Cape Vincent

Methodist Episcopal Church of St. Lawrence

Roman Catholic Churches


Religious Services

The Presbyterian Church

The Episcopal Church

The Christian Church

The Methodist Episcopal Churches

Masonic Lodge


The first Methodist class was formed with Morris Cornwell and wife, Christopher Treadwell and wife, and Mrs. Jeremiah Newville, as the original members. This class was organized later than 1840 and continued till August 17, 1868, when the "Second Methodist Episcopal church of the town of Cape Vincent," was begun, and the following trustees elected: Samuel Dillen, Edward R. Farr, Alonzo Walrath, for three years: Albert E. Rice and Alanson Abby for two years; and Samuel Swartwout and Russel Wright for one year. The house of worship was erected in the summer of 1869, and dedicated the following December. Previous to the organization of the church, St. Lawrence was only a preaching station. The largest revival, probably, ever know in the vicinity blessed the congregation during the winter of 1874 and 1875, and very large accessions were made to the membership. The preachers have been D. W. Aylesworth, 1868-70; C. Manson, 1871; S. F. Kenyon, 1872; William Merrifield, 1873-74. The present pastor is W. P. Hall, who began his labors in 1975. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


It is a matter of regret that records concerning these churches are not at hand for the purpose of a historical narrative. The church building at Cape Vincent was dedicated in June, 1858, with Bishop McCloskey officiating. The church building at French Settlement was given by Mr. Le Ray to the society, which now contemplates a removal to Rosiere. The present structure has been pronounced unsafe for use, and a new home of worship will doubtless be constructed with the coming year. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


Two noteworthy visits were made to this town by Mormon elders, in 1833 and about 1848. They assumed to work miracles,--heal the sick by miraculous power, and Patton and Parish, who were the first visitors, claimed the ability "to interpret any language that man could speak." Crosby and Brown, who followed these, fifteen years later, attempted all manner of wonderful works except to raise the dead. The raising of the dead man they prudently never attempted. Sometimes they would baptize, and always by immersion, in the night. To give a weird character to the performance, on of the young converts was baptized in a large well. Meetings were held at St. Lawrence and Wilson Settlement, and during 1833 in Cape Vincent. In some instances whole families went over to Mormonism, and all grew merry as a marriage-bell,--for the more marriages the better,--till challenges were issued for a public debate with any one who believed they had no right to as many wives as Abraham, or as much divine power as Paul. It happened in 1833 that Rev. William Moore, but a short time in this country from Ireland, was supplying the pulpit of the Presbyterian church. He belonged to the Methodist denomination. At one of their Mormon meetings Patton boldly advocated his supernatural gift of tongues, and challenged any person in the house to dispute the claim or the doctrine of the Mormon religion. Mr. Moore quietly arose in his seat and accepted the challenge. The time of the debate was at once arranged, and when the evening came the house was crowded at an early hour. Mr. Moore had agreed to speak first, and began with these words from the Bible: "O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" (Acts xiii,10.) He spoke about an hour, showed the difference between the miracles of the Scriptures, and these of these Mormon advocates, and closed by calling attention to Patton's claim, publicly and audaciously made, that he could interpret any language under the sun. Then turning to Patton he repeated the Apostle's Creed in genuine Irish, and told him to interpret the same. Not a word could he get from him or the other Mormon. They were sick. The congregation and Mr. Moore waited towards half an hour, but not one word was heard in reply. Persons in the congregation arose and addressed them, and a listener said that the Mormon preacher finally told Mr. Patton that he dare not undertake to speak those Irish words, for if he did it would crack his jaw. They left town soon after.

Crosby and Brown, at St. Lawrence, about 1848, came to an end equally uncomfortable. This was done by a sermon from a Baptist minister, still living in this county. They invited Elder Blount to preach on the promise of Christ to give miraculous power to his followers, and to show why it might not be fulfilled in their case. He finally accepted the invitation. At the appointed time all the neighborhood were present.

Brown and Crosby had very earnestly declared that they had cured a sick child by prayer and the paying on of hands; But elder Blount inquired how it happened that the boy finally died, if he was healed by them? These two sorcerers had also stated, and their followers confirmed their statement, that they frequently removed distressing headaches by fine influences; but later the elder asked why it was, then, that they secretly gave a rousing emetic? Perhaps they intended to throw the headache out of the mouth. The Apostle James speaks of anointing the sick with oil and praying over them. The Mormons declared that they had done that very thing in the case of rheumatic individuals with instantaneous effect; but the Baptist minister, who had slyly been instructed in the details of the anointing, proved to the audience that they nearly skinned the back of one poor fellow by rubbing it with turpentine and then applying a hot shovel. This kind of debating soon checked the religious wickedness and nonsense, and the next spring Crosby and Brown, with a few adherents, went back to Nauvoo. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


The first religious services were conducted by Mr. Richard M. Esselstyn in his own house. The meetings were held each Sabbath, when the Episcopal service and a sermon were read by him, followed by an extempore prayer from Deacon Kindall, who was a Baptist. Previous to 1820, missionaries came into the settlement, and the names of a Mr. Avery and a Mr. Flint are still remembered. There is still preserved the original draft of a paper stating that the first Sabbath school was started on July 30, 1820, with J. B. Esselstyn and Buel Fuller as managers, R. M. Esselstyn superintendent, and Mr. Ellis teacher. There is also the draft of the first ? that formed the "Auxiliary Female Missionary Society of Cape Vincent." This organization was before that of any church, and not far from the date of starting the first town Bible society.

The names of the members, signed by their own hand, as the old paper indicates from which the following list was made, were as follows:
Charity Esselstyn Jane Forsyth Hannah Ainsworth
Sally T. Rogers Delia Esselstyn Cynthia Rogers
Clarissa Rogers Lydia W. Brewster Hannah P. Esselstyn
Mrs. Cochran Rebecca Johnson Abigail Smith
Lucy Kelsey Tryphena Buckley Sally Fuller
Jemima Merritt Lydia Lake Lucinda Chapman
Jane Pator Lois Hubbard Mary Hubbard
Laura C. Kelsey Sarah S. Kelsey Emily Hibbard
Phebe Green    

(Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


The Presbyterian church began its formal existence on march 2, 1823, at the house of Oliver Lynch. Rev. Noah M. Wells, of Brownville, moderated the meeting, and probably drew up the confession of faith and the covenant, which were then adopted. The following eight person constituted the original membership: Oliver Lynch, Abraham Morrow, Matilda Lynch, Jane Forsyth, Mary Forsyth, Cynthia Rogers, Hezekiah H. Smith, and Amarilla Mills. At this meeting Jedediah Mills was received on profession, and Oliver Lynch and Abraham Morrow were chosen elders and deacons. On the 25th of the next June the church was received into the presbytery of St. Lawrence; the same day Charles G. Finney, who became the eminent revivalist, was taken under its care as a candidate for the gospel ministry.

In 1824 a large meeting of this ecclesiastical body was held in our village. The first services were begun in a school-house that stood near the old cemetery; afterwards in a hatter's shop on Broadway; then in the ball-room of the Rathbun house; next in a wheel-wright's shop; and later still, in the upper room of a store at the foot of James street, that was burned many years ago. On the 13th of February, 1823, the "First Presbyterian Society" was organized, with Simon Howard, Henry Ainsworth, Michael Myers, R. T. Lee, and James Buckley as trustees. The church building was commenced the same year, $400 and the lot having been given by Mr. Le Ray towards the project. It was occupied the next year by the use of temporary seats, and continued in an unfinished state till about 1840, when the inside was completed.

Rev. Jedediah Burchard was the first minister, who came in 1824, and during the two years of his ministry increased the membership to more than 50 person. There were large accessions in 1850. In 1852, the year when the bell was purchased, the church numbered 135 members.

The wheelwright-shop, where the early services were held, was without much underpinning, and stood two or three feet above the ground. One Sabbath, while Mr. Burchard was preaching very earnestly on the willingness of doing whatever God calls upon us to do, he was greatly annoyed by half a dozen pigs that grunted and rooted around beneath the shop floor. Neither did it please the congregation. Suddenly grace and patience gave way, when Mr. Burchard stopped short in his discourse and called out, "Rudolph shepherd, drive out those hogs."

The pastors of the Presbyterian church have been as follows: Jedediah Burchard, 1824-25; services for several years after depended upon uncertain finances; David Smith and Lucius Foote were her before 1830, Revs Chittendon, Robins, and Leonard preached before 1839; T. C. Hill, 1840; H. H. Morgan, 1842; Hugh Carlisle, 1845; F. J. Jackson, 1849; A. Crocker,Jr, 1854; George Richie, 1856; Samuel L. Merrell, 1857. Rev. S. L. Merrell resigned his charge of the Presbyterian church in June, 1861, and entered the 35th Infantry as chaplain. He served his full term of enlistment. H. H. Hill, 1863; J. B. Preston, 1865; E. H. Pratt, January, 1871. The present pastor, M. E. Grant, commenced his labors in 1877. The present elders are R. T. Lee, Austin Rogers, James Howard, and Edgar Vincent; the first two are also deacons. The trustees are Willard Ainsworth, W. O. Horton, William Grant, James Howard, and Edgar Vincent. The Sabbath school is in a flourishing condition. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


As already indicated, the first religious services were Episcopalian, and conducted by Richard Esselstyn. These services were continued with more or less frequency, some times at Cape Vincent, and sometimes at Millen's Bay, till St. John's parish was organized, January 25, 1841, while rev. John Noble was rector. John B. Esselstyn and Nelson B. Williams were then chosen wardens; and Nelson Potter, Otis P. Starkey, Robert Bartlett, Calvin Pool, Judah T. Ainsworth, Robert Moore, Rice parish, and Wm. Esselstyn , vestrymen. The lot upon which the church building stands was the gift of Mr. Starkey, and contained an acre of land. The first interment in the parish cemetery was the body of Jonathon Howland, who died the same year of the organization, at the age of sixty years. The building was erected in 1841, and consecrated on the second day of June, 1842, with the approbation of Bishop De Lancey. A neat parsonage was built not long after the church edifice. At the present time, and this has been the case for several years past, the rector of St. John's parish holds preaching services, every other Sabbath afternoon, at Millen's Bay. There is a good building at the Bay, which was completed in 1872 by the union efforts of the Episcopalians and the Methodists of that place. The Methodist class there is connected with the charge of St. Lawrence, and has a regular service on alternate Sabbaths. The clergymen of St. John's parish have been N. Watkins, 1841; Samuel H. Norton, 1846; Richard S. Adams, 1850; John Abercrombie, 1852; Edward Moyses, 1855; Edward Kennedy, 1857; A. M. Lewis, 1860; W. H. Lord, 1864; N. F. Whiting, D.D., 1865; J. B. Linn, 1869. The present rector is Rev. G. G. Perrine; W. M. Johnson and E. C. Kelsey, wardens; Judah T. Ainsworth, E. K. Burnham, C. C. Brown, G. A. Ainsworth, L. O. Woodruff, John Armstrong, J. A. Scobel, and G. R., Starkey, vestrymen. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


The first society of this order was formed by Elder Jason McKee, who was then living near Stone Mills, in the town of Orleans. It was in the fall of 1833. Shepherd Warren and wife, Edwin Tuttle and wife, Joel Torrey and wife, Simeon Adams and wife, William Torrey, F. O. Torrey, and Addison Howard constituted the first members. Shepherd Warren and Joel Torrey were the first deacons, and Simeon Adams the first clerk, which position he gave up in 1839, and was succeeded by F. O. Torrey. Up to 1840 the names of its record-book had numbered one hundred and forty-one persons. Its pastors have been as follows, giving the year when they commenced their labors: Elder Jason McKee, 1833; G. S. Warren, 1835; Lyman Smith, 1843, who served two years, and was chosen a second time in 1850; between 1856 and 1860 Joseph Starkey, Jason McKee and Elder Green were employed; Geo. R. Torrey was the last pastor.

In 1850 the church numbered fifty members, but no services have been held for many months, nor is there reason to suppose they will be revived. The society never had a church building, and the places of meeting have been at Warren Settlement, Burnt Rock, French Settlement, Fox Creek, North Shore, St. Lawrence, Livingstone school-house, and Grindstone island, where the present organization exists. This denomination was the pioneer church in all the above-named places, except North shore. Elder G. R. Torrey started the first permanent Sabbath school in Warren Settlement, in the summer of 1850. One was organized in that neighborhood in 1833, but after six or eight weeks it failed. Mr. Torrey's school continued until 1863, and was conducted by himself, each year increasing in interest, with the exceptions of one, and given up in 1864, during the time of the civil war. The school was strictly a union effort, and during the Rebellion scarcely any other religious meeting was held in the Warren Settlement. (Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


Although the Methodist church was organized several years after those already named, yet it was this denomination which maintained the first stated preaching. A class was formed not far from 1820, and the first conference appointment was that of Seth Green, in 1827. From 1827 to the present time preaching has been given directly in accordance with the plans of the conference, or else under the management of the presiding officer. During the early history of the field, which embraced the northern territory of Jefferson County, the quarterly meetings were very largely attended by people who lived many miles away from the place of gathering. The church in the village of Cape Vincent was legally organized on October 14, 1851, under the ministry of Rev. William Jones, and with a membership of fifty-five persons, twelve of whom were probationers. The names of the original trustees were William King, George Akerline, William Esselstyn, Philetus Judd, Asa S. Jones, John Hollenbeck, and John Nims. It is stated that the property of the society, twenty-five years ago, consisted of a good cooking-stove, with it necessary pipe and furniture. Sabbath services were held in the stone school-building on Point street, until the erection of the church in 1855. In 1854 a Methodist Sunday school was organized with thirty scholars, and this was after the school established on the North Shore. The parsonage belonging to this society was completed two years ago, a portion of the present house having been purchased for that purpose previous to 1874. Until 1876, the church received aid from the missionary society, but it is now self-supporting. 

The Methodist preachers at Cape Vincent have been Revs. Sedon, Erckanbrack, Goodrich, White, Dyton, and Williams, who were here before 1827, as occasional supplies.

Seth Young 1827
Eliza Dewey 1828
H. Shepherd and F. H. Stanton 1830
R. Everdale 1833
F. H. Stanton 1834
H. Shepherd and J. Irvine 1835
Enoch Barnes and A. E. Munson 1836
Orra Squires 1837-38
William Tripp 1839-40
Benjamin Phillips 1841-42
S. Slater 1843
L. Dikins and G. W. Plank 1845
J. R. Lewis and T. B. Brown 1846
T. B. Brown 1849
Wm. Jones 1851
J. B. Van Petten 1853
A. J. Church 1854
O. Holmes, 1855
G. M. Pierce 1856
J. F. Dayan 1858---church dedicated, 1959
A. T. Copeland 1860
E. E. Kellogg 1861
A. N. Damon 1863
J. B. McCullough 1866
G. P. Kenny 1868
C. E. Dorr, 1870
A. M. Fradenburgh 1871
O. P. Pitcher 1874
N. M. Caton present pastor is
William Esselstyn class-leader
W. W. Shelley, Norman Ross, J. B. Esselstyn, E. D. Hilts, Philip Marks, William Lanfear, and William Wheelock trustees
Mr. Pitcher was engaged during the Rebellion as a missionary among the soldiers, under the auspices of the Christian Commission of the Young Men's Christian Association, of Washington, D. C.

(Jefferson County History, by L. H. Everts, 1878 - Transcribed by Holice B.Young. Original HTML by Debbie Axtmantop


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