Our History

Celebrating Our Roots

The First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna is a rare historic gem. For over 250 years we have served the “Suckasunny Plains” and the surrounding community.

One of the oldest in the county, our congregation was organized around 1745. The first sanctuary was constructed on this site in 1760. From its beginning, members of the FPCS have been involved in local, state, and national affairs. During the Revolutionary War, the church served as barracks and a hospital. It is said that George Washington visited wounded troops here. It also served as an arsenal. One of the cannons stored here was melted down for the new Centennial Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1877.

In 1853, the present building was constructed to replace the old one. The first service held was the funeral for Mahlon Dickerson, a New Jersey judge, Governor, Congressman, General and Secretary of the Navy. He is buried in our cemetery. Mr. Dickerson also brought President VanBuren to worship here.

The most renowned pastor to serve our church was the Rev. Elijah Stoddard, who served for 50 years. Rev. Stoddard was instrumental in the organization and building of Roxbury’s first high school. Mrs. Stoddard built our Chapel building as a state of the art Christian Education Center. The church grew incredibly under the Stoddards’ guidance as they started many new organizations and guided the beginning of social and educational events. The first Women’s Organization of the Morris and Orange Presbytery was started here in 1878. Years later, the Rev. Sue Ellis Melrose became the first female pastor to be installed in the Presbytery of Newton.

Members of our congregation have always believed that local involvement displays how Presbyterians interact in the community. You will find our members involved in the operation of the township Library, the Board of Education, the Foundation For Excellence in Education, the local Food Pantry, the Dover Soup Kitchen, as well as local service and business organizations.

Many families reappear in succeeding generations, indicating that the values of our predecessors are being carried on. They have left us fellowship, organization, structures, and traditions to be sustained for the future. We have a vital heritage to be shared. With the Lord’s help, it will continue.