09.05.11

Excerpts from a book by Arthur C. Lee, former church historian

In settling, people looked for communities where the possibilities of farming were good and it was because of this reason that the first settlement was over around Bedford. They found the soil there suitable for cultivation. The settlement of a community was influenced by economic trends of the people and so for the reason, the church at Bedford preceded our church.

Long ago, all teachers were men or school masters. These school masters were not only educators but religious leaders in the community and filled the spiritual needs of the people in the beginning before the church was established. These school masters not only lived with the families but were also maintained by them.

The minutes of our church only go back to the year 1760—consisting of the civil records of the Session, through 1807. The historical records show that the first Sanctuary was built in 1738 on the current site which was part of the Van Cortlandt estate. The property was purchase by Joseph Lane, who leased 220 acres, the land extending up Crompond St. (now Old Yorktown Rd.) and including the Parker, Bristol and other properties. The Sanctuary was built on its current site and the Parsonage (known as the Corner House) was built on the corner. They were both burned by British soldiers during the  Revolutionary War.

In closing Arthur wrote:

Home living has changed. In the years past, the family worshipped together in the morning. How many families observe this morning devotion now? Very few, possibly none. Church services have changed. Prayer meetings Friday night, church service Sunday night, Sunday School on Sunday morning, Sunday worship—all these were a part of the church life. I am not complaining that some of these have been discontinued. At our last communion service there were 39 person present and of these 39, 32 were over fifty year of age.

Dick Hunter, Church Historian

Note from Dick: I knew Arthur Lee until his death in his 90s. He joined the church in 1913 and was a dedicated member, serving in many ways as a treasurer, elder, historian and on many committees. He helped build the Parish Hall in 1949-1950. His accomplishments were many.

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