Alexander Cook

 

First Minister of the First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, PA.  He served the church from 1803-1809 "He was a Scotchman, a silversmith and watchmaker by trade, who had emigrated to this country and after he was 39 years of age studied at the academy at Canonsburg, Pa., (which became Jefferson College) and at McMillan’s log theological seminary. We shared his ministry with the Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church near what is now Ellwood City." The First Presbyterian Church, New Castle's first house of worship was built about 1804 during Rev. Cook's pastorate.

 

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church, 1896-1946, First Presbyterian Church, New Castle

 

The first pastor was the Rev. Alexander Cook, who probably was preaching to these two congregations previous to the time of his ordination, which was June 22, 1803, by the Presbytery of Erie, whose bishopric at that time extended from the river Ohio to Lake Erie.

Mr. Cook was a Scotchman, born at St. Monance, Fifeshire, near Glasgow, February 4, 1760, and baptized two days thereafter. He first learned the trade of a silversmith; lived at Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1778; came to America in 1783. Lived for a time in Maryland, and was living in Cannonsburg in 1797, working at his trade as a silversmith. In that town, which has done so much for Christ and sound learning, Mr. Cook appears to have been impressed with the duty of becoming a minister; and although nearly forty years of age, he began study, and, whilst making and repairing spoons and watches for a livelihood, he persisted diligently in his studies at the academy, and afterwards at McMillan's log theological seminary, and was licensed April 23, 1802. In August of that year he was commissioned by General Dearborn (Secretary of War) as a missionary to the Indians. He was also commissioned by the Synod of Pittsburgh, and he spent some few months with the Indians near Sandusky, in company with Joseph Patterson; but not meeting with a friendly reception, they returned.

As already stated, he was installed pastor of Slippery Rock and Lower Neshannock, June 22, 1803. In these exercises Rev. John Boyd preached the sermon and Mr. Hughes gave the charges. Mr. Cook continued pastor until June 14, 1809, when the relation was dissolved by Presbytery, and he went as a missionary to South Carolina and Georgia. He subsequently supplied Poland, Ohio, for two years, and was pastor of Bethany, in Allegheny county, from 1814 to 1820; of Ebenezer and Bear Creek, in Presbytery of Allegheny, from 1821 to 1827, and, in October, 1827, settled over two churches in Steubenville Presbytery. In the Winter of 1828 he left home to organize a church among the Highland Scotch, in Columbiana county, Ohio. He arrived at his place of destination on Saturday; conversed to a late hour with the family who entertained him; retired to bed, and was found dead the next morning, November 30, 1828.

 

History of Lawrence County, PA, 1877

 

The First Presbyterian Church was originally known as the Lower Neshannock. The exact date of its organization is not known, but it was probably about 1801. In the following years it was reported as able, in connection with Slippery Rock, to support a pastor. Its first pastor was the Rev. Alexander Cook, who was installed in June, 1803. He had been licensed in 1802, and commissioned as a missionary to the Indians, with whom he had labored for a few months near Sandusky, in company with Joseph Patterson; but not meeting with a favorable reception, they had returned. 

 

Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, page 207

 

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First Presbyterian Church, New Castle

 

 

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