thirty-three years of separation, the new Presbytery of 
Jersey City, covering the three counties of Hudson, Bergen, 
and Passaic, in New Jersey, was formed and this church was 
thus transferred, from the Presbytery of New York and the 
Synod of New York, to the Presbytery of Jersey City, within 
the bounds of the Synod of New Jersey. 

As we look back to the year 1844, when this church was 
organized, what great changes do we discover in both our 
.city itself and the number of churches erected for worship 
in it. From being a territory, bounded by the river on one 
side and Mill Creek on the other, and extending in the north 
and south direction from Hoboken to the Morris Canal, the 
city now reaches as far as Greenville and takes in Hudson 
City. And instead of a population of 4,500, it has now 
82,000.* And as to the churches, we have seen, during 
that time, the one Presbyterian organization grow until we 
number six congregations, besides two of the United Pres- 
byterian body, or eight in all. The Reformed churches 
have increased from two to nine. The one Baptist church 
/las enlarged to six and the single Episcopal church has 
grown to nine. The Methodists, in the early years of the 
city, had one organization on York Street, and a previous 
one (called, I am told, " The Ranters ") occupying a build- 
ing in Grand Street, near to Greene. The Methodists have 
grown from such feeble beginnings until they now number 
fourteen churches. The Congregationalists and Lutherans, 
at that time both unrepresented, have since then each be- 
come two organizations. In short, instead of the four 
churches occupying then the ground, together with the 
Reformed church in Wayne Street, Jersey City now num- 

* In 1876. In i888 the population is 153,513. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 89 

bers (1876) fifty Protestant churches, besides the eight of 
the CathoUc Church, which has greatly increased during the 
same time. 

On the other hand, among these changes we cannot fail 
to note the rapid alterations which have taken place in the 
surroundings of this building and the changes in the persons 
who attend these services. As already intimated, instead 
of our being surrounded by a dense and church-going popu- 
lation, as was once the case, this population has for a num- 
ber of years been flowing to more remote parts of the city 
and to other places of habitation* Even indeed before this 
drift of population away from us became so general, the 
changes in the audience have been very great, by reason of 
the places of the many who left being occupied by others. 
This has been so much the case that our audience-room has 
been occupied and vacated by three almost entirely different 
audiences in the thirty-two years during which the building 
has stood. As I look around to-day I can discern only 
eleven families of those who greeted me about twenty-five 
years ago, when I first stood in this pulpit. And of the 233 
communicants then on the roll, only nine are yet with us. 
All the rest are either deceased or gone to other places of 
residence. Thus we have had our trials while we have had 
our great mercies — a changing church while yet a prosper- 
ous one, and a united people. In the midst of all these 
changes the congregation has kept onward, endeavoring to 
do its work for the Lord in its place. Suggestions have 
been put forward, indeed, at time*, looking to the possibility 
of our removing to some remoter and more promising local- 
ity for future continued work. But it has been judged that 
our work in this spot is not yet finished and no serious mo- 
tion has been made for a removal. 

And now, as we look back in review, surely we can say 
with David, " Goodness and mercy have followed us con- 
tinually." During the thirty-two years gone by since the 
day of our organization, a whole generation has passed away 
from the earth. With the poor heathen, alas! their tern- 

90 History of the 

pies and superstitious worship are all that they possess in 
their religions. For these have no spiritual power or any 
efficacy to impart or to continue life to the soul of the wor- 
shipper. They leave no blessing behind. Though their 
temples may have stood for centuries, they have conveyed 
no spiritual benediction from one generation to another. 
How different is it with the passing years of a standing 
Christian church ! Each year leaves its impress behind it 
for good. And as you and I look down to-day and see 
before us these once young children now grown up here to 
take the place of their fathers, and remember the sweet 
greetings with which we have, under this same roof, wel- 
comed so many of them to the Lord's table, and afterward 
seen them bring their offspring in turn and devote them to 
the Lord God, whom we together, during these years, have 
been worshipping and still worship, we feel deeply how 
blessed and abiding are the holy influences of every stand- 
ing sanctuary of God. Let us live, then, in the future, to 
appreciate more heartily the value of God's house while our 
day lasts. Let us be in earnest in its work and wait habit- 
ually within the doors of its courts. And while we, of 
course, look most desiringly " to be clothed upon," each of 
us, " with our house which is from heaven," and long there- 
fore most for our Lord's appearing and kingdom, let us not 
forget that it is by our faithfulness and service for our Lord 
while we are here in this present world, that the degree of 
our joy and blessedness will be measured in the day when 
He comes " to give to evei;y man according as his work has 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 91 


As was stated in the closing sermon of the preceding 
series, preached in the year 1876, it had been even at that 
time increasingly evident, for some years, to all interested 
in the First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City that, owing 
to the constant removal of families from the part of the 
city where the church stood, and the growing pressure ot 
business interests in the same section, the congregation 
sooner or later must remove from that locality. Without 
any formal resolution, however, it was tacitly agreed that 
they were not yet ready to resign the situation. And in 
reply to the question as to any change in the pastorate, it 
was considered best to continue as heretofore as long as 
possible. For this purpose, therefore, the annual expenses 
of the congregation were cheerfully met by those still re- 
maining, the ordinances regularly continued, and the work 
of beneficence in the church carefully prosecuted. This 
continued until the year 1888. At the opening of the 
spring in this year it was found that not only had the re- 
moval of families much increased, but also that the building 
itself was in need of large repairs at a heavy expense, if it 
was still to be occupied. This brought the matter to a 
crisis. Upon a suggestion of the pastor it became a ques- 
tion whether some new step was not now advisable. Meet- 
ings were held, first of the Trustees, and afterward of the 
Trustees and the Session together with the pastor, wherein 
the whole situation was freely discussed. It was then agreed 
by all that the time had arrived when the question should 
be fairly proposed to the congregation, whether services in 
that building should not now cease. In order to give the 
congregation the opportunity to act entirely untrammeled 
in the case, the pastor gave notice that he would now do as 

92 History of the 

he had always intended doing when this crisis should arise, 
and request from the Presbytery a dissolution of the pas- 
toral relations. This was at first opposed as inexpedient 
by the meeting then assembled, and afterward by the con- 
gregation. But upon the statement of the pastor the con- 
gregation at length acquiesced under the circumstances. 
After due notice from the pulpit the congregation met in 
the church building March 28, 1888, and subsequently on 
two other occasions. The question being plainly stated to 
them, it was at length unanimously agreed by all present 
that services in the building should cease at the end of the 
month of April, and that the closing exercises should be 
held on Sabbath morning, April 29, 1888. On April 17, 
1888, the Presbytery of Jersey City met at Passaic, and at 
the request of the pastor, the congregation acquiescing, the 
pastoral relation was dissolved, to take effect on April 29th ; 
and the pastor, after being appointed Moderator of the 
Session, was directed to preach the closing sermon and to 
declare the pulpit vacant. 

Under this appointment the discourse which follows was 
delivered by the pastor in the church on Sabbath morning, 
April 29, 1888. There was a very large audience, which in- 
cluded very many who had been formerly communicants in 
this church, or had regularly attended its services. As may 
be easily understood, it was a solemn and impressive scene. 
The pastor conducted the services throughout. After a 
voluntary by the choir and the prayer of invocation, the 
congregation joined in singing the following hymn : 

" O God, our help in ages past. 
Our hope for years to come. 
Our shelter from the stormy blast, 
And our eternal home ! 

" Before the hills in order stood. 
Or earth received her frame. 
From everlasting Thou art God, 
To endless years the same. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 93 

" Thy word commands our flesh to dust : 

' Return, ye sons of men '; ^ 

All nations rose from earth at first, 
And turn to earth again. 

" Time, like an ever-rolling stream, 
Bears all its sons away ; 
They fly, forgotten, as a dream 
Dies at the opening day. 

" O God, our help in ages past, 
Our hope for years to come, 
Be Thou our guard while troubles last. 
And our eternal home ! " 

The singing, throughout the service, in choir and congre- 
gation, was most impressive. All were furnished with 
books, and all appeared to join in swelling the volume of 
praise that was offered. The passage of Scripture then read 
was taken from the First Epistle of Peter, iv. 7-19, with 
chapter v, i-ii. The following hymn was then sung : 

" Saviour ! I follow on 

Guided by Thee, 
Seeing not yet the hand 

That leadeth me ; 
Hushed be my heart and still. 
Fear I no further ill, 
Only to meet Thy will 

My will shall be. 

" Riven the rock for me 
Thirst to relieve. 
Manna from heaven falls 

Fresh "every eve ; 
Never a want severe 
Causeth my eye a tear, 
But Thou dost whisper near, 
' Only believe ! ' 

" Often to Marah's brink 
Have I been brought ; 

94 History of the 

\ Shrinking the cup to drink, 

^ Help I have sought ; 

And with the prayer's ascent, 
Jesus the branch hath rent. 
Quickly relief hath sent, 
Sweetening the draught. 

" Saviour ! I long to walk 
Closer with Thee ; 
Led by Thy guiding hand. 

Ever to be ; 
Constantly near Thy side, 
Quickened and purified, 
Living for Him who died 
Freely for me ! " 

The sermon vi^hich follows was then delivered. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 95 


" Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. 
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of 
the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual 
wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that 
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, 
therefore, having your loins g^irt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of 
righteousness ; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; above 
all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts 
of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which 
is the word of God : praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints ; and for 
me, that utterance may be gfiven unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make 
known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds : that 
therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. But that ye also may know my 
affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, 
shall make known to you all things : whom I have sent unto you for the same pur- 
pose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace 
be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, Grace be %vith all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen." 
— Ephesians vi. 10-24. 

So the apostle Paul closes his epistle to that noble church 
of Ephesus. It was a church which had been founded mainly 
by his own labors. He had seen there strange occurrences — 
like that wild mob which had gathered in the theatre crying 
out against Paul and the Gospel of Christ because by the 
influence of these their idolatrous trade was undermining. 
" A great and effectual door was there opened to him, but 
there were many adversaries " (i Cor. xvi. 9). He had met 
with unscrupulous men therewith whom he, had to contend, 
and at whom he may possibly have glanced, when he says, 
*' I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus." But, on the 
other hand, he had met with great successes ; as you see 
shining out, for example, in that blazing fire, which burns 
up in the streets of Ephesus those books of magic of great 
value, kindled by converts to the truth. It was a church of 

96 History of the 

high spiritual gifts, as the tenor of this very Epistle testi- 
fies ; and of great graces, too, as you see by our Lord's own 
commendation of the church in the book of Revelation. 

The apostle had long before (for this Epistle was most 
probably written from Rome) met with the Elders of that 
church at Miletus (as you find in the 20th chapter of the Acts 
of the Apostles), and, in taking farewell of them, had given 
vent to that earnest and devout review and appeal to them 
which is there recorded. The words of our text seem al- 
most an echo of that same fervent appeal. How he even 
then remembered his long and arduous labors among them ! 
How well he knew their great gifts ! But he sees also their 
dangers. He foresaw they would be assailed, through the 
craft of men, even from among themselves, who would de- 
part from the faith. And so in one breath he warns them, 
he exhorts them, and he consoles them. And then he kneels 
down and prays with them, commending them and their fu- 
ture to God. In the midst of all his fears and hopes, he 
sees two great sources of protection and guidance and com- 
fort to them — God and His word of grace : *' I commend you 
to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build 
you up, and to give you inheritance among them that are 
sanctified." He points them to these as their strongholds, 
and then he warns them to be faithful. 

So you see here, also, in the closing words of this letter, 
how he takes his farewell of them, — this letter, written most 
probably long, long afterward ; written in Rome's prison- 
house, and when Paul was an ''ambassador of Christ in 
chains " (vi. 20). You see here how his heart is full of the 
same thoughts. He warns them earnestly of their foes and 
their dangers and their helps. He warns them that in this 
present world there is conflict to the end ; and that, too, not 
with merely human enemies, such as might and would in- 
deed bind or slay or otherwise trouble them ; but that be- 
hind all these and other hindrances, there is a domain of 
wicked and mighty spirits — "spiritual wickedness in high 
places " — who in all ways are seeking to devour God's flock. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 97 

And then, as if still echoing his words at Miletus, he points 
them to their Helpers. First, and highest of all, Jesus, the 
Lord himself ; " Be strong in the Lord and in the power of 
His might." " He is with you and is mightier than all that 
are against you." And then, secondly. His everlasting Word 
— " the sword of the Spirit," which is the zvordof God. This 
word of truth — believed in, obeyed, followed ; this it is, that, 
received in faith, clothes God's children from head to foot 
in the whole armor of God, and they become able to stand 
in the evil day. Take to you the sword of the Spirit, which 
is the Word of God. Be girded about the loins, and thus 
braced for the contest by His everlasting truth. Take for a 
breastplate that spotless righteousness which that Word 
alone reveals, and which is of God alone, and in which not 
one jot of human merit appears ; as a firm casing for the 
feet, so that they may stand steady without slipping in the 
hour of sore battle, take the firm belief in that Word's good 
news of perfect peace from God reconciled to the soul by the 
blood of the cross and freely given of God to the sinner in 
Christ Jesus ; as a shield to beat off all the fiery darts of the 
enemy, take that firm faith in the mighty Lord of grace and 
glory, who is proclaimed in the Word as with us and for us ; 
and as a helmet to protect the head from every blow of the 
enemy, take that perfected salvation, — which needs no human 
addition, which meets every spiritual necessity of the soul, 
provides for every defect, assures a perfect triumph to the 
believer, glorifies God, exalts both His justice and His mer- 
cytogether, exhibits all His infinite attributes in harmony, 
and bestows on the redeemed soul a glory that is unspeak- 
able and forever. So he bids them stand strong in the Lord 
Christ and strong in His word — to stand day by day in 
communion with their eternal Lord in " all prayer and sup- 
plication." This ensures peace, progress, protection, and 

And then, just as if they heard again the affectionate 
tones uttered at Miletus, and which open his very heart to 
them, you see how he reckons upon their continued sym- 
7 * 

98 History of the 

pathy for him and his work for Christ, although they are to 
see him no more : " Pray for me also, that utterance may be 
given unto me that I may open my mouth boldly, to make 
known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an am- 
bassador in bonds, that therein I may speak boldly as I 
ought to speak." See how he recognizes the bond of union 
between them, though far separated from each other — he 
in Rome's prison-house, they in Ephesus, — sure of their 
abiding interest in all that affects him, as he is full of inter- 
est in all that affects them whom he has so long known in 
the Gospel : " That ye also may know my affairs, and how I 
do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the 
Lord, shall make known to you all things : whom I have 
sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know 
our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts." And 
then^ at last, just as he had knelt down on the sandy beach, 
among those affectionate, weeping souls at Miletus, and 
prayed [ox them, so he prays for them 7iozv, commending 
them and theirs to God. " Peace be to the brethren, and 
love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus 
Christ ": Until his yearning heart reaches out, in its un- 
bounded love to the whole company there and everywhere 
of those who love the Lord Jesus ; and his expanding soul 
prays for them all: "Grace be with all them that love our 
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen." 

It is with this same tender remembrance of his congrega- 
tion in the Lord, and of his protracted labors among them, 
that any long-settled pastor must part from the people fed 
by him in the name of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Christ. 
He will rejoice over the fruits among them in the converts 
brought to Christ, and in the souls nourished by the word 
of God ; ** his hope, his joy, his crown of glorying in the 
day of the Lord Jesus." He will give thanks for all the 
graces exhibited by them, " knowing no greater joy than to 
see his children walking in the truth." He %vill look for- 
ward to the blessedness of the meeting in that day when all 
that believe shall be gathered into the Lord's presence. He 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 99 

ivill fervently and believingly plead in their behalf with 
God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, that the abiding 
peace and faith and love which are from God may rest in 
their souls and in his own, as the common heritage and bond 
which binds them and him first to God and His Christ, and 
then to each other ; that holy bond which is never broken 
by any distance or any earthly changes however sudden or 
sad. And he will, as a closing word of exhortation (for he 
cannot help doing it, nor fail to teach thein to do it), look 
out with smiles of joyful recognition, beyond their own cir- 
cle, to the great company where are seen " all who love the 
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," and who, in their different 
assemblies, and lands and nations, are walking together, as 
one people separated from the world, toward the same 
heavenly rest — toward the bridal-day of the Lord Christ 
(Rev. xix. 7). 

Yet, at the same time, he will not be insensible to the 
dangers which lurk by the way for his flock in this present 
evil world ; nor will he fail to stir them up, in his parting 
words to '' hold fast the beginning of fheir confidence in 
Christ firm unto the end," " to keep firmly that which they 
have received, that none whatever — the world, the flesh, or 
the devil — none in earth or hell — that none take their crown." 

And as his consolation in the view of their perils, what 
can he do but point them — as the apostle does his Christian 
flock at Ephesus — to their great strongholds : the arm of 
the Lord Jesus as their strength, and the Lord's ever-living 
word as their abiding light. Yes! my people, to the LORD 
Christ will he point them ; for He is able and He alone is 
" able to keep us from falling, yea, and to present every one 
of us, at length, before the presence of His glory with ex- 
ceeding joy." Blessed ! blessed ! thrice blessed are they 
whom He keeps. Blessed ! blessed ! thrice blessed are 
they : for He that has begun a good work in them will pre- 
serve it, and crown it in the day of His glory. So may He 
sanctify you " wholly in body, soul, and spirit, and preserve 
you blameless unto the day of His coming." 

100 Histofy of the 

And to His word of truth, too, will he point them— so 
able, as it is, to save the soul ; through the power of the 
Holy Ghost : 

1st. Because it so clearly reveals, in all His beauty and 
glory and grace, the Lord himself, " whom to know is life 
eternal "; whom to look at in the word, as in a glass, is to 
have one's own face and whole person changed into the same 
" image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of our God." 

2d. Next, because that Word portrays so completely our 
own poor selves ; so weak, so helpless, so sinful, so justly 
condemned, so easily carried away by temptatiorf; in a 
word, so destitute in ourselves of all that is good before 
God ; and yet, when in Him, delivered, accepted, renewed 
— the habitation of God's Spirit — strong to live for Him 
who died for us, able " to do all things through the in- 
dwelling Christ who strengthens us." That Word of God- 
which flatters no one — that searching Word of God which 
abases every man's pride. It never beguiles us. It exalts 
the Lord alone, and gives glory to Him, and brings glory to 
lis only through Him and our union to Him by faith. 

3d. Next, because that Word is itself divine ; " the word 
of the living God, which endureth forever." Its promises 
are divine. The way from sin and hell to glory, which it 
alone, of the religions in the world, reveals, is divine. Its 
assurances are God's assurances. Its warnings and its hopes 
are of God. The weapons which it supplies are from God's 
own armory ; swords that never break — simple slings, that 
will smite to the dust even the proud, mighty giants of de- 
fying error and corruption — shields that cannot be pierced. 
And when we receive it truly, we receive it, as the apostle 
says, " not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word 
of the living God, which effectually worketh in you that be- 
lieve " (i Thess. ii. 13). 

4th. And lastly, because that Word is therefore invested 
with the power of God. The Lord, the Holy Ghost, speaks 
in it and through it. His power animates the word of His 
grace, hence it is called the life-giving word. It has power 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. loi 

to slay. * As Luther says : " The Gospel which the Lord has 
put into the mouth of His apostles is His sword wherewith 
He smites as with thunder and lightning." And so it has 
power to revive to a new life. It has power to pierce to the 
joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and 
intents of the heaut ; and so it has power to build up unto 
life eternal, for it holds up a crucified Christ which is " the 
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to 
the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom. i. i6). 

These two, the mighty Lord Christ and His eternal Word 
of truth ! They stand like the two pillars before the tem- 
ple of Solomon — Jachin, " he will "; Boaz, " in 
strength." They stand as the instruction, the joy, the help, 
the eternal hope of all who, with opened spiritual eyes, enter 
the church of the living God. Bind these two, oh ! my be- 
loved people, to your hearts as your strong, unfailing de- 
fence, as with hooks of steel — God and His word of grace. 

Thirty-six years ago last December 14th, I stood for the 
first time in this pulpit, after receiving the call of this people 
to be their pastor. At your call I left the First Presbyterian 
Church of Rah way, New Jersey, where for eleven years I 
had served as pastor to a most affectionate and beloved peo- 
ple, and was installed over you as pastor by the Presbytery 
of New York, thirty-six years ago, on the nth of last Febru- 
ary. In that service the Rev. Edward E. Rankin presided ; 
prayer was offered by the Rev. Lewis H. Lee, formerly as- 
sociate pastor with Rev. Mr. Johnstone, and by Rev. Ravaud 
K. Rodgers, of Bound Brook ; the charge to the pastor was 
given by the Rev. Wm. Bannard, of New York, and the 
charge to the people by the Rev. Frederick G. Clark, of 
Astoria, N. Y. All these, with the exception of Dr. Ban- 
nard and Dr. Rankin, are now gone home, most of them 
long since gone home. How vividly that scene is before 
me now. I undertook this charge, I must confess, with some 
hesitancy, and for a few years these doubts continued for 
reasons upon which I need not now dwell. But upon reflec- 

102 History of the 

tion I decided to remain at all events for five years. When 
that time had elapsed, all was clear, and instead of staying 
five years, I am, after thirty-six years, still here to-day. Yes, 
I am still here to-day, having thought it best, after much 
consideration, as they severally occurred, to decline three 
different offers for my removal elsewhere, ^mong which were 
two calls to churches in other cities, urged upon me with 
much importunity. I mention all this to show how greatly 
I esteemed the people of this charge. 

I have so fully, on another occasion, entered into the his- 
tory of this church, that I will say but little of it now. A 
very few facts must sufifice. This building stood in Wall 
Street, New York, for thirty-three years ; to see, in that time, 
a change from being in a locality with a large surrounding 
population, to a place filled up with the appliances of busi- 
ness. It has now stood forty-three years in Jersey City, and 
has witnessed the same change over again. When I came 
among you the population of Jersey City was considerably 
under thirteen thousand, and the population was almost all 
within this vicinity and that of Ahasimus. Grand Street 
was still unpaved, and was even in hillocks on the sidewalk. 
Very few houses were beyond the east side of Warren Street 
until you came to Grove Street. Besides this church there 
was St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, with its first rector, 
Rev. Dr. Barry, still living, though very near his decease, 
which occurred within a few weeks. The Rev. Jas. Bowden 
was the rector in charge. There was also the First Reformed 
(Dutch) Church in Grand Street with its former pastor, the 
Rev. Matthias Lusk, then recently dismissed. It was still 
mourning the sudden decease of his successor, the Rev. Jno. 
A. Yates, D.D., who had been called but not yet installed, 
and who had been followed by the short pastorate of the 
Rev. David Lord. And the pulpit was then vacant, the 
Rev. Alexander W. McClure entering on his pastorate a few 
weeks later. The Rev. P. D. Van Cleef had been pastor for 
two years in the Second Reformed Church in Wayne Street, 
in a building which was burned that winter, and replaced by 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 103 

the present structure. The First Baptist Church (or Union 
Baptist Church) was in Grove Street, with the Rev. William 
Verrinder (afterward, for so many years, our admirable city 
missionary), as its pastor. Trinity Methodist Church was in 
York Street, and St. Paul's M. E. Church in Third Street 
had just begun its history, and the building was standing 
almost alone, with the ground about it still unlevelled. The 
Roman Catholics occupied, as their church, the building 
opposite the First Reformed Church, now known as St. 
Aloysius' Academy. The Second Presbyterian and the Park 
Reformed Churches were in their earliest incipiency, and 
were organized some time afterward. On the Heights (then 
Bergen), the old Reformed Dutch Church, with its pastor. 
Rev. Benjamin C. Taylor, D.D., and its new stone building 
recently completed, stood alone. All the churches, of every 
name, which have appeared in that region, have come into 
existence long since. Lafayette was then, and for years 
afterward, a salt meadow. Of the settled pastors at that time, 
none but the Rev. P. D. Van Cleef, D.D., and the Rev. Will- 
iam Verrinder, now survive. 

This church had enjoyed the services of three pastors — 
the Rev. John Johnstone, and the Rev. Lewis H. Lee as 
associate pastor, and after these the Rev. David King. 
These are all long since gone to rest. And so, too, i^the 
Rev. James Vernon Henry (father of our Deacon Jas. R. 
Henry), who ministered at times to this people as stated 
supply. And so, too (I may here add), are many of those 
who were especially active in securing the organization of 
this church, and the removal of this building from its old 
site in New York to its present position. In particular, I 
must not fail to mention three of these — the late David 
Henderson, whose tablet is on the wall, and who died, as 
you know, by accident very soon after this building was 
dedicated in 1845, ^"^^ Dudley S. Gregory, who was re- 
moved by death more than ten years ago. It was chiefly 
by the energy and liberality of these two gentlemen that 
the purchase and transfer of this building was effected. 

104 History of the 

The third was the late Andrew Clerk, Esq., the skilful and 
liberal architect, to whose supervision the transportation 
and erection of the building was entrusted, and who left us, 
as you remember, after long residence here, a little more 
than a year ago, to enter that heavenly mansion not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens. Besides the departed 
ministers of Christ already named, this church had been 
served by the Rev. Wilson Phraner, long afterward pastor 
in Sing Sing, N. Y., and now honorably retired from the 
pastorate, and the Rev. William W. Eddy, since then mis- 
sionary in Syria. These were at that time young men just 
closing their studies at the Theological Seminary, and 
preached here for a time as stated supplies. These both 
still live. 

Of the Ruling Elders, among those who were chosen at the 
church organization, Luther T. Stowell, L. D. Hardenburgh, 
and Ellis F. Ayers, the last of whom had also been elected 
Deacon, had all removed. The four Elders whom I found 
here, Oliver S. Strong (elected at the organization), Justus 
Slater, Thomas H. Shafer, and James S. Davenport, are all 
gone to their reward. And so also are Wm. R. Janeway, 
Wm. H. Talcott, H. S. Allen, and Nathaniel C. Jaquith, who 
followed them. Elders Edwin Wygant, Titus B. Meigs, D. 
M. 6tiger, Henry W. Buxton, and Wm. Ewan, still live,* 
but have removed to othei; places. Bennington F. Randolph 
and Flavel McGee alone yet remain with us. The first 
elected deacon, Ellis F. Ayers, had gone from the city, and 
two others associated with him, Joseph Bonnell and Ab. 
Hoagland, soon followed him. The only remaining deacon 
whom I found here was Edwin Wygant. Following him were 
Nathaniel C. Jaquith, Erwin R. Crane, Henry W. Buxton, 
Jas. R, Henry, Chas. H. Jaquith, and Joseph F. Randolph, 
Jr., several of whom afterward became Elders. These all, 
with the exception of N. C. Jaquith, still live, but have all 

* Mr. Wygant deceased a few months later — an Elder at the time 
in Spring Street Presbyterian Church, New York. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 105 

removed to other cities, except James R, Henry, who, as 
our Deacon, still remains with us. 

Time will not allow me to mention even by name the long 
array of Trustees,* who, before and during these thirty-six 
years and down to the present time, have administered the 
temporal affairs of this church so wisely and efficiently, and 
by whose energy the finances have been kept in a sound con- 
dition ; by whose wise zeal on several occasions, particularly 
during the last twenty-five years, the heavy debt, which en- 
cumbered the church when I came here, was entirely removed ; 
the liability to a ground-rent, which had long continued, was 
cancelled ; the reversionary clauses of the original deed with- 
drawn by the liberality of the heirs of Messrs. Henderson and 
Gregory, and the whole church property brought entirely into 
the possession of the congregation ; and lastly (though not 
least), by whose fidelity and perseverance, during the last six 
or eight years of pressure, the liabilities of the church have 
always been promptly met, and the congregation continued 
from year to year entirely free from all debt. They who build 
the house of God, and they who keep and cleanse the sanc- 
tuary, are not forgotten of the Lord any more than they 
who minister within at its holy services. 

Nor can I stop either to set before you the well-remem- 
bered and beloved faces of the many Sabbath-school super- 
intendents, and teachers and officers too, who have trained 
in Christian truth the children of the congregation, and 
these children's children after them, down to the present 
faithful band of helpers who still so successfully prosecute 
the work.f Nor can I speak by name of the noble women, 
who, in the Mite Society and in the Missionary Society, 
have for so many years steadily and most efficiently done 
their part in enabhng this church of Christ fully to perform 
its work. And as I look at that place of the choir yonder, 

* See the list of names at the end of this volume, 
t See history of the Sabbath-school, by James R. Henry, at the 
close of this volume. 

lo6 History of the 

how many familiar faces of young men and of young wom- 
en, and more lately of children too, whose sweet voices in 
harmony have led our devotions or who have skilfully han- 
dled the organ in God's praises, come up before me ! — many 
of them still living, but some gone where the music far ex- 
cels all the music of earth. 

In my pastorate here it has been my endeavor, as a main 
object, to lead you, my people, to an accurate knowledge 
of the Word of God. It is for this reason that I have gone 
over connectedly, after the good old plan, so many of the 
books of the Bible in courses of lecturing, both on the Sab- 
bath and at the weekly service. Besides this, I have aimed 
to set forth prominently the great fundamental truths of 
God's way of salvation, to put clearly before you the be- 
ing and character of God, the person and work of the Lord 
Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit, and the characteristics 
of a true believer in Him. I have endeavored to teach and 
warn and exhort all classes, young and older, trying not to 
hide anything that I believed God's Word taught, and which 
was at the time profitable for you to hear. I have sought 
earnestly to show you, too, that all of God's Word is of ser- 
vice, and not merely such parts as some people often think 
to be so ; and who hence call such parts practical, simply 
because such parts have reference to ourselves, or our own 
times or our present condition. Hence I have set before 
you God's purposes toward His Church in the future, which 
are so constantly presented fti the Scripture as a power to 
lift us up above this present world, and to gird us with 
spiritual strength and to sanctify. And therefore I have 
taught you not only concerning the person and work of our 
Lord, but of His coming again and of His kingdom ; the 
certainty of His kingdom which is to be established on this 
earth renewed ; the future redemption and return of Israel 
and Israel's position in the earth ; and, in general, of God's 
designs toward that people as set forth in the Scripture, and 
through them to all the nations of the earth. And I have 
endeavored to impress upon you the high and holy calling 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 107 

of the Christian Church as a separated people, chosen out 
of the world, set apart to a singular service, and appointed 
to a singularly glorious destiny — the glorified bride of God's 
dear Son — the fullness, or completion of Christ, to " sit 
with Him on His throne, as He also overcame and is seated 
with the Father upon His throne." 

As one looks back over a pastorate of thirty-six years, given 
into his hands by the Holy Ghost, who alone makes pastors 
overseers of the flock of God, none can tell, so well as lie 
can tell himself, his failings ; or know as lie knows the deep 
humiliation which fills his soul, in the clear sight which he 
has (notwithstanding his consciousness of sincerity and in- 
tegrity) of his weakness of endeavor, of his failures, of his 
probable mistakes, of his misuse or feeble use of opportu- 
nities, of his poor attainments, and of the poverty of the 
apparent fruits of his labors compared with what he feels 
they might have been. None can estimate him to be less 
than he judges himself to be. And it is the uplifting joy 
of the pastor's heart that he serves a Master so considerate, 
so ready to judge things with tender forbearance, and whose 
rewards will outreach all the hopes of his people. 

At the same time he is bound to say that, in the midst of 
all this, he is conscious of having sought to know and to do 
God's will among you ; and that his prayer for every one of 
you all has continually been that the Lord might save you 
and make you "perfect and complete in all the will of God, 
and preserve you unto His heavenly glory." It is all gone 
by now — the teachings, the exhortations, the warnings, the 
encouragements, the prayers, the wrestlings, the tears — 
gone to meet us in the presence of the Lord, and the re- 
sults fully known only to HlM. May " His mercy be meted, 
out to us, both pastor and people, in that day ! " 

When I came here there were on the communion-roll 
233 names, of which there were then on the ground 142 ; 
of these only three are now here, and the abodes of eleven 
others are unknown. Since my coming the number enrolled 
Jias risen to 900, or nearly 700 additional names, an average 

io8 History of the 

of close upon twenty year by year. Of these between one- 
third and one-half have been added upon confession of their 
faith. There have been seasons, of course, when many 
more have been added than at other times. And during 
the last ten years the fruits, owing to our present circum- 
stances, have been much less than in previous times. But 
the above is the average for the whole period. How many 
of these have left us to go up higher ! And how many, still 
well remembered and well beloved, have gone out from 
us to become diligent workers for the Lord in other fields, 
and whom we still carry upon our hearts in prayer that they 
may be perfected in holiness and " kept by the power of 
God through faith unto the salvation ready to be revealed 
in the last time." As I look back over that roll, with what 
tender and varied remembrances is this holy place asso- 
ciated. Here have I seen many among you led to the Lord. 
Here have I seen your children, too, openly profess Christ. 
Here have I seen my own children and children's children 
brought to the Lord's table. How have I rejoiced here 
over every hearty movement in carrying on Christ's work in 
the congregation, or for the help of the Lord's cause at 
home or abroad ! What joy have I had in every soul that 
has been earnest in the Lord's .service ! And so, too, how 
has my heart known its own bitterness by the backwardness 
or the coldness or the decline of any who have professed 
the name of Christ, and by those who have been insensible 
to all appeals and have never openly acknowledged their 
fealty to Him. As a matter of fact it is a cheering thought 
that during this long course of years we have had very few 
cases indeed of serious discipline by the Session. So far as 
we know, by far the larger part have walked becomingly 
and many heartily for the Lord. The Lord himself clear 
and cleanse us all, pastor and people, and forgive and own 
us according to that infinite love of His which is perfect and 

During these long years I have publicly spoken to you in 
the name of the Lord very much more than 5,000 times, with- 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 109 

out including more than 1,000 addresses at prayer-meetings, 
or other rehgious gatherings, or the hundreds of funeral ad- 
dresses. At the Lord's table, where we have often known 
such precious influences, we have sat together as a church 
nearly one hundred and fifty times. I have baptized 478 
persons, of which just 50 were adults, baptized on profes- 
sion of their faith. I have solemnized during my residence 
here 352 marriages ; in some cases those of the parents and 
then of their children after them. I have attended 731 
funerals ; while, during the whole of my ministry, I have as- 
sisted in putting into the grave, one by one, considerably 
over 1,000 persons. Do you wonder that to an old minister 
life seems so very short? 

There are to-day, notwithstanding all our changes, still 
on the ground or within a certain proximity (on the Heights, 
or in New York City), 121 communicants, or within about 
a score of the number who were on the ground when I came 
to this church, more than thirty-six years ago. 

And now we must separate as pastor and people. A week 
ago last Tuesday, the Presbytery of Jersey City, in reply to 
my proposal and your acquiescence in the same under the 
circumstances, agreed to the severance of the bond which 
has so long bound us together. 

I need not detail at length the reasons which have led to 
this change. For years both you and I have been looking 
forward to the removal of this congregation to other quarters 
as inevitable — the result of causes operating in all our large 
cities. For six or eight years, however, when I have spoken 
of it, you have found that you were not able to see where to 
betake yourselves and start afresh, and you were not ready 
to take the step of separating from each other as a congre- 
gation and seeking other church homes. Indeed this is 
even now one of the sorest parts of the present trial. 
Hence, for a decade past we have continued together, hold- 
ing the building still.* And you have, therefore, very liber- 
ally been subscribing, year by year, in advance, what was fore- 

no History of the 

seen to be necessary to meet the following year's expenses. 
But now the point is reached where you are persuaded that' 
it is hopeless to keep on in our present quarters. The depart- 
ure of one family after another to other cities continues. 
And also, at last, the building itself is so much in need of 
repair as to make it necessary to take some decisive step — 
either to repair it, if the prospect of remaining here is at all 
hopeful, or to sell it and remove elsewhere, if a position not 
now occupied in the lower part of the city is to be secured. 
After much consideration by all concerned you have decid- 
ed that it is hopeless to remain in our present quarters. 
True indeed it is, that there are still in communion with 
this church 178 persons. But of these, 39 are residing out 
of the city; 31 have gone to parts unknown, and have long 
been thus absent ; and 6 have withdrawn to other commun- 
ions. Our number is thus much reduced. True also it 
is, as I have already stated, that reckoi]ing name by name, 
there are still actually on the ground and within a reasonable 
distance (although some of these only very rarely attend), 
102 communicants. And there are 19 more residing either 
on the Heights, or in the city of New York, who occasion- 
ally come to our services, making in all 121 communicants. 
That is to say, that, with all our changes, there are, as al- 
ready stated, still accessible, within 21 of the number of 
those who were on the ground when I came here thirty-six 
years ago. But then, this fact is accompanied with two 
great differences in the cases. In the first place, there was 
at that time a strong tide of population setting in upon this 
city who were in the habit of attending church ; and second- 
ly, these, for the most part, settled down quite near, or at 
any rate not at all remote from this centre. At present all 
this is changed. Our former communicants are leaving the 
city year by year, although we do gather in some to take 
their places ; and besides, those who come, settle most 
generally in homes remote from this locality. It is true, 
also, that even as the case stands, tlfe church is still fully 
strong enough in communicants and attendants to under- 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. in 

take a new enterprise and life in some other and hopeful 
quarter of the city. But, as is well known, such a move- 
ment is precluded by the fact that there is no such place on 
this side of the Heights for us to resort to now. The posi- 
tions within the limits of* old Jersey City which we once 
might have occupied are now already taken ; and to remove 
to the Heights at this time would be premature, and would 
also carry us away from the vicinity of those who now at- 
tend our services. All therefore judge it best to do as we 
have long foreseen must eventually be done, and as has 
now been agreed upon. It is a comfort that the flourishing 
Sabbath-school is to be continued. Under the efficient man- 
agement of the present Superintendent and teachers, sup- 
plemented, we may hope, by the labor of others living in 
the neighborhood, it may possibly grow to something more. 
I take this occasion to say, that in all this long pastorate 
I have met with constant tokens of kindness and friendship 
and respect from the youngest up to those who are oldest. 
In all our meetings of the Session, and since the earlier years 
of my ministry here, in all our intercourse with the Boards 
of Trustees, and with all the people of this charge, not one 
root of bitterness has sprung up to trouble and defile us — 
not a ripple of opposition to mar our harmony. What a 
cause for gratitude is this ! Let us give thanks for it to God, 
who rules all hearts. And we close to-day, with, so far as I 
know, the heartiest love on both sides. All of us are sorry 
for this change in our relations, and also for our necessary 
removal from this our old habitation, where we have so 
long worshipped God together, and sat together at the 
Lord's table. At the same time, as was well observed by 
the President of the Board of Trustees at the congrega- 
tional meeting held on last Wednesday evening, " (s:// of us 
are agreed that the steps now taken were the wisest to be 
takfen." It is so thought also by the Presbytery. It is so 
judged by the friends of the church, far and near, so far as 
I have heard, however much they may regret the necessity 
for the change. Your own action in all this matter as a 

112 History of the 

church and congregation, and your past history as a church 
called forth warm words of praise in the recorded resolu- 
tions of the Presbytery as you heard read on Wednesday 
evening last. As to your thoughtful and generous care of 
myself in the future, this also deserves and has received from 
the Presbytery and from others hearty approval and com- 
mendation. And as to my being now largely set aside by 
this change from my usual work, let me say to you : Do not 
be concerned on this account. It is true that by God's great 
kindness I am still in good health and active, and am able 
to perform all the labors of the pastorate. But in my seventy- 
fourth year I could not expect to be, nor could you expect 
me to be, for any long time, actively useful. So that you 
may well believe that we have continued .together, so far as 
that is concerned, as long as was suitable, and that we have 
agreed to the sundering of the tie which bound us together, 
only when, at the longest, it must, in the course of nature, 
have been sundered soon. It is a gracious providence of 
God which enables me to say that our relation to each other 
is to be sundered only by a felt necessity and with a mutual 
esteem and regret on both sides. As to my future oversight 
for you and my willingness to aid, in any way possible to 
me, your spiritual interests, for which you have expressed 
your desire to me and to the Presbytery, and to further 
which the Presbytery, at your request, has assigned me the 
position of Moderator of the Session of the church ; that is 
a matter of course. I need not dwell upon it. As Samuel 
said, in his old age, to Israel : " God forbid that I should sin 
against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you ; only fear the 
Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart." For all 
the many tokens of kindness in words or acts which I or 
mine have received from you who are here or from those 
who were once of our number but are now gone elsewhere, 
I return my hearty thanks. May the Lord himself repay 

The Sabbath-school, as I have said, is to be continued, 
and this congregation will, I doubt not, entertain a warm 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 113 

interest in its success. Our hope is that it may, in some way, 
lead, in the nearer or more remote future, to a church with 
regular services in some part of the city, and may thus pre- 
serve the old name and organization. Our Superintendent 
and teachers will work, as far as possible, toward that end. 

It is very pleasant to state that our old friends, the Con- 
sistory of the First Reformed Church in Grand Street, have 
very graciously accorded to the Sabbath-school the use of 
their^building when this building shall have been sold. And 
this congregation, on Wednesday evening last, authorized 
the school to remove and use our lecture-room furniture for 
their accommodation. 

As another act of Christian kindness, let me say, that 
through the rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church (Rev. 
Mr. Holbrook) our congregation has been offered the free 
use of their lecture-room on any particular occasion when 
this congregation may wish to hold meetings, upon any 
evening of the week except Wednesdays. We heartily 
acknowledge these graceful acts of Christian courtesy. 

And now all is closed. As we stand here still, beloved, 
for a few moments longer as pastor and people, let me re- 
mind you that this change is but one incident by the way, 
of which there are so many occurring as time passes on. 
The great event is beyond. That will never pass away. 
That claims, as nothing here can claim, the heart's deep 
feelings and earnestness. Besides, let us not forget that 
whatever has been here well done will remain, notwith- 
standing all outside mutations. Other churches — even apos- 
tolic ones like those of Ephesus and Smyrna and Thyatira 
and Colosse — have gone, but the fruits of these remain for- 
ever, garnered by the Lord above. And so of this church, 
organized 44 years ago this very month, what a history and 
influence, known fully only to God, has the service of those 
44 years achieved. These walls then may go, and other 
purposes be carried forward upon this now sacred site, yet 
the prayer, the faith, the love, the hope, the deeds of Chris- 

1 14 History of the 

tian endeavor here witnessed and here nourished will re- 
main. They are with God. Oh ! that He may keep us, to 
meet in that day, and gather eternally the fruits of our joint 
labors put forth under the influences of this sanctuary. Let 
us not forget, either, the solemn statement of the apostle 
Peter in the passage which I read to-day in your hearing : 
"The end of all things is at hand." "Why, then," (it has 
well been asked,) " need we dwell sorrowfully on these 
things which happen only on the way?" They are all 
plainly hastening away. The great reality is THERE— yon- 
der : The King! The Coming Judge! who shall give to 
every one according as his work shall be. 

" Brief life is here our portion. 

Brief sorrow, short-lived care ; 
The life that knows no ending, 

The tearless life is there. 
O happy retribution. 

Short toil, eternal rest ; 
For mortals and for sinners, 

A mansion with the blest. ' 

" The morning shall awaken, 
The shadows shall decay, 
And each true-hearted servant 
• Shall shine as doth the day. 

Then God, our King and portion. 

In fullness of His Grace, 
Shall we behold forever. 
And worship face to face." 

It is a noticeable coincidence brought unexpectedly to 
my recollection that this very day fifty years ago (April 29, 
1838), I stood up to preach my first sermon. It was in a 
school-house near Princeton, New Jersey, when I was still 
a theological student. How well do I remember that scene — 
the long walk in the Sabbath evening to the place, the dim 
tallow-candles on the school desk used for a pulpit, the as- 
sembled audience sitting in the shadow, and the young 
preacher, timid and anxious, as he rose to publish his first 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 115 

message of the Gospel of Christ. And now, just half a cen- 
tury later this very day, I close my long pastorate with 

And now a closing word of exhortation : 

First, To any who may yet be unsettled as to their choice 
of Christ. 

Some of such may have heard my voice as their minister 
for years and years gone by. Others of them may still be 
young. Oh ! you who have so long listened to heaven's 
music of invitation, and who, up to this very hour, have 
failed to be decided, still lingering on the other side with 
the unbelieving, rejecting world, what shall be the end 
for you tJiere, yonder ? Can it be possible that you will 
meet with Him only to be cast out? Must these years of 
ministry testify against you ? By the love of God and His 
forbearance toward you, I beseech you to-day, harden your 
heart no longer. To-day believe and commit your soul to 
Christ and follow Him. And you who are young, and who 
yet also stand among the undecided ; shall I fail, in part- 
ing, once more to speak to you, whom I have so often ad- 
dressed, beseeching you to seek the Lord at once? I do it 
with tender importunity. Jesus Christ says to you, as to 
all : The way is open — so fully, widely open — to him who is 
ready to enter, that none can shut it against him. But it 
requires decision to enter it. " Strait is the gate and nar- 
row is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that 
find it ; because wide is the gate and broad is the way that 
leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in 
thereat." " He that layeth not down all that he hath and 
taketh not up his cross, cannot be His disciple." Oh ! my 
young friend ! have you decision enough to enter the gate 
now? Is the glory of heaven bright enough in your eyes to 
let the world go, and make sure of the life to come? " Him 
that believeth in Me and confesseth Me before men," says 
Christ, " I will confess in the presence of My Father and the 
holy angels." Once more you have life and death set be- 
fore you. Will you fail, after all, of the grace of God ! 

ii6 History of the 

Secondly, But to you who have confessed His name. 

Some of you have long followed Him. You know by 
experience His faithfulness. He has led us thus far. He 
will never forsake you. Others of you are young as believ- 
ers — in many cases children of the covenant, presented in 
baptism by your believing parents, and afterward, when 
arrived at years of sufficient knowledge, you have confessed 
Christ as your personal Redeemer. To you all I say : 
There is still a conflict ; the battle yet rages ; the " wicked 
spirits in high places," of which the apostle speaks, always 
have access to us here. They are always full of malice and 
of cunning devices to entrap and lead us astray ; always 
bent on overthrowing and ruining us. And they would 
surely and necessarily succeed but for our ever-present de- 
fense — God and His grace and His protection and His de- 
liverance. His promise, His power, //w faithfulness, are our 
rest and hope. Yes, the battle yet rages, nor will the fight 
be done until the Master calls you home. Remember then — 
and I speak now to all such present to-day, including the 
many who were once with us, but are now removed, and 
whose familiar faces we are all glad once more to behold in 
this assembly, — remember : 

I. First: That it is the GRACE of God which saves you — 
free, unmerited, and most real grace. You are looked 
upon by the Father as standing in Christ ; not ys\ yourselves^ 
and therefore as possessing by God's grace what Jesus Christ 
has won for you ; accepted of God in your persons and in 
your services retidered to Him. Oh ! let yourselves go, I 
beseech you ; let yourselves go ; and let your thoughts ever 
turn to behold what you possess (according to God's testi- 
mony) in Christ. His righteousness clothes you, and it 
has no spot — His cross has adjudged and atoned for and 
removed your sins forever, and has opened Heaven's treas- 
ures to you. The Holy Spirit is yours and dwells in you 
because you are Christ's and are in Christ. And abiding in 
Him, He ensures your preservation all the way through to 
eternal glory. 

First Presbyterian C/mrch of Jersey City. i\y 

2. Remember next : That Gocfs Word is your guide and 
not ina?is word. What great and persistent attempts are 
made in this day to set that Word aside, by theories pro- 
fessedly built on insubvertible foundations, but which van- 
ish after about a score of years to give place to some new 
one. Oh ! keep that Word ever before you. Read it con- 
stantly and study it and teach it as the Word of the living 
God to your children. Begin every day by meeting God as 
He speaks to you in it, and speak you in prayer back again 
to Him. Let no man deceive you. You are begotten of 
the truth of God. You are nourished by God's truth. You 
grow in grace by growing in the knowledge of God's Son 
as the Word reveals Him, Be not, therefore, by any con- 
sideration drawn away from that W^ord, nor ever be tempted 
to undervalue it, or to doubt it, or to substitute other things 
for it as your guide. And never be content, I charge you, 
to listen to any religious teacher who doubts about it, or 
who ignores it, or who undervalues it, or who is willing 
to accept and teach only parts of it as God's Word, or who 
upholds his teachings by other considerations than that 
Word's divine authority from Heaven, "thus saith the 

3. Remember next : Your position as one bought by 
Christ's own blood, and therefore as not your own, but be- 
longing to Him, your Lord. And remember, too, the po- 
sition of yourself and of His whole Church, in this life, as 
not of this world, but called by grace out of this world — 
separated from it, in spirit, in desires, in aims, in life — as a 
home, as an inheritance, as a country. Remember that 
your real life is a hidden life to the eyes of the world — a life 
really unknown by the men of the world and unrelished by 
them just so far as it is known ; a life that is hidden with 
Christ in God, and to be revealed in its glory only when 
the Lord comes. It is not a life which exhibits itself by its 
brilliant eminences of wealth or station or worldly honor here. 
It is not a life revealing its excellence and attractiveness by 
its dignities seen in this world, either in State or even in the 

1 1 8 History of the 

Church. It is not a life reveahng itself by a shining social 
position, nor by its success in worldly schemes. It is a Hfe 
whose greatness and glory and holiness, and its now un- 
seen and unknown and inconceivable grounds of existence 
and its sublime realities, are yet to be revealed — a hidden life 
now — hidden with Christ in God, and revealed only when 
the Lord shall come (Col. iii. 1-4). I charge you, then, let 
all men see in you continually, and in all the relations of 
this present world and life, the spirit of " the pilgrim and 
stranger," whose aims and hopes are above, where Christ sit- 
teth at the right hand of God. While you are necessarily 
diligent in business, as Christ's servant, hold, I entreat you, 
hold everything here with a loose hand. And look and 
long for His coming when your true life shall at last be 
manifested ; where your true citizenship, for which your 
" name is enrolled in Heaven," is to be realized ; where you 
shall appear with Christ in glory. 

4. Remember next : To labor for Him courageously ; do- 
ing the work which He sets before you ; doing little things 
or great things, hard work or easy work, as He in His 
providence calls you to engage in them. It is not so much 
the kind of work which you do for Him that is important 
as the manner in which the work is done. In any case 
" He is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love" 
for Him. 

5. Remember, too: That He is your stronghold, and not 
yourself. Walk with Him ; live in communion with Him ; 
follow Him ; wait for Him — " God's Son, from heaven," to 
receive you to the place of rest. 

So I commend you to " the Lord on whom you have be- 
lieved." And may He, the faithful One, crown these years of 
ministry, for pastor and people, with His gracious approval, 
pardoning all that has been wrong ; and owning with 
abundant grace all that, as the fruit of His guiding, strength- 
ening Spirit, has been right ; and bring us at last to stand 
together, pastor and people, in His own presence with 
abounding joy. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 119 

Then followed the closing prayer, after which the pastor 
proceeded, as follows : 

As I have already stated, — At the meeting of the Presby- 
tery of Jersey City, held in Passaic, New Jersey, April 17, 
1888, it was agreed, on the application of your pastor, and 
with the acquiescence of the congregation, expressed through 
their Commissioners, that the pastoral relation between us 
should be this day dissolved, and this pulpit declared vacant. 

Therefore, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the 
Head of the Church, and by the authority and direction of 
the Presbytery of Jersey City, acting for Him, I do now pro- 
nounce and declare that the pastoral relation which has ex- 
isted since February 11, 1852, and up to the present time, 
between myself and this Presbyterian church and congrega- 
tion of Jersey City, is now dissolved. 

And may He who saves us by His grace, and is Lord of 
both shepherds and their flocks, have us ever in His holy 
keeping, and give us grace to maintain the battle manfully 
to the end, and bring us off more than conquerors through 
His love. And when He comes in His glory, then, whether 
we be among those who still are living or whether we be 
among those departed and sleeping in Jesus, may we live 
forever together with Him, and have an abundant entrance 
ministered to us into His heavenly kingdom. Amen. 

The congregation then rose and sang together the follow- 
ing hymn : 

" Blest be the dear, uniting love, 
That will not let us part : 
Our bodies may far off remove; 
We still are one in heart. 

"Joined in one spirit to our Head, 
Where He appoints we go ; 
We still in Jesus' footsteps tread, 
And show His praise below. 

I20 History of the 

"Oh, may we ever walk in Him, 
And nothing know beside ! 
Nothing desire, nothing esteem. 
But Jesus crucified ! 

" Partakers of the Saviour's grace. 
The same in mind and heart. 
Not joy nor grief nor time nor place 
Nor life nor death can part." 

The exercises were closed with the Benediction, and the 

" Praise God, from whom all blessings flow," etc., 
chanted by the choir. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 121 





The following list gives the names of the Trustees of the 
Church from the time of its organization, with the year of 
their election, up to the year i: 

1844— March 5. 

Dudley G. Gregory, Lewis D. Hardenburgh, 

David Henderson, Henry Southmayd, 

Oliver S. Strong, Erastus Randall, 

Henry M. Alexander. 

1847 — November 9. 
Jonathan D. Miller. Josiah H. Gautier, M.D., 

Thomas H. Amidon, Wm. A. Townsend, 

Abram S. Jewell, David Henderson (2d). 

1848 — November 22. 

Luke C. Lyman, Oliver S. Strong. 

1849 — November 22. 

Abram S. Jewell, Josiah H. Gautier, M.D. 

1850 — November 22. 

J. D. Miller, Wm. A. Townsend, David Henderson (2d). 


History of the 

1851 — November 22. 

Luke C. Lyman, Oliver S. Strong. 

1852 — November 22. 

Abram S. Jewell, J. H. Gautier, M.D., Wm. T. Rodgers. 

1853— April 14. 

Frederick B. Betts, Uzal Cory, 

William R. Janeway, B. B. Grinnell, 

Edwin Wygant, J. W. Parker, 

J. W. Bonnell. 

Chas. Fink, 

•Andrew Clerk, 

Chas. Fink, 

F. B. Betts, 

Abram S, Jewell, 

Chas. Fink, 

F. B. Betts, 

Benj. G. Clarke, 

1854 — November 29. 

JAS. R. Thompson. 

1855 — November 22. 

Abram S. Jewell. 

1856 — November 21. 

J. W. Parker, Jas. R. Thompson. 

1857 — November 20. 

Wm. R. Janeway, 

1858 — November 24. 

Augustus Jenkins. 

1859 — November 24. 
J. W. Parker, Jas. R. Thompson. 

i860 — November 21. 

W. R. Janeway. 

1861 — November 22. 

J. R. Schuyler. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 123 

1862 — November 22. 

Jas. R. Thompson, Jas. L. Ogden, Bennington F. Randolph. 

1863 — November 20. 

Henry W. Buxton, H. A. Coursen. 

1864 — November 25. 
Benj. G. Clarke, J. R. Schuyler. 

1865 — December i. 

J. R. Thompson, J. L. Ogden, B. F. Randolph. 

1866 — December 12. 

H. A. Coursen, H. W. Buxton, Walter S. Neilson. 

1867 — December 11. 

B. G. Clarke, Theron S. Doremus. 

1868 — December 16. 

B. F, Randolph. J. E. Hulshizer, T. B. Meigs. 

1869 — December 8. 

H. W. Buxton, Walter S. Neilson. 

1870 — December 7. 

Benj. G. Clarke, Theron S. Doremus. 

1871 — November 8. 

T. B. Meigs, J. Flavel McGee, J. E. Hulshizer. 

1872 — December 4. 

H. W. Buxton, William Harney, Wm. E. Stiger. 

1873 — January 28. 

Abram S. Jewell, Wm. E. Stiger. 


History of the 

Benj. G. Clarke, 

T. B. Meigs, 


Benj. G. Clarke, 

T. B. Meigs, 

J. A. Kunkel. 

D. C. McNaughton, 
John B. Huntting, 

1873 — November 5. 

Abram S. Jewell 

1874 — November 11. 

J. F. McGee, 

1875 — November 10. 

W. E. Stiger, 

JAS. L. Ogden. 

H. A. Coursen. 

1876 — November 8. 

John B. Huntting. 

1877 — November 7. 

H. A. Coursen, . J. Flavel McGee. 

1878 — November 13. 

Hamilton Wallis. 

1879 — November 5. 

William Ewan, 
Chas. a. Southmayd, 
A. Slauson. 

1879 — December 3. 

Chas. D. Davis. 

Chas. D. Davis, 

W. D. Godley, 

William Runkle, 

John B. Huntting, 

1880— November 3. 

James R. Henry, 

1881 — November 2. 
J. A. Kunkel, 

A. Slauson. 

Joseph D. Bedle. 

1882— March 3. 

George S. Smith. 

1882 — November 8. 

D. C. McNaughton. 

First Presbyterian ■ Church of Jersey City. 125 

1883 — November 14. 

Wm. Runkle, George S. Smith, J. Flavel McGee. 

1884 — November 12. 

Joseph D. Bedle, J. A. Kunkel. 

1885— November 25. 

John B. Huntting, Wm. Martin. 

1886 — November 26. 

George S. Smith, Joseph D. Bedle, Jr., Wm. D. Godley. 

1887 — November 23. 

Joseph D. Bedle, J. A. Kunkel, W. J. Montgomery. 

The present Board of Trustees, July i, 1888, are as fol- 
lows : 

Hon. Joseph D. Bedle, Presidetit. Wm. Martin, 

JNO. B. Huntting, Secretary and George S. Smith, 

Treasurer. Joseph D. Bedle, Jr., 

J. A. Kunkel, Wm. J. Montgomery. 

126 History of the 


On the evening of the 13th day of May, 1844, the follow- 
ing persons assembled at the Lyceum in Grand Street for 
the purpose of organizing a Sunday-school to be connected 
with the First Presbyterian Church : 

Rev. John Johnstone, Pastor. 

Oliver S. Strong, L. D. Hardenburgh, and L. T. Stowell, 


Lebbeus Chapman, Mrs. JoHxNStone, 

Benjamin U. Ryder, Mrs. Mary F. Stowell, 

John Thompson, Miss Louisa Gregory, 

James Morrison, Miss Clara Gregory, 

T. H. Shafer, Miss Margaret Henderson, 

William Rhodes, Miss Margaret Johnstone, 

E. C. Bramhall, Miss Mary Shafer. 

A constitution was adopted and the following officers 
were elected : 

Lebbeus Chapman, .... Superintendent. 

Benjamin U. Ryder, .... Librarian. 

William Rhodes, Secretary. 

E. C. Bramhall Treasurer. 

It was also resolved, " That this Society become auxiliary 
to the New York Sunday-school Union." Upon this being 
done, the school was numbered JJ of the New York Sun- 
day-school Union, and continued as such during the exist- 
ence of that Union. 

The school thus organized went into operation on the 
succeeding Sabbath with fourteen teachers and forty-five 

First Presbyterian Cliurch of Jersey City. 127 

All of the eighteen persons present at the first meeting 
have long since passed away from the church and Jersey- 
City. At least eight are dead ; probably more. 

The school thus organized has continued in existence to 
the present time with certainly a fair degree of prosperity. 
The following statistics show the number on the rolls at 
different periods in its history as appears from annual re- 
ports : 

1852. 27 Teachers and Officers, 178 Scholars ; 

1858. 37 " " 222 

1865. 38 " " 179 

1869. 37 " " 198 

1876. 32 " " 237 

showing thus an average number of about 175 to 200 schol- 
ars on the rolls, with a fair percentage of average attend- 


The records of the school were at first imperfectly kept, 
and the minutes of annual meetings and probable elections 
held in the years 1846, 1847, 1848, 1853, and 1854, are miss- 
ing, so that there may be some omissions in the following 
lists; but, as far as the records show, the following have 
held offices: 


Lebbeus Chapman, from May 13, 1844, for at least two years. 
(Three years' records missing.) 
Thomas H. Shafer, from May 21, 1849, to November 6, 1853. 
William R. Janeway, from November 6, 1853, to November 5, 

Frederick B. Betts, from November 5, 1855, to May 9, i860. 

Edwin Wygant, from May 9, i860, to November 20, 1861. 

Julius S. Howell, from November 20, 1861, to May 14, 1872. 

Rev. C. K. Imbrie, D.D., from May 14, 1872, to November 12, 1876. 

William E. Stiger, from November 12, 1876, to date. 

/ Assistant Superintendents. 

J. S. Davenport, from May 21, 1849, to November 15, 1852. 
Edwin Wygant, from November 15, 1852, to . 

128 History of the 

Samuel W, Davenport, from November 5, 1855, to May 2, 1859. 
Mrs. Slater, from May 2, 1859, to May 9, 1862. 
Miss Louisa Harris (Mrs. Clerk), from May 9, 1862, to June 2, 
Mrs. Talmage, from June 2, 1869, to May 18, 1870. 
Horace S. Allen, from May 18, 1870, to May 28, 1876. 
Mrs. H. A. COURSEN, from March 21, 1873, to May — , 1874. 
Flavel McGee, from November 12, 1876, to date. 


E. C. Bramhall, from May 13, 1844, to April 12, 1845. 

William Rhodes, from April 12, 1845, to . 

William Bayley, from April 21, 1849, to May 20, 1851. 
Louis Bonnell, from May 20, i85i,to August 16, 1852. 
T. S. Harris, from August 16, 1852, to . 

S. D. Seelye, from November 11, 1855, to May 5, 1856. 
T, H. Shafer, from May 5, 1856, to May 8, 1858. 
A. Jenkins, from May 8, 1858, to May 2, [859. 
S. W. Davenport, from May 2, 1859, to May 9, i860. 
James R. Henry, from May 9, i860, to May 18, 1870. 
A. C. Tully, from May 18, 1870, to May — , 1876. 
Charles F. Imbrie, from May 28, 1876, to date. 


William Rhodes, from May 13, 1844, to April 12, 1845. 

L. Chapman, Jr., from April 12, 1845, to . 

J. T. Shafer, from May 21, 1849, to May 20, 1851. 

Henry A. Lyman, from May 20, 1851, to November 19, 1851. 

F. F. Betts, from November 19, 1851,10 November — , 1854. 

E. N. K. Talcott, from November — , 1854, to November il, 1855. 
S. D. Seelye, from November 11, 1855, to February 22, 1856. 

F. F. Betts, from February 22, 1856, to May 4, 1857. 
J. H. Thomas, from May 4, 1857, to May^ 8, 1858. 
James R. Henry, from May 8, 1858, to May 18, 1870. 
A. C. Tully, from May 18, 1870, to May — , 1876. 
James R. Henry, from May 28, 1876, to date. 

Librarians and Assistants. 

The following have at different times and for longer or 
shorter periods served in this capacity : 

First Presbyterian CImrch of Jersey City. 129 

Benjamin U. Ryder, David Downer, 

S. Lynch, Charles H. Jaquith, 

John H. Lyon, William E. Stiger, 

Jacob Fisher, William T. Henry, 

James Thompson, John K. Duryee, 

Frederick F. Betts, . Horace J. Jaquith, 

J. T. Shafer, J. B. Betts, 

Calvin Shafer, Edward Linn, 

E. N. K. Talcott, Jacob Farlee, 

J. Clarke, Henry Williams. 

J. H. Thomas, James Henry, 

Howard Slater, William M. Imbrie, 

Hugh H. Janeway, Charles L. Fink, 

James T. B. Collins, Charles Talmage, 
Thomas L. Janeway. 

The school has usually been divided into one or more 
older Bible-classes, the classes meeting in the general school- 
room, and an infant class. 

The teachers of the infant class have been : 

Mr. S. W. Davenport. 

Miss Hannah J. Roy. 

Mrs. Catalina Talmage, for many years and still in service. 

Mrs. David Downer, for a short time. 

Mrs. H. W. Buxton, during last year, having boys only. 

The hour of meeting has been usually at 2 or 2.30 P.M. 

The studies pursued in the general classes were for sev- 
eral years in the Union Question-Books, and also Scripture 
Question-Books for younger scholars, and part of the time 
without Question-Books. 

Since the adoption of the International Series of Lessons 
they have been used in the school. Particular attention 
has been also paid to the Assembly's Shorter Catechism. 

A library has always been maintained, usually containing 
some 500 or 600 volumes. 

But little attention was paid to singing in the school 

until about 1862, since which time the school has occupied 

about half an hour of each session in singing, under the 

leadership of Mr. H. W. Buxton. The books used have 


130 History of the 

been " The Golden Chain," " Happy Voices," " Silver 
Spray," and " Christian Songs." 

A system of merit tickets and rewards was in use until 
about 1850, when it was abolished. During the last year 
rewards have been given for committing the Catechism and 
parts of the lessons, and a reward to Miss Mary Black for 
committing the Gospel of John. 

As the school belonged to the New York Union for sev- 
eral years, it was accustomed to proceed to New York on 
the Anniversary occasions and join with the New York 
schools in the celebration. This continued until 1852, 
when it was determined to unite the Jersey City schools in 
the celebration of an Anniversary at home. Accordingly, 
through the efforts of the officers of this school, all the 
schools of Jersey City assembled in this church to hold an 
Anniversary. Since then these celebrations have been con- 
tinued annually, until now usually some eight churches are 
opened and many thousands parade. Mr. A. S. Jewell and 
Mr. F. B. Betts were the most prominent persons in orig- 
inating these Anniversaries. 

Christmas celebrations have been held for four years past. 

The present pastor was accustomed to preach to the 
children on the first Sabbath of every month until he be- 
came Superintendent, when those special services were dis- 

Teachers' meetings for study of the lessons, and special 
prayer-meetings, have been held at different times for longer 
or shorter periods ; also various missionary meetings at 
different times. 

As a nursery for the church, the school has borne a prom- 
inent part. It is impossible for me with the materials at 
my command to give the exact number of those who have 
united with the church while connected with the school, 
but that number is large. Very few years have passed with- 
out some such additions, and in some years the number has 
been, I think, as high as 20. 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 131 

Mission Work. 

The school, while thus engaged in its own quiet work, 
has also largely participated in mission work, and this may 
be divided into mission work at home in Jersey City, and 
work outside of the city, both in the United States and in 
foreign fields. And — 

1st. As to mission work in Jersey City. 

Early in the history of the school an effort was made to 
visit that part of Jersey City in the neighborhood of the 
school, and draw in those not attending any Sabbath-school. 
Systematic efforts in this respect have been several times 
repeated with good results, and might, perhaps, be now ad- 
vantageously renewed, although the ground has been par- 
tially occupied by others. Our school was at first composed 
almost entirely of children whose parents belonged to the 
congregation. This has changed to a very great extent, 
and for the last few years the majority of the scholars have 
probably been from families not connected with this church. 
Among those brought in at different times we may men- 
tion a number of children residing on canal-boats moored 
in the canal basin during the winter. Some of these chil- 
dren returned to us for two or more successive winters, 
being absent in the summer. 

A Sunday-school was conducted in the old Almshouse 
at the foot of Washington Street for several years by Mrs. 
C. L. Fink, and other members of our church, which might 
be considered as a branch of our school. This was con- 
tinued until the removal of the inmates to Snake Hill made 
it necessary to abandon this enterprise. 

A mission-school of the former Young Men's Christian 
Association, prior to 1858, was largely supported by mem- 
bers of this church. The school of the Children's Home was 
also mainly conducted by our church members until the 
removal of the Home to the Heights. 

Contributions have at different times been made to other 
mission-schools in this city and vicinity, and to the city 

132 History of the 

A German mission-school, under the superintendency of 
Mr. John Ullmer, has been for several years held in our 
rooms in the morning, many of the scholars attending our 
own school in the afternoon. 

In the year 1863 a mission-school was established in a 
small room at the corner of Grove and York Streets, with 
Hon. B. F. Randolph as superintendent ; Mr. Amerman, 
assistant superintendent ; and J. R. Henry as secretary 
and treasurer. This school was held at 9 A.M., and con- 
tinued for some months with an attendance of 25 or 30 
scholars. The room, however, was small and inconvenient, 
and no other could be obtained. It was, therefore, de- 
termined to discontinue. Several of the scholars were 
transferred to the main school, which some of them con- 
tinued to attend until a recent period ; others went to other 

2d. As to mission work abroad. 

Regular contributions have been made to the Presbyte- 
rian Boards of Foreign and Domestic Missions, $50 per an 
num being given to each for many years. From the moneys 
contributed to the Foreign Board at least two children were 
educated in China, one named John Johnstone, after our first 
pastor, and one a female. Recently, as is well remembered, 
the son of our pastor, Rev. William Imbrie and his- wife, 
both long connected with our school, have gone as mission- 
aries to Japan. A communion service has just been prom- 
ised by us to be presented to the Presbyterian Church of 
Tokio, Japan. 

In 1864, under the superintendency of Mr. J. S. Howell, 
a Sunday-school was established, by contributions from us, 
at Genoa, Minnesota, and called the Imbrie Mission. About 
the same time we began to contribute toward the salary of 
Mr, W. Hatch, a missionary of the Am. S. S. Union in 
Minnesota, and some other missionaries. At present we con- 
tribute toward the support of Rev. Mr. Lewis, a missionary 
in the same State. Under these gentlemen a number of 
Sunday-schools were established in Minnesota, aided partly 

First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 133 

by us by supplies of books, papers, etc. By a report made 
at our Anniversary in 1869, there were then in existence of 
these schools the following : 

1. Imbrie Mission, at Genoa; 

2. Talmage Mission, at Oak Glen ; 

3. Henry Mission, at Harper's School-House; 

4. School at Goodhue Centre; 

5. Trio Mission, at Fairport ; 

6. Barker Mission ; 

7. (Name unknown.) 

8. School at Leavenworth ; 

9. Meigs Mission ; 
10. Jewell Mission, 

and some seven others, whose names and locations were un- 
known ; some aided by us as a school, and some by individu- 
als in this and other churches. Others have been organized 
since. Precisely how many of these are still in existence, I 
am unable to state. I believe we aid none now specially. 

Boxes of books, papers, hymn-books, etc., have been sent 
to these and other schools at different times, also boxes of 
clothing to the above and other missionaries. 

I have thus endeavored to put together a few of the princi- 
pal facts in regard to the history of our school. May the 
record of what we have accomplished in the past inspire us 
to greater effort in the future. 

James R. Henry, Secretary. 

Jersey City, February, 1877. 

Continuing the above history from 1877, the following 
have been the officers of the school : 


William E. Stiger, to September 29, 1878. 

Flavel McGee, September 29, 1878, to January 11, 1880. 
Henry W. Buxton, January 11, 1880, to May 12, 1880. 
J\MES R. Henry, May 12, 1880, to April 30, 1882. 

134 History of the 

Flavel McGee, April 30, 1882, to , 1883. 

H. O. HUNTTING, June 8, 1884, to January i, 1887. 
John C. Parsons, January i, 1887, to date. 

Assistant Superintendents. 

Flavel McGee, to September 29, 1878. 

Titus B. Meigs, May 3, 1879, to May 12, 1880. 
John Linn, May 12, 1880, to April 30, 1882. 
Miss S. Waldron, April 30, 1882, to June 14, 1885. 
Miss Sophie Meschutt, June 14, 1885, to June, 1886. 
John C. Parsons, June, 1886, to January i, 1887. 
O. R. Blanchard, June 5, 1887, to date. 


James R. Henry, to May 12, 1880. 

H. O. HUNTTiNG, April 30, 1882, to June 8, 1884. 
Harry Platt, June 8, 1884, to June 14, 1885. 
William M. Smith, June 14, 1885, to April 29, 1888. 
J. E. Hulshizer, Jr., April 29, 1888, to date. 
W. A. Martin, Assistant Secretary, 1888. 


Charles F. Imbrie, to June, 1886. 

George S. Smith, June, 1886, to date. 

And the following 

Librarians or Assistants. 

Jacob Farlee, George S. Smith, Philip F. Meschutt, 

Thomas Doremus, John Olendorf, William M. Smith, 
R. Sharpe Kunkel, Jas. L. Ogden, Jr., William Ritchie, 
Sanford E. Smith. 

The school has been continued with some decrease in the 
number of teachers, but about the average of scholars. The 
Annual Report for 188 1 showed on roll 24 officers and 
teachers, and 166 scholars. This was increased in 1882. In 
1886, 27 teachers and officers and 180 scholars were reported. 

The last Report was about 25 officers and teachers, and 
about 200 scholars, with an average attendance of about 165. 

Fu'st Presbyterian Church of Jersey City. 135 

The studies pursued have been the International Lesson 
Series, using the publications of the Presbyterian Board. 

The infant class has been under the management of Mrs. 
Talmage, recently deceased ; Miss Bettine Wines, Mr. John 
B. Huntting, and Miss Mary Wallace. 

The singing has been conducted by Mr. H. W. Buxton, 
Mr. C. D. Davis, Mr. Wm. Runkle, Mr. Geo. Smith, and 
Mr. Wm. Smith. A Sunday-school choir was organized in 
1887; "Spiritual Songs for the Sunday-school" v/as intro- 
duced as the music-book in 1881. 

Teachers' meetings have been maintained during part of 
the time. The entertainment feature has not been forgot- 
ten, and the school has joined in the general Anniversaries, 
and held Easter and Christmas services, of which those of 
1887 were the most noticeable, and has had some other en- 
tertainments. From 1878 to 1882 Certificates of Honor 
were given to those bringing in new scholars, and for the last 
three years prizes to those absent not more than twice dur- 
ing a year. 

While there has perhaps been no season of special religi- 
ous interest, yet during all these years but few have passed 
without some from the school uniting with the church. 

The church having decided to discontinue its services, the 
school, at a meeting held April 29, 1888, decided that it 
would continue, and elected 

John C. Parsons, 
O. R. Blanchard, 


\V. A. Martin, 
George S. Smith, 
Sanford E. Smith, ) 
William Ritchie, i 
William M. Smith, 
Miss Mary Wallace, 

he following officers : 

Assistant Superintendent. 

Assistant Secretary. 
Treasurer and Librarian. 

Assistant Librarians. 


Teacher of Iff ant Class. 

And at a meeting held May 6, 1888, the name of the school 
was changed to " The Imbrie Sunday-school," under which 
name it has continued to meet in the old church building, 
with about the same number of teachers and scholars. 

136 The First Presbyterian Church of Jersey Qity. 

Here, then, we close the record. The old school has 
passed away. Its work is done. It is now about thirty-one 
years since the writer first entered it ; more than thirty since 
he first became its Secretary. Of the 259 persons whose 
names are on the first roll made up by him in 1858, only two 
now remain in the school — Mrs. Mary Johnston and the 
writer. Looking back over that long period we can but give 
thanks to God for the good that we know has been accom- 
plished by the old school, and hope that His blessing may 
continue to rest upon its successor. 

James R. Henry. 

Jersey City, October, 1888.