Early Churches in Beekman

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Copyright Debbie Axtman

September 24, 1999

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Early Churches in Beekman

Transcribed by Debbie Axtman


In what is known as the Noxon Meadow, tradition located a small Indian village, probably some of the Schaghticoke tribe. Arrow heads are picked up in that locality; and a few years since the mounds of the graves were distinctly visible.

Green Haven, Poughquag, Beekmanville and Sylvan Lake are small post villages. Freemanville, or Guinea, is a settlement of colored people in the mountains south of Poughquag. Charles Freeman, a mulatto, was a large land holder, and important personage among them, and is still held in remembrance by the oldest citizens.

There are three churches in town, viz: Baptist, Methodist, and Roman Catholic. An Episcopal Church was built in 1852 on the rising ground east of Poughquag, was taken down in 1772, and the material conveyed to Sing Sing camp ground, and there converted into cottages.

The constituent members of the Baptist Church at Beekman *(NOTE: There was at one time, a Baptist organization in the Clove, a few miles from Beekmanville. IT was gathered under the labors of Mr. Palmer, and has ____ become extinct.) previous to its organization, held their membership with the First Baptist Church of Fishkill, from which they were regularly dismissed. Their house of worship was completed late in the autumn of 1829, at the cost of $3,000, all paid, and dedicated in December following. Dedicatory sermon by D. T. Hill, -text Rev. xxii;9; "Worship God." In February ten persons were recognized by a council called for the purpose, Rev. Rufus Babcock, D. D., preaching the sermon. Elder D. T. Hill became their pastor, continuing with them until 1843. The Duchess Baptist Association has four times held its anniversaries with thie church.

The Centennary M. E. Church edifice at Poughquag was built in 1839. Previous to this there was a small society of two or three members. The corner stone was laid July 24, 1839; sermon by Rev. Mr. Cochran. The house was raised August 10, 1839; and the record states no alcohol was used on that occasion. At the raising, one hundred and fifty people dined, the ladies furnishing the provisions. Henry Wright was the builder; Oliver Smith, mason. The house was formally dedicated January 14, 1840; six hundred people present.

The Roman Catholic Church, built about the year 1860, is situated in the west part of the town, near the south borders of Sylvan Lake.

A Quaker Church was early constituted in this town and was known as the Apoquaque Preparative Church. Their second house of worship was recently sold to a Missionary Society, and is still used for religious purposes. The first church stood about two miles east of the second one, in the burying ground at Gardner Hollow. Morgan Lewis leased the land for the first house to the society, as a rent of "one pepper-corn a year, if demanded." One of the oldest grave-stones in the burial ground, that is distinctly legible, is that of Dr. Ebenezer Cary, who died in 1815, at the age of 70 years. The stone was removed into this ground from the old grave-yard south of the road.

From: General History of Duchess County, From 1609 to 1876, Inclusive,
Philip H. Smith, Pawling, NY, Published by the Author, 1877.