The Methodist Society was organized here a few years after the beginning of the present century. Meetings were held once in four weeks at the house of Col. PEARCE. The first Quarterly Meeting was held in Col. PEARCE's orchard, the preacher's stand being under an apple tree. Among the early ministers were Revs. William THATCHER, Nathan STREATHEN, Nathan or John EMORY, an Irishman by the name of MORIARITY, Billy HIBBARD, Elijah WOOLSEY, and Beardsley NORTHROP. The first attempt to build a house of worship was made in the year 1812. Col. PEARCE headed a subscription list for that purpose, and a church edifice was soon after erected about a quarter of a mile north of the present Pawling depot. Col. PEARCE dying early in the year 1813, the building was not finished; but it served as a house of worship until the completion of the Harlem Railroad, when, at about that time, a small building was erected near the Pawling depot. This soon being considered too small to accommodate the congregation, was sold to the Catholics, and a subscription was started to build a larger one. Daniel DODGE, father-in-law to John B. DUTCHER, superintended the building of both churches, and not only subscribed liberally towards both, but laid the foundations of the last church with his own hands. This, the present building, was raised about the first of September 1864. The membership is now quite large, and is ministered to by the Rev. Mr. HUNT.
The first tradition regarding the Baptist Cause in Pawling, is of the preaching of the Rev. Henry CARY, some time previous to 1766. He preached in a log meeting house, which was situated about a mile north of this village, near what was afterward known as the Camp Meeting Woods.
Elder John LAWRENCE began to preach in this town in 1770, and was the first pastor of the church that was organized before the war of the Revolution, in 1775. He is reported to have preached thirteen or fourteen years, and under his ministration the church flourished. He moved away in June 1785, and his successor was Elder Phineas CLARK, who ministered to the congregation about three years, or until 1788. He was succeeded by Elder Nehemiah JOHNSON. He commenced preaching when Elder Clark left, and continued his services until July 1841, a period of fifty-three years. The meeting house where he preached most, known as the Johnson meeting house, was situated on the summit of the west mountain, near the dugway, and near the north line of the town.
In 1853, a new and comfortable church edifice was built near the south end of Whaley Pond. The First Baptist Church is still prosperous, and is performing a good mission in that part of the town. The pulpit is supplied now by Rev. William B. HARRIS, of the Luddingtonville church. The Clerk of the society is Van Ness DENTON.
The Central Pawling Baptist Church was organized in 1852. Their first church edifice was erected in 1853 and dedicated that fall. The dedicatory services were conducted by Rev. Thomas ARMITAGE and Elder CLAPP. In 1853, Elder Jas. W. JONES resigned his pastorate. He was succeeded by Rev. A. W. VALENTINE. Rev. A.W. VALENTINE resigned the pastorate in April, 1860, and was succeeded by Rev. S. L. HOLMAN, who preached here and in the Beekman church. In the fall of 1864, Elder HOLMAN resigned and the church for a season was without regular preaching. In January 1865, D. Van FRADENBURG was engaged as a supply, remaining until the first of April. On the second Sabbath of that month the church sevured the services of Rev. George W. BARNES, of Rosendale. In September of this year Elder BARNES resigned, and Rev. William Parsons was engaged as supply, remaining one year. In September, Rev. D. T. HILL began his labors as pastor.
In October, 1874, E. D. STEARNES, a licentiate of the First Dover Church, began his labors, preached through the winter, and was ordained on the 14th of April following. In May 1876, was begun the work of removing the church edifice to the present site. It was enlarged, remodeled, and refurnished during this season, and was re-dedicated on the 21st of December, by Rev. J. D. FULTON, D. D. Sabbath school and other meetings were held in the parsonage during the re-construction of the church.
About $16,000 had been expended in the purchase of the new site and in removing and repairing the church building, which, on the evening of June 8, 1879, was destroyed by fire. Most of the furniture was saved, and $4,000 of insurance was obtained. To this the liberal community added so much that the house and lot in the rear was purchased for $1,100, and the present beautiful church edifice was erected, furnished, and paid for within a year. The cost was nearly $8,000. It was dedicated June 16, 1880. The new bell was given by John B. DUTCHER. The present membership of the church is ninety, still presided over by Rev. Chester L. VAN ALLEN.
The Catholic Society, (St. John's Church) was organized here in 1868, by Father P. W. Tandy. Among the early members were John HOPPER, James COLLIER, Martin GILROY, and David SCULLY. Previous to that time the Catholics of Pawling were obliged for a number of years to worship in private houses.
The Methodist Episcopal Society at Reynoldsville was formed about severty years ago. There is a lack of authentic records concerning this church. The church edifice was built twenty-nine years ago and was dedicated by the Rev. J. B. WAKELY, of New Jersey. Previous to this the meetings were held in private houses and in the school house. The present class leaders are Henry TURNER, George S. TURNER and Silas ABBOTT. There can be given no connected or dated list of pastors. The following, however, have been among the ministers who have presided over the society: Revs. John REYNOLDS, SELLICK, Ira FERRISS, BANCROFT, LENT, DICKERSON, CULVER, DAVIS, G. HEARN, B. STEBBINS, Aaron HUNT, J. CROFT, Asa P. LYON, George KNAPP, J. A. EDMONDS, DANIELS, M. M. CURTIS, IVES, V. N. TRAVER, SCRIVES, and Robert HUNT.
Here the Pawling Chapter continues with a section on Quaker Hill
Typed and submitted by Lynn Airheart Brandvold
Back to Town History and Biography Index Page