The First Methodist
by Captain Franklin Ellis439
The missionary efforts of the Methodists extended to New Lebanon as early as 1820, services being held at the homes of the members and in school-houses. Later it became a regular appointment in connection with adjoining circuits, the ministry of that period being Revs. Howe, Hazelton, Cooper, and Thomas Kendall, a local preacher. Among the early members were Joseph Cole, John Gardner, Ezra Spier, Sr., David Fellows, Jesse Hand, William Hunt, Pliny Gould; and later, Elias Richmond, Marshall Sherman, Alfred Webster, Lyman Johnson, and Thomas W. Sloan.
On the 15th day of May, 1835, a legal organization was effected, and Ezra G. Spier, William Haight, and Oran Ticknor chosen as trustees. A meeting-house was erected a few miles south of West Lebanon, which was used until about 1870. Services were also held in what was known as the "Christian Union" church, in the hamlet of West Lebanon. This house became the sole property of the Methodists about 1872, since which regular services in town have been confined to this house. It was remodeled in 1864, and is now a comfortable place of worship. The church is estimated worth $4000, and the parsonage $800. The society is at present connected with several appointments in Rensselaer county in forming a circuit, which is served by the Rev. Caleb A. Stevens. The present members number one hundred and sixty-eight, not including thirty probationers.
The pastoral connection since 1837, when New Lebanon became a separate charge, has been as follows: Revs. D. Starks, William M. Chipps, W. D. Stead, Thomas Kirley, Peter M. Hitchcock, Reuben Westcott, D. Crowl, John W. Belknap, Aaron Hall, R. Washburne, A. Richards, Adam Jones, Thomas McMaster, A. Dixon, John Harwood, Rufus Pratt, Elisha B. Huff, Merritt B. Mead, Asaph Shurtleff, William F. Hurd, David Osgood, E. Morgan, Daniel Rose, W. J. Sands, W. W. Foster, Eri Baker, C. C. Bedell, E. A. Braman, E. A. Blanchard, W. W. Whitney, and the present pastor.
Two Sunday-schools are maintained, having a membership of two hundred scholars.