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The First Presbyterian Church of Southold is the oldest congregation in the town of Southold. The town was founded by Puritans fleeing England, seeking religious freedom. The magnificent church that stands today is the third church to house the congregation. The congregation was formed in 1640 by Reverend John Youngs, who arrived in the area from Southwold, England by way of Salem, Massachusetts.

First Presbyterian Church of Southold

First Presbyterian Church of Southold, circa 1906

The earliest years of settlement, the town was a virtual theocracy run by the members of the church. Voting rights and the ability to hold public office required membership in the Presbyterian Church of Southold. The first meeting house was a sturdy functional building situated just to the west in the open area where the tall gray monument stands in what is today the graveyard.  As the town and the congregation grew so did the need for a new church. The second church was built in 1684 and was located across the street where town hall currently sits. The original church was then turned into the local jail! When the congregation outgrew the second church building, the third church, which still stands, was sited back on the south side of the street next to the graveyard. The stately structure was built in 1803.  The building seats 400 people and has enclosed pews in the sanctuary as well as balconies that ring three sides of the interior.  

Antiquities, Society for the Preservation of Long Island's. Historic House Inventory - Southold Town. Survey for New York State , unpublished, 1976-1987.

Fleming, Geoffrey K. Images of America Southold. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Hallock, Joseph Nelson, Fleming, Geoffrey K. Southold Reminiscences. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2008.

Markers, Committee for the Guide to Historic. Guide to Historic Markers. Southold, New York: Southold Historical Society, 1960.

Whitaker, Epher. Whitaker's Southold. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1931.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

From the Collection of the Town of Southold