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Full text of "The Presbyterian Church of Clinton, New Jersey, a historical sketch, an address delivered on the occasion of the semi-centennial celebration, September 14, 1880"

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Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 



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ALLEN COUNTY, PUBLIC LIBRARY 






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Blauvelt, I. Alstyne, 
The Presbyterian Church of 
Clinton, New Jersey 



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OF CLINTON, NEW JERSEY. 



4, HISTOEICAL SEETCtt 



AN ADDRESS. ; 

DELIVERED ON THE OCCASION OF THE 



SEPTEMBER 14th, 1880, 



-BY— 



I. ALSTYNE BLAUVELT, 



SIXTH PASTOR OF THE CHURCH. 



PUBLISHED BY REQUEST. 



NEW YORK: 

E. WELLS SACKETT & BRO., STATIONERS AND PRINTERS, 
56 & 58 William Street, Corner of Pine. 

1880. \p 






W 



m** 



•fS^^° 



THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 

of Clinton, New Jersey. 



A HISTORICAL SKETCH. 



AN ADDRESS 

DELIVERED ON THE OCCASION OF THE 

SEMI-CENTENARY CELEBRATION, 

SEPTEMBER 14, 1S80, 
BY 

I. ALSTYNE BLAUVELT, 

SIXTH PASTOR OF THE CHURCH. 



PUBLISHED BY REQUEST. 



NEW YORK: 
E. WELLS SACKETT & BRO., STATIONERS AND PRINTERS, 

56 & 58 William Street, Corner of Pine. 

1880. 



Historical Address. 



WENTY or thirty years ago, an article of furniture in 
many houses of this region was ' ' a map of the State 
of New Jersey, compiled under the patronage of the 
Legislature of said State, by Thomas Gordon, 1828." It was 
a very good map for its day. It was on the scale of three 
miles to the inch. The brooks and the carriage roads were 
traced upon it, and it exhibited not only the very small vil- 
lages, but if in any locality a name had been given to but 
three or four houses, that name was to be found on the map. 
Nearly opposite to the point where the Spruce Run enters 
the South Branch of the Raritan, the map had the name 
" Hunt's Mills." The mill at that point was a very ancient 
one. It was held by the Hunt family for more than half 
a century. The first Hunt who owned the mill was named 
Daniel. He was descended from Ralph Hunt, Esq., who 
emigrated to this country from Yorkshire, England. Daniel 
was born near Maidenhead, now called Lawrenceville, on a 
large plantation situated on the King's road, the old road 
from Princeton to Trenton. He purchased the mill, with a 
considerable tract of adjacent land, and removed to this 
place before or during the revolutionary war. At his 
death he was succeeded in the ownership of the mill by his 
son Ralph. Ralph Hunt was a graduate of Princton Col- 
lege, a man of fine presence and popular manners. He held 
various offices, and was commonly known as Major Hunt. 
The mill was located nearly, if not precisely, on the spot 
now occupied by Mr. Parry's mill. It has been described 
to me as " rudely built of stone." During the war of 1812 
Major Hunt built a woolen mill on the opposite side of the 
stream. 

At the time when Gordon's map was made, there were 
but four houses in the neighborhood of the mill. Of these, 



one stood on the site of the present residence of Mr. Samuel 
Parry ; another was near the Baptist parsonage ; the third 
was where Mr. Philip Gulick's house now stands, and the 
fourth, the residence of the Hunts, the mansion of the 
neighborhood, is the only one which has not been swept 
away in the course of time. This solitary relic of the by- 
gone age is the house which is now occupied by Mr. James 
E. Kline. 

On the other side of the river, although at a considerable 
distance from the bridge, there were two houses. One of 
these, the residence of General Hope, has not entirely 
passed out of existence ; but it has ceased to be a human 
habitation. The other was the Dunham mansion, the 
present residence of Mrs. M. S. Stiger. 

In the year 1827*, the mill property and the lands 
connected with it changed hands, the Hunt family 
removing to Ohio. The new proprietor was Archibald 
S. Taylor. With the change of ownership the building 
of the village may be said to have commenced. An 
edifice which, for our present purposes, has consider- 
able interest, was the stone school-house. Most of us 
remember this only as a ruin, very near the street, and 
nearly opposite to the present residence of Judge Voor- 
hees. This school-house was erected in 1827. In 1828 
the nascent village refused to be called after the old mill, 
and took the name which it has ever since borne. 

About the year 1825 a Sabbath-school had been started in 
a school -house on the turnpike, about a mile to the east of 
the village, near the present residence of Mr. Elijah Stout. 
This school was afterward transferred to the chair and 
spinning wheel factory of General Hope, a building which 
is still standing on the other side of the river. On the 
completion of the new stone school-house, in 1827, the 
Sabbath -school took up its quarters there. It must be 
borne in mind that at this time churches were very much 
fewer than they are now. and the number of ministers was 
still less. The pastor of Bethlehem Church was Bishop of 
a very extensive region of country, reaching from the 

* Or 1828. 



Delaware river almost to Lebanon Valley. His parish 
embraced what is now occupied by the Presbyterian 
Churches of Clinton, Alexandria, Milford, Kingwood and 
Frenchtown. He had two churches in this territory, 
besides his Bethlehem Church — one at Alexandria and one 
at Kingwood. In all this scope of country, I do not know 
that there was any other church, except the Episcopal 
Church of St. Thomas, the Friends' Meeting-house at 
Quakertown, and the Baptist Church at Baptisttown. 
There was an ancient German Reformed Church * in 
Lebanon Valley, which was associated with the Church of 
German Valley under one pastor. In later years, perhaps 
from the beginning of the present century, or a little 
earlier, the preaching at Lebanon t was half the time in 
German and half the time in English. In 1813 .the church 
was transferred to the Reformed Dutch denomination. But 
as Lebanon and Bethlehem were so near together, it was 
not the custom to hold services in the two churches on the 
same day. The people in the vicinity of Hunt' s Mills had 
thus ordinarily the privilege of going to church on the 
Sabbath either at Bethlehem or at Rockaway. But those 
who were strongly attached to the Presbyterian Church, 
when there was no service at Bethlehem, would often drive 
to Lamington. And it was not only that they found a 
church of their own order there, but the pastor of the 
Church of Lamington, the Rev. William Boyd, was the 
most attractive preacher in this whole region of country. 

Few as the churches were in those days, the communion 
rolls were not very long. In 1824 there were two hundred 
and seventy-three communicants in the three churches of 
Bethlehem, Alexandria and Kingwood. It was not the 
fashion to come to the communion of the Church ; and 
when a young person took such a step, it was looked upon 
as a marked event. 

With the rise of Clinton, there began to be a general 
desire for the regular preaching of the gospel in the village. 
And it was not long before that desire was gratified. The 
first man who preached here continuously was William 

* Founded in 1740. t Then called Rockaway. 



Millar Carmichael. He was a graduate of Hamilton College 
and of Princeton Theological Seminary, and a licentiate of 
the P - ry of Albany. He was sent here by the > 

ae IHssi raary Society, at the recommendation of Kev. 
Dr. Archibald Alexander. His first labors here commenced 
in May or June. 18*29. before he had finished his COOTS 
Princeton. He continued here for four or six weeks. 
preaching in the stone school-house, and in several private 
houses, and visiting the families of the neighborhood. Mr. 
Carmichael then returned to the Seminary, and graduated 
in the autumn. In the month of November, or early in 
mber, he resumed his labors at Clinton, and continued 
until some time in the month of March. As his stay 
- - short, -ry little is remembered of him by persona 
now living here. It may. however, be well to record one 
fact which should be a warning to all young ministers. 
He married an Episcopal wife, and the consequence was 
that on the 13th of January, 183*2. he was ordained as a 
I -n in the Episcopal Church, and on the loth of April 

of the same year he was made a Presbyter. He afterward 
became a Doctor of Divinity, and tilled several positions in 
the Episcopal Church. He first labored at Rye and Ma- 
maroneek. New York. At Hempstead. Long Island, he was 
a teacher for nin^ years. In 18-14 he took charge of a 
Church at Watertown, New York: in *4u he went to 
Meadville. Pa.: in '50, to Newton. Conn.: in ' r>'3. to Christ 
Church, Richmond. Ya.: in \V>. to Albion. X. Y.: in "56, 
to Pilatka. Fla.: in '07, to St. Stephen's Church. Milledge- 
ville. G-a.: in -'fiB he returned to Hempstead. Long Island. 
He afterward acted as librarian at the Brooklyn Navy 
Yard. He is now living at Jamaica. Long Island, in the 
.:y-<^v^nth year of bis age. His memory of his brief 
sojourn in Clinton is vivid and pleasant, and nothing but 
physical infirmity prevents his being with us to-day. 

But in addition to the labors of Mr. Carmichael. the 

ytery of Xewton took the young village under its 

watch and care. On the 6th of October, 1839, an appli- 



* This society had its headquarters in Newark. It was afterward merged in the 
- Board of Missions at Philadelphia. 



cation was made by certain citizens of Clinton to the Pres- 
bytery, to send some of their own nnmber to preach in the 
school-honse. It was after Mr. Carmichael's return to 
Princeton to finish his course at the Seminary that this 
application was made. Presbytery granted the request, 
and several ministers were appointed as " supplies'* for 
Clinton. The request was renewed at several subsequent 
meetings of Presbytery, and " supplies " were appointed for 
about two Sabbaths of each month, for more than two 
years. Among these *' supplies,* *' the names which occur 
with greatest frequency are Hutton, Campbell, Kirkpatriek, 
Clark, Van Dervoort, Blauvelt and Gray. 

On an unknown date, probably in the winter of 1829-30, 
there was a meeting of citizens. The persons present were 
A. C. Dunham. J. W. Bray. J. B. Taylor. Nehemiah Dun- 
ham, A. W. Dunham. A. S. Taylor, and others. These 
persons, after deliberation, resolved to erect a Presbyterian 
Church. A Board of Trustees was chosen, and to this 
Board a suitable lot was given by Messrs. Bray and Taylor.* 
As the village has since grown, this site is not the most 
convenient that could have been chosen. But. all things 
considered, it is the most desirable lot in the village for this 
purpose. 

The work of building was commenced in the month of 
May, 1830, and it was completed the same year. There is 
no record of the dedication of the house, but this must 
have taken place late in the autumn, or early in the winter. 

The congregation of Bethlehem erected a new church the 
same year. This new building took the place of one which 
was commonly called the Old Frame Church. It was itself 
called the New Stone, and retained that name until it grew 
so old that the congregation replaced it with their present 
commodious house. There was living at that time in the 
lower part of the county a man who commanded the 
respect of the community in an unusual measure — Rev. 
Jacob Kirkpa trick, pastor of Am well. He grew to be a 
very old man in his pastorate, and many of us who are 
still young can remember him as he was in his last vears. — 



John W. Bray and John B. Taylor. 



a man of great heart, and that heart full of love for Christ 
and for his fellows. There was a gentle, loving smile on 
his face when he spoke which made one think of the 
Apostle John. He used to say that as he read prophecy, 
he thought that something very good would happen in 
1866, "about the middle of the year." And he was not 
disappointed in his calculation, for that was the time when 
the dear old man went home to his Saviour. At the time of 
which I am speaking, Mr. Kirkpatrick was in the fullness 
of his manly vigor. This good man felt in his heart a great 
longing for the spiritual welfare of the people of this region. 
And it seemed to him that there w r as a call for some special 
evangelistic efforts. He selected for the work the young 
pastor of the Church at Lamington, Rev. Win. W. Blauvelt, 
and the still younger pastor of German Valley, Rev. 
Mancius S. Hutton. Dr. Kirkpatrick met his two young- 
brethren at the New Stone Church, on the day of the dedi- 
cation. The pastor of the Church found himself not well 
enough to attend the service, and he requested Mr. Blauvelt 
to preach, and to conduct the exercises of the dedication, 
which he did. But that service was only the beginning of 
an extraordinary series of services. For some days the 
meetings were held in the New Stone Church. Afterward 
the two ministers went to Alexandria, and to Milford, 
preaching not only in the churches, but in almost every 
school-house in the region. Among other points reached 
was Clinton, where several meetings were held. In all these 
services, one of the ministers preached, and the other 
followed him with an address. The whole campaign lasted 
about a fortnight, in which time each minister preached 
twenty-two* sermons, and made an equal number of 
addresses. These forty -four services were all attended by 
throngs of people, and the interest was most profound. It 
is not known that there was any great addition to the com- 
munion of the churches as the immediate result of this 
extraordinary effort. But the effect of this sowing of the 
good seed was marked and lasting. For years after, people 
would tell how they had then been impressed with their 

* This is believed to be the true number. 



9 

need of the new birth. Not the least of the results of this 
work was the spiritual quickening received by the people 
of Clinton. It was the right start for the new Church. 

As has been said, the church building was commenced 
in May, 1830, and finished before the close of the year. 
And this is, therefore, a very proper time to celebrate the 
semi-centenary of that event. It was not, however, till 
* 4t the first Monday after the third Sabbath/ 1 of June, 
1831, f that the Church was regularly organized. In strict 
truth, therefore, the Church will not be fifty years old until 
June, 1881. The organization of the Church of Clinton was 
effected by a committee of the Presbytery of Newton. The 
committee consisted of Dr. Kirkpatrick, of Am well, Dr. 
Campbell, of Hackettstown, and Dr. Gray, of Easton. There 
was a numerous assemblage of people on the occasion, and 
"all present who considered themselves connected with the 
congregation of Clinton by uplifted hands professed fully 
their adoption of the confession of faith of the Presbyterian 
Church, its mode of worship, and book of discipline." The 
number of communicants at the time of the organization 
was only ten. After a sermon by Dr. Kirkpatrick, Messrs. 
Nehemiah Dunham, William H. Yawyer and John Race 
were ordained to the eldership "by prayer and the imposi- 
tion of hands by the committee. 11 

Of this original bench of elders, Mr. John Race is the 
only one who continues to be a member of the Church of 
Christ on earth. Although he ceased to be an acting elder 
many years ago, he still enjoys a measure of health and 
vigor which is very remarkable in one so far past his 
allotted four-score years. As he has looked down on the 
church and the village from his house on the hill above us, 
he has seen great changes in all these years. It is our good 
wish for him, that when he leaves these earthly scenes; he 
may not fail to find a goodly mansion on high. 

Mr. Wm. JEL Yawyer was a farmer, living north of the 

* Our good fathers seem to have lacked the courage to look a dale squarely in 
the face, and tell what day of the month it was. They generally used some such 
unsatisfactory circumlocution. 

t Eleven A. M. 



10 

village. It appears from the record that he attended to the 
duties of the eldership with punctual fidelity. For some 
time he tilled the office of Justice of the Peace, and was highly 
respected in the community. On the 8th of October, 1842, 
he was dismissed, to join the Church of Lower German 
Valley. 

Nehemiah Dunham was one of a family of brothers 
to whom this Church owes a debt which is quite incalcula- 
ble. His grandfather, who was also named Nehemiah 
Dunham, established himself on the other side of the river 
in the year 1760. He had previously lived at Piscataway, 
near New Brunswick. He was a member of the State 
Legislature, and an ardent advocate and supporter of the 
national independence. He performed important services 
for the patriot cause during the revolutionary war, in con- 
nection with the commissary department. He was also a 
very active and faithful elder of the Church of Bethlehem, 
a man of exemplary life. His son James was also a man of 
elevated Christian character, and an elder of the Church of 
Bethlehem. Our Clinton elder, Nehemiah Dunham, was 
the son of James Dunham. He was thus the third in a 
direct line who served the Church in the eldership. And 
as he was born within the covenant, * and was a participant 
of its blessings, he loved to plead the ancient covenant on 
behalf of his household. At his family worship he used to 
pray continually for his children and his " children' s chil- 
dren, to the latest generations." With great love to the 
Church of Christ, he continued in the faithful discharge of 
the duties of the eldership until his death. This event took 
place Jan. 2§th, 1868, in the seventy-first year of his age.f 
He was a quiet man, of very gentle manners, with an expres- 
sion of countenance which always seemed to speak of peace 
with God, and a loving trust in a Saviour's grace. A man once 
told me that it was painful to him to differ in an y matter 
with Nehemiah Dunham, because "he seems to me to be a 
holy man." And this was the impression which Mr. Dun- 



* I will establish my covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. 
— Genesis, xvii., 7. Now are the children holy. — 1 Corinthians, vii., 14. 
f Born August 3d, 1797. 



11 

liara commonly made on those who knew him. In the 
minute adopted by the session after his death, I find this : 
"It might be said of him in truth, that during his long life 
he had done good in Isreal, both toward God and toward 
His house. While he .was with us, his conversation was in 
heaven ; and in his death, he was greatly sustained by his 
Saviour's presence." 

Such was the first bench of elders in the infant Church. 
It does not seem to fall within the proper scope of this 
sketch to speak of the private members. But pardon me 
that I feel constrained to pay a tribute of affection to the 
memory of two who were connected with the Church soon 
after its organization. 

Asa Clarkson Dunham was the eldest of the Dunham 
brothers. It was his purpose in early life to obtain a liberal 
education, and he did actually enter the College of New 
Jersey, at Princeton. In a little while, however, he found 
that he was utterly unable to carry on his studies, on ac- 
count of the defectiveness of his preparation, and he was 
accordingly obliged to leave college, and relinquish his 
cherished plans. >This disappointment he always attributed 
to the incompetence of his classical teacher. Those of you 
who have a knowledge of Latin will appreciate this story. 
One of the first books read in those days was always Cor- 
nelius Nepos. The first words were "Quid agis V — 
" What are you doing ?" Mr. Dunham said that he was 
taught to say that quid was nominative to agis. 

Quite early in life Mr. Dunham served for three years* 
in the State Legislature. Subsequently an attempt was 
made to nominate him as the Whig candidate for Congress. 
The effort failed, and he never afterward took a very 
prominent part in politics. Although he failed to secure a 
college education, he was a man of superior intelligence, 
and great clearness and strength of mind. It was a great 
pleasure to preach the gospel to him. There was little 
danger of his failure to appreciate any good word that 
might be spoken. He always seemed to drink in God's 
truth with the most exquisite delight, But he wanted the 



* 1824-1826. 



12 

pure water of life, and nothing else. One day I preached 
a sermon somewhat out of my ordinary course. Talking 
with him on Monday, with boyish frankness, I said that I 
had felt an unusual interest in my sermon of the previous 
morning. " Yes," said he, •' Milton thought that his k Para- 
dise Regained' was better than his 'Paradise Lost.' " On 
one occasion a young preacher occupying the pulpit went 
into a metaphysical disquisition on the will. I confess that 
it was my judgment that the water was too deep for the 
young man's line. Mr. Dunham afterward spoke of it to 
me, with this comment : " When a man in the pulpit under- 
takes to speak of what he does not understand, he makes 
bad work.' 1 

Mr. Dunham had very little liking for the modern 
"gushing'' religion. One day a brother preached a 
long sermon, in which he did very little of that which is 
the preacher's one business — the setting forth of the Word 
of God. I could see by the countenance of my old friend 
that he felt that he was not being fed with the bread of life. 
After service I introduced the preacher to him. He spoke 
very quickly, " Glad to see you, Mr. Dunham ! are you a 
Christian?" "What did you say?" said Mr. Dunham. 
" I asked you if you were a Christian man," said the min- 
ister. Mr. Dunham had a pinch of snuff just ready be- 
tween his thumb and finger. He put it up to his nose, and, 
with his fingers still in that position, replied, ; ' I am a 
member of the Church." 

Along with his unusual force of mind and clear, com- 
prehensive grasp of the doctrines of the Bible, Mr. Dun- 
ham chiefly impressed me by his humility and penitence. 
No one could hear him pray in his later years without 
being made to feel that he was a man of a humble 
and contrite spirit. And this impression was very much 
deepened by intimate association with him. He was 
received into the communion of the Church, on confession 
of his faith, on the 10th of June, 1832. He was then in his 
thirty-eighth year. How he felt with respect to the years 
which he spent without Christ, I was made to know one 
day when I was visiting him. We had talked together on 



13 

other subjects until I rose to go. He accompanied me to 
the gate, and there he laid his hand suddenly on my 
shoulder, and the tears started from his eyes : "Oh ! " said 
he, u you don't know what a blessing it is that you w r ere 
led to the Lord when you were young, before you could 
know the wickedness of the world !" That was about all 
that he said, but I shall never forget how he looked as he 
spoke, and I wish that all the young people could have 
seen him. He died on the 3d day of May, 1876 — his eighty- 
first birthday. 

The other private member of the Church, of whom I desire 
to speak, is Dr. Henry Field. Dr. Field was. a Lamington 
boy. He received his academical education partly under 
the instruction of his pastor — Rev. Horace Galpin — and 
partly in a school at Somerville. One of his schoolmates 
at Somerville was A. 0. Zabriskie, afterward Chancellor of 
New Jersey. 

He studied medicine with good Dr. Johnson, at White 
House, and very soon after settled in the young village of 
Clinton. He was received into the communion of the 
Church by certificate on the 3d of August, 1833, and 
from that day to his death he continued to seek the peace 
and prosperity of the Church. He was always the warmest 
friend of the Church and of the pastor, but he could never 
be induced to take a prominent part in the management of 
Church affairs. He was elected to the eldership, but his 
retiring disposition did not allow him to accept the office. 
He was a man of great and generous hospitality, the num- 
ber of visitors sometimes making his house seem almost 
like a hotel. He had a very gentle spirit, never wished to 
hurt the feelings of any fellow-creature and kept very clear 
of unkind words. He was a genial companion, with a merry 
little story to illustrate almost every thought that might be 
suggested in the course of conversation. Coming here so 
soon after the village was started and the Church organized, 
living where he did and as he did for so many years, it has 
been hard for me to think of Clinton without him. He 
died March 15th, 1878, at the age of seventy-three years. 

After the organization of the Church, the next step was to 



14 

obtain a pastor. The Rev. Mancius Smedes Hutton, 
pastor of the Churches of German Valley and Fox Hill, as 
has been stated, had often preached here — not only at the 
time of the special services spoken of, but also on several 
other occasions as one of the "supplies" appointed by 
Presbytery. As the people had become greatly interested 
in him, a call was made for his services as pastor. This 
call was presented to the Presbytery of Newton, at its 
meeting at Allentown, Pa., October 4th, 1831. Presbytery 
retained the call in its own hands, and cited the Churches 
of German Valley and Fox Hill to appear by commissioners 
at Mansfield, on the second Tuesday of the following 
month,* " that the parties to the case maybe heard and the 
matter adjusted." The question of accepting the call was 
seriously considered by Mr. Hutton. But when the people 
of German Valle} 7 promised that if he would remain with 
them they would build a new church, he felt that he would 
advance the good cause best by declining the call to Clin- 
ton. So a greatly needed new church was secured for Ger- 
man Valley, but Clinton failed to get a very excellent 
pastor. 

Mr. Hutton afterward became pastor of the Reformed 
Dutch Church of Washington Square, New York. He 
went to join the Church above on the 11th of April of 
the present year. He was a scholar, but his wisdom was 
greater than his learning. He was a man of very superior 
mind, but his heart was greater than his head. He was a 
man of extraordinary presence, but his character was more 
admirable than his person. Of all the men I have ever 
known, there is not one who seems to me to have been 
more successful in imitating the pattern which was given 
by Jesus Christ. 

About a month after Mr. Hutton' s declinature, the con- 
gregation extended a call to the Rev. James Murdock 
Huntting. Mr. Huntting was a graduate of Yale College ; 
had studied theology at Princeton i had been ordained as 
an evangelist by the Presbytery of New Brunswick ;f had 
preached as a stated supply at Shrewsbury, N. J., and had 
acted as agent of some society. The same day that the 

* November' 8th, 1831.' t June 9th, 1829. 



15 

Clinton call came to him, lie received another from the 
Church of Westfield, New Jersey. At a considerable pe- 
cuniary sacrifice, he declined the call of this Church, and 
accepted the one from Westfield. Mr. Huntting was the 
faithful pastor of the Westfield Church for many years. 
After resigning his charge there, he engaged in teaching at 
Jamaica, Long Island. He gave up his School several 
years ago, but still resides at Jamaica — far advanced in 
years. 

Disappointed thus a second time, the congregation next 
sought to secure Mr. Alexander Macklin. Mr. Macklin 
was born in Ireland, near Belfast, on the 15th of January, 
1808. He was descended from a godly Scottish ancestry. 
The faith of his mother is spoken of with peculiar approba- 
tion. His grandfather was an elder of a Church in Ireland, 
performing the duties of the office for more than fifty years. 
He died when Alexander Macklin was yet a child. As the 
boy stood by the bed of his grandsire, the departing saint 
laid his hand upon his head, and prayed that God would 
bless him, and make him useful. Then turning to the 
parents, he enjoined upon them to train up their child for 
Christ and for the ministry : " For," said he, u it is a great 
thing to be an ambassador for Christ." At the age of 
seventeen years, Alexander confessed Christ in the Church 
of which his grandfather had been an elder. His studies 
for the ministry were carried on at Belfast, the cost of his 
education being paid from a sum of money which his 
grandfather had bequeathed for that express purpose. He 
was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of 
Belfast in the year 1831. Soon afterward he sailed for 
America, arriving in New York January 1st, 1832. It was 
very soon after his arrival that he was called to Clinton. 
This call was presented to the Presbytery of Newton meet- 
ing at Am well Church, April 24th, 1832. At the same time 
Mr. Macklin presented his credentials from the Presbytery 
of Belfast. The Presbytery then proceeded to examine 
him. He showed proficiency in scholarship, but in his ex- 
amination on experimental religion, he made a peculiar im- 
pression on the Presbytery, by answering all questions from 



16 

a theological rather than from a practical or personal stand- 
point. As he was a foreigner, Presbytery received him as 
a candidate,* but refused to ordain him, and retained the 
call of the Church in its own hands. The Church there- 
upon requested that Mr. Macklin be allowed to labor here 
as stated supply for a twelvemonth. This request the 
Presbytery granted, and Mr. Macklin at once entered upon 
his work at Clinton. The next spring the Presbytery 
sent a communication to the General Assembly, giving a 
history of the entire affair. The General Assembly ap- 
proved the course taken by the Presbytery, and Mr. Mack- 
lin having now been under probation for a year, the As- 
sembly recommended that he be received under the care of 
the Presbytery as a licentiate. Accordingly, at a meeting 
of Presbytery held in Clinton, June 11th, 1833, Mr. 
Macklin was received as a licentiate, and then ordained to 
the ministry, and installed as pastor of Clinton Church. 

At the time of Mr. Macklin' s coming to Clinton the num- 
ber of persons in the communion of the Church was but 
thirteen. But during the year that he acted as stated 
supply, thirty- six persons were added on confession of 
faith, and seven by certificate from other churches. Dur- 
ing the first year of his pastorate, twelve persons were added 
by confession, and twelve by certificate. The same year, 
sixteen infants were baptized. The ten communicants with 
whom the Church had been organized increased under Mr. 
Macklin" s pastorate to seventy-six, and the spiritual condi- 
tion of the Church is said to have been excellent. 

Soon after the settlement of Mr. Macklin the Ladies' Mis- 
sionary Society was formed. The date of the organization 
was October 6th, 1833. The first officers were : Mrs. Mary 
Bray, Directress ; Mrs. Elizabeth Miller, Treasurer ; Mrs. 
Lydia A. Miller, Secretary ; Mrs. Adaline Taylor and Mrs. 
Ann Field, Managers. 

This Society has continued in existence to the present 
day. The attendance upon its meetings has not generally 
been large — has often been very small. The Society has 

* "He appearing to be a person worthy of encouragement."— Minutes of Pres- 
bytery. 



17 

not attempted great things, but, in a quiet way, it has done 
an excellent work. It has usually made annual contribu- 
tions to both Home and Foreign Missions, and in the forty- 
six years these contributions have amounted to a very con- 
siderable sum. But besides the money directly contributed 
to the cause, the Society has been useful in promoting an 
interest in the missionary work of the Church. 

During Mr. Macklin's pastorate two elders were added 
to the Session, Messrs. David Miller and Adam Stiger. The 
election of both of these brethren was unanimous, and they 
were set apart to their office in this Church on the 7th of 
June, 1835. 

Mr. Miller came to Clinton from German Valley. He had 
been an elder of the Church there, and a man of decided 
influence among the Valley people, and he commanded 
the respect of this community in an unusual measure. He 
not only performed the ordinary duties of the eldership, 
but for several years he was Superintendent of the Sabbath- 
school. He was a man of generous hospitality, and was 
specially celebrated for keeping open house for ministers. 
He had a large family of sons and daughters, and they all 
did him credit. One of them, William, was an eminently 
brilliant lawyer, but he died young. Another son, Jacob, 
represented our State for twelve years* in the United States 
Senate. On the 28th of April, 1839>, Mr. Miller— or Major 
Miller, as he was commonly called — was dismissed from 
this Church, to connect himself with the First Reformed 
Dutch Church of Pater son. He died at Pater son not many 
years afterward. 

Adam Stiger had been an elder of the Bethlehem Church. 
He became a member of this Church August 3d, 1833. He 
succeeded Major Miller in the work of superintending the 
Sabbath-school. He was a man of decided character, with 
very strong convictions of truth, and with a great horror of 
all departures from a strict orthodoxy. Mr. Stiger retired 
from the active duties of the eldership in 1846— after a little 
more than eleven years of service. But he continued to 



1841-1853. 



18 

love the Church through the whole of his long life. He 
was a remarkable example of mental and physical vigor 
preserved to extreme old age. It was a rare sight, when he 
was above eighty years of age, to see him stand on the 
ground by the side of his black pony and spring on his 
back like a boy, and then canter off wherever business or 
inclination might lead him. He had two rules for health 
and longevity : " Never allow yourself to be heated by ex- 
ertion in the after part of the day !" and, " When you feel 
tired, go and take a horseback ride !" One day, after a 
pleasant family meeting, he said to me : "I am getting too 
old to go to dinner-parties. Hereafter I must follow Job's 
example. When my children meet together to feast, I must 
stay at home and pray for them." Whether or not he was 
ever present at such a company after that, I am unable to 
say. He died July 31st, 1869, at the age of eighty -five 
years. 

Mr. Macklin was an excellent preacher, his sermons being 
of a peculiarly instructive character, and the same thing is 
said of his conversation in the family and in the social circle. 
A lady tells me that when she saw Mr. Macklin come to 
her father's house her thought always was, " Now I shall 
learn something. v Mr. Macklin was highly respected for 
his personal character as well as for his talents. And it 
must have been a serious loss to the young Church when he 
left it to take charge of the Scotts'* Church in Philadelphia. 
This event took place in the autumn of 1835. f 

Mr. Macklin' s subsequent career was a useful one. In 
process of time he was honored with the degree of Doctor 
of Divinity. After a twenty-four years' pastorate in Phila- 
delphia, he died in Baltimore, July 6th, 1859, in the fifty- 
first year of his age. 

The second pastor of the Church was the Rev. Arthur B. 
Bradford. Mr. Bradford had been a student at Princeton 
Seminary, although he did not complete the full course of 



* Called the Eighth Church of Philadelphia In the Minutes of the Presbytery of 
Newton. 

+ Pastoral relation dissolved by Presbytery meeting at Hackettstown, October 
fitli, 1835. 



19 

study. At the time of his coming here he was a member of 
the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He had been ordained by 
that Presbytery, and had been laboring in the First Church 
of Southwark. He was installed as pastor of this Church 
June 29th, 1836. 

Mr. Bradford' s pastorate was a short one, lasting only a 
little more than two years. During that period twenty- 
seven names were added to the communion roll. The pas- 
toral relation was dissolved October 2d, 1838. 

After leaving Clinton, Mr. Bradford took charge of a 
Church at Darlington, Pa., where he continued for about 
fifteen years. After that he labored for several years at 
New Castle, Pa. In 1847, with his congregation, he re- 
nounced all former ecclesiastical connections, and united 
with several other ministers and Churches in forming the 
Free Presbyterian Church. The distinctive principle of 
this denomination was a refusal to hold Christian com- 
munion with slave-holders. When slavery was abolished* 
the Free Presbyterian Church was disbanded — " its mission 
being ended." Mr. Bradford then connected himself with 
the IS". S. Presbytery of Pittsburg. Soon afterward he re- 
ceived an appointment as U. S. Consul at some port in 
China. Since his return to this country he has withdrawn 
from the ministry. He is now living at Enon Valley, Pa. 

Two months and a day after the Presbytery released Mr. 
Bradford from the pastorate, the Church invited Rev. Al- 
bert Williams to serve as a stated supply, and he seems to 
have entered upon his duties at once. A regular call was 
afterward extended to him, and he was installed on the 
" second Tuesday of May," 1839. Mr. Williams was a na- 
tive of Orange, New Jersey, a graduate of the College of 
New Jersey, and a student, though not a graduate, of 
Princeton Theological Seminary. He was licensed and or- 
dained by the Presbytery of Newark, and had been Sea- 
man's Chaplain at Mobile, Ala., for four years, before com- 
ing to Clinton. In addition to his pastoral labors, Mr. 
Williams carried on a school during a portion of the time 
that he was here. 

* 1863. 



20 

During this pastorate a very important addition was 
made to the session, in the person of Col. Azariah 
Whitfield Dunham. He was ordained to the eldership 
April 7th, 1843. Col. Dunham was the youngest of the 
Dunham brothers, but in many respects he was the 
most active of them all. Not only was he punctual in his 
attendance upon all the ordinary duties of the eldership, 
but for any special service, at home or abroad, he was al- 
most always the one selected. He also succeeded Mr. 
Adam Stiger as Superintendent of the Sabbath-school, and, 
until failing health compelled his retirement, his fidelity 
w r as most unwearying. He was a man of remarkably agree- 
able manners, and he had a great power in winning the affec- 
tions of children/' He was not a faultless man, but lie had 
the rare grace of being able to make frank acknowledg- 
ments of his faults, not only to his Maker, but also to any 
of his fellow- men whom he had offended. He was an ac- 
knowledged leader, not only in the Church, but in society, 
and in all public enterprises. Hardly any good thing was 
attempted in Clinton without Col. Dunham as prime 
mover. Probably no man has ever lived in the village who 
more completely combined a universal popularity, eminent 
capacity for affairs, and high-toned Christian character. 
He was taken away August 28th, 1863, in the sixty-second 
year of his age. 

On the 22d of September, 1845, the church building was 
destroyed by fire. This was a severe blow to the little con- 
gregation, but with a commendable energy they set them- 
selves to the work of rebuilding. Some assistance was 
received from outside friends, and several congregations 
manifested their sympathy by contributions. The result 
was that the new house was finished and dedicated in the 
month of November, + 1846. 

Two years later Mr. Williams resigned his charge. The 
pastoral relation was dissolved by the Presbytery of Rari- 
tan, November 22d, 1848. Soon afterward Mr. Williams 



* This is the only remark which I make from personal observation, for it was 
only as a child that I knew him. 
t Precise date not recorded. 



21 

removed to California. He was the founder and first pastor 
of the First Presbyterian Church of San Francisco. He 
has lately published an account of his experiences on the 
Pacific coast in a book entitled, k ' A Pioneer Pastorate and 
Times. v He still resides at San Francisco, although for 
several years he has been without pastoral charge. 

During the ten years of Mr. Williams' pastorate one 
hundred and four names were added to the Church roll. 

The next pastor of the .Church was the Rev. James C. 
Watson, D.D. Dr. Watson was born in Donegall Town- 
ship, Lancaster County, Pa., January 27th, 1805. He 
graduated from the college of New Jersey, September 26th, 
1827. He studied at Princeton Theological Seminary for 
two years and a half, but did not graduate. He was licensed 
to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in April, 1830. 
He labored for two years in Northampton County, Pa., 
under the direction of the Board of Missions. On the 4th 
of October, 1832, he was ordained and installed pastor of 
the congregations of Gettysburg and Great Conawaga, Pa. 
He was installed as pastor of this Church on ' ■ the third 
Wednesday of November," 1849, but he seems to have 
labored here for some months before his installation. Dur- 
ing Dr. Watson's brief pastorate he was very popular as 
a preacher. The congregation increased so much that the 
house began to be too strait to accommodate all. To meet 
the requirements of the growing numbers at small cost, the 
pews were crowded closer together, and this to the sore 
tribulation of all long-limbed or large-hooped worshipers 
for many 3 7 ears thereafter. 

Dr. Watson was released from this Church by the Presby- 
tery of Raritan, December 3d, 1850. He afterward labored 
for a few years at Kingston, N. J. In 1854 he became 
pastor of the Church at Milton, Pa. In the affliction which 
came upon him in May last, through the burning of his 
Church and library and most of the buildings of the town, 
our hearts went out to him in sympathy. He looked for- 
ward to this occasion with interest, and expected to be with 
us to-day, but he has been suddenly called away from 
earthly scenes. He died in Philadelphia on the 31st of 



22 

August, just two weeks ago. He was in his seventy -sixth 
year. 

After Dr. Watson's removal the pulpit was supplied for 
the most part by the Presbytery for nearly two years. On 
the 23d of November, 1851, the Rev. John McNair was in- 
stalled as pastor. Mr. McNair graduated at Jefferson Col- 
lege, and studied theology at Princeton. He was ordained 
by the Presbytery of Erie, November 7th, 1833. Before 
coming here he had labored at Warren, Pa. ; Philadelphia ; 
Vincennes, la. ; Milford, N. J. ; Stroudsburg, Pa. ; Muscon- 
etcong Valley, N. J., and Lancaster, Pa. 

For several years there had been but two acting elders in 
the session, Nehemiah and Col. A. W. Dunham. This 
state of things continued until the close of 1858. On the 
28th of December, 1858, the following persons were elected 
to the eldership, viz. : Nelson Bennett, Peter F. Huffman, 
Morris S. Stiger, Eli Bosenbury and Nathaniel \Y. Yoor- 
hees. Of these, Peter F. Huffman declined the service ; the 
rest were duly ordained on the 9th of January, 1859. These 
have all continued to perform the duties of their office to 
the present time, with the single exception of Morris S. 
Stiger. He died December 5th, 1867. Had he lived one day 
longer he would have completed his fifty-sixth year. When 
I made his acquaintance he had retired from business ; but 
he had a reputation as one of the best merchants that Clin- 
ton ever had. His judgment and taste in the selection of 
goods were particularly remarked. He was greatly trusted 
as a man of integrity and business capacity ; and when the 
town of Clinton was incorporated, he was chosen to be the 
first Mayor. When I came to Clinton he took me to call on 
every communicant and on every pew-holder, and also on 
some others who were only occasional attendants upon the 
Church services. It was a work of nearly every afternoon 
of each week for a number of weeks; and that one thing is 
but a specimen of the whole course of the man. He seemed 
never happier than when he was doing something which he 
thought would help on the Church of Christ. He succeeded 
Col. Dunham as Superintendent of the Sabbath-school, and 
was a marvel of punctuality in his attendance upon the 



23 

duties of that office. And this, too, but illustrates another 
trait of his character : he was a very exact man ; he did 
nothing by halves ; he was a man of great energy and force 
of character. The Church had reason to rejoice also in his 
liberal contributions to her treasury. The minute in the 
session-book sums up the truth with respect to him : " He 
was a man who tried to do his duty." 

*Dr. McNair's pastorate was somewhat interrupted in 
its earlier part by his acting as financial agent for Lafayette 
College, and afterward by his serving as chaplain in the 
army. But with these exceptions he continued to serve the 
Church until February 2d, 1864. He was thus the pastor 
for more than twelve years. After leaving here Dr. McNair 
was never settled over any Church. He removed to Lan- 
caster, Pa. For some time he supplied the pulpit of the 
Presbyterian Church at Strasburg, near Lancaster. He 
died January 27th, 1867, at the age of sixty-one years, and 
was buried in the cemetery at Clarksville. He was an able 
preacher. He is specially remembered for his bold, faith- 
ful and powerful denunciations of every form of sin that 
might raise its head in the community. He was the author 
of a " Book of Poems." 

The next pastoratef commenced very soon after Dr. 
McNair's dismissal. Although I was not installed until 
June 14th, 1864, I actually began my work with the 1st of 
May. The most noteworthy event of this pastorate was the 
remodeling and virtual rebuilding of the church edifice. 
The young people who have grown up since that day would 
hardly believe their eyes, if they could see the thoroughly 
unattractive, box-like structure in which the congregation 
had worshiped up to that time. The building was consider- 
ably shorter than it now is, with no spire or tower, and little 
to give it a church -like look, except the long windows, the 
grave- stones around, and the tie-posts in front. Within, 
the narrow pulpit, the gallery on three sides, and the entire 
absence of anything upon which the eye could rest with 
pleasure, were in marked contrast with what we see to-day. 

*He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity while at Clinton. 
f My own. 



24 

Col. Dunham had often wished thai he might live to see an 
improved church edifice, and in particular to hear the ring- 
ing of a church bell, but he died without that pleasure. 
* "About August 1st, 1864, the work of enlarging and remod- 
eling the church building was commenced. Mr. Graham, 
of Jersey City, was employed as architect, and Mr. Eli 
Bosenbury, an elder of this Church, as builder. The con- 
gregation continued to worship in the church during the 
months of August and September. From October till De- 
cember^ service was held in the third story of the Academy 
building. In January the basement of the church was oc- 
cupied, and service was held there till the church was com- 
pleted and furnished." The cost of the improvements was 
about fifty-live hundred dollars, and the furniture and bell 
cost about thirteen hundred — making a total expenditure 
of about sixty-eight hundred dollars. The remodeled 
church was dedicated on the sixth of June, 1865. At the 
time of the dedication there was a small debt still unpro- 
vided for by the subscriptions which had been previously 
made. This was allowed to continue until January, 1866, 
when, by a new subscription, the entire debt was paid, and 
a small surplus was left in the treasury. 

The session having been reduced by the loss of two highly 
valued members, X on the 26th of February, 1868, the follow- 
ing persons were elected to the eldership : John A. Young, 
Henry Field, Samuel Parry, Peter Van Pelt and Whitfield 
Dunham. The two last-named were ordained on the 17th of 
May, the other three declining to serve. On the 28th of 
May, 1872, Mr. Van Pelt was dismissed to the Presbyterian 
Church of Knoxville, Illinois. Mr. Dunham continues in 
the service of the Church. 

Alter my dismissal, July 28th, 1868, the Church continued 
without a pastor for more than a year. Religious serviees 
were held every Sabbath. For five months the Presbytery 
supplied the pulpit on each alternate Sabbath ; but from 
the first of January, 1869, an engagement was made with 

* Records of Session. 

f And great were the discomforts of those three months. 

X Nehemiah Dunham and Morris S. Stiger. 



25 

Rev. William Cornell, of Somerville, a member of the 
Classis of Raritan, to supply the Church regularly. Mr. 
Cornell preached here for about six months with much 
acceptance. He was the efficient principal of a classical 
school in Somerville, and when he died,* a useful man was 
gone. 

But not only were the regular services of the sanctuary 
maintained without a pastor, but it was at that time that 
the comfortable and tasteful parsonage on the hill w^as 
erected. The same architect and the same builder were 
employed that had done so good work in the remodeling 
of the Church. The lot chosen was a most admirable one 
for the purpose, and the congregation have every reason 
to rejoice in the delightful home which they have provided 
for their pastor. 

The present pastorf was installed on the 28th of October, 
1869. His term of service is thus already longer than that 
of any other, with the single exception of Dr. McNair. And 
there has been no pastor who has had the pleasure of seeing 
so many names added to the communion roll. These num- 
ber ninety -nine by confession and forty -eight by certificate 
— in all one hundred and forty-seven. So with the usual 
trials and drawbacks, there is yet abundant reason to thank 
the Lord for the blessing which is following the labors of 
His servant. 

With respect to the Presbyterial relations of this Church, 
it has been stated that it was organized by the Presbytery 
of Newton. That Presbytery at that time covered a very 
extensive territory, not only in New Jersey, but also in 
Pennsylvania. This Church continued under the Presby- 
tery of Newton until it was assigned by the Synod of New 
Jersey to the new Presbytery of Raritan. That Presby- 
tery held its first meeting at Flemington, November 5th, 
1839. The connection of this Church with that delightful 
little Presbytery was continued until after the reunion of 
the Old School and New School branches of the Presbyte- 
rian Church. In June, 1870, the Presbytery of Raritan was 

*September 11th, 1876. 
f Rev. John Ewing. 



•6 

merged in the Presbytery of New Brunswick, but this 
Church was assigned to the Presbytery of Elizabeth. 

Mention has been made of the formation of the Ladies' 
Missionary Society in 1833 ; but besides what has been done 
by the ladies, the Church has been a regular contributor to 
missionary and benevolent objects. Considerable sums have 
also been given by the Sabbath-school. During the later 
years of its connection with the Presbytery of Raritan, this 
Church gave more money to missionary purposes, in pro- 
portion to its membership, than any other Church in the 
Presbytery, and it continues to exhibit a liberal spirit. 

The history of the Sabbath -school, which is older than 
the Church, has been so well written by Judge Voorhees, 
that I need say nothing more with respect to it. The faith- 
ful work done in the school through more than fifty years 
has received the Master' s blessing. 

I find on the communion roll of the Church, from the be- 
ginning to the present time, the names of about five hundred 
and forty persons. Of these, two hundred are reported as 
still connected with this Church. Of the remaining three 
hundred and forty, a considerable number are serving the 
Lord in other churches, several .are elders, and at least three 
are ministers of the Gospel. But no doubt the majority of 
the three hundred and forty have passed away from the 
Church on earth — as we hope — to join in the service of the 
Church in heaven. 

As we review the history of the Church through the first 
half century of its life, one cannot but confess that the 
goodness and mercy of God have indeed abounded. And 
a principal purpose of this semi-centenary is to set up an 
Ebenezer, and say, " Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" 

But if so much has been accomplished in the past, what 
may not be hoped for in the future \ At the beginning 
this Church had a very inferior property ; now there is a 
beautiful Church edifice and a delightful parsonage— both 
ornaments to the village. At the beginning there were but 
ten communicants to do the Lord's work in this Church ; 
now there are twenty times that number. Twenty times 
as many Church members, with very much better appli- 



27 

ances for Church work! ought not twenty times as much 
to be done \ Let the pastor determine to know nothing 
else but Jesus Christ and Him crucified ; let him constantly 
proclaim a free salvation through faith in the Saviour's 
blood ; let the doctrines of grace be taught with unweary- 
ing faithfulness in the Sabbath-school ; let fathers and 
mothers all be mindful of the sacred trust which has been 
given them to train up their children in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord ; let pastor and people all be of one 
heart and one soul in the service of the Lord ; let all dwell 
together in harmony and Christian charity, each one a liv- 
ing witness for Christ ; and let all continue instant in 
prayer. Then, brethren, a great deal more will be accom- 
plished in the future than has been in the past. And so, 
while exhorting you all to consecrate yourselves more fully 
to the Lord's service, I bid you to expect great things from 
His love. 



Sunday-School Semi-Centennial. 

HISTORY OF THE CLINTON PRESBYTEBIAE SUNDAY-SCHOOL, 
BY N. W. Y00RIIEES — ADDRESSES BY JOHN T. 
BIRD AND JOHN HILL. 



Last Sunday afternoon, July 4th, the exercises commemo- 
rative of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the 
Sunday-school connected with the Clinton Presbyterian 
Church were attended by an audience which crowded the 
auditorium in every part, The Schools of the Methodist 
and Baptist Churches of the place were present in full num- 
bers, and people of all denominations had come from near 
and from a distance on the interesting occasion. 

The entertaining programme prepared by Superin- 
tendent Baker and his efficient coworkers was faithfully 
carried out, embracing much inspiring Sunday-school music, 
in which the younger as well as older Bcholars all partici- 
pated heartily and well. The recitation of the Ten Com- 
mandments by the whole School in concert, interspersed 
with appropriate songs and chants from a choir of young 
ladies, was admirably executed. Mr. Tlieo. F. Stiger and 
Mrs. W. H. Baker furnished music from the new organ 
provided by the proceeds of the late Sunday-school 
Festival. 

After reading of Scriptures by the Rev. I. N. Vansairt, and 
an impressive prayer by the Rev. W. H. Shermer, most ap- 
propriate to the occasion, and some singing exercises, the 
Hon. N. W. Voorhees read a history of the School, which 
contains so much of general interest to our neighborhood 
that we give it in full, as follows : 



29 

The spirit of the Gospel is a spirit not merely of benevo- 
lence, of well-wishing, but of active beneficence, of earnest 
well-doing. Love — love to God, and love to man as a crea- 
ture of God — is the impelling motive, the essential charac- 
teristic of the religion of the Bible. Its conception of 
Christian character is, " always abounding in the work of 
the Lord;'' its test of discipleship, "By their fruits shall 
ye know them ; " its benediction, "Blessed is that servant 
whom his Master when he cometh shall find so doing." 
The great Exponent of its principles, the great Exemplar of 
its teachings, "went about doing good," "leaving us an 
example that we should follow His steps." It is therefore 
a natural outgrowth of the spirit of the Gospel, a natural 
fruit of Bible truth, that modes of doing good should be 
devised and sought out. And it is not a matter of surprise 
that Sabbath- schools, designed for instruction in Bible 
truth and training in moral duties, should be a mode 
adopted and employed in doing good. Although the 
Family and the Church are the institutions designed of God 
for the perpetuation of a knowledge of Himself, the ad- 
vancement of His glory, and the highest welfare of the 
race, and although these instrumentalities are specially 
adapted to accomplish these purposes, yet where the duties 
devolved on heads of families are inefficiently or negligently 
discharged, and when the ordinary agencies of the Church 
fail to reach all the purposes of its institution, then other 
appliances are naturally sought, and other instrumentalities 
having in view the same great ends are properly employed. 
The Sabbath-school, viewed in its true light, is such a 
substitute, such an agency. Its province is, and its aim 
should be, only to supplement the Family and the Church ; 
to do what the Family and the Church fail to do. "Train 
up a child in the way he should go," "Feed my lambs." 
These are primary duties of the Family and the Church, 
and it is only because the Family and the Church do not 
live up to the spirit of these and similar injunctions that the 
Sabbath-school becomes a necessity. 

It was, we believe, in this spirit and with these views, that 
when this locality became a centre of population and influ- 



30 

ence a Sabbath-school was established.* This was in or 
about the year 1825 ; so that to-day we are celebrating our 
semi-centennial anniversary. The School was gathered 
mainly through the influence of its first Superintendent, 
Mr. Henry Miller, who resided and carried on business in 
the house familiarly known as the Gen. Taylor house, now 
the residence of Mr. Boyd. The School was held in a 
school-house located near the residence of Mr. Elijah 
Stout, at that time and for many years previously kept as a 
public-house , about a mile east of the present town of Clinton. 
We must remember that the Clinton of to-day had not at 
that time a local habitation or a name. There were in the 
present corporate limits of Clinton only a mill, which had 
been here since the Revolution, and three or four dwellings. 
A post-office was established here in 1-818, under the name 
of Hunt's Mills. 

When the name was changed, in 1828, to Clinton — Judge 
Hunt and family having removed to Ohio, and the mill- 
property having come in possession of new owners— there 
were less than a dozen houses in the compact part of the 
village. The school-house was built in 1827 ; the Presby- 
terian Church in 1830. The Sabbath-school was held in the 
school-house near Mr. Stout's one year. In 1824 the wheel 
and chair factory of Gen. Hope, subsequently occupied by 
Judge Foster, and now by Mr. P. K. Burrill, was built. 
The Sabbath- school soon after was transferred to and held 
its sessions in this shop, where they were held for about one 
year and a half, when, on the completion of the stone 

* I am informed by Capt. John H. Low that previously to his attending the 
Sunday-school in Gen. Hope's shop in 1826 or 1827, where Col. Dunham was his 
teacher, he for four years attended a Sabbath-school taught by Mrs. Allen, wife of 
Andrew Allen, at her home at Underwood, about two miles south of Clinton. The 
School consisted of the children of the neighborhood, about twenty five, who were 
gathered on Sabbath afternoons at Underwood, and were taught by Mrs. Allen and 
members of the family. They were Episcopalians in their church connection, and at- 
tended St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, near Pittstown. This School was continued 
for about five years, until the removal of the family to Philadelphia. This Sabbath- 
school at Underwood was organized about 1820, and antedates any organization 
of the kind in this vicinity. 

The earliest Sabbath-school of which I find any traces was at Pittstown, and 
taught by Miss Margaret Opdyke. 



31 

school-house, located nearly opposite the Presbyterian 
Church, and built in 1827, its sessions were held in this 
school-house, which was its headquarters for a number of 
years. The old stone school-house was closely identified 
with the intellectual and religious culture of many who 
have since served their day and generation in various walks 
of usefulness, and who, by their walk and conversation, 
have illustrated the teachings and influences there received 
in the plastic days of youth. The ground on which it stood 
was the gift of Mr. David Miller, whose identity with the 
intellectual and religious interests of the locality at that 
time was very intimate. 

The aids to Sabbath-school instruction were then very 
limited. The superintendent and the teachers were, of 
necessity, men of one book, but that book was The Book. 
There were in existence copies of the New England Primer, 
from which the pupils learned theology from A to Izzard. 
The compend of religious truth was presented to them in 
part in this shape : 

In Adam's fall 
We sinned all. 
Your ways to mend, 
This Book attend. 
Time cuts down all, 
Both great and small. 
Whales in the sea 
God's voice obey. 
Xerxes the Great did die, 
And so must you and I. 

The pictorial illustrations for the children of that day 
consisted of a few rough wood-cuts in the New England 
Primer. One of these was accompanied with the following 
explanation : " Mr. John Rodgers, minister of the Gospel, in 
London, was the first martyr in Queen Mary 1 s reign, and 
was burnt at Smithfield, February 14th, 1554" His wife 
was represented as accompanying him to the place of exe- 
cution. An attendant of the school while at Gen. Hope's 
shop informs me that he used to try to satisfy himself by 
counting, how many children John Rodgers had. The 
statement with the picture was, " his wife, with nine small 



32 

children, and one at her breast, followed him to the stake." 

And although that former pupil has been railed on, while 
serving for a series of years as a Judge, to interpret and 
give judicial decisions on contracts and wills and statutes, 
yet his youthful difficulty still remains, and to this day he 
has not been able satisfactorily to determine the question, 
How many children had John ftodgers I 

About this time Mr. Henry Miller removed to New York, 
and was succeeded in business, agricultural and mercantile, 
by his father, Mr. David Miller, who removed from German 
Valley to the house vacated by his son. It is probable that 
he succeeded his son as Superintendent of the Sabbath- 
school, in which position he acted for a number of years. 
Mr. David Miller became a member of the Presbyterian 
Church, being received on certificate, April 28th, 1833. In 
the session records of this Church I find the following 
minute: "David Miller and Adam Stiger, who had both 
sustained the office of ruling elder in other Churches, being 
unanimously elected, were set apart to the discharge of 
the duties of this office in this Church on the 7th of 
June, 1835/' Mr. Miller removed from Clinton probably in 
1839, as the date of taking his certificate of Church mem- 
bership to the First Reformed Dutch Church in Paterson, 
N. J., is April 28th, 1839. Mr. David Miller was the father of 
William W. Miller, a most brilliant member of the New 
Jersey Bar, but whose sun went down while it was yet day, 
cut off in the midst of his days ; and also of Hon. Jacob 
W. Miller, an eminent member of the New Jersey Bar, and 
who for twelve years — from 1841 to 1853 — graced a seat 
in the Senate of the United States. 

Mr. David Miller was succeeded as Superintendent by 
Mr. Adam Stiger, his fellow elder. I have been unable to 
learn the period for which he served, or that any one held 
this position after him, previous to its being filled by Col. 
A. Whitfield Dunham. .Mr. Stiger was long identified with 
the Church and Sabbath-school, and the fidelity with 
which he discharged every duty, especially every duty that 
he regarded as a religious duty, is a guarantee to us that as 
a Superintendent he was attentive and faithful. 



33 

On the organization of the Presbyterian Church, in which 
enterprise he took .an active and self- sacrificing part, Col. 
Dunham was one of the original members, and in 1843 was 
elected and ordained a ruling elder. He served as Superin- 
tendent of the Sabbath-school until May, 1861, having ever 
been, in the discharge of the duties incident to his position, 
earnest and faithful and self-sacrificing. The School was 
ever dear to him, and after ceasing to be its Superintendent 
he continued his active connection with it as a teacher so 
long as health permitted. Until his taking charge as Su- 
perintendent I do not find any records throwing any light on 
the history of the School, although they may have been 
kept ; but from the time of his becoming Superintendent 
we have a complete record of all matters of interest per- 
taining to the School. Col. Dunham died August 28th, 
1863. (The record referred to was found since address 
was prepared, in 1875.) During the entire thirty-seven 
years, from the time he became a Sabbath-school teacher 
in Gen. Hope's shop, until summoned by his Master — 
"Come up higher" — in his affection for the Church, and 
the Sabbath- school as a part of the Church, he had illus- 
trated the spirit of God' s ancient people, and the eloquent 
strains of the sweet singer of Israel expressed the feelings of 
his heart : 

" If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 

"If 1 do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ; if I 
prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy." — Ps. cxxxvii., 5, 6. 

In May, 1861, Mr. Morris S. Stiger became Superin- 
tendent, and so continued until the time of his death — De- 
cember 5th, 1867. The interest of Mr. Stiger in the School, 
and his efficiency as a Superintendent, are matters of general 
knowledge, and need not be detailed by me. But I may 
state a single fact. In his very full record of attendance, 
etc. , the significant fact appears, that year after year, while 
Superintendent, he was not absent from the sessions of the 
School a single Sabbath. And even when there was an oc- 
casional absence, the absence is accounted for by the brief 
statement: " Superintendent sick." I will be excused for 



34 

quoting a brief but appreciative minute from the records of 
the Church : 

" The session would record wilh sorrow (he death of Morris S. Stiger. He died 
December 5th, 18G7. Had he lived one day longer, he would have completed his 
fifty-eighth year. 

"He was a member of this Church for more than thirty-five years; a ruling elder 
for nearly nine years; and for more than six years he was the Superintendent of the 
Sunday-school. 

"In his daily life a consistent Christian, liberal in his contributions, and faithful 
in his efforts for the cause of Christ, 

"He was a man who tried to do his duty."' 

Mr. Eli Bosenbury succeeded Mr. Stiger as Superin- 
tendent, serving until May, 1869. He was succeeded suc- 
cessively by Mr. Peter Van Pelt, Rev. John Ewing and 
Mr. N. D. Stiger — the former each serving one year, and 
Mr. Stiger two years. At the annual election for officers, 
held May, 1873, Mr. Wm. H. Baker was elected as Super- 
intendent, and still holds the position. 

Because I have sketched the characters of the superin- 
tendents of the School and given them prominence, it is not 
to be inferred that I have been unmindful of their efficient co- 
laborers. Every Sabbath-school implies scholars of differ- 
ent ages and dispositions and attainments, sympathizing 
parents and friends, and teachers warm-hearted and self- 
sacrificing and zealous ; and these this Sabbath-school has 
ever had. Because Moses and Aaron and Caleb and Joshua 
are prominent in the history of the journey ings in the 
wilderness as leaders of God's people, it must not be for- 
gotten that the sons of Merari had their special and assigned 
and necessary work, though this was but to take charge of 
" the boards of the tabernacle and the bars thereof," and 
even "their pins and their cords.'" Even this humble ser- 
vice was recognized as a necessary service in the work of the 
tabernacle of the congregation. — Numbers iv., 29, 33. 

An account of Sabbath-school work in Clinton would be 
incomplete without a cordial recognition of the efficient 
schools connected with the M. E. Church, organized in 
1840, and the Baptist Sunday-school, organized in 1871. 
To the three schools, in oneness of aim and unity of effort 



35 

and feeling and harmony of action, we may apply the senti- 
ment of the classic poet, 

Fades no a omnibus una 
Nee diversa tamen, qualis debet esse sororum ; 

which will bear the rendering : 

" They are not one, and yet not two, 
But look alike, as sisters do." 

In this history of the School for • fifty years — if such it 
may be called — a preparation of which for the exercises of 
this day was assigned me, many topics of remark have 
been suggested to my own mind, and which might be 
dwelt upon with profit. These fifty years of Sabbath- 
school work imply very much more than I have even 
glanced at, and probably many other topics of reflection 
have suggested themselves to those who have given me 
their attention, and I purposely omit their discussion. 

The Sabbath-school work and its influence are, in the 
exercises of the day, entrusted to others who have kindly 
consented to be with us, and I will no longer detain you 
from the feast of fat things in reserve for you, but will close 
with a single remark. The last lesson of the series of the 
International lesson papers, to which the Sabbath-schools 
of the Christian world have for months past been uniformly 
giving their attention, contained as its golden text the 
words of Samuel, "Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in 
truth with all your heart ; for consider how great things He 
hath done for you." As an incentive to greater and more 
faithful effort in the Sabbath-school work, as a means of 
awakening grateful feeling for past blessings, as an ever- 
sufficient rule of duty bearing with it the pledge of the 
divine approval and blessing, I would simply call the 
attention of my fellow laborers in the Sunday-school work 
to the parting words of the aged Prophet, himself an illus- 
tration of the effects of parental consecration and faithful 
training : ' ' Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth 
with all your heart ; for consider how great things He hath 
done for you. 1 ' 



36 

After Judge Voorhees' interesting historical sketch, and 
more good singing by the School, the Hon. John T. Bird, of 
Flemington, was called upon, and responded in a short but 
most edifying address. He alluded feelingly to his own 
association, in this Sabbath-school, not many years ago, 
with men and women now gone to their rich reward; and 
the memories of them, and the thoughts of meeting here 
their younger associates and snccessors, on an occasion like 
this, had drawn him hither against his first intention when 
invited. The speaker" pleasantly but very impressively 
gave good counsel to the teachers as well as the 
scholars before him, and excited interest among those not 
engaged in the work. 

The grand old anthem, "America," in which the whole 
congregation seemed to join, was followed by an address 
from the Hon. John Hill, of Morris County. It was just 
such as was expected from this experienced and conspicu- 
ous worker in the cause of Sunday-schools — a practical and 
instructive presentation of facts appropriate to the occasion, 
interesting to the whole audience, and encouraging to the 
teachers and scholars before him. 

The celebration closed with another well-rendered song 
and- benediction by the Rev. Mr. Vansant. — The Clinton 
Democrat, July 9th, 1875. 



A Pleasant Semi-Centennial. 

New York Evangelist, Oct. 7, 1880. 



The Presbyterian Church of Clinton, N. J., to which we 
referred last week, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on 
Tuesday, Sept. 14th. The day proved to be propitious, being 
neither too warm nor too cool, so that the physical comfort 
of the audience added to their enjoyment of the interesting- 
exercises. The interior of the church has lately been 
thoroughly renovated — painted, frescoed, cushioned, car- 
peted and furnished — all in the neatest and most 
substantial manner. New hymn-books, Dr. Robinson's 
"Spiritual Songs," also accompany the other improve- 
ments. The appearance of the interior is very pleasing. 
The few floral decorations on this occasion were in good 
taste, especially the basket used by the Missionary Sewing 
Society for nearly fifty years, which, filled with flowers, 
occupied the beautiful communion table. On each side of 
the recess back of the pulpit were the significant numbers 
1830-1880. A goodly audience was assembled, comprising 
many former members of the Church. After an anthem by 
the well-trained choir, devotional services were conducted by 
neighboring ministers of various denominations, and then 
came the historical sermon by Rev. I. A. Blauvelt, of 
Roselle, the predecessor of the present efficient pastor at 
Clinton. Mr. Blauvelt had gathered many interesting facts 
in regard to the origin and progress of the village and the 
Church, which he wove together in a happy manner, com- 
bining, along with an excellent spiritual tone, humor and 
pathos in the delineation of the character of departed 
saints, in such a way as held, amid alternate smiles and 
tears, the undivided attention of the audience throughout 
the entire discourse. It was a model historical sermon. 



38 

In the evening services were again held which were of a 
more informal character. Efforts had been made to have 
all the "sons of the Church" present; but of these the 
Rev. R. E. Field, of Brooklyn, N. Y., and the Rev. P. B. 
Van Syckel, of Princeton, were unable to attend. This 
Church, however, has had the privilege of training up 
several active laymen who have gone forth and become 
useful elders in city churches. Some of these were present 
and addressed the meeting. The speakers, in their order, 
were Elder D. M. Stiger, of Jersey City; Rev. Samuel 
Parry, of Pluckemin; Col. A. D. Hope, of Roselle ; Rev. 
James N. Ramsey, of the Methodist Episcopal Church ; 
Hon. Henry Dusenbery, of Jersey City, and Rev. A. M. 
Jelly, D.D., President of New Windsor College, Maryland, 
a friend of the pastor, and the only one of the speakers who 
is not a son of this Church. Music and some remarks by 
the pastor w r ere interspersed with the addresses, and a 
hearty vote of thanks was offered to Mr. Blauvelt for his 
morning's discourse, with a request for a copy for publica- 
tion. The sermon will soon be printed along with the 
history of the Sabbath-school, which was prepared by Hon. 
N. W. Voorhees, a member of the session, for the semi- 
centennial anniversary of the Sabbath- school, which was 
observed some five years ago. It seemed to be the opinion 
of all, that they had never spent a more enjoyable day. 
Many of the youth of the Church will remember to old age, 
and tell to their children's children, the story of the cele- 
bration of the fiftieth anniversary. It ought to be added 
that the tasteful and convenient parsonage of this Church 
has also been thoroughly and neatly repainted. The trus- 
tees evidently do not believe in letting their property go to 
ruin for lack of timely attention. 

The active and useful pastor of this Church for twelve 
years, the Rev. John Ewing, deserves great credit, along 
with his helpful session and willing people, for the present 
prosperous condition of the congregation, and the success 
of this anniversary. They are well cultivating the seed 
sown by a line of faithful predecessors. The Church has 
at present two hundred communicants, and its prosperity 



39 

may furnish encouragement to pastors who are faithfully 
and patiently sowing the good seed of the kingdom in new 
and struggling churches. ' ' In due season we shall reap if 
we faint not." "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 
Such anniversaries cannot but do good in cementing the 
unity of a church, fostering an interest in it, and provoking 
it to love and good works. "Pray for the peace of Jerusa- 
lem : they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within 
thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my 
brethren and companion's sakes I will now say, Peace be 
within thee. Because of the house of the Lord thy God, I 
will seek thy good." . P. 



HECKMAN 

BINDERY INC. 

MAY 98 

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