Tasschemacher (Dutch, Tesschenmaeker), PETNUS, one of the earliest ministers of the Reformed (Dutch) Church in the United States, was born in Holland, and educated at the University of Utrecht. He was settled in the United States first at Kingston, N. Y., in 1676-77, then went to Dutch Guiana, S. A., 1677-78, and in 1679-80 we find him at New Amstel, now New Castle, Del. Here difficulties arose which induced him to leave that people. He supplied the Church on Staten Island occasionally, 1682-83. In 1684 he took charge of the Church at Schenectady, N. Y., which he retained until his death. Meantime, in 1684, as the records show; he organized the Church at Hackensack, N. J., with thirty-three communicants. He was never their pastor, but seems to have made them occasional visits, to preach and receive members and dispense the Lord's supper, until 1789. This service must have cost him then much time and labor; but in this apostolic method of journeying and visitations many of the old churches were planted and sustained in their primitive worship. At Schenectady Mr. Tasschemacher was the first pastor, although the Church was probably organized before he went to them. He was the most prominent victim of the Indian massacre and burning of that city. Feb. 8, 1690. "The French, in order to control the Indian trade, had planned the capture of Albany and New York the year before. The plan was not wholly carried out; but a party of French and Indians left Montreal, and, proceeding by way of Lake Champlain, intended attacking Albany. But, the Indian chiefs not consenting, they turned off towards Schenectady. They gave orders that Tasschemacher's life should be saved on account of the information they could obtain from him; but his house was not known, and before he could be personally recognized he was slain and his house and papers burned. His head was cloven open and his body burned to the "shoulderblades." Sixty persons lost their lives on that fatal Saturday midnight before they could escape or defend themselves from their stealthy and cruel foes. The remnant that escaped kept the Church of Schenectady alive. Without a pastor to instruct them, they met for worship amid the ruins of the city, chose their elders and deacons from year to year, who were ordained by the Rev. Godfriedus Dellius, of Albany, and his successor, Rev. Petrus Van Dressen, until, in 1702, the little flock thus kept alive, and having gained in numbers and strength, called the Rev. Bernardus Freeman and received him as their pastor. Little more is known of Mr. Tasschemacher's history. He died a martyr among his flock, and his ministry and death illustrate the perils amid which the Gospel was preached and churches were established in their early days upon the frontier. See Corwin, Manual of the Ref. Church, p. 486. (V. J. R.T.)

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