Ontario County Organized Churches
from History of Ontario Co., NY
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Kindly transcribed by Deborah Spencer.
History of Ontario Co., NY
Seneca Churches pg 148 - 149
CHURCH, SENECA CASTLE - The church of Seneca Castle was
originally an offshoot of the First Presbyterian church of Geneva, and
therefore the early history of the existence of this church will be found
incorporated in the history of the Geneva church.
That church was organized in the year 1800, by Rev. Jedediah
CHAPMAN, a missionary of the Presbyterian church, and was the first
Presbyterian church organized in western New York.
CHAPMAN labored as a missionary through all this region, and preached
occasionally to the people who afterwards composed the congregation at
Seneca Castle. He labored for
12 or 13 years till his death. He
was succeeded by Rev. Henry AXTELL, who was installed as co-pastor with
him in 1812.
was during the pastorate of Mr. AXTELL in the year 1828 that the separate
organization of the church of Seneca Castle was effected.
the time the Presbyterian church was organized here, the village consisted
of some 13 families, including two taverns.
Besides these there were two distilleries.
This was previous to the temperance reformation, and drunkenness,
horse-racing, Sabbath-breaking, and profanity abounded.
The boys from the village school-house would go freely and dip up
liquor in the distillery and drink. One
of these distilleries was owned by Stephen WHITAKER, afterwards an elder
in this church, the other by a church member.
“the inhabitants of the village of Castleton and its vicinity, under
a sense of duty they owe to God and to their fellow-beings,” assembled
on the 5th day of February, A.D. 1828, and petitioned the
presbytery of Geneva “to set off and organize a church in this place.”
Ezra JONES and Stephen WHITAKER were appointed to prosecute the
matter in presbytery. The
petition was favorably received, and on March 4, 1828, a committee from
the presbytery, consisting of Dr. AXTELL, pastor of the church of Geneva,
and his session, and Rev. Mr. STRONG, pastor of the church in Phelps, met
those who wished to be organized into a church at the house of Stephen
WHITAKER, then adjourned to the school-house, and proceeded to organize
the Presbyterian church of Castleton.
Nineteen members of the church of Geneva confessed their faith in
Christ anew, and entered into a new covenant as a new church.
These 19 were:--Joseph HART, Ezra JONES, Harriet JONES, Temperance
WHITNEY, Laura AMSDEN, Mary TOWNSEND, Stephen WHITAKER, Mary WHITAKER,
John TALLMAN, Clarissa TALLMAN, Esther GLEASON, Nancy STRONG, Selah HART,
James TALLMAN, Elizabeth TALLMAN, Mrs. Abram VAN GELDER, Catherine VAN
GELDER, Sybil WHITNEY, Clarissa BELDING.
Of these 19 but one survives at the present writing, Clarissa
BELDING, now Mrs. Wm. LEESAN, in sunny youthfulness of spirit.
One other has just passed away, Mrs. Harriet JONES.
the same day, March 4, 1828, a religious society was organized, and five
trustees were chosen, viz., Nathan WHITNEY, John YECKLEY, Henry STEVENS,
John TALLMAN, and Henry W. JONES. The first meeting for worship was held
in the school-house, April 5, 1828. Dr.
AXTELL preached a sermon, and ordained the elders and deacons.
The first regular supply of the preaching of the gospel was Rev.
Daniel AXTELL, a son of Rev. Dr. AXTELL, a young man just entering the
ministry. He preached for the
church for two or three months.
the 5th day of June, 1828, a society meeting was held to take
measures towards building a church edifice.
A subscription was started, and vigorously pushed, and promptly
signed. A site was chosen on the land of Thomas OTTLEY,--the present
location,--and he generously gave them a deed of the land.
The church, soon left without any supply, were cared for by the
Good Shepherd, who sent them a man for a pastor, Rev. Stephen PORTER,
whose labors were long continued to them, and greatly blessed.
He was then in the prime of life, which, with a wide experience and
earnest devotion, fitted him to be a successful and most honored pastor.
Home missionary aid was secured for his support during the first
years of his ministry. The
people, encouraged by having a pastor of their own, undertook the erection
of a church edifice, which was completed and dedicated within a year from
the time Mr. PORTER began his labors there.
It was dedicated the last of July, 1829.
A large congregation was soon gathered into the house of worship,
and after about two years of faithful labor, a most powerful and precious
revival occurred, which began during the fall and winter of 1830-31.
It was thought that over 100 were converted during that winter,
perhaps 120 or more. Large
numbers were added to this church, and many to other churches; on the last
Sabbath in January, 1831, 49 persons were added to the church.
The Methodist church in this place originate in this revival, or
was formed after it. During
the fall and winter of 1831 and 1832 another outpouring of the Spirit of
God was enjoyed, and numbers were converted; among among them Mr. Nathan
WHITNEY, the most venerable inhabitant of the place, over 70 years of age.
Mr. PORTER continued to labor faithfully with this church till the
1st of October, 1833, when he resigned, and removed from the
place for a few years, and labored in other fields.
Oren CATLIN was called as pastor October 14, and was installed February
14, 1834. Mr. CATLIN’s
ministry seems to have been faithful and successful, and was continued
till it was terminated at his own request, September 6, 1836.
During his office Henry W. JONES and John YECKLEY were chosen
elders, and ordained December 2, 1834.
During Mr. CATLIN’s ministry 23 were added to the church.
Upon the resignation of Mr. CATLIN, Mr. PORTER was urged and
consented to became pastor a second term.
resumed his labors here in the fall of 1836, and continued as its honored
and useful minister until no longer able to serve.
On June 1, 1842, he resigned his charge, in consequence of feeble
health, and removed to Geneva, where he resided till his death, August 28,
1868. He was not only largely
useful to this church, but highly honored by his brethren in the ministry.
Stephen PORTER was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, September 22, 1781.
He had naturally great mechanical and inventive ingenuity, though
brought up a farmer. He was converted by a deep experience when 19 years old.
Graduated in 1808. He preached successfully in Ovid and other fields, but his
life-work was in Castleton, where his memory is cherished, and where his
works follow him.
character, as described by those who knew him, was an unusual expression
of the higher excellencies of a Christian spirit.
“The law of kindness dwelt upon his lips;” meekness and charity
were expressed in all his conversation; devoted zeal and love for the
cause of Christ, the aim of his life.
“Full of the Holy Ghost and faith,” his life was a perpetual
sermon, his face a perpetual benediction.
His compassion still survives, living at Geneva.
The additions to the church during his ministry, were 208,
including 81 by certificate.
Mr. PORTER’s removal, this congregation was served for three years by
Rev. George C. HYDE. His
ministry seems to have been acceptable and useful.
The number added to the church, 34, shows his earnestness and
R. RUSSELL, first 1846 to 1848, next supplied the church for two years,
with ability and acceptance during this term.
J. V. B. STEVENS and Talcott R. BROWN were chosen elders, May 2,
1847, and Arthur DENGER was chosen deacon at the same time.
Mr. RUSSELL remained here till August, 1848.
He still lives, and is engaged in his Master’s vineyard.
He has been a very successful and honored minister at Watkins, in
this State, and elsewhere.
William BRIDGEMAN served the church for one year, from 1848 to 1849.
B. B. GREY’s pastorate, 1850 to 1867.
In March, 1850, Rev. B. B. GREY began his labors in this church,
and was installed February 20, 1851.
His pastorate was the longest, and was one of great happiness and
blessing. At no time during
his ministry was there such a great revival as occurred under “Father
PORTER” in 1831-32, but he was very laborious, and several revivals
1831, a protracted series of labors were carried on by him for 61 days
constitution was naturally feeble, but enthusiasm carried him forward,
where many would have sunk under the burdens.
his term, Dr. Hosea HAMILTON, Theron CHILDS, and Henry J. PECK were added
to the session, August 27, 1858. And,
on September 13, 1867, Beekman VAN GELDER and Anson YOUNG were also added
to the board of elders.
B. B. GREY resigned his pastorate, and was released October 1, 1867, on
account of advanced age and feebleness.
Subsequently he removed to Canandaigua, and there, amid his family,
died February 18, 1870. His
labors in the regular ministry were 38 ˝ years; but he labored as a lay
evangelist several years successfully, previous to his entrance on the
social intercourse, he was genial and cordial; almost eccentric, he was a
marked character. He was full
of a genial humor. He was
beloved by his family and church, and honored by his brethren in the
ministry. His life compassion still survives him at Canandaigua.
One hundred and twenty-seven were added to the church during the 17
˝ years of his service.
Alexander DOUGLAS was engaged to supply the church for one year, from
September 20, 1868. Mr.
DOUGLAS had just graduated at the seminary.
His work here was brief, but earnest and useful.
His life was short. It
is finished. He loved the
ministry better than life. ‘Being
dead, he yet speaketh.’
A. H. PARMELEE’s ministry, 1869 to 1874.
In the fall of 1869, the services of Rev. A. H. PARMELEE, then
living at Seneca, were secured. During
his term of service the church was greatly advanced in its affairs.
A new parsonage was built, costing some $2000, beside the farm and
lot; being in all worth about $3000.
Also, under much discouragement, an effort was made subsequently
toward the renovation of the house of worship, a much needed improvement.
Interest in the matter being aroused, the work was began June 1,
1872, and completed in November, 1872.
The church thus rededicated November 22, 1872, is wholly paid for,
and is a beautiful and commodious structure.
During Mr. PARMELEE’s term, Israel YOUNGS was chosen elder, and
ordained December 4, 1871.
PARMELEE’s services as pastor expired April 1, 1874.
Having decided to undertake a pastoral charge no longer, he still
lives in this community, having purchased a farm adjacent to the village.
Twenty-four additions were made during his ministry.
H. H. KELLOGG, Jr., was called to the pastorate of this church, August 12,
1874; was installed October 29; and still remains up to the time of this
writing (July, 1876) its pastor in service.
whole number of persons who have belonged to this church has been 499.
The Sabbath-school has always been highly regarded, and served by
able superintendents. Its
present general superintendent is Henry J. PECK.
Its present chorister is Clark HOPKINS.
elders of this church have been Stephen WHITAKER, Ezra JONES, John HILMAN,
Joseph HART, Otis WHITNEY, John YECKLEY, Henry W. JONES, John H. KECKLEY,
Levi JUDD, James SEARS, Henry HUBBARD, J. V. B. STEVENS, Talcott R. BROWN,
Hosea HAMILTON, Theron CHILDS, Henry J. PECK, Beekman VAN GELDER, Anson
YOUNGS, Israel YOUNGS. Six of
these are living at present. The
deacons have been S. WHITAKER, Ezra JONES, Joseph HART, John YECKLEY,
Arthur DEAGER, ____ James SEARS. The
trustees are Israel YOUNGS, Hachalia WHITNEY, Burt VAN GELDER, Columbus
WHITNEY, John De GRAFF.
This history, made as nearly accurate as possible, is submitted by the pastor, H. H. KELLOGG, Jr. :
CHURCH, SENECA.--On the 29th day of June, 1807, a number of the
inhabitants of the town of Seneca met at the house of Samuel LATTA, near
the present residence of David BARRON, to form themselves into a religious
society. Rev. Andrew WILSON,
of Albany, presided, and Valentine BROSTIN was chosen secretary of this
meeting. Among others, the
following resolution was adopted:
that we form ourselves into a church, to be denominated the Associate
Reformed Church of the town of Seneca.”
the meeting held on the 15th day of July following, a board of
trustees was elected, consisting of Samuel LATTA, Samuel McINTYRE, William
GAY, John RIPPEY, and James BEATTIE.
The organization of the church was completed in the following
October by the ordination of the following ruling elders, viz: Samuel
LATTA, Robert NELSON, John FULTON, and James BEATTIE.
At the first communion, which took place about this time, there
were 45 communicants. Rev.
James MEARS, of the presbytery of Washington, conducted the services.
At the first meeting held, steps were taken to provide for the
erection of a church building. After
experiencing many difficulties and delays, the building was finally
completed. It was a
substantial frame structure, with a seating capacity of about 300.
Here, for a quarter of a century, the congregation met for worship,
and here some of the most esteemed of the present membership first took
the vows of God upon them. Rev.
Andrew WILSON, though never installed as pastor, was the main supply for
the pulpit from the organization until his death, which occurred in 1812.
The first regular pastor of the church, Rev. Thomas WHITE, was
installed June 12, 1814, and continued the acceptable shepherd of the
flock until his death, which occurred early in 1820.
He was succeeded by Rev. William NESBIT, who was pastor until 1832.
In January, 1835, Rev. John WHITE became pastor, and continued in
the field about two years.
1838, steps were taken to build a new church.
It was completed and dedicated early in 1839, at which time John D.
GIBSON, who had been previously called, was ordained and installed pastor
of this church. He resigned
his charge in 1843. On the 19th
of November, 1844, Rev. Samuel TOPPING was installed, and continued to
labor with efficiency and success until removed by death in 1855.
In June, 1856, Rev. George PATTON became pastor.
In 1859, the church changed its ecclesiastical connection by going
to the Old-School Presbyterian body, and joining the presbytery of
Rochester. In 1866, and again
in 1868, the church was visited with gracious outpourings of the Holy
Spirit, and more than 150 were added to the communion of the church.
The church edifice was enlarged in 1862, and so marked was the
growth of the congregation that it was necessary for the society to
increase their accommodations by a second enlargement in 1868.
It now seats about 1000 persons, and on fair Sabbath mornings the
people gather in from all directions, and in large numbers, to engage in
the worship of God. Rev. Mr.
PATTON resigned his pastorate to take charge of the Third Presbyterian
church, of Rochester, in November, 1871. The church was without a minister until March, 1873, when the
present pastor, Rev. A. B. TEMPLE, began his labors. In the winter of 1874 there was a revival, by which over 50
were added to the church. Not
less then 1200 persons have joined the society since its organization.
The present congregation includes some 150 families; and the roll
of church membership numbers about 378.
Including the summer schools, from 350 to 400 scholars are under
the Sunday-school instruction.
present board of ruling are as follows: Alexander TURNBULL, William E.
WILSON, Hugh MONAGLE, Thomas G. RIPPEY, Charles RICE, John C. WILSON,
William P. RUPERT.
THERESA’S CATHOLIC CHURCH - This church was erected in 1876,
by the Catholics of Stanley, under the charge of Rev. James A. CONNOLLY,
the first pastor of this parish. The
parish itself was organized in 1875, out of portions of the parishes of
Geneva, Canandaigua, and Penn Yan, to which places the Catholics were
accustomed to go for religious services.
The church is beautifully located on the Geneva road, east of the
railroad depot, and adds considerably to the appearance of the village;
moreover, it is the first church erected in the village of Stanley.
Catholics are not wealthy, yet most of them are in comfortable
circumstances, and take pleasure in their handsome edifice, which was
erected by the architect, John KING, Jr., of Farmer, Seneca county, in
The cornerstone of the church was laid by Right Rev. Bishop McQUAID,
of this diocese, on August 7, 1876, in the presence of the largest number
of persons ever assembled at Stanley.
The cost of the church, etc., was about $4500.
1893 History of Ontario Co., NY pg 418 - 421
The Presbyterian Church of Seneca Castle was a branch or off-shoot of the mother church at Geneva, the latter having been organized in 1798, and in connection therewith occasional services were conducted in this western part of the town,
although it was not until 1828 that the Seneca Castle was fully organized. The early services here were held chiefly by Revs. Jedediah Chapman and Henry Axtell, the former the first, and the latter the second pastor of the church at Geneva. The Castleton (such was the name then) Church was organized February 5, 1828, with nineteen original members "inhabitants of the village of Castleton and its vicinity." On the 4th of March the trustees were chosen, and steps were at once taken to raise means with which to erect a church home. This was quickly accomplished and the house was dedicated during the latter part of July, 1829.
Seneca.- About a mile and one-half northeast of Hail's Corners is a little settlement and post office called Seneca. It has no industries of any importance, except the nursery of W. P.
RUPERT, yet around the old Presbyterian church at Seneca has been built up a quiet little settlement.
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