Town of Sherburne, Chenango County, New York
History of the Churches
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
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
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.
The Baptist Church of Sherburne.--The Baptists residing in
Sherburne village and vicinity commenced holding meetings in the academy
in that village in March, 1836, and employed Mr. Ewell, a student of
Hamilton Theological Seminary, to preach for them.
July 2, 1836, they convened in the academy for the purpose of forming a
church conference. A. H. Burlingame was chosen moderator and E. C. Wheeler
clerk. A church covenant was adopted and signed by Charles Lewis, John
Benton, Willard Stebbins, Ezra Race, Sylvester Benton, Carloss Benton,
Horace Eaton, Hendrick Bresee, E. C. Wheeler, Calvin Locke, H. B. Hale,
John Benton, Jr., Clarissa Eaton, Mary Bresee, N. J. Benton, Sophronia
Benton, Amy Foster, Jane Wheeler, Deborah Lewis, Elizabeth Lewis. Susannah
Rogers, P. B. Reynolds, Betsey Race, Eleanor Locke, Abigail Stebbins,
Maria Shaw and (???) Marsh, who, having received the consent of their
respective churches, were constituted members of this. July 16, 1836,
articles of faith were adopted. Oct 7, 1836, a council convened in the
Congregational church, and after some alterations and additions to their
articles of faith and covenant, admitted them to church fellowship. Elder
J. S. Swan was appointed to preach the introductory sermon, Elder A.
Wheelock, to address the church, and Elder J. Corwin, to present the right
hand of fellowship.
Nov. 12, 1836, Elder J. Corwin performed the rite of baptism on Betsey
Benton and Fanny Stafford, and broke bread to the church for the first
The church was incorporated as the Sherburne Village Baptist Society,
Dec. 3, 1836, and Willard Stebbins, Charles Lewis, Horace Eaton, Ezra Race
and Ira Wright were elected trustees.
Their church edifice was commenced in 1837 and finished in 1838, at a cost
of about $2,300. Services were held previous to that time in the academy.
April 23, 1837, C. H. Slafter was hired to preach for eighteen shillings
per Sabbath. March 31, 1838, it was voted to hire Daniel H. Gillette for
the year. He was dismissed May 19, 1839. August 25, 1839, it was voted to
extend a call to E. E. L. Taylor for one year, at a salary of $300, his
salary to commence when he was ordained and devoted his whole time to the
church. He commenced his labors the first Sabbath in August, 1839. March
15, 1840, a call was given Rev. S. P. Way, who commenced his labors March
22, 1840. Aug. 22, 1841, it was voted to call Elder Crain, but the records
do not show whether he accepted. Dec. 6, 1842, it was voted to invite Rev.
Alba Gross to preach the ensuing year, commencing the second Sabbath in
December, 1842. Charles B. Post was ordained pastor of this church Dec. 3,
1845. Aug. 12, 1848, it was voted to call Leonard Ilsley to ordination.
Rev. Nelson Mumford became the pastor in the early part of 1849. He
labored with them five years. Nov. 25, 1854, the church resolved to make
an effort to secure the services of Rev. S. M. Ferguson, who served them
till 1856. After Mr. Ferguson left the pulpit was supplied mostly by
students from Hamilton till March, 1858, when a call was given Rev. J. M.
Ferris, who commenced his labors as pastor the first Sabbath in April. His
resignation was accepted Dec. 22, 1858. The pulpit seems to have been
supplied by students from this time till March 19, 1862.
July 26, 1862, the Church voted to call Rev. T. K. Brownson to the
pastorate. August 20, 1864, the committee were instructed to engage Elder
Jones to supply the pulpit one-half time for the present. Feb. 19, 1867,
voted to invite Rev. A. M. Bennett to continue as pastor for one year from
the succeeding April. Elder Brown commenced a brief pastorate April 1,
1869. Rev. J. L. Bennett became the pastor some time in 1870. His
resignation was accepted Jan. 31, 1872.
Rev. D. D. Brown succeeded Mr. Bennett in the pastorate some time in 1872.
He united with the church by letter in October of that year, and was
dismissed by letter September 28, 1873. He was followed, but at what time
does not appear, by D. P. Pope, who was ordained by this church September
15, 1874. He remained but a short time however. The present pastor is
George Burnside, who became the settled pastor in 1876, but had supplied
the pulpit for two years previously while living at Earlville.
In the summer of 1876 the church was repaired at a cost of about $1,500.
Meetings were held in the meantime in the Universalist church. In 1877, a
rear addition was built at like cost.
The present number of members is 193; the average attendance at Sabbath
The church has licensed one person to preach--Thomas Dunham, April 8,
1843. The following named persons have been elected deacons: Solomon
VanWagner and Charles Lewis, October 7, 1836; Ezra I. Race, October 13,
1849; Joseph Smith; Orrin Hendee, January, 1871; Isaac Heady, November,
1872; Cyrus Merrihew, (for one year) Oct. 12, 1878.
The First Society of the M. E. Church in Sherburne Village was
organized at the village school-house March 4, 1839. Elders James P.
Backus, and Ebenezer Coleson were then the ministers in charge of the
society and were chosen to preside at this meeting. Alfred Skinner, Silas
Ames, Solomon Cushman, Gray P. Beers and Nathan T. Geere were elected
trustees. How early the Methodists in Sherburne became an organized force
we are unable to state. An organization was effected March 6, 1834, under
the ministry of B. G. Paddock, named The First Society of the M. E. Church
in Sherburne, and Hermon VanVleck, Benjamin Eaton, Cyrus M. Dow, Joseph
Sexton, and Alfred Skinner were elected trustees; but it seems to have had
but an ephemeral existence.
March 18, 1839, Alfred Skinner, Silas Ames and Garry P. Beers were chosen
a building committee. Their house of worship seems to have been built that
year, for Dec. 18, 1839, it was resolved to rent for one year
"one-half the slips in the chapel." Feb. 13, 1877, it was
decided to repair the church and add a session room, and $4,461.17 was
raised for that purpose.
May 6, 1873, it was resolved to purchase of Daniel and Palmer Newton,
Silas and John Ames and A. Cook what was known as the "parsonage
property," and May 14, 1873, the whole amount was pledged.
The records of the society are meager, and do not show the succession of
The Berean Society of Universalists in Sherburne was organized Aug.
25, 1849, at a meeting of the friends of Universalism, convened in the
brick school-house, situated east of the academy in the village of
Sherburne, which had been previously purchased by them to be used as a
house of worship. Rev. James S. Sherburne was appointed moderator, and
Isaac Plumb secretary. Prayer was offered by Rev. Alfred Peck, after which
Rev. C. L. Shipman presented for consideration the draft of a
constitution, which, after some discussion, was adopted. E. S. Lyman was
then elected clerk, and Labin Howard, Alberto Sabin and Hiram Briggs,
trustees. It was resolved to request the fellowship of the Chenango
Association of Universalists and Rev. J. S. Sherburne and E. S. Lyman were
appointed delegates to represent this society at the next meeting of the
Jan. 8, 1853, Isaac Plumb was elected clerk, a position which he has held
to the present time.
In April, 1856, the society purchased the edifice owned by the Free Church
of Sherburne for $900, and in the same month and year they sold to Linus
R. Hopson for $240, the house and site they had till then occupied. In
1877, the church was repaired at an expense of $1,476.34, and was
rededicated Aug. 22 and 23, 1877, Rev. Daniel Ballou preaching the
Previous to June, 1879, no church but simply a society organization
existed. At that time thirty-eight individuals, "feeling that church
organization and membership are important helps to purer lives, signified
their desire to form such a relation in a Universalist church in
July 12, 1879, Vashti Brooks and Jennie O'Brien were baptized by immersion
by Rev. Daniel Ballou. This is the first baptism recorded in the church.
July 13, 1879, the first observance of communion is recorded, Albert C.
Parker and T. G. Lamb, "acting as stewards and deacons."
August 24, 1879, the church adopted a constitution and by-laws, and a
confession of faith and covenant. Article 1 of the constitution
denominates it the First Universalist Church of Sherburne.
The present number of members is about fifty.
The following have been the pastors. Those whose names are italicized
were settled as such: Revs. Tomlison, Shipman, Cargill, Gilman, Robert,
Queal, B. S. Hobbs, Payne, Austin, Porter, E. M. Lester, F. B. Peck,
Boughton, A. G. Clark, Cone, Wm. DeLong, Daniel Ballou,
James Ballou, T. D. Cook, Lansing, Bennett and Canfield.
Christ's Church in the Village of Sherburne, (Episcopal,) was
organized at a meeting held in the school-house in Sherburne village June
7, 1828, over which Rev. Russel Wheeler presided. Thomas Kershaw and H. N.
Fargo were elected wardens, and Asa Foote, Reuben Davis, Amasa Skinner,
Alexander Holmes, Alson Upham, Peter I. Davidson, David Skinner and
Jonathan Thayer, vestrymen. The first male members were Thomas Kershaw, H.
N. Fargo, Amasa Skinner, Asa Foote and Ezra Griffin.
Their church edifice was built in 1831, at a cost of about $2,500,
including bell. Among the contributions toward that object were $500 each
from Trinity Church, New York, and John Watts, of that city, and $100 each
from Amasa Skinner, Thomas Kershaw and H. N. Fargo.
The first rector was Rev. Edward Andrews, who was engaged to officiate
one-fourth of the time for one year, from Sept. 1, 1828. In 1832, Rev.
John W. Woodward supplied the parish one-half of the time. In August of
that year Rev. Liberty A. Barrows was employed as rector one-half of the
time. By a subsequent arrangement he continued to serve the parish until
1838, when he resigned. He was succeeded in January, 1838, by Rev. Thomas
J. Ruger, who occupied the pulpit six months. In June, 1839, Rev. Thomas
Towel filled the vacancy. In February, 1842, Rev. Liberty A. Barrows was
re-called, and continued till 1846, when he resigned. In May, 1846, Rev.
W. D. Wilson became the rector and continued such until 1850. He was
succeeded May 8, 1850, by Rev. Levi H. Corson, who remained four years.
During his rectorship, June 19, 1850, the records of the church and
Society were burned. The foregoing facts were mostly gathered by him. Rev.
Thomas Applegate succeeded to the rectorship in July, 1854, and resigned
Oct. 1, 1855. Rev. G. L. Foote commenced a two years' rectorship April 1,
1856. In May, 1858, Rev. Joshua L. Burrows became the rector and served
them as late as 1862. During the first year of his rectorship the church
numbered 70 communicants, and 58 families, containing 130 adults and 50
This sketch is prepared from Hatch's History of the
Town of Sherburne and the Record of the Incorporation of Religious
Societies in Chenango County, the latter of which corrects some errors
contained in the former. We have not been able to learn the subsequent
history of the church.
St. Malachi Church, (Catholic,) at Sherburne, was organized about
1858, by Father Brady, who died in Norwich about 1861. Their house of
worship was purchased in that year of the Congregational Society for the
sum of $800. It was refitted and afterwards repaired during Father
The mission at Sherburne was established about 1847, by Father James
Hourigan, now of Binghamton, who officiated as pastor about two years. He
was succeeded by Father Roach, who served them a like period; and Father
McCallan, who continued his labors with them till 1854, since which time
they have been ministered to by the priests who have officiated at
Hamilton. They have never had a resident pastor. They have about 350
members. Their church edifice was dedicated in 1858, by Cardinal John
McClosky, then Bishop of Albany.
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York Genealogy Center
Source: Taken in part from Smith, James H.,
History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York. D. Mason &
Co. Syracuse, NY 1880.
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