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“St. Georges Presbyterian Church was founded in 1698. Meetings were held in a log building. The Rev. Henry Hook was installed as the first pastor in 1722. “On the 23rd day of April in the 15th year of George II, King of Great Britain, etc., and in the year of our Lord 1742,” Magdalene Cox deeded 97 perches of land on the King’s Road, for 1 shilling, as a church site. On Sept. 6, 1790, Elizabeth Dushane transferred to the trustees, for the nominal sum of 5 shillings, 1 silver tankard and 1 silver pint.

This church was located one mile west of St. Georges on what is now the road to Kirkwood, where St. George’s Cemetery is now located. Presumably it was of log or frame construction. The altar was toward the west and there were two side aisles. At the head of the southerly aisle there were two interments marked with flat slabs. One of these is the oldest inscribed tomb in the cemetery. It is the grave of Peter Bayard Rodgers, who died on Mar. 15, 1739 at the age of 4 years, 3 mos. and 22 days. He was the son of the Rev. John Rodgers and his wife Elizabeth. Alongside is the grave of the mother, Elizabeth.

At the foot of the northerly aisle is the tomb of Dr. David Thompson, who died on Feb. 22, 1795. On the site of the altar is the grave of the Rev. J. C. How, who served this church and the church in the town of St. Georges from 1830 until his death on Aug. 13, 1855. The layout of this church is the conclusion reached by Tyson F. Sartin, who looks after the cemetery, and it appears quite logical to the writer.

South of and close to the grave of Mr. How is the grave of the Hon. Anthony Higgins, LL.D., who was prominent in the public life of Delaware. Mr. Higgins died on June 26, 1912, and it is claimed that his funeral was the first all-automobile funeral held in Delaware.

In 1840, a lot in St. Georges was secured and the present brick church was started. It was completed and dedicated on July 27, 1845. The 200th Anniversary of the church was celebrated on May 29, 1898. Among those taking part were the Revs. W. H. Stone, O. A. Gillingham, L. A. Oates, D. J. Beale, H. Rumer, J. H. Moore, J. L. Vallandingham and Anthony Higgins, Esq.

After extensive rebuilding the church was reopened on Oct. 9, 1904. The Rev. R. A. Davidson, D.D., preached the reopening sermon in the morning. Ten beautiful memorial windows were dedicated by the pastor, the Rev. J. R. Milligan. At 2:30 P. M., an historical service was held at which time Anthony Higgins, Esq., delivered the address. The evening sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Henry Rumer.

There is a gallery in the rear of the church. Two marble tablets on the front wall of the auditorium honor the Rev. John Rodgers, D.D., who served the church from 1749 to 1763 and the Rev. James Coles How who served from 1830 to 1855.” (1)

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Text Source:

1. Frank R. Zebley, The Churches of Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware, 1947, p. 178-180.

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