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 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 41-50,
submitted by Franklyn Ingram
electronic text by Doug Boyer
baptized by Elder Francis Jones July 25th.
August 21st, 1852, requests were received from the Second Worcester Baptist Church then called the West Worcester Baptist Church and from the Cross Hill Church also called Sap Bush Hill Church and now West Fulton, to send delegates to sit in ordaining councils, and in each case three brethren and Elder Jones were appointed. Seth Fancher, John B. VanBuren and Jacob Payne were appointed to West Worcester, and Deacon H. Van Buren, Alvah Fancher and Chester Payne were appointed to the Cross Hill Church. The request from the West Worcester Church was for the purpose of ordaining rev. Jesse Evans, now retired, and living in Worcester.
It would seem that about this time that the church did not have any regular pastor, but Elder John Smith seemed to be with the church, for at the Covenant meeting held Oct. 16, 1852, eleven persons related their experience and were baptized by him Oct. 17th. The names of the persons were David Lincoln, Sarah E. Fancher, Emeline van Hoozer, Philemon Payne, Sally Martin, Cecelia Miller, Amy Rider, Mrs. Betsy Rider (Still alive Feb. 1912, and who has furnished us many facts about the old church), Rhoda Smith, Mary Davis and John Blake.
Under Elder Smith's efforts there was quite an ingathering into the church. On Sunday, October 24th, he baptized Amos Smith, Jabez Sisson, Harvey Smith, John Chickering, Amy Taber, Althena Harrington, Cordelia Baker, Mary A. Smith and Mahalah Smith.
Again, on Sunday Oct. 31st, the following candidates followed their Lord in baptism: Betsy Mitchell (aunt of Mrs. Levi H. Smith), Mariah Martin, Lorenzo Putney, Col. Stephen Stilwell, and Jedediah W. Fancher.
And again, December 26th, the following were baptized: Levi H. Robbins (afterwards Deacon and a very active worker for his Lord), Aunt Hepsy Robbins, his wife, and still alive in Feb. 1912, and Abraham Smith.
On Nov. 2nd 1852, Levi Lincoln, uncle of Levi J. Lincoln, now (1912) postmaster at Charlotteville, was received by experience. He afterwards became pastor for a short time of the Milford Center Church.
In those days (1852 and more than thirty years afterward), the semi-annual meeting was held, and churches appointed delegates to attend it and they attended it. But now in these present times some of the brethren have to be coaxed to attend the regular annual meeting of the Association, and when it is not certain that a fair representation of delegates will be present, then some member of the church suggests that "if any other members happen to be there that they consider themselves delegates." Whence has the old Baptist spirit flown? Brethren, are not some of us a little ashamed at the prevailing conditions?
But in 1853, for some months, affairs did not seem to be very brisk in the church. The church records for a time are meager. For half a dozen different months the record is simply: "Church met and renewed Covenant." On April 26th, 1853 Elder Francis Jones and wife were granted letters of dismission. At the June meeting, Elder Elijah Spafford was with them and was appointed as one of the delegates to the Association to be held at Leesville, July 6-7. he has not yet deposited his letter received a year before and on Nov. 26 had it renewed. The Church then had 107 members. We might think the number ought to be more on account of the many baptisms, but some had been dismissed and some had been disfellowshipped.
Elder Walter Covey was the pastor of the church in 1854.
On Jan. 21st, 1854, in regular church meeting, it was sought to adopt some plan "of raising our minister's salary etc., by equalizing it on the property belonging to individuals who are members of the church," and it was resolved that "a committee of three be appointed to ascertain the amount each one ought to pay, and what each one is worth, (That was probing was it not?), and each individual member can have the privilege of telling the committee what he or she is worth, and if any member is not willing to come under the above rules, they may act voluntarily in their contribution."
It was carried by a vote of 19 against 1.
On June 29th, it was voted that Levi Robbins "paint and varnish the seats in the gallery." The church must have had considerable use for the gallery then.
On Oct. 28th, 1854, the word "Rev." instead of Elder is used in the church Book before Walter Covey's name. This seems to be the first recorded instance of "Rev." being used in the Church Book of the First Summit Baptist Church.
Sometimes the Elder was spoken of as the Bishop. In 1825, when the Rensslaerville Association was held in the town of Broome, Elder Elijah Herrick is spoken of as Bishop Herrick, and according to Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus the title was correctly used. See Note 1 of Third Installment. Elder Elijah Herrick we think was the grandfather of the present Rev. C. L. Herrick of the Second Worcester Church.
About the middle of 1854, a "committee to attend our singing schools to keep order" etc. was appointed, and that committee of Hiram Lincoln, Silas Hix and Col. Stephen Stilwell. The church about this time seemed to be much interested in singing schools. On March 26, 1855, a committee was appointed to circulate a subscription paper for a singing school; also a committee of arrangements to keep order in the singing schools, George Payne, Judson Ryder, B. W. Gage and others were on that Committee. On April last, it was "voted that brother Levi Robbins, Jr., B. W. gage, and Deacon Hiram Van Buren be added to the present committee to procure a teacher of music to teach a school of singing and lead the choir on the Sabbath."
Elder Russell H. Spafford, half-brother of Lysander E. Spafford, a school-teacher, became pastor in 1855. His father Elijah Spafford, was a former pastor, and lived in Westford. He had been hired for the sum of $268 per year, and the committee that hired him recommended that the church pay him one-half of the amount in the Fall. He served from about the Spring of 1855 to some time in 1859.
Elder Russell H. Spafford lived in a house that once stood on the bank of the road running from Charlotteville to East Worcester, left hand side, and about midway between the house now (1912) occupied by Erskine Fox and the house now occupied by Arthur Sullivan. In summertime the place can be recognized by the clumps of yellow lilies growing there. The next time you go from Charlotteville to east Worcester, in summer, just take a look at the tell-tale lilies that point out where the house stood that once sheltered one of God's faithful servants.
Under date of May 26th, 1855, we find this significant resolution:
"Resolved, That brother Hiram Lincoln collect monies and buy candles."
On November 24, 1855, the following brethren were appointed "a committee of arrangements to attend the matters relative to the donation in behalf of Elder R. H. Spafford," namely, Seth Fancher, Silas W. Hix and B. W. Gage. This seems to be the first donation recorded in the
Church Book. Of course that does not say it was the first that the church ever gave to a minister.
On Sunday, May 4, 1856, the following persons were baptized: William Mowers, Judson Rider, John Jacobs, Ingraham Smith, (now living in East Worcester), Mary Ann Lincoln, late of Kirkwood, N. Y. and who died in June, 1911, Lucinda Jacobs, Elsie Jane Cool, Roxana Putney, Caroline Albert and Eliza Ann Stilwell.
On July 26, 1856, Brother Levi Robbins, Jr., and Brother Alvah Fancher were chosen as deacons. There was no elaborate ceremony as in the earlier times of the church.
On Aug. 23, 1856, letters of dismission and recommendation were voted to Deacon Hiram VanBuren and wife Margaret. On Jan. 24, 1857, the following brethren were appointed "to procure a minister to preach to us the coming year: Peter H. Mitchell, George Payne (the brother of the present Joseph, Jacob, Austin, Chester of South Worcester, and Lysander), and E. H. Osborn (father of the present Mrs. Hiram D. Haner)."
Elder Russell H. Spafford was again hired.
In February 1858, Elder Russell H. Spafford baptized the following: Zilpha Lincoln, Mrs. Sarah Gage, Mrs. Rebecca Smith, Miss Elizabeth Gould, William H. Gould, John Ridge, Benjamin Millias, Mrs. Champion, and Miss Jane Fancher.
On July 7 and 8, 1858, the Worcester Baptist Association met with the First Summit Baptist Church for the fourth time. Elder H. Garlick preached the annual sermon from the text: Matt. 5:14, 16. Elder Jesse Evans, now about in his 90th and 91st year, and living in Worcester was Moderator.
On September 25, 1858, at a regular Church meeting, it was resolved "that a letter of privilege to improve in preaching or preparing for the ministry be granted to Brother Levi J. Lincoln." On Feb. 22, 1862, he was granted a letter of dismission and recommendation to unite with the East Worcester Church. His full name was Levi Joseph, and as previously stated was the uncle of the present L. J. Lincoln, postmaster of Charlotteville. In 1862 he was preaching for the Milford Church at Milford Center, he having succeeded Elder Walter Covey, once pastor of First Summit Baptist Church, and who "aided in the organization of the Worcester Baptist Association, and to whom, under God, many of its churches are indebted for their greatest prosperity." Elder Covey died June 1st, 1862, "in the full hope of an immortal life." He served ten churches in his time, extensive revivals following his labors. He baptized some 400 converts. His last words were: "If this be dying, O blessed be death." He was buried as he wished on the field where fell. But brother Lincoln, was soon to follow his predecessor to his eternal reward, for three weeks after his ordination, he passed to be with Jesus.
On Jan. 22, 1859, it was motioned and carried that brother Levi Robbins be granted the privilege of improvement in trying to preach the gospel.
On Feb. 26, 1859, the following were received for baptism: Edward Ridge, Peter Payne, Mary Gage, Mary E. Payne, Catherine Warner and Seba Hartwell.
Elder Cornell commenced his labors in 1859 and both he and his wife were received by letter into the fellowship of the Church on May 21, 1859.
Some records on the Church Book manifest humor, whether intended or not. On Oct. 22, 1859, it is recorded that "the church met as usual and after a serious deliberation, they proceeded to empty the stovepipe, after which they dispersed." But if that is all they did, they must have been saints indeed!
On Jan 21st, 1860, P. H. Mitchell, J. P. Smith and J. Nelson were the committee appointed to "hire a pastor."
At the church meeting April 21st, 1860, the church received a legacy of $1,000 from Harmon Mitchell. The church appointed Elder Cornell to extend to the said donor their "most hearty thanks and good wishes." Harmon Mitchell was grandfather of the present Mrs. A. C. Wilcox of Binghamton, Mrs. Levi H. Smith of Charlotteville and Mr. Harmon Mitchell of Hooper, N. Y. The latter celebrated his golden wedding October 3, 1910.
At the Association in 1860, the church reported 127 members and numerically was the largest one in the Association.
On Oct. 25, 1851, Alvah Fancher was appointed clerk to succeed D. L. Rider. On July 26, 1856, D. L. Rider again became clerk, but on April 23, 1859, Hiram Lincoln was appointed clerk to succeed him, and continued as such until the year 1862.
H. VanBuren who was son of John B. Van Buren and who lived in a house recently (1911) torn down on the west end of the present Seward Gallup farm; Peter R. Hix who was father of the present Walter Hicks of Decatur; Levi Robbins, who was husband of Aunt Hepsy Robbins; and Alvah Fancher.
Elder Elijah Spafford, 1852, '53; Elder Francis Jones 1852; Deacon H. VanBuren 1852, 54, 55; Alvah Fancher, 1852, 54, 60; Sol. Stephen Stilwell 1853, 56; Hiram Lincoln 1853, 54, 55, 57, 59; Elder Walter Covey 1854; Elder R. H. Spafford, 1855, 56, 57; B. W. gage, 1854, 55, 56, 60; Levi Robbins, 1854, 1855, 1859, 1860; D. L. Rider 1856, 58; A. Cleveland 1857; J. Sisson 1858; Elder Harvey Cornell 1859; L. J. Lincoln (a licentiate), 1860.
1861 - 1870
A Wood Bee
In 1861, Elder Harvey Cornell continued as pastor, and at the church meeting on January 26th, he gave a cordial invitation to the church and friends to attend a wood bee on Wednesday, Jan 30. The bee was for his especial benefit. But the weather being bad that day, his wood pile was not helped much. Also, at the meeting of Feb. 23rd, the pastor gave an invitation "to one and all to attend a wood bee" on Wednesday, Feb. 27th, "or if bad weather, the first good day after,"after which Deacon Robbins closed the meeting with prayer.
In the digest of the letters to the Association (Minutes of
1861), we find this paragraph:
"Summit First - Say that Zion's cords have been lengthened; congregations good; a Sabbath School and Bible class."
In 1861, when the Worcester Baptist Association met at Worcester, on the second day of the meeting, July 4th, the venerable First Summit Baptist Church, through its delegated, Elder H. Cornell, Deacons Levi Robbins and Alvah Fancher, A. Cleveland and George Payne, (husband of the present Mrs. Susan Payne), helped to pass the following preamble and resolutions:
"Whereas, Convened at a period when a dire calamity has befallen our happy country, we, the representatives of the churches comprising the Worcester Baptist Association, conceive it to be eminently proper to place on record our solemn convictions of duty, as Christians and citizens of these United States;
"And, whereas, There is avowed open rebellion against our Government, brought about by ambitious, designing, reckless and wicked men, by whom the flag of our Union has been trampled upon and trailed in the dust, the Constitution ignored, and the very existence of our
"And, whereas, A universal feeling of uncompromising fidelity to the Constitution, the Union and our Government exists among the Baptists of the North, coupled with a confidence in the rectitude of the course pursued by our Government therefore,
"Resolved, That we humble ourselves before God, praying for the forgiveness of our sins as a Nation, and for the blessings of our Heavenly Father to rest upon our Executive, upon the leader of our Army and upon each of the vast multitude of patriots who have taken up arms for the defense of our Government, that they may have the courage and wisdom requisite to achieve a glorious peace;
"Resolved, That when our erring brethren of the South shall become loyal to the Government, we will welcome their return with joy and gratitude of heart."
Grand and loyal resolutions! There was no silly "Ambassador of heaven" nonsense about those resolutions, like as we have occasionally heard it set forth by one of a very deluded few, who claim that they are "ambassadors of heaven" and therefore have nothing to do with the political affairs of the nation. Shame on such twaddle. God has given us our country to care for, just as much as he has given us our homes to provide for and protect. Christianity is not foolishness.
1861 - 1870
Again, when the Association met at Roseboom July 2 and 3, 1862, the First Summit Baptist Church, through its delegates, Elder H. Cornell, Deacon L. H. Robbins and A. Cleveland had a hand in helping to pass the following patriotic resolutions:
Resolved, That we regard the War now waged by the National Government to put down the unprovoked and wicked rebellion that has risen against it, and to establish anew the reign of order, and of law as a most righteous one, sanctioned alike by God and all right thinking men, involving our very life as a Nation and everything previous depending on that life and related most intimately to the progress of civilization, freedom and Christianity throughout the earth:
Resolved, That we believe the institution of slavery to be the principal cause of this attempt to overthrow the Government, and establish an aristocracy; and that a lasting peace cannot be enjoyed short of its entire overthrow;
Resolved, That we tender to the President of the United States, and his associates in Government, our hearty confidence, sympathy and support, with the assurance that the continued prayers of both brethren and sisters will be offered, that the same Divine hand which has so manifestly guided them in the past, may lead them on to the full and triumphant establishment of union, justice and liberty over the whole country, and among all ranks and conditions of its people.
On Sunday, August 23rd, 1882, the Church met at a regular meeting "and related their minds and feelings relative to the cause of Christ,"
and for some months afterwards the record tells us they related their "Christian exercises" or "renewed their Covenant" and adjourned.
In 1863, Elder Joel Lyon became pastor, and acted as such until about the close of 1864.
When the Association met with the Second Summit Baptist Church (See Note 1) in the village of Summit on July 1st and 2nd, 1863, the venerable First Summit Baptist Church, through its delegates, Elder Joel Lyon, Benj. W. Gage, David Lincoln, who enlisted in the service of his country Sept.5th, 1864, and D. G. Mann, helped to pass the following loyal preamble and resolutions:
Note 1. The Second Summit Baptist Church is no longer in existence. It ceased to be active about 1877.
Note 2. The Maryland Baptist Church organized Sept. 22, 1808, built a church at Schenevus in 1868, and which was set off and recognized in 1871. The Maryland Church disbanded about 1896 or 1897, eighteen of its members uniting with the Schenevus Church.
The Maryland Baptist Church's first building was erected in 1816 at a cost of $800 by Nathaniel Rose and donated by him to the church. It was located in Maryland where Lutheran edifice afterwards stood. It was painted red. In 1835, at a cost of $1,200 the Maryland church built a new place of worship at Chaseville. As already stated, in 1868, the Maryland Church built a new place of worship at Schenevus. It cost $4,100. About 1907 the old church building at Chaseville was taken down and moved to Schenevus, and made into a parsonage.
Whereas, A portion of our country is in a state of rebellion, and the Government is being wantonly assailed by the insurgents, we deem it proper for this and every other religious body, to give expression to their sentiments on the subject, therefore, be it
Resolved, That a calamity so fearful as that which is now upon us, could not be permitted by a righteous Providence, without an adequate cause, for God has said: "The curse causeless shall not come," and that we regard the sins of the nation, and especially the sin of American Slavery, as such cause;
Resolved, That we believe God, by His Providence, is calling the nation to repentance and deep humiliation before him and that he requires of us "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke;
Resolved that the charge preferred by many against the ministers of the Gospel, as the cause and instigators of this rebellion, is a base reflection, false in statement, malicious in spirit, and is made to cover the guilt of those who are in complicity with the real instigators of this wicked rebellion;
Resolved, That it is the duty of every citizen, and especially of every Christian, and the Christian minister, to rally around the standard of their country, and pledge to their Government their hearty cooperation and support in its efforts to suppress this wicked rebellion and restore peace and prosperity to our distracted country.
When the Worcester Baptist Association held its annual gathering with the Maryland Baptist Church at Chaseville (See Note 2) July 6 and 7, 1864, the First Summit Baptist Church did its share through its delegates to have the resolution, contained in the Fifty-Sixth Annual
Report of the Baptist Missionary Convention, printed in the Associational Minutes. here follow the resolutions:
resolved, That the rebellion now in progress against the Government of the United States, was inaugurated and is now continued in the interest of human slavery; that in its spirit and results it aims a deadly blow at law and order at the persons, property and lives of the people of the Free States; that the tendency is to break up the foundations of society, bring contempt on government as ordained of God, and introduce the reign of anarchy and riot, robbery and murder, universal terror and misery;
Resolved, That by our prayers, our influence, and our personal services, we will aid the National Government to the extent of our power, with the view of utterly crushing out this causeless and wicked rebellion;
Resolved, That as servants of the Prince of Peace, we desire peace, but we would have a peace founded in righteousness and perpetuated in justice and equity; securing to all the dwellers in our land, regardless of class, condition and color, and inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;
Resolved, That it is our hope and our prayer that God will overrule this defiant and impious conspiracy of traitors against human and Divine laws, for the speedy and complete extirpation of slavery throughout all our borders.
On December 24, 1861, Brethren Payne Smith and Deacon Robbins were appointed a ministerial committee for the ensuing year and Elder Harvey Cornell became pastor. He closed his labors about 1868.
Also, at the Associational Meeting in Westford in 1865, the brethren of the First Summit Baptist Church helped to pass the following resolutions:
Whereas, Our country has been, during a period of four years enduring all the horrors of civil war, and whereas, we are again blessed with a return of peace, and a brighter prospect now opens before us, therefore,
Resolved, That we hail with emotions of joy and gratitude to Almighty God, the return of peace to our distracted country;
Resolved, That we rejoice and give glory to God, that as he overthrew Pharaoh and his host, burying them in the waters of the Red Sea, so He has again interposed in behalf of the oppressed and humbling their haughty oppressors, has liberated the captive, broken every yoke, and fully emancipated his poor;
Resolved, That the elective franchise should be granted to all, without distinction of color, except the privilege be forfeited by crime;
Resolved, That the heroes of our many battles are entitled to the honor and respect of the Nation, and that we welcome the return of those who have survived the conflict, and cherish the memory of those who have fallen;
Resolved, That the Nation demands of the Court and the Executive, that justice be meted out to assassins and conspirators, and we hereby pledge them our support.
On Saturday, July 24, 1865, the Church licensed Brother Delisce Brown "to preach the gospel, and requested the Clerk to give him a written license." He and his wife received letters of recommendation and dismission Sept. 23, following:
On Sunday Dec. 24th, Mary McCann and Francis D. Baker were baptized. On Jan. 14, 1866, Barney Brazie and wife, John Wilsey and wife, David L. Chickering and Sally Burnside, were baptized. On
Jan. 28th, Chester Payne (Deacon Jacob Payne's brother), Lysander Payne, Rebekah Payne (now Mrs. Son of Worcester) Cassandra Payne, (Afterwards married Phelps Stilwell), James Kane, Lucius Mowers and Malenthy Fancher were baptized.
In 1868, Elder Corwin assumed pastoral control of the church. After the good ingathering by Elder Harvey Cornell, then there was a lull in the church through Elder Corwin's pastorate, and it is indicated in the church record by such phrases as "no business of importance," or "No other business," or "No business," etc. On Nov. 27, 1869, it is recorded concerning the Covenant meeting that "Deacon Robbins and Deacon (B.W.) Gage and myself (Barney F. Wilcox) were the male members and a few sisters were all." It looked discouraging. A minister dreads being pastor of a church during the "lull time" of his experience.
Elder Hallock became pastor in 1870 and remained as such until the spring of 1873. (We always have harbored tender thoughts toward Elder Hallock, as he was one of the Council that helped to set us apart to the Gospel ministry at Stamford, N.Y., Aug. 19, 1894). During Elder Hallock's pastorage about eighteen were baptized into the fellowship of the church. Besides being pastor of the First Summit, he also served the second Summit village until April 1872.
On May 24, 1862, Daniel G. Mann was appointed Church Clerk to succeed Hiram Lincoln, and served as such until Barney F. Wilcox was appointed March 25, 1865. Mr. Wilcox served until August 25, 1877, when because of ill health he was released.
Delegates to Association - 1861-1870.
Elder H. Cornell, Dea. L. Robbins, Alvah Fancher, Adamore Cleveland, George Payne, B. W. Gage, Elder J. Lyon, David Lincoln, D. G. Mann, J. V. Champion, Barney F. Wilcox, Col. Stephen Stilwell, Jacob Payne, Peter H. Payne, J. Smith, Elder D. Corwin, B. Smith, Elder William M. Hallock, E. Osborn.
At the Association in 1870, the Church reported 99 members, 28 less than in 1860.
1871 - 1880
On January 27, 1872, the Covenant meeting was opened by Deacon Robbins, and the following persons were present: Deacon Levi H. Robbins, Deacon B. W. Gage, Payne Smith, Deacon Peter R. Hicks (he is mentioned in the Church Book July 22, 1876, as deacon of the Jefferson Church; he was father of the present Walter C. Hicks of the East Worcester Baptist Church and also grandfather of the present Mrs. Flora Lincoln Baker of Kirkwood, N. Y.), Wolsey Cornell, Elijah Sperbeck, James Kane, Seabury H. Toles, Lyman Moore, Jacob Payne, John H. Silvernail, A. Silvernail, Walter C. Hicks, Peter H. Payne, B. F. Wilcox, Sisters Elizabeth Payne, Ophelia Silvernail, Axy Goodenough, Jennie J. Hartwell, Mahama Silvernail, -- Gage, Wolsey Cornell, -- Sperbeck, Hepsy Robbins, Rebeckah Payne, Lucy Sisson, -- Silvernail, Lyman (Mary) Moore, and Elizabeth Ridge.
At this time, a little more than 40 years afterward, of those 28 then present, Deacon Jacob Payne and his wife Elizabeth, Seabury H. Toles, Walter C. Hicks, and sisters Hepsy Robbins, Mary Moore (mother of the present Clerk, George E. Moore), and Mahama Silvernail, are still living. There may be others.
As we said in our twentieth installment, Elder Hallock remained as pastor until the Spring of 1873. We regret that we cannot give the names of those that were baptized by him.
On Wednesday and Thursday, July 3 and 4, 1872, the Worcester Baptist Association met for the fifth time with the venerable church.
It had been a good year with the church, and according to the letter to the Association the church had "felt something of the Spirit's influence," and some of them had been revived, and sinners had been converted. The Church desired "the prayers" of the Association that the present gathering may revive the church, and a blessing to the community."
In November 1872, the following brethren were appointed to "fill the desk" for 1873: Brethren Chester Payne, Wolsey Cornell and Hiram Rifenbark (received from the Second Summit Church, and now one of the loyal, sturdy deacons). In February following, Deacon B. W. Gage was added to the ministerial committee.
Elder John Smith who commenced his first pastorate with the venerable church forty years before, was secured, and April 26th, 1873, was his first Covenant meeting, but for some reason or other was not present. On May 24, both he and his wife Hannah were received by letter from the Afton church. he also supplied the Second Summit Baptist Church every two weeks until about 1874.
Nothing special occurred for some months. Two members, the present Shubal Smith now of Worcester and his first wife were received by letter August 24, 1873. But at the Church meeting Dec. 27, the Church Book says that members of the church "were in full attendance, and God is greatly reviving us as a church, and the wayward are coming home to Christ, confessing their sins."
On Sunday, Dec 28, the Rev. John Smith baptized the following: Mary E. Comstock, Emma J. Gallup, Rachel Baker, Phebe Smith, Sarah Haner, Estella Payne, Elsie Kniskern, Asenath Sisson (Reynolds), now in the State of Ohio, Jane Chickering, Minnie Hoit, Martin F. Comstock (the present Mrs. Mahama Silvernail's father), E. D. Baker, Geo. W. Hix, Scott W. Davis, Levi H. Smith and his wife Betsy Ann Mitchell Smith, and Warren Ostrom, now living near Richmondville.
And on Sunday, Jan. 4, 1874, he baptized Marvin H. Smith )now of Oneonta), Hattie L. Champion and Ettie H. Rifenbark (now of Colliers).
And on Sunday, Jan. 11th, he baptized Jacob Silvernail and Olivia Silvernail, and Nelson Wayman and Emeline Wayman.
The church was passing through pleasant paths and thus on Jan. 25th, the Clerk, B. F. Wilson, makes this record: "In regular Church meeting, a large part of the church being present and the spirit of our Master being in our midst, the meeting was one of especial profit."
As after all revivals, disciplinary measures had to be taken, and two at least were excluded for profane language and irreligious conduct.
On May 23rd after delegates to attend the Associational meeting had been chosen Brother Hiram Rifenbark (not yet elected as Deacon) was appointed to collect money for the printing of the Minutes and he has been appointed to that business a great many times since.
In 1874, the Church letter reported that the Sunday School was "very interesting, numbering more than one hundred," and that the Church was "happy in Christ." besides the 100 scholars, there were also ten teachers, making in all 110. That year was probably high-water mark in the Sunday school, as in 1878, in the church membership, it was high-water mark, namely 139.
The Sunday school Superintendents in the 70's were Elder John Smith, Walter C. Hicks, Hiram Rifenbark, and Deacon Levi H. Robbins. It was this year (1874) that sister Elvira Johnson Payne, who died Jan. 24, 1912, was received by letter. She has been baptized in old Sammy Chickering's mill-pond, over Clapper Hollow way. In her obituary notice in our February paper, we misprinted her name as Almira and Alvira.
At the Covenant Meeting June 24th, 1876, it was resolved, "that this Church prepare a list of the members of this church and call at each Covenant meeting and preserve the same as part of the records of this church."
At the regular Church (or Covenant) meeting, April 21st, 1877, there was voted "a letter of occasional communion to Sister Lucy Sisson", something new!
On September 22nd, a very precious meeting was the experience of those in attendance. The record says that "the Spirit of God was evidently in the midst," and "several of the brethren and sisters were in tears." "One that had wandered came back, and requested to be received into fellowship once more." On December 22nd, the church rejoiced in the Covenant meeting that pastor John Smith was "holding meetings at an out-station and souls were being born into the kingdom." They felt some of the Spirit's warming and reviving influence."
At a special meeting of the church, January 12, 1878, the Articles of Faith and Covenant were read. We append the Covenant, which we find in the Church Book beginning Jan. 12, 1878. It is also in the Book beginning July 23, 1898.
As we trust we have been brought by divine grace to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give up ourselves to Him, so we do now, relying upon His gracious aid, solemnly covenant with each other, and promise that we will walk together in brotherly love as become the members of a Christian church.
That we will exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require,
That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others. That we will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and holy example, to win our kindred and acquaintances to the Saviour, to holiness, and to eternal life.
That we will rejoice in each other's happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other's burdens and sorrows.
That we will not bring forward to the Church a complaint against any member for any personal trespass against us, until we have taken the first and second steps pointed out by Christ in the 18th Chapter of Matthew, and that all private offenses which can be privately settled, we will never make public.
That we will live circumspectly in the world "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," setting a worthy example and remembering, that as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and have been raised up from the emblematical grave, so there is on us a special obligation henceforth to lead a new and holy life.
That we will strive together for the support of a faithful, evangelical ministry among us.
That according to our ability and opportunities, we will as faithful servants of the Lord, do good to all men, especially in helping to extend the gospel in its purity and power to the
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This page established July 19, 2000