The History of Gilead
For those who are interested in a detailed history of Gilead, we have prepared a pamphlet entitled A History of the Saints of Gilead. Please note that it is in PDF format.
A Brief History of Gilead Presbyterian Church
Gilead Presbyterian Church was first known as the West Church of Christ in Philips Patent, with Elisha Kent as Pastor. Its first house of worship was Historic Plaquea log structure that was built in 1743 in the area now known as Tilly Foster. From 1755 to 1834, Gilead worshipped in a building atop Seminary Hill in Carmel. The old Gilead Burying Ground is still located there, and is final resting place to patriot spy Enoch Crosby. Crosby was listed as one of the elected trustees when the congregation was incorporated in 1803 as the Second Presbyterian Congregation and Society of Carmel. In 1773, while the church was on this second site, a portion of the congregation migrated to found the present Baptist Church of Millerton, which still retains possession of Gilead’s original record book.
In 1836, the church moved to “Center City” (present-day Carmel) on the shore of “Shaw’s Pond” (now called Lake Gleneida). The congregation was later incorporated in 1893 as the Gilead Presbyterian Church and Society of Carmel. The name “Gilead” appears to have been associated with the church as well as with the nearby Lake Gilead from the time of Elnathan Gregory, who in 1760 preached with great effect on Jeremiah 8:22. From church records, it appears that a formal Presbyterian relationship dates from the enrollment of the church in the Presbytery of Bedford in 1835. Picture of old Gilead Church
The present edifice was dedicated on January 31, 1924. It is Gilead’s fifth house of worship and is the third on the current site, replacing an 1894 structure that was lost to fire in 1922. The existing building is substantially a replica of its 1894 predecessor. A modern school wing was added in 1958 and it houses the Gilead Church School as well as Carmel Nursery School (founded in 1949).
Since 1743, Gilead Presbyterian Church has had 48 pastorates, and over 100 men and women have served the community as Elders and Deacons.
For Those Seeking Genealogical Information
We thank you for visiting Gilead’s web site. Because Gilead’s roots go back over 250 years, we sometimes receive requests for historical information from those tracing their family history. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to answer many of these inquiries. Approximately 40 years ago, it was decided by Gilead to transfer its historic records through 1955 to the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. This was done to ensure the safety and preservation of these documents. Mr. Kenneth J. Ross, the Reference Librarian for the Society, has kindly provided Gilead with the following information:
We have primary records from your church from 1803 to about 1960. The register and session minutes — the records most family historians want to see — are in three volumes, 1803 – 1955. We have no records prior to 1803, and we have no indication here where earlier materials might be, but apparently there are some earlier materials available somewhere as we have transcriptions of the records of a traveling missionary in your county going back to before 1760.
The earliest register information, 1803 – 1833, has been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and should be available nationally through the Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I suspect that most of your family history questioners will be satisfied to view the microfilm copy. Please feel free to give your questioners our address and phone number as well as our URL’s, should they have any follow-up questions to direct to us.
Please advise your inquirers that we welcome visitors, but due to staff limitations, we cannot do family research in the records deposited here. As our web site takes shape, they will find a full statement of our access policies there.
For the Society,
Kenneth J. Ross
Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Gilead was established in 1743 originally as West Church of Christ in Philips Patent, affiliated with the Church of Christ. It was incorporated as a Presbyterian Church in 1803, explaining why the Historical Society’s records only go back to that date. Unfortunately, Gilead Online has been unable to determine there whereabouts of many of its records prior to 1803.We do have a list of pastors, elders and deacons from our inception, and we would be glad to try to research this information. Please allow us 3 weeks to respond, as this work is done by volunteers.With respect to the records held by the Historical Society, you are invited to visit the society to do research or visit one of the Family History Centers of the Mormon church to view the microfilm copies. We urge you to respect Mr. Ross’ request that you not contact the Society and ask them questions, since they are not in a position to answer them.
Also, Gilead Presbyterian Church neither owns nor maintains historic Gilead Cemetery. It is under the custody of the Town of Carmel. The Carmel Historical Society provides a detailed report on the cemetery.