Ontario County Organized Churches




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History of Ontario Co., NY  

Published 1878    pg  211 - 212

 East Bloomfield Churches  

First Congregational

First Congregational Church, East Bloomfield - The first religious society of the town of Bloomfield was organized September 8, 1795 and called the "Independent Congregational Society."  Nathaniel NORTON, Ehud HOPKINS and Asher SAXTON were elected trustees.  At their first meeting measures were taken to obtain a suitable lot for a meetinghouse nad burying ground.  The church was organized November 5, 1796, by Rev. Zadock HUNN, and consisted of 17 members, whose names are as follows: John ADAMS, Amos BRONSON, Zadock HUNN, Ephraim REW, Amos LUSK, Joseph KING, Ehud HOPKINS, Asa HECOX, Chloe ADAMS, Hannah HOPKINS, Lucy BRONSON, Chloe REW, Martha GUNN, Abigail ADAMS, Clarissa GUNN, Abner ADAMS and Mary HECOX.  Two weeks later they had another meeting, and George CODDING, Jonathan ADAMS, William GOODING, Diantha NORTON, Lucinda ADAMS and Abigail CODDING untied with the little band, and since then all of them have departed this life to enter the better church above.  The missionaries, Seth WILLISTON and Jedediah BUSHNELL, preached here at different times previous to 1800, and also did Zadock HUNN, Jacob CRANE, David HIGGINS, Jon WEBER and Aaron COLLINS, previous to 1807.  This congregation erected a house of worship in 1801, Robert POWERS being the builder.  It was the first meeting house erected west of Clinton, Oneida county, New York and thought it was in an unfinished condition for several years, yet it was used continually for worship and many were hopefully converted within its sacred walls.  George CODDING was the first deacon, being elected in 1797.  He was succeeded by Ephraim REW and Ehud HOPKINS in 1799.  Amos BRONSON was elected in 1803, Timothy BUELL in 1808, also Jno. DOWD; Jonathan SMITH, 1816; Andrew CONE was elected 1832 and yet holds the position; Calvin POMEROY, 1840; Charles BUELL, 1864; and Frank MUNSON, 1870.  The pastors have been Revs. Oliver AYER, elected 1807; Darius O. GRISWOLD, installed 1812; Julius STEELE, 1816; Robert W. HILL, 1829; Henry KENDALL, 1849; Luther CONKLIN, 1858; Lewis D. CHAPIN, 1869; J. P. SKEELE, pastor elect, 1873.  A revival of great power was conducted by Revs. BUSHNELL and WILLISTON in 1799 and 1809, and some yet remember it as the season of the "Great Revival."  Time cannot determine what the influence has been on the history of this town.  More persons were converted then in proportion to the population than at any subsequent revival the town has known.  Those hardy pioneers from New England had been accustomed all their lives to regular preaching, and when they arrived here found themselves deplorably destitute of religious privileges.  The were, therefore, ready to hear  with profit.  In those early days all moneys for purchasing the grounds for church and burial ground, erected the church edifice, and supplying the pulpit, were raised by taxation.  Rev. Henry KENDALL once in his pulpit, in a discourse on the church's history, said, "The society records, without any apology or hesitation, speak of levying and collecting taxes for any and all of these purposes and men seemed cheerfully to submit to such an arrangement.   But as markers were very distant, and the difficulty of raising money very great, but a small portion of the payments were made in cash, and the remainder in the produce of the country."

June 19, 1822, the church adopted the Presbyterian from the Government and remained in it four years, when it returned to its former mode.  September 2, 1873, they again adopted a form similar to the Presbyterian.  A new church edifice was erected in 1836-37 and dedicated September 28, 1837.  It was repaired and improved about 1849.  The following have entered the ministry from this church: Samuel M. BEEBE, Lansing PORTER, Newton ADAMS, missionary to South Africa, where he died; Horatio N. NORTON, Oliver W. NORTON, Jno. KENDALL, Valentine LEWIS, Edward ADAMS, Myron H. ADAMS, Cassius DIBBLE and William SPRAGUE, missionary to China, at present.  A Sabbath school was organized by this body March 11, 1818, consisting of 100 members.  Rev. Julius STEELE, Harry PRATT and William PARSONS were chosen superintendents.  It is yet continued, and has been the means of bringing into the church about 300 members.  The school now numbers 269 scholars.  A circulating library was formed in 1799, Dr. Daniel CHAPIN being librarian.  It was of but of few year duration, but one was established some year later, and has continued to the present.  The present membership of the church is 196.  They have a very neat parsonage, costing $4,000.


First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church in Bloomfield was the second church organized in the town and dates from  the close of the last century.  Accustomed to church attendance in the east, the want of religious exercise with those holding the same views was no light hardship to the pioneers, and it was not long before those of Bloomfield and Bristol were seen to assemble and hold frequent meetings at their houses.  The Baptists in the towns mentioned soon desired to form a church, and to that end, called a council of delegates from the several Baptist churches in the vicinity, to meet June 13, 1799.  At the council Elder David IRISH was moderator and Samuel GOODALE, clerk.  A statement required in such case was made before the assembly, and the decision was favorable to the organization of a church.  

The society then proceeded to organize by taking the name of the First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, with 17 members, named as follows: Elijah ROSE, Benjamin STILLWELL, Abijah STILLWELL, Roxy STILLWELL, Pitts HOPKINS, Enoch WILCOX, Rachel BARNES, Nancy WILCOX, Anna ROSE, Chester DOTY, Eli LYON, Aaron HICKS, Otis HICKS, James CASE, Betsey CASE and Simon SIMMONS.  

No regular stated meetings were held during the first year.  Occasional meetings were held, and preaching done by Elder William FARNAM, Solomon GOODALE, Elnathan WILCOX and Elder WILSON at the several homes of the settlers.  As a meeting held in June 1800, the sum of $15 was raised for the support of preaching, and this amount was apportioned to members according to their ability to pay.  

Benjamin STILLWELL was chosen deacon in May 1801, and served till September following, when at his request, a discharge from the office was granted by the church.  A series of meetings were held by Elders FARNAM and WILCOX and Solomon GOODALE during 1801-2, and many accessions were made to the church by profession and by letter.  In April 1802, Eli LYON and John CHAPMAN were elected deacons and ordained as such in June following.  During the summer of 1803 a log meetinghouse was built.  It was situated in the town of Bloomfield, about one mile north of Baptist Hill, on land now owned by A. C. HATHAWAY.  The church enjoyed a steady increase in membership for several years.  During the month of February 1805, the members in Bristol requested a letter of fellowship and dismissal for the purpose of embodying themselves into a church in that town, and the request was granted.  


St. Peter's Episcopal Church

St Peter's Church, East Bloomfield - This Episcopal church was established in 1830, Rev. Jno. NORTON being the first rector, who served 8 years.  In 1838 he was succeeded by Rev. Reese CHIPMAN, who remained till 1844, when Rev. Edmond EMBURY was chosen.  Rev. Manning STRYKER was rector form 1847 to 1850, when he was succeeded by Seth DAVIS, who served till 1854.  Rev. Edward LIVERMORE was the next pastor, and remained 3 years, when a vacancy of 3 years occurred.  The 7th rector, was Rev. Alexander H. ROGERS, from 1860-61; was succeeded by Rev. Lewis L. ROGERS.

The parish was vacant for a period of 4 years previous to 1870, when Rev. Henry M. BAUM was chosen rector.  In 1872, the present rector, Rev. H. M. BROWN, was chosen.  During the rectorship of Mr. BAUM the handsome new church was built.  They first worshiped in the building erected by the Universalists in 1832, which they purchased of them, and sold to the Methodists about 1859.  There are at present about 75 communicants, and about 150 in attendance upon the services.  There is a Sunday school of about 40 members, including teachers and pupils.  Their edifice is as neat and commodious as any church in the village, or, it may be said, in the country.  It is surrounded by some magnificent residences and a rich country.  


First Methodist Episcopal Church

This society was organized May 11, 1834, as the "First Methodist Church of East Bloomfield".  Benjamin CHAPMAN, George W. PAULE and Sylvanus PAULE were chosen trustees and they and their wives were first members, together with William HAMLIN and wife, Asa JOHNSON and wife, Thomas CROOKER, and Asa HAYWARD.  Rev. Jno. PARKER was the first pastor, succeeded by Revs. LENT and BURCH.  It was reorganized November 7, 1840, by Revs. Robert BURCH.  Joseph WILLIAMS, Syvanus PAULE, William B. HAMLIN, Asa JOHNSON and Timothy DUEL were chosen trustees and William CARTER, clerk.  It was about that time they built their first church edifice.  It stood near Mud creek, and was finally moved away and converted into a dwelling by Mr. PECK.  They reorganized a second time about 1859, and bought the property erected by the Universalist in 1832 of the Episcopalians, who had taken it when the Universalists disbanded.  The Methodists paid $2,000 for the church and parsonage.  The first pastor in this new organization was Jonathan WATTS and A. F. MOREY, was the second.  Since then the following named have served as pastors: Rev. Martin WHEELER, S. B. DICKINSON, J. EDSON, Alonzo SHURTLIFF, R. D. MUNGER, Charles J. HERMANS, J. C. HITCHCOCK and the present incumbent, Henry VAN BENSCHOTEN, and has 12 teachers and 108 scholars.  The library numbers 365 volumes.  The value of the church edifice is estimated as $7,500.  


St. Bridget's Catholic Church

In 1851 the Catholics erected a church 30 by 50 feet in dimensions, at a cost of $1,000, and secured the services of the late Rev. Edward O'CONNER, as priest.  Father O'CONNER served the society for 5 years.  The number of Catholics at that time was 16 families, or about 70 persons.  The second priest was Rev. N. BYRNES, who served one year and was then succeeded by Rev. P. LEE, who remained 4 yours.  The priest pastor is Rev. W. HUGHES, who has been in charge during the last 15 years.  In 1874, August 2, the cornerstone of a new church was laid with appropriate services by Bishop WELCH, of London, Canada, Bishop MC QUAID being present and also 11 priests.  The dedication took place on Sunday of June 13, 1875.  The services were conducted by Bishop MC QUAID.  There were present, very Rev. James A. EARLY, Rev. H. DREGGS and 7 priests.  The sermon was given by very Rev. J. A. EARLY.  The choir from Canandaigua were present and refreshments were served in the old church.  The building is of brick, dimensions 40 by 95 feet, and cost $9,000.  Its is roofed with slate and surmounted by a tower over the main entrance.  It is fitted with stained glass windows, some of which beat the names of individuals nad are known as memorial.  The body of the church will seat about 450 and the gallery across the east end will accommodate 50 more.  A fine organ from Cambridge, Massachusetts has been placed in the gallery.  The congregation has shown a constant nad durable growth, and now contains o152 families, or about 800 persons.





1893   EAST BLOOMFIELD  CHURCHES    pg 410 - 412

It so happens that the churches of the several societies having an organization in this town are located in East Bloomfield village, and on the road leading thence to the depot; and although they may be treated as institutions of the village, their attendance is drawn from the town at large. A brief narrative of the history of each of these will prove interesting.

The Presbyterian church of Bloomfield dates its special organization only from 1873, although it is properly and directly the outgrowth of the "Independent Congregational Society," which dates its history almost to the first settlement of the town itself. The society just mentioned was formed September 8, 1795, and pioneers Nathaniel NORTON, Ehud HOPKINS and Asher SAXTON were chosen its first trustees. The regular church organization under the name of the Congregational Church, was effected in November, 1796, through the efforts of that zealous laborer, Rev. Zadoc HUNN, and the original members were 17 in number. The first church home of the society was built in 1801, and was without doubt the first church edifice in all Western New York. On the 19th of June, 1822, the church adopted the Presbyterian form of government, but in 1825 returned to Congregationalism, and so continued until September 2, 1873, when the Presbyterian form was formally and permanently adopted. As has been stated the old pioneer meeting-house was built in 1801, although not fully completed until several years later. In 1836 a new edifice was begun, and finished and dedicated September 28, 1837. Twelve years later the building was materially repaired and enlarged. The present church property consists of a large and well arranged house of worship, and also a commodious chapel and lecture room adjoining the church.

The missionaries and pastors, in succession, of this church, throughout its life and vicissitudes have been as follows: Zadoc HUNN, Seth WILLISTON, Jedediah BUSHNELLl, Jacob CRANE, David HIGGINS, John WEBER, Aaron COLLINS, Oliver AYER, Darius O. GRISWOLD, Julius STEELE, Robert W. HILL, Henry KENDALL, Luther CONKLIN, Lewis D. CHAPIN, J P. SKEELE, Arthur F. SKEELE, Charles S. DURFEE and Charles C. JOHNSON, the latter being the present pastor, who was installed in 1889.

The original members of this church were Zadoc HUNN, John AADAMS, Amos BRONSON, Ephraim and Chloe REW, Amos LEECH, Joseph KING, Ehud and Hannah HOPKINS, Asa and Mary HICKOX, Chloe, Abner and Abigail ADAMS, Lucy BRONSON, Martha and Clarissa GUNN. The present membership of the church is 212; of the Sunday-school 200.

The First Baptist Church in Bloomfield was organized in June, 1799, having an original membership of seventeen persons, as follows: Elijah ROSE, Benjamin, Abijah and Roxy STILWELL, Pitts HOPKINS, Enoch and Nancy WILCOX, Rachel BARNES, Anna ROSE, Chester DOTY, Eli and Lucy LYON, Aaron and Otis HICKS, James and Betsey CASE and Simon SIMMONS. The early meetings of the society were held at convenient places and not regularly, and it was not until 1803 that a church house was provided, and that an humble log house situate in the north part of the town of Bristol, north of the locality known as Baptist Hill. However, in 1805 the parent society was divided by the withdrawal of the members living in Bristol, and after a few more years of uncertain and varying life the old society ceased to exist, except on the records.

In this connection we may also mention the existence of a Universalist church and society in Bloomfield, which had only a brief career. Their meeting-house was built about 1832, but was afterward sold to the M. E. society.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church and society of East Bloomfield was organized May 12, 1834, with an original membership of 12 persons. Then hardly more than a missionary station, the few members succeeded in 1840 in building a small frame meeting-house, which stood near Mud Creek. Rev. John PARKER was the pastor at that time. In 1861 a society and church organization was effected, and on the 9th of April it became a body corporate, Simeon B. SEARS, Harlow MUNSON, George WRIGHT, Benjamin D. SPRING, Benjamin F. JENKINS, Myron MARINER, Levi S. BEACH, Chauncey KNOWLES and Nelson PARMELE being the trustees elected. The society then purchased the old Universalist property at East Bloomfield village, and from that time has maintained a church home at that place. The present membership of the church is 145; of the Sunday-school 100. The pastors, in succession, since the reorganization, have been as follows: Jonathan WATTS, A. F. MOREY, Martin WHEELER, S. B. DICKINSON, J. EDSON, Andrew SHURTLIFF, R. D. MUNGER, Charles HERMANS, J. C. HITCHCOCK, Henry VAN BENSCHOTEN, S. A. MORSE, G. W. TERRY, William ARMSTRONG, T. S. GREEN, William BRADLEY, P. M. HARMON, J. M. DOBSON, Edmund J. GWYNN.

St. Peter's Church. The parish of St. Peter's in Bloomfield was established in 1830, and the first services were held in dwellings and the Universalist meetinghouse, the latter being subsequently purchased by the society, but later, in 1859, being sold to the M. E. society. The society of St. Peter's then built a neat chapel, which was thereafter used for services. At present the church has no resident rector, but some of the earlier ones may be recalled by naming John Norton, Reese CHIPMAN, Edmond EMBERY, Manning STRYKER, Seth DAVIS, Edward LIVERMORE, Alexander H. ROGERS, Lewis L. ROGERS and Henry M. BAUM, who officiated in the order named. St. Peter's has about sixty communicants, and a Sunday school with about 20 pupils.

St. Bridget's Church. The first masses of the Catholic church were said during the forties, though not until 1851 was the parish organized and church built, the first pastor being Edward O'CONNOR. In 1874 the new edifice was begun, and completed and dedicated the next year. It is of brick, and in appearance is neat and attractive. Father O'CONNER was succeeded by Father Byrnes, and the latter by Father Lee. At the present time the services are conducted by Father John J. DONNELLY, whose residence and leading parish is at Victor village.



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