First Presbyterian Church, Newburgh, Orange County, New York
The First Presbyterian Church of Newburgh commenced its formal, legal existence shortly after the disbandment of the Revolutionary Army and the breaking up of its encampments in 1783. Previous to this time for nearly a score of years there had been a religious organization composed of those who by religious conviction were of the Presbyterian faith, or in the designation used in those days, “in communion with the Church of Scotland.” It was an informal society and could be designated more properly as an outlying mission station or district. The records of the Marlborough Society state that in the year 1773 the society united with that society in procuring the supply of a minister for both congregations for a very brief period. It appears however to have been in the earlier years in more active and cordial connection with the old church at Bethlehem, the venerable mother of all the Presbyterian churches in this immediate vicinity.
Through the long weary years of the Revolution this feeble congregation continued to remain in existence, though having no pastoral supervision other than that given by an Elder, William Lawrence, by name. Immediately after the close of the war the society became strengthened by the addition of several persons who became residents of the locality on the disbandment of the army. The Society obtained the use of the building used as a storehouse for clothing and other supplies at the corner of First and Montgomery Streets, where public worship was held in the Winter of 1783 and the Spring of 1784. The church records state that on the 12th of July that year, this feeble flock organized itself as a Presbyterian Society under the laws of the State enacted the preceding April. In February the following year they united with the congregation in New Windsor, the original compact to continue for seven years, “for the purpose,” as the resolution stated, “of promoting the preaching of the Gospel.” From 1785 to 1796 the Rev. John Close was the stated supply. He was succeeded by the Rev. Isaac Lewis, who served until the year 1800. On May 6, 1801, the Rev. Jonathan Freeman was installed as pastor over the two congregations. He resigned in 1804 and was succeeded by the Rev. Eleazer Burnet in the following year, whose brief pastorate was terminated by death one year later. On July 5, 1807, the Rev. John Johnston was ordained and installed as Pastor over the two churches, and continued to hold this relation until 1810, when the union was dissolved, the Newburgh congregation having acquired sufficient strength to support a Pastor. Dr. Johnston’s pastorate extended over a period of forty years. He died on August 23, 1855.
On the following December the Rev. S. H. McMullin, who had been an assistant of Dr. Johnston for some months, was called to the vacant pastorate, but a remonstrance was made to the Presbytery against his installation and that body hesitated to place the call into the hands of the young pastor elect. On September 10, 1856, a call was made out to the Rev. William T. Sprole, D. D., and on the 28th of the ensuing month he was installed as Pastor. He resigned on November 4, 1872.
In February, 1873, the church extended a call to the Rev. William K. Hall, of Boston, Mass., and on the following month of March he assumed the pastorate and was installed in the following May. He served as Pastor until his death in September, 1906.
The Rev. Frederick E. Stockwell, D. D., was called. March 21, 1907, and resigned October 1, 1917. The Rev. Ebenezer Flack, D. D., was called February 20, 1918, resigned October 25, 1920. The Rev. John Leyburn Hughes was called March 1, 1922, died March 31, 1926. The Rev. Charles K. Imbrie, the present Pastor, was installed January 28, 1927.