CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN AUSTERLITZ
AUSTERLITZ, COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Capt. Franklin Ellis100
This society was organized March 21, 1792, by Rev. David Porter, of Spencertown, assisted by Rev. John Stevens, of New Concord (now East Chatham), the latter minister preaching the sermon on the occasion. Prayer-meetings had been previously held for several months. The names of the original members were Daniel Lee, Ithamar, Amos, Rebekah, and Dorcas Spencer, Gideon, Samuel, Isaac, Sarah, Abigail and Abigail (2d) Andrews, William Southworth, Jonathan Chamberlin, Matthew Fitch, Allen and Mary Graves, Jonathan and Mary Wise, Beriah and Sarah King, Eber and may Scofield, Solomon and Sarah Curtiss, Joseph and Abigail Dibble, Anna Chittenden, Mary Palmer, Sarah Drake, Phoebe Miller, and Philomela Davenport.
The first communion was on March 28, 1792, and on that occasion Rev. David Porter acted as moderator, and Jonathan Wise as clerk, Ithamar Spencer and Matthew Fitch acting in the capacity of deacons.
For several months of the preceding summer an uncommon religious interest was manifested among the people of this vicinity, and about forty were converted, many of whom united with this church.
The first church was built during the summer of 1792, on land donated for the purposed by Judah Swift. In 1828 the church was thoroughly repaired at a cost of about $2000, and in 1873 it was again repaired and modernized at a cost of $1000. Its present valuation is about $2500. Previous to the organization, services had been held by Rev. Mr. Martin, who lived a little northwest of the village. The first pastor was Rev. John Morse, who began to preach May 6, 1792, and was regularly installed as pastor November 7, 1792, of that year. The following-named ministers have since been pastors, viz.: Reverends Timothy Woodbridge, D.D., Joel Osborne John W. Davis, Samuel Uttley, C. S. Sylvester James A. Clark, J. H. Goodell, Archibald H. Sloat, Jo. H. Goodell, Rufus King, and H. P. Bake, the present pastor.
From September, 1859, till the spring of 1861 regular services were held by the Methodists. Then Rev. P. O. Powers, a returned missionary, preached from November 1861, till April, 1862. The church was then silent and unoccupied for a period of nearly ten years, when it was revived through the efforts of Rev. James A. Clark, who was then preaching in Spencertown. At that time the membership had dwindled to but seven person, but the number at the reorganization was twelve, three joining on profession of faith and two by letter. The number has increase until at present the membership is about thirty-five.
The deacons from the organization of the church to the present time have been Ithamar Spencer, Joseph Andrews, Charles Topping, Thomas Lewis, James Platt, Ephraim Gleason, David Chamberlin, Joseph Gleason, John C. Ingersoll, James N. Barnes, George Woodin, Samuel C. Ingersoll, and Ozias Olds, the two latter being the present incumbents.
The church was incorporated January 19, 1801, at a meeting presided over by Moses Chittenden and Caleb Rogers, and at which James Platt, Ephraim Gleason, Caleb Rogers, Moses Chittenden, and William Tanner were elected trustees.
The present officers of the society are Alanson Osborn, E. S. Hamlin, David L. Osborn, Amasa Cook, J. Edwin Ingersoll, and Gilbert Brown, trustees; David K. Lane, society clerk; J. Edwin Ingersoll, church clerk; E. P. Osborn, treasurer.