THE CHATHAM METHODIST
By Capt. Franklin Ellis321
The Methodists held meetings in the town soon after 1800. It is related that the first services were held in barns, and that Mrs. James Van Valkenburgh, Cynthia Lester, and a third sister composed the first class. A few years later Fathers Chadwick, Jewett, Nathaniel Brockway, Philip Frisbie, Lawrence Van Valkenburgh, and Mrs. Samuel Wilbor were among the active members; and still later Philip Hulburt, H. N. Wheeler, Horace Root, Loren M. Davis, Jedediah Brockway, Wm. Mickle, and Mrs. Hosea Hudson were added to the number.
In 1812 a meeting-house was built at Chatham by a society whose first trustees were Timothy Oakley, Ezra Chadwick, Abijah Stever, and John Stearns, Jr. The new church was one of a number in this part of the country forming a circuit which extended from Hillsdale to Sand Lake. It embraced for many years all Methodist work in the town, but now includes only the church at Malden Bridge, having a joint membership of one hundred and sixty-five persons. There are flourishing Sunday-schools in both churches, the one at Chatham having been organized in 1825.
The church edifice at Chatham was rebuilt in 1866. It is a commodious structure, estimated worth $6000, and the parsonage at $2000. The property is controlled by trustees,--S. Wilbor, J. N. Wait, A. H. Van Alstyne, R. H. Morey, W. A. Mickle, L. M. Davis, and G. W. Van Valkenburgh.
Since 1820 the clergy connected with the church at Chatham have been Revs. William Anson, Gershom Pierce, H. Weston, T. Clark, Coles Carpenter, Moses Amadon, Cyrus Culver, Samuel Howe, Samuel Eicheney, Jacob Hall, Arnold Schofield, Elbert Osborn, C. F. Pelton, H. Burton, Seymour Coleman, A. S. Cooper, John Pegg, T. Newman, H. Wetherwax, Joshua Poor, Amos Hazelton, Wm. F. Hurd, Wm. Meeker, S. Covel, C. Barber, D. Osgood, W. D. Stead, C. R. Morris, H. B. Wright, A. A. Farr, Wm. Henry, Aaron Hall, R. Kelley, D. Poor, W. P. Gray, Warren Little, T. Seymour, W. W. Pierce, James M. Edgarton, Hiram Dunn, L. Marshall, Nathan G. Axtell, Lester Janes, Daniel Morris, Jr., Oren Gregg, Paul P. Atwell, Hiram Blanchard, Henry I. Johns, C. Meeker, William Clark, J. W. Belknap, G. W. S. Porter, Wm. Bedell, Geo. W. Fitch, Andrew Heath, R. G. Adams, and, in 1878, H. A. Starks.
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