Many thanks and appreciation to Esther
Rancier for contributing this list of names. Esther is researching
in Richland and Mexico the Soul/Soule, Brace
and Daniel P. Smith families, and would appreciate hearing from
anyone researching these surnames.
*As always, for further information on any of the names, please contact the local Historical Societies and/or Town Historians.
About the year of 1808 or 1809 a young Methodist preacher by the name of Jonathan Huestis came here on horseback with his saddlebags containing his wardrobe, Bible and hymn book, and preached the first Methodist sermon in the town of Mexico at the home of Leonard Ames. The first class was organized in the Ames home and consisted of five members: Mrs. L. Ames, Mrs. Place, Mrs. Calkins, Mrs. Cheesboro and W. Armstrong who was appointed class leader. The first quarterly meeting and love feast were held in Mr. Ames' house where the sacrament was administered to eight communicants. The stand upon which the elements were placed is now in the possession of the church, preserved as a memorial of the infant days of Methodism in Mexico. The second pastor was the Rev. A. Rowley from Baltimore. In 1810 the Genesse conference was organized and the Mexico circuit extended from Redfield and Camden to the Oswego River.
In 1811 the Rev. Ira Fairbanks was appointed to the Mexico circuit. He received $25 that year on his salary, and he says he left the circuit out of debt. After Rev. Fairbanks, to the year 1820, the following persons were pastors of this church, the exact order in which they came not being known: Isaac Puffer, Truman Gillett, Nathaniel Reader, Truman Bishop, Reuben Farley, Joseph Willis and Truman Dixon.
The house of Mr, Ames continued to be the preaching place until 1820 when a commodious school house, two stories hugh and built of brick, was erected on the ground where the present academy stands which was then occupied by the Congregationalists and Methodists.
In 1821 Mexico was placed in the Oswego circuit Black River district, with Chandly Lambert, preacher in charge. In 1822 James P. Aylesworth was the preacher of Oswego circuit; in 1823 J. P. Aylesworth and Orren Foot; 1824 Truman Dixon; 1825 Benjamin Dayton and Enoch Barnes; 1827 Charles Northrup; 1828 Elisha Wheeler; 1830 Samuel Bibbins.
In 1831 this had become Mexico circuit with Charles Northrup preacher, followed in 1833 and '34 by Anson Tuller and Joseph Cross.
It is probable that the Mexico Methodist Episcopal Church was legally organized in 1833 and a brick church was built. At a meeting of the trustees, Feb.11, 1834, there were present Simon Tullar, Leonard Ames, Oren Whitney, Daniel Austin, Eldad Smith, Reuben Halliday, Stanley Kenyon and 0. C. Whitney. Afterwards the name of F. Evarts was added. In 1835 Mexico was made a station and Jesse Penfield appointed preacher. In 1837 J. Everdel was pastor. Squire Chase, who went as a missionary to Africa, was supply part of 1838, followed by Joseph Kilpatric who served the rest of the year, and in 1839 and '40 by B. Holmes.
On June 20, 1840, the ground was broken for the cellar for the first parsonage, which was located on Main Street. In 1841 Rowland Soule was stationed here, followed in 1842 by B. Holmes who returned for his third year; 1843-'4 N. R. Peck; 1845-'6 James Sawyer; 1847-'8 Gardener Baker; 1849-'50 Lewis Whitcomb and 1851-'2 Ebenezer Arnold. During Mr. Arnold's pastorate, in 1851, the brick church was burned and the site sold, and in 1852 the present church edifice was built. Since then the following were pastors: 1853'4 Almond Chapin, 1855-'6 Samuel Crosier, 1857 Hiram Shepard, 1858 J. T. Allen, 1859 William Jones, 1860-'1 0. M. Legate, 1862 J. T. Alden, 1863 W. S. Titus, 1864-'6 M.D. Kinney, 1867-'8 Andrew Roe, 1869-'71 William R. Cobb, 1872 B. F. Barker, 1873-'4 J. T. Hewitt, 1875-'6 S. P. Gray, 1877-'9 W. F. Hemenway, 1880-'2 C. P. Lyford, 1883-'5 C. H. Guile, 1886-'7 W. R. Cobb, 1888-'90 C. E. Dorr, 1891'3 J. C. Darling, 1894-'5 W. H. Bennett, 1896-'99 J. H. Myers, 1900 A. C. Danforth, 1901 M.D. Sill, the present pastor.
In 1884 new memorial windows were placed in the church in memory of the founders of Methodism in Mexico. The bell now hanging in the tower, costing a $1,000, was purchased by subscription and money raised by concerts conducted by Lewis Miller. The organ costing $1,200 was purchased with the proceeds raised by the M. E. Choral Union under the leadership of Lewis Miller. The present parsonage was the generous gift to the church by the late Dr. Harriet Rundell.
The Northern New York Conference has been entertained by the Mexico church three times: in 1845 Bishop Hedding, 1875 Bishop Scott, 1901 Bishop Fowler presiding.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Mexico has been especially blessed in sending forth so many of her young men to preach the gospel.
Among then are the following:
Albert D. Peck, Reuben Holiday and B. R. Parsons local preachers; W. H. Calkins, Isaac Turner, Henry Lamb, Dennis Parker, Sardius Kenyon, David Ferguson, Levi Ferguson, Matthew Parkhurst, Othniel Holmes, W. F. Purington, Jesse Rathbun, George P. Mains, Fayette Severance, Frank Severance, Cyrus Severance, Charles H. Walton, Herbert L. Campbell, Amos Nickerson, George Wood, Reuben Sherman and Arthur Berry.
2001 Esther Rancier