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Kindly transcribed by Dianne Thomas & Deborah Spencer
History of Ontario Co., NY
Published 1878, pg 250 - 251
South Bristol Churches
Church history in South Bristol is meagre, and it could not otherwise be. Settlers were scattered along the valley and of diverse opinions. Attendance is upon churches of other towns. A Congregational church formerly existed, of whose history we learn the following: Its organization dates from December 1796. It originally consisted of 10 members, of whom Gamaliel WILDER, Esq., and Ephraim WILDER, Esq., were numbered. The first pastor was Rev. John ROLPH, who is supposed to have come to the settlement on invitation. Mr. ROLPH was installed pastor of the church in January 1797. The church was under the Ontario association, the presbytery of Geneva, and the presbytery of Ontario. On October 9, 1800, ROLPH was dismissed by an ecclesiastical council. An unhappy controversy with parishioners was the occasion. Later he was deposed from the ministry. Toward the close of 1802, Rev. Abijah WARREN, a licensed preacher, gave a temporary supply. On June 12, 1805, he was dismissed, and no further installations took place. Among pastors who have preached to the people were Revs. Aaron C. COLLINS, Andrew RAWSON, Benjamin B. SMITH and various others. During the ministry of Rev. SMITH, ruling elders were elected, and the Presbyterian form of government adopted. In 1799, 10 members entered the church as a result of a revival. Some were received in 1802, but the society failed to prosper. In 1825, there were 12 members; in 1833, 18; then it gradually declined till the few left attend other churches. Their only church edifice was put up in 1814. It stood on the west side of the main road, on the hill at the north line of the WILDER farm. WILDER gave the land, and mainly built the house. Its dimensions were 40 by 50 feet; it was seated in square pews, as was the olden fashion. At his death, WILDER left a fund of $3,000 - $4,000, whose income was set apart for ministerial support. The give, although liberal, and creditable to the memory of the donor, was rendered futile, by a loss of the funds. A few years since, this building was torn down by a descendant of the donor, of the 4th generation.
SOUTH BRISTOL CHURCHES pg
History of Ontario Co., NY Pub. 1893
SOUTH BRISTOL CHURCHES pg 442
History of Ontario Co, NY Pub 1893, pg 442
The Congregational Church, formerly one of the important institutions of the town, is now only a thing of memory and fast passing from recollection. It was organized in the latter part of 1796, and owed much of its early prosperity to pioneer Gameliel WILDER, Ephraim WILDER and other prominent persons. The church edifice was built in 1814, on the Wilder farm, and was forty by fifty feet in dimensions. Mr. WILDER left a fund to help maintain the society, but even his generosity failed to maintain its permanency. The first pastor was Rev. John ROLPH, followed later by Revs. Aaron COLLINS, Andrew RAWSON, Benjamin B. SMITH and others. More than 20 years ago the old edifice was torn down, and the society passed out of existence. More recently, and within the last half score of years, a free church has been built, at the joint expense of members of various denominations. Here religious services are held by such clergymen as are appointed or invited to officiate.
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