The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia

Church Histories



This church as organized Sept. 17, 1805, with the following members, viz., Ashael PACKARD, David OGDEN, Susannah OGDEN, Mary OVERHIZER, Zenas GOODRICH, Mary GOODRICH, Christian GOODRICH, Daniel KNAPP, Samuel ELWELL.
The organization was effected at the house of Abraham BLAKELY. The meeting was opened by prayer, and a  sermon was preached by Rev. Abner BENEDICT, after which he was chosen as moderator, and Ashael PACKARD, who had been a deacon in the Franklin church, was continued in the same office; Daniel KNAPP was chosen deacon and Ashael PACKARD clerk. During the first two years the church was doubtless without a stated minister. On Aug. 12, 1807, they chose Rev. Wm. BULL to the pastoral office, who served two years, and it was during this period that a house of worship was erected. This structure was thirty-two feet square, and for several years during its occupancy it was only inclosed, the seats were without backs, and it was furnished with no stove or fire. People brought their foot-stoves and hot bricks until 1816, when the building was completed and ready for occupancy. The church worshiped in this old building until 1830, when the present church edifice was commenced, and in 1833 dedicated. It  was erected at a cost of $2908.
In 1820 the church in Butternuts became divided, and sixty-seven of its members united with this church. Soon after, the trouble having been settled, the greater part of the number returned. In 1852 some changes were made in the interior of the church, and a bell was also purchased. In 1867 the church was thoroughly repaired and painted, at a cost of $1900. It is now in a prosperous condition, with the following officers: P. J. BURNHAM, pastor; A. ARNOLD, G. N. WELLS, C. OLMSTEAD, and C. S. SMITH, elders; C. S. SMITH, clerk.
The BAPTIST church was organized April 4, 1816, at this place, then called Unadilla, with the following persons, viz.:  Abraham BLAKELY, Benjamin GREEN, William THOMAS, John BIRDSALL, Phineas ST. JOHN, Silas P. HYATT, Eli PLATT, Jerusha BIRDSALL, Mary BIRDSALL, Sabra HUNT, Lydia GREEN, Polly THOMAS.
Prior to the erection of the church building services were held in school-houses, private houses, and barns in various portions of the town. A. BLAKELY was the first treasurer and deacon, and William THOMAS clerk. Aug.  15, 1818, Elder Daniel ROBINSON was chosen pastor, and served for eight months for a salary of $50. The church edifice was erected in 1829, and rebuilt in 1854 at a cost of $2000. The present officers are as follows, viz.: Rev. Albert Henry NEWLAND, and Levi COBURN, trustees.
This church was organized Jan. 12, 1857, by Elder ST. JOHN, who was chosen first pastor. The first trustees were Gilbert BUNDY, John SMITH, and G. M. FRENCH. First church clerk, James BUNDY. The church as a present membership of about fifty.
Immanuel Presbyterian Episcopal church of Otego was organized at the house of Thaddeus R. AUSTIN, in Otego, Nov. 10, 1834, with the Rev. John F. MESSENGER as chairman. James ROBINSON and John S. ROCKWELL were nominated to certify to the proceedings of the meeting, ad at the same time Daniel R. POPE and Jesse S. HEWETT were elected wardens; Thaddeus R. AUSTIN, James ROBINSON, John S. ROCKWELL, George F. AUSTIN, Abel BOSTWICK, Elisha S SAUNDERS, James FOLLETT, and Henry S. AUSTIN, vestrymen. At the same time Wednesday, in  Easter week, was fixed upon as the day on which future elections should be held.
At the organization the following were members: Mrs. Thaddeus R. AUSTIN, Daniel R. POPE and wife, Jesse S. HEWITT and wife, James ROBINSOIN and wife, and Henry S. AUSTIN.
On Aug. 13, 1835, ground was broken and the cornerstone laid for a house of worship. The church was built of stone, 40 by 50 feet, with tower, and was completed early in 1836 at a cost of some $2500. Of this amount Trinity church of New York, contributed $750; the balance was raised by subscription, which was largely obtained through the efforts of Henry S. AUSTIN.
The lot on which the church stands was donated by Thaddeus R. AUSTIN, who also headed the subscription with a liberal amount.
Previous to the organization of the church services were occasionally held in the school-house by the Rev. Mr. FOOTE, and after the organization, up to the completion of the church, at the same place services were held by the rector, the Rev. Mr. MESSENGER, or in his absence there was lay reading by Henry S. AUSTIN.
The church was consecrated in June, 1936, by the Right Rev. Bishop ONDERDONK, and admitted into the convention of the diocese of New York the same year.
The Rev. Mr. MESSENGER remained with the church only for a short time, and, on his leaving, the Rev. John V. HUGHS took charge of the parish till 1840, when the Rev. Andrew  HALL was called as minister, and remained some two years, and on his leaving the Rev. Mr. HUGHS again took charge of the parish, holding occasional services up to 1865. In  1847 the church was sold under execution, and the Rev. Mr. HUGHS, by his own exertions, raised the money and redeemed the property.
In 1865-66 the church was repaired, enlarged, and  furnished, at a cost, in all, of some $3000. On Easter Tuesday, 1865, an election for officers (the first in several years) was held, when Daniel POPE and Dr. George W. COOK were elected wardens; Dr. Elisha S. SAUNDERS, Samuel R. FOLLETT, William E. ARNOLD, Charles S. WILLIAMS, Franklin M. BILTS, Thaddeus A. BIRSALL, Le Grand B. STONE, and William BIRDSALL, vestrymen. In 1865 the Rev. Mr. GODDARD held services once a month. In March, 1866, the Rev. Geo. W. FOOTE, of New York, was called as rector, and took charge June 1, remaining only about one year, when he was called to Salt Lake City, where he built the first Protestant Episcopal church in that territory.
In May, 1867, the Rev. George W. FERGUSON was  called, and remained some two years, when he was called to Waterford, N.Y. On the Rev. Mr. FERGUSON leaving, the Rev. Mr. HUGHS again took charge of the church, and in April, 1870, was called as minister, and it was while the church was in charge of this venerable and good man (now gone to his long rest), in the spring of 1870, that one of Meneeley's  best bells (1043 pounds), with the inscription "Immanuel Church, Otego, N.Y., Easter, 1870," was raised in the tower, and on Easter morn pealed forth its first notes of joy and gladness over a risen Saviour of mankind.
In April, 1871, the Rev. Mr. HUGHS resigned his charge, and from that time until April, 1872, there were held only occasional services. In April, 1872, the Rev. Joel DAVIS was called, and remained one year, when he was called to Harpersville, N.Y. In May, 1873, the Rev. John H.  FITZGERALD was called as rector, and took charge of the parish, holding the same till Sept. 1, 1875, when he  was called to New Haven. In September, 1875, a call was extended to the Rev. William C. GRUBBLE, which was accepted, and he entered upon his duties October 1, and is  now in charge of the parish, with thirty communicants. The present officers are Charles BLAKE and Eugene PHILLIPS, wardens: William H. PARKER, Dr. A. B. COSSART, W H. LINES, F. E. SHEPHERD, George GOODMAN, John STILSON, and George W. SHEARMAN, vestrymen. During the Rev. Mr. HULL's [HALL's?], Rev. Mr. FOOTE's, Rev. Mr.  FERGUSON's, and Rev. Mr. FITZGERALD's pastorate of Immanuel church, they had most of the time the charge of the Oneonta parish in connection with it, they residing in Otego; and during the Rev. Mr. DAVIS' and the Rev. Mr. GRUBBLE's pastorate they had in connection with it the parish at Franklin, making Franklin their residence.
The FIRST CHRISTIAN church of Otego is located on the west branch of the Otsdawa, four miles north of the present village of Otego, and was organized on June 10, 1830, at the house of Abner WEAVER (located just below the present house of worship), by Elder Joshua HAYWARD, by adopting the following church covenant, viz.:
We, whose names are hereafter written, having previously given ourselves to God, have this day given ourselves to one another by the will of God. And do take the New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour "for the rule of our faith and practice." And determine to extend our arms of charity to all the "Saints of God" who give evidence of walking in newness of life and new obedience. And, exclusive of all other, to take upon and own the name by which the Disciples were called at Antioch, namely, "Christians." As such we are publicly confessed by Joshua HAYWARD, elder of the Church of Christ.
Name of first minister, Joshua HAYWARD.
Charter members.-Peleg BURDICK, Elizabeth BURDICK, Abner WEAVER, Jane WEAVER, Nancy GRIFFITH, Caleb C. WELLS, Isabel WEAVER, Truman TRASK, Louise CHURCH, Polly WEAVER, Christina VAN DUSEN, Betsey WELLS.
The first Christian meeting-house was erected in the year 1835, at a cost of $1200; size 30 by 38 feet.
The fellowship-meetings were established and held once a month regularly, "and were characterized by love, union, and heavenly sittings in Jesus."
The present officers are as follows: Geo. R. BROWN, H. S. TRASK, and Chas. HOAG, trustees; T. J. MARTIN, church clerk; George R. BROWN, treasurer.
The present minister is Elder H. LENARDSON, M.D.
The church record furnishes no authentic account of the labors of the first ministers. Among the first were Joshua HAYWARD and C W. MARTIN. In 1835, Reuben BURGESS commenced his labors for an indefinite period. In 1853, Rev. S. B. HAYWARD was chosen pastor, and served one year. In 1855, Rev. A. HAYWARD was chosen pastor, and served also one year. January, 1856, Rev. John COOK was called, and held the pastorate successfully for four years, closing the same in March, 1861. April, 1862, Rev. Daniel GRANT accepted the pastoral care, and served the church about three years. April, 1865, Rev. C. E. PEAKE as called to the pastorate, and held the same for two years, the church prospering. April, 1867, Rev. E. THORN was chosen pastor, and held the same for one year. April, 1869, Rev. C. E. PEAKE was recalled, and held the position for one year. April, 1870, Rev. Wm. CASE was chosen pastor, and continued for three. During one year of this time he was sick, and the ministering brethren of the New York Eastern Christian conference (of which he was a member) gave each a Sabbath's services to aid him supplying his pulpits; the churches (First and Second Christian churches of Otego)  paying his salary and caring for him until he was restored so as to resume his labors. April 1, 1873, Rev. Elias JONES commended pastoral labor, being called to that position, and served for three years. April 1, 1876, Rev. H. LENARDSON, M.D., was called to labor as pastor, and is the present incumbent, including in his field of labor the Second  Christian church of Otego.
The number of present members is 116; whole number since its organization, 221; deaths, 42; dismissed by letter, removals, etc., 63.
The society has but one church building, which was remodeled and improved, adding ten feet to its length, adding on steeple, etc., at a cost of $800. This was done in the  year 1874. Its present size is 30 by 48 feet.
The First Christian church of Otego, in connection with and associated with other churches at that early day, adopted the following distinctive principles: Christ our head and  lawgiver; the Bible our creed; the right of private judgment; Christian our name, a name given by divine appointment; Christian character our test of fellowship, receiving all who give evidence that Christ has received them, believing a life is more than a creed, and that Christians are one in the sense our Saviour prayed, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the gospel of St. John. Christ prayed for unity or oneness of all who should believe on him-"That the world may believe, thou hast sent me."
"In the year 1835 the record dates a glorious revival under the labors of Reuben BURGESS, who was subsequently ordained by the following elders, John HOLLISTER, Wm. CUMMINGS, Isaac SOULE, and Stephen SOULE; and at a meeting held in J. H. WILSEY's barn, June 26, 1835, quite a number were added to its membership."
The first annual meeting was held Jan. 5, 1857, to elect a ministerial committee, etc., who were instructed by vote of the church whom to secure as pastor, adding as a congregational body independently. Those annual meetings are kept up regularly.
The next general revival was under the two year's pastorate of Rev. C. E. PEAKE. "During this time many additions were made to the church, and some of them heads of families and men of means."
The record of the church speaks of Rev. E. JONES' pastorate as successful. "Several additions were made, and the work of temperance reform and the Sabbath-school were carried on with marked success."
Another item in its history is the fact that the present pastor during the first year of his work has carried forward the temperance reform so nobly begun by Rev. E. JONES, having organized a strictly Total Abstinence Temperance society under the auspices and patronage of the church, with constitution and by-laws requiring monthly meetings, with a pledged membership of nearly one hundred and fifty members, pledged to use their influence by social moral suasion and a prohibitory law-voting as they pray-in order to stay this giant evil, intemperance (or drive it from our midst), perpetuated by using alcoholic stimulants as a beverage, by the drinking usages of society, and by a license law that fosters and clothes it with authority and protects the traffic, receiving in return a meagre revenue for the same; the society bearing a constant testimony against this evil by its public position on this important question.
The SECOND CHRISTIAN church of Otego was organized at Centre Brook by Revs. C. E. PEAKE and Allen HAYWARD, in the northwest part of the town of Otego, six miles from the village of Otego.
Its first officers were as follows: Ira PEARCE and J. C. EMMONS, deacons; J. C. EMMONS, clerk; G. A. BARTON (one year), Wm. BAILEY (two years), Leander PEARCE (three years), trustees. The first minister was Rev. Wm. CASE. The first members were J. C., EMMONS, Delia E. EMMONS, Wm. BAILEY, Elizabeth BAILEY, Ira PEARCE, Hannah PEARCE, Abigail PEARCE, Edwin PEARCE, Adelbert  EMMONS, Burton EMMONS, J. E. TRUMAN, Alice  TRUMAN, R. O. ALLEN, B. A. BARTON, Caroline  BARTON, Irving WOOD, Margaret WOOD, Esther POTTER, and George UTTER.
The church building was erected in 1870 at a cost of $1400. It was dedicated Oct. 18, 1870, the services being conducted by Revs. C. E. PEAKE, D. GRANT, B. F. SUMMERBELL, William CASE, A. HAYWARD, and J. WELLS.
The present officers are J. C. EMMONS and Ira PEARCE, deacons; J. C. EMMONS, clerk; Walter WOOD, Leander PEARCE, and Wm. BAILEY, trustees. The present pastor is Rev. H. LENARDSON, M.D.
The first pastor, Rev. William CASE, served the church three years. His successor was the Rev. E. JONES, who also served three years. The present pastor, H. LENARDSON, is now in his second year of pastoral service. The number of present members is 43.
This church is an outgrowth of the First Christian church of Otego, on the West Branch of the Otsdawa. Thus far the two churches have been united under the same pastor-in the morning preaching to the First church, in the afternoon to the Second church. Otherwise they are independent in their church operations.
The first class in the village of Otego was formed March, 1847, with Wm. T. BROADFOOT as leader, and Morgan  LEWIS as steward. The preacher's name was Henry HALSTED. The members were as follows: Wm. T. BROADFOOT, Salmon BALDWIN, Mary BALDWIN, Orrin ROBERTS, Harry DODGE, Betsey DODGE, Luther CURTIS, Charlotte CURTIS, Sally TURNER, Julia HOAG, Mirilla JAY, Daniel BIRDSALL, John CURTIS, Calista CLYDE, John PALMER, Anna PALMER, Adelia DODGE, Lydia M. THORP, Morgan LEWIS, Lina LEWIS, Ira TOLES, Mary TOLES, John WINN, Polly WINN, Hannah BATES, Harriet SPOOR, Hannah TRACY, and Cynthia TRACY.
The first church was erected in 1852,-Rev. Wm.  BURNSIDE pastor,-at a cost of $2000. Service were held previous to building in the Baptist church and school-house.
The following have served the church as pastors: Henry HALSTED, one year; E. DENISON, one year; R. O. BEEBE, one year; A. R. WELLS, one year; Wm. BURNSIDE, two years; A. QUEAL, two years; Wm. C. McDONALD, two years; Wm. SOUTHWORTH, two years; A. E. DANIELS, two years; Wm. R. LYNCH, two years; Samuel HILL, two years; Austin GRIFFIN, two years; John PILKINTON, two years; Wm. G. QUEAL, two years; Robert PEEBLES, one year; John MEVIS, three years; Wm. HILLER, three years; Eugene C. HERDMAN, present pastor.
The present membership is 140. There is no other  Methodist Episcopal church in town.
They have had a number of very interesting revivals since its organization. The first occurred during the winter of  1849-50,-the result of a female prayer-meeting,-and continued all winter. It was carried on without any clerical help, and some twenty-five of the converts united with us. In the winter of 1851-52, under the labors of William BURNSIDE, they had another season of refreshing, and some thirty was added to the church. Other important revivals occurred in 1855-56,  1864, 1868, 1873, and 1875.
The church is now in a prosperous condition. The present officers are as follows: Wm. T. BROADFOOT, Anson WARD, and J. R. THORPE, trustees; L. E. BOWE, John HUNT, B. COOK, George DUEL, M. LEWIS, J. THORPE, E. E. BOWEN, and A. WARD, steward; Morgan LEWIS, recording steward; J. R. THORPE, steward; W. T. BROADFOOT, E. E. BOWEN and Joseph DAVIS, class-leaders.
The FREE-WILL BAPTIST church of Otsdawa as organized by Rev. S. S. CADY and Deacon E. C. HODGE, consisting of twelve members, as follows: John H. WHEELER, Lavinia WHEELER, J. K. HATHAWAY, Polly HATHAWAY, Charles FIELDS, Mary FIELDS, E. W. SMITH, Anna SMITH, Seymour PERKINS, Cynthia PERKINS, Electa JENKS, and William JENKS. S. S. CADY, minister; J. H. WHEELER, deacon. It was organized in an old school-house, where services were held until the fall of 1854, when a church building was erected, 32 by 50 feet, at a cost of $1200. J. H. WHEELER, deacon; Richard STENSON, deacon and clerk.
T. A. STEVENS, first minister; S. S. CADY preached nine years; Peter SCRAMLING, five years; E. C. HODGE, eleven years; Henry BELDEN, one year; H. G. MEKER, two years; W. Jay, two years; T. A. STEVENS, eight months.
The present members number 56.

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