Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.


Originally the church was the First Reformed (Dutch) Church of Port Jackson, and was organized in 1850. Religious services had been conducted in the schoolhouse for some time during the early part of 1850, and before applying to classis for recognition the founders of the church had secured a lot upon which they had already begun the construction of the building which cost about $3,000.00.

The church had applied to Classis on June 28, 1850, and on Sept. 8, 1850, the Rev. Douw Van Olinda of the Caughnawaga church installed the first consistory, elders John Freemyre, Don C. Bent, and Cornelius Phillips, and deacons William McClumpha and Frederick Vedder. Later on Sept. 17 the church was received into the Classis of Montgomery, but it was not until Feb. 8, 1851, that the first service of communion was held, and the charter members, of whom there were twenty-five (including the consistory), were received.

The dedication of the new church was held on Dec. 19, 1850, and at the same time the Rev. Garret L. Roof was installed. Mr. Roof was a Union College man, and had been practicing law for some years when he was called to the ministry, and had seen four years service at Glen and Auriesville before coming to Amsterdam. His ministry here ended April 10, 1855, and he served the church of Watervliet for the following nine years. Then occurred a ten year pastorate in the Lowville (N.Y.) Presbyterian church. He died in Troy, N.Y., in 1891. Cornelius Gates was next called (June 27, 1856) from the Classis of Philadelphia, but remained only a year, serving later at Wolcott in the Geneva Classis and at Minisink in the classis of Orange, where he died in February, 1863. The church at this time numbered fifty with the Sunday School about the same size, which was begun with the church in 1850. From the close of the Gates pastorate the church had no settled minister for six years, or until Henry Martin Voorhees was called, who began his work August 1, 1863. During this interim the pulpit was mainly supplied by Revs. Abram J. Swits and Isaac G. Duryee of Schenectady. Mr. Swits on graduation from New Brunswick in 1820 had served as a Classical missionary in Montgomery for some time. For the last twenty-five years of his life he lived retired at Schenectady, and for about three years supplied the pulpit of the Port Jackson church (Aug., 1857-July, 1859, and Nov., 1862-Aug., 1863). Mr. Swits died in 1878 at Schenectady. Rev. Isaac G. Duryee while pursuing his college course at Union showed his great courage in espousing the cause of the colored folks, securing for them a house of worship (only recently torn down) at Schenectady. He graduated at Andover in 1841 and for a year following was at the Yale Divinity School. He preached first for the Congregationalists. After a pastorate of six of seven years in the Second Reformed church of Schenectady he became the supply at Port Jackson, remaining nearly three and a half years at an annual stipend of $400. He left the church to enlist in the war and became the Chaplain of the 31st. Regt. N.Y. Vols. He died soon after the close of the war, Feb. 8, 1866, at Schenectady.

Rev. Henry Martin Voorhees was ordained, and installed over the church on Oct. 27, 1863, having come to the work from New Brunswick seminary. He brot to the organization the enthusiastic and intelligent and permanent ministry that it greatly needed, and was greatly blessed in his work, which continued for sixteen months. Mr. Voorhees had several other pastorates, and died in 1895 at the age of fifty-five. The pulpit was soon again filled. Rev. A. Messler Quick, another New Brunswick senior being called, who was ordained, and installed over the church soon after his graduation in May, 1865, and remained until November, 1869. Mr. Quick, after leaving Port Jackson, had a nearly quarter-century pastorate in the Franklin, N.J. church (Classis of Newark). He then went to Peekskill (1882-1885) and then to the Ocean Hill Reformed church of Brooklyn (1885-1890). He is at present living in Brooklyn, without charge. He is a frequent contributor to the "Intelligencer." After Mr. Quick's going the church was without a pastor for three years and a half, or until the coming of Rev. Mr. Minor in May, 1873. During this time the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Mr. Pettingill from July 1, 1870, to Oct. 1, 1872. John Minor had already served the Reformed church for about thirty years when he was called to the pastorate from the 1st church of Glenville. During his ministry here of seven years and a half one hundred and forty-seven were received in the church. He left the field in October, 1880, and spent ten years longer in the classis ministering unto the smaller churches, dying in 1890 while he was supplying at Fort Herkimer. On January 6, 1881, Rev. Joshua R. Kyle, the present pastor, was installed over what became the First Reformed church of Amsterdam. He was formerly connected with the United Presbyterian church, Monangahela, Pa. During his ministry besides liquidating a debt of $4,000.00 the church was extensively repaired at a cost of about $9,000, and a new organ was placed at a cost of $1,700. During Dr. Kyle's long pastorate of a generation great changes have taken place in the community and city, Port Jackson becoming a ward of the city which has grown from Vedder's Mills to be one of the greatest industrial centers of the Empire State. The late Luther L. Dean was an elder in this church for forty years, while Jacob J. Johnson has been choir leader and Sunday school superintendent for thirty years. The present consistory is: William Servoss, John H. DeGraff, Jonas D. Friderici, Jacob J. Johnson, and James H. Doak, elders, and William J. Smith, John S. Sterling, Earl V. Servoss, Francis J. Johnson, and Ralph A. Hallenbeck, deacons.

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