First Presbyterian Church Of Corning Records,1834-1915.

Collection Number: 6081

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


First Presbyterian Church of Corning records, 1834-1915.
Collection Number:
First Presbyterian Church of Corning (Corning, N.Y.)
1 reel microfilm.
Forms of Material:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Two volumes (1834-1845, 1847-897) session meeting minutes, which deal predominately with discipline, temperance and administrative issues and one volume of trustee's records (1843-1915)
Collection material in English


The church was organized July 1, 1811 in Knoxsville as the Presbyterian Church of Painted Post, and admitted to the Presbytery of Geneva in 1812. The ultimate result of at least two subsequent changes in Presbytery boundaries was the church's membership in the Chemung Presbytery. In 1843, the congregation's name was changed to the present one. Considerable controversy involving a temperance resolution, discussion of church governance, structure and personal differences among the membership resulted in the dismission of forty-six members who organized and built a second church in 1845, again called the Presbyterian Church of Painted Post. The two churches were reunited by act of the Presbytery in 1849, but evidently continued to worship separately. During the winter of 1863-1864 a revival assisted by the Evangelist Rev. O. Parker increased membership and helped finance the construction of a stone church which was completed in 1867.


No records exist from the church's formation in 1811 until 1834. Items #1 and #2 contain church session meeting minutes (1834-1845; 1847-1897) and item #3 is a trustee's record book (1843-1915). The session records are predominately related to discipline, temperance, and administrative issues. Membership lists appear in items #1 and #3. Microfilm errors are as follows: in item #1 pages 54 and 55 are duplicated between pages 51 and 52; in item #2 pages 14-17 are duplicated between pages 17 and 18; and in item #3 two pages with the heading "Trustees Nov. 9-1901" are repeated. Contents:

First Presbyterian Church of Corning (Corning, N.Y.)
Chemung Presbytery (N.Y.)
Geneva Presbytery (N.Y.)
Presbyterian Church of Painted Post (Painted Post, N.Y.)

Presbyterian Church--New York (State)--Corning.
Presbyterian Church--Government.
Church discipline.
Temperance and religion--New York (State)--Corning.
Revivals--New York (State)--Corning.
Presbyterian Church--Membership.
Presbyterian church buildings.

Steuben County (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.
Corning (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.

Form and Genre Terms:


Cite As:
First Presbyterian Church of Corning records, #6081. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Item #1
First Church, Painted Post, Corning
Session Record Book, February 1834 to October 1845 . Session minutes record names of moderator, elders and corresponding members present, appointments to committees, issuance of citations to appear before session (copied in minutes), hearing committee reports, special meetings, granting letters of dismission, admitting new members, baptisms and officiating clergy, hearing confessions and accusations of misconduct, election and installation of elders, passing judgement on accused members including public announcement of guilt, suspension, excommunication, and appointment of delegates to Presbytery meetings.
First page: membership list.
Records names, dismission to (?), suspended, excommunicated, died.
Second page: membership list (3 entries).
Records name, when received, how received, when/how dismissed.
Following pages: membership lists.
Records names, when admitted, by letter or examination, dismissed to where, suspended, excommunicated, died, remarks. Note: first four pages have no dates, fifth's dated January 1, 1834.
February 5, 1834
Session minutes begin. Pagination begins.
pp. 57-58: ( August 5, 1836 )
Temperance resolution incorporated into Confession of Faith.
pp. 60-61: ( November 4, 1836 )
Above temperance clause expunged from Confession of Faith on advice of Presbytery.
p. 62: November 18, 1836 , special meeting
Session refuses to hold a congregational meeting requested by 14 members re: above temperance clause and increasing number of elders.
pp. 66-67: ( December 4, 1836 )
Presbytery to meet to discuss the above issue.
p. 93: ( February 12, 1841 )
Member charged with heresy for claiming universal salvation.
p. 120: ( September 2, 1843 )
Anti-slavery resolution adopted; name changed to First Presbyterian Church of Corning.
p. 128: ( November 5, 1843 )
Member suspended for leaving the church during a sermon given by a black minister.
pp. 140-141: ( June 3, 1844 )
Presbytery advises Session that suspension for color prejudice is too severe.
p. 146: ( Elkland, September 4, 1844 )
Copy of a letter from clerk of Chemung Presbytery re: recent changes in Corning church governance structure, and notice of Presbytery meeting to be held at Corning to discuss this.
pp. 154-192: ( December 14, 1844 - September 8, 1845 )
These entries concern the case of one member.. The intensity of this trial leads to a complaint against the Presbytery, and eventually involved the Synod. Note: pagination ends p. 190.
p. 194: ( Corning, October 14, 1845 )
Copy of a letter to the pastor from approximately 30 members requesting dismission to form own church.
Next 2 pages: membership list (1837?)
Includes name, when and how received, dismissed, suspended, excommunicated, died. (20 names)
Next page: (1836?)
Membership list
Next 22 pages
Membership lists,some upside down, many corrections, some dates.
At end of volume
Copy letter (Corning, November 4, 1845) From petitioners for dismission and recommendations, and resolution (Corning, November 1, 1845 to grant dismission to petitioners without recommendation of good Christian character, signed by church pastor.
Item #2
Session Record Book, June 1847 - April 1897
Session minutes record same information as in item #1 with the addition of deacon's reports.
Confession of Faith (2 pages) and Covenant (2 pages)
With membership lists (names, removed, died, dismissed).
June 16, 1847
Minutes begin. Pagination begins.
p. 5: ( August 5, 1848 )
Session invites First Presbyterian Church of Painted Post to reunite separated congregations.
p. 10: ( April 2, 1849 )
Resolution by Presbytery to reunite Corning and Painted Post churches.
p. 32: ( December 29, 1851 )
Member excommunicated as result of a case which lasted two years.
p. 79: ( April 1, 1856 )
Decision re: foreign missions fund.
p. 80: ( April 4, 1856 )
Resolution re: dancing.
p. 118: ( July 5, I860 )
Female members invited to participate in election of church officers.
p. 147: ( November 30, 1863 )
Resolution to hold daily prayer meetings and to invite Rev. O. Parker, "The Evangelist," to assist.
October 14, 1886
Minutes end.
"Record of Ruling Elders."
Gives synopsis of church history and lists elders' names, when ordained, installed, ceased to act.
List of elders
Same page as above. Of First Presbyterian Church of Painted Post, with dates.
List of elders
For the reunited First Presbyterian Church of Corning, with dates.
re: death of an elder, 1883 .
Deaths ( 1880-1893? )
Lists names and dates.
"Names of Male Members"
Includes name, date, how received, date died, suspended or excommunicated (paginated).
List of suspended members ( 1874-1880 )
List of letters granted ( 1874-1896 )
Lists names, dates.
Records whether male, female adult or infant, who performed and when.
Letter of dismission and recommendation, ( 1882 )
Signed by church clerk and pastor.
Newspaper clipping, ( n.d. )
re: mission contributions.
Member's Disjunction Certificate, 1888 , tipped in
Newspaper clipping, ( n.d. )
Of centennial speech delivered July 1876.
Item #3
Book of Records of the First Presbyterian Society of Corning, September 18, 1843
Trustee's Record Book, 1843-1915. Annual church and congregation meeting minutes record election of trustees, appointment of class leaders, appointments to committees, passage and adoption of resolutions; calling, electing and hiring ministers and sextons; choice of chairperson and clerk; setting pew rents/costs, minister's salary, sexton's salary, subscriptions and collections; hearing annual and incidental trustees' reports, and corporate meetings with statements on church and congregation finances.
Certificate of Incorporation, ( September 18, 1843 )
Records election of trustees, appointment of class leaders. Signed by Steuben County Court Commissioner.
Certificate verifying election of trustees, ( September 13, 1844 )
Signed by Steuben County Clerk.
Minutes begin November 11, 1844 .
February 4, 1852
Committee established to plan construction of a session house.
October 14, 1863 and March 4, 1867
Entries re: building a new church.
March 13, 1877
Church debt.
June 11, 1887
Building a parsonage.
October 18, 1901
Church debt.
April 1, 1902
$9096.00 taken in subscriptions to clear debt.
April 9, 1906
Church debt of $5658.13.
November 9, 1914
last entry.
At end of volume
"Treasurer's reports, 1915-1916; "copy organ subscriptions" (1902?); annual meeting minutes (April 13, 1914) on letter head "The Corning Building Co.;" and notice re: envelope system," November 30, 1896 (see minutes for November 26, 1896). All of these are tipped in notes.