Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, August 06, 2007

1714 Letter Reporting on the Establishment of the Church at East Chester Built in 1692

For more nearly two centuries after its first settlement, the sparsely populated rural settlement that came to be known as Pelham had no church of its own. Many Pelham residents traveled quite a distance to attend the church in East Chester. A church building was constructed in East Chester in 1692. That structure eventually was replaced by the structure known today as Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site.

In 1714, a report was issued to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in England describing the construction of the church in East Chester in 1692. That letter is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"(I) An Account of the building of the churches at East and Westchester enclosed in Mr. Bartow's letter of 14 April, 1714. (Letter Book S. P. G., IX., p. 226):

'May it please the venerable and honorable society for P. G. we whose names are subscribed doe hereby certify that the church of Westchester was built by a rate layed and levided on the inhabitants of the town in proportion to their estates in the year of our Lord 1700 and that Mr. Morgan a Presbyterian minister of East Chester did sometimes come to preach in it until such time as Mr. Bartow came and took possession of it in the year 1702 since which time it has been supplied by him. We also testifie that the church of East Chester was built in the year of our Lord 1692 by subscription of the inhabitants of the said town and that Mr Matthews a Presbiterian minister for about 3 years and after him Mr. Morgan a Presbiterian minister did preach till such time as Mr Bartow began to preach unto us in the year 1703 since which time it has been in his possession and he comes and preaches at East Chester once in 4 weeks during the winter and once in a week during the space of 6 months in the summer And we further testify that the town of East Chester was made a distinct parish from West Chester in the year 1700. Signed Joseph Hunt, Justice & Ch. Ward., West Chester; Thos Spel, Justice & Vestryman, Pelham; Noah Barton, Justice and Vestryman, Yonkers; Miles Oakley, Justice & Vestryman, West Chester; Dan Clark clerk D. Com. West Chester; Israel Honeyman Junr, Vestryman; Jno Drake of East Chester, Justice; Thos Pinear of East Chester, Justice; Jeremiah Fowler, Church Warden of East Chester; Isaac Taylor, Vestryman; Willm Pinckney, Vestryman.'"

Source: Briggs, Charles Augustus, American Presbyterianism Its Origin and Early History Together with an Appendix of Letters and Documents, Many of Which Have Recently Been Discovered, Appendix, p. lxv (NY, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons 1885).

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