Greenville Center Baptist
Photos by Sylvia Hasenkopf 2009
From Beers' History of Greene County, 1884
Baptist Church at Greenville Centre
This society was in existence as early as 1793, and included residents of New Baltimore and South Westerlo. It then worshipped in barns, school-houses, and private dwellings. Pride did not then demand, and poverty, did not permit the erection of elegant and costly temples of worship, such as seen in modern times. The people wended their way to their places of worship on foot, on horseback, or in rude vehicles drawn by oxen.
The first clergyman who is known to have ministered to this society was Elder William Stewart, who, while discharging his pastoral duties, supported himself by cultivating the soil. It is said, however, that he received for one year’s pastoral services three pecks of buckwheat; a gift from Deacon Jerard Reynolds. Mr. Stewart lived to the age of 90, but was blind during the latter years of his life.
In 1822 the Westerlo branch of this church was set off with 10 members, and in 1825, the New Baltimore branch with 22.
The Gayhead branch was set off as a separate society September 25th 1868, with the following members: Cyrastus Betts, Jacob Losee, Levi Finch, Betsy Thorn, Mary M. Weekes, Eunice Finch, Rhoda A. Whitbeck, Mary C. Hill, William Thorn, Cyrus L. Betts, Perry Roe, Roxana Losee, Margaret Palmer, Aaron Whitbeck, Sarah Thorn, Mariah Betts.
In 1817 the first meeting house of the Greenville Centre church was built, on land donated to the society by William Pitts. After a number of years it was repaired, the entrance was changed from the west to the south side, and galleries were added.
In 1854 it was turned so that the south became the west side and fronted the road that passes north and south through the village, and was remodeled and a spire was added to it. The rebuilding was done by Stephen Thorn, and the painting, graining, and frescoing by Joseph Thompson. The building committee consisted of, Russell Townsend, David Losee, William Stevens, and Silas Hunt.
The present trustees of the church are Russell Townsend, Sherman Sanford, and George E. Williamson. George Townsend is the clerk and the superintendent of the Sunday-school.
The following is a list of the pastors of this church, with the dates of the commencement of their pastorates:
William Stewart, first pastor, 1817; Rev. Mr. Adams, February 5th
1825; Rev. Richard Shimoniel, November 5th 1825; same time ordained;
Rev. M. Jones, 1831; Rev. Thomas Stokes, April 1st 1834; Rev. Alfred
Osgood, April 1st 1835; Rev. William M. Doolittle, May 23d 1836;
ordained July 13th 1835; Rev. Egbert Penney, March 24th
1839; ordained same time; Rev. E. R. King, February 22d 1841; ordained April 24th
1839; Rev. M. Stickney, July 3d 1842; Rev. Mr. Prink, May 4th 1844;
Rev. Hiram Lord, October 7th 1847, ordained same time; Rev. Jacob
Gesner, July 22d 1849; Rev. Lyman M. Purrington, March 22d 1851; Rev. Charles
Ferguson, May 21st 1853; Rev. Harvey Cornwall, May 1st
1855; Rev. Mr. Hartwell, December 25th 1858; Rev. Nelson Palmer,
February 25th 1859; Rev. Jacob Hoppey, March 1st 1866,
ordained June 20th 1867; Rev. Hiram Hayms, March 27th
1868; Rev. Mr. Peck, 1874; Rev. Mr. Bronk, revivalist, 1874; Rev. Mr. Allen,
1876; Rev. Joseph Slater, 1878; Rev. A. M. Cole, the present pastor.
Historic Photos courtesy of Bob and Marie Shaw
In the 1930's the Greenville Baptist Church acquired the bell
from the East Durham Baptist Church, which closed its doors due to a dwindling
congregation. The pictures below show the installation of the bell. Inscribed on
the bell was found:
Rev. A.M. Cole, Pastor
East Durham Society A.D. 1870
Meneely's, West Troy, NY
Bob and Marie Shaw advised that "back in the day" the pews were divided down the middle of the church, with women sitting on one side and men on the other. These photos are from 1959.
The interior of the church in 1959