MUSIC IN THE EARLY YEARS

The congregation of Reverend John Elder would have sung the Psalms of David; and they would have been led in their singing by a “precenter.”  The precenter would “read the line” to the congregation before they sang it.  Around 1850, at Paxton, the choir took the place of the precenter.

Until the Civil War the various Presbyterian bodies that now comprise the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) used psalms predominantly, singing hymns only now and then, especially in informal gatherings. The Presbyterian songbook, Psalms and Hymns Adapted to Social, Private and Public Worship in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, published in 1843 still had a clearly defined psalter section. After the Civil War the use of hymns increased greatly. In the Presbyterian Hymnal published in 1874 by the northern branch of the church, psalms were mixed in with hymns. There was no organ in Paxton until 1858—and it was only a “melodean” or pump reed organ.  Early Presbyterians called the pipe organs in Lutheran Churches “the Devil’s Band.”

This tuning fork was used by Elder David R. Elder for leading hymns when he was Sunday School Superintendent from 1877 to 1878.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paxton Church – Spreading the Word for NEARLY 300 years.

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