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The Welsh Congregational Church
Centerville, Allegany County, New York
From 1846 to 1928, the Welsh Congregationalists were associated with Congregational churches known under several names at several locations in the Centerville-Fairview area.
After 1840 Welsh Congregationalists settled in Centerville and Fairview, Allegany County, New York. They came from Welsh settlements in central New York and from Wales itself. The Welsh Congregationalists (also called Independents) worshipped at several sites. At first all the Welsh in the area (Baptists, Congregationalists, and Calvinistic Methodists) worshipped together in union meetings. The Baptists, primarily located in the Freedom Flats area, organized separately in 1843. Before 1846 Welsh Congregationalists and Calvinistic Methodists met together on the western side of the Town of Centerville, an area referred to as "the Welsh Settlement." For a time they met at the schoolhouse on the Freedom side of the County Line Road.
The map above was sketched while on a hike of the area in the early 1990s.
The Congregationalists built their first meeting house, called Carmel, in 1847 on Lot 59 on the County Line Road on the Centerville side, just opposite the Freedom schoolhouse. An 1846 building contract is in the church records in Boston, MA. A portion of the lot was used for burials. The church and schoolhouse are no longer standing. The original Carmel church of 1847 is said to have burned down after a lightning strike in the early 1920s.
In 1865 a new church, initially called Bethel, was constructed several miles south at Fairview Corners, Centerville, Lot 57. A new church building replaced it in 1902. During much of this time the church was referred to as the Fairview Welsh Congregational Church. The church was closed about 1928. Sometime after that the church was torn down with various sections incorporated into other nearby buildings.
Early burials were made at what is now the County Line Cemetery in the back portion of Lot 59. Later burials for many Fairview Welsh were made at the Siloam Cemetery, Maple Grove Road, Freedom, NY. The Fairview and Siloam Welsh Congregational churches shared a minister for many years.
After the closure of the Fairview church, a local individual probably connected to the church may have kept the records at home as there are some children's scribblings on some of the pages.. At some point the records were transferred to Congregational Church authorities. They became part of the Lisle Collection, "a storeroom of old records" at the retreat center maintained by the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ at Lisle, NY, south of Syracuse. Contents of most of the boxes were intermingled from one church to another, some materials were not even identified. In 1979 this archive was transferred to the Congregational Library in Boston where it was organized and made available.
Description of the Church Records
Welsh Congregational Church, Fairview, NY. Records. 1846-1922. Lisle Collection Series VII, Congregational Library, Boston, MA.
Item 70: Church records. Minutes, 1851-1922. 2 vols.
Item 71: Church records. Membership lists, 1852-1881. 2 vols.
Item 72: Church records. Diaconal accounts, 1846-1894. 1 vol.
Membership Lists 1846-1915 and Baptisms 1846-1848
The following lists were transcribed by Barbara Henry from the original church records in the Congregational Library in Boston, Massachusetts. Membership lists were organized by year. The entire membership was listed for some years, other years list only those individuals who joined that year. Name groupings and order have been retained as close as possible to those of the original records. The records also refer to trustees, pastors, and others associated with the church whose names may or may not appear on these lists. The original records are available at the Congregational Library, 14 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108.
Baptized by Rev. John D. Edwards
June 7  the following infants
Son of Richard and Jane Pugh, his name Owen J. [or L.]
Son of David and Martha Jones, his name Edward
Daughter of John and Elisabeth Owens, her name Elisabeth
Baptized by Rev. David Jenkins
March 7, 1847 daughter of Owen and mary Owens, her name Jane
May 2, 1847 son of Rowland and Elizabeth, his name Joseph
Feb. 1, 1848 son of John and Elisabeth Owens, his name John
Membership Lists 1846-1915
1846 Founding Members
Richard and Jane Pugh from Utica, Oneida Co.
David and Martha Jones from Wales
Rowland and Elizabeth Edmunds from Wales
G. Griffith and Elinor from Remsen, Oneida Co.
Evan Griffith from Steuben, Oneida Co.
Margaret Mastyn [possible "Marsden"?] from Wales
Wiliam Davis and Elizabeth Evans from Utica, Oneida Co.
Fanny Thomas from Wales
Owen and Mary Owens from Wales
David Jenkins and Elizabeth Jenkins, he from Wales, she from Utica
Margaret Thomas from NY T.C.
Richard and Elizabeth Jones
Margaret James from Bryn Sion T.C.
John Davis from Bryn Sion T.C.
Margaret Davis from Bryn Sion T.C.
Benjamin Davis from Bryn Sion T.C.
Elizabeth Davis from Bryn Sion T.C.
Margaret Owens from Bryn Sion T.C.
Ellis Roberts and wife Elizabeth
Mrs. Mary Humphreys
Thomas Morgans and wife
John Jones and wife Elinor Joens
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Owens
David Powel and wife from Remsen
Miss Ann Williams from Remsen
Magdalen Williams from Remsen, Penygraig
William Roberts and wife from Wales
David D. Davies and wife, Ixonia, Wisconsin
William Gibbin recd by letter from Eglwys Glandwr, Pembrokeshire, Wales
John B. Davies and Mrs. Davies
Benjamin Davies and Mrs. Davies
Evan Davies and Mrs. Davies
David Davies and Mrs. Davies
Rowland Edmunds and Mrs. Edmunds
Evan Evans and Mrs. Evans
Griffith G. Griffiths and Mrs. Griffiths
Evan Griffiths and Mrs. Griffiths
John R. Giffiths
Richard Humphreys and Mrs. Humphreys
John R. Jones and Mrs. Jones
Robert Jones and Mrs. Jones
Robert Jones, Jr.
Richard Jones and Mrs. Jones
Jenkin Jones and Mrs. Jones
Mrs. James County Line
Miss Sarah James
Thomas Morgans and Mrs. Morgans
Owen Owens and Mrs. Owens
Richard Owens and Mrs. Owens
Mrs. Thomas Owens
Mrs. John Owens
Humprhey Parry and Mrs. Parry
Ellis Roberts and Mrs. Roberts
Mrs. Roberts widow
Mrs. Richard Roberts
John Thomas and Mrs. Thomas
Mrs. Thomas Thomas
William Williams and Mrs. Williams
Mrs. Samuel Williams
Mrs. Evan Williams
Griffith G. Griffiths
John W. Griffiths
Griffith H. Evans
Evan J. Evans
John W. Evans
William J. Williams
Mary Ann Williams
John R. Griffith
John R. John rec'd as member (letter from Canada)
Jonah G. Thomas rec'd April 6 (letter from Old Counrty)
John E. Reese
John A. Griffith
Mary E. Davies
Rowland Edmunds (died 18 March 1887)
Elizabeth Edmunds (removed to Oshkosh, Wisconsin 1887)
Mr. Elizabeth Griffith
John R. Johns
Jonah G. Thomas
Additional members received
Rev. Edward Roberts, pastor
Morgan A. Johns
Sarah A. Thomas
Samuel B. Williams
Richard E. Williams
Anna M. Williams
D. R. Williams
(all from Plymouth, PA)
Nellie Roberts (from Castile, NY, 1st Presby.)
Mrs. Jane H. Lewis (from Plymouth, PA)
(D. R. Williams and Mrs. Lewis moved back to Plymouth, PA July 3, 1888)
Mary J. Stimpson
Samuel R. Williams
Maggie Roberts (from Siloam church)
Sarah Hughes (from Freedom Methodist)
Thomas H. Davies
Frances H. Davies
John A. Davies
Henry G. Williams
Grace A. Williams
Sarah A. Owens
Margaret M. Owens
Martha J. Williams
Mr. and Mrs. David Davies and children:
Mary, Edward, David Jr., Sarah, Dorothy.
Royal B. Williams
Elizabeth M. Davies
© Barbara R. Henry