Stone Arabia Church, Nellistone New YorkStone Arabia Reformed Church, near Nellistone, Montgomery County, New York

The land upon which the original Stone Arabia Church was built (a long structure) and which stood where the present Lutheran church is now erected, was purchased from William Coppernoll of Schenectady, the contract being dated January 7, 1729, the deed to be given by April 9, 1731. The deed, however was dated May 19, 1732. It consisted of 50 acres for which 100 pounds was to be paid, the other parties to the transaction being Andrew Find, Warner Diegert, Johannes Schnell and “all the rest of the proprietors and owners of the Stone Raby patent.” In the following year (1733) the people, Germans Lutherans and German Calvinists, began to build a frame church, on the site of the building now occupied by the church. The foundation had been laid when a controversy arose as to the name by which the church should be known in the future. The Lutherans withdrew from the project and returned to the old log church, while the Reformed people continued to build.

Johnannes Schnell and Johannes Krembs were the contractors, having given bonds for 400 pounds to finish the building according to the plans. Five years were spent in building, but no record is given of the cost or size of the edifice, nor any view exits of the church, unless, perchance, the ancient seal illustrates this first church. Rev. Wm. C. Berkenmeyer, pastor at the Palatine Stone Church (1733-1734), Lutheran, writes under date of August 11, 1734, that he had visited Stone Arabia and held services in a church jointly built by the Reformed and Lutherans.

This must have been the original church. Under date of February 17, 1745, Rev. Peter Nicolas Sommer in his Journal writes that he had held a service of communion for the Lutherans of Stone Arabia in the barn of Wilhelm Nellis. This shows that the old log structure had already been abandoned, but as yet no Lutheran church had been erected to take its place.

Ten years later the Lutherans and the Reformed people divided equally the 50 acres of Glebe. The release given by the Lutheran church to the Reformed church is dated “Twenty-seventh day of March in the seventeenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second over Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc., and in the year of our Lord Christ, one thousand seven hundred and forty-four.” It is the oldest and most valuable of the very few papers or records, outside of the books, in the possession of the church. It is signed by Jacob Schnell, Kirk Loux, Wm. Brouer, Laverinus Deigert, Peter Suits, Hendreick Loux, Nicholas Horning, William Coppernoll, Peter Diegert, Harris Schnell, Andreas Find and Johannes Krems. Each name is differently “sealed” and six are “marked.”

This old stone church, and the one at German Flatts (Fort Herkimer) whose foundations were laid almost half a century before it, are among the most remarkable and rarest ecclesiastical buildings to be found in the United States. The elements of time and innovation have not changed their forms, except slight improvement made necessary within. The same simple but substantial lines of craftsmanship that the builders wrought into these stone Houses of God abide to this day.

Excerpt from “History of Montgomery Classis, R. C. A.”, 1916, by W. N. P. Dailey. Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY

Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Stone Arabia, in Palatine, Montgomery Co, NY start 1739 for some records online at Ancestry. Check card catalog.

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