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
Congregational Church of Rushville was organized as early as the year
1802, 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 Anna
SAWYER. From 1803 to 1813 this church was connected with the Ontario
Congregational Association, but in 1814 connected with the Geneva Presbytery,
and so continued until 1855. The
early meetings of the society were held on the old schoolhouse, and occasionally
in other places, and in 1818 the bring church edifice was erected.
A plain, substantial building it was and answered the requirements of the
congregation 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 were
Jedediah 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.
Methodist Church – Although Methodist missionary services and preaching were
held in and near Rushville about as early as elsewhere in the north part of the
county, it was not until the year 1824 that a society of this denomination was
in fact formed. The residence of
pioneer 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 in
the 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. In
1830 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 church
were Mr. STREETER, Samuel WHITMAN, John A. PEABODY, Philo E. BROWN, Jesse C.
BOARDMAN and family, Ira FAIRBANKS, Dr. Buffam HARKNESS, Job PIERCE, John
SANDERS, Nathaniel LOOMIS and G. W. COLE. In
1835 the circuit too the name of Rushville and Bethel, and Ira FAIRBANKS, John
EASTER 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, Calvin
COATES, 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 by
Bishop SIMPSON. It was commenced in
1866 and completed during the next year, costing $23,000.
The present church membership numbers nearly 250.
the 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 at
Rushville, but after about fifteen years of unfruitful effort the society was
Second Methodist Church of Potter ultimately became the first Methodist Church
of Potter Center, being a removal of the Nettle Valley society to this point as
a place of worship, in 1865. The
Nettle Valley class was formed in 1815, numbering among its members, William
GURNSEY and wife, Samuel WYMAN and wife, Israel HOBART and wife, Ephraim KINNEY
and wife, James HARDY and wife, Joseph L. HOBART and wife, Potter and Jabez
CARD, Sarah HULL, Eleanor PARSONS, and Thomas, Pardon, Martha and Sophronia
WILSON. A legal organization of the
society was perfected in April 1827.
first meeting-house of the society was built of logs, but in 1838 this gave way
to a neat frame church, costing $1,400. Also
in 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 the
Center, repaired and remodeled it, and occupied it in future.
The old church in the Valley was then sold.
have been two Free Baptist societies in the town of Potter, the one known as the
North Free Baptist church, which merged into the Free Baptist Church of Potter,
the surviving organization. Free
Baptist preaching began in the town in December 1824, and the results of
subsequent frequent revivals brought into the membership of the society nearly
400 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.
Yatesville Methodist Church of Potter had its origin in the early meetings held
in the locality as early as 1817, resulting in the forming of a class, but it
was not until October 29, 1832, that the society was organized according to law
and duly named Yatesville Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Among the early prominent members of the society can be recalled the
names of Asa BRUNSON and wife, Abel TRASK and wife, James HARLEY and wife,
Daniel HARLEY and wife, Achilles COMSTOCK, Elnathan BOTSFORD 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, and others.
The early meetings were held in a store and shop until the schoolhouse
was completed. In 1837 the church
edifice was built for the society. In
1865 the Yatesville Cemetery Association was organized, and thereafter purchased
a tract of land just west of the church. Israel
COMSTOCK was the first person to be buried in this cemetery.
From the History and Directory of Yates County, Volume II, by Stafford C. Cleveland, pub. 1873
pg 880 – 887
Rev. Jedediah CHAPMAN a
missionary of the Presbyterian church, organized the Congregational church at
Rushville, Nov 29, 1802. The first
members were John BLAIR, and Elizabeth, his wife, William HOLTON and Mary his
wife, Nathan LOOMIS and Dorcas, his wife, Jabez FRENCH and Sarah his wife, Henry
GREEN, Lydia BLACK, Widow Huldah WILLIAMS, Sarah LUKORE, Sarah BASSETT, Huldah
WILLIAMS and Anna SAWYER. From 1803
to 1813 this Church was connected with the Ontario Congregational Association, a
body which was dissolved. In 1814
it was connected with the Presbytery of Geneva, which union was dissolved in
1855. For some time after its
organization, Abijah WARREN served as minister of the Church and he was
succeeded by Reuben PARMELE. Joseph
MERRILL was installed pastor in 1809 and remained till 1821.
David PAGE served as pastor from 1821 to 1825; Joseph BRACKET from 1823
to 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, the
latter being the present pastor. There
were 15 members in 1802; 46 in 1815; 120 in 1819; 181 in 1829; 230 in 1840; 260
in 1845; 217 in 1850; 224 in 1854; 179 in 1868.
The Church has and 11 large revivals the most remarkable of which was in
1816, 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 and
S. CATLIN. The schoolhouse was
first used as a meeting house. The
brick church was erected in 1818 and was remodeled and much improved during the
pastoral service of S. S. HUGHSON.
Rushville Methodist Church – The principal Methodist preaching in this vicinity during the earlier years was at the house of Michael PIERCE, three miles from Rushville and at the schoolhouse midway between the two places. The first society was formed in Rushville in 1824, under the ministry of Gideon LANNING and Robert PARKER. E. STREETER was the first class leader and John A. PEABODY and Samuel WHITMAN were among its first members. The meetings were held for some time at the schoolhouse and subsequently at the house 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 church edifice 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 Zina J. BUCK, the conversion were numbered by hundreds. Among the converts were: Dr. HARKNESS, Job PIERCE, John SANDERS, Nathaniel LOOMIS and G. W. COLE. In 1834 A. B. PICKARD and M. FERGUSON were the preachers. In 1835 the circuit too the name of Rushville and Bethel, and Ira FAIRBANKS.
- 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 toward
this work, Col. Samuel ALLEN, of Benton, was a contributor.
The Society kept up preaching with more or less regularity some ten or
twelve years, and then disbanded.
Second Methodist Church of Potter – William SNOW and James H. BAKER, preachers on Ontario circuit, commenced preaching in the schoolhouse now standing at Nettle Valley in the year 1814. As the result of their labors a revival took place, and a class was formed in March 1815, composed of the following persons: William GUERNSEY and wife, Samuel WYMAN and wife, Israel HOBART and wife, Ephraim KINNEY and wife, James HARDY and wife, Joseph L. BANKS, John EASTER and R. HARRINGTON were the preachers. In 1837 Gideon LANNING; 1838 Z.J. BUCK, J.C. KINGSLEY; 1839 Abner CHASE and Orrin TROWBRIDGE; 1840, Samuel PARKER and Joseph CHAPMAN; 1841, Calvin S. COATS and Joseph CHAPMAN. In 1841 Rushville was made a separate station, Joseph CHAPMAN remaining at Rushville and C. S. COATES at Middlesex. Some of the preachers since have been, in 1844, Philo E. BROWN; 1845-6, David NUTTEN; 1849, Manly TOOKER; 1850-1, Robert PARKER, 1852-53, J. W. WILSON; 1867-8, F. G. HIBBARD; 1869-70, William H. GOODWIN. In February 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 state can boast. The present membership is 250. This Church has had many and large revivals.
(pages seem to be confused)
HOBART and wife, Potter CARD, Jabez CARD, Sarah HULL, Eleanor PARSONS, Thomas WILSON, Pardon WILSON, Martha WILSON and Sophronia WILSON.
This class was taken on the Ontario circuit and made one of its preaching places. The circuit at the time extended from Lake Ontario on the north to Steuben county on the south, Seneca Lake on the east and Canandaigua Lake on the West. Under the labors of the above named 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 the meeting. The first Board of Trustees was George HUNT, Samuel ROUNDS, J. P. ROBINSON, Perez CASE, Benjamin BOOTS and William L. HOBART, Clerk. Charles BIBBINS was the preacher in charge in 1829.
The articles of organization were 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 site a 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. In 1838 a part of the parsonage ground, one and three fourths acres were set off for a cemetery and Benjamin BOOTS was the first person to be buried there.
The church was built by A. W. GUSTIN. It was afterwards remodeled. In 1865 the society bought the Baptist church at Potter Center, repaired and remodeled it and sold the Nettle Valley church to the Methodist church at Branchport.
In the year 1850 the Society purchased 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 the society 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 the pastor.
The First Free Baptist Church of Potter was gathered by the labors of Rev. Samuel WIRE, who came into the town at the request of an unbeliever, and commenced preaching in December 1824. A revival immediately followed, which resulted in the conversion of about 100 persons. The church was organized May 9, 1825. The names of the council were Revs. Samuel WIRE, Israel CRAW and Amos PERRY; Laymen, John STID and James BIGNAL. The second revival of note, was in the year 1828. The meeting was conducted by Elder Perley HALL of Vermont, for a time and then was prosecuted by Elder WIRE and resulted in the conversion of about 30 persons. The third revival was in the year 1832, under the labors of Elder H. BACON and resulted in the conversion of about 60 persons. The fourth revival was during the labors of Rev. Ezra F. CARNE in 1838, and the number converted was from forty, to fifty. The fifth awakening was under the labors of elders H. BACON and J. DECKER. Some thirty were converted. The sixth revival was under the labors of Revs. R. COOLY and H. DECKER. Nearly one hundred were converted. From 1860 to 1863 there was a revival under the labors of elder JACLSON; and so there was 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 and strength. The present prospects of the Church are quite encouraging, and there is a good degree of union among the members. Elder L. B. STARR is the present pastor.
Yatesville Methodist Church – In 1817 John BAGGERLY and Mr. ADGATE, preachers on Crooked Lake circuit, commenced preaching at Arnold’s Hollow, now Yatesville, in the house of Asa BRUNSON, standing a few rods west of the church, and near the corner of the cemetery, and formed a class consisting of the following members: Asa BRUNSON, leader, and wife, Mr. SHERBAN and wife, Abel TRASK and wife, James HARLEY and wife, Daniel HARLEY and wife, Achilles COMSTOCK and others. The Society was supplied by the preachers of the Crooked Lake circuit, as follows: 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 the permanent inhabitants in the neighborhood, as follows: Elnathan BOTSFORD and wife, 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, Anna STONE, wife of Asahel STONE Sr. and Israel COMSTOCK and wife. The Society held their meetings in the store house that stood opposite the blacksmith shop, until the schoolhouse was built, when they held their meeting there until the church was erected in 1837. The class leaders have been: Stephen WYMAN, Elnathan BOTSFORD Jr., Israel ARNOLD, Ephraim WHEELER and Daniel SUTTON.
On the 29th of October 1832, the Society was organized according to law, and known as the Yatesville Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Asahel STONE Jr., Ephraim WHEELER, Baxter HOBART, John H. GLEASON and Israel ARNOLD were elected Trustees 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 to built a church, and on the 30th of October met and selected the following described lot: “On the west side of the road leading from the grist mill to the schoolhouse, nearly opposite to where the road turns and leaves said road easterly toward Penn Yan.” Col. ARNOLD gave the lot to the Society.
In 1836, Daniel G. WEARE was chosen Trustee in the place of Asahel STONE and John B. WATERMAN, Clerk, in the place of Israel ARNOLD. In 1837 the old Trustees were re-elected and Joseph BLOOMINGDALKE chosen Clerk in place of John B. WATERMAN. In 1837, the church was built by Hubbel GREGORY of Benton Center, at a cost of $1,200. Israel ARNOLD, Daniel SUTTON and Ephraim WHEELER were the largest contributors toward the church, each giving $100.
The principal officers of the 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 STREET JR., was chosen Clerk. The trustees since that date have been: William BLANSHARD, Amos GENUNG, and Daniel BOSWELL, who still remain in office. In 1848 Nettle Valley and Yatesville were constituted the Potter Circuit. Amos GENUNG was the Class Leader, and still remains in that office. Ephraim WHEELER and Melmouth F. HOBART have been leaders in the meantime. Under the preaching of M. S. HALL in 1861-2, there was an extensive revival, and in 1868-9 under the preaching of e. J. HERMANS, there was a number added to the Church. The Society now numbers about 50 members and is well sustained. Israel COMSTOCK was many years recording Steward of he Potter Circuit. His son, Botsford A. COMSTOCK is now one of its most steadfast members.
The Yatesville Cemetery
Association was organized according to law in 1865 and the following officers
were elected: Amos GENUNG, President, Melmouth F. HOBART, Clerk; Melville W.
HOBART, Peleg GARDNER, Jephtha A. POTTER, Daniel BOSWELL, Samuel STREET Sr., and
Amos GENUNG, Trustees. They
purchased a lot for the cemetery, containing one and three quarter acres, of
Peleg GARDENER, situated a little west of the church, for $175, and had it
surveyed 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 was
graded and otherwise improved by voluntary contributions of labor, and a row of
evergreens planted around it. Israel
COMSTOCK was the first person buried there on the 15th of January,
1866. Since then there has been
removed there a number of bodies from the private burying grounds in the
neighborhood, so that it now contains bodies of the oldest and most prominent
citizens who have died in that vicinity, and has the appearance of being one of
the oldest cemeteries in the county. The
present Board of Trustees are: Melville W. HOBART, John H. GLEASON, Daniel
BOSWELL, William SANDERSON, Robert GERMAN and Botsford A. COMSTOCK.
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