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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

John Street Church

Heritage Trail

 
 
John Street Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
1. John Street Church Marker
Inscription. John Street Church is the oldest Methodist Society in continental America and is the mother church of American Methodism. The Society was organized in New York in 1766 by Philip Embury, and ardent Irish Methodist and former Wesleyan preacher who settled here in the seventeen-sixties.

The society rented the upper story of “The Old Rigging Loft” in 1767, a space sometimes used for rigging sails, located on the eastern side of William Street between John and Fulton streets. Embry was joined in his preaching by Thomas Webb, a retired British captain who was given license as a lay preacher by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

In 1768 the society built a chapel which Embury designed. The first sexton was Peter Williams, a former slave who won emancipation and helped found the A.M.E. Zion Church.

A larger church was built on this site in 1818 and the stones of Embury’s original chapel were laid in the foundation. The second church was demolished in 1840 to accommodate the widening of John Street. The present structure was designed by William Hurry in the Federal style. Its foundations still hold the stones of Embury’s chapel and some of its structural elements were made of the stout, handhewn beams of the 1817 building.

Called “Old John Street,” the building is notable for the handsome
Markers on the John Street Church image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
2. Markers on the John Street Church
Several markers are located on the front of the Church. The John Street Church marker is the one to the extreme left.
Palladian window directly above the broad main entrance door, and the simple dignity of the interior.

John Street is also the site of an early incident of bloodshed in the Revolutionary period. In 1770 the patriotic Sons of Liberty attacked three of the king’s soldiers found posting insulting placards. This culminated in the Battle of Golden Hill (an early name for John Street east of William), in which citizens and soldiers clashed briefly. This event occurred several years before the celebrated Boston Massacre.

The John Street Theater, one of the city’s first, was opened in 1767 just east of Broadway. A contemporary described it as “principally of wood, an unsightly object, painted red.” General Howe’s British occupation forces took part in its productions, and Washington attended performances there when New York was the federal capital. The theater closed in 1798.
 
Location. 40° 42.548′ N, 74° 0.482′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on John Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. The markers are on the front of the John Street Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 44 John Street, New York NY 10038, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Street Methodist Church (here, next to this
John Street Church Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
3. John Street Church Markers
The "handsome Palladian window" mentioned in the marker can be seen here above the entrance door. The marker is at the left edge of the photo.
marker); a different marker also named John Street Methodist Church (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named John Street Church (here, next to this marker); Former residence of Thomas Jefferson (within shouting distance of this marker); 33 Liberty Street (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Rigging Loft (about 400 feet away); Federal Reserve Bank of New York (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Federal Reserve Bank of New York (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. Pictures of “The Old Rigging Loft” circa 1767 and Wesley Chapel, 1768, appear near the top of the marker. Below this are pictures of Philip Embury and Peter Williams.
 
Also see . . .
1. Early History of John Street Church. John Street Church website. (Submitted on June 6, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Battle of Golden Hill. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on June 6, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Another Marker at John Street Church image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
4. Another Marker at John Street Church
“This church, the first erected by the Methodist Society in America was built 1768 – Rebuilt 1817”

This marker is located to the right of the John Street Church Marker (see above photos).
 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.Colonial EraWar, US Revolutionary
 
John Street Church image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
5. John Street Church
The current church is the third to be located at this site.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,137 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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