Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site
Historical Sketch of the
First Baptist Church
of the Town of Summit
by Thomas Broxholm
originally printed in a publication called Stars and Stripes, 1913
go to pages 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-63
return to Index
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submitted by Franklyn Ingram
electronic text by Doug Boyer
The First Baptist Church of the Town of Summit, whose edifice is one mile from Charlotteville village was originally called the Baptist Church of Jefferson, but afterwards the Baptist Church of Summit, and many years afterwards, say about 1839, when the Second Baptist Church of the town organized in the village of Summit, it was called the First Baptist Church of Summit. It was organized Sept. 26, 1805 and consequently is five years along in the second century of its existence. Do you know the old institution is actually venerable! The Second Baptist Church of Summit was discontinued in 1878.
In the first historical sketch of the First Summit Baptist Church, printed in the Minutes of the Worcester Baptist Association for 1879, it is stated that there are no records in existence that give the time when it ceased to be called Jefferson and took the name of Summit. But there is record sufficient. The Minutes of the Rennselaerville Association for 1819 gives it the name of Jefferson, as they had for several years previously, and as we are so informed by the Minutes in our possession for 1812 and 1814 to 181- inclusive. But the author of that historical sketch says that the town of Summit was formed from the town of Jefferson and town of Cobleskill in 1819 and that "probably therefore the old Jefferson Baptist Church took the name of Summit Baptist Church immediately after the organization of the township." Hardly that, for the town was formed April 13 and the Association met Oct. 6 & 7 of the same year (1819) and the church was still reported as the Jefferson ------ Minutes of the Rennselaerville Association, held Oct ---------- with the church in Dunnsburgh and Florida, it is given as Summit and a foot note page 4 states that the Summit Church was formerly the Jefferson Church. It had gone by the name of Jefferson in all previous years and in 1820 by the name of Summit and consequently 1820 was the year of its recognized change of name to Summit.
Why the author says from 1805 to 1827 was that in the latter year 39 members took from the Summit church to unite with the newly constituted church in the town of Jefferson and which new church took the name of the Jefferson Baptist Church and concerning which we shall say more later on.
The name Summit suits the old church grandly. In a History of Schoharie County we find the following by J. B. Wharton: "In reaching a point on the road from Richmondville to Summit village, the traveler may form an idea of the origin of the name given to the town (of Summit) by looking down upon the surrounding country that stretches a panorama of beauty and grandeur before the eye scarcely equaled." And so before a faithful God and good brethren reaching the point of good and regular standing, and keeping at it, in our venerable church, and looking steadfastly out down through the oncoming time, as so many of the old church's supporters have done, and as at the present time our dear old sister, Aunt Hepsy Robbins, in her 88th year, is particularly doing, - we view by faith from "Mount Pisgah's lofty height," as it were - from the Summit - from our old Summit Church - a panorama of the eternal inheritance, where -
There is a land of pure delight, where saints
Eternal day excludes the night, And pleasures banish pain. and that shall eclipse all our expectations! O yes, Summit is a good name.
With reference to the organization of the Jefferson Baptist Church (now the First Summit) a Council was called at the house of Elam Northrup in the town of Jefferson by Baptist brethren of South Hill and Charlotte River to advise and counsel them in matters of importance, Sept 26, 1800.
From Kortright came the following delegates: Elder Warner Lake and brethren Elisha Sheldon and Samuel Grenell; from Worcester (the present East Worcester Church) came Elder M. French, and brethren Charles Round, Thomas Hudson and Joshua Woodsworth (perhaps Wordsworth); from Bristol came Elder Levi Streeter and brethren Edmund Richmond and John Hicks.
The First Baptist Church was so styled as early as Nov. 19, 1831 when it was incorporated. It also had another style of name. In the old church book, dating back to Sept. 26, 1805, with reference to the ordination service of James Ingals, we see that name set forth. The record says: "At the request of the Baptist Church of Christ in Summit, a council convened at Henry Albert's in said Summit on the 5th day of July 1826."
We mentioned that delegates came from Kortright. It would have been more proper to have said from the "Church of Kortright" and so also of Worcester and Bristol. We have received some information from rev. Eber Hix now 77 years old, and living in the second house from the Jefferson Baptist Church building, which is about two and a half miles east or northeast of Jefferson village, and which was erected some 70 or more years ago, by the Baptist church organized by the 39 members who took letters of dismission from the Summit Baptist Church sometime between the meeting of the Rennsellaerville Association in October 1827 and the meeting in Oct. 1828 and which styled itself the Jefferson Baptist Church. The building is now used monthly by the Old School Baptist people. Rev. Eber Hix suggested that the delegates from Bristol were from Bristol in the State of Connecticut. The town of Jefferson was settled by people from the Lebanon hills in Connecticut and from the Berkshire hills in Massachusetts. At the present time that would seem a long way for delegates to go by horse to help organize a church. As the crow flies, from Bristol, Conn. to the town of Jefferson, was a hundred miles at least. From Bristol to Boston Corners, near where the corners of the State of Massachusetts and Connecticut touch New York State, is about 37 miles and then by water of Hudson in Columbia County and then through Green County and Schoharie County to the town of Jefferson, is about 68 miles, making over a hundred miles; but several more by the roads.
But when we consider how the different Associations in those early times often sent messengers to each others meetings, we fully believe that the delegates that came from Bristol were from Connecticut.
In the meetings of the Rensselareville Association, organized in 1798, which took in quite a large territory, messengers were sometimes received from the following Associations in Connecticut, namely, the Hartford, the Stonington, the New London, the Danbury and even from one Association the Shaftsbury, constituted in 1781, with its constituent members located in the States of New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. In the minutes of the Rensselareville Association for 1814, we read that Elders Herrick, Lamb and Braman be messengers to the Shaftsbury Association and that Elder Peck bear the Letter and Minutes to the Stonington (Conn) Association.
When the First Baptist Church of Summit was organized there were then in the State of New York some half dozen Associations and some 8,000 to 10,000 Baptists. Today in this state we have over 40 Associations and 926 churches and about 170,000 members.
A word about Elam Northrop and the site on which the house stood in which the First Baptist Church was organized. On July 26, 1637, Joseph Northrup from England landed in Boston, Mass and afterwards in 1639 became one of the founders of Milford, Connecticut. he was the great-great grandfather of Elam Northrop who was born Sept. 1, 1770 at Sheffield, Mass. he was twice married, first in 1790 to Miss Elizabeth Edmunds who died
May 2, 1804. Four children were born to them - three sons, one of whom enlisted in the War of 1812 and who probably never returned, and one daughter who married Ephraim Calkins of Detroit, Michigan, who was elected a member of Congress. Elam Northrop married for his second wife, Martha Davenport Jan. 23, 1814 and three children - two sons and a daughter - blessed the union. About the time of his second marriage, he probably moved to Genesee County or possibly to Dutchess County. We learn the above facts from Millington Edmund Northrop of Albany. Elam Northrop being his great grandfather.
As to the house in which the church was organized; On Main Street in what is now the village of Charlotteville, there stands a part of the frame house built by Edmund Northrop, third son of Elam Northrop and born July 31, 1798. he was a carpenter. At the present time the house is owned by Cassius L. Kingsley, he having purchased it some two years ago from Tallman Wavman now of Worcester. But other additions have been built on to it, so that the old Edmund Northrop house is not distinguishable. We have this information from Stephen Cornell of Charlotteville, 82 years old this 1910 Christmas, and who in his younger days worked for Edmund Northrop.
It is on the site of this house where very likely stood the old house of Elam Northrop and in which the present First Summit Baptist Church was organized; for Millington Edmund Northrop, above referred to, says that he has been informed that the house of Elam Northrop, his great grandfather stood on that site, and that undoubtedly the meeting at which the church was organized was held there. There was no village of Charlotteville then, and it was within these limits of the town of Jefferson as there was no town of Summit until 1819.
Mrs. Orline Stilwell, whose maiden name was Vaughn, now in her 89th year (born April 16, 1822) - twice married, first to Samuel D. Gallup, then to William Stilwell, brother of the present Stephen Stilwell and son of Colonel Stephen Stilwell of "Training Days" fame - says she can remember the old log house that belonged to Elam Northrop.
And it is a pity that the present Baptist Church edifice, built in 1832 and opened Wednesday, Nov. 21, 1832, had not been erected on that historic site, for at the present time, it would be an ideal spot for it. But when the present edifice was placed where it is, it was placed there for the better accommodation of the people in those early times, for to the east of what is now the village of Charlotteville, another Baptist church, by name of the Jefferson, had been mainly organized in the fall of 1827 or sometime before Oct. 1828, from the 39 members that took letters from the Summit Baptist church, as already mentioned, and which church a few years after the erection of the Summit Baptist church edifice, erected a building two and a half miles from what is now Jefferson village and five miles away from what is Charlotteville. Also, in those early times, there was no Baptist church at what is now Worcester village, for the Baptist church there was not organized until 1842. Thus the Baptist church edifice standing where it now does was for the better accommodation of the numerous large families then living in the South Hill section which extends north westerly and westerly from the Summit Baptist church to the Schenevus creek, but which section from Centre Valley is now accommodated by the Baptist church in the village of Worcester, and which church since the village became a railroad village is more attractive to the people who go that way to trade than is our rural church. There is nothing to draw the people back to the vicinity of our church edifice, especially any new family that may move to occupy some one of the farms once occupied by large Baptist families. Even the old tannery that once did business within a stone's throw of the Baptist church edifice and to which the farmers brought their hides and procured their leather, has long years since ceased to do business and the old building is fast rotting down. Also, there is but a fraction of the numbers of the people on South Hill to what there used to be.
The present policy of the First Summit Baptist Church of having its edifice remain in its present location is undoubtedly suicidal.
On that eventful day, Sept. 26, 1805, at the house of Elam Northrop, then in what was the town of Jefferson, but which afterwards became part of the town of Summit, the delegates being duly assembled, the work of organizing the church was begun.
Just here we would repeat the names of the delegates as given and spelled in the old church book: "From the church of Kortright; Elder Warren Lake, Elisha Sheldon, Samuel Grenell, the church of Worcester (new E. Worcester) Elder Miah French, Thomas Hudson, Charles Rounds, Joshua Woodworth, Church of Bristol (Conn) Elder Levi Streeter, Edmund Richmond, John Hicks. All Baptist ministers were then called Elders and not Dominies (the Dutch brought that in) nor Reverends. The word "reverend" occurs once in the Bible, namely, Ps. 111;9 and applies to God. The word "elder" in the Minutes of the Worcester Baptist Association continued in use until the '60s. In Minutes of 1853, Rev. is used twice and "elder" many times; in 1857 "Rev" is frequently used but in 1858 "Rev" is not used at all and "elder" only twice "brother" being used. Different clerks may have had something to do with the use of the words. Since the end of the 60s "Rev" has been used although among the people "elder" is still generally used, sometimes "dominie". "Elder" is a word derived from Jewish usage, denotes a spiritual ruler.
The meeting was opened with singing and prayer and then Elder Warner Lake was chosen moderator and brother John Hicks, clerk. Brother Rufus Ingal being present was invited to a seat with the organizing brethren. They then considered the desires of the brethren of South Hill and Charlotte River. South Hill compromised that territory east of the valley in which Worcester and East Worcester are situated and the Charlotte River territory took in the district partly east and partly west of the river. It was found that the brethren were anxious to be constituted into a church. Their "state and standing" being inquired into "a happy union" was found "substituting among them". Their Articles of Faith and Covenant were then considered and then the Council adjourned "for a short space," and afterwards retired to deliberate on the request of the South Hill and Charlotte River brethren. After mature deliberation "the council unanimously judged it for the honor and glory of God and the convenience of said brethren to give them the hand of fellowship as a sister church, admitting they answer to their Articles of Faith.
Here is a synopsis of their Articles of Faith:
That there is but one only living and true God - a Spirit infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom and power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
That there are three persons in the Godhead - Father, Son, Holy Ghost - who are but one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
That the Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) are God's revealed mind and will, given for our only perfect rule of faith and practice.
That God is infinite in knowledge and perfectly views all things from everlasting to everlasting; that all things that he has revealed, accomplished and brought to pass or ever will bring to pass, are but the results of his own holy, wise and determinate counsel from eternal ages.
That in the beginning God created heaven and earth and upholds and governs all things by the word of his power.
That God made man in his own image and likeness and made with him a covenant of life, the condition being perfect obedience.
That man being left to himself fell from his original happy state and brought the state of death upon all mankind
That man being thus dead, his help and recovery is wholly in and from God.
That God the Father of his mere good pleasure hath chosen a number of poor lost men and women in Christ Jesus to eternal salvation
That Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who hath taken upon himself humanity and yielded a perfect obedience to the law and brought about a complete righteousness, is our glorious High Priest, who ever liveth to intercede for us.
That the Holy Ghost only can and doth make a particular application of the redemption by Jesus Christ to every true repenting and returning soul.
That the Spirit of God - applying this redemption, convincing us of our sinful and miserable condition, and the discovery to us of a glorious Savior as offered to us in the Gospel and enabling us to embrace him with our whole hearts - is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
That there will be a general resurrection - both of the just and the unjust - that God will judge the world in rightness by Jesus Christ and reward every man according to his works - everlasting punishment for the wicked - eternal life for the righteous.
That baptism and the Lords Supper are ordinances of Christ to be continues until his second coming; that the former is requisite before the latter; that profession of faith preceded baptism which admits into the fellowship and unto the privileges of the church; the baptism is immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
That the Sabbath under the Law dispensation was a shadow of things to come and vanished when Christ arose from the dead; and as he rose on the first day of the week, and as the Apostles, who were led by the Spirit of God, did afterwards, with the primitive Christians, practice the meeting together on that day to worship, therefore the Lord's Day is to be observed by the Church of Christ; and it is our duty to abstain from all worldly labor on that day, except the work of necessity and to abstain from doing unnecessary errands or business or vain visiting or hunting game or fishing and to observe the Lords Day as a day of rest to worship God.
That prayer is a command of God and is an incumbent duty on all Christians and that heads of families are enjoined to practice it as a duty to God and as an example of piety.
That it is our duty to bear an equal proportion, according to our several abilities, of the expense of the church; to take care of the poor of the church, that no brother or sister suffer but that we administer to them of the comforts of life as a kind of Providence shall enable us as doing it for Christ's sake; that it is our duty to support the gospel.
We solemnly covenant each one of us in the presence of God, angels and men, to give up ourselves in the first place renewedly to God, without reserve; to endeavor all that in us lies, to live in the daily performance of every duty we owe to God and that we will take his Holy Word for our guide in every duty.
We likewise covenant with each other by Divine assistance to afford that assistance to each other in our mutual travel together as we are directed by the Word of God and that we will strive to promote the glory of God and the mutual good and edification for each other in love and that we will do our part as God shall enable us faithfully to reprove each other in case of sin, in a spirit of meekness and love and will bear burdens with each other and assist each other in case of distress and we will do all that in us lies to oppose all sin in ourselves and all others as far as duty may appear; all evil whispering or backbiting against any person or taking up a reproach against any person, especially those that profess Christianity; that we will endeavor to be careful of our neighbors good name and ------ time idly at taverns or
elsewhere ; likewise tale-bearing or any other thing forbidden by the Word of God, so far as the Lord may give us understanding of our duty and afford his assistance therein; likewise we will not allow of any vain recreation in our houses and endeavor to suppress all such things in our families, by endeavoring to teach all under us in our families all that in us lies, to know love and fear God; that we will as much as in us lies not forsake the assembling of ourselves together on the Lords Day which we believe to be the first day of the week and likewise not absent ourselves from convenient conferences appointed by the body and that we will strive when reproved to receive it in brotherly love and confess our faults one to the other and pray one for another endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, promising to hold communion together in the ordinances and discipline of the church according as we are or shall be guided by the Word of God, expecting that he will further and more gloriously open his Word and the mystery of his kingdom, flying to the blood of the Everlasting Covenant for the pardon of our many errors, praying that the Lord would prepare and strengthen us for every good work to do his will working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The first Covenant meeting of the church after its organization was held Sat. Oct. 26, 1805 at the house of brother James Brown. His house was undoubtedly to the east of Charlotte River for quite often the record gives the meeting place at his house one month and the next month at the house of Joseph Lincoln who, lived in the South Hill section or to the west of Charlotte River. The meeting was opened by singing and prayer. Having no pastor, a moderator was chosen from among the brethren and the honor fell upon John nelson. Afterwards if a visiting Elder happened to be present to preach on the morrow the honor was generally given to him. But even after Elder Clark Carr had become their settled pastor, the moderator was still chosen but it was the pastor, if present. Also a clerk for the day was also demanded in those early days, as it was considered necessary that the records of the meeting be faithfully kept. So Elam Northrop was chosen clerk and was also chosen as such in succeeding meetings, until on Jan 25, 1805, he was chosen regular clerk for the church and was expected to act as clerk at the meetings. Whenever the regular clerk was not present, a clerk for the day was appointed and the first time that happened was on March 22, 1805 when Jonathan Owens was appointed clerk for the day.
Jesse Carpenter was appointed to prepare the elements for the sacrament and thus is noted the first Lord's Supper of the church in which the few struggling brethren strove to carry out our Lord's injunction "This do in remembrance of me"
At that meeting, Francis VanHusan was received by letter and was the first one so received. At the next covenant meeting, Nov. 23, held at the same house, brother Jesse Carpenter being chosen moderator, after the church has proceeded to give in their minds and having found an agreeable union subsisting, Samuel Brown related his Christian experience and was received. He was baptized the next Sunday. The record does not state who was the administrator, but very probably some one of the Elders who visited the different churches and whom they expected in time for the Sunday services.
On Saturday, Dec. 21, 1805, the church meeting was held at the house of Joseph Lincoln of the South Hill section. His wife's name was Rebekah. We know very little about him only that he was one of the constituent members of the church. But very likely he was the father of Levi Lincoln ordained a deacon Feb. 9, 1814, and also the father of Joseph Lincoln, born Feb. 17, 17__ and also the great grandfather of the present Miss Zilpha Lincoln, Mrs. Fannie
Lincoln Neer of Brooklyn, Levi J. Lincoln, the present post master of Charlotteville and Thomas S. Lincoln.
On Jan. 25, 1806 the church met in Covenant meeting at the house of Elam Northrop, when Waitsill Cleaveland, James Brown and Joseph Lincoln were chosen as trustees for the ensuing year. Waitsill Cleaveland had not yet been received by letter into the church. His reception by letter occurred March 22 following and then he was received as a particular member, that is as a Calvinist Baptist. The name "particular" originated in England in the 17th century, in the fact that the Calvinist Baptist held to a particular atonement and the Armenian Baptist to a general atonement.
At the Feb. meeting, John Nelson requested a letter of recommendation and dismission and his was the first such letter. At the March meeting four were received by letter, Waitsill Cleaveland, Nancy Braman, Jenny Ripley and Martha Lent.
The old church book in the beginning of the recorded doings of the church meetings in the handwriting of Elam Northrop, written with a quill pen as shown in the formation and flourish of the letters - the long "s's" and the crawl under "c's" and the somersault backward "d's" - makes very emphatic the tone of the meetings. Thus it is recorded that after a meeting had been organized by the choice of a moderator and whatever business was before the church had been disposed of, that they "proceeded to take the minds of the church and found a union; sometimes a comfortable union, sometimes a tolerable union. It seems that the business part of a meeting was generally settled before they "attended to their Covenant meeting".
On the 21st of June Joseph Lincoln was chosen to "serve the table the following day" and on Nov. 22d following, he was appointed to "wait on the church at the sacrament the next day." he acted as deacon but there is no evidence in the church records that he had been set apart as a deacon.
About this time, the brethren seemed to be
anxious to have a more regular preaching service on the Lord's
Day and voted July 26, 1806 to send brethren to the Baptist
Church of Christ in Worcester, (now the E. Worechester church)
with a request for them, if they see fit, to send Brother
Woodworth to preach with us.
According to appointment, the church met Sept. 17, 1806 at the house of Joseph Lincoln, somewhere in the South Hill section. We have not yet found out the exact location, but if his son, Joseph came into possession of his father's house, then he lived in a house that used to stand in the corner lot before you get to Deacon Isaac B. Gage's house and as you go downhill to go to Egbert Baker's, which used to be the home of Deacon James S. Martin, the father of the present Schuyler Martin of Davenport and his sister Mrs. Betsy C. Ryder of Charlotteville and grandfather of her son Charles M. Living at present below the village near where the road begins that goes over the hill to the Center Valley, or as sometimes called by the older people the Hornknocker. Elder Miah French, ready to preach on the morrow, was at the church meeting, which was opened by singing and prayer (the usual custom), after which Elder French was requested by the church to set as moderator. Then brethren Joseph Lincoln and Jesse Braman were appointed to represent the church at the Association which met the following month at Windham, in Greene County, something like 30 miles in an air line from the present edifice of the First Summit Baptist Church and probably 40 on the roads that at the time were only "apologies for roads" when compared with our roads today. "They were like our log roads" recently said old Isaac Rifenburg, grandfather of our young brother Melvin Rifenberg. What begging to be excused would be made now-a-days by some brethern if they had to attend Association meetings as far as that! But the faithful brethren went, as we see by the minutes of the Rensselaerville Association of 1906, when the church joined the Association and reported 24 members, most of them being constituent members. We now give the names of the constituent members, so far as we have been able to verify them
Elizabeth Atkins (her husband was probably Lemuel Atkins,
baptized in May 1813); Martha Atkins; Jesse Braman, Jr (whose
wife was probably Nancy Braman who joined the church by letter,
March 22, 1806. A Jesse Braman, Sr joined by letter from
Middleburg, July 1807); James Brown and his wife Olive; Jenny
Brown (probably the wife of Samuel Brown, the first candidate of
the church for baptism); Thomas Brown; Jesse carpenter and his
wife Ruth; Patience Carpenter; Josiah Fuller (his wife was
probably Martha Fuller, received by letter Oct. 12, 1811); Joshua
Knowlton; Joseph Lincoln, Sr (whose daughter Betsy was baptized
Sept. 10, 1809. He was great-grandfather of Levi J. Lincoln our
present post master); Rebekah Lincoln, wife of the aforesaid
Joseph Lincoln; John nelson; Elam Northrop; Amy Orcott.
There were a few others but it is impossible to give their names.
At the church meeting Oct. 26, 1806, brother Jesse Braman Jr. manifested to the church that he was cramped in his mind for want of approbation of the church respecting his improvement and was invited to improve his gift statedly if the church and elsewhere, as occasion called for further satisfaction. He was the first one desiring a license to preach. The church records of Nov. state that he was granted a letter of recommendation, as he had a journey proposed with the church's approbation for him to improve his gift.
At the Covenant meeting June 27, 1807 the church was called on to know what they had gained in their minds respecting brother Braman's gift and it was agreed that they viewed it rather gaining and that they wished still to encourage it.
At the Covenant meeting Jan. 23, 1808, held at brother James Brown's, on the east side of the Charlotte River, there was some conversation with reference to Jesse Braman's affairs and a special meeting was appointed at brother Levi Lincoln's, on the west side of the Charlotte River, Jan. 25, to attend to the business. At the special meeting, brother Thomas Stilwell, moderator the church proceeded to consult on matters respecting brother Braman's gift and circumstance; took the mind of the church on one or two particulars but business crowding the records were not read and when presented at their next church meeting, Feb. 27, they found they had acted only in some things and recalled what they had done. Elder Carr being at the meeting was asked to take an active part. The brethren called on to know what they had gained in their minds respecting his (Braman's) gift, found the church somewhat divided on the matter. In the minds of a few his gift was rather gaining, but the major part of the church had gained nothing in their minds for the year past. But at the March meeting, it was voted that brother Jesse Braman Jr have the approbation of the church to improve his gifts as heretofore he has done wherever God in his providence may open the door. So they left him in God's hands! And that is the last mention in the old records of Jesse Braman Jr.
The church early realized that the laborer is worthy of his hire and that even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel and so two days after Christmas 1806, it was voted to endeavor to move on the ground of equality to defray the necessary charges of the church and support the gospel - that is according to our several abilities. The brethren seemed verbose in their language at times. It was voted to raise $21 for the present year which was finally done by subscription. Brother Cleaveland, brother James Brown and brother Carpenter were appointed trustees to collect the money and pay the elders that visit us.
The meetings of the church during the year had been mainly held at the houses of James Brown on the east of the Charlotte River and of Joseph Lincoln on the west side of the same river - on South Hill.
In the early churches a good deal of business was transacted along the line of receiving or disciplining members, before they began their Covenant meetings. Sometimes they would adjourn for refreshments before beginning the Covenant meeting. That was the case April 25, 1807. And once the church
adjourned its church meeting until eight o'clock the next
morning, which was Sunday of course and then held its Covenant
meeting. That was the case Sat. June 27, 1807 when the church
meeting was held at Joseph Lincoln's and which meeting was
crowded with business. Think of some of the brethren away over
the hills in the town of Jefferson going from 5 to 7 miles to
Joseph Lincolns on South Hill and getting there at 8 o'clock, and
then stopping for an afternoon service too. They carried their
dinner tables in their pockets.
But that 27th day of June was a very crowded day. It was when Levi Lincoln (ordained a deacon Feb.. 9, 1814) and his wife Betsy and Henry Albert and his wife Margaret and Eli Brews (Bruce) Jr and his wife Betsy, all members of Elder Tallman's church offered themselves to the church and were received into the fellowship of the church. On the following day, (Sunday) at eight o'clock the church met in Covenant meeting and there was found a happy union in the body. Then Eli Brews (Bruce) Sr and his wife Lovica, members of the same Tallman church, were received. Immediately afterwards, Phebe Ward presented herself as a candidate for baptism and followed her Lord in the ordinance after the meeting. As the meeting was held in the South Hill section that day, it is probable that some appropriate part of Proper Creek was the honored stream.
On Feb. 21, 1807, Jesse Carpenter was chosen church clerk for the ensuing year to succeed Elam Northrop. He also held the office each year afterward until Aug. 14, 1813, when he requested to be released from keeping the church book and Henry Albert was appointed church clerk in his room. Jesse Carpenter lived on the east side of the Charlotte River for in the church records of May 28, 1808, we read that our next meeting be at Levi Lincoln's four weeks from this day and then in five weeks in this (the East) branch of the church and so to continue through the present year. Henry Albert, called old Henry, lived on the west side of the Hornknocker Creek, in a house that stood on what is known as the old Payne Smith farm (Old Payne Smith was uncle to the present Payne Smith). The house of the old Henry Albert stood across the road nearly opposite the present Center Valley Schoolhouse.
The church was now more than a year old and no case of discipline had thus far taken up by the church but on Jan. 17, 1807, it was voted that any offense committed openly before the world by any of the members of the church, unless the person offending shall immediately on the spot confess his fault, such offense shall be openly acknowledged in public meeting before the congregation and society. But before the church was two years old it had to hear complaints from brethren against brethren. Things were told to the church in those early days and some matters that would now be settled in a Justice's Court were then settled at the church meeting; that is, so far as the church brethren were concerned. Brethren were cited to appear before the church.
One of the first complaints was on account of some matters of deal between two brethren and the church digested the matter to the satisfaction of all concerned. At another church meeting, brethren were appointed to take further private labor with an offending brother. On another occasion, the church attended to the labor with a brother and could not gain satisfaction they wished for and found their minds not ripe for action and suspended the matter till the next church meeting. Another time the church sent a committee to visit a brother and found him very much disguised by liquor. if the brethren became delinquent and neglected the monthly meetings or the Sabbath exercises a few times, word was soon sent to them to know why they were not traveling with the church. if a good reason was forthcoming, it was well. If not, the church began disciplinary measures.
The church of those early days also kept an eye on those of their number who moved to other places. As notice: A request came from the church at Middleburg in 1807 requesting the church to call on a brother of their church who resides among you, and examine into his situation - why he should not be deemed a clean member and if he is, why he does not join with you and inform us of his situation. In four months afterward the brother was a member of our
On August 22, 1807 Elder Orlando Mack was present at the church meeting and the next day after the forenoon service, baptized Aaron Butts and Amy his wife, who had suffered themselves to the church and gained fellowship.
At the Jan. church meeting (1808) Elder Clark Carr was asked to take an active part with the church. At the March meeting the church agreed to use its influence to obtain Elder Carr's gift within the bonds of the church two-thirds of the time for the ensuing year and they were successful in securing him. he remained with the church until sometime in 1810.
At the church meeting in Nov. 1809, the so-called old Henry Albert, Levi Lincoln, James Brown and Wiatsill Cleveland were appointed to collect what was subscribed for Elder Carr for the past year. In May 1810 at the house of Levi Lincoln, brethren Levi Lincoln and Eli Brews (Bruce) were chosen to use their influence to collect the rearages of Elder Carr's subscriptions in that (west) branch of the church and society and on June 30 the meeting being held at Wiatsill Cleveland's, brethern Cleveland, Lavally and Wm. Simson were chosen to collect rearages of Elder Carr's subscriptions in this (east) branch of the church and society. Jesse Carpenter being clerk the "that" and "this" indicates in which part he lived.
The church used the term "exercise" for church service and they had forenoon and afternoon exercises on the Sabbath as the statements in the following extracts from the old records indicate:
"May 29th, Sabbath Day (1808) at the close of the afternoon exercises Adam St. John related the work of God upon his soul. The church gave him fellowship and he was baptized three weeks afterward.
July 10th, Sabbath Day (1808) after the forenoon service, Asa Simson and William Simson related the work of God on their souls, gained the fellowship of the church and were baptized after the meeting at night.
Up to Dec. 16, 1809 the various church exercises had been held in the houses of a few brethren on the west side of the Charlotte River, namely Elam Northrop's until Jan. 25, 1806 and Joseph Lincoln's (Sr) until June 27 1807 and afterwards at Levi Lincoln's (son of Joseph Sr) from Sept 26, 1807 no later than 1809, even until he moved away to Rensselaerville in 1823. And on the east side at the house of James Brown and Jesse Carpenter. The meetings were mainly divided up among the above named few but once in awhile a meeting was held elsewhere.
The following were the delegates to the different Associational meetings from 1806-09: Joseph Lincoln Sr, Jesse Braman, Levi Lincoln, Elder Carr and Aaron Butts.
In 1809 the church reported 53 members.
Correction: We spoke of old Payne Smith as uncle to the present Payne Smith. we ought to have said grandfather. Old Payne Smith's son Melvin was young Payne Smith's father. He was also grandfather of Mrs. F. M. Whiteman of Lutheranville, Floyd Wright and Mrs. Jesse Tyler of Westford, LeRoy Wright of Richmondville and Mrs. Ira W. Snyder of Decatur. Their mother was Mrs. John Daniel Wright of Westford and she was one of the five daughters of old Payne Smith, who also was the progenitor of four sons, Melvin, now of Worcester being one of them.
On Feb. 18, 1810 at the church meeting held at the house of Waitsill Cleaveland, Deacon Chase Hix was received by letter into the church. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. He lived and died in the house of his son Eber M. Hix, who was born Jan. 23, 1798, baptized March 11, 1811 and died Dec. 11, 1877. The house has long since gone and stood a few rods from the present old Hix homestead, which is the second house south of the old edifice (built about 65 or 70 years ago) of the Jefferson Baptist Church, mainly organized by the members who took letters of dismission from the Summit Baptist Church sometime between Oct. 1827 and Oct. 1828, and which took the original name of the church, namely, Jefferson, for that had been the name of the First Summit Baptist Church prior to 1820.
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