St. Philip's Church, Centre Street

Click thumbnail to view larger, or here to view full size.
Negative #7761d


circa 1819


The New-York Historical Society
St. Philip's Episcopal Church was the tenth parish of Trinity Church, the place of worship of many of New York's white elite families. After repeated demands by its black parishioners, Trinity finally agreed in 1818 to the establishment of a separate church for them. Wealthy tobacconist and prominent Trinity Church member, George Lorillard, provided a lot of land with a sixty-year lease on Centre Street to build it. The church's first structure was made out of wood and soon burned to the ground. It was replaced by this solid brick building. In 1840, Reverend Peter Williams Jr. married two couples in this building: Peter and Rebecca Guignon, and Albro and Mary Joseph Lyons.

At the same time that he provided the land for the building of St. Philip's, Lorillard also sold Centre Street lots to several black families, notably the DeGrasses, the Crummells, and my great-great-great-grandparents, the Marshalls.



“St. Philip's Church, Centre Street,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed July 10, 2018,