First Presbyterian Church
32nd Street
Newport News, VA 23607
10/01/04 10/01/04
1909 1914 1918 Saturday, October 18, 2003
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/19/03
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/26/04
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/04/03
Thanks, Dave!
Images by Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 10/19/03
Thanks, Dave!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Image by Chip Clark ('65) of Northern VA - 11/02/05
Thanks, Chip!

The First Presbyterian Church on 32nd Street (next to the YMCA) had a very major role in the early years
of Newport News Shipbuilding. When Collis Huntington of railroad fame, who was a great supporter
of the original Homer Ferguson, the driving force in the shipyard, wanted to locate a shipyard in Newport
News they also wanted to get shipbuilding artisans from Europe. The Clyde Shipyards in Port Glasgow,
Scotland, were going bankrupt as were many shipyards in Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Accordingly, they recruited skilled artisans from Scotland to come to America, one of whom was
my grandfather, Robert Murray Dick, who was a skilled ship's carpenter. Many others came with my
grandfather and, hence, the need for a Presbyterian Church since it is basically "The Church of Scotland".
My early family had many great ties to the old locally owned shipyard and, of course, they were Presbyterians
through and through. Henry Hoyle ('65) and I both grew up in that beautiful old church. I was both baptized there
and joined the church there as a young boy. I haven't been to town in a while but I hope that beautiful stained glass
window is still showing out on 32d Street. Ah, the memories of what was a wonderful downtown.
The malls just don't do the same thing!
- Jim Dick ('65) of FL - 08/29/04
Thanks, Jimmy!

"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."

-- Margaret Fuller

Courtesy of Kevin Eikenberry - 08/30/04 

I was also baptized at First Presbyterian Church and have very fond memories of Dr. Buckles.  I had no idea of the
history but that is why my family joined this church as my grandparents were born in Scotland. Thanks for the info. 
- Jo Ann Stewart ('64) of VA - 09/01/04
Thanks, Jo Ann!


I just finished looking at the old pictures of the First Presbyterian Church on 32nd Street. 
I also attended there from birth to around 1982.  I too am a Scot!

We visited a few times the last years before they sold the church building.  It was sad. But! As its members scattered like seeds, fruit is produced elsewhere. For Jimmy (Dick - '65 - of FL), Jo Ann (Stewart - '64 - of VA), Henry (Hoyle - '65 - of Northern VA) and others who also grew up in this wonderful church family, I thought I'd pass along a few tidbits.

  • Sara Wade Owen -- we were at Ferguson together for a few years before she retired. She was in South Hill and doing great that last time I saw her.

  • Ruthie Sanders lives in the Windward Towers and I see her on her daily walks. She loves the swimming pool. I floated around with her last summer and caught up.

  • Lucy Andrews can be seen shopping at Food Lion at Warwick Shopping Center from time to time.

  • Eddie Peoples can be heard still singing at the Methodist Church on Main Street. He has moved to The Chesapeake (from 58th Street)

  • Jerry and I have a plate like the ones at the top of the page of pictures of the church.  We visited Massanetta Springs last summer and similar plates from churches all over are hanging in the dining hall -- including First Presbyterian, NN.

  • We were greeted like family members coming home for a reunion. You can rent cabins and do just that. What memories of summer camp at Massanetta! To think they almost closed it down.

  • And, yes, Jimmy, the stained glass windows are still there! I guess by now, you know.

  • We also see Fenton White and his wife at Golden Corral a lot.

  • Dr. Buckles was scheduled to marry us on March 31, 1968, but Jerry received orders for VN and we moved the wedding up to February 24th so he could not do the honors. My uncle came up from South Carolina and was pleased to take over. Dr. Iverson Graham, Jr.,  a marriage counselor and Methodist minister, is 90 years old. He gave us a hug last fall and said "It's good to see the ones that took". I can't wait to see him next month.

- Judy Phillips Allen ('66) of VA - 06/08/06
Thanks, Judy!


..... Now, about First Presbyterian.  I have always held this church in high regard.  I have quite a good memorabilia collection of this church.  It is amazing that they only had four ministers in all their years of service.  They were Dr. Wellford, Dr. Buckles, Dr. Kennedy and then the last one.  I hated so much to see it expire.  It had a rich history and, in my opinion, could have continued on......  I best not say more.  There are so many saintly people who walked through those doors.  I went to the final sad....I purchased some treasures they allowed me to have for my collection. 
- Fred Mays ('60) of VA - 06/10/06
Thanks, Fred!


This Is My Father's World

Text: Maltbie D. Babcock
Music: Traditional English melody; adapted by Franklin L. Sheppard

1. This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

3. This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

"This Is My Father's World" midi and text courtesy of,
at the suggestion of Jim Dick ('65) of FL - 08/30/04
Thanks, Jimmy!

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