19th C. | Restoration and Education
The restoration of the congregational buildings from the ravages of the Revolutionary War period and the continuity of the church’s ministry to a sparse population of parishioners presented a challenge to the numerous clergy who were called to serve St. Philip’s during the next century.
The church experienced a revolving door of clergy with short tenures. Many followed the example of the Reverend Doty and became distinguished leaders of the growing American Episcopal Church in subsequent service. The first minister following the War, in 1792, was the Reverend Andrew Fowler, whose three year tenure as priest at St. Philip’s was followed by a very successful posting in South Carolina. Rev. Fowler is remembered as the founder of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
During the early years of the century, education for local children was an important concern both of area residents and of the leadership of St. Philip’s Church. In the 1830s, a free school for local families was erected on the church property. Supported by the church and its members, the first school master, Jacob Lent served the children of the community until his death in 1857.
In 1866, the school building was moved across Route 9D and has remained in use since then, becoming the present Garrison Union Free School. St. Philip’s concern about education, however, did not end with the moving of the school. For many years our Parish House served as the gym for the Garrison School and, under the leadership of Anne Prentice, a community nursery school and was started at St. Philip’s in 1960 and continues to this day.
Early financial support for St. Philip’s and its clergy was supplied in part by proceeds from a glebe farm. A glebe farm was farmland donated to a local church that was then rented out to a tenant farmer. Proceeds from the rental went to support the church and its ministry. Generous donations were also made to the church by many prominent local families. Our sister parish, Trinity Church in New York City, also made several grants to St. Philip’s.
Throughout its history, St. Philip’s fortunes have been watched over by the leading families of Garrison and Van Cortland Manor, many of whom were absentee landlords who returned to the area during the summer months. Now, many descendants of these families have become local residents and remain parish members, your friends and neighbors. St. Philip’s continues to benefit from their oversight.