HISTORY

It was in 1803 that a group of men met at the home of Bethel Mather which was located where the M & T Bank is situated today -at the intersection of NYS Route 40 and 67. It was at this meeting that the necessary steps were taken to incorporate the Presbyterian congregation of Schaghticoke. Trustees were elected. The first Presbyterian church building was erected on land belonging to Bethel Mather near the junction of Route 67 and Geary Road. About $1200. was pledged to build the church; however, it was never finished and there was no full-time minister employed. Members took turns preaching when there was no minister available. By 1814 the minutes indicate that a decision had been reached to relocate the church to the growing village of Schaghticoke Point -now known simply as Schaghticoke. To finance the moving of the building to its now present location, it was decided to sell pews in the building. The income would allow the building to be moved and then, it would be completed in its new location on property, once again, belonging to Bethel Mather. It wasn’t until 1820 that sufficient funds were raised to permit the transport of the building. In March of that year, the fledgling congregation hired a Rev. Ogilvie to preach for three months, at $5. per Sabbath. In October men were appointed to inspect the newly relocated and moved meeting house, with one representative from the congregation, one from Derrick C. VanVeghten, who had moved and finished the building, and a neutral party. Despite this careful planning, VanVeghten threatened to sue for what he believed was owed him; a compromise led to settlement of the dispute.

In October, the pews were sold anew. Men bid from $14. to $50 for the pew or pews they wanted; 45 pews were sold. A new name was added to the list, Herman Knickerbacker, who had been a US Congressmen and was currently a county judge. Another newcomer was Job Pierson, then a young lawyer, who was elected a US Congressman from 1833-1835. Another notable member at that time was Amos Briggs, who became the most prominent local industrialist, owning literally half of the village by the time of his death in 1874. He married one of Bethel Mather’s daughters. The Rev. Thomas Fletcher served as the church’s full-time minister in 1824. He left the church in 1829. The church reincorporated in 1831. There followed a period where there was no permanent full-time minister until the arrival of the Rev. Dr. Jonathon H. Noble in 1837 who served until 1869. In 1846, the trustees voted to raze the church building and create the present brick edifice at the same site. At that time, the bridge crossed the Hoosic River near the present location of L.T.’s Tavern on Lower Main St., so the church had a number of residences, the
parsonage, and two mills between it and the bridge. Just across the street in the park, where the World War I statue of a soldiers stands now, was the American Hotel. Across the street where the Mobil station is located currently, was the Methodist Episcopal Church. As women began to take a more active part in the
church, the Women’s Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid Society were organized. The latter group was organized in 1893; its’ goal was to “promote sociability and increase the revenue of the church for repair”. Minutes from the Women’s Missionary Society show an effort to learn about people from other cultures and to help those in need at home and abroad. Money was raised by making and selling quilts, by putting on “missionary plays” and by holding “silver teas”. These “societies” later became the Women’s United Society. However, in terms of the roles of women in the church, it was not until 1920 that the first female trustees and officers are noted. At that time Mrs. Minnie Button is recorded as Treasurer. Interestingly, a number of church members continue the tradition of quilt-making today. A number of quilt shows have taken place; the first was held in 2007. Upon entering the large white front doors of the church, one is welcomed by a handmade, beautiful quilt on display. In addition, quilts have been created to enhance the sanctuary, emphasizing the presence of a number of gifted quilters
that are members of the congregation. Another organization within the confines of
the church was the Standard Bearers. The group was made up of couples and a few single people. There is a minute book, 1918-1925, covering their activities, which included devotions, entertainment and refreshments. The members also raised money for charity and had a Sunshine Fund to send greeting cards and flowers to the sick of the congregation. By the 1980’s the group had dissolved.

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