The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia

Church Histories



Tradition says that a religious society was organized in this town as early as 1803, which, Aug 25, 1806, was formed into a Presbyterian society, agreeable to "P. notification." The officers of such society were as follows: Henry SCOTT and James MOORE, returning board; Jonas PERRY, John MOORE, Moses FORD, Judah WATERS, Daniel FRENCH, and William CROSS, trustees.
It is said that the first church building was begun in 1803, but was not covered for several years. The records show that the same was completed in 1807. A subscription paper, dated March 3, 1804, is extant, which empowers "trustees to begin and carry on the building of said house as soon as they can 'git' and collect a sufficient quantity of materials for the same." It appears, from a contract executed March 7, 1805, that Ezekiel FOLLETT and William ANGELL contracted with said trustees to "finish" the above meeting- house in every respect in a masterly manner, on or before the 19th day of January, "which will happen in 1807." It was further agreed "by said Ezekiel and William" that the gable ends were to be "cornished on the deck, a  handsome balistrade round the top of the lantern, posts to be done with madilions. The front door in the tower to be done with a handsome and fashionable frontispiece, the work on the said door to be equal to twenty dollars,: and, further, "The pews to be panel-work. The pulpit and pulpit windows to be done in the newest and most fashionable manner. The said house to be lathed and plastered and whitewashed in a neat and handsome manner." No consideration is named in the contract. The church edifice was repaired and moved in 1875. It is now a substantial and comfortable house of worship.
The following named persons have officiated as pastors of this church from its organization to the present time, viz.: Alexander CONKEY, 1807-13; John R. ST. JOHN, 1813-20; Jacob BURBANK, 1820-26; Edward FAIRCHILD, 1826-28; Wm. CLARK, one year, in 1833; J. B. FISH, one year, in 1837; A. D. HOLLISTER, 1838-41; Horatio PATTENGILL, 1841-45; James W. PHILLIPS, 1847-51; S. MERCEREAU, 1851-52; James W. PHILLIPS, 1852-53; S. S. GOODMAN, 1853-58; Chas. GILLETTE, 1858-70; A. SNASHALL, 1870-71; supplies, 1871-72; A. G.  BEEBEE, 1972-74; S. C. VAN CAMP, 1874, present incumbent.
The present officers of the church are as follows: Parker SCOTT, Warren LYON, Sullivan SMITH, elders. George N. BISSELL, Cyrus SHORT, and James E. PARSHALL,  trustees. 
The church is now in a prosperous condition, and has  a membership of 134.
The CHURCH OF CHRIST at Portlandville was organized by Elders Stephen SOULE and Stephen HITCHCOCK, both of whom were chosen elders, and the latter became the first pastor. The first members were as follows: Stephen SOULE, John COOK, Robertson ELLSWORTH, Hannah SMITH, Harriet WHITE, and Minerva WINSOR. The church edifice was erected in 1840 at a cost of $600, and dedicated in September of that year by Elders J. ROSS, J. SOULE, S. SOULE, C. J. BUTLER, Wm. ROBERTS, S. HAYWARD, S. HITCHCOCK. The dedicatory sermon was delivered by Elder ROSS. It has been repaired and greatly improved at a cost of $675.
The present officers of the church are as follows: Rev. William OLIN, pastor; O. M. SOULE, Eli VAN ELLEN,  deacons; Dr. Ezra SPAFFORD, A. HUBBARD, and William MURRY, trustees; G. D. BARTLETT, clerk.
CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR (UNIVERSALIST), of Colliers and Maryland. April 25, 1877, a meeting of the members was called at the house of the pastor to mature an organization. It was accomplished. At the above meeting Amos D. SPENCER and Bryon BURNSIDE, previously appointed to act as deacons, were retained. Dr. IRISH elected secretary; Miss Wealthy MARBLE, treasurer.
From October, 1876, to April, 1877, Rev. D. BALLOU, of Utica, preached here. Oct. 22, 1876, some steps were taken toward organization, and twenty-two members were received, viz.: Simeon R. BARNES, Mrs. Margaret Jane BARNES,  Amos D. SPENCER, Mrs. Elvira SPENCER, Miss Wealthy MARBLE, Mrs. Olive MARBLE, Sigsby BURNSIDE, Mrs. Catherine BURNSIDE, Horace BURNSIDE, Byron BURNSIDE, Dr. Truman IRISH, Mrs. Susan IRISH, William CHAUNCEY, Mrs. Mary CHAUNCEY, George GUNN, Mrs. Polly Ann GUNN, Miss Susan COON, Mrs. Sarah J. BOSTICK, Lydia A. BURNSIDE, of Oneonta, Mrs. Mary TALLMADGE, of Schenevus, John D. PLATT, of Illinois, Mrs. Julia D. PLATT, of Illinois.
During the summer of 1876 a church was built, at a total cost of $2400, of wood, 55 by 32 feet, with 52 slips, seating 350 persons. Services were previous held irregularly in school-houses. The corner-stone was given by General S. S. BURNSIDE, of Oneonta, and has inscribed upon it, "First Universalist Church of Colliersville and Maryland, 1876." The present pastor is Rev. R. H. ALDRICH, who took the charge April 1, 1877. The number of present members is 36.
The county association was held here June 20-22, 1877. The clergymen present were: H. R. NYE, of Brooklyn; C. W. TOMLINSON, of Hudson; E. W. FULLER, of Fort Plain; L. F. PORTER, of Morris; D. BALLOU, of Utica; E. E. PECK, of Cooperstown; J. M. CLARKE, of Edmeston; J. H. BALLOU, of Minden. Large audiences were in attendance, and very effective sermons were delivered, and the rich spiritual feast fully appreciated. Mrs. FOX, of Steuben, Mrs. FARMER, of Oneonta, and Mrs. GURNEY, of Schenvus, united with the church at this time.
Dec. 18, 1877, a constitution for parish government was adopted.
The METHODIST EPISCOPAL church of Morris was organized in 1817 by Rev. Abner CHASE, and among the first members were Asa EDDY, John BADGER, and others. These two  persons were also the first officers.
The first church edifice was erected in 1836, at a cost of $2000. Previous to the erection of this house of worship services were held in the school-house. The church building was repaired eight years ago at a cost of $3500, and during the present year has been beautified and enlarged at an additional expense of $3000. It is now one of the finest church edifices in this county.
The present officers of the church are D. WILBER, E. CRONKITE, J. EGGLESTON, G. A. FOX, and A. LOW, trustees; pastor Rev. Albert B. RICHARDSON. Present membership, 256.
Rev. S. A. EDDY was born in this town, and had his first church-membership with this church, of which he subsequently became pastor. Hon. Levi STEWART, a former judge of the county, was a leading member of this church. He died in 1868.
ST. JOHN'S church.
St. John's Episcopal church, located at Portlandville, was organized in 1866 by Rev. Edward  PIDSLEY, who became the first rector. The house of worship was erected in 1866. R. M. TOWNSEND, Esq., of  Portlandville, respeatedly promised the writer that he would furnish a detailed history of this church, but failed to do so; hence the above brief notice.
The BAPTIST church of Milford Centre was organized in about the year 1805, with 8 constituent members. Rev. Josiah MORRIS became the first pastor. The present church edifice was erected in about 1820, at a cost of $2000. The census of 1875 reports value of church property at $7000; number of members, 151.
The METHODIST church of Portlandville erected their first church edifice in 1848. The present house of worship was built in 1866, at a cost of $1800. The present value of church property is estimated at bout $6000.
There is also a METHODIST church at Colliersville, but no one exhibited sufficient interest in it to furnish the historian any data. Our repeated requests for information received no attention whatsoever.

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