LINCOLN BAPTIST CHURCH
Town of Walworth, Wayne County, New York
August 2nd and 3rd, 1941
This booklet was issued by the church as a souvenir of its 125th anniversary in 1941. In addition to
the historical contents transcribed below, it also contains religious poetry, and the programs for the Sunday Aug. 3
worship service and vespers. Editor's notes were written in 1941 by Mrs. Wilbur Leaty.
(Editor's Note: The following Historical Sketch was read by J.H. Andrew at the Centennial
Commemorative Service on November 19, 1916.)
"We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial."
Measured by achievements, the past century undoubtedly outweighs some previous periods of a thousand years.
It is easy to speak of a century's passing with very little thought of what the words imply. In 1816 nearly
all this region was covered with dense forests. Here & there were small cleared areas with little log cabins
among the stumps. All was new. It was only 17 years before that the first white man had made settlement in
the present limits of the town of Walworth; the first settlement in Wayne County, at Lyons, was only 10 years
earlier. The first settlers rowed their light skiffs up the Mohawk River, portaged them across Oneida Lake,
and poled them up Mud Creek. Sodus Point and Pultneyville were important lake points. In 1816 there was no city
of Rochester, only a straggling village about the mills by the falls. The largest town in this vicinity was
The war of 1812 had only just closed, a war that came very near these hardy pioneers. I remember hearing my
grandfather tell of the excitement in this community as all day long they listened to the roar of British cannon
bombarding the port of Pultneyville. He rushed to Canandaigua to enlist, leaving home in such haste that he forgot his coat.
There were no good roads in those days. Many of them were mere forest trails marked by blazed trees. It was not until
1825 that the opening of the Erie Canal furnished easy, and, as they thought, swift transportation to the old homes back
east. In 1830 a railroad was opened between Rochester and Canandaigua, which was later extended farther east, but
there was no railroad in Wayne county until 1853.
One hundred years ago this locality was a part of the town of Ontario in Ontario county, for there was no Wayne county
until 1823, and it was in 1829 that Walworth was formed from the southern part of the town of Ontario.
With these facts to stimulate our imaginations, we may better understand the situation when, about 1815, Rev. Thomas
Lewis of Maine felt called to go as a missionary to preach the gospel to the new settlers in the far West, and measured
by time and difficulties, western New York was then farther from Maine than China is today. He traveled slowly,
preaching at various points along the way. A few families in this vicinity had come from Massachusetts to get away
from churches and preachers, but many of the people received him gladly, and soon the entire community was deeply stirred.
Most of the converts united with churches already established in adjoining towns, but sometime in the month of November,
1816, eight persons joined Elder Lewis in founding a new church, agreeing to take the word of God as their only rule
of faith and practice.
The names of the eight charter members of this church seem worthy of mention. They were: David Salisbury,
Ephraim Holbrook, Mrs. Louise Robins, Sarah Lyon, James Andrew, Joseph Strickland, and Mrs. Pamela Strickland. James Andrews
continued a member of the church for more than fifty years and Joseph Strickland for nearly as long. Joseph Strickland became
the first deacon of the church and was the only deacon until in his old age he became too feeble to officiate, when his
nephew, Nelson F. Strickland, and Isaac Camburn were chosen to assist him. Compared with his many years of service, the life
of Pamela Strickland, the wife of his brother Samuel, presents a striking contrast. She died barely a year after the founding
of the church, but perhaps her influence upon later years was as great as his, for in that year she saw the conversion of her
husband, Samuel Strickland who outlived his brother Joseph, and in that year also occured the birth of her son, Nelson F.
Strickland, who through combined earnestness and ability during many active years, perhaps contributed more to the success of
the church than any other lay member in its history.
During that first year, too, they lost their pastor. Elder Lewis went to Maine on business in the summer of 1817, and, becoming engaged
in evangelistic work there, he did not return as he had intended. Before he left them, however, the eight members had increased to nineteen.
After the departure of Elder Lewis the little church came for a time under the care of Elder Nathaniel Ketchum, a circuit preacher.
He made an appointment to visit them once a month, but sometimes he sent a substitute, and in the winter they often met without a preacher,
yet they prospered and increased in number. Elder Ketchum saw their need of association with other churches, and through his advice they
came into the Bethany Quarterly Meeting, the first organization of Free Baptist churches in the state. A session of that body was held
with this church in January, 1822. Such gatherings were great events, but were difficult to provide for. They had no church building
and the little log cabins were far too small. Many times they were held in the roomy, old fashioned barns. At least two barns that were used
for that purpose still remain, those now owned by Charles Dadswell (Ed. Note: George Brown's place now) and George Albright. A session of the
Holland Purchase Yearly Meeting was held in the Albright barn in August, 1826.
Elder Ketchum served the church for about two years, and then was succeeded by Elder Josiah Fowler, who continued with the church about
four years. Then for two years they were entirely without pastoral care, yet they maintained their services and increased their number.
It was plain that the church needed a settled pastor, and so they called to that work their faithful clerk, David Lyon, and he was
ordained by a council of the quarterly meeting in November, 1824. His pastorate of nearly eighteen years was the longest in the history
of the church and one of the most important. In those days pastors received little or no support from their churches -- they worked
as everyone else and gave to their churches such time and energy as they could spare. Elder Lyon was a tenant farmer, working different
farms in this community, and in 1831, when he had served the church as pastor for nearly seven years, it seems to have been thought a startling
innovation when a special meeting was called to consider the advisability of circulating a subscription paper for his benefit. The next year they
did even better and voted to try to raise for him during the coming year a salary of one hundred dollars. It is pleasant to recall that in later
times the church was not entirely unmindful of his long service so poorly rewarded. Some of us remember when collections were taken regularly
for the benefit of his widow in her old age.
Elder Lyon's pastorate was a period of great activity. A feature which seems peculiar to us in these days was the organization of branch churches
among members who lived too far away for convenient regular attendance at the services of the mother church. Three such branches are mentioned in
the records of this period. The first of these, known as the Penfield & Perinton branch, was organized in 1824 with four members, but is
so prospered that it had 45 members in 1830, when it was set off as a separate church. A session of the quarterly meeting was held with the new
church at that time, and that seems to have been the beginning of the present East Penfield Church. Another branch, known as the East Branch in
Ontario was organized in 1826 in the vicinity of the iron furnace. A third branch known as the West Branch in Ontario was
organized with fourteen members in 1832 and a year later the East Branch in Ontario was set off as a separate church, but as to its subsequent
history I have no information.
On November 26, 1832 a special meeting was held in a schoolhouse to bring about the legal incorporation of the church under the name of
"The First Freewill Baptist Church in Walworth" and soon after they began planning for their great undertaking, the erection of a house
of worship. Massive blocks of limestone were quarried from the neighboring ledges, and the patient oxen dragged them to the summit of a commanding
hill. Slowly the walls went up and it was a proud day for the community when it was finished. It was a large building for those days, with broad
galleries on three sides. It was at first surmounted by a steeple, but this was taken down after some years. A very high pulpit was later removed
to make way for a more modern one. A session of the quarterly meeting was held at its opening, and on the 18th of January, 1835, Rev. D.M. L. Rollin
preached the dedication sermon. The spiritual interest was so great that the quarterly meeting session was prolonged several days as a revival service.
Daniel Lyon passed into the better life on September 26, 1842, and Rev. Thomas Parker preached his funeral sermon from the text, "Lord, help,
for the godly man ceatheth," His pastorate was the longest in the history of the church, and his death at the early age of forty-seven was
a great loss to the cause.
The story of the next five years is a sad one. The anti-slavery agitation was at its height, and the question being both moral and political, some
objected to its discussion in the church. There was also a bitter dispute over the invitation to the communion.
But a brighter day dawned in 1847 with the coming of Rev. D.G. Holmes. Mr. Holmes was a man of great tact, eminently qualified to act as a peacemaker. The
disaffected ones were soon brought back and harmony was restored. As a New England man of education and refinement, he was able to bring a new element into
the life of the church. He gave the young people thorough training in music, and inspired them with a desire for higher education. Mr. Holmes resigned
in 1858 to become the pastor of the Fairport Church, and afterward preached for many years in the West.
The church life ebbed again after Mr. Holmes departed, and the records are scanty and incomplete. Among the several pastors of that period, the most prominent
figure is that of Rev. H.S. Limbocker, a man of gigantic stature, stern of manner, rugged and energetic, a man like one of the Old Testament prophets. He
was pastor for six years during the Civil War, and later returned for two more years. He was a forceful speaker and a tireless worker, and during his stay
more than fifty were added to the church.
In 1867 the church purchased the property now occupied by Jesse Daansen, which was used as a parsonage until the present parsonage was built.
From 1872 to 1876 the church was again without a pastor. During most of that period the pulpit was supplied by Rev. William Taylor of Rochester, and much
assistance was given by Rev. C.B. Hart, then pastor of East Penfield church.
The church at that time was facing a very difficult problem. Death and removals had made many changes in the community. The church had few supporters in its
immediate vicinity, most of them lived nearer Lincoln. It became more and more evident that the church must move, and, after several years of planning and
preparation, in 1876 the change was made. Samuel Strickland in his old age gave five hundred dollars to move the church from his door to a place which he could
seldom visit, three miles away. A session of the quarterly meeting was held here on the completion of the building, and on the 21st of December, 1876, Rev. George H.
Ball preached the dedication sermon. The old church, thus abandoned, was once afterward used, in July of the following year, for the funeral service of James
Andrew, a charter member of the church. The pastor at the time of the move was Rev. J.B. Randall. Mr. Randall remained two years.
The church was then served for one year by Rev. J.M. Crandall. In the spring of 1879 he was succeeded by Rev. C.B. Hart, who had become deeply interested in
the church during his stay in East Penfield. Early in his pastorate and largely through his efforts a bell was purchased and placed in the hitherto silent belfry.
The year 1880 saw the sale of the old parsonage property and the building of the new parsonage beside the church. Revival services with very encouraging results
marked the earlier months of the years 1880, 1886, & 1889. Mr. Hart closed his pastorate of eleven years in 1890. Following Mr. Hart, Rev. G.B. Hopkins served
as pastor for three years, and then Rev. A.B. Loomis for five years from 1893 to 1898. In spit of the efforts of earnest pastors, the church during this period
showed alarming signs of weakness. Death and removals had again thinned the ranks and the few and faithful workers were becoming discouraged, when, early in 1898,
the power of God was manifested as perhaps never before in this church or this community. Mr. Loomis was a man of faith and prayer and he had labored long and
earnestly in preparation for such an outpouring. Special services began in January with the week of prayer and continued over two months. There were some occasions
which will never be forgotten by those who were present. Among them were three baptismal services, of 47 persons at East Penfield on February 12, of 34 at the same
place on March 5, and of 24 at Fruitland on June 23. The whole community was deeply stirred. Mr. Loomis was assisted in these meetings by Rev. James E. Wallace, pastor of the
Methodist church and Rev. Marie McLatchy, pastor of East Penfield, as well as Rev. Carrie H. Price, who became pastor and labored for six years earnestly and efficiently,
forgetful of either her convenience or her health. The session room was added to the building in 1899 under her guidance.
Mrs. Price was followed by Mr. C. Persons who served for three years, and then by Mr. W.S. Holland. Mr. Holland after a years service was succeeded by Rev. M.C. Campbell
who did so much for the church in the five years of his pastorate. Mr. Campbell was the pastor who brought the church into the Wayne Baptist Association; he was our pastor
during the midsummer revival of 1911, and his was the guiding hand in the construction of the social hall in the basement of the church. Rev. Campbell's consecrated young
life, which to us seemed to hold so much of promise, was cut short by illness which resulted in his death Feb. 7, 1917. His name lives on at Lincoln, however, in the Campbell
Class of the Sunday School.
(Editor's note: Parts of the above paper have been edited from place to place for the sake of brevity. Mrs. Wilbur Leaty rounds out our
history of the church with the following contribution which covers the last 25 years.)
The past 25 years of church history have been marked by material progress which the church has made as it tried to keep up with the times. These years have seen the
church change from the use of kerosene lamps to the use of acetylene gas, and from the use of acetylene gas to the use of a Delco electric plant. These years also witnessed
the passing of the horse and buggy and the removal in the early '20's of the old horse shed in the back of the church.
In 1924 electric power lines were strung to the village and the church was faced with an expensive installation program. But under the leadership of the trustees and
Mr. George Haynes, the pastor, the work was done and almost all of the $1350 needed for the job raised. Seven years later, in 1931 during the last few months of the
pastorate of Mr. Carl Winters, the church undertook an extensive remodelling program which cost almost a thousand dollars. First the church was painted outside,
then a new ceiling and floor was installed and curtains hung in the sanctuary. About the same time the furnace which had been installed only a few years before in the church was
moved to the parsonage and a new larger furnace placed in the church. During this period, the women's classes paid for the installation of hard wood floors in the front and
living rooms of the parsonage.
During the pastorate of Mr. Fred Erion it was discovered that the old church constitution had been lost, so a new one was drawn up and adopted by the church in February, 1933.
In 1938, before the coming of Mr. Clifford Hansen, almost $200 was spent on redecorating the parsonage inside and out.
Mr. Campbell and Mr. Clayton, pastors before the First World War, were the first student ministers of the church. Following them, Rev. R.M. Cloud served the church full-time
for five years and then Mr. Otis Wheeler for part time the next two years. With the calling of Mr. Haynes in 1923 the church turned again to student pastors, and except for
two different occasions when one of its members, Rev. L.B. Newill, acted as interim pastor, students of what is now Colgate-Rochester Divinity School have served the church.
Many of these students have gone out into much larger fields of service, which has been a source of much satisfaction to the folks at Lincoln.
The past 25 years have also witnessed a gain in the resident membership of the church of almost one-third. In 1916 there were 89 resident members, today there are 123.
Mrs. Robert Morris can claim membership in the church for the longest period of time. She was received into the fellowship of the church 62 years ago last May 24 by baptism.
Mr. Norman Fosdick has been a member just one year less than Mrs. Morris, joining the church by baptism May 20, 1880. It is our fervent prayer that the year just ahead
will witness as great and continued progress at Lincoln Baptist Church as these two oldest members have seen in the years just passed.
PASTORS OF THE CHURCH
(Without pastor, supplies, four years.)
L.B. Newill (interim)..........1923
L.B. Newill (interim).......... 1938
Gordon Gilbert (interim)..........1941
Tracy Greer Gipson..........1941-
CLERKS OF THE CHURCH
Nelson F. Strickland..........1875
Emma S. Rogers..........1886
Emma M. Andrew..........1907
Effie M. Leaty..........1914
Minister - Tracy Greer Gipson
Church Clerk - Mrs. Scott Parker
Financial Secretary - Mrs. Fred Dinse
Treasurer - Mrs. Ed Newman
Missionary Treasurer - Mrs. George Read
Auditor - Mrs. Harry Crane
Deacons: Wilbur Leaty, Albert Dinse, Milton Vane, Douglass White
Deaconesses: Mrs. Albert Engert, Mrs. Frost
Trustees: Ellis Collier, Fred Dinse, Irving White
Ushers: Wilbur Leaty, Scott Parker
Pulpit Committee: L.B. Newill, Ethel Henning, Scott Parker
Collectors: Merle Dinse, Elwood Baker
Choir Director- Mrs. Arthur Brush
Pianist - Mrs. George Baker
CHURCH SCHOOL OFFICERS
Superintendant - Leigh Hill
Assistant Superintendant - Milton Vane
Secretary - Merle Dinse
Treasurer - Mrs. Milton Vane
Pres. Campbell Class - Mrs. George Reed
Pres. Philethea Class - Mrs. Milton Vane
Pres. Young Married Class - Mrs. W. Hershey
Principal, Children's Dept. - Jeanette Dinse
CHURCH SCHOOL TEACHERS
Campbell Class - Mrs. Murray Brion
Men's Brotherhood - L.B. Newill
Philethea Class - Mrs. Arthur Brush
Young Married Couples - Mrs. George Burrow
Young People - Tracy Greer Gipson
Children's Dept. - Buelah Swadling & Marie Newman
125th ANNIVERSARY & OLD HOME DAY COMMITTEE
General Chairman - Tracy Greer Gipson
Grounds: Messrs. Fred Dinse, Ellis Collier, Irving White, Frank Henning, M. Dinse
Program: Mr. Scott Parker, Mrs. Irving White, Mr. Wilbur Leaty, Mr. & Mrs. L.B. Newill
Publicity: Mr. Leigh Hill, Miss Ethel Henning, Mr. Tracy Gipson
Planning & Cooking: Mesdames. Milton Vane, George Read, Frank Yakley, Irving White, Wilbur Leaty, Albert Engert, Wellington Hershey
Serving: Mesdames. Ed Newman, Frank Henning, Scott Parker, Mertle Church, Arthur Johncox, Harold Pugsley, George Burrow, Harry Crane, George Baker, Murray Brion, Anthony DeMalle, Vivian Church, & Elsie Church
Dishwashing: Mesdames. Ora Foote, Floyd Kier, Fred Brewster, Fred Dinse, Steve Swadling, Fred Bushwood, Arthur Brush
Decorating: Mrs. Emma Collier, Mrs. Ruth Baker
Officer of the Day: Scott Parker
Waitresses: Mesdames Anderson, Schumer, Poulter, Anthony & Wilsen Johncox; Misses Doris Church, Marie Crane, Jeanette Dinse, Marjorie White, Bessie Berbig, Clarice Berbig, Marie Newman, Evelyn Burrow, Buelah Swadling, June Swadling, Jean Collier, Anna Brion, Marie Brion, Irene Brion, & Elizabeth Yakley
Welcoming: Mr. & Mrs. Newill, Mrs. Frost
Stands: Messrs. Milton Vane, Fred Bushwood, Ronald Schumer
Sports: Elwood Baker, Merle Dinse, & Douglass White
Morning Worship: Messrs. Wilbur Leaty, Albert Dinse, Milton Vane & Scott Parker
Young People's Vespers: Bessie Berbig, Elizabeth Yakley, and Evelyn Burrow
Young People's Publicity: Marjorie White, and Marie Newman
Young People's Refreshments: Clarice Berbig, Darwin Read, Harold Fraser
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