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The Development of Two Patchogue Churches

Footnotes to Long Island History

THE DEVELOPMENT OF TWO PATCHOGUE CHURCHES

NOV 23 1949

by

Thomas R. Bayles


       A Congregational Church society was organized in Patchogue on January 14, 1793, by the Rev. Noah Hallock Old Man's (Mount Sinai). This church organization was constituted the "Second Congregational Church of Brookhaven." The first Congregational church in Brookhaven was organized at Mount Sinai in 1789 with the Rev. Hallock as pastor.

       Rev. Hallock's ancestors were among the early settlers at Mount Sinai, and he was born May 2, 1758. Before he was 20 years old he became interested in religious activities at his home town and then in Patchogue. Services were probably held in private homes in Patchogue for several years previous to the erection of a church building. On August 5, 1791, Benjamin Smith sold to the "Inhabitants of the parish at South, taking in Winthrop's Patent and part of Islip"- one fifth of an acre of land on the northeast corner of the South Country road and the road to the "Mooney Ponds," now Waverly avenue. This was for the sole and proper use of said parishioners, for the purpose of meeting theron a meeting house, free for any of the proprietors in the parish to invite any protestant minister that preaches the Gospel, at any time they think proper, not to disturb the peace of any preacher that may be in public worship before him."

       The price paid was 30 shillings, and Benjamin Smith, who sold the land was a neighbor of Ezra Tuttle, in whose house on Atlantic avenue the Methodist church was organized in 1791. The purchasing committee was Isaac Overton Ezra Davis.

       A church building or "meeting house" as it was called, was erected on this site in 1793, and for 27 years was used jointly by the Congregationalist and  the Methodists on Sunday, and on weekdays as a schoolhouse and a general assembly hall on public occasions.

       The congregational church started out with eight members and the Rev. Mr. Hallock was pastor of both churches, Patchogue and Mount Sinai until his death on October 25, 1818. His tombstone on the hillside burying ground at Mt. Sinai overlooks the home church to which he ministered for so many years. He must have led a busy life caring for his home parish and making the long trip across the Island on horseback to his field at Patchogue.

       The Methodist church was organized some time in 1791 and had 10 charter members.

       This first church building was a plain structure about 20by 25 feet in size, similar to the pioneer churches in South Haven and Setauket. Its timbers came from tress that grew in sight of the church, and its side were clapboards which were sawed in the local saw mill. There was no interior finish, and the bare timbers of the sidewalls and roof were in plain sight. There was no chimney at first, and the women of the congregation brought foot stoves to keep themselves warm. Most of the labor was supplied by the men of the church.

       At the north end the building there was a high  pulpit, which was reached by means of a steep stairway. The congregation sat on 9 or 10 rows of crude benches which were arranged on each side of a center aisle, and about 100 person could be seated.

       The flat stone doorstep of this "old meeting house" is now the hearthstone of the fireplace in the east end of the Sunday school room of the present church on East Main street.

       In 1820 a new building was erected just to the east of the first one, 36 by 40 feet in size. T`his building was considered so beautiful that in 1823 its builder, George  Curtis was engaged to build a church exactly like it for the Presbyterian parish of Smithtown.

       The second church building in Patchogue was used jointly by the Congregationalists and Methodists as the first one had been, but within a few years it became evident that the one room building was not sufficient for both denominations, as they were growing rapidly. In 1831 a subscription paper was circulated to secure funds for the "purpose of paying off the Methodist Society for their right in the parish property." Four hundred dollars was raised for this purpose and the Methodists sold their interest in the church building to the Congregational church. The Methodists built a church just across the street.

       By 1854 the village had grown eastward and the membership of the Congregational church had increased to about 200, so a new church was built on Pine street. (now North Ocean avenue.)

       About this time the Methodists sold their church to the Catholics and built a new one at the corner of the Church street and Railroad avenue. The present Methodist church was erected in 1891, when the parish was 100 years old.

The present Congregational church was dedicated on May 14, 1892 the cost of this building was $40,000 and $6,000 for the lot.

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