Trinity Church
Ashland, New York
History
One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary

May 11, 1799   ~    Mary 11, 1949

 To the memory
Of those whose names are recorded in
The Old Book

Who left as our heritage, the reward of their yearning
“that the Gospel of Christ should flourish
in this rude and uncultivated forest” 

This work is reverently dedicated. 

FORWARD 

It is fortunate that there have been preserved for us the records upon which this story of Trinity Parish is based. There is no such thing as a “dead” past, and the events that are recorded in these pages have still their influence upon the lives of men and women of today, both in the valley that echoes to Trinity’s bell and in far distant places.

Memory is one of our most blessed capacities. The Church on earth is a remembering community, storing up in its life from age to age the events in which God’s hand is to be seen at work for the salvation of mankind and the restoration of creation to its intended perfection.  Five generations have come and gone since the founding of Trinity Church. To recall them, to remind ourselves of the devotion which led our forbears to establish and maintain a parish, to remember their share in what we have inherited, is not just to look back across the years to bygone and distant days; it is also to be made intimately aware of the encompassing cloud of witnesses in present fellowship with us in the Communion of the Saints of God.

May God give speed to this little book as an act of loving remembrance.

Rev. Lawrence Rose, Dean,
General Theological Seminary

May 5, 1949.

The Old Book

Among the records of Trinity Church, Ashland, are the worn and yellowed pages called “The Old Book”, that record the history of the parish from May 11,1799, until April 18, 1864. Unbound, and sewn together by hand linen thread, this document in quaint handwriting preserves for us the story of a truly remarkable achievement. In a rude settlement of widely scattered homes most of them log cabins connected only by cart tracks, these earnest and devoted men gave of their time and small resources to found a church and build God’s house in the midst of humble dwellings, to bring great of His Presence among the people. The entire community may well acknowledge its debt and gratitude to them, for hardly a family living within the parish but can trace a forefather among these good men who inscribed “a history of their souls’ interest for us who follow them.”

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A Joint Act of Association

Trinity Church, Ashland, was officially organized by the Rev. Philander Chase, Missionary, in May, 1799. The Old Book records the events of that month as follows:

“ A Joint Act of Association”

“We, whose names are hereunto affixed do profess ourselves to belong to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and do hereby solemnly agree to associate ourselves together to promote the same in the Towns of Windham & Freehold & Vicinity.  Always relying on the Protection and Blessing of Almighty God & doing nothing contrary to the Constitution and Laws of the Government under which we live.  May 11,1799.”

This “Act of Association” is signed by the following twenty-six men:

                      “Samuel Gunn                                      Orange Munson
                       
Norman Collins                                  Jehiel Tuttle
                       
Silas Lewis                                          Jebez Barlow
                       
Ebenezer Osborn                               Samuel Merwin
                       
Eli Osborn                                          Constant A. Andrews
                       
John Tuttle                                          Justus Coe
                       
Benjamin Johnson                             Daniel Merwin           
                       
Samuel Goodsell                               Enos Baldwin
                       
Eliphalet Wheeler                              Samuel Woolcott
                       
Almond Munson                                Ebenezer Johnson       
                       
Amassa Tuttle                                     Elisha Stanley
                       
Thomas J. Merwin                              Uri Cook
                       
Samuel Chatfield                               William Tuttle”

At the morning services on May 12, and again on May 19, 1799, the following notice was read:

“The People belonging unto and wishing to establish the Protestant Episcopal Church in the towns of Freehold & Windham Vicinity and Counties of Ulster and Albany & State of New York are hereby requested to meet at the house of John Tuttle in said Windham on the 20th day of instant May, for the purpose of electing a Vestry & doing other business agreeable to an Act of Legislature of this State for this Cause made and provided.

Philander Chase, Missionary.

Windham, May 20th                                                                                   A. D. 1799” 

The meeting was held in accordance with the notice, with Samuel Gunn presiding, Samuel Gunn and Norman Collins were elected wardens, and the first vestrymen were Ebenezer Osborn, Silas Lewis, Thomas J. Merwin, Ebenezer Johnson, Enos Baldwin, Benjamin Johnson, John Tuttle and Eliphalet Wheeler.  “Wednesday in the week called Easter-week shall be the day on which the offices of Church Warden and Vestrymen shall annually forever ceace (cease) & their successors in office be elected and chosen,” is recorded in the handwriting of Rev. Mr. Chase, and that “Trinity Church shall be the name, stile (style) or Title by which the united Parish—shall be known and recognized in Law.” It was voted that “a Certificate of the Proceeding of the Meeting” be filed with the County Clerk.

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 Samuel Gunn the Lay Leader

Samuel Gunn was one of the two first wardens of Trinity Church, as well as the first signer of the “Act of Association” which appears to be written in his hand.  Rev. Edward N. Goddard, rector of Trinity in 1863, left a brief history of the parish, containing the following extract from an English tract published in London in 1841 by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, entitled “Samuel Gunn, The Lay Reader”:

“Samuel Gunn was born in Waterbury, Conn., in 1763.—He removed about the year 1793 to Windham—in the State of New York. Here he established a small shop, which yielded him a livelihood sufficient for his moderate wants.  He soon found means to collect a few persons together and persuaded them to unite with him in the performance of Divine Worship.  He commenced a second time his vocation of Lay Reader and soon experienced the gratification of finding that his efforts were not in vain. The number of attendants gradually increased until finally they organized a parish and obtained a clergyman.—In the autumn of 1805, he removed to the fertile but almost uninhabited region bordering on Ohio__.” Thus it seems that the actual beginning of Trinity Church was in 1793. Mr. Goddard has ended his record with the notation, “Mr. Gunn died at Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1832 or 33, having nearly completed his seventieth year. “The memory of the Just is Blessed.”

The Rev. Philander Chase, who was active in the organization of Trinity while rector of St. Peter’s Church, Hobart, New York, also went to Ohio. He became Bishop of Ohio in 1819, and later, first Bishop of Illinois.

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Resolved, to Hire a Gospel Minister

The Old Book next records the annual meeting of April 16, 1800, when several changes were made in the vestry, and Constant A. Andrews and Thomas Wheeler were named “Choristers”. No record exists of further annual meetings until 1804, when after duly electing the wardens and vestrymen, it was “Resolved, that there be a Committee—to Circulate Subscriptions for the purpose of hiring a Gospel Minister of the Protestant Episcopal Order for the year Ensueing”, and that “the Rev’d. Joseph Perry shall be the man, in case he can be obtained to be hired as great a part of the time as the Subscription will Admit, and that he shall Preach on the flats (region of present village of Ashland) or Batavia (section round Trinity Church) or on the Mountain Alternately.” This last was the section now called Jewett Heights, where many of the members lived. It is referred to as “South Mountain Settlement” in many early records.

The annual meeting of 1805 was held at the “Dwelling house of Mr. John Tuttle”, the most favored meeting place in those early days, since it stood at the intersection of the present Jewett Heights road and the Windham-Ashland highway, and, as it was also a tavern, could accommodate a large group. At this meeting, two “Collectors of Arrearages”, John Tuttle and Uri Cook, were chosen, and a “Subscription Drawn up and put into the hands of Each Vestryman (and after it is known whether Mr. Perry can be obtained to Preach with us and how great a part of the time) to be Circulated for the purpose of Raising Money for the Same.” A committee was also appointed to “Audite Accounts with Mr. Perry for the two years last past”, so it seems evident that Mr. Perry had been conducting services in the parish since 1803. He was rector of St. Peter’s, Hobart, during the years of 1802 to 1809.

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We, Whose Names Are Hereunto Affixed

During the years between 1803 and 1806, forty-six  additional members signed their names to the Old Book and in some instances, included the exact date. Since a part of the original has already been lost, and what remains is barely decipherable, the entire list is here recorded because of its historical significance:

            Ichabod Andrews                   Sept.1st 1803
           
Chester Hull                            Dec. 9th 1803
           
Isaac Doolittle                         Dec. 9th 1803
           
Samuel Woolcott                    Dec. 23 1803
           
Abel Holcomb                         Dec. 23, 1803
           
Henry Goslee                           Dec. 25th 1803                    
           
William Parker                        Dec. 25th 1803
           
Simeon Fowler                         Dec. 25th 1803
           
Munson Parker                        Dec. 26th 1803
           
Roger Holcomb                        Dec. 27th
           
Thomas Merwin Jr.                   Jan. 2
           
Asa Brown                                 Jan. 13th 1804
           
Asahel Hull                              Jan. 17th 1805
           
Caleb Hubbard                      
           
Adonijah Ford Jun.
           
Nathan Sherwood                    4th April 1804
           
Silas Fowler                                     do
           
Oliver Loomis                                 do
           
Amos Smith                                     do
           
Gideon Hosford                              do
           
Jams Wears                                       do
           
William Tuttle                                  do
           
Miner Cobb                                       do
           
Reuben Hosford
           
Jacob Snow
           
Sanford Hunt
           
Walter Munson  
           
Eliasaph Preston
           
William Distin
           
Asa Brown Jun.
           
Constant Andrews
           
Joseph Atwood
           
John Brines
           
Phinehas Hovey
           
David Loop
           
Trueman Smith
           
Aaron Barney
           
Nathan Bates
           
Stephen Simmons
           
John Tuttle Jun.
           
Johns Hanson                             March 14th 1806
           
Thomas Wheeler                       April 9th 1806
           
Augustus R. Benjamin             April the 9 1806
           
Nathan S. Mills
           
Michael M. Baujean
           
Aarad Lewis” 

The minutes of the annual meeting of 1806 are written and signed by Sanford Hunt, the first recorded clerk of the vestry. For two years, 1812 and 1814, the annual meetings were held at “the house of Abel Holcomb, in the town of Lexington” (Jewett Heights) but this seems to have been inconvenient for the members and at the conclusion of the 1814 meeting they voted “that our next annual meeting be held at John Tuttle’s in Windham.”

The First Register

The Rev. James Thompson was rector of Trinity Church in April, 1814, when a register of the communicants was made in the Old Book, (in accordance with the church law passed in 1808) and was signed by forty-six members.  These were:

            “Isaac Camp                                     Mr. N. W. Richards
           
Silas Lewis                                       Mrs. Hannah Tuttle
           
Justice Coe                                        Mrs. Tuttle, wife of Sidney
           
Daniel Merwin                                 Mrs. Hunt, wife of Sanford
           
Lola Hubbard                                   Mr. Bastick Tuttle
           
Lowis Hull                                        Asa Brown
           
Asahel Hull                                       John Tuttle
           
Mrs. Brown, wife of Asa                  Thankful Merwin
           
Miss Barker                                        Thomas Merwin
           
Mrs. Lake                                           Elizabeth Holcomb
           
Mrs. Graham                                      Abel Holcomb (Sr.)
           
Miss Anna E. Camp                          Abel Holcomb (Jr.)
           
Mrs. Branard                                      Mr. Ebenezer Osborn & wife
           
Mrs. Prout, wife of John                   Miss Diadema Hubbard
           
Mr. Garry Greene                              Miss Prudence Hubbard
           
Widdow Chatfield                            Mr. Cyrus J. Camp
           
Hannah Lewis                                    Mr. Gurdon Branard
           
Samuel Merwin                                  Mr. John Prout
           
William Tuttle                                    Mrs. Greene, wife of Gideon Greene
           
Isaac Hotchkiss & his wife                Mrs. Camp, wife of Isaac Camp
           
Michael M. Baujean & his wife Mrs. Baujean
           
Mr. Tyler”

It seems probable that the Rev. Mr. Thompson made these entries in the Old Book. A notation in the same handwriting reads:  “These names are not entered in the order they were admitted.”

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Resolved, That We Build a Church

Under the date of February 5th, 1817, it is recorded that the wardens and vestry met at the house of John Tuttle “to take into consideration the Building of a house for Publick Worship,” and resolved “that we build a church after the model of the church at Rensselaerville, length 45 by 34 feet.” It was further resolved that “the Wardens and Vestry act discretionaly in contracting for the building, but not to give over $2200 exclusive of the underpinning. No pictures exist today of this early church, but there is mention in the records later of a “high pulpit.” And a “gallery”. The model, Trinity Church, Rensselaerville, designed by Ephraim Russ, a famous builder of churches, still stands, as does St. Peter’s Church, Hobart, New York, in the neighboring county of Delaware, built in 1801 after the same plan. Rev. Samuel Fuller, rector of Trinity at this period, was native of Rensselaerville and doubtless influenced the vestry in choosing the church of his home parish as a model.  A Mr. Finch was the builder.

No mention of the consecration of the building is made, but the Old Book records that the annual meeting, held March 9th, 1818, “was opened at the New Church by Prayer.” Gurdon Brainard was chosen treasurer, and two “Collectors”, Aarad Lewis for Windham and Daniel Merwin for Lexington, were named.  As no account appears in any existing record as to the manner in which the money to build the church was raised, it may be supposed that it was, at least in part, by subscription, as was usual in those days.  There is an item in an early “History of Trinity Church, New York,” where listed under “grants, Donations and loans to other churches,” there appears “1819, To the Church at Windham, $500,” and among the early records of Trinity Church, Ashland, there is preserved a bond, given by four of the vestrymen, Jehiel Tuttle, Gurdon Brainard, Daniel Merwin and Michael M. Baujean, for the sum of one thousand dollars, to secure payment of $500, loaned to the church by Trinity Church, New York, July 23,1819. This sum may well have been to complete or furnish the new church.

The land on which to build was leased to the church corporation for the “continuance of this Life, without any hindrance, disturbance or molestation whatsoever—for and during the Time of time.” By Daniel Gunn, younger brother of Samuel Gunn, for the yearly rent of five dollars. This indenture, “Sealed and delivered in the presence of James Thompson (rector),” bears the notation, “I hereby Release all Rents on the above for the first three years from & after the Date Here of, 28th July, 1819.  (Signed) Daniel Gunn.” This same plot of ground was originally a part of the 365 acres of land purchased by John Turney, who came from Newtown, Conn., in 1790 with his two sons, Ephraim and Robert, John Turney was the great-great-grandfather of Mr. Lynn Martin, who was Junior Warden of Trinity Church at the time of his death in 1944. The hill opposite the church is still known locally as “Gunn’s Hill.”

Mr. Gurdon Brainard, who lived in the house opposite the church, was appointed to sweep the church “for the year ensueing for $3.00,’ at the annual meeting of 1819. This arrangement for the care of the church continued for many years.

The various sources of information do not agree as to the rectors who served the parish during this period, but it is evident that the Rev. Mr. Samuel Fuller did officiate at Trinity Church, probably between 1819 and 1823. The Old Book records that it was voted in November, 1823, “to hire Rev’d James Northrup for one year one half of the time and to raise by Subscription $125 to pay for his Salary & to appoint Mr. Abel Holcomb, Jr., to get the subscription and collect the money.

The Rev. Origen P. Holcomb had charge of the parish from 1831 until 1841, when he resigned.  During this period four confirmation services were held at which 48 persons were confirmed, but the records of these names have been lost. At the next annual meeting in 1832, “Delegates to the Convention” were first chosen, these being Jehiel Tuttle, Friend Holcomb and William Tuttle. Frederick Ells was named “Tytheman” and Judge Levi H. Alden, treasurer.

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Rev. Thomas S. Judd

The Rev. Thomas S. Judd, who took charge of Trinity Parish in January, 1843, remained as rector for eleven and one-half years.  Among the many clergymen who served Trinity Church with great devotion, Rev. M. Judd was one of the outstanding, and the substantial growth of the parish, both spiritually and materially, during these years, is attributed to his unusual character and ability. While serving as rector of Trinity Church, Rev. Mr. Judd formally organized Grace Church at Prattsville, in 1844, and within two years a church had been completed in that village. In 1850 he was active in the plans to build a chapel of Trinity Church at Windham Centre (now Windham) and this was in used early in 1851.

The area covered by Rev. Mr. Judd in the performance of his duties was large, even by our present standards, and the record of his official acts includes Cornwallville, Durham, Windham Centre, Ashland, Red Falls and Prattsville.  That he was greatly loved and ministered to all who needed help, is apparent also from the records of he left. There is a touching entry of the funeral service he conducted for the “Infant son of James Chambers, colored, aged 7 months.”

The Rev. Mr. Judd, a native of Connecticut, had earlier been a teacher in Delaware Academy, Delhi, New York, and throughout his life retained a lively interest in young people and their education. Several of the young men who came under his influence were subsequently led to the ministry. Among these was Daniel Tuttle, a native of Trinity Parish, who, as a boy of ten began, at the Rev. Mr. Judd’s suggestion, lessons with him in Greek and Latin, and through the clergyman’s continued help, went onto school and college. After he had become Missionary Bishop of Montana, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Tuttle wrote in  his “Reminiscences”, “Mr. Judd was my second father—I loved and revered him—To him, more that to any other man save my own father, I am indebted for character and attainments. In loving gratitude I pay this tribute to his sacred memory.”

Rev. Mr. Judd was twice rector of Trinity Church. He resigned in 1854 but returned in 1858 and remained until 1862. He died in January, 1864, at the age of sixty, at Gilbertsville, New York, where he had been in charge of Christ’s Church. A memorial service was held in Trinity Church on April 17, 1864, conducted by the Rev. Daniel S. Tuttle, who was then rector of Zion Church, Morris, New York.

The beautiful chancel window in Trinity Church is a memorial to the Rev. Mr. Judd from a grateful and affectionate parish. Captain John Smith’s tribute to the beloved Rev. Robert Hun, first rector of the Jamestown settlement, might also serve for the Rev. Thomas S. Judd: “He did ever animate us to persevere—a goodly man, whose soul doubtless is with God.”

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St. Paul’s Chapel, Windham Centre

The Old Book makes first mention of a “subscription for the erection of a Chapel of this Church to be erected at Windham Centre” at the annual meeting on Easter Monday, April 1, 1850. By September of that year, the lot had been secured, the foundation put in and cornerstone laid at a ceremony described in the Old Book: “On September 16, 1850, immediately after the Vestry meeting, the Vestry and members of the Parish with others, attended at the Methodist Meeting House in Windham Centre, and after Divine Service, celebrated by the Rev. Robert Washbon, rector of Trinity Church, Rensselaerville, New York assisted by Rev. Henry M. Whitesides of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and a sermon by the Rev. Louis G. Noble, rector of St. Luke’s Church, Catskill, New York, (they) proceeded in processing to the site and upon the foundation prepared, the Corner Stone of a Chapel, to be denominated St. Paul’s Chapel, Windham Centre, in the Parish of Trinity Church, Windham, was laid by the Rev. Thomas S. Judd, Rector of the Parish and Missionary. An address was delivered by the Rector.  The Service used was that set forth for the purpose by the Bishop of the Diocese, the Choir chanting the Gloria in Excelsis.”

St. Paul’s Church was completed according to plan, and it was voted in January, 1851, “that services be held during the ensuing year in the Church and Chapel on Alternate Sundays.” At a meeting of the vestry of Trinity Church in June in the same year, it was voted to “negotiate a mortgage on the Chapel to obtain money to the amount of the indebtedness of the Church” incurred in the erection of St. Paul’s Chapel, and difficulties followed, both in clearing the parish from debt and in paying the rector’s salary. Finally a mortgage was given Rev. Mr. Judd for the amount of the salary due him, $222.12, secured by the Chapel, and in May, 1853, the vestry petitioned for an received from Trinity Church, New York City, a grant of $150 which was paid to the rector.  A mortgage was eventually given to Trinity Church, New York City, for $850, secured by the Chapel, and the money used to free the parish from debt.

The “Certificate of Dedication of St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church, Windham, New York,” dated July 21,1857, and issued by the Rev. Horatio Potter, Provisional Bishop of New York, still exists among the parish records. It is sealed with the official seal of Trinity Church, the sign of the cross, adopted by the church corporation that same year. The mortgage on the Chapel was discharged by a gift from Trinity Church, New York City, in 1870, and was returned to the parish in 1910. No record exists today of the total cost of St. Paul’s Chapel, but Rev. Mr. Goddard in 1864, estimated it at $2000 and entered in his notes that “a bell was purchased for the Chapel about this time” (1857).

With the closing of the tanning industry and mills in the community during the period from 1855 to 1865, and the subsequent loss of many members, St. Paul’s Chapel finally became inactive and the building was sold to the Free Methodist Society of Windham in 1871. It went through many changes of ownership and uses until torn down in 1935. The Crandall service station now stands on the site of the Chapel, near the western entrance of the village of Windham.

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Grace Church, Prattsville

Grace Church, Prattsville, owed its existence to Trinity Church, and most particularly to the efforts of the Rev. Thomas Judd, as before mentioned. Prior to 1834, services had been occasionally held at Prattsville by clergyman from Hobart and Windham, and upon the granting of $125 per year by the Diocese of New York for missionary work, Rev. Mr. Judd began regular services of the Prattsville Mission on Alternator Sundays. At a meeting in May, 1844, it was decided to organize a parish and build a church. Col. Zadock Pratt gave the site for the building and his wife, Mary Watson Pratt, gave $500 toward the cost of the church. Rev. Mr. Judd and members of the vestry drew the plans for the Gothic structure, which was built by Nelson Finch, probably the same man who earlier had built Trinity Church. The Church cost $1991.15 it is recorded and was completed in June, 1845. Grace Church was consecrated September 25, 1846, by the Rt. Rev. William DeLancy, Bishop of Western New York. For many years the church was served by rectors from Trinity Church, the last being Rev. P. McD. Bleeker. Grace Church was finally closed in 1915, and the building torn down in 1932 to save it from desecration. The church occupied a lot on Main Street, bordering on the Huntersfield Creek on the east and the former A. J. Churchill property on the west. The Brookside service station, operated by O. Howard, has since been built on the site.

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 The Work Continues

 Rev. Thomas S. Judd tendered his resignation to the vestry of Trinity Church in June, 1854, “with sentiments of respect for you individually and wishes for the prosperity of the Parish.” It was regretfully accepted and the Rev. D. G. Wright, rector of Grace Church, Prattsville, was elected to serve at Trinity Church also for the ensuing year. The Rev. Charles Purviance became rector of Trinity Church early in 1857, and in October of this year, a committee was appointed to “ascertain the lowest price at which the organ now in St. Paul’s Chapel. Can be obtained.” In 1858, the members of the vestry “resolved each to pay an equal share of the rent due for the house now occupied by the Rev. Purviance" and at the same time granted the rector permission to sell "a table and stand, now in his possession, the proceeds to be handed over to T.D. Traphagen to be applied to the payment of the debt incurred by the purchase of the stove and pipe now in the Chapel." The amount of money involved in this transaction is not recorded for us.

At a meeting in March, 1858, it was resolved to recall the Rev. Mr. Judd to the rectorship of Trinity Church and to raise the salary paid him to $300 a year. Rev. Mr. Judd returned to the parish, and the vestry voted "to secure by purchase the horse and wagon formerly owned by the Rev. Charles Purviance, the Rev. Thomas S. Judd." Rev. Mr. Judd remained at Trinity Church until September, 1862, as recorded above, and during this period the parish church was improved by painting the exterior, removing the high pulpit and making other changes in the chancel.   

The Rev. William Wardlaw officiated for several moths during 18161 and 1862, alternately at St. Paul's Chapel Windham Centre, and at Grace Church, Prattsville. No services seem to have been held at Trinity Church during this period until the Rev. Edward N. Goddard took charge of Trinity Parish on November 15, 1863, joining Grace Church, Prattsville, with it. Since there had been no rector of Trinity since Mr. Judd's resignation, Rev. Mr. Goddard renewed the parish organization as a precautionary measure since it was "supposed that the corporation had become dissolved by informalities and non-uses of its powers." To the Rev. Edward Goddard, Trinity Church today owes a great debt, for his preservation and careful recording of the early parish history. After collecting such scattered materials as were available, he opened a new parish Register in December, 1863, and it is from Mr. Goddard's complete and precise records that much knowledge of the past of Trinity Parish has come. Rev. Mr. Goddard resigned as rector in March, 1865, and returned to Otsego County, New York, where he took charge of the West Burlington church. Later, in 1867, he was one of the three "missionaries" who accompanied the newly consecrated Bishop Daniel Tuttle on the hazardous journey to Montana, to take up the work of the church in that territory.

A need had been apparent for some time for a suitable residence for the rectors of Trinity Church and in March, 1867, it was voted by the vestry to buy the property of Mr. William B. Warner, "situated between Addison Steele's and George B. Spencer's house," consisting of two and one-half acres of ground and a small building. In August if the year another small house was purchased of Austin Smith and moved from Ashland village to the Rectory lot, and $500 was voted "to be raised and expended to build and repair the Rectory." The property, with the Rectory, is still owned by Trinity Church.

The Rev. Henry H. Prout, eldest son of Curtis Prout, for many years senior warden of Trinity Church, was chosen rector in 1867. He remained in charge of his native parish until September, 1871, when he resigned to go to Virginia City, Montana, there to assist Bishop Tuttle in his work. Rev. Mr. Prout was sixty years old at this time and died at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1879. Bishop Tuttle wrote later of him, "He was a saintly man, - who faced duty bravely, - and an accomplished scholar. I owe him much, and want to pay grateful tribute to his memory."

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The New Church

In March 1878, the vestry of Trinity Church appointed a committee to inquire into the cost of necessary repairs to the parish church, and it was decided to tear it down and to rebuild. On July 21, 1878, after more than sixty years of service, the original building was occupied for the last time. The cornerstone of the present church building was laid on the old site by the rector, the Rev. H.C. Hutchings, assisted by the Rev. E. Webster, on August 14 of the same year. The Service was that appointed for the occasion, and deposited in a sealed tin box, cemented into the cornerstone, were a Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, a Hymnal, a Journal of Convention of Albany, the Churchman and Church Almanac, a copy of the Windham Journal and the Prattsville News, the record of the vestry and a history of the parish from 1793 to 1818. There was also deposited a list of the vestrymen for the year 1878 and specimen coins.  A Mr. Stitts, of Ashland, was the builder of the new Gothic structure which still serves the parish of Trinity.

The new building was completed early in 1889 and the first service held in it on June 27, when it was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. William Croswell Doane, first Bishop of the Dioceses of Albany, on the occasion of his annual visit to Trinity Parish. It is recorded that the elm and maple trees which now tower over the church, were planted in the spring of 1879, by the members of the vestry. The vestrymen were Lucius Graham, Austin Munson, Newel Snow, George Smith, Addison Steele, Nicholas Martin, Ephraim Bump, Revilo Cobb, Friend Holcomb and Merritt McLean. The wardens were Darius B. Prout and Willis Chatfield. No record has been made of the date when the bell was secured and placed in Trinity Church but it is thought to be the same one which was used for a time in the earlier church building. It came originally from the famous old “Ashland Seminary” ,which was built in 1854 and destroyed by fire in 1861. The bell bears the inscription “Hedding Literary Institute, Ashland, N. Y., 1854” and was cast by Jones & Hitchcock, Founders, at Troy, New York.

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Corporate Name Changed

During the rectorship of Rev. T. S. Brewster (1886-1889), application was made to Manly B. Mattice, County Judge of Greene County, for permission to change the corporate title of Trinity Church. When the church was founded in 1799 it was located in Windham (then in Ulster County), which became a part of Greene County in March, 1800. In 1848 the Town of Ashland was formed from parts of the Town of Windham, including the land upon which the church stood, in what is locally known as “Pleasant Valley”. When Trinity Church was reincorporated in April, 1864, the name of the corporation was changed to “Trinity Church, Windham in Ashland.” The petition to change the name alleged that this last name “was incongruous, inconvenient and misleading, and that the said church and its location will be more tersely and correctly designated if the prayer of this petition is granted.”  The petition was granted on the 30th of April, 1888, the corporate name becoming “Trinity Church, Ashland.”

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“I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes Unto the Hills”

In September, 1905, the Rev. George Quincy Adams Rose was called to rectorship of Trinity Church, including Grace Church, Prattsville, and by his sincerity and devotion won the high respect and affection of all who came to know him.  During his three years of ministry in the parish he accomplished much in restoring the church of vigorous activity and setting in order the parish records. His sudden death on June 24, 1907, was a loss keenly felt by the parish, the community and the Diocese. Of the several tributes to the Rev. Mr. Rose entered in the Vestry Record, it seems appropriate to quote from one by the Rt. Rev. Richard H. Nelson, then Bishop of the Diocese of Albany: “He was greatly beloved by his people and the influence of this life will never cease to be felt in the communities where his last years were passed. A man of clear mind and strong faith, with that perfect simplicity which is the index to a large soul, he was an example of unselfish devotion and successful work. Lifting up his eyes to the hills from whence came his help, he strengthened others and earned his reward.”

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Anniversary Service

The Rev. Pierre McDonald Bleeker, who began his work at Trinity Church in March, 1909, and remained until his retirement in 1932, has the distinction of having been rector of Trinity Parish for twenty-three and one-half years. An outstanding event of his rectorship was the anniversary service of Trinity Sunday, May 26,1929, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Rev. Mr. Bleeker’s ordination to the priesthood and the twentieth year of his service at Trinity Church. The service was attended by members, their friends and neighbors who had been connected with the parish or interested in its long history. Following the service, a luncheon was served on the lawn of the church, addresses were made and the Rev. Mr. Bleeker presented with a purse of $528. As this history of Trinity Church is being prepared in commemoration of  the 150th anniversary of its founding, we pause to recall that Rev. Mr. Bleeker, now residing at Cambridge, Mass., is this year observing his 95th birthday, and to remember him with regard and affection.

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The Rt. Rev. Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, D. D.

Trinity Church has the honor of having been the boyhood church of Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, first Missionary Bishop of Montana, Idaho and Utah, later (1886) third Bishop of Missouri, and the eighty-fourth Bishop of American Episcopate. Bishop Tuttle was born in the Batavia valley, January 26, 1837, the second son of Daniel B. and Abigail Stimson Tuttle.  His birthday was the “Pratt Brewster homestead”, now the farm of Leslie Holdridge, on the present Windham-Ashland highway. The house in which he was born, since replaced by one of later model, was built originally (1831) as a Parsonage for the nearby “Batavia Meeting House,” by the First Congregation Society, which became the First Presbyterian Church in 1826. As a boy, Daniel Tuttle first attended the Sunday School of Trinity Church became of its nearness to his home.  Here he came under the influence of the Rev. Thomas S. Judd, and with the rector, began the studies which led him eventually to the priesthood. In the autumn of 1850, at the age of 13, Rev. Mr. Judd made it possible for the boy to enter Delaware Academy at Delhi, New York, and three years later, helped him to secure a teaching position at a school for boys in Scarsdale, New York. Bishop Tuttle's tribute to his beloved friend  and teacher appears earlier in this record. At seventeen, young Daniel Tuttle entered the Sophomore class of Columbia College, New York City, and was graduated in 1857. He entered General Theological Seminary in 1859 and was ordered deacon at the Church of the Transfiguration, New York City, June 29, 1862, by Bishop Potter, He became assistant rector of Zion Church, Morris, New York, in August, 1862, and spent the succeeding four years in that parish. The Rev. Daniel Tuttle was elected Missionary Bishop of Montana in September, 1866, and was consecrated Bishop, May 1, 1867, at Trinity Chapel, New York City, at the age of thirty. He served this vast area effectively until 1886 when he accepted election as Bishop of Missouri. He became Presiding Bishop of the Church on September 7, 1903, on the death of Bishop Clark of Rhode Island. Bishop Tuttle served both as Bishop of Missouri and Presiding Bishop until his death on April 17, 1923, at the age of 86. In his long episcopate he consecrated eighty Bishops and assisted in the consecration of ten others.

The following excerpts are quoted from the January, 1930, "Spirit of Missions":
"In the heart of the Catskills, a score or more miles behind the Hudson River, lies the little town of Ashland, New York. Once the thriving center of a rich farming community, the current of modern life now very largely passes it by ---. For more than a century, through all the vicissitudes of a changing community, the little parish of Trinity Church has put its impress, not only upon the town but upon the life of both Church and State. For Churchmen especially, this rural community, with its parish church has an interest far beyond its own borders, for it was here that the Rt. Rev. Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, D.D., for twenty years Presiding Bishop of our Church, was born and reared ----."

"In addition to Bishop Tuttle, the valley in which Ashland is situated produced such men of note as two governors of New York State, Washington Hunt, (son of Sanford Hunt, first clerk of the vestry), and Lucius Robinson; the Rev. Henry H. Prout, the first missionary to Valle Crusis, North Carolina, who also gave three sons to the ministry, Gregory, William and John. John Prout in turn gave two of the sons, Frank and Charles, to the ministry. From the Stimson family came a Secretary of War (afterward Secretary of State) and a prominent surgeon.  Other clergymen who went out from this parish were the Rev. D’Orville Doty, the Rev. Albert Ormsbee, the Rev. Watson Barney Hall,--and the Rev. Leonard W. Steele.—“

There is a notation among the church records which reads: “Mr. D. B. Prout says there have been nine clergymen furnished to the Church from this Parish.” (1899). The Rev. Lawrence Rose, Dean of the General Theological Seminary, and a Sister of the Order of St. Ann, Kingston, New York, as well as the Rev. Mr. Steele, above named, all natives of this parish, are today serving the church.

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A National Shrine

Quoting again from the “Spirit of Missions”: “Trinity Church, Ashland, has one of the most remarkable records of any country parish, a record of which not only Ashland itself can be proud, but which is of interest to the whole Church because of its association with Bishop Tuttle. He himself regarded it with deep affection as, throughout his long life, at regular intervals he returned to it from wherever he might be.—Its associations with the missionary life of the Church, the pioneers who went forth from it to the west and south to spread the Gospel, make it virtually a national shrine which should be preserved, an it is the hope of many that its preservation may be made a memorial to Bishop Tuttle.”

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Trinity Church, 1949

Trinity Church has fortunately been preserved in its entire original design and evidences the gracious care of three generations of steadfast members. In 1929, title to the land on which the church stands was secured by deed to the Church Corporation through kindness of the heirs of Alfonso Cobb. The pipe organ was the gift of St. Luke’s Church, Catskill, in 1915. Extensive repairs were made to the church property in 1933, including the purchase of additional land, enclosing the church lot with a fence, reshingling the roof and painting the exterior of the church.  In March, 1946, Trinity Church received a gift of $500 from Mrs. Hattie C. Munson of Ashland, in memory of her grandparents, Revilo and Lovisa Barlow Cobb, both of whom were members of Trinity. With Mrs. Munson’s kind consent, this gift was used as the nucleus of a fund to provide the church with a modern heating system, a most needed improvement, and through the generous contributions of members, friends and many summer guests, the total amount of money needed was collected.  As many of the contributions were anonymous, a list of names may not be included in this record, but the Trinity Church is deeply grateful to all who helped. During the summer of 1947 members of the vestry gave their labor and use of trucks and other equipment to prepare a suitable basement room in which to place the oil burning furnace, and the installation was completed early in November. The heater was consecrated at All Saint’s Tide, November, 1947. “In memory of all faithful departed,” by the Rt. Rev. Frederick L. Barry, Bishop Conadjutor, of Albany, and a suitable bronze memorial tablet placed on the wall in the church at this time.  The interior walls of the church were redecorated in the spring of 1948.

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The Trinity Church School

The Old Book records that it was voted at the annual parish meeting in 1833 “that the Sunday School commence May 1st.”  This is the first mention of a church school for the children of the Parish of Trinity. No complete records of the school exist today, but mention is made of a “Sunday School” all through the church records, so it seems that it was active during most of the years until the Rev. M. Bleeker’s service as rector of Trinity Church, when it was discontinues. The present one was organized under the capable direction of Miss Anna Greenleaf, on April 15, 1945, and had become an important part of Trinity Church today. From six members and one class, the School has grown to eighteen members who make up four classes.  Mr. Orsin G. Hallenbeck, reader, of Greenville, who was conducting services at Trinity Church at the time the present Church School was organized, contributed five hundred dollars for books and materials, and since that time the School had been entirely self-supporting.

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The Ladies’ Guild of Trinity Church

This organization has taken a vital and active part in the affairs of the Parish as well as the maintenance of the church building, for many years. The date of its organization is not recorded, but as early as 1889, the vestry of Trinity Church voted, “a motion of thanks to the Young Ladies’ Guild for furnishing means for placing a Font in the church.” In 1901, at a vestry meeting, the members  of the Guild “respectfully suggested that a part of the money procured by their fair be used for insuring the church, building new chimneys and making all repairs needed to preserve the church.” The vestry voted “to thank the Guild and carry out their suggestions.” A most important contribution was made by the Guild in 1930, when the stained glass windows in the church were repaired at a cost of $300. In 1948, five complete sets of Eucharistic Vestments, white, green, violet, red and black, were made by the Guild and presented to the Church. The vestments were dedicated by Fr. Willard and the white first used on Christmas Day, 1948. The annual Guild Fair has become an event anticipated by the community and the summer guests.  The present officers of the Guild are, Mrs. Clifford Lawrence, Windham, President, and Mrs. Helen Ouderkirk, Grand Gorge, Treasurer.

The Vestry

William L. Peck, Senior Warden, Ashland, New York; Millard Carey, Junior Warden, Grand Gorge, New York; Clifford Lawrence, Windham, New York; Bertram Lawrence, Windham, New York; Paul Kondras, Windham, New York; Horace Pease, Ashland, New York; Howard C. Matthews, Lexington, New York; and Joseph Becker, East Jewett, New York, Vestrymen.

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Memorials Presented to Trinity Church

No complete record of the memorials and gifts presented to the Church has been kept but the following list has been made from scattered notes in the church books:

Side windows and brass lamps ---- C. H. Lewis

Hymn Board ---- memorial to Fannie D. Lord, by her father.

Altar Cross ---- memorial to Rev. H. H. Prout, by the Prout family.

Chancel Pray Book ---- given by Mrs. Rice, in memory of her grandmother.

Baptismal Font ----presented by the Young Ladies’ Guild.

“Clergy Desk” ----memorial to Rev. Watson Barney Hall.

White Vestments ---- given by the Holborow family.

Missal Table ---- memorial to Clarissa B. Bump, by her daughters, Minnie J. Nickels and Frances R. Distin, Christmas, 1904.

Chancel Window ---- memorial to Rev. Thomas S. Judd, by the congregation.

Bishop’s and Clergy Chairs ---- Ladies’ Guild.

“Communion Cup” ---- presented by Mr. and Mrs. Richard B. Greenwood.

New Fair Linen Cloth --- in memory of Anna Jane Smith and Dr. William Hazen Freeman, presented by  Rev. and Mrs. Philip C. Pearson, Christmas, 1942.

“Altar Candelabra” ---- in memory of Savilla Beers Martin, by the Ladies; Guild, 1942.

Eucharistic Candlesticks ---- in memory of Bishop Tuttle, by Jesse Dobson, 1932.

Altar Vases ---- in memory of Dr. William B. Snow, by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Byron Woolley, 1948.

Missal ---- in memory of Dr. Mary Arnold Snow, by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Byron Woolley, 1948.

New Hymnals ---- in memory of Mary L. H. Arnold Snow, M. D., and William Benham Snow, M. D., by members of the family.

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Clergy of Trinity Church

                        Joseph Perry                                        1803-14

James Thompson                                1814-19

Samuel Fuller                                      1819-23

James Northup                                    1823-__

Origen P. Holcomb                             1831-41

Thomas S. Judd                                    1843-54

D. G. Wright                                         1854-55

Charles Purviance                               1857-58

Thomas S. Judd                                    1858-62

Edward N. Goddard                           1853-65

Henry H. Prout                                     1867-71

E. Augustus Edgerton                         1871-73

John S. Clarke                                        1874-75

H. C. Hutchings                                    1876-80

Aubrey F. Todrig                                  1881-84

E. J. Roke                                                1884-86

S. T. Brewster                                         1886-89

Watson B. Hall, Summers                    1891-92-93

Eugene Griggs, Winter                         1890-91

Watson B. Hall                                       1894-97

L. C. Morgan                                          1898-99

George N. Mead                                    1899-__

G. B. Sill                                                   1899-1902

Edward M. Skagan                                1902-03

George Q. A. Rose                                 1905-07

Pierre McD. Bleeker                               1909-32

John G. Duncan                                        1933-34

H. E. Hood                                               1934-35

Charles B. Alford                                     1935-41

Scott Alfred (Lay reader)                        1941-43

Orsin G. Hallenbeck (Lay reader)         1943-46

Francis A. Willard                                    1946-49

David Algie (Lay reader)                        1949-__

Robert J. Evans                                          1949-__       

Clyde Wilcox, Lay reader, Arch-deacon Purdy, the Rev. Duncan Frazier, the Rev. D. H. Clarkson, and the Rev. Alonzo Wood are also listed as having held services at various times at Trinity in recent years, but the exact dates are not recorded.

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“Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still”

Rev. Robert J. Evans, Rector

This is the record of the amazing achievement of a small church in a very small community. Here live again for us a succession of men and women on fire with the love of God and the desire to do something to make sure the privilege of worship which was theirs should be carried on  to succeeding generations. They have overcome obstacles that in their day must have loomed as tremendous. But because they kept their love for God and His Church uppermost in their hearts and lives and did what they could, they and we find that the blessing of God richly rewarded their efforts.

It is a rare privilege indeed to have sent into the Vineyard so noble a saint as Bishop Tuttle. His memory will remain vivid with all those who ever knew him so long as they live. But the amazing fact is that others serving equally in church and country have gotten their training and inspiration in this little church and community.

Humbly I pray God that I may be worthy to follow on where they have led the way. Who can know what in the mind and will of Almighty God may yet be achieved by this little parish!

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Complied by Helen Millar Matthews

Published by the Ladies’ Guild of Trinity Church

--1949--

Price, One Dollar


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