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Until 1810 all Long Island, outside of Brooklyn, constituted a single circuit
over which the assigned preacher and local preachers who assisted him,
circulated as regularly as possible. So numerous were the settlements,
however, and so difficult the travel that many of the smaller and more
remote places did not hear a preacher for intervals of several weeks. In
1810 the Old Long Island Circuit was divided, Suffolk Circuit being composed
of Huntington, Babylon and all towns to the east. In that year there were
assigned to the new circuit, Henry Redstone, Stephen Richmond and Coles
In 1824, a "circuit rider," Rev. Horace Bartlett, whose pastorate was the "Suffolk Circuit," met with a few earnest Christian folk in the home of Zachariah Hawkins, grandfather of the wife of Capt. William Aldrich. The dwelling-house has an interesting history. For many years it was familiarly known as "the old Hawkins Homestead". It finally passed into the hands of the Roman Catholics and was used by them as a rectory and subsequently as a church until its demolition. This house, in which the "Port Jefferson Methodist Society" was organized, was situated on the ground where the Catholic Church now stands.
Those present when the Society was organized were: Rev. Daniel Jones, the brother of Mrs. Benjamin Powell (from Stony Brook), Zachariah Hawkins (great grandfather to Mrs. Elizabeth Saxton, Mrs. Fannie Hanimond, George E. Darling and Burt Sturtevant), Harry Hawkins, Washington, Solomon and Amasa Sturtevant.
"Itinerate pastors" had to travel many miles over rough roads by horse or foot and could visit each organization only once in awhile. In the interim between pastoral visits, "Class meetings were held once a week, rain or shine."
In 1835, the Port Jefferson Methodist Society was incorporated and became a Church. In 1838 a chapel was built on Thompson Street at a cost of $1000.00, which was a large sum for those days.
A basement was built under the Church in 1858. Fifteen years later the Church was moved from Thompson Street to a new site, on the corner of Spring and Main Streets, the present location of the Church. The cost of an addition, re-erection, and fitting up does not appear on any record of the Church history, but it is presumed to be about $4400.00. In 1893 this first little chapel was sold and moved to upper Main Street, where it was destroyed by fire.
The cornerstone for a new church was laid immediately, in 1893. It was a gift of the late William C. Beale. The new Church was built by Loper Brothers at a cost of $10,500.00, which included pews and heating apparatus. The structure, when completed, including the furniture, cost $11,500.00. The Chairman of the Building Committee was Allen Davis.
Bishop Andrews presided at the dedication of the new Church on May 20, 1894. Dr. VanAlstyne, Presiding Elder, and several former pastors, (Rev. J. Hough, T. Laine, S. Sands and F. Shackelton) were present. Rev. T. L. Price was the pastor in charge.
On December 25, 1902, at the Christmas entertainment, the mortgage on the Church was burned by Captain Charles A. Bayles, in an impressive fashion, assisted by two children, Kent Smith and Irma Nelson.
Index to the Record Book
of the Port Jefferson Methodist-Episcopal Church
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|Introduction, Explanation and Directions||Pastoral and Statistical record|
|Probationer's Record||Record of Baptisms|
|Class Records||Marriage record|
|Alphabetical Record of Members in Full Connection||Appendix|
|Chronological Record of Official Members|