History of Warren County, H. P. Smith
Chapter XXV: History of the Patent and Town of Queensbury - Part 7
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The Page 474 early religious influences of the town having been referred to in previous pages of this work, it will only be necessary at this point to give the continuous records of the various church organizations. For these we are again indebted largely to Dr. Holden's History of Queensbury, supplemented by statistics of the different religious societies since the production of his work.
The Orthodox Friends. - The society of Orthodox Friends is said to have organized and erected the first church building in the town, some time previous to the beginning of the present century, to which allusion has already been made. The primitive meeting-house was of logs and located on Bay Road near Half-way Brook, about one and a half miles north of the present village. After a series of years the log meeting house was abandoned and a large frame building was put up on Ridge street, about two miles north of the village. In this they conducted worship until 1875, when the present brick church was built at an expense of about $1,300.
The church is governed by thirteen elders who serve one year. No regular pastor was established until about 1879, when John Henry Douglass began his ministry, which continued for two years, when David Douglass succeeded him, remaining in charge for two or three years. In November of 1884, Luke Woodard entered upon the pastorate, and at present, with Nelson Hill, conducts the regular meetings. The duties of sexton have been performed since about 1877 by S. I. Stone. Among the present trustees are P. T. Haviland, Harris G. Haviland, Charles Eddy and C. R. Mott. Conspicuous among the Page 475 early members of this society was Roger Haviland, who came from Durham county. Of a large family none of the sons are residents here, although there are other branches of the family in the town. Hannah Haviland, who is about eighty-five years of age, resides with her daughter, Mrs. Calvin Mason, on Ridge street. The Dean family, consisting of Caleb, Isaiah and several other brothers were also pioneers in this faith. Miss Hannah Moser, also, who is living at the age of ninety-five, has always resided here. Her home is in Ridge street near Half-way Brook. Jonathan Potter was born in Granville, Washington county, in 1814, and married to Mary Ann Haviland, a native of Queensbury, in 1842. In 1856 he moved into the town and became a resident. These are mentioned merely as having been prominent in the councils of this church society.
The Baptist Church. - Quoting from Dr. Holden, we find that the Baptists "were among the earlier inhabitants of this town and have always formed a considerable element of its population. It has been impossible to obtain all the facts requisite to a complete record of their several organizations. In some instances the minutes have been destroyed by fire; in others, they have been removed beyond reach, or lost through carelessness and indifference; while, with one or two exceptions, those who could have furnished reliable information concerning the annals of this denomination, are now numbered with the dead. So far as can be ascertained, the Baptists of Queensbury are, and have been of that class, distinguished as regular, or close communion Baptists. By diligent and patient research, and investigation, we are enabled to present the following historic record concerning them. Until the year 1795, it is believed that no effort had been made to organize a church within the limits of this town.
"On the south side of the river, which was then embraced in the town of Saratoga, a society had been formed on the 19th of August, 1794, over which, according to existing records, Elder Calvin Hulbert presided as pastor for a number of years. Among its members were some residing at what is known as the Big Bend of the Hudson River, four miles west of the village of Glens Falls, and it is quite possible that some of the number were residents on the Queensbury side of the river. At the eastward a number of Baptist families were among the earliest settlers, by whom a society was organized at Kingsbury street in 1797, with Elder Ebenezer Willoughby as pastor. This was connected with the Vermont Baptist Association, formed at Manchester, Vt., 1780; and which met at Middletown, Vt., October 4th, 1797, as shown by existing printed minutes. At the northeast, in the town of Westfield, a church had been built up as early as 1789, under the pastoral care of Elder Sherman Babcock. This is now designated as the First Baptist Church of Fort Anne; its place of meeting being at Comstock's Landing. Being thus surrounded on three sides, as it were, by Baptist influences, it is nothing surprising that the Page 476 town of Queensbury should have had a plentiful leaven of that element among its inhabitants at an early day.
"From this small beginning, an outgrowth of four distinct churches has been developed in process of time, each of which have had a separate house of worship, in three distinct localities, at distances of five or six miles apart. For convenience of reference these might be classified as follows, viz.: -
"1st, The Baptist Church of the Round Pond.
"2d, The First Queensbury, or Oneida Church.
"3d, The Second Queensbury, or West Mountain Church.
"4th, The Baptist Church of Glens Falls."
The Baptist Church of the Round Pond. - This church was one of the first fruits of the faith in this section, and had an entirely independent existence, having no connection during its organization with any association. It was located on the south edge of the Round Pond, in a pine grove, about five miles distant from Glens Falls in a northerly direction. The structure was of logs, and during the week did duty as a school-house, on Sundays the worshipers meeting there for divine service. It was founded by Elder Rufus Bates, a native of Coventry, R. I., where he was born in April, 1753. He established the church and began his labors about 1794; in 1795 the church was built. In the latter year Elder Hezekiah Eastman, of Danby, Vt., made a tour doing missionary work, and visited Round Pond, performing the rites of baptism while there upon several candidates. In 1796; the church society was formally organized, Elders Amasa Brown, of Hartford, and Sylvanus Haynes, of Middletown, Vt., officiating in the ordination services. This church was known as "Elder Bates's Church," and during his ministry of thirty-four years he was a daily laborer for his bread, his yearly salary never exceeding, and rarely reaching the sum of $100. In the early years of his ministry his parish embraced Harrisena, West Fort Anne, Bolton, Caldwell and Durkeetown, the total membership of which counted but a few over two hundred persons. In June, 1808, his house was burned and his aged father-in-law, Abner Goffe, perished. In this conflagration whatever records of the church had been kept were consumed. In 1828, at the age of seventy-five, Elder Bates retired from active ministerial duties, and passed his remaining years among his people, dying at the opening of 1840 aged, eighty-six. After his death, the church over which he had so long presided was bereft of its counselor and head, and began to scatter, so that in a few years it ceased its existence.
From 1802 until 1816 the Baptists of Durkeetown were considered as members of the Queensbury Church, transacting church affairs within themselves as an auxiliary, Elder Bates preaching for them occasionally, as also did Elder Clark. In 1832 they organized themselves as a church, being the first Fort Edward church.
The First Queensbury or Oneida Church. - "The interest which built up Page 477 this congregation originated in a series of meetings held at Dunham's Bay, in the years 1831 and 1832. These were instituted by Elder Phineas Culver, for a long period pastor of the Fort Anne and Kingsbury Churches, who, on a visit to his brother-in-law, William Lane, found a few faithful brethren living around the head waters of Lake George. A revival ensued, several were added to the church, and after a period the meetings were removed to the Vaughn schoolhouse, not far from the present residence of Reuben Seelye, esq. The meetings were continued here, and in various adjacent school-houses, until the house of worship at the Oneida was erected. The church organization is here given from their own record book in the following language:
"'Be it remembered that on this 13th day of November, 1832, the following brethren and sisters met according to previous appointment, and entered into Church Covenant with each other, at the house of William Lane, in Queensbury, viz: James Fuller, Franklin Guilford, Aaron Kidder, Isaac Nelson, A. M. Odell, Eli Pettis, Betsey Fuller, Samantha Guilford, Amanda Kidder, Amy Nelson, Marian Odell, Lucy Pettis, William Niles.'
"It is further recorded that they "adopted, as a brief summary of their faith, the articles of faith and covenant of the Kingsbury Church, while they received the New Testament in common with the Old, as their only rule of faith and practice. Elders William Grant and Phineas Culver being present, assisted in the organization, giving them fellowship and hearty approbation, and Elder Culver preached the constituting sermon.
"Austin M. Odell was chosen clerk and Aaron Kidder their first deacon, who, with Ansel Winchip, was formally ordained on the 20th of February, 1834. Having no regular pastor nor house of worship for years, the organization increased but slowly. In September, 1833, they united with the Lake George Baptist Association, which at that time held its 17th anniversary at Hague, Warren county, N. Y. The association then reported eleven churches, seven pastors, and 988 members in their whole body. While this new interest, of nineteen members only, was not identical in organization with Elder Bates's church, it was its successor on nearly the same territory, and among many of the same people. No doubt some of his flock came into the new church, since it is recorded that Elder Bates and his wife joined by letters from the second Fort Anne church, at Welch Hollow at South Bay, on the 9th of August, 1834. Although an octogenarian he was chosen a delegate to the association which met that year at Caldwell. His associates were A. M. Odell, Ansel Winchip, William Niles, and F. Guilford.
"The necessities of the people had called for Baptist preaching about this period, and various ministers had come into town, preached and baptized their converts, thereby adding them to their respective churches in adjacent towns. Among this number Elder John C. Holt, of Moreau, had officiated here, and in a powerful revival of religion during the years 1832-33, he added about Page 478 eighty to his church, a large proportion of whom lived in this town, and afterwards helped to swell the ranks of its rising churches. On the west, Elder Stephen Call, pastor of the Luzerne Church, made frequent inroads, and baptized converts into his church, who subsequently aided in establishing the West or Mountain Church. During the first four years there were comparatively few accessions to the church at the Oneida.
"In the fall of 1835 there was reported a membership of thirty-five, with Elder John Scofield as pastor, who served in that capacity until the spring of 1837. During his pastorate the house of worship near the Oneida was erected, and although the humble edifice was not entirely finished, the Lake George Association held its twentieth anniversary there on the 7th and 8th of September, 1836. The venerable Elder Bates, then eighty-four years of age, with Elder Scofield, Deacon Ansel Winchip, J. Winchip, and E. Sargeant, were the delegates on that occasion. The meeting was one of unusual interest, and was followed by a revival in which twenty-five converts were added and eighteen members joined by letter, thus increasing the membership to seventy-four. Elder Jeremy H. Dwyer assisted the pastor during the season of revival.
"In the spring of 1838, Marvin Eastwood, who had been reared in the west part of the town, and licensed to preach by the Mountain Church, began to labor with this congregation, and on the 11th of September following was ordained to the ministry. A revival soon followed and by the ensuing spring fifty-five converts had been added to the church, which, with those who joined by letter; swelled the membership to 127. During this pastorate the church was increased to its maximum number of 140 members. Elder Eastwood removed to Waterford in 1841 and was succeeded by Elder Simon Fletcher who had charge of the church for one year. Elder John Duncan, who had been pastor of the church at Kingsbury street, served the church another year.
"The next in order in charge of this church was Elder O. H. Capron, from Galway, N. Y, who remained three years, during which period an interesting revival season was held, in which about twenty-five were added to the church. Its total membership at this time was reported at 131. He left in 1846, and subsequently returned for another term of labor in 1851-52, with small results in the way of church growth."
In 1853 he removed to Hebron, Washington county, and Elder John H. Barker became pastor to the church, remaining in charge two years. During the interval between the years 1846 and 1851, Elder Ira Bentley officiated for about two years, dating from 1859. Since 1853 no regular pastor has been settled over the church, although from 1858 until about 1861, occasional services were held, which were conducted by Elders C. R. Green and Ransom O. Dyer. During the years between 1833 and 1839, it was a connection of the Lake George Baptist Association; after that date it became a part of the Washington Union.Page 479
The Second Queensbury, or West Mountain Church. - "In the southwestern part of the town, in the earlier days, were a small number of Baptists who were probably connected with the Moreau Church for a while. These were afterwards united to the Luzerne church over the mountain, which, from 1813 to 1827, was attached to the Saratoga Association. Since that period the progress and history of this interest can be traced by the aid of the minutes of the Washington and Washington Union Baptist Association, with which it has been connected. In June, 1827, at the first anniversary of the association above named, the Luzerne church was represented by Elder Stephen Call and Allen Seymour, who reported 108 members in the fellowship. The next year it was designated as the Baptist Church of Luzerne and Queensbury, and Elder Call, D. Fairchild, and Henry Moses were the delegates. How many of this church were residents of Queensbury, there are no present means of determining. Elder Call continued his pastorate as late as the year 1837. When the Washington Union Association was formed at Hartford, N. Y., in June, 1835, by the consolidation of the Washington and Bottskill bodies, this church went into the new organization, reporting at that time thirty-four baptisms and a total of one hundred and twenty-seven members.
"The digest of the state of the churches for 1836 says of this church: 'They are inconveniently situated, being separated by a rugged mountain, in consequence of which the members on either side have but little intercourse, and they think of becoming two separate churches.' In 1838 the Luzerne Church was present with returns of only forty-nine members, and Deacon Moses Randall, who had been recently licensed, as their preacher. The Second Queensbury was represented in the association the same year by Elder Charles Williams, Deacon David Barber, Lewis Wood, Henry Moses and David Williams. They reported no aggregate membership, but we find the following in the digest of that year. 'The Second Baptist Church in Queensbury has been constituted since our last session, have enjoyed a powerful revival of religion, and have received an addition of forty or fifty by baptism. Have a Sabbath-school and bible-class, and are in union. Elder J. H. Dwyer preaches to them one-fourth part of the time.' With those set off from Luzerne they must have numbered about eighty members. The germ of this new church was called Elder Williams's Conference, and Elder A. Wait, of Fort Edward, Norman Fox, residing at Glens Falls, and supplying the Kingsbury church, and John Scofield of the Oneida, preached and baptized here occasionally. Elder Williams was reported as pastor from 1838 to 1841, during which period the meeting-house at the foot of the mountain was erected and dedicated." (1)
1. Holsen's History of Queensbury.
The site was given by Abraham Van Duzen and the house was built by contributions from David Burnham and son and other Baptist friends. After Page 480 its completion it was used by both Baptists and Methodists and was known as the Union house. Its cost was about $1,200. As there are no reliable records of the church to be found, full statistics can not be furnished. After Elder Williams came Elder Dyer, who was pastor during 1842, and succeeded by Elder M. Randall, who remained about three years. From that time until 1860 but little can be learned of the state of the society. At the latter date Elder Dyer again resumed the pastorate with a membership of twelve, which had increased in 1863 to twenty. In 1870 services were held in the church, Elder C. H. Nash, of Glens Falls, officiating on the afternoons of alternate Sundays. Two members of the church, Moses Randall and Marvin Eastwood, have entered the ministry.
The Baptist Church at Glens Falls. - While the Baptists had occupied the religious ground in other parts of the town, no organization of the church had been made at Glens Falls until about 1831, when a revival of religious interests awakened the people to their needs. During the summer of 1832 a meeting was called for the purpose of establishing a church society in the village. The people met in the old red school-house which stood upon the site of the brick school-house in district No. 20, at the junction of West and South streets. From the minutes of the Washington Union Association, with which the church has always been connected, the details of the movement are given by Dr. Holden in the following terms: -
"On the 11th of August, 1832, according to appointment, thirty brethren and sisters met at the old red school-house in the west part of the village, chose Elder J. C. Holt, moderator, and Moses Soper, clerk. They then passed the following resolution: -
"'Resolved, That we will meet with the professors of religion of the Baptist order in the village of Glens Falls and vicinity for religious conference, and the prosperity of Zion; and that we resume the name of The Glens Falls Baptist Conference "
In relation to the organization of the church the minutes read: -
"On Thursday, March 11th, 1834, by request of the conference, the following churches, represented by delegates, met to organize a Baptist church at the village, namely: Moreau, Greenfield, Luzerne, Queensbury, Kingsbury, Hartford, Fort Edward, Milton and Burnt Hi1ls. The council organized by appointing Elder John Harris moderator, and Elder Norman Fox for clerk. A committee of seven was appointed to draft articles of faith, and a covenant to be adopted by said church, viz: Brethren Harris, Skinner, Baldwin, Grant, Fox, Holt and Billings. As soon as the committee made their report it was accepted and adopted unanimously. A motion was then made that the right hand of fellowship be given to said church. Elder Harris, of Burnt Hills, preached the sermon; Elder H. C. Skinner, of Greenfield, extended the hand of fellowship in behalf of said council; and Elder Henry F. Baldwin, of Hartford, addressed them as a church."Page 481
During the first five years no regular pastor was settled with the church. In 1837-38 elders from the association preached once in each month. During the years from 1834 until 1840 the church was increased by ten and the whole membership was fifty-three. In May, 1839, Elder Amos R. Wells became the first pastor, and by his endeavors a building was begun in 1840, which was completed, and on March 30th, 1842, was dedicated, Elder Joseph Fletcher, of Saratoga Springs, preaching the dedicatory sermon.
Soon after the dedication of the church a series of meetings was held, in which the pastor was assisted by Elder James Delaney, of Kingsbury, and many were added to the church. Elder Wells continued his ministry until 1846, with the exception of a few months' absence in 1845. The church was founded with a membership of thirty-eight, and Elder Wells left it with a membership of one hundred and seven. He died and was buried at Glens Falls in 1851.
"In the autumn of 1846 Elder William W. Moore, of Lansingburgh, N. Y., was called to the pastorate, dividing his time between this church and the one at Sandy Hill, in order to obtain an adequate support for the space of two years. His gifts as a preacher were of a superior order. A revival of great interest ensued the following winter, as the result of which ninety-five members were added to the church, sixty-four of whom were newly-baptized converts. He dissolved his connection with this church in the fall of 1848, continuing his pastorate over the Sandy Hill society another year. During his ministry here the church attained a membership of 170. Late in the summer of 1849 Horace G. Mason, a native of Granville, N. Y, was called to officiate. In September following he was ordained, and immediately entered upon the active duties of his charge. His ministry was attended with gratifying results, by the addition of considerable numerical strength and material resources to the church. He served with great acceptance, and among other solid work done was the clearing up of a mortgage on the church, which had weighed down and paralyzed its energies from its infancy. During his brief pastorate about one hundred members were added to the church and upwards of $200 contributed towards various objects of Christian benevolence, besides quite an amount spent in refitting and repairing their place of worship. His health failing, his resignation was tendered and accepted in the summer of 1852." He was succeeded by Elder A. S. Bowles, who officiated for a year and a half, when Elder Charles Ferguson assumed the charge of the church and was for four years a successful pastor. During this time one hundred and seventy members were added to the society. In 1858 a severe lung difficulty necessitated his resignation, and the following year he died in the month of February.
During the months elapsing between the resignation of Elder Ferguson and the coming of his successor, the pulpit was supplied by Elder A. D. Milne, Page 482 who established The Messenger and also published a Baptist periodical during the time. In August, 1858, Elder Daniel T. Hill, of Carmel, N. Y., became pastor and remained with the church one year, when he became interested in the South Glens Falls Church, across the river, and aided in the erection of a house of worship, which was built about 1861. From autumn 1859 to 1860, Elder L. H. Purington, of Rensselaerville, filled the pulpit; but ill-health obliged him to resign the charge and he removed from the place. In October of 1860 the pulpit was supplied by D. C. Hughes, who was ordained in November, and remained with the church for two years and a half, in addition acting as pastor to the church at Sandy Hill. In September, 1863, Elder C. A. Skinner took charge of the fold, remaining with them one year, during which time twenty-seven were baptized by him. He afterwards removed to Massachusetts. In October, 1864, Elder James M. Ferriss, of Preston Hollow, N. Y., began the pastorate of the church, remaining four years, in which time the church membership increased until it numbered two hundred and eighty-four. In 1866 the church building was repaired and furnished with cushions carpets and gas fixtures. The thirty-second anniversary was held in the church in June, 1866. Elder Ferriss resigned in October, 1868, and in November following, Elder Charles H. Nash was engaged to supply the pulpit until spring, when he was settled as pastor, remaining until 1879. During his ministrations, a debt of $1,400 on the church was removed. In 1879 Elder H. B. Warring became the pastor, remaining until 1883, when the present pastor, Elder George B. Gow, entered upon the duties of the ministry of this church. In the spring of 1885 the church was rebuilt on the site of the old edifice, at a cost of about $25,000. The present membership is three hundred and thirty-four. The church officers are R.]. Winchip and Noah Washburn, deacons; Benjamin S. Cowles, jr., church clerk; Simeon T. Barber, treasurer, and Charles B. Ide, Sunday-school superintendent.
The Presbyterian Church. - On the 1st day of October, 1876, the Rev. A. J. Fennel, the revered pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls, preached a sermon embodying a history of the church, it being the thirtieth anniversary of his pastorate. From that sermon we have condensed the following sketch: -
We come now to the time when the Presbyterian element, which had come in with new settlers, began to make itself manifest. Except the Rev. Anthony Paul - supposed to have been educated by President Wheelock, and duly licensed in Connecticut - who preached around the shores of Lake George, there had never been a Presbyterian minister resident in the county, and is presumed that there had never been heard, except from this Christian Indian, but few Presbyterian sermons. The Methodists had a flourishing society on the Ridge, which had grown out of the preaching of Lorenzo Dow; and in Johnsburgh they had a society watched over by the local preacher David Page 483 Noble. Nearly forty years had passed since the settlement of the town, and as yet we had here no name. Moreau already had a Congregational Church, with two houses of worship, and was just settling a pastor, the Rev. Lebbeus Armstrong. This may have somewhat interested and aroused the people here. The village occupying this spot, then called Pearl Village, had become a place of considerable trade, had a good hotel, mills on the falls, and a somewhat larger number, in proportion to the whole population, of intelligent and enterprising citizens. The movement for a house of worship seems to have been spontaneous and general, and there being as yet no church organization, it took both the form and name of a Union - and the house thus built was for many years occupied by different denominations. A subscription "to build a house of publick worship in the Town of Queensbury, County of Washington, somewhere near the Four Corners," was drawn up on the 4th of March, 1803. On the first day of June following the number of subscribers having reached thirty-eight and the aggregate amount $974, "a majority of the subscribers being met," a committee of seven (1) was appointed to collect the sums subscribed and erect the church. With this inadequate amount it could not have been expected that the house would soon be finished. It was probably soon raised and enclosed. Three years afterward, June 1st, 1800, the number of subscribers had reached eighty-one and the amount $1292.50. Afterward we find names increasing the whole number of contributors to ninety-nine. The society elected trustees (2) and effected a legal organization on the 23d day of July, 1807, under the name of the "Union Church of Pearl Village," which name was changed to "First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls" in 1848. A year following (July 30th, 1808) the trustees made a contract with Parsons Ranger, who had been the builder thus far, and who now associated with him Lester Stebbins of Lake George, to complete the house of worship for $750. The work specified as then remaining to be done shows that the whole five years had elapsed without the building reaching a proper condition to be occupied. It was now completed according to the contract, "within the space of five months;" and within a few days, December 18th, 1808, a church was organized by Rev. Jonas Coe, of Troy, consisting of nine members, all of whom now sleep. They were John Folsom, Solomon P. Goodrich, Elizabeth Folsom, Ann Goodrich, Glorianna Folsom, Mary Folsom, John Moss, jr., Naomi Ranger, Amy Sanford. The pews in the new church were sold subject to rent; and this was probably the way by which the money was raised to pay for the finishing work.
1. This committee consisted of Micajah Petit, William Robards, John V. W. Huyck, Peter Peck, John Mallory, Warren Ferriss, and John McGill.
2. The first trustees were William Robards, Daniel Peck, John Folsom, William Hay, Micajah Petit and John A. Ferriss.
Undoubtedly before this time Presbyterian or Congregational ministers must have occasionally been here and preached - Mr. Armstrong had already Page 484 been the pastor of the Congregational Church in Moreau for five years and at least three years before had organized the Congregational Church of Kingsbury - but with a single exception I cannot learn that anyone had ever been employed here to statedly preach the Word. The Rev. William Boardman was the first resident minister of the church. Commencing his labors in the spring of 1809 and closing them in the fall of 1811, he was here about two years and a half. It is not probable that he was installed. He came here from Duanesburgh, near Schenectady, where he commenced his ministry in 1803, and where he had been pastor therefore for six years. He was a native of Williamstown, Mass., and a graduate of Williams College. Yet a young man only twenty-eight years of age, scholarly, earnest, a good preacher, very genial and kindly in all social relations, there is evidence existing here yet that he was greatly beloved, and that his departure to take charge of a church in Newtown, Long Island, was much regretted. During a portion and perhaps all of the time that Mr. Boardman preached here, he also supplied the church at Sandy Hill. Indeed, it was probably during the time that he was here that the two churches became consolidated, forming the "United Church of Kingsbury and Queensbury." These two churches, harmoniously uniting in one, and dividing between them the services of one minister as they did for about twenty years, that together they might be able to support the Gospel without missionary help, afford an example to many small churches now that are near each other, which it might not be amiss for them to appreciate and practice. Mr. Boardman's salary was $350 in this village; how much it was in Sandy Hill I have not learned.
From the time of Mr. Boardman's leaving, September, 1811, to the coming of Mr. Rodgers, in March, 1820, there were eight years and a half, during which, with a single exception, it does not seem that the church enjoyed the stated services of any minister. This exception is in the case of Mr. Sears, who seems to have been here for at least six months, embracing the latter half of 1812.
January 8th, 1813, the trustees purchased of Henry Spencer for $25, "an acre and a quarter and one rod, as glebe for the use of the church." This became what we now know as the "Old Burial-place." That it was designed for such use is not learned from the deed, but from the fact that it was immediately put to this use; and the next spring, May 10th, 1813, Mr. Folsom, who was collector and treasurer of the society, was authorized to "contract with some one for fencing the burial-place." Previous to this time the village burying ground was on the bluff now occupied by the old stone church. Also, at the same date Mr. Folsom was authorized to "purchase a bell for the church, provided he can obtain money for the purpose." It is evident that he succeeded, for in his account as treasurer we find the items. "Cash for bell, $306," and "Cash for fetching up the bell, $3." And the next November, 1813, Mr. J. Cunningham was employed to "ring the bell three times a day for the use of Page 485 the village, and Sabbath days for the use of the church, for $40, payable every six months." During the next few years we only get glimpses of the church through the records of the session and the trustees, and the account of the treasurer. We find the name of Dr. Coe, of Troy, as many as seven times, nearly or quite every time he administered the ordinances of the United Church; the name of Dr. Blatchford, of Lansingburgh; of Mr. Furman, Mr. Clark, Mr. Tomb, of Salem; Mr. Hardy (three Sabbaths), Mr. Brownell, Mr. Griswold, Mr. Armstrong, of Moreau. Occurring as these names do, scattered along through this whole period, we find in this fact evidence of the weak condition of the church, that it was not able to command stated preaching. It should, however, be recorded, as yet in the remembrance of some now living, that religious services were maintained much of this time by Mr. Folsom and Mr. Goodrich - Mr. Folsom preaching the Word. There seems to have been much more than ordinary interest and life in the church, especially at Sandy Hill, in 1816-17. At a communion administered by Dr. Coe, November, 1816, twenty-five persons were admitted to the church; and the next March thirteen by Mr. Armstrong. And as though Providence was preparing the way for a pastor, and at the same time showing that he could work and give a measure of prosperity without one, at the beginning of the year, just before Mr. Rodgers's arrival, the session, which for almost the whole time of the church's existence had consisted of the two original members, was increased by the addition of six persons - John Thomas, Luther Johnson, S. P. Goodrich, Samuel Cranston, Daniel Beaumont, and Edward Moss - who were ordained by Dr. Coe in the court-house at Sandy Hill, January 30th, 1820.
We come now to the first regular pastorate of the church - one extending over considerable time and having a good degree of success. Ravaud K. Rodgers, a grandson of one of the early and prominent ministers of New York, and a licentiate of the Presbytery of New York, was spending the winter of 1819-20 as a missionary in the bounds of what was then the Presbyteries of Columbia and Champlain. In the course of his evangelistic work and on his way northward, he spent a couple of Sabbaths at Sandy Hill and Glens Falls. The people of the United Church were so pleased with him and his preaching, that on his return in March he was invited to remain for a year as stated supply, in the hope that by that time they might be in a situation to give him a call for a permanent settlement. His acceptance of this invitation, and how the hope of the church was realized, may be easily inferred from the following minute on the fly-leaf of the church register, in Mr. Rodgers's own fine handwriting: "On Wednesday, the 14th day of March, 1821, Ravaud K. Rodgers was ordained to the gospel ministry, and installed pastor of the United Church of Kingsbury and Queensbury. On this occasion a sermon was delivered by the Rev. Jonas Coe, D. D., of Troy, from II. Timothy, 4: 1, 2. The Rev. Samuel Tomb, of Salem, presided and made the consecrating prayer. The Rev. Nathaniel S. Page 486 Prime, of Cambridge, gave the charge to the pastor; and the Rev. Ethan Smith, of Hebron, addressed the people." Mr. Rodgers's farewell sermon to the congregation at Glens Falls, was on the eighth anniversary of his settlement, March 14th, 1829; although the dissolution of the pastoral relation did not take place till the 28th of April following, at Pittstown. His entire ministry to the church, therefore, it will be seen extended through nine years. The United Church, on petition of the members, had already been divided by the Presbytery into two distinct churches, August 27th, 1827, to be known as "The Presbyterian Church of Sandy Hill," and "The Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls." Mr. Rodgers continued pastor of the church at Sandy Hill till February, 1830, nearly another year. During the nine years of this ministry to both congregations there were received to the church on profession of faith one hundred and ninety-two persons; only about three-eighths (seventy-three) of them however belonged to the branch of Glens Falls. During the year 1824 there was a very deep religious interest in both places. It is no doubt to the communion on the 14th of March, of this year, that the doctor refers in his Fifty Years in the Ministry, where he says: "We had some seasons of delightful refreshing from the Lord. I can never forget one of commanding interest, when nearly one hundred persons came out from the world and took the vows of God upon them." Nine years ago, in my Historical Sketch, the first discourse delivered in this house, I took occasion to refer to the great amount of discipline which was administered in 1828. It astonished me that a session should have occasion for so much of that unpleasant duty. I have now re-read with some care the records of the session for the last five of the nine years of which I am now speaking, and with special reference to this subject. I find that in these five years thirty-two were under discipline, several of them more than once. No doubt so many coming into the church at one time, borne upon a current of enthusiasm which must soon somewhat abate, and many of them not having been well instructed in religious truth and duty under an established ministry, which they had not then long enjoyed, may in a measure account for not a few of the errors into which they fell - many of the charges against them seem to have been errors in regard to duty rather than immoralities of life. And it is not impossible that the session, nearly all of whom, including the pastor, were without experience, may have entertained such views of their proper work and office that they were led to a minuteness of supervision and watchcare over the membership, too nearly like that required by the church in her childhood under the old dispensation, and not exactly in accordance with the manhood and liberty contemplated under the Gospel. Although this pastorate is remembered now by the few of the aged members yet remaining with a great deal of satisfaction, and on the whole was certainly a wise and successful one, it is nevertheless too plain that at its close the church was far from being happy or harmonious. The membership in this village when Mr. Rodgers came could not have been much over thirty; when he left it was about ninety.Page 487
The next three years and a half, till the coming of Mr. Newton, in September, 1832, while we find the names of quite a number of clergymen on the sessional records, mentioned simply as moderators, there were but two who supplied the church for any considerable time - these were Edwin Hall and Caleb B. Tracy. Each of these gentlemen preached here about six months - Mr. Hall beginning in August, 1830, and Mr. Tracy the latter part of 1831. The church, which had become almost dilapidated, was undergoing repairs when Mr. Hall arrived; so he was obliged to preach for a time in the session house. The repairs, including a new bell in the place of the old one, which had been cracked, were completed on the 1st of December, and a protracted meeting of considerable interest immediately followed. Mr. Hall, a native I believe of Granville, in Washington county, supplied also, during the time that he was here, the church in Sandy Hill, preached occasionally at Fort Edward, and acted as a general missionary throughout Warren county.
A call was made out for Ephraim H. Newton on the 3d day of September, 1832. His service commenced immediately, though he was not installed till the 28th of February following. He had already been a successful pastor and teacher for nearly twenty years in Marlborough, Vt., which was his native State. He was forty-five years of age, a man whose life from youth had been largely devoted to teaching, of cultivated scientific tastes, and of marked and strong character. He was not a brilliant, but a sound and instructive preacher. He was the first minister of this congregation, except Mr. Tracy for a few months, whose services were not divided with Sandy Hill. Being to the manner accustomed, and his support being inadequate, he taught a very excellent select school during a portion of the time that he was here. He was dismissed by the Presbytery on the 25th of August, 1836, "in consequence of the embarrassed state of funds for his support," after a ministry here of just four years. What his salary was I have not ascertained. This ministry had been eminently successful; there had been added to the church sixty persons on profession, and a large number by certificate. There had been but one case of discipline, and there was general prosperity and concord.
The church now remained without a stated minister for nearly a year - from September 1st, 1836, to August 1st, 1837 - and yet at the two communions which were observed (April and July) there were eleven new members admitted on profession of their faith.
On the 10th of August, 1837, Mr. Scovill's name occurs as moderator of the session. He no doubt came on immediately after his graduation at Auburn, where he studied theology. On the 11th of September following the congregation made out a call for him to become pastor, at $500 a year; and in November of the same year he was installed. It is interesting to observe, as belonging to the history of the Presbytery of Troy, that within three days it ordained and installed three pastors, adjourning from one parish to the other Page 488 - Lewis Kellogg at Whitehall, John F. Scovill at Glens Falls, and A. Bordman Lambert at Salem. Mr. Scovill's pastorate here continued about five years - he offered his resignation in April, 1842, and I conclude was dismissed by the Presbytery at Sand Lake on the 28th of June following. Within these five years there were fifty-three additions to the church by profession, and fourteen persons were under discipline. It was the period during which the contest between the old school and the new school, between the old mode and the new measures, waxed hottest, and culminated in the unhappy division of the Presbyterian Church. For a time this particular church endeavored to avoid being drawn into the strife. In June of 1838 and in February of '39 the session declined to send any delegate to presbytery, and also in October, '39, to send any delegate to synod, expressly resolving for the time to remain neutral. How could the church or the session know what to do? The two former pastors, with their churches, went with the old school, the pastor they then had went with the new. And when in August, 1839, the session rescinded their resolution of neutrality, and sent a delegate to the New School Presbytery at Lansingburgh, it is not at all strange that the strain on the church was so strong that a fissure for a time was quite observable. We wonder now that such feelings and prejudices should have existed as prevailed in those days; but the division of a great and intelligent church into two opposing bodies is not a trifling event to those who are immediately separated. We rejoice now in the reunion of the church, consummated in 1870, after a schooling and cooling of thirty-two years, which brought the parties to respect and trust each other, and to come back and shake hands where they had parted, neither one making any confession, neither one gaining any precedence by forgiving the other.
John W. Ray commenced preaching to this church in August, 1842 - almost immediately after his graduation at the Union Theological Seminary, New York city, and almost literally, without any period between, joining his ministry to that of his predecessor. His call from the congregation to the pastorate was voted on the 31st day of October, 1842, at $500 a year. When he was ordained and installed is uncertain, but probably it was on the 16th of November, as that was the day chosen by the congregation, if it should be convenient for the Presbytery. He offered his resignation in July, 1845, and it was accepted on the 6th of August. No doubt his term of service was just three years. Mr. Ray was young and ardent. He entered into his work with zeal and enthusiasm, if not always with the best taste and judgment. He aimed at immediate effect, and was successful in what he undertook. Sixty-five were admitted to the church by profession during his ministry. He is remembered by many of the members, to the present day, with interest and esteem.
From the 1st of October, 1845, the Rev. John Gray was minister of the Page 489 church for nine months, to July, 1846. Two years afterward he was preaching in Newburgh, and in the vicinity of that city he died in 1860.
I come now to the ministry (1) to which this present service belongs. Thirty years ago this morning, the first Sabbath of October, 1846, I (2) preached for the first time in the house which then occupied the spot on which this edifice now stands. I had, from my graduation at Auburn three years before, been preaching as stated supply to the Congregational Church of East Groton, Western New York. Seeking my annual recreation, I had been for several weeks with friends in Vermont, among the scenes of my childhood, and was nearly ready to return to continue my service to the people, whom till to-day I remember and bless as the people of my first love. A mere accident - what appears such - sometimes changes the place of one's home, and determines where arid with whom he shall live and perform his life's work. So it was with me. On the apparently unpremeditated invitation of an uncle, I rode with him to Glens Falls, and was here staying with his friends and mine over the Sabbath. This church was without a minister; and as Elder Benedict and Elder Tallmadge could not do any better, they invited me to preach. And here I have been preaching ever since.
1. Mr. Fennel was born in the town of Ira, Rutland county, Vermont, June 21st, 1815. The first seventeen years of his life, except the winter terms at a district school, were spent in somewhat hard work upon the farm. He commenced teaching when seventeen, and divided that occupation with study - privately, at the Poultney Seminary, but mainly at the Castleton Seminary - for the next eight years. He entered the Auburn Theological Seminary in 1840, and graduated in 1843; was honored with A. M. by Middleton College in 1847; was licensed and ordained by the Rutland County Association; preached the first three years of his ministry as stated supply for the Congregational Church in East Groton, Tompkins county. He was married October 18th, 1843, at Little Falls, to Miss Racillia A. Hackley, daughter of Hon. Philo M. Hackley, of Herkimer. His call to the church in Glens Falls was made the 12th of October, 1846, and it was subscribed by A. N. Cheney, Ira A. Paddock, Stevens Carpenter, Orville Cronkhite, A. C. Farlin and Halsey R. Wing, trustees. The installation did not take place till the 25th of January, 1847. The sermon was preached by the Rev. John Todd, D. D., of Pittsfield, Mass.; the charge to the pastor was by the Rev. Charles Doolittle, of North Granville, and the charge to the congregation by the Rev, Lewis Kellogg, of Whitehall. Although never enjoying vigorous health, the thirty years' labor here, with one exception, has only had now and then very slight interruption. The winter of 1850-'51 - from the 12th of December to the 20th of March - was spent in the South, a considerable portion of it on the island of Cuba.
Mr. Fenner's salary at first was $600; in 1853 it was raised to $800, and in 1867 to $1,500. He has never alluded to the matter of his salary in the pulpit, nor has he ever anywhere asked for its increase. In accordance with a promise made at every pastor's installation, to continue not only the maintenance which the people have pledged, but "whatever else they may see needful for the honor of religion, and his comfort among them," his watchful congregation has not only paid the salary in full, but in observance of a New England custom has made him twenty-five visits, which, on the average, were worth $200 each.
2. Rev. A. J. Fennel.
The Rev. Mr. Fennel has continued in his pastorate until the present time to the eminent satisfaction of his congregation, and has merited and won the unqualified esteem of the entire community.
The Sunday-school of this church was organized by the village schoolmaster, Mr. Solomon P. Goodrich, about the year 1815, in the old academy on Page 490 Ridge street, which Mr. Goodrich occupied for his school during the week. After some years it met in the session house on Glen street. It was the first Sunday-school in the town, and indeed in the county, and continued to be the only school for many years. It was in fact and in name a union school, and remained so for more than forty years. Mr. Elias Hawley succeeded Mr. Goodrich, and was superintendent till his removal to Binghamton in 1833. Its first two superintendents were elders of the church, as is the one now in office, and two others were elected to be, but declined to serve. John L. Curtenius was the next superintendent, with George G. Hawley for assistant. After Mr. Curtenius's removal, it is thought that Mr. Fordyce Sylvester acted as superintendent for a few months, when George G. Hawley was elected probably in May, 1837. Except for a few months, during which Ira A. Paddock served, Mr. Hawley continued in office, annually re-elected, for twenty-three years. His work in the Sunday-school was, and is, intelligent, earnest and efficient. Since he was succeeded in 1860 by F. A. Johnson, he has much of the time been superintendent of the district Sunday-school of Queensbury, under appointment of the Warren County Sunday-school Union, an organization formed in 1841 greatly through his instrumentality. Mr. Johnson was superintendent between four and five years, till his removal to New York. In May, 1865, J. A. Freligh was chosen and continued in office for six years, till 1871, when Mr. Johnson, having re-established his residence here, was re-elected to superintend the school, and has continued in office to the present time. Thus the school, now more than sixty years old, leaving out only a few months, has been the whole time under six superintendents - a fact to the credit of both them and the school.
The Sunday-school, ever since its adoption as a department of instruction in this church, has enlisted much of the best talent of the membership, and has done much to promote the intelligent piety of a large share of those who now belong to our communion:
In the year 1848 the "Old White" Church as it was known, was demolished and a handsome brick edifice erected at a cost of about $9,000. The building committee consisted of Bethuel Peck, Albert N. Cheney and George C. Hawley. The dedication services were held in March, 1850, Mr. Fennel delivering the dedicatory sermon. On May 31st, 1864, the church was destroyed by the great fire, and services were held during the building of a new edifice in the Baptist Church.
In 1865, the next church building was begun and was completed in 1867. The first sermon was preached by the pastor on June 16th, 1867, at which time the church was free from debt and valued, with furniture, at $25,000. The trustees were S. L. Goodman, Henry Crandell, Jerome Lapham, A. C. Tearse, and Daniel Peck. The church was dedicated June 19th, 1867, by the Rev. Dr. Hickok, the president of Union College. An organ was afterward purchased at a cost of $3,000.Page 491
Trustees. - Elected in 1807, William Robards, John A. Ferriss, Daniel Peck, William Hay, John Folsom, Micajah Pettit; 1811, Uzziel Stevens, William Robards, John Folsom, John Thomas, Edmund Peck, William Wing; 1812, John A. Ferriss, Uzziel Stevens; 1813, John Thomas, John Folsom; 1814, Asahel Clark, Elnathan Parsons; 1815, Stephen Clark, John A. Ferriss; 1816, Thomas Colton, John Folsom, John Thomas; 1817, Solomon P. Goodrich, Hezekiah Leavens; 1818, Elias Hawley, John A. Ferriss, Royal Leavens; 1820, J. Lyman Arms, Solomon P. Goodrich, John Thomas, B. F. Butler; 1821, Horatio Buell, Elias Hawley; 1822, J. Lyman Arms, Solomon P. Goodrich; 1823, John Thomas, Luther Johnson, Bogardus Piersons, Samuel Cook; 1824, Elias Hawley, Alpheus Hawley; 1825, Solomon P. Goodrich, Elnathan Parsons; 1826, Bogardus Piersons, Roswell Weston; 1827, Charles G. Jones, Sidney Berry; 1828, Horatio Buell, Moody Ames; 1829, Sidney Berry, Lewis Numan, Samuel Estabrook; 1830, John L. Curtenius, Sheldon Benedict, John Van Pelt; 1831, Lewis Numan, Sidney Berry; 1832, Moody Ames, Jonathan W. Freeman, Fletcher Ransom; 1834, Sidney Berry, Lewis Numan, Sheldon Benedict, George G. Hawley; 1835, Jonathan W. Freeman, Alexander Folsom; 1836, Lewis Numan, Sheldon Benedict; 1837, Sidney Berry, George G. Hawley, Billy J. Clark; 1838, Billy J. Clark, Jonathan W. Freeman.
The church was again destroyed by fire April 28th, 1884, and at the present writing is in process of rebuilding.
Following is a list of the ruling elders and trustees from the organization of the church to the present time: -
Ruling Elders. - Elected in 1808, John Folsom, died 1839; John Moss, jr., dismissed, 1822. 1809, Jonathan Harris, Matthew Scott, Joseph Caldwell. 1819, Solomon P. Goodrich, died 1831; Samuel Cranston, dismissed 1832. 1827, Charles G. Jones, dismissed 1829; Gridley H. Packard, dismissed 1830. 1830, Levi Hamilton, dismissed 1833; Samuel S. Tallmadge, dismissed 1848. 1831, Sidney Berry, died 1839; Elias Hawley, dismissed 1833. 1834, Albert Blakesley. 1838, Sheldon Benedict, Linus B. Barnes, Miron Osborn, died 1850. 1851, Orville Cronkhite, John J. Miller, 1855, Henry Wing, William T. Norris. 1857, Linus B. Barnes, Orville Cronkhite, Sheldon Benedict. 1870, Linus B. Barnes, Sheldon Benedict, Henry Wing, John J. Miller, William Hotchkiss, Frederic A. Johnson, jr., Joseph Fowler. 1839, Lewis Numan, Abraham Wing, George Cronkhite. 1840, George G. Hawley, Linus B. Barnes. 1841, Billy J. Clark, George Sanford. 1842, Lewis Numan, George Cronkhite. 1843, George G. Hawley, Linus B. Barnes. 1844, Halsey R. Wing, Alfred C. Farlin. 1845, Stevens Carpenter, Albert N. Cheney. 1846, Ira A. Paddock, Orville Cronkhite. 1847, Linus B. Barnes, Thomas J. Strong. 1848, James C. Clark, Benjamin F. Shattuck. Number of trustees reduced to five. 1849, Frederic A. Johnson. 1850, Charles Rockwell, Linus B. Barnes. 1851, George Cronkhite, George G. Hawley, Halsey R. Wing. Page 492 1852, George Cronkhite. Frederic A. Johnson. 1853, Linus B. Barnes. 1854, Halsey R. Wing, George G. Hawley. 1855, George Clendon, jr., Fred A. Johnson, jr. 1856, Linus B. Barnes, Fred A. Johnson. 1857, Halsey R. Wing, George G. Hawley. 1857, George Clendon, jr. 1859, Linus B. Barnes, Fred A. Johnson, jr. 1860, Halsey R. Wing, George G. Hawley. 1861, George Clendon, jr. 1862, Lewis L. Goodman, vice George Clendon, jr., Linus B. Barnes, Fred A. Johnson, jr. 1863, Ezra Benedict, Archibald C. Tearse. 1864, Stephen L. Goodman. 1865, Daniel Peck vice Ezra Benedict removed from the place; Henry Crandell, Jerome Lapham. 1866, A. C. Tearse, Daniel Peck. 1867, Stephen L. Goodman. 1868, Henry Crandell, James A. Freligh. 1869, A. C. Tearse, Thos, S. Coolidge. 1870, Stephen L. Goodman, to present. 1871, Henry Crandell, James A. Freligh, Martin Coffin, vice A. C. Tearse, removed from the place. 1872, Martin Coffin, M. L. Wilmarth, Thomas S. Coolidge, to present.
Present Trustees. - Stephen L. Goodman, Samuel Pruyn, Thomas S. Coolidge, Byron Lapham, Daniel H. Delong. Elders: Eleazer Goodman, Frederick A. Johnson, J. L. Cunningham, John J. Miller, Byron B. Fowler, Joseph Fowler. A. B. Abbott. Sunday-school superintendent, J. L. Cunningham. Membership, 350.
Union Church of East Lake George, or East Lake George Presbyterian Church. - In 1864 C. L. North, of Brooklyn, N. Y., and several ladies and gentlemen who were spending the summer in East Lake George organized a Sunday-school in one of the school-houses. The summer of 1865 a second school was organized and church services were held, either in the open air or in the school-houses of the neighborhood. From this beginning grew the desire for a house of worship, and Mr. North circulated a subscription paper for the purpose of raising a sum of money, the land being given by Mr. Mattison. The 5th of November, 1867, the corner stone was laid, and on July 12th, 1868 the church was dedicated. It was organized under the Congregational form of government and was called the Union Evangelical Church of East Lake George, Rev. W. B. Lee, of Brooklyn, N. Y, officiating. The church consisted of forty members at that time. A parsonage was also built and Rev. James Lamb became the pastor. Mr. Lamb was followed successively by Revs. Jacob Fehrman, Isaac M. See, Harry Brecket and Sidney M. Stray. Under Mr. Stray's ministry the organization became Presbyterian, and on April 25th, 1877, was identified with the Troy Presbytery, and has since been known as the East Lake George Presbyterian Church. After the retirement of Mr. Stray, the church was served by the Revs. William Bryant, John J. Munroe and John H. Pollock, the last named gentleman being the present pastor. A school-house has been added to the church, which with the church property is estimated as worth about $10,000. Each summer an anniversary picnic is held at which the neighboring Sunday-schools are expected to be represented.Page 493
Bay Road Presbyterian Church. - The Bay Road Presbyterian Church was organized September 12th, 1850, by the Rev. David W. French, as the First Associate Presbyterian Church of Queensbury. The pulpit was supplied by the Presbytery of United Presbyterians until 1855, when the Rev. Chauncey Webster was installed as pastor. He remained with the church for two years, when failing health interrupted his work. The church was then closed and remained so until 1868, when the Rev. James Lamb, of East Lake George, began holding services. The building was repaired and a request made to the Troy Presbytery to receive them, which was done in February, 1869, and the church was enrolled as the Bay Road Presbyterian Church. Mr. Lamb ministered to them for a time, when the pulpit was supplied successively by the Revs. Rood, John H. Parkins, Sidney M. Stray, William Bryant, John J. Munroe and John H. Pollock, who will all be recognized, Mr. Rood excepted, as the pastors of East Lake George Church. The present church property is valued at about $1,200.
Methodist Episcopal Church. - Methodism was introduced into Warren county about 1796, when two lay preachers. Richard Jacobs and Henry Ryan, explored the northern portion of the county, then known as Thurman's Patent. Mr. Jacobs was drowned while attempting to ford the east branch of the Hudson near the outlet of Schroon Lake, the same year. Mr. Ryan was afterward known as one of the most successful itinerant preachers of this district. Quoting from Dr. Holden: "In the same year the Rev. David Noble, of Ireland, who had been connected with the John Street M. E. Church of New York, for some years, removed into Warren county and purchased four hundred acres of land at two and a half dollars per acre, upon which he and his sons soon made a clearing and built them up a log-house, which to them was a dwelling, a school-house and church. Here, at this out-post of civilization, they were visited from time to time by those men of God, Elijah Hedding, Martin Rutter, Elijah Hibbard, Samuel Howe, David Brown, and others, and, with the numerous families of Nobles, Somervilles, and Armstrongs as a nucleus, a strong and flourishing church was built up, whose influences are still manifest to the present day. The services were held for a long period of years in private houses, and afterward in school-houses, being supplied as long as he lived by the Rev. David Noble, and afterward by other leaders who sprang up among them. This was the extreme wilderness limit of what was then known as the Ash Grove (since Cambridge), or six week's circuit.
"Here as elsewhere in the work of evangelizing the world, the operations of the Spirit and the progress of Divine truth, were met with opposition, obloquy and reproach. In reference to this a writer in the Troy Conference Miscellany states as follows: 'The persecution in Thurman's Patent was truly grievous. Many young people that experienced religion were turned out of doors by their parents.Page 494
"'Some of them were whipped cruelly; two young women were so whipped by their father that the blood ran down to their feet, and he then turned them out of doors, and they walked fifteen miles to a Methodist Society. That father was a church member.
"'Two younger brothers having been converted, were often severely beaten for attending Methodist meetings. It astonished me that the father of ten children, eight of whom had experienced religion, should drive six of them from the house, and whip these two boys for no other crime, in reality, than that of worshiping God with the Methodists.'
"About this time the eccentric and widely-known Lorenzo Dow and his admirer, Timothy Dewey, were sent into this region by the authorities of the church. Dow officiated in a school-house in the northern part of the town and in a barn at the east of the Oneida. Traditions are yet extant of the power of his sermons, and of the numbers awakened and converted by his preaching. Soon after his coming the Methodist society was organized at the Ridge, a settlement then containing more dwellings and inhabitants than the village of Glens Falls. As previously stated, Queensbury was at this distant period of time included within the boundaries of what was then called Ashgrove circuit, so named from the locality, which was first planted by Philip Embury, the renowned pioneer of the faith, previous to the Revolutionary War. Having previously organized the first society of the denomination in New York, about the year 1770, he removed to the town of Cambridge, and in that portion of the township known in the local annals as Ashgrove, within the present limits of the town of White Creek, established a society and continued as its pastor until his death in 1775. From that time until 1788 they were supplied by traveling and lay preachers. During this year the Rev. Lemuel Smith was inducted as their pastor, and a chapel was built, the first place of worship north of Albany erected by Methodists to the service of the Most High. This church was the center from which northward and westward a Godly influence radiated to the extreme confines of civilization. In 1795 it contained sixty members.
"Soon afterward the Cambridge circuit was formed. In 1799 Billy Hibbard and Henry Ryan, the itinerants on this circuit, traveled about five hundred miles and filled sixty-three appointments every four weeks, one of their stations at this time being Sanford's Ridge, in the town of Queensbury. Among the first Methodist ministers who visited Glens Falls were the Revs. Friend Draper, Daniel Brayton, Andrew McKean, Samuel Howe and others, earnest and vigorous men, 'valiant for the truth.' Not satisfied with the already extended range of country traversed by these men, Revs. Tobias Spicer and Sherman Miner made occasional visits to this village, then only a hamlet, and held religious services in the old academy building, then on Ridge street, on the site of Mr. Jerome Lapham's residence. The building, since removed,
Page 495 is now occupied by Messrs. Joubert & White as a carriage manufactory, on the corner of Warren and Jay streets.
"The late Dr. Spicer was a clear thinker, shrewd debater, catholic spirited and resolute. Mr. Miner was a man of mild and lovely spirit and abundant in works. Both have passed to their reward. The first Methodist class, a name by which the branch societies are known and into which for greater activity and efficiency all these churches are divided, was formed in this village in 1824 by Rev. John Lovejoy, in the dwelling known as the General Pettit place, situated between the canal and the river, in the rear of the old stone store on the east side of Glen street and near the river bridge. The building was removed in March, 1874. The original number of the class was twelve, eleven being women.
"From this early date to 1832 this whole northern region was embraced within the New York Conference, and was traversed by heroic men, zealous for the conversion of the scattered inhabitants to Christianity. We can only name the active and earnest John Clark, the first regularly appointed preacher to the societies in Sandy Hill and Glens Falls; Seymour Landon amiable and popular; Julius Fields, characterized for administrative and financial ability, under whose auspices the first church edifice (the old stone building) was erected at a cost of about $1,500 in 1829, the land having been given by Mr. J. Pettit, nephew of the general. This structure is still standing, and has been for several years used by the Roman Catholics. Mr. Fields was followed by Rev. Robert Seeney and Coles Carpenter, of precious memory.
"In 1832 the territory now known as the Troy Conference, of which Glens Falls is nearly the center, north and south, was set off from the New York, both because of the numerical increase of the churches and for their better cultivation by the ministerial forces within the territory. The societies in Glens Falls and Sandy Hill being at about this time somewhat weakened, they were attached to others and entered into what for several years was known as the Fort Anne circuit, to which three preachers were sent, and who alternately supplied the several societies with religious services. This itinerant system peculiar to Methodism was established by Wesley as, and history shows, not less adapted to old and populous countries than to new and sparsely settled ones, continued until 1849 - a period of seventeen years - under such men of diversified talents as Elisha Andrews, assisted by P. M. Hitchcock and L. Phillips, Joseph Ayres and D. P. Harding as colleagues; J. B. Houghtaling, aided by J. W. B. Wood, late of New York, Henry Stewart and G. Y. Palmer; Russell M. Little, with William Chipp and Asa Fenton as colleagues; C. P. Clark, under whose administration the parsonage was erected in 1840; A. M. Osborn (now Rev. Dr. Osborn, of New York), a clear thinker and able preacher; James Covel, the student and scholar; Seymour Coleman, a war-horse, with James Quinlan assistant; E. B. Hubbard having William Amer and C. Devol, M. D. (now of Albany), as colleagues.Page 496
"In 1847-'48 began a new era for the church under the pastorate of Rev. C. R. Morris, in the erection, at a cost of about $5,000, of a new and commodious brick church edifice on Warren street, but which was destroyed by fire in 1864. In 1849 this society was erected into a separate station, having the services of Rev. J. F. Walker as preacher. At the time the number of members was 166, of probationers fifteen, making in all 181. The Sunday-school consisted of ten teachers and 125 scholars. Owing to the eccentricities of Mr. Walker, whose scholarly attainments and preaching abilities are acknowledged, the church did not greatly flourish. After his term of two years Rev. J. H. Patterson, M. D., transferred from the Vermont Conference, took the pastorate, from which time the society began to take on shape and efficiency that have continued more or less till the present. Then followed in succession Revs. B. O. Meeker, George C. Wells, Merritt Bates, H. W. Ransom, M. D., W. A. Meeker, W. J. Heath, each for the term of two years, except Mr. Wells; during which period of thirteen years the church, with slight variations, grew and prospered, less in the number of communicants than in character. In 1864 Rev. J. K. Cheesman was, on invitation, appointed to the pastorate, and by his energy and hearty co-operation of his parishioners secured the erection of a church building in 1865 at a cost of $16,000. He was succeeded by the Rev. M. B. Mead, under whose charge the church reported a membership of four hundred. In 1869 the Rev. B. Hawley, D. D., took charge of the church society, which consisted of four hundred and thirty-seven members, three Sunday-schools and a library. During this year a brick chapel, costing about $1,600, was built in South Glens Falls.
"Among the pioneers in this church were Elmore Pratt and wife, Hiram Wells and wife, Joseph Wells, Isaac Cole, Linus Bishop, Rev. R. M. Little, the Swartout family, the Burnhams, Isaac Hill, Alexander Robertson, William McEchron, D. C. Holman and others." - Holden. Irregular service had been held for many years in private houses, or school-houses of adjacent settlements, being conducted by pastors or people as circumstances determined. Sundayschools were organized and class meetings held.
"The Rev. J. W. Alderman, who was the next pastor, in 1872, was a native of Ohio, where he was a licensed exhorter and a circuit preacher. He was a chaplain in the army during the civil war. Afterward he held several charges in Ohio and Wisconsin, after which he removed to New York, and was assigned to the Glens Falls Church. In 1873 a protracted revival season added many to the church. As the membership increased, the need of more room in the sanctuary was felt and the church building was enlarged. This made the purchase of more land necessary, and a lot was purchased of H. M. Harris. On this lot, which was on Warren street west of the church, an addition was built which was finished and open to the public February 12th, 1874. The cost of the improvements was about $21,000, and the church property is estimated at $45,000.Page 497
"From the M. E. class of twelve persons in Glens Falls in 1824, the growth of the church has been steady, until now the membership is large and the society in a flourishing condition.
"At West Mountain, a brick church was completed in 1871. This has been in charge of the Rev. J. F. Crowl who has also ministered to the church at the Ridge, which stands on the borders of Kingsbury."
Ministers of M. E. Church stationed at Glens Falls. - 1824, John Lovejoy; 1824-'25, John Clark; 1826-'27, Seymour Landon; 1828-'29, Julius Fields; 1830-'31, Robert Seeney; 1832, Coles Carpenter; 1833, Elisha Andrews, P. M. Hitchcock; 1834, Elisha Andrews, Zebulon Phillips; 1835, Joseph Ayers, Doren P. Harding; 1836, J. B. Houghtailing, J. W. B. Wood, Henry W. Stewart; 1837, J. B. Houghtailing, J. W. B. Wood, Gilbert Y. Palmer; 1838, Russell M. Little, William M. Chipp; 1839, Charles P. Clark, Asa F. Fenton; 1840, A. M. Osborn, David Osgood; 1841-'42, James Covel, William Amer; 1843, Seymour Coleman, O. E. Spicer; 1844, Seymour Coleman, James Quinlan; 1845, Elijah B. Hubbard, James Quinlan; 1846, Elijah B. Hubbard, Charles Devol; 1847, Christopher R. Morris, William N. Frazer, H. W. Ransom; 1848, C. R. Morris, William Frazer, S. S. Ford; 1849-'50, Jason F. Walher; 1851-'52, J. W. Patterson; 1853-'54, B. O. Meeker; 1855, George C. Wells; 1856-'57, Merritt Bates; 1858-'59, William H. Meeker; 1860-'61, Halsey W. Ransom; 1862-'63, William J. Heath; 1864-'65-'66, J. R. Cheeseman; 1867-'68, M. B. Mead; 1869-'70-'72, Bostwick Hawley, D. D.; 1872-'75, J. W. Alderman, D. D.; 1875-'78, J. F. Clymer; 1878-'81, D. W. Gates; 1881-'84, S. McLaughlin; 1884, H. C. Sexton.
Official Board. - President, D. C. Holman, W. C. Haviland, John W. Bush, A. J. Pearsall, Wm. McEchron, R. A. Little, Jonathan M. Coolidge, Hollis Russell.
Stewards. - C. B. Thompson, George H. Leggett, Chas. A. Bullard, C. W. Long, J. S. Morgan, D. L. Robertson, John R. Loomis, C. H. Carson, H. Colvin, Wm. B. Griffin, E. L. Mills, A. W. Thompson.
Class leaders. - F. Wood, H. Russell, D. B. Ketchum, G. B. Greenslet, R. A. Little, J. F. Craig.
The Episcopal Church. - The services of this church were first held in the county by the Rev. Philander Chase (afterward Bishop of the Diocese of Illinois), who made an itinerating tour about 1796, following the Hudson River settlements to Queensbury, and then visiting the more remote settlements in the north. At Thurman (now Warrensburgh) an effort was made to found a church, and a subscription paper was circulated among the inhabitants. The land was given for the purpose and timber was delivered upon the premises, but with no clergyman to guide the movement the effort failed. The timber remained upon the ground until unfit for use and the site was finally appropriated for other purposes.Page 498
About the year 1800 the Rev. Ammi Rogers made a journey through the vicinity, holding services in the counties of Essex and Warren, beside establishing several church societies in Saratoga county. Later on the Right Rev. George Upfold, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Indiana, at that time rector of the parishes in the thriving villages of Waterford and Lansingburgh, at the earnest solicitation of some personal friends, visited this section and contributed to the establishment of Zion Church, of Sandy Hill, which had been organized a short time previously through the zeal and persevering efforts of Dr. Zina Hitchcock, of Kingsbury. The services were held in the court-house, which, for a long period, many years later, was still used for the same purpose.
Some years afterward the Rev. Mr. Pardee officiated for a short time in the Beach neighborhood of Kingsbury, and about the same time the Rev. Reuben Hubbard came to Glens Falls with the intention of founding a church, but the effort failed. In 1840 several families of the Episcopal faith made another attempt toward establishing a church, and the Rev. John Alden Spooner, of St. Albans, Vt., was requested to assist in the endeavor. Their efforts were successful, and for a year services were held in the M. E. Church, which then was the old stone building. The original record was in the following terms, as given by Dr. Holden: -
"Act of Incorporation. - To all to whom these presents may come, we, whose names and seals are hereto affixed, do certify that in pursuance of notice duly given according to law for that purpose, at the time of Divine service on two Sunday mornings now last passed, the male persons of full age belonging to such congregation or society worshiping in the village of Glens Falls, in the county of warren and State of New York, to wit, at the house of W. C. Carter, for the purpose of incorporating themselves under the act entitled an act to provide for the incorporation of religious societies and acts to amend the same. At which meeting and by a majority of voices the undersigned, John Alden Spooner, being a deacon in the church, was called to the chair and presided, and the undersigned, Keyes P. Cool and William C. Carter, were nominated to certify the proceedings of said meeting in conjunction with the chairman, and by a majority of votes William C. Carter and N. Edson Sheldon were elected church wardens; and William McDonald, Abraham Wing, Keyes P. Cool, Nehemiah Sheldon, Henry Philo, Walter Geer, jr., George Sanford, and Orange Ferriss were elected vestrymen of said church. And Easter Monday in the week called Easter week was, in like manner fixed on as the day on which the said officers, church wardens and vestrymen shall annually thereafter cease, and their successor in office be chosen. And the name or title of the 'Rector, church wardens, and vestrymen of the Church of the Messiah in the village of Glens Falls,' in like manner fixed on and agreed to as that by which the said church, congregation or society shall be known in law.
"In testimony whereof, we, John Alden Spooner, together with the undersigned Page 499 Keyes P. Cool and William C. Carter, have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed our seals this tenth day of February in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and forty.
"John Alden Spooner, [L. S.]
"Keys P. Cool, [L. S.]
"William C. Carter. [L. S.]
"Signed and sealed in presence of,
"On the twenty-fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty, before me, Hiram Barber, first judge of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the county of Warren, personally appeared Orange Ferriss of Queensbury, one of the subscribing witnesses to the above instrument, who being duly sworn, did depose and say, that he was present and saw John Alden Spooner, Keyes P. Cool, and William C. Carter, whose names are affixed to the foregoing certificate, sign and seal the same, and that the deponent, together with Nehemiah Shelden, did, in their presence, and at their request, subscribe the same as witnesses.
"I certify the preceding to be a true record of the original certificate with the acknowledgment thereof, and examined and compared with the record being this 11th day of March, A. D., 1840.
Thomas Archibald, Clerk.
"State of New York
County Clerk's Office.
I, Thomas Archibald, clerk of said county, do certify that I have compared the foregoing copy of a certificate now remaining on record in this office, and that the same is a correct transcript of the record, and of the whole of said record. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of the said county, this 19th day of May, 1857.
"Thomas Archibald, Clerk."
The history of the Episcopal Church is continued by the following account of the present.
Church of the Messiah, Glens Falls. - In August. 1840, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, Bishop of the Diocese, accompanied by several clergymen, visited the parish for the purpose of confirmation and ordination. The services were held in the "old white" Presbyterian Church, where John Alden Spooner was ordained to the priesthood, and fourteen persons were confirmed. The parish of St. James, at Fort Edward, was established, and Zion Church, at Sandy Hill, was revived and reorganized, and with the church at Glens Falls given to the care of Rev. Mr. Spooner, who held alternate services in the different parishes.
Unpleasant circumstances arose soon after this and the society diminished in number. The meetings were held for a time in the Ladies' Seminary, which Page 500 was afterward the school-house of district No. 19, the Sunday-school meeting in the basement of the building; after that being held in an old school-house on Park street. For about a year following, services were held in private dwellings, the rector's salary being derived from the missionary fund and the Sunday collections. In 1843 money was raised and a piece of ground on Ridge street purchased, on which a small chapel was begun, and nearly completed in 1844. In Mr. Spooner's report for that year he said: "By the blessing of God, a church edifice at Glens Falls is so nearly completed, that it has been occupied with comfort most of the year past. It is the first and only church edifice in Warren county. Its sittings are free, and its font, which is near the porch door, is so constructed as to admit of immersing either children or adults."
A plan to establish parochial schools was perfected about this time, and one was opened at South Glens Falls, and another at Fort Edward. Dissensions in the diocese at this time affected the welfare of the church, and the controversies finally resulted in the suspension of Bishop Onderdonk from the Episcopate and ministry in January, 1845. From that time until the election of the Rt. Rev. Jonathan M. Wainright as provisional bishop of the diocese, September, 1852, no returns were made from the parishes, as all reports are required to be sent to the bishop, and the suspension of Bishop Onderdonk left them with no head. The fire of 1864 also destroyed the church records, thus leaving the church without authentic history.
In the spring of 1846 the Rev. Samuel B. Bostwick and Henry McVickar were appointed adjunct or assistant ministers of the three parishes. Some little time previously to this event the Rev. Mr. Spooner had removed to Fort Edward, where, for two or three years, his indefatigable energies found occupation in the management of a parish school, the purchase of a very desirable plot of ground, and the erection of a substantial church edifice.
In pursuance of the plan already indicated, Mr. Bostwick made his home at Sandy Hill, and there commenced the instruction of a classical school, which was maintained for a period of nearly twenty years, with a wide-spread repute for superior excellence and usefulness. The school previously established by Mr. Spooner, at South Glens Falls, passed at the same time into the hands of the Rev. Henry McVickar. The services in the three parishes were held alternately by the three clergymen associated in the mission. As an evidence of their devotion to the work, it may be stated that this laborious interchange of duties was mainly performed on foot, and often at unpropitious seasons and inclement weather.
The relations subsisting between the three parishes continued until the spring of 1847, when the Sandy Hill and Fort Edward churches dissolved their connection with that of Glens Falls, and extended a call to the Rev. S. B. Bostwick to become their pastor. For nearly a quarter of a century he retained this charge, with the unabated respect and affection of his people. The same year Page 501 (1847) the Rev. John A. Spooner is returned in the records of the convention as rector of St. Luke's Church, Mechanicsville, and the joint missionary station of Glens Falls and Luzerne is reported as vacant.
Notwithstanding this rectorship at Mechanicsville, and his subsequent charge of Grace Church, in Albany, Mr. Spooner retained a quasi relation and charge over this virtually vacant parish, until the month of September, 1851, when he formally tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the vestry.
Continuing, we quote as follows from Dr. Holden: "On Easter Monday (12th April), 1852, the Rev. Mr. Bostwick, by invitation, officiated at morning prayers in the chapel, and, due notice having been previously given, a new election, the first for six years, was held for wardens and vestrymen. On the 18th of May following a vestry meeting was convened, at which it was 'resolved that the Rev. William George Hawkins be engaged as minister of this parish for the ensuing year,' at a salary of three hundred dollars a year, and a donation in addition to the missionary stipend. When the connection between the Rev. Mr. Spooner and this parish was discontinued he declined to surrender the possession of the chapel and other church property on the score of arrearages of salary. The congregation was consequently obliged to look elsewhere for a place of worship. This state of affairs resulted in hiring for the time being the use of the house of worship belonging to the Universalists, a building since destroyed in the great fire of 1864, and which then stood on a plot of ground now owned and occupied by Judge Rosekrans, facing Warren street. Legal proceedings were promptly instituted by the vestry for the recovery and possession of the church property. The points in the controversy were finally referred to the Hon. Alonzo C. Paige, of Schenectady, and his decision, which was rendered in June, 1853, and which was final as regarded further litigation, was substantially in favor of the parish. During the same season the old chapel was repaired, and in the autumn following, and until Mr. Hawkins's connection with the parish ceased, the services were continuously held therein.
"Mr. Hawkins remained in charge of the parish until the first of December, 1855. During that period of time the chapel was repaired, a church lot contracted for and secured, and the work of building the new church commenced. The corner stone of this substantial and costly structure was laid on Monday, the 12th of June, 1854, by the Right Rev. Jonathan M. Wainright, Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Otey, of Tennessee, being present and delivering an address on the occasion. In this time Mr. Hawkins made two extended visitations to the larger cities of the diocese in solicitation of funds with which to carry forward the church work. In this way several thousand dollars were realized with which to strengthen the slender resources of the parish. This laborious enterprise, which had been undertaken by Mr. Hawkins in addition to the ordinary parochial work, added to the arduous responsibilities of the Page 502 school, which under his management speedily attained a magnitude and prosperity both flattering and remunerative, bears cumulative testimony both to Mr. Hawkins's efficiency as a pastor and devotion to the work in which he was engaged.
"About this time Mr. James E. Kenney, a resident of this place, and communicant of the church, commenced studying for the ministry with Mr. Hawkins, being also associated with him in the instruction and management of the school.
"Early in the fall of 1855 Mr. Hawkins tendered his resignation, to take effect on the first of December following. The interim was passed in negotiations which resulted in the call of the Rev. Louis Legrand Noble, a clergyman of distinguished talents and ability. He assumed charge of the parish about the first of January, 1856. At that time work had been suspended on the new church building, the walls having been carried up a short distance only above the basement story.
"Heavy debts had been incurred in the prosecution of this undertaking. These remained like an incubus upon the feeble parish, paralyzing all efforts. Through Mr. Noble's active personal solicitations, chiefly made in New York city, the greater portion of these debts were liquidated, or means and methods provided for their extinguishment during the short period of his incumbency. Trinity Church alone contributed two thousand dollars at this time, taking a lien upon the church for security, with a view to insure its perpetuity, and that the benefaction should not be diverted to other uses.
"The dilapidated condition of the old chapel rendered it imperatively necessary that it should be thoroughly overhauled and repaired. Anew roof was put on, the walls papered, the seats and other wood work painted, and other necessary repairs effected. In the mean time, before this renovation was completed, the Universalist church was again rented for another year, and the services were conducted therein until the condition of the chapel, improved by the repairs above named, was such that the congregation was enabled to resume devotions there, and from that time forward until the completion of the new church, and the sale of the old one, the services were held with but slight interruption in this revered and time-honored place.
"The costs of these repairs was defrayed by the Ladies' Aid Society of the church, to whose self-sacrificing efforts and laborious zeal much of the success of the church enterprises in this parish have been due. During a period of about fifteen years, dating from the reorganization of the church in 1852, an energetic and devoted band of women, scarcely a dozen in number, but brave with a spirit of Christian devotion, earned in various ways of hard-working industry a sum amounting to nearly, if not quite, five thousand dollars, which, whenever and whatever the financial pinch might be, was always promptly available and forthcoming to meet the needs of the pastor, the vestry, or the Page 503 church, whenever a call was made or the occasion demanded. Deficiencies in ministers' salaries, repairs of chapel, delinquent bank notes given by the building committee for work or material, and finally a large amount expended in finishing the interior of the new church, were among the channels of usefulness to which this steady and unfailing stream of endeavor was applied. A passing tribute to the worth and excellence of these Christian women is without doubt worthy of commemoration in the annals of the church they helped to build. During the greater proportion of the period of Mr. Noble's ministrations here, and at his request, the Rev. John H. Babcock, a minister of the church, who was at the same time principal of the Glen's Falls Academy, was called by the vestry to the position of assistant minister of the parish. In this capacity he aided the rector in his services, besides officiating as missionary in visiting and conducting worship at several contiguous points."
Mr. Noble and Mr. Babcock severed their connection with the church in June, 1857, and nearly a year elapsed before the parish was regularly supplied. Mr. Kenney and other clergymen, however, supplied the pulpit occasionally. In May, 1858, the Rev. Henry H. Bates, of the diocese of Connecticut, responded to a call and remained with the church for three years, during which time the debt was cleared from the church, and progress made in the building of the new church edifice. June 7th, 1859, the Rev. James Kenney was called by the vestry as assistant minister of the parish, without salary save such as was derived from the missionary fund. He added to his income by services in the school already referred to.
During Mr. Bates's ministry the parish was associated with the missionary station of St. James's Church, Caldwell, where he was also assisted by Mr. Kenney.
In 1860 the chapel was repaired, and but little progress was made in the new church building. In 1861 the church at Caldwell associated itself with the church at Warrensburgh, severing the relations with this parish. In 1861 Mr. Bates accepted the position as chaplain of the Twenty-second Regiment N. Y. Volunteers. During the ensuing fall the Rev. Mr. Van Antwerp, who was a candidate, officiated. Mr. Bates tendered his resignation which was considered by a special meeting in June, 1861. Resolutions of regard were adopted, but the resignation was not accepted. Mr. Bates, feeling that the vestry might be hampered by the relations continuing between them while he was in the field, again offered his resignation, which was accepted in June, 1862, and in July the Rev. Edwin E. Butler was called to the vacancy. He responded, and remained until 1871, when he retired from the rectorship of the parish. During the occasional absences of Mr. Butler during his ministry the Rev. J. A. Russell, a presbyter of the church, who was at the time principal of the Glens Falls Academy, officiated, also assisting at times in the services. For two years after Mr. Butler's retirement the church was without a pastor, occasional services being held by visiting and neighboring clergymen.Page 504
During the ministry of Mr. Butler the church, which had been slowly building since 1854, was finished, and the first service in the new edifice was the marriage of Mr. James W. Schenck, one of the building committee and vestry. The church was formally consecrated in June, 1866, by the Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter, Bishop of the Diocese, assisted by a large number of visiting and neighboring clergy.
"In 1867, a committee was appointed at the diocesan convention, which reported in favor of a division of the diocese. The following year the preliminary steps were taken, and the act of separation finally consummated, by which the Diocese of Albany was erected. It is greatly hoped that this act will work salutary results for the smaller and feebler parishes.
"On the 29th of May, 1869, the Hon. Stephen Brown, in behalf of the executors of the estate of John J. Harris, deceased, offered the vestry a deed of gift of a fine stone chapel, situated near his late residence at Harrisena, in the north part of Queensbury. This structure was built up in a great degree of the beautiful Ottawa limestone, imported by the founder, specially for the purpose, from Canada. Its erection and completion was one of the last acts of the testator's life; his funeral the first service held within its walls (Sunday, March 14th, 1869). On the 3d of July following the gift was formally accepted by a vote of the vestry. Six days later the building was consecrated by the Bishop of the Diocese, several of the neighboring clergymen being present and assisting in the ceremonial. Since that date up to the 1st of July, 1871, services have been held regularly during the summer months on every alternate Sunday afternoon, in this little chapel, by the rector in charge of the church at Glens Falls.
"On the 17th of July, 1869, the vestry passed a vote relinquishing the missionary stipend, of which this parish had been nearly a constant beneficiary from the beginning; and in addition to which, large appropriations have been received from time to time from the Parochial Aid Society, and the Northern Convocation, for the maintenance of the services.
"Thus for the first time, during all these years, and without any appreciable increase in the wealth, resources or membership, the church became self-supporting; and though still feeble and weak, yet with a substantial if not attractive church edifice, and no debt to hamper or impair its energies, it is to be hoped that its day of grace and prosperity is not far removed." (1)
1. Holden's History of Queensbury.
The vestry had been looking in this interval for a suitable minister for the church, and finally extended a call to the Rev. Russell A. Olin, of Manlius, N. Y, who accepted, and in the summer of 1873 established himself at Glens Falls. At the first confirmation after his ministry began, March, 1874, twenty-seven were confirmed.
In 1881 the Rev. F. M. Cookson assumed charge of the church and is the present minister.Page 505
In 1879-'80 the church building was improved at an expense of $2,000 The chapel at Harrisena is in charge of the Church of the Messiah. The present officers (1885) are: Senior warden, William A. Wait; junior warden, L. S. McDonald; vestrymen, Dr. A. W. Holden, Henry Crandell, L. P. Juvet, William H. Robbins, George H. Barringer, Isaac C. Burwell, R. F. Haviland, and John L. Dix. The rector is superintendent of the Sunday-school.
St. Alphonsus's Catholic Church (French). - The first French families which settled at Glens Falls came nearly half a century ago. The Poissons (Fish), Jettes (Stay) and Montees were of the number. They were the grand-parents of the heads of the families now bearing the same name in the village.
For a number of years there was no French pastor residing among them, but they were visited periodically by clergymen from Troy or Albany, who held services in private houses. It was only in the year 1853 that a frame church was built on the corner of West and Pine streets, under the care of Rev. Father Turcotte, residing in Troy.
The congregation, having increased sufficiently, applied to the Bishop of Albany for a resident pastor and Father Des Roches was sent in July, 1855. He was succeeded in 1866 by Father J. C. Theberge, who attended the congregation until April, 1870, when ill health obliged him to resign temporarily.
Rev. A. Payette, of Whitehall, held services twice a month until the middle of July, when Rev. Charles Bousquet, who was an invalid, took charge of the church until Father Theberge could return to his post, which he did in October, 1871. But death had marked him for his own and he died a few weeks later, and Rev. F. X. Langie was sent to attend to the wants of the congregation until February, 1872, at which time Rev. G. Huberdault was sent as permanent pastor.
During the preceding year the church had been enlarged and finished, and in 1873 a gallery was added, giving four hundred and sixty-five sittings. A large brick school-house was built next to the church, where the parish children can get a Catholic education.
In 1875 Rev. Huberdault being called to the Troy church, Father L. N. St. Onge was appointed to the pastorate and is yet in charge. The congregation has increased and numbered 1,497 persons on January 1st, 1885.
The parish possesses considerable property. They own besides the church property, the pastor's residence, the brick school, three stories high, a two story frame building for meetings of societies, and a story and a half brick tenement house on a lot adjoining the church grounds, and finally, a large cemetery outside the village, occupying about twelve acres of land. The whole of this property is free from debt; the last mortgage having been paid last year.
The members of the church have decided to build a new church edifice on the site occupied by the old church. The new church will be built of brick Page 506 and will be made large enough for the present wants of the congregation and for many years in the future.
The present pastor, Rev. L. N. St. Onge, is of French descent, born in Canada near Montreal. His ancestors came to America in 1699 from France. They were known under the name of Payeu de Saintonge, but like most all French Canadians, they have abbreviated the name to St. Onge.
He was educated in St. Hyacinthe, where he graduated in 1862 at twenty years of age (being born in 1842). Having requested his bishop to send him on to an Indian Mission, he left for Oregon in 1864 and was stationed among the Indians as soon as he was ordained. During the first years of his missionary life he had occasion to preach to the Indian tribes of Washington Territory, the Rocky Mountains, Montana, and Idaho Territory.
He perfected himself in the knowledge of two of the principal Indian languages and learned besides several dialects. He published a guide for the missionaries in Chinook, and a catechism and spelling book in Yakama for the use of the Indian children.
After being in the mission for nearly ten years, exposure and the privations which always attend the life of a missionary who lives actually in the lodge with the Indians, broke down his health and he was sent east for treatment.
As he never recovered enough to resume the hard life of a missionary, he accepted a call to the Glens Falls French Church, after having spent a year and a half in a Montreal hospital.
His brother, the Rev. J. B. St. Onge, assists him in the parochial work and has been with him since 1880.
The Roman Catholic Church of Glens Falls. - In the year 1848 the Rev. M. Olivette, who at that time resided at Whitehall, purchased a small stone building, which had been used as a Methodist Church, for the sum of $800. It was dedicated and opened for worship the same year. Before that time there were a few Catholics living in Glens Falls whose spiritual wants were ministered to by the pastor residing in Sandy Hill. The names of these pastors were Fathers Guerdet, Coyle, Doyle, and Kelly, each of whom in succession was placed in charge of that village and of an extensive surrounding district. The first resident pastor in Glens Falls was the Rev. John Murphy, whose ministerial duties were performed from the year 1848 until 1865. His successor was the Rev. James McDermott, who is still the pastor.
On the 28th of August, 1867, the corner stone of a new church, located on Warren street, was laid; the edifice was completed and dedicated 19th January, 1869. The church is in the Gothic style of architecture; its length is one hundred and fifty-two feet, width sixty-four feet. It is surmounted by a spire whose height from the base is two hundred feet. The interior of the building is richly decorated in fresco; many of the scenes in the life our Redeemer being represented in life-sized figures. There are three beautiful altars, a high altar Page 507 and two side altars, all exquisitely carved and gilt. It contains a large organ and bell, the latter weighing 4,500 pounds. After the completion of the church the present pastor has also erected magnificent schools capable of accommodating 1,000 children, with an actual attendance of 700; and a convent in which there are nine Sisters of St. Joseph having charge of the schools. There is also a beautiful pastoral residence adjoining the church, recently completed. At a short distance from the town a cemetery containing twenty-four acres is located. The aggregate cost of the church property is $200,000.