Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2003 Issue

The First Presbyterian Church

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Elmira, New York


160th Anniversary

1795-1955


“1831 to 1843 was a season of revival in these parts and we had many accessions. In 1846, all resolutions denouncing slavery having been tabled or modified, forty members with abolitionist convictions withdrew and founded Park Congregational Church with Rev. Fred Graves, a member of Chemung Presbytery, as pastor.

In 1860 our membership was 518 and the city population was 8,682. The withdrawal of members in 1861 to found the Second Presbyterian Church, now known as Lake Street, was not due to any slavery issue. Because of friction between the pastor, Doctor David Murdoch, and a group of members, Presbytery voted to dissolve the pastoral relationship. Accompanied by 116 who were loyal to him, Dr. Murdoch left. He died as a new church building was completed. He was succeeded at First Church by Doctor George C. Curtis. It should be noted that relations between the two congregations continued to be friendly.”

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