CHURCHES OF GENEVA.
The First Presbyterian church.- On the 16th of July, 1798, a meeting of citizens
was held at the Geneva Hotel for the purpose of organizing a church or religious society in the village of Geneva.
By a plurality of votes the following persons were elected trustees by the name and style of "The Trustees
of the Presbyterian Church of Geneva," to wit: Oliver Whitmore, Elijah Wilder, Septimus Evans, Ezra Patterson,
Samuel Latta, William Smith, jr., and Polydore B. Wisner. The first elders were Oliver Whitmore and Elijah Wilder.
The organization was accomplished largely through the efforts and under the direction of Rev. Jedediah Chapman,
who was the first pastor of the society.
The first church edifice was erected in 1809, and was succeeded by another of larger proportions and more imposing
appearance, built in 1839. In 1877 the present large and attractive edifice was built. The church property consists
of the main edifice at the corner of the Park and Washington street, a large session-room building standing just
north of the church, and a pastor's residence on Washington street in rear of the church.
The First Church now has 420 enrolled communicants and a Sunday school of about 325 pupils. The present church
and society officers are Arthur Hammond, Frank O. Kent, William H. Smith, William H. Dobbin, David H. Henry, Edw.
B. Richardson, Solomon E. Smith, Eli A. Bronson, Isaac L. Seely and Lucius Van Slycke, elders; John L. Bennett,
M. S Sandford, George Travis, F. S. Bronson, James N. Kipp, David H. Patty, Charles H. Darrow, Henry W. Foster
and Thomas E. Rippey, deacons; D. H. Patty, T. J. Skelton, William H. Vrooman, Joseph S. Lewis, David H. Henry,
Eli A. Bronson, and Solomon E. Smith, trustees.
The succession of pastors has been as follows: Jedediah Chapman, 1800-1812; Henry Axtell, 1812-29; Eliakirn Phelps,
1830-35 ; Philip C. Hay, 1836-46; William Hogarth, 1847-56; Hubbard Winslow, D.D., 1857-59; A. Augustus Wood, D.D.,
1860-73; Henry A. Nelson, D.D., 1874-85; Halsey B. Stevenson, 1887-89; William W. Weller, 1890.
The North Presbyterian church of Geneva was formed by a union of the members of the United Presbyterian Church
with the Bethel Society of Geneva. The latter was an organization of faithful missionary workers whose field of
labor lay especially among the boatmen of the lake and canal and with others who had no fixed church house. By
this society a chapel was erected on Exchange street, north of the railroad, and here the meetings were held until
the union mentioned was formed. The Bethel Society was organized in 1839, and in 1866 began to maintain preaching
in their chapel. Soon after the year last thentioned the members of the United or Scotch Presbyterian Society proposed
a union with the Bethel members, which, being accepted, the former secured a dismissal from its connection and
asked for admission to the Presbytery of Geneva, which was granted November 1, 1870. The result was the organization
of the "Second Presbyterian Church of Geneva," and which afterward became known as the North Presbyterian
The early meetings were held in the Scotch Church edifice, and in 1876 the large and elegant stone edifice was
erected at the corner of Genesee and Lewis streets. Its cost was nearly $40,000, about one-half of which was contributed
by Thompson C., Henry E., and Joshua I. Maxwell.
The North Church numbers 430 members, with 500 pupils in the Sunday school. The elders of the society are John
Mackay, James S. Sears, Thompson C. Maxwell, Stephen W. Hopkins, Theo. S. Hubbard, Charles K. Scoon, John H. Daniels,
E. M. Maynard, and George X. Smith. The deacons are John P. Vail, E. B. Van Houghton, William M. Gates, C. W. Haviland,
Charles H. Webster, Harry J. Loy, Watson E. Stubbs, Frank P. Skuse, and E M. Maynard.
The first pastoral supply was Henry P. Collin, 1870-71, succeeded by stated supply Alfred C. Roe, the latter remaining
two years. Dr. William Hogarth was called to the pastorate in July, 1873, and installed in November. He remained
thirteen years and was followed in i886 by Paul Van Dyke, who retired in 1888, and was succeeded by the present
pastor, Rev. Dr. Ninian B. Remick, the pastorate of the latter beginning in 1890.
Trinity Church. - The parish and
society of Trinity Church were organized on the 18th of August, 1806, by former members of the Protestant Episcopal
Church of older places. The incorporators were John Nicholas, Daniel W. Lewis, James Rees, James Reynolds, David
Nagle, Robert W. Stoddard, John Collins, Robert S. Rose, Samuel Colt, Ralph T. Wood, Richard Hughes, William Hortsen,
Thomas Wilbur, Richard M. Bailey, William Tappan, Levi Stephen, Thomas Wood, Richard Lazelere and Thomas Smith.
The first wardens were John Nicholas and Daniel W. Lewis, and the vestrymen Samuel Sheckel, John Collins, Robert
S. Rose, Richard Hughes, Ralph T. Wood, David Nagle, James Rees and Thomas Powell.
Although the parish and church were not organized until 1806, still earlier services
were held, beginning in 1803, under the missionary labors of Rev. Benjamin Phelps, who afterward became the first
rector, and who baptized seven children in 1805. The early services were held in the district school-house, and
in 1809 the Trinity parish was provided with a church-house. This edifice served the purpose of the society for
a period of thirty-six years, and in 1842 the erection of the present splendid edifice was begun, the work being
finished in 1844. It was consecrated by Bishop De Lancey August 15, 1844. The edifice has been occasionally repaired,
and some improvements have also been made to it, and it stands to-day, notwithstanding its age, one of the finest
of the many beautiful church edifices of Geneva.
Trinity has 560 communicants, and its Sunday schpol has 227 pupils. The present wardens are Alexander L. Chew and
James P. Mellen; vestrymen, O. J. C. Rose, Henry Slosson, S. H. Hammond, Samuel Southworth, H. Dennison; P. N.
Nicholas, Thomas Smith.
The succession of rectors has been as follows: Davenport Phelps, missionary and rector from 1803 to June 27, 1813;
Orrin Clark, August 17, 1814, to 1828; Richard S. Mason, D.D., July 6, 1828, to April 26, 1830; Nathaniel F. Bruce,
August 4, 1831, to July, 1835; Pierre P Irving, October 26, 1836, as deacon, and as rector May 27, 1837, to 1843;
Samuel Cook, D. D., 1843 to 1845; John Henry Hobart, D. D., 1845 to 1847. William Henry Augustus Bissell, D.D.,
next succeeded to the rectorate as the successor of Dr. Hobart, and was himself succeeded by William Stevens Perry,
D.D., LL.D. The next rector of Trinity was Rev. Dr. Henry W. Nelson, whose first service in the church began on
Thanksgiving Day, 1876.
St. Peter's Church.- The Rt. Rev.
William Heathcoate De Lancey was elected bishop of the Diocese of Western New York in 1838, and in the next year
moved to Geneva. He retained a residence in the village until the time of his death, April 5, 1865, and in honor
of his life and good works in the mission field and church, St. Peter's was founded and organized as his memorial.
As early as 1850 Bishop De Lancey began missionary work in Geneva and soon established a prosperous mission in
the north part of the village. In 1852 he began holding services in a small chapel on Genesee street, and becoming
owner of the building, he named it St. Peter's in honor of his old parish church at Philadelphia, in which he was
advanced to the Episcopate. In 1861 the bishop called Dr. James Rankine to Geneva to assume charge of the Theological
Training School, and the latter soon found himself also engaged in the mission work, holding full Sunday service
in the chapel. However, it was not until 1867, two years after the death of Bishop De Lancey, that St. Peter's
parish and church were organized. The chapel was replaced with a large and elegant stone edifice, the funds therefor
being raised by voluntary contribution, and the chief actor in accomplishing all that was done was Dr. Rankine.
The church was begun in 1868, and was consecrated May 10, 1870. The tower was built in 1878. The first rector was
Dr. James Rankine, who has filled that office until the present time, with the exception of about one year, during
which he was president of Hobart College. In this interval Dr. Maunsell Van Rensselaer was rector of St. Peter's.
The church now has 250 communicants and a Sunday-school with about 200 members. The wardens of St. Peter's are
Samuel S. Graves and Davis L. Stacy; vestrymen, S. H. Parker, Charles A. Steele, A A. Halsey, Julius R. Roenke,
James E. Brown, H. B. Graves, Benjamin Harvey, Peter R. Cole.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Geneva was not in fact organized until the year 1818, although as early as 1793
Methodist preaching services were held in the region, and in 1811 a class of eight members was formed in the village,
Mr. Loomis being the first leader. In 1818 the present society was organized by Rev. Ralph .Lanning, the members
numbering thirteen persons, who held their meetings in the Mechanic's Society School house on Castle street, on
the site where the society afterward built a church edifice. Prior to 1821 Geneva was a mission, and the first
house of worship, built on the site mentioned, was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1821.
In 1828 this church was constituted a separate pastoral charge, then having seventy-two white and three colored
members. The church on the corner of Maine and Seneca streets was begun in 1839 and finished in 1840, the dedicatory
services being held August 15. The original cost of the building was $20,000, and it was substantially rebuilt
in 1885 at a considerable expense. The present trustees of the church are Dr. A. B. Smith, George Taylor, A. G.
Frisbie, D. P. Nelson and W. I. Bonnett. The present pastor is Rev. R. D. Munger, and the superannuated ministers,
D. D. Buck, D.D., and H. T. Giles.
The pastors in succession have been as follows: Manley Tooker, Seth Mattison, John B. Alverson, John W. Nevens,
Calvin S. Coats, Elijah Hibbard, Seth Mattison, Wm. P. Davis, F. G. Hibbard, Moses Crane, F. G. Hibbard, O. R.
Howard, John Dennis, John G. Gulick, John Raines, Wm. H. Goodwin, T. H. Kellogg, a D. Buck, Thos. Tousey, john
W. Wilson, Wm. H. Goodwin, D.D., John Raines, A. F. Morey, George Van Aistyne, A. W. Green, A. J. Kenyon, Robert
C. Brownlee (3 terms), T. M. House, Charles H. Wright, John C. Nichols and R. D. Munger, the latter being the present
pastor, whose connection with the local church began in 1891. The Geneva M. E. church has 340 members, and a Sunday
school with 250 members.
The United Presbyterian Church, by many known as the Scotch church, dated its history in Geneva back as far as
1826, when Rev. D. C. McLaren ordained elders in the old M. E. church on Castle street. In 1830 the society had
gained sufficient strength to erect a church house on Castle street, which it continued to occupy until the dissolution
of the society and the organization of what is now the North Presbyterian church, with which nearly all the other
members (in 1870) united. The supplies, pastors and others connected with the United Presbyterian church, during
the period of its existence, were D. C. McLaren, David Currie, J. F. McLaren, T. S. Farrington, W. S. McLaren,
J. L. Robertson, D. A. Duff, A. C. Roe.
In connection with the history of this church the statement may be made that the original name of the society was
"Associate Reformed Congregation of Geneva," and that in the spring of 1858, by a union of the Associate
Presbyterian and Reformed Presbyterian churches at large, the local society became thenceforth known as the United
Presbyterian Church of Geneva.
The Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Geneva was organized on the 24th of August, 1831, at a meeting held in
the Associated Reformed Presbyterian church on Castle street. The original members numbered nine persons, from
whom Peter Dox and John Veader were chosen elders, and John N. Bogert and George Giffing deacons. For about six
months worship was held in the red brick building on William street, and afterwards in Masonic Hall, on the site
of the present First Presbyterian church chapel, and in 1832 the large and commodious edifice was completed, the
edifice being dedicated January 17, 1833. The society continued in existence for a period of nearly sixty years,
during that time enjoying successes and meeting with reverses. Its membership began to decline about 1865, and
the society was financially weak. The church was indebted to the Collegiate church in New York, which debt fell
due when the local society ceased to be a Dutch church. The remedy was pursued, the edifice sold in 1887, and the
village became its owner in a year or two afterwards. However, during the year 1890 the property was bought by
the Catholic church for the purpose of establishing a branch of that church in the village. The pastors of the
Dutch church, from the time of its organization to the final dissolution, were as follows: Revs. Henry Mandeville,
Gustavus Abeel, D.D., Rev. C. C. Van Arsddale, D.D., pastoral supply, James Romeyn, D.D., Henry V. Vorhees, Joseph
A. Collier, Charles Wiley, D.D., Samuel J. Rogers, William W. Brush, John O. Oppie, Rev. D. D. Buck, D.D., pastoral
supply, Wm. H. Nasholds and Dr. Thomas G. Strong, the latter acting as stated supply at the time of the ending
of the church's career.
The Universalist Church and Society of Geneva were organized November 8, 1834, and in the next year the church
edifice was erected at a cost of about $6,500. The society has never been large, and now has about one hundred
and twenty-five members. The pastors have been Revs. Jacob Chase, jr., George Sanderson, Stephen Miles, Oliver
Ackley, Z. Cook, Hiram Torrey, L. L. Sadler, E. Case; jr., S. W. Remington, J. Bartlett, John M. Austin, J. F.
Countryman, C. C. Richardson, E. S. Corbin, E. E Bartlett, H. B. Howell, C. E. Perkins, O. M. Hilton and J. H.
Ballou, the latter being the present pastor. The trustees of the society are W. E. Hayes, M. W. Hemiup, J. A. Barcklay,
A. J. Rutheford, H. W. Harris and C. N. Hemiup.
The First Baptist Church of Geneva was organized on the 26th of February, 1826, and on the 5th of March following
held its first covenant meeting. On April 1 thereafter Elder E. W. Martin was chosen as the first pastor. There
were twenty. five original members. The first meeting-house was erected in 1829, and to it substantial repairs
were made in 1849. In 1867 the comfortable frame edifice on Milton street was built, but during recent years the
growth of the society has been such as to require the erection of a large house of worship; consequently a lot
at the corner of North Main and Lewis streets was secured, upon which there is in course of erection an elegant
brick and stone edifice, which from an architectural standpoint is not surpassed by any similar structure in the
The church now has about 350 members, and in the Sunday school are 200 pupils. The succession of pastors of the
Geneva Baptist church has been as follows: Elders E. W. Martin, Norman Bentley, S. Davison, J. Sears, W. B. Miller,
Wm. W. Smith, John Middleton, Edward Tozer, W. T. Purrington, Elder Lawton, W. T. Parish, Elder Carpenter (supply),
B. B. Gibbs, T. S. Hill, M. S. Goodno, J. Byington Smith, Dr. David D. Moore, Donald Grant, Walter Barse and Brewer
G. Boardman,' the latter being the present pastor of the church.
St. Francis De Sales Church (Roman Catholic).-
The parish and church was organized in 1832 under the direction of Bishop Du Bois, and in the same year a church
edifice was built. In 1858 Rev. James McManus became pastor, and under his ministry the attendance was so greati.
increased that a new edifice became necessary. Accordingly, in 1864 the present large structure was built at a
cost of about $30,000. Father McManus continued pastor of this church until the time of his death, June 28, 1890,
and on July 26 of the same year, was succeeded by Father Wm. A. McDonald.
In 1875 Father McManus established St. Francis De Sales Parochial school, a very worthy and thorough institution,
now numbering 500 pupils in attendance. This school is admirably conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
The Evangelical Association of Geneva was organized in 1873, the first pastor being John Reuber. No church house
was provided until 1885, when the neat brick edifice on Main street was erected. The Association has eighty-six
members, and a Sabbath school with seventy-five attendants. The pastors, in succession, have been John Reuber,
Charles Weisman, Jacob Burghart, A. Schlenk, David Fischer, Jacob Vosseller, Louis Heinmiller, Frederick Lohmeyer
and Andrew Holzwarth.
A Free Church for the colored worshipers of all denominations was erected on High street as early as 1825 or '26.
This building was burned, and a new church was built in 1892. It has no present resident pastor.
GENEVA AND GENEVA VILLAGE
INCORPORATION OF GENEVE VILLAGE
THE GENEVA ACADEMY.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF GENEVA BEFORE 1839.
CHURCHES OF GENEVA.
THE GENEVA PRESS.
BUSINESS INTERESTS AND MANUFACTURES.