History of St. Paul’s Church, Antwerp, New York
Rev. Robert Horwood held the first Episcopal service in Antwerp, and administered the first baptism, to Annis Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander P. and Elizabeth S. Sterling, at Sterlingburgh, September 6, 1855. In August, 1858, Rev. J. Winslow commenced his labors in Carthage, Champion, and Sterlingville. In 1866 he organized a parish in Gouverneur, and held missionary services in Antwerp, where he presented a class for confirmation by Right Rev. Bishop Coxe, the first bishop to visit Antwerp. Mr. Winslow was succeeded by Rev. Frederick Hyde, then a young deacon. He remained six months. Rev. William A. Ely, deacon, succeeded him, and organized the parish under the name of St. Paul’s church. The first wardens were Oliver Child, of Philadelphia, New York, senior, and Alexander P. Sterling, of Antwerp, junior. He was succeeded by the Rev. Gabriel Johnston. Services were first held in the chapel of the Antwerp Seminary, then in Foster Hotel hall, next in an upper room in S. G. Wiggins’ block, used as a school-room, and then in Mrs. William Gills‘ house, where they were continued until the church was built. In 1871, Rev. H. V. Gardiner took charge of the parish and built the church, the lot having been donated by Mrs. Gill.
The corner-stone was laid on the 7th of September, 1871, by Rev. Dr. Babcock, of Watertown, assisted by the rector. Mrs. Laton Bentley succeeded in raising $2000, subscribed in Antwerp, on the condition that the church at large should raise $1000 when the church was completed. It cost $1500 above the estimates; but gathering fresh zeal and faith from obstacles, more money was obtained than was needed, and Clayton received $250 of the surplus. After paying the debt, the church was consecrated October 8, 1872, by the Right Rev. F. D. Huntington, assisted by the rector, Rev. H. V. Gardiner, and Revs. Brewer, Hilliard, Johnston, and Miller. After the celebration of the holy communion six persons were confirmed, one, a Presbyterian clergyman, who came a hundred miles to receive the holy rites, and who afterwards took orders in the church. The sermon on this occasion was delivered by Rev. L. R. Brewer, of Trinity church, Watertown, New York.
The Rev. H. V. Gardiner was succeeded by Rev. Geo. Jones, of the Bermudas, who for three months labored with zeal and noticeable effect. His health failing, he was obliged to cease labor. In October, 1873, Mr. Jones was succeeded by Rev. F. Hilliard, rector of St. James’ church, Theresa. He held semi-monthly services in the parish until his resignation of St. James’, in January, 1874. He was succeeded, February 18, by Rev. Hugh Bailey, the present rector, who has ever been zealous and efficient in his efforts for the welfare of the church. Fifty confirmations have taken place since his assumption of the charge.