First Congregational Church Sherburne, Chenango County, New York
The Duanesburgh colonists who settled this town arrived on the afternoon of Saturday, in March, 1793, and the second Sabbath following their arrival they met and inaugurated religious services which have been continued to the present time. July 6, 1794, Nathaniel and Bethiah Gray, Elijah and Sarah Gray, Abraham and Betsey Raymond, Timothy and Ruth Hatch, Elisha and Patience Gray, Josiah Lathrop, Eleazer Lathrop, Mabel, wife of Newcomb Raymond, Ruth, wife of Joel Hatch, Melissa, wife of James Raymond, and Ezra Lathrop and Mariam, his wife, were formed into a church by Rev. Mr. Campbell, a missionary, and denominated the First Congregational Church in Sherburne. (It is erroneously claimed that this was the first church organized in the county.) Nathaniel Gray and Abraham Raymond were chosen deacons. The former was the generally acknowledged father of the church. For thirteen years he was their leader and minister, except on occasions when missionary help was present, which was very seldom.
At an early day a large and commodious school house was built in the Quarter and was ordinarily used by this church as a place of worship. In 1803 a church edifice was built on what was then called “Robinson Hill,” and though unfinished was used for religious purposes. It was soon felt that the location did not accommodate a majority of the people, and accordingly the work of moving it was commenced in the spring of 1810. When it arrived at the Quarter a delegation of people forbid its being taken any further south, and the opposition was so strong that it stood there upon its rollers till the autumn of that year. The village people refused to do anything unless it was moved to the village. It was finally agreed to move it to where it now stands, about midway between the Quarter and the village, Who the increasing demand for a church in the village a site was bought in 1856 and the present church edifice erected the following year. It was dedicated in 1858. About this time the old church, with its historic associations, was sold to the Catholics.
The first minister employed by the people was Rev. Nathan B. Darrow, who labored with them about a year; but they had no settled pastor previous to 1806. During these early years the church was supplied occasionally by missionaries from eastern churches.
The society connected with this church was organized March 15, 1798, as The First Congregational Society of Sherburne, and Joel Northrup, Abraham Raymond, John Gray, Nathaniel Austin, Ely Marsh and Orsamus Holmes were elected trustees.
The following have been successive pastors of this church, and those whose names are marked with a * were installed:
Rev. Roger Adams * from August, 1806-00
” Abner Benedict * ” ” 1811-13
” John Truair * ” ” 1815-20
” I. N. Sprague * ” June 7, 1825-34
” Henry Snyder ”
” George E. Delavan * ” 1837-40
” Mr. Blodgett ”
” J. C. Brown * ” 1842-43
” A. C. Tuttle * ” 1844-53
” Oliver Bronson ”
” A. McDougall * ” Feb., 1854-60
” E. Curtiss ” 1860-67
” Samuel Miller ” 1867-74
” James Chambers ” August, 1875
There have gone from this church eleven licensed preachers, viz: Eleazor Lathrop, Watson Adams, L. S. Rexford, William Robinson, N. Smith, B. Gray, J. W. Fox, S. Carver, J. Copeland, H. Lee and S. Curtis. It sent to the foreign field one female missionary, Mrs. Amelia Little, daughter of William Newton, who died suddenly before entering upon her expected labors. Sept. 12, 1879, W. N. Chambers was ordained by this church and set apart to the foreign missionary work.
The number of members Aug. 31, 1879, was, males 95, females 148, total 243. The number of families in the congregation was 120; the number in Sabbath school, of which H. F. Dunham is superintendent, 150; the value of the church, $8,000, and parsonage, $2,000.
The contributions of the church to benevolent causes during the year was as follows:–
Home Missions $211.15
American Missionary Association 115.51
A. B. C. F. M. 448.83
American Congregational Union 35.94
Other Charities 107.92
During Rev. Amos C. Tuttle’s pastorate the antislavery excitement culminated and about forty who favored the abolition of slavery, withdrew from the church and formed The Free Church of Sherburne, commonly known as the “Abolition Church,” which had an existence of only three or four years.