THE REFORMED CHURCH IN HUDSON*
COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Captain Franklin Ellis141
Believing that there existed room and necessity for another church organization in Hudson, a few individuals, then connected with the Presbyterian church met, in the summer of 1835, at the office of Joseph D. Monell for consultation. The meeting was composed of Joseph D. Monell, John Gaul, Killian Miller, Stephen W. Miller, A. V. V. Elting, William E. Heermance, and James E. Delamater.
Desirous that the new organization should be of the Reformed Dutch order, they, with other citizens, made application to the classis of Rensselaer, and, September 20, 1835, a society was organized by a committee consisting of the Rev. Messrs. Andrew N. Kittle, Peter S. Wynkoop, and Richard Sluyter, as the Reformed Protestant Dutch church of Hudson. A sermon was preached on the occasion by the Rev. Peter S. Wynkoop.
Their first services were held in the old court-house, and the first sermon was preached by the Rev. John B. Hardenburgh, D. D., then of Rhinebeck, afterwards of New York city. The first consistory ordained was composed of the following persons, viz.: Elders, John Watrous, A. V. V. Elting, Jonathan Stow, Thomas F. Mesick; Deacons, Robert D. Van Deusen, Jacob C. Everts, Jacob Van Deusen.
The first pastor, the Rev. George H. Fisher, was called from the First Reformed Dutch church of Fishkill, and was installed on the 20th of October, 1835, upon which occasion a sermon was preached by the Rev. Christopher Hunt, form John ii. 17. The form was read and the charge to the pastor was delivered by the Rev. A. N. Kittle, the charge to the congregation being delivered by the Rev. Richard Sluyter.
Mr. Fisher was dismissed to become pastor of the Broome Street church, New York, Dec. 28, 1841.
After the sale of the court house, the congregation met on several Sabbaths in the Baptist church. St. John's hall was then occupied until the completion of the present church edifice, which was built in 1836, under the direction of a building committee composed of Stephen W. Miller, Joseph D. Monell, James E. Delamater, William E. Heermance, Abraham V. V. Elting. It was dedicated Dec. 18, 1836, when a sermon was preached by Rev. John H. Van Wagenen, pastor of the church at Linlithgo, from John x. 22: "And it was a Jerusalem, the feast of the dedication, and it was winter." The Lord's Supper was administered for the first time on the last Lord's day in January, 1836. At that time there were seventeen communicants, and at the first renting of pews the society numbered about fifty. The second pastor, the Rev. John Gosman, D.D., was called from the Reformed Dutch churches of Coeymans and New Baltimore, and installed May 15, 1842, the installation services being performed by the Rev. Andrew N. Kittle. After ten years of service with this church, the state of Dr. Gosman' health compelled him to ask a release from the pastoral charge, which was granted April 20, 1852.
The third pastor, the Rev. David D. Demarest, D.D., was called from the Second Reformed Dutch church of New Brunswick, N.J., and was installed Aug. 1, 1852, on which occasion the Rev. John G. Johnson preached a sermon from Galatians vi. 14. The form was read by the Rev. Ira C. Boyce, the charge to the pastor delivered by the Rev. Cornelius E. Crispell, and the charge to the congregation by the Rev. Jacob N. Voorhis.
The pastor succeeding Mr. Demarest was the Rev. John McClellan Holmes, from the Lee Avenue church, in Brooklyn, who remained until June 1, 1877, and was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. Thomas B. McLeod, from the Presbyterian church at Batavia, N.Y.
At the present time the membership is about four hundred and fifty. The location of their house of worship is on the south side of Warren street, below Fifth. It is a brick edifice, having a seating capacity of seven hundred and fifty, and costing originally about $17,000. During the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Holmes it was materially enlarged and entirely remodeled, at an expense of nearly $20,000.
The society owns a good brick parsonage in Allen street, a little north of the Court-house park. This was purchased during the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Demarest, having been previously occupied by the Presbyterians as the residence of their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Waterbury. The present valuation of the church property is $35,000.
Connected with this church is a flourishing Sabbath-school, now under the superintendency of Mr. Robert M. Shepard. It has existed for more than forty years, having been first organized in the winter of 1836-37.
*Furnished by S. B. Miller, Esq.