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Our Heritage

Sometime in the middle of the 18th century, a group of residents from Monmouth County, New Jersey petitioned John Cavert to explore for land in the Kayaderosseras Patent suitable to begin a new settlement.  During the 1770's Scots and Scotch Irish well versed in the trades left the village of Freehold, New Jersey to establish New Freehold (now Charlton, New York).


The first minister to serve the New Freeholders was the Rev. William Scheneck whose early training had been under William Tennett of Freehold, New Jersey.


The present church edifice (1852-53) is a fine example of Greek Revival Architecture.  A school was started in the mid 1850's in the old session room above the church horse shed.  The student body grew so that in 1859 the academy was built and served area students until 1913.  The building was then used for social events and as a grange hall until 1946 when it was destroyed by fire.  The wing built onto the church in 1950, housing classrooms, offices and fellowship hall, is still affectionately called "The Academy."


Charlton Freehold Presbyterian Church is proud of our more than 200 years of educational and spiritual offering to the community; our church looks forward to its continuance throughout the 21st century. 

Charlton Freehold Bell Tower.jpg

Charlton is the southwesterly town of Saratoga County, New York.  The county was formed from Albany County on February 7, 1791.  The survey of the Kayaderosseras patent which included the town of Charlton was made in 1771.  To defray the cost of the survey a parcel of land consisting of 5000 acres was set aside for the surveyors.  Part of this land is in Charlton, lying south of a line through the center of Main Street.

The town of Charlton was originally part of the town of Ballstown.  On March 17, 1792, Charlton, Galway and Milton were set off as separate towns.

The first permanent recognized settlers in Charlton were the family of Joseph Gonzales. They settled near the western end of the town in 1770.  The Sweetman family settled in the far eastern end of the town in 1774.  Sweetman lived at the edge of the Balls-Town settlement.

The early settlers of Charlton, as well as Ballston and Galway, were for the most part very devout Christian people.  Mainly of Scotch ancestry, they adhered to the Presbyterian faith, for which their forefathers had fought and died or were exiled. The early settlers attended the church at Ballston Center, but being too far away they soon established their own places of worship.

The settlers in the eastern part of town incorporated a church in Charlton village in 1786.  Public worship had been started in the schoolhouse before that date. The first pastor was Rev William Schenck.  He had studied with Rev. William Tennant.  The organization of our church was effected on January 3, 1786. It was called the Freehold Presbyterian Church and was put under the New York Presbytery.  The village at that time was still called Freehold.  Ours was the sixth church organized in the county.  In April 1787, the first election of Elders was held.  John Holmes, John Rogers, and Joel Smith were elected Elders.  Thomas Brown and Eli Northrup were elected Deacons.

The first building was built in the fall of 1787 on the site of the present church but farther from the road.  The second church to occupy the site was erected in 1804.  In 1852-53, the present church was built at a cost of about $3600.

Your Church Historian, Jim Hall

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