History of the United Presbyterian Church of Albany

Written by Glenn Harrison
The United Presbyterian Church of Albany has a long and impressive history.
On June 18, 1849 an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanters – one of the groups that separated from the Church of Scotland) was organized three miles south of Brownsville with Rev. Wilson Blain as their pastor. On July 9, 1850 the Willamette Associate Presbyterian Church (Seceders – another Scottish free church) was organized in the log school on the site of the present Oakville Cemetery with Rev. Thomas S. Kendall as the first pastor. Over the next two years, with the help of some Presbyterian circuit riders, these two churches developed a plan to merge and formed the United Presbyterian Church.
On October 11, 1853 the first church in the nation to organize from its beginning as a United Presbyterian Church was in Albany with Rev. James P. Millar as its first pastor. That church became the Whitespires United Presbyterian Church after its second church building at Fifth and Washington was constructed during 1891-92.
In August 1866, the Presbyterian Church USA in Albany was organized as an “Old School” Presbyterian church with Rev. William J. Monteith as the pastor. That congregation built a church at Fifth and Broadalbin Street and the current stone church was constructed on the same site in 1912-13. William Monteith was born in Broadalbin, NY and later the pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Broadalbin.
In 1892 Albany’s Grace Presbyterian Church was built at Main Street and Santiam Road as a Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It phased out and the building was sold several times since.
With two historic Presbyterian churches just two blocks apart, there was an agreement to reorganize and form the United Presbyterian Church of Albany. On October 1, 1967 the new church was officially formed. The merged congregation continues to use the Fifth and Broadalbin location and the Whitespires building was sold.