SANDHOLE CHURCH

At the close of the Revolutionary War the Town of Hempstead, as we know it, was sparsely settled. There was a settlement on the site of the present Village of Hempstead and a small group of homes at Christian Hook, now know as Oceanside.

The large area to the South of Hempstead which now comprises Rockville Centre, East Rockaway, Lynbrook, and Valley Stream went under the name of "Near Rockaway". Through this area ran a broad, shallow stream which later came to be known as Mill River. The roads were narrow dirt lanes, usually following old Indian trails. One of these ran east and west alsong the old Merikoke Indian trail and is now know as Merrick Road. Another shell covered road known as Long Lane ran along the west side of Mill River. It is now known as Ocean Avenue, Lynbrook.

At the junction of these two roads a small settlement gradually developed. A cemetery was started there in the early 1700's. Near this cemetery there was an underlying layer of sand which was mixed with clay taken from another source and used in the manufacture of building brick. As this sand was used, a large hole developed and came to be known as "The Sand Hole"

THE FIRST SANDHOLE CHURCH

The following was taken from "Church History"; "175 year of Divine Grace"; by Rev. Russell M. Christian*;

The history of "The Old Church" of Lynbrook has its roots in the very earliest days of the American republic. Lynbrook, formerly known as Bloomfield and also Pearsall's Corner, was sparsely settled in pre-Revolutionary days.

In 1784 Philip Cox, a Methodist Circuit rider, roamed the countryside conducting family prayers and other religious services for those requesting it. By 1790 the inhabitants of this community--about 40 families--felt the need for a central meeting place, and so the first church was built on ground given by Isaac Denton, next to the already existing community Rockville Centre. It was a crude, barnlike structure, only 20 x 30 feet, and became affectionately known as the "Old Sand Hole Church", so-called because of its location at a sand hole on the corner of Merrick (Old South Road) and Ocean Avenue (Long Lane). According to the President of the Nassau Historical Society, "the building laced practically all the elements which we now associate with a church. There was no organ, no stained glass windows, no steeple", but we hasten to add that the Spirit of God was there.

Since the Methodist Circuit comprised the whole of Long Island at this time, there were long intervals between services, so the people were often as sheep without a shepherd. In spite of this obstacle, the cause of Christ was greatly strengthened in the stirring ministry of the famous Benjamin Abbott.

*Courtesy of James Pearsall

NEXT THE SECOND SAND HOLE CHURCH

Ministers of the Sand Hole Church

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Transcribed and Edited© by Linda Pearsall Harvey