Yates County, New York

Churches for the Town of Potter

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From the History of Yates County, NY   

published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich,  pg 465- 467


Churchesof Potter   

The Congregational Church of Rushville was organized as early as the year1802, by Rev. Jedediah CHAPMAN, a Presbyterian missionary. The first members were John and Elizabeth BLAIR, William and Mary HOLTON,Nathan and Dorcas LOOMIS, Jabez and Sarah FRENCH, Henry GREEN, Lydia BLACK, Mrs.Huldah WILLIAMS, Sarah LUKORE, Sarah BASSETT, Miss Huldah WILLIAMS and AnnaSAWYER.  From 1803 to 1813 this church was connected with the OntarioCongregational Association, but in 1814 connected with the Geneva Presbytery,and so continued until 1855.  Theearly meetings of the society were held on the old schoolhouse, and occasionallyin other places, and in 1818 the bring church edifice was erected. A plain, substantial building it was and answered the requirements of thecongregation for many years without material repair. It was substantially remodeled, however, during the pastorate of Rev.S.S. HUGHSON.  The early ministers or pastors of the Rushville church wereJedediah CHAPMAN, Abijah WARREN, Reuben STRONG, Maltby GELTSON, S.S. HUGHSON, W.A. SMITH, Orrin PLACE, W. KINCAID and others.  The present church membership numbers about 175 persons. 

RushvilleMethodist Church � Although Methodist missionary services and preaching wereheld in and near Rushville about as early as elsewhere in the north part of thecounty, it was not until the year 1824 that a society of this denomination wasin fact formed.  The residence ofpioneer Michael PIERCE appears to have been the home of Methodism in the town,and here the first meetings were generally held.  Gideon LANNING and Robert PARKER were the first preachers inthe locality, while E. STREETER was the first class leader. Later meetings were held in the old schoolhouse and at the home of J. A.PEABODY, one of the original members.  In1830 the first church edifice was built, but enlarged a few years later. It was dedicated January 25, 1832 by Rev. John COPELAND.  Prominent among the early members and founders of the churchwere Mr. STREETER, Samuel WHITMAN, John A. PEABODY, Philo E. BROWN, Jesse C.BOARDMAN and family, Ira FAIRBANKS, Dr. Buffam HARKNESS, Job PIERCE, JohnSANDERS, Nathaniel LOOMIS and G. W. COLE.  In1835 the circuit too the name of Rushville and Bethel, and Ira FAIRBANKS, JohnEASTER and R. HARRINGTON were the preachers. Following them came in succession, Gideon LANNING, Z. J. BUCK, J. C.KINGSLEY, Abner CHASE, Orrin TROWBRIDGE, Samuel PARKER, Joseph CHAPMAN, CalvinCOATES, Philo BROWN, David NUTTEN, Manly TOOKER, Robert PARKER, J. W. WILSON, M.WHEELER, J. LANDRETH, E. WOOD, A. L. FILLMORE, N. N. BEERS and others. In February 1868, the beautiful new church edifice was dedicated byBishop SIMPSON.  It was commenced in1866 and completed during the next year, costing $23,000. The present church membership numbers nearly 250. 

Amongthe early settlers in Potter were several families who favored Universalism. Edward PERRY was a leader among them. Between 1830 and 1840 a society was formed and built a church atRushville, but after about fifteen years of unfruitful effort the society wasdisbanded. 

TheSecond Methodist Church of Potter ultimately became the first Methodist Churchof Potter Center, being a removal of the Nettle Valley society to this point asa place of worship, in 1865.  TheNettle Valley class was formed in 1815, numbering among its members, WilliamGURNSEY and wife, Samuel WYMAN and wife, Israel HOBART and wife, Ephraim KINNEYand wife, James HARDY and wife, Joseph L. HOBART and wife, Potter and JabezCARD, Sarah HULL, Eleanor PARSONS, and Thomas, Pardon, Martha and SophroniaWILSON.  A legal organization of thesociety was perfected in April 1827. 

Thefirst meeting-house of the society was built of logs, but in 1838 this gave wayto a neat frame church, costing $1,400.  Alsoin 1838 a part of the society�s grounds were set apart for burial purposes. In 1855 the society purchased the old Baptist meeting house at theCenter, repaired and remodeled it, and occupied it in future. The old church in the Valley was then sold. 

Therehave been two Free Baptist societies in the town of Potter, the one known as theNorth Free Baptist church, which merged into the Free Baptist Church of Potter,the surviving organization.  FreeBaptist preaching began in the town in December 1824, and the results ofsubsequent frequent revivals brought into the membership of the society nearly400 persons, making it one of the strongest denominations of the township. The North Church united with the First Church in 1860. The first church was built in 1840. The Sunday school of this society was formed in 1825. 

TheYatesville Methodist Church of Potter had its origin in the early meetings heldin the locality as early as 1817, resulting in the forming of a class, but itwas not until October 29, 1832, that the society was organized according to lawand duly named Yatesville Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Among the early prominent members of the society can be recalled thenames of Asa BRUNSON and wife, Abel TRASK and wife, James HARLEY and wife,Daniel HARLEY and wife, Achilles COMSTOCK, Elnathan BOTSFORD and wife, IsraelARNOLD and wife, Baxter HOBART and wife, Ephraim WHEELER and wife, Webster WINNand wife, Joshua STODDARD and wife, Stephen WYMAN and wife, and others. The early meetings were held in a store and shop until the schoolhousewas completed.  In 1837 the churchedifice was built for the society.  In1865 the Yatesville Cemetery Association was organized, and thereafter purchaseda tract of land just west of the church.  IsraelCOMSTOCK was the first person to be buried in this cemetery. 

Inthe town of Potter and in the towns adjoining have settled a number of Catholicfamilies.  To supply their spiritualwants a parish has been organized. embracing the region, and the Catholic Churchis also to be numbered among the institutions of the township.




Fromthe History and Directory of Yates County, Volume II,  by Stafford C.Cleveland, pub. 1873



CHURCH HISTORY  pg 880 � 887 

Rev. Jedediah CHAPMAN amissionary of the Presbyterian church, organized the Congregational church atRushville, Nov 29, 1802.  The firstmembers were John BLAIR, and Elizabeth, his wife, William HOLTON and Mary hiswife, Nathan LOOMIS and Dorcas, his wife, Jabez FRENCH and Sarah his wife, HenryGREEN, Lydia BLACK, Widow Huldah WILLIAMS, Sarah LUKORE, Sarah BASSETT, HuldahWILLIAMS and Anna SAWYER.  From 1803to 1813 this Church was connected with the Ontario Congregational Association, abody which was dissolved.  In 1814it was connected with the Presbytery of Geneva, which union was dissolved in1855.  For some time after itsorganization, Abijah WARREN served as minister of the Church and he wassucceeded by Reuben PARMELE.  JosephMERRILL was installed pastor in 1809 and remained till 1821. David PAGE served as pastor from 1821 to 1825; Joseph BRACKET from 1823to 1832; Henry P. STRONG from 1833 to 1835; Maltby GELTSON from 1836 tp 1854. Rev. S. S. HUGHSON from 1855 to 1864. They have been succeeded by W. A. SMITH, Orrin PLACE and W. KINCAID, thelatter being the present pastor.  Therewere 15 members in 1802; 46 in 1815; 120 in 1819; 181 in 1829; 230 in 1840; 260in 1845; 217 in 1850; 224 in 1854; 179 in 1868. The Church has and 11 large revivals the most remarkable of which was in1816, when over 100 steadfast converts untied with the church. The deacons in 1869 were R. B. GARDINER, Benjamin WATKINS, Sterling N.BLAIR, Charles OLMSTEAD, Peter VAN BUSSUM, William P. BASSETT, Clark STANLEY andS. CATLIN.  The schoolhouse wasfirst used as a meeting house.  Thebrick church was erected in 1818 and was remodeled and much improved during thepastoral service of S. S. HUGHSON. 


Rushville MethodistChurch � The principal Methodist preaching in this vicinity during theearlier years was at the house of Michael PIERCE, three miles from Rushville andat the schoolhouse midway between the two places. The first society was formed in Rushville in 1824, under the ministry ofGideon LANNING and Robert PARKER.  E.STREETER was the first class leader and John A. PEABODY and Samuel WHITMAN wereamong its first members.  Themeetings were held for some time at the schoolhouse and subsequently at thehouse of J. A. PEABODY, where they were much prospered. Among the converts was Philo E. BROWN, who is still an active preacher.The family of Jesse C. BOARDMAN united at this time with the Society. In 1830 through the enterprise of Ira FAIRBANKS and others, a churchedifice was built, which after a few years, was enlarged. It was enclosed and used some time before it was finished. It was finally completed and dedicated Jan 25, 1832 by John COPELAND. The following winter at a protracted meeting under the preaching of ZinaJ. BUCK, the conversion were numbered by hundreds. Among the converts were: Dr. HARKNESS, Job PIERCE, John SANDERS,Nathaniel LOOMIS and G. W. COLE.  In1834 A. B. PICKARD and M. FERGUSON were the preachers. In 1835 the circuit toothe name of Rushville and Bethel, and Ira FAIRBANKS.   

Universalist Church - Rushville at one period contained many Universalists. The TORREY family among others were chiefly of that faith. Edward PERRY was a leading member of the Society. Somewhere between 1830 and 1840 they erected a meeting house and towardthis work, Col. Samuel ALLEN, of Benton, was a contributor. The Society kept up preaching with more or less regularity some ten ortwelve years, and then disbanded. 

SecondMethodist Church of Potter � William SNOW and James H. BAKER, preachers onOntario circuit, commenced preaching in the schoolhouse now standing at NettleValley in the year 1814.  As theresult of their labors a revival took place, and a class was formed in March1815, composed of the following persons:  WilliamGUERNSEY and wife, Samuel WYMAN and wife, Israel HOBART and wife, Ephraim KINNEYand wife, James HARDY and wife, Joseph L. BANKS, John EASTER and R. HARRINGTONwere the preachers.  In 1837 GideonLANNING; 1838 Z.J. BUCK, J.C. KINGSLEY; 1839 Abner CHASE and Orrin TROWBRIDGE;1840, Samuel PARKER and Joseph CHAPMAN; 1841, Calvin S. COATS and JosephCHAPMAN.  In 1841 Rushville was madea separate station, Joseph CHAPMAN remaining at Rushville and C. S. COATES atMiddlesex.  Some of the preacherssince have been, in 1844, Philo E. BROWN; 1845-6, David NUTTEN; 1849, ManlyTOOKER; 1850-1, Robert PARKER, 1852-53, J. W. WILSON; 1867-8, F. G. HIBBARD;1869-70, William H. GOODWIN.  InFebruary 1868, a beautiful church was dedicated by Bishop SIMPSON.  The work was begun in 1866 and cost $23,000. It is deemed as fine a church edifice as any rural village in the statecan boast.  The present membershipis 250.  This Church has had manyand large revivals.

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HOBARTand wife, Potter CARD, Jabez CARD, Sarah HULL, Eleanor PARSONS, Thomas WILSON,Pardon WILSON, Martha WILSON and Sophronia WILSON.

This class was taken on theOntario circuit and made one of its preaching places. The circuit at the time extended from Lake Ontario on the north toSteuben county on the south, Seneca Lake on the east and Canandaigua Lake on theWest.  Under the labors of the abovenamed circuit preachers, together with Messrs. WILDER and EWIN, local preachers,the society increased within the next two years to 70 or 80 members. A legal organization was made April 3, 1827. Cyrus STORY was the minister and Perez CASE the presiding officer of themeeting.  The first Board ofTrustees was George HUNT, Samuel ROUNDS, J. P. ROBINSON, Perez CASE, BenjaminBOOTS and William L. HOBART, Clerk.  CharlesBIBBINS was the preacher in charge in 1829.

The articles of organizationwere recorded in the County Clerk�s Office. Jan. 2, 1830, Abraham H. BENNETT, Clerk. The acknowledgement of the papers was before John L. CLEVELAND, Judge,and James P. ROBINSON was Clerk of the Board of Trustees. In 1838 the society removed the old log parsonage and erected on its sitea neat and substantial church edifice at a cost of $1400. The trustee this year were George HUNT, Joseph L. HOBART, Benjamin BOOTS,William RECTOR and Consider BORDWELL; William L. HOBART, Clerk. William L. HOBART was the largest contributor. George WILKINSON and Gideon LANNING were the Pastors and in 1841-2,Chandler WHEELER and H. ELY.  In1838 a part of the parsonage ground, one and three fourths acres were set offfor a cemetery and Benjamin BOOTS was the first person to be buried there. 

The church was built by A.W. GUSTIN.  It was afterwardsremodeled.  In 1865 the societybought the Baptist church at Potter Center, repaired and remodeled it and soldthe Nettle Valley church to the Methodist church at Branchport.

In the year 1850 the Societypurchased a lot from George G. WYMAN and built a parsonage at the cost of about$500; Rev. Jonathan BENSON, Pastor; George G. WYMAN and Israel COMSTOCK,Building Committee.  In 1856 thesociety repaired their church at a cost of about $800. The trustees in 1869 were George G. WYMAN, Cyrus DAINS and Frank C.HOBART.  Edwin J. HERMANS was thepastor.


The First Free BaptistChurch of Potter was gathered by the labors of Rev. Samuel WIRE, who cameinto the town at the request of an unbeliever, and commenced preaching inDecember 1824.  A revival immediately followed, which resulted in theconversion of about 100 persons.  Thechurch was organized May 9, 1825.  Thenames of the council were Revs. Samuel WIRE, Israel CRAW and Amos PERRY; Laymen,John STID and James BIGNAL.  Thesecond revival of note, was in the year 1828. The meeting was conducted by Elder Perley HALL of Vermont, for a time andthen was prosecuted by Elder WIRE and resulted in the conversion of about 30persons.  The third revival was inthe year 1832, under the labors of Elder H. BACON and resulted in the conversionof about 60 persons.  The fourthrevival was during the labors of Rev. Ezra F. CARNE in 1838, and the numberconverted was from forty, to fifty.  Thefifth awakening was under the labors of elders H. BACON and J. DECKER. Some thirty were converted.  Thesixth revival was under the labors of Revs. R. COOLY and H. DECKER. Nearly one hundred were converted.  From1860 to 1863 there was a revival under the labors of elder JACLSON; and so therewas in 1865-6, under the labors of elder H. PERRY. The North Free Baptist Church of Potter united with this Church in 1860. There have been some 370 persons, members of this Church. A house of worship was built in 1840, costing $2,200. The Sunday School was organized in 1827 and has increased in interest andstrength.  The present prospects ofthe Church are quite encouraging, and there is a good degree of union among themembers.  Elder L. B. STARR is thepresent pastor.


Yatesville MethodistChurch � In 1817 John BAGGERLY and Mr. ADGATE, preachers on Crooked Lakecircuit, commenced preaching at Arnold�s Hollow, now Yatesville, in the houseof Asa BRUNSON, standing a few rods west of the church, and near the corner ofthe cemetery, and formed a class consisting of the following members: AsaBRUNSON, leader, and wife, Mr. SHERBAN and wife, Abel TRASK and wife, JamesHARLEY and wife, Daniel HARLEY and wife, Achilles COMSTOCK and others. The Society was supplied by the preachers of the Crooked Lake circuit, asfollows: Loren GRANT, James GILMORE, Robert PARKES, Mr. KENT, Denison SMITH,Abner CHASE, Gideon LANNING, Jonas DODGE, Gideon OSBORNE, Israel CHAMBERLAIN,Friend DRAPER, Ira FAIRBANKS and William JONES. Additions were made to the Society from time to time of nearly all thepermanent inhabitants in the neighborhood, as follows: Elnathan BOTSFORD andwife, Ezekiel GARNDER and wife, Israel ARNOLD and wife, Baxter HOBART and wife,Ephraim, WHEELER and wife, Webster WINN and wife, Joshua STODDARD and wife,Stephen WYMAN and wife, John WATERMAN and wife, Daniel SUTTON and wife, AnnaSTONE, wife of Asahel STONE Sr. and Israel COMSTOCK and wife. The Society heldtheir meetings in the store house  thatstood opposite the blacksmith shop, until the schoolhouse was built, when theyheld their meeting there until the church was erected in 1837. The class leaders have been: Stephen WYMAN, Elnathan BOTSFORD Jr., IsraelARNOLD, Ephraim WHEELER and Daniel SUTTON.

On the 29th ofOctober 1832, the Society was organized according to law, and known as theYatesville Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Asahel STONE Jr.,Ephraim WHEELER, Baxter HOBART, John H. GLEASON and Israel ARNOLD were electedTrustees and Israel ARNOLD was elected clerk. A committee composed of Israel ARNOLD, Israel COMSTOCK, Daniel SUTTON,Baxter HOBART and Ephraim WHEELER was appointed to select a site on which tobuilt a church, and on the 30th of October met and selected thefollowing described lot: �On the west side of the road leading from the gristmill to the schoolhouse, nearly opposite to where the road turns and leaves saidroad easterly toward Penn Yan.�  Col.ARNOLD gave the lot to the Society.

In 1836, Daniel G. WEARE waschosen Trustee in the place of Asahel STONE and John B. WATERMAN, Clerk, in theplace of Israel ARNOLD.  In 1837 theold Trustees were re-elected and Joseph BLOOMINGDALKE chosen Clerk in place ofJohn B. WATERMAN.  In 1837, thechurch was built by Hubbel GREGORY of Benton Center, at a cost of $1,200. Israel ARNOLD, Daniel SUTTON and Ephraim WHEELER were the largestcontributors toward the church, each giving $100.

The principal officers ofthe Church since, have been Daniel SUTTON, Amos GENUNG, Martin HOBART, Israel H.ARNOLD, Baxter HOBART, Alfred O. WILKINSON, Noah ROBINSON, Leman BROOKS, John H.GLEASON, Jephtha A. POTTER, Walter P. HOBART, George HUNT, Lewis MC CANN,Stephen M. FERMER, George DAINS, James WHEELER, Frank HALL. In 1860 the church was refitted at an expense of $300, and Samuel STREETJR., was chosen Clerk.  The trusteessince that date have been: William BLANSHARD, Amos GENUNG, and Daniel BOSWELL,who still remain in office.  In 1848Nettle Valley and Yatesville were constituted the Potter Circuit.  Amos GENUNG was the Class Leader, and still remains in thatoffice.  Ephraim WHEELER andMelmouth F. HOBART have been leaders in the meantime. Under the preaching of M. S. HALL in 1861-2, there was an extensiverevival, and in 1868-9 under the preaching of e. J. HERMANS, there was a numberadded to the Church.  The Societynow numbers about 50 members and is well sustained.  Israel COMSTOCK was many years recording Steward of he PotterCircuit.  His son, Botsford A.COMSTOCK is now one of its most steadfast members.

The Yatesville CemeteryAssociation was organized according to law in 1865 and the following officerswere elected: Amos GENUNG, President, Melmouth F. HOBART, Clerk; Melville W.HOBART, Peleg GARDNER, Jephtha A. POTTER, Daniel BOSWELL, Samuel STREET Sr., andAmos GENUNG, Trustees.  Theypurchased a lot for the cemetery, containing one and three quarter acres, ofPeleg GARDENER, situated a little west of the church, for $175, and had itsurveyed and allotted by Israel H. ARNOLD, September 22, 1865. The Trustees also contracted with Mr. GARDNER to fence the Cemetery lot,at a cost of $300.  The lot wasgraded and otherwise improved by voluntary contributions of labor, and a row ofevergreens planted around it.  IsraelCOMSTOCK was the first person buried there on the 15th of January,1866.  Since then there has beenremoved there a number of bodies from the private burying grounds in theneighborhood, so that it now contains bodies of the oldest and most prominentcitizens who have died in that vicinity, and has the appearance of being one ofthe oldest cemeteries in the county.  Thepresent Board of Trustees are: Melville W. HOBART, John H. GLEASON, DanielBOSWELL, William SANDERSON, Robert GERMAN and Botsford A. COMSTOCK


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