Presbyterian Church, Town of Orwell, NY  
Presbyterian Church, 
Town of Orwell, NY

Source:  Transcribed  from Hugh F. Murray’s History of the Town of Orwell from 1806 to 1887 published in 1887 at Pulaski, NY, donated by an Oswego researcher.

       The following extracts from the church records summarize the history of the Presbyterian Church of Orwell from its first organization in 1819 to its re-organization into a Congregational Church in 1858. 

Orwell, July 10, 1819

       The Rev. Messrs. Oliver Leavitt and David K. Dixon being present, the 1st Presbyterian church in this place was constituted, consisting of thirteen members, and the above articles of faith and covenant were adopted.  
The following persons presented certificates of church membership:
Jonas Thompson           William Withington
Lucy Thompson            Nabby Withington
Sally Thompson            Elizabeth Brooks
The following expect letters:
 Nemian Aiken,    Judah Wheelock,    John Brooks

The following were received on examination:
Orpha Burkett, baptized           Isabell Allen
Elizabeth Acker                      Electa Brooks

       After the solemnities were concluded, Jonas Thompson was elected tothe office of deacon in the church.  Sometime in 1819. Jonas Thompson was solomnly set apart to the office of deacon by the Rev. John Davenport.

       March 16, 1820.  Admitted Joseph Wheelock; by letter, Judith Wheelock.  (They were parents of Rev. Rufus A. Wheelock.)

       May 30th, 1827, according to a previous appointment, the members of the 1st Presbyterian Church and congregation met at Timothy Balch’s.  Mr. Withington took the chair.  

       Resolved, that we form ourselves into a branch society auxillary to the home missionary society, according to the plan recommended.

Wm. Withington, Clerk

The membership inceased until in 1833 it numbered 29.  Four years later the church formed itself into an Ecclesiastical Society, according to statue laws, as will be seen from the following:


Records of the first Presbyterian Society of Orwell.

       A meeting was held April 5, 1837, according to notice, for the purpose of organizing the first Presbyterian society, of Orwell.  The meeting was opened with prayer by Rev. S.W. Leavitt.  Daniel Pratt was chosen moderator; Elon Stowell, scribe.  They proceeded to organize the society under the name of the First Presbyterian Society, of Orwell, Oswego Co., N.Y.  They choose for their trustees the following persons:

Ebenezer Knight, Daniel Pratt, one year.
Samuel Stowell, sen., Elon Stowell, two years.
George Knight, three years.
Elon Stowell, clerk.
Elon Stowell, Clerk
     Up to 1845 they had no regular pulpit supply, only Communion Services being kept up.  In 1843 the church was built and dedicated in February 1844.  The first year thereafter the pulpit was supplied by the Missionary Association.  The following three years Rev. J.B. Wilson preached alternatively here and at Sandy Creek, both places being missionary fields.

     The following copy of a subscription list for Rev. J.B. Wilson in 1847, shows who were the supporters of the Presbyterian church at this time:
Elon Stowell 
Elijah Stowell 
David Hollis
James F. Davis
Samuel Stowell
William Groat
E. S. Barnes
John Beadle
O. B. Olstead
H. F. Ackley 
H. M. Knight
Amon Beadle
Samuel Stowell, jr.

       The ministers in charge up to 1858 were Messrs. Wilson, Wheelock and Webb.  

       March 13th, 1858 the Presbyterian church re-organized itself into a Congregational church by adopting the following resolutions.

       Resolved, 1st.  That we do hereby dissolve our association with the Oswego Presbytery, and all connection with the Presbyterian church.

      Resolved, 2nd.  That we hereby organize ourselves into a congregational church and pledge ourselves to God and to each other to conduct our affairs according to the rules and usages of strictly Congregational churches.

       The following persons thus became members of and constituted the church.

       Cornelius Acker, David Hollis, Elon Stowell, Ruth Acker, B. Maria Beadle, Frances Beadle, Orpha Burkett, Melinda Groat, Laura Hollis, Jane Potter, Abigail Stowell, Celinda Stowell, Temperance Ann Stowell.

       The church had become reduced by death and removals, to the original number thirteen, and of the original members, Orpha Burkett was the only one who entered into the organization of the new church.

       At the next meeting new articles of Faith were adopted, and six members added to the church: Mrs. Mary Stowell, Mrs. Harmony Baker, Allen Campbell, Leander C. Preslar, Otis E. Stowell, Rhoda Ann Stowell.

      The church then voted to apply for admission to the Black River Convention.  The officers were Rev. Jacob R. Shepherd, pastor; Elon Stowell and David Hollis, deacons.

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Copyright © Oct.  2004 Hugh F. Murray,Laura Perkins 
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