Racine County ALHN

First Presbyterian Church

As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879), p. 384

The First Presbyterian Church was organized on the 13th day of February, 1839, and consisted of twenty-one members, viz.: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Cary, Mr. and Mrs. Elias S. Capron, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Rice, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin G. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Wells, Messrs. Julius Cotton, Nelson A. Walker, Joel Sage, Mrs. Sylvester Mygatt, Mrs. J. P. Hurlbut, Mrs. Rev. Cyrus Nichols, Mrs. Sophronia L. Wells, Miss Susanna Traber and Miss Sarah C. Hall. The house in which this little band of Christian believers met and formed themselves into a church, was originally designed for a store, but used at the time for a schoolhouse, and stood on the west side of Main street, between Second and Third. The Rev. Cyrus Nichols, the first Presbyterian minister in Racine, and who had been preaching here and in Kenosha since the fall of 1836, moderated the meeting and continued to preach to the Church till April the same year, when he was succeeded by the Rev. C. C. Cadwell, who remained one year, and was followed by the Rev. N. Kingsbury. January, 1842, the Rev. Hiram Foote was called as stated supply. He began to preach in the Court House, but the place proved too small, and was soon transferred to the second story of the jail. That fall, measures were taken for the erection of a church edifice, which resulted in the construction of a building that was dedicated in February, 1843. Mr. Foote continued his labors with the church till April, 1845, when he was succeeded by the Rev. T. M. Hopkins, who remained as stated supply till the summer of 1850. It was under his leadership, and during the following winter, that the Congregational Church of this city was formed, and largely from this church. Some time during the summer, a unanimous call was extended to the Rev. Z. M. Humphrey to become Pastor of the Church, and he was ordained and installed October 9, the same year, by the Milwaukee Convention. The corner-stone of the present house of worship was laid May 6, 1851, and the building dedicated on the 10th of June, 1852. In June, 1856, Mr. Humphrey was dismissed to Milwaukee and the Rev. George M. S. Blauvelt called to this Church, and installed as Pastor, June 28, 1857. Mr. Blauvelt remained about two years, after which the pulpit of the Church was supplied for several months by the faculty of Beloit College, and by Revs. Mr. Hawley and J. Ambrose Wight. In May, 1860, the Rev. C. J. Hutchins was called to the Church, who was installed the same summer by the Chicago Presbytery, and dismissed March 23, 1865. Mr. Hutchins was succeeded by Rev. Walter S. Alexander, who was installed Pastor the following June, and who remained with the Church till in August, 1872, when he was dismissed to go to Italy as a missionary, under care of the American Board. The present Pastor, Daniel E. Bierce, preached his first sermon here, January 19, 1873, and began his regular labors with the Church March 9 of the same year. The government of the Church is Presbyterian, while its ecclesiastical connection is with the Milwaukee Convention, which stands to it in the place of the Presbytery, and with the Presbyterian and Congregational Convention of Wisconsin, which stands to it in the place of Synod. The present officers of the Church are: W. C. Allen, John Hamilton, D. W. Emerson, Lucas Bradley, E. O. Hand, B. B. Northrop, C. E. Weed, E. G. Durant, Elders; Thomas Driver, Sheridan Kimball, George R. West, C. F. Hart, George Murray, L. H. Miller, Deacons. The officers of the society are: Lucas Bradley, M. B. Erskine, George R. West, George W. Mason, H. S. Durant, E. O. Hand, Trustees; George R. West, Treasurer. Connected with the Church is a large Sunday school, with the following officers: E. G. Durant, Superintendent; George B. Kelley, Assistant Superintendent; Miss Hattie Kimball, Secretary; B. B. Northrop, Treasurer; William Bryon Baker, Librarian; Belonging to the Church is also the Young People's Association, J. S. Clement, President; Miss Mary A. Ord, Secretary; Frank Uphan, Treasurer. It was organized in September, 1877.

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