Records in the archives of the Diocese of New York indicate that Rev. Samuel Hawksley, an adventurous soul and missionary, “journeyed on foot from village to village” throughout this part of the Hudson Valley in the 1850’s. In 1849, those same records show that Hawksley celebrated “divine services” in Ellenville. A few years later, in 1866, the cornerstone of St. Paul’s Church (today, St. Paul’s Chapel) was laid.
During those post-Civil War years, most of the country continued to suffer, but then, from economic stagnation. Then, Mr. Elias Cornelius Humbert, a wealthy banker from Manhattan, who spent his summer months in the beautiful Shawangunk Valley where Ellenville is located, married a local girl, Miss Eleanor Carr. In 1872, after the death of their son, Cornelius, Mr. Humbert assumed financial responsibility for the post-war debt of the church building, and plans were made for the erection of a new, more suitable church, next door to St. Pauls, which was named St. John’s Memorial Episcopal Church. The cornerstone was laid in 1873; and the church dedicated, in 1874.
At the time of the consecration, a special concert featured the new pipe organ, played by the well-known organist, Mr. Homer Bartlett, of Marble Collegiate Church in the City. Finally, in 1884, Rev. Peter Claude Creveling began his ministry as the first Rector of St. John’s.