The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
FIRST BAPTIST church of Worcester*
* By Rev. J. EVANS
In the latter part of the year 1798, Rev. Ashbel HASMER
and Rev. John LAWTON visited the town of Worcester, and
found a number of Baptists there, whom they advised to form
into a church. Rev. A. HASMER baptized one person, and
there appeared a pleasing attention among the people. They
continued their meetings, and Rev. J. LAWTON frequently
visited them and baptized three more. After struggling
through many difficulties, on Aug. 21, 1799, they were
constituted into a regular Baptist church by a council formed
of the delegates from the North Burlington, Third Burlington,
Butternuts, and Kortright churches.
The church was organized with eight members in a barn
at West Hill, on the farm where John FERN now lives, then
owned by Rufus and Ebenezer INGALLS. The deacons were
brethren COLE and INGALLS. The church was received into
the Otsego association, held at Exeter, Sept. 4, 1799. It
afterwards united with the Rensselaerville and Franklin
associations. The church and congregation worshiped in
dwelling-houses, school-houses, and barns most of the time
for a number of years.
A division arose in 1813 or 1814 on a question of discipline,
the breach grew wider and wider, and finally the church
disbanded. The clerk at that time was Leavitt CHUSHING.
The first church-records were taken to Bainbridge and lost.
The church was reorganized March 16, 1816. Rev. John
WARREN was chosen moderator, and Samuel BUTLER,
clerk. Elder WARREN was the first settled pastor. Among
the first members were R. and E. INGALLS, Luding INGALLS
and wife, Lionel and Allen SHELDON and wives. From 1816
to 1819 fifteen were received into the church by baptism.
The first ordination was that of Mr. FRENCH. The services
were held at Deacon INGALLS' house.
From 1819 to 1822, Elders BUTLER, MACK, MARCH, and
CARPENTER preached one-quarter of the time each. In
November, 1819, David HOLMES was ordained deacon.
Elder B. SAWIN preached the sermon. During this year the
old church was built, the spiritual birth-place of many precious
At this time the church was strict in its discipline, as it
voted to withdraw the hand of fellowship from a number for
denying the resurrection and the general judgment. One clause
was also added to the articles of faith, for at this time quite a
stir was made on these subjects. In January, 1822, Rev. Julius
BEEMAN was elected pastor, and served the church with
great acceptance until December, 1827. During the year 1822,
Norman BENTLY was licensed to preach the gospel. In June,
1823, Orange WRIGHT was chosen to serve as deacon. At
this time the money to defray the expenses of the church were
raised by the system of equality, as two brethren were appointed
to collect the tax throughout the church. We have a few years
later the following:
Resolved, That each and every church member shall pay
their equal proportion in the expenses of the church according
to the amount of property intrusted to them.
In 1828 an invitation was extended to Walter COVEY; he
was received into the church by letter, May 9, and ordained
to the work of the gospel ministry, Oct. 28 of the same year.
Elder WEEKS preached the ordination sermon, Elder SAWIN
offered the ordaining prayer, Elder WRIGHT gave the charge,
Elder BUTLER gave the hand of fellowship, Elder SAWIN
addressed the church, and Elder SPAFFORD closed by
prayer. All of these veterans and ministers of Christ have
gone to receive their reward. The church, during the next
decade, was very prosperous. Elder Walter COVEY
continued his labors for eight years. Eighty-four were
baptized during his pastorate. In 1837, Rev. D. B. COLLINS
was settled as pastor. At this time there was a very prosperous
Sabbath-school, and afterwards it is mentioned as an element
of great power and prosperity to the church. In 1838 the
records mention a glorious revival. They say, "Backsliders
have been reclaimed, sinners converted, and the church
enlarged." Fifty-two were received this year by baptism,
the largest number in one year during its entire history.
Elder COLLINS preached in the east and west parts of the
township, and the great Master blessed his labors abundantly.
A committee was appointed to buy half of the Methodist
church in West Worcester (the other half was already owned
by the Baptist); the purchase was finally made. This year
Isaac PIERCE and Joseph HARTWELL were chosen deacons,
and J. W. STARKWEATHER was licensed to preach, and
entered Hamilton theological seminary.
In 1841 the church secured the services of Rev. Walter
COVEY. This was the second pastorate. The gospel was
faithfully preached, the members were diligent, prayerful,
and united, and in 1842 a glorious revival followed,-
twenty-two were added by baptism. The records say, "God
has visited us in great mercy, and to his great name be all the
glory." Elder COVEY's two pastorates covered a period of
In 1850 there was no pastor, but prayer-meetings were
sustained. Rev. L. E. SPAFFORD preached for the church
in 1851. This was a very barren time,-its number was
reduced to fifty-two. Rev. E. SPAFFORD succeeded his
father in July of 1851, and continued until 1856, during which
time the church enjoyed the presence of the Saviour, union
and prosperity. The church was very much strengthened
during Elder SPAFFORD's ministry. In January, 1851, a
committee was appointed to consider the propriety of
removing the old church or building a new one. The committee
finally decided not to remove the old one, but to build a new
one in the village of East Worcester. In 1855-56 the present
church edifice was built at a cost of about $3000. It was
dedicated March 5, 1856. Rev. N. WRIGHT preached on the
occasion from the words, "And they sat the ark of God upon
a new cart." 2 Sam. vi. 3.
Rev. F. JONES was pastor of the church from 1856 to
1859. During this time God did not forget his people, for
by the faithful preaching of the word sinners were brought
to a knowledge of the trust as it is in Jesus. Revs. R.
COLLINS, L. E. SPAFFORD, L. J. LINCOLN, and F. JONES
succeeded each other, remaining a year each.
In 1863, Rev. J. B. PIXLEY commenced his labors as
pastor, and remained five years. During this time the
house of worship was painted, papered, etc. The church
grew strong in the principles of Bible truth, and was established
in the faith once delivered to the saints. The resources of
the church were also developed.
Rev. C. C. BROWN was next pastor for about two years.
In 1869 his labors were greatly blessed by a precious revival
on West Hill, and many valuable additions were made to
the church at that time. Rev. J. JONES was the next pastor.
The church continued to prosper during his administration.
In 1873, Levi RURY was licensed to preach the gospel. The
same year we have this record: "We mourn the death of a
former pastor, Rev. C. C. BOURN, who was at the time of
his death a member of our church." Brother BOURN was a
hard-working servant of Christ. He now rests from his labors.
In 1874, Rev. W. McNEIL became pastor of the church.
and remained two years. God crowned his efforts with
success and souls were brought to Jesus and united to his
On Oct. 1, 1876, Rev. J. EVANS received a unanimous
invitation from the church and entered upon his labors.
This church is the oldest in the Worcester association,
and is the spiritual mother of the following churches:
Cross Hill (now Richmondville and Fulton), Summit,
Westford, Middlefield, Richmondville, Seward Valley,
Maryland, and the Second Baptist church of Worcester.>br>
The CONGREGATIONAL church of Worcester was organized
on May 10, 1792, by Rev. Uriah BIGELOW, with the follow-
named members, viz., Uriah BIGELOW, Joseph FLINT,
Benjamin TAINTOR, Elijah HOUGHTON, Simeon CHESTER,
and Caleb BOYNTON. The wives of some of the above were
also among the first members. The first church edifice was
erected in 1822, religious services having been previously held
in dwellings and school-houses. In 1860 the church was
rebuilt, remodeled, and beautified, at an expense of $1500.
Its dimensions are 40 by 60 feet. The present officers are as
follows: Isaac SHELLAND, John FERGUSON, Hamilton
WATERMAN, and William J. SLOAN, deacons. The church
is prosperous, has a membership of one hundred and fourteen,
and is under the care of Rev. John M. CHASE, the first
METHODIST church of Worcester.
This church was organized in 1836 by the Rev. A. E.
DANIELS, who officiated as the first pastor, and was
succeeded by Martin MARVIN. The society was without
a church edifice until 1840, when a neat and substantial
building was erected. The present edifice was erected in
1871, at a cost of $3500. The church is now in a prosperous
METHODIST EPISCOPAL church, South Worcester.
This church was organized by Rev. C. W. LYON, with
twenty-six members. The house of worship was erected in
1868, at a cost of $2500.
METHODIST church, East Worcester.
The first Methodist society in East Worcester was formed
about the years 1823 or 1824. Mrs. Elizabeth CHAMPION,
wife of John CHAMPION, being a firm believer in the
doctrines and principles advocated by the Methodists, and no
meetings ever yet having been held in that locality by the
Methodists, she feeling the necessity of some church organization
with which she could worship, gave notice that there would
be a Methodist meeting at the school-house, near the Corners,
on a certain Sabbath evening. She sent word to a local preacher
named DEPEW, at Elliott Hill, to come and preach to them.
The time arrived; no preacher came. The house was filled with
eager listeners to hear a Methodist preacher. They were like
to be disappointed, when Mrs. CHAMPION arose, and, in as
concise a manner as she could, explained the principles and
doctrines of the Methodist religion. She thus talked and prayed
with them, and at the close of the meeting asked if there were
any others who were willing to join with her in holding prayer-
meetings, etc. She found two others, who, with her, agreed to
hold meetings, and they thus banded themselves together to
form a class. Another meeting was appointed, at which Elder
DEPEW attended, and preached an old-fashioned Methodist
sermon. Other meetings were held, and preaching was done
alternately by Elder DEPEW and Jeremiah SIMMONS. A
series of meetings were held, and during the winter of 1824,
and before the winter was over, names were not wanting. A
goodly number came forward and joined the class. The next
year this class was placed within the bounds of the circuit,
and ever after they had circuit preaching, until in later years
they built a fine church edifice in which meetings are yet held.
The land for the East Worcester Methodist Episcopal
church, located on the road to South Hill, in the rear of the
brick store, was donated to the society by Leonard CARYL,
who subscribed liberally toward its erection; and to Mr.
CARYL, and Aaron and James A. CHAMPION, the building
of the church edifice is largely due. It was erected previous
to 1839. "It was a heavy tax," says S. B. CHAMPION, "on
a few persons, and when the committee were soliciting
contributions, they called on John CHAMPION, the 'hotel
preacher' as he was extensively known, for aid. He promised
to pay a certain amount if they would grant him the privilege
of preaching the first sermon in it after its completion. This
was readily agreed to. At the dedication, when the preliminaries
had taken place and all were ready for the sermon by the
presiding elder, Uncle John left his seat and started for the
pulpit. All eyes were turned on the old gray-haired veteran,
and those in the pulpit seemed to hesitate, not knowing what
was going to occur. Many of the auditors knew what was
coming. One of the sons attempted to persuade him to
relinquish his plan, as it might disturb the proceedings. He
pushed the son aside, with the remark that he knew what he
was about to do. On reaching the altar, he addressed the
ministers, and related, in a clear voice, the contract made,
and said he was ready to fulfill the last of the bargain on his
part. The ministers stood aside, the old gentleman took his
text, and for twenty or thirty minutes addressed the crowded
house in a manner never before nor since known. It almost
seemed as if St. John the apostle, was speaking in his own
flesh and blood. He concluded by trusting that those who
were to occupy the sacred desk would preach only from the
Holy Bible before him, with love to all, laying aside all
bigotry, superstition, intolerance, or fanaticism, to the end
that all might become better, and prepare to occupy another
temple not made with hands. Also thanked all concerned,
walked back to his seat, and the dedication exercises
proceeded." The church edifice was enlarged in 1866, and
rededicated by Rev. H. ROBINSON, assisted by Rev. Wm.
ST. JOSEPH'S church (CATHOLIC).
This church was organized April 10, 1874, and the
following chosen trustees: James McMULLEN, Michael C.
MOONEY, and Michael BOYLING. The church edifice was
erected in 1875, at a cost of $1900.
The first pastor was Father J. J. BROSNAN, who is the
The church was named in honor of Judge Joseph P.
DAILY, of New York, who gave it $1000.
The SECOND BAPTIST church of Worcester as organized
March 30, 1841, with the following members: D. B. COLLINS,
Catherine COLLINS, Isaac PIERCE, William COOK, William
PIERCE, John COOK, John CLEVELAND, Benj.
STARKWEATHER, Luther MARKHAM, Otis BATES,
Smith LOBDELL, Milton WRIGHT, Oscar B. OSBORN,
John W. STARKWEATHER, Harriet STORRS, Elizabeth
MARKHAM, Sarah HOUGHTON, Matilda PIERCE, Louisa
COOK, Electa STARKWEATHER, Chancellor INGALLS,
Moses BENNETT, Quartus MARKHAM, Sarah UTTER,
Lydia INGALLS, Esther E. MARKHAM, Hannah WRIGHT,
L. WRIGHT, Polly WRIGHT, Caroline UTTER, Sally
FULLER, Eliza LOBDELL, Phebe CLARK, Elizabeth
HOLMES, Harriet BUTLER, Orilla GUERNSEY, Unis
INGALLS, Elizabeth INGALLS, and Salmon FREEMAN.
The first pastor was D. B. COLLINS, the first deacons,
Isaac PIERCE, William PIERCE, William COOK, and the
first clerk, John COOK. The first church edifice was purchased
of the Methodist society, and erected by them in 1838; size
36 by 40 feet, and cost $800. Previous to this purchase
services were held in the "Old Academy building" at Tuscalon,
a settlement about one mile west of Worcester village. In
1876 this old building was superseded by the present edifice,
which was erected at a cost of about $5000. It is 40 by 70
feet, and has a seating capacity of 400. It was dedicated by
J. E. CHESHIRE, D.D., of Montrose, Pa.
The following have served the church as pastors from its
organization to the present time, viz.: D. B. COLLINS, eleven
years; Jesse EVANS, seven years; J. B. PIXLEY, four years;
Ingraham POWERS, seven years; H. BROTHERTON, four
years; and T. SIMPKINS, three years, the present pastor.
The present deacons of the church are as follows: Nathaniel
STORRS, Francis GOODRICH, Chester JACOX, and Albert
WILSON; John D. WILCOX, clerk. The church is in a
prosperous condition, and has a membership of 167.
The LUTHERAN church, South Worcester was organized in
1834, by J. SELMSOR. The church building was erected in
1834; size 45 by 50 feet.
The following are the present officers: Peter HALLENBECH,
John WILBER, Henry HAUCH, and O. J. MAMBRAY.
The following have served as pastors of the church: J.
SELMSOR, two years; N. VAN ALSTINE, two years; T.
PLATO, four years; C. OCHAMPAUGH, one year; L.
WHEELOCK, two years; B. DIEFENDORF, fifteen years;
Mr. BRUCE, present pastor, has served the church fourteen
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