Information was obtained from the History of Oswego County, N. Y., 1789 – 1877, published by Everett & Ferriss, 1878.  Many thanks and appreciation to Julie Robst for contributing this history on the Town of Richland. Julie has contributed a number of photographs, newspaper articles and histories for both, Richland and Mexico. 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Richland, NY


     James Trumbull states that when he came into this town, in the year 1811, the Methodists in this vicinity held service at the house of John Ingersoll and in Pliny Jones’ bar-room. There are no early records of this church preserved, but the society was probably organized in 1813 or 1814, and held meetings in the school-house until the erection of the court-house, when that was occupied alternately by the religious societies.
Among the first preachers were Fathers Calkins and Bibbings.
     The first church edifice was erected in 1832, on the site now occupied by the residence of Charles Hubbard, on Salina street.
     The following-named persons have at various times officiated as pastors of the church, viz.: Revs. McNine, Fuller, Whitcomb, Chapin, G. C. Woodruff, Bodish, Hawkins, A. J. Phelps, Orlando C. Cole, William Jones, S. B. Croshier, Lemuel Clark, Thomas B. Shephard, J. H. Lamb, F. H. Santon, H. Skiel, William Watson, W. L. Tisdale, D. W. Thurston (supply), J. B. Longstreet, present pastor.
     The present trustees are: D. C. Dodge, S. Dickinson, C. R. Suydam, Olin Clark, F. Frank, M. D. Cornwell, T. Hollis, B. H. Allen, T. D. Seymour.


     The First Congregational church of Pulaski, New York, was organized as a church in Pawlet, Vermont, by the colony leaving that place for Richland, New York, before its departure.
      It consisted of nine members, viz., Thaddeus Harmon, John Meacham, Levi Meacham, Lucy Meacham, Olive Hail, Polly Meacham, Ruth Harmon.
     The society was organized with the name of the First Congregational Society and Church of Richland January 22, 1811. The meeting for this purpose was held by previous notice and in legal form at the house of Erastus Kellogg in said town, and the act of incorporation was legally consummated and papers filed in the county clerk’s office February 25, 1811. The first trustees were Timothy Maltby, Silas Harmon, Rufus Pierce, John Meacham, Erastus Kellogg, Dr. Moses R. Porter, and Simon Meacham.
     They met for worship at various private houses until the year 1817, when they occupied a school-house which was then located on the present site of the land-office, and was after a time removed to the present locality of the Baptist church. After the erection of the court-house, in 1819, the church and society held their services in that building.
     The first church edifice was erected in 1827, and completed and dedicated in 1828. The dimensions of this building were thirty-eight feet by fifty-two feet, with a gallery surrounding three sides of the house. Its estimated cost was about two thousand dollars. It was located on Church street, a little north and east of the present location of the same building, which is now occupied and used as a school-house.
     At the last church service, held in this building, July 9, 1865, Rev. David Spear, of Rodman, preached, being then in his eighty-fifth year. He preached the first sermon after its erection, and administered the first communion service.
     Preparation was made for the erection of the present house of worship, located on the corner of Lake and Church streets, in 1865.
     It was completed in the spring of 1867, and dedicated April 24, 1867. Rev.
Laurens P. Hickok, D.D., L.L.D., president of Union college, preached the dedication sermon.
     The dimensions of this building on the foundation are seventy-five feet by
fifty-seven feet. The estimated cost is sixteen thousand dollars. The largest gift made towards the erection of this church edifice was fifteen hundred dollars, by Deacon Simon Meacham, whose name is identified with the early history of the church as a member of the church when first organized in Pawlet, Vermont, also one of its first deacons, and a member of the first board of trustees; a man of superior intellectual ability and unblemished Christian character. His portrait appears on the same page with the view of the church edifice in this work.
     Rev. Oliver Ayer was installed February 20, 1822, and was dismissed April 12, 1826. During his pastorate thirty-four persons united by profession and fifteen by letter.
     Rev. George Freeman commenced labors December 7, 1827, and was dismissed January 22, 1830. During this time ten persons united by profession and eighteen by letter.
     Rev. Ralph Robinson was installed pastor March 23, 1830, and was dismissed January 28, 1846. During his pastorate of nearly sixteen years one hundred and nineteen persons united with the church by profession and eighty-one by letter.
     Rev. Thomas Salmon commenced labors August 2, 1846, was installed as pastor June 15, 1847, and died December 4, 1854. During his pastorate thirty-seven persons united by profession and forty by letter.
     Rev. Fayette Shepherd commenced labors May 19, 1855, and was dismissed April 19, 1858, twenty-three persons uniting by profession and twenty-three by letter.
     Rev. Lucian West Chaney began his labors October 10, 1858, and was dismissed November 10, 1864. During the period of his ministerial labors eighteen persons united by profession and twenty-three by letter.
     The present pastor, Rev. J. Douglas, commenced his labors December 1, 1864. Eighty-two persons have been added to the church under his labors thus far by profession and twenty-three by letter.
     The first Sabbath-school was organized in 1817 by Deacon Simon Meacham, and a library was organized in 1818. The present superintendent is N. B. Smith, Esq.
     The board of trustees consists of Deacon John Meacham, J. A. Clark, L. Ling, M. Pierce and R. C. Dickinson.


     This church was organized in 1828. Previous to that time the Baptists in Pulaski and vicinity had been formed into a conference by the Rev. Nathaniel Gitteau. His labors as a preacher and pastor were very acceptable. He died in 1827. On the 17th of May, 1828, the conference met to consider the expediency of effecting a permanent organization. They determined to do so with the concurrence of a council of the neighboring Baptist churches. This was called to meet at ten A.M. on the 9th of June, at the court-house in the village of Pulaski. The council convened at the appointed time, and was composed of the following delegates: From the First Baptist church at Richland, Revs. Ferris and Holmes, with N. Powers, J. Holmes, and __ Bangs; from the Baptist church at New Haven, Rev. R. T. Smith, with Barzillai Snow, John Gratton, and Cyrus Severence; from the Baptist church at Sandy Creek, Thomas Gratton, Calvin Murray, and Jedediah Gratton; from the First Baptist church at Ellisburgh, Rev. Timothy Brewster, with B. Freeman. The conference appointed as its representatives Rev. Jason Lothrop, T. C. Baker, Benjamin Snow, and Horace Phillips.
     The following persons also were present, and invited to participate in the labors of the council: Rev. Gamaiel Barnes, John and William Manwaring, from Mexico; H. B. Rounds, and David Carlisle, from Newport.
     The council voted to organize a church, and it was effected with the following services of recognition: Rev. R. T. Smith preached the sermon from Luke xii. 32; Rev. Mr. Ferris gave the hand of fellowship, and T. Brewster gave the address to the members. The church at once chose T. C. Baker as clerk.
     On the 12th of July a meeting to elect deacons was held, and choice was made of Benjamin Snow and T. C. Baker.
     The following are the names of the constituent members: Jason Lothrop, Benjamin Snow, T. C. Baker, R. Clyne, Eli Green, Horace Phillips, John Hendrickson, Sylvester Hills, Oliver Allen, Mrs. Allen and daughter, Mrs. William Hale and daughter, Sibyl S. Baker, Lavina Snow, Delia Doane, Betsy Jones, Polly Hendrickson, Charlotte Way, Amanda Weed, Susan Phillips, Lovina Meacham, Ann Fellows, Cynthis Bass, Eliza Bragdon, and Fanny Manwaring.
     Steps for building a church were taken at a meeting held August 31, 1829, but it was the summer of 1834 before the edifice was ready for occupation. In the mean time religious services continued to be held in the court-house. When the frame was put up, the pastor, Rev. Jesse Elliott, made a prayer. No other dedication services were held until several years later, when Rev. S. J. Decker was the pastor, and the church was considerably enlarged and repaired. The original location of the church has never been changed. Its fronts the South Park adjoining the court-house. Rev. M. B. Comfort is the present pastor. J. W. Wood, A. S. Richards, and Ephriam Averill are the deacons, and E. C. Beardsley, the church clerk.
     Since the organization of the church the following persons have served it as
pastors, and in the order named: Jason Lothrop, Jesse Elliot, I. N. T. Tucker, C. B. Taylor, A. Webb, Charles Marshall, Thomas Bright, W. I. Crane, Lawson Muzzy, S. J. Decker, M. V. Wilson, G. A. Ames, and M. B. Confort. The exact term of service each has not been obtained, but it has varied considerably. The early pastorates were short as a rule, but for the past thirty-five years they have averaged about five years, and some have largely exceeded that length.
     The early position of this church on the subject of temperance is deserving of notice here. So long as June 20, 1829, the following record was made:

 “Voted unanimously that this church do hereby resolve that each and every member refrain from the use of ardent spirits in any case except as a medicine.”
    It is believed that few churches at that early day held such just and advanced views on this important question. The last report gave an enrolled membership of one hundred and ten.


     St. James Church, Pulaski, was organized August 10, 1846, Hon. Andrew Z.
McCarty presiding at a meeting held for that purpose in the court-house. John David and Andrew Z. McCarty were elected wardens; John Box, Jr., Daniel McCarty, Jerome B. Smith, Joseph T. Sevens, John A. Rhoades, Alan Crandall, Frey Lane, J. C. Rhoades were chosen vestrymen; Rev. Edward De Zeng ministered here from some time in 1848 to April, 1849; Rev. Henry Stanley was rector from April 22, 1849, to October 12, 1852; Rev. Gordon M. Bradley served the parish from January 1, 1853, to October of the same
year; Rev. Andrew Oliver from July 9, 1854, to April 8, 1855; Rev. Joshua L. Harrison from about October 1, 1855, to April 1, 1856; Rev. Moses E. Wilson from December 1, 1856, to December 1, 1857; supplied by visiting clergymen for three and a half years (especially Rev. William Paret, rector Zion church, Pierrepont Manor), and by lay reading by Mr. John David, senior warden; Rev. Peter B. Morrison from June 16, 1861, to May 3, 1863; Rev. Milton B. Benton from August, 1863 to May 1867; Rev. Gilbert B. Hayden from August 1, 1867, to August 12, 1868; Rev. Robert C. Boyer from January 4, 1869, to February, 1871; Rev. J. H. Rowling from autumn of 1871 , for nine months; Rev. W. H. Hopkins from January 1, 1873, to November, 1874. During the frequent vacancies in the pastorate of this church, religious services were kept up by the lay reading of the late venerable John David, the founder and life-long senior warden of the parish.
     The present rector is the Rev. James P. Foster, who accepted the rectorship May 1, 1875, and is still the incumbent. Under his pastorate this church has added thirty families, two hundred individuals, and fifty communicants.
     During the two years of his incumbency there have been eighty baptisms and forty-eight confirmations. A parsonage has been paid for and the parish kept free of debt.
Some of the first members of this church were: John David and wife, Hon. A. Z. McCarty and family, of Pulaski; Joseph T. Stevens, Daniel McCarty, of Washington, D. C.; Frey Lane and family, John T. McCarty and family, of Pulaski; D. O. Knowlton, of Syracuse; R. L. Ingersoll and family, and Jules Billiard and family, of Pulaski.
     The church building was finished in 1850, and was consecrated February 27, 1850, by the Right Reverend William H. De Lancey, bishop of western New York. It was at that time regarded as one of the prettiest church edifices in the diocese. The cost of the building was two thousand five hundred dollars. It is thirty by ninety feet. The architect was Upjohn, of New York.
     The present officers are: Stephen Mason and Charles H. Cross, wardens; John T. McCarty, Jules Billiard, William H. Hill, W. P. Outerson, A. J. Shelley, L. D. Potter, William H. Gray, Prof. S. Duffy, vestrymen. The parish is indebted to the Hon. William C. Pierrepont, of Pierrepont Manor, for the gift of five hundred dollars towards the church building, and one thousand dollars for the parsonage.


     This church was organized on the 7th day of October, 1817, by a council convened at the house of Colonel Robert Gillespie. Elder Enos Ferris became the first pastor of the church October 11, 1817, and officiated in that capacity during a number of years.
     The services of this early organization were held at various private houses until 1839; a church edifice was commenced and completed in the following year. The first service was held in the church April 11, 1840. There are no records of the church from which can be obtained the names of the different pastors who have been stationed here. We are only able to give the names of Elders Evering, M. V. Wilson, E. Crove, and Rev. T. G. Jones, the present pastor. The roll of membership numbers sixty-one.


     This church was organized in June, 1840, by Rev. G. C. Woodruff and Rev. Gardner Baker, with the following members: Solomon and Betsey Erskine, Sebern Dickinson and wife, George H. English and wife, Timothy Steel and wife, Levi Cary and wife, and Jonathan Sherwood and wife.
     Services were held in the school-house until 1858, when the present church edifice was dedicated by Rev. George Sawyer, presiding elder, and the pastor, Rev. J. H. Burnett. The building was erected at a cost of eight hundred dollars.
     At the organization of this church it was a part of the Pulaski circuit, and served by Rev. G. C. Woodruff in 1842, and Rev. B. Holmes in 1843-44. In the latter year it was made a part of the Mexico circuit, and in 1845 Rev. O. Lathrop officiated as pastor. Rev. O. Squires was pastor in 1846-47, David B. Smith in 1848, Allen C. Castle in 1849-50, and J. C. Smedley and D. Barnard in 1851.
     In 1851 it was made an independent charge.
     The following named persons have served this church as pastors from its organization as an independent charge to the present time, embracing a period of twenty-six years, - 
 Revs. William Peck, 1852; J. M. Hudson, 1853-54; David P. Knapp, 1855-56; J. H. Burnett, 1857-58; J. H. Buck, 1859-60; Allen C. Castle, 1861; A. Blackman, 1862-63; M. T. Smedley, 1864-65; Zardis Kenyon, 1866; J. W. McDonald, 1867; J. W. Simpson, 1868-70; L. R. Grant, 1871-72; S. Boyd, 1873-75.
     This church is at present in a prosperous condition, and is under the efficient management of Rev. George H. Van Vliet, who began his pastoral labors in 1876.
 The present officers are as follows: Class-leaders, Charles Erskine, John Tyler, Lyman Leonard, A. Brainard, Charles Hicks, and Robert Aird;  Stewards, O. White, Robert Aird, Lyman Leonard, Frank Willis, and Henry Tyler;  Trustees, Robert Gates, Thomas Perry, and Martin Hess. The church membership numbers one hundred and eighteen in full connection, and twenty-four probationers.
     There is a Union church located at Daysville where a Methodist Episcopal church class of sixty-three members worship. This class belongs to the South Richland charge. The size of the church edifice is twenty-four by thirty feet, and it was erected at a cost of four hundred dollars.
     The town of Richland embraces an area of 32, 180 acres, and the assessor’s valuation of real estate and incorporated companies is $1, 728, 525, and the equalized valuation is $1, 340, 080. The assessor’s valuation of personal estate is $73, 525. The total equalized valuation of real estate, incorporated companies, and personal estate, is $1., 413, 605.


     The population of Richland in 1845 was 3758;  in 1850, 4079;  in 1855, 4012;  in 1860, 4128;  in 1865, 4137;  in 1870, 3975;  and in 1875, 4023.

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