18th C. | St. Philip's Chapel
In 1770 a charter from King George III formally recognized the first church in the area, St. Peter’s Church in Peekskill. The wooden church, which still stands in the center of the community cemetery in Cortland, to the north of Peekskill, had been constructed in 1767. Beverly Robinson and Charles Moore were appointed as the first church wardens.
Among the first orders of business decreed by the wardens was the expansion of the church’s ministry to families located in an area known as the Four Corners in Garrison. At first, services were conducted at the home of Jacob Mandeville, which also still stands at the corner of Lower Station Road and Route 9D.
John Doty, a recent graduate of Columbia University, was called as the first rector of the two churches, St. Peter’s and St. Philip’s Chapel. The new minister was to serve and be supported by the co-joined congregations.
As revolutionary sentiment fomented among his congregations, Rev. Doty, a staunch Loyalist, departed for Nova Scotia where he continued his career as a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Rev. Doty’s short tenure as rector of St. Peter’s and St. Philip’s seems to have established an early precedent for the two churches.
Over the next 100 years, both churches experienced many young rectors who served them for only brief periods of time and then went on to distinguished careers in the greater church.