The history of this church dates back almost to the beginning of the century. The first sermon in the Presbyterian faith was preached in Salina in September, 1803, by Rev. Mr. Sickles of Kinderhook. He had been sent out as a missionary and at Salina put up at Trask's tavern. Not liking his fellow boarders, many of whom were rough characters, he inquired next morning for a Christian family, and was directed to Isaac Van Vleck's, where he found a congenial welcome. He preached that day in Aaron Bellows's cooper shop. During a few years after this no regular services and few of any kind were held in Salina. In 1810 the Presbyterian church at Onondaga Valley was organized and among its members were nine persons who lived in Salina; the name of the society was "The United Church of Onondaga Hollow and Salina." Rev. Dirck C. Lansing was pastor. After the Salina school house was built in 1805 meetings were held there and Mr. Lansing preached; this continued until 1814. After that Rev. Caleb Alexander, who settled at the Valley in 1812 as principal of the new academy, preached at Salina, and in 1816 organized a Sunday school. Mrs. Mary A. Porter had taught a Sunday school still earlier in connection with her secular school. The successors of Mr. Alexander, prior to the separation from the Valley society, were Rev. Samuel T. Mills and Rev. James H. Mills; under the latter the separation was effected and the First Presbyterian congregation of Salina was organized January 23, 1822. In this year the first church building was erected of wood on the northwest corner of the park, where it stood until 1855. In 1851 a chapel was built on Salina street, which was moved and placed beside the brick church erected in 1855.
The pastors after the second Mr. Mills were: Rev. Hutchins Taylor, installed March 13, 1822, continuing to September, 1826; Rev. Henry Hotchkiss, supply, one year; Rev. Hiram H. Kellogg, fall of 1827 to 1929; Rev. Joseph I. Foot, soon elected president of Washington College, and succeeded by Rev. Hutchins Taylor to December, 1839; Rev. Joseph Myers to May, 1844; Rev. Elias Clark, six months; Rev. Thomas Castleton, to July 23, 1849; Rev. J. J. Slocum, one year; Rev. William W. Newell, D. D.; October 20, 1850, to January 15, 1860; Rev. Dr. Condit, supply, two years; Rev. Lewis H. Reed, to May 1, 1868; Rev. John H. Frazee, January 7, 1870, to January 20, 1875, when the present pastor, Rev. Alfred H. Fahnestock assumed the charge. During his twenty years of labor the society has prospered exceedingly.
Submitted 12 July 1998