History of Gloversville, NY (Part 7 Churches)
From: History of Fulton County
Revised and Edited by: Washington Frothingham
Published by: D. Mason & Co. Syracuse, NY 1892
HISTORY OF KINGSBORO AND GLOVERSVILLE
By Rev. Isaac O. Rankin, of Peekskill, former pastor of the Kingsboro Presbyterian Church.
Note: This is still being worked on and will be about 8-12 large pages when completed. The first two pages are mostely prior to the incorporation of villages in 1847. Part 3 and following pages will be for the most part after that date.
Churches - 2nd page.
Fremont Street Methodist Episcopal Church. - In the early part of the year 1875 the membership of the
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Gloversville, numbering more than 900, had become so large that it was deemed
necessary to found a new Methodist society. In April of the above mentioned year, a wooden church edifice on Fremont
street, built by the Episcopal society at a cost of about $9,000, became available property, and was purchased
by Daniel Hays, W. H. Place, James Kent, H. Jordan and F. W. Stevens, all of whom, with the single exception of
Mr. Stevens, were members of the First Methodist Church. Affairs of the new society now began to take definite
form. An application to conference resulted in the appointment of H. A. Starks as first pastor, and the name given
to the congregation was the Second Methodist Episcopal Society of Gloversville. May 3, 1875, a meeting of the First
Church was held at the house of Pastor Sexton, a call was made for volunteers to the new enterprise and about forty
names of members were pledged, as well as several who expressed their willingness to become members of the new
society. The following Sunday, May 9, the first services were held in the new church, and on the first succeeding
Sabbath a Sunday school was organized with the following officers: Superintendent, H. Jordan; assistant superintendent,
E. H. Caswell; lady superintendent, Mrs. J. M. Wood; secretary, William Muddle; treasurer, J. Muddle. The first
board of trustees was elected May 18, as follows: Hiram Jordan, Harvey Kasson, Randolph Day, Fred Stevens and J.
M. Wood. At the same meeting J. W. Place, George Wood and E. H. Eisenbury were appointed stewards, and John Muddle,
Hiram Jordan and P. J. Keck, class leaders. On Wednesday, July 14, 1875, the church was dedicated to the worship
of God, Bishop Bowman officiating. The name of the society was changed to the Fremont Street Methodist Episcopal
Church on July 26 of the same year, at a meeting called for that especial purpose. Pastor Starks remained with
the church two years and did much to make the infant society a success. Upon his departure in 1877 he left a membership
of 179, with fifty probationers. He was followed in the pastorate by J. H. Coleman, during the third year of whose
labor with the church the entire indebtedness was paid off. Pastor Coleman was succeeded in 1880 by Rev. George
C. Morehouse, who labored faithfully until April, 1883, when Rev. W. P. Rulison was assigned to the pastorate.
At this time the question of a new church edifice was agitated, and the movement assumed definite shape in 1885,
when it was decided to build a house of worship. The present beautiful structure on Fremont street was completed
early in July, 1886, during the first few months of the pastorate ate of William M. Brundage. The church was dedicated
July 11, by Rev. J. M. Hamilton. The auditorium is on the second floor, and has a capacity of between seven and
eight hundred persons. Pastor Brundage was followed in 1889 by Rev. T. G. Thompson, who has served the society
very acceptably, the most pleasant relations existing between pastor and people. When the duration of his regular
pastorate expired in 1891, he received an urgent call to continue his ministry for another year, and hence is the
first pastor in the history of the church to extend his services beyond the three years limit. At present the membership
of the church is 950, while that of the Sunday school. is 681.
First Baptist Church. - Prior to 1838 there were only a few Baptists scattered through the country in the immediate vicinity of Gloversville. They had for two years or more enjoyed the labors of Revs. Knapp, Groom, Hutchins and Whitman. In the summer of the above mentioned years, Rev. Erastus Miner, of Pleasant Valley, came to Gloversville to preach a funeral sermon. His sympathies were at once enlisted in behalf of the Baptists in that community, and he left his own people and gave part of his time to religious efforts in the then primitive village. Notice was given for all Baptist members to assemble on a given day to decide the question of organizing either a branch connection with Pleasant Valley or an independent church. It is said that when the day arrived, it rained, and in consequence no one attended the proposed meeting. The record says, "In order that the project should not fail, Brother Abel S. Leaton started on foot from Johnstown and looked them up again, and appointed a meeting the following week." At this meeting, which was held in the village school house, it was unanimously agreed, after consultation, to become a branch of the Pleasant Valley Church, and the second Sunday following was appointed as the time when the organization should be effected. No definite action was taken then or directly afterward, but preaching was maintained and the meetings were continued. Conversions were frequent and a number of baptisms took place on October 28, November 5 and 25, 1838. On January 6, 1839, five were baptized on profession of faith. The following Sunday evening, January 13, it was unanimously agreed to organize an independent Baptist Church on Tuesday, January 15, 1839, and the original purpose of becoming a branch of the Pleasant Valley Church was abandoned. According to appointment a meeting was held in Burr's assembly room January 15, 1839. Rev. Miner read the 132d Psalm, and an opening prayer was coffered by Rev. Gale. Later on Mr. Gale administered the charge and Mr. Miner gave the right hand of fellowship, during which all those present, nineteen in number, arose and stood in a semi circle. The church was then and there organized and named the First Baptist Church of Gloversville, N. Y. Abel S. Leaton was chosen stated clerk, and an election of trustees resulted in the choice of Henry Churchill, George Washburn, Abel S. Leaton, H. C. Thomas, L. F. Cooper, and Joab Phelps. It was also resolved, "That the building committee consist of the trustees, and they be and are hereby authorized to purchase a site for a meeting house, and have full power to act in all matters in relation to the erection and final completion of said meeting house." On the first Sunday in March, 1839, the church celebrated the memorial ordinance of the Lord's supper for the first time. The names of the nineteen constituent members are as follows: H. C. Thomas, J. C. Valentine, Thomas B. Kenyon, Cuyler Shottenkirk, William Dillingham, John Whiting, Abel S. Leaton, Mrs. Elizabeth Ward, Mrs. Nancy Hill, Mrs. Sarah Curtis, Mrs. Rachel Kenyon, Mrs. C. C. Warner, Miss Sarah Hare, Miss Maria Evinskey, Miss Margaret Van Steinburgh. The church was formally admitted to the Saratoga Baptist Association at the annual meeting held in Stillwater, June 25, 1839. October 6, 1839, a call was extended to Rev. D. Corwin to become pastor, and on Sunday, November 3, he preached for them and gave acceptance of the call. The first deacons of the church were elected in August, 1841, as follows: H. C. Thomas and S. Judson. Deacon Thomas held the office continuously during a period of forty eight years, well beloved and honored by the church. The first house of worship was situated on Main street, the building long known as Fox's Block. It was completed and dedicated September 18, 1839, Rev. B. T. Welch, of Albany, and Rev. L. Raymond, of Cooperstown, each delivering sermons on the occasion. At a business meeting held May 23, 1855, steps were taken toward building a new church edifice and a subscription paper was circulated by a committee consisting of Henry Churchill, D. S. Frank, Austin Kasson, J. H. Burr, W. C. Allen, H. C. Thomas, D. M. Burr, Charles Sunderlin, S. S. Wells, A. C. Churchill, and J. H. Seymour. This committee soon reported that $6,000 had been subscribed, whereupon a building committee was appointed and a lot secured, the location being the present site of the First Baptist Church. The new building was completed early in 1857 and the dedicatory services took place January 22 of that year. Two days were devoted to this solemn occasion and sermons were preached by Revs. Winegar, Peacock, Hawley, Gregory, Fisher, Wall and Dunning. The cost of the structure was $15,398.61. In this house of worship the society held services for a period of thirty three years, when the wonderful growth of the society necessitated the erection of a church of greater dimensions. The last service was held in the old building April 13, 1890, and the work of demolition began during the following week. Negotiations were entered into with Henry F. Kilburn, of New York, who submitted plans for the present beautiful structure, and the contract was let to Alden Henry, of Gloversville. The building committee which has immediate supervision of the work is composed of the following persons: Nicholas D. Wilson, J. H. Drake, John V. King, Aaron Simmons, and S. H. Shotwell. The building, which is the most valuable church edifice in Fulton county, was dedicated with fitting ceremonies, October 9, 1891, Pastor Bourn officiating. Among those present and taking part in the services were Rev. H. A. Cordo, of Cortland, who was pastor of this church from 1878 to 1885; Rev. George Cooper, of Richmond, Va., pastor from 1869 to 1873, and various local clergymen. The cost of the building, exclusive of the lot and material used from the old house, was $55,766.40. The first collection of this church for benevolence was the small sum of fifty cents in the year 1839. The largest total for all purposes in any one year was in 1871, during the pastorate of Rev. George Cooper, the amount being $7,875.18. The church has had ten regularly setttled pastors, Rev. Erastus Miner, serving as a supply during a part of the year 1839. The others with the dates of their service are as follows: Rev. David Corwin, elected October 6, 1839, resigned November 1, 1854; Rev. Isaac Westcott, elected May 10, 1855, resigned March 27, 1859; Rev. Stephen Remington, elected May 10, 1859; resigned October, 1859; Rev. Conant Sawyer, elected December 16, 1859, resigned May 31, 1867; Rev. Charles Y. Swan, elected September 30, 1867, resigned December 27, 1868; Rev. George Cooper, elected October 18, 1869, resigned April 7, 1873; Rev. C. N. Pattengill, elected May 19, 1873, resigned June 21, 1877; Rev. H. A. Cordo, elected April 1, 1878, resigned May 4, 1885; Rev. W. W. Dawley, elected August 17, 1885. resigned July 31, 1887; Rev. A. W. Bourn, the present pastor, elected September, 19, 1887. The present membership is about 875. The first superintendent of the Sunday school was H. D. Everett, and the present one is Dr. W. S. Garnsey, the total membership of the school being about 770. The church officers are: Pastor, A. W. Bourn; treasurer, L. K. Bourn; clerk, C. M. C. Loyd; deacons, A. Simmons, W. Shankland, F. White, S. T. O. Hart, J. S. Burr; trustees, A. D. Brower, S. H. Shotwell, Charles King, J. H. Drake, W. D. West and Charles Lyke.
Congregational Church - The first active steps towards forming a society in Gloversville to be known
either as Presbyterian or Congregational, and also for building a church in which it should worship, were taken
at a meeting held in the Gloversville school house, June 29, 1850. Charles Mills was chosen chairman and S. Stewart
Mills secretary. A committee consisting of E. L. Burton, U. M. Place, and Alanson Judson, was appointed to report
some plan for carrying out the above mentioned purpose, which they did at a meeting held on the 20th of July following.
A committee was then appointed to circulate a subscription for $7,000, to be used in purchasing a site and building
a house of worship. This committee was composed of Edward Leonard, Darius C. Mills, Alanson Judson, D. S. Tarr,
and Alanson Hosmer, and the lot upon which the edifice was erected was purchased of Alanson Judson. At a meeting
held January 7, 1851, a vote was taken and it was found that eighteen were in favor of a Congregational society,
while six preferred Preshyterianism, and in this manner the Congregational society of Gloversville had its origin.
The first trustees of the new society, elected at a meeting held January 25, 1851, were Samuel S. Mills, Udall
M. Place, Zina Case, Alanson Judson, H. C. Parsons, and Alanson Hosmer. These men were constituted a building committee
and the contract for the edifice was let to Erastus Thorp, who completed it in the latter part of 1852. The total
cost was about $10,000. A call was issued by the society in November, 1852, to Homer N. Dunning, of the North River
Presbyters, to become pastor of the new church at a salary of $600. The call was accepted and Mr. Dunning was ordained,
and installed as pastor Thursday morning, December 2, 1852. At the ecclesiastical council held the previous evening
there were present Rev. Ray Palmer, pastor of the First Congregational church of Albany (who was chosen moderator);
Rev. Edward Wall, pastor of the Presbyterian church of Kingsboro; Rev. L. F. Waldo, pastor First Congregational
church, Poughkeepsie; Rev. H. G. Ludlow, pastor First Presbyterian church, Poughkeepsie; and Rev. Elisha Yale,
of Kingsboro, who was invited to sit as a corresponding member. The young society flourished under the spiritual
guidance of Pastor Dunning, and in 1860 the trustees reported the church to be free from debt. Mr. Dunning remained
with the church twelve years, resigning his pastorate in December, 1864. The society was then without a regular
minister until the following May, when Rev. Charles J. Hill, of Cleveland, accepted a call with the salary of $1,500.
He remained with the church until August, 1868, being succeeded in January, 1869, by Rev. W. A. McGinley, who filled
the pulpit until May, 1874. Rev. William E. Park, the present pastor, was installed March, 1876, and has continued
his spiritual charge with devoted Christian zeal for a period of sixteen years. The first deacons of the church
were Charles Mills, H. Seth Smith, I. V. Place, and E. L. Burton. A Sabbath school was organized simultaneously
with the church, of which Elisha Burton was the first superintendent, an office held by him continuously until
Christ Protestant Episcopal Mission Church. - Divine service in accordance with the usages of the Protestant
Episcopal Church were first held in Gloversville in the year 1852 by Rev. George N. Sleight, rector of St. John's
church at Johnstown. Mr. Sleight officiated regularly fur a year or more, until his resignation of the rectorship
of St. John's, when the services were continued regularly to the beginning of the year 1855, by his successor,
the Rev. Lewis P. Clover. These services took place in the public school house on Fulton street, and were held
on each alternate Sunday afternoon. October 1, 1856, a parish was formally organized with the name of Trinity Church
of Gloversville, Rev. Lewis P. Clover presiding. Albert W. Gorton acted as secretary, and the following persons
were elected to compose the first vestry: Wardens, Timothy W. Miller and Howard Hill; vestrymen, Albert W. Gorton,
George Snyder, Marcus T. Peake, Samuel Gilchrist, Charles Hutchinson, John Sunderlin, Nathan J. Burton and Joseph
H. Westcott. Although wardens and vestrymen were elected annually on Tuesday in each Easter week until 1879 and
social reunions were often held for the purpose of raising funds, services were not held regularly, and from 1859
until 1866 there was but little activity in the parish. This unfortunate state of affairs was due principally to
the fact that many members of the society had moved away, making the election of proper officers difficult and
also rendering the expenses burdensome on the few that remained. In 1866, however, a happy change took place; many
persons of the Episcopal faith were known to have recently settled in Gloversville and some of the original members
had returned. The parish was fully reorganized at a meeting held August 2, of that year, and David H. Cuyier and
Howard Hill were elected wardens, with a vestry composed of John W. Cook, Albert W. Gorton, George Shurbourne,
Thomas M. Beach, Henry Hull, William Thorne, Frank Anderson and William R. Washburn. Regular services were then
begun and were held on each alternate Sunday afternoon, a Sunday school was established with D. H. Cuyler as superintendent,
and clerical missionaries, with some other assistance, conducted the services. Thus the parish continued until
September, 1871, at which time the session room of the Congregational church was used as a place for worship. Trinity
church was formally admitted into union with the diocese of Albany in 1870. Regular morning and evening prayer
was held at 92 Main Street from November 24, 1872 until February 17, 1873 under the auspices of Rev. James W. Stewart,
rector of St. John's church, Johnstown, the evening services being conducted by Rev. C. F. A. Bielby, the appointed
missionary for this station and Fonda. Land was secured and a church edifice partially completed on West Pine street,
but it was subsequently sold to the German Romanist for $2,200. George a Eddy assumed formal charge of the parish
on Sunday, March 16, 1873, and established regular services twice each Sabbath. A new church was then erected on
Fremont street at the corner of Middle, at a cost of $3,600 exclusive of the lot, and was first occupied March
22, 1874. This edifice was afterwards sold to the Fremont Street Methodist society and Trinity Parish suffered
another decline. With a view to revive the Episcopal service in the village Rev. Charles C. Edmunds, jr., and Rev.
Robert H. Neide held services in a room on the third floor of the Hanson block each evening following July 1, 1880.
August 31, of the same year, an application was made to Bishop Doane, of the Albany diocese, requesting the organization
of a mission church, which was granted and Christ Church Mission was formally established under the supervision
of the bishop, with the Revs. Charles C. Edmunds, jr., and Robert H. Neide as officiating deacons. E. P. Newton
was chosen warden; Allen N. Ross, clerk, and Hervey Ross, treasurer. In October, 1883, the Rev. C. P. A. Burnett
assumed charge of the mission as rector, and services were held in the Mosher hall on Fulton street for one year.
The mission was then removed to the Kent block, where services were held pending the erection of the present church
edifice on Spring street. The building was completed at a cost, including the lot, of $8,000 and first occupied
June 23, 1887. The church has 330 free sittings. Rev. Mr. Burnet remained in the rectorship until December
Part 1 - Early History.
Part 2 - Early Hisotry Continued.
Part 3 - Incorporation as a City - Schools.
Part 6 - Churches 1
Part 7 - Churches 2
Part 8 - YMCA, Secret Societies, Newspapers