The History of Otsego, NY 
Unadilla Churches

CHAPTER LXXIII

TOWN OF UNADILLA - continued.

St. Mathew - s Church - First Presbyterian - Baptist - First Methodist

Episcopal - Free Methodist - Methodist Episcopal Church, Richardson - s Hill - Wells - Bridge Baptist Church - Methodist Episcopal Church, Wells - Bridge - Methodist Episcopal Church, Unadilla Centre - Methodist Episcopal Church, Sand Hill - Baptist Church, Sand Hill - Freedom Lodge, F. and A. M. - Unadilla Chapter, R. A. M. - Unadilla Academy - L. O. of G. T.

ST. MATHEW - S CHURCH

St. Mathew - s parish was organized on the first day of November, 1809, by the election of Josiah Thatcher and Abijah H. Beach, as wardens, and Isaac Hayes, William Smith, Stephen Benton, Abel Case, Solomon Martin, Curtis Noble, Nijah cone, and Sherman Page, as vestrymen. This was the first church organization in the town, and erected the first house of worship. For its early organization it was much indebted to the venerated "Father Nash," who held services at this place a number of years. In January, 1810, the vestry purchased a location for a church edifice and also ground for burial purposes. In the following March a contract was let to Sampson Crooker for the erection of a building 34 by 50 feet, but in consequence of a lack of means the frame only was erected, and remained in that condition until April 6, 1813, when the parish having received a donation of $1,400 from the corporation of Trinity church of New York City, they were enabled to enclose and complete it. In December of the same year Goldsborough Banyer, of Albany, deeded to the vestry 116 acres about two miles from the church site, which subsequently became a source of revenue to the church.

The church edifice was completed in the year 1814, and Sept. 11, of that year was consecrated to the service of Almighty God, by the Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart, bishop of the diocese of New York. The church was erected at a cost of $2,000. In 1817 a bell was placed in the tower, which was cast in London in 1816, and was the first church in the valley between Cooperstown and Binghamton.

The first rector in charge of the parish was Rev. Russel wheeler, from Watertown, Conn., who remained in charge from the spring of 1814 to August, 1819, from which time, until December following, lay reading was held in the church, when Rev. James Keeler was called to the parish, and remained until November, 1820, when Rev. Marcus A. Perry succeeded to the rectorship, and continued in charge until November, 1825. Newman H. Adams, then in deacon - s orders, took charge of the parish until December, 1825, dividing his time with St. Peter - s parish, of Bainbridge, Chenango Co., N. Y.. In 1837, this parish having increased in strength, the rector ceased his labors with the latter parish and devoted his time entirely to St. Mathew - s.

The church edifice was remodeled and greatly enlarged in 1845 and 1846, at an expense of $1,500, and was consecrated Aug. 18, 1846, by the Rev. William Heathcote De Lancey, bishop of western New York. Mr. Adams continued the beloved rector of the church until his death, which occurred Oct. 23, 1853. In March, 1854, Rev. Samuel H. Norton became rector of the parish. Soon after he began his ministrations it became evident that as enlargement of the church edifice would be necessary to accommodate the rapidly-increasing congregation, and in 1855 an addition of 26 feet was made to the church at a cot of $1,200. Mr. Norton remained rector until April 11, 1859. He was succeeded in December by Rev. Edward F. Baker, who officiated until April, 1863. During the rectorship of Mr. Baker some beneficial changes wre made in the church furniture, and an organ was purchased at a cost of $1,000. Rev. James H. Kidder, from Eastport, Me., became rector of the church in 1863, and during his labors a rectory was added to the church property. He resigned July 29, 1868. After his resignation the parish was without a rector until September, 1860. During the interim lay reading was had, and also an occasional sermon by Rev. James A. Robinson, of Bainbridge, N. Y. In August, 1869, Rev. Michael Scofield became rector of the parish, and remained until August, 1875. The parish was without a rector from that time until February, 18786, when the present incumbent, Rev. Charles S. Pelletreau, assumed the rectorship.

The parish is now in a prosperous condition, and has one hundred and twenty communicants. The present officers are as follows: David P. Loomis, Frank B. Arnold, J. Fred Sands, Alex. P. Gray, Wm. H. Heslop, Andrew J. Lewis, Geo. B. Fellows, and O. L. Ireland, vestrymen.

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

This church was organized April 23, 1823, by Revs. Edward Andrews and Abel Colwell, with the following named persons as members: Uriah Hanford, Rhoda Hanford, Jesse R. Hovey, Mary Hovey, Holly Seely, Garret Munfore, Sarah Munfore, John Eells, Sophia Bottom, Daniel Castle, Philo L. Phelps. Holly Seely was chosen to the office of deacon; Garret Munfore, Jesse R. Hovey, and John Eells to serve as elders. Service was held on Sabbath morning, sometimes at a private residence, but usually in the school-house. The hymns of Isaac Watts were sung and the music, then new, of the afterwards celebrated Thomas Hastings. Garret Munfore was the leader. The church very soon engaged the services of Rev. Isaac Flagler, a man highly esteemed by those who remember his ministry. He remained about two years, during which time 44 persons were recorded as in communion with the church,

The general assembly of our church, at its meeting in 1790, appointed Rev. Nathan Ker and Rev. Joshua Hart to act as missionaries on the frontier settlements of New York and Pennsylvania. Unadilla is mentioned among other places visited by these men. John Eells when quite a young man removed from Walton to this place. He was an earnest Christian worker. It is perhaps just to say, in the words of a citizen who knew him well, that "for a long time he was the head and front of the Presbyterian Church." He was no doubt one of the most active at the time of its formation.

An old record of Oct. 23, 1822, states that a number of the inhabitants of Unadilla, being desirous of forming themselves into a society, met for that purpose. Stephen Benton was called to chair. Calvin Gates, Daniel Castle, and Holly Seely were elected trustees. They then proceeded to give name to the society, and made choice of the name Harmony Society of Unadilla.

Under date of Feb. 2, 1825, the following records occur: "Voted, that the society have and use a common seal." "Voted, that a seal which as had on the face of it this [H.S.U.] impression be received and used as a common seal for said society." March 16, 1824, the record says, "Proceeded to take the sense of the people whether Presbyterian preaching was desired." When decided in the affirmative, Rev. Isaac Flagler was unanimously chosen as pastor. In 1825 an effort was made to raise funds for the purchase of a site and the erection of a house of worship. A location thought to be desirable was selected, and the society authorized its trustees "to purchase a lot formerly known as the Livingston." It is described as "a part of lot No. 94, Wallace - s patent, nearly opposite Mrs. Edison - s house." Financial strength, however, was lacking, and it was not until 1840 that the society came into possession of its present site. In 1841 a change of name was deemed advisable. "Harmony" was dropped, and the present corporate name, "First Presbyterian Society of Unadilla," adopted. The church edifice was erected and ready for use in June, 1844.

One year after the organization of the church four permanent elders were elected, viz.: Sherman Bartlett, John Eels, Garret Munfore, and Holly Seely. In 1844, Ithamas Spencer and David Hanford were chosen to fill vacancies in the original number. In 1859 John Myers and Horace B. Eells were similarly chosen. In 1870 the church, contemplating the "term-service" plan, elected N. W. Barstow for three years. In 1873 the representative system was fully entered upon and three additional elders chosen, viz.: R. M. Southwick, W. D. Edson, and S. E. Webb. The vacancy caused by the death of R. M. Southwick was filled by electing to the office Theophilus Redfield.

The following persons have officiated as pastors of this church from its organization to the present time, viz.: Revs. Saml. Gaylord, Wm. C. Boice, S. B. Jervis, Josiah Hawes, C. H. Force, Wm. H. smith, S. S. Goodman, A. V. H. Powell, R. A. Clark, A. B. Robinson, W. C. Galpin.

The present officers of the church are as follows: Wright C. Galpin, pastor; Horace B. Eells, Samuel E. Webb, Daniel Hanford, Robert Stenson, Geo. B. Burgin, and Wm. D. Edson, elders; E. C. Belknap and Robert Stenson, trustees; W. D. Edson, clerk.

BAPTIST CHURCH

This church was organized in October, 1843, by Rev. Lewis Raymond, pastor, with the following members: Moses Olmsted, Lydia Olmsted, Edwin Olmsted, Lewis Raymond, Anna Raymond, Elisha Thompson, Harriet Thompson, Amos N. Benedict, Simon Bidwell, Jacob Bidwell, James Hughston, Lavina Smith, Matilda Crooker, Esther Greenman, Martha Bidwell, Phoebe Wright, Mary Wright, Sherman Page, George R. Porter, George Crandall, Jasper Ostrander, John Ostrander, Lawrence Ostrander, Jacob Ostrander, Clark Baldwin, Caleb Betterson.

The following have served this church as pastors: July, 1845, Rev. J. P. Cook; April, 1849, Rev. John Lagrange; from April, 1863 to July, 1856, Rev. Elijah Baldwin; from March, 1857, to March, 1858, Rev. Henry Robertson; from April, 1858, to September, 1859, Rev. Nathan Wright; from September, 1863, to March, 1864, Rev. S. F. Witter; from December, 1865, to August, 1866, Rev. F. Fletcher; from January, 1868, to February, 1870, Rev. D. F. Leach; from March, 1870, to March, 1871, Rev. John Smith. There were no regular pastor from that time until Aug. 1, 1875, when Rev. D. Van Fradenburgh was called, who is still with the church. The present membership is 40. The present church edifice was dedicated in February, 1849.

FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

of Unadilla, was organized by Rev. Lyman Sperry, on the 6th day of December, 1854. The first officers were as follows: P. Hubbel, David Lee, Samuel G. Cleveland, Daniel Bullock, William N. Emory. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Lyman Sperry, who officiated for a period of four years. The first church edifice was erected in 18556, at a cost of $2,700. The present church officers are as follows: William H. Emory, James White, Jr., Edward Bartholomew, Daniel W. Wilmot, William Lobdell, Lyman Sperry, Cornelius Fuller, D. K. Avery, John Osborn, Daniel Cooper, Wesley Mumford, Willet Smith, and Peter G. Penney.

The following named persons have served this church as pastor from the resignation of Rev. Mr. Sperry to the present time, viz.: Robert Townsend, one year; Leonard Bowdish, two years; William G. Queal, one year; Laren V. Ismond, two years; Thomas P. Halsted, three years; James N. Platt, one year; George M. peck, two years; William A. Wadsworth, two years; Willis L. Thorpe, one year; S. C. Fulton, one year; E. C. Herdman, one and a half years; C. D. Mead, half-year; J. W. Nevis, present pastor. The church is now in a prosperous condition and has a membership of 100 persons.

FREE METHODIST

A FREE Methodist class was organized Dec. 19, 1874, by Rev. William Gould, and consisted of the following persons; James E. Meeker, Mary E. Meeker, Martin Beardsley, D. A. Loomis, s. A. Loomis, Maranda Frear, Rufus Frear, Racheal E. Adams. The following were members on probation: Seth O. merit, Mary R. Merit, Phebe Frear. The first board of trustees was organized Feb. 19, 1875, and consisted of the following persons, viz.: James Meeker, Rufus Frear, Martin Beardsley, G. W. Griswold, and d. A. Loomis. The first pastor was Rev. E. E. Adams. He was succeeded by Rufus Coons, who remained until March 1, 1876, when Rev. William Gould became pastor. He was succeeded by the present pastor, George E. Ferrin, who assumed control of the charge Oct. 1, 1876. The present board of trustees is as follows: James Meeker, James Lamb, Henry Palmer, Rufus Frear, D. A. Loomis.

THE METHODIST CHURCH, RICHARDSON - S HILL

A class was first formed on Richardson - s Hill, Nov. 10, 1854, by John Marble, a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church of Oneonta, who, in conjunction with D. C. Dutcher, the preacher on the Laurens charge, held a series of meetings, which resulted in the conversion of thirty souls. The first pastor was Rev. D. c. Dutcher, and J. G. Richardson, leader. The first members in full connection were as follows: Justus G. Richardson, Daniel Richardson, Sally Richardson, Elizabeth Richardson, Benjamin Richardson, Samuel H. Peet, Amy A. Peet, Edwin Peet, Benjamin Travis, Mary Travis, charlotte Peet, Charles T. Gifford, Sally Richardson, Mary Cooley, Henry R. Gifford, and Andrew Richardson. The church had sixteen members. The church building, 30 by 40 feet, was erected in 1856, at a cost of $1,200. H. S. Richardson was the preacher.

The following have served the church as pastors from its organization to the present time, viz.: D. C. Dutcher, from Nov. 10, 1854, to July, 1855; H. S. Richardson, two years; S. M. Stone, one year; Leonard Bowdish, one year. The class was then transferred to Oneonta charge, and D. L. Pendell was pastor for two years, and George Parsons two years. It was then transferred back to Laurens charge, and Austin Griffin was pastor for one year; L. E. Marvin, one year; B. B. Carruth, two years; J. W. Mevis, three years; H. N. Van Dusen, three years; J. Southworth, three years; and Benj. Ripley is now in his second year.

The present officers are H. R. Gifford, clerk; William Ackley, J. G. Richardson, Simon Green, Jonathan Richardson, and Nathaniel Slingerland, trustees. The present membership is forty-one.

WELLS - BRIDGE BAPTIST CHURCH

The movement for the organization of this church was started by C. W. Mallery, Esq., who called a meeting of inhabitants in the vicinity Dec. 26, 1874, for the purpose of considering the feasibility of forming a church and erecting a church edifice, at which meeting $1,000 was raised, and at a subsequent meeting, called by Mr. Mallery, March 8, 1875, the society was organized, and on November 24 following, the church was organized with eighteen members. On the 14th if the ensuing December, the church was reorganized with the following member, viz.: Rev. H. R. Dakin, Mary Dakin, Uri Bidwell, Malvina Bidwell, Has. M. Whitney, Mary A. Whitney, Alma Whitney, charlotte C. Radcliff, Susan Radcliff, Catharine Radcliff, John Doughtery, E. V. Huyck, Mary Huyck, Eli Buckley, Ursula Buckley, O. H. Buckley, Helen L. Buckley, Lucinda Sherwood. The first trustees were as follows, viz.: C. W. Mallery, J. B. Youmans, and E. V. Hanks. The present trustees are J. B. Youmans and J. M Whitney; C. W. Mallery, clerk. The church building was erected in 1875, which, together with the land and fixtures, cost $3,266.92. It is a neat and substantial edifice, and was dedicated Dec. 15, 2875. The following have served the church as pastors, viz.: Revs. H. R. Dakin, L. E. Wheeler, and G. e. Flint, the present pastor.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF WELLS - BRIDGE

In April, 1867, Rev. C. G. Wood, the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, revived the project of erecting a suitable building for the people of his charge at this place. The trustees placed the enterprise almost wholly under his management, and the result was the erection of a neat and commodious house of worship, 32 by 50 feet in size, with an alcove 6 by 12 for the pulpit. The edifice cost, with furniture, $1,579. It was dedicated on Jan. 31, 1878, the following clergymen being present: Revs. C. G. Wood, of Wells - Bridge; S. G. Hernard, of Sidney Plains; J. W. Nevis, of Unadilla; E. C. Herdman, of Otego; W. B. Westlake, of Oneonta; W. M. Hiller, of Cooperstown; D. Brown, of Oneonta; and H. R. Clarke, P. E.

THE METHODIST CHURCH AT UNADILLA CENTRE

was organized in 1830, and a house of worship was erected the same year at a cost of $500. The church edifice is capable of seating about three hundred. The value of church property is estimated at $1,500.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AT SAND HILL

was organized in 1830, by William S. Bowdish, who became the first pastor. The following constituted the membership upon its organization: Captain Seth Rowley and wife, Joseph Benedict and wife, Hiram Fowler, Abel C. Rowley, Cynthia Rowley, and Lucy Saunders. The present officers are J. H. Yorke, clerk; S. Devol, S. Smith, J. H. Webb, J. H. Cunningham, and P. D. Chapman, trustees; S. Devol, S. Ladu, and J. H. Yorke, stewards.

The first church was erected in 1856, at a cost of $1,500, and was dedicated by Rev. William Bixby. The church has a present membership of forty persons, and is under the pastoral care of Rev. C. G. Wood.

BAPTIST CHURCH, SAND HILL

This church was organized march 14, 1838, at a meeting of which Rev. D. B. Crane was moderator and Rev. N. Wattles clerk. The first officers were W. J. Hughston, clerk; Daniel Wilber and Nathaniel Sherwood, deacons; Daniel Wilber, N. Sherwood, Simeon Bidwell, H. Hicock, L. Lathrop, E. Buckley, and N. Mallory, trustees. The first members were as follows: N. Sherwood, Mary Sherwood, J. Thompson, D. Wilber, H. Wilber, T. Y. Davis, H. Carr, E. Buckley, N. Buckley, T. Buckley, A. Davis, P. Sisson, P. Cunningham, P. Youmans, H. Cranston, W. Cranston, C. Wilber, S. King, L. A. Lathrop, E. Bears, H. Carr, Jr., B. Lockwood, and A. Finch. The church edifice was erected in 1844, at a cot of $900.

The first pastor was Rev. N. Sherwood, who remained until 1849, since which time the following have officiated, viz.: Rev. Russel Spafford, six years; Rev. B. A. Russell, five years; Rev. S. A. Douglass, one year; rev. E. Wright, one year; Rev. Thomas Babcock, three years; Rev. Mr. Hogeboom, three years; Rev. a., Thomas, one year; Rev. H. C. Leach, six months, Rev. F. D. Leach, one year; Rev. T. Thompkiss, four years; Rev. W. H. Birdsall, five years; Rev. R. Daken, one year; Rev. A. Thomas, two years.

The present officers of the church are as follows: Nathaniel Sherwood and J. B. Youmans, deacons; Walter smith, H. L. Hawkes, and N. Sherwood, trustees; and R. L. Hughston, clerk. The present membership is 55.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Original website created by Debbie Axtman

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