Rev. Ruloff S. Hulsart
"Once a week"
Thursday, February 17, 1876

Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Ruloff S. Hulsart,
Pastor of the First Methodist Church of Rockville Centre, L.I.


The Rev. R. S. Hulsart, the subject of this sketch, was born in the year 1831, at Mattawan, N.J. His grandfather, Matthias Hulsart, served his country in the old revolutionary war, taking part in several of the most important battles, fighting for the liberties which we now enjoy. His father, Peter M. Hulsart, was in the war of 1812, hence it may be seen why it is that Ruloff is of such a patriotic spirit. Mr. Hulsart's father's grandfather was a German born and brought up in the old country, and not able to speak a word of English. His father died when he was but five years of age. At the age of ten he was so situated that it became necessary for him to seek some kind of employment for a livelihood, and hiring himself out to a man by the name of John Van Clief, in Monmouth Co., N.J., Ruloff at the tender age of ten years, launched out into the toilsome duties attendant upon a farm, and this position he many a day followed the plough when he was not of sufficient highth to reach the handle. Van Clief was by trade a carpenter, and when Mr. Hulsart was only fourteen years old his employer used to go off all the week to work at his trade, leaving the entire farm in full charge of young workman, such was his confidence in his ability to superintend it. About this time, Ruloff began to feel anxious to obtain an education, but his chances were not very good. However, his perseverance was such that he made arrangements with his employer to attend to the work required about a farm in winter, in the morning and at night, for his board, while he was to go to school during the day. Some time afterward thinking it desirable to understand a trade, he left the home the Van Cliefs and apprenticed himself to a shoemaker at his birthplace, Mattawan. During his apprenticeship he was greatly respected and beloved by all who ever became acquainted with him. In the year 1851, at the age of 20, he married Amy, daughter of Reubin and Rebecca Hankinson, of Manalipin, Monmouth Co., N.J., and in 1856 himself and wife connected themselves with the Methodist Episcopal Church of the former place, where he soon became a useful member, holding a position as class-leader. A few years later he removed to Freehold, in the same county, about 12 miles from Mattawan, and soon afterward was licensed as an exhorter, and finally granted a license as a local preacher. He filled a number of appointments, preaching with great ability, and through his instrumentality under God, he worked up several revivals, the first being in a place where he had spent some of his youthful days. For weeks he carried on this revival and scores of his old associates were converted to God. Thus he labored, working at his trade through the week to make a livelihood for his family, and preaching on the Sabbath, often riding as far as twenty miles in one day and preaching three times.

In the year 1866 he remove to Greenpoint, L.I., where he worked at his trade (shoemaking) and studied, preparing himself for the ministry, feeling it his duty to give up everything else and go into the work of God Fully, which he concluded to do if the Lord opened a place for him, and what was very strange indeed was, the very next Sabbath after taking up his residence in Greenpoint, he was invited to preach in a church in Elm St., Brooklyn, near Bushwick Ave., and after the sermon, the Society being so well pleased with this eloquent and earnest speaking, unanimously called him to become their pastor. He accepted the call and served them the balance of the year.

In March, 1868, he attended Conference, was examined, passed, and ordained, and joined the Methodist Conference at Tarrytown, N.Y. He was sent back to Elm St. to remain another year, during which time he was the means of converting many.

In March, 1869, he was stationed at Canarsie, L.I., a place very much down in a religious sense, and thought by many at the time, to be beyond redemption, a few however had not bowed the knee to Baal. Canarsie had a neat little church, but very few attended it. As soon as the Rev. Mr. Hulsart labored there, the attendance began to increase, And before six months had passed, his eloquent preaching had produced such an effect upon the populace that the church at every service was filled to overflowing. Rev. Hulsart here aroused the people to a mighty revival, and great numbers were brought into the Fold, on of which is at present the leading man of the church. During that year the pastor feeling the great need of a house (for it was with difficulty that he could get one to live in) resolved to have one built. Many of his people maintained that they could in no way afford to build him a house and support a preacher too, but Mr. Hulsart with that persevering spirit so characteristic with him through all his life, told them he would work for the church, and believed they would take care of him; he felt confident that if they would only trust in the Lord and do their duty, every obstacle could be removed, hence the work was commenced, the pastor himself throwing the first dirt from the cellar. Others shared in the work and soon a beautiful little house was erected near the church as a parsonage, all paid for, the pastor going forth from place to raise money; and notwithstanding the fears of some that by building a parsonage they would be unable to pay their preacher, he received that year, a salary amounting to more than $900.00.

The following year, Mr. Hulsart arranged for the annual Methodist Conference to convene there, and he was reappointed to that charge. His preaching had made such an awakening among the people of Canarsie that the second year of his pastorate, the church was too small To accommodate the immense congregation, and he began to talk up a new church. The result was he succeeded in having the old one sold, removed, and turned into a public hall, and a new church erected in its stead; and every one in Canarsie now began to realize that they had amongst them just the right man to build up and improve. Before he left, he was successful in raising enough money to pay off nearly the amount the church cost, leaving but a small debt upon it, a portion of which has already been paid through the efforts of the Rev. J. H. Painter, who followed him. The Rev. Mr. Hulsart remained at Canarsie three years, and all about there wished him to remain with them longer.

About this time a difficulty arose in the church at Rockville Centre, the pastor, C. Kelsey, having vacated the pulpit. The Rockville Centre church people tried different preachers and held prayer-meetings, and thus kept up their service in what was then called the old church. On one occasion they invited the Rev. Mr. Hulsart to preach the gospel for them which he did, and being so pleased at the very first with him, the wanted to engage his services, but he informed them he could not devote himself to the old church because he was at the time pastor of the church at Canarsie, but agreed to afford them as much time as possible, and fill the pulpit with others the balance of the year until the setting of his Conference, when they could select a man of their choice. During that year he was assisted by the Rev. J. J. Smith, and others. The next year the Conference, by a unanimous request of the old church appointed him at Rockville Centre. He entered upon his labors there in March, 1872, remaining to the present time, being unanimously called from year to year. There as elsewhere, the church, though a large one, under his preaching soon became too small, and the building being old and rather behind the present age in appearance, he advocated a new and more commodious one, and in this instance, as before, he succeeded. In Rockville Centre he had a strong body of men to stand by him in he enterprise. The people all feeling disposed to work, and being urged on by the energetic self-made, working preacher, the undertaking was commenced, and today through the perseverance of the present pastor, they have one of he largest and handsomest churches on the Island outside the city of Brooklyn. Last year he organized a society at Woodsburgh, a thriving village a few miles West of here, and the fruit of that is they now have a large and intelligent church society, able to support a preacher themselves now having for their pastor, the Rev. John H. Painter, whom they are well pleased with. At the last conference, which was held in his church at this place, he was appointed to look after the interests of a new organization at Baldwins, L.I., where they have built a very neat little chapel which was dedicated to Almighty God a few Sabbaths ago. Four months this winter he has carried on a revival in which many were converted to God, and at the present time is engaged in a religious revival at Baldwins. This gentleman is certainly a useful and desirable citizen, and an honor to the land in which he lives; and we doubt not but that many in this community can rejoice that ever the Rev. R. S. Hulsart came in their midst, having done fully as much if not more towards building up churches and spreading religion than any one who has ever been among us. As a preacher he is plain practicable and earnest, and when delivering a sermon he never fails to keep the attention of his entire congregation riveted upon him. The Rev. gentleman is tall and good-looking, and when in the pulpit makes a decidedly pleasing appearance. His gestures are perfect, and his manner easy and graceful. He evidently possesses the power of reaching the hearts of his listeners, and any one cannot go away without feeling deeply impressed with the truth of his earnest speaking.

The ground-hog saw his shadow, and the boy who sits down on the grass before May will feel that this is a cold world.

The N.Y. Herald wants to see the day when there will be spare room in N.Y. street cars. Put eight-ounce tacks on some of the seats.

Thomas Paine was for many years a resident of New York City, and the house he lived in is yet standing-No. 309 Bleecker street-a two story wooden structure, now occupied as a beer and billiard saloon.

In New York Assembly Mr. Bergh's nail glass and salt bill has been favorably acted upon. It provides that the throwing or dropping of these articles in the streets without malice will be punishable by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars. The salting of the streets is made a misdemeanor, Punishable by one year's imprisonment or a fine of $250, or both.


(The following, deaths, I decided to copy as best I could read. On the film it was apparent that the paper was slightly folded when filmed.)

Ousterman, - Chrisitan Hook, Feb. 5, Phebe Jane, wife of David Ousterman, aged 42 years, 5 mo. 5 days.

Haight.- Rock Centre, Feb 5, Albert A., son of Alb--- Ophelia Haight, aged 4 years, 7 mos. 19 days.

Johnson.- Christian Hook, Feb 5, John W. Johnson, age -ears, 3 mos. 19 days.

Warren.-New---k, Feb. 12, Claude V. daughter of T--- and Edith C. Warren, aged 14-- 11 mos. And 21 days. Interred in G-----ood Cemetery.

Dean.- Brooklyn, Feb. 3, Elsie, daughter of Solomon ----ornana Dean, Aged 18 years, 9 mos. 17 days. Interred in Rockville Cemetery.

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transcribed and edited© Linda Pearsall Harvey