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 published in issues of The Disciple. Most of them were written by Dick Hunter, the Church Historian.
Articles about the Church's History
- Highlights of Church History - Changing Times
- The First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown: 1730 to 2015
- History of the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown - Wednesday, January 21 at 7:30pm
- Church History
- 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