Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site
Historical Sketch of the
First Baptist Church
of the Town of Summit
by Thomas Broxholm
originally printed in a publication called Stars and Stripes, 1913
submitted by Franklyn Ingram
electronic text by Doug Boyer
whole human family
And that through life, amidst evil report and good report, we will humbly and earnestly seek, to live to the glory of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
After the Articles of Faith and the Covenant had been read in the special meeting of January 12, 1878, then the Christian experience of many were heard. On the next day, Rev. John Smith baptized the following: John Smith, Frank W. Ridge, Irving Atkins, Robert Burnside, Lee M. Spellman, Jerome Smith, Chester Lyon, Wilson Lyon, George W. Gage, Electa Johnson, Joanna Smith, Harriet Murray, Belle S. Champion and Emma G. Lyon.
On January 20th, he baptized Erskine Sullivan (brother of the present Arthur Sullivan), Walter K. Cable, Mary E. Payne, Eva R. Burnett, Eleanor Cable, Mary C. Rifenbark and Carrie Gage.
On January 26th, the following ministerial committee was appointed: Deacon Levi H. Robbins, Deacon B. W. Gage and brethren Chester Payne John Smith and Col. Stephen Stilwell. In April following, it was announced that Rev. John Smith would be the pastor for the coming year.
On February 10th, Rev. Smith baptized Miss Emma J. Hicks and Cora M. Payne. On February 23, over fifty renewed their Covenant.
At that meeting it was the mind of the Church that they "either repair or build the meeting house," and the following building committee were appointed: Deacon B. W. Gage, Payne Smith, P. H. Mitchell, Deacon Levi H. Robbins, Levi H. Smith, John Smith and Col. Stephen Stillwell.
The Covenant meetings in those times were full of life, and one after another told of God's goodness to them, their desires and so forth," as the Church Book states. Of course there was the withdrawing of the hand of fellowship from some, mainly for neglect of the church and from one for drunkenness.
In 1878, the number of members was 139. Ever since there has been a fluctuating decline, until the present time (1912) there are only about half that number on the church list and several of them are nonresident.
At that time the rebuilding of the church was being pushed. The Covenant meetings, however, were not as active as they had been in January, and the record of May 25th, tells us: "On this beautiful day a few met in Church meeting and renewed their Covenant." It was quite customary at this time to have one of the deacons close in prayer, and good Deacon Robbins very often did so.
As, perhaps, the reader has noticed, sometimes the term Covenant meeting was used, and sometimes Church meeting. They were used synonymously, as under date of July 31, 1877, we find the following recorded in the Church Book: "The regular Church or Covenant meeting of the First Baptist Church of Summit is on Saturday before the fourth Sunday".
On June 22nd, only eight got out to attend the Covenant meeting, which was to have been held in the schoolhouse near the church, which was to have been held in the schoolhouse near the church, and where the meetings were held while the church was being remodeled. The record for June 22nd says: "Some were seeing the carpenters work (at the church), so did not get together - no meeting - rainy day." Of course the rain hindered the turnout. At succeeding meetings from 20 to 30 were present.
After the meeting, Sunday September 15th, Pastor John Smith requested to be released from Serving as pastor, the release to take effect
the following Sunday, the time for which he had been engaged then expired, and he was not "feeling hardly able to come over the hills the coming winter." Request granted.
The remodeling and rebuilding of the church edifice was nearing completion now, and a committee for refurbishing the house was appointed September 21st. The committee consisted of sisters Elmira McCann, Elizabeth Payne, Sally M. Gage, Catherine Payne, Sally Payne, Thankful Smith, Hepsy Robbins, Charlotte Hicks, Ada Wilcox and others.
Also, on September 21st, a "Bell Committee" consisting of Jerome Smith, P. H. Payne and Wesley Hartwell, was appointed. But the bell was not secured.
On November 23rd, the Covenant Meeting, it was moved and carried that Elder Powers be engaged to fill the vacancy till the 1st of April, 1879, if he could be secured, and he was secured, and remained as pastor until the last Sunday in September 1881.
It was also unanimously voted that the church have service on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28th, and then the meeting adjourned to "give the choir time to practice."
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1878, the meeting house was dedicated to the service of God. After a sermon by Rev. T. Simkins, the lacking $400 was pledged and prayer was offered by Rev. John Smith. Elder I. Powers gave the Historical Sketch of the Church; Rev. W. M. Hallock preached a sermon; and Miss Eva Warner of east Worcester was organist for the occasion; also Mr. Cleveland of the same place helped in the singing. rev. W. McNeil (now retired), and living at West Fulton, preached in the evening.
The following ministers were present on the occasion: Revs. T. Simpkins, Francis Jones, Ingraham Powers, John Smith, Jesse Evans, W. M. Hallock, Harvey Cornell, Walter McNeil; also Rev. J. Hartwell of the M. E. Church, and rev. - Paul of the Lutheran Church. The subjoined hymn by the Clerk of the Church, Walter Covey Hicks, was sung to the tune of "Coronation". We found it in a snug corner of one of the pages of Aunt Hepsy Robbins old Scrap book.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
All hail the power of Jesus name,
Let each one here now sing;
Sing praise to God; sing praises now,
And make the new house ring.
Spirit of God, come fill the house;
O fill each member's heart
With love of God, with love to man,
May all now share a part.
Our fathers worshipped God, while here;
They meet with us no more;
Our mothers, they were faithful too;
They're on the heavenly shore.
All members who shall gather here.
In days and years to come;
Blest Saviour guide in wisdom's way,
To Thy eternal home.
Come with Thy children when we meet,
To sing, or speak, and pray;
Lord help Thy servants when they preach;
And teach them what to say.
Dwell in this house with power divine,
Save sinners ere they die,
Here, let a multitude be saved;
And fit them for the sky.
(Charlotteville, Nov. 21st, 1878.)
The whole expense of rebuilding the church was $2,500. It was a great day in the venerable Church's history, but yet even at that time there were those who believed that a mistake had been made in not moving the structure to Charlotteville village.
the church began to get active again and sustained three weekly prayer meetings. The Sunday school was prosperous, and they now began electing the superintendent for twelve months, instead of six, and Deacon Levi H. Robbins was the honored one.
On Feb. 5, 1879, a donation which still lingers pleasantly in the minds of a few, was held for the benefit of Rev. I. Powers. The table committee consisted of Peter H. Payne and B. W. Gage, with Mesdames Jacob Payne, Cable, Robbins, C. Payne, Joseph Payne, Levi Hicks, Smith, Osborn, Ryder, Stillwell, Gage, McCann, Wilcox, Sperbeck, and the Misses Libbie Ridge, Mira Chickering, Jennie Chickering and Belle Champion. The Committee to furnish chairs and light for the orchestra consisted of Peter H. Payne, Levi Hicks and W. C. Hicks.
On December 21, 1878, there was some talk of procuring an organ but not until August 1879, was the desire of those who wanted an organ realized. In the Church Book, under date of August 23rd, 1879, we have this record: "We now have an organ for the church, and it is paid for too; cost with stool, $100."
It took quite an effort to get organs introduced into some of the rural churches. The choristers used the tuning forks. The venerable Jesse Evans was pastor of the North New Berlin Church when an organ was introduced into their services, and he informed us that he had a strenuous time in getting the organ installed. For twenty years, the young people there had desired an organ, but opposition during all that time had prevented their desire being realized. he read Psalm 150 to the people and went hammer and tongs into the matter, and finally an organ crowned his efforts.
For the sixth time, on June 11th and 12th, 1879 the Worcester Basptist Association met with the venerable church.
In the back part of the Associational Minutes for that year there is an "Historical Sketch of the First Baptist Church of Summit" but the sketch is misleading and erroneous.
At the Associational meeting in 1880, 139 members were reported.
Walter C. Hicks, received by letter from the Jefferson Baptist Church in December, 1872, was appointed church clerk to succeed Barney F. Wilcox, August 25, 1877, and served until September 21, 1895 - 18 years.
Rev. W. M. Hallock, 1871, 72; P. H. Mitchell, 1871; Deacon L. H. Robbins, 1871-2, 4, 6, 9; Joseph Payne, 1871, 7; Benj. W. Gage, 1872, 4, 6, 9; B. F. Wilcox, 1872, 4; Rev. John Smith 1873-78; Hiram Rifenbark 1873, 5; Walter C. Hicks; 1873, 6, 7, 8, 1880; Col. Stephen Stilwell, 1876; Levi Hicks, 1877, 1880; J. Champion 1877; Eleaser Osborn, 1878, 1880; Erskine Sullivan, 1878; H. Payne, 1878; G. Gage 1878; Rev. I. Powers, 1879, 1880; Shubal Smith, 1879; Jerome Smith 1879, 1880.
At the Covenant Meeting August 27, 1881, eighteen took part, and the clerk in his record says: "Oh, for more religion every day, and at all times" seemed to be the feeling.
After being without a pastor from September 26th, 1881 until April 2, 1882, the Rev. H. R. Lehman began the pastoral care of the church and ended it in March 1884.
On May 27, at the Covenant meeting, the "Spirit was in the midst and the testimonies were mixed with tears." Miss Edith Wilcox and Miss Etta Payne related their Christian experience and requested baptism.
At the meeting held September 23, there "seemed to be a solemn, tender, melting feeling manifested in the testimonies."
On October 21, 1882, a motion was made and carried that the Lord's Supper be observed every second month, instead of every third month.
But on March 23rd, 1912, upwards of thirty years afterwards, at the suggestion of Rev. L. L. Rury, a retired pastor living in Charlotteville village, the time of the Lord's Supper was again changed to take place quarterly on the Sunday after the Covenant meeting of the first month of each quarter.
While we are mentioning the Lord's Supper, we want to say that it is recorded in the Church and Society Book that $9.36 was paid for wine in 1884. That seems exorbitant. It is inexplicable. Were it a political matter, and not a matter associated with the venerable church, we should be inclined to think there was some graft about it.
On November 23, 1882, it was resolved that Cora Payne and Carrie Gage take the Sabbath collection for one year. Emmerette Payne and Emma Silvernail were to serve as assistants.
On January 27, 1883, the following were received for baptism: Sisters Emma J. Silvernail, Lucy A. Payne, Catherine Delia Toles and Brother Harmon Adkins.
On Saturday, March 24, 1883, Hiram Rifenbark, afterwards made deacon was elected Treasurer.
On May 26th, the following were received for baptism: Miss Jennie M. Smith, Miss Fannie Dorn, (perhaps name spelled wrong), and Silas W. Smith.
In March 1884, Rev. A. Peloubet was engaged as pastor, and continued as such until the spring of 1891, but remained at Charlotteville until the fall of 1892. His salary was to be $400 and a donation.
At the Church Meeting July 27, 1884, a letter was received from the First Harpersfield Baptist Church at Stamford requesting the church to send their pastor and two brethren to sit in a council with them August 19th to consider the propriety of setting apart to the work of the gospel ministry, brother Thos. Broxholm, Jr. A motion was made and carried that the pastor, Rev. A. Peloubet, and brethren Walter C. Hicks and Levi Hicks be sent as such delegates. Of these delegates only Walter C. Hicks is now living.
On Sunday, May 31st, 1855, the following were baptized: Brother Isaac B. Gage, Findley Chickering, George L. Rifenburgh, and sisters Lottie M. Smith and Mary Stilwell.
On August 15, 1886, it was our privilege to exchange with Elder Peloubet. On "Shanks' Mare," we started from our home in Stamford for Charlotteville, a distance of about thirteen or fourteen miles. We made pastoral visits along the way among our parishioners of the South Jefferson Church, for we were pastor of that church as well as the church at Stamford. Eleven days elapsed before we reached Stamford again and during that time we had slept in eleven different beds, some of them being in parlor bedrooms and some of the rooms were musty. That's what kills ministers. We don't think well of parlor bedrooms - hardly ever aired out, and blinds closed against the sunlight. You sometimes can smell the musty feathery odor of the feather beds as soon as you enter the room. But yet we enjoyed the trip and our hearts were light as we walked over the hills, and the First Summit Baptist Church ever afterwards was a happy remembrance to us. We little thought then that some day we should become pastor of the venerable church, namely, in May, 1908. We were cared for Saturday night at Elder Peloubet's home, above the village, a little past the cemetery, on the right hand side of the road, the house now being occupied by the Harris family, and nearly a mile from the church. Our heart was jubilant next morning when we walked along the country road to the old meeting house of the First Summit Baptist Church. We preached from the text: matt. 5:13. The church was full. Well do we remember the occasion. In the afternoon we were driven to the Center Valley
Schoolhouse, District No. 13, and preached from the text: Galatians 5:1. in the evening, at the Free Methodist Church in the village, we preached from the text: 1 Peter 3:15, 16, and then we were driven up the hill, east of Charlotteville, to the home of Levi Hicks, where we were comfortably entertained. Brother Hicks said we had better go home with him, as it would save us walking up the long hill the next morning and that we should be much nearer our own home. As we have already said, he has since gone to his eternal home.
On Saturday, May 21, 1887, at the Covenant Meeting an "earnest desire seemed to manifest itself that better spiritual times might come to the church" and that God would raise up youthful men and women to fill the places of the older ones." For during the past few years a great many had taken letters and united with the Second Worcester Baptist Church in Worcester village.
For the seventh time, on June 13th and 14th, 1888, the Worcester Baptist Church Association met with the venerable church. The following Committee of Arrangements for the accommodation of the Association had been appointed: Colonel S. Stilwell, David L. Chickering, Joseph Payne, Aaron Silvernail, P. H. Payne, Mrs. John Smith, Mrs. Levi Smith, and Mrs. B. W. Gage.
In the church letter allusion was made to the cyclone which passed over the town of Summit in 1887. The extract in the letter to the Association says: "The storm which threatened our house of worship was stayed in its power, and our house though damaged was preserved."
The Church felt discouragement in the death of a number of the members and in the fact that no revival work had been taking place to fill the vacancies, yet the brethren thought that the gospel seed that had been sown would bear fruit in due time in the salvation of souls.
The Sunday school was in quite a flourishing condition, and reported ten officers and teachers and 98 scholars, with the present Deacon Hiram Rifenbark as Superintendent.
The delegates were the pastor, Rev. A. Peloubet, rev. H. Cornell, Levi Robbins, B. W. Gage and Hiram Rifenbark.
On Saturday, September 22, 1888, Mrs. Hepsy Robbins presented the Church with a silver-plated Communion set.
On November 25, 1888, Elmer C. Hicks was baptized by the pastor, Elder Peloubet.
At the Covenant Meeting, January 25th, 1890, quite a goodly number was out and the testimonies offered expressed a desire for the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit on the Church.
The Church Book says that it was "a good meeting, and yet sad, for meetings have been held three weeks and interested but a few."
On May 24th, sister May Gage and sister Cora Gage related their experiences and they were baptized as members after baptism which occurred June 1st and on Sunday, May 25th, Justin Smith and May Smith related their Christian experience, and they were received as members after baptism, which occurred June 1st. Also, on Sunday, June 1st, George Moore and Charley gage related their Christian Experiences and were baptized.
The Church reported 113 at the Associational Meeting held June 11 and 12, 1890.
On Sunday September 20, 1890, it was moved that "the First Summit Baptist Church in connection with the other churches of the Association, designate its foreign mission contributions for the support of Rev. L. H. Mosier, ordained as a Baptist minister at Worcester, June 6th, and also it was moved that "we strive to maintain our contributions in fair proportion with the other churches of the Association."
On Saturday, May 26, 1883, P. H. Payne acted as Clerk and continued as such until August 23, 1884. He had acted as Clerk in the absence of Walter C. Hicks, and on Saturday, Sept. 27, a motion was made and carried thanking brother Payne for keeping the Church records during the absence
of the clerk, and requesting him to return the book again to brother Hicks.
The following names designate most all the delegates to the Associational meetings of 1881-1890: Rev. Ingraham Powers, Deacon L. H. Robbins, J. V. Champion, Joseph Payne, W. Gould, W. C. Hicks, Rev. H. R. Lehman, Deacon B. W. Gage, Levi Hicks, Col. Stephen Stilwell, Rev. A. Peloubet, P. H. Payne, Chester Payne, Jr., Rev. H. Cornell, A. Silvernail, Hiram Rifenbark, ('87-8), J. Smith, Jacob Payne.
We have not all the data concerning the delegates of the above period, but some of them were delegates for several different years.
In the Spring of 1891, the rev. Homer Denton assumed the pastorate of the church, or at least was engaged as supply until the Fall, but continued until February, 1892.
On Sunday, July 26th, the following were baptized by Rev. Denton: Mora L. Payne, Louise A. Terpenning, Bertha S. Payne, Nellie O. Silvernail, G. Pearl Payne, and Eva J. Toles, and received the right hand of fellowship from the pastor and deacons, and then partook of the Lord's Supper.
About this period, the Clerk of the church characterizes the meetings as manifesting "a good forgiving spirit," and as indicating that "hearts were mellow," or as "a good tender meeting" or as "a good, pleasant and profitable meeting."
On Septrember 27th, the following were baptized: William A. Lee, John H. Lee and Kasper Caine, and sisters Mrs. Hattie Mulford, Anna May Stilwell, Grace Lee and Georgia Ann Chickering.
On December 20, 1891, it was reported at the meeting that the ministerial committee had failed to raise enough money to pay for the year's preaching and wished some action by the church. According to the Church Book, things "kind o' simmered" until the meeting of January 23, 1892, when a motion was made and carried to "dispense with the services of Rev. H. Denton" and also that "we incur no further expense for preaching until Rev. Denton is paid," and then a ministerial committee for the coming year was appointed, the year to commence with the first of April, 1892.
In April, Rev. Jesse Evans of Worcester was secured as supply, and continued as such until the Rev. D. G. Lawson became pastor in 1893. At the Covenant Meeting, May 21st, Elder Evans spoke a little about his life's work in the ministry. He said that during ten years of his preaching, in the Old Country, he received only one English shilling, and that was given him by a woman so that he might be able to buy his dinner. Of course he labored at something else for a living. And that reminds us of our own grandfather, Thos. Broxholm, who began July 5, 1809 to serve an apprenticeship for six years at shoemaking with Nicholas Brumby of Sturton next Stow in the County of Lincoln, England. After he had learnt the art of a cordwainer, so designated in the indenture that bound him, was known as a Weslyan Methodit preacher. He had three appointments on Sundays, preaching three times, and walking fourteen miles to and from his appointments, and that, mind you, after laboring all week at shoemaking. And what financial recompense did he receive for it? Not a "red cent".
Paul the Apostle was a tentmaker, and he labored with his own hands for his own support, and also for the support of others, and preached the free gospel free. Elder Evans and Grandfather Broxholm, and other good laborers of their kind, were in good company. But yet the Bible tells us that those who preach the gospel shall live of the gospel. (See 1 Corinthians 9:14)
On Sunday, May 29th it was moved by Hiram Rifenbark and seconded
by Lyman E. Moore (husband of the present Mary Moore and father of the present church clerk, George E. Moore), "that if any of the Associational delegates names are absent, the clerk may fill the vacancies with those members who happen to be present." And the Clerk, W. C. Hicks, was present at the Association, held at Westville, June 10th and 11th to do as instructed, but he did not have much "filing to do, the only two delegates accredited the church in the Associational Minutes being himself and Rev. H. Denton, who had not taken a church letter. A good many times since then, the present Deacon Rifenbark has moved that members present at the Association, but not appointed as delegates, consider themselves delegates and that they be designated as such in the church letter.
In our list of Associational delegates appended to the end of each ten years of the history, we have copied the delegates' names, as far as we could, from the printed Minutes of the Association, for so many times some appointed as delegates failed to be present.
On Sunday, September 24th, the venerable Rev. Harvey Cornell, one of the old pastors, preached for the church, and "broke bread" - (The Lord's Supper). He said that he commenced coming to meeting at the First Summit Baptist Church before the people of the congregation were born, with two or three exceptions.
On July 22nd, 1893, the church record says: "Only four of us out to the Covenant Meeting: - Sisters Mariah Allen (the one who walked seven miles to and from the church) and Ritie and Matie Smith. Had a good meeting." The clerk, W. C. Hicks, made the fourth.
On Saturday, October 21st, the Covenant meeting was in charge of Rev. D. G. Lawson of Mechanicsville, N. Y.
On Saturday, November 25th, the record says that "near 12 o'clock, Rev. D. G. Lawson preached from the words: "This do in remembrance of me." The testimonies expressed an earnest desire to live closer to Jesus, and for revival of his work."
On Saturday, Dec. 23rd, it was moved by Jacob Payne (now a deacon) and seconded by Phelps Stilwell (now dead, but at that time husband of the present Mrs. Cassandra Stilwell), "that we give the Rev. D. G. Lawson, for one year, commencing with the first of November, 1893, $500 and pay the house rent, $40 with a donation, and that he have one month as a vacation." The motion was carried.
Soon extra meetings were held and during Rev. D. G. Lawson's pastorate the following related their Christian experience, and were all baptized except George A. Morrill and Ward Babcock:
Mrs. Cora Moore*, Georgie Moore, Maynard Smith*, Delilah Terpenning*, Rosie Terpenning*, Arthur Sullivan, George A. Morrill, Leroy Rifenbark*, Ward Babcock, Mary L. Smith, Mrs. Lina Silvernail, Payne Stilwell, Frank Silvernail, George Smith, Jackson Layman*, Mrs. Ettie Rifenbark*, Mrs. Lettie Sullivan, Mayme Sullivan (now Mrs. Payne), Milton H. Smith, Mrs. Emma Smith, Adam Walker, Rachel Walker, Chester Payne, John Chickering, Bessie Gage, Rose Payne, Mrs. Dora Baldwin, Julia Baker, Milton Stilwell, Minnie Stilwell (now Mrs. Eugene Lewis), Norman Chickering, Frank McCann, and Morris Stilwell.
* Baptized on Feb. 18, 1894. " " May 13, " " " July 29, " " " May 5, 1895 " " May 19, "
Historical Sketch omitted in November, 1912 issue.
1891 - 1900 continued
On Saturday, April 21st, 1894, it was voted that the church have additional deacons. Deacons Levi H. Robbins and B. W. Gage, more than eight years before, at the Covenant Meeting held Oct. 24th 1885, had made such a request, as they were growing old, and it was now to be realized. In a few months, Dea. Robbins went to his reward. he died Sept. 20th, 1894. At the funeral service, Rev. D. G. Lawson preached from the text: "He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost." The text was especially appropriate.
It was voted to elect two deacons, and that they serve for an indefinite term, the nominees receiving the highest number of votes to be the deacons. The honor fell on Hiram Rifenbark and Jacob Payne. At the close of the service Sunday evening, April 22nd, the Rev. Lawson "read the Bible way of choosing deacons, and their qualifications for the office. Then Hiram Rifenbark and Jacob Payne knelt and pastor Lawson laid his hands on their heads and offered prayer, thus setting them apart for the responsible work."
Fred M. Whiteman and wife were received by letter from the Westford Baptist Church, Sunday, Nov. 25, 1894.
In the church letter to the Association in 1895, the church was inclined to be facetious, for it is recorded that "our Sunday school is moving forward under the leadership of 'David', not King David, but David L. Chickering. So also in the church we follow 'Daniel' "mentioning Rev. Daniel G. Lawson. It is also stated in the letter that the young people had been organized as a "Bethlehem Band".
At the Covenant meeting of Dec. 21st, 1895, the matter of building a parsonage was talked up freely. A motion was made and carried that a committee be appointed by the church to canvas the church and society, and see how many want the parsonage, and see how much could be raised upon subscription in money, labor and material for the building of the same.
Deacon Jacob Payne, Levi H. Smith, and peter H. payne constituted the committee. But it proved to be only a suggestion.
On Sunday morning, Feb.. 9, 1896, after the service, Rev. D. G. Lawson tendered his resignation and asked to be released on the last Sunday of the current month, thus having served the church two years and four months, during which time the church had some forty additions by letter and baptism.
After Rev. Lawson left, different supplies occupied the pulpit, among them Rev. C. M. Jones and also Brother A. R. Mills, a student from Hamilton. The latter remained some two months, and preached for the last time Sept. 6, 1896. The clerk had been instructed to write to different men that might be available for the pastorate, but without success until in January 1897, Brother J. C. Lappeus of Schenevus, a son of the Rev. D. P. Lappeus, was asked to preach to the church at his earliest convenience. He was present with the church at the regular Covenant meeting Feb. 27th and preached Sunday Feb. 28th.
After being one whole year without a regular pastor, (and that is why many of our Baptist churches are on losing ground), arrangements were finally made with Brother Lappeus of Schenevus (now, in 1912, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Binghamton) that he become the pastor. He accepted the $274.50 raised and a donation for one year from the first of March 1897; but "in consideration of $300 not being raised, he reserved the right to not stay more than the one-half of the time on the field etc., and to board with the church so he can live much cheaper at his own home than hire his board on the field."
What a come down in salary that was from the salary of the last regular pastor. On March 15, 1896, the clerk Peter H. Payne, has been
instructed, when he wrote to a candidate for the pulpit not to guarantee more than $400 salary.
On June 9th and 11th, 1897, the Worcester Baptist Association met with the venerable church. It had been nine years previously since the church had had the honor of entertaining the Association. This was the eighth time that the Association had met with the church. The delegates were pastor J. C. Lappeus, who preached the plain simple-pointed truth, as the letter to the Association informs us: Deacon Benj. W. Gage (father of the present Deacon Isaac B. Gage; Deacon Jacob Payne, Deacon H. Rifenbark, Levi H. Smith, and Frank McCann and wife.
The committee appointed at the Covenant Meeting (April 24) were as follows: To take charge of teams- Aaron Silvernail (husband of the present Mrs. Mahama Silvernail and who carved his own monument from stone from the old quarry on the hill back of where the baptist Church now stands and which monument now stands over his grave in the cemetery at Charlotteville), Isaac B. Gage, and Milton Smith (son of the present Mr. and Mrs. Levi H. Smith and husband of the present Mrs. Emma Payne Smith). To make arrangements for the tables - Deacon Jacob Payne and wife, Frank McCann and wife, Peter H. Payne and wife (now dead) and Hiram Rifenbark and Amelia his wife (now dead). Deacon Hiram Rifenbark resigned the Deaconship March 21, 1896, and his resignation was accepted the next day (Sunday) and hence the word "Deacon" does not grace his name on the above committee. But he was just as good as a deacon, and as "the rose would smell just as sweet under any other name" or under no name, the deacon was just as good a deacon though having resigned the official name. The name of the office, however soon adorned his name again, and it adorns it yet, or better yet, he adorns the name.
To provide hay and grain for teams at the Association - Deacon Jacob Payne and Shubal Smith (now a member of the Baptist Church in Worcester village)
When the Association met, Rev. O. J. Kingsbury was elected Moderator; Pastor Lappeus, clerk; George Winans, Treasurer; Hiram Rifenbark, Corresponding Secretary, continued as such until 1905, when he wished to be released, and Walter C. Hicks accepted the office. Previous to 1897, Brother Rifenbark had been chosen as Corresponding Secretary in 1892 and 1894. It was at this Associational meeting that Deacon Mason Springstead and wife were heartily thanked for their generous gift of $1,000 as an Associational Memorial Fund, and it was hoped that they "might yet enjoy many years of life and witness the good results accomplished by means of their self-denial.
Brother Frank McCann was then Superintendent of the Sunday School and it numbered one hundred members, with twelve officers and teachers.
In 1897, a Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor was organized in the church, and the young people seemed eager to work, but the society was not long-lived.
Of the Covenant Meeting of January 22nd, 1898, it is recorded "Members standing while Covenant is read."
On the 10th of May, 1898, Brother J. C. Lappeus, the pastor of the church was ordained to the Baptist ministry. On the following day the church held a roll call and out of a membership of 128, 88 responded in person or by letter, or by proxy. The committee appointed to write to members at a distance and to notify others, consisted of Rev. J. C. Lappeus, Aaron Silvernail and Miss Pear Payne.
One name in the death record of 1898, reminds us of the old Puritan given names that used to be somewhat common in the church. It was Thankful and it belonged to Thankful Smith, who had ceased her singing in the choir of the church to be ready to sing in the heavenly choir.
The Sunday School was quite prosperous in 1897-8 and was so reported at the Association held in the First Baptist Church of East Worcester, June 8 and 9, 1898. Frank McCann was Superintendent and the School numbered 112 scholars and twelve officers and teachers. In May the Sunday school had secured the services of Rev. E. J. Farley of Oneonta who lectured for it, $6 of the proceeds going towards making up the fund for a new library, which since then has done good service. The School's delegates to the Association were Rev. J. C. Lappeus and wife, Miss Mary Smith (now Mrs. W. A. Ryder), and Miss Eva Fox (now Mrs. Frank Truax).
In looking over the church records for January 1899, we noticed that in the Covenant meeting, a "committee on raising the pastor's salary was appointed." In these present times (1913) of high prices with butter at 34¢ per lb and eggs at 34¢ per dozen etc. our initial thought was that the salary was to be increased, but it only meant that the subscription paper was to be circulated, so as to ascertain what could be raised for the minister's salary. In due time the paper was circulated and $275 was secured. At the next Covenant meeting, Feb. 25th, it was moved that the pastor rev. J. C. Lappeus continue his ministrations for another year, "the church to pay him as much more as they can raise on subscription ***** and give him $18 for room rent for the year, a donation, and the privilege of preaching in an outstation - Lutheranville - Sunday afternoons and have what he receives there extra, and two weeks vacation. This agreement may be terminated at any time by one month's notice by either party."
But the minister did not accept for long all these good things, for in July, after serving the church since March, 1897, he resigned, the resignation to take effect August 1st.
After that the Sunday services consisted of sermons by candidates for the pulpit and by Licentiate A. J. Toles, licensed July 28, 1900, when Rev. E. A. Tuck began revival services.
The Rev. Mr. Pixley of Hamilton helped Rev. Tuck in the revival services. As a result of the meetings the following were taken to the East Worcester Baptist Church March 18th and baptized by Rev. Tuck: George W. Payne, Raymonf Rifenbark (better known as "Dick"), Miss Nina Baldwin (now Mrs. John Baker of Lutheranville), Miss Mildred Rifenbark (Who afterwards resided at Colliersville to which place her parents moved and who was married Sept. 24, 1912 to Mr. Albert _aylock), Nelson Bruce, Mrs. Roxy Payne, Miss Libbie Gage (now married to Prof. Menzo Burlingame of Worcester), and Miss Carrie Gage (now married to Rev. Winthrop W. Stilwell of Solon, N. Y.). Also on May 6th in the old Quarry Pond, up the hill back of the church, Rev. Tuck baptized W. A. Ryder and Miss Eva Fox. Only five of them are now members of the Summit Church.
The Associational year of 1899-1900 had been a prosperous one for the venerable church, but yet eight had been dismissed by letter and three had gone to their eternal reward, namely, Mrs. Angeline Stilwell, Mrs. Lucy Mitchell and Mrs. Betsey Crowe, so that numerically the membership of the church remained about the same.
Rev. Tuck being called to the pastorate decided not to accept the call. He afterwards became pastor of a Congregational church in New England. When asked by one of the Baptist friends what he would do were babes brought to him to be baptized, he substantially replied: "Don't worry - leave that to me - I shall not preach that doctrine - I shall not expect them."
Candidating for a pastor was again in order. A pastor was called in the following September, namely, the Rev. E. M. Jones of Brooklyn, N. Y.
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