Stephen Bloomer Balch

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The Reverend Stephen Bloomer Balch (April 5, 1747 – September 7, 1833) was a Presbyterian minister and educator in Georgetown, which is now part of Washington, D.C.. In 1780, Balch established Georgetown Presbyterian Church, which was the second church in Georgetown. He also served as headmaster of the Columbian Academy in Georgetown.

Early life[edit]

Balch was born on April 5, 1747 in Maryland. He attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1774. Soon thereafter, he became principal of the Lower Marlborough Academy in Calvert County in southern Maryland. Balch also served in the American Revolutionary War.[1]

Georgetown Presbyterian Church[edit]

In 1779, Balch was ordained as minister by the Presbyterian church. After that, he arrived in Georgetown and briefly preached at the Georgetown Lutheran Church. In 1780, he began preaching out of a small house near Bridge Street (now M Street), which was used during the week as a school. Around this time, Balch also became headmaster of the Columbian Academy in Georgetown, which is where George Washington sent his nephews.[2]

A building was constructed for the church on Bridge Street at Washington Street (30th Street) in 1782. The church was expanded in 1793 and again in 1801, but the size was still insufficient. A new structure was built in 1821, and the church later relocated to P Street the 1870s. Many notable residents of Washington and Georgetown attended the church. Balch preached to a large crowd after George Washington died.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1782, Balch married Elizabeth Beall, who was the daughter of George Beall. Balch had a home built in 1773 on Duck Lane (now 33rd Street). Balch also owned an island in the Potomac River, as well as a 10-acre (40,000 m2) farm outside of Washington. He spent the later years of his life living at 3302 N Street.[2]

His wife died in 1827, and he soon remarried at the age of 82 to Elizabeth. After she died, he married again to Jane Parrott. Balch remained the pastor of Georgetown Presbyterian Church until his death in 1833. Balch was buried on the grounds of the church, but his remains were moved to Oak Hill Cemetery in 1878 when the church relocated and the building on Bridge Street was demolished.[2]


  1. ^ a b "A Brief History of the Presbyterian Congregation in George Town". Georgetown Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  2. ^ a b c Ecker, Grace Dunlop (1933). A Portrait of Old Georgetown. Garrett & Massie, Inc. pp. 41–43.