Town of Lysander

Submitted by Kathy Crowell

Source:  Onondaga's Centennial by Dwight H. Bruce (ed.).  Boston History Co., 1896, Vol. I, pp. 756-759.

"...efficient measures were early adopted for the organization of Christian churches and the inauguration of public worship among the inhabitants of the town.  It was natural that the first church organization should be in the Presbyterian faith, as a missionary was sent into the town by an eastern Presbyterian association in the person of Rev. Ebenezer Lazelle, who held his first service in a barn near the north line of Baldwinsville village.  A society was organized by him on July 13, 1813, which was comprised of the following fourteen members:  Cyrus and Susan Baldwin, Thomas and Betsey Farrington, George and Mary White, Eunice, Sarah, and Lucy Porter, Levi Manasseh and Levi, jr., Mary Calkins, and William Van Fleet.  Cyrus Baldwin, Thomas Farrington and George White were chosen elders November 12, 1813.  After the building of the school house in the village, meetings were held there many years.  A union church building, afterwards Herrick's Hall, was finished in 1830.  The building became the Presbyterian church.  The present church edifice was built of brick in 1865, at a cost of about $20,000.

In the vicinity of Lysander village were many early Presbyterians and some of the Dutch Reform faith.  On the 20th of October, 1820, the 'Second Presbyterian Church of Lysander' was there organized under direction of Rev. John Davenport, all uniting.  The following were the first members:  William Townsend, Aaron F. Vedder, Margaret Safford, Harvey Smith, Altie Voorhees, Thomas Ambler, Catharine Ambler, Henry Perine, and Charlotte Smith.  Services were held in the school house and private dwellings.  In the mean time the numbers of those who adhered to the Dutch Reform faith increased and on the 1st of March, 1828, the 'First Protestant Dutch Church' was organized by Rev. James Stevenson.  In the same year both these organizations united and erected a church.  Difficulties arose, litigation was entered upon regarding the church property, and after several years the Dutch Reform organization were awarded the church.  This society continued prosperous many years; but by 1877 its membership and efficiency had greatly decreased.  The Presbyterians built a church for their use in 1833 and prospered many years, its membership at one time reaching about 300.  But in course of time this society also became very much weakened and in 1877 under an order of the court the two organizations were united under the name of 'The Congregational Church and Society of Lysander.'  This society is still in existence.  The first pastor was Rev. Henry T. Sell; his successors have been Revs. John L. Franklin, Charles H. Curtis, Charles E. Hoyt and John L. Keedy, who is the present pastor.

The Baptist services began at Cold Spring in 1813, and in 1818 under Rev. Dudley Lamb, a society was organized called 'The Second Baptist Church of Christ in Lysander.'  Services were held in the school house, but the society did not gain rapidly and in 1840 it removed to Baldwinsville; on the 3d of October of that year it took the name of 'The Baldwinsville Baptist Church.'  A church edifice was built and dedicated on January 1, 1841.  The present brick church was dedicated in December, 1871.

Methodist services were first held at Baldwinsville in 1821 on the south side of the river, by James Baldwin, an exhorter, where he formed a class.  In 1828 Baldwinsville was transferred to the old Cayuga district and Lysander circuit.  In 1829 Baldwinsville and Lysander circuits were transferred to Oneida Conference, while in 1836 Baldwinsville and Lysander appear in the Oswego district of that conference.  In 1838 the Baldwinsville class had twenty-five members, and in the next year meetings were held in the school house on the north side of the river.  In 1840 Baldwinsville was placed in the Clay circuit and in 1843 was made a station, having then forty-five members, but no church property.  On the 29th of August of that year, at a meeting called for the purpose, E. Hickok, A. Dayton, B. Nichols, T. Nichols, and D. Derbyshire were elected trustees of the First Methodist church.  A lot was bought, a wooden church erected and dedicated in December, 1844.  In June, 1869, the society having outgrown the old church, measures were taken to build a new one.  The present building was dedicated October 20, 1870, and cost about $32,000.

In 1830 or 1831 the Rev. Elijah Barnes and Rev. Benjamin Rider were appointed to the Lysander circuit, and through their efforts a class was organized at 'Betts's Corners,' as Lysander was then called.  Previous to 1844 services were held in the school houses or in dwellings, but in that year a wooden church was built; in 1849 a parsonage was purchased.  This church has several times been repaired and enlarged.

The origin of the Methodist church at Little Utica was a class formed in September, 1832, called the 'Palmertown Class,' with George Kellogg leader.  A church was built in 1834, which was repaired and improved in 1857 and in 1875.

The White Chapel, at Cold Spring, takes its name from George White, under whose efforts services were held early in the century.  A church was erected in 1861.

The Christian church at Plainville originated under the labor of Elder Obadiah E. Morrill in 1820.  He continued with his flock about twenty years.  A frame church was erected in 1831, which was burned in 1852, and was replaced by the present brick structure.

Grace Church (Episcopal), Baldwinsville, was organized July 27, 1835, with Rev. Richard Salmon, of Geddes, presiding.  James D. Wallace and Norman Kellogg were elected wardens; Stephen W. Baldwin, Clarence S. Bayley, Nehemiah B. Northrop, Benjamin C. Jeffries, Isaac T. Minard, Horace Baldwin, E. Austin Baldwin, and Walter D. Herrick, vestrymen.  Services had been held by Mr. Salmon as early as the latter part of 1833, and were continued by him in the Union church, later Herrick's Hall, on the third Sunday of each month.  With Mr. Salmon's removal, services were interrupted nearly three years, and were renewed in 1838 by Rev. George B. Engle, missionary, who held services on alternate Sundays.  There were then only three communicants, one of whom was Mrs. Eliza M. Baldwin, to whom the parish was afterwards deeply indebted.  Rev. Mr. Engle removed west in 1841, and again services were interrupted five years.  Rev. Samuel G. Appleton officiated a short time in 1846, from which time to 1850 the only services were three visitations by Bishop De Lancey.  In that year Rev. Theodore M. Bishop began holding services in a school house on the south side of the river, and continued until 1854.  The corner stone of the present church edifice was laid in August, 1853, but owing to the falling of the frame in a high wind and other obstacles the building was not finished until 1860, when it was consecrated on the 13th of November.  Rev. Henry Gregory, D. D., officiated in the pulpit until 1864, and on the 1st of July, 1865, Rev. W. M. Beauchamp, S.T.D., was chosen rector, and has officiated to the present time.

St. Mary's (Catholic) church, Baldwinsville, was built and consecrated in 1851, mainly through the efforts of Rev. Samuel Mulloy.  Prior to that year services had been held in the village by Rev. Michael Hackett and Rev. Joseph Guerdet.  The church property is now valuable and the membership large.

Slavery was abolished in this town in 1821, but all slaves were not free until 1830.  There were quite a number of slaves brought into the town, and the last of them has not yet passed away.  Two were brought in by William Renus Willett, a Methodist preacher who came from the South and settled after 1820 near Belgium, where he bought 1,000 acres of land and erected a typical southern homestead, which is still occupied."

Submitted 4 July 1998