Patterson 200 Years
The Presbyterian Church
(Of Patterson / Pawling)
Present Structure, 1838
This beautiful building is the third church of the Presbyterian Congregation in Patterson. The first, often referred to as "The Old Meeting House" was located west of here, on top of the hill, north of the Triangle Inn Corner. It was established by tenants on Philipse land, settlers from Connecticut, and is probably the meeting house referred to in the description of the Prendergast Rebellion of 1766 in Pelletreau's "History of Putnam County." The second building was begun in 1794 on the land purchased by the trustees of the church from Thomas Townsend in 1793. This purchase included one acre south of the road, where the present Fellowship Hall and the Grange Hall are located, and a quarter acre adjacent to and north of the Episcopal cemetery. Additional land was obtained at that time from Stiles Peet and his wife, Lydia, on which the present building would be located. Matthew Paterson was an Elder of the church and Colonel Henry Ludington was a Trustee. The colonel and his daughter, Sybil, are buried in the church yard.
This second building, which was finally completed in 1808, was demolished in 1838 when the present building was erected in a period of growth and optimism. Reverend Epinetus P. Benedict, the minister of the church at this time, served for forty years during a period of great changes to the town. Born in Connecticut, he worked and married in the South before he became pastor of this congregation in 1827. His influence on the church and his Southern sympathies can be seen both in the design of the church building, which is unusual for this area (and more typical of the South), and in that there is no mention in the Session records of anything to do with the Civil War although his son, Platt Benedict, served as a Union officer.
Additions have been made to the building since 1838 including one bay and the beautiful and rare wooden ceiling. The church bell and yoke were purchased and installed in 1846 and the apse was added on the rear around 1868. The organ pipes, which were installed around 1900, were removed in the 1950s.