Firt Baptist Church of Seneca Falls
Seneca Falls, Seneca County, NY
Source: "Manual of the Churches of Seneca County with sketches of their pastors, 1895-96", compiled and published by the Courier Printing Co., Seneca Falls, NY 1896.
At a meeting called for the purpose and held in the old school house on North Park street, on June 5, 1828, it was "Unanimously Resolved: that it is expedient to form a conference preparatory to being constituted a church"; also "that the conference hold monthly meetings on the Saturday before the last Saturday of each month". Ten persons were present at this meeting, viz: Abner Carey, Harris Usher, L. P. Noble, Polly Wheeler, Charlotte Long, Mary Anne Cross, Phebe Cross, Elizabeth Carey, Hulda Silsbee, and Harriet Noble, none of whom are living. At this meeting Abner Carey was chosen moderator and L. P. Noble clerk. Agreeably to this last vote a second meeting was held on June 28th, and a valuable addition secured in the person of Orsamus Allen, who had completed a course of study in Hamilton Theological Seminary and now came here under the patronage of the New York Baptist missionary convention, for active service in the ministry of the gospel in response to letters of Mr. Nelson Payne, who, led the Bible study, whished to unite only with a Baptist Church. Articles of faith and a church covenant were presented at this meeting, but laid over for future consideration. July 16, 1828, legal notice having been given, a meeting was held in the school house for incorporation as "The First Baptist society in the village of Seneca Falls." The following persons were elected trustees: Ebenezer Ingalls, Harris Usher, John M. Wheeton, Jonathan Metcalf, Nathan Farnsworth, Samuel Bradley, L. P. Noble, Abram Payne, and Thomas Royston. These met immediately, chose John Metcalf, president, L. P. Noble, clerk, and Harris Usher, treasurer of the board of trustees, adopted a seal and appointed a committee to report to the board the terms on which a lot suitable for a church could be obtained. July 26, Fanny Spear united with the conference, and on August 30, Theophilus Cross and wife increased the constituent members to 14. Thirteen articles of faith and a church covenant were adopted at the same time. This is the foundation of the First Baptist Church in the village of Seneca Falls.
On September 15 of the same year a council was called for the double purpose of receiving recognition as a church and of having Mr. Allen ordained. Only five of the nine churches invited responded, but four other churches sent representatives; so the council consisted of nineteen delegates from nine churches. At this council, the church received recognition and fellowship, and Rev. Orsamus Allen was ordained as its first pastor. The services were held in the Presbyterian "meeting house." At the covenant meeting following, October 25, Mr. Allen was formally chosen pastor, L. P. Noble, clerk, and Abner Carey, deacon. Mr. Allen's salary was "$200 per year and firewood." His pastorate closed March 25, 1832. His work was excellent: forty-five united by baptism, among whom, esteemed for their work's sake and remembered by the church to-day, were Nelson Payne, Alanson Morehouse, Mrs. Catharine Miller, and Mrs. Lucy Eastman.
The first church edifice, erected on Center street, on the rear of the lot now occupied by the present structure, was a frame building 36X44 feet, with a steeple, and a basement under the whole. The lot was purchased of G. V. Sackett for $200. The building cost, as nearly as can be ascertained, $1,835.56. A lot was first selected on Bridge street, though Mr. Payne offered to give one on the north side of the river in the vicinity of Clinton street, south of New York Central railroad. Had that offer been accepted, the church would be spared the anxiety of a church site and church building on the north side of the river. The corner stone of the present church building was laid in 1868 and the building dedicated on March 4, 1869, Rev. W. H. Maynard, D. D., preaching the sermon. The cost of the lot, together with the house adjoining on the west, was $2,500, and the church building cost $11,800.
The following is a list of the pastors and years of service since the church organization to present date: Rev. Orsamus Allen, two years, nine months; Rev. Henry C. Vogel, two years, nine months; Rev. John Jeffers, two years; Rev. Zenas Freeman, three years; Rev. E. R. Pinny, two years; Rev. Nathan Baker, four years, one month; Rev. William Leggett, one year, two months; Rev. J. B. Pitman, two years; Rev. Ira Smith, eight months; Rev. C. C. Hart, seven months; Rev. William Rees, one year; Rev. Ferris Scott, five years, four months; Rev. Ira Bennett, two years, nine months; Rev. B. F. Garfield, two years, three months; Rev. William R. Wright, five years, two months; Rev. T. E. Williams, six months; Rev. R. B. Montgomery, one year, two months; Rev. John Gilchrist, two years, six months; Rev. Seward Robson, four years, four months; Rev. S. H. White, two years, two months. Rev. S. M. Newland, the present pastor, began his pastorate April 1, 1892.
List of Members
Transcription provided courtesy of Rick White.
© 1999-2015 Rick White