A Semi-Centennial and Memorial Discourse 
July 3, 1881, Volney, Oswego Co. N. Y.

Source:  A Semi-Centennial and Memorial Discourse Delivered in Volney, N.Y., July 3, 1881, by Rev. Henry Kendall, D.D., of New York.  Published By Request and an Account of Other Proceeding's On That Day.  New York Printing House of Wm. C. Martin, 121 John Street. This booklet contains many names from the Volney area, as well as insight to life there in its early days.
Many grateful thanks and appreciation to volunteer, Dianne Thomas, Volney Town Editor, for transcribing the many pages of this booklet and her continous help in updating items for Volney. 

Most of us do not live in Oswego County and are unable to do any personal research on your ancestors.   For all inquiries about your family, items you don't see on this site, or specific historical questions, please contact the local Town Historians, or Historical Societies.

The following notice appeared in the papers of Fulton, N.Y.:

June 18, 1881 - As it is fifty years since the organization of the First Congregational Society of Volney, and the commencement of public worship on Bristol Hill, and the great revival, it has been decided to have a semi-centennial service at their church on the first Sunday July, 1881, sermon by Rev. Henry Kendall, D.D., of New York.  After the sermon there will be a re-union, in which we expect to hear by word or by letter from many of the worshipers of past days.  The good old tunes of fifty years ago will be sung.  Come and meet with us once more.


Religious services were held in the church on the day appointed in accordance with the above notice.  A great number of people were present, not only from all the religious congregations of the town of Volney, but from Fulton and the neighboring towns of Baldwinsville, Phoenix, Grandby, Schroeppel and Mexico, after which the following correspondence took place:

Fulton, July 5th, 1881
Dear Sir - The undersigned, having had the privilege of hearing your excellent historical discourse at the semi-centennial anniversary of the Bristol Hill church on Sunday, the 3d inst., and believing a more general promulgation of it would be of interest and profit, respectfully request you to furnish the same for publication.  We are

Sincerely yours,
S. PARDEE, M.D.                         R.H. TYLER
ABRAHAM MOSS                       J.G. BENEDICT
GEORGE MACE                           D.H. GARDINER
H.N. SOMERS                              HORACE N. GILBERT
JACOB KENDALL                       D.R. BELLOWS
JAMES B. SACKETT                    E.M. BALDWIN
REV. WM. R. STONE                   OTIS KENDALL

Hon. R.H. TYLER  and others:
Gentlemen, - In compliance with your request, I herewith furnish copy of my discourse.
Yours truly,

Ps. Xliv. I. - We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

The early history of this church is identified with the early history of this town - being the earliest religious organization in town.

I.  Of the early history of the town there is little that is note-worthy or unlike the settlement of other towns, if we except a link or two that connects us wit earlier times.  I have known a man who was one of the unsuccessful military expedition against the English in the Fort at Oswego during the Revolutionary War, and there are some remaining earthworks, I suppose, there certainly were in my boyhood, about Oswego Falls traces of military occupation at the strategic point reaching back to the time of the French possession of Canada.
The permanent settlement of the town began at two points:

(1.) Along the Oswego river, which was one of the natural highways between New York City and the Great Lakes and Canada.  The early settlers there came along the water courses, from the Hudson and Mohawk rives up to Rome, and by a short portage between Fish Creek  to Wood Creek, one of the tributaries of the Oneida River, which rive they descended to its junction with the Seneca which helps form the Oswego river, and thence to the "Oswego Falls."  Such names as Van Volkenburgh, Van Buren and Walradt show their Holland or Dutch origin and establish their identity with the early Dutch settlers alone the valleys of the rivers I have just mentioned.
As there was a "portage" or transfer of merchandise around Oswego Falls, two points, called respective the "Upper Landing" and the "Lower Landing", began to have settlers long before the present village of Fulton had either name or existence; and here were the first district schools established.
(2.) The other centre of settlement was just hereabouts or to be more exact at the Four Corners, now called "Volney Centre", and where the Volney Post Office now is.
As the early inhabitants that settled along the river came by water, so those who settled this part of the town came by land, generally bringing in their wives and children and household goods by ox teams.
It is curious to notice where the came from; for we are apt to suppose that the early settlers of a town are composed of isolated families or individuals gathered hap-hazard from different parts of the country without any previous acquaintance with each other, whereas the bulk of these people were drawn from four or five centres.  The first four men that took up land here were Gideon Candee, Gideon Seymour, John Kendall and Amos Bishop, from Paris, Oneida Co., N.Y., and so, soon after were found added to them from the same neighborhood or the same county the Coes, Hookers, Handys, Simmonses, Pattersons and Brookses, followed later by the Lanpheres, Gilberts, Shepards, Kirklands, Gordons, and Pratts of Gilbertsville; Amos Mace, Darius R. Bellows, Dr. Pardee and others.
Herkimer, an adjoining county, furnished us Dea. Crosby, the Canfields, Goodells, Smiths, Wheelocks, Sanfords, Breeds, Nelsons, Spencers, Ludingtons, the Parkers, and Samuel Merry, followed later by Wm. Williams, the Griffeths, the Thomases, the Jewetts, and others.
Durham, Green Co., N.Y., gave us the five Baldwins - Dan, Charles, Henry, Chauncey and Abial; the two Strongs, Daniel Pratt, and for a time his brother Edmund; and attracted by them came the Hummiston and Tibbals families from the same neighborhood.
Berkshire Co., Mass., gave the Carriers, Baxters, Wm. Ingell, the Clarks, Balls, Fosters, Lothrops, and Johnsons.
The Chesbros and Putnams came from Stonington, Conn., and the Babcocks from a little distance over the line, Westerly, R.I., and, as I suppose, through one or two intermarriages with the families from Berkshire Co., Mass.
From Vermont and the immediate neighborhood, in Eastern N.Y., came the Morgans, Tuttles, Sacketts, Collinses, and Grainnesses, and, by another marriage tie, came at length the Mosses and Somerses.

I may not be entirely accurate in all these statements, as I have had no opportunity to make new inquiries or test the remembrance of many years past with that of others who have resided here longer than myself.
There are others not names in this enumeration because I am in doubt as the their origin, such as the Bissells, Bradleys, Dea. Wetmore, Dr. Howard, the Hinmans, Hollister and others.
Many of those thus named have long since died or gone elsewhere, leaving not a single
      representative or descendent among the present inhabitants of  the town.
      These people were in very limited circumstances - as is always the case with settlers in a new country, 
      Though those who came later had more means.  They had what we should now call a hard lot.  Of 
       Money they had very little, and no available market for their products.  The country at the first was a 
      deep and unbroken forest. The highways had to be cut through the forests, the bridges built over the
      streams, the houses and barns had to be constructed, and in the earliest period the high fold in which
      to secure the sheep against the wolves.  And what was much more, the forests had to be cleared 
      away - tree by tree, and acre by acre.  As the Bible says, "a man was famous according as he lifted up
      axes against the thick trees," so it was here, and so was the team famous that could haul the greatest 
      number of those trees together in a single day for burning; and when that was done it was long years 
      before the stumps could be removed and one could have a clear, clean field.
      But if the people had but little, so they could be content with little.  The poor-house scarcely ever had a 
      native American within its walls; there were good schools for the children, all of whom could have a 
      good elementary education, and blessed with good health and good neighborhood and good fellowship 
      characteristic of such people, and buoyant with hope, and seeing constant improvement in their 
      condition, it would hardly be safe to say that those years did not contain as much solid comfort as the 
      subsequent years have done.  I will not say they were entirely contented with their lot.   I suppose I 
      could hardly say that of you.

      This church was organized in 1812, ad at first consisted of the following members: Gideon Candee, Joseph Morgan and his wife, Enoch Bristol and his wife, Wm. Dean and his wife, and John Kendall and his wife, all of whom have passed away, as well as may others whose names were entered on the roll in the next twenty years.
I remember all these persons except Mr. and Mrs. Dean, who left town at an early day.
I remember to have heard Joseph Morgan speak with much earnestness and emotion at some religious meeting when I was but a small child.  I remember Enoch Bristol, and to have looked on the corpse as he lay dead in his house more than fifty-eight years ago. 
I barely remember Gideon Candee, though he died of a lingering disease in the year 1819.
I remember well, at an early day, the stalwart form of Deacon Lanphere as he used to walk into meeting in the old school house at the "Centre".
I remember nearly every one of all the men and women I have named; some by a single incident and others by many.
This church was served for short periods by several clergymen till the year 1819, when the first pastor was installed, the Rev. OLIVER LEAVITT.  He remained in charge of the church about eight years and was a very worthy and in all essential particulars a very acceptable man.  I remember his installation.  That service took place in front of the dwelling house and store that stood just where the Post Office now stands, and directly across the street was the public house, long since removed.  That event as I have said on good evidence took place in 1819, though the church records have omitted to mention it.  In the second years of Mr. LEAVITT'S pastorate, that is in 1821, there was a happy religious movement in the congregation, in which about thirty persons united with the church.  The church had no well defined geographical boundaries, but in a general way took in all the old town of Volney, except the neighborhood of Fulton, and the town then embraced also the present towns, Palermo and Schroeppel.  In 1823 fourteen members were dismissed at their own request and organized into another church in what now is the town of Palermo.
Not long after this the congregation became unhappily divided on the question of a site for the church edifice, and so lasting and acrimonious was the strife that a vote was taken as late as 1830 to ask the Presbytery to divide the church *.  A division arose also as to the denominational status of the church, and a vote seems to have carried to change the form of government from Presbyterian to Congregational.  But that was simply as to its internal organization, for thought the change was made it still retained for many years its connection with Presbytery, on a basis understood by the two denominations as the "Plan of Union."
The question as to the church site however was the more serious, and Mr. LEAVITT and perhaps Mr. CALDWELL, his successor were constrained to resign on account of their views on that subject.
I remember distinctly the time when the bricks were accumulated at the "Centre" in sure anticipation of a speedy erection of a House of Worship there.  That it was not built there and the reasons thereof will appear further on in this discourse.

II.  This service of to-day is called a "Jubilee" or Memorial Service, being fifty years from the year 1831, which was a note-worthy and remarkable year in our history for the following reasons: -

1. It is fifty years since the organization under the Statute of the State called the "Society", was created.  The church as we have seen was organized nineteen years before.  But the corporation which has Trustees, and takes charge of the property of a church or religious organization was not constituted until 1831.
It is fifty years since our fathers began to worship on this "Hill".  For as the result of accessions made to the church in the East part of the town in 1831, of which I shall soon speak, the balance of power and the geographical centre of the congregation became so altered that it remained no longer a question where the church edifice should be. Hence, when the Society was organized, the 29th of March, 1831, and the Trustees had been chosen and classified, the first vote was to the effect that the site for the church edifice be on this spot where this house now stands if possible, but designating a spot of the south side of the street in case of a failure.  The house was not dedicated till 1835.  But preparations began to be made and subscriptions secured in 1831, and we began to worship in it incomplete in the fall of 1832.  And the reason why the work proceeded so slowly was that the fathers determined to "pay as they go;" and not dedicate the church till such time as they could wipe out all the cost of its construction; and this point was not reached till 1835.
But as I have said we began to worship on the "Hill" in the spring of 1831.  To accommodate the people Mr. Justus Bristol, who lived where Mrs. Thomas now lives, allowed them to use his wood-house chamber for Sunday services.  I wish you would all go and see the room now; on of the beams was cut out and a rude arch was made from a crooked tree to make an easy way across the room, and though it was very inconvenient and very warm at times there, the people worshipped God in the summer season this the house was ready for occupancy.
Previous to that time public services had been held in the schoolhouse, sometimes alternately between the two - one standing where Mr. Henry N. Somers now resides, and the other close by, where the Mexico road leaves this main road about half a mile east of this place.
The first mentioned school-house was well calculated for the purpose.  It was a large building, and as the children multiplied, and the boundaries of the district were very different from what they are now, it became necessary to have two teachers; the room was cut in two by a swing partition which was raised on the Sabbath, and a large congregation could be accommodated within its walls.
2. It is fifty years since the greatest revival took place which this church ever enjoyed.  And for this more than anything else this service was arranged; for fifty-four persons untied with the church that year - a greater number than have done so any previous or any year since.
That revival I have always said was one of remarkable purity and power.  And in all my experience I have never witnessed one that surpassed it in these respects.   It came "without observation," or previous planning on the part of men, and men seemed to have very little to do in the direction and conduct of it.  Our minister, Rev. Mr. EASTMAN, was neither imposing in person, nor gifted in any special way for pulpit or pastoral work.  He was an honest, humble man.  From a sermon he preached one dark Sunday evening, early in the winter, the work of grace seemed to begin at Gilbert Mills, and it was essentially aided by a young man by the name of Whitcomb teaching school there.  But neither had he any special gifts.  But in his school the work took a wonderful hold, and it extended all through the community.  Night after night the school house was packed, and men spoke and prayed, apparently, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  There were meetings at private houses in the afternoons because all the school houses were occupied, and prayers, confessions, and exhortations abounded.  There was very little preaching through the winter.  No outside laborers were called in.
3.  As a result of the work already done, this church had the first protracted meeting ever held in this town in the year 1831.  Fifty years ago this day that meeting was in session.  What are now called protracted meetings, and are now so common, were then unknown.  But there had been what were at first called "three day's meetings," and at length as they continued longer frequently came to be called "four day's meetings."  They had been held further east - in older parts of the state and in New England.  They had been accompanied with the might power of the Spirit; so much so that it came to be considered almost certain that a "four day's meeting" would be attended with a revival.  I remember well the morning when I heard at the breakfast table in my father's house that it had been decided to have such a meeting.  It gave me such a shock as I scarcely ever have experienced.  A numbness struck through me.  I think I could not have walked across the floor, for it seemed that to me a great decisive day was at hand.  I remember too the day the meetings commenced.  We had finished hoeing corn about 9:30 A.M.  The services began at 11 A.M. and all the family was expected to attend the services as if it has been the Sabbath day - and it was line one long Sabbath day to the end.  And in those days some of us who had stood out against all the good influences of the previous winter, were constrained to bow at the footstool of mercy, and from that day to this, now fifty years, we have borne the blessed hope that we are Christ's and He is ours!  Somewhat later there was a similar meeting held in the southern part of the town - in the unfinished house were Hon. R.K. Sanford now resides.
Lest it should be proved, as some said at the time that it was a mere "excitement:. a burst of emotion, that carried away a crowd of women and children, as some claimed it had, it is proper to say that such men as William Ingell Sr., Andrus Gilbert, Samuel Smith, Patton Parker, Deacon Griffeth, Asa Candee, Chapin Munger, Mr. Burt, Darius Foster, H.N. Somers, Samuel Merry, Eben Ball, Enos Pratt, Daniel Pratt, Kingsbury El Sandford and others were not the men to be carried away by any sudden outburst of enthusiasm.
And now, if we look at the younger men, the Lanpheres, the Chaffes, the Bristols, the Kendalls, Caius Candee, A.P. Kirkland, John G. Merriam, and the wives of such of these men and in still greater numbers - nearly all of whom have witnessed a good confession before the world, and have lived fifty years in accordance with their profession, or have died trusting in Him whom they then found a Prince and a Saviour; - I say no theory of mere human emotion or temporary excitement can account for such wonderful results.  For, besides the fifty-four that united with this church that year, were seventeen more who waited over till the next, making in all seventy-one.  Moreover, the Baptist church at Gilbert's Mills was organized immediately after that revival, and was almost wholly made up from its recent converts; and the Methodist church I presume received as many more, and the churches at Fulton received some others, and hence I say no more convincing evidence can be found of the presence and converting power of the Holy Spirit than the living and dying testimony of all these people within the fifty years past.  So thorough was the work, that I remember to have heard it said there were but tow men left unconverted on the street that runs through Gilbert's Mills, for a distance of five miles.
I do not mean to say that there were not unusually favoring circumstances to secure such large results at that time.  1831 was a remarkable year, or rather it stood in the very midst of a decade of remarkable years.  There was a great revival in Yale College in 1831, and many of the converts became distinguished clergymen, and revivals of religion were frequent and powerful in nearly all parts of New England.  DR. NETTLETON was then in the midst of his great usefulness, assisted by such men as DR. LYMAN BEECHER and others of like faith and zeal.  Mr. FINNEY was then at the zenith of his power.  Great revivals, and beyond any precedent had prevailed, at Rome, Utica, Auburn and Rochester.  But none of these seem to have had anything to do with the beginning of the revival here.  But they had more or less in common with the revival here, namely, in the great number of young people unmarried or married that had never seen or known of thorough and genuine revivals.  We had never seen them - we knew almost nothing of them - we did not believe in them.  I remembered distinctly when this matter was first brought to my mind as a personal thing.  On my way home from school I had stopped in at Mr. MERRIAM's shoe store.  Dea. HIRAM GILBERT began to talk with me, and tell me about the great work of grace that had begun in his neighborhood, and I remember too, scoffer as I was beyond my years, that I told him if they came up this way I thought they would find their match.  But I noticed that Mr. MERRIAM did not smile nor look up nor speak.  I suppose the good Dea. Had been talking to him before I came in.  But, in a very short time, he, and nearly all of the young persons I have alluded to, men and women, were found under the deepest conviction for sin, and rejoicing in a new found home in Christ. And this great element of young people that had never seen a revival constituted the favoring and hopeful element in the case.  The houses of the early settlers were full of young people, many of them verging on manhood and womanhood, and of the married people there were many that were yet early in their married life.  And many of these had praying parents, and in such a field God determined to reap a large and glorious harvest.
The conditions were similar in other towns in the county, and the churches in Mexico, New Haven, Hannibal and Pulaski were greatly enlarged.

III.  It is a good thing to rehears these things to our children, that they may say, as in the language of the text, "We have hears with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, wheat work thou didst in their day, in the times of old."  It is a good thing to hold this service, to relate these things to so many that were then unborn.  For it was in such ways that the Lord instructed His people of old, saying: "and thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, this is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came out of Egypt;" and when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, what is this? Thou shalt say unto him: "By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage;" or as is said in another Psalm: " I will utter sayings of old; which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He hath done," - "that the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born - who should arise and declare them to their children, that they might set their hope in God and not forget His works but keep His commandments.
We do well to notice how often the Lord instructed His people to keep the memory of His great deliverances fresh in their own minds, and how carefully they were to transmit the story to their children, - and it undoubtedly entered into the discourses in the synagogue and was the foundation for many a fire-side talk with the children by godly mothers and fathers in all those olden times.  Such practices have their uses now, and we should do well to call to mind more frequently than we do, what the Lord hath done for us in the "days of old."
As then under the Jewish dispensation, and as explained in the 25th chapter of Leviticus, there was a Jubilee and a great time of rejoicing every fiftieth year, because all the slaves and the people "bound out" - became free - and all the mortgaged lands reverted to their former owners; so that great revival enlarged the church in numbers and unity, and took away the bondage of weakness and division.  So we make this Memorial Service a "Re-Union" and a Jubilee in remembrance and review of those great events that marked the year 1831, and the great events that have transpired during the half century past.  We do well to point to the great results to be observed in the lives of so many people, who have gratefully acknowledged this great work as work of God.  And we can say to the skeptic as all these witnesses were wont to testify, as the blind man did to whom Christ had given sight, saying, "Whereas I was blind now I see."  So these many witnesses have given fifty years of testimony to the divine change which Christ had wrought  in their hearts.  The testimony of their lips and lives is to the greatness of the power and grace of God.
IV.  I propose now to speak of changes that have occurred during the last fifty years, and although many of them may seem to be of secular matters, yet recognizing an over-ruling Providence in things material, as well as spiritual, let us remember that advancement, progress may be looked for even in material things in these times as well as the past, and that we may expect the material to help the spiritual now as hitherto.
1. Great changes have occurred here in the inhabitants.  "The fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?" said one of their number. The fathers and mothers have gone to their long rest.  Children have gone West, and many families have disappeared, and others have taken their places.
2. Great changes have occurred in the habits and homes of the people, and their modes of living in the last fifty years.  There is more wealth distributed among the people now, markets are better, what people have to sell can more readily be turned to cash, and many things that they were then compelled to manufacture they can more easily purchase now.  Fifty years ago the noise of the wheel was heard nearly half the year in many a thrifty household.  The virtuous woman then as in Solomon's day "laid her hands to the spindle, her hands took hold of the distaff - she seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands," and the other half of the year was largely filled up with preparing garments for the family.  The wheel for either flax or wool has now well-nigh disappeared, till the garrets of old houses are now searched for them almost in vain, and the flax wheel, which has become one of the most precious heir-looms and ornaments in the houses of ladies who never knew how to use them, and the flax brake, and the hatchel, and the swingling board have disappeared from the barns; and the children of the present day know not the meaning of the terms, and as to the long labor at making garments they are bought ready made or the sewing machine accomplishes in one day the work of seven.
I turn to the fields - the picturesque sower scattering the grain is seen no more.  Machinery does his work, and the ripened grain that was then cut with the sickle, or at best with the cradle, is now cut by the reaper and by horse power, and sometimes bound into sheaves at the same time, and where the noise of threshers with the flail, the "shadowy flail that threshed the corn," as Milton says, was sometimes heard for weeks, it is all gone, and that work is all dispensed with; the noisier threshing machines of modern times do the work in a single day.
I turn to the hay-field and remember how the workmen toiled day after day for weeks sometimes, sweltering with heat and the swinging of the scythe, and how it used to be said that no machinery could supplant that difficult implement to handle.  And I remember too how my youthful arms used to ache with raking the hay; but now I see instead, a man driving over his field riding on a mowing machine, and without sweat or toil cutting four times as much grass as he could the old way, and the present generation scarcely know the use of the scythe at all.  And so I see him riding also on the horse rake, and leaving nothing for the boys to do!  And if one has no machinery to load his hay, or hoisting apparatus to dispose of it after he has driven to the barn, it only shows that he has not yet obtained all the modern improvements.
I give these as simple illustrations of the changes that have come along in the course of fifty years; these labor saving machines enter into every house, and are found on every farm, and they extend to all departments of life.  They are not an unmixed good.  They have forced the hand-loom and the quiet little carding-mill by the humble steam out of existence; the carriage maker who made a whole carriage is no more.  Great factories that have millions of capital, the great shops where so much machinery comes into play, where the laborer is expected to be a proficient in one department only, furnish no complete workmen outside of a narrow department.  The capitalist crushes out of necessity, and not of ill-will, the single handed mechanic or laborer, combinations are formed, monopolies are created, and the men without capital, and even the skilled laborers, combine, as they say, for self-protection, and by ill advice, and through the frothy utterances of noisy demagogues and leaders, organize "strikes" from which good seldom comes and in which they are generally worsted, and their last condition becomes worse than the first.
But I turn to larger themes.
Fifty years ago how different was our postal system!  Letters then cost from six to twenty-five cents according to distance.  The three cent stamp and the penny postal card, and reduced rates on newspapers, magazines and books have wrought a perfect revolution in that business, and brought about wonderful results in correspondence with friends, and the diffusion of information.

Fifty years ago we knew almost nothing of the uses of steam.  I remember to have heard a grave Prof. Attempting to prove that the attempt to cross the Ocean by steam would prove forever useless, because he said no vessel could carry coal enough for the trip, and carry any cargo besides.  And how little was the traffic between the two continents!  I saw not over two weeks ago an extract from an old diary of 1826, in which it was said that no news had been heard from Europe for fifty-four days.  Now steamers from Europe are arriving daily at our ports, and the thousands and tens of thousands crossing the Ocean from this side to the other every year has ceased to be a wonder.

Fifty years ago, we were just leaning to apply steam to land transportation.  The whole Railroad system of the world - not of this country but of the world has grown up within about fifty years.  And what marvelous changes it has wrought!

For two hundred years from the first settlement of this country, we were extending our limits of occupation by only from seven to fourteen miles a year; that is, we reduced from the wilderness a strip of land only of that width year by year.  At the first, our fathers were confronted by dark and frowning forests and hostile tribes of savages.  The forests had to be cleared away, and the savages subdued or pacified.  But about fifty years ago just as our Railroad system began to be developed, the wave of population stuck the great prairies of the West.  Millions of acres, draped in all the beauty of Spring, greeted the new settler, and the virgin soil of centuries was ready to yield its increase to the hand of cultivation.  Less than fifty years ago, the attempt to bridge the Mississippi would seem little less than sacrilege to the American people on account of the expected injury to inland commerce.  Now there are more than twenty bridges across that noble river, and it is estimated, that, during the height of immigration, the Spring and Summer months, a thousand people, every day, cross that stream to find and found new homes in the great interior.

Fifty years ago, that great interior was an unknown, unexplored land.  But it is such no longer.  It has been surveyed and mapped out, and made into Territories with well-defined limits.  Railroads penetrate it from all sides and cross it from sea to sea!

Fifty years ago our North-western and South-western boundaries were not defined.  The British Fur Company and the Jesuit Priests coveted all Oregon and Washington Territory for Great Britian.  Dr. WHITMAN, an American missionary to the Flat-Head, or Nez-Perces tribes of Indians, attending a sick child at one of the Company's forts late in the year 1835, overhead a Jesuit Priest, just arrived, say: "The Yankees are too late; we have got it."

Within two weeks, though it was in the dead of winter, this intrepid missionary was on his way across the trackless deserts, climbing over the Rocky Mountains, fording rivers full of ice, on his way to Washington to save that great country to the United States.  Frost-bitten and half famished he reached the sear of Government, after a perilous three months journey, and so represented the case, that he was encouraged to take back a colony with him; and in the fall of the year 1836, he came into his distant North-west home with a caravan of eight hundred and seventy-five souls, men, women and children, and 1,350 head of cattle.  That colony turned the scale, and gave a majority of votes for allegiance to the Untied States Government instead of that of Great Britian, and our North-west boundary lines were settled accordingly.

Ten or twelve years later came on the Mexican War, and at its conclusion we came into possession
Of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Utah, and secured the title to California.

The discovery of gold in California marks a distinct ere in our nation's growth and development.  But this discovery was not made till California had become securely our own.  This was followed by the later discoveries in Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and the whole Rocky Mountain district.  And these discoveries have done more than anything else to give us such great States and Territories, and to stimulated to the building of so many railroads that are filling the vast interior with a hardy and a thrifty-people.
Fifty years ago we knew nothing of the telegraph system.
At that time when a State election took place, it was said in New York and Albany: "We cannot tell how it has gone till we hear from beyond Cayuga Bridge," and it took from three to four weeks to get the returns and sent the result to the distant parts of the State.  But know, in consequence of this wonderful invention, we are impatient if we do not have the result even of a Presidential election in the morning papers and at the breakfast table the day after election takes place.

Before this marvelous discovery was made, when the merchant went to New York or Boston to purchase goods, his wife or child might sicken and die, and be buried before any intelligence of danger could reach him.  Now a sister may be watching beside a dying mother at the east, and a telegraphic dispatch to a beloved brother at Chicago, St. Paul or Kansas City, saying, "Dear brother, mother is dying.  Come at once," is the work of but a moment; and the merchant's wife in any of those cities has only to send to her husband in New York this little message - "My dear, the bay is very sick" to hasten him home by the first and swiftest train.

More and more does this invention enter into the business of life - in war, in the intercourse of nations, in trade.  You do not sell your cheese without knowing the latest quotations from the New York and Liverpool markets.  The transactions of a tea merchant in London may close at three o'clock P.M. of a given day, and  the results be telegraphed to his agent in San Francisco before business opens there - not the next morning, but the morning of the same day!

President GARFIELD was shot in Washington yesterday; we had the news here, in this remote and rural neighborhood, before night; and so had the news gone to all parts of this country and to the great capitals in Europe - London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and St. Petersburgh.
But I must pass on to mention other matters that have agitated the public mind during the last fifty years.

Fifty years ago, Garrison, the great Abolitionist, had just established the Anti-Slavery Press.  Within that time John Quincy Adams was delivering his immortal argument in behalf of the "Right of Petition."  The "Fugitive Slave Law" was discussed, passed and broken.  John Brown had made his futile demonstration against slavery, and has been hung.  At length the crisis came - State after State at the South seceded - war was declared and waged through nearly five terrible years, when hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sons fell on the bloody field or starved in Rebel prisons!  The Emancipation Proclamation was issued.  President LINCOLN was assassinated.  But the end came at length; peace was restored, the slaves were free - slavery was at an end.

Fifty years ago the Temperance Reformation was well begun.  Alas! That intemperance should still prevail, and that there should still be need for the war to be waged against it.
Within fifty years Millerism had spring up and the result is the almost numberless Second Adventists in the country.  Spiritualism has sprung up and abounds.  Mormonism, threatening alike to the peace of the State and the Church, has sprung up and gained 150,000 adherents, and other forms of religious belief new, strange and dangerous, have had their day; but we have not time to discuss them.

What then is the conclusion? Were the former times better than these? No.  Though intemperance still prevails, the Sabbath breaking seems to be on the increase, and infidelity is more outspoken, and the church is boldly assailed, and the Bible reviled - yet, the Bible never had more readers than now, as the interest in the Revised New Testament shows.  Sabbath schools never were better organized or doing better work, and the churches themselves were never organized for more efficient service; and the proportion of church members to the whole population is larger than it was fifty years ago.  The population of the country has increased four-fold in fifty years, and the members of the Presbyterian Church have almost exactly kept pace with it.  I presume the same is true of the Congregational churches; though I have not the exact figures; and the Methodists and Baptist I presume have increased at a much higher rate.  This is certainly encouraging when we remember the hundreds of thousands that come to our shores who are Papists and Lutherans, on whom our churches make very little impression.  To have kept pace with the increase of population independently of this foreign element shows how decided has been the impression the church has made on our native population, and gives us ground for great encouragement.  Besides we are laying foundations for still greater achievements both in this country and in foreign lands.  The missionary labors of all the churches were never more successful, or vigorous than now.  Thee world is not growing worse but better.  The millenium is surely coming.

In the midst of all the changes I have enumerated, there are other things that do no change.  The word of the Lord abideth forever.  The promises of the Bible are still to be relied on.  God, the unchangeable, is still on the throne, wielding the sceptre of Universal Dominion.  His great designs of mercy and grace will not fall of accomplishment.  He abides forever, and his people are forever safe.

And yet to have another revival of religion as pervasive and powerful as that of 1831, and through the years of that decade is a consummation devoutly to be wished.  Whether it shall come in our day or not, and whether it shall come in that form or not, let us stand in our lot and do the Christian work that falls to our hands day by day; so that when another fifty years have passed away, our children and children's children may testify of us, as we this day We have testified of those who have gone before.


The Committee have seen fit to add the following addresses delivered and letters read on the occasion, besides which various aged and infirm persons, former members of the congregation, sent their kind regards, with regrets that they could not be present.  One of them, Seth Tibballs, has since died.  And we would add that Mrs. Lucy Gilbert, wife of the late Hiram Gilbert, who was a deeply interested listener at the semi-centennial services, has also gone forward to her eternal rest.
Hon. R.H. TYLER, of Fulton, N.Y., being called on for remarks responded as follows:

This audience cannot be more surprised by the announcement of my name as a speaker here, than I am myself.  Just as I was stepping into the church this morning, I was told that if there was time at a certain point in the exercises, I might be called upon to make a few remarks, but I gave the matter no thought, for the reason that I had understood refreshments were to be served in the afternoon, when I supposed the call would be made for impromptu speeches, and as I had designed to leave at the close of the morning session, I allowed the suggestion to pass out of my mind.  Nevertheless, I cordially embrace the opportunity of saying a few words, although nothing that can be dignified as an address.

I have been intensely interested in this occasion, and especially in the able and finished historical address to which we have listened, and I have good reasons for remembering with interest this church, whose fiftieth anniversary we celebrate to-day.  In the first place, many years ago, not fifty, but forty-five, I, a mere youth, was a student of the Mexico Academy, where your distinguished historian, about the same age as myself, became also a student of the same institution.  I had passed several terms in the academy, but I understood that to be the introduction of my friend into academic halls, and hence he was looked upon as being a few round lower down on the ladder than myself.  But I well remember that it was not long before he proved himself not only a genial companion, but a most promising student, and as one explanation of his success, I recollect of hearing that he was a protégé of the church at Bristol Hill, which was somehow to his advantage.  Suffice it to say that our acquaintance ripened into friendship, which has continued until the present.  I early expected great achievements by him, and have not been disappointed in the position which he has attained as a scholar and Christian minister.

Again, there have been two events in my life so unique as to amount to a curiosity, one of which occurred in connection with this church, and on account of this novelty I will venture to relate them.  At first, in the year 1842, which by bringing into requisition a little arithmetic, you will perceive was thirty-nine years ago, while I was still a very young man, my home was in Fulton as it now is.  I had not then given attention to personal religion, although I had a regard for the Sabbath and the sanctuary, but was not particular as to the church I attended.  So one Sabbath morning I attended the Presbyterian church, when the minister took for his text, 2nd Samuel, 18th chapter, 33d verse: " And the King was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept; and as he went, thus he said; O my son Absalom! My son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O, Absalom, my son, my son!"  A queer text I thought, and I wondered what he wanted to make out of it, and I can now recall nothing that he said, except that he often repeated the lugubrious exclamations of the psalmist in respect to his hopeful son Abalsom.  Perhaps the extravagant and faulty grief of the king over the death of his wicked progeny while he was seeking his father's life and the subversion of his kingdom was dwelt upon for the purpose of illustrating the duty of parents to gurad against partial and excessive attachment to, and the indulgence or neglect of their children, and perhaps other lessons were inculcated from this example of David; but if so, I have forgotten what they were.  I only remember that I was content to let the subject drop.  In the afternoon, for the sake of variety, I thought I would go to the Methodist Church, when, at the accustomed time, the Presbyterian minister made his appearance in the desk, and it occurred to me that it would be a nice joke if the story of Absalom should be repeated, although I thought it hardly possible.  But my surprise was relieved when the preacher announced his text, 2d Samuel, 18th chapter, and 33d verse, ending with "O Abalsom, my son, my son!" and the whole discourse was repeated.  My parents lived in Mexico at this time, and the following Saturday I made them a visit, but imagining I had important business in Fulton on Monday, I desired to be home on Sabbath evening if I could be there in some legitimate way without being obnoxious to the charge of Sabbath desecration.  So I bethought myself that I would leave Mexico early on Sunday morning and ride to the Bristol Hill Church, attend the forenoon service there, and return to Fulton in the afternoon; counting the journey from Mexico here as going to church, and from here to Fulton as returning from church, thus doing no injustice to my conscience.  Accordingly, Sabbath morning I saddled my horse, and rode on quietly to this place, hitched my horse under the shed, and came into the house where I was seated by the usher well back from the pulpit, then occupying the front end of the house, and patiently awaited the assembling of the congregation and the arrival of the minister.  After a little I cast my eye to the pulpit, and who should I see occupying it but the preacher from Fulton; when it as once occurred to me what a nice retribution it would be if I had to listed to the story of Absalom for the third time in succession, although it seemed too ludicrous to think of.  But sure enough, the minister arose and read his text from 2nd Sam'l, 18th chapter and 33d verse, and repeated the discourse verbatim et literatim.  You may well imagine that by this time I had got enough of Absalom.  It seemed to me that I never wanted to hear his name mentioned again; and when twenty-eight years later, I stood by his tome or mausoleum in the vale of Jehoshaphat, near Jerusalem, my mind reverted to this house wherein I had heard repeated the story of his death for the third time as I have stated.

Again, it was once my fortune to pass a Sabbath in Messina, on the Island of Sicily.  I came down from the City of Athens, in Greece, and landed there late Saturday night and spent the Sabbath.  In the morning, as was my wont when practicable, I sought an English speaking religious service, and found it in a nice Church of England chapel, where there was a large congregation and interesting exercises, at the conclusion of which, notice was given that there would be services in the same house at three o'clock in the afternoon.  So, at the time appointed, though perhaps five minutes later, I entered the chapel, expecting to find the congregation in their seats, but to my surprise found that the only human being there was the Rector, and he was just leaving the pulpit; but as he saw me reverently seating myself, he returned to his desk, and went through his regular service from beginning to the benediction with no mortal to hear him but myself.  I enjoyed the exercise excessively, and he seemed to enjoy it also; and I have this to say about it, that Rector never had an audience less in number, and he never had a more attentive one.  But the thing was very ludicrous, and I then and there recalled to my mind the third presentation of Absalom in the church at Bristol Hill.  But I am trespassing upon your time.  I have other weighty reasons for feeling an interest in this church.  For a long time I have heard of the faithful Christian workers among its membership, and I heard of two at least who have been sent out from there to become preachers of the gospel of Christ, and are to-day jewels in the American pulpit, and stand pre-eminently high in the councils of the Presbyterian Church.  So that all in all, we ought to remember with gratitude this unpretending 
church at Bristol Hill.

Dea. CHARLES W. CANDEE of Phoenix, responded as follows:

I did not expect to be called upon to say anything to this meeting to-day until a few moments ago.  But I can say to you, dear friends, that I am very thankful to be here and to enjoy this meeting with you.  While the names of those families who lived in this place fifty years or more ago, and who worshiped here, have been mentioned in the sermon just listened to with so much interest, and the letters just read, I could say that I well remember all those families and names (with the exception of tow or three of later years), with deep interest, chiefly because I remember so well their deep interest in planting and maintaining those puritan principles which they brought with them from almost or quite every New England State; and this, too, is what I am thankful for, that those principles are so well represented here to-day by the descendants of those families who lived and worshiped here so many years ago.

Many are here to-day that date their conversion back to that great revival in the Spring of 1831, and I am one of that number; and we praise the Lord to-day for the hope we have in the Redeemer.  Let us maintain those principles and teach them to our children, and they to theirs, that when we shall have passed away, as most of those have whose memory we so fondly cherish to-day, that those who gather here on the next fiftieth year to celebrate the Centennial year of this church may be seen to maintain those great truths which are manifested here to-day.  This is my sincere desire and prayer.


Dr. JAMES V. KENDALL, of Baldwinsville, being called upon responded as follows:

When my name was called, after having heard the telegram read that the President was not only not dead as we heard last evening, but that there was hope of his recovery*, I was just on the point of rising to ask this vast congregation should all rise and join in singing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," and I still desire, as soon as I close my remarks, that this assembly shall sing this familiar doxolgy.

The circumstances that surround us to-day unfit me for making remarks which will be at all likely to give interest to this occasion.

When I visit this locality, as I do occasionally, a tender melancholy comes over me which I cannot eradicate from my mind.  In this immediate vicinity my eyes first beheld the light of day, and here were spent all the earlier years of my life; and here in ways and times innumerable, my dear father and mother instilled into my young heart those principles, and awakened those aspirations, and helped form some of those nobler purposes which have had some influence in all my after life.

In this sanctuary, near 20 years ago, for the last time I beheld the face of my then sainted mother.  In yonder cemetery lie the remains of all that is mortal of father, mother, sister, and many other near and dear relatives.  Hence the feeling of sadness.  But I cannot deny myself the privilege of bearing testimony to the excellence of many of the pioneers of this town.   They were generally in very moderate circumstances, but their indigence did not prevent - perhaps helped to develop - their sturdy virtues.  When I have recalled the general regard for law, the sober habits of most of the citizens, that regard for the Sabbath which not only suspended labor but brought nearly all the people to the place of worship on Sunday, I have questioned whether the pioneers of this region of country were not of a higher town of morals than those of many other parts.  I call to mind a conversation I once heard between a good Mr. Baldwin and another man.  It was a warm sunny day in the early summer, just such a day as bees were likely to swarm, and the other gentleman rather expressed surprise that Mr. B., who had a good many hives of bees, should be at church and not at home watching his bees.  Mr. Baldwin said he did not know as he had ever lost a swarm of bees on Sunday - though it was very likely he had; but if they swarmed with he was gone to church they might go, for he could not forego the privileges of the church of the sake of watching his bees.

I well remember how sacredly was kept the Sabbath day at my father's.  You who knew him know that he was a farmer.  We of the family know that all the labor of the farm was planned with reference to the sacredness of the day.  The Sabbath commenced with us at sundown on Saturday, and all labor was laid aside at that hour.  Nothing was done on the Sabbath but what was necessary for the care and comfort of the domestic animals.  Crops were taken care of with references to the idea of rest.  No threatened rain storm ever induced him to bring in a load of hay or grain on that day.  If in sugar time the buckets got full on Sunday, the sap might run out, but it would not be gathered until the Sabbath was over.  Nor would anything short of sickness suffice for an excuse for absence form the house of God.  Certainly the externals of morality were well enforced in the community.  And in one family, I know and no less, in many other families, I believe, were inculcated those higher principles of morality which dominate over every act and every emotion.  In illustration, this audience will indulge me in some personal reminiscences by which principles were inculcated by as dear and as good a mother as ever a child possessed.

I recall once I was made very happy by finding a little article which I had greatly desired to possess, and expressed my happiness to my mother at my good luck.  "But whose is that?" she said.  I told her it was mine.  She wanted me to know how it happened to be mine.  I told her because I found it.  Instead of sustaining me in my false opinion, she explained that some one owned that, and had lost it, and was probably greatly grieving over its loss.  That instead of keeping it, I must, if possible, find the owner and give it up.  Somehow or other I had it in my head that finding a thing was equivalent to its purchase; but this lesson entirely changed my opinion, and fixed it so that no after lesson could ever make it stronger.  Nor can I ever forget how strongly was impressed upon our minds the impropriety - the wickedness - of taking and converting to our use, anything, however small, that belonged to another.  Once I was induced, by a boy older than myself, to seal a pear as he had done.  The stealing was a success, and I was very happy at first; but as I moved father away so I could eat it without detection, the little monitor within kept reiterating "that isn't your pear," and I could not get far enough away to eat it, nor could I sit down, or find any peace of mind till I got it back into the owner's basket.  And I bear testimony here to-day, that if anybody can witness that I have done him a wrong, that I have ever appropriated to my own use anything that belonged to another, then have I gone counter to the instructions of my early days.   We sometimes thought there was unnecessary strictness in these matters; but now, I think if there was an error, it was in the right direction, and to-day, if there is anything for which I thank God, with reference to my parents, it is the strictness with which they threw the cords of restraint about my earlier years.

Since I left these parts for a residence otherwheres, more than 34 years ago, it has been my fortune to attend religious services in many different places, and listen to discourses from many of the able preachers of the times.  But seldom if ever have I listened to sermons of a higher moral town, or whose "improvements" have been better adapted to the want of the hearers, than in this house in which we are now assembled.   My learned friend, Judge Tyler, who preceded me in his remarks, spoke of one sermon of a celebrated preacher to which he listened three times on as many different occasions, about which he remembers nothing but the text.  Among many pungent discourses to which I listened in this house, the main points of which I can recollect in striking contrast  to the experience of the Judge, I call to mind one by good old Father Stowe upon the duty of parents to properly bring up their children.

The substance of his discourse was the calamity which befell the house of Eli, the priest, from the text, "Because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrainth them not."

He went on to show the general good character of Eli, and the excellence of his personal administration.  But in his old age, under him, his sons performed the duties of the priestly office disreputably.

He not only did not approve of their conduct, but exhorted them to do better, as is proven in a previous passage, in which he says to the. "Why do ye such things? For I hear of your evil doings by all this people.:  the point of the discourse was that calamity came upon Eli not because his instructions to his sons were not right, but because he did not restrain them in their wrong doings.

The lesson he inculcated from the text was that moral means should always be used to influence children; but while under parental authority, if these were insufficient, more potent measures must be used to restrain their evil propensities.  Whether the liberal sentimentalism of to-day would tolerate such preaching admits of question; and whether milder doctrine will make a more law-abiding class of citizens is to be determined by the lives of the succeeding generation.

The whole congregation then rose and sang the doxology as requested.
(hand written in:   60 years a christian)

JOSIAH CHAFFEE of Phoenix, N.Y., said:

My father moved into the town of Volney from Conn. In the month of August, 1820.  I was then fifteen years old.  Volney, Palermo and Schroeppel were then all in one town.  My father settled near Gilbert's Mills.  In the fall and winter of 1830 the great revival of religion began there, and spread far and wide.  I never shall forget one circumstance that happened the last week in December, 1830, one morning at Mr. Merry's house.  The day before Mr. Merry was very anxious for me to attend meeting that evening.  I thought it strange, as he was not a christian himself, but he urged me to go.  I went, and to my surprise he arose for prayers, as I did myself.  Early the nest morning I went to his store to do a little trading, but he had not been to breakfast.  I went into his house and remained until he had taken breakfast.  After breakfast, he took the Testament, read a chapter, then knelt in prayer, and commenced by saying"  "Oh Lord, thou knowest this is the first time," &c.  Whilst he was praying other people began to come in, falling on their knees and crying out, "Oh Lord, thou son of David, have mercy on me."  The room got full.  Mrs. Merry being a christian, ran across the road for Dea. Hiram Gilbert to come and pray for us.  He did so.  Also Mr. Thomas Hubbard who had come to the mill with a grist to be ground.  He was a praying man, and he soon joined us.  Many of the scholars left the school and came in, and the breakfast table remained untouched until after noon, while the prayer meeting continued.  That same week I was converted, I gave my heart to the Lord, and received great peace in believing.  I think there was a great and visible change wrought in me at that time.  I used to indulge in profane language before that time, but no oath has passed my lips in fifty years.  I used to play cards before that time, but no man has seen me do it since that time.  I used to drink whiskey before that time, but not a drop of intoxicating liquor has passed my lips the last fifty years except as prescribed by physicians in sickness.  I used to vote the Democratic ticket before that time but I have never done it since, for religion made an abolitionist of me at once.  The glorious meeting in Mr. Bristol's wood-house chamber just across the street from here is fresh in my mind to-day.  All these things I well remember with interest.  I have never regretted the stand I then took, and I still desire to continue in the straight and narrow way to the end of my earthly pilgrimage.

[The following letters were also read.  The first four from former pastors or stated supplies.]

                                                                                POMPEY, N.Y., July 1st, 1881.

Dear Sir, - I have been absent so much from home in attending upon the General Assembly at Buffalo, and upon business appointed by the Assembly at New York, that I cannot be present with you on the occasion of your jubilee celebration.  It would afford me great pleasure to give some of the reminiscences of my early ministry.  I commenced my ministry in Volney, in April 1852, and remained four years.  During that time the parsonage was built, and many hopeful features were developed in the history of the Society.  Those were the days when Eben Ball, Charles Baldwin, Chauncey Baldwin, Sen., and Dan Baldwin were yet in comparatively active life, and when Ira Toby, always a hose, was yet in his prime.  They were good men who were true to their convictions and true to their Master.   And tenderly do I think of the changes which all those years have witnessed.  Mr. and Mrs. John Kendall passed away during my first ministry there, and also Mr. and Mrs. Ansel Toby.  But I have not time to go into details.  But I cannot pass  by Dea. Enos Pratt, that thoroughly good man whose sturdy common sense and earnest piety would command respect anywhere.  As the men and women of that generation pass before me earth seems poorer and Heaven richer for the changes which have taken place.  When I returned in 1868 for another four years ministry, how many changes had taken place!  Of my associates during my former ministry of the older class, Amos Mace alone remained, who has a warm place in my heart as a brother beloved.  And thee I also cam into the most pleasant relations with Dea. Gilbert who was thoroughly happy in the home of his youth and the church of his fathers.  And there also I had very sweet and pleasant fellowship with Mr. Gaylord More, who with his family united with the church, and he has since gone to his reward.  I remember also that very pleasant series of meetings held in the Luddington school house, and how much I enjoyed preaching night after night for four successive weeks, and how pleasant were the results which followed.  It would perhaps be unseemly to pay any tribute to the living; nor have I time even to allude to the present active members in your congregation.  I would very much like to see and greet you all, as it would afford me a rate pleasure.  But it is impossible to do so.
Fraternally yours,

                                                                                                    SYRACUSE, NY., July 1st, 1881

Dear Bro. - I find that I cannot be with you on Sunday.  Hoping the Lord will be present and by the Holy Spirit, direct all the words and thoughts of them who shall gather in the old church on Sunday.
I remain, Yours in the Lord Jesus,

                                                                      MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. June 27th, 1881

Dear Bro. - Your Postal Card was received today.  Most heartily do I sympathize with your people in their intention to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their present church site, and it would give me the highest pleasure to be present on that occasion - to hear the voices of rejoicing -  and above all, to meet with many old and valued friends - I always look back with unalloyed pleasure on my connection with the church of Volney - my congregations were encouraging and sympathetic in the house of God; and in their own private homes full of generous hospitality and kindness.  It may not however, consist with my arrangements to come east at this time.  I am spending a few weeks in this city by way of vacation, previous to entering a new field of duty - at the expiring of my second year of service last month, I resigned my charge at Princeton - I trust you have been enjoying good health and that all is well with my kind friends, in all of whom I feel much interest.
Believe me, Your friend,

                                             COVERNTRYVILLE, CHENANGO CO., N.Y., June 24th, 1881


Dear Brethren and Sisters in Christ - We thank you for your invitation to attend the semi-centennial service of your church.  We would be very glad to see you again, and to join these services, but sickness among the people here and other providences prevent.  We congratulate you upon having reached the fiftieth year of the re-organization of your society, with so good a degree of health and strength, although it is, we trust still in its youth, with few, if any gray hairs, or signs of decay upon it; still it is well to pause and revive the past, "showing to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord."  It is cause for thanksgiving that the worship of God has been maintained, in such a rural community during most of these fifty years; many churchs so located decline and die; to sustain them requires no little effort and sacrifice, but this is important, not only for the sake of these communities, but also for the sake of other churches and communities that are replenished by them.  The work of cultivating your farms, gathering the fruits and making your homes pleasant, is not more important than the work of cultivating the Lord's vineyard, gathering the spiritual harvest and making the house of the Lord pleasant as your spiritual home.  We are thankful for having had the privilege of laboring among you for two years; for the patience with which you bore with our imperfections, and the character with which you co-operated with us in the work of the Lord.  These were years of sowing rather than of reaping; and of their ultimate results we cannot judge.  We still feel no little interest in your welfare and have not ceased to pray for you.
You will, we trust, find it pleasant and profitable to think of the Fathers and Mothers in Israel, who have gone to their reward, and by whose faith and self-sacrificing efforts the church as been sustained- to think of the precious seasons which you have enjoyed in the house of the Lord, when He was with you in sanctifying and saving power - pleasant to think of the souls that have been born of the Spirit, and of the laborers which have been raised up among you for other fields.  You will also find it profitable to consider how graciously the Lord has brought you through trials and discouragements, and wherein you can in future, conform more perfectly to the instructions and will of the great Head of the church.  May He be with you in your semi-centennial gathering, and grant you abundant cause for which to thank God, and take courage.  May He quicken and strengthen you and your children after you, for his good work in Volney, during all the half centuries, the centuries and the milleniums of the future.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  With christian affection and love, we are,
Yours in the Lord,

The three letters immediately following were not received in time to be read at the meeting, but are thought to be of sufficient interest to be inserted in the record of proceedings.
ANDRUS GILBERT, Esq., spending the evening of his days with children in Missouri, writes  as follows:

In the winter of 1821, I was married to one Sarah S. Macomber, of the city of Utica, one of the best young members of the First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Aikin, Pastor, and in March she came with me to Volney, now Schroeppel, went into a rough log house, the first she was ever in, but it did not break her heart, but she thought she could live there if I could, and I said I would try to make a better one as soon I could, and she said she would try and help make that better, and she did.  But what troubled her most, was the want of a Presbyterian Church to attend, for she was a true Presbyterian and had her letter to present showing her good standing, and I told her of the church at what was then called "Widow Seymour's," Rev. O. Leavitt, Pastor.  She wanted to know how far it was and I told her about 4 miles, and she said "we can go" - I asked her how - her answer was, "we can walk" - I honestly thought it impossible but some time in May I think or the 1st of June, after the road - no I mean ground, was settled, for there was no road much of the way, she was up one bright Sabbath morning, and said she was going to meeting, I said what I dare to persuade her that she could not attend it that hot day, but she said she could, so we started to find a Presbyterian meeting, and we did find it in good time.  We staid all day, heard Brother Leavitt, a blessed good old man; sermon good, and the music led by a man I think when I name him you will remember, they called him "Uncle John Kendall."  After she got home, for she did get home that day alive, but found her feet badly blistered, but she said for all that, it paid and she would try it again, and she did, and you see by that how she loved the church, and as she thought the true gospel.   In a few years we did get a better way, and it was never too cold or too hot, too wet or too dry, nor too bad roads for her to go to church, when she was well.
I wish I had a better faculty to put my thoughts on paper.  If I could see you face to face I could tell you much more.  But I am almost 82 years old and here among my children, more than 1,000 miles from you, and the place where I spent almost 60 years of my life with many dear friends that are about all passed over to the other side.  I am soon to follow; what a pleasure it would be to meet you again on this side of the river; but there is little prospect of it.  Bit I do expect soon to meet with many dear ones on the other side - Good Night.

We add a letter from Mr. Gilbert's second daughter, Mrs. MARY MC KOON, and a wife of Judge D.D. Mc Koon, of Middlletown, N.Y., who writes to her cousin, H.N. Gilbert, Esq., of Fulton, N.Y., and says:

"Oh if I could be at 50th Anniversary - if I could listen to the sermon!  It makes my heart throb to think of the enjoyment my dear father would have been there!  But then he would only miss mother.  I am homesick for that meeting, and a sight of that old church where I was baptised in infancy - for I was 50 years only last month.  But as I cannot go, I will console myself the best I can, for whom should I know, and who would recognize me to tell me they knew and loved my dear mother, and regretted the absence of my father.  So I will stay at home and wit to enjoy your report in the papers you will send me."

The following letter is from Mr. OLIVER LANPHEAR,  who writes of the three brothers, Jared, William and George, sons of Deacon Jarad Lanphear mentioned in the sermon.  The mother of the writer of whom he speaks was Althea, oldest daughter of "Elder Dutcher."  The letter enclosed the following notice of the death of Mrs. Adah Lanphear, wife of Deacon Jared Lanphear, who died in that city on Sunday evening, March 14th, at the advanced aged of 77.  Her last hours were bright with hope, and she was especially glad to be called home on the Sabbath day. 
                                                                                       APPLETON, WIS.

Dear sir - Your letter of the 5th received.  The Lanphear brothers regret very much not being able to respond in person to the invitation of your brother, also that no letter was sent; but since the weight of so many years has come upon them, letter writing has become a burden, and it was neglected until too late.  Although half a century has gone by, the memory of those days are still friends in their minds, and they often talk together of the old home and friends of their youth, and seem able to recall incidents connected with that time much easier than those of later years.  Uncle J., the eldest, tells me that he was converted in that revival through the influence of Samuel Merry, and the hope he found at that time is the support of his hold age, at the advanced aged of 86; he is patiently waiting for the end, in the "full hope of a blessed immortality."   Uncle William speaks of reading sermons there often, in the absence of a pastor, and the memories of that old place of worship are very pleasant to him.  He was not a professing christian until some time after his removal to the west.
George (my father) was a member there, and has a vivid remembrance of the revival and all connected with it, and would have been rejoiced to have met the old faces and shared in the enjoyment of that day; they were all with you in spirit if not in bodily presence.
You speak of my mother being the first convert in that revival.  Although I was too young when she left us to know her worth, I know from what has been told me that she exemplified that hope in her daily life, and that she had a deep and abiding trust in Christ from that time until the end of her short life.  King Solomon has given a true portrayal of her character in the last chapter of Proverbs.  The brothers join in sending words of cheer and fellowship to the church and old friends.

Here follow two letters from the same family, the remaining daughter of Dea. LANPHEAR:

                                                  ADAMS. N.Y., June 12th, 1881

Dear Friend - As to the particulars of the church, or the great revival fifty years ago, I can say but little, for we were not living in Volney at that time.  But I well remember the first visit I made home after the great revival.  My father had passed away, his prayers answered in the conversion of his children left behind.  We are not a scattered family, soon it will be said they are all gone, as it is now said of those that settled in Volney at the same time I did, 63 years ago.  My mind often goes back to those days, and I call them my happiest; could I be with you, I could tell you more than I can write with my pen.
Yours truly,    SABRINA HULL

                                                           LISBON, KENDALL CO., ILL., June 24th, 1881

Dear Bro. - I received your kind letter dated the 13th with pleasure.  That fifty years had passed away or nearly so, seemed almost impossible to me to believe.  But my mind readily goes back to those days where we went to the house of God in company and to the protracted meetings where many of us found peace and joy, in believing in Christ our Saviour.
It would be very gratifying to meet with you at the memorial and semi-centennial service, to renew the acquaintances of fifty years ago, to bear testimony of the grace of God.  Although absent, we shall remember you, and pray that God will bless and make it a memorial long to be remembered.
Truly Yours,

                                                          FORT ATKINSON, WIS., June 26th, 1881
Dear Brother - I received yours of the 3rd, and now sit down to answer the same in few words in regard to the semi-centennial meeting which you contemplate on Bristol Hill.  I well remember those meetings, and the pleasant gathering and associations of those days, and when we gave our hearts to God and vowed to be faithful in His cause.  How well we have redeemed the vows we made fifty years ago and some of us more, is for us individually to answer.  Fifty years of experience should make us strong men and women in Christ Jesus.
The Christian's hope is a glorious hope; it reaches to that within the vial, and is sure and steadfast.
If we do not meet in this world, as probably we never shall, I hope to meet in Heaven, and there recognize our brethren with whom we prayed and labored fifty years ago. 
Time with the most of those that met on Bristol Hill fifty years ago must be short, therefore what we do for the cause of Christ must be done quickly.
Yours in Christ,

These lines leave us enjoying tolerable health, and still the infirmities of old age are creeping upon us and admonish us that this is not our abiding place.
We are living alone.  We have but one daughter living, and she lives twelve miles from us.

                                                                                AUTSIN, MINN., June 12th, 1881

Dear Brother KENDALL - Your letter carried us back to those interesting and I hope profitable meetings that we enjoyed fifty years ago and made us feel that we could hardly be denied the privilege of meeting with you and giving in our testimony to the goodness of God in leading us these many years through trials and afflictions, and we still feel that it is good to trust Him; and as we near the haven of rest, our path grows brighter and brighter.  The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places; we have good religious privileges, but we would enjoy meeting with those dear brothers and sisters whom we remember so well, but live with the expectation of meeting them all around the Throne of God.  We are, 
Yours in Christ,

                                                                              WHTFORD, MONROE CO., MICH., June 27th, 1881

To the Brethren and Sisters in the Lord, who are worshipers in the meeting house on Bristol Hill, town of Volney, Greeting:

Brother Jacob Kendall has informed me that you have decided to hold a memorial or semi-centennial meeting on the first Sabbath of July 1881, and requested me to be represented by person or letter.  More than fifty years ago by His grace I was led to see myself a sinner, lost, and to believe in Jesus as my Saviour.  Fifty years ago, I was a member of the church there, and joined with many who are gone to their rest in the worship and praise of God.  I also at that time was a member of the Temperance society in that place and have kept the pledge, and I am now in favor of State prohibition.  In the fall of '33, I left your 
State for the west, since which time I have been a resident of Ohio or Michigan.
I am now 69 years of age, and by the grace of God that bringeth salvation, teaching us that "denying ungodliness, worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously in this present world," I have been kept, and more and more do I admire that grace.
Hoping that you all abound therein, I must say dear friends farewell.

From Mrs. CALISTA (SEYMOUR) TIBBALS, wife of the late Angus Tibbals:
                                                                                MADISON, CONN., June 17th, 1881

Dear Brethren in Christ - In thank you for your note, and the fresh remembrance of the never to be forgotten summer of 50 years ago, and although I cannot be with you in person on that memorial occasion and fellowship meeting, I shall be with you in spirit.


Mr. L. DARLING writes from East Worcester, N.Y.:

In 1846, I became interested in the cause of my Redeemer, and from that time, while I remained in Volney, over ten years, I took an active part and tried to make myself useful.  I was elected trustee and superintendent of the sabbath school; it was in those early days when it was thought enough that the children should learn a few verses.
The 27 years since have brought out many changes, we trust for the better.  Fathers and mothers are now ready to take the lead and say to their children come, and its increasing influence is felt all over the world.
Yours in Christ,

                                                                               OBERLIN, OHIO, June 30th, 1881


Dear Bro. - Your card is just at hand, and I hasten to send a word in reply.  Father Steele died Nov. 11, 1848; 72 years of age.  Mother Steel died Jan 25th, 1864; 86 years of age.  Both died in Oberlin, also my husband Dr. Alexander Steele, April 6th, 1872; 69 years of age.  Samuel Steele is the one living and is now in Illinois.
With kindest regards to yourself, Mrs. Kendall and all old friends, I am,
Very Sincerely Yours,

                                                                               DEEP RIVER, CONN., June 29th, 1881

Dear Brethren - Your invitation to be present at the semi-centennial of July 3rd, was received to day.  It would afford me much pleasure to meet with my old friends, in the place where I began my public service of the Master, but this, to the providence of God, is not permitted.  The old church is not forgotten in my prayers.  Wherever I have travelled or labored, I have striven to have Christ with me; to grow in grace, and I can truly say that in many an hour of temptation He has shielded me.  May we at life's close fine our lives so hid in Christ, that we may rest on the promises of God.
Fraternally Yours,

Mrs. HESTER (BRISTOL) THURBER, daughter of the late Justus Bristol, writes as follows:

                                                                     MARSAILLES, ILL, June 13th, 1881

Dear Friend - Your postal received in due time.  Glad to hear from you.  You call to mind the days that are past, when so many of us enlisted in the Saviour's cause.  I have ever felt to put my trust in Him; I felt very bad to leave my friends, and emigrate west, but I found my Saviour just the same here.  I felt the importance of taking a decided stand on the Lord's side in this, then a new Country; a few of us united ourselves in a church, we had to meet in different houses for worship, small log houses at that, God was with us, we were soon able to build a house of worship; our numbers increased, we have a nice comfortable building and 210 members.  Truly, the Lord, has blessed us, He has removed most of our family; Brother George and myself are all that remain, except two half sisters that were born here.  I have lost my husband and four children, only two remain.  I have been afflicted the past year, have scarcely seen a well day, am better at present; with all my affliction, I put my trust in Him that doeth all things well.  Brother George and family were here a short time since. 
I would like so much to be with you at your semi-centennial meeting.  I thing there will be few present, that formerly attended the church when we lived there.  I hope we will meet in that better land where parting will be no more.  Love to all inquiring friends.

                                                                            NEWARK, June 28th, 1881


It would afford us great pleasure to be with you to celebrate the semi-centennial of the Bristol Hill Church, but it is impossible.  Our connection with that church will always remain a green spot in our memories, and its hallowed associations form the brightest period of our lives.  We shall ever feel a deep interest in its prosperity, and our earnest prayer ever will be that "peace may be within her walls and prosperity within her palaces."
From MR. & MRS. F. PETRIE.

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