First Baptist Church of Palmyra records, 1835-1865.
Collection Number: 6033

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


First Baptist Church of Palmyra records, 1835-1865.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Collection Number:
Minutes of monthly covenant meetings, yearly election of trustees, and quarterly financial meetings (1835-1865), discussing church discipline, revival seasons, and church finances, including the construction of a new church.
First Baptist Church of Palmyra (Palmyra, N.Y.)
1 microfilm reels.
Collection material in English


The Baptist societies of Palmyra and Macedon villages (only 4-5 miles apart) held meetings together prior to 1835, but in February of that year they decided to hold separate meetings and to become separate religious societies. After certain financial arrangements, the separation was completed and the records in these volumes begin with a list of the Palmyra members and the statement of a church covenant.


These two volumes contain minutes of monthly covenant meetings, yearly elections of trustees, and quarterly financial meeting minutes. The record begins in February 1835, and the last recorded meeting in the second volume was in November 1869. This Baptist society and church was a member of the Wayne Baptist Association, to which meetings they annually sent delegates.


Cite As:

First Baptist Church of Palmyra records, #6033. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Wayne Baptist Association
Palmyra (N.Y.) -- Religious life and customs.
Wayne County (N.Y.) -- Religious life and customs.
Baptists -- New York (State) -- Palmyra.
Churches, Baptist.
Baptists -- Societies.
Revivals -- New York (State) -- Palmyra.
Church discipline.
Form and Genre Terms:

Item #1
Covenant and articles of faith,
January 13, 1833
Scope and Contents
January 16th 1833 they vote to adopt the "Whitesborough Resolutions" (with regard to Speculating, Free Masonry, etc.)
February 1835 they divide into two societies.
Item #2
A minute book,
Scope and Contents
Contents: This volume contains mostly covenant meeting minutes. The participants discussed religious experiences; admission, dismission and exclusion of members; disciplinary actions and necessary investigative committee reports; financial matters and the election of trustees; and delegates to the other churches for committees. The general procedure for disciplinary problems included a charge brought forth by a church member, a decision as to whether pr not a committee should be appointed to investigate and report, a trial of the accused member if necessary with witnesses and testimony, a final decision, which in several cases ended by "withdrawing the Right hand of fellowship" from the guilty individual.
Several revivals occurred during the period covered by the first volume of minutes. For example, there was a "protracted meeting" in April 1836 and durin during that entire spring it is noted that "the Lord was evidently with us." There were also periods of lessened membership, sometimes following close behind the revival periods, as in September 1836: "the church appears to be in a cold state..." In December 1837 they note" "Had a reviving season" which may or may not necessarily mean a revival but appears to in this case, since in January 1839 an elder of the church "compared the present state of the church with what is was in January 1838 when we enjoyed a revival." In February 1839 the church bought the present lot on Canandaigua Street and built a brick meeting house. Once again, in April 1839, they "had a reviving time."
Item #3
A minute book,
Scope and Contents
Contents: In the beginning of this volume is a sheet dated 1857 certifying Reverend Mudge as a gospel minister.
In January 1841 the new meeting house on Canandaigua Street was dedicated and shortly afterwards there was another revival or "awakening in the church" (January 1841) in which they gained 30 new members.
In this volume there follows a list of members with the usual categories after their names: Received by Baptism, by Letter, Restored, Dismissed by Letter, Excluded, Died/ Next is the "Articles of Faith."
There appear to have been more revival seasons in early 1842, and in April of that year 70 new members enter the congregation.
The disciplinary matters dealt with in the covenant meetings ranged from individual behavior, intemperance, marital probelms, business dealings or stirring up controversy among members. Sometimes the charge was as particular as: "They have borrowed some articles of their Neighbors which were not returned..." (January 1844). Often the crime was of a more dramatic nature, as in this testimony of a former landlady regarding a minister who abused his wife. "Mrs. P. sustained the charges by asserting a continual course of cruelty toward his wife while there; stating that he drove her from his room and causing her to Sleep on the floor, and laying violent hands on her." (September 1853).
Often the charges are quite vaguely stated: "The first charges was thate A N was guilty of an Incendiary Spirite. Trying to stir up strife, etc." (February 1861).
The church found itself in considerable debt in early 1861. Toward the end of that decade the situation had obviously improved since they decided to enlarge the building in 1869, by raising $12,000.
The last entry in this volume is a list labelled "Association minutes from 1867-8" with a list of names and the same categories of baptism, etc. as the previous list.
This is followed by another list entitled "Names of the Members of the Baptist Church in Palmyra, as they were at the commencement of the Association Year beginning October 1855" and it is the same type of list as before.
The last entry is a copy of the "Revised Statutes of N.Y." called "An Act to provide for the incorporation of Religious Societies Passed April 5th 1813" and deals with the election, terms, and duties of trustees in the church.