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The Birthplace of the American Presbyterian Church

Makemie Milestones

1658, Donegal, Northern Ireland

Francis Makemie is born and grows up during a period when Presbyterians were being repressed by the government. He travels to Glasgow as a young man to quietly receive his seminary education.

1683, Rehoboth, Maryland Colony

Now ordained as a Pastor, Rev. Makemie arrives at the request of Col. William Stevens, and begins a ministry of itinerent preaching, based out of the Rehoboth Plantation.

1706, Rehoboth, Maryland Colony; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Colony

Rev. Makemie concludes construction of the first and only church he built and names it after the plantation, Rehoboth. That same year he travels to Philadelphia, where he organizes and is elected moderator of the first Presbytery in the Colonies, cementing his reputation as "Father of American Prebyterianism"

An audio history of Old Rehoboth:

In the closing years of the 20th century, (during the term of America's 40th President) the longtime historian of Old Rehoboth Church, John Handy. Jr., recorded a short (~6min) synopis of the work and legacy of the Rev. Francis Makemie. It has been digitized and is available to visitors at Old Rehoboth and now it is being made available here on the web.

A bit about Old Rehoboth...

Reformed Christian worship began in Coventry Parish, Maryland on the banks of the Pocomoke River in 1672 and this congregation was formed in 1683 on Colonel Stevens’ plantation, Rehoboth. The Rev. Francis Makemie, known as the "Father of American Presbyterianism", came to the colonies to be our pastor in 1683 and built the present church in 1706 on land owned by him.  Presbyterians as Trinitarians have worshipped the one true God, been guided by Jesus Christ’s teaching and example, and have been empowered by the Holy Ghost to serve and minister in God's name at Rehoboth and beyond for over 330 years. Today's congregation is working to ensure the continuation of this Christian witness well into the future.  Rehoboth is the birthplace of the Presbyterian Church in the United States..

Interesting tidbits...


Makemie Stamp

In 1982 the Irish government honored Rev. Francis Makemie on a postage stamp, marking the 300th anniversary of his ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament.


Makemie Portrait

The only known portrait of Makemie painted during his lifetime was destroyed shortly thereafter in a fire. An interpretation of the original was painted much later.


Makemie Park

Just a few miles south by boat from his beloved Rehoboth Church was the plot of land on which Makemie settled and raised a family. A park and monument pay homage to him there.