Ontario County Organized Churches

from 1878  History of Ontario Co., NY      




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History of Ontario Co., NY  

Published 1878

  Victor  Churches        pg 202 - 204

The first meetings in this town were held in Captain Abner HAWLEY's barn.  Rev. Reuben PARMELE came here in 1799 and remained pastor 25 years.  In 1804 a subscription paper was drafted and circulated among the town's inhabitants to raise money for the erection of a house of worship.  It was signed by 80 persons, all but one of whom were residents of Victor as at present constituted.  The house was erected in 1805-6, and known as the "Proprietors Church".  It was used by all denominations.  the land for the site was bought of Thomas HAWLEY and deeded to the several subscribers, and was the same now occupied by the Universalist parsonage.  The building was a rude frame, put up by Abijah WILLIAMS, Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH  and other carpenters.  Years passed, during which harmonious use was enjoyed.  Finally a question regarding the time when each should use it, created a disagreement.  The Presbyterians erected one of their own.  The Universalists obtained deed from living proprietors of the old structure, and after many years completion, sold it and built for themselves.  The wish for a number to know the names of these original proprietors, the liberal men of the day, has been regarded in their copy form the deed from Thomas HAWLEY, now in possession of Wm. C. DRYER.   

Names of Proprietors  -  Elijah INGERSOLL, David LUSK, Asabel BOUGHTON, Jirah ROWLEY, James UPTON, George LOW, Joseph ROWLEY, Dinah BROOKS< Lora DAVIS, Thomas INGERSOLL, Elisha COAN, Joseph THRALL, Isaac MARSH, DeForest BOUGHTON , Silas PARDEE, Solomon TURNER, Nicholas SMITH, Timothy WILLIAMS, Samuel GILLIS, Jeremiah HULL, Jabez FELT, Thomas HAWLEY, Harvey HART, Eleazer BOUGTON, Jacob LOBDELL, Jared BOUGTHON, Lucy BOUGHTON, Urana WILLIARD, Erie HAWLEY, John M. HUGHES, Isaac ROOT, Nathaniel TURNER, Elisha BRACE, Peter PERRY, Elisha WILLIAMS, Jesse SCUDDER, Israel SIMMONS, Joseph BRACE, Nathaniel BOUGHTON, Solomon GRISWOLD, Joanna MARSH, Claudius V. BOUGHTON, Reuben PARMELE, Isaac HATHAWAY, Jonathan SMITH, M. O. DICKINSON, Alice BOUGHTON, Abraham BOUGHTON, Ira SEYMOUR Jr., Ezekiel SCUDDER, Ebenezer BEMENT, Ezra WILMARTH, Thomas BEACH, Reuben W. BRACE, Asahel MOORE, Abraham BRUNSON, Abner HAWLEY, William JACKSON, Seymour BOUGHTON, Andrew COLTON, Henry BEMENT, Simeon PARKS, Silas THAYER, Harry BOUGHTON Sr., John BRACE, Gersham WILMARTH, Joseph PERKINS, Erastus INGERSOLL, Peter TURNER, Enos GILLIS, Asa ROOT, Samuel R. PERKINS, Abijah WILLIAMS, Jabez HART, Rufus DRYER, Seymour BOUGHTON Jr., Asahel LUSK, Abijah WILLIAMS, Jabez HART, Rufus DRYER, Seymour BOUGHTON Jr., Asahel LUSK, Edwin BEMENT, Samuel RAWSON, Manley HAWLEY and Silas BARNES.  


The First Universalist Church

This denomination from a scattered few, has become one of the strongest in the town.  Its organization dates from 1834.  The compact is thus expressed: "We, whose names are hereto signed, believing in the universal love of God to man as manifested through the meditation of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and believing that Christ hath tested death for all, and hath thereby made sufficient atonement for the sin of all mortal fallen beings, and that He will finally reconcile the whole Adamic family to God, deliver them from sin and mortal defilement, and bring them into a state of perfect holiness and consequent happiness; and feeling desirous of coming into society and relationship for the edification and growth of each other in love, and for the more convenient support of the preaching of the gospel, do therefore unite and form ourselves into a religious society by the name of the 'First United Universalist Society', of Victor, and hold ourselves under obligations to observe the rules of said society.  Stephen MILES, Ezra WILMARTH, Asel BERRAY, Samuel RICHARDSON, Seth WASHBURN, John KRONKHITE Jr., Elisha PECK, Henry BROWN, Sellick RICHARDSON, Mary WILMARTH, Betsey LEWIS, Caroline M. DRYER, Orin MILLER, Darius J. LEWIS, M. C. DRYER, John POWELL, Samuel GILLIS, Dinah E. BERRAY, Naomi GILLIS, Sophronia CALDWELL, Jonathan WEST, Eli K. FROST, John BRACE, Truman DRYER, Calvin BROOKINS, William SEAVERY Jr., Lydia RAWSON, Polly MILES, John LADD, Holon MILES, George MC LEAN, Thomas WRIGHT, Kneeland TOWSEND, Huldah GUYANT, Cornelia  ROWE, and Maria R. RAWSON."

Their first meeting was held June 1, 1834.  Organization took place December 21, 1844, with 45 members.  The preacher for the society was Rev. Stephen MILES.  William J. REESE was the first pastor previous to organization.  He came to them in 1825, when members were few and far apart.  Services were held in the Methodist meeting house.  When the society met as a church, Rev. James COOK was the pastor, and served them some time.  Other pastors have been Revs. S. W. FULLER, L. L. SADDLER, Olive ACKLEY, George W. MONTGOMERY, Stephen MILES, Daniel R. BIDDECOME, Kneeland TOWNSEND, James COOK, J. R. JOHNSON, Charles S. SKINNER, Thomas BARTHOLOMEW, Thomas WHITCOMB, W. W. DEAN, Charles FLEURER, Rev. GOODENOUGH and Thomas BORDEN (the present pastor).  As Presbyterians in the use of the house; and finally obtaining a deed from the owners living, they sold the lot for $500 and afterwards desiring it for a parsonage site, paid $2,200 for two thirds of it.  The present edifice was projected after abandonment of the old building.  Preparatory to building, the trustees bought a lot early in the spring of 1856 from Melancthon LEWIS, paying for it, $1,000.  It was dedicated in June 1857, by J. M. AUSTIN.  The society has continued to flourish to the present date.


The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal society of Victor is of recent origin.  Victor was first visited with the view of establishing a mission at that point on June 2, 1871.  Evening prayer and preaching were followed by a conference with a few persons respecting the mission.  The result was favorable, and mission services were held every alternative Sabbath afternoon, by the Rev. Henry BAUM, rector of Zion's church, East Bloomfield, until January 1, 1872.  Rev. James H. DENNIS was then placed in charge and served as missionary until May 1, 1873, services being held in the school house, and at times in the public hall.  From May 1, 1873, until Easter of the same year.  Rev. DENNIS was in charge of the mission.  From that date until July 26, 1874, there was no rector.  At the last date, Rev. DENNIS again took charge.  A church building was commenced in August 1872, and services were first held therein during January 1873.  The church was formally opened for service by Bishop COXE, on February 6, 1873.  The consecration took place September 12, 1874, by the same bishop.  


The Methodist Church

The Methodist Church first found an expounder of its doctrines in Victor in the year 1805, in the person of Rev. Joseph JEWEL.  Associated with him during the year following were Revs. Amos JENKS and James KELSEY.  Joseph JEWEL was the presiding elder, and this was known as the Ontario circuit, and embraced an indefinite territory.  October 1806, Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH came from New Jersey into Bloomfield.  He at once looked about him for brethren, and found four or five who had been in a class organized by missionary JEWEL.  Calling upon the circuit preachers, he did not rest till he had procured a regular appointment for preaching.  The first permanent organization was effected in 1807, by Revs. Samuel TALBOT and Joseph SCULL, who were the regular appointments for that year.  Seven persons composed the class formed and Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH came from New Jersey into Bloomfield.  He at once looked about him for brethren and found four or five who had been in a class organized by missionary JEWEL.  Calling upon the circuit preachers, he did not rest till he had procured a regular appointment for the preaching.  The first permanent organization was effected in 1807, by Revs. Samuel TALBOT nad Joseph SCULL, who were the regular appointments for that year.  Seven persons composed the class formed and Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH was appointed leader.  They were Nathan and Sarah LOUGHBOROUGH, John and Jennette ROSE, Theodosia STOUT, David GOULD and Hannah BERRY.  As the second conference, Parker BUELL was granted permission to exhort in this church.  Religious services were held for several years in a frame school house at the forks of the road, east of Victor village and quarterly meetings in the barns of Silas PARDEE and Mr. WILSON; also in school houses.  The "Ladd schoolhouse" was built on land deeded to the school trustees on condition that the building was to be used unrestrictedly by the Methodists, and when not needed by them, to be free to other denominations.  The donor of this site was John ROSE.  The lack or regular preaching was supplied by Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH and John ROSE, and their homes were the "ministers' homes".  A determination was expressed by Mr. LOUGHBOROUGH at the quarterly meeting held January 22, 1820, in the Presbyterian meeting house in Victor, to build a house for worship.  He was ably seconded and a question of location was decided, by the amount of subscription, to be at the village of Victor.  Early in 1820, a lot was purchased of William BUSHNELL by Israel M. BLOOD, James UPTON and Nathan LOUGHBOROUGH, the first board of trustees.  Work was begun in June and Jeremiah HAWKINS and N. LOUGHBOROUGH were builders.  The building was 32 by 45 feet in dimensions, and was enclosed before winter.  Next season it was so far along as to be dedicated on August 19, 1821, by E. HOUSE.  Years passed and the church was yet unfinished.  Finally N. B. LOUGHBOROUGH, during the winter of 1828-29 determined to complete the work himself.  He therefore brought on hands and all parties slept in the building their labor upon it.  The class formed in 1807 numbered 40 in 1810.  A revival in the winter of 1820-21, conducted by Revs. Philo WOODWORTH, Daniel ANDERSON and Thomas CARLTON,  resulted in the conversion of 100 persons at Victor.  N. LOUGHBOROUGH was still in charge of the class, assisted by Isaac MARSH.  In 1832, the church building was enlarged, a steeple added and new pulpit built.  Preachers at this time were Gideon LANNING, Benjamin SABIN and Daniel ANDERSON.  The church at Victor is first recorded in the minutes in 1833.  In March 1835, a committee was appointed "to rent, purchase or build a parsonage.  It consisted of John LUSK; Elisha INGERSOL and J. G. CALKINS, and a house was rented for 2 years.  A parsonage was purchased of Nathan JENKS in 1837.

During 1827-28, a discussion arose respecting the title, and a few withdrew, but a portion soon returned.  During the Millerite excitement of 1842-43, Rev. Zina J. BUCK, the pastor of this church, thinking to help along a revival in progress, invited one ADAMS, a lecturer, to deliver a course at this place on Adventism.  The result was an unhappy one and ended in s schism.  Later, the minister acknowledged his error and labored hard to retrieve it, while the misled members in cases returned again to the church.  

The number of minister who have served this church from its inception to the present, is 86; 20 for 2 years in succession, 8 for 2 years at different times, 2 for 3 years at different times, one for 4 years, 2 for 3 years in succession and the rest for a year's time or less.  The present pastor is W. E. BENHAM, an efficient and highly esteemed man.  The church has a present membership of 130.  The Sabbath school was proved a powerful auxiliary of the church.  The first superintendent of Sabbath schools entered upon the books, was Nathan B. LOUGHBOROUGH, in the year 1832.   Among his successors have been Levi BOUGHTON, Isaac MARSH, Jr., J. G. CALKINS, J. ROWLEY, J. M. BEAVER, Caleb BOUGHTON, John WILSON, S. H. BLOOD, T. W. CRANK, C. WHEELER, O. NELSON, E. M. HOLMES, W. H. CLINE.  The present school has 12 teachers and 150 scholars.  Library, 400 volumes.  Church building and parsonage have been of recent construction.  The cornerstone of the former was laid with appropriate ceremonies, and within it were placed county papers, historical sketch and other reading matter.  Work was began in May 1870, and hte building was dedicated June 15, 1871.  The sermon was preached by Bishop PECK, of Syracuse.  Rev. William WOHLZEMATH was preacher in charge at the time; a number of the former pastors were present.  The church is a handsome structure; its dimensions are 42 by 76 feet, and height 25 feet.  The session room is 25 feet by 50 feet and 14 feet high, with a capacity to seat 150 persons.  The assembly room has seats for 374.  The doors, of ample size, are conveniently arranged, and the work is handsomely executed.  The woodwork is of walnut and chestnut, and the ceiling and walls frescoed.  A tower built of brick rises 138 feet, and contains a fine bell, costing $840 and weighing 2,060 pounds. A pipe organ, costing $1,900 was procured of S. S. HAMILL, of Boston.  The cost of the church was $17, 000; furnishings, $4,000 additional; total, $21,000.  John B. THOMAS, of Rochester, was architect, and Hiram KINGSBURY, builder.  A fine parsonage was guilt of brick, at a cost of $4,000, during 1875.  It is a two story building with mansard roof, and presents a tasty appearance. 


The Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian church had its origin as a Congregational church.  For a time after settlement no public worship was held.   The first stated public worship was set up by Jabez MOOREHOUSE.  It continued for a time and then ceased.  IT was revived, and Mr. STEELE preached part of the time, until his death.  Some became members of the East Bloomfield church.  

In the autumn of 1798, Rev. Reuben PARMELE visited with the people, and was invited to locate with them.  During the winter he removed his family and became a resident of the town.  He organized a Congregational church on February 10, 1799.  It was composed of 20 members, named as follows: Elisha PERKINS, M. PERKINS, Abijah WILLIAMS and wife, Peter TURNER, Mrs. HAWLEY, Mrs. HART, Thomas HAWLEY, Deborah PERKINS, Ira SEYMOUR, Johnson SEYMOUR, Isaac ROOT and wife, Mrs. MARSH, Jabez MOREHOUSE and wife, Joseph and Jeremiah BRACE, Samuel BOUGHTON and Dr. Reuben HART.

On February 14, Rev PARMELE was installed pastor of the church by an ecclesiastical council, at which Zadoc HUNN, John RALPH, Seth WIILLISTON and Jedediah BUSHNELL, officiated.  The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was first administered April 7, 1799, and Joseph BRACE, Asa HICKOX Jr., and Polly  HICKOX united with the church.  Early meetings were held in the house of Ira SEYMOUR, Elisha PERKINS and Abijah WILLIAMS.  The church was connected with the Ontario association during the continuance of that body.  It was received under the care of the presbytery of Ontario, January 16, 1828, having adopted the Presbyterian form of government.  Mr. PARMELE was dismissed form his pastoral charges, December 9, 1806, but continued as supply till 1812.  On April 6, 1812, Philander PARMELE was ordained and installed.  He was dismissed December 28, 1814.  On November 10, 1819, Ebenezer RAYMOND was installed and served till April 6. 1825.  Isaac ROOT and Abijah WILLIAMS were deacons in the church, July 10, 1812.  Rev. Jabez SPICER, and later, John TAYLOR, preached for the church during 1826.  The adoption at a meeting held at the house of William BUSHNELL on February 8, 1827, of the Presbyterian form, caused a division which lasted but a short time.

On September 20, 1832, the two churches reunited, drafted and signed a constitution and held a meeting October 4, 1832, for organization as an independent Congregational church.  Eighty six persons signed and became members.  Belden SEYMOUR, William PARMELE and Nathan JENKS were elected deacons.  In 1834 the membership was 106, and in 1845, over 200.  Seasons of revival in 1837, 1843, and other times, gave fresh strength to the society.  Daniel JOHNSON served the Congregational branch in 1832.  In 1833, January 24, Richard KAY was installed pastor, and served till November 12, 1835.  Jairus WILCOX was the stated supply for one year.  Rev. Charles E. FURMAN became pastor June 20, 1838, and remained till May 1846, when Charles MERWIN took charge and remained till August 7, 1849.  January 6, 1850 the charge  was taken by A. V. H. POWELL, who was succeeded in September 1851, by C. WATERBURY.  Other pastors were C. C. CARR, May 4, 1855, Job PIERSON Jr., February 8, 1857.

On March 8, 1858, it was resolved "That we as a church adopt the Presbyterian form of government and that hereafter we be known as the "First Presbyterian Church of Victor."  Successive pastors have been William H. WEBB, December 6, 1863 to October 22, 1865; G. P. NICHOLS, January 1868 till August 1869; Henry T. MILLER, June 1, 1871 till September 1873; W. B. MARSH, December 1873 to November 1875; Rev. Robert ENNIS is the present pastor.  A house of worship was dedicated in 1833.  It was 40 by 50 feet, with gallery and spire, and cost about $3,500.  In 1844, it was altered and repaired.  In 1860, ad addition was made to the rear, a new spire was built, a bell weighing 1,700 pounds, and costing $500, was put up.  In 1870, a pipe organ, costing $2,000, was purchased and introduced.  A town clock had been purchased by subscription of the villagers, about 1840, and placed in the Universalist church on the hill. When their new church was built, no provision was made for the clock, which, in 1860, was placed in the Presbyterian church.  In 1868, the society built a parsonage at a cost of about $5,000 and two years later made improvements to the value of several thousands.  The society while growing in years has developed experience and strength, and stands today strong and prosperous, and upon a permanent foundation.  


The Catholic Church

Meagre particulars have been gleaned respecting the Catholic society of this place.  The St.. Patrick's Catholic Church building was erected about 1852.  Father LEE was the first pastor and Rev. William HUGHES is the present priest in charge.  The ground occupied by the church, which is a frame structure, built in part by subscription, was sold to the society by Dr. William  BALL. 




Pub 1893     pg 373 - 376

The pioneers of Victor were not wholly unmindful of the spiritual welfare of the community, and at a very early day provided for religious instruction according to the New England custom. They first acted as a united people, and secured the services of a minister of the gospel to conduct services for the benefit of all the inhabitants, and a little later on (1804,) raised by contribution enough money to purchase a lot and build a meeting-house. This was known as the “Proprietors’ Church,” from the fact that nearly all the then land owners of the town contributed to its erection. At length, as the population increased, each denomination prepared to conduct services according to the rules of the church favored by it, hence withdrew from the use of the union edifice and built for themselves. In another part of this chapter will be found the names of the contributors to the Proprietors’ Church.

The First Presbyterian Church of Victor is the outgrowth of early meetings inaugurated by Rev. Reuben PARMELE as early as 1798, although the life of the society from the time of its origin has been one of many vicissitudes. Mr. PARMELE began holding Congregational meetings in 1798 at the request of the inhabitants of the town, and on the 10th of February, 1799, a society was organized with twenty members. In January, 1828, a majority of the members determined to adopt the Presbyterian form of church government, which resulted in a division of sentiment in the society. However, in 1832 the factions were reunited and an independent Congregational church was organized, and was so conducted until March 8, 1858, when a Presbyterian government was adopted, and the “First Presbyterian Church of Victor” was formally organized, and thenceforth superseded the older society. The first church edifice of this society was built in 1837, at a cost of $3,500, and was substantially enlarged and repaired in 1844, and again in 1860. The parsonage was built in 1868. The pastors of this church since its original founding have been as follows: Reuben PARMELE, Philander PARMELE, Ebenezer RAYMOND, Jabez SPICER (supply), John TAYLOR (supply), Richard KAY, Jarius WILCOX (supply), Charles E. FURMAN, Charles MERWIN, A. V. H. POWELL, C. WATERBURY, C. C. CARR, William H. WEBB, G. P. NICHOLS, Henry T. MILLER, W. B. MARSH, Robert ENNIS, Thomas E. BABB C. W. BACKUS and Charles Noble FROST, the latter being the present pastor, having been installed in November, 1889. The church membership numbers 197 persons, and the Sunday school has 200 pupils.

The Methodist Episcopal Church.— The history of Methodism in Victor dates back to the early years of the century, and to the primitive meetings occasionally held by Joseph JEWELL, Amos JENKS and James KELSEY, which resulted in the formation of a class in 1807, followed by a permanent church organization. The first meetings were held at convenient places, one of which, the LADD schoolhouse, was especially devoted to the use of the society. In 1820 a small church edifice was built, and so far completed as to be dedicated in August, 1821, although it was not entirely finished until 1829. It was enlarged in 1832, and five years later the society purchased a parsonage. The large edifice superseded the old church in 1870, and was completed during the following year, and dedicated June 15. The church has a present membership of about 220 persons, a Sunday-school with 100 pupils, and is under the pastoral care of Rev. Richard W. COPELAND.

The First United Universalist Society of Victor was organized by the compact signed by its members in 1834, although Universalist teaching and preaching was conducted in the town as early as 1825, under the ministerial labors of Wm. J. Reese. The early meetings were held in the M. E. and Proprietors’ churches, the latter of which afterward became the property of the Universalist society, and was used by it until the erection and dedication of the large brick edifice in 1857. Universalism in Victor had a beginning as humble as any other of the town’s institutions, but continued to grow and spread until it became one of the leading churches, both in members and influence. The pastors, in the order of succession, have been as follows: James COOK, S. W. FULLER,
L. L. SADDLER, Olin ACKLEY, Geo. W. MONTGOMERY, Stephen MILES, Daniel R. BIDDLECOME, Kneeland TOWNSEND, James COOK, J. R. JOHNSON, Charles S. SKINNER, Thos. BARTHOLOMEW, Thomas WHITCOMB, W. W. DEAN, Charles D. FLUHRER, Rev. GOODENOUGH, Thomas BORDEN, Rev. PECK, Stephen H. ROBLIN, G. L. LELAND and Charles LEGAL, the latter being the present pastor, who entered upon his duties July 1, 1891. The church has 100 members, and the Sunday-school about 125 pupils.

St. Patrick’s Church at Victor was an out mission attached to Palmyra, from 1850 to 1857, and was attended by Fathers KILBRIDE, WALSH and CASEY.  In 1857 East Bloomfield received a resident pastor, and Victor was made one of its out-missions, being attended during the next four years by Father P. LEE. In 1859 the church was built. Father Wm. HUGHES succeeded Father LEE, and in 1882 the Victor church was given a resident pastor, the first being Rev. Angelo LUGERO, who was the successor to Father HUGHES. On October 20, i888, Rev. J. J. DONNELLY was appointed pastor. In St. Patrick’s parish are 170 families, numbering about 875 persons.

The Episcopal Church, or mission, at Victor village was erected in 1873, and named” Church of the Good Shepherd.” It was consecrated in September, 1874. The parish has but few families and the church ever maintained a struggling existence. It has no regular rector, being supplied with occasional services by clergymen from other parishes.


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