The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
The LUTHERAN church of Hartwick Seminary.
Rev. John C. HARTWICK, the founder of Hartwick
seminary, was the pioneer preacher of the gospel in that
portion of New York State which is now known as Otsego
County. Mr. Hartwick was a native of the dukedom of
Saxe-Gotha, in the province of Thuringia, in Germany;
and, according to his own account of himself, was "sent
hither, a missionary preacher of the gospel, upon petition
and call of some Palatine congregations in the counties of
Albany and Dutchess."
The precise date of his arrival in this country is not
given. He was born Jan. 4, 1714, and, it is presumed
began his active life here as soon as he was able after his
studies were completed. The first few years of his labors
were divided between New York, Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and New England; and his
restless spirit seemed to have no settled purpose, save the
preaching of the gospel, until about the year 1750, when
he bought from the Mohawk Indians a tract of land containing
about thirty-six square miles. For this he paid L100;
though, from some defect in the transaction, he never
realized any benefit from this purchase. This tract was
situated on the south side of the Mohawk river, and extended
towards Schoharie and Cherry Valley.
Mr. Hartwick, however, was not discouraged by this
failure; and, as the sequel shows, did not give up the
intention of becoming an extensive land-owner. Four years
later, in 1754, he obtained a deed for the tract which
includes the present town of Hartwick, Otsego Co., N.Y.
For this he also paid L100. It is not worth our while to
discuss his motives in making these purchases; his version
of the matter is that he wished to colonize the tract, to
preach the gospel to the savages, and by education and
religion to raise up barriers to the encroachments of
tyranny and infidelity. This we know, that at his death
he left all his worldly effects for the advancement of the
Redeemer's kingdom. From the proceeds of the sale of
the estate was established the institution which still bears
his honored name. It is our purpose to notice only such
events as pertain to the preaching of the gospel here; the
facts in connection with the establishment and progress of
the seminary may be found on another page of this work.
Though for many years the church and seminary were
almost identical, yet the church has a history peculiar to
itself. After the death of Mr. HARTWICK, which occurred
July 17, 1796, Rev. John Fred. ERNST was appointed by
the executors "to preach for the inhabitants and to assist
in the education of their youth, with the intent to ascertain
whether the land in the patent would prove an eligible
spot for the seminary." He labored here till about the
For fifteen years from this time affairs were very
unsettled. The question of the location of the new seminary
was continually agitated. Sometimes it was almost settled
that it should be at Schoharie, then at Cooperstown, New
York, and Albany, where the foundation was actually
begun. Meanwhile the preaching of the gospel was largely
neglected. The question of location at length being finally
settled, the foundation of the seminary was laid on the
present site in the year 1812, and the building was
completed in the following year. On the 15th of December,
1815, Rev. Dr. Ernest Lewis HAZELIUS opened the school.
From this time dates the regular and continual preaching
of the word to the students and to those inhabitants who
were willing to avail themselves of the privilege. Dr.
HAZELIUS labored here until 1830, when Rev. Dr. George
B. MILLER was elected as his successor in the institution.
Dr. MILLER continued the work till 1839, when he removed
to Dansville. Although we have not been able to discover
any account of the first organization of the church, yet we
find as early as Sept. 28, 1817, an entry of this kind:
Resolves of the Vestry. Resolved, That henceforth every
Lord's day a collection shall be made, as in other churches,
for the wants of the room we meet in, which resolve was
published by me October 5th. Ernest L. Hazelius, Pastor
Another entry, bearing the date of December 15, in the
same year, says, "It being deemed improper that the election
of church officers should be held on the day of sacrament,
it was resolved by the vestry to hold our election for
church officers on January 1st, and so on for time to come."
From these extracts we conclude that the organization
was effected about the same time that the seminary began
its operation. Drs. HAZELIUS and MILLER were both
members of the "Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New York"
(afterwards called the New York Ministerium), and the
congregation sustained the same synodical relations. On
the resignation of Dr. MILLER as principal of the seminary,
in the year 1839, the institution suspended operations for
one year, during which time the buildings were enlarged
and improved. Measures were taken, however, to secure
the preaching of the word, and an item in the church record,
in the handwriting of Rev. J. D. LAWYER, informs us
that he "received a call from the Evangelical Lutheran
church of Hartwick," and that he accepted the same, and
entered upon his duties there on the 1st day of May, 1839.
Another record says, "Pursuant to previous notice, the
male members belonging to the Lutheran church convened
in the chapel of the academy in Hartwick for the purpose
of organizing the church by choosing officers, and of
incorporating the church under the statute. The meeting
was held on the 10th of August, 1839. Br. John D. LAWYER,
the pastor, presided. . . . Bros. Clark DAVISON and
John RICH were elected elders; and Bros. William DAVISON,
Philip MICKEL, and ---- SWACKHAMMER, deacons.:
Messrs. DEWEY, ELDRED, DERBYSHIRE, ROLINSON,
and GOWEY were elected trustees, and steps were taken
toward having the church incorporated. The act of
incorporation bears date of Aug. 10, 1839, and was verified
before the late Judge Samuel NELSON, of Cooperstown. On
July 25 following, the discipline of the Franckean synod was
adopted. During the summer they erected a house of worship,
and Rev. N. Van Alstine, president of the Franckean synod,
dedicated it to the service of God. The contract for building
the church was let at $1400, and that amount was raised by
subscription to discharge the debt. By some mismanagement,
however, when they came to settle accounts they found the
cost to be $1800, which, of course, left $400 unprovided for.
For this amount a mortgage was given; and this, as is so often
the case with church mortgages, became a source of great
annoyance to them. When it became due, there being no
funds to meet it, the church was locked, and it was only
after considerable trouble and contention that it was again
opened for worship. In order to liquidate this debt, a
sinking fund society was organized, and it held monthly
meetings until it had raised not only enough to discharge
the debt on the church building, but also contributed a
similar amount for the other expenses of the congregation.
The society afterwards reorganized into a "Foreign Missionary
Society," and for many years contributed yearly a handsome
sum for that department of Christian benevolence; indeed,
it continued its operations until the death of its guiding
spirit, the sainted Lottie MILLER.
Rev. J. D. LAWYER continued his labors about four years
-from 1839 to 1843. In 1840, Rev. W. D. STROBEL,
D.D., was elected principal of the seminary. Believing
that his call to the institution also required that he should
preach to the students, he felt called upon to perform his
obligations to the letter. Mr. LAWYER, having a call from
the congregation, held stated services in the church, and
Dr. STROBEL preached to the students in the chapel of the
seminary. For a time, therefore, there was rival preaching,
and it can easily be imagined that this state of affairs was
not calculated to foster a kindly feeling. In 1844, Rev.
Henry I. SCHMIDT, D.D., was elected principal of the
seminary, and Rev. G. B. MILLER, D.D., professor of
theology. Rev. Mr. LAWYER having left the previous year,
the congregation was virtually without a pastor for the
next five years, though preaching was maintained by the
professors. In 1849, Dr. SCHMIDT resigned; and following
this event we find an item on the church-book to the effect
that on Dec. 15, 1849, the congregation "unanimously invited
the Rev. Dr. MILLER to become their pastor." He accepted
the relation, and continued the same until his death, which
occurred April 5, 1869.
Although we can find no official record of the act by
which the congregation resumed its synodical connection
with the New York ministerium, we learn from the minutes
of the synod that the congregation, after the resignation of
Mr. LAWYER, again contributed as before to the various
benevolent enterprises of that body, and from the time that
Dr. MILLER became the pastor it is regularly enrolled as a
part of the synod. This connection continued until the
formation of the present New York synod, when it followed
its pastor, Dr. MILLER, into that body.
Rev. Wm. N. SCHOLL, D.D., succeeded Dr. MILLER as
pastor, and continued the relation as long as he was principal
of the seminary. In 1871, Rev. T. T. TITUS, A.M., was
elected principal, and also pastor of the church, but on
account of physical weakness was unable to preach. Rev.
James PITCHER meanwhile performed the pulpit duties,
and continued to do so till October 1, 1873. Mr. TITUS died
Feb. 15, 1873. On Nov. 7, 1874, Rev. P. BERGSTRESSER,
A.M., the newly-elected professor of theology, was invited
to assume the pastoral relations with the church.
It will be seen that during its history, except during the
four years when it was served by Mr. LAWLER, the
congregation has been served by professors in the seminary.
Its present active membership is only about twenty-five.
Adding to this fifteen whose names still stand on the church-
book, the number is forty-small, indeed, but when we take into
account the fact that the duties of the pastors have been
chiefly confined to the seminary, their legitimate calling,
it is an indication that a much large congregation could
have been gathered by a pastor whose labors could have
been given entirely to the interests of the society.
CHRISTIAN church of Hartwick was founded on Jan. 9, 1814,
by Elder Jonathan NEWMAN and others.
Be it remembered that we, whose names are underwritten,
on this 9th day of January, A.D. 1814, do unite ourselves in a
church of Christ, by the name of the Christian church, and
take Christ for our head and the Bible or New Testament
for our law, and extend our charity to all that are born of
his spirit, and open our arms of love to receive all true
Christians to our communion and fellowship, praying God
our Father to help us to adorn the doctrine of God our
Saviour, by a holy life and godly conversion for Christ's
sake, Amen. Jonathan NEWMAN, Jonathan FISK, Eunice
FISK, Benjamin ROSE, Judith ROSE, Nathan FISK, Eleazer
BLISS, Jr., Jesse BLISS, Clarissa BLISS, Anthony WEST,
Eunice MAIN, Ruth CLARK, Mary SIMS, Sarah BLISS,
Sally HEDGES, Lydia FISK, Rachel WINSOR, Daniel
WINSOR, Geo. BISHOP, Mary BISHOP, Hannah WEAVER,
Samuel WHALEY, Jas. STEERE, Mehitable FISK, Louis
CHURCH, Elizabeth CHURCH, Dorcas HAWKINS, Mary
BARNS, Phebe WINSOR, Ira STEERE, Lucy STEERE,
Patty BARNEY, Anna RANFORD, Nathan FISK, Jr., Jesse
SQUARES, John PRICE, Julius BISSELL, Hannah
CORNWALL, Mehitable PRICE, Lydia WELLS, Mary
STEERE, Lucinda COMSTOCK, Martha HAWKINS,
Hezekiah BOWEN, Sabrina WOOD, Cynthia BUTLER,
Smith STEERE, Polly ROBERTS, Celia LIPPITT.
The first church building was erected in 1830. Here the
society worshiped until the present church edifice was built
and ready for occupancy in 1843. It was dedicated on the
first Saturday and Sunday in September of that year; Elder
John SPOOR, John ELLIS, John COOK, and others were
in attendance. The church cost $1100. Present officers:
Deacons, Hosea WINSOR and Edward PAINE; Trustees,
John M .HACKLEY, Walter WOOD, and Delos STEERE;
Ministerial Committee, E. KNOWLTON, E. R. CARR, and
C. R. STEERE; Treasurer, Wm. WOOD; Librarian, F. J.
STEERE. The church is at present in a prosperous condition,
and is under the pastoral care of Rev. John Scott COOK.
BAPTIST church. This church is one of the oldest in the
county. May 20, 1795, a few scattered individuals of the
Baptist denomination in this region held a conference-meeting
in a school-house, at which Rev. James BACON was chosen
moderator and John BOSTWICK clerk. This conference
met several times until Aug. 19, 1795, when the church was
organized, and consisted of twelve members. The first
pastor was John BOSTWICK, who commenced his labors
immediately after the organization of the church. He was
soon after ordained, and served the church for a period of
thirty years. The first deacon was Josiah MAPLES. In 1809
Zilba NEWLAND was chosen deacon.
Elder BOSTWICK resigned the pastorate in 1830, and
was succeeded by Elder ROBERTSON, who remained
about three years. In 1835, Rev. Nathan BUNDY became
pastor, and remained as such about five years. The next
pastor was J. N. ADAMS, who officiated until 1846. He
was succeeded by Rev. E. H. BAILEY, who officiated
four months, and met a melancholy fate by drowning
himself in a well in a fit of mental derangement. Rev. J. B.
PIXLEY became pastor in 1847, and was followed by Rev.
Jacob GRANTS in 1850, who remained nearly two years,
when Mr. PIXLEY returned to the charge, and officiated
until 1859. It was during his pastorate that the church
edifice was erected. The following-named persons have
officiated as pastors and supplies from 1859 to the present
time, viz., Rev. J. W. HAMMOND, Russell SPAFFORD,
A. MAYNARD, H. FITCH, H. H. FISHER.
The CHRISTIAN church at Hartwick Village was organized
by Rev. Samuel B. HAYWARD, assisted by Rev. Stephen
HITCHCOCK, on the first day of February, 1853.
The following were the first members, viz.,
S. HARRINGTON, Dana F. HARRINGTON, Elisha
ROBINSON, Daniel TULLER, Gordon PIERCE, Lucitta
GARDNER, Thirza M. MOREHOUSE, Fanny HARRINGTON,
Hartwick TULLER, Hannah MAPLES, Polly HARRINGTON,
Mary MATHEWSON, Eliza POTTER, M. L. HARRINGTON,
Sally JOHNSON, Waity B. HARRINGTON, Samantha
JOHNSON, Sophrona JOHNSON, Lucinda WELLS,
Mary E. GARRETT, Lydia HEAD, Ruth SHERMAN,
Rocena ADAMS, Liberty PIERCE, and Caroline GREEN.
The first clerk chosen by the society was Dana F HARRINGTON.
The first trustees were S. HARRINGTON, Benjamin
DOWNING, Elisha ROBINSON, Amasa ALDRICH,
Alanson LYNN, and Harvey MAPLES; first deacons were
D. F. HARRINGTON and E. ROBINSON.
The first pastor settled over the church was Rev. Samuel
B. HAYWARD. He was followed by Rev. J. D LAWYER,
who was succeeded by Rev. A. DAMON. Mr. DAMON was
succeeded in the pastoral office by Rev. C. E. PEAK. The
next officiating clergyman was Rev. H. BROWN, who was
succeeded by Rev. D. L. PENDELL. The present pastor,
Rev. Scott M. COOK, has served the society nearly two
years. The following persons have served the church as
supplies, viz., Revs. T. TAYLOR, A. HAYWARD, and
W. H. HUMPHREY.
Prior to the erection of the church edifice, services were
held in the Presbyterian and subsequently in the Baptist
Immediately after the organization of the society a
movement was started for the erection of a church building,
and on the fifth day of the following July the present structure
was raised. It is 34 by 44 feet, and cost about $2200.
It was dedicated Nov. 24, 1853, by the Rev. John ROSS,
of Charlestown Four Corners, Montgomery Co., N.Y.,
assisted by Revs. John COOK, Stephen HITCHCOCK,
G. WALKER, and S. B. HAYWARD.
This church since its organization has numbered in its
membership 385 persons. It is now in a prosperous condition,
and has a membership of 174.
The present organization of the church is as follows:
Rev. Scott M. COOK, pastor; Mumford ALDRICH, A.
HOLLISTER, and H. S. BRADLEY, trustees; E. ROBINSON
and Reuben TALBOT, deacons; S. D. WILLIS, J. H.
NORTHRUP, M. ALDRICH, R. ALGER, and H. S. BAILEY,
ministerial committee; Mumford ALDRICH, treasurer;
H. S. BAILEY, clerk.
The CONGREGATIONAL church of Hartwick, N.Y., was
organized May 30, 1800, by the Rev. Jediah BUSHNELL, a
missionary from Connecticut. The constituent members were
sixty-eight in number, twenty-four of whom presented letters
of dismission from other churches, and forty-four united by
profession of their faith. For six years the church had no
regular pastor. In 1806, Sept. 26, the first pastor, Whiting
GRISWOLD, was installed, who continued his labors nearly
five years, when, on account of ill heath, he was obligated
to request a dissolution of the pastoral relation.
In 1811 a second pastor, Rev. Henry CHAPMAN, was
chosen. He remained with the church from Nov. 18, 1811,
until his removal by death, Aug. 30, 1823. His labors were
attended with marked success. About one hundred and sixty
were added to the church on profession of their faith
during his charge.
In 1824 the church selected their third pastor, the Rev.
John H. PRENTICE, who labored from Dec. 30, 1824, to
Dec. 25, 1829.
From this time until the settlement of Rev. Benjamin
Gilbert RILEY, on Feb. 25, 1840, the church employed
Mr. RILEY remained until 1844, when he was succeeded
by Rev. Mr. SPENCER, the last installed pastor, who served
the church until 1848. During two or three years after the
close of Mr. SPENCER's pastorate the pulpit was supplied
occasionally by Rev. Chauncey LEE.
The church building was erected in 1810, at a cost of
$250; size, 40 by 48 feet.
The following served this church as deacons: David
WILLARD, Oct. 17, 1800; Daniel POTTER, June 19, 1802;
Jonathan SEYMOUR, July 14, 1812; Sylvanus WEST,
Dec. 18, 1812; Jacob BLISS, Oct. 11, 1817; Daniel BEEBEE,
Aug. 31, 1826; Prentice BROWN, March 31,1837; Rufus C.
SWIFT, March 31, 1837.
M. E. Church at Toddsville was organized in 1865 by the Union
society, with twenty-five members. It was first under the
pastoral care of the Rev. H. V. TALBOT. The church edifice
was erected in 1865, at a cost of $2300.
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