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St. Augustine had no Prostestant church when it became an American town in 1821. At first a united Protestant church was favored. Many denominations sent missionaries such as Presbyterian Eleazer Lathrop, who first arrived in 1821. By October, 1823, the few resident Presbyterians had decided to build their own church. Rev. Wm. McWhir arrived to organize the congregation. In 1824, the First Presbyterian Church was constituted and a cornerstone was laid for a structure. That church, which was located on St. George Street, housed Florida's first formally constituted Presbyterian congregation until 1890.
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Henry M. Flagler, whose efforts greatly aided the opening of the east Florida coast for development, built the Memorial Presbyterian Church in memory of his daughter, Jennie Flagler Benedict, who died tragically in 1889. He presented the magnificent Venetian Renaissance style structure to the First Presbyterian Church. Upon moving in to the new building in 1890, the congregation took the name Memorial Presbyterian Church in honor of their benefactor. The remains of Henry Flagler lie beside those of his first wife, Mary, and his daughter in the mausoleum.