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at different times, the last in 1848. A number of lots were then sold to Matthew Vassar, the money, which amounted to some $8000, was given to the Second Church, which had just been erected. We will now attempt to give the architecture of the first church, which, in 1718, stood in what is now known as Market street. The material of which the church was built was stone, the height of the walls was two stories, and it was covered with a gambrel roof. A tower went up in front of the church, rising above the apex of the roof a moderate distance, and there the bell was suspended, and over the same was a small tapering spire, and surmounting that was the rooster. There was but one entrance and that was in the tower, which fronted Main street. Passing through the entrance to the interior, two aisles led the way through the church, flanked with high backed pews on either side. The pulpit was reached by a high flight of stairs from one of the aisles, and it was shaped like a wineglass. Over it was the sounding board, fastened securely to the rear walls of the church. An arch spanned the building, and galleries extended all around the church, excepting the rear, which was supported by heavy columns. The window lights were very small, set in heavy sash frames. This was the first church erected in the county. It is about one hundred and fifty-six years since the corner stone was laid.
From 1716 until 1731 the congregations of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill had no settled minister ; they were too feeble to maintain one, for the country was as yet a wilderness. Dark tangled forests lined the banks of the Hudson, extending east over the country. Here
and there the pioneer and squatter had made an opening, and erected log huts for a shelter, and the traveler in passing through the country then for miles nothing would greet his eye but dreary wastes, and occasionally a wolf or bear would emerge from some thicket, alarmed at the unusual noise occasioned by the traveler's horse. Although the county had been purchased by the patentees from the Aborigines for some twentyfive years, yet Indian tribes roved through the country, living by the chase. Their villages yet existed in Fishkill Hook and along the Wappingers Creek. After 1720, settlements increased rapidly, but Missionaries from New York, Kingston (then called Esopus) and Albany supplied the church at Poughkeepsie and the station at Fishkill until 1731. That year the congregation at Fishkill had erected a substantial stone church and then an effort was made by the two congregations to raise money sufficient to support a minister. A committee, one from each congregation, was appointed. Captain Jacobus Vander Bogart, of Poughkeepsie, and Abram Brinckerhoff, of Fishkill, visited the families in their respective congregations, and after ascertaining what salary each member of the congregation would give, reported at the church in Poughkeepsie. The sum was found sufficient to warrant the maintenance of a clergyman. The two congregations had just completed their parsonage in Poughkeepsie, which stood in the rear of the present one, located on the brow of the hill, on the south side of Main street, descending to the river. It was an airy, comfortable structure, sided and roofed with red cedar, and inclosed with a substantial fence. Accordingly a call was made out
and accepted by the Rev. Cornelius Van Schie, who had been educated in Holland. He was installed in office by the Rev. Gualterus Du Bois, of the city of New York, October 4th, 1731. Mr. Van Schie's salary was five hundred gilders a year and fire wood, which cost but little, except the labor of cutting and hauling, which was done by the congregation. Mr. Van Schie's pastorate continued five years, when he was released from his charge and removed to Albany. The second pastor was the Rev. Benjamin Meynema, who also was educated in Holland. His pastorate commenced in 1745 and continued until 1755, when he resigned his charge. During his ministry he lost his wife, who was buried in the church yard at Fishkill, and September 9th, 1761, he died, and at his request he was buried beside his wife, where their tombstones can be seen at the present day with epitaphs in the Low Dutch language. The third pastor was the Rev. Jacobus Vannist, who was educated in this country. He was only twenty-four years old when he accepted the call to become pastor of the congregations of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill ; Mr. Vannist having just completed his studies, and with little or no experience in preaching the Holy Gospel and imparting spiritual consolation to his flock, which then extended all over the western portion of the county, then called Poughkeepsie and Fishkill precincts. When Mr. Vannist arrived at Poughkeepsie, in the summer of 1758, he was cordially received by his congregation, and his time was occupied in visiting his parishoners and preaching at Poughkeepsie and Fishkill on alternate Sabbaths. Mr. Vannist was unmarried, and having no use for the parsonage, he
wanted to get a permanent place to board at sume private house, not wishing to board at a Hotel, deeming it an unsuitable place for a minister.
The Van Kleek House was then the most conspicuous Hotel in the county. The Court House had just been erected, and Poughkeepsie being the county seat, business centered there. Judges, lawyers and learned men, merchants, artisans, &c., located at Poughkeepsie. One of the most prominent men that lived there was Paul Schank, who engaged in the mercantile business. His customers came from far and near, north to what was then known as the Little Nine Partners, east to the Connecticut line, and south as far as New Hackensack and Beekman, which then contained a few settlers. The sturdy pioneers could be seen riding on horseback, with their frows seated on a pillion behind, trudging through Main street to Paul's store, the Christian name which his neighbors always called him by. Others again in their wagons would be wending their way to Paul's store to purchase articles of merchandise which the pioneers really needed. Paul owned several acres of land on the south side of Main street, east of the Dutch Church, adjoining the burying ground, where he had built him a house and store and was doing a thriving business. Paul's lot covered a part of what is now known as Cannon street, and extended east along Main street, opposite to where the Morgan House is now located. His family consisted of his wife, two sons, and his daughter Rebekah, and a number of negro slaves, for then slavery existed throughout the country.
In those days traveling through the country was
slow and difficult. New York city could be reached from the river by sloops, which sometimes would consume a fortnight going to and from Poughkeepsie. Paul only went to New York to purchase goods once or twice a year, and then he would have to take his bed and provisions with him, for the Captains of sloops did not supply their passengers with berths and board in those days. Paul, as soon as he had purchased what goods he thought he needed, would have them all carted to the sloop, which then lay at Coenties slip, for the city then lay all on the east side of the Island, and contained only thirteen thousand inhabitants. When the hour arrived for the Captain to sail, Paul had his business all perfected, and if nothing unusual occurred, and with favorable wind and weather, they would arrive at Poughkeepsie the second or third day after leaving New York.
In 1758, when Dominie Vannist was pastor of the two congregations at Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, the now populous and beautiful city of Poughkeepsie made but a sorry appearance. On the south side of Main street, east of the Dutch Church and burying ground, was the residence of Paul Schank; his store stood adjacent the burying ground. East of his residence was the school-house, a small building painted red. West of the Dutch Church was the Court House, a stone structure which was destroyed by fire in the Revolution. The next building west of the Court House was the Dutch Parsonage, and along the sloping hillsides' · to the river there were some twenty houses. The Van Kleek house, a substantial stone structure, was the most prominent Hotel, and under the eaves the walls