Our church was born in 1730 as an assembly that convened weekly for the worship of God. The church leased a 220-acre tract in 1737, and built a meeting house in 1738. Itinerant preachers provided worship leadership until the church called its first resident pastor in 1761.
During the Revolutionary War, the church became an arsenal and barracks, and a meeting place for the patriots. British troops destroyed the parsonage and storehouse in early June 1779, and burned the church to the ground shortly after. There is a monument in front of the church, celebrating the all-black First Rhode Island Regiment, which figured prominently in the British raid on Yorktown in 1779.
After the war, the church constructed the second building on this site, in 1785.
Under the leadership of the second pastor, the church gradually took on the Congregational form of government. This led to a division in the church in 1806,with one portion creating a Congregational Church on Granite Springs Road. The two churches were reunited after 60 years, in 1865. Our church still owns and maintains the East Yard Cemetery at the site of the Congregational Church. Among the buried of the East Yard Cemetery are 30-40 black members of that church. Both the East Yard Cemetery and the current church building are listed as sites on the Westchester African-American Heritage Trail.
The present building replaced the 1785 structure in January 1840. Worship and Sunday School services were held in this one building until 1930. Since then, there have been numerous building additions. In 1985, the church restored the 1840 Sanctuary to its original appearance. In 1998, the church expanded the Christian Education Building, and created a passageway between the CE Building and the original Sanctuary.
The History of our Congregation
These articles listed below were written by the church historian, Dick Hunter, for various issues of The Disciple.
Church History - May
Provided by Dick Hunter, Church Historian
Check the history bulletin board highlights of the 70’s by the Communications Committee chaired by Joan Givens.
Below is an excerpt about a former FPCY Pastor.
“The 8th pastor was the Rev. Richard Wynkoop, who was called March 17, 1827 at a salary of $300, parsonage, and eight cords of wood. He was installed on June 14. He was born in the City of New York on December 16, 1798. He graduated from Columbia College, 1819. After studying law for a time, he determined to enter the ministry. He pursued his theological course at New Brunswick with Dr. Robert McCartee of New York. After serving for a time as missionary in the Dutch Church of Cato, NY, he accepted a call to this church where he remained until April 16, 1834 when the pastoral relation was dissolved that he might become pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, MD, where he died April 5, 1842. He was a man of rare energy, clear head, indomitable courage, fully determined, as far as lay in his power, that everything should be done decently and in order. Laws, civil and ecclesiastical, in his estimation, were made to be enforced. His sermons were doctrinal, and the purpose for which they were written was to instill into the people views of divine truth which were thoroughly Calvinistic. By nature and education he was essentially a lawyer, and this in a measure unfitted him for success in the ministry. He carried from the legal profession into the church ideas which, while proper in the former, were impracticable in the latter. The words compromise and conciliation were not in his vocabulary. Wrongs in the church were not to be righted by forgetting them, nor were breaches to be healed by conciliation, but by discipline; and we all know from history and experience that in church difficulties and divisions, discipline is useless. Tact and the balm of kind words and a forgiving and forgetting spirit are the only remedies which can remove them.
During his pastorship the two church came back together after separation in 1806. During Mr. Wynkoop’s ministry 16 were added to the church on examination and four by certificate.”
Articles about the Church's History
- Church History - May
- A Glimpse Into the Past
- From the History of Our Congregation - June, 2012
- From the History of our Congregation - April, 2012
- March, 2012
- February, 2012 - Highlights through the years...
- Expansion Plans from the 1950s to the Present
- December, 2011
- November 2011 - the Ministry of George Barford
- The Founding of our Church
- March 2011 -- the 1930s
- Church History by Reverend William J. Cumming
- December 2010 - History Highlights
- The Battle of Yorktown - May 14, 1781
- February, 2010 -- the 1950's
- November, 2010 - 1948 Parish House Collapse
- May 2010 - Growth during the 1950's
- April 2010 - Some events from the ‘60s
- March, 2010 - the Church Building in the Early Days
- February 2010 - Memorials
- October 2009 - 1910's & 1920's
- May, 2008 - the 1940's
- April, 2008 - the 1998 Expansion
- March, 2008 - 1930 to 1941
- February, 2008 - 1938 Bicentennial Song