History

Our History

This synopsis history is written with great respect and honor for the historians, pastors, officers and members of First Presbyterian Church in Liberty. Many more complete documents can be found in the church library including a 32 page booklet that was written for the 150th Anniversary.

An ordained missionary named Hiram Chamberlain was sent from New York City to establish a church in the newly incorporated city of Liberty, Missouri in August of 1829. The first service was held August 29, 1829 in a grove of trees on the northeast corner of Morse and Kansas streets. Reverend Chamberlain was assisted by Reverend N.B. Dodge of Harmony Mission in Bates county Missouri. They elected 3 elders; Robert Elliott, James McWilliams, and William Modrel. The original congregation had 16 members, 11 women and 5 men.

Reverend Chamberlain went on to start mission churches across Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.

Over the first 24 years the congregation met at private homes, rented commercial buildings, shared a building with the Baptist Church, and even met in the County Courthouse.

In 1852 the land where the church now resides on the corner of Mississippi and Main streets was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ringo. The original church building was constructed of handmade bricks in the 1850’s. The bell which now hangs in the church bell tower was given to the church in 1853 by Mrs. Elizabeth Drew Thompson.

A fire in 1857 destroyed all of the church records.

The First Presbyterian Church in Liberty did not have a pastor or regular minister during the troubled civil war years and the church was held together by a dedicated congregation. In 1868 Reverend David Coulter Phd., became the pastor and did much work to restore and build up the church until his departure in 1872.

In 1878 Misses Anna Thompson and Dora Miller were sent to purchase a clock for the church. This clock, from Cady and Ohmstead jewelers still hangs on the east wall of the sanctuary.


When the church celebrated its 50th Anniversary, it
was estimated that more than 400 people had been members.

In early 1887 Reverend James Green had the idea of building a new church. The cornerstone was laid on November 20th, 1888. The first service in the sanctuary was led by Reverend E. McNair on July 21st, 1889. This building is, for the most part, the building in which we worship today.

The Chancel and Choir Room section was added in 1949, completing the original church plan which had been put on hold due to shortage of funds. When completed Messer’s Cecil Faubion and Robert Evans donated their time and labor to redecorate.

In March of 1961, a committee was formed, under the leadership of Rev. Julian Houston, to research building an educational building. Four lots were purchased around the church. Architects were engaged in 1962 and an open house for the educational building took place December 8th, 1963.

In 1989 part of the church was again destroyed by fire. Through heroic and careful efforts on the part of the firefighters the rose window was able to be restored to its original state.

The original slate roof was replaced in 2002 after 112 years of service. These slates were sold at the Liberty Fall Festival to celebrate the history of First Presbyterian Church.

In recent years the church has suffered damage from the 2003 tornado and several lightening strikes in 2009 and 2010. Throughout these challenges services have not been not interrupted thanks to the hard work and leadership of our Pastors (past and present), our Boy Scout Troop 374 , members of the community and congregation members.