America's First Ordination
In 1680 there were only five houses in Port Richmond.
But in 1683 our congregation welcomed
the first minister to be ordained in America,
the Rev. Petrus Tesschenmacker.
According to Staten Island historians Leng and Davis, before this time all the ministers had been ordained in Europe.
Here is an order to the Constable of Staten Island, N.Y. to examine a man, and, if he approves, ordain him into the ministry of Protestant Reformed Church:
30 Sept. 1679
To the Constable of Staten Island --
Upon application from New Castle in Deleware, That (being destitute) Mr. Peter Teschermacker may bee admitted to bee their minister. By vertue of his Maties Letters patent and Authoritie, you, to examine the said Mr. Teschermacker, and if our shall find him fittly Qualifyed that you then ordain him into the Ministry of the Protestant reformed church to preach God's word and Administer his Holy Sacramants, and give him Testimonialls thereof as is usuall.
Given under my hand and seale of the Province of New Yorke the thirteenth day of Stepember in the 31st year of his Maties Reigne Annoq Domnie 1679.
Matthias Nicolls, Se
He was ordained by the four Dutch Ministers in this country.
Tesschenmacker supported himself by farming. In 1847 Frederick Law Olmsted would purchase his farm.
Olmsted's Colonial-era farmhouse
still stands, as do about a dozen
trees that he planted. Now owned
by New York City Parks.
Joseph H. Seguine built the mansion in 1838. His grand-father's 1730 baptism appears in the Voorlezer's Book of our Church. Olmsted was a friend. The Mansion is in Lemon Creek Park and a member of the NYC Historic House Trust.
This is where Olmsted, newly arrived on Staten Island from Connecticut, logged in nine years running a farm before dreaming up his signature urban wildernesses. Olmsted gave the place a new name, Tosomock, a tribute to Petrus Tesschenmakr, the Dutch minister who put up the home's chunky stone walls in 1685. New York Times August 4, 2012
On September 9, 1686 Tesschenmacker removed to Schenectady; but his ministry there was suddenly brought to a close when on September 14, 1690 he and most of his church members were surprised by a band of French and Indians and were all massacred. "The Domine's head was split open and his body burned up to the shoulders."
By 1695 the population of 727 on Staten Island was divided equally between Dutch, French, Belgian,
and English, with 70 enslaved Africans sharing the labor.