The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
In the year 1772 two members of the Baptist church in
Warwick, N.Y., came to the present town of Morris, and
after making clearings returned, and in the following year
took up their abode in the wilderness, bringing with them
their families. A prayer-meeting was immediately held,
and this praying band increased with the settlement. The
War of the Revolution broke up the settlement, and the
inhabitants returned to their eastern homes. After an absence
of five years they returned to the forest, rebuilt their dwellings,
and reinaugurated their prayer-meetings. They were now
assisted by Mr. Solomon HATCH, a Baptist licentiate
and lay preacher.
In 1787, Rev. Mr. COMSTOCK, the Baptist pastor on
Cooper's patent, visited the settlement and organized a
church, which, however, in consequence of his death,
occurring soon after, became extinct. In 1793 the church
was organized with ten members, five males and five females,
and this town at that time being a part of Unadilla it was
called the First Baptist church of Unadilla, and the council,
through J. CRAW, moderator, and Captain Elisha CRAW,
clerk, gave the right hand of fellowship to the little church
Aug. 28, 1793.
Increase THURSTON was the first deacon, Captain CRAW
the first clerk, and Reuben ELLIS second deacon. At the
first meeting of the Otsego association the church reported
17 members. The first regular pastor was Rev. John
LAWTON, who received $100 per annum,-$20 in money,
and the balance in the "necessaries of life." The first church
edifice was erected in 1818, and was located about two miles
northeast of the present house, near what was then the centre
of population. It cost about $600, and was occupied
twenty-three years. The second cost about $1000, and was
occupied twenty-eight years, and the present house was
erected at a cost of about $16,000.
The Rev. Charles AYER says, "The Baptists have the
honor to have been the evangelical pioneers in this valley.
The first prayer in this valley was offered by a Baptist
church member, no Christian being within sixteen miles of
his closet. The first soul converted was in a Baptist family.
The first sermon preached was by a Baptist minister, and
the first pastor resident here was John LAWTON, and the
first notable blessing of the Holy Spirit here enjoyed was
upon that pastor's preaching." The following persons have
served the church in the pastoral office from its organization
to the present time, viz.: Revs. John LAWTON, R. ADAMS,
J. WRIGHT, J. AMNER, L. CASLER, E. H. BAILEY, E.
BALDWIN, C. B. POST, S. A. DOUGLASS, L. E. SPAFFORD,
S. P. BROWN, H. A. SHERWOOD, N. RIPLEY, E. M.
BLANCHARD, J. JONES, Charles AYER, L. B. FORD,
A. W. CLARK (supply), A. S. HOBART, present pastor.
ZION Church (by Rev. Hobart COOKE)
The organization of Zion church (Morris) is identified
with the very early history of Otsego County. In 1793
the first clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church began
itinerant labors in this county. His name was Rev. Ammi
ROGERS. Even prior to this the services of the Episcopal
church were maintained by early settlers, first among whom
were Ichabod B. PALMER and Elnathan NOBLE, who came
from Connecticut to make a home in what was afterwards
known as the Butternut valley. The first church organization
grew out of the services held in the house of Mr. PALMER,
and the subsequent work of the early ministers, who wrought
in a genuine missionary spirit as they traveled constantly
from place to place establishing regular divine worship at
various places. The first clergyman to be really recognized
as a permanent pastor was the Rev Daniel NASH, familiarly
known then, and spoken of now, as "Father Nash." His first
ministerial labor was performed in 1797, when, immediately
after his ordination as a deacon in the sacred ministry, he
came, accompanied by his faithful wife, to this county, and
began his work here and in Exeter. After the year 1800
he extended his travels to Cooperstown and Unadilla, and
other places in this and in the adjoining counties. During
this ministry of his diaconate, and just as he was about to
be ordained to the priesthood, the first church edifice was
erected in this parish. It was called "Harmony Church,"
and stood on what is now known in the town of Morris
as the Old Church burying-ground. This is said to have
been the first Episcopal church built in Otsego County. It
was the year 1801. This church building was never formally
consecrated, and at a later date was sold to one H. T.
McGEORGE. Father Nash continued to officiate here
regularly every month until 1814. He was then joined in the
care of this parish by the Rev. Russel WHEELER, who,
in the year 1818, became the officially recognized rector of
the church in Butternuts. In the spring of the year of 1818
the corner-stone of the present church edifice was laid, and
in the November following the building was fully completed
and paid for. Total cost, $6000.
At about this time, it was resolved by the congregation
to change the name from Harmony church to that of Zion
church; and under this new name the new structure was
consecrated to the worship of Almighty God by the Right
Rev. John Henry HOBART, bishop of New York, on the
22d day of November, 1818. On the following day the
Rev. Russel WHEELER was formally instituted as rector of
the parish by Bishop HOBART, and remained an honored
and most useful pastor of this church for eighteen years.
In 1836, the Rev. Orsamus H. SMITH succeeded Rev.
Mr. WHEELER, filling an acceptable pastorate of two years.
In the year 1838, the Rev. Amos B. BEACH was called to
the rectorship of Zion church. During an administration of
seventeen years, Mr. BEACH was most abundantly successful
in awakening new life in the parish, and in promoting its
advancement in active work and permanent strength. Under
his supervision a rectory was built, a school-house erected,
and a flourishing parish school organized, and an organ
placed in the church. The first Sunday-school was also
established during this time.
Following this pastorate, so well remembered for its
efficiency and its substantial results in the interest of the
church, came the Rev. Wm. H. HILL, who remained during
a rectorship of a little more than four years. Mr. HILL is
often spoken of as having been in those days a most forcible
and very eloquent preacher,-an indefatigable worker. His
missionary zeal and labor made him widely and well known
throughout the county, while his parish reaped large benefits
from his pastoral visitations from house to house.
In 1855, the Rev. Wm. J. ALGER became the minister,
remaining about two years. In 1858, the Rev. Wm. J. EARLY
succeeded to the rectorship, remaining also about two years.
In 1860, the Rev. George L. FOOTE became the rector,
continuing until, some two years later, he was incapacitated
for further duty by paralysis.
Succeeding the ministry of Mr. FOOTE, the Rev. Daniel
S. TUTTLE was called, first as assistant minister, and upon
the death of Rev. Mr. FOOTE was elected to the rectorship
of the church.
While rector here Mr. TUTTLE was distinguished for
great zeal and faithfulness in the discharge of ministerial
duties; and in the spring of 1867 he was elected missionary
bishop of Montana, Utah, and Idaho, to which field of
increased responsibility and honor he took his departure
The successor of Bishop TUTTLE was the Rev. Nelson S.
RULISON. Under his rectorship the parish found a fitting
successor to the vigorous administration of the pastor whom
they had given up to the episcopate.
The congregation increased to still larger numbers, and
grew in prosperity. During the two years and a half of Mr.
RULISON's pastorate a fine stone chapel was completed,
having been built by the members of the MORRIS family as
a family memorial, and for the benefit of the neighborhood
about the old General MORRIS' estate. A movement was
also made which resulted in the complete renovation of the
old parish church, enlarging it by the addition of a large
recess chancel, with organ-room on one side, and robing-
room on the other; removing the side-galleries, replacing
the old windows with stained glass, and bringing the
interior of the church, with the alterations and new furnishings,
to compare favorably with the best churches in the county.
The expense of the work was something above ten thousand
Upon the resignation of Mr. RULISON, to accept the
rectorship of a new and important church work in Jersey
City, the Rev. F. N. LUSON became the rector for a few
months, resigning his place in August, 1870.
In December of the same year the Rev. Thomas H.
CULLEN accepted a call and entered upon his duties as
rector, and remained until June, 1872.
In August of the same year the Rev. Charles T. COER,
then in deacon's orders, entered upon the duties as officiating
minister in the parish, and in March of the following year
was ordained in Zion church to the priesthood. Upon his
advancement to this "degree,"-earned in an energetic and
faithful discharge of the many duties of a busy pastorate,-
he was elected to the rectorship of the parish; and in May
of the following year (1874) tendered his resignation,
returning to his previous charge of the chapel of the Good
Shepherd, Binghamton, N.Y.
In June of the same year the Rev. Hobart COOKE, having
succeeded to the rectorship, entered upon his duties, and
remains now in the fourth year of a successful pastorate.
In the spring of 1875 the church received from Mrs.
Jonah DAVIS a beautiful and costly marble font, to be
placed in the church as a memorial of her late husband,
Jonah DAVIS. And in the fall of the same year a fine
organ, costing something over three thousand dollars, was
also presented the church as the gift of one of her generous-
The present condition of this time-honored organization
so identified with the growth and the interests of the old
town of Butternuts and the present town of Morris, is that
of a strong and prosperous church, numbering nearly three
hundred communicants, and active in the many and varied
good works which has likewise distinguished it in the long
years of its history.
The Morris Methodist Episcopal society was in all
probability formed in the year 1828, and constituted a part
of the Chenango circuit. The Rev. Joshua ROGERS was
then preacher in charge on said circuit. Meetings were first
held about one mile from "Louisville," now Morris, sometimes
in a private dwelling, but more frequently in a district
school-house. In the year 1838 the appointment was changed
to the village school-house in Morris. In the year 1845 the
Butternuts and Morris societies were set off from the Chenango
circuit, and served by two ministers, alternating between the
two appointments. It was during this year-1845-the Morris
society built them a church, at the probable cost of $2000.
In 1847 Morris became a separate charge. In the year 1870
some $7000 was expended for additional ground, sheds,
enlargement of church basement, steeple, and bell.
The following were the official members:
Presiding Elder.-L. A. EDDY.
Pastor.-David S. HOLLISTER
Exhorters.-Wm. F. DANIELS and Joel DAVIS.
Stewards.-Wm. HAYNES, Ransom MOFFAT, and D. C.
Leaders.-Moses T. WINTON, Humphrey WILBUR, and
Members.-Wm. A. ARNOLD, Catharine APLIN, Adelia
ANDREWS, Elizabeth S. ALLEN, Mary AXTELLE, Susan
ARNOLD, Bradly BEEMAN, Daniel E. BARRET, Oscar Z.
BROWN, Lucia BUTTS, Sarah BECKER, Mary BATES,
Judith BATES, Wm. CLARK, Green COOKE, Wm. DAVIS,
Phebe DAVIS, Ellen DAVIS, Sarah DARLING, Mary FOLTS,
Ann FLAGG, Ruth HAYNES, Caroline JACOBS, Wm. LYNCH,
Lynda LYNCH, Huldah POTTER, Cyntha POTTER, Harriet
PLACE, Sylvia SHUTE, Effa SHUTE, Anna WILBER, Nancy
Ann BROWN, Betsey BARRET, Almira BUTTS, Eliza
BARTHOLOMEW, Christiana BEMAN, Nehemiah DANIELS,
Nancy Ann DANIELS, Elizabeth DANIELS, Mary Ann DAVIS,
Ursula DAVIS, Melissa DAVIS, Lucinda DARLING, Charlotte
DANIELS, Catharine EDWARDS, Eliza E. FOOTE, Harriet
HARRINGTON, Isaac GOODSPEED, Susannah GIFFORD,
Esther GIFFORD, Elizabeth GONE, Cyrus TUCKER, Lucilla
WINANS, Ebenezer E. HARRIS, Avery R. HARRIS, Hepsibah
HOLDEN, Elizabeth HAIGHT, Elizabeth HAYNES, Sarah
Ann HAYNES, Charlotte HOLLISTER, Fanny M. HATHAWAY,
Olive HATHAWAY, Aaron H. LEWIS, D. H. C. LEWIS,
Warren LEWIS, Elizabeth LYNCH, Elizabeth LEWIS, Martha
LATHROP, Diadema LEWIS, Ransom MOFFATT, John M.
MARBLE, Maria MOFFATT, Phebe L. SHAW, Velores
THURSTIN, Mary WATERHOUSE, Hannah MOFFATT,
Clarisa JAYCOX, Emeline MOORE, Martin MARBLE,
Susannah NEWTON, Sophronia NEWTON, Catharine
NICHOLS, Walden O'BRIEN, Olive O'BRIEN, Nancy Ann
O'BRIEN, Hannah OSBORN, Abigail PEARSALL, Abigail
PLACE, Locisa PLACE, Diana PHILIPS, Cornelia PHILIPS,
Wm. H. SMYTH, Aaron SPERRY, Mary SMYTH, Eunice
SMYTH, Almira WILSON, Lydia WING, Caroline M. SMYTH,
Catharine SMYTH, Susannah SMYTH, Sarah SOMERS, Helen
SOMERS, Euphemia SHERMAN, Catharine STERLING,
Tabor TOBY, Anna THURSTON, Phebe THURSTON, Olive
THURSTON, Betsey TOBEY, Esther TURNER, Benjamin
WINTON, Joseph WATERHOUSE, George WILSON, Thomas
WILSON, Elizabeth WINTON, Lois WINTON, Ambrosia
WINTON, and Drucilla WYNANS.
Presiding Elders.-L. A. EDDY, L. SPERRY, I. PARKS,
D. D., A. J. DANA, J. SHANK, J. T. WRIGHT, Wm. BIXBY,
W. N. COBB, H. WHEELER, and H. R. CLARK, D.D.
Names of Ministers from 1847.-D. S. HOLLISTER, Walter
JEROME, Wm. C. MacDONALD, Dwight WILLIAMS, H. S.
RICHARDSON, J. W. MITCHELL, J. T. CRIPPEN, T. P.
HALSTED, A. S. SOUTHWORTH, E. H. ORWEN, A. E.
DANIELS, A. M. COLGROVE, H. V. TALBOT, H. N. DUZEN,
W. L. THORP, J. PILKINTON, J. W. MORRIS, Jas. E.
SHELLAND, W. B. THOMAS, C. G. WOOD, and J. S.
SOUTHWORTH, present pastor.
Exhorter.-N. B. RIPLEY.
Stewards.-J. HOLLISTER, E. R. JAQUISH, H. RIPLEY,
Wm. DAVIS, J. D. MOAKER, A. PATRICK, and N. VANSLIKE.
Leaders.-E. R. JAQUISH and N. VANSLIKE.
Membership.-One hundred and eighty-two.
Seventy-five of these have been added to the church thus
far this present conference year, and indications foreshadow
that the church is yet to grow in numbers and temporal and
spiritual strength. Old debts-the running expenses of the
church in part for the past two years-have been satisfied
this year, and an old church indebtedness, amounting now to
$700, has been fully provided for; and it is but justice to say
that the names of William DAVIS and Jonathan HOLLISTER
will long live in the memory of this church, for their
devotedness to it in her days of weakness as well as in her
days of prosperity, each having given $1000 for repairing
and clearing the church of its indebtedness. Many others
have given liberally, and at all times shown their devotedness
to all its interests, whose names space would not permit us
Rev. A. E. DANIELS was licensed by this church to exhort
in the year 1832, and in 1833 received local preacher's
license. In 1834 he was received into Oneida conference,
and is now on the superannuated list and located in Morris,
his native town. As a preacher he is widely known for his
marked ability as theologian, as a sound reasoner, and his
fidelity in all the past and present to the doctrines of the
church of his choice, and his great success in his ministerial
calling; and although at the present seventy-three years of age,
retains in an eminent degree his faculties, and as ready now to
labor for Christ as in the past, and looking only a little way on
for the glorious crown for which he has so nobly fought for a
long life, and which is in waiting for him.
Also five others of the Morris church have become ministers.
Two-namely, Joel DAVIS and E. D. THURSTON-joined the
Oneida conference. The former, a few years since, went from
us to the Protestant Episcopal church. The latter is now an
effective minister in the Central New York conference. Geo.
W. GREEN joined the New England conference, and was both
acceptable and useful for many years, but has now, I think,
passed to his reward. B. P. RIPLEY, who was sent out by
this church, is now at Laurens, Otsego County, an effective
laborer in Christ's vineyard.
William R. LYNCH was also licensed here. He was a
devoted and successful worker, earnest in all his labors.
He died Feb. 25, 1871, having labored in the church
The first Universalist sermon was preached in a barn, on
what was then called "Gregory Hill" before the town was
divided, by the Rev. Nathaniel STACY. It was preached in
1832. The first sermon preached in Louisville (Morris) was
in the old "red school-house," by the Rev. Walter BULLARD,
in 1838. He afterwards preached once a month for three
months. The next preaching was by T. J. GOODRICH, from
Oxford, Chenango Co., N.Y., who preached once a month
for one year. After Mr. GOODRICH had finished his labors
the Rev. Job POTTER occasionally preached. A subscription
was then started for the purpose of building a church about
the year 1840, which was accomplished the next year, 1841,
and the Rev. O. WHISTON preached the dedicatory sermon.
The first settled pastor after the church was built was Rev.
David PICKERING, who remained two years. At that time
a society of forty-two members was formed. Rev. Daniel S.
MOREY succeeded him, and from that time the society have
had the labors of the following clergymen: T. J. SMITH,
DODGE, STEWART, BAILEY, PECK, JACKSON,
TOMLINSON, CROSBY, HARRINGTON, PERKINS,
WILLIAMS, and L. F. PORTER, who is its present pastor.
The present membership is one hundred.
The Friends' organized a church here in an early day,
and among the first members were Prince WING and Deborah,
his wife, George BOWNE and sons, Robert and Joseph,
Jonathan NICKERSON and Polly, his wife, Amos WOOD
and Phoebe, his wife, Daniel FOSTER and wife, Nathaniel
VARNEY and wife, Aaron WING and Deborah, his wife.
The church building was erected in 1811 by Peter PLATT,
and was 30 by 41 feet in size, with gallery, and cost about $1000.
The first pastor was Joseph BOWNE, who remained in
service about forty years. Other ministers from that time
to the present were Caleb BOALEY, David H. BENNETT,
Phoebe Ann WEEDEN, Jarvis RIDER, and Joseph BOWNE.
The present house of worship is located about half a mile
east of the village of Morris, and the present officers are as
follows: Levi YOUMANS and Jabez COLLINS, overseers;
Walter CORNELL, clerk.
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