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EARLY CHURCHES

Town of Cicero

Submitted by Kathy Crowell

Source:  Dwight H. Bruce (ed.), Onondaga's Centennial.  Boston History Co., 1896, Vol. I, pp. 819-820.


While religion flourished during the early history of the village (Brewerton) it had no stated or separate place of communion until 1849, when a union church was erected by the combined efforts of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Universalists, among whom were Orsamus Johnson, Asa U. Emmons, J. B. Kathan, William Milton, Stephen Markham, William Bailey, and Alexander Cushing.  The building cost about $1,700 and after 1869 was occupied exclusively by the Methodist Episcopal Society, which was organized in that year under the pastorate of Rev. Ebenezer Arnold.  In 1851 the First Church of the Disciples erected another edifice at an expense of $1,500, and upon this $700 were spent in 1875 and $800 in 1894 in repairs.  This society was organized in 1835 by Elder Josiah I. Lowell with George Walkup and Lewis Fancher as elders, and with such members as John L. Stevens, James Spire, Ephraim Smedley, Mrs. Ann Emmons, and Mrs. George Walkup.  E. N. Emmons was superintendent of the Sunday school for many years.

In other portions of the town three more religious societies sprang into existence about the same time as those just mentioned.  The Stone Arabia M. E. church was organized at a school house about one mile west of Cicero Center in January, 1845, among its members being William S. Fuller, Harrison and Seth Hall, Solomon Wheeler, Palmer Brown, William Van Alstine, John Wilcox, Daniel Terpenny, John Salter, Conrad Brought, Simon Drusbeck, Mary Benedict, Jonathan Houghtaling, and Samuel Sizer.  In 1847 the society erected a church edifice that was rebuilt in 1869 at a cost of $2,200.  In the Taft neighborhood a Methodist class had existed from a comparative early day.  In 1847 the Taft M. E. church was organized by Rev. Barnard Peck with John Richmond, John Bennett, John Taft, and others as members.  For several years this church was a part of the North Manlius district, which included six congregations.  In 1857 the society built an edifice on the lot donated by David Tompkins.  The Cicero M. E. church was formed in 1850 by Rev. Browning Nichols, being a reorganization of a small society that had sustained occasional service for several years.  In the same year a church was erected at an expense of $1,300.  The only Roman Catholic church in town was built at this point in 1889.

Besides the churches previously mentioned there was one erected by the Baptists in Cicero village in 1832.  The society finally disbanded and the edifice passed to Hezekiah Joslyn, John Leach, and John L. Stevens, who subsequently sold it to the First Congregation of Disciples, an organization composed mainly of members of the foregoing Baptist church.  In 1867 it was transferred by legislative act to the First Universalist church, which had been organized as a society by Rev. A. A. Thayer in 1859 and as a church by Rev. John M. Austin in 1867.  In 1871 the edifice was rebuilt at a cost of $3,000.  Among the members of the Universalist Society were Warren Wright, the first superintendent of the Sunday school, and John R. Wright, John McCullock, Mrs. Ambrose Sadler, Mrs. Robert Lower, and Mrs. J. A. Dunham.


Submitted 19 July 1998