Ontario County Organized Churches
from History of Ontario Co., NY
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contributed by Dianne Thomas
History of Ontario County, NY Published 1878, Pg 132 - 136
ST, FRANCIS DE SALES - In the year 1858, Rev. James T. MC MANUS located in Geneva and became the pastor of this church. In 1864 the congregation had so increased in numbers that the erection of a new edifice was deemed expedient. In that year the present church was built, at a cost of thirty thousand dollars. It is one hundred and thirty feet in length; the transept sixty feet and the nave fifty fee; and is one of the finest houses of worship in this village. The church was opened in July 1864, and Cardinal John MC CLOSKEY, Archbishop of New York, dedicated the church and delivered the dedication sermon. Upon the organization of the church, it came under the control of the diocese of Buffalo, Bishop John TIMENS, in 1847. It is now in the diocese of Rochester under the administration of Bishop MC QUADE, and is in a prosperous condition, having an attendance of 2,400 persons. Father MC MANUS, through his untiring energy and perseverance, has succeeded in building up one of the finest ecclesiastic establishments in the county; the church, rectory, school and convent, together, being valued at about sixty thousand dollars. He is one of the most influential priests in the State, and is the present vicar-general of the diocese.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - This society was incorporated July 16, 1798 and the church was organized in the year 1800 by Jedediah CHAPMAN; Oliver WHITMORE and Elijah WILDER, being its first elders. Mr. WILDER was the grandfather of Mr. Jonathan WILDER, now living on the same farm which his grandfather and father tilled before him, on the Castleton road. The number of members of the church at first did not probably exceed twenty. The population of the village consisted of about 30 families, and the whole population of the State west of the meridian running through Seneca lake (then called by its aboriginal name, Kanaddesaga), was 17,006.
Mr. CHAPMAN had been sent into the region as a missionary by the Presbyterian General Assembly, and spent half his time itinerating, devoting the other have to the Geneva congregation. In 1812 he was installed as pastor of this church and Mr. Idemy AXTELL, previously a teacher in the village and elder in the church, was ordained and installed as co-pastor with Mr. CHAPMAN. The latter died in the next year and Dr. AXTELL continued in the pastoral office until his death in 1829. His ministry covered a longer period than that of any of his successors, and eh was a man of eminent wisdom, piety and useful influence. The graves of these two faithful workers are in the old Pulteney street cemetery (in 1925 this cemetery was closed and all bodies were put into Glenwood Cemetery). They are the only pastors of the church who have died in Geneva.
The succession of pastors since Dr. AXTELL, has been as follows: Rev. Eliamkim PHELPS, DD, 1830-31; Rev. Philip C. HAY, DD, 1836-46; Rev. William HOGARTH, DD, 1846-55; Rev. Hubbard WINSLOW, DD, 1837-39; Rev. A. Augustus WOOD, DD, 1860 – 75; Rev. H. A. NELSON, DD, the present pastor, installed July 29, 1874.
The first house of worship was begun in 1809 and on the 18th day of September 1811, was dedicated to the services of God, the sermon being preached by Rev. Oliver AYER. In 1839 it was replaced by the present large and substantial edifice. The present number of communicants connected with the church is 379. The whole number during the 76 years of its history has been nearly 2,500. Elders of this church have been Elijah WILDER, Oliver WHITMORE, Joseph HART, Seth STANLEY, Henry AXTELL, Moses YOUNG, Moses HALL, John T. CHAPMAN, Abram B. HALL, Hiram H. SEELYE, Philo BRONSON, James S. HICKS, Horace HASTINGS, Sherman H. ROSE, Daniel LUM, John M. BRADFORD, Robert SIMPSON, Elijah WILDER Jr., George W. ROOT, John M. WOOD, Asa MESSER, Andrew MERRILL, Thomson C. MAXWELL, E. S. KELSEY, John MC KAY, J. K, VAN SLYKE.
Its present elders are William H. SMITH, D. D. DAYTON, Eli A. BRONSON, Paul M. HENRY, Robert J. SWAN, Edward B. RICHARDSON, Samuel D. WILLARD, Isaac L. SEELY, Arthur HAMMOND, Alfred PAGE, Solomon E. SMITH, Samuel TOOKER.
Its former deacons have been Horace HASTINGS, Hiram H. SEELYE, Philo BRONSON, John BEMENT, Eli A. BRONSON, T. C. MAXWELL , Isaac L. SEELY, R. J. SWAN, E. B. RICHARDSON, J. S. SEARS, Thomas CHESTER, S. E. SMITH.
The present deacons are George G. ATWOOD, James G. VAIL, David H. HENRY, Henry K. CLAPP, M. S. SANFORD, M. J. SNELL.
METHODIST - The first society of the Methodist Episcopal church of Geneva, was organized Dec 11, 1811, by the Rev. George HARMON, who is still living in Marcellus, NY, an octogenarian of ninety. Among the first ministers that officiated for the infant church was Rev. Gideon LANNING, who still resides at Jacksonville, Tompkins county, also Rev. Mr. BISHOP, and others whose names cannot now be recalled.
The first church edifice was erected in 1821, under the ministerial labors of Rev. Loring GRANT, who was very instrumental in promoting the interests of this church. This church still stands on Castle street.
From the erection of the house of worship the society was favored with regular preaching, and God’s Spirit was graciously poured out in many revivals of religion that were enjoyed.
In the year 1839 the present house of worship was erected. It is located on the corner of Main and Seneca streets and is a large and substantial brick edifice, with a seating capacity of 700 persons.
The following is a tolerably accurate list of pastors, embracing a period of 48 years, commencing in 1828:
Reverends M. TOOKER, S. MATTISON, J. W. NEVINS, C.S. COATS, E. HEBBARD, William P. DAVIS, F. G. HIBBARD, M. CONGER, O.R. HOWARD, John DENNIS, J. G. GULICK, J. RAINES, W. H. GOODWIN, T. H. KELLOGG, D. d. BUCK, Thomas TOUSEY, James W. WILSON, A. F. MOREY, George VAN ALLSTYNE, A. W. GREEN.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH – This is the memorial church of the Right Rev. William Heathcote DE LANCEY, DD, LLD, DCL, Oxen, the first bishop of Western New York, who was consecrated May 9, 1830 and died April 5, 1865. Geneva was the place of his residence from the time of his coming into the diocese until his death. In 1852 he began to hold services of the Episcopal church in a small chapel on Genesee street, near Lewis street, which had been used by the Congregationalists and Presbyterians for a time, without success and which he obtained by purchase. This chapel he named after St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, his old parish church, from which he had been called to the Episcopate. In 1861 the Rev. Dr. RANKINS, who had come to Geneva as the head of the Diocesan Training School, began to give full Sunday services in St. Peter’s chapel and opened a parish register for the enrollment of a new charge. The parish, however, was not organized and admitted into union with the convention until 1867, after the bishop’s death. At a meeting of the clergy, held after the funeral services of the bishop, it was proposed that a church be built by general contribution, to take the place of St. Peter’s chapel, to be the memorial church of Bishop DE LANCEY. Dr. RANKINS was appointed financial agent to collect the funds, $30,000. He was also appointed one of the building committee, of which he was soon the only active member. The cornerstone was laid in 1868 and May 10, 1870, the church was consecrated as St. Peter’s church, the memorial church of Bishop DE LANCEY. The church and its furniture, including ornamental and other gifts, is valued at about $40,000. With the exception of about 18 months, while he was president of Hobart Collage, Dr. RANKINS has been in charge of St. Peter’s ever since he came to Geneva. At the present time the parish has a membership of 170 communicants and a Sunday school of 120 members.
NORTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - This church was organized as an Associate Reformed church. Application was made to the presbytery of Saratoga, by twelve persons, members of the Seneca church, to be organized as a church. Presbytery granted the request July 27, 1827, more than half a century ago. Rev. D. C. MC LAREN, DD, assisted by Rev. Mr. NESBIT, organized the church, ordaining the elders elect, viz, John SWAN Jr., James MC CLUNG and John SCOON.
The first pastor of the church was Rev. J. F. MC LAREN, DD, whose term of service was 15 years. During his pastorate, in the years 1830 and 31, the house of worship was erected and has been occupied until the present time. In 1846, Rev. T. F. FARRINGTON was installed pastor and occupied the position until April 1850. He removed to Newburgh, NY where in June 1875, he suddenly died.
He was followed by Rev. W. S. MC LAREN, whose ministry here was nearly three years. He died at Santa Barbara, California; whither he had gone in the hope of recruiting his health. His death occurred July 12, 1874.
For several years there was no settled pastor. Rev. d. c. MC LAREEN, DD, kindly rendered to the church during this period of sore trial, his judicious counsel and officiated frequently in the pulpit. He gave an entire year of his services to the church and greatly encouraged the people by his labor and hopeful spirit.
Rev. J. L. RBOERTSON, now of Rochester, was installed pastor in July 1859, and continued the relation until May 1867. During his ministry there was an extended revival of religion, which added a number to the church, who yet abide good men and true.
For one years from March 1869, Rev. D. A. DUFF was pastor. He was followed by Rev. a. C. ROE for two years. In the summer of 1873, the present pastor entered on his work.
Of the elders first elected but one lives, Mr. J. SLOAN, Jr. of Penn Yan
At present the church is fully organized, with a board of nine elders, nine deacons and six trustees. It has a flourishing Sabbath school and its social means of grace are well sustained. Its ecclesiastical connection is with the presbytery of Geneva and its name is “North Presbyterian Church of Geneva.”
The people who first constituted the church were mainly Scotch or Scotch descent. They were a people tenacious of their rights and privileges. Distinguished by a special love of the ordinances and Word of God, they were thoroughly attached to their church. They were rigid disciplinarians, used the old version of the Psalms, and were loyal to “Christ’s Crown and Covenant”. These elements were wrought into the church and made it strong in days of trial and darkness. They have lived under discouragements that would have overwhelmed men of less courage and faith.
But brighter days have dawned. With a membership of 200, they have outgrown their present accommodations and need a new edifice as the condition of larger usefulness. The edifice has been erected on Genesee street and is one of the finest church structures in the county. The church and congregation have every reason to hope for success if they are faithful and true in the service of the Lord.
The present organization of the church is as follows: Rev W. HOGRATH, DD, pastor;
Elders – J. MAC KAY, K. s. KELSEY, J. Sanford SEARS, H. E. MAXWELL, S. W.. HOPKINS, G. W. ROOT, A. MORRILL, H. D. BENNETT, T. C. Maxwell.
Deacons – W. H. COLEMAN, Dewitt C. HEWLETT, C. T. MARSHALL, J. I, MAXWELL, M. H. SMITH, Dr. J. H. STEBBINS, J. P. VAIL, James WALLACE.
Trustees – J. I. MAXWELL, S. N. ANTHONY, George HIPPLE, H. D. BENNETT, F. E. RICHARDSON, D. AFFLECK.
Mr. J. MAC KAY is superintendent of the Sabbath school and J. Sanford SEARS, assistant superintendent.
A. Langdon ROOT, secretary and treasurer; Andrew J. PRICE, librarian and Charles MEAD, chorister.
PROTESTANT REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH - Sometime previous to the organization of this church, the Rev. Henry MANDERVILLE, a recent graduate of the theological seminary of the Reformed Dutch Church at New Brunswick, NJ., while visiting in the vicinity, was induced to preach one Sabbath in the Presbyterian church and with such power as to attract to him some of the older Knickerbocker residents, of which the population of the place was largely mane up. Among them was Mr. Herman H. BOGER, a prominent citizen, who persuaded Mr. MANDEVILLE to remain, with a view of organizing a church, that they might worship after the manner of their fathers. This event was consummated in the 24th day of August, 1831, when, at a meeting held in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church on Castle street, the church was organized by the reception of nine members, and a consistory constituted and ordained the members of which were Peter DOX and John VEADER as elders, and John N. BOGERT and George GRIFFING as deacons. For about six months the infant church worshipped in the red brick building on William street, then occupied as a schoolhouse from which there were finally driven by parties inimical to the enterprise, who purchased the premises. They afterwards secured a room in what was then known as the Masonic Hall, on the spot, no occupied by the chapel of the First Presbyterian church.
At the communion season next after the organization, there were received as members of the church, six on confession of their faith and nine on certificate from other churches, of whom four were from the Geneva Presbyterian church.
During the years 1832, there were received ten on confession and eighteen on certificate, of whom eight were from the Geneva Presbyterian church. In 1833 the accession to the membership was fourteen and in 1834, amounted to sixteen, only one being from the Presbyterian Church of Geneva.
The Rev. H. MANDEVILLE continued his services as a supply until October 8, 18632, when, at a meeting of the consistory, presided over by Rev. O. H. GREGORY of the church of Farmersville, Seneca Co., NY, a call was regularly made out and placed in his hands to become the pastor of the church. This call was accepted by Mr. MANDEVILLE, but his installation was delayed until the completion of the church edifice, which was then in progress of erection.
Among those who were very prominent in the enterprise, and who contributed liberally of their money, time and influence, were Herman H. BOGERT, Phineas PROUTY, Bowen WHITING and William W. WATSON. These gentlemen acted as the building committee, and held the title to the property as trustees, in order to secure the large advance in money, which they made to complete the erection of the building.
The church edifice having finally been completed, the dedication services were held January 17, 1833 and in the evening of the same day, the call to Rev. Henry MADEVILLE having been approved, he was installed by the classis of Cayuga as pastor of the church.
The following notice of the services is taken from the Geneva Gazette, dated January 23, 1833:
The edifice erected in this place during the past year for the use of the congregation of the Reformation Protestant Dutch church, was on Thursday last dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple was read, and the introductory prayer offered by the Rev. a. M. MANN, of Ithaca. The office of dedication was performed, and the accompanying address delivered by the venerable Dr. YATES of Chittenango. In the evening the Rev. Henry MANDEVILLE was installed pastor of the church. The Rev. Asa BENNETT, of Lodi, propounded the question of consent to the doctrines and worship of the church. The charges of the pastor was given by the Rev. Andrew YATES, D.D., and that to the people, by Rev. A. M'MANN. The installation sermon was preached by the Rev. George W. BETHUNE, of Utica. The entire services were most appropriately solemn and affecting, and the occasion elicited from the reverend gentlemen engaged an exhibition of talent and of sound and practical theology and a display of pulpit eloquence rarely found in our churches. The best evidence of the interesting nature of the exercises is derived from the silent nad fixed attention with which a crowded audience listened to them. The Rev. Dr. LUDLOW, of Albany, arrived in the course of the day, but too late to take part in the exercises. He remained with us, and on the first Sabbath after its dedication preached in the new church three times to large congregations. The church thus dedicated is a neat and beautiful building of brick, being, including the portico, 85 feet long and 55 feet wide, with a spacious basement, used for Sabbath school and consistory room. It is entirely finished in a style of good taste and elegance not often surpassed in our country. While it is an ornament to our village, it reflects credit upon the liberality of the congregation by whom it has been erected and proves that the mechanics of Geneva can design and complete edifices which compare in elegance and good taste with those of our sister villages."
Notwithstanding that this was but an infant church, not as yet able to support itself, receiving nourishment form the Board of Domestic Missions, and even with that assistance, struggling for its very existence, no sooner was the new edifice fairly occupied for worship than the consistory, on the 4th of February, made the following minute: "Believing it to be our solemn duty, as Christians and as a church, to aide with our substance as well as prayers in the great work of evangelizing the heathen, therefore, Resolved, That we take up collections in aide of the cause of foreign missions at our monthly concerts for prayer." Other objects of benevolence soon received attention, and for which contributions were made. The church continuing to increase, at the close of the year the consistory was enlarged by the addition of one elder and one deacon.
Application having been made to the Collegiate Reformed Dutch churches of New York sit for assistance, the consistory of those churches, December 5, 1833, Resolved, To grant the sum of $300 annually for 5 years for the aid of the ministry of said church, on condition that the church of Geneva shall forever remain and continue to be a Dutch church, in connection with and subordinate to the general synod of the Reformed Protestant Dutch church, and the other subordinated judicatures of the same." A bond to this effect was duly executed by the consistory, January 23, 1835.
A written instrument was duly executed on April 8, 1834, in accordance with the provisions o the laws of New York , declaring the corporate title to be the “Protestant Reformed Dutch Church” of Geneva. The pastor, Rev. Henry MANDEVILLE, having received a call from the Reformed Dutch church of Utica, and concluded to accept the same, a meeting of the consistory was held July 7, 1834, presided over by Rev. C. P. WACK of the Reformed Dutch church, Bellona and his resignation accepted with very great reluctance. Efforts were afterwards made to induce him to remain, but without avail. Under his ministration the church has slowly but surely progressed. Some 81 members had been received and a bright day apparently began to dawn, when his unexpected resignation was presented and the harmonious relation, which had existed between pastor and people, was suddenly severed.
After the departure of the Rev. MANDEVILLE, the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Cornelius BROWER, who continued as such supply until the settlement of another pastor.
On the 13th of September 1834, a call was made to Rev. Gustavus ABEEL, which, being approved by the classis of Cayuga on the 16th instant, was forwarded to Mr. ABEEL, who on the 15th of October, signified his acceptance and early in November, commenced his labors and was installed as pastor, Jan 2,1 18635. Rev. A. M. MANN preaching the installation sermon.
The church having increased in numbers, on December 5, 1834, it was resolved to enlarge the consistory by the addition of another elder and deacon, making the consistory to consist of 4 elders and 4 deacons, two of each being elected every year to sere for two years, in accordance with the constitution of the church, which requires one half of the consistory to be elected annually; those elders and deacons not in active service being members of the great consistory, who may be called upon for advice, but have no vote in the affairs of the church.
Soon after, Mr. Abraham VAN NEST of the city of New York, made a liberal donation of $250 towards the purchase of a bell and on the 6th of April, 1835, the consistory passed a vote of thanks to him for this expression of his kindness. The bell procured at this time and placed in the steeple is one of the finest in this village, and yet remains in efficient usefulness, a memento of the liberal kindness of Father VAN NEST, who took so deep an interest in the welfare of this church.
On the 7th of January, 1839, application was made and granted for certificates of dismission by 7 members, with a view to organize themselves into a Reformed Dutch Church in Trye, Seneca county.
Previous to this time an organ had been procured and placed in the gallery, nad April 8, 1839, it was "Resolved, That the consistory disapprove of the use of the organ for the mere display of professional skill, as it was designed to aide in the solemn worship of God, nad must be used for that purpose.
Deacon John N. BOGERT removed to the city of New York, November 24, 1840. He had for most of the time from the organization of the church acted as clerk of the consistory, and also often as treasurer, and was one of the most active and efficient members and his removal was a great loss to the church.
The church enjoyed great quite and prosperity during he pastorate of Dr. ABEEL, who continued his ministry here for 15 years. He was very attentive to his congregation and his touching care and kindness to the sick endeared him to the hearts of the people, and his memory is yet very fragrant in the hearts of all who thus received his kind ministrations. In 1840 the church reported 85 families and 131 communicants, with about 100 in the Sunday school. No reports are at hand to show the number at the close of his ministry here, although the church records show that the growth of the church was sure and steady. November 1, 1849, a special meeting of the consistory was held, Rev. Mr. CORNELL presiding and Dr. ABEEL stated that his health had been for some time such as to make it desirable to take some relaxation, and that he had at length come to the conclusion that it was most expedient for him to ask a final dismission and seek a settlement in a more congenial climate. His request was finally granted although with exceeding great regret.
After the removal of Dr. ABEEL, the church remained for some time without a pastor, and with such temporary supply for the pulpit, as could be procured. Early in May 1850, Rev. C. C. VANARDSDALE, D.D. was engaged to supply the pulpit, and June 10 it was resolved to give him a call to become the pastor of the church, which call was regularly made out at a meeting of the consistory, July 1, Rev. G. J. GARRETSON of Lodi, presiding, and was placed in the hands of Rev. VANARDSDALE, who held it for some time without giving any answer until September 2, the consistory informed him that the state of the church was such as imperatively demanded an immediate reply, whereupon he finally refused its acceptance.
The attention of the consistory being called to Rev. James ROMEYN, D.D. a correspondence was held with him, which resulted in a long letter to them, dated October 11, 1850, in which he stated he would “come and serve for the winter on the basis of the call,” and give his final decision on or before April. Another extract is “Before the first of April, many, nay, the most of us, may be in eternity,” – almost prophetic words as to himself. On the 13th of October, it was resolved that a call be offered Dr. ROMEYN on the conditions specified in his letter, which he immediately accepted and came to Geneva, and entered on the discharge of his labors. But it was only for a few weeks; and after having supplied the pulpit with great acceptability for that short time, he was suddenly stricken down in November with paralysis, and although he lingered along in a half paralysis state for a number of years, his labors in the pulpit were over.
December 12, 1850, it was resolved to extend a call to the Rev. Mr. GANTZE, but he declined, the church continued to be without a pastor until May 4, 1851, when the Rev. Henry V. VOORHEES was invited as a stated supply, and his services proving very acceptable, it was on the 15th of June, resolved to give him a call to become the pastor, which was regularly made out on the 5th of July at a meeting of the consistory, Rev. J. R. VANARSDALE, of Tyre, presiding. His installation took place October 7.
In the year of 1853 the dissatisfaction with the use of the basement for Sabbath school and other purposes became very general, and a subscription was started for the purpose of building a lecture room adjoining and in the rear of the church. This proving successful, a committee was appointed November 16, consisting of D. Laurence CLARK, R. PEYTON and H. T. E. FOSTER, to superintend the erection of the building. It was at once commenced and February 28, 1854, a vote of thanks was voted the committee and especially the chairman, for the efficient manner in which they had discharged their duties. The building was then fully completed and in use, nad had cost about $1,200.
The health of the pastor, Rev. H. V. VOORHEES, not proving sufficient to stand the vicissitudes of the climate, he was finally compelled to resign, and at a meeting of the consistory, held February 21, 1855, Rev. George J. VAN NESTE of Lodi, presiding, his resignation to take affect on the 25th was accepted and highly complimentary resolutions were passed testifying to the success of his ministry. The same day as the classis of Geneva met, dissolved the relation between pastor and people, and approved a call which the consistory had that day made to Rev. Anson DUBOIS, which he, however, finally declinded.
April 20, 1855, the consistory met Rev. Mr. BURROUGHS of the Reformed Dutch church of Waterloo, and a call was regularly made out to Rev. Joseph A. COLLIER, which he accepted and he entered on the discharge of his labors, May 19, 1855. During his pastorate, the great revival of 1858 swept over the lad, and Union prayer meetings, participated in by the various denominations, were held on every side. They were held in the Reformed Dutch church of Geneva and the churches all felt the reviving influence of the Holy Spirit. In the month of May, there were received 25 into the membership of the church, on confession of their faith, and for the year ending April 1, 1859, there are recorded as 41 having been received. At this time the church roll showed 160 families and 210 members in communion, with an average attendance of 100 in the Sabbath school. The membership roll had, however, for a long time been incorrect, as very many had, from time to time, removed away without taking letters of dismission, and all traces of them have been lost. A resolution was passed ordering a separate list of those members whose place of residence, after diligent search, can not be ascertained or compiled, and that such members be not included hereafter in the yearly statistical reports.
On the 8th of October, 1859, Mr. COLLIER informed the consistory that he had received a call from the Second Reformed Dutch Church of Kingston, NY, and in view of the condition of his own health and that of his wife, he had concluded to accept said call; and at a meeting of the consistory on the 11th, Rev. Mr. MORSE presiding, his resignation was formally accepted. It was a source of unmingled sorrow and regret to lose this beloved pastor, whose labors had been so signally blessed, and whose memory is so enshrined in the hearts of his flock.
The pulpit this time did not long remain without a pastor, for on the 13th of November, 1859, it was resolved to extend a call to Rev. Charles WILEY, D.D. and on the 15th Rev. Mr. MORSE presiding, the call was formerly made out and sent to Rev. WILEY, who on the 21st notified his acceptance and commenced his labors November 26.
The church role having been revised in accordance with the resolve heretofore noticed, the statistical report, on the 1st of April, 1860, showed 98 families, 170 members in communion, and an average attendance of 100 in the Sunday school. Dr. WILEY continued as pastor until 1865, when on the 5th of June, he notified the consistory of his resignation, which was formerly accepted on the 19th. The last statistical report under the pastorate of Dr. WILEY, showed 100 families and 190 members in communion.
During the month of August calls were made to Rev. George PATTEN and Rev. C. VAN DER VEEN, both of which were declines.
The pulpit was kept temporarily supplied every Sabbath ,and finally an extra prayer meeting once a week, in the afternoon, was started and kept up.
In November, the Rev. Samuel J. ROGERS was providentially in Geneva, and was invited to supply the pulpit for a Sabbath or town. His services seemed acceptable and the indications of Providence seemed so emphatic that the consistory, on the 13th of November, resolved to give him a call, which was formally made out on the 21st, Rev. J. R. VANDARSDALE presiding at the consistory meeting and he was installed as pastor by the classis of Geneva, December 12, 1865, Rev. F. N. ZABRISKIE preaching the installation sermon.
The regular weekly evening and the extra weekly afternoon prayer meetings were kept up, and soon a spirit of inquire was manifested, not only in this church, but in the community. At the commencement of the year 1866, a union daily prayer meeting was commenced in the church, and the Holy Spirit was soon very manifest to God's people. During the month of March, 34 were received to the membership of the church. A careful revision of the church membership roll was again made and April 1, 1866, the statistical report showed 70 families and 170 members in communion, - a very large decrease from the previous year's report, notwithstanding the large addition of members during the year, thus showing that the increase of the previous years report was only apparent, owing to the large numbers of removals from time to time without taking any dismission form the church, and of whom no trace could be ascertained; these are not now embraced in the statistics. Extensive repairs were made to the church and a complete alteration of the pulpit and pews, at an expense of $1,105, as reported April 1867, and a further sum of $1.000, as reported April 1868.
In June 1867, the general synod of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in North America met in this church, nad among other important business was a report of a special committee in relation to a change of name. This report was finally adopted and the proposition was sent down to classis, a large majority of whom approved the same; and at a special meeting of synod at Albany in November, final action was taken, and the word "Dutch" dropped and the name adopted as the Reformed Church in America.
On the 10th April, 1868, the consistory resolved to take the necessary steps to alter the corporate name of the church, so as to conform to the action of general synod, nad have the name of the church hereafter to be the Reformed Church of Geneva. No such steps however, have been taken, and the corporate name remains as at first, - the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Geneva. Mr. ROGERS remained as pastor of the church until 1872. After his first year there, were no large accessions to the church in any year, although there was hardly a communion season when there were none received into fellowship. The removals by death and dismission about counterbalanced all the gain to the membership, although the number of families attached to the congregation had quite largely increased. The statistical table, made up immediately after his departure, showed 94 families and 166 in communion. The contributions for congregational and benevolent purposes were very largely increased, averaging over $2,900 per year. Under his ministration the congregation was very much united. In January 1872, he notified the consistory of his intention to accept a call from the Reformed church of Port Jervis, New York; at and a meeting of the consistory, presided over by Rev. W. D. BUCKALEW, of Tyre, his resignation was formally accepted, to take effect March 2nd.
In the mean time a call was made to Rev. A. P. PEEKE, but as there was some delay in forwarding it, he was obliged to decline, having accepted a call elsewhere.
On the 13th March, 1872, the consistory met, Rev. Am M. MANN, D.D., presiding, and a call was made and sent to Rev. William W. BRUSH, who, on the 20th instant, notified his acceptance, and at once removed to Geneva and entered on the discharge of his labors, and in April he was duly installed as pastor of the church by the classis of Geneva, the Rev. A.M. MANN D.D., taking a part in the exercises.
It is a singular and noticeable fact that the venerable Dr. MANN participated in the services at the dedication of the church in 1833, and also at he installation of the first and second pastors, as likewise at the installation of the present pastor. He is yet in the vigor of health, and although retired from the active service of the pastorate, yet often, as opportunity occurs, supplies a vacant pulpit, with his usual earnestness in preaching and to the great acceptance of his hearers.
During the ministry of the present pastor, Rev. W. W. BRUSH, the church has enjoyed great quietude and the congregation continues compact and united, the greatest love and affection existing between the people and their pastor. The growth of the church has been slow but steady, and the number of families have increased to 100 and members in communion to 184. The Sunday school, which a few years ago was quite depressed, is again in a flourishing condition and numbers about 90. The contributions for congregational and benevolent purpose continue as large as they ever have been.
TRINITY CHURCH - “At a meeting held at Geneva, August 18, 1806, the following persons belonging to the Protestant Episcopal church, who have been members for 12 months last past, convened for the purpose of incorporating themselves under the act for incorporating religious societies, to wit:
“John NICHOLAS, Daniel W. LEWIS, James REESE, James REYNOLDS, David NAGLE, Robert W. STODDARD, John COLLINS, Robert S. ROSE, Samuel COLT, Ralph T. WOOD, Richard HUGHES, William HORTON, Thomas WILBUR, Richard M. BAILEY, William TUPPAN, Levi STEPHENS, Thomas WOOD, Richard LAZELERE, Thomas SMITH.
The following were chosen churchwardens: John NICHOLAS, Daniel W. LEWIS; and the following named persons composed the vestry: Samuel SHECKEL, John COLLINS, Robert S. ROSE, Richard HUGHES, Ralph T. WOOD, David NAGLE, James REESE and Thomas POWELL. It was unanimously agreed that they be called the “Trinity Church”.
The step thus taken had been in contemplation for several years; influenced, in party, by the visits of the Rev. Davenport PHELPS, and doubtless quite as much by the encouragement given in the few churchmen of Geneva by the immigration from Virginia of the NICHOLAS and ROSE families, traditional church folk.
There had been gatherings in the village school house, certainly as early as 1803, at which, when the services of the Rev. Davenport PHELPS were not to be had, lad reading was conducted by the Hon. John NICHOLAS.
Rev. Davenport PHELPS was the earliest missionary laborer of this commission in western New York. February 5, 1805, he preached and administered baptism to seven infants in Geneva, whose names we copy from the first volume of the Parish records: Charles Barrone HALLETT, Robert Lawson ROSE, Ellis JOHNSTONE, James MOORE, Elizabeth TINLINE, Ann and Elizabeth WOOD.
The first church edifice was completed in 1809 and consecrated by the Right Rev. Benjamin MOORE, assisted by Rev. Amos G. BALDWIN, Rev. Davenport PHELPS, officiating. The records of February 11, 1818, contain the following, under the head of baptism: “Mary, wife of Jonathan DOANE; George Washington, son of the same; and Ann M., daughter of the same.” Thin in the record of the admission into Christ’s flock of the great hearted bishop of New Jersey, who had resided in Geneva since 1808, and was here to grow up to youth fostering that love of learning in the careful reading and study in the book-mart of Colonel James BOGERT, which building is now occupied by Edward KINGSLAND, Esq., on Main street. Among the noted names connected with the mother church of the present diocese of Western New York, the name of George Washington DOANE, D.D., L.L.D, will not hold a second place.
The Rev. Mr. PHELPS remained rector of this parish until June 27, 1813, when he was called to his final home.
Rev. Orris CLARK succeeded Mr. PHELPS, and was instituted as rector, August 17, 1814. He died on the 24th of August, 1828 and was followed by Richard S. MASON, D.D., who entered upon his duties, July 6, 1828. The Rev. Jasper ADAMS and Rev. M. MC DONALD officiated from the decease of Mr. CLARK until Dr. MASON took charge of the parish. April 26, 1830 Dr. MASON resigned and was succeeded by Rev. Nathaniel F. BRUCE, who was instituted into the rectorate of the parish August 4, 1831, and remained until 1835. November 13, 1836, Rev. Pierce P. IRVING was appointed minister of the parish and May 27, 1837, was admitted to priest’s orders, and on the morning of the following day, instituted as rector of Trinity. Rev. Mr. IRVING officiated until 1843, when he resigned and was succeeded by Rev. Samuel COOKE, D.D. (now rector of St. Bartholomew’s church, New York City). Dr. COOKE remained but two years, and was followed by Rev. John Henry HOBART, D.D, who also officiated about two years. Dr. HOBART, upon removing to another filed of usefulness, was succeeded by the Rev. William Henry Augustus BISSELL, D. D.
On Whitsunday, May 16, 1869, the Rev. William Stevens PERRY, D.D. , L.L.D, entered upon the charge of the parish, and continued his incumbency until September 10, 1876, when he receive in his parish church – where the present beloved Bishop of Western New York had been consecrated – the laying on of hands which conferred upon him the episcopate of the diocese of Iowa.
The present house of worship was commenced in April 1842 and was completed in 1844, being consecrated by the Right Rev. William Heathcote DE LANEY, D.D., L.D.D, bishop of western New York on Wednesday, the 15th of August of that year, the Right Rev. Benjamin T. ONDERDONK, D.D. preaching the sermon. This structure is one of the largest and finest church edifices in western New York.
CHURCHES OF GENEVA from history of 1893 pg 304 - 311
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