The Second Reformed

Protestant (Dutch)

Church of


Columbia County,

New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis374


By Rev. Jacob W. Schenck.

     The Second Reformed Protestant (Dutch) church of Ghent was organized on the 15th day of May, 1843.  the act of organization was granted by the classis of Rensselaer, at a meeting held in the Reformed church of Claverack the 18th day of April of the same year, at which time a petition was presented by certain individuals residing in the western part of the town of Ghent praying for the formation of a church in their vicinity.  After deliberation the classis resolved to grant the prayer, and appointed a committee to organize said church.  In pursuance of this appointment, the Rev. Dr. Gosman, of Hudson, on the 18th day of May, appeared and presided at an election of officers, held at the school-house, in district No. 5, near the proposed place of building.  the following were then chosen to serve as the first consistory of the new enterprise:  Conrade Smith, Peter Philip, Jr.,  Wilhelmus H. Link, Matthias A. Emerick, as elders, and John T. Van Alstyne, James I. Leggett, William E. New, Abraham Van Alen, as deacons.

     They were ordained by Dr. Gosman on the 11th of June.

     The corner-stone of the church was laid on the 14th day of June, by Dr. Gosman, and on the day following the certificate of organization was acknowledged before Darius Peck, judge of the court of common pleas of the county of Columbia, and filed and recorded in the clerk's office on the same day.

     The building of the church was pushed rapidly forward; and on the 9th of September, 1843, it was dedicated to the worship of God, the sermon on the occasion being preached by the Rev. Dr. I. N. Wyckoff, of Albany.

     The size of the edifice, which still remains the same externally as at its erection, is fifty feet in length by forty in width.

     Immediately upon their ordination the consistory tendered a call to the Rev. Theodore F. Wyckoff to become their pastor for one year, who, accepting the overture, was ordained to the gospel ministry and installed pastor of the church July 12, 1843.  The ordination sermon was preached by his father, Dr. I. N. Wyckoff; the charge to the pastor was delivered by Dr. Gosman, and the charge to the people by Rev. E. S. Porter, of Chatham.

     At the first communion, held on the second Sabbath of October, seventy-six persons were received into the fellowship of the church, nearly all by certificate from the surrounding churches.  Of this number, more than one-half were dismissed from the First Reformed church of Ghent. 

     The last sermon of Rev. T. S. Wyckoff was preached Aug. 4, 1844.  Shortly after a call was made upon the Rev. George R. Williamson, who was ordained and installed pastor of the church Oct. 16, 1844.  The sermon was preached by Rev. George H. Fisher, New York, from 1 Peter, i.3-5; the charge to the pastor was given by Rev. I. C. Boyce, of Claverack, and that to the people by Rev. B. Vanzandt, of Kinderhook.  Mr. Williamson remained pastor of the church until 1848, when he was called to the church of Amity, New York.  He perished in the explosion of the "Reindeer," on the Hudson river, September, 1852.

     At the close of his pastorate the present commodious parsonage was built, and the grounds surrounding, to the extent of an acre or more, were purchased.  Near this period, also, a plot of ground adjacent to the church came into the possession of consistory, to be used as a cemetery, and which by subsequent additions now comprises about two acres.

     The third pastor was Rev. J. C. Van Dervoort, who was installed on the 19th of May, 1848.  Rev. Edwin Holmes, of Nassau, preached the sermon; Rev. Dr. Gosman gave the charge to the pastor, and Rev. William Bailey, of Schodack, the charge to the people.  He continued his labors until the fall of 1850, when he was called home.

     The Rev. Jacob H. Van Woert was installed the fourth pastor of the church Oct. 12, 1852, and closed his labors here in 1865, being dismissed to the classis of Schoharie.  The installation sermon was preached by Rev. E. Holmes; Rev. John W. Schenck, of Chatham, charged the pastor, and Rev. John Steele the people.

     The fifth pastor, Rev. Elbert N. Sebring, was ordained and installed Nov. 15, 1865.  The sermon was preached by Rev. E. A. Collier, of Kinderhook; the charge to the pastor was delivered by Rev. A. J. Sebring, of Mellenville, and that to the people by Rev. Isaac L. Kip, of Stuyvesant Falls.  After a pastorate of seven years, Mr. Sebring was dismissed to the church of Fairfield, N. J.

     Rev. Jacob W. Schenck, the present incumbent, was ordained and installed pastor of this church July 8, 1873.  The sermon was preached by Rev. E. L. Hermance, form Matt. ix. 9; Rev. J. B. Drury, of Ghent, charged the pastor, and Rev. J. B. Campbell, of Chatham, the people.  During the present pastorate the church has shared in the revival which has blessed so many of the churches of this region.  As one of the results of this refreshing from on high, some forty were added in a little over one year to the membership of the church.

     The last consistorial report (April, 1878) embraces the following statistics:  number of families, ninety; total now in communion, one hundred and sixty, being more than double the number at the date of organization; total number of scholars in Sunday-school, ninety-five.

     Mr. George H. Kittle is the present superintendent of the Sabbath-school.

     The names of the present consistory are:  Elders, Matthias A. Emmerick, Jacob Raup, Jeremiah Fredenburgh, and Jacob Kittle; Deacons, George H. Kittle, William Coon, Sylvanus Speed, and Edwin Zipple.