First Baptist Church of Geneva records, 1825-1890.
Collection Number: 6003

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


First Baptist Church of Geneva records, 1825-1890.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Collection Number:
Includes records of the Baptist Society (1826-1830); records of the Board of Trustees of the first Baptist Society; constitution of the Social Aid Society (1855-1864); minutes of the Ontario Baptist Ministerial Conference (1852-1877); and the records of the Baptist Church (1826-1890).
First Baptist Church of Geneva, (Geneva, N.Y.)
1 microfilm reels.
Collection material in English


The First Baptist Society of Geneva was formed in August 1825 and the records of the Society begin on the 29th of that month. The church was incorporated in 1839 when a church building was purchased from the Presbyterians. The church was a member of the Ontario Baptist Association and the Ontario Baptist Ministerial Conference. In addition, the church established its own missionary society auxiliary to the Baptist Association and maintained a Bible tract society and a temperance organization. A social aid society was formed in November 1855. There was considerable revival activity in the church, most notably in the winter of 1838-1839 and from November 1842 to March 1843.


The records of the Geneva Baptist Church document a wide range of topics, including church discipline, a continuing controversy about seating the church's black members, church finances, and maintaining piety. At various times, the church was referred to as either a church or a society. The dates covered are: Item 1 - Aug. 29, 1829-Jan. 29, 1842; Item 2 - Nov. 12, 1855-May 29, 1864; Item 3 - June 2, 1852-Aug. 14, 1877; Item 4 - Jan. 7, 1826-Apr. 1, 1838; Item 5 -undated; and Item 6 - Dec. 25, l84l-Dec. 11, 1890. Included in the collection are the records of the church's Social Aid Society, mainly minutes and the minutes of the Ontario Baptist Ministerial Conference.


Cite As:

First Baptist Church of Geneva records, #6003. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Ontario Baptist Ministerial Conference
First Baptist Church of Geneva. Social Aid Society
Geneva (N.Y.) -- Religious life and customs.
Ontario County (N.Y.) -- Religious life and customs.
Baptists -- New York (State) -- Geneva.
Baptists -- Societies, etc.
Form and Genre Terms:

Item 1
Records for the Geneva Baptist Society by William Kimber, Clerk Geneva August 29, 1825, Chronological, unpaginated,
Scope and Contents
These minutes begin with an entry at the organization of the church on August 29, 1825, detailing the various official appointments of the church (moderators, trustees and Sunday school class leaders) and deal with the church's finances. The minutes are followed by three pages of lists of children, school lessons and notes on the church building. Following this is a page entitled "The records of the board of Trustees of the first Baptist Society in Geneva," which cover only four pages, the last page being a series of figures (March 29, 1827-Oct. 16, 1830). They cover various appointments to the Board and notes on church finances.
Item 2
Records of the Social Aid Society. Chronological, unpaginated,
Scope and Contents
The records of the Social Aid Society covering both the organization and functions of the group, include drafts of the Society's constitution, accounts of Society funds and lists of members. A list entitled "Visitors," has contributions to the society noted next to each name. Receipts are pasted into four pages of the volume. There are 36 pages of minutes (November 12, 1855-May 29, 1864; no entries 1859-1863). Minutes include the election of officers, planned activities, changes in membership, governmental resolutions, and records of collections and expenditures. Also noted are meeting activities including readings, singing and prayer.
Item 3
Minutes of the Ont(ario) Bap(tist) Ministerial Conference From June 2, 1852 To --, Chronological with meetings numbered ( June 2, 1852-August 14, 1877 , meetings 56-147), unpaginated
June 2, 1852-August 14, 1877
Scope and Contents
Ministerial Conference meetings were divided into morning, afternoon and evening sessions of two consecutive days for each meeting. #6003 continued Included in the minutes are notes on prayers and sermons as veil as mention of essays delivered at meetings e.g. "Universalism - a system of Infidelity having no affinity with the Gospel." Critiques of the sermons and essays were also delivered. The minutes record the selection of moderators and arrangements for succeeding meetings. Also included is a list entitled "Members of Ontario Baptist Ministerial Conference l86o-6l," containing the names of 21 ministers and their respective churches. Also included is a list entitled "Brethren meeting with Ont. Bap. Con." with names, residences, age and year ordained; and a list of eight towns with unidentified figures.
Item 4
The Records of the Baptist Church in Geneva Constituted February 8, 1826, Chronological, 24l pp.
(January 7, 1826-April 1, 1838)
Scope and Contents
This book contains both covenant and regular meeting minutes, opening with an index of important events and a key to various letter symbols denoting baptisms, additions by letter, restoration, dismission, exclusion and deaths. The records include appointments to various church offices, organizational resolutions and some brief notes on church finances. Of particular note in the minutes are entries interspersed between 1831-1838 concerning black members, including entries referring to a partition constructed between blacks and whites, a resolution to give the gallery over to black use, concluding on June 3$ 1837 when the church's black members receive permission to form their own church. Another entry of note (Sept. 2, 1826) notes the formation of an auxiliary to the Ontario Baptist Association to spread the Gospel "and promote Indian reform."
Item 5
Four loose sheets,
Scope and Contents
These sheets note the exclusion of three male church members who had "in their possession the Book or papers Containing the Articles and Covinant" and refused to return them. The articles and covenant are then restated and a list of members included.
Item 6
Meeting Minutes Chronological, 413 pp., ( December 25, l84l-Dec. 11, 1890 )
December 25, l84l-Dec. 11, 1890
Scope and Contents
These minutes include the appointments of church officials (moderators, conference delegates, trustees and Sunday school class leaders), dealing additionally with some church finances and church discipline. There is significant revival activity, particularly during November 1842-March 1843.
Entries on the activities of the congregation focus heavily on concerns for unity within the church. A noteworthy entry (March 4, 1848) contains the report of a "Vigialance Committee" stating that many in the church were "Unworthy members making use of their standing in the church to accomplish unholy objects" and called for strict discipline." The committee concluded its extensive report by saying "in our humble opinion this church cannot reasonable expect the blessing of God."