The History of Otsego, NY
By Holice and Debbie
TOWN OF WORCESTER—Continued.
First Baptist Church — Congregational — Methodist of Worcester — Methodist of South Worcester — Methodist of East Worcester — St. Joseph’s — Second Baptist — Lutheran of South Worcester.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WORCESTER
In the latter part of the year 1798, Rev. Ashbel Hasmer and Rev. John Lawton visited the town of Worcester, and found a number of Baptists there, whom they advised to form into a church. Rev. A. Hasmer baptized one person, and there appeared a pleasing attention among the people. They continued their meetings, and Rev. J. Lawton frequently visited them and baptized three more. After struggling through many difficulties, on Aug. 21, 1799, they were constituted into a regular Baptist church by a council formed of the delegates from the North Burlington, Third Burlington, Butternuts, and Kortright churches.
The church was organized with eight members on West Hill, on the farm where John Fern now lives, then owned by Rufus and Ebenezer Ingalls. The deacons were brothers Cole and Ingalls. The church was received into the Otsego association held at Exeter, Sept. 4, 1799. It afterwards united with the Rensselaerville and Franklin associations. The church and congregation worshipped in dwelling-houses, school-houses, and barns most of the time for a number of years.
A division arose in 1813 or 1814 on a question of discipline, the breach grew wider and wider, and finally the church disbanded. The clerk at that time was Leavitt Chushing. The first church-records were taken to Bainbridge and lost.
The church was reorganized march 10, 1816. Rev. John Warren was chosen moderator, and Samuel Butler, clerk. Eider Warren was the first settled pastor. Among the first members were R. and E. Ingalls, Luding Ingalls and wife, Lionel and Allen Sheldon and wives. From 1816 to 1819 fifteen were received into the church by baptisms. The first ordination was that of Mr. French. The services were held at Deacon Ingalls’ house.
From 1819 to 1822 elders Butler, Mack, March, and Carpenter preached one-quarter of the time each. In November, 1819, David Holmes was ordained deacon. Elder B. Swain preached the sermon. During this year the old church was built, the spiritual birth-place of many precious souls.
At this time the church was strict in its discipline, as it voted to withdraw the hand of fellowship from a number for denying the resurrection and the general judgment. One clause was also added to the articles of faith, for at that time quite a stir was made on these subjects. In January, 1822, Rev. Julius Beeman was elected pastor, and served the church with great acceptance until December, 1827. During the year 1822, Norman Bently was licensed to preach the gospel. In June, 1823, Orange Wright was chosen to serve as deacon. At this time the money to defray the expenses of the church were raised by the system of equality, as two brethren were appointed to collect the tax throughout the church. We have a few years later the following:
Resolved, That each and every church member shall pay their equal proportion in the expenses of the church according to the amount of property intrusted to them.
In 1828 an invitation was extended to Walter Covey; he was received into the church by letter, May 9, and ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, Oct. 28 of the same year. Elder Weeks preached the ordination sermon, Elder Sawin offered the ordaining prayer, Elder Wright gave the charge, Elder Butler gave the hand of fellowship, elder Sawin addressed the church, and Elder Spafford closed by prayer. All of these veterans and ministers of Christ have gone to receive their reward. The church during the next decade was very prosperous. Elder Walter Covey continued his labors for eight years. Eighty-four were baptized his pastorate. In 1837, Rev. D. R. Collins was settled as pastor. At this time there was a very prosperous Sabbath-school, and afterwards it is mentioned as an element of great power and prosperity to the church. In 1838 the records mention a glorious revival. They say, "Backsliders have been reclaimed, sinners converted, and the church enlarged." Fifty-two were received this year by baptism, the largest number in one year during its entire history. Elder Collins preached in the east and west parts of the township, and the great Master blessed his labors abundantly. A committee was appointed to buy half of the Methodist church in West Worcester (the other half was already owned by the Baptist); the purchase was finally made. This Isaac Pierce and Joseph Hartwell were chosen as deacons, and J. W. Starkweather was licensed to preach, and entered Hamilton theological seminary.
In 1811 the church secured the services of Rev. Walter Covey. This was the second pastorate. The gospel was faithfully preached, the members were diligent, prayerful, and united, and in 1812 a glorious revival followed—twenty-two were added by baptism. The records say, "God has visited us in great mercy, and to his great name be all the glory." Elder Covey’s two pastorates covered of period of eighteen years.
In 1850 there was no pastor, but prayer meetings were sustained. Rev. L. E. Spafford preached for the church in 1851. This was a very barren time,--its numbers were reduced to fifty-two. Rev. E. Spafford succeeded his father in July of 1851, and continued until 1856, during which time the church enjoyed the presence of the Savior, union and prosperity. The church was very much strengthened during Elder Spafford’s ministry. In January, 1851, a committee was appointed to consider the propriety of removing the old church or building a new one. The committee finally decided not to remove the old, but to build a new one in the village of East Worcester. In 1855-56 the present church edifice was built at a cost of about $3,000. It was dedicated march 5, 1856. Rev. N. Wright preached on the occasion from the words, "And they set the Ark of God upon a new ??rt." 2 Sam, Vi 3.
Rev. F. Jones was pastor of the church from 1856 to 1859. During this time God did not forget his people, for by the faithful preaching of the word sinners were brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Revs. R. Collins, L. E. Spafford, L. J. Lincoln, and F. Jones succeeded each other, remaining a year each.
In 1863, Rev. J. B. Pixley commenced his labors as pastor, and remained five years. During this time the house of worship was painted, papered, etc. The church grew strong in the principles of Bible truth, and was established in the faith once delivered to the saints. The resources of the church were also developed.
Rev. C. C. Bourn was next pastor for about two years. In 1869 his labors were greatly blessed by a precious revival on West Hill, and many valuable additions were made to the church at this time. Rev. J. Jones was the next pastor. The church continued to prosper during his administration. In 1873, Levi Rury was licensed to preach the gospel. The same year we have this record: "We mourn the death of a former pastor, Rev. C. C. Bourn, who was at the time of his death a member of our church." Brother Bourn was a hard-working servant of Christ. He now rests from his labors.
In 1874, Rev. W. McNeil became pastor of the church, and remained two years. God crowned his efforts with success, and souls were brought to Jesus and united to his people.
Oct. 1, 1876, Rev. J. Evans received a unanimous invitation from the church and entered upon his labors.
This church is the oldest in the Worcester association, and is the spiritual mother of the following churches; Cross Hill (now Richmondville and Fulton), Summit, Westford, Middlefield, Richmondville, Seward Valley, Maryland, and the Second Baptist church of Worcester.
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF WORCESTER
This church was organized on May 19, 1722, by Rev. Uriah Bigelow, with the following named members, viz., Uriah Bigelow, Joseph Flint, Benjamin Taintor, Elijah Houghton, Simeon Chester, and Caleb Boynton. The wives of some of the above were also among the members. The first church edifice was erected in 1822, religious services having been previously held in dwellings and school-houses. In 1860 the church was rebuilt, remodeled, beautified, at an expense of $1,500. Its dimensions are 40 by 60 feet. The present officers are as follows; Isaac Shelland, John Ferguson, Hamilton Waterman, and William J. Sloan, deacons. The church is prosperous, has a membership of one hundred and fourteen, and is under the care of Rev. John M. Chase, the first regularly installed pastor.
METHODIST CHURCH OF WORCESTER
This church was organized in 1836 by the Rev. A. E. Daniels, who officiated as the first pastor, and was succeeded by Martin Marvin. The society was without a church edifice until 1840. When a neat and substantial building was erected. The present edifice was erected in 1871, at a cot of $3,500. The church is now in a prosperous condition.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH WORCESTER
This church was organized by Rev. C. W. Lyon, with twenty-six members. The house of worship was erected in 1888, at a cost of $2,500.
METHODIST CHURCH, EAST WORCESTER
The first Methodist society in East Worcester was formed about the year 1823 or 1824. Mrs. Elizabeth Champion, wife of John Champion, being a firm believer in the doctrines and principles advocated by the Methodists, and no meetings ever yet having been held in that locality by the Methodists, she feeling the necessity of some church organization with which she could worship, gave notice that there would be a Methodist meeting, near the Corners, on a certain Sabbath evening. She sent word to a local preacher named Depew, at Elliott Hill, to come and preach to them. The time arrived; no preacher came. The house was well filled with eager listeners to hear a Methodist preacher. They were like to be disappointed, when Mrs. Champion arose, and, in a concise a manner as she could, explained the principles and doctrines of the Methodist religion. She then talked and prayed with them, and at the close of the meeting asked if there were any others who were willing to join with her in holding prayer-meetings, etc. She found two others, who with her, agreed to hold meetings, and they thus banded themselves together as a class. Another meeting was appointed, at which Elder Depew attended, and preached an old-fashioned Methodist sermon. Other meetings were held, and preaching was done alternately by elder Depew and Jeremiah Simmons. A series of meetings were held, and during the winter of 1824, and before the winter was over, names were not wanting. A goodly number came forward and joined the class. The next hear this class was placed within the bounds of the circuit, and ever after they had circuit preaching, until in later years they built a fine church edifice in which meetings are yet held.
The land for the East Worcester Methodist Episcopal church, located on the road to South Hill, in rear of the brick store, was donated to the society by Leonard Caryl, who subscribed liberally toward its erection; and to Mr. Caryl, and Aaron and James A. Champion, the building of the church edifice is chiefly due. It was erected previous to 1839. "It was a heavy tax," says S. B. Champion, "on a few persons, and when the committee was soliciting contributions, they called on John champion, the ‘hotel preacher’ as he was extensively known, for aid. He promised to pay a certain amount if they would grant him the privilege of preaching the first sermon in it after its completion. This was readily agreed to. At the dedication, when the preliminaries had taken place and all were ready for the sermon by the presiding elder, Uncle John left his seat and started for the pulpit. All eyes were turned on the old gray-haired veteran, and those in the pulpit seemed to hesitate, not knowing what was going to occur. Many of the auditors knew what was coming. One of the sons attempted to persuade him to relinquish his plan, as it might disturb the proceedings. He pushed the son aside, with the remark that he knew what he was about to do. On reaching the altar, he addressed the ministers, and related, in a clear voice, the contract made, and said that he ready to fulfill the last of the bargain on his part. The ministers stood aside, the old gentleman took his text, and for twenty or thirty minutes addressed the crowded house in a manner never before nor since known. It almost seemed at if St. John, the apostle, was speaking in his own flesh and blood. He concluded by trusting that those who were to occupy the sacred desk would preach only from the Holy Bible before him, with love to all, laying all bigotry, superstition, intolerance, and fanaticism, to the end that all might become better and prepared to occupy another temple not made with hands. Also thanked all concerned, walked back to his seat, and the dedication exercises proceeded." The church edifice was enlarged in 1866, and rededicated by Rev. H. Robinson, assisted by Rev. Wm. Bixley.
ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH (CATHOLIC)
This church was organized April 10, 1874, and the following chosen trustees: James McMullen, Michael C. Mooney, and Michael Boyling. The church edifice was erected in 1875, at a cost of $1,900.
The first pastor was Father J. J. Brosnan, who is the present pastor.
This church was named in honor of Judge Joseph F. Daily, of new York, who gave it $1,000.
THE SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH OF WORCESTER
This church was organized March 30, 1841, with the following members: D. B. Collins, Catharine Collins, Isaac Pierce, William Cook, William Pierce, John Cook, John Cleveland, Benj. Starkweather, Luther Markham, Otis Bates, Smith Lobdell, Milton Wright, Oscar B. Osborn, John W. Starkweather, Harriet Storrs, Elizabeth Markham, Sarah Houghton, Matilda Pierce, Louisa Cook, Electra Starkweather, Chancellor Ingalls, Moses Bennett, Quartus Markham, Sarah utter, L. Wright, Polly Wright, Caroline Utter, Sally Fuller, Eliza Lobdell, Phebe Clark, Elizabeth Holmes, Harriet butler, Orilla Guernsey, Unia Ingalls, Elizabeth Ingalls, and Saloma Freeman. The first pastor was D. B. Collins, and the first deacons, Isaac Pierce, William Pierce, William Cook, and the first clerk, John Cook. The first church edifice was purchased of the Methodist society, and erected by them in 1838; size 36 by 40 feet, and cost $800. Previous to this purchase services were held in the "Old Academy Building" at Tuscalon, a settlement about one mile west of Worcester village. In 1876 this old building was superseded by the present edifice, which was erected at a cost of about $5,000. It is 40 by 70 feet, and has a seating capacity of 400. It was dedicated by J. E. Cheshire, D. D., of Montrose, Pa.
The following have served this church as pastors from its organization to the present time, viz.: D. B. Collins, eleven years; Jesse Evans, seven years; J. B. Pixley, four years; Ingraham Powers, seven years; H. Brotherton, four years; and T. Simpkins, three years, the present pastor. the present deacons of the church are as follows: Nathaniel Storrs, Francis Goodrich, Chester Jacox, and Albert Wilson; John d. Wilcox, clerk. The church is in a prosperous condition, and has a membership of 167.
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH, SOUTH WORCESTER
This church was organized in 1834, by J. Selmsor. The church building was erected in 1834; size 45 by 50 feet.
The following are the present officers: Peter Hallenbech, John Wilbur, Henry Hauch, and O. J. Mambray
The following have served as pastors of the church: J. Selmsor, two years; N. Van Alstine, two years; T. Plato, four years; C. Ochampaugh, one year; L. Wheelock, two years; B. Diefendorf, fifteen years; Mr. Bruce, present pastor, has served the church fourteen years.
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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