Fifty Years or A Few Glimpses of the Past and Present of the Second Free Baptist Church of Oneonta, New York Organized Anno Domini 1856. Published The Dragon Press, Oneonta, NY Published by The Dragon Press, Oneonta, New York 
This souvenir of the Oneonta Free Baptist Church is issued in accordance with the plan of the Anniversary Committee, consisting of Rev. Chas. S. PENDLETON, Augustus F. WING, Nathan H. BRIGGS, R. Wesley MILLER and Mrs. R. E. MORGAN. A vote of the church at its regular covenant meeting of February 3, 1906, authorized such a publication to take the place of a celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary, February 25, 1906.
This is not intended to be a complete historical record, nor can all worthy deeds be mentioned; for such an account would require a volume of inordinate length. But it was thought that a few glimpses of the history of the church from its beginning, a brief account of the various activities and organizations connected with it, something of its progress and achievement, and the spirit and character of the work at the present time, might prove of interest to each member of the church. With the hope that this little book will serve its purpose, it is presented to you. Grateful appreciation is here acknowledged for the contributions of various members of the church, and for other valuable assistance that has been given in the preparation of this Souvenir.
What Free Baptists Stand For*
The inquiring mind may ask why did another denomination spring into existence when the Christian world already contained so many opposing sects. It is written, "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you," and we believe that we should be just as ready to give an answer as to the reason of our faith. It is not for this sake alone, however, that we think it proper to state the principles of our belief; but when people join our churches, or simply become
its regular attendants, they should have a clear notion of what Free Baptists stand for.
The full mission of the Free Baptist church cannot be understood unless we familiarize ourselves with the spirit and practice of existing churches in early history; and, also, consider a variety of causes that demanded a change in the prevailing religion of the day.
As early as the fifth century, controversy arose concerning the subject of general redemption, some advocating that salvation was provided only for an elect portion of the human race, others believing that salvation was possible for all men. In the sixteenth
century, the doctrine of election and predestination was revived under John Calvin, a theologian of great power; he was opposed by John Arminius of Holland, who was equal to the task. From that day to this the Christian world has been divided between Calvinism
The first Baptist church in America was that founded by Roger Williams at Providence in 1639. At first, it was Calvinistic in tone, but being founded in the spirit of Christian liberty and free communion, it not long afterward became virtually what is now known as a Free Baptist church.
Arminian, free communion Baptist churches appeared in North Carolina at an early date. The "Original Freewill Baptists: of North Carolina claim to trace their origin to the General Baptists of England. Separate Baptists also appeared, and some of them
subsequently took the name of Freewill Baptists. The largest of Page 7 the several "Freewill" Baptist bodies is that which has grown out of the church organized by Benjamin Randall in New Durham, N. H., June 30, 1780. This was formed as a result of Calvinistic
Religious toleration was everywhere denied. Calvinism in its most unlovely forms held undisputed sway. None of the existing churches presented salvation full and free on simple condition of repentance and faith. No Methodist had then made his circuit in
New England, and other efficient laborers of later date were not yet in the field. The doctrine of election was so explained as to limit the provisions of the gospel to a chosen few. The will of man was not free to choose the way of life; there was no salvation for all.
The thing that Benjamin Randall stood for, far above aught else, was that for which Roger Williams had stood before him,- toleration and liberty, the fellowship of saints, despite differences of opinion. If this had been granted him, there probably would have been no "Freewill" Baptist church. Mr. Randall was compelled to leave the church because he believed in "soul liberty," "free will," "free grace" and "free communion." Others joined him, men of clear heads and warm hearts, who declared their belief in "the
freedom of the will and the fulness of the gospel." These were called by a Divine Providence to set the great love of God and the free principles of the gospel in vivid contrast with the narrow policy of sectarian men. To the zealous efforts of these "Freewill" Baptists we owe in no small degree our present privileges.
1. Free Baptists stand, with all over evangelical churches, for Jesus Christ as the world's Redeemer and the Bible as the Word of God.
2. Free Baptists stand for soul liberty and Christian union.
3. Free Baptists stand for a regenerate church membership, personal holiness, and self-forgetting service.
4. Free Baptists hold to believers' baptism and to immersion as the original form.
5. Free Baptists are free communionists. At the Lord's table no one is regarded as baptized or unbaptized, as a member of a visible church or of no visible church, but simply as Christian. They think of it as "a grand memorial ordinance in which all
Christians should unite, irrespective of all other forms and all visible church relationship."
6. As to church polity, Free Baptists hold to the independence of the local church.
Free grace, a free operation of the spirit, freedom of the will, freedom of the Lord's ordinances to all believers. It is the belief in these which has constituted us Free Baptists.
It is almost impossible to find a creed which has needed no revision, for a new age produced new conditions; yet, without boasting, the doctrines on which our fathers founded our denomination are the doctrines of our denomination to-day; and, too, they are becoming the doctrines of older and larger denominations whose creeds have been changing with the clearer and more liberal views of modern thought. Doubtless, were Randall living to-day and a member of the "regular" Baptist church, he could both hold and preach the views which he held and preached in 1779 without suffering the condemnation that he then met.
If all the Freewill and open communion Baptist bodies in America were joined in one organization, they would represent a degree of numerical strength that would surprise some who are not aware of the real extent of the free communion Baptist sentiment in this country. Free Baptists have not been sufficiently sectarian and exclusive to build up a large body; yet, while they may lost numbers that pass into other denominations, they will not lose what is of more important, their broad and liberal Christian spirit. Free Baptists are now, as they have always been, less concerned about statistics than about principles and duty. They are satisfied to remain numerically small, if only they can
see the truths for which they stand gradually gaining ground in other bodies.
To some, the well-nigh universal change of name from Freewill Baptist to Free Baptist* may seem a retreat from our doctrine; but the old name revealed only one strongly maintained principle of our faith, and as "freewill" was not the only freedom which our
fathers taught, the new name is far more expressive of our creed.
A free salvation has been provided for us; we need not stand outside the gate wondering if God has elected us to eternal life, if we but heed His words of great universal love: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
* Change effected by Act of General Conference in 1892.
The First Twenty-five Years
Fifty years prior to its last anniversary, February 25, 1906, the Second Free Will Baptist church had its beginning. Its original membership comprised sixteen persons who formerly belonged to the Freewill Baptist church at Oneonta Plains, but had been granted a dismissal with the privilege of forming a new organization. Living in the eastern part of the town at an inconvenient distance from the Plains, and believing that a more central location would foster the growth of church membership, this number thought it
wise and proper to establish a second church. Accordingly, they met at Emmons school-house where they were accustomed to hold religious services, and there organized, February 25, 1856, the Second Freewill Baptist church of Oneonta.
The organizing council consisted of Rev. Amos WING, Rev. D. GREEN, and Rev. O. T. MOULTON, together with the laymen, Joseph JENKS and Harvey MACKEY. (Rev. P. SCRAMLING and Rev. E. C. Hodge were invited but were not present.)
The Confession of Faith and church covenant of the Freewill Baptist denomination were adopted; the hand of fellowship was given by Rev. O. T. MOULTON, and the consecrating prayer was offered by Rev. Amos WING. At this meeting two deacons and a clerk were elected: David MARVIN and Frederick BORNT Jr., deacons; Asel MARVIN, clerk. Several arose for baptism; four of the number were Mr. and Mrs. Augustus F. WING, Miss Caroline
DRUM, and Mrs. Elias ALGER.
The members comprising the church at its organization were as follows: David Marvin MILLER and Mrs. Sallie MILLER, Asel MARVIN and Mrs. Phoebe Ann MARVIN, Jasper BURGIN and
Mrs. Maria BURGIN, Jacob QUACKENBUSH and Mrs. Phoebe QUACKENBUSH, Frederick BORNT and Mrs. Nancy BORNT, David MARVIN, Roderick MARVIN, Mrs. Rachel MILLER, Mrs. Eliza BURGIN, Mrs. Deborah GIFFORD, Mrs. Mary BLEND.
The First Pastor
Rev. Orange T. MOULTON was called to be the first pastor of the new church, April 20, 1856. (From the date of organization to his coming, Rev. E. C. HODGE served as supply. Mr. Hodge was especially successful in revival work. He died in Oneonta, 1887.) [Note: Rev. Hodge buried in Oneonta Plains Cem.]
During his pastorate of five years, Mr. Moulton was most faithful and laborious in his endeavors for the growth and prosperity of the new church, and certainly won the affections of his people. He was indeed a true pastor and his noble service of toil and
sacrifice in no wise accorded with the salary* he received. In those years money compensation was slight, but it is believed that such self-denial in the service of Christ will meet with its true reward.
Mr. Moulton had excellent musical ability and his fine voice was a great help in the meetings. He organized the first choir and took the part of leader in a most enthusiastic manner. Singing schools were taught by him in the various surrounding districts and thus the influence of his personality extended over considerable
To-day there are many testimonials of regard for Mr. Moulton and of appreciation for his work. The prosperous beginning, the first meeting-house, the encouraging outlook for the future, and the many spiritual blessings enjoyed by the little church were, in
a large measure, due to the consecrated zeal of the first pastor. During his ministry, twenty-five were received into the church by baptism and four by letter. He is held in loving memory by those who knew him. Mr. Moulton died in Haverhill, Mass., August 6,
* According to a resolution made at the first annual meeting, "The settled salary of the pastor, until otherwise arranged, shall be Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars, exclusive of parsonage rent."
Places of Worship
The Emmons Schoolhouse, which so largely enters into the history of the Free Baptist church, was the center of considerable religious activity fifty years ago. Before the organization of the church, revival services, then called "protracted meetings," prayer
meetings, Sunday-school and occasional preaching services by various pastors of the village were held here. In those days, when the amount of one's religion was estimated somewhat by the stentorian quality of voice, it was no unusual thing, when the
conditions were favorable, to hear the tones of the preacher at
some distance across the river.
The interior was of a very primitive fashion. There were two rows of desks or "counters," as they were called then, continuous with three sides of the room; the one close to the wall was slanting, the inner one had a flat top. Between the two rows were benches without backs, so that one could face either way by simply turning about. Afterward there was but one "counter," the one remaining being close to the wall; it is believed that this change was made before 1856. The tops of these desks, as well as the benches, served as seats for those who worshipped here. Some of the older members recall a pleasant reminiscence of Mr. Mouton's Bible class seated about on the tops of the desks while the pastor walked to and fro teaching fro the Word in his earnest manner. The
women, many of them, wore white sun-bonnets starched stiff for the occasion, and which fairly gleamed in their Sunday whiteness. Such a pictures is a great contrast to the Bible class of more modern days.
The old schoolhouse no longer exists; it was moved to one side and made into a dwelling house, owned and occupied by Henry OSTERHOUDT for many years. Not long ago, this was torn down and removed. The site, too, within a short time, has been
completely altered; the schoolhouse erected to take the place of the old one has been moved, and the knoll on which it stood has been graded to form a part of the beautiful grounds of the Emmons homestead now occupied by Mr. K. E. MORGAN.
Tender memories of the Emmons schoolhouse live in the hearts of those who remember it as the place where they first began the Christina life; and, too, it will ever be revered as the birthplace of this church.
It was used but a short time for regular church service when the Presbyterian Society generously offered their house for one-half of the time. This kindness of the Presbyterian was heartily appreciated, and the memory of it has been fondly cherished ever since. So meetings were held alternately at the Presbyterian church and the Emmons schoolhouse till a church home had been completed.
Incorporation of the Society
It is cause for much regret that the Church and Society of earlier years preserved so little data in their records. In this respect, we are not less fortunate than many other churches; for few have seemed to realize that they are making history that will be both valuable and interesting to future generations.
Among the records of the Society there are several items of interest concerning its incorporations. The following are copies of the original:
There will be a meeting (D. V.) in my house* on Monday, the eleventh day of August next, at two o'clock P. M. for the purpose of organizing a Free-Will Baptist Society, electing its trustees, and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the
meeting properly belonging thereto.
Done by order of the Second Free-Will Baptist Church in Oneonta.
Oneonta, N. Y., July 19th, 1856.
Then the pastor added the following to the records:
This paper is the original call for the organization of the Society of the Second Free-Will Baptist Church in Oneonta, and was read as the statute requires.
O. T. MOULTON
An abridged account of the meeting is as follows:
In pursuance of a notice duly given in accordance to the laws of the state of New York for the organization of religious societies, a public meeting was held in the Presbyterian Meeting-House* in the village of Oneonta, N. Y., at two o'clock in the afternoon of the eleventh day of August, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and fifty six, for the purpose of organizing a Free-Will Baptist Society.
The meeting was duly organized by appointing Deacon David MARVIN, chairman, and O. T. MOULTON, secretary; after which the following business was unanimously transacted.
RESOLVED that we hereby organize ourselves into a Society of the Second Free-Will Baptist Church in Oneonta, N. Y.
RESOLVED that we proceed immediately to the election of nine trustees for said Society.
RESOLVED that we take measures to build a house for the use of the Second Free-Will Baptist Church in Oneonta for the worship of God.
* The Editor has not been able to explain this discrepancy.
CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION
This was recorded in the Clerk's Office of the County of Otsego in Book C. of Incorporations on page 78, Nov. 12, 1856, at 4 P. M., by G. W. ERNST, Clerk.
The following is a verbatim copy of the original:
To All to Whom these Presents may Concern:
We, whose names and seals are affixed to this instrument, being members of the Society hereafter mentioned, do hereby certify that on the Eleventh day of August, 1856, the male persons of full age belonging to said Society and worshiping in the
Presbyterian Meeting-House in the village and town of Oneonta, in the County of Otsego, in which Congregation or Society divine worship is celebrated acceding to the rites of the Free-Will Baptist church in the State of New York, and not already ncorporated,
met at their place of public worship heretofore occupied by the said society in the village and town of Oneonta, in said County, for the purpose of incorporating themselves into a Society which shall be known by the name of "The Society of the Second Free-
Will Baptist Church in Oneonta," and did then and there elect, by said voices, David MARVIN, Hervey N. ROWE, David M. MARVIN, Frederick BORNT, Jr., Jasper BURGIN, Jacob QUACKENBUSH, Louis L. BUNDY, Asel MARVIN and Samuel J. COOKE, as trustees of the said Church, and the said persons did then and there determine by the like plurality of voices that the said Trustees should be classified as follows:- Trustees for two years, Frederick BORNT, Jr, Jasper BURGIN and Jacob QUACKENBUSH;- Trustees for three years, Louis L. BUNDY, Asel MARVIN and Samuel J. COOKE; and the said persons did then and there also determine by the like plurality of voices, that the said trustees and their successors should forever hereafter be called and known by the name, or title, of "The Trustees of the Second Free-Will Baptist Church in Oneonta."
Witness our hands and seals this Eleventh Day of August, 1956. Signed and sealed in the presence of Horace McCALL.
O. T. MOULTON
D. M. MILLER
Otsego County, SS:
On this fourth day of November, 1856, personally appeared before me Horace McCALL, to me known, who being by me duly sworn, did depose and say: That he resided in the town of Oneonta, in said County; that he was acquainted with David MARVIN, O. T. MOULTON and David M. MILLER, and knew them to be the persons who executed the above Certificate; that he was present and saw them, and each of them, sign, seal and execute the same, and
they, each and every one of them, acknowledged the execution thereof to him; whereupon he became the subscribing witness thereto.
A. G. SHAW,
The First Church Building
At this time, a house of worship was the one great desire of the church. Though their members were few, they heroically and prayerfully resolved to carry out plans for building.
A site for the new meeting-house was the first problem. Concerning the situation of this, there was much discussion. Some believed it ought to be at Emmons, and he rise of ground on the Miller farm just opposite the Miller homestead was looked upon as a most favorable site. The pastor with others of their number thought it much wiser to build in the village, and their opinion finally prevailed.
At first, a lot on Main street, near where Grand street is now, was thought to be quite desirable; but, at last, the present location
was selected October 1, 1856. The lot extended beyond the parsonage grounds six or eight feet farther west on Main street than it does at the present time, and also extended on Maple street as far back as Walnut street. This lot and an old grocery or "barter" store which stood upon it were purchased form E. R. FORD. The price which he asked was $850*, and it was considered a good bargain.
* A deed for $700 was given April 1, 1865.
After they took possession of the property, the store, which faced Main street, was moved further back by a Mr. RICE who was engaged to do the work for fourteen dollars. It was then fitted into a dwelling house, and is the same one that is now occupied by
Isaac MORRELL, No. 3 Maple street. Retaining what they thought necessary for church purposes, the Society sometime later sold the house and the remainder of the lot.
At a special meeting of the Society, October 18, 1856, at Emmons schoolhouse, they appointed a building committee which consisted of D. M. MILLER, Jasper BURGIN, Asel MARVIN, David MARVIN, and Frederick BORNT. Jasper Burgin was chosen builder, and being anxious with others for their future prosperity, he spared no effort to make the work a success.
The ground was staked out November 17, and then the next consideration was the timber. This was bought after some search for $6.50 per thousand. To get the timber on the ground was another task. In those days, it was a custom for such work frequently to be performed by many willing hands that were glad to render service to another. To procure the timber, however, according to a resolution of the Society, "Every person doing team
labor should keep his own account whether he intended said labor as a gratuity or not." But it is recorded that a "bee" was made to draw the timber and that on March 12, 1857, twelve teams were engaged in the work.
The first of June 1857, the work of building had begun; and on the third week in July came the raising of the frame, and again a "bee" was made for this purpose. Quoting from an old diary, this statement is given, "Had good luck, there was not a man hurt, and
the frame came together without a mistake." The steeple was raised July 25th. The whole work was completed in January, 1858. The entire cost was $3300. When finished there remained unpaid $1600.
The meeting-house was a simple but substantial frame structure, painted white, with green blinds. The size on the ground was 60 feet by 36 feet, length of posts 21 feet, extreme
height 80 feet.
The interior of the building was also plain and simple in construction. The entrance opened into a good-sized vestibule; at the left of this was a small room, and at the right was another
room containing a stairway which led to a gallery above. The gallery was, properly speaking, an upper room which extended across the front of the church. There were doors facing the main room, so that they could be opened, if the occasion required, or
enclosed for prayer meetings and other gatherings that used to assemble there. The audience room had two sections of pews, a main aisle through the centre, and one at each side. The platform was at the rear. The organ and choir were at the speaker's right,
and at his left was a set of "wing" pews. The woodwork was finished in a dark color resembling black walnut.
Just how the great struggle, and how much the cost in labor and sacrifice in order to build this house of God, cannot be told. Only a few, and none of them with large means, yet their purpose was accomplished. Their manner of raising funds is given in a
resolution which was recorded at their first annual meeting:
REVOLVED, That every property holding member of this church be requested to assess himself or herself, said assessment to be the basis upon which to raise all sums voted to be raised by the church, for the support of the pastor of the church, and other
And again this is records, "February 22, 1858, it was voted to raise subscription $20 a member on our valuation."
Assuming the entire expense themselves through this method of taxation, some idea may be gained of how heavy the burden was borne, for this few people to support a church and build a house of worship.
The great liberality of the early members of this church is illustrated again and again, but that they were free from a mercenary spirit is also evident from the following:
February 25, 1864. RESOLVED, That this house can be occupied for public lectures, moral entertainments, and other exercises not inconsistent with Christianity at a price not less than three dollars nor exceeding five dollars an evening including light and fuel."
In this age it would be difficult to find a parallel case where a stipulation is made as to the limit of an amount that shall be received.
The first church building was dedicated January 20, 1858. At this service the sum of $230 was raised toward the payment of the debt upon the church. The following is a published account at the time of dedication:
"The plain and substantial church edifice erected by the Second Freewill Baptist Church and Society in Oneonta, Otsego Co., N. Y., was opened for Divine services on the 20th inst., with appropriate services. Sermon by Rev. M. C. BROWN of Cedarville, N. Y.,
from Ex. 25:8 'And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.' Rev. W. BALDWIN (Congregationalist) and Rev. Wm. G. QUEAL (M. E. Church) assisted in the exercises; as also did brethren D. GREEN, A. WING, and P. SCRAMLING of our own denomination. The services were opened by singing the closing part of the anthem 'The Lord is King.' During the exercises Hymns 805, 810 and 815 in the Psalmody were also sung. Brother Brown remained with us and preached in the evening. The occasion was one of deep interest to all present and the impression left was very favorable to our cause in this village.
The final hymn, No. 815, which was sung at this service was composed by Mrs. RAMSEY. One of the stanzas is as follows:
"We build this house with toil and care; But vain the labor of our hands, Unless Thy presence meet us here, An empty monument it stands; O, let the visions of thy face Adorn and sanctify this place."
The Second Pastor, Rev. H. H. STRICKLAND, came to this church April 24, 1862. Mr. Strickland was here only a few months, and the exact time of his leaving is uncertain. During the remainder of the year, Rev. J. P. VROMAN supplied occasionally; at this time three were received by letter. Then the church was without a pastor till the year 1864.
Rev. E. CROWELL became the next pastor of the church. Mr. Crowell was earnest and energetic, and through his efforts the church repaired and improved. The work of building the sheds was begun December 1, 1864. They were seventeen in number and
the length of them was 136 feet. Mr. Crowell was the originator of some very successful children's meetings. During this service, anxious that everyone should feel his own enthusiasm, he would walk up and down the aisle repeating, "Everybody sing! Everybody
MUST sing!" As an outgrowth of these meetings, union meetings were held for the first time among the different churches, then four in number. As a result, a friendly feeling and spirit of union were established that were truly helpful and enjoyable. During his
pastorate of four years, Mr. Crowell baptized twelve, and twelve were received by letter.
Rev. G. P. RAMSEY immediately followed Mr. Crowell. He came from Pike, N. Y. to Oneonta in 1867. For four years Mr. Ramsey labored earnestly. He baptized seventeen, and seven
were admitted by letter. During this period, improvements were made to the interior of the church-the floor was carpeted and the pews cushioned, adding much to its comfort and appearance. Besides the regular work of the church, Mr. Ramsey held revival services with much success in outside districts. One who knew him well said, "Mr. Ramsey was a man of deep spirituality, of real power in the ministry, an excellent preacher and an ideal
In connection with Mr. Ramsey's pastorate, it is fitting to speak of Mrs. Ramsey; for, quoting from an appreciative sketch of her life, "Probably no man in the ministry ever found in his wife a truer and wiser helpmate than did her husband. He used to say,
in a playful way, that almost any church would put up with him for the sake of having her." Her intellectual ability, her broad culture, and her success in literary pursuits are well-known facts. Wherever she might be, her beautiful Christian character left a
deep impression, and its influence continues to exists in the lives of those who knew her here. Her letter for the Twenty-fifth Anniversary, and the Dedication Poem, found elsewhere in these pages, are most helpful and inspiring; and we are glad to claim
them personally as our own.
IN 1871, Rev. O. T. MOULTON received a second call to this church, and again became its pastor for nearly four years. During this pastorate, the parsonage was built and nearly paid for; a number united with the church, four by letter and fifteen by baptism. As before, Mr. Moulton was earnest in his labors, and served the church faithfully; and when he resigned, his people reluctantly parted with him.
After this, the church was without a pastor for about six months, and Rev. P. SCRAMLING supplied occasionally.
The next pastor was Rev. M. C. BROWN, who came in 1875. Mr. Brown was an eloquent speaker and always drew a large audience. His sermons were deep and impressive, yet the church
did not grow. There were no additions during his stay of two years. The financial condition of the church was at its lowest ebb, and it became necessary to mortgage the parsonage to pay the salary of the pastor.
Rev. D. C. WHEELER came in 1878, but remained only for a short time, about six or seven months. During his stay, two were added to the church by letter. Through the efforts of Mr. Wheeler, the pipe organ, which has been used to the present time, was
purchased from a firm in Boston for a very small sum. Mr. WHEELER at one time was an organ builder himself, and was able to obtain the instrument at a price far less than its actual worth.
The year 1879, probably, was the darkest period in the history of the church. There was no pastor, no interest in the Sunday- school, and they were few who remembered the covenant meeting and the prayer meeting; besides all this, the church was considerably in debt. The members in general lost hope as to their future prosperity, and even, as to the continued existence of the church. The most brave and stout-hearted said that they
would make one more effort; and if this failed, they, too, were ready to despair. So in spite of the unpromising outlook, means were taken to obtain another pastor.
Rev. David BOYD, fro Pawtucket, R. I., as called and became pastor of the church in 1880. Mr. Boyd was a man of superior mental endowment and of untiring activity. He at once devoted his whole energies to improve the discouraging situation; being a splendid financier, the church became once more free from debt. A congregation was gathered and the Sunday-school increased in attendance and interest. In the second year of his pastorate, occurred the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the organization of the church. This was observed in a most interesting manner; an account of the celebration is given at the end of this section. During Mr. Boyd's ministry, seven were baptized and seven were
received by letter.
Various Meetings of the Church
THE PRAYER MEETING: Before the organization of the church, prayer meetings were held in Emmons schoolhouse and at different homes in the neighborhood and vicinity. Deacon David
MARVIN, usually, was the leader of the prayer meetings, and, almost without exception, would close them with his favorite hymn:
"The day is past and gone; The evening shades appear;
O, may we all remember well The night of death draws near."
These gatherings were well attended, and are remembered to-day for the many spiritual blessings that were received. Throughout the history of the church in this first twenty-five years, prayer meetings were alive and inspiring when the interest in the
church was sustained; but when the interest was lessened, through one cause and another, the prayer meetings were nearly a failure as they proved to be in the last years of this period. Yet, doubtless, it was the prayers of the consecrated few that have been the means of bringing the church through severest trial and sore defeat to a new stage of church life.
THE COVENANT MEETING: The first covenant meeting was held March 15, 1856, at Emmons schoolhouse. At the second covenant meeting April 19, it is recorded that there were thirty present, and that twenty-five gave testimony. Rev. O. T. MOULTON and wife united by letter from the Ames church; and two candidates were received for baptism, George W. BLEND and Mrs. William EPPS; also, delegates were appointed to the Otsego Quarterly
Meeting, held at Otsdawa. Covenant meetings were held also at the Presbyterian church before a house of worship was built. April 15, 1865, the ninth anniversary of the covenant meeting, is recorded as a special season of gladness; for the first time in its
history, the church was free from debt.
BAPTISM: The ordinance of baptism was administered at various places,- at the bridge crossing the Susquehanna near Emmons; at Emmons brook where it joins the river; and at the river below the village. The first baptism was administered April 20, 1856.
COMMUNION: April 20, 1856, was the date of the first communion service. These services were designed to be held monthly until about 1885, when the quarterly observance was
ANNUAL MEETING: The first annual meeting of the Society would have occurred properly on August 11, 1857, but it was voted to let it pass over until February that it might as near as possible to the anniversary of the organization of the church, so that the first annual meeting of the church and society was held at the Presbyterian church February 23, 1857, at one o'clock P. M. At this meeting, it was voted to make the regular date the last Monday in February. Afterward, it was changed to the first Monday in February. It was changed again to the first Monday in January by a vote taken February 20, 1882. At the present time, according to the Constitution adopted in 1887 and 1897, it is the Monday evening before the first Sunday in January.