New-Paltz, aug: 19.1765.
Worthy & Highly esteemed Sir
Mr: Henricus Dubois.
Whereas We, the Present Consistory have requested Y[our] H[onor] in the name
of the Church on two occasions, to appear before us, in Order for Y[our] H[onor] to
account for the accusations of Sedition and
schism in the Congregation of New-Paltz, for us to be informed of
why Y[our] H[onor] acted so unchurchly, but Y[our] H[onor] has thought fit
to refuse this our request, so we inform Y[our] H[onor] again, that we
are obliged according to our Function, to guard against such Complaints of
Sedition & schism. & as much as possible, remove [them], [and] have decided
to summon Y[our] H[onor], on the 3rd. day of aug: at 2 o'clock in the afternoon
In the house of abraham Dojou in New-Paltz, before the Old & new Consistory,
to account orally for the charges brought against you,
we promise you therefor, that we shall use all our Suffering, about you,
so request Y[our] H[onor] by this Friend-brotherly, to Appear for us,
on the above-mentioned Time & Place, to account for your
doings, by which request, if you grant it, will you not only behave as a
Member, According your Duty, but also you will receive
the privilege to possibly defend Y[our] H[onor]. In case you should
again refuse this our request, so we can not neglect,
to inform Y[our] H[onor] by this, that this request from us, made to you,
will not only be the last, but that also we will be forced,
to Judge the Complaints of Sedition & causing schism,
& to deal with Y[our] H[onor], according to God's-word & Church-Order,
and Y[our] H[onor's] non-appearance before Us, shall then be on your
own Account; - - - So in Conveying the Lord's Mercy
for these things, that [they] may be useful for your Salvation. We remain
Y[our] H[onor's] Friends[,] loving your Soul
signed in the Name and by Order of the old & new
Consistory in New-Paltz
Joh: Mauritius Goetschius. V.D:M. ibidem (1)
(1)A decorative band of signs underlines the name and title on the last line
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This letter is the last of three which note the onset of the the struggle between the Coetus and Conferentia parties in New Paltz.
Hendricus DuBois (C-77) was born on August 1, 1710 to Solomon DuBois and Tryntje Gerritsen and baptized at the Reformed Dutch Church at Kingston, NY. On May 6, 1733 he married Jannetje Hooghteeling, by whom he had nine children. They resided in the hamlet of Libertyville, just west of the village of New Paltz. Hendricus served as an ensign and Captain of the 4th Ulster County Militia at Newburgh, NY during the Revolutionary War. Hendricus sided with Conferentia party during the Coetus-Conferentie controversy in the Dutch Reformed Church during the 1750's and 1760's. In 1766, Hendricus, along with members of the Elting, Low, Van Wagnenen, Van Vliet, Ean and Auchmody families, left the Dutch reformed Church at New Paltz and organized the Conferentia Church, or "Owl Church" on Libertyville Road in New Paltz. The church disbanded and rejoined the Reformed Church in 1774. At New Paltz Hendricus served as Overseer of the Poor (1751-1752), Constable (1754), and Assessor (1760). He died on June 6, 1780. - Eric Roth
The following information is taken from The History of New Paltz, New York and its old families (1678-1820), by Ralph Lefevre "The Coetus party did not care to own allegiance to any foreign ecclesiastical power.The Conferentia party held that the church in this country ought to remain subordinate to the classis of North Amsterdam and accused the Coetus party of despicable ingratitude against their benefactors, who had so long labored for their well being and have exerted so many efforts in behalf of the churches of New York. The battle raged fiercely among the Dutch churches in America. The consistory of the New Paltz church took sides with the Coetus and the great majority of the people ranged themselves with that party. There was an element, however, respectable in numbers and especially so in means and influence, which sided with the Conferentia. This party was almost altogether of Dutch descent, had moved from Kingston to New Paltz at a considerable period after the first settlement, and few had formally united with the church here. This party comprised the Eltings, the Lows and the Van Wagenens; also Jacob DuBois, who had recently moved from near Kingston, and Hendricus DuBois. The last named was a member of the New Paltz church and may be considered the foremost man in the Conferentia movement. In 1765 he was suspended for provoking schism and secession in the church and refusing to answer after three citations. He was evidently not much frightened and two years afterwards a meeting was held at his house to organize a Conferentia church. Rev. Isaac Rysdyck of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill was the officiating minister. The new church organization was weak in numbers,' but strong in determination and had a house of worship almost completed before the church was organized. This church building was located a short distance this side of the present residence of Capt. W. H. D. Blake, about two miles south of our village, on the west' side of the Wallkill. This church building was called "Kerk of het Grootstuck" that is in English "Church of the Great Piece" that being the name of the tract of land on which the church was located and which belonged to Noah Eltinge. It was usually called the "owl1' church, probably because the neighborhood abounded in owls. It was a frame building, 30 feet square, boarded without, plastered with clay within, shingle roofed, and containing 20 pews. It cost about £150. Josiah Elting and Hendricus DuBois were the most liberal contributors, each giving about £25. Noah Eltinge was elected elder and Petrus Van Wagenen deacon. Rev. G. D. Cock served for a time as stated supply for this church. Then in 1774 Rev. Rynier Van Nest was called to the pastorate of the church at Shawangunk and the Conferentia church at New Paltz. He received as salary £60 a year from Shawangunk and £20 a year from New Paltz. The feud between the Coetus and Conferentia parties in the Dutch church in America did not prevail many years, but it was a long time before the two churches at New Paltz were united. In 1771 a convention was held in New York, attended by delegates, ministers and elders from most of the churches, at which articles of union were drawn up. The Coetus church at New Paltz was represented by Johannes Hardenbergh. The Conferentia church had no delegate. The articles of union, adopted at this convention, left the church in this country practically independent of the mother church in Holland, though it was provided that if difficulties should arise concerning important points of doctrine or any member be deposed on account of heresy or misconduct there should be the right of appeal to the classis of Amsterdam. Johannes Hardenbergh, delegate from the old church at New Paltz, signed this agreement and his action was promptly approved by his consistory. The Conferentia party at New Paltz took no action for a long time. Finally in 1783 the spirit of harmony had been restored to so great an extent that at last the "owl" church was abandoned as a house of worship and its members in full harmony joined with the worshipers in the church in this village and its records were preserved with those of the older church. The "owl" church building was taken down and a granary was built of its material by Roelif J. Elting, at his home in this village. During its existence the total number of baptisms registered in this church were 60. There were 2 marriages recorded and 35 persons in all had joined the church. Of this number 19 united with the church in this village May 25th, 1783."
Notes concerning Johannes Mauritius Goetschius taken from The Goethschuis Family in America, by William Heidgerd. Johannes Mauritius Goetschius was born in the Canton of Thurgau, Switzerland. He received his medical degree in Europe, and came to America, hoping to practice medicine. He was the brother of the Reverend John Henry Goetschius, whom he studied theology with in Hackensack, NJ. In 1760, the New Paltz Church united with Shawangunk and invited Rev. J.M. Goetschius to serve as minister. He accepted this call from the two churches, which stated that he was to preach twice each Sunday, alternating between New Paltz and Shawangunk, from Easter to October. During the winter months only one sermon a day was required. He was also to administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, four times a year, twice at each church and to visit each family every year. For these services he received a house, barn, 90 acres of land and a good spring at Shawangunk, where he made his home. The New Paltz people were to provide his bed, board and quarters when he came to visit them. In his interactions with people, he ministered to both body and soul. He was known as the Doctor-Dominie. He was described as of a commanding appearance and courteous manner, an ordinary preacher, but moderately successful. His ministry continued until his death at the parsonage in Shawangunk , on Sunday afternoon at 4:00, March 17, 1771, at the age of 48. He was buried on the 19th in “het doophuisje” of the church at Shawangunk. The Reverend was a slave holder which is noted in his will, in which he states “I leave to my wife a negro man and woman and girl. . ."
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