The First Baptist
Church and Society in
by Captain Franklin Ellis438
Baptist preaching was held in New Lebanon, before 1776, by Rev. Joseph Meacham, who organized a church soon after. Upon Meacham's joining the Shakers, in 1780, many of his members followed him, and the Baptist church was practically disbanded. In 1820, Elder Nathaniel Otis began his missionary work in this locality, and succeeded in forming a society, March 10, 1825. The trustees chosen were Paul Shumway, Jeremiah Gillet, Spencer Carr, Hampton C. Babcock, A. Brown, Henry Hull, George Landon, Henry Stanton, and William N. Bentley.
The church was formally recognized June 1, 1826, at a council called for this purpose, which assembled at "Columbia Hall." The constituent membership of the new body were Elder Richmond Taggart, Henry Hull, William N. Bentley, Aroin Wood, Ephraim Pierce, Sylvester Smith, Spencer Carr, William Kendall, William Webster, Israel Clark, and twelve females.
Nov. 23, 1826, Warren Merrill and wife were baptized and joined the church, being the first to receive that holy rite.
A plain meeting-house was erected at Lebanon Springs in 1827, which was rebuilt in 1868, at a cost of $6000. It is very neatly finished and presents a fine appearance. There are sittings for two hundred and fifty person. The house was formally dedicated in the fall of 1868, by Rev. Watson, of Pittsfield, Mass.
As already stated, Rev. Richmond Taggart was the first pastor. His successors in the ministerial office were Revs. Justus Hull, Edwin Sandays, Solomon Hatch, N. M. Wood, S. B. Willis, G. S. Stockwell, Edward Conover, Asher Bronson, Philip Roberts, B. L. Van Buren, E. T. Hunt, A. Waterbury, J. W. Robinson, J. D. Meeson, and (1878) Edgar Maryott. Edwin Sandays and Edward Conover served the church twice as pastors. Of the above named, N. M. Wood, B. L. Van Buren, and J. W. Robinson began their ministerial work in this church, having been here ordained. There were besides the following licentiates: Joseph Taggart, Horace Doolittle, William Doolittle, Alonzo Wadhams, Philander Pierce, and Olney J. Rose.
The entire number of members received into the church by baptism has been one hundred and ninety. The present membership is ninety-five, and under the tutelage of the Rev. Maryott the church is in a flourishing condition.
The deacons from the formation of the chruch to the present have been Henry Hull, Ephraim Pierce, Spencer Carr, Ambrose Sanford, Elias D. Dike, Joseph Bates, Clark B. Goodrich, Josiah Waite, Sherman Hand, John T. Horton, Charles H. Spencer, Charles F. Shumway, and Jonathan D. Hull, The clerks, Henry Hull, William Kendall, Amos Chatman, Harvey Cole, Ambrose Sanford, Joseph Bates, and Jonathan D. Hull.
The present trustees are C. Spencer, J. Shumway, H. Parson, J. D. Hull, C. Hemingway, J. H. Clark, Joseph Bates, Franklin Hand, and William Hand.
Adelbert Rogers is the superintendent of a good Sabbath-school connected with the church.