Dutchess County’s First Church – Organized 1716
In 1716, the Reverend Petrus Vas journeyed downriver from Kingston, New York on a mission. The settlements in Poughkeepsie and Fishkill on the east side of the river, like its counterpart in Kingston on the western side, shared a common Dutch heritage and descended from the Dutch settlers who helped to establish and grow New Amsterdam. Unlike their Kingston bretheren, however, the colonists in Poughkeepsie and Fishkill did not have a Dutch Reformed church established to instruct them and given them spiritual guidance in this new land that was still very much a wilderness.
It was for this purpose that Dominie Vas traveled south and east: to establish a new church for the colonists of Dutchess County. From this mission, the shared Dutch Reformed Churches of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill were founded. Our congregation and the congregation of the Fishkill Reformed Church are the direct descendants of this first, shared church, and both rightfully lay claim to being Dutchess County’s oldest church.
You can download a pamphlet of the church’s history and buildings that have housed its congregations by clicking on the image to the right. This document has been compiled and edited by Pastor Geehan [Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view this document].