Ontario County Organized Churches

from History of Ontario Co., NY      pg 110-113 & 119





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Kindly transcribed by Donna Walker Judge & Deborah Spencer



History of Ontario Co., NY  

Published 1878  pg  110-113

Canandaigua Churches 

St. John’s Parish, of Canandaigua, formed as St. Matthew’s, was one of the earliest organizations of the original county of Ontario.  In 1796 there was no Episcopal clergyman within the limits of the present diocese of Western New York.  In this year was founded the Diocesan Society for propagating the gospel in this region.  Its first missionary, Robert A. WETMORE, was sent out in 1796-97, and its second, Philander CHASE (afterwards successively bishop of Ohio and Illinois), early in 1798.  Of Wetmore little is known.  In 1798-99 Mr. CHASE traversed the greater part of the present diocese, from Utica to Sheldon; he baptized some 400 adults and infants, and organized parishes, some of which still exist. 

Among those founded was St. Matthew’s Church, of Canandaigua, on February 4, 1799.  Pursuant to a notice previously given, a meeting to establish a Protestant Episcopal church was held at the date given, for the purpose of electing a vestry according to law.  Ezra PLATT was chairman; Rev. Philander CHASE read prayers.  An election of two churchwardens and eight vestrymen was then held.  Ezra PLATT and Joseph COLT were chosen wardens.  John CLARK, Augustus PORTER, John HICKOX, Nathaniel SANBORN, Benjamin WELLS, James FIELDS, Moses ATWATER, and Aaron FLINT were vestrymen.  It was “voted that ‘St. Matthew’s Church, in the town of Canandaigua, and State of New York,’ shall be the name, style, or title by which this church or congregation shall be hereafter known and recognized by law.”  This organization became extinct shortly after the departure of Rev. CHASE, which took place within a few months. 

On September 27, 1814, the initial meeting was held to organize the present parish.  The proceedings are thus recorded: “At a meeting of the following individuals, who, by a joint act between themselves and the Rev. Orin CLARK, rector of Trinity church, in the village of Geneva, have attached themselves to the Protestant Episcopal church, in the United States of America, to wit: Nathaniel Jacobs (2d), M. ATWATER, Jeremiah F. JENKINS, Isaac DAVIS, Richard WELLS, Punderson B. UNDERHILL, Bennett STILLMAN, Lot REW, John A. STEVENS, Charles UNDERHILL, and John C. SPENCER, held at the office of M. ATWATER, September 27, 1814, it was unanimously resolved that this meeting do incorporate by the name and style of ‘The Wardens and Vestrymen of St. John’s Church in Canandaigua.”  M. ATWATER and P. B. UNDERHILL were duly elected wardens.  N. JACOBS (2d), John C. SPENCER, John A. STEVENS, Ellis DOTY, Jeremiah F. JENKINS, Richard WELLS, Bennett STILLMAN, and Lot REW, vestrymen.  Rev. Alanson WELTON officiated for the society until September, 1815, and an individual subscription of $1000 for his support shows a generosity for those times.  Father PHELPS is remembered as having labored at this missionary station.  A vacancy in the rectorship was speedily filled by Bishop HOBART, who sent hither Dr. Henry U. ONDERDONK, who had left the more lucrative profession of medicine for the service of the altar.  His entrance upon duty was characterized by prompt action. 

On March 28, 1816, it was resolved to build a church.  On May 6, less than two months later, the corner-stone was laid, and in seven months thereafter all was completed.  The church was consecrated on December 12, and at this ceremony Bishop HOBART was present.  The building was considered a model of ecclesiastical architecture, but was not completed without the incurrence of an oppressive debt.  Soon after consecration, Dr. ONDERDONK became rector, receiving for his support the income from the pews and a stipend from the diocese.  During his rectorship 85 names were on the list of communicants.  On his resignation, November, 1819, the vestry notified Rev. William BARLOW, then minister of the village Methodist church, that on his obtaining deacon’s orders in the P. E. church he would receive a call to the charge of St. John’s church.  Rev. BARLOW was ordained deacon January 17, 1820, and entered on his duties with a salary, derived from pew rent, estimated at $700.  At the close of his ministry in October, 1822, the parish was almost hopelessly involved in debt.  In July, 1820, the vestry resolved “to enter upon and seize” 12 pews upon which assessments were unpaid.  This measure was a frequent but unavailable resort in early years.  In 1822, the church was advertised for sale under foreclosure of mortgage; but the efforts of the vestry, and especially of John C. SPENCER, senior warden, averted this loss.  He wrote in the name of the vestry to the corporation of Trinity church, New York, asking that $1500, loaned to the parish, be made a gift.  The request was granted on condition that all debts be canceled within 12 months.  A subscription was headed by John C. SPENCER with $150.  The names of O. SEYMOUR, E. HALE, N. G. CHESEBRO, P. P. BATES, M. ATWATER, John GREIG, Mark H. SIBLEY, executor of L. SEYMOUR, and H. RICHMOND follow with $100 each.  The required sum, $5000, was subscribed, but whether not paid in or further debt was incurred, a vote is on record confessing judgment in favor of the bank of Utica.  Amid these difficulties, Rev. James P. F. CLARK succeeded Mr. BARLOW, but remained less than a year, owing to inability to raise his salary of $600.  The Rev. Burton H. HICKOX, the next named on the records, was more successful than his predecessors.  In the year 1826, a 4th confirmation, held at St. John’s, included the names of 59 persons.  Rev. HICKOX served 3 ½ years, and resigned.  Eight months’ interval without a pastor was followed, January, 1828, by the Rev. John SELLON’s assuming charge of the parish, with a salary of $800.  Those who recall Mr. SELLON speak with enthusiasm of his brilliancy as a preacher, his fine reading of the service, and his scholarly attainments.  He resigned in September, 1829, on a plea of ill health, and the Rev. Ravard KEARNEY began his ministration in January following.  He was invited to become rector, but in the course of his services, which did not terminate until August, 1832, unhappy dissensions between him and the parish disturbed and rendered nugatory his services.  The parish now remained a year without a rector.  The Rev. Henry J. WHITEHOUSE (afterwards bishop of Illinois), and the Rev. John Murray FOSTER, D.D., now of New York, each declined a call.  The parish promised the former a salary of $1000, which, to their credit, was declined.  Finally, in August, 1833, the Rev. Richard D. SHIMEALL accepted a call, his salary, based on pew rents, estimated at $847.  At a meeting held September 13, 1834, the following, offered by Mr. SPENCER, was unanimously adopted:  Whereas, John GREIG, Esq., has given the vestry the dwelling-house lately occupied by him, which is worth $800, and Henry B. GIBSON, Esq., has also presented a lot worth $600, on which to place said house, conveyance of which has been executed and recorded, Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this vestry, in behalf of themselves and the congregation of St. John’s church, be returned to those doctors for their liberality, and a record of the act be placed on the minutes of the vestry.”  The house was afterwards sold, and the present rectory built the next church.  In 1836, Rev. Augustus P. PROVOST, then a young man just admitted to deacon’s orders, became rector.  He was modest, serious, and earnest.  His seven years’ administration were marked by love, gentleness, devotion, and a whole-hearted discharge of every pastoral duty.  Then came a time when the light of his eye failed and the hue of health left his cheek.  A few months more and his work was closed; and Bishop DE LANCEY mingled his tears with all those in the house as he uttered the words, “Let me die the death of the righteous, let my last end be like his.”  After the death of Mr. PROVOST, Rev. John WILLIAMS (now bishop of Connecticut) was called and declined.  The Rev. John WAYLAND, D.D., accepted a call, and remained five years.  The entrance of Rev. Alfred B. BEACH upon the rectorship in September, 1848, begins the list of ministrations of clergymen yet living.  Mr. BEACH was succeeded, July, 1853, by Rev. George I. RIDER, then in deacon’s orders.  He was admitted to the priesthood April 23, 1854.  An interval of a year preceded the advent to this ministry of Rev. Walter AYRAULT, D.D., in the fall of 1856.  Dr. AYRAULT resigned June 16, 1862, and Rev. Amos B. BEACH, D.D., began duty as rector August 17 following.  In April, 1863, his successor was Rev. C. S. LEFFINGWELL, who resigned in 1868, to take charge of the church in Gardiner, Maine, where he remains.  In August, 1869, Rev. C. M. NICKISON assumed charge, and remained until the autumn of 1875, when, having been called to the charge of the Epiphany church, Rochester, he was succeeded by the Rev. J. H. LEE, the present rector. 

The present church was completed in 1873.  The first movement towards its erection was made March 13, 1867, when the measure was proposed by Manning C. WELLS.  A fund was gradually acquired from weekly offerings, but no immediate action was contemplated, since in the fall an addition to the old church was made.  At a vestry meeting, November 6, 1871, a resolution by Chas. B. MEEK was, without dissent, adopted:  “That a subscription to build a new church and enlarge the present, or purchase a new site, at an expense of at least $30,000, be started and circulated at once.”  The new church building fund amounted at this time to $3731.63, and, including the subscription, realized $26,462.63. 

The work of building was begun in the following spring.  The old wooden church, thoroughly built, was demolished with no small labor.  Pending the erection of the church, services were held in the United States court-room.  The completed church involved the society in a debt which they found necessary to fund.  Principal and interest have been promptly met, and at an early date the debt will be extinguished.  The late Chas. B. MEEK was a prime mover in the work of building.  His name heads the subscription list.  Daily he watched, with a declining strength, the growth of the building.  It was not for him to see it completed, but his lifeless body was borne into the still unfinished church, and the first words of divine service heard within its walls were these: “I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” 

The wardens of the church have succeeded as follows: Moses ATWATER and P. B. UNDERHILL, 1814 to 1815; Ellis DOTY and N. JACOBS (2d), 1816; John C. SPENCER served from 1817 to 1839, when he was succeeded by Chauncey MOORE, who, in 1843, was followed by Orson BENJAMIN, who discharged the duties of the office until 1862; then E. HALE, until 1871, when Charles E. SHEPARD, a present warden, was chosen.  Zachariah SEYMOUR served from 1817 to 1823; N. JACOB, 1823; Asa STANLEY, 1824 to 1827; H. F. PENFIELD, 1827 to 1836; H. K. SANGER, 1836; Alexr. DUNCAN, 1837; E. W. CHENEY, 1838 to 1842; Charles SEYMOUR, 1842 to 1858; Charles B. MEEK, 1858 to 1873; and Jonathan K. WELLS, 1873, and yet serving.  The number of infant baptisms in the church have been 731; of adults; 199; total 930.  There have been 573 confirmations, 320 marriages, and 515 burials.


THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH of Canandaigua was organized in 1799, by Rev. Zadock HUNN and Rev. John ROLPH, and in the presence of three licentiates, Jedediah BUSHNELL, Amasa JEROME, and Timothy FIELD.  The incorporation of the society took place according to the statute law of the State on February 25 of the year named.  Six trustees were chosen, viz: Othniel TAYLOR, Seth HOLCOMB, Thaddeus CHAPIN, Abner BARLOW, Dudley SALTONSTALL, and Phineas BATES.  “The style, name, and title by which the trustees and their successors shall forever hereafter be known in law is, ‘The First Congregational Church, in the town of Canandaigua.”  The following were the 18 original members: Enos HAWLEY, Abraham ROOT, Phineas BATES, William SHEPARD, Thaddeus CHAPIN, Israel CHAPIN, Wm. A. WILLIAMS, Harvey STEEL, Joshua GIDDINGS, Esther BATES, Dorothy TAYLOR, Abigail WARREN, Abagail CHAPIN, Betsey WILLIAMS, Susannah HUBBARD, _____ MATHER, Naomi BATES, and Phoebe STEELE.  A grant was made on July 30, 1799, by Oliver PHELPS, Esq., to this corporation of the burial-ground previously used in Canandaigua.  In December it was determined at a meeting of “the male part of the congregation assembled at the school-house” (which stood near the corner of Main and Cross streets), that Rev. Timothy FIELD, who had preached to the congregation since June, should be requested to assume the pastoral office, and a majority of 4/5 of the subscribers to ministerial support pledged a salary of $500 a year.  Considered in regard to the times, and the means of the community, the salary was a liberal one.  The invitation was accepted, and this, the first pastor of the church, was ordained by council in February, 1800.  He was dismissed at his own request by the Ontario Association, June 12, 1805, and died February 22, 1844.  It was some time before a regular pastor succeeded Mr. FIELD, the church being furnished with stated supplies.  An effort was made in 1807 to insure to a pastor a regular and liberal support, and to that end a subscription was made of sums to be paid each year, so long as subscribers continued to reside in town.  The number of subscribers was 96, and the amount of $535.05 was raised.  The Rev. Henry CHANNING, called in January, 1808, entered upon the duties of the office in the following June, and resigned May, 1811.  He was a gentleman of extensive learning and respectable talents, and died in New York in 1840. 

In 1810 the church declared itself independent, as a Congregational church, and has so continued to the present time.  For a number of years public worship was held in the old court-house, but on October 5, 1810, a meeting was called at the said court-house for the purpose of considering and agreeing on measures looking to the building of a meeting-house.  The Rev Wm. F. TORRY was ordained February 9, 1813, and resigned his charge here January 5, 1817.  He died in Madison, Ohio, November 29, 1861, in his 76th year. 

The house of worship was built of brick during 1812, and on October 30 of that year, William SHEPARD, clerk of the society, sold at public auction the pews therein.  This meeting-house was dedicated March 10, 1813.  The Rev. Evan JOHNS was installed pastor October 22, 1817, and, at his own request, dismissed by council, June 9, 1823.  He died in this village May 6, 1849, aged 86 years.  The Rev. Ansel D. EDDY, D.D., was installed pastor of the church by council, January 1, 1824.  The introductory prayer was by Rev. Mr. MERILL, installing prayer by Rev. Mr. TAYLOR, sermon by Rev. Mr. LANSING, charge to pastor by Rev. Mr. FITCH, right hand of fellowship by Rev. Mr. TAYLOR, charge to church and people by Rev. Mr. AXTELL, concluding prayer by Rev. Mr. STEELE.  In the evening, an address was delivered by John C. SPENCER, Esq., and a sermon by Rev. Mr. EDDY.  Mr. EDDY was dismissed, at his own request, on July 3, 1835.  The society, numbering 260 members in 1829, had increased under Mr. EDDY to 310.  The successor of Mr. EDDY was the Rev. M. L. R. P. THOMPSON, D.D., who was installed in the spring of 1836, and having resigned his charge in May, 1844, was dismissed by the same council which installed his successor.  The Rev. Oliver E. DAGGETT, D.D., was duly installed on January 30, 1845.  During the year 1848 the church was enlarged to its present size.  He remained for a period of over 22 years, and was finally dismissed, at his own request, on October 16, 1867.  The Rev. Frederick B. ALLEN was ordained and installed by council, April 2, 1868, and, at his request, dismissal was granted on April 2, 1873.  The Rev. Frank T. BAYLEY, the present pastor, was ordained and installed September 3, 1873. 

Deacons -The first deacon of the church, and the only one from its organization till his death, August 11, 1807, was Enos HAWLEY, who died in his 80th year.  Israel CHAPIN was elected June 24, 1810, and died August 31, 1833.  William SHEPARD and Harvey STEELE were elected January 11, 1809.  They were ordained with the laying on of hands.  The former died July 13, 1823, and the latter removed from the village.  Walter HUBBELL was elected January 18, 1824; died March 25, 1848.  Henry W. TAYLOR was elected November 28, 1828; removed, and on his return re-elected, January 10, 1849.  Robert ANTIS and Samuel H. ANDREWS were elected April 29, 1837; Francis J. CASTLE, February 28, 1845; George WILLSON (2d), Noah T. CLARKE and W. Mynderse CHIPMAN, June 30, 1848.  WILLSON died December 30, 1852   and CHIPMAN, March 14, 1856; Edward G. TYLER, December 30, 1853.   Joseph B. HAYES was elected January 2, 1863, and ordained March 1 following, with the laying on of hands, and Levi B. GAYLORD was elected December 30, 1870.  The list of membership in 1874 includes 350 names.  The number of deceased members from January 30, 1845, to April 27, 1874, was 145.  The oldest of these was Abigail BEALS, widow of Thomas.  She died August 9, 1872, aged 88 years.  In 1848 a chapel had been built for a Sabbath-school and weekly evening service.  Time had rendered it dilapidated, and on May 8, 1871, the society held a meeting in the old building to consider the matter of better accommodations.  The proposition to enlarge and rebuild the old chapel was rejected, from the limited space in the rear of the church.  A proposal to purchase the lot and building adjoining the church on the north was received with favor.  Meetings were held June 6 and 13, when the trustees were directed to make purchase of this property and procure plans for a chapel building.  A committee to procure subscriptions soon raised $10,000.  The lot was bought, June 15, for $6500.  Samuel J. F. THAYER, of Boston, drew plans and specifications, which were adopted March 4, 1872.  The proposal of Albion ELLIS of the village to build was accepted April 1, and a building of stone was to be erected for the sum of $11,203.  A meeting of April 16 approved the action of trustees, appointed additional subscription committee, and $5,700 additional was raised.  The foundation was laid, and the work went on until completed, January 1873.  The chapel was dedicated February 12, 1873, by appropriate services, conducted by Rev. Frederick B. ALLEN, pastor, and Rev. Mr. BEARD, of Syracuse.  The entire cost of the chapel aggregated $24,300.  The present superintendent of the Sunday-school is Levi B. GAYLORD.


FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of Canandaigua was formed from persons previously members of the Congregational church.  On April 26, 1870, a public meeting was held at the court-house to consider the question of organizing a church of the Presbyterian faith and polity.  Anticipating such movement, the lot on the corner of Main and Gibson streets had been purchased, March 16, and the location of the new church edifice.  On May 7 a second meeting was held in the same place as the first, and the means for the support of the gospel for a year were there pledged.  On the evening of May 7 the first prayer-meeting of the friends of the enterprise was held at the house of Rev. A. M. STOWE.  It was largely attended and of great interest.  The next day, Sunday, Rev. S. M. CAMPBELL, D.D., pastor of the Central church of Rochester, preached the first sermon to the congregation assembled in the court-house.  On Sunday, May 15, Rev. E. A. HUNTINGTON, D.D., professor in the Auburn Theological Seminary, preached in the morning; and public worship concluded, himself presiding, the organization of the First Presbyterian church of Canandaigua was effected.  Four ministers took part in the exercises, A. M. STOWE, H. W. BROWN, D. C. SACKETT, and J. ALABASTER, the last named pastor of the Methodist church of Canandaigua.  46 persons presented letters of dismissal from the Congregational church of this village, and nine from other churches.  These, with Alfred M. and Sarah G. NOTT, who made profession of faith, were received in the formation of the church,--57 persons in all.  Three persons, each of whom had served as such in other churches, were chosen elders; namely, John S. WORTH, Harlow L. COMSTOCK, and William H. LAMPORT.  Two deacons, George HILLS and Daniel F. ALVERSON, were chosen, and ordained according to the constitution of this church. 

On May 16, Rev. Dr. HUNTINGTON was engaged as stated supply till a pastor could be provided.  In November, Rev. Samuel H. THOMPSON, of Pittsburgh, Pa., received a call from this church.  He accepted, and was installed February 2, 1871, in the Methodist church, by the presbytery of Geneva.  The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. HUNTINGTON, the charge to the pastor was given by Rev. Dr. S. H. GRIDLEY, and that to the people by Rev. Dr. A. A. WOOD.  On January 11 of this year, two elders were elected,--James T. WISNER and Noah T. CLARKS.  The former was already an elder, the latter was ordained on the next Sabbath.  On May 30 the corner-stone of a church edifice was laid, with proper exercises and ceremonies; and on January 16, 1872, the building was completed, and dedicated to the worship of God.  From organization till the completion of the church--a period of 19 months--religious services were held in the chapel of the Methodist Episcopal church of this village, the building having been kindly and freely tendered to them for that purpose. 

On January 30, 1873, Rev. S. H. THOMPSON, at his request, was dismissed and on March 14 a unanimous call was extended to Rev. George C. CURTIS, D.D., to become their pastor.  The call was accepted, and installation took place October 16, 1873.  The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. S. M. CAMPBELL, charged by Rev. B. M. GOLDSMITH and Rev Dr. T. F. WHITE.  Rev. CURTIS is the present efficient and estimable pastor. 

August 30, 1873, James S. HICKOX, Charles ROBINSON, Levi N. BEEBE, and ___ Ransom PAGE were elected elders; the first two were ordained, and the others installed, on September 28, after morning service.  The membership in 1875 was 230.

A Sunday-school was organized May 15, 1870, just after the services of church formation.  William H. LAMPORT was elected superintendent, and John S. McCLURE, secretary and librarian.  There were six teachers and 23 scholars.  Two Bible-classes were also formed.  One of these classes was conducted by Judge COMSTOCK, the other by Charles ROBINSON.  On May 15, 1876, there were 24 classes, and a membership, officers and teachers, of 300.  Eighteen scholars joined the church in the spring of 1876.  Within six years there have been 57 teachers and 500 scholars.  The contributions by the school have been $1500; 1800 volumes in library, 150 copies of papers taken.  Noah T. CLARKE is the present superintendent.


METHODISM IN CANANDAIGUA - The first class was formed about five miles southwest of the village in 1796, where later the Cokesbury chapel was built.  The class numbered five members: Roswell ROOT, Ambrose and Lydia PHELPS, Sarah MORSE, and Hezekiah ROOT.  The minister who organized the class was named Hamilton JEFFERSON.  The first minister to occupy the new church was James GILMORE.  Under his administration, and that of most of his successors, there were more or less revivals, but by far the largest was in connection with Zirner J. BUCK, when about 150 were converted.  At a very early day, Bishop ASHBURY, passing through Canandaigua, preached at a chapel.  As early as 1811 a Methodist minister preached in Canandaigua village, in the “Old Star Building,” then the courthouse.


The first class was formed about 1814 or 1815, in the upper room of a tinship, then standing on Buffalo street, and owned by Sylvester WILSON.  David BENHAM and wife were among the first members, and the only married people in the class.  In time the loft became too strait for the class, who exchanged for a school-house on Chapel street.  During this period occasional services were held in the court-house, and, shortly after the class began to meet in the school-house, six persons were baptized,--Phoebe BALCOM, David and Silas BENHAM, Elisa RUFF, and Mrs. BENHAM; the name of the sixth is lost.  These were the first Methodists baptized in the village.


The first preacher in charge at Canandaigua was Rev. Benjamin PADDOCK, in 1817, but the station was not independent, since Hopewell and Cokesbury chapel formed the Ontario circuit, and had probably done so for some years.  The wife of Samuel BROCKELBANK, who came from Connecticut in 1791, did much for the Methodists, and soon joined them.  In the winter of 1817 the society began the erection of an edifice on Chapel street, at a cost of $7,000, Rev. Benjamin G. PADDOCK being pastor.  Nathan LOOFBOROUGH, Joel GILLET, Aaron SPRENER, and Roswell ROOT were trustees for the circuit.  The church was 1 ½ year in building.  It was dedicated July 26, 1818, Rev. Wm. BARLOW officiating.  The following year he became pastor.  Succeeding him were Loring GRANT, in 1821; George HASMON, 1822 and 1823; Gideon LANNING, 1824; James HALL, 1825; Seth MATTISON, 1826; Gideon LANNING, 1827; Richard WRIGHT, 1828; Ira FAIRBANKS, 1829 and 1830; John PARKER, circuit 1831 and 1832; John EASTER, 1833; and Wilbur HOAG, 1834 and 1835.


In 1834, arrangements were made for moving the church edifice to its present site.  In February 1823, under George HASMON, the society in Canandaigua was incorporated, under the title “The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Canandaigua.”  To this time its property had been held by the trustees of the Ontario circuit.  Among those who were members during the first year of its history were Levi BROCKELBANK, Joseph CANFIELD, Wm. BOUGHTON, John BROCKELBANK, Wm. GOODLING, Jas. S. WOODARD, Abram BUNNELL, Wm. WYCKOFF, and not a few godly women.  In 1876 one only of the original members survives - Mrs. Sarah BENHAM, born in 1794.


During 1831 a remarkable revival, lasting three miles, added 150 persons to the church.  Difficulties in securing an eligible church site were surmounted through the aid and influence of Rev. John RAINES, an English local preacher of wealth.


Following Mr. HOAG, the list of pastors has been as follows: P. E. BROWN, 1836; Gideon D. PERRY, 1837; Thos. CARLTON, 1838-39; Thos. CASTELLO, 1840;  W. H. GOODWIN, 1842-43; John COPELAND, 1844; Wm. R. BABCOCK, 1845; Jno. PARKER, 1846-47; J. T. ARNOLD, 1848-49,--during his stay the church edifice was enlarged, bricked, and otherwise improved, and at a sale of seats every one was sold for 10 years,--Manly TOOKER, 1850-51; E. G. TOWNSEND, who remained one year and then took the Bible agency for Western New York; S. W. ALLEN, 1853-54; J. T. ARNOLD, 1855-56; K. P. JERVIS, 1857-58,--he was popular preacher in and among friends out of the church,--P. McKINSTRY, 1859; F. G. HIBBARD, 1860,--he was a fine Biblical scholar, and gentleman in bearing, which gave good standing to the church,--J. K. TUTTLE, 1861; D. D. BUCK, 1862-63; Mr. HIBBARD returned, and served acceptably from 1864 to 1866; inclusive; John ALABASTER, 1867-69,--during this pastorate a large revival was enjoyed, and the church edifice was repaired,--C. Z. CASE, 1870; A. W. GREEN, 1871-73,--some 70 were added to the church during Mr. GREEN’s term,--and George VAN ALSTYNE, 1874, and now in charge.  During Mr. ALSTYNE’s pastorate the church has shown a healthy progress.  This minister is a close student and an eloquent speaker, and has many friends, not only including his charge, but in the village. 


Among class-leaders in the church were David BENHAM, Joseph CANFIELD, L. B. WOOD, J. FISK, A. PARSONS, J. RAINES, Geo. KIMBER, J. B. VOAK, and L. WILCOX.


In conference relation it formed part of the “Ontario circuit.”  It was from 1821 to 1823 in the Geneva circuit.  In 1860 Cokesbury chapel was sold, and its members joined at Canandaigua.  From 1817 to 1836 Canandaigua was included in Ontario district.  It was in Rochester district till 1846, when East Rochester district was organized, and of that it formed part till 1851, when it was put into the Bath district, till 1855.  At a readjustment, it was made part of Rochester district, and three years later was made the head of Canandaigua district, which continued till 1863, when it became, and still continues, part of Geneva district.  Three sessions of conference have been held here, the Genesee, 1834; East Genesee, 1855; and Central New York, in 1875.


The Sunday school was organized about the time the church was built on Chapel street.  Rev. John PARKER was its superintendent, and procured for it its first library.  For some time the pastors served as superintendents.  Among the laymen who have acted in this capacity are O. M. SMITH, Mr. ALDRICH, and L. WOLCOX.


THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF CANANDAIGUA was organized at Centrefield on June 21, 1826.  At a council held to recognize the organization, Elder Solomon GOODALE acted as chairman, and Elder E. W. MMARTIN as clerk.  The roll of original members included 15 names, as follows: David TOWER, Joel CRANE, William H. STRAIGHT, O. N. SAGE, Jesse CARPENTER, I .M  BOOTH, Mary SELEY, Mary STRAIGHT, Hannah SHAW, Sarah ANDREWS, Amy CARPENTER, Sarah HAND, Huldah HART, Triphena MILLER, and Ellen CRANE. 

The pastors, until meetings were held in Canandaigua, were Thomas BAKER, settled July 8, 1827, and Anson SHA, February 1, 1830.  The following named ministers preached as supply, at intervals, until August 2, 1834: Revs. BENTLEY, Eli HASKELL, Samuel CARPENTER, BENNETT, Eli STONE, M. ALLEN, Israel ROBERTS, S. GOODALE, Orsamus ALLEN, John B. POTTER,  John SEARS, SIMMONS, and ELMORE. 

A Sabbath-school, organized in 1827, has been continued until the present. 

On January 24, 1833, the church voted to remove to Canandaigua village.  The first meeting was held in the town-house on January 24, following.  Steps were taken to procure a site for a meetinghouse, and resulted in the purchase of the present site, on east side of South Main street.  Here a building was erected, and its completion was marked by appropriate opening exercises, held December 3, 1835, by Rev. Elon GALUSHA, of Rochester, who preached the dedicatory sermon.  The building then erected is yet in use, and carries one back to 40 years ago.  Without, all about are the business blocks among which it stands, a souvenir of the early day; within, are the sloping side-galleries, and on the east end is a high platform, without desk:  The old building has many pleasant associations, and fully answers the wishes of the society.  There are many more pretentious and costly structures, but the society prefers the present structure and freedom from the crushing influence of debt.  The following is the list of pastors to date: Marvin ALLEN, settled August 2, 1834; Lewis RANSTED, October 8, 1837; J. G. L. HOSKINS, January 4, 1840; Wm. R. WEBB, December 27, 1840; Peter COLGROVE, 1841; Samuel WOOD, supply, April, 1843; Samuel ADSIT, January 7, 1844; David BERNARD, September, 1845; Leonard WHITNEY, supply, November 2, 1845; A. S. KNEELAND, May 15, 1847; Wm. H. DOUGLASS, December 2, 1849; William PHILLIPS, July 18, 1852; A. G. BOWLES, May, 1854; M. P. FORBES, January 15, 1856; A. H. LUNG, May, 1857; S. W. TITUS, February 1, 1865; J. N. TOLMAN, October 28, 1866; Robert McARTHUR, supply, June 7, 1869; Andrew WILKINS, September 25, 1870; J. W. FORD, supply, October 19, 1873, and pastor since March 29, 1874.

Additions were made every year, more or less, to the society, but no notable revival until the spring and summer of 1837, when Elder MARVIN, assisted by Elder Jacob KNAPP, began a series of meetings, which largely increased the membership.  In 1840, Wm. R. WEBB, assisted by Elder MONTAGUE, aroused an interest, which greatly strengthened the church.  Revivals have taken place also in 1849-50, in the spring of 1860, in 1870, and during the present pastorate, which have brought many into fellowship with the church.  The present number of members is 213, and the church is regarded as well established and quite prosperous.



 The first BAPTIST church of Canandaigua was organized June 30, 1800, at the house of Lemuel CASTLE, and embraced twenty-one members. These were from the Baptist church of Phelpstown. On the organization of the church at Mr. CASTLE’S, the sermon was preached by Elder CASE. Among the prominent members were Hugh JAMESON, Lemuel CASTLE, John ROWLY, Solomon GOOLD, Eli BUTLER, Fairbanks MOORE, Jerry MILLER, Charity CASTLE, Rebecca ROWLY, Chloe BUTLER, David HURD, Jennette JAMESON, and John FREEMAN and wife. Mr. FREEMAN was one of the first settlers, and cleared up the MONTEATH farm and built what was known as the MONTEATH mill. The church for a number of years had only occasional preaching by Elders GOODALE, TUTTLE, and MUGG. On June 30, 1804, the church procured the services of Elder Silas BARNES, who was to preach one year for seventy-five dollars, and the sum to be raised by equalization from the assessor’s rate-bill, and a resolution was passed allowing the sisters to vote at church meetings. Hugh JAMESON and Lemuel CASTLE were appointed deacons of the church, and the record shows them energetic in discharge of duty and frequently called upon to sit in council on the formation of other Baptist churches in the county. For thirty-two years the church was destitute of a house of worship. Their meetings were held in private houses, school-houses, and barns, in different places in the south part of the town, known as No. 9. On July 22, 1832, the church met to take into consideration the erection of a house of worship, which was built near the place owned by Zebina LUCAS, Esq. Elder Eli HASKELL was pastor of the church at this time, and preached there twenty-eight years. After his death the church was removed to Cheshire, where Rev. A. S. LONG served as pastor seven years. Becoming reduced in numbers from emigration west, the remaining members united with the Baptist church in Canandaigua. The largest membership at any one time was one hundred and twenty-six, and the total of membership, from first to last, was three hundred and sixty-five.

BAPTIST SOCIETY IN CHESHIRE—The first meeting was held December 5, 1840, Elder E. F. CRANE chairman. The first board of trustees were Amasa SALISBURY, Justus ROSE, Lester HULSE, Orrin B. MORSE, Elias HUNTLEY, William B. PROUTY, and Moses WARD. Orrin B. MORSE was clerk, and L. HULSE secretary. The proceedings recorded in the county clerk’s office March 12, 1841. The society ran down so that on January 15, 1856, William B. PROUTY was the only Baptist belonging to the church. Religion was slightly regarded. The Methodists only used the house. A building committee was appointed November 17, 1869, and the house finished. A bell costing five hundred dollars was obtained February 5, 1874. Frank SIMMONS was the first whose funeral rites were performed in the new church. The sermon was by Rev. ABBOTT, Christian. Southeast from Cheshire on the lake, at Monteath’s point (named for J. S. MONTEATH’s family), lived Whiting TRUMAN in the year 1800. He erected a grist-mill in the gully on the stream, and there are ladies yet living who carried grists on horseback to this mill during the days when settlement was sparse, mills few, and access to them difficult. Southward is Bell’s Point, which was settled and cleared by Mr. EATON, and is now owned by Messrs. FOSTER, BENEDICT, and BROWN.



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