By Capt. Franklin Ellis332
In the spring of 1842, Rev. Richard Sluyter, of Claverack, addressed a communication to the classis of Rensselaer at their spring session, on the subject of establishing a missionary station at Chatham Four Corners. After a full discussion of the matter the classis appointed a committee, of which Mr. Sluyter was chairman, to visit the ground, and report concerning the feasibility of the place. Having examined into the probabilities of success, the committee reported favorably, and the classis resolved to procure a preacher to occupy the grounds. Mr. E. S. Porter (now Dr. Porter, of Brooklyn), having been recently licensed, was prevailed upon to accept the appointment.
He accordingly came to Chatham Four Corners, and commenced preaching there on the 1st of September, 1842. A district school-house was used for the purpose. On the 28th of October, 1842, Mr. Porter was ordained as an evangelist, and continued his labors, although no church was instituted. But it please God that his cause should be established there, and a small number of believers were found willing to come forward and be united into a distinct flock.
Accordingly, on the 22d of January, 1843, Rev. John C. Van Dervoort, of Mellenville, as one of the committee of classis appointed for the purpose, came and organized a church by the appointment and ordination of Martin Mesick and Peter Gardenier, elders; and John S. Wilkinson, deacon; and the church was organized under the style and title of the "First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Chatham." A subscription for building a church, or house for divine worship, was commenced September, 1842, and a contract for building the same was formed on the 12th of March, 1843. In due time the edifice was completed, and on Saturday, the 7th of October, 1843, it was dedicated to the service of the Triune God. The Rev. Mr. Crandell, pastor of the Congregational church at Concord, offered the invocation. Rev. Theodore Wyckoff, of the Second Dutch church of Ghent, read the eighty-fourth psalm, Rev. Dr. Gosman, of Hudson, preached the sermon, and the Rev. E. S. Porter offered the dedicatory prayer.
The Rev. E. S. Porter, having been presented with a call from the church, and having accepted the same, was installed in the pastoral office on Tuesday, the 17th day of October, 1843.
The pastors have been as follows: Rev. E. S. Porter, 1843-49; N. D. Williamson, 1850-51; John W. Schneck, 1851-53; Edwin Holmes, 1853-59; C. S. Mead, 1859-70; James B. Campbell, 1870-73; N. H. Vanarsdale, 1874.
The present elders are Peter Gardenier, Jacob S. New, Martin C. Garner, William C. Bailey, J. Wesley Jones. Deacons: Wm. H. Ten Broeck, John K. Pierce, Henry C. Pierson, William B. Howland.
The congregation consists of one hundred families; one hundred and seventy communicants.
*By Rev. N. H. Vanarsdale
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