Place

Portsmouth’s First Presbyterian to Observe 119th Anniversary

“Sunday is the 119th anniversary of the founding of First Presbyterian church, Third and Court streets, the day will be celebrated in the church with a special anniversary service Sunday morning at 10:30. The pastor, Reverend John N Lukens, will preach on the subject, ‘The Place of the Church.'”

“There is in the heap of old church records of First church a little book, ‘The Records of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth, 1817.’ This book contains the minutes of the first meeting held on May 24, 1817, at which, after a divine service, elders and choristers were elected.”

“‘The Reverend Stephen Lindsley was appointed moderator, and Joseph Wheeler scribe,’ the first account states. It goes on to tell of the election of Josiah Morton, David Mitchel and Willian Russell as ruling elders. At the next meeting on July 13 of the same year, John Lawson was elected to the eldership.”

“The charter members of the congregation were, in addition to the elders: Mrs. Nancy Morton, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Galloway, Moses Baird, Mrs. Elizabeth Ewing, James Logan, Mrs. Ruth Russel, Mrs. Mary Williams, James Abbott, Mrs. Nancy Lindsley, a total of 14 members.”

“Worship was held in the courthouse on Market street. When the young congregation built a church house in 1822, it was the first church building to be erected in Portsmouth, and was situated on the south side of Second street. When the new lot was purchased for the second building, the present church site, in 1849, many people thought the location was too far up town. The congregation has occupied these two buildings for its entire history of 119 years.”1

  1. Church Started 119 Years Ago. (1936, May 23). Portsmouth Times, p. 3.