First Presbyterian Church of

Milford, Delaware

First Presbyterian Church of Milford History:


The First Presbyterian Church of Milford has a rich history. Our roots go back to 1700 in Milford Delaware. The present church was built and incorporated in 1850, over 150 years ago!


In 1700-12 Francis Makemie organized a church by what is now the Presbyterian Branch off of Kings Highway. It was know as the "Three Runs Church." In 1772 the Lewes Presbytery met here. It was a frame building with a brick floor. In 1819 on January 11th it was incorporated as the "First Presbyterian Church and Congregation in Milford"


Some years later the church ceased functioning due to building decay. Worship was continued in a building on Montgomery Street. The worshippers ceased gathering; however' the Sunday School started by Miss Hester McColly (later Mrs William Marshall) continued.


The Sunday School with a few loyal Presbyterians called on the Presbytery to build a church. The Presbytery sent The Reverend G. W. Kennedy who succeeded in gathering the funds to erect the building we now worship in. The first roll of members contains 7 names. The deed stated that the plot was for the purpose of erecting ...a house of worship for the use of the members of the Presbyterian Church of the village of South Milford, in connection with the the Presbytery of Wilmington. The cornerstone was laid July 4th 1850.  


Shortly after the church was built, a Thomas H. Truitt, purchased the land immediatly in front of the church and built a blacksmith shop with several other unsightly buildings. Needless to say, this was a significant annoyance to the church members. Peter F. Causey ended the problem by buying the land and deeding it to the church. 


In the early 1900's the church building was remodeled. The manse occupying the rear of the building was demolished and the space converted into an enlarged sanctuary with classrooms and kitchen below. Stained glass windows replaced latticed inside shutters. Next, a manse was purchased several blocks from the church partly as a gift from Elder and Mrs. James Gilchrist.


Then in 1924, Dr. Frank L. Grier arranged to move the graveyard next to the old Three Runs Meeting House of 1712 -1825 to Milford's Odd fellows Cemetery. Eleven bodies were reinterred and placed in plots purchased by Dr. Grier, which he turned over to the First Presbyterian Church of Milford.


In 1951, the present manse was built and occupied by the Reverend Kenneth M. Kepler and his family.  He wrote on the 100th anniversary of the "First Church" - "keep their (church) in pace with the times so that the 'light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ' might shine even more brightly through 'First Church.'"


If you visit the church, a clock that was funded by the State Legislature in 1851 is on display. It's how folks in downtown Milford tused to tell time. You can also see a painting of the Church as it looked in the 1850's.

The pictures in the slide show which follows were taken from The Church Annual Report of 1937-38, A Historical Sketch done by S.C. Evans, and the 100th Anniversary Document in 1947, as well as some photographs provided by Pastor John Gilmore.  Also, a special thanks to Mary Alice Smith for the notes she provided on the History of the First Presbyterian Church of Milford.

1-First Church
10 - Sunday School 1937
10 a Missionary Society 1937
10 b The Coral Society -1937
10 x Pastor Kepler 1949-56
11 - Sunday School 1997
12 - Christmas Eve Service around 1997
2-First Church 1937
3  Pastors who have served us
5- Senior Elder Charles Holzmueller 1922
6 - Smith and Humes 1927
7 - Gilchrist and Foulk
8 - Session Around 1935
9 - Pastor Brown 1935
start stop    bwd fwd


Today, like in the past, we are very active in the community with outreach programs both in Milford and Internationally. One of the local Ministries we are very active with is the Monday evening SOUP KITCHEN that we host. If you would like to participate, send an email to us  Call our office at 422-5701 or Join us on Sunday. You do not have to be a member of our church to help out. Check our ministries section for more information.

Starting on Easter Sunday 2018, we have as our interim paster the Rev. Dianne Deming.  We are starting the process of seeking a Pastor.  Our thanks to Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) Judy Adams, Elder  David Touart, and Guest Pastors for leading the church since the retirement of our previous pastor, Kevin Bowers.


To See a Histroy of the Presbyterian Church in the USA go to this LINK

Here are some pictures from the late 1800's. The dog was not one of the teachers in 1898. Word is that the Sunday School Play in 1895 was the talk of Milford; and we all want to know where the men were when the picture was taken of Mrs Gilcrist's 1888 Sunday School Class..








Pastors of First Presbyterian Church, Milford, DE

   Years                     Pastor

1849-1856              G. W. Kennedy

1858-1860                 George Mears

1860-1863                 J. Garland Hammer

1864-1866 (Supply)   Littleton J. Bowen

1866-         (Supply)   William Richardson

1866-1868                  J. F. Severance

1868-1872                  Richard A. Mallory

?                                 George F. Jones

1873-?                        A. A. Dinsmore

1876-?                        C. F. Boynton

1880           (Supply)   S. K. Schofield

1880-1927                  Henry LeVan Bunstein

1928           (Supply)   G. E. Hawes

1928           (Supply)   John Humphrey

1928-1932                  Alfred M. Eells

1932-1934                  William S. Irwin

1935-1943                  John Jackson Brown, Jr.

1944-1949                  John M. DeChant

1949-1956                  Kenneth M. Kepler

1956-1959                  Harry J. Jaeger

1960-1964                  James H. Lappen

1965-1968                  Louis P. Sheldon

1968-1978                  John F. Gray

1979-1997                  John A. Gilmore

1998-2002                  Kurt W. Johnston

2002-2004 (Interim)   Ernest G. Olsen

2004-2005 (Interim)   Robert M. Snable

2005-2017                  Kevin R. Bowers

2018-Now                   Dianne Deming

© 2020 First Presbyterian Church of Milford, Delaware
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