A POTPOURRI OF EARLY LYONS CHURCH INFORMATION
EARLY CHURCHES AND MINISTERS OF LYONS
By Dr. L. A. Ostrander
"Lyons has had many important days in its eventful history, but none more important than a certain day in 1797, when the first religious service was held in this town by a zealous Methodist preacher, Rev. John Cole. Then was laid the foundation upon which these evangelical churches were built. That was the beginning of public Christian worship in this region. There for the first time the primeval forests that covered this beautiful valley and these fluted hills of Wayne, with majestic oak, maple, beech and elm, re-echoed to the stirring hymns of Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts. Then the savages of Western New York, the brave Iroquois, the Cayugas coming from their camp on the Gunargua, the Senecas from their wigwams on the Canandaigua outlet, looking on at a distance, saw for the first time the worship of the strange white man."
Dr. Ostrander pictured the hardy and brave pioneers and no less courageous women who penetrated into these vast and unbroken forests, who depended largely upon their trusty rifles for food, with the nearest grist mill at Seneca Falls, and he told how soon after that first religious service, the Methodist denomination was organized in Lyons with such names as Samuel Dorsey, Richard Jones, James Walters, Nicholas Stansell, George Carr, Mrs. Ann Cole and Mrs. Samuel Burnett as charter members.
In 1803 the Methodist Society bought a house and lot on Broad Street, where the Taylor house now stands, for a stated place of worship - a log house, two stones high. Rev. John Cole was the first minister, and this was the parent church of all those within the present conference. In 1834 a new church was built upon the site of the present edifiec, at a cost of $6,000, and in 1850 the old structure was torn down and the present brick church erected.
In December, 1799, the Presbyterian Church was organized with John Taylor, John Perrine and John Van Wickle, sr., as the first trustees. Services were held in the barroom of the tavern or whatever other place might be obtained until a storehouse was secured and moved to the site now occupied by the Broad Street Lutheran Church. The church at its organization was composed of 22 members: John and Mary Perrine, John and Ann Gault, William and Abigail Alfred, Henry Pitcher, Lydia, wife of Lawrence Hessenger, Matthew Clark, John Van Wickle, Peter and Anna Perrine, John Riggs, Thomas and Margaret Peacock, William and Nellie Patten, Anna, wife of Ezekiel Price, and Abram and Mary Romeyn. Rev. Francis Pomeroy was the first pastor and the singing was led by Dr. Ashley, who had a remarkable tenor voice, the tune being set by Major Price with his pitch-pipe.
Grace Church was organized by Rev. John A. Clark, August 25, 1826, as St. Paul s Church. The first officers were Thomas Forbes and James Agett, wardens, and General William A. Adams, John Adams, J.B. Pierce, Henry Farrington, Joseph Hall, Benjamin Tany, Alexander Hays and Graham H. Chapin, vestrymen. In 1838 the church reorganized under its present name. In 1839 the present lot was purchased and the church erected.
The first Baptist Church of Lyons was organized at a very early day and reorganized October 30, 1833 with 58 members. They held meetings in the school house, Masonic Hall and the Court House until their church on William Street was completed in 1835, with John Mitchell, Joseph Austin, Cullen Foster and Hugh Jameson as trustees. The Lutheran and Catholic churches in Lyons were organized at so much later dates that they cannot be properly classed among the early churches.
[Note: someone else had a hand in writing this as Dr. Ostrander's being referred to in the 3rd person.]
RELIGION, CHURCHES, LYONS
Taken from the "Wayne Democratic Press," April 21, 1886
Church Membership in 1886 - total 2133
Broad Street Lutheran 525
St. John's Lutheran 300
St. Michael's Catholic 300
LUTHERAN CHURCH BULLETIN [Lyons, N.Y.]
December 25, 1899
OFFICERS AND TEACHERS OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
Pastor Rev. Ernest Heyd
SUPERINTENDENTS OF PRIMARY DEPARTMENT
Mrs. Margaret Koester
Miss Hattie Young
Mrs. George Stell
From the "SYRACUSE JOURNAL", August 19, 1861:
One Wind, a disloyal chap from Canada, tore down a flag from the Methodist Church in Lyons the other night. If he is caught he will be punished with many blows.
Contributed by Co-coordinator Allyn Hess Perry, from a folder with tidbits about Lyons church history available at the Office of the County Historian
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