Ontario County Organized Churches




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History of Ontario Co., NY  

Published 1878

West Bloomfield Churches  pg 219 - 221


The Congregational Church of West Bloomfield was early entitled "The Society of Bloomfield," and had a history second to none in antiquity and importance.   

In the year 1796, Elisha WADE, a member of the Church of Christ in Lyme, Connecticut, removed to this town with his family and soon set up worship on the Sabbath day.  The meetings announced by him were the first in the town.  Mr. WADE lived but a year in the country, but while able, continued to hold regular meetings, which were gladly attended and which resulted in the conversion of 3 person, Samuel HANDY and wife, and Mary, wife of Philemon HALL.  These united with the East Bloomfield church.  Mr. HANDY held meetings after the death of Mr. WADE.  Missionaries from the east visited the society, among whom were Rev. Joseph AVERY, of the Berkshire Missionary Society, and Rev. Jedediah BUSHNELL of the Connecticut Mission.  Reverends Zadoc HUNN of East Bloomfield and Reuben PARMELE of Victor, were occasional preachers. 

The organization of a church took place August 16, 1799, with the following named members: Ebenezer CURTIS, a member of the Second Church of Christ in Granville, Massachusetts; Samuel and Sarah HANDY; Mary, wife of Philemon HALL; Dan CANFIELD; Rachael, wife of Joseph GILBERT; Elizabeth, wife of Griffing DOWNS, of Guilford, Connecticut, and the following who had never previously professed religion: Peregrine GARDINER; Griffing DOWNS; Nathaniel BUTLER and Sebra, his wife; Reuben LEE and Louisa, his wife; Hannah, wife of Daniel CURTIS; Rhoda, wife of Ebenezer CURTIS; Phoebe, wife of Amos HALL; widow Comfort MARVIN and Phoebe, wife of Robert RICHMOND; 18 in all.  Shortly following the organization, 5 more were united with the church, namely, Hannah, wife of P. GARDNER; Sarah, wife of David FAIRCHILD; Elizabeth, wife of John MACK; Fryphene, wife of John H. HEWITT and Sibyl, wife of Dan CANFIELD.  

Daniel HANDY was elected first deacon, and continued as such until January 10, 1828.  This little band had no stated pastor for some time.  

In October 1801, James H. HOTCHKIN, of the Northern Associated Presbytery of New York, came in and was employed to preach every second Sabbath until August 9, 1802, when the church voted him a unanimous call to become their pastor, and offered a salary for the year, of $300.  

The call was accepted December 16, 1802, and on May 19, 1803, he was formally installed in the presence of 7 ministers of the denomination.  Rev. HOTCHKIN remained till March 23, 1809, and at other points became favorably known.  He has conferred a lasting obligation upon the inhabitants of western New York by his history of the early Presbyterian and Congregational churches of this region, showing the disposition of settlers, the formation of churches and the fraternal spirit of the denominations.  

The society at West Bloomfield was now without a pastor.  David FULLER was stated supply for two or three years.

In the summer of 1815, Rev. Ebenezer FITCH, D.D., president of Williams College, Massachusetts, received a call from the society, and accepted.  He was installed November 29, 1815, and dismissed August 28, 1827.  His successor was Rev. Silas C. BROWN, installed April 28, 1828.  A formidable opposition accompanied the installation and this so increased as to cause a dissolution of the pastoral relation on April 29, 1830.

Mr. BROWN had a large number of warm friends who were resolved to hold him, irrespective of the society, which held the property of the corporation.  Accordingly members to the number of 40 were dismissed at their own request, and were constituted by the presbytery a separate church, and on January 24, 1831, Rev. BROWN was re-installed in the new connection, and continued until July 8, 1835.  Rev. Daniel GIBBS was the next pastor, installed September 10, 1839, and dismissed September 17, 1840.  The following officiated as stated supplies for the next few years: Revs. E. A. PLATT, Silas C. BROWN, W. BEARDSLEY and George C. HOSKINS.  

Soon after their organization the society began the erection of a house of worship, which was completed in 1831.  It was a neat frame, costing $2,200, built by Jacob HOVEY and sold in 1866 to the Catholic society, by whom it is in present use.

The original society continued to worship in the old edifice, and employed Rev. William P. KENDRICK, a year as stated supply from the date of their division, August 25, 1830.    Rev. Julius STEELE was employed for 7 years; Rev. George CLARK and Rev. George BASSETT, a year each, and Rev. C. R. CLARK for 2 years, ending 1843.

On the 5th of April, they year last named was marked by a union of the two churches as an Independent Congregational church.  Timothy STOWE was employed as pastor for the year, and was succeeded by C. E. FISHER, who remained 8 years.

In the spring of 1855, Rev. George C. OBERHISER was engaged and after 2 years was succeeded by Rev. P. F. SANBORN, who continued with them for 12 years. 

The Rev. John PATCHEN became pastor, April 1, 1870, and served until recently, with the pastoral relation was dissolved, and no successor has yet been appointed.

The interest of the people in spiritual concerns has been strikingly manifested at intervals.  In instances the entire population seemed to have turned out to attend meetings, and even the work of the week day was readily dropped to attend an appointment.  Many stable conversions followed ministration, and long lives passed in faithful practice of Christian teachings attested the power of the Spirit.  

This church, like most pioneer societies, began with few members, held meetings in houses, barns and school house, till the increase of numbers and the accumulation of means would justify the erection of a church.  

Meetings were held in the school house in 1799, and in March 1804, the society determined to build an addition to the school house, as the cheapest way to secure increased and essential accommodations.  

Objections were at once raised by parties outside the society and connected with school affairs; therefore, on April 19, a meeting was held and there it was resolved, to erect a brick meeting house to stand "on the corner where the four roads meet, adjacent to the school house."  The several sums subscribed were "payable one third in money, and two thirds in wheat, port or neat cattle."   Various attempts were doomed to failure in reaching the object desired; but finally, on January 13, 1806, a contract was made with Robert POWER to build a house 55 by 40 feet, to be "a frame put up and then the wall composed of brick, so that outwardly it shall appear to be a brick building."  The committee on building were Amos HALL and the PECKS, Thomas and Clark.  It was not entirely finished for years, and was the first church edifice in the town.  The steeple, becoming dangerous, was taken down in 1818 and a cupela erected in its stead.  Here they worshiped till 1846, when a new brick church, with stone basement, was constructed  at a cost of $5,000.  A bell, costing $300 was procured, and is in present use.  C. E. FISHER was pastor when the house was built. 

A new church, the third one, was begun in 1873.  The old one began to be dilapidated and to need extensive and costly repairs.  The matter of a repair of the old or the building of a new structure was canvassed by the members, and the latter movement developed considerable strength, but no definite action was taken until the winter of 1874-75, when a meeting was held at L. W. SMITH'S, and the discovery made that a sufficient sum could be raised to build a fine house.  On Friday evening, February 12, 1875, a meeting was held, and R. M. PECK, B. C. HOPKINS and George M. SHEPARD appointed to circulate subscription papers.  On Saturday April 23, $15,000 had been subscribed.  A large assembly of both sexes too place on June 5, 1875, and determined  to erect a church edifice on the general plan of having a main building with cross sections, cost not to exceed $15,000.  The building committee was Stephen H. AINSWORTH, Myron L. HALL, Curtis C. GATES, Reynold M. PECK and Matthew J. PECK.  L W. SMITH was chosen treasure.  In response to notice for building proposals, published July 17, 17 bids were entered, ranging from $13,430 to $23,000.  The bids were opened August 4, and the contract  awarded at $13,430 to Thomas S. LYNN.  The old building was removed, and on October 14, 1875, the cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies.  Services were held in the town hall.  An address was delivered by Rev. CORLISS, of Lima.  Various articles were placed in the stone, relative to church history and various societies.  The chapel was finished and the monthly church meetings held therein on February 5, 1876, and on the next day it was occupied by the Sabbath school, and commemorative exercises held.  The dimensions of the church are 76 by 45 feet; height of walls, 25 feet.  The main tower, on the northeast corner, is 138 feet high; there is a small tower between the centre and west corner.  A lecture room, 25 by 52 feet, projects 10 feet east of the building.  The main room is 24 by 68 feet.  The bell of the former church is retained.  The work is artistic, and the material of modern use, the roof being slated with three eighth pitch, outside walls penciled, seats of chestnut and pine, except molding, arms and top rails of black walnut.  A parsonage connected wit the property of the society is valued at $2,000.  The number of members is 129, comprise in 75 families.  The primary movement for a Sabbath school began by the appointment in June 1819, of a committee consisting of Deacons HANDY, WELLS and Jason CANFIELD  to take charge of a Sabbath school.  A formal organization was had in June 1820.  A flourishing school of over 200 scholars now exists, and they have a library of near 400 volumes.  The present superintendent is Charles R. CASE, assisted by 18 teachers.


The St. Joseph's Catholic Church - was organized in 1866.  The number of persons then in the locality was about 140; they have been increased to 240 and show a healthy progress.  As previously stated, the land and old church of the Congregationalists was purchased by the society for $650.  The Rev. William HUGHES of East Bloomfield, has been the pastor since organization.  


The Christian Church of West Bloomfield was organized in October 1818, by Rev. David MILLARD.  It numbers 16 members, among whom were James HARVEY, wife, and daughter Sarah, Mrs. FIELD, A EVERTS, Ezra WILCOX and Elizabeth BRIGGS.  The primary meeting was held at the school house in No. 10.  Services were held in No. 9, and during the summer season in barns for some time.  In 1825, a house of worship was built on the corner of lot 65,less than a miles south of the village.  The house was a comfortable framed structure about 36 by 46 feet, and having a steeple.  The cost  was $1,600.  About 1848 it was removed to the  village and located as seen.  A highly accomplished minister, Rev. Mr. MILLARD, was their preacher.  His services were very much appreciated, and attracted large assemblies.  Within a few months succeeding organization the church had increased to 50 members.  Rev. MILLARD continued to preach for the society, at intervals, till 1868, when he moved to Michigan, where his death occurred on August 7, 1873, at Jackson.  Half a century he had labored here, and it was eminently consistent that his remains should rest in the grounds of a community whom he gave a life time to benefit, and who continue to cherish his memory as of a good, faithful servant of the Redeemer.  An opportunity was given Mr. MILLARD to visit Palestine, and during his absence, Rev. Isaac C. GOFF preached for the society.  Other preachers have been Revs. HAVENS, SIBLEY and David E. MILLARD, son of the first minister.  The organization has now no regular existence, and their church was sold to the town and is now in use as a town hall. 


The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Bloomfield, as an organized society, is comparatively of recent origin, as indicated by following official abstract: "In accordance with a notice previous given, according to the statue of this State, the inhabitants of district No. 13, in the town of Bloomfield, in the county of Ontario, having met to organize a religious society and opened the meeting, the Rev. Philo WOODWORTH and Daniel ANDERSON were duly elected presidents, and John B. MASON, secretary.  It was voted that 5 trustees be appointed, wherefore the following persons were duly elected by ballot: Ransom SAGE, James TUCKER, Silas MILLER, Charles STRONG and Benjamin WAGER .... Organized this 7th of February, A.D., 1831."  Catharine BARRETT, Lewis BARNUM and wife, and Silas CROWELL were pioneer members.  Meetings were first held in West Bloomfield village; meetings were held in Mr. MILLER'S barn, and then in the school house.  A framed house of worship was erected in 1832 on the northeast corner of Charles WEBB'S farm; but the members being more numerous at the Miller's Corners settlement,  they disbanded and reorganized at the latter place.  Their building was moved into the village, and served for a time as a town hall.  In 1840, the present church was erected, at a cost of about $2,000.  It was dedicated during the fall of the year names, Rev. Micah SEAGER officiating.  The builder was Hubbell GREGORY of Yates county.  He later became prominent as a builder at Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Following the two years terms of Rev. SEAGER came Rev. Ira FAIRBANKS.  The following named were of those who have at various periods served this church: Revs. John ROBINSON, ATCHINSON, John RAINES, and TROWBRIDGE; also, HUDSON, John COPELAND, William MANDERVILLE, John BENSON, John ARMITAGE, TOOKER, HUTCHINSON, WOODS, TIFFANY and HERMAN.  The present pastor is Rev. DUNCAN of Lima.  There is a flourishing Sunday school in connection with the church, and a good interest is manifested.


We have seen that the inhabitants of West Bloomfield were happy in the selection of their homes.  Mills were erected almost cotemporary with settlement.  School houses were not delayed, and a church building was essayed before the strength of the people was sufficient to complete the work.  In the amount of manufacture, the enterprise of individuals seems unlimited. 






History of Ontario Co., NY     Pub.  1893 


Congregational Church

The Congregational Church of West Bloomfield is one of the fixed institutions of the village and has a history almost as interesting as that of the town itself. The “Society of Bloomfield,” as it was originally called, had its beginning as early as the year 1796, and is therefore to be numbered among the first religious societies of Western New York. The first meetings were held under the charge of Pioneer Elisha WADE, and on August 16, 1799, an organization was perfected, having these members: Ebenezer CURTIS, Samuel and Sarah HANDY, Mary HALL, Daniel CANFIELD, Rachel GILBERT, Elizabeth MINER, Elizabeth DOWNS, Peregrine GARDNER, Griffin DOWNS, Nathaniel and Sebra BUTLER, Reuben and Louisa LEE, Hannah CURTIS, Rhoda CURTIS, Phebe HALL, Comfort MARVIN, and Phebe RICHMOND. The first pastor was James HOTCHKIN, who came as a supply in October, 1801, and who was installed pastor May 19, 1803. The early services of this church were held in the school-house, to which building the society at first proposed to make an addition to be occupied for purposes of public worship, but objections to this plan being interposed, a church edifice was finally determined upon. This was in 1804, but not until i 8o6 was the work begun, and the building was not fully completed until several years afterward.

In 1828 the church called Silas C. BROWN to the pastorate, whose installation was almost immediately followed by a bitter controversy among the members, and the final result was the withdrawal of forty of them, who organized a new society and installed Mr. BROWN as their pastor. They also built a house of worship in 1831, which was used until the opposing factions became reunited, and was afterward (1866) sold to the trustees of St. Joseph’s R. C. Society. The reunion mention was effected in 1843, and three years later the congregation had become so large that a new church was necessary. It was accordingly built a large brick structure, costing about $5,000. This proved sufficient for the requirements of the society for thirty years, but in 1875 a third edifice was begun and was completed within two years. The property of the society consists of church, chapel and parsonage, of a total value of about $18,000.

The pastor and supplies of this church from its organization to the present time have been as follows: James H. HOTCHKIN, David FULLER, Ebenezer FITCH, Silas C. BROWN, William P. KENDRICK, Julius STEELE, George CLARK, George BASSETT, C. R. CLARK, Timothy STOWE, C. E. FISHER, George C. OVERHISER, P. F. SANBORN, John PATCHIN, 0. D. CRAWFORD, S. B. SHERRILL, and Annis F. EASTMAN, the last named being the present incumbent. The church at this time has a membership of 200, and the Sunday school has 210 scholars.


St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at West Bloomfield was organized in 1866, and included within its parish the Roman Catholic families of the town. In the same year the church purchased the frame church formerly erected by the withdrawing element of the Congregational Society. Father William HUGHES was for many years pastor of St. Joseph’s. The present pastor is Father Simon FITZSIMMONS.

Christian Church

The Christian Church of West Bloomfield was organized in October, 1818, and held its early meetings in school houses. In 1825 a church edifice was built about a mile south of West Bloomfield village, where it stood until 1848, and was then moved to the corner lot in the village. Rev. David MILLARD was the active organizer of this church and society, and he stood in the relation of pastor almost throughout its existence. In 1868 he moved to Michigan, and was succeeded in the pastorate by Revs. HAVENS, SIBLEY, and David E. MILLARD, who labored to maintain the organization of the society, but failing, it was finally dissolved, and the edifice was purchased by the town and used for its meetings.

..... The business interests of Miller Corners are substantially embraced by the general stores of Johnson and Croft respectively, and the public institutions are the Methodist Church and the school of District No. 3. It may be added, however, that the Old Cemetery and Rural Cemetery have their location within the hamlet proper, and in connection therewith may be mentioned.


Methodist Episcopal Church

The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Bloomfield, as an original organization, belongs to the town rather than the village of Miller’s Corners The society was formed February 7. 1831, and held its first meetings in West Bloomfield, in the school. house, and occasionally in Mr. MILLER's barn. The church edifice was built in 1832. However, as most of the members resided at the Corners or its vicinity, the society was disbanded, and afterwards reorganized as a society of Miller’s Corners, to which place the meetinghouse was removed, and was superseded by a more substantial structure in 1840. Present pastor, Rev. E. W PARKS. Although the pastorate is not always supplied by a resident minister, the society is nevertheless large and prosperous.


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