PAGES 12 - 18

Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.

First Presbyterian Church - This society was organized July 13, 1813, by Rev. Charles Mosier, pastor of the congregation of Romulus and Rev. Henry Axtell, pastor of the congregation of Geneva. The complete list of members giving the place when they came, all of whom brought letters from churches in those places, is as follows:

Erastus Wilder, Phelps, N.Y.; Robert M. Palmer, Brutus, N.Y.; Luther Wheeler, Akin, N.Y.; Jonathan Melvin, Phelps, N.Y.; Martha Fox, Nevington, CT; Lucy Wheeler, Akin, N.Y.; Damaris Wilson, East Windsor, Ct.; Ezra Knapp, New Marlborough, Mass.; Elihu Jones and Noah Seymour, New Hartford, Ct.; John Wade, Paris, N.Y.; Roswell Fox and Elisha and Ruth Plank, Sangerfield, N.Y.; Adelia Knapp, New Marlborough, Mass.; Miriam Seymour, New Hartford, Ct.; Joanna Bruce, Sangerfield, N.Y.; Elizabeth Olmsted, Margaret Upson and Elizabeth Sheldon, New Hartford, Ct. The three uniting on confession of faith which make the total number of members at the organization of the church, were Josiah Upson, Amy Hancock and Eunice Wade. Two were united in Sept, 1813, Mrs. Lucy Church and Mrs. Hannah Doolittle.

At a meeting at the schoolhouse [on the site of the present Baptist church], near Obadiah Adams', Sept. 7, 1813, Lambert Woodruff, Josiah Upson, Jarvis Mudge, Noah Seymour, Jonathan Melvin and John Wade were elected trustees. Adonijah Church was elected clerk.

Rev. Daniel S. Butterick, the first pastor, was engaged Jan. 18, 1814, for four years at a salary of $200. The agreement entered into by fifty-one persons to raise that amount annually provided that each should be taxed "according to the valuation of real and personal property" he possessed, "as taken and valued by the assessors of the town of Wolcott," after deducting what the clergyman had received in donations and subscriptions.

This organization continued until 1827, worshipping during that time alternately in the Adams' and the Cobble Hill schoolhouses, when the membership divided, the greater part of the number organizing a church in Huron and the others re-organizing the Wolcott church. Out of 44 actual members at this time from a record of 102 received from the beginning, the separation left the Wolcott church with 12 members, via: - Elisha and Ruth Plank, Lambert and Mary Woodruff, Simon Toll and Zeruah Viele, Jerusha Salmon, Lucy Church, Elizabeth Olmsted, Vicey Henderson, Lavina Drury and Hannah Doolittle. Elisha Plank and Simon Toll Viele were chosen the first elders. The former died in October, 1852, and the latter about a year after the new church organization.

From 1821 to 1824 the church was without a stated supply and it was not until November 29, 1826, when Rev. Alanson B. Chittenden was engaged, that it again procured a pastor.

In the summer of 1826 the first church edifice of the society was raised and enclosed - on West Main street, the present site of Dr. Watkins' residence. It was in 1832 that it was finished inside. The trustees authorized to act as the building committee when the work of construction was begun, were Alanson Melvin, John Woodruff, Abijah Moore, Andrew Chapin, Elisha Plank and Merritt Candee. The subscription committee, named January 26, 1826, were David Arne, Jr, William Wells, Merritt Candee, John Woodruff, Abijah Moore, Alanson Melvin and John R. Taintor. Thirty-three contributors subscribed a total of $1,405 which was accepted in four payments made in lumber, grain and meat.

The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Joseph Merrill of Junius. During the service the congregation was seized with a panic by the falling of a seat in the gallery and the house was stamepded until empty. All returned to their seats as soon as the cause of their fright was made clear. This church was continued in use until the erection of the second edifice on the south side of East Main street, in 1852, where the structure still stands, now in use by Newberry, & Barton, merchants. The lecture or session room, a separate building east of it, is now occupied by the Wolcott Courier. It has been used for various purposes, including a blacksmith shop.

The lot was donated to the society by Isaac Leavenworth who also erected for the society the session room and the church sheds.

Isaac Leavenworth and Ann L., his wife, united with the church, by letter from the Binghamton Presbyterian church, January 1, 1842. Mr. Leavenworth gave the society the Arcade property and a site for a parsonage consisting of four acres of land. Mrs. Leavenworth at her death left the society $1,400 for the erection of the parsonage.

During the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Wright this church building was erected; and he preached the last sermon in it, February 11, 1883.

The present edifice on West Main street, a very pretty structure, was dedicated, with the society free from debt, February 15, 1883, and cost complete $16,814. The corner stone was laid by the Rev. William A. Rice, who was then pastor, July 6, 1882.

Rev. Charles T. Shaw, the present pastor, a native of England, received a unanimous call to the Williamson church while at the Auburn Theological Seminary. He resigned that pastorate to accept the present charge and since he has come here many have been added to the church and all departments have been strengthened and enlarged.

The Pastors: -
Rev. Daniel S. Butterick, January 1814 to January 1815; Rev. William Clark, 1815 (settled in Wolcott January 1816) to September 3, 1823; from that time reading of sermons and occasional supplies; Rev. Alanson B. Chittenden November 19, 1826; Rev. Nathan Gillette, 1826; Rev. Jesse Townsend, Howell R. Powell, William Clark, Publius V. Bogue and Daniel Hopkins (supply) 1826-'35; Rev. Nathaniel Merrill, 1835-'9; Rev. Nathaniel Waldo (supply to fill vacancy caused by Mr. Merrill's death, 1839; Rev. Thomas Wright, 1839-'55; Rev. P.I. Burnham (stated supply), 1856-'9; Rev. Darwin Chichester, 1859-'62; Rev. A. Blakely (stated supply), six months in 1863; Rev. W.L. Page began as stated supply January 1, 1864, and continued (finally as pastor) his labors here eleven years and six months - to June 1876, Rev. William A. Rice, 1876-'84; Rev. L.M. Clarke, January 1, 1884, four years following; Rev. H.B. Stevenson, 1888-1900; Rev. Charles T. Shaw, installed fall of 1901 - present pastor.

The First Death among the settlers in the town of Wolcott before it was erected was that of Sarah Mills, on Dec. 25, 1809. She was buried on the Viele farm.

Methodist Episcopal Church. - The earliest appearance of Methodism in Wolcott was on October 9, 1813, when a quarterly meeting was held in Daniel Roe's barn - the first in the Sodus Circuit, Genesee Conference. Gideon Draper was Presiding Elder and Zenos Jones circuit preacher. The collection amounted to $10. Wolcott was next, in 1817, embraced in the Cato circuit. It was changed, in 1821, to Victory Circuit which in 1832 was divided, creating Rose circuit which included Wolcott. That year, the first regular preacher, Elijah Barnes, came to Wolcott, although the year previous Samuel Bibbins established an appointment in Wolcott.

"Father" Bibbins, as he was called, was an old man, and his circuit required six weeks to "make the rounds."

Elijah Barnes formed a class in Wolcott in 1832 which comprised Lanson Millington, leader, Lovina Millington, Jerusha Pierce, Mathew Pierce and Phoebe Southwick.

On February 23, 1836, pursuant to notice, at a meeting in the district school house in the village, largely attended, the Methodist church society was organized and named Second Zion Society of the M.E. Church of the Town of Wolcott. Roswell Benedict, James Park and Levi Smith were elected trustees and directed to solicit subscriptions to purchase a site and erect a house for worship. The subscription paper was not circulated until the summer of 1838. The following year the building was erected on the north side of Main street (the present site of D.C. Whitford's residence), and on Oct. 17, 1839, it was dedicated, Seth Mattison preaching the sermon for the occasion.

In 1872 the present large building on Lake avenue was erected, the corner stone being laid June 29 of that year. The church was dedicated the following year. It cost about $22,000 including the site. W.W. Paddock, G.H. Russell and Lacey Rumsay were the committee who had charge of the construction of the new building.

In 1893 a lot on Draper street was purchased at a cost of $550 and a very handsome parsonage erected which cost $2,473.

During the summer of 1904 about $1,500 was expended in repairs on the church property.

The society is practically free from debt and has property altogether valued at about $18,000.

The present officers are: - Pastor, J.L. Gillard; S.S. Superintendent, William H. Paddock; Epworth League President, Dr. Harry W. Day; Junior League Superintendent, Mrs. Clara M. Gillard; W.H.M.S. President, Mrs. H.L. Rumsay; W.F.M.S. President, Mrs. Mary Brown.

Trustees - J.G. Straight, Wm. H. Paddock, Irving McIntyre, Willis Roe, Elihu Rogers, G.G. Salsbury, Granville Armstrong, Fred Bevier, M.H. Fenn.

Stewards - H.L. Rumsay, I.L. Sherwood, J.H.L. Roe, J. Byron Smith, G.W. Cooper, C.G. Rice, Tibbits Walker, C.H. Allen, C.E. Johnson, W.J. Clapper, W.S. Church, Wm. Winchell, W.W. Jenkins.

The following have preached to the Methodists of Wolcott: - Circuit - Samuel Bibbins, 1831; Elijah Barnes, 1832-'4; John Thomas and Moses Lyon, supplies, 1834 (two months); William McKorn and Lewis Bell, 1834-'5; Burrough Holmes and Joseph Cross, 1835-'7; Anson Tuller and Joseph Kilpatrick, 1837.

Preachers in charge of Huron and Wolcott stations - Robert Everdale, Allen H. Tilton, 1840-'2.

Pastors at Wolcott - R. Everdale, 1838-'40; A.H. Tilton, 1840-'2; J.H. Lamb, 1842-'4; E.E. Bragdon, 1844-'6; M. Lyon, 1846-'8; A. Chapin, 1848-'50; C.H. Austin, T.W. Thurston, 1850-'2; L.D. White, 1852-'3; H. Woodruff, 1853-'4; L. Whitcomb, 1854-'6; I. Turney, 1856-'8; L.L. Adkins, 1858-'60; G.H. Salsbury, 1860-'2; Richard Redhead, 1862-'4; Hiram M. Church, 1864-'7; W.S. Titus, 1867-'9; Oscar A. Houghton, 1869-'71; Loren Eastwood, 1871-'4; Burdette W. Hamilton, 1874-'7; Richard H. Clark, 1877-'8; Edmund M. Mills, 1878-'81; L.F. Congdon, 1881-'4; C.T. Moss, 1884-'7; Charles Eddy, 1887-'90; Calvin L. Conwell, 1890-'3; J.C.B. Moyer, 1893-'7; Samuel F. Sanford, 1897-'8; George E. Hutchings, 1898-1902; William H. Latimer, 1902-'04; Joseph L. Gillard, 1904 (present pastor).

The Williamson Tract included all of the towns of Huron and rose, except two tiers of lots in the south end of the town of Rose, and the western parts of the towns of Wolcott and Butler which were included in the Military tract that is described on another page of this work. The east line of the Williamson tract passed about a mile and a quarter east of the centre of the village of Wolcott. Charles Williamson, the American agent of the Pultenay estate (see Pultenay estate on another page) bought the tract from Sir Wm. Pultenay and from him or his agents were obtained the titles to much of the land included in Wolcott village. About 10,000 acres were sold from this estate at prices ranging from $2.40 to $5 an acre. Osgood Church and Fred Wolcott were the sub-agents for the sale of these lands.

Abram Bunce made the first contract for the purchase of 144 acres from this tract (now known as the Van Vleet farm) in the town of Butler. Jonathan Melvin bought his 500 acres from this estate, including pretty much all of the present site of the village of Wolcott.

When Charles Williamson left this country never to return, although his intentions were to come back, he left Wm. Howe Cuyler as agent for his tract.

Earliest Schools - The first Schoolhouse in the town of Wolcott was a log structure built in 1810, in Wolcott village, on the site of Dr. Watkins' residence. In 1812 District No. 1 was erected and a log schoolhouse was constructed by Jonathan Melvin, sr., near the Knapp foundry. The first trustees in this district were Osgood Church, Lambert Woodruff and Eliakum Tucker.

Jonathan Melvin donated an acre of ground, now the site of the Baptist church, and a frame school building was erected on it. This building was afterwards moved across the street and made an addition to Obadiah Adams' hotel.

A new structure was erected on the lot near the corner of Washington and New Hartford streets, which stood until 1843, known as the old red schoolhouse. A two-story building was then erected in its place which was burned in 1865.

Among the earlier teachers in these last two buildings were Mary Lambert, daughter of Lambert Woodruff; John, son of Jonathan Melvin; Daniel Butrick; Huldah, daughter of Deacon Noah Seymoure (Mrs. John Roe); Prudence Wells (Mrs. Jedediah Wilder); William, son of Elisha Plank; Loren Doolittle; Austin Roe; Harlow Hyde; Levi Hendrick; Barabus Knapp; Willis Roe; Samuel Colbath.

The First Mills for sawing and grinding in the town of Wolcott were built by Jonathan Melvin in 1810.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. - [By Mrs. J.E. Lawrence.] - In the spring of 1844 the Rt. Rev. W.H. Delancy, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York, visited Wolcott and the first Episcopal service in the village was held in the Methodist church, whose people cordially welcomed the Bishop and the congregation to their building. After this occasional services were rendered by the several rectors of the Clyde parish, as follows: - Rev. C.G. Ackley, 1849; Charles Gardner, 1851; William Paret, 1855; A. VanOstrand, 1855-60; A.E. Bishop, 1861; F.N. Luson, 1862; R.C. Wall, 1864; R. Dobyns, 1865; L.B. VanDyck, 1867-8.

In September, 1867, St. Stephen's Episcopal church was incorporated with nine male members. The following officers were elected: - Oliver T. Ladue, Senior Warden; Norton E. Merrell, Junior Warden; Thomas B. Baird, Robert B. Underhill, William H. Walker, Jonathan Allen, James Armstrong, Allen Armstrong, Fred C. Lander and William Coventry, vestrymen.

On the 17th of December of the same year the Rt. Rev. A. C. Coxe, Bishop of the Diocese, in company with the Rev. L.B. VanDyck of Clyde visited the new parish. Rev. VanDyck baptized several persons and these with others were presented to the Bishop for confirmation. At this time services were held in a hall owned by Oliver T. Ladue. To Mr. Ladue and Charles P. Lander was the church in Wolcott chiefly indebted - under God - for its organization, and prospects.

In 1868 the Rev. Lichery Wilber became rector, and reported 18 families, 19 communicants, 64 individual members, with 16 baptisms, the first three months. Through various causes the parish failed to support the minister and again became dependent upon the rector of Clyde and lay readers. In 1870 occurred the death of Oliver T. Ladue and the financial part of the church suffered. Mr. Ladue gave without stint. The building which contained the chapel was burned about the same time and the church people were without a home. In 1874-5 the Rev. William H. Lord of Clyde officiated occasionally, and reported the property as consisting of an organ and bell, value $250.

In 1875 Charles D. Barber was stationed in Wolcott. Under Mr. Barber a site was procured and a subscription list of $600 obtained. Again, circumstance over which there seemed no control swept away the prospects of a church.

After a lapse of about twenty years Archdeacon Louis C. Washburn reported having officiated five times and sent a lay-reader, Mr. Henry S. Sill of Sodus, and he also reported 23 communicants. From this time infrequent services were held in one hall and another with growing attendance. On Monday July 14, 1904, services were held by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Walker, Bishop of the Diocese, with Archdeacon Washburn, joined by Rev. F.N. Bouck and the surpliced choir of St. John's church of Clyde. Two adults were baptized and four confirmed. The use of the Baptist church was kindly given for the services.

In November 1902 the Rev. William Benjamin Reynolds began ministration assisted by lay-reader from Rochester. On May 12, 1903, the lot at the head of East Main street was purchased and ground immediately broken for the new church. The corner stone of the beautiful stone edifice was laid by Bishop Walker Nov. 6, 1903. On February 6, 1905, the opening services were held, Archdeacon William L. Davis having taken up the work with zeal. In June, 1904, Rev. Charles R. Allison was placed in charge of the parish and has since served faithfully, the congregation growing in number and interest.

J.E. Lawrence is Senior Warden and Clerk, and E.D. Scott, Treasurer.

The First Clergyman who settled and followed his profession in the town of Wolcott was the Rev. Daniel S. Buttick.

Baptist Church - [By Rev. J.S. Nasmith]. - The Baptist church with its 102 members and property worth $18,000, ranks third among the churches of Wolcott and third or fourth among the Baptist churches in Wayne county.

The first period in the history of the church from its organization in 1832 covers nearly fifty years, reaching a membership of about a hundred followed by a decline in 1874 to only fourteen. Mr. and Mrs. Grove Henderson, Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Miner, Mr. and Mrs. D.N. Wood, Mrs. Ellen Jones and Mrs. Drury wre the chief survivors of the little band. Of pastors, the writer of this sketch has learned of but three who served in that time: Rev. Isaac Bucklin, said to have been the first pastor, Rev. O.P. Meeks, the last one of that period (his bride will be remembered by old residents, for the work she did in the great temperance revival of 1877-8; though compelled to use a crutch she was very active in that campaign), and Rev. Amos P. Draper, who was twice pastor, and whose Godly character, energy and tact was marked by all. Dexter N. Miner is the only one left to the church now, of all who were connected with it in those early days.

The second period in the history of the church dates from 1870 and covers about eight years. Good old brother Wood had prayed and plead at associational meetings for many years that help might come to Wolcott. Rev. A.H. Stearns could not get rid of the thought that God wanted him to help answer that man's prayers. While pastor at South Butler he had had wonderful success in meetings at a schoolhouse near Wolcott in 1875. This interest had grown stronger as he had nourished it year by year. The people were nearer Wolcott than South Butler, they had more interests drawing them that way. It seemed to Father Stearns that God had raised up these converts that they might go to the help of this feeble band. The converts saw it as he did and on a never-to-be-forgotten day a meeting was held in Wolcott to effect a union of this strong colony in the country with the weak church in town.

Only three of the Wolcott church were there to receive these new members:- Mrs. Wood (Father Wood had died a little while before), Mrs. Ellen Joes and Mrs. Drury. There were thirty of these converts, four others from the same neighborhood and four more who joined by experience. With Father Stearns as pastor all went well until poor health forced him to give up the work. Rev. A.R. Babcock took charge of the church in 1883 and was very successful in getting large congregations and in building up the Sunday school. He stayed only two years, however, and when he left the condition of things was such, the church did not settle another pastor for a while. There are now on the roll nineteen names of persons who united with the church during the second period.

The next step forward in the history of the church was due in no small degree to the coming to Wolcott of two men and their families: Messrs. H.A. Clark and T.F. Metcalf, who entered into business here. They were Baptists, and were willing to help push forward the interests of the church. Tired of the inaction of the past two years the church began holding services and Father Stearns cheerfully did what he could again in this new start. The State Convention sent Evangelists Brand and Caldwell to hold meetings. The converts from these meetings and the others who joined made quite an addition to their numbers. In February, 1888, Rev. J.J. Hammer began work here. The present church edifice was begun in the second year of this stay. Then came Rev. G.W. Ball, in June, 1890, and in the two years of his pastorate, the church building was completed.

But once more the dark days came. A debt of $3,400 burdened the church. How to get rid of that was the serious problem of the next five years. Rev. W.L. Ferguson was with the church a few months. Rev. C.E. Christian came next and stayed nine months. After an interval of six months Rev. Abner Morrill began, July 1, 1894, a pastorate that continued up to October 1, 1900. He was old, not very strong, but ably piloted the church through their financial difficulties. Quite a number of members also united with the church during those six years. In fact the membership reached its highest mark at that time. Much good was done by him in his work in the country round about Wolcott. He had a very helpful family who will also long be remembered. There are fifty-eight names on the church roll of persons who united during the period of 14 years, from 1887 to 1901.

We have now come to the fourth and last period in the history of the church - to the time when the Baptists, freed from all indebtedness and enriched by an endowment, could begin a career independent of any outside aid for defraying the expenses of maintaining public worship. Dexter Miner has the honor of making the first gift of property to the church - a dwelling and lots on New Hartford street. Only a few years later by the bequest of Dr. E.H. Draper, a son of a former pastor, another house was given to the church, with a fund of several thousand dollars. All this came during the latter part of Father Morrill's stay here.

It is less than four years ago the new order of things began. The church has not yet got into the full benefit of the income it will have. Nor has it seen any more than the merest beginning of what its resources ought to make possible. This accounts in part for the fact that Rev. G.W. Ball's second pastorate from 1901 to 1903 was not more fruitful in results. The present pastor, Rev. J.S. Nasmith, who began work October 11, 1903, has seen 22 unite with the church; more paid for current expenses and more for benevolence than in any other year in the history of the church; yet he realizes, too, that he is simply doing preparatory work, getting things ready as far as he can, for the grand move forward he feels sure is bound to come during the days of one of his successors. One of the choicest blessings that has come during the present pastorate is that of a second gift from Dexter Miner - a new, modern-in-style parsonage costing $2,500.

The present officers of the church are named in the following list:
Pastor, Rev. J.S. Nasmith
Deacons: Elias Taylor, Charles Kellecutt, T.F. Metcalf, J.J. Palmer
Trustees: Charles Kellecutt, John J. Palmer, T.F. Metcalf, Elias Taylor, D.C. Whitford, Joel Fanning
Clerk: Mrs. Galusha Oathout
Treasurer: J.J. Palmer
Superintendent of the Sunday School, Miss Agnes Ford; President of the Y.P.S.C.E., George Van Vleck; President of Women's Missionary Society, Mrs. C. Kellecutt; President of Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. Allen Westfall.

The Erie Canal was begun - actual work - July 4, 1817, by breaking ground at Rome, N.Y., and was finished October 26, 1825. The festal celebration over the completion of this enterprise was held in New York city Friday, Nov. 4, 1825, upon the arrival of the first boat to pass through the entire length of the canal. On Wednesday, the day the canal was completed and the waters of Lake Erie were admitted at Buffalo, at ten o'clock in the morning, the "Seneca Chief" began her voyage eastward. Her start was announced by the boom of a cannon at Buffalo. Another piece of ordinance stationed eight miles east responded. Another piece eight miles farther east took up the refrain, which was, in that manner, passed along from cannon to cannon, placed eight miles apart along the canal, from Buffalo to New York. The time required for the salute to pass the entire distance, 544 miles, was one hour and twenty minutes. The report from the last piece at Sandy Hook was responded to by guns placed at the battery and was re-echoed along the line back to Buffalo.

The legislative enactment authorizing the canal became a law April 15, 1817. The middle section was completed in 1819. On October 29, 1822, the western section was completed and the canal that day opened between Rochester and Little Falls. The eastern section was completed so that on October 8, 1823, boats entered the Hudson river. The last section to be finished was that between Rochester and Buffalo at the time above stated.

The passage of the "Seneca Chief," drawn by four grey horses at the start with regular relays, was hailed with joy at every village along the canal. The party aboard consisted of Gov. DeWitt Clinton and staff with invited guests, who at Lyons disembarked and were entertained with dinner and toasts. The boat reached Albany on the morning of November 3, and New York before daylight, November 4. On board was a keg of water from Lake Erie which was emptied into the ocean.

State Engineer from Wayne Co.: - VanRensselaer Richmond, Nov. 3, 1857 (elected); served until Jan. 1, 1870.

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