Yates County, New York

Churches for the Town of 

From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich

pg. 426-429


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Churchesof Jerusalem   

Theoldest denomination or sect to find a foothold within the town of Jerusalem wasprobably that of the Society of Friends, headed by Jemima WILKINSON, or thePublic Universal Friend, as she styled herself.  This remarkable woman made the town her home in 1794, and herdomicile was the place of meeting for her society.   

As wasthe case in many towns in this region the Methodists early sowed the seed oftheir church in Jerusalem, they ear 1793 being announced as that in which thefirst meetings were held, although it was not until 1838 that any effectiveorganization was made.  Prior tothat the meetings were of an embryo character, consisting of class gatheringsand informal worship, with an occasional regular preaching service conducted bythe circuit preachers of the region.  Prominentamong the pioneer Methodists of the town was Uriah TOWNSEND, a resident of thelocality called in succession Fox�s and Kinney�s Corners; and in the samerelation may be mentioned Isaac TOWNSEND, Peter ALTHIZER, Stephen BAGLEY,Eleanor, wife of John RICE and the wives of the persons already named.  In 1838 was organized � the First Society of the MethodistEpiscopal Church of Jerusalem�, the trustees being John DORMAN, William H.DECKER, James FREDENBURG, Robert C. BROWN, and Rufus EVANS. AT once measures were taken for the erection of a meeting hose at theCorners, and the result was its construction at a cost of about $850. The lot for the church was donated by Hixson ANDERSON, a pioneer merchantat Kinney�s Corners.  John DORMANwas the first class-leader, followed by William T. MOORE, Isaac PURDY, and A. J.BROWN, in succession.   

Anotherclass in the town was formed at Brown�s Mills in 1815, Isaac KINNEY being itsleader, followed by Daniel BROWN and Benjamin DURHAM. This class was maintained for many years, and finally moved to Branchport. In 1866 the organization of a society was perfected at the latter place,the first board of trustees being Solomon D. WEAVER, James GAMBY, HenryLARZELERE, Henry W. HARRIS, William H. DECKER, Nelson BENNETT, Elias MADISON andJames SPENCER.  The newly formedsociety selected Schuyler SUTHERLAND, Joseph ABBOTT, and William H. DECKER asbuilding committee.  They purchasedthe Methodist Episcopal Church building at Nettie Valley and moved it toBranchport, where it was reconstructed and fitted up into a pleasant andcommodious house of worship.  Thework cost about $2,500.  The pastorsof the Branchport Methodist Episcopal Church have been as follows, 1866,Schuyler SUTHERLAND; 1867, Solomon WETZELL; 1868-69, C. DILLENBECK; 1870, PhiloCOWLES; 1871-72; A. D. EDGAR; 1873-75, J. J. PAYN; 1876-78,1883-85; R. D.PHILLIPS; 1879; Charles HERMANS, 1880-82, S. C. HATMAKER, 1886, R. N. LEAK;1887-90, J. N. SACKETT, 1891, G. W. REYNOLDS. 

TheBaptist Church and society in Jerusalem dates back to the early years of thepresent century, and to 1815, when Elder Elnathan FINCH completed an informalorganization and held regular meetings in a little log church on Bluff Point. Elder FINCH and his successor, Elder HOUSE, were the ministers of thechurch, but their labors were voluntary and without compensation. 

InJanuary 1834, a meeting was held at Branchport for the purpose of organizing aBaptist society at that place.  Theresult was the incorporation of the First Baptist Society of Branchport, withErastus COLE, Benajah ANDRUS, William RICHARDSON, Benjamin RUNYAN, IsraelHERRICK and John FRENCH as trustees.  ErastusCOLE, John FRENCH and Benjamin ROGERS were made deacons. During the same month the society resolved to built a church, 38 by 50feet in size, and to cost not more than $2,000.  Jacob HERRICK, Benjamin ROGERS, and Ezra WITTER wereappointed a building committee.  Thishouse stood until 1870, and was then radically remodeled and refitted, at anexpense of over $1,800.  Thesuccession of pastors of the Branchport Baptist Church has been as follows: E.D. OWEN, A. B. WINCHELL, S. S. HAYWOOD, William FRARY, Reuben P. LAMB, ElderMOSHER, Peter COLEGROVE, M. W. HOLMES, Vincent L. GARRETT, William H. SHIELDS(supply, Daniel DELANO, Levi HICKS, Vincent L GARRETT (for a 2ndpastorate), George BALCOM, Vincent L. GARRETT (for 3rd pastorate),John C. ROONEY, George GATES, C. H. PLANCH, Edwin HARD, L. B. ALBERT, I. E.BROWN, C. R. NEGUS, James COOK. 

ThePresbyterian Church of Branchport and Jerusalem had its inception in the earlymeetings and services held by Rev. James ROWLETTE at West Jerusalem and on BluffPoint.  Two years later, or in 1832,a society was organized through the efforts of Revs. Samuel WHITE, William TODD,and Stephen CROSBY, with members as follows: Ira and Abigail GREEN, Wynans andJulia BUSH, Dexter and Sarah LAMB, David RUMSEY, Lydia TETTSWORTH, Sophia RUMSEY,Jane RUMSEY, Eliza RUMSEY, Betsey HOFFSTRATTER, Mrs. Mary MORSE, Miss MaryMORSE, Mrs. Leman DUNNING, Polly DUNNING, Hopestill HASTINGS, and Pamelia JAGGER.The organization was completed on the 24th of July, 1832, and Rev.James ROWLETTE was the first chosen pastor. The church edifice was erected in 1833, costing $1,900, and was dedicatedin October of the year named.  Thebuilding answered the purposes of the society until 1851, when it was removedfrom the hill to its present location.  At the same time it was thoroughly repaired and remodeled.  

Successionof pastors: James ROWLETTE, Robert L. PORCER, Lewis HAMILTON, John C. MORGAN,Samuel PORTER, Horace FRASER, A. FOSTER, Lewis M. MC GALSHAN, Horace FRASER,Richard WOODRUFF, Lewis M. MC GLASHEN, Rev. FITCH, A. T. WOOD, S. OTTMAN, Theo.O. MARSH, Rev. MC LAIN, Rev. JUDSON, Chauncey FRANCISCO, Charles T. WHITE, E. H.STRATTON, J. CAIRNES, H. B. SAYRE.  M.E. NELSON, acted as supply through the summer of 1872. 

Thechurch and parries of St. Luke�s at Branchport was informally organized in1863, but prior to that time Episcopal services had been held for several years,and since 1855.  The families in thelocality were connected with St. Marks parish and church at Penn Yan, and theearly services here were held by the rectors of that church and by lay readersliving in the town.  In 1863, uponthe organization of the parish, Rev. Henry B. BARTON became rector, but diedwithin a month of his coming to the town.  Hewas succeeded in 1865 by the Rev. William B. OTIS. In 1866 the parish was regularly organized according to law, and a churchedifice erected.  The first officerswere Henry ROSE and Joseph AXTELL, wardens; Solomon D. WEAVER, John N. ROSE,James C. WIGHTMAN, Harris COLE, Lynham J. BEDDOE, John HAIRE, Henry R. SILL andJohn N. MACOMB Jr., vestrymen; John N. MACOB Jr., clerk; and J. C. WIIGHTMAN,treasurer.  The church is of stone,28 by 54 feet in size, with recess chancel fourteen feet deep. Its cost was $4,000.  Successionof rectors, B. W. STONE, Camman MANN, M. TELLER, Henry DENNIS, W. H. LORD. 

TheBranchport Univeralist Church became first rooted in Jerusalem during the�forties� and under the labors of Rev. WHEELOCK as minister. In the same relation he was followed by Revs. CLARK, SAWYER andCARPENTER, each in succession conducting services whenever and whereveropportunity offered.  On the 9thof April 1851, the �Universalist Society of Branchport� was duly organized,and in June following the present church edifice was erected, costing about $2,500.  Ira PEARCE was then moderatorand Peter H. BITLEY first clerk.  BradleySHEARMAN, James STEVER, and G. F. COLBURN were the trustees. Rev. Reuben CHEENEY was the first pastor, followed in succession by B.HUNT, A. G. CLARK, James FULLER, Asa COUNTRYMAN, H. B. HOWELL, H. K, WHITE, C.F. DODGE, J. F. LELAND, N. E. SPICER and A. U. HUTCHINS; the latter being thepresent pastor.  The society owns aparsonage and a small farm of fifty acres about a mine north of the village. The latter was the generous gift of Peter H. BITLEY. Connected with the church are the organizations known as �The King�sDaughters,� and the �Young People�s Christian Union.�




fromthe History and Directory of Yates County, Volume I,  by S. C. Cleveland,published 1873

transcribedby Donna Judge

Church History

Uriah TOWNSEND, who became a resident nearwhat is now Kinney�s Corners in 1793, was a Methodist and the first classleader in Jerusalem. Authentic account is given of Methodist meetings in thatvicinity in 1807. No doubt they were held there some years earlier, and probablyit was one of the points visited by William COLBERT in 1797. The founders of theSeneca Lake, Lyons and Crooked Lake Circuits made it one of their places forholding meetings, and their names are chiefly mentioned in the Benton history.Uriah TOWNSEND and wife, Isaac TOWNSEND, Peter ALTHIZER and wife, StephenBAGLEY, and Eleanor, wife of John RACE, were members of the first society ofwhich any record remains. Meetings were held at the log house of Uriah TOWNSEND,which stood near the site of the present residence of James H. CARR. In 1807,Elizabeth, daughter of Uriah TOWNSEND, then fourteen years old, was converted ata camp meeting near Oaks Corners, in Phelps. She still lives, a member of thechurch. In 1828 the Benton Circuit was formed, in which Kinney�s Corners wasincluded. About that time Denison SMITH and Jonas DODGE were the circuitpreachers. From 1833 to 1835 many of the meetings were held in a log house stillstanding on the farm of Isaac PURDY, then owned by William MOORE. In 1838 thefirst effective society organization was made. Jonathan BENSON and Asbury LOWREYwere circuit preachers, and Abner CHASE Presiding Elder. At a meeting held onthe fifth of February, Abner CHASE and William H. DECKER were chosen to preside,and John DORMAN, James FREDENBERG, William H. DECKER, Rufus EVANS and Robert C.BROWN were elected trustees of the society, called �The First Society of theMethodist Episcopal Church in Jerusalem.� The trustees were designated as abuilding committee for the erection of a church edifice. Hubbell GREGORY, ofBenton, built the church for eight hundred dollars, and added a porch for fiftydollars.

Robert C. BROWN, of precious memory, borethe largest burden in the construction of the church, and labored against manydiscouragements. He superintended the building, collected the subscription, andpaid the debts. He worshiped in the church he struggled so hard to build aboutten years, when he moved to the vicinity of Dresden, where he died about twentyyears ago. The lot for the church was given by Hixon ANDERSON, who was also agood contributor. John DORMAN was the first class leader in the new society. In1842 Abner CHASE and Rev. Mr. STACEY preached on the Jerusalem circuit, whichincluded Prattsburg, Harmonyville, South Pultney, Stewart�s Corners, BardeenSchool House in Italy, Block School House, Italy Hollow, Italy Hill,Ingraham�s School House, Fort School House, Nettle Valley, Yatesville,Larzelere�s, North Italy Hill, Branchport, Kinney�s Corners, and BluffPoint. In 1842 William T. MOORE was class leader. In 1843 and 1844 Enoch CRANMERand William SANFORD were the circuit preachers. In 1845 Isaac PURDY wasappointed class leader, which position he held till 1867. A. J. BROWN is hissuccessor. Chandler WHEELER and George WILKINSON were the circuit preachers thatyear and the next. In 1847 Joseph CHAPMAN supplied the circuit; in 1848 and 1849James HALL and William BRADLEY, and A.H. SHURTLEFF.

The stewards in 1849 were Dr. ElishaDOUBLEDAY, Robert MILLER, Henry LARZELERE, Isaac PURDY, Joseph ABBOTT, J. F.HOBART, Jephthah A. POTTER, and Albert R. COWING. The class leaders, William C.DEAN, William GENUNG, Alexander L. PARKER, George G. WYMAN, Amos GENUNG, JohnARDELL, Abraham PALMER, Enoch BARKER, Isaac PURDY, and Isaac ADAMS. In 1850James DURHAM was circuit preacher; in 1857 Jordan ASHWORTH and James DURHAM;1852, Joseph ASHWORTH; 1854-5, Charles GOLD and Henry BOARDMAN; 1856-7, A.D.EDGER; 1858-9, James HERMANS; 1860, D. LEISENRING; 1861-2, Robert PARKER; 1863,John KNAPP; 1864, Myron DEPEW; 1865-6, Schuyler SUTHERLAND; 1867, Solomon D.WETZEL; 1868-9, C. DILLENBECK; 1870, Philo COWLES. In recent years the chargehas only included Branchport and Kinney�s Corners.

The Methodists had a class at GeorgeBrown�s Mills as early as 1815, and Isaac KINNEY wasclass leader. Reuben FARLEY and Elder POTTER were local preachers. Isaac KINNEYleft in 1817, and Daniel BROWN was made class leader. Benjamin DURHAM wasafterwards class leader. The class was kept up in this place many years, andfinally moved to Branchport. In 1866 the first regular church organization waseffected at Branchport. The first Trustees were Solomon D. WEAVER, James GAMBY,Henry LARZELERE, Henry W. HARRIS, William H. DECKER, Nelson BENNETT, EliasMADISON and James SPENCER. A building committee consisting of SchuylerSUTHERLAND, William H. DECKER and Joseph ABBOTT, purchased the Methodist Churchedifice at Nettle Valley, which they moved to Branchport, where they have fittedup a comfortable house of worship, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. Thepresent class leader is Daniel SHERWOOD. Isaac ADAMS was many years theBranchport class leader. He was followed by David MILLER, and he by John C.RAYMOND, who was the leader when the church was built.

Baptist Church at Branchport

In the early years of the present century,when Simon SUTHERLAND was a young evangelist of the Baptist faith, there wereoccasional meetings at private houses in Sabintown and elsewhere in EastJerusalem. There were in that section members of the Baptist Church, in theSecond Milo Church, among whom was the father of Jeremiah S. BURTCH and others.

As early as 1815 a Baptist Church wasorganized on Bluff Point by Elder Elnathan FINCH, one of the early settlersthere. Deacon John MOORE settled there in 1815, and found the Church fullyorganized, with a log meeting house for public worship. This church edifice waslocated a little south of Hugh HERRICK�s, who occupied lot 4, now the place ofHowland HEMPHILL. The church was warmed by two fire-places, and was used formeetings, and sometimes for schools, for about seven years. John FINCH, who wasa brother of the minister, and a resident on lot 6, was one of the firstdeacons, and Silas NASH, who occupied lot 1, was the other. After a few yearsthe meetings were held at the school house near the residence  ofJudah CHASE (one of the early members), now known as Heck�s School House.Jacob HAIGHT was one of the members, and the church was quite respectable innumbers. William SLAWSON, a son of Ebenezer SLAWSON, was clerk. John MOOREjoined the society in 1815, and was afterwards ordained a deacon at Branchport.John BEAL was a Baptist, but belonged with the Milo Church, where he usuallyattended meeting. After about ten years a Mr. HOUSE succeeded Mr. FINCH aspastor. These preachers were themselves laborious farmers and received butlittle pay for their ministerial work. Elder E. D. OWEN succeeded Mr. HOUSE.

The first meeting to organize a BaptistChurch in Branchport was held in the Presbyterian meeting house, January 21,1834. Rev. E. D. OWEN and Henry G. ANDRUSS presided. It was on that occasionresolved to incorporate the First Baptist Society of Branchport, and thefollowing trustees were chosen: Benajah ANDRUSS, Erastus COLE, WilliamRICHARDSON, Israel HERRICK, Benjamin RUNYAN and John FRENCH. The first deaconswere Erastus COLE, Benjamin ROGERS and John FRENCH. Mr. ROGERS moved away in1839, and the others served as deacons while they lived. The trustees held ameeting at the house of Solomon D. WEAVER, January 29, 1834, and resolved toerect a house of worship, thirty-eight by fifty feet in size, with twenty-fourfeet posts, a gallery, belfry and steeple, at a cost not to exceed two thousanddollars. Ezra WITTER, Jacob HERRICK and Benjamin ROGERS were the buildingcommittee, and the house was built by Roswell H. HALL, for the sum voted. ElderOWEN remained pastor till 1836, and was followed by A. B. WINCHELL, who remainedthree years. S. S. HAYWOOD followed one year, and William FRARY two years,leaving in November, 1842. Elder Reuben P. LAMB preached upwards of three yearsfor the church leaving in April, 1846. Elder MOSHER followed, remaining aboutfive years, and Peter COLEGROVE two years, leaving in April, 1853. M. W. HOLMESfollowed one, and Vincent L. GARRETT two years. Then for two or three yearsWilliam H. SHIELDS, a theological student, and others,supplied the pulpit, except for a short time that Daniel DELANO served aspastor. Elder Levi HICKS served about a year, and in January, 1863, ElderVincent L. GARRETT again took charge and staid one year. Elder George BALCOMheld a three weeks revival meeting in the autumn of 1856, and served as pastorfrom March till November, 1866. Elder V.L. GARRETT became pastor for the thirdtime in March, 1867, and remained two years. He was followed by Rev. John C.ROONEY, who remained until September, 1870. This year the house has beenremodeled, modernized and furnished anew, at an expense of $1825. It wasrededicated August 30, 1870. A Sabbath School has been maintained with fewinterruptions by this Church.

When Elder Samuel WIRE and John MUGG wereFree Will Baptist preachers in this region, there were numerous adherents ofthat faith in East Jerusalem, but no record exists of any organized society.

Branchport Presbyterian Church - On the 24thof July, 1832, Rev. Samuel WHITE of Pultney, Rev. Stephen CROSBY of Penn Yan,and Rev. William TODD of Dresden, organized the Presbyterian Church atBranchport. The place of meeting then and for a few weeks afterwards was in abarn still standing near the Branchport House. A room in the tavern was used forsome time to hold meetings in, and for one year the old Red School House, nowbetween the Baptist and Methodist Churches. That old structure has beensuccessively the cradle of the Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopal and Methodistsocieties. Two years before the organization of the Presbyterian Church, Rev.James ROWLETTE, of Irish birth, the first pastor, preached in the school housesof West Jerusalem and on Bluff Point. It was due to his labors, in a largedegree, that the church was founded. The first church edifice in Jerusalem waserected by this society in 1833, at a cost of $1890, and dedicated in October ofthat year. In 1851 it was moved from the hill where it stood to its presentlocation near the center of the village. The galleries were also taken out, andit was rebuilt with a basement. The eighteen original members were Dr. WynansBUSH and Julia BUSH, his wife, Ira GREEN and Mrs. Abigail GREEN, Dexter LAMB andMrs. Sarah LAMB, Mrs. Lydia TITTSWORTH, David RUMSEY, Mrs. Sophia RUMSEY, MissJane RUMSEY, Mrs. Eliza RUMSEY, Mrs. Betsy HOFFSTRATER, Mrs. Mary MORSE, MissMary MORSE, Mrs. Leman DUNNING, Mrs. Polly DUNNING, Mrs. Pamelia JAGGER, andHopestill HASTINGS. These were previous members of the Penn Yan, Pultney,Rushville and Vienna Churches. Mrs. Harriet GREEN, and Miss Olive CARR were alsoreceived on the day of organizing. Dr. Bush and wife and Mrs. Abigail GREEN arestill members of the church. Dr. BUSH and David RUMSEY were chosen RulingElders. The present Elders are Dr. BUSH, John G. LOWN, William HERRIES andMatthew HENDERSON. Others who have held the office are Lewis STEBBINS, MorrisROSS, Dexter LAMB, Abraham SLINGERLAND, Harvey HOFFSTRATER, Spencer BOOTH,William D. HENRY�the latter now a Congregational minister in Jamestown, NY.Mr. BOOTH was for a long time the principal trustee, and from the first thetreasurer of the society. The present number of members is forty-two. In 1836 itwas fifty; in 1843, fifty-four. The number who have been members is two hundredand twenty. The present pastor remarks that �this church, like the State ofVermont, has been a good place to emigrate from.� Many of its former membershave been founders or prominent members of other churches in distant parts ofthe country, and some have been missionaries, among whom is the daughter of Dr.BUSH, who died at Alexandria, Egypt.

The ministers have been as follows:


1830 to 1836


1853 to 1856

Robert L. PORTER,

1838 �-------

------- FITCH,

1857 � -------


1839 � ------


1858 � 1860


1840 � ------


1860 � 1861

Samuel PORTER,

1841 � ------

Theodore O.MARSH

1863 � 1864

Horace FRASER,

1842 � 1845

------ MCLAIN,

1864 � ------


1845 � ------

------- JUDSON,

1865 � -------


1846 � 1848


1866 � 1869

Horace FRASER,

1849 � 1851

Charles T. WHITE,

1870 � ------


1852 � 1853



Mr. TODD, who preached the sermon at theorganization of the church, after serving a short time at Bellona, Dresden andTyrone, was one of the founders of the Madura Mission in South India, where hearrived in 1834. The present pastor is a son of Rev. Samuel WHITE, one of thefounders of the church, and he too was thirteen years a member of the MaduraMission.

Branchport Episcopal Church -  In 1855 those families residing at or nearBranchport, who had previously attended religious worship at St. Mark�sChurch, Penn Yan, began to hold services in the north room of a house thenoccupied by Col. William KREUTZER�s select school. This was a house built byGeorge BROWN about 1820, near the Lake, and moved in 1829 by John N. ROSE to itspresent position near his residence. Lay readers and visiting clergymencontinued to conduct services in this house till the next year, when the Baptisthouse of worship in Branchport was rented for a part of each Sunday. Serviceswere kept up in the Baptist, Presbyterian or Universalist edifices until St.Lukes�s Church was erected. From 1856 to 1863, Reverends William B. OTIS, JohnLONG and Timothy F. WARDWELL were rectors successively of St. Mark�s, PennYan, and missionaries at Branchport, holding services on Sunday afternoons atBranchport. In 1863 St. Luke�s Church, Branchport, assumed theresponsibilities of an independent parish, and called Rev. George N. CHEENY, ofTrinity Church, Rochester, to be the rector. He officiated but once, and died inless than a month, of typhoid fever. In November, 1863, Rev. Henry B. BARTONbecame rector, and remained till the following May. The parish was vacant tillthe autumn of 1865, when Rev. William B. OTIS took charge for six months. In1866 the church was erected, and Rev. B.W. STONE was called as Rector, and theparish was organized under the State law. The first officers were Henry ROSE andJoseph AXTELL. Wardens; John N. ROSE, Solomon D. WEAVER, Harris COLE, James C.WIGHTMAN, M.D., Lynham J. BEDDOE, John HAIRE, Henry R. SILL and John N. MACOMBJr., Vestrymen; John N. MACOMB Jr., Clerk; James C. WIGHTMAN, Treasurer.

The corner stone of St. Luke�s Church waslaid with appropriate ceremonies by the Rev. S. F. DUNHAM, Assistant Rector ofChrist Church, New York City. In 1867 the Right Rev. A. Cleveland COXE, Bishopof the Diocese, consecrated the church to the service of God, assisted by Dr.STONE, the Rector, Abner JACKSON, D.D., President of Hobart College, whopreached the sermon, and by Reverends D.C. MANN, Timothy F. WARDWELL, GustavusW. MAYER and S.F. DUNHAM. In 1868 the parish was admitted into the Convention ofthe Diocese of Western New York. John N. MACOMB Jr. has been a delegate eachyear to the Diocesan Convention. Henry R. SILL in 1867, Clark RIGHTER in 1868and 1869, and Harris COLE and Dr. James C. WIGHTMAN in 1870. The presentofficers are, Henry ROSE and Joseph AXTELL, Wardens; John N. ROSE, Solomon D.WEAVER, Harris COLE, Clark RIGHTER, John HAIRE, Henry R. SILL, Robert GERMAN andJohn N. MACOMB Jr., Vestrymen; J.N. MACOMB Jr., Secretary and Treasurer. GideonP.HOARD has also been a Vestryman. The church is built of stone, is 28 by 54feet, with a recess chancel 14 feet deep. Levi MILLSPAUGH was the builder, andthe cost of the church was $4,000.


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