Cooperstown, Otsego, NY
Churches, Part IV
By Holice and Debbie

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Churches, Part IV


The first divine service according to the rites of the Episcopal church performed in this village was in the year 1797, when the Rev. Thomas Ellison, of Albany, preached in the court-house. Mr. Cooper, in his chronicles of Cooperstown, says, "On the 10th day of September, 1800, the eldest daughter of Judge Cooper was killed by a fall from a horse. Her funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Daniel Nash, of the Protestant Episcopal church, and she was interred according to the rites of that church, which were now performed for the first time in this village. Mr. Nash, since so well known in his own church for his apostolic simplicity, under the name of Father Nash, was then a missionary in the country. From this time he began to extend his services to Cooperstown, and in the first day of January, 1811, a church was legally organized under the title of Christ church. On the same day, Mr. Nash was chosen rector, which office, through the delicacy of the clergyman who succeeded him in his duties, he informally held down to the day of his death, in 1836."

About he year 1806 the ground now owned and occupied by the Episcopalians was given them by Judge Cooper. Already several person shad been interred in the Episcopal ground. Miss Susan Fenimore Cooper, in her "Rural Hours," says, "The oldest tomb belonging to the good people of this little town lies within the bounds of the Episcopal church-yard, and bears the date of 1792.It was a child. Close at hand is another stone bearing date two years later and marking the grave of the first adult who fell among the little band of colonists.

"At the time these graves were dug the spot was in a wild condition upon the borders of the forest, the wood having been only partially cut away. In a few years other members of the little community died at intervals, and they were also buried here, until the spot had gradually taken its present character of a burying-ground. The rubbish was cleared away, place was made for those who must follow, and ere many years had passed the brick walls of a little church rose within the inclosure, and were consecrated to the worship of the Almighty by the venerable bishop, Benjamin Moore, on the 8th day of July, 1810."

After the foundation of the present brick edifice was laid, and the walls had advanced to their proper height, the work came to a stop for the want of pecuniary resources, and for a year or two stood uninclosed. At the meeting of the vestry held in May, 1815, the following resolutions were passed:

Resolved, that a committee be appointed to draw up and circulate a subscription paper, for the purpose of completing the church, painting the steeple, etc.

Resolved, That a committee be also appointed to obtain pecuniary assistance for the above purpose from Trinity church, New York city.

The corporation of Trinity church has previously, in 1806, donated $1500 to aid in erecting the church and in this is the only gift to this congregation mentioned by Rev. Dr. Berrian in his list of Trinity church grants, the above application was probably unsuccessful.

At the meeting in January, 1811, for the purpose of legally organizing the parish, the Rev. Daniel Nash was called to the chair, and Isaac Cooper was chosen clerk. The first wardens were Daniel Johnson, of Fly Creek, and Orlo Allen, of this village. The first vestry was constituted as follows: Isaac Cooper, Richard Davidson, Ira Starr, John F. Ernst, Elijah H. Metcalf, Calvin Comstock, Asael Jarvis, and Wm. T. Lattin.

In 1812, John F. Ernst and Asael Jarvis were chosen wardens, and Mr. Isaac Cooper was the delegate to diocesan convention.

In 1813-14, same wardens, Ernst and Jarvis, were re-elected. In the latter year Mr. Nash attended the convention, and was styled the "Rector of the Episcopal churches in Otsego County."

In 1815, John F. Ernst and Bartlett Rogers were chosen wardens, and James Fenimore Cooper was delegate to the convention.

In 1816, same wardens. In 1817, Daniel Johnson was elected in the place of John f. Priest. The following year Mr. Ernst was again chosen warden with Mr. Rogers, and they were elected each successive year until 1824.

In 1818, Mr. Nash "manifested his intention to resign the rectorship of Christ church, and Mr. F. T. tiffany was appointed, at the request of the vestry, by Bishop Hobart to be a lay reader for the congregation," and in 1818 he assumed the pastoral care of the parish.

In 1821, Mr. Tiffany attended the convention, and in 1822,William H. Averill and J. D. Husbands were delegates. During the years 1821 and 1822 the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Orderson officiated for this church at various times during the absence of Dr. Tiffany.

In 1824, Bartlett Rogers and Ezra Williams were chosen wardens, and in the following tear Ezra Eaton was elected in place of Mr. Williams. In 1825, Ezra Eaton and Anson Higby were chosen warden. In this year the parish ceased to be a missionary station. Messrs. Eaton and Higby continued as wardens until 1830, when George Pomeroy was chosen as the successor to Mr. Eaton.

In 1831 a lot adjoining the church was purchased, and the rectory built. Messrs. Higby and Pomeroy continued as wardens until Easter Sunday, 1939, a period of eight years.

J. Fenimore Cooper and E. D. Richardson were delegates to the convention in 1838. In 1839, George Pomeroy and John Russell were chosen wardens, and officiated in that capacity until 1844. In 1839, Mr. Tiffany was formally chosen rector of Christ church. In 1844-45, Messrs. Pomeroy and Anson Higby were elected wardens. May 12, 1845, Mr. Tiffany resigned the rectorship of the parish. The delegates this year to the convention were J. Fenimore Cooper and Judge Samuel Nelson. Rev. Alfred B. Beach succeeded Mr. Tiffany, who officiated until the call of Rev. Stephen H. Battin, Nov. 10, 1848. In 1846, Rev. Mr. Beach and Theodore Keese represented the parish in convention, and Messrs. George Pomeroy and Thomas McIntosh were elected wardens. In 1847, wardens, henry Scott and Henry Miller; delegates to convention, Rev. Mr. Beach, Theodore Keese, and J. Fenimore Cooper. 1848, same wardens. Mr. Battin entered upon the charge of his duties of rector Nov. 24, 1848. 1949, same wardens; Rev. Mr. Battin and Theodore Keese delegates to convention. 1850, Henry Scott and Theodore Keese wardens; and Theodore Keese and J. Fenimore Cooper delegates to convention. Wardens in 1851, Henry Scott and J. Fenimore Cooper; the rector and Mr. Keese were in the convention. Wardens chosen in 1852, Messrs. Henry Scott and T. Keese; delegates to convention, the rector, T. Keese, and William H. Averill. In this year, the church edifice was improved and beautified, and for the first time in the history of the parish the communicants exceeded one hundred. 1853, wardens same as last year, and same delegates to convention. (The History of Otsego, NY, Duane Hamilton Hurd, 1878)

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Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Copyright Debbie Axtman and Holice B. Young

December 24, 1999

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