The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF EXETER was formed
July 11, 1806, by the Rev. Wm. GRAVES, missionary from
the State of Connecticut. The first members were as follows:
Asahel WILLIAMS, Samuel SEYMOUR, Hope HOLLISTER,
Priscilla CUSHMAN, David BRYAN, Mary PLUMB,
Elknah HIGGINS, Wm. ABEEL, Irena MAY, John PHILIPS,
Elias HIGGINS, Azubah WHITE, E. DAILEY, Anna
CRANWELL, Hannah MORSE, Nancy CHILD, David
HOLLISTER, Minerva CUSHMAN, and Mahitable
PHILIPS. The first officers were Ashabel WILLIAMS,
deacon, and Samuel SEYMOUR, clerk. A church building
was erected in about the year 1817, and rebuilt in 1859.
The present organization is Presbyterian, and its officers are
Alonzo CURTIS and H. N. WOOD, deacons. The last
officiating pastor of the church was Frank W. TOWNSEND.
The METHODIST EPISCOPAL Church at Exeter Centre
was organized Nov. 19, 1821, as the "Methodist Episcopal
church in Otsego and Cooperstown." The following-named
persons were chosen first trustees: Elijah BABCOCK, Calvin
HUNTLEY, P. ANGELL, Thomas D. MITCHELL, and
Elisha SHEPHERD. The first services of this society were
held in a barn built by Thomas ANGELL, on the premises
now owned by David ANGELL, on "Angell Hill." Among
the first pastors were Revs. Geo. GARY, Chas. GILES, and
a Mr. CHASE. The present trustees are David R. ANGELL
and John W. BALL; Oscar E. ANGELL, clerk. The present
pastor is Rev. Truman F. HALL. Membership, 36.
The METHODIST EPISCOPAL church of West Exeter
was organized in about the year 1830, and for many years
was connected with the Exeter Centre charge of the Methodist
Episcopal church. In the year 1873 it was annexed to
the Edmeston charge, and remained two years, when it was
attached to the Exeter charge. Among the first members are
mentioned the names of Calvin HUNTLEY, Olive HUNTLEY,
Martha HUNTLEY, Mr. HUNTLEY (father of Calvin
HUNTLEY), John HARRINGTON, Samantha HARRINGTON,
Noel HARRINGTON, Hannah HARRINGTON, E. TAYLOR
and wife. The first church building erected was a frame
structure 32 by 45 feet, and cost about $1500. It was built
in 1839. This building was destroyed by fire March 31, 1872,
and rebuilt during the summer of 1873. It was dedicated Nov.
20, 1873, the dedicatory sermon being delivered by Rev. H.
H. WHEELER. The new building is 32 by 45 feet, and was
erected at a cost of about $3700.
The present officers are as follows: William JOHNSON,
Delevan HUNTLEY, and Calvin HUNTLEY, trustees, and
Delevan HUNTLEY and John C. JONES, stewards. Present
pastor, Rev. Truman F. HALL. Membership, 34
The FREE-WILL BAPTIST church of Schuyler's Lake
was organized as a FREE COMMUNION society in 1821 by
Elder William HUNT. This organization was effected in
the old Tunnicliff house, about three miles below Schuyler's
Lake, and consisted of the following persons, viz.: Chauncey
JUDD and wife, Amelia JUDD, Henry E. FIRMAN and
wife, Henry J. HERKIMER and wife, Harrison UNDERWOOD
and wife, Mr. MOTT and wife, Mr. ROBINSON, Patience
ROSE, Amelia BURK. The meetings of the society were
held at the Tunnicliff place until the erection of the union
church at Schuyler's Lake in 1838. This church is of stone,
and was erected by George HERKIMER. The first sermon
was preached by Bishop A. RUSSELL. He was followed by the
present pastor, Rev. S. DARROW. The following are the
present officers: Henry E. FIRMAN, Norman C. JUDD, and
Daniel HORTON, trustees; A. C. SMITH and Amos
UNDERWOOD, committee; N. C. JUDD, church clerk.
UNION Church, Schuyler's Lake. The FREE BAPTIST church
was organized Sept. 2, 1830, by P. W. Lake and Wm. HUNT,
elders in said denomination, at the old Tunnicliff house, about
two and a half miles south of the village of Schuyler's Lake,
in the ball-room, which place was used by the church as
their place of worship until the union church was built.
The council was composed of the following delegates:
Elder P. W. LAKE, moderator; Henry FITCH, clerk; Elder
Wm. HUNT and Deacon CRUMB, from Plainfield; Deacon
McCOON, from Burlington; Henry FITCH, from Columbia;
Deacon Henry LAKE and Deacon GATES, from Oneonta.
After consultation they decided in favor organizing a
church, to be known as the First Free Baptist church of
Exeter. Chauncey JUDD and Henry G. HERKIMER were
ordained deacons, and Elder Wm. HUNT was chosen as pastor
of said church. The first members whose names appear on
the church record are as follows: Wm. CHAPPELL, Nathaniel
MOTT and Abigail MOTT, Ezekiel ROBINSON and Betsy
ROBINSON, Chauncey JUDD and Amelia JUDD, John RIDER
and wife, Henry E. FIRMAN and Rhoda FIRMAN, Stafford
COATS and wife, William HERKIMER, and Freelove ROSE.
Elder Wm. HUNT preached to the church for two years,
and then Elder Robert HUNT succeeded him, and remained
nine years The next pastor was Ransom HUNT, for two
years, and at the time of the building of the union church
Elder B. A. RUSSELL was pastor.
The first meeting of the union society for erection
of the church was held Dec. 17, 1838, and a constitution
adopted. The second meeting was held March 4, 1839,
and Calvin UNDERWOOD, J. TUNNNICLIFF, Amos
FITCH, N. MOTT, and George HERKIMER were elected
as the building committee. The house was dedicated March 5,
1840, and the following officers were chosen: N. MOTT,
C. JUDD, and H. FIRMAN for the Free Baptists; David
STEWARD and John CHAPPELL, for the Methodists;
C. UNDERWOOD and Alvin BARRUS, for the Universalists.
The dedication sermons were preached by Wm. HUNT, for
the Baptists; Elder Job POTTER, for the Universalists;
and Elder WRIGHT, for the Methodists. The time of
occupation of the house was decided upon in the following
manner: The Universalists to hold the first Sunday, the Free
Baptists the second and fourth, the Episcopal Methodists
the third Sunday and the Christian order the fifth Sabbath,
when one occurred.
The present officers are N. C. JUDD, Henry FIRMAN,
Amos UNDERWOOD, for the Baptists; and Daniel W.
CLARK, J. H. VEBBER, for the Universalists; and C.
WATSON and I. L. VEBBER, for the Methodists; and
John F. GRAY, society clerk. The presents ministers are
Elder S. DARROW, for the Free Baptist; Rev. S. R. WARD,
for the Universalist; Rev. Mr. HALL, for the Methodist.
The present number of the Free Baptists is nineteen; the
Methodists, about fifty; the Universalists, about ten.
The church building was remodeled at an expense of
about $1200, and was dedicated by the respective societies
and funds pledged to pay all arrears; at the same time a
subscription was circulated, and an organ purchased,
costing $200. The church building is a neat and substantial
edifice, and reflects great credit upon the enterprise of the
The BAPTIST church of Exeter was organized in the early
part of the present century. The exact date is unknown, but
it was probably in about the year 1805 or 1806. The first
pastor of whom we learn anything was Elder HASKELL. He
was followed by Elder PALMER, then Israel HODGE. The
last was Elder Brazila KING. Brethren ANGELL and
MATTISON are remembered as deacons of that church. In
1820 the Otsego association met with the church, and one of
present members, John DURGY, came as a delegate from the
Whitesboro church which was then included in the Otsego
association. The question of dividing the association was
presented at this meeting, and the formation of the Oneida
association resulted. The church above mentioned must
have disbanded about 1823.
In 1825 forty-five persons, most of whom had been
members of the previous church, signed the confession of faith
and the covenant of practice of the Burlington and Edmeston
churches, and on December 24 held a meeting, at which they
resolved to ask their brethren of Burlington and Edmeston to
consider the propriety of setting apart the brethren and sisters
at the Lake into a church, and also of setting apart to the work
of the gospel ministry Brother John SAWIN. The result was
a council met in the Baptist meeting-house, at Exeter, Feb. 8,
1826, composed of twenty-seven delegates from ten
neighboring churches. The result of the council was the
reorganization of the church, and the ordination of John
SAWIN, in the following order of exercises: sermon, by Elder
Washington WINDSOR; hand of fellowship to the church, by
Elder Benj. SAWIN; ordaining prayer, by Elder Seth
GREGORY; Elder John BOSTWICK gave the charge; Elder
Eben LOOMIS gave the hand of fellowship to the candidate;
Elder Benj. SAWIN addressed the church; Elder Jacob KNAPP
offered the concluding prayer. Elder John BOSTWICK was
moderator, and Eben LOOMIS clerk. The first church meeting
was held Feb. 17, 1826. Jonathan BABCOCK was moderator,
and Gilbert PALMER clerk. The first church meeting convened
February 25, at which two brethren-C. PALMER and L. MOTT-
were chosen deacons, and G. PALMER clerk, by the members
approaching the clerk of the meeting one by one, and personally
communicating to him their choice. At the same meeting a
committee was appointed to look into the temporal concerns
of Brother SAWIN, but their doings were never recorded.,
and Elder SAWIN removed from the church in November of
that year. During the first year of its existence four were
added to the church by baptism and one by letter. From
November, 1826, to May, 1829, the church seems to have
been without a pastor. During the year 1827 three were
added by letter. In 1829, Elder Stephen HUTCHINS became
pastor of the church, and during the year fourteen were
baptized and two added by letter. In 1830 seventeen were
baptized and four received by experience, and three by letter.
Aug. 14, 1830, is the first record of the doings of the church
after Oct. 25, 1826, at which time it was voted that the
Whitesboro resolutions on Freemasonry be adopted. C.
TURNEY was appointed superintendent of the Sunday-school,
which, doubtless, was the first Sunday-school in the town. In 1831
twenty-seven were baptized, two added by letter, and two by
experience. In March of this year the church voted to hold
a four-days' meeting, immediately after which baptisms
occurred every month, and sometimes oftener, during the
year, This was also a year of discipline, showing that the
pruning process tends to increase the fruit. Among other
labors there was regular monthly distribution of tracts. During
the year Elders GREGORY and CURTIS were called to sit in
council with the church upon a difficult case of discipline;
on April 4, in the following year (1832), a council consisting
of N. KENDRICK, S. GREGORY, B. SAWIN, W. BURCH,
and W. B. CURTIS, convened to adjust a difficulty between
the church and J. HARTSON,-an assemblage of superior
talent to put out a great fire kindled by a little matter. In
November of this year Elder Stephen HUTCHINS was
released from the pastorate to go to Mexico. During the year
three were baptized and nine added by letter. In February,
1833, the church voted to adopt the plan of circuit preaching,
as explained to them by Elder CURTIS; raised $80 by
assessing eighteen brethren, the largest amount ($12) being
paid by John HARTSON. On August 18 the church adopted
the covenant and articles recommended by the association.
In November, Brother Nathan BUNDY began to preach to
the church; the only additions during the year were by
letter, two. In September of the next year Brother Nathan
BUNDY was called to ordination. During 1834 one was
baptized and five added by letter.
In April, 1835, Elder BUNDY left the church to labor in
Hartwick. The following November Elder R. T. SMITH
came to labor with the church, and two were baptized and
four added by letter. The year 1836 was one of prosperity;
twenty-eight were baptized, seven added by letter, and two
by experience. It is recorded: "We appreciate, with gratitude
to God, the final adjustment of the matter of misunderstanding
and difference hertofore existing," etc. In December gave
Elder SMITH a call for one year, from Jan. 1, 1837, to pay
him $300, furnish his wood, and move a load of goods from
New Haven, N.Y. The Burlington church wishing his services
a part of the time, this church accepted his labors three-fourths
of the time, and he labored in this way through the year,
during which thirteen were baptized and four added by letter.
At the last meeting of this year S. B BECKWITH was chosen
clerk. In January, 1838, the church formed itself into a Bible
society, and appointed proper officers for such a society. In
the early part of 1838, Elder Lyman WRIGHT began his
labors with the church, and eight were baptized and five
added by letter. Elder WRIGHT continued his labors through
1839 and received $250. During the year four were added by
letter, and the following was adopted:
Whereas, The increasing light of the present day on the
subject of temperance shows how imperative is every
Christian's duty on that matter; therefore,
Resolved, That if any member of this church shall still
continue to use intoxicating drinks as a beverage, or furnish
it for those in their employ to be so used, they do it to the
grief of the church.
The labors of Elder WRIGHT continued through 1841 for
$250, and use of parsonage; E. N. BRADFORD was chosen
deacon; three were baptized, eight added by letter. In
November, 1841, Elder WRIGHT closed his labors as pastor.
A protracted meeting had been held in the early part of the
year; twelve were baptized, four added by letter. In
August another council to adjust difficulties was held,
consisting of S. GREGORY, H. A. SMITH, and D. CUTLER.
From November, 1841, to April, 1842, the church was supplied
by Elder ROBINSON, and during the remainder of 1842
Brother Z. SMITH, a licentiate, supplied the church; eleven
were added by letter. Brother Z. SMITH continued his
labors till April, 1843. After June, Brother J. W. CRUMB
supplied the church. July 12, the church passed the following:
Resolved, That American slavery, under all possible
circumstances, is sinful; that its essential ingredients are
those flagrant violations of God's law and the rights of man
which the Bible everywhere condemns; and it becomes the
duty of every Christian to labor, and constantly pray, for
its speedy and peaceful abolishment.
About this time Abby KELLY found her way to this place,
and to the ears and hearts of some of the people, and the
year was one of anxiety to the lovers of Zion, and of
exciting contention with the troubles of Israel; and on
November 20 a special church-meeting was held (Elders D.
CUTLER and S. HUTCHINS being present), at which some
melting confessions were made, the resolution of July was
repassed, and the church resolved, "That we will not fellowship
the slave-holder, nor those that fellowship the slave-holder,"
and the aggrieved brethren expressed themselves satisfied,
considered the slave question settled, and so far, their
difficulties removed. During the year three were baptized,
and four added by letter.
In 1844 the church was supplied on communion seasons
by neighboring pastors until May, when Elder H. TURNER
became pastor, continuing through the year; difficulties
were experienced, growing out of the resolutions of the
previous year; one was baptized and two added by letter.
In 1845 one was baptized and two added by letter. H.
GARLICK supplied the church from the fall of this year until
the following spring. At the first covenant meeting of
1846, C. V. HARTSON was appointed clerk, in place of S.
B BECKWITH, deceased. This was a year of much trial on
matters arising from settled questions of two years before;
no pastor; five were added by letter. In the beginning of
1847, Elder PEASE labored successfully with the church;
wrongs were confessed and wanderers returned; eight were
added by baptism and three by letter. In July, Elder
Homer CLARK began his labors as pastor, and continued
until March of the following year. In July, 1848, Elder
C. PRESTON became pastor, and so continued till laid aside
by the sickness which resulted in his death, June 12, 1850;
during the year one was baptized and eight added by letter.
During 1849 four were baptized and one added by letter.
Elder L. BOLTON was pastor from June, 1850, to April,
1853. In 1850-51 three were added by letter each year.
In 1853 two were added by letter and one by experience.
From Aug. 20, 1853, to May 20, 1860, a period of over
seven years, there were no additions, and for four years of
the time no record of the church was kept. Elder O.
BENNETT labored with the church one year from May, 1853;
after which, till 1860, preaching was had but occasionally.
The church diminished in numbers and the lovers of Zion
were in sadness. At the beginning of 1860, Elder S. P.
WAY came to labor with the church a part of the time, and
continued so till June, 1863; during that time five were
baptized and one added by letter. After April, 1864,
there was no communion and but occasional preaching
until January, 1869, when Elder O. N. FLETCHER came to
labor with the church. His labors, by the blessing of God,
were successful in the revival of his work; nine were baptized,
six added by letter, and one by experience, while the
influence and condition of the church was greatly enlarged
and improved. During the year the house of worship-
which was built during the pastorate of Elder Lyman
WRIGHT-was repaired and refurnished. At the beginning
of the year 1870, Elder FLETCHER left for another field, and
Elder H. GARLICK began his labors with the church. He
remained until 1872, and was succeeded by D. C. POTTER,
of Madison university. He left in 1872, and the church
was without a pastor until January, 1874, when Rev. J. H.
McGAHEN began his labors. In 1875 he closed his
pastorate, and the pulpit was vacant until 1877, when the
present pastor, Rev. L. L. RURY, assumed the charge. The
church is prosperous and has a membership of thirty-three
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