New Village Congregation Church

New Village Congregational Church

By Thomas R. Bayles


            It was back on March 27, 1815 that 10 men and women of New Village (then called West Middle Island) assembled at the home of Jeremiah Wheeler and organized a Congregational church.

            This little group of early settlers elected Jeremiah Wheeler and Azariah Hawkins deacons and Isaac Gould clerk.  For some time meetings were held in private homes and on July 12, 1817 Deacon Wheeler and Nathaniel Smith were appointed to draw up plans for a meeting house.  In February 1818 a subscription list was circulated to raise the money for this purpose, which read as follows.

            “We, the undersigned, have agreed to pay the several sums annexed to our respective names for the purpose of building a good and convenient House for the worship of God according to the following plan.”

            The first minister of the New Village church was the Rev. Jacob Corwin of Middle Island, who was also one of the first ministers of the Wading River Congregational Church, which had been organized in 1789.  He was followed in 1826 by the Rev. Nathaniel Hawkins, who was pastor until 1843.  In 1830 there was special awakening in the community and 31 members were added to the Church rolls.  About this time the first Sunday School was organized.

            The Presbyterians became more closely connected with the Setauket Presbyterian Church and gave up their right to the New Village church, and within a short time the Baptists did likewise, leaving the church in the sole possession of the Congregational organization.

            The meeting house was to be erected on a plot of land to be purchased from Jeremiah Wheeler, a little east of Titus Gould’s.  When $1,000 was subscribed the committee was to proceed with the erection of a suitable church building, which was to be free for all denominations of Protestant Christians, and the Congregationalists were to occupy it one half the time, with the Baptist and Presbyterians each one quarter of the time.

            In 1845 the church was incorporated as the First Congregational Church of New Village.

            In 1858 several members withdrew to organize a Congregational church at Farmingville, a few miles to the south.

            In 1886 a parsonage was built on a lot donated by the Rev. Otis Holmes, who was pastor at that time.  This was paid for by contributions from members and friends of the church and was completed without any debt to the church.

            The church having served its day and generation, has recently been replaced with a beautiful new building located on a tract of land a short distance to the north of the old church.

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