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ELLERY CENTER BAPTIST PARSONAGE
Ellery Center, N. Y. Town of Ellery
On August 16, 1852, Norman VanDusen, and his wife Mary, deeded ten acres of land to
Clark Parker, Seely Strong, Isaac N. Baldwin, Thomas Parker and Jacob R. Brownell,
who were the Trustees of the First Congregational Baptist Church of Ellery Township in
Chautauqua County, consideration of $300. This deed was recorded, August 21, 1852.
The parsonage was built on this parcel of land, located on the east side of the Ellery
Center-Jamestown Road, between the James McCalligan property and the Ellery Center
Volunteer Fire Hall (1974). The exact date when the parsonage was built is not known
but according to the church records a special collection was taken in December, 1856, for
the liquidation of the debt incurred in building the parsonage in 1855. The parsonage was
a large two story house with a small barn in back.
In November of 1973 when Doris Carlson was reminiscing with Mrs. McCalligan it was
interesting to note that the early history of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Johnson
was very closely interwover with the history of the Ellery Baptist Parsonage and land.
They had the distinction of being the first Swedish family to move to this section of the
Town of Ellery.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were married in Jamestown, N. Y., in 1877. About 1879 they
decided to buy a farm and through friends learned that Keeler Cowden, of Ellery Center,
had land for sale. A verbal agreement was made with Mr. Cowden for two parcels of
land. One small parcel with a house and the other being sixty acres of land.
At the time of the actual purchase of the land, Mr. Cowden decided not to sell the parcel
with the house. For many years this property was known by the residents of Ellery, as the
Clyde Smiley home. Mr. Johnson, being a carpenter by trade, decided to buy the sixty
acres of land and build his own home.
In order to be near his farm while building his home, Mr. Johnson rented and moved his
family from Jamestown to the Ellery Baptist Parsonage in Ellery Center. His first concern
was to build a house and move his family to his farm, after which he built a barn. In later
years he built a much larger, two story addition to the front of his home and remolded the
original house, which is the low part of the present house.
Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Pfaff later owned this ten acres of land which once belonged to the
Ellery Baptist Parsonage. From their search we were able to find where in 1884, Mr.
Johnson needing more land, bought eight acres from the back part of this parcel.
Joseph E. Powers, Andrew P. Warren, and George W. Hiller, who were the Trustees of
the First Congregational Baptist Church of Ellery gave a warranty deed, dated April 1,
1884, and recorded September 29, 1885, to Charles L. Johnson for eight acres of land,
consideration of $250. This left two acres, with the parsonage buildings, fronting on the
For several years the parsonage was rented to different families. Some of those who lived
there were: Rev. and Mrs. James Chase who moved to Ripley; Mr. and Mrs. Schol who
after the death of their baby moved to the house located on the corner of Slide and
Towerville Roads; Mr. and Mrs. Morris; Mr. and Mrs. Emil Hallberg, being the birth place
of their second child.
Early in the summer of 1918, Mr. Johnson’s barn was struck by lightning and burned to
the ground in which he lost his horses, cattle and all his machinery. With the help of his
son, he bought seven calves. Needing a barn for the calves and to store his winter hay, he
bought the remaining two acres of the parsonage land with the house and barn.
On August 21, 1918, a warranty deed was given from the First Congregational Baptist
Society, of the Town of Ellery, by George S. Lazell, Bert J. Cross, Lavern C. Lazell,
Junius Benson, William Mahanna and Julius Beck, the Board of Trustees, to Charles L.
Johnson, consideration $150.
That summer he stored his hay in the parsonage barn and also started a new barn. Logs
were cut from his woods, Friends used their horses to dray these logs to the George
Phillips sawmill at Phillips Mills, where they were cut into boards and beams. Some of
those who used their teams to haul logs were: Oscar Johnson; Andrew Carlson and son
Alfred; Charley Bergstrum, and Fred Swanson. Mr. Charles Johnson and Charley
Johnson, a carpenter, who lived around Ellery for many years built the new barn. This
barn was still in use on the farm, later owned by Mr. Johnson’s daughter, Mrs. James
McCalliigan. (1990 - Farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. McCalligan’s daughter, Ruth M.
McCalligan Haskin and her husband Ralph Haskin. 2002 - The house is lived in by Mr.
and Mrs. Haskin’s son, Charles Haskin. At this time the barn has fallen down.)
In later years the parsonage barn was torn down and the lumber used on the Johnson farm.
The house stood vacant for many years and was in poor condition, but contained a large
quantity of good lumber. Mr. Aaron Anderson bought the house, and salvaged the good
lumber, which he used in the house he was building, located on the Beck Road. This
house is still in use and was owned by his son, Joseph Anderson.
When the Johnson estate was settled in 1940, the parsonage land of ten acres, was deeded
to his daughter, Mrs. Stella J. Whiston. After her estate was settled Mr. Charles J.
Whiston sold the land to the Pfaff’s in June 1968.
The history of the Ellery Baptist Parsonage has been made possible through
the help of
Doris W. Carlson, Mrs. James McCalligan, Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Pfaff, Chautauqua County
maps, newspaper articles and church records in the Chautauqua County Court House at
SOURCE: Loraine Smith, Town of Ellery Historian. 2002.