One of the evidences of the tendency of population from rural neighborhoods to business centers in villages and cities, is found in the number (of churches locked up or disused in the rural districts of the State. There are two such cases in the town of Fayette, and a third a little beyond the north border of the town. Many of the early settlers of the town of Fayette were Pennsylvania Germans, who removed there in the early part of this century. In the interior of the town, a little West of the center, may be found a large, well-constructed brick church edifice, known as
"Jerusalem church", which has not for a number of years past, been used to any extent, for church purposes, by either of the religious denominations which constructed it, and formerly held stated religious services therein.
As early as August 3, 1811, only about two years after the organization of the first church in the town of Fayette, ( Christ church at Bearytown) the German residents of the central and western parts of Fayette, of the German Reformed and Lutheran denominations, organized a religious society, under the name of the ''Trustees of Zion's Church", naming in the certificate of organization (certified by Jacob Alleman as chairman of the charter meeting) as its first board of trustees: Jacob Heck, Philip Pratz, John Emerick, and Adam Hofstetter, equally divided between the two denominations named. It is to be regretted that the early church records cannot be found, and the traditions of aged people must be chiefly relied upon for information. The first church edifice was a log structure, comfortably sided up, and arranged within, with seats of those primitive days. This building of Zion's church was destroyed by fire Feb. 7, 1835. The corner stone for a new church (it is still standing) was laid May 12, 1836, and was dedicated as "Jerusalem Church," Nov.13, 1836. The names of the first clergymen who officiated in the old log church, (and prior to its erection, for a time, in dwelling houses or barns in the vicinity) were Rev. Anthony Houtz and Rev. Lot Merkel. For over fifty years, services were regularly held in the old church and its successor, on alternate Sabbaths or at longer intervals by the Reformed and Lutheran pastors of Bearytown congregations. During the past twenty years, services have not been regularly held therein, for any considerable times -by either of these religious denominations. Doubtless the proximity of the church to Bearytown and Waterloo, and to the Presbyterian church of West Fayette and the Protestant Episcopal church at Willowdale, led greatly, with the other causes assigned, to its disuse for regular church services. A number of years ago, the church needing repairs, a committee of citizens of the neighborhood, of whom the late Hon. William Hogan, was an active worker, raised a considerable sum of money, and caused needed repairs to be made. A well attended Sabbath school, was for a number of years, maintained in the church, by the late Elias Romig of Waterloo, and others, even after regular Sunday preaching services were discontinued. During the past two or three years, occasional Sunday services have been held in the church, under the auspices of Grace Protestant Episcopal church of Willowdale, on Seneca lake. The church cemetery, adjoining the church. has been maintained, and is still occasionally used for burials, by old families of the neighborhood.
Among the families ascertained to have been connected with this congregation in its early history (in addition to those who took part in the organization mentioned in 1811) were those of John Markell, George Neass, Adam Schneck, William Gamber, Abram Youngs, Daniel Saeger, Samuel Romig, Joseph H. Sigfreid, Christian Keim, Jacob Flickinger, Henry Shankwiler, Jacob Acker, John Arisberger, Philip Peters, Frederick and Benjamin Kuney, and Abram and Conrad Manges. It is a noteworthy fact,that the first organization of the Mormon church,was that of Joseph Smith, made April 6, 1830, at the house of Peter Whitmer, Sr., about 1 1-2 miles northwest from Jerusalem church. The Whitmer family were Pennsylvania Germans, and prior to their defection to Mormonism, attended church services at the old Zion's church, the predecessor of the Jerusalem church.