First Presbyterian Church (New Brunswick, New Jersey)

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Church on a vintage postcard. This building burned down in 1947

The First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery in New Brunswick, New Jersey is one of the oldest churches in the Presbyterian denomination. It was the seat of the Presbytery of New Brunswick which is now located in Trenton, New Jersey.[1]


In 1738 the Presbytery of East Jersey was merged with the Presbytery of Long Island and renamed the Presbytery of New York, and two days after that, the Presbytery of New Brunswick was created.[2]

In late 1726, or early 1727 Reverend Gilbert Tennent was ordained pastor of the congregation. The church records were destroyed or lost, during the American revolution when British soldiers were quartered in the manse. The records of the First Presbyterian Church (Newark, New Jersey) were destroyed at the same time. Because of damage to the church from the war, a new building was set up to replace the damaged one.[2]

In 1937 John Gresham Machen was condemned by the Presbytery of New Brunswick for disobeying higher authorities in a religious court hearing held in Trenton, New Jersey.[3]

In 1947 a fire caused $147,000 in damages (equivalent to $1,577,000 in 2016).[4]

Around 1966, Alfred Yorston removed 520 bodies from the church's cemetery to Van Liew Cemetery to make way for new construction at the church.[5]


Notable burials[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Session of the General Synod. The Revised Constitution. Education". New York Times. May 19, 1873. Retrieved 2011-02-20. New Brunswick, New Jersey. The General Synod of the Reformed Church in America meets in the Second Reformed Church of this city this year, on Wednesday, June 4, and a few notes concerning the business which is to come before it must be of very general interest. ... The First Presbyterian Church of this city is one of the oldest in the denomination (dating back nearly a century and a half) and one of the most prominent hereabouts, has recently elected deacons to a term of three years ... 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Davidson, Robert (1852). A historical sketch of the First Presbyterian Church in the city of New Brunswick. J. Terhune & Son. 
  3. ^ "New Jersey Presbytery Court Orders Minister Suspended, but Defers Sentence". New York Times. March 30, 1935. Retrieved 2011-02-22. The Rev. Dr. J. Gresham Machen of Philadelphia, Fundamentalist leader, was found guilty here today by a special judicial commission of the Presbytery of New Brunswick of disobeying the higher authorities of the Presbyterian Church. 
  4. ^ "Fire Destroys Historic Church In New Jersey". New York Times. May 11, 1947. Retrieved 2011-02-20. Historic First Presbyterian Church in the heart of this city's business district was wrecked by fire early this morning, with a loss tentatively estimated at more than $160,000. 
  5. ^ "The Changing Landscape of North Brunswick". Rutgers University. Retrieved 2007-08-26. Yorston is best remembered for his work in removing the 520 bodies from the New Brunswick Presbyterian Church's cemetery to Van Liew Cemetery to make way for new construction, for his around-the-clock service during the 1918 deadly influenza epidemic, and for his service in connection with the autopsy involving the infamous Hall-Mills murder in neighboring Franklin Township. 
  6. ^ Moseley H. Williams (1881). The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Chancellor Howard Crosby, D.D., LL. D., New York University, New York. Born in New York City, February 27, 1826. Graduated at the University of the City of New York, 1844; Professor of Greek in that institution in 1851; Professor of Greek in Rutgers College, New Jersey, in 1859; Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1861-62; pastor of Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York City, since 1863, and Chancellor of the University of New York since 1870. 
  7. ^ "Pastor Emeritus of New Brunswick Presbyterian Church Dies at 86". New York Times. May 4, 1929. Retrieved 2011-02-22. The Rev. Dr. William White Knox, pastor emeritus of the First ... He has been pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of , L.I., ... 
  8. ^ "Pastor of Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick to retire". Greater Media. May 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-20. After 33 years of service as pastor at the Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick, the Rev. Dr. Szabolcs S.G. Nagy will retire at the end of May. 
  9. ^ Sarapin, Janice Kohl (2002). Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2111-4. 

Coordinates: 40°29′28″N 74°26′47″W / 40.4910°N 74.4463°W / 40.4910; -74.4463