COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Captain Franklin Ellis137
The Methodist was the third church organization effected in Hudson. The date of its commencement is not precisely known, but it is certain that prior to 1790 this denomination held meetings for worship in a house owned by Samuel Wigton, which stood on a rise of ground in Cherry alley, a short distance east of Front street.
In 1790 the society, through Mr. Wigton, applied to the proprietors of Hudson for a lot on which to erect a more suitable edifice. Marshall Jenkins and Cotton Gelston, two of the proprietors, were appointed a committee to confer with Mr. Wigton and give him "the choice of any lot not occupied for other purposes, and sufficiently large to accommodate him and his society." The Methodists reported to the committee they had selected a lot on the southeast corner of the "Second Cross street," now Third and Diamond streets. The committee were directed by the proprietors to convey the lot to them. The deed, dated March 20, 1790, is from Marshall Jenkins and Cotton Gelston to Samuel Wigton, witnessed by Thomas Jenkins and Hezekiah Dayton.
A small frame building, capable of seating two hundred, was soon erected on the south side of the lot adjoining Prison alley. There is no record of its cost or dedication. This was used for public worship and all church purposes until 1825. The following are the names of the preachers who occupied the pulpit when the appointment formed a part of a large circuit. They cannot be traced back farther than 1808. It then formed part of Chatham circuit, with Smith Arnold and Friend Draper as preachers. In 1809, Zalmon Lyon and Friend Draper; 1810, Peter Moriarity and John Haskins; 1811, Seth Cronell and John B. Matthias; 1812, John Crawford and John B. Matthias; 1813, John Crawford and Cyrus Culver. In 1814 the appointment was called Hudson, with Joseph Crawford as pastor; 1815, Phinehas Rice. In 1816 it was called Chatham and Hudson, and William Ross and Henry Eames were the preachers. In 1817 it was connected with Chatham circuit, with Phinehas Rice and Henry Eames; 1818, Billy Hibbard and Peter Bussing; 1819, Andrew McKaine and David Brayton; 1820, William Anson and David Brayton. In 1821 it was called Chatham and Hudson, with William Anson, Gershom Pierce, and Horace Weston as preachers. In 1822 it was again called Hudson, with George Coles as pastor; also in 1823.
In 1825 a brick church building, having about double the capacity of the old one, was erected at the corner of Diamond and Third streets, and this continued to be their place of worship for twenty-nine years.*
On the 22d of February, 1853, an agreement was entered into between the Society of Friends and the Methodist Episcopal church, by which the property belonging to the Methodist church was exchanged for a lot on Third street between Cherry alley and Union street. It being determined to proceed in the erection of a new church, Allen Reynolds, S. W. Blake, and C. V. H. Morrison were appointed a building committee. The church (still occupied by the society) was built at a cost of $18,500, and was dedicated June 22, 1854. Its capacity is sufficient for the accommodation of about six hundred persons.
The old church building erected in 1790, and vacated as a house of worship in 1825, was, in 1832, changed into a parsonage, and occupied as such until 1844, when it was demolished, and a good brick house was built upon the same site and for the same purpose. The preachers who have labored here since the year 1823, and until the present time, and the dates of their service, have been as follows:†
Other officers of the church at the present time (July, 1878) are: Local Preachers, W. P. Snyder, E. L. P. Elmer; Exhorters, B. H. Parsons, S. E. Root; Trustees, William Parmenter (president), J. H. Roe (treasurer, W. Van Gaasbeck (secretary), J. H. Brownell, Augustus Behrens, P. A. Miller, Thomas Tillery.
The present membership is 324. Value of church and lot, $20,000; parsonage, $4000. Connected with this church is a missionary society, and a Sabbath-school, auxiliary to it, has been in existence since the first occupation of the old church on Third street. The following have been the superintendents as far as we are able to find: J. W. Kimball, J. H. Stout, E. L. P. Elmer, S. Lawrence, John Sheldon, L. s. Hinman, T. Tilley, and J. E. McClure. Number of scholars now 230. Officers and teachers, 34.
A Methodist Protestant church formerly existed here, and there is found a record of the incorporation (May 4, 1833) of the "Trustees of the Methodist Protestant Church in the city of Hudson;" the said trustees (elected at a meeting of the male members of the church, held April 2, 1833) being Shubael Coffin, Chauncey Derby, Moses Derby, Edmund Tibbitts, and Josiah St. John. This church and society is not now in existence, and it has been found impracticable to trace their history sufficiently to present any intelligible sketch of them.
*It was afterwards occupied as a meeting-house by the Friends.
†From 1832 to 1836, both inclusive, the "Print Works" church was supplied by the Hudson ministers.