The Archives bring Congregant predecessors to life.
This Church participated in the history of Port Richmond from its agrarian beginnings, through the development of its waterfront, through battles and espionage in the American Revolution, to its waves of immigration, to its fabled twentieth-century reputation as the Fifth Avenue of Staten Island, to its present challenges.
All the while they were in the forefront of the movements for Independence, the Birth of our Nation, Emancipation, Women’s Suffrage and Racial Equality - to name just a few.
The human story behind the history can be read between the lines in our collection of receipts, manuscripts, land papers, record books and even notes scribbled on small pieces of paper.
The New York Preservation Archive Project awarded the Church a grant to organize and inventory
their collection toward the final goal of digitizing it and putting it on line.
The oldest item is a deed, wax seals intact, that dates from 1688.
Peter and Annetje --members of the Dutch Reformed Church
of Gowanas, which disbanded in 1968 -- sold their land on Staten Island.
Their deed somehow came into the possession of our Congregant family, the Seguines.
Archives of Reformed Church on Staten Island.
Gift of George Burke, Prince's Bay, Staten Island 2017
Click on image below
to read transcription
Back of the sheepskin document reads "Sealed & Delivered in the Presence of Cornelius Corsen"
Our cemetery originated as the Corsen family burial ground. Daniel Corsen became the Richmond County Clerk. They owned land to the west of our deed.
We learned that the seller in the deed, Pieter Jansen Staats (Peter Johnson), had two sons. One of the sons, Jan, was the father-in-law of our pastor, Cornelius Van Santvoord, who came to us in 1718.
The next patent west was given to Staats' brother-in-law, Gerrit Croesen (later Cruser). His son, Hendrick Cruser (Henderyck Kroesen), was the Voorlezer of our Church from 1686 to 1717, who started our Voorlezer's Book in 1696.
Note that the property of our 1688 deed is listed on Skene's 1907 Map of Colonial Land Patents as "not patented."
When Burke donated the 1688 deed we had no idea how closely it was related to our Church.