Ontario County Organized Churches
from 1878 History of Ontario Co., NY
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Kindly transcribed by Deborah Spencer.
History of Ontario Co., NY
Gorham Churches pg 155 - 156
The present town of Gorham contains
six churches, divided among the various denominations as follows: one
Presbyterian, one Orthodox Congregational, two Baptist, and two Methodist.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH was
organized February 26, 1828, by Reverends Henry AXTELL, Henry P. STRONG,
and Ansel D. EDDY. It was
composed of 24 members, taken for the purpose from the church of
Hopewell,--eight were males. The
following are their names: Jacob HOVEY, Peter C. FIERO, Abraham C. FIERO,
Orin CRITTENDEN, Levi SAWTELLE, James ROBINSON, and John BREZEE.
Of the women were Jane ROBESON, Alada BRIDGMAN, Mary W. HOVEY,
Hannah FIERO and her sisters Elizabeth and Mary, Canadice CRITTENDEN,
Mahitabil SOULE, Sarah NEWMAN, Sarah SAWTELLE, Silva FITCH, Hannah
GROESBECK, Mary SNYDER Sabra CRITTENDEN, and Abigail WISE.
The church was taken under the care of the presbytery of Geneva
shortly after its formation. In
1832 it numbered 102 members; in 1836, 128; and in 1846, 68.
The first elders were Jacob HOVEY, Orin CRITTENDEN, and Peter C.
FIERO. They were set apart to
their office by Rev. Joseph MERRILL on March 8, 1828.
Orin CRITTENDEN was the first clerk of the session.
The first deacons were Levi HATFIELD and Mason SAWTELLE.
From the period of its organization till 1830, temporary supplies
were furnished by different individuals.
Rev. Chester HINMAN supplied for one year, under the direction of
the American Home Missionary Society. Rev. Flavel GAYLORD was pastor from
1830 until the close of 1839. Rev. Hosea KITTREDGE supplied from July, 1841, to the same
date of the following year. He
was followed by Rev. Alva LILLY, who officiated for two years, and was
succeeded by Rev. Charles MERWIN, who was installed pastor on April 16,
1845, and dismissed from his charge May 6, 1846.
Rev. Robert FINLEY was stated supply one year, and Rev. William
ROWLATT was pastor for a brief time.
The Mission Society gave considerable aid to support ministers.
Under the ministry of Rev. GAYLORD, a revival was enjoyed in 1831,
and some 40 persons were united to the church.
The original church edifice stood about 1 Ĺ miles from Reedís
Corners. In 1843 a new
meeting-house was erected at Gorham, then Bethel, and a separation took
place between those desiring to worship at the former place rather than at
Gorham. The question at issue was simply geographical, and when the
division took place, the body politic of the church maintaining the
Presbyterian faith worshipped at Gorham, while the others erected a church
at Reedís Corners. The old
society has had a prosperous and peaceful growth, and at present numbers
103 communicants. Its present
pastor, Rev. N. S. LOWRIE, also officiates as minister of the
Congregational church at Rushville,--a good evidence of the friendly
feelings between the societies.
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, at
Reedís Corners, is an offshoot, as above noticed, from the Presbyterian
society at Gorham. The
building used is the old meeting-house of that body.
Those of the members who remained after the division found
themselves with a house and without a minister.
It became imperative to occupy the old church, to hold it; as it
was articled, that if not used for church purposes, it should revert to
the original owners. They
tried in vain to secure a preacher, and, in a strait, invited a Baptist
minister, who was preaching in the neighborhood, to hold his afternoon
services in their church. The request was acceded to, and the property thereby
retained. Finally, a
clergyman of the Dutch Reformed persuasion was invited to preach, and
accepted. He presented his
views so effectually as to induce the people to accede to them, and they
became known as a Dutch Reformed society.
The Rev. PIERSON was the first settled minister of the new
organization, and following him, Rev. Israel HAMMOND.
In time the old church was removed to Reedís Corners, and another
theological change took place. This
time the church emerged as Congregational.
The Rev. Warren DAY was engaged to supply the pulpit in this
connection. No settled pastor has been engaged. The policy seems to be to employ its clergymen from year to
year--the Rev. N. S. LOWRIE, of the present church at Gorham, acting as
pastor. When a man becomes a
Christian, he does not cease to be human; and it is an honor to the
persons early composing various societies that the questions which
originate the increased population and local claims have been so amicably
BAPTIST CHURCHES - The
first Baptist society of Gorham was formed prior to 1812, yet for some
time they were without a place of worship, and services were held in the
houses of members and in school-houses.
A church was erected on lot 29, district No. 5.
The members worshiped as one society until 1841.
At that time a proposal was made by the Middlesex Baptist church,
at Rushville, to unite with them and build a house at Bethel.
The majority of the society accepted the proposal, and the new
church was completed and dedicated in December, 1842, as the ďBethel
Baptist Church Society.Ē The
first settled minister was Rev. Abraham ENNIS.
The first deacons were Henry DOUGLASS, J. W. VAN ARSDEL, and
Abraham WATKINS. In the mean
time, that part of the society which had remained with the old society
concluded to remove to Reedís Corners, and this was done.
Their pastor, Rev. John G. STEARNS, accompanied them.
This society, which was the original Baptist body, constitutes the
present Reedís Cornersí Baptist church.
THE METHODIST CHURCH AT RUSHVILLE dates
its origin from 1821 to 1823, when preaching by Methodists began in this
vicinity. There was of course
no meeting-house, and in the homes of the brethren was set up the altar of
worship. The first baptism
connected with this church took place on April 30, 1825.
The original members of the society were named as follows: Ebenezer
STREETER, wife, and mother, Jesse C. BOARDMAN, Hannah PRATT, John A.
PEABODY, Samuel WHITMAN, James PEABODY, and George B. TURNER. When we see a small party, in this instance but nine in all,
banding themselves together for worship, the thought arises, To what
extent has its influence been felt in local and general welfare and
prosperity? Through the
efforts of Rev. Ira FAIRBANKS, some time in 1830, the building of a
meeting-house was started; work was pushed rapidly and it was soon
completed. It was dedicated
on June 25, 1832, by Rev. John COPELAND, then minister of this church.
The church building is a large, handsome edifice, built of brick.
The society has a membership of 200.
A revival, in 1833, was general, and resulted in adding many to
THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH - The early records of this society are now lost; but from the annual minutes of the Methodist Episcopal church, and the recollection of aged members, we glean the following historical facts. As early as 1796, Arming OWEN and Jefferson HAMILTON, members of the Philadelphia Conference, visited the sparse settlements of this region, and Gorham received her share of their ministrations. The primal services were held at the log meeting-house 2 Ĺ miles east of Gorham, in the town of Seneca. In 1817, a revival under the labors of Thomas EWING, a local preacher, added to the young church; and so many of these new members resided in the hamlet, and the meetings so abounded in spiritual excellence, that Rev. P. HOLLET, a settled pastor form the Methodist itinerancy, proposed the name Bethel (House of God) to the rising village. Meetings were held east of the village, in a log house nearly opposite the present dwelling of J. M. PULVER, Esq. From this time regular preaching was established in Gorham, in one of these two school houses of the village, but generally on the west side. In 1828, Abner CHASE being presiding elder on the Ontario district, and Dennison SMITH preacher of the Benton circuit, to which these classes were attached, they were encouraged to build a hose of worship in Gorham.
A society was organized, called "The First Methodist Episcopal Society of the town of Gorham, New York," and their firs trustees were John Q. GROSBECK, O. F. RICE and Seaman TOMPKINS. They still remained an integral part of the Seneca society. Poverty cramped their efforts, which finally resulted in a full payment of their indebtedness, in 1832, by a bona fide sale of their slips. The house is supposed to have cost a thousand dollars. It stood between several charges and for 10 or 12 years, pastors and relation to the church cannot be fixed. Revivals were enjoyed under the labors of Revs. SMITH and Zina J. BUCK, both attached to the people of this society. These clergymen died here, and were buried in the old cemetery on the west side of the village. Rev. SMITH died August 22, 1832. In 1842 preaching was transferred from the log meetinghouse to Bethel, where it has since remained. The name Bethel was adopted, with Rev B. ATCHISON, a local preacher, as supply. Among preachers not named up to this time, were Benjamin BIDLACK, Charles GILES, Lawrence REILEY, W. B. LACEY, Benjamin G. PADDOCK, Gideon LANNING, Allen STEELE and Calvin COATS. The following are the names of familes connected with the society: The STOKES, PHILLIPS, COGSWARDS, RICES, ARNOLDS, SCHUYLERS, HANLEYS AND RUNYANS. The HERSHEYS and others were supporters of the church, but not members till years later. Since 1842, the following pastors have served the church: In 1843, Levi B. CASTLE succeeded ATCHINSON; in 1844-45, S. PARKER; 1846-47, Albert PLUMLEY; 1848, Philo TOWER, 1849, A. G. LAMAN. M.D.; 1850 J. L. S. GRANDLIN; 1851-52, J. L. EDSON; 1853, Ashbel PARCEL; 1854-55, J. H. BLADES; 1856, J. K. B. CLAYTON; 1857-58 A. G. LAMAN, H. M. BOARDMAN, Sup.; 1859-60 E. EDSON; 1861-62, J. CHAPMAN; 1863-64, H. WISNER; 1865, W. A. RUNNER; 1866-67-68, A. D. EDGAR; 1869 - 1871, J. h. DAY; 1872-1874, T. Leslie WEAVER; 1875, N. A. DE PEW, present minister.
In 1868 the church was remodeled and enlarged at an expense of over $2,000. During the last 25 years, the society has raised for pastors' support and benevolent objects, exclusive of incidental expenses, over $17,000. Three thousand dollars of this had been given to charities. Prior to organization, the few Methodists had united with the Presbyterians in Sabbath school effort; but the general conference having, at its session in 1828, formed a Sabbath school society, the Gorham church organized according to the plan, and elected A. HILL superintendent. He was followed by John CAYWARD for a brief time, them Mr. HILL continued till 1852, when M. A. SQUIER was chosen, and is now in his 24th year of service in this office. In 1863, the school began its existence as continuous all the year round. Periodicals supplant library. "Berean Leaves" are used and the church and school are abreast of the times.
History of Ontario Co., NY Published 1893
GORHAM CHURCHES pg 398 - 401
On the Gorham side of the village the generally called public institutions are the cemetery and the M. E. Church property, while the Congregational church is south of but very close to the line.
At Gorham Village ..... and the churches, the Methodist, built in 1828; and the Presbyterian and Baptist, both built in 1842-43.
In the vicinity of Reed's Corner are the Congregational and Baptist Churches, both of which are offshoots from older societies in the town. Neither has a resident pastor, the supply of the former being Rev.
HOVER of Rushville, and of the latter Rev. ROSE of Gorham village.
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