Reverend James Murdock – one of my Great Great Great Great Grandfathers
On Ancestry.com I have found several extracts about him.
The following Narrative by Harvey D. Smith
REVEREND JAMES MURDOCK (father of Judge Samuel)
He graduated from Yale in 1774, and was settled as a Congregational minister at Sandgate, Vermont, in 1780. He moved to Lewis county, New York, 1805. In January, 1811, he was settled as pastor of the church at Martinsburg, New York; resigned in 1820 and removed to Gouverneur, New York, where he labored until 1825. He was then seventy years old, but preached occasionally after this for several years. He resided mostly at Houseville, Lewis county, where his wife died November 11, 1838. In 1839 he made a journey to Vermont, to New York City, and to his native place, where he preached in the same pulpit in which he had officiated at the outset of his ministry, fifty years before. In 1839 he went to reside with his son Samuel at Crown Point, New York, at whose home he died. They had ten children, three sons and seven daughters.
He retained his faculties in a good degree to the last having taken an active part in public religious services in the last Sabbath of his life. He had a good classical education which he retained to an uncommon degree to an old age by means of a good memory and constant use. He was a man of fair but no brilliant talents; industrious, persevering and faithful in his callings; well versed in theology; evangelical in sentiment; moderate Calvinist in doctrine; he loved and practiced truth and honesty in religion and in business. Grave and dignified in the pulpit; cheerful, courteous, kind and consistent out of it; fond of society and of conversation; attached to his friends, his house was the abode of the most cordial hospitality which he dispensed with unaffected ease and suavity to his numerous friends; and rare was the day during sixty years in which it was not claimed by someone. In person he was short of stature (like his father) but erect and well-proportioned with a countenance which in youth and middle age was said to have been uncommonly handsome and attractive; indeed it always had this characteristic in a good degree considering his years. His complexion was light and black eyes, though not very black. His hair in youth was black, but turned white at an early age. He was orderly, neat and gentlemanly in his dress; somewhat formal, but kind, considerate and ever cheerful, in his address and manner. As a husband and a parent he was a pattern of propriety. His presence always diffused happiness in the family and friendly circle. Though afflicted with deafness which commenced while he was in college and slowly increased until in his later years it required an effort to make him hear, yet to me, it was always a pleasure to converse with him. He was remarkably free from the rigidity of feeling, prejudice and regrets so common to the aged. He sympathized with the young and with youthful feelings; examined with great candor new inventions and new modes of thought and action; was willing that improvements should be made, and se.emed to expect them, and to feel that the world ought to make and was making progress. He engaged with zeal in all benevolent enterprise for advancing the interest of religion and humanity. I wish my children to revere his memory and emulate his virtues. He inherited from the paternal estate about 3,000 dollars beside his education. This sum he at no period of his life very greatly enlarged or diminished
the following from
“The youngest son of Judge John Murdock was born in 1758 and died in 1841. He was a clergyman of the Presbyterian church, and was one of the best known and most respected ministers in Vermont and New York. His principal places of residence and pastorate were at Sandgate, Vermont, and later at Gouverneur, New York. He married Anne Buckingham, daughter of Captain Joseph Buckingham, and they had ten children.”
There is evidence that building had probably been commenced earlier, for records of Proprietors’ Meetings show they were held at the “Meeting House,” but due to the scarcity of money it must have been a slow process. In 1783 an Act was passed by the Legislature “to enable Towns and Parishes to erect proper Houses of Worship and support the Ministers of the Gospel.” This provided for the levying of taxes fro’ building churches, voting settlements to ministers, and granting’ their annual support; but exemption might be granted to a person who held religious opinions differing from those of the denomination which was to benefit as a result of the tax voted if a certificate were furnished, signed by some minister or church official of the denomination with which the dissenter was affiliated. In Sandgate the Congregational Church was to benefit by this law, and the Rev. James Murdock was voted a salary of 50 pounds a year.
from A History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, New York by Franklin Benjamin Hough
He was also appointed minister in Sandgate, Vermont in 1782. A ” high hill, called “Minister Hill,” on the west side of which lay the farm or lot of land occupied by REV. JAMES MURDOCK, the first settled minister in Sandgate, of the Congregational order .” from Vermont Historical Magazine