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Congregational Church (Bridgewater, N.Y.) Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: GBS
Date: Dec 1968

Biographical History

At a meeting in Bridgewater, New York, on March 9, 1798, called by the Reverend Eliphalet Steele, thirteen persons signed the covenant establishing the Bridgewater Congregational Church. They were: Isaac Kellogg, Thomas Converse, Peter Blackman, David Converse, Eben Judson, Jacob Willson, Elias Hopkins, Mary Blackman, Rachel Converse, Martha Kellogg, Molly Willson, Sabrina Converse, and Abigail Hopkins. The church's first minister, installed in September 1802, was Reverend James Southworth.

In 1818, the church asked for permission from the Oneida County Association (Congregational) to separate from them and unite with the Oneida Presbytery "as a Congregational Church." During the tenure of the Reverend Alpha Miller, the church's second minister, a sabbath school and a church library were established, as well as the United Benevolent Society whose purpose was to aid "in various ways the diffusion of Christianity." Plans for a new meetinghouse were discussed and implemented in the early 1830s, and the building was completed in 1834. In January and February of 1835, however, 70 members separated to form a church in nearby Cassville; at this time the Bridgewater church left the Presbytery and rejoined the Oneida Association.

During 1839 and into 1840 the trial of John Southworth, son of the church's first minister, on several charges brought the church to the brink of another serious split. The trial went on for so long that parishioners, tired of attendance at its sessions, were admonished that they would be subject to public censure if the absented themselves from the proceedings. The charges against Southworth were ultimately sustained.

By the end of the 1860s the church was admitting Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and representatives of other denominations as members, becoming more a community and less a denominational church. In 1874 it sent a delegate to the New York State Association of the Tabernacle Church, though it was careful to retain its Congregational affiliation. A Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor was organized in July 1883, as the result of the efforst of Reverend Jonathan S. Upton. Despite this activity, between 1880 and 1884, the church was forced to request assistance from the Home Missionary Society to meet its financial obligations.

Following is a list of recorded ministers and their dates of service:

Sep 1802 - May 1818 James Southworth
Oct 1819 - Jun 1828 Alpha Miller
Mar 1831 - Jan 1832 H. H. Kellogg
Aug 1832 - Sep? 1833 R. Montgomery Davis
1834 Alfred Hough
Oct 1835 - Aug 1837 Edward Allen
Jan 1838 - Sep 1839 Seth P. M. Hastings
Oct? 1840 - Jun 1841 Samuel Wells
Jun 1841 - May 1843 Charles Machin
Jan 1844 - May 1846 Edward Allensecond tenure
Feb 1847 - Oct 1848 S. W. Brace
Feb 1849 - Mar 1852 Henry Boynton
Jun 1852 - Nov 1852 Dr. Gamage
Jun 1853? John W. Whitfield
Jul 1855 - Feb 1856 Moses Thatcher
Oct 1857 - Nov 1858 William B. Tompkins
May 1864 - Apr 1866 C. H. Beebe
May 1870 - May? 1872 F. Bradnack
May 1872 - Mar 1880 L. W. Church
May 1880 - Aug 1885 Jonathan S. Upton
Dec 1885 - ?? John Marsland
Sep 1888 - Oct 1890 Charles W. Drake
Dec 1890 - Jan 1894 Samuel Manning
Jul 1895 - Jul 1899 Nathan S. Aller
Jan 1900 - Jul 1901 Charles A. Frasure
Aug 1901 - Jun 1903 Aurelian A. Post
Jun 1903 - Oct 1910 Nathan S. Allersecond tenure
Dec 1910 - Oct 1918 Edward C. Wiley
May 1919 - Aug 1920 J. P. Garcia
Nov 1920 - Sep 1921 W. A. Griffith
Apr 1922 - Nov 1927 Cecil H. Plummer
Jan 1928 - Mar 1929 T. W. Bond
May 1929 - ? 1930 S. W. Cummings
Mar 1931 - Aug 1935 Howard D. Pender
Nov 1935 - Jul 1937 Howard E. Mather, D.D.
Jul 1937 - Carl H. Yettru

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Congregational Church (Bridgewater, N.Y.) Records consist of church records, trustees' records, records of the Womens' Missionary Society, and records of the Bridgewater Branch, Utica Chapter, American Red Cross. The collection consists entirely of microfilm copies of seven volumes and one folder of miscellaneous material. The microfilming was done in January of 1969 from originals owned by the Bridgewater Congregational Church and lent through the courtesy of the Reverend Walter Hillis.

Church records extend from its founding in 1798 to 1937, and include minutes of the church acting as a corporate body, admissions, dismissals, and a list of members with their vital records.

Trustees' records, 1799-1940, record their deliberations and actions on matters of church business, including subscriptions for building the meetinghouse and for pews. A list of members of the Board of Trustees is also included.

Exactly when the Women's Missionary Society was organized is not apparent from available records. Those in the collection date from 1910 to 1924 and set down the organization's deliberations, projects, and membership during that period. The presence in the collection of the records of the Bridgewater Branch, Utica Chapter, American Red Cross, 1917-1919, suggests that this activity was based at the church.

A small amount of Miscellaneous material completes the collection.

Arrangement of the Collection

Material is in alphabetical order by volume title. Foldered material is in alphabetical order by topic or title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Congregational Church (Bridgewater, N.Y.)


Church records and registers -- New York (State) -- Bridgewater.
Congregational churches -- New York (State) -- Bridgewater.
Congregationalists -- New York (State) -- Bridgewater.


Bridgewater (N.Y.)

Genres and Forms

Church registers.
Minutes (administrative records)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Congregational Church (Bridgewater, N.Y.) Records
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Church records

Trustees records

Women's Missionary Society records

Bridgewater Branch, Utica Chapter, American Red Cross

Miscellaneous papers