First Reformed Dutch Church, Fishkill New York

Date added: February 23, 2010 Categories: New York Church

This church stands on the north side of the Main Street, just west of the Albany Post Road in the Village of Fishkill Dutchess County, N. Y. On the east side of the Post Road, south of the Main Street, is Trinity (Protestant Episcopal) Church.

The Rev. Francis Kip, D.D., who preached the sermon on Sept. 12, 1866, at the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch Reformed Church, was pastor from 1835 to 1870. In that sermon he said that the records of the church, with tho exception of a volume in the Dutch language, covering the period from 1728 to about 1766, were lost and probably beyond recovery.. The only records then in possession of the church since 1766, with the exception of some occasional consistoriul minutes, were those commenced by his immediate predecessor as pastor, the Rev. Geo. H. Fisher, in 1830. For the intervening 64 years from 1766 to 1830, reliance must be had, he said upon "the printed minutes of Synod" upon the findings of other historians of Fishkill, and upon tradition. He gives special credit to the researches of the Rev. Oliver E. Cobb, of Hopewell, and of his contemporaries.

In reviews the early titles to the land at Fishkill, from the Rombout Patent of 1685 down to the founding of this Church in 1716, when the Reformed Dutch Churches of both Poughkeepsie and Fishkill were organized. They formed one collegiate charge, being served by one pastor and having some of their property in common. This continued until 1772. In 1790, however, the Fishkill church disposed of its interest in the glebe at Poughkeepsie.

The petition of the officers of this Church to Governor Montgomery on June 21, 1731, for license to collect subscriptions to build a church is recorded in the Documentary History of N.Y.. In 1736, the edifice had been built, says Mr. Kip, but the Church was not yet incorporated.

"The first church was built of stone", he says, "with portholes in the wall. The roof came up from each side to the centre of the building. The window sashes were made of iron, or some kind of metal, the panes of glass being very small. A small cupola was on the top of the building in which the bell was hung."

"When this bell became unserviceable in not known. My informant remembers seeing it during her childhood in the lower part of the present church building...About 1822 a bell was purchased, which was the first ever hung in the steeple of the present building. In 1839 this became unserviceable, and the bell since and now used was purchased and hung in its place."

"The first church fronted on the street, and when it became necessary to erect a larger and more commodious edifice, and the present edifice was reared, as much as could be was retained of the original walls."

Mr. Kip said that he could not learn the precise time of the erection of the present church edifice, but from information derived years before from aged members he had reason to think it was "immediately after the close of the revolutionary war, about the year 1784." A tablet placed during the 175th anniversary says 1786.