SOURCE: The History of Morris County New Jersey 1739-1882, published by W.W. Munsell & Co., New York, 1882, page 130-138
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
The desire of some to divide the Hanover church, referred to on page 110, was strenuously opposed by the eastern portion of the parish. To quiet matters a resort was had to the casting of lots, which resulted against the proposed division. To this decision, however, this branch of the congregation would not submit. For their action in this matter, though they gained their point, yet the church when organized called them to account. A public confession was required from Joseph Coe, John Lindsley, Joseph Prudden, Matthew Lum, Uriah Cutler, Stephen Freeman, Peter Condit, Jacob Ford, Joseph Howard, Benj. Bailey, Philip Condit, &c. The whole affair was carried up to synod in 1733, who strongly disapproved of the casting of lots, and resolved that in their poverty and weakness it might be very advisable for the people of West Hanover, at least for some time, to join themselves with the congregations of East Hanover and Basking Ridge "as may be most convenient, until they as well as the said neighboring congregations be more able to subsist of themselves separately." Yet if reunion was impracticable "the synod judge that the people of West Hanover be left to their liberty to erect themselves into a separate congregation." No doubt knowing the temper and state of feeling in this part of his field of labor this deliverance of synod was in no way satisfactory to Mr. Nutman, the pastor at Hanover, for at the same session of the body he asked for a dismission from his presbytery if this action was enforced of forming a separate congregation; whereupon the synod earnestly recommended the Presbytery of East New Jersey to labor with the people of West Hanover to effect a reconciliation, and if this was impossible then to dismiss Mr. Nutman upon his application. The next year the matter again came before the synod in the reading of the minutes, when the use of lots was condemned; and yet say they: "We are afraid that much sin has been committed by many if not all that people in their profane disregard of said lot, and therefore excite them to reflect upon their past practices in reference thereunto in order to their repentance."
This implied censure in no way healed the breach. There had been too much said and done on both sides again to work in concert; so that, independent of the counsellings of synod, this branch of the congregation made application to that body on the following year for the ordination of one who had recently come among them. The synod referred the matter to the Presbytery of Philadelphia. In May 1736 the people pressed the presbytery to proceed in the ordination of Mr. Cleverly, when they directed the congregation to appoint a day and give them due notice, that they might attend properly to the business. For some cause no day was designated; so that the presbytery in August 1737 met here, but found opposition on the part of some of the people to his settlement. In virtue of this state of things they urged him to seek another field of labor, and wrote to the rector of Yale College to send a candidate, giving as a reason that they knew no other way to supply them. This advice to Mr. Cleverly was not taken, as he remained in Morristown till his death, in December 1776. He never married. His small property became nearly exhausted toward the close of life and he was reduced to hardships.
The synod in 1738, finding the difficulties still existing and anxious to bring the case to a final issue, appointed a large committee, which met on the 26th of July, at Hanover. The members present were Andrews, of Philadelphia; Gilbert Tennent, of New Brunswick; William Tennent, of Freehold; John Cross, of Basking Ridge; Crowell, of Trenton, and Treat, of Abington. An opening sermon was preached by Gilbert Tennent from Ezek. xi. 19, "I will give them one heart." The eastern part were still anxious for a union if it could be had on reasonable terms. To this the western portion were however averse, and represented according to truth that they were much increased in number, being nearly one-half abler than they were; and the committee, finding that they both were better able to support the gospel, unanimously concluded that there should be two seperate societies, and that no further attempts should be made to merge them in one, and in this dicision all parties expressed their entire satisfaction.
In those days, however, it was not an easy matter to find a pastor, and as Mr. Cleverly still resided here he no doubt officiated occasionally or regularly until, in 1742, a pastor was chosen. Previous to this time, apart from the minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia, we can find no trace of the state of this church in any of its ecclesiastical movements.
The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Timothy Johnes, his pastorate beginning August 13th 1742 and continuing to the time of his death, covering over half a century. He was of Welsh descent; was born in Southampton, Long Island, May 24th 1717, and graduated at Yale College in 1737, from whence in 1783 he received the degree of doctor of divinity. Mr. Webster, in his history of the Presbyterian church, says: "Of the period between his leaving college and going to Morristown we have seen no notice, except that in that perilous time, when some haply were found fighting against God, those who separated from the first parish in New Haven worshiped in the house of Mr. Timothy Johnes." From this it would appear that he studied theology at New Haven. He was no doubt licensed by the Congregational body, and came to Morristown by means of the letter of presbytery to the president of the college or by a subsequent request to the same. Tradition asserts that he labored for a short period on Long Island in some of the vacant churches. With Mr. Johnes this church assumes historic character, shape and life, as from the date of his settlement the church records begin. Though for a time the entries of sessional business are meager, yet they are sufficient to indicate the presbyterial character of the church in its government and relations.
The strength of the church in numbers and wealth at its organization cannot now be learned. Rev. Samuel L. Tuttle, in his history of the Madison Presbyterian Church, another off-shoot of Hanover, a few years later, says: "In or about 1740 a small and very feeble church was organized and established in Morristown." But it would seem from the action of the committee of synod, as well as from the whole course of procedure of this section of the church, that they were able from the beginning to support the gospel. There were 102 in full communion when Mr. Johnes was installed pastor, by no means "a very feeble church;" small in comparison with the power it has since attained, but by no means to be ranked in those days among the feeble churches in the land.
The names of these 102 members are appended, with the addition so far as we have been able to ascertain of the date of their death or burial: [click here to see the following list in a table format]
John Lindley, died March 9 1750, aged 50. Elizabeth Lindley, his wife, buried April 21 1772, aged 91. John Lindley jr., died September 10 1784, aged 56. Sarah Lindley, his wife. Jacob Fford, died January 19 1777, born April 13 1704. Hannah Fford, his wife, buried July 31 1777, aged 76. Joseph Prudden, buried September 27 1776, aged 84. Joanna Prudden, his wife. Caleb Fairchild, buried May 3 1777, aged 84. Anna Fairchild, his wife, buried April 8 1777, aged 86. Joseph Coe. Judith Coe, his wife. Joseph Coe jr. Esther Coe, his wife. Solomon Munson, buried February 8 1803, aged 78. Tamar Munson, his wife, buried January 28 1779, aged 79. Benjamin Pierson, died August 2 1783, aged 81. Patience Pierson, his wife, died January 7 1785, aged 77. Stephen Freman, buried August 2 1771, aged 84. Hannah Freman, his wife, buried July 22 1779, aged 85. Matthew Lum, buried May 21 1777, aged 70. Susanna Lum, his wife, died May 23 1758, aged 63. Peter Cundit, buried July 11 1768, aged 69. Phebe Cundit, his wife, buried July 26 1768, aged 65. Philip Cundit, died December 23 1801, aged 92. Mary Cundit, his wife, buried September 30 1784, aged 72. Joseph Howard. Mary Howard, his wife, buried January 30 1782, aged 79. Sarah, wife of Samuel Ford. Benjamin Bailey, buried March 20 1783, aged 83. Letitia Bailey, his wife, buried August 11 1781, aged 78. Samuel Nutman. Abigail Nutman, his wife. James Cole. Phebe Cole, his wife. Benjamin Coe. Rachel Coe, his wife, buried December 20th 1776, aged 58. Thomas Kent. Ebenezer Mahurin. _____, wife of Ebenezer Mahurin. Uriah Cutler, buried February 5th, 1795, aged 86. Timothy Mills, died March 4th 1803, aged 85. Job Allen, of Rockaway. John Clark. Abigail Clark, his wife. Benjamin Beach, of Rockaway; suspended May 26th 1756. Abner Beach, of Rockaway; suspended May 8th 1752. Jonah Arstin. _____, his wife. Zeruiah, wife of Isaiah Wines, "now of Captain Samuel Day," buried December 21st 1776, aged 56. Sarah, wife of Isaac Price. Martha, wife of Cornelius Arstin. Susanna, wife of Caleb Tichenor. Sarah, wife of James Frost. Mary, wife of Isaac Clark. Elizabeth, wife of David More. Ann, wife of Alexander Robards. Ann Allen, widow. Sarah, wife of Abraham Hathaway. Bethiah, wife of Thomas Wood, buried November 7th 1773, aged 74. Experience, wife of Benjamin Conger, buried September 30th 1784, aged 73. Charity, wife of Benjamin Shipman. Phebe, wife of Shadrach Hathaway. _____, wife of John Jonson. Catharine, wife of Peter Stagg. _____, wife of Eliacam Suerd. Mary Burt. Comfort, wife of Joseph Stiles, died June 17th 1785, aged 76. Joanna, wife of Peter Prudden. Samuel Sweasy. Susanna Sweasy, his wife, buried November 5th 1776, aged 80. Joseph Fowler's wife Hannah. Hannah, wife of Jeremiah Johnson. Martha, wife of John Fford. Abigail, wife of Jonathan Conklin, "now of Samuel Bayles." Charles Howell, died June 18th 1759, aged 38. Deborah, wife of Charles Howell, died December 19th 1765, aged 43. Daughter (?) of Charles Howell. Doctor Elijah Jillet. Jane, wife of Doctor Jillet. Elder Morris, of Basking Ridge. Mary, his wife. Abraham Campfield's wife (Sarah); buried July 22nd 1783. Phebe, Joshua Ball's wife. Elizabeth Kermicle, widow. Nathan Ward's wife. Jemima, wife of Deacon Matthew Lum. Samuel Baldwin, of Mendham. Rebecca, Zach. Fairchild's wife. Elizabeth, Captain Clark's wife. Wife of Samuel Mills (Sarah), buried January 15th 1785, aged 61. Elizabeth, wife of David Gauden. Mattaniah Lyon, died February 2nd 1794, aged 69. _____, his wife. Alexander Johnson's wife. Silas Halsey. Abigail, his wife; buried March 26th 1777, aged 60. Bathiah, Benjamin Halsey's wife, died January 23d 1785, aged 62. John MacFeran, buried November 22nd 1778, aged 80. Elizabeth, his wife, buried September 13th 1778, aged 77. Nathan Price. Peter Prudden, buried April 21st 1777, aged 55.
At the head of this list stands the following:
"The number and names of the persons that were in full communion when the church was first collected and founded, together with the number of those that came since from other churches, with their removal."
The first entry upon this roll after those above given is:
"Aug. 15 1765, Naomi, wf. of John Laporte, turned from the Anabaptists and received on ye foot of her being a member of that ch. in good standing."
Thus it would seem that all named previous to this date were in full communion when Mr. Johnes assumed charge of the church.
The names on this list (and the same may be said of those upon deeds) clearly point, as already indicated, to a New England origin.
On the 8th of September 1756 a charter of incorporation was granted the church by Jonathan Belcher, the captain-general and governor of the province of New Jersey. This charter may be seen in full in The Record for January 1880.
The following is the preface to the trustees' book, which then began to be kept:
"A Record of the Transactions of the Trustees in and for the Presbyterian Chh & Congregation at morristown, in Vertue of a Charter granted to the said Chh. & Congregation by his Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esqr., Captain General and Governor in Cheif in and over his majesties Province of Nova Cesarea or New Jersey and territories thereon Depending in America, Chancellor and Vice admiral in the same, &c., which Charter was granted the eighteenth of September, in the twenty-ninth year of his majesties Reign, 1756, the expense of which Charter, being about seven Pound Proc. was Raised by Publick Contribution Excepting the writing of Sd Charter, which was Generously done by Ezekiel Cheever, member of Sd Society.
"The Incorporated Trustees, Viz.: messiurs. Benjamin Hatheway, President; Benjamin Bayles, Thomas Kent, Benjamin Coe, Charles Howell, Sam'l Robarts & henry Primrose, on the Receiving the Charter at the ministers hous from the hands of Mr. Johnes, who had Been Desiered and was Principally Concerned in obtaining the Sd Charter, the Trustees by a Vote did then and there appoint Sam'l Robarts the Corporation Clark."
The first church edifice was no doubt reared before the coming of Mr. Johnes. It was a wooden building nearly square, with shingled sides, and stood a few rods east of the present structure, on land given by Benjamin Hathaway and Jonathan Lindsly for a parsonage and burial ground. On January 24th 1764 the trustees granted permission to erect a steeple, 125 feet in height, and agreed that Colonel Ford should have "the care, management and oversight" of the work. In this tower a bell was hung, the gift tradition says of the king of Great Britain. It had on it the impress of the British crown and the name of the makers--"Lister & Pack of London fecit." The same bell still rings out its summons to the house of God, though recast some 20 years ago. The vane of the steeple was afterward given to the old academy at New Vernon.
The increasing number of members made the enlargement of the building a necessity, which was accordingly done in 1774.
A still further increase of membership, the growing population of the town, and the hard usage to which the church had been put during the war of the Revolution as a hospital for the army, led after much discussion to the conclusion to build a new edifice. At a meeting of the parish, held October 8th 1790, the final plans were adopted and committees appointed. The church was to be 75 feet long, 55 wide, the steeple 20 feet square, 9 of which were to be taken from the main building, leaving an audience room 66 feet in length. Judge Condict, Dr. Johnes jr., Dr. Jabez Campfield, Squire Carmichael, Squire Lindsly, Mr. Phillips, Jonathan Dickerson, Major Lindsly, Deacon Allen, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Mills and Mr. Halsey were appointed a committee of direction. The said committee were to have leave to apply to the Legislature for the privilege of a lottery to raise a sum of money equal to the expense of building the new meeting-house—a method of procedure very common in those days. If this application were ever made it was refused, as we hear no more about it.
In a memorandum book of one of the committee for the purchasing of materials we have the following entry: "Timber to be all white oak, cut in old moon of Dec., Jan'y or Feb'y, and delivered on the Green by the _____ day of _____ next. Nov. 1790." The work was commenced in the spring of 1791. The head carpenter was Major Joseph Lindsly, assisted by Gilbert Allen, both elders in the church and men of great moral worth and highly beloved by the congregation. The frame was raised on September 20th 1791, and on several successive days, some 200 men assisting in the work.
The first site selected for the building was in the graveyard not far from the old church; this fact is gathered from an account book of that date, which has been very mnch mutilated but in which is the following entry: "William Cherry Cr. by one day's work done in the graveyard towards the foundation where the house was first ordered to be built, 5s." The site was changed chiefly through the agency of Dr. Jabez Campfield, but the reason is not known. The location has never given satisfaction and several attempts have been made to move the church; but without success, and it will no doubt stand where it is until superseded by a new house of worship.
From the diary of Joseph Lewis, Esq., we take the following: "Thursday, Augt. 18 1791.--This afternoon, agreeably to notice given, the congregation met to lay corner stones of the new meeting-house. Rev. Dr. Johnes laid the S. W. corner of the house; Rev. Mr. Collins, by Rev. Mr. Cooly, S. E. do.; the deacon, N. E. do.; elders, N. W. do.; trustees, N. W. do. of the steeple; managers, S. W. do.
Different parts of the work were sold at public vendue to the lowest bidder, with the provision that if any person's contract amounted to more than he had subscribed toward the building he should wait until the money could be collected, or take orders upon those subscribers who were not working out their subscriptions. The managers kept an account with every one who subscribed or worked; some of the entries are curious and interesting. Perhaps nothing could better illustrate one feature of the difference between the religion of the past and the present than the following entries, the first from the managers' day-book and the second from some stray leaves, which were probably connected with it: "Daniel Phoenix jr., cr. by 13 gills of rum furnished the hands this day, 2 shillings 2 pence." This was in the beginning of the work; the next is February 2, 1794: "Meeting-House dr. to Joseph Marsh, for licker for raising gallery," 13 shillings.
On November 26th 1795 the congregation worshiped in this house for the first time, though it was not until several months afterward that the whole was completed. The pulpit was not finished and furnished until some time in 1796, when this fell, as in later times, to the ladies, who collected from their own sex the sum of $125 "for the purpose," as their subscription paper ran, "of dressing the pulpit, getting curtains for the large windows of the meeting-house, a new funeral pall, and a gown for the minister." In the following year the walls were whitewashed and "the inside of the church ordered to be a light blue." Gradually the whole was finished, at a cost considerably over $10,000. We have heard the sum stated at $12,000.
This for the times was a great undertaking. Commenced soon after the close of the protracted war with Great Britian, when taxes were heavy and must be paid, when the country was burdened with debt, paper money the only currency, nearly every farm mortgaged, and when creditors ran from their debtors, afraid of the continental money, when a silver dollar was scarcely seen and gold was if anything rarer--yet steadily was the work prosecuted in the midst of the most trying discouragements, while the willingness of the people to be taxed nearly $10,000 for the purpose of defraying the expenditure shows a noble spirit; and the readiness with which so many came forward--over 360 persons in all--to contribute to the undertaking reveals the fact that more were willing to share and bear the burdens of the sanctuary than at present. The communicants at that time numbered but little more than half of the subscribers, as scarcely 40 pews were reserved for sacramental days.
The later history of this church will be sufficiently noticed under the successive pastorates, which we now proceed to recount.
1. Rev. Timothy Johnes, D. D., began his labors August 13th 1742; was ordained and installed February 9th 1743; continued pastor until his death. In 1791 he fractured his thigh bone by a fall, which confined him for months to his bed, and made him a cripple for the remainder of his life. After more than a year's confinement he was able to attend public worship. Aided by one or two of his elders he reached the desk, where, seated on a high cushioned chair, he would occasionally address the people. In this condition he preached in 1793 his half-century sermon to a crowded assembly, who came from all quarters to hear it. His text was, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course," etc. In the delivery of that discourse he manifested unusual animation, and in the closing prayer he seemed to breathe out his whole soul in fervent petition for the peace, prosperity and salvation of his people. The service was closed by singing the 71st Psalm--"God of my childhood and my youth," etc. In reading the first verse, said an eye-witness, "his voice began to falter and became tremulous. He proceeded with much emotion, while the tears trickled over his venerable cheeks, and before he could utter the last line his voice seemed to die away admidst the sobs and tears of the whole assembly."
Seldom did he address his people after this. In the following winter, as he was riding to church on Sabbath morning, his sleigh was upset a short distance from his house, which broke his other thigh bone. He was carried to his home, and never left it till he was removed by the hands of others to the graveyard. He died September 15th 1794, in the 78th year of his age, the 52nd of his pastorate and 54th of his ministry.
His tombstone bears the following inscription: "As a Christian few ever discovered more piety--as a minister few labored longer, more zealously or more successfully than did this minister of Jesus Christ."
During his pastorate of over half a century he received into the church 600 members and 572 half-way members, officiated at 2,827 baptisms, and 948 marriages, and disciplined 170 members.
Those who desire to see the first four of the above lists may find them in full in successive numbers of The Record.
The last list contains many curious things. A few samples are given.
Some difficulty seems to have early arisen between Timothy Peck and one Nutman on the one side and William Shipman on the other, and the two former must have wished to have the latter turned out of the church, and made an accusation against him with that intention; for the session declares it finds the charge groundless, and then goes on to say (intimating that Shipman had complained of losing a steer): "As to Peck and Nutman taking away the steer, it doth not appear but that" they "had a toleration for their action, though at ye same time they are to blame in going at such a time when as appears they were apprehensive sd. Shipman was not at home; and also for saying they were sorry he was not at home, though it doth not appear the property of the steer was fixed to any." It was adjudged that said Peck and Nutman should "pay sd. Shipman for wintering the steer, according to his demands, and also that they should pay him forty shillings, as or in lieu of his quota of some household goods."
Members were disciplined as follows:
January 3d 1760, Mr. _____ "and wife for partaking of stolen watermelon;" "July 26 1766, _____ for a premeditated fist quarrel;" "January 1 1772, _____ for taking hold of an antient man & member of ye ch., and shaking him in an unchristian & threatening manner;" "June 30 1786, _____ & wife for ye premature marriage of wife's sister after first wife's death." A frequent cause of discipline was intemperance, which slew its victims then as now. In all these cases the record shows the kindly heart and wise discretion of the pastor.
The moulding influence of this honored minister of Christ upon this whole section of country warrants a somewhat elaborate review of his official life and work. This cannot be better given than in the following sketch by the Rev. Albert Barnes, taken from a manual of the First Presbyterian Church, prepared and published by him in 1828, while pastor of the church:
"Dr. Johnes has left nothing except the general impression of his labors on the minds of the church and congregation, by which the nature and value of his services can now be distinctly known. [Only one of his sermons has ever been printed, which may be found in the Record for October 1880. The writer of this has in his possession a number of MS. sermons, but few of which are still in existence.--R. S. G.] The fact, however, that he received the highest honors of a college deservedly ranking among the first in the United States, and that at a time when literary degrees were not conferred indiscriminately, and were therefore proof of merit, is a sufficient evidence that his standing in the ministry was of a very respectable order, and that he was well known in the American churches. He was a man of respectable literary attainments, but was rather distinguished for his fidelity as a pastor. As a preacher he is said to have been clear, plain, practical and persuasive. His discourses were rather an affectionate appeal to the heart than profound and elaborate disquisitions on abstruse points of theology. He aimed rather to win men to the practice of holiness than to terrify and denounce them. Though faithful in reproving and warning, yet it was with mildness and in the spirit of true Christian affection. He suffered no public vice to escape without reproof; but the reproof was administered in order that he might show them a more excellent way. He seemed to have come to his people, particularly towards the latter part of his ministry, as an affectionate Christian pastor; their father, counsellor, and friend. No man could have had a better claim to the title of "father in the gospel;" and no man, probably, would have used the influence thus derived more to the practical benefit of the people. Though not elaborate, or remarkably profound, or highly eloquent in the pulpit, yet Dr. Johnes had the faculty of instilling successfully the principles of religion into the minds of the people. He was much with them. He visited much from house to house. He had become acquainted with the circumstances of every family. He had the moulding and training of the congregation. He had the power, therefore, of stamping his own sentiments on their minds. Beloved as their pastor, and venerated as their spiritual father, his sentiments on religion were always received with high respect, and almost uniformly with cordial approbation. He endeavored to bring religion home to the business and bosoms of men--to associate it with their ordinary notions of living--of bargain and sale--of social and political intercourse--with all their attachments, hopes and fears. By being much with the people, and by a faculty of adapting his instructions to their circumstances and capacities, he labored successfully to instill into their minds pure sentiments, to form them to good habits, and to train them up to the practice of holy living. The consequence was that at his death there were probably few congregations that were so thoroughly instructed in all that pertained to the practical duties of religion. Dr. Johnes was eminently a peacemaker. His respectable standing, his high character, his long experience, his practical wisdom, and his undoubted integrity secured the confidence of the people and led them to listen with profound deference to him as the arbiter of their disputes. Without interfering farther than became him as the venerable pastor of a people in the controversies which arise in neighborhoods, he yet contrived successfully to suppress a spirit of litigation and to produce an adjustment of difficulties in consistency with the laws of affection and concord. Habits of litigation he regarded as eminently inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, and he therefore labored that his people might endeavor to hold "the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." Nor did he labor in vain. He was regarded as the tried friend of his people, and they unhesitatingly reposed with confidence on his judgment.
"Dr. Johnes was a warm and decided friend to revivals of religion. He received his education in the time of President Edwards and Whitefield and the Tennants. He came to this place in the period of the greatest excitement on the subject of religion that this country has ever known. Many of the older inhabitants of this place can still recollect the interest with which he read to his congregation accounts of revivals in other parts of the country. He labored and prayed fervently that his own congregation might be brought also to a participation of the blessings that descended on other parts of the land. His sentiments on this subject are recorded in incidental notices attached to the names of those who were added to the church during these seasons of special mercy. In one place he says, `These the sweet fruits of the wonderful effusion of God's adorable grace began on our sacrament day, July 1st 1764.' In another, 'those that follow the ingatherings of the divine harvest in 1774--sweet drops of the morning dew.'
"Few men have ever been more successful as ministers of the gospel than Dr. Johnes. To have been the instrument of founding a large and flourishing church; to have been regarded as its affectionate father and guide; to have established the ordinances of the gospel, and formed the people to respect its institutions; to have produced that outward order and morality and love of good institutions now observable in this congregation, was itself worthy of the toils of his life. In being permitted to regard himself as, under God, the originator of habits and good institutions which are to run into coming generations, he could not but look upon his toils as amply recompensed.
"But he was permitted also to see higher fruit of the labor of his ministry. It pleased a gracious God, not only to grant a gradual increase of the church, but also at two different times to visit the congregation with a special revival of religion. The first occurred in 1764. This commenced, as has been noted, on the sacrament day, July 1st. The fruits of this revival were the admission to the church, within the space of about a year, of ninety-four persons. Of the characteristics of this revival little is known, except that it was a work of deep feeling, much anxiety, awful apprehensions of the nature of sin and of the justice of God, impressive solemnity, and sound and thorough hopeful conversions to God. The second revival commenced in 1774. As the result of this about fifty were added to the church. In 1790 there was another season of unusual excitement on the subject of religion, and about forty were united to the church."
2. Rev. Aaron C. Collins was settled January 6th 1791 as colleague pastor of Dr. Johnes; he was dismissed after a brief and unpleasant pastorate, September 2nd 1793.
3. Rev. James Richards, D.D., was settled May 1st 1795, and dismissed April 26th 1809. Like Dr. Johnes, Dr. Richards was of Welsh descent. He was born at New Canaan, Conn., October 29th 1767. He labored first as a licentiate at Ballston, N. Y., and afterward supplied two small congregations on Long Island. On the 21st of July 1794 a call from this church was made and put into his hands, in which he was offered $440 salary in quarterly payments, the use of the parsonage and fire wood. This was in due time accepted by him, and on the 1st of May 1795 he was ordained and installed pastor of the church by the Presbytery of New York. Dr. McWhorter, of Newark, preached the ordination sermon from Acts xx. 24. Dr. Rogers, of New York, presided; Mr. Austin, of Elizabeth gave the charge to the people. In the year 1801 he received the degree of Master of Arts from Princeton College, and in 1805, at the age of 37, was chosen moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
In November 1795 the old church was taken down, vacated, and sold in lots. A good part of it was converted into a distillery and cider-mill on Water street, So great, so it was said, was the attachment of many of the members for it that they could not refrain from visiting it in its new location. On November 26th 1795 Mr. Richards preached the first sermon in the new and present house.
The old plan of rating and collecting was now discontinued; and in its place the pews were sold and assessed. The number purchasing or renting pews was 158, and the sum paid was $533.35. The expenses for 1797, according to an old memorandum, were: Salary, $440; sweeping the church, $15; sexton, $15; cake for wood cutters, $19; printing, $2; "Cyder," $5.62. Total, $496.62. Cake and cider formed it would appear no inconsiderable part of the sum total of expenses. The minister was promised so much salary, parsonage and fire-wood. The "wood-frolick," as it was called, was a great event in the parish. It brought together the greater part of the congregation, the ladies preparing supper at the parsonage, which was heartily enjoyed by those who were busy during the day in bringing together the year's supply of fuel for their minister, which averaged about 40 cords. We find the amounts expended by the parish for these frolics in 1797, as seen above, to be for cake and cider, $24.62; in 1798, bread and beef, $18.94; in 1799, 1 cwt. of flour and 200 lbs. of beef, $10.83.
The spinning visit was similar in character, though we do not find that it was attended with expense to the parish. By this means there were collected together various amounts of linen thread, yard and cloth, proportioned to the "gude" wife's ability or generosity. The thread was woven into cloth for the use and comfort of the pastor and his family, and as it was not always of the same texture and size it sometimes puzzled the weaver to make the cloth and finish it alike.
The meagerness of Mr. Richards's salary was a source of great perplexity to him as the expenses of his growing family increased, and finally led to his accepting a call from the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, N. J. During his pastorate of fourteen years he admitted to the church on examination 214, and on certificate 29. He baptized 444, and solemnized 251 marriages. At the time of his dismission the church numbered 298 members in full communion.
Mr. Richards remained in Newark fifteen years, when he resigned his charge to accept the professorship of theology in the theological seminary at Auburn, N. Y. Here he remained until his death, August 2nd 1843.
4. Rev. Samuel Fisher, D. D., settled August 9th 1809; dismissed April 27th 1814.
Jonathan Fisher was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary army, was taken sick in the performance of his duties, and died of camp fever in this town in March 1777, three months before the birth of his son Samuel, the successor of Mr. Richards. He was buried in the old cemetery in the rear of the church. Samuel was born in Sunderland, Mass., June 30th 1777; graduated at Williams College in 1799, and afterward filled the position of tutor in the college for some time. He was ordained November 1st 1805, and settled over the Congregational church of Wilton, Conn., from whence he was called to this church. He was an able minister and laborious pastor, yet the political excitement of the time was such that he gave offense in certain sermons preached in 1812 (which he afterward published to show the groundlessness of the charges made against him); this finally led to the resignation of his charge. The last person he received into the communion of the church was an aged woman who thirty-seven years before had attended his father in his last illness. While here he officiated at 86 marriages and 279 funerals. There were added to the church in thh same time 65 on profession and 32 by certificate. His congregation embraced and he visited in his pastoral work over 500 families. In the years 1811 and 1812 he took a census of the village and township, and found the number of white males to be 466, females 511, blacks 134--total, 1,111; inhabitants out of the village--white males 1,018, females 1,020, blacks 68--total, 2,106; in all 3,217. Number of baptized persons in the village, 152; in the country, 378; total, 530. Church members in the village, 102; in the parish, out of the village, 206; total, 308.
5. Rev. William A. McDowell, D. D.; settled December 13th 1814; dismissed October 23d 1823. Dr. McDowell was born at Lamington, N. J., in May 1789; studied at Elizabethtown under Mr. Henry Mills, a son of this church and afterward professor in the theological seminary at Auburn, N. Y.; graduated at Princeton in 1809 and was then tutor in the same; entered the first class in the theological seminary at Princeton in 1812; was ordained and installed pastor of the church at Bound Brook December 22nd 1815, where he remained less than a year. His pastorate in Morristown was highly successful, and large numbers were added to the church, 130 in 1822. The severe labors of this great revival seriously affected his health, never vigorous. He was obliged to go south; and shortly after this, receiving a call to Charleston, S. C., he felt constrained on the ground of health to accept it. He died in this place, September 17th 1851, having shortly before returned here to put himself under the care of his old physician, Dr. Johnes. During his pastorate of nearly nine years 271 were added to the church on profession, and 46 by letter--317 in all.
In 1816 a Sabbath-school was established in connection with the church. Before this a few active friends met on Sabbath to instruct the colored people, which may be considered as the first movement in this section for planting that institution which God has so much honored and blessed to both teacher and scholar. The school of this church was first under the superintendance of one or two devoted ladies, assisted by an efficient corps of teachers, among whom we find the names Mills, Condit, Johnson, Johnes, Schenck, etc., all ladies.
In 1819 lecture room, the predecessor of the present one, was built under the management and supervision of John Mills.
In 1822 stoves and lamps were first introduced into the church. The former innovation was very much opposed by a few as leading to effeminacy. Their fathers and mothers had faithfully attended the sanctuary without any such comforts, being satisfied with the smell of fire from the foot stoves. One good man affirmed that they had always trusted Providence for keeping warm and should do so still; opposition was slight, however, and stoves and lamps were soon fixtures in the church, at an expense of $254. Previous to this when the church was lighted, which was but seldom, it was done by candles taken by different members of the congregation. Opposition to stoves was on a par with the repugnance of many to insuring the church, which was deemed a wanton disregard of God's providence and an act that boded no good. These wood stoves continued till 1835, when they were found insufficient for warming the building; coal stoves were then substituted and were used until the furnaces were introduced. The lamps remained until 1842, when others were purchased sufficient to give a fine light over the whole church. These were rendered useless by the introduction of gas.
6. Rev. Albert Barnes; ordained and installed Feb. 8th 1825, dismissed June 8th 1830. Mr. Barnes graduated at Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., in 1820. His theological studies were pursued at Princeton. This was Mr. Barnes's first pastorate, and to hisMaster's work here he consecrated all his powers. His sermons were close, pungent, discriminating and pointed, making no compromises with sin, and fearlessly uttered. The greatest commotion was excited in the early part of his ministry by his decided and unflinching course on temperance. That great work was begining to occupy the thoughts of many. Here he found drinking customs in vogue, and distilleries dotted all over the parish. Within the limits of his pastoral charge there were 19 places where ardent spirits were made and 20 where they were sold. To arrest the evils that are ever associated with this vice, and remove if possible the curse from the community, he early called the attention of his people to the subject by a series of sermons in which he appealed to their reason, conscience and religion, and sought to lead them to an abandonment of social drinking usages, and of the places where intoxicating drinks were manufactured and sold. Some engaged in the traffic were first indignant at his interference and radical measures, and after listening to his discourse determined never again to be present to listen to another; but at the time for the delivery of the next sermon they were in their places anxious to hear what he would say, and at last so convinced were they of the injury that they were doing to the morals of the place and the happiness of families that soon 17 of the distilleries were closed, and not long after his departure the fires of the other two went out.
Here also commenced that system of early rising and literary labor which resulted in his well known commentaries on the Bible. He devoted the hours from 4 to 9 o'clock in the morning to this work. Here also was preached and published the sermon called "The Way of Salvation," which was greatly instrumental in his being called to the First church of Philadelphia, and which from its statements in regard to certain doctrines led to discussion, opposition, censure, trial and a temporary suspension of his ministerial duties and finally to the division of the Presbyterian church into the Old School and New School branches.
No man has left his impress upon this congregation more than Mr. Barnes. He came here in his youthful vigor, and God largely owned his labors, and few ministers have had a more attached people than his parishioners, who loved him for his excellencies, revered him for his piety and have followed his after life with undeviating interest; 296 were admitted to the church, 228 on profession and 68 by certificate.
He was installed pastor over the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia on the 25th of June 1830, where he remained to his death, Dec. 24th 1870.
7. Rev. Charles Hoover; settled February 8th 1832; dismissed March 10th 1836. According to its report to the General Assembly the church under the pastorate of Mr. Hoover was the largest in the State of New Jersey. On June 26th 1833 Mr. Hoover assisted in the organization of a church at New Vernon, drawn mainly from this society; 30 were dismissed that year from this church and several during the next two years. That enterprise received material aid in the erection of a building from this church.
8. Rev. Orlando L. Kirtland; settled March 23d 1837; dismissed August 26th 1840. One of the first acts of the new pastor was to make a corrected list of the members of the church. The number found to be in actual communion was 453. Mr. Kirtland was dismissed to become the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, organized under him in this place.
9. Rev. A. Henry Dumont, D. D.; settled January 20th 1841; dismissed July 9th 1845. During the four and a half years of this pastorate 111 were received by letter and on profession into membership of the church.
On September 1st 1845 a call was made and presented to Rev. Jonathan B. Condict, which was not accepted.
10. Rev. Alexander R. Thompson; ordained and installed January 14th 1846; dismissed July 28th 1847.
11. Rev. James Richards, D. D.; settled December 28th 1847; dismissed April 15th 1851. Mr. Richards was the son of the second pastor of the church. He added to the church 19 on profession and 53 by letter.
12. Rev. John H. Townley; settled December 27th 1851; died February 5th 1855. Mr. Townley came here from the church at Hackettstown. He labored faithfully and zealously, and God blessed his labors; but consumption had marked him as its victim, and cut him off in the midst of his usefulness and years. He was born at Westfield, N. J., in March 1818. The following minute is quoted from the session-book: "That as a pastor his qualities of mind and heart and his excellencies of life and character have made him a rich blessing to this church and congregation." During his pastorate 85 were received into communion with the church, 50 by letter and 35 on profession. In February 1852 Hon. J. Phillips Phoenix presented the church with a town clock at a cost of $450.
13. Rev. David Irving, D. D.; settled November 5th 1855; dismissed May 10th 1865. Dr. Irving's pastorate here was largely blessed; 376 were added to the church, 168 by letter and 208 by profession. He largely stimulated the church in benevolence. Bringing with him the true missionary spirit from his experience as a missionary in India, he infused the same spirit into the people. Under him the church became noted for its liberality, a distinction which it has continued to maintain. It is unnecessary to say that since his dismission from this church he has been one of the secretaries of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church.
14. Rev. Gavin Langmuir; settled July 17th 1866; dismissed September 9th 1868. Mr. Langmuir came here directly from Princeton Seminary. His health soon gave way; and after laboring about three months he was sent to Europe by the church, where he remained until his resignation. He is at present pastor of the American church at Florence, Italy.
15. Rev. John Abbott French; settled December 21st 1868; dismissed January 31st 1877. Mr. French's pastorate was highly successful. He added to the church 336 in all, 128 by letter and 208 on profession. He resigned to accept a call to the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, Ill. After laboring there for three years he was obliged to resign because of ill health?? and he still remains for the same reason unsettled.
16. Rev. Rufus Smith Green began his labors here June 17th 1877, and was installed on the 18th of the following month. Under his pastorate, which closed October 11th 1881, 131 were added to the church, 77 by letter and 54 on profession.
Officers of the Church.--The present officers are: Ruling Elders--Enoch T. Caskey, Joel Davis, Henry M. Dalrymple, Wm. D. Johnson, Wayland Spaulding, Wm. W. Stone, James Richards Voorhees, Lebbeus B. Ward, Aaron D. Whitehead, Joseph H. Van Doren, Theodore Little, clerk. Deacons--Victor Fleury, Henry M. Olmstead. Trustees--Aurelius B. Hull (president), Thos. C. Bushnell, Wm. E. Church, Edward Pierson, Henry C. Pitney, Joseph H. Van Doren (clerk). Treasurer of parish, A. B. Hull; clerk of parish, James R. Voorhees; superintendent of Sunday-school, Wm. D. Johnson; sexton, Francis L. Whitehead. The present membership of the church is 600; number in the Sunday-school, 450; congregational expenses for year, $6,500; beneficence for year, $9,000.
We append a complete list of ruling elders of the First Church from its organization, with the date of taking office:
1747--Joseph Prudden, Matthew Lum, John Lindsley, Joseph Coe, Jacob Ford; 1752--Abner Beach; 1754--Solomon Munson, Daniel Lindsley; 1761--Daniel Morris, Timothy Mills, Matthias Burnet; 1769--John Ayres, John Lindsley jr.; 1770--Ezra Halsey; 1777--Joseph Lindsley, Gilbert Allen, Philip Condict, Jonas Phillips; 1785--Joseph Prudden jr., Caleb Munson, Philip Lindsley, Ezra Halsey; 1792--Isaac Prudden, Samuel Freeman, Jesse Cutler, Matthias Crane; 1805--Henry Vail, David Lindsley, Zophar Freeman, James Stevenson; 1812--Stephen Young, Jacob Pierson, Lewis Mills, Peter A. Johnson; 1826--Timothy Tucker, William Enslee, George K. Drake, Frederick King, Jonathan Thompson, Jonathan Oliver; 1832--Stephen A. Prudden, Jonathan D. Marvin, John B. Johnes, M. D., John R. Freeman, Jonathan Pierson, Sylvester R. Whitehead, John W. Cortelyou; 1843--Ezra Mills; 1846--Ira Condict Whitehead; 1857--David Olyphant, Richard W. Stevenson, M. D.; 1859--Joel Davis, Theodore Little; 1870--Henry M. Dalrymple, James D. Stevenson; 1871--Lebbeus B. Ward, Austin Requa, William W. Stone, Enoch T. Caskey, Joseph H. Van Doren, William G. Anderson; 1880--Aaron D. Whitehead, James Richards Voorhees, William D. Johnson, Wayland Spaulding.
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