Church Organized in 1715

Footnotes to Long Island History


MARCH 24, 1950


Thomas R. Bayles

       The Mattituck Presbyterian church was first organized on June 15, 1715, before the Long Island  Presbytery was organized, which was in 1716. The Mattituck church united with the presbytery the next year in 1717. On June 15, 1715, "Sundry persons," inhabitants  of the town of Southold, "indented with each other to build a Meeting House at a place called Mattetucke in the said township," so says the old record whereby James Reese five months later conveyed "unto ye, said inhabitants to their heirs and successors forever," the half acre of land on which the church now stands. The church was erected immediately and stood for 115 years on the site of the present church, until 1830, when the present building was erected, and the old church was drawn to Greenport by oxen, where it stood for many years near the dock, serving as a sail loft.

       The first church was a plain shingled building and inside the beams and shingles overhead were plainly visible. The swallows passed in and out beneath the eaves, and there was plenty of ventilation.

       One part of the church was occupied by private chairs, owned by the matrons who brought their babies to church. Immediately in front of the pulpit the small boys were seated, so they might be directly under the awful eye of the minister.

       The old church was never heated in the winter. The older women had their little foot stoves, and the men and younger women thought nothing of sitting through a two hour service on a cold winter Sunday morning in the unheated church, and again for the afternoon service. The temperature was low and the uncushioned seats were hard, yet these devout worshippers forgot their discomforts in their close attention to the sermon.

       The first was Rev Joseph Lamb, one of the five Yale graduates of the class of 1717, who remained for over 25 years.

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