Schoonmaker, Henricus

Schoonmaker, Henricus a (Dutch) Reformed minister, was born at Rochester, Ulster Co., N.Y., in 1739. He was converted early in life under the ministry of the Rev. Henricus Frelinghuysen, and studied theology with the Rev; John H. Goetschius, who became his father-in-law. Dr. Schoonmaker was one of the first ministers of the Reformed Church who were licensed by the coetus, independently of the Church in Holland. He was called immediately (1763) to the churches of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill. When the ministers arrived to ordain him, they found the church doors barred against them by the Conferentie party, and the service was conducted under the shade of a large tree in a wagon, in which upon his knees the candidate took his vows in presence of a large congregation. A ministry thus begun was not likely to be fruitless. His labors were greatly blessed, notwithstanding the opposition to which he was constantly exposed. In 1774 he removed to Acquackanonck (now Passaic), N.J., and subsequently gave a portion of his services to the neighboring church of Toteroo (now Paterson). In 1816 he resigned his charge, and died in 1820, having survived nearly all of his contemporaries. His grateful people continued his salary for life. He was the last but one of the old Dutch clergy who preached only in the language of Holland. Dr. Livingston pronounced him the most eloquent preacher in that tongue whom he had ever heard in this country. He was always popular in the pulpit, and his style was nervous, eloquent, and powerful. His life was blameless, and his ministry of over half a century was full of good fruits. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit; Kip, Historical Discourse. (W.J.R.T.)

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