A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clifford S Arms, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Matawan (1828-1832)

Clifford Smith Arms served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan from 1828 to 1832, "a period or relative inactivity in the church," according to Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pg 31, published by the church in 1959. He left Matawan to become pastor at the Presbyterian church at Madison in the autumn of 1832.

The church at Madison provided this biography in 1854.

Rev. Clifford S. Arms was born in Sunderland, Mass., on the banks of the Connecticut river, on the 4th of June, 1796. The principal portion of his early life was spent in Canaan, Columbia county, New York, and there it was that in the year 1817, at the age of twenty-one, he was hopefully converted to God, and made a public profession of religion. His preparatory studies were pursued under the care of Mr. Moses Hallock, father of the Rev. William A. Hallock, of the American Tract Society. In the fall of 1820 he became a member of the Freshman class in William's College, where he remained but one year. He then entered Union College at Schenectady, New York, where, after three years' study, he graduated in the year 1824. In the autumn of the same year, he entered the Theological Seminary at Princeton in this State, and after a three years' course, graduated in the month of September, 1827.

He was licensed to preach the Gospel one year previous to his leaving the seminary, and when he had completed his studies in that institution, he labored four or five months as a missionary in " The Pines" of this State, under the Ladies' Missionary Society of Princeton. In the fall of 1827, he assumed the charge of a small church in Middletown Point, Monmouth county, N. J., and while he was there, he received ordination as an evangelist, from the same Presbytery that gave him license. The relation which he sustained to that church was that of stated supply, and while connected in this way with the church, his labors appear to have been signally blessed to its enlargement and permanent establishment.

After laboring in that field for a period of about five years, he received a call to become the pastor of this church in the autumn of 1832; and in the month of October of that year (1832) he removed his family to this place, and was regularly inducted into the pastoral office here, by the Presbytery of Elizabethtown, the Rev. David Magie, D. D., and others, taking part in the services.

While here, he resided for a short time in the house of the widow Cook, opposite the academy, then in the house now occupied by Mr. Henry Keep; and then in a house belonging to the family of the late Archibald Sayre, in the vicinity of the Catholic church. This last was his principal residence while the pastor of this church.


" May 29. 1851 An application having been placed before the Congregation by Rev C. S. Arms for the appointment of commissioners to unite with him in requesting to be dismissed from the pastoral care of this Church — the following resolutions were unanimously adopted —

1. Resolved That we cherish a high sense of the value and importance of the past services of Mr Arms during his long and successful labors among us in the work of the ministry, and we rejoice to bear testimony to his fidelity and uniform devotion to his work, and to his pastoral care, in his readiness ever to sympathise with the afflicted, cheer the desponding, comfort the sorrowing, relieve the distressed, and point the inquiring soul to the Savior of sinners. And we also bear testimony to his unimpeachable character as a man, as a citizen, always studying the things that make for peace.

2. Resolved That we deeply sympathise with Mr Arms in the failure of his health, and regret the existence of any circumstances which render it necessary in his judgment to seek the dissolution of his pastoral relation.

3. Resolved That while we feel constrained to acquiesce in his request, it gives us pleasure to express our undiminished confidence in him as a man, a christian and a minister of Jesus Christ;and we would follow him with our prayers and best wishes for his future usefulness and comfort wherever the Lord in his Providence shall call him to labor.

4. Remembering the many years that Mr Arms has labored with this people, and in view of the impaired state of his health in which he retires from us, we feel it to be an act of justice to him and a pleasure to ourselves to offer him a substantial token of our esteem."

Source: A History of the Presbyterian Church at Madison, NJ: A discourse delivered on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 23, 1854 (excerpt edited slightly.)

His wife Sarah was the daughter of Major William Gordon Forman and the Major's second wife, Sarah Woodhull. Sarah Forman was baptized 8 October 1808 and died in 1872.
Source: This Old Monmouth of Ours, by William S Hornor, pg 130.

His wife: Sarah Woodhull Forman (1808 - 1872)
His sons: Gilbert Woodhull Arms (1834 - 1834) and Clifford Hastings Arms (1838 - 1842)
Source: Family Tree on Ancestry.com

Other Notes, in chronological order

He and a number of other men from Union, NY were enrolled in the winter session at the theological seminary, presumably a reference to Princeton Theological Seminary.
Source: Minutes of the UPCUSA (1816), pg 284-5.

Clifford S Arms was head of household in Middletown, Monmouth County, NJ in the 1830 Federal Census.

He was installed as an evangelist on 19 September in Columbia County, NY.
Source: The Quarterly Journal of the American Education Society (1834)

He was listed as a Director For Life, in New Jersey, at Bottle Hill.
Source: American Tract Society, Annual Report (1834)
Note: The Village of Bottle Hill was founded in 1715 in what is now Madison, NJ.

He moderated a session meeting at Morristown while a pastor at the Presbyterian church in Madison, NJ in Aug 1836. The church in Morristown was searching for a new pastor at the time.
Source:  History of the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, NJ

Clifford S Arms was head of household in Chatham, Morris County, NJ in the 1840 Federal Census. There were a total of six persons in the household.

He was a pastor in the Presbytery of Newark in 1840.
Source: Synods of New York and New Jersey (New School), 1840

Clifford S Arms performed a marriage at the Presbyterian church in Madison, NJ in Jun 1844.
Source: Pierson/Hanke Family Ties, Rootsweb.

He also conducted a wedding service in Jan 1846 at the Presbyterian church in Madison.
Source: Riker-L, Rootsweb

Clifford S (53 Mass) and Sarah W Arms (42 NJ) were living in Chatham, Morris County, New Jersey in the 1850 Federal Census. He was listed as a clergyman NSP (New School Presbyterian). Two others lived in the household, including Clarissa Arms (27 NJ).

He was among the list of signatories to an 1850 letter from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church encouraging Joseph Clay Stiles to publish his speech on the slavery question, remarks delivered in Detroit earlier that year in opposition to slave holding and how it was rending the church apart. 

Clifford S (64 Mass) and Sarah W Arms (52 NJ) were living in Wawayanda, Orange County, New York in the 1860 Federal Census. He was listed as a clergyman and had $600 in personal property. They had two domestics in their household, one -  Clarissa Arms (47 NY) - possibly related to Clifford.

He died at age 66 on 24 September 1863 in Ridgeway, NY in the Presbytery of Hudson.Source: The American Presbyterian and Theological Review, by Henry Boynton Smith et al (1864), pg 196


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