By Capt. Franklin Ellis101


    At a meeting held Oct. 30, 1851, in the house of Ithamar Lane, in the village of Austerlitz, Revs. S. B. Hayward, G. N. Kelton, and A. Hayward, members of the New York Eastern Christian Conference, instituted a Christian church, with about forty members, and it was called the "First Christian church in Green River valley."  The male members were James N. Barnes, Elisha C. Osborn, David C. Osborn, James L. Tyler, Henry D. Gott, George Tyler, Augustus Hawley, William Gardiner, Charles Kinne, Timothy Woodin, William Van Hoesen, William Tyler, Harvey G. Kinne, Amos Cain, Amos Halley, John H. Callender, Abram Palmer, Austin Damon, Thomas L. Smith, T. H. Thurston, Samuel D. Pierson, Morris M. Brainard.  Elisha C. Osborn was chosen deacon, and still holds that office.

    The first church building was erected at Green River, in the town of Hillsdale, and was in part owned by the Methodists.  It was built in the spring and summer of 1852, and was dedicated July 15, 1852.  It cost about $1200.  The second chapel was built in the village of Austerlitz, in the spring of 1853, and was dedicated on the evening of June 6, 1853.  The New York Eastern Christian Conference was then in session here, and the dedication was conducted by the ministers in attendance.  Rev. Isaac N. Walter preached the dedicatory sermon.  Revs. G. N. Kelton, E. S. Fay, O. J. Wait, and A. S. Doan participated in the services.  A collection amounting to $230 was taken, to assist in removing the debt incurred by the building of the chapel, which cost about $1200.  The churches are still in use, and valued at $1500.  The pastors of the church, in order of their service, have been Revs. Allen Hayward, R. B. Eldridge, Jr., Richard Mosher, W. B. H. Beach, Joseph Stearns, Charles Peak, -----Hoag, C. H. Havens, Leonard Thorn, Thomas Taylor, George Strevell, and E. E. Colburn, who commenced his service in April, 1877 and is the present pastor.

    The first pastor was prostrated while preaching on the Fourth of July, 1852, in the school-house at Austerlitz, and did not recover sufficiently to resume his duties.  Previous to the organizing of the church, a series of "grove meetings" had been held by Rev. George N. Kelton, with good success, and created a degree of interest in religious matters that eventually, as we have seen, resulted in the formation of a church.  The present membership is about fifty.

    There has been a flourishing Sabbath-school connected with the church from the beginning.  The first superintendent was James N. Barnes.  Charles Kinne was superintendent for a score of years, and Rev. E. E. Colburn is the present one.  The school now numbers about forty.  They have no library, but distribute papers and tracts instead.

    The church was incorporated under the general statute, Jan. 31, 1852.  Jared Winslow presided at the meeting, and William Van Hoesen acted as clerk.  Elisha C. Osborn, Amos Holley, Timothy Woodin, Lewis B. Adsit, and Samuel B. Rowe were elected trustees.  The present trustees are Harvey Gott, Jr., John M. Varney, Hamilton McArthur, George Tremain, Charles T. Woodin, Henry Rowe, Cyrus Moore, and David L. Westover.