The History of Cayuga County 1789-1879 page 263
Town of Sterling / Churches / Biographical Sketches
Rev. J. P. Simmons, the latter of whom maintained pastoral relations with them fourteen years. He left in the spring of 1878, and his place has not yet been filled. The present membership is eighty; and the attendance at Sabbath school, about thirty.
THE FIRST M. E. CHURCH, at Sterling Center, was organized in 1856, with about thirty members, among whom were John N. Smith, Isaac M. Hoppin and family, and Mrs. Rhoda Duel. Previous to this, an organization had existed and fallen into decay, and meetings were held by circuit preachers during a period of several years. Rev. David B. Smith, father of Gary Smith, was one of the early preachers. Their house of worship was erected in 1860, at a cost of about $2,000, and will seat about three hundred persons. Previous to the building of the church, meetings were held in the school-house; and, during one summer, by invitation of the Baptists, in the church of that society. At its organization, the church became an appointment on the Fair Haven charge. It (sic) 1869 it separated from that charge, and attached to itself Martville as a second appointment. It then first became known as Sterling charge. In 1872, Martville was detached, since which time the church has stood alone. Following is a list of the pastors since the organization in 1856, with the year in which they came to the charge: Hiram Woodruff, 1856; Samuel Salisbury, 1858; E. W. Pierce, 1860; ----- Paddock, 1862; O. C. Lathrop, 1863; J. Barns, 1864; F. A. O'Farrell, 1866; D. Stone, 1868; A. Miller, 1869; R. O. Beebe, 1870; P. T. Hughston, 1871; R. Houghton, 1873; Z. Wilcox, 1876; George P. Avery, the present one, 1877. In 1869, during the pastorate of Allen Miller, but under the evangelical labors of D. W. Thurston, of Syracuse, and H. Giles, a remarkable revival occurred in this church, which resulted in the conversion of about a hundred and in adding sixty to the membership.
THE ADVENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH, at Martville, was organized August 17th, 1873, with sixty-seven members, among whom were A. H. Dunbar, John Tappan, D. R. Childs, Wm. H. Barr, S. Stum, S. H. Bradford, Oliver Blanchard, George Timeson, S. D. Crofoot, Nelson Palmer, Orin Barnes and Elkany Baker, and as the result of a series of a meetings, during a period of six weeks, held in a tent, and conducted by Elders M. R. Miles and B. P. Stevens, who attracted large numbers, some from great distances, and expounded the doctrines peculiar to this denomination, which "were new and strange to many who listened," and with such effect as to convert between thirty and forty individuals. In 1875 they built their church edifice, at a cost of $2,300, and dedicated it Aug. 15th of that year, the sermon being preached by W. J. Hobbs, of Honeoye Falls, N. Y. Elder M. R. Miles was called to the pastorate in 1874, and served them that and the two succeeding years. In 1877, Elder James E. Wells, of Ontario, N. Y., accepted a call from this Church, and served them with such acceptance as to be chosen pastor in 1878. The membership June 15th, 1878, was ninety. There is a large and interesting Sunday school, of which James Barnes has been superintendent for a number of years. The attendance at the school is eighty-six. Communion is observed once a quarter. The form of government is Congregational.
A little distance from Sterling are Kevill's grist, cider and shingle-mills and apple-jelly factory, all of which were built and are owned and conducted by William Kevill. The grist-mill was built in 1851, contains three run of stones, and has a capacity of 200 bushels per day. The cider-mill was built in 1861, contains three presses, and expresses the juice usually from 10,000 to 15,000 bushels of apples per season. The shingle-mill was also built the latter year. It contains one self-setting machine, with a capacity of 5,000 shingles per day, and is in operation only about four months in the year. All three are propelled by water. The jelly factory has a capacity of 400 pounds of jelly per day. This is a new industry, having been established here in 1870, and is developing into a large business. The jellies manufactured from apples are reputed to be superior to all others.
JAMES HUNTER was born in Ireland in 1796. His early youth was passed on his father's farm,