Thursday, October 17, 2019

Daniel McLaren Quackenbush, D.D. - Pastor of Prospect Hill Reformed Church, New York City

DANIEL McLAREN QUACKENBUSH, D. D., eldest son of Abraham Quackinbush and Sarah McLaren, was born March 9, 1819, at 130 Chatham Street, New York City. The house in which he was born was built by his grandfather, Daniel McLaren, on property acquired in five separate parcels between the years 1803 and 1807— and is still in the possession of the family. About the year 1821 the parents of Daniel and the McLaren household removed from Chatham to Orange Street, and shortly after to Greenwich Street near Fulton. Although very young at the time, Dr. Quackenbush recalls several notable events which occurred while he lived in Greenwich Street, among others the visit of General Lafayette to this country as the nation's guest, and his landing at Castle Garden, Aug. 16, 1824, when he was given a grand reception. Daniel was present on that occasion, a child of five years, and remembers grasping one finger of the hero's hand. He also witnessed the elaborate display of fireworks in celebration of the Navarino victory, and the great procession which passed through Greenwich street at the opening of the Erie canal in 1825. From Greenwich Street his parents removed in May, 1826, to 108 Bleecker Street which was then considered very far "up town."

At an early age Daniel entered the High School in Crosby Street, near Broome, where Professor Griscom, a noted Quaker scholar of that day, was the superintendent. The High School was under the management of a society of New York citizens, of which Gulian C. Ver Planck was the president, and num bered among its pupils Captain James Lawrence, U. S. N., who fell on board the " Chesapeake " ; Judge Roosevelt and Daniel Lord of the New York Bar, and the Hon. Schuyler Colfax, vice- president of the United States during the administration of General Grant. Robert Carter, Esq., who had been principal of the Classical Department, opened a private school at Grand Street and Broadway when the High School ceased to exist, which he eventually left to enter his long career as a publisher and book-seller. It was at this school and under Robert Carter's direction that Daniel completed his preparatory studies. He entered the Sophomore class of Columbia College in 1833, and graduated in 1836, at the age of seventeen. During the next three years he studied at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Dutch Church at New Brunswick, and in 1840 was licensed by the Associate Presbytery of New York. On October 20 of the following year he took his examination for ordination at Cambridge, New York, and was installed December 2, 1842, by the Presbytery of Cambridge, as pastor of the Associate Presbyterian Church at West Hebron, Washington Co., New York, where he remained six years, 1841-47. A pres ent resident of Hebron, who first united with the church during the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush, recalls him as " a very young man at that time, boyish in appearance, exces sively diffident and unassuming ; a fine preacher, but noted in those days for his short sermons."

Shortly after assuming this charge the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush was married to Miss Adriana Suydam at the Suydam residence, No. 158 Waverly Place, New York City. The wedding took place May 11, 1842, the Rev. Dr. Abraham Polhemus, a cousin of the bride, officiating. Miss Suydam was the daughter of Lambert Suydam and Ann Eliza Lawrence, and was born January 18, 1822.

Adriana Sydam Quackenbush later was the author of the book "The Quackenbush Family In Holland And America" which chronicled the families coming to America and the first eleven generations of the family.

In the year 1845 the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush accepted an unusual missionary service in the west, his own church in West Hebron being cared for in his absence by the pastors of the neighborhood. The service which he undertook in that early year took him through Philadelphia and Baltimore, and over the Alleghany mountains by stage to Pittsburgh; then to Cincinnati by the Ohio river, and from Cincinnati to Xenia on the Little Miami railroad. His own description of this part of his journey well illustrates the primitive methods of the pioneer railroads:

When the train started from Cincinnati the cars were drawn to the upper level by four mules each, encouraged by two stout colored men with hickory gads. On the upper level the locomotive was attached, it not being trusted to go down the hill into the city for fear it might never get up again. After a run of a few miles the train was stopped where a man was seen sawing wood with a buck-saw. Here the passengers all turned out to help throw the pile he had accumulated on the tender, wood being the only fuel used. After a leisurely conversation about the crops, etc., the conductor suggested an other start, and we re-entered the cars. A few miles further on the train stopped again, evidently for the purpose of allowing one of the passengers to visit a farm house on the opposite side of a forty acre lot, where he transacted some private business. When he returned, taking his own time, we started once more, and towards evening reached Xenia.

At Xenia the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush was entertained in old-time fashion by Major Gallaway, who showed him over his fields where for forty years he had raised successive crops of corn. Some of these fields of corn were given up to the hogs in the fall, who ate

what they chose and trampled the rest into the ground. When they were taken out to the slaughter the next generation of hogs were turned into the fields, and rooted up what the others had trodden into the soil.

From Xenia the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush continued his travels down the Ohio river to St. Louis, and from St. Louis to Galena, a thriving city at that early day, and the headquarters of the lead mining industry. His missionary service at this place being accomplished, he procured an Indian pony and during the next three months visited several needy churches and stations to the south of Galena. He then started homeward, crossing the State of Illinois by stage — as there were at that time no railroads in the State— and after riding two days and one night reached Chicago, where as yet there were no brick or stone buildings. From Chicago he went by way of Lakes Michigan and Huron to Detroit, and returned home along the Niagara river, having been absent from March to September, during which time he lived much in log cabins and shared the rough existence of the western frontiersmen.

In 1849 the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush accepted a call to the Warwarsing Church at Napanoch, an old Dutch church organized in the middle of the last century. Here he remained for two years, his removal in 1851 having been hastened by the death of his wife, which occurred on March 15, of that year. The following letter relative to the death of Mrs. Adriana Suydam Quackenbush appeared in the columns of the " Christian Intelligencer " at the time:

Napanoch, Ulster Co., N. Y. March 17, 1851

Mr. Editor:

Our church and congregation have been deeply affected by the death of Mrs. Quackenbush, the wife of our pastor, on Saturday, the 15th inst, leaving (with her husband) three little orphan children.

We feel, but cannot express, the extent of this bereavement, so many tender ties have been broken.

The kindness of her heart, the discretion and the consistency of her Christian character, enabled her to adorn her station, and having died as she lived, she has left us the only consolation that can compensate for such a loss. The strength of her friendships, the gentleness and sincerity that characterized her intercourse with the congregation, help us in some de gree to realize the desolation of a home deprived of such a wife and such a mother.

Yesterday was a Sabbath of intense interest and solemnity. The Rev. William Cruikshank, an intimate friend of the family of the deceased, left his own congregation to serve ours, and soothe our afflicted pastor. His own feelings were in uni son with ours; and in the course of the two appropriate and impressive sermons derived from the Word of God substantial comfort and consolation to many broken hearts.

Our excellent pastor, almost exhausted by long weariness and anxiety, and bowed down under the weight of so heavy an affliction, was yet able to present his tender infant for baptism during the morning service. Who can describe such a scene ? — the presence of God speaking peace to his soul, and supporting him by His everlasting arm.

At the close of the services the consistory adopted the following resolutions:

Resolved, That we have heard with deep regret of the death of Mrs. Adriana Suydam Quackenbush, the wife of our beloved pastor, and sincerely sympathize with her husband and family in their great affliction, that we shall ever cherish the most affectionate and endearing recollections of her life and character, and trust that God will overrule this dark dispensation of His providence for the promotion of His glory, and will abundantly sanctify to our dear pastor and his orphan children an affliction which we have no language to describe and which human sympathy cannot remove.

Resolved, That in testimony of respect for our departed friend, the members of this consistory will convey her remains, in company with her husband and family, to her father's house in the City of New York, and will attend her funeral there.

Resolved, That a copy of the minutes of this meeting be furnished to the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush, and that he be respect fully requested to gratify the desire of the consistory, as ex pressed in the last resolution.

This morning the remains of Mrs. Quackenbush, in charge of the officers of the church, accompanied by her husband and children, her mother and sister, and a solemn procession, left our desolate parsonage.

Imagine, my dear sir, the sadness of our hearts, and while you share our griefs rejoice with us in the consolation of the gospel, and thank God that our dear departed friend was spared to us so long, rather than murmur that she was taken away so soon.

Affectionately yours,


This notice was written by the Hon. Gabriel W. Ludlum, an Elder of the Napanoch Church.

The Rev. Mr. Quackenbush's next field of labor was at Fishkill-on-Hudson, New York, where he served as pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church from 1851 to 1855. An historical sketch of this church published in the "Christian Intelligencer" of December 25, 1895, contains the following reference to Dr. Quackenbush's pastorate:

The Rev. Daniel McLaren Quackenbush was the third pastor. He graduated at Columbia College and the Theological Seminary at New Brunswick, N. J. His pastorate extended from 1851 to 1855. He came with rare endowments of mind and heart, and entered upon his duties with great zeal. At the outset he succeeded in procuring funds to remove a large debt that had long burdened the congregation. His ministry was most successful, and infused into the church new life and vigor. He still, after these many years, is held in fragrant and blessed memory in this, the field of his early labors.

From Fishkill the Rev. Mr. Quackenbush went to Brooklyn and became the associate of his special friend Dr. Bethune, the pastor of the Church on the Heights. His missionary labors in connection with the chapel of this church extended over a period of three years and terminated in 1859, when he was called to the Reformed Dutch Church at Hastings-on-Hudson. Here he remained until January I, 1861, and then assumed his present charge, the Prospect Hill Reformed Church, New York City. This church was organized in 1860, the first services being held in a small hall at the corner of 86th Street and 3rd Avenue. During the first vear a temporary building was erected on 3rd Avenue between 87th and 88th Streets, but with the increasing congregation it became necessary to provide other accommodations, and in 1867 the church edifice on 85th Street between

2nd and 3rd Avenues was purchased. Services were held in this building for nearly twenty years, when the consistory purchased a large plat of ground at the north west corner of 89th Street and Park Avenue. Dr. Quacken bush's services in the Prospect Hill Reformed Church have been largely gratuitous, and on the approach of his thirtieth anniversary as pastor the Consistory adopted the following resolutions at a meeting held September 16, 1890:

Whereas, The Rev. Dr. Quackenbush began his pastorate over this church on January 1, 1861, and the close of this year will close thirty years of his service in the Gospel among us, therefore Resolved, That it is eminently proper that so long a continuance of life and labor among us should have recognition.

Resolved, That Elder W. G. F. Slover is hereby appointed to report to Consistory on this subject.

At a meeting held October 13, 1890, the Committee re ported the following Resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That the Rev. Dr. Quackenbush be requested to make, from sermons preached by him to our congregation, selections sufficient to form a small printed volume, which may serve as a memorial of his protracted pastorate, and the profits from the sale of which may aid our church in its present necessity.

It was further resolved "that Elders Allen and Slover be appointed a committee with power to carry out the purpose of the Consistory in this matter."

A limited edition of these volumes was issued in 1891, and was immediately disposed of for the benefit of the church. A copy of that volume is available in the Quackenbush Store under the title "The Prospect Hill Reformed Church of New York: Thirty Years 1861 – 1891.

Dr. Quackenbush has traveled extensively, most of his journeys being undertaken when traveling was very difficult, owing to poor facilities. In 1858 he visited Charleston, Savannah, Montgomery, Mobile and New Orleans, returning by way of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. His first trip abroad was undertaken in 1865, when he embarked for Liverpool with his two sons, Lambert S. and Abraham C. During a stay of eleven months he visited France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the longest stops being made in Rome, where he spent seven weeks, and in Naples, Paris and London.

In 1869 he visited Washington, Richmond and Petersburgh to observe the effects of the war. In 1874 he again went abroad, visiting Paris, where he remained nearly three months, while the ravages of the Franco-Prussian war were still very visible. His third trip to Europe was in the year 1883, when the entire time was spent in London.

Dr. Quackenbush received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of the City of New York in 1863.

Dr. Quackenbush died on Friday, Aug. 24, 1900, at No. 3 East 94th Street, New York City. Interment at Greenwood Cemetery.

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