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Yellow Frame Presbyterian Church

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1786 [unknown]
Location: Fredon Township, Sussex, New Jerseymap
Surnames/tags: Hankinson armstrong hazen
Profile manager: Robin Baker private message [send private message]
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Hankinsons & others started this church.

All that remains of the original First Presbyterian Church of Upper Hardwick is the original cemetery, which straddles Dark Moon Road. Sometime between 1750 and 1763 Presbyterian settlers of northwestern New Jersey built a log church. It was the first Presbyterian church in the region. After the Revolutionary War, the area’s mineral wealth led to an expanding population and the need for a new church. The congregation moved to Shaw’s Lane, north of the old site, and in September 1786, dedicated a yellow frame church. The Yellow Frame Presbyterian Church still meets on the same site, although the current building dates to 1887. The cemetery on Dark Moon Road remained in use for nearly fifty years after the congregation moved to the new site. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=122282

The following from: Memoirs and reminiscences : together with sketches of the early history of Sussex County, New Jersey by Schaeffer, Casper, 1784-1857; Johnson, William M. (William Mindred), 1847-; pages 49-51. https://archive.org/details/memoirsreminisce00scha/page/49/

Passing down the great road in the direction of Johnsonburg, we come to the Hardwick church, situated on the summit level of an elevated plan, from whence there is a gradual descent in every direction. From this eminence we have a magnificent view of the Blue Mountains from the Water Gap stretching many miles to the northeast. This church was built, I think, about the year 1785 or 1786, and is rather stately edifice considering the state of the country at the period of its erection....By the aid of memory's faithful record I can bring to view the scenes occurring here of more than half a century ago, when seated on the Sabbath in the wide square pew at the right of the high blue pulpit, and looking around methinks I can see as if only yesterday the venerable forms of the generation long since departed.

There in the pew immediately adjoining to the west sat Uncle William Armstrong, with, with his decrepit, venerable companion and four daughters. Immediately in his rear sat Uncle George Armstrong and his family. On the opposite or east side of the pulpit sat first, I think, Uncle Peter B. Schaeffer, with his family whose practice was, as well as that of father (their heads being tender), to be covered during divine service. In the adjoining pew sat Dr. Kennedy and his family. Immediately in front of the pulpit, on the west side of the middle aisle, appeared the aldermanic and portly form of Esquire Gaston and his family. Immediately in his rear Uncle John Armstrong and family. The followed old Esquire Hazen, Thomas Hazen, Ezekiel Hazen and others in succession. In the opposite or eastern side of the aisle is seen Gen. Hankinson; then in his rear his elder brother William Hankinson, then Esquire Lanning, the Hunts and a host of others that I cannot now recollect. The eastern front seat of the gallery was occupied by Uncle John Roy and family His soft musical bass voice was charming to the ear. All these, occupying their respective places, joined with one accord in the holy service of the sanctuary, in devotional exercises, in hearing the word preached and joining in the vocal praises of Him who redeemed them with His precious blood.

As a reminiscence of the olden time and as indicating some of the peculiar habits of our forefathers, I will allude to one peculiarity in their worship. It being the practice in my early boyhood to line the hymns in singing, hymn books not being then in general use, old General Hankinson, who then officiated as chorister, performed that part of the service in a peculiar style, and with great adroitness, the manner of which I suppose was no other than edifying to the devout worshipers of that day, but which to some of us light-minded moderns would appear rather strange, if not rather ludicrous. Thus he would commence reading the line at a high pitch of the voice, continuing to the end on the same key, in a perfectly monotonous tone; then strike off into the tune at the same pitch, singing to the end of the line. Then without any suspension of sound, and upon the same key of the last note just sung, he would read the next line of the verse, and so on to the end of the hymn. I suppose they may have been a common practice in the old puritanical churches.

The first pastors of this church were, so far as I recollect, first Rev. Mr. Peppard, second Rev. Mr. Thatcher, third the Rev. Mr. Condit. These were all able and excellent minsters, the latter of whom particularly was an eminent theologian.





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