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In 1806 Jacob Walrath kept the poor accounts for St. John's Reformed church and his accounts rendered to the then consistory showed a balance of five pounds, five shillings and two pence. As it happens another Walrath, Charles C. Walrath is today custodian of the poor funds for St. John's but he does not count it in pounds, shillings and pence and it is doubtful if the requirements of the present poor of the parish are a severe drain on the treasury.
Among the early churchmen appears the name of A. Zabrinski. He was active in church affairs and was among the builders of the church in 1804. While all the other names associated with the activities of these times have come down to the present there is no record of the Zabriskes. They have passed into history.
A perusal of the early records commands attention to the undoubted power of the church and the ability to use it unhesitatingly when occasion seemed to warrant. In the case of delinquent pew rentals they promptly gave the matter to an attorney and in event of failure pressed for settlement and advertised the delinquent. In one case in the early part of the century the consistory convened to try an offending member for an offense which they mildly termed "pilfering" and in the absence of the offender who failed to appear when called they examined witnesses and dismissed him from the privilege of partaking of the Lord's Supper and the Sacrament. Later the defendant appeared and was retried and acquitted. The complainant charged him with procuring hay and potatoes from his barn during his absence and this the defendant admitted but set up that he had taken it with the consent of the complainant's boy. That he had no hay for his horses and that he was in the habit of feeding potatoes to the horses as well and that he had fully intended to replace both the hay and potatoes when he had those commodities to spare. He was absolved and reinstated.
The records are full of human interest. Matters pertaining to the future state were taken rather seriously and as there were no counter attractions to divert the mind everything centered about the church. Religious beliefs and creeds occupied the public mind attest the trial and conviction of one sister who was dismissed on her own confession that she did not believe in "eternal damnation."
Along in the 40's the slave question began to affect the congregation and there was naturally a division of opinion. One man was cited to appear and answer to the charge of slander because he had accused the whole church of being pro-slave At the trial he failed to appear but sent a letter in which he defended himself and submitted proof of his contention that members who voted for slave owners were and must be pro-slave in principle. However he was dismissed in spite of his defense.
Early Pew Rentals 1806.
Familiar names today but the names below are copied from the list of pew renters in January 1808.
|Henry Beekman and John L. Bellinger||20||$70|
|William I. Walrath||5||66|
|Henry Bellinger and Fred L. Bellinger||3||42|
|Jacob G. Klock||8||52|
|Jacob Failing and Thomas Scott||11||25|
|Jacob Fox and Christopher Fox||16||50|
|Cornelius C. Beekman||35||24?|
|Elder and Deacons pews||free|
George Flanders seems to have been the only members who preferred a gallery seat for he is down for gallery seat No. 1, $25.00
Miss Helen Horn, Miss May L. Youker, Mrs. R. B. Beekman, Mrs. H. C. Ficken, Mrs. James Roache, Mrs. C. L. Ashley, Mrs. G. C. Markell.
Prologue Reader, Mrs. George Failing.
Ushers: J. H. Reaney, Henry Taubman, H. D. Allter, Alvin Kneeskern.
Oldest persons in pageant, Mrs. Caroline Saltsman, Horatio Bellinger, Youngest, Mary Lou Beekman.
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