Our History

historic-signSpencertown is part of the historic homeland and charge of the now displaced Mahican people.  The first European settlers moved to Spencertown from Connecticut in 1750.  Just ten years later, the original proprietors of the Spencer’s Town Grant voted to establish a church, and appointed Mr. Jesse Clark as its minister.  The church building was erected in 1771, on the east side of Route 203 by master carpenter William A. Babcock.  Prior to that, public worship services were held in John Spencer’s house and in other private homes.

Numerous Spencertown men fought in the Revolutionary War.  Nine men who held the rank of officer were among the first recorded Trustees of the church.  The graves of 27 Revolutionary War veterans can be found in the cemetery that now surrounds the church.  Church membership declined, for obvious reasons, during the war, but experienced a great revival in the years that followed.

In 1803 the church became incorporated as simply “St. Peter’s.”  It was, loosely speaking, a congregational church, although it served residents of various protestant denominations.  Then in 1826 the building was dismantled and moved to its current site on the west side of Route 203.

St. Peter’s welcomed it’s first African American member, Lilla Van Buren, in 1826 – more than 30 years before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation!  And then in 1827 the church was rededicated and adopted a Presbyterian form of governance.

Like many rural churches, St. Peter’s has seen its share of lean years, but has lived through these even as it has weathered the ravages of war and flood, blizzard and famine.  Today St. Peter’s is a strong and energetic church, deeply committed to God and to the community that it strives to serve.