East Hounsfield Christian Church
On Route 3, Town of Hounsfield, Jefferson County, New York
 
 

Modern aerial view. See aerial view for larger area.

1864 map showing location of "Union" Church.
 

        Edgar Emerson's 1898 history of the Town of Hounsfield (p.638) has this to say about the church at East Hounsfield:

" The Christian church of Hounsfield was organized in 1820 by Rev. Lebbeus Field, with an original membership of about 40 persons, but soon afterward a division in the society took place, whereupon a reorganization was effected. The little meeting house at Blanchard's corners was built in 1843, and cost $1,100. Elder Field was connected with the church for many years and was its mainstay and support."

Everts adds:

"Mr. Field continued to be the main pillar of the society until age forbade him to labor longer, yet now, when nearly one hundred years old, he occasionaly finds his way to the tabernacle and listens to words from other lips, speaking upon the same subjects which he discussed more than a half century ago. The present membership of the church is not large."

Emerson continues:

"After his death the church was for a time prosperous but ultimately the congregation decreased in number, and at length the society could no longer support a pastor. Meetings were held irregularly but the church organization is still maintained and occasional services are held."

A 1944 newspaper article about the history of the East Hounsfield Library says this:

A few rods west of the library stands the East Hounsfield Church. As the most of the hamlet's first settlers came from New England, it is not strange that one of the settlers' first thoughts was to form a church and erect a schoolhouse. In 1817 the church society was formed and later the present church was erected. One of the early residing pastors was Rev. B. S. Fanton. This pastor was the founder of the East Hounsfield Religious and Literary Society, now the custodian of the Community library which in its early days held its meetings at the Half Way House.

        Sometime after Emerson's writing, the church became defunct, services ceased, and the building was converted into a residence. In 1936 Harvey A. Humphrey, born 1908, son of Archie Humphrey and Mabel Nicholl, and his wife, Susan Harriet Davy, of Kingston, Ontario, moved into the former church. The couple rasied their children in the home and lived there until Mr. Humphrey's retirement. (Harvey Humphrey created the wooden mold for the chalice piece of the fountain in Public Square, at Watertown.).

        During this period the body of the church was still active in a limited capapity; the 1944 article about the nearby library, referenced above states:  "Among the communtiy groups that use the library are the Home Bureau and the Ladies' Aid of the East Hounsfield Christian church."

        On 18 October 1989, the East Hounsfield Christian Church was entered in the National Register of Historic Places (#89001621).   

        Today, the property still serves as a private residence, and is well maintained.


Sources:  

Allen, Leonard L. "Half Way House Has Interesting History: How Tavern on Sackets Harbor Road Became Library is Recalled." Watertown, NY: Watertown Daily Times, 28 April 1944.

Emerson, Edgar C. "History of the Town of Hounsfield." In: Our County & Its People (1898), p. 638. Online at http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/jefferson/hounsfield/emersonhistory.html#638 [Visited 14 October 2006].

Durant, Samuel W. and Henry B. Peirce. History of Jefferson County, New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1878. p. 395.

Harvey A. Humphrey [obituary]. Unidentified newsclipping, 27 December 1996. Online at: http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=message&r=rw&p=localities.northam.usa.states.
newyork.counties.jefferson&m=6437. [Visited 14 October 2006].


Online at: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/jefferson/hounsfield/easthounsfieldchristianchurch.html
or at hounsfieldhistory.net under "Neighborhoods"

© 2006, Mark A. Wentling : : You are the 6838th visitor!