First Presbyterian Church of Durham

Abstracts from the Minutes

In the village of Durham, town of Durham, Greene County NY
Transcribed by the NY Genealogical and Biographical Society , NYC Sept. 1920
Edited by Royden Woodward Vosburgh

Copied from LDS film # 0533499 by Jackie Towner


This abstract covers all of the first volume of the records; and the second volume (minutes of the session or of church meetings as the case may be) from supplementary information, concerning the members received and dismissed, besides what appears in the Register of Members in the records transcribed. When a person has been received or dismissed by letter, but the church or locality has not been named, the name has not been abstracted. The reader will observe in the Register of Members, many repetition of the words, ‘removed with a letter’. In considerable numbers of cases, the destination of the person dismissed is not indicated and consequently the name does not appear in this abstract.

Church Officers and Government  

As the abstract commences with a record of the election of the Deacons and Elders, a brief survey of the form of church government is necessary. The church was admitted to membership in the Northern Associated Presbytery in the state of New York, an independent body of Calvinistic faith, self constituted; see records of the First Presbyterian Church in West Durham. The Northern Associated Presbytery was dissolved in the fall of 1830. The First Church in Durham then joined the Presbytery of Columbia with the Synod of Albany, Presbyterian Church of the United States of America. This took place in the month of October 1830, at a church meeting held on October 21, 1830, it was voted: “That those brethren who are opposed to the government of the Presbyterian Church may, (if they now request it) have the privilege, (if hereafter subjects of disciplines) of a trial before the church at large. This privilege was requested by Deacon William Beach (since revoked), Richard Tryon and Isaac Sears, Jr.” The privilege of granting a trial under the Congregational form of government was sometimes granted when a church changed from Congregational to Presbyterian. In the case of this church, it will be observed that the members were nearly unanimous in their desire to become entirely Presbyterian. At the same meeting (October 21, 1830) the articles of faith and church discipline of the Presbyterian Church were adopted. Nine Elders were then chosen by ballot. The Elders accepted their office on November 5th and were installed on Thursday November 18, 1830. The church remained under the Presbyterian form of government until  the fall of 1846, there were no meetings of the session after November 10, 1846. As the result of the dismission of the Rev. Jonathan Cone, in the fall of 11846, the congregation was thrown into a state of great discord and disorder and a number of the members refused to subscribe for the support of another minister. On May 13, 1847 a meeting was called and it was agreed to adopt the Congregational form of government, if this would unite the church again. The Elders agreed to resign their offices. At the meeting held on May 25th the congregation decided to retain the Confession of Faith and the constitution of the Presbyterian Church, but to adopt the Congregational form of government and retain their connection with the Presbytery of Columbia, “on the accommodation plan”. A petition to this effect was presented to the Presbytery on September 21st, which was granted. Immediately after the meeting after the on May 25th 1847, the Congregational form of government was adopted and the Elders either resigned, or their offices lapsed.

At a meeting of the church held February 18, 1857, some of the members requested a return to the Presbyterian form of government. The meeting was adjourned to February 23rd, when it was decided to change to the Presbyterian form. The vote stood, twenty in the affirmative, eight to the negative, two not voting and one blank. On March 9th 1857, the new session was chosen. Nine Elders were elected, six of them being survivors of the old session, which had ceased to exist in May 1847.

Register of Deacons 

Date elected

Names

Remarks

Nov 8th 1792

Joseph Hart

Dismissed in 1806

Dec 27th 1798

Benjamin Chapman

Released 1834

               1806

Jonathan Baldwin, in place of Joseph Hart

Dismissed June 9th 1816

Mar 5th 1813

Benjamin Hubbard

Dismissed May 7th 1816 on the organization of the 2nd Pres. Church in Durham

Mar 15th 1816

David Baldwin

Released 1834

Mar 15th 1816

Noah Baldwin

Released 1834

Jan 2nd 1835

Ransom Osborn

Declined to serve

Jan 2nd 1835

Anson Baldwin

Died before Oct 30th 1840

Jan 2nd 1835

Sylvester Munger

Declined to serve

Feb 11th 1835

Harvey Chittenden

Released from office when he was installed as Elder, Dec 29th 1840. He was requested to resume the duties of acting Deacon on Jan 3rd 1845, but his acceptance is not recorded

Feb 11th 1835

Lemuel  Baldwin

Released from active duty on account of ill health, particularly his deafness on Jan 3rd 1845

Oct 30th 1840

Charles S Hitchcock

Released from  active duty on May 25th 1847, see below

Oct 30th 1840

Herman Hitchcock

See below

Jun 17th 1847

Zina Whittlesey

Released from duties of Deacon

Mar 9th 1857

Charles Stewart Hitchcock

Continued in his former office

Mar 9th 1857

Herman Hitchcock

Continued in his former office

 Register of Elders

Date elected

Names

Remarks

Oct 21st 1830

Benjamin Chapman

Died Feb 2nd 1842

Oct 21st 1830

David Baldwin

Died Mar 27th 1841

Oct 21st 1830

Lyman Strong

Resigned May 1847

Oct 21st 1830

Noah Baldwin

Died May 29th 1843

Oct 21st 1830

Luther Hays

Resigned May 1847, died May 4th 1858

Oct 21st 1830

James Baldwin 2nd

Resigned May 1848, died Feb 20th 1848

Oct 21st 1830

Thomas Hitchcock

Dismissed 1838

Oct 21st 1830

Dennis Baldwin

Resigned May 1847

Oct 21st 1830

John Wright, Jr.

Dismissed 1838

Jan 2nd 1835

Zina Whittlesey

Resigned May 1847

Jan 2nd 1835

Lyman Wilcox

Resigned May 1847

Oct 30th 1840

Harvey Chittenden

Resigned May 1847

Oct 30th 1840

Abijah Pratt

Resigned May 1847

Mar 9th 1857

Lyman Strong

Died Mar 5th 1871

Mar 9th 1857

Abijah Pratt

Died Oct 5th 1861

Mar 9th 1857

Harvey Chittenden

 

Mar 9th 1857

Dennis Baldwin

Dismissed Sep 17th 1857

Mar 9th 1857

Zina Whittlesey

 

Mar 9th 1857

Lyman Wilcox

Dismissed Nov 14th 1858

Mar 9th 1857

Edmund Pratt

 

Mar 9th 1857

David B Hull

 

Mar 9th 1857

Henry P Lacy

 

 


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