Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater (DE Docent). A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. The USS Slater is now open. I plan on walking in Albany on Monday, Memorial Day, May 27. You can contact me at:

Friday, April 30, 2010

2010-04-29 - Vischer Ferry, Dam #3 - Amity Reformed Church

This walk starts at the 3 Mile Dam Parking Lot and ends at the Amity Reformed Church in Vischer's Ferry. The 3 Mile Dam crosses the Mohawk River at Goat Island. It's a relatively easy nature walk except for a slight hill at the 3 Mile Dam.

When you get to Vischer's Ferry there are a few sites of historic interest, including Amity Church. I volunteered as a committee member of Boy Scout Troop 30 that was hosted at the Amity Church. On occasion I run into Pastor Dave DeVries (of Amity Church) on this walk. The Amity Church dates from 1802. The current building was dedicated on January 18, 1872. There's a great description of the church in Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester's 1878 work, A History of Saratoga County, New York:

"...Previous to the beginning of the present century there was no society of this denomination on the north side of the river, and the early settlers worshiped with the church at Niskayuna, then under the ministry of Rev. Mr. Demarest. In 1802, by regular legal and ecclesiastical proceedings, the "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Amity" was organized. The first elders were Jacobus Van Vranken and John Miller. The first deacons, Daniel F. Fort and Evert Van Vranken. In 1803 the first house of worship was built, and was, for the times, a most respectable building.

In the same year a call to Rev. Mr. Hardenburg was declined. In 1805 the church of Amity and Niskayuna united in the choice of Rev. Thomas Romeyn as pastor, and he was installed in the spring of 1806. The same year a joint parsonage was built at Amity by the two societies.

The records of a consistory-meeting in October, 1806, show that there were present Elders Nicholas Vandenburg, Nicholas Fort; Deacons Eldert Vischer and Daniel Fort, and Rev. Thomas Romeyn presiding. Candidates then admitted to membership: John Pearse, John B. Miller, Tunis Cragier, Margaret Pearse, and Schouten. The delegate to the classis of Albany, in 1807, was Nicholas Fort. Mr. Romeyn's ministry was a prosperous one, extending to twenty-one years. The following list of male members before 1827 may not be complete, but it furnishes a fair statement of the solid Christian citizens of the olden time, who laid the enduring foundations of civil and social order: James Weldon, Mr. Vandecar, John Schouten, Benjamin Mix, John Shears, Samuel Queemans, Abram Whitaker, "Tom, a negro slave of James Weldon," Wm. Bell, Philip Dutcher, Tunis Quackenbush, Garret A. Van Vranken, Cornelius Hegeman, Francis Vischer, Mr. Heeder, John Fort, Hendrick Dunsback, George Melius, Abram Best, John Melius, Henry Sherwood, G.M. Volwider. To this long and devoted pastorate of Mr. Romeyn the church has been largely indebted in all subsequent years.

The successive pastors since have been McKelvy, four years; Van Wagoner, three years; A. B. Chittenden, five years; Brownson, two years; Hathaway, six years; Williamson, till his death by the explosion of the steamboat "Reindeer"; Raymond, three years; Schoomaker, five years; and W.S.E. See, seven years, to 1868. The present incumbent, Rev. W. W. Letson, commenced his labors soon after. It may be said that through all this long period the church has had a steady, healthy growth. During the ministry of Mr. Van Wagoner the two churches dissolved their connection, and he continued pastor of the Amity church. Special mention may be properly made of the extensive revivals during the ministry of Mr. Hathaway from 1843 to 1849, and there was also great activity in missionary and temperance work.

In 1871 the present new, commodious, and beautiful house of worship was erected, and the dedication services were held Jan. 18, 1872. The church, now more than three-quarters of a century old, is vigorous and flourishing, one hundred members having been added since 1871. It stands a worthy representative of that ancient faith, transmitted by the sturdy old burghers who successfully defended religious liberty centuries ago upon the "lowlands of Holland." ...."

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