First Wesleyan Methodist Church Of Seneca Falls Records,1843-1911.

Collection Number: 6049

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Seneca Falls records, 1843-1911.
Collection Number:
6049
Creator:
First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Seneca Falls (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)
Quantity:
1 reel microfilm.
Forms of Material:
Microfilm
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Seven numbered volumes containing trustee meeting minutes (1843-1871, 1880-1913), proceedings of the church's monthly business meetings (1858- 1870), clerk's records (1874-1880) and several miscellaneous papers including receipts, certificates of dismission, and a subscription list. The records document the church's 1869 split, church discipline, finances, and reactions to the Women's Temperance Union and freemasonry.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

On March 27, 1843 a portion of the congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Seneca Falls seceeded and organized the First Wesleyan Society of Seneca Falls at the school house. They built a church costing $1770 on a lot costing $600 at the corner of Hynderse and Fall Streets. That same year, many congregationalists who had joined the Presbyterian Church after their church had disbanded, withdrew over the question of American slavery and joined the Wesleyan church. In 1852 an effort was made to revive the Congregational church, and Rev. B.F. Bradford, who had served the Wesleyan church for 3 years was called to the pastorate. For a year and a half the group worshipped in the concert Hall, but Mr. Bradford's health was impaired, and the group disbanded. Most of the group returned to the Wesleyan congregation where they remained until 1869 when Rev. Lyle, the minister, left the Wesleyans after being foiled in an attempt to transform that church into a Congregational church. Mr. and Mrs. Jabez Matthews and Abram Failing were prominent members who went back and forth between the two groups. The Congregational group called themselves the First Congregational Church of Seneca Falls, and met in the Good Templar's Hall in December 1869 with 63 members.
The split left the Wesleyans with only 60 members down from a high of 200 in 1862, but by 1875 the church was strong enough to dedicate a new church, valued at $14,500. The Sunday School was active, and the church possessed a library of 550 volumes.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Records of the Wesleyan Methodist Church consist of 7 numbered volumes containing trustee meeting minutes (book 1, 1843-71? book 5, 1880-1913); proceedings of the church's monthly business meetings, (book 2, 1858-1863, book 3, 1863-1870); and "clerk's records," 1874-1880 which are probably minutes of monthly business meetings (book 73 1874-80); and several miscellaneous papers including receipts, certificates of dismission and a subscription list. The records document the 1869 split, church discipline and finances, and reactions to the Women's Temperance Union and freemasonry. Records of the Congregational offshoots, though later expurged from the records are legible.
SUBJECTS

Names:
First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Seneca Falls (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)
First Congregational Church of Seneca Falls (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)
First Wesleyan Society of Seneca Falls (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)
Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Subjects:
Church records and registers--New York (State)--Seneca Falls.
Temperance and religion--New York (State)--Seneca Falls.
Church discipline.
Methodist church buildings.
Methodist Church--New York (State)--Seneca Falls.
Freemasonry--Religious aspects--Methodists.

Places:
Seneca County (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.
Seneca Falls (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.

Form and Genre Terms:
Minutes.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Cite As:
First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Seneca Falls records, #6049. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Item 1
Book no. 1, Trustees Record Book March, 1843-1871
Page 1
statement on formation, call to build a church, election of trustees
Page 2
subscription list
Page 3, July 1844
trustee's minutes commence. Resolution that the chapel shall not be opened for speaking on political parties
Page 4, Feb 1844
resolution that if the chapel is sold those who contributed toward it must be reimbursed
March 1845
3 recended
March 1849
resolved to insure the chapel, to build a sidewalk and culvert over ditches at the front of the lot
April 1855
voted to charge $5.00 to open the house of worship for mass meetings
May 1855
illegible
Apr. 15, 1869
The president and secretary are directed to take legal proceedings against all or some persons who forcibly entered the church.
June 10, 1869
request by Bro. Denning to use the church for a Quarterly meeting of those "claiming to be of the Wesleyan Church" denied
Sept. 10, 1869
resolved to protect the church property by having the church gate locked except during services and the classroom locked on Sunday and to buy furniture
Aug, 10, 1869
special election of 5 trustees in place of 5 who resigned
March 28, 1870
2 trustees elected
Jan. 9, 1871
begin to plan for a new church list of members of the Wesleyan Church (some marked with x's and dated, mostly 1869 printed roll of members notes, 2 trustees minutes, 1871
Item 2
Book no.2, Proceedings of Monthly Business Meetings of the Church. May 1858-1863
Page 1, May 1858
Proceedings of regular Monthly Meetings commence, resolved to hold only morning and evening services from now on, and to elect 5 stewards
Page 11, Sept. 1858
resolution disapproving of a brother who burned the church's accounts, plans for a "donation visit" are made
Page 27, Jan. 1859
many new members
Page 30, Feb. 13, 1859
many new members
Page 36, March 13, 1859
many new members, some baptised by immersion, some by sprinkling
Page 38, April 3, 1859
many new members, some baptised by immersion, some by sprinkling
Page 42, April 17, 1859
many new members, some baptised by immersion, some by sprinkling
Page 45, May 24, 1859
many new members, some baptised by immersion, some by sprinkling
Page 46, June 1859
trial for immoral behavior
Pages 62-63, Jan. 1860
charges of immorality brought
Page 69
sisters are elected stewards resolution forbidding the use of the church to unorthodox ministers
Page 73
requested that Sister Wright take charge of the communion service
April 1861
bro. feels that the church and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible and withdraws
Feb. 1862
sister expelled for immorality
Item 3
Book no. 3, Regular Monthly Meeting Book, 1863-1870
Sept. 1863
charge against a Member for immorality
July 1864
a "festival" (ice cream social is planned, (earned $176.27)
Sept. 1865
resolved to buy an organ to replace the melodian
Dec. 1865
a parsonage is purchased
1866
many records illegible
Oct. 1869
resolution to form an executive committee to take over membership duties
March 1 1869
the group begins to call itself a society
Apr. 1869
resolution changing the name to the First Congregational Church
Dec. 6 1869
new trustees elected in place of those who had left the church
Item 4
Book no. 4, 1869-1874
Apr. 12, 1869
resolution calling for the termination of the Pastor's duties to the congregation
Apr. 19, 1869
executive committee dissolved, stewards, treasurer and clerk dismissed, members dropped by the executive committee restored
May 17, 1869
recommended to consult a lawyer regarding the removal of the trustees and obtaining an injunction forbidding the trustees from paying the minister
Nov. 1, 1869 - Nov.1, 1870
in book 3
April 1869-July
in Book 3 expurged
March 21, 1870
minutes continue
Aug. 4, 1872
Bro. involved with the Odd Fellows agrees to leave the organization rather than be expelled
May 11, 1874
discussion on getting a lecturer on Free Masonry (C.A. Blanchar agreed to allow the Women's Temperance Movement to hold prayer meetings in the church. Five delegates appointed to attend the Syracuse meeting of the Christians opposed to Secret Societies Trustee Records commencing Apr. 5, 1871 discuss construction of the church
May 4, 1872
a list of probationers and members
Item 5
Book no. 5, Trustees Records, 1880-1913
"Book for Recording the doings of the Board of Trustees of Wesleyan Methodist Church Commencing 1880"
May 3, 1860
Seneca County Christian Association opposed to Secret Societies is granted permission to use the lecture room
July 7, 1880
Permission granted for use of the lecture room for a lecture to ladies on health
Apr. 28, 1912
renters of the parsonage are given notice to leave since they drink beer bills for hardware dated 1907
Item 6
Book no.6, Church Register
Jan. 27, 1887
first entry
Jan. 28, 1887
resolution on the membership of Mrs. Susie Palmer membership book purchased because of a resolution passed July 6, 1874
Pages 2-15
lists name, received (when, how), dismissed (when, how)
Page 16
baptisms, none listed
Pages 17-22
roll of probationary members
Item 7
Book no. 7, "Clerk's Records", May 1874-1880
May 11, 1874
Voted to try to get the Saturday morning class to organize
Page 1, May 4, 1874
list of trustees for 1872-77 and stewards
Page 6, May 11, 1874
church to offer a place for the Women's Temperance movement to hold weekly prayer meetings appointment of 5 delegates to attend the National Christian Association opposed to Secret Societies meeting in Syracuse
Page 18, Aug. 3, 1874
members arrange to attend the Rochester Conference Camp Meeting
Page 20
special meeting to devise ways and means of finishing the church
Page 45, Dec. 7, l874
resolved to cease offering space for meetings to the Women's Temperance Movement because it refuses to identify itself as a Christian organization
Dec. 5, 1875
appointment of delegates to the Anti-Secret Societies convention and to take a collection for the state agent
Jan. 1, 1876
discussion of the resolution concerning the word "Christian" in the Women's Temperance Movement
Feb. 7, 1876
2 men are appointed to protect the church from unruly young men and boys
Apr. 3, 1876
resolution commending the pastor for his services is lost
June 1876
Women's Temperance Union Resolution recended, they can meet in the church
Sept. 4, 1876
report of the examining committee dealing with the unity of the church and its members
Oct. 2, 1876
the pastor states his reason for wishing to leave
Apr. 23, 1988
Annual Report to the Conference. Such reports occur every April from now on
Nov. 5, 1877
motion on having an anti-tobacco sermon
Apr. 1, 1878
resolved that the church opposes appropriating money from the Missionary Fund to any church in Farmington, N.Y.
July 1, 1878
plans to have a raspberry festival
March 10, 1870
George P, Seekill wrote to the church about his legal difficulties
March 10, 1879
member dismissed for Unchristian conduct and breaking Ecclesiastical Law
Item 8
Miscellaneous papers tipped in the church record books
Contains receipts (1879, 1901), lists of members (1901, 1911), 2 certificates of dismission from Christ Church in Fayette, and a subscription list (1875) for completing construction of the church.