The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than half the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month. We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.

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   Photographic Inventory

First Presbyterian Church
Elizabeth, Union County

The congregation of "Old First" was organized in 1666, which makes it the oldest English-speaking congregation in the state. This is the third church on the site. The first was probably erected in 1665 or shortly thereafter by Puritan settlers from Connecticut and Long Island; it served as the town's meetinghouse and even hosted the initial sessions of the General Assembly. That building was replaced in 1724 by a building that much resembled this, although not nearly as large. British troops burned that structure in 1780 following their defeat at the Battle of Springfield, when they also burned Presbyterian churches in Connecticut Farms and Springfield.
      This large brick and sandstone building was put up between 1783 and 1793, and the exterior is essentially unchanged since that date. A toronado in 1889 tore off the steeple, and the church suffered as disasterous fire in 1946, but the exterior walls were sound and the interior was reconstructed in a manner close to its Colonial original. Originally the church was Congregational, as most of the very early Presbyterian churches in the state were, but by 1715 or so, it had affiliated with the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
     National Register and HABS.




Copyright (c) 2001 Frank L. Greenagel