HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF UNION VALE
HISTORY OF DUTCHESS COUNTY, NEW YORK
By James H. Smith
The churches in this section of the town are those of the Methodist Episcopal and Christian denominations. The edifice of the M. E. Church at North Clove was built in 1834. The Society was organized many years previous. The first trustees were Peter G. Emigh, Abram Cline, Jonathan G. Vincent. These trustees, with the addition of William Coe, acted as a building committee when the church was erected. The pastor at that time was Rev. Samuel Cochrane. The membership is small and is now presided over by Rev. Charles Gorse of La Grangeville.
The first edifice of the Christian denomination was erected in 1825. The origin ;of this society in Union Vale is thus give. About the fall and winter of 1822 and '23, John L. Peavy, then ministering to a church in the northern part of the county, held monthly services at the "Old Union", so called, in the adjoining town of Beekman, where a large and influential class of believers were organized under what was then known as the "Christian Liberty Departure". A few years previous to this, there had been manifested throughout Saratoga and Montgomery counties, a revival spirit of marked power, one of the results being the development of a female preacher of unusual character and influence. Plain and unpretending,--for she came of a family known as Quaker, or Friends,--yet she exerted a wonderful power on the minds of her auditors, and her services were in constant demand. Passing through Columbia County and the northern portion of Dutchess,--having been about a year occupied in her work,--Abigail Hoag Roberts finally appeared within the cirsuit of Mr. Peavey's labors. Doors opened at her coming, and calls for her services came to her from every direction, many more than she could fill, reaching through Putnam County and a portion of Westchester, on the south, and westward across the Hudson, through Orange County and Northern New Jersey.
This was at a time when no house of worship was to be found between the old Beekman town line, on the south, and the "Friends Meeting," at Great Nine Partners, on the north. Mrs. Roberts as a preacher added to her gifts that of a comforter, soothing the afflicted, and lifting the pall of darkness from discouraged minds; sometimes nursing the sick, and always seeking wherever she went, to relieve pain and to shed a halo of light around the hearthstone where she dwelt. In every home she was welcomeed and anxiously looked for, and never did she fail to leave behind her a more favorable impression of the worth of the Christian religion. It was through these considerate and efficient labors that a church was called for by the people of religious faith living in North and South Clove, and also upon the high ground called the "East Mountain".
In the fall of 1823, an extensive revival occurred at the "Old Union."situated at Green Haven,--and many converts were baptised in Johnson's Pond, now known as Slyvan Lake. This revival and its results produced a feeling in favor of the erection of a house of worship in the northern part of the town; as many members resided there and were obliged on each Sabbath to ride eight and ten miles to attend religious service. The matter was earnestly discussed, but the plan was abandoned until the next spring, when it was again and more earnestly revived. During the winter, meetings were sustained at the head of the Clove, at Deacon Stephen Force's on the Ridge, three miles east, and occasionally at Caleb Simpson's two miles south.
Dr. Joseph Hall, of Westchester County, having moved into this section began about this time to preach occasionally. To the movement in general there was much opposition, but the friends of liberal Christianity steadily increased and the work went successfully forward.
In the following spring of 1824, Colonel Henry Uhle and Henry Emigh led off in the erection of a house of worship, the latter giving the land, the former donating the timber and furnishing a large share of the board for the workmen engaged in its construction. Many were liberal in the help they bestowed, and in the early fall succeeding, a neat chapel, for those times appeared. A general meeting was appointed to be held in connection with dedication of the house, in which service Revs Joseph Badger, I. C. Goff, Mark Fernald, and Dr. Joseph Hall participated.
Soon after, a society was organized and supplied for the next four or five years with the itinerant labors of Revs. Levi Hathaway, Daniel Call, and John Hollister. It was toward the close of this time that Mr. Hall was ordained in the New York Eastern Conference. Dividing his labors between the calls of his two-fold profession, he supplied the church as a pastor for three years or more.
October 3, 1834, a general meeting was appointed, and Revs. James Andrew, of Western New York, I. N. Walter, of New York City, and Mrs. Roberts and son were in attendance. This meeting resulted in several conversions and in the removal of much prejudice from the minds of certain professors of religion.
The Rev. Philetus Roberts soon after received from this church and the church in Kingston district, near Danbury, Conn., a unanimous call, and here entered upon his labors as a Christian minister. Nearly thirty members were added to the Union Vale church during the following winter and spring of the 1834-'35. His pastorate lasted until the 1st of April, 1844.
Rev. J. R. Hoag--now laboring in Nebraska--was the next one called to the pastorate, remaining one year. During the succeeding year, the church being without a pastor, Rev. Mr. Roberts supplied the congregation for a few months. Rev. Burrough S. Fanton next succeeded to the pastorate. Revs. John Showers and Richard Mosher afterwards supplied the pulpit, their labors covering a period of some five years.
In the early fall of 1863, the Rev. Philetus Roberts, who had supplied the church with occassional preaching and communion services, introduced to the congregation Stephen Wright Butler, a young man just entering the ministry. The church soon after called for his ordination, and Mr. Butler supplied the church for four and a half years. After Mr. Butler's retirement, Nelson Putnam, an unordained minister, occupied the desk, and his labors were duly appreciated.
Some of the members of the Clove Cemetery Association, whose grounds were some two miles south of the Christian Church edifice, were anxious to have a church erected at the entrance to the cemetery. They held out liberal inducements to the church people to take down their chapel and remove it to the proposed location. Between three and four thousand dollars were raised, and a contract entered into with the builder to take the old house and build a larger one, and from a different model. This was done in 1871 and '72. At the completion of the church building it was formally dedicated to the worship of God, Mr. Roberts giving its past history, and Mr. S. W. Butler, of Fall River, Mass., delivering the dedicatory discourse. Until the fall of 1880 the new church has been supplied with short pastorates; Revs. D. J. Putnam, P. Roberts, Miss H. L. Halsy, J. Q. Helfenstein, and E. D. Hainer, having during that time officiated as ministers to the congretation. Since the fall of 1880 the Rev. J. L. Hainer has held the pastoral charge. The church is prosperous and self-sustaining.
Continued in Part Four
Typed and submitted by
Lynn Airheart Brandvold
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