CAYUGA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
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A HISTORY OF THE CAYUGA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Given to the Cayuga Church by Mabel R. Chappell, January 9, 1966
Transcribed by Kathleen Shaw Decker, February 1997
Cayuga, New York 13034
Cayuga Feb. 20, 1944
1. Some of this material was taken from old Church Record Books.
2. Some from an old History of Cayuga Co.
3. Some from things my mother and father told me.
4. Some from the History of Cayuga Village which was written by
5. Some from facts and instances that I can remember
History and Happenings of Cayuga Methodist Church.
The first M. E. Church of Cayuga was organized about 1830 by
Rev. Moore a local preacher who filled the pulpit about a year.
Traveling preachers came here for the purpose of holding services
at different times. The society had no stated supply until 1838
when Ross Clark was the first Pastor and remained two years.
There was a village school house just south of where the present
school house now stands which was built in 1804. In the year
1845 the Methodist Society bought this school house and rebuilt
it to adapt it to their use as a church, using only the frame of
the old school building.
This first church was later owned by Cyrus Davis and used as a
village hall, and still later owned by Elizabeth McIntosh who had
it remodeled and had a nice stage built in the west end with rooms
on each side for dressing rooms. Plays and entertainments used to
be given there. This hall was burned in the summer of 1899 at
which time the village school and a dwelling house also burned.
In 1845 the charter members of the M. Church were Isaac Freer,
Cyrus Davis, James Hamblin and Rensaleer Warrick. My Father was
born in 1846 and when he was a boy he knew all these men mentioned
The next Pastor mentioned after Ross Clark was Rev. Porter no date
was given. Next mentioned was R. Cuykendall 1850-1851. Next
mentioned were Rev. Hamilton and Rev. Crawford. they were
appointed and no dates were given.
In July 1858 Rev. S. M. Fish was Pastor and the oldest record book
bears this title. "Records of The Cayuga Circuit" dated July 1858
purchased by Rev. Fisk in behalf of the Official Board."
The first names entered in this old Record book are as residing at
North Springport, North Cayuga and Cayuga Village. There were
eighty five members on the rolls.
In 1859 David Brown served as Pastor -- 1860 to 1861 A. Ensign --
1862-63 S. Minier -- 1864 & 65 Rev. E. P. Eldridge. 1866-67 Rev.
T. D. Wire -- 1868 Rev. Isaac Harris was Pastor.
The following is from a news item published in the Northern
Sept. 13, 1869
About the middle of February we commenced some extra meeting.
For some four or five weeks the car moved heavily a few being
converted every week. The enemy pressed us sore being determined
on our defeat. But the little band fasted and humbled themselves
before the Lord night and day and prevaled with God and man.
Br. & Sister Kennard of Waterloo helped us greatly, also others
of the Waterloo band, Br. McPhearson of the Troy Band was here a
week and helped much. Several other ministers came in and helped
now and then. The work moved on in mighty power some 225 up to
this time were converted or reclaimed over 100 joined the church
and others will join soon. Many from other charges were converted
and found church homes elsewhere. We have also succeeded in
building a new brick church 66 x 38 feet at a cost of $9000.
All agree that it is one of the best churches of its size in this
section. It was dedicated to God on Sept 2nd 1869. Rev. Wm
Manning of Waterloo preached the dedicatory sermon -- Rev. B. I.
Ives presiding Elder took hold of the work of raising the money
that was needed to pay off the indebtedness and he succeeded as
usual in clearing the church of all indebtedness. There were
many glad hearts and bright faces at the close of the day.
The congregation was not large but we succeeded in raising $4250.
The meeting continued over the Sabbath.
Signed Isaac Harris
The pulpit was in the west end of the church where our kitchen
and dining room is now, the seats faced the west with a isle on
each side leading from the two doors. The choir loft was over
the front hall and was reached by going up the stairs leading
up to the belfry. The room is still there but the opening is
closed up. My mother was fifteen years old and sang in this
choir loft and Alfred Durston was the choir leader. My father
was twenty three years old and had worked for James Hamblin two
years learning the mason trade. He worked all the through the
stone work and brick work and plastering of the church.
The lot where the church now stands was purchased from Mrs. Carles
(Charles?) Lalliette for $500. She owned all of the square
from Center St. on the east to Lake St. on the west and from
Benedict St. on the south to the Lane on the north. She lived in
what is now the Odell house where Mr. and Mrs. Downey and Mr. and
Mrs. Watson now live. The big lot was all set out to fruit trees
and the young boys used to earn money picking fruit and selling it
on the trains as they stopped here at the old Depot. As Mrs.
Lalliette needed money to live on after her husband died she sold
off building lots.
The Methodist Parsonage was built in 1870 at a cost of $3000 this
included what was paid for the lot. They had to put a $1000
mortgage on the church to get money to build the parsonage.
Mortgage was dated Feb. 18 1872. By 1882 they had paid off $500
of this mortgage.
I do not know at what time the Cayuga and Fosterville charges were
united but the first entry of Fosterville is dated June 12, 1870
and speaks of the Fosterville charge.
Next pastor 1870-71 W. H. Curtiss 1872 Elias Hoxie 1873 W. M.
Wheeler 1874 W. Adams -- 1875 to 77 G. W. Reynolds 1878--79
& 80 C. B. Beach -- 81 to 83 Westley Mason 84 to l8l5 E. B.
Stull. While Rev. Stull was Pastor the church was greatly changed.
The choir loft in the east was closed, the room was taken off the
west end of the church for a class room the present pulpit was
built out to the north, seats were changed from facing west to
Pastors who followed were James H. Stanton 1886-87 W. W. Sanford
88 to 92. Sanford is the first Pastor I remember. I was very
small in 92. Remember the church walls were a dull gray the
carpet was scarlet & black a stove in the north east corner and
one in the north west corner the amen corner, a hanging lamp in
the center and bracket lamps around the sides kerosene. I
remember the tall Christmas trees reaching from floor to ceiling
with a beautiful doll in the top. I remember my S. S. Teacher
Elizabeth Lamb and saw her married to Go. Odell at a church
wedding in 1892. Picnics on Frontenac & Ithaca to Sheldreake &
Ithaca, also Mohawk & Iroquois Band Music.
Next Pastor E. A. Peck 1893 & 94 S. W. Andrews 1894 to 96 -- H.
C. Andrews 96 to 99 O. G. Purington 99 to 1901. All the boys &
girls liked Mr. P. He had a son about our age and we used to have
such good times at the parsonage. His son used to drive his
father's horse to give it exercise and take the girls for a ride
and the girls liked that. It was around this time that gas was
put in to replace kerosene lamp.
R. D. Hebblethwaite followed next 1901 to 1903. Now we are coming
to some of the best years of the church that I can remember.
There were so many young people here. There were about 12 young
people walked from Cousinville to morning service at 10:30 and
stayed for S. School. then walked home for dinner and back at 6:30
for Epworth League and preaching service at distance of one half or
2 miles each way. There were about 22 Methodist young people here
in the village. There were about 35 young people in the Epworth
League & Sunday School besides many older people used to attend
S.S. and E. L.
Sadie Freese was our Epworth League Pres. for years --- the best
Epworth League Pres in the United States at that time.
Mrs. Hebblethwaite taught the young men's class in S. School. Our
missionary collections in S.S. were very large. Our Epworth league
supported a missionary in China for several years a Mr. & Mrs.
In June 1902 a young ladies Missionary society was organized and
kept running for five years. It was called The Queen Esther
circle. This circle paid 20 dollars each year to educate a girl
in the Bareilly Mission in India. She afterward became a teacher.
The Epworth league held a monthly business meeting on a week night
and a social time after the meeting.
The Queen Esther circle held a monthly business meeting after which
the boys & young men were invited for fun & games.
The two societies used to combine and hold home talent plays &
entertainments to raise money to help support the church. We used
to have straw rides in summer and sleigh rides & masquerade parties
in winter. One time we had a circus down in the old malt house in
the basement. We had a merry-go-round, a wild west show with
bucking broncos, a wild animal show, fortune teller, etc. We also
had a banquet there and played games there.
About this time many of the young people were invited to sing in
the choir. Mr. Armitage was our choir leader. We held choir
rehearsal every Saturday even at Zaida Finney's home and no one
would think of missing a rehearsal. After the minister and our
choir leader went home some one would play the piano and we would
try to dance the square dances.
While Mr. Hebblethwaite was Pastor money was raised to finish
paying off the mortgage on the church. Some of the last $500 had
been paid while Mr. Purrington was Pastor. The mortgage was paid
Aug. 3, 1903 and Friday even August 7 at the Quarterly Conference.
Mr. Fred Baker was treasurer and D. W. Anthony was president of
the board of trustees. As the ancient document was burned the
people sang heartily "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow."
This was the first time in 31 years the church property was free
of debt. Several old Pastors came back and gave addresses that
evening among them were H. W. Sanford, E. A. Peck, H. C. Andrews,
O. J. Purrington and no collection was taken.
Mr. W. E. Lang followed Mr. Hebblethwaite from Oct 1903 to Oct.
1904. In the Spring of 1904 a big Revival was held. It was during
the time Mr. B. was here that the two big books were burned. We
then went on Iri. Mohawk and later Mr. Hamilton's boats.
Mr. W. G. Boyd was Pastor from Oct 1904 to Jan 1, 1909. Our church
& Sunday School, Epworth League & Queen Esther were all thriving at
this time with large congregations. Many joined the church. I
joined Dec. 31, 1905.
All the organizations of the church had been earning money to use
to redecorate & improve the church property for sometime. We held
a big bazaar in the church at which time we had candy booth, apron
booth, fancy work, baked goods, samples home made ice cream, a
lunch counter where lunches & coffee were sold. Many stores made
donations for our Bazaar, the Edwards Store in Syracuse donated a
beautiful 9x12 rug which was sold for 25 or 35 dollars. We also had
small rugs for sale also clothing. The Bazaar lasted two days with
an entertainment at night. We cleared $200. With this and the
money which had been raised previously we repaired leaks in the
roof, redecorated the church, sides tinted pink with stencil
borders at top and base and a cream colored border around the edge
of ceiling, the center of ceiling a delicate blue. A new furnace
to replace the old stoves and a new wine colored carpet with a
little pink in it. The church looked very fine. B. L. Taylor was
pastor 1909 to 1911 about this time many of the young people had to
go away to work, some were in school, some married with little
children and unable to come. Many of the older people had gone on
our congregations and attendance at Epworth & S. School became
smaller. Ada Hamilton & Ray Finney were married at a church
wedding in Sept. 1911 & went to Syracuse to live.
Oct. 1911 to May 1913 Rev. Wells was Pastor. Sometime around this
time Mrs. Moses Dixon died and left $1000 to the church. Around
this time new windows were put in (the) church. He had to give up
on account of illness and was not able to finish the year. He did
one fine piece of work while he was here. He married Laura &
George Tavener on June 26, 1912.
Rev. W. C. Chamberlain followed Mr. Wells. He came here a young
bachelor May 25, 1913 and was Pastor until Oct. 1916. He was a
fine Pastor and our church improved while he was here. He used to
live alone in the Parsonage at first and then he married one of our
finest young woman Lucina Wiley. They lived here a little over a
year after they were married. I heard Mr. Chamberlain say once
that when he came to Cayuga he had all his earthly possessions in
two suit cases and when he left Cayuga he had a wife, a baby and
two loads of furniture. He was the first Pastor who ever married
a Cayuga girl and he deserves a lot of credit for that . Laura &
Geo. Tavener joined church Mrs. 15, 1914. It was about this time
we bought the church piano and had plays and entertainments.
Mr. A. C. Willy was Pastor from Oct 1916 to Oct. 1918. Mrs. Willy
used to sing in our choir and had a fine alto voice. The Willy's
were the last Pastor's family to live in our Parsonage and this
was the lst year the Cayuga & Fosterville charges were united.
Oct. 1918 to Oct 1921 Mr. R. F. Smithson. at this time Cayuga &
Union springs were united.
Geo. F. Metzler was Pastor Oct 1921 to Oct 1922. Mrs. Metzler
sang in our choir and had a beautiful soprano voice.
Oct. 1922 to Oct 1923 we had Gordon Gould as a supply. He was
attending Syracuse University and come out for Sundays.
From Oct. 1923 to Dec 1923 Mr. Britton supplied for a few weeks.
Dec. 1923 Tom Lusk was sent here and he supplied until Oct. 1926.
He was also a student and attended the Auburn Seminary. He is now
a chaplain in the Army stationed in Australia.
In Oct. 1926 we were again united with Union Springs, and Mr.
Prosens was pastor for that year to Oct. '27. Revival.
Oct. '27 to Oct 1929 Mr. Geo Holyoke was Pastor. Union Springs
wanted to have Mr. H. for a full time Pastor and June 9, 1931
Zaida & John 2 windows (sic).
Mr. Gordon Gould was again our Pastor from Oct. 1929 to Oct. 1932.
He lived at Fleming and supplied the Acre Church and the Cayuga
Church. While he was here the church roof was again repaired and
the church redecorated. It was done all over in cream color,
ceiling & sides alike. The carpet was taken up, the floor painted
and the carpet runners in the isles and carpet in choir & pulpit.
Mr. Cox followed and was here Oct 1932 to Oct. 1934. We were
again united with Union Springs. Mr. Cox did a lot for the young
people and was well liked.
Mr. Strite was Pastor Oct 1934 to Oct 1937. While W. W. Strite
was Pastor a new roof was put on the Parsonage. $385.70. It
leaked so badly we had to do it to keep a tenant.
Ralph Smith Pastor from Oct 1937 to Oct 1941. Water was put in
the Parsonage and the church roof was again repaired and the
steeple lowered because it was unsafe. In 1939 the church was
redecorated, woodwork varnished and new song books bought. Water
bill $45. Church Roof & Steeple $155.
This was given when Clyde Rosecrans was Pastor. Clyde Rosecrans
was Pastor from Oct. 1941 to June 1st 1944.
We were still having evening services in winter and early services
in summer. We had a very fine music service on Nov. 5, 1941 given
by our choir fifteen taking part.
Rev. Bernard DeGraw was pastor June 1, 1944. May 31, 1946. We
had two minstrel shows coontown showboats while he was Pastor --
Had good services and many pleasant evenings when we held family
nights, with Half Acre.
Rev. James Bennett was Pastor June 1946 to May 31, 1951 -- we had
fine services and Ada Mae Bennett helped so much in choir. We had
one Minstrel Show -- can't remember name but it was given in 1946
I believe -- and the last minstrel show was 1947. Coontown
Plantation. Special services were held before Easter during Lent.
We all enjoyed the Easter Breakfasts and the sunrise services so
much. These Lenten services were held with Presbyterians &
Methodist churches uniting.
Rev. Leon Northrop was pastor from June 1, 1951 - May 31, 1958 --
He made many calls and brought many new members into the church.
Rev Theodore Kohinke was Pastor from June 1, 1958 to May 31, 1961.
Paul Kirkpatrick June 1, 1961 to. The oldest church record book is
dated 1858. This is the oldest record book I know anything about.
* Included in original transcripts is a list of clergy as included in
Vol. 2 records and a description of current programs being
conducted in the church. The original copy is maintained in the
church in Cayuga.
The information on this page was Transcribed by Kathleen Shaw Decker
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