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History of McLean Baptist Church

McLean, NY

Founded January 8th, 1824
T. W. Carter

This material was donated by
John Carter Ormsby
Deputy Historian of Steuben Co., NY
In Memory of his Grandfather
The Rev. Thomas W. Carter

Photo taken in 1903
Rev. Thomas W. Carter, Pastor, 1900-1905,
Author of the History of McLean Baptist Church

Thomas W. Carter was born on April 13 1871 in Newton Abbot England. His father was Samuel John Carter who was born May 1st 1849 and died Sept. 7 1924. His mother was Isabella Prowse, born Feb 14 1840 and died Feb.8 1914. Thomas W. Carter was married to Sarah Bolitho Harris born May 24 1871 died May 25 1951. Rev Thomas W. Carter died in Ithaca, New York on Aug 16, 1960. He is buried in Bath, N.Y. at the Nondaga Cemetery.

(A newspaper clipping found in Rev. T. W. Carter's records, date unknown)

Rev. T. W. Carter Visits McLean

Believed to be the only living ex-pastor of McLean Baptist Church, Rev. T. W. Carter of Bath has been visiting friends in McLean this week.  Rev. Mr. Carter, now retired, was pastor of the McLean Church from 1900-1906. He served other churches after leaving McLean and before his retirement. Mr. Carter is interested in getting material for a history from the McLean Baptist Church form 1900 to the present time. He has compiled a book of the history of the church from its organization in 1824-1900.  Anyone interested in contributing material may write to Mr. Carter at Bath, NY.

He is retired and resides with his daughter, Miss Lucille Carter at 119 West Court Street, Ithaca, NY. (September 1952.)

Baptist Church, McLean, NY. Taken by Verne Morton in 1907 Old Baptist Church
The upper left picture is a closeup of the historic marker erected by the State Education Dept. in 1932. The other pictures are three women who left legacies to the church. Left, Mrs. Lovenrna Hill Vough, died 1906; center, Mrs. Phebe F. Carmer Stanton, died 1911; right, Mrs. Jennie M. Weeks Trapp, died 1905

The Baptist church of McLean has nearly reached its eightieth anniversary.  It was organized as the Baptist Church of Christ in Moscow on the 8th of January 1824.  The church records begin as follows:

A number of men of the Baptist faith and order in the southeast part of the town of Groton and the northeast part of the town of Dryden, took into consideration the forming of a Visible Church of Christ of the Calvinistick Baptist order in this vicinity, accordingly they appointed Saturday, September 23d 1823, for a day of consultation.

At this, the first recorded meeting of those who afterward formed the organization, it was voted to prosecute the design, and a committee consisting of Amos Hart, Ithamer Whipple, and Alvin Baily was chosen to draft a code of articles of faith and practice.  These articles and the covenant, which were substantially the same as those of the old Homer Church, were drawn up in the home of Joseph Hart, and a month later they were accepted as being "according to our faith."

On Dec 22nd the following resolution was passed: "Voted to solicit the aid of the following churches, viz:- Homer, Groton, Dryden, Lansing and Groton, and Locke to council with us"  AT a later meeting it was agreed that the Council meet on Thursday January 8th at 10 A. M.

Accordingly on this date, January 8th, 1824, the Council met at the village school house.  Alfred Bennett, of the Homer church, was chosen Moderator and Edward W. Martin of the Lansing and Groton church, Clerk.  Among the other delegates were Deacon Asa Bennett, Oliver Steadman, John Keep from the Homer church.  Elder Benjamin Andrews, from the Groton church, Elder Ebenezer Andrews, from the Locke church, and Elder Stutely Carr, from Etna.  After deliberation it was voted to give the brethren fellowship as a church in Gospel order; to be known by the name of the Baptist church of Christ in Moscow village.  Alfred Bennett then preached the sermon for the day and Elder Andrews gave the hand of fellowship.

The Church was organized at this time with thirty-three members, fourteen male and nineteen female, twenty-seven of whom came from the Groton church and five from Homer.  Their names are as follows: Amos Hart, Ruth Hart, Ithamer Whipple, Lydia Whipple, Lucinda Niles, Jesse Stout, Abigail Stout, Joseph Hart, Susanna Hart, Peter Stout, Waite Stout, David Whipple, Polly Whipple, Fanny Hart, Mary Stout, Charles Stout, Uri Stout, Nathaniel Layton, Joseph S. Stout, Theadosia Hart, Jesse Updike, Hannah Updike, Ebenezer Updike, Sarah Wilcox, Joel Whipple, Elizabeth Whipple, Umphrey H. Whipple, Florina Whipple, Oliver Calkins, Betsey Frances, Ruth Andrews, Sally Davis, Huldah Carmer.

Two days after the organization was completed the first church meeting was held.  It was voted that the church meetings be held once in two months, beginning with January, the Saturday before the second Sabbath; and that the covenant meetings be held once in two months beginning in February the Saturday before the second Sabbath, and that communion follow on the Sabbath.

At at church meeting held January 17th David Whipple Sr. was made the church clerk, and Amos Hart and Ithamer Whipple, deacons, the latter was also to serve the church as chorister.  The first communion service took place February 7th, 1824, at the home of Joseph Hart, Elder Benjamin Andrews being the administrator.

In writing of these days thirty-five years later one authority says, "In April 1824 the society met at the house of Amasa Cobb and made choice of six trustees, viz: Amasa Cobb, Jesse Stout, N.T. Murdock, John Benedict, Samuel Noyes, and Amos Hart.  At the same meeting three persons were chosen as a building committee to superintend the erection of a house of worship, said committee consisted of John Benedict, Samuel Noyes and Amos Hart"  But nothing appears to have been done at this time as the matter was voted on again a year or two later.

In July Elder Benjamin Andrews, of the Groton church, began to preach one fourth of the time and in August Elder Philip L. Platt was invited to come and settle and preach one half of the time.  After his arrival, however, two months later he agreed to preach the whole instead of half the time.

Sept. 11th, 1824, delegates were sent to the Cayuga Association with a request to unite with that Association, which request was granted.

Feb. 12th, 1825, the first member to join the church by letter was received, John Phelps, of Fabius.

On March 12th, 1825, this record is found. " Voted to form into a society according to law." and this also on January 30th, 1826, " a society meeting notified according to law met at Amasa Cobb's"  It would appear that the act of incorporation was carried out sometime in the spring of 1825, and probably in May.  For on May 15th, 1826 we find, " At an annual meeting notified according to law voted that Samuel Crittenden be trustee, also that the trustees proceed to build a meeting house and to enclose and lay the floor before the pews and slips are sold, and that this meeting be adjourned to one year from date."  Two years had passed since the first vote was taken to form into a society and to build, and the number of trustees was changed from six to three viz:  Samuel Crittenden, Amos Hart and John Benedict, and these three were the only ones elected to office for the first decade of the church's history.

The first person to be baptized into the fellowship of the church was Sister Mary Mineah, June 11th 1826.  This baptism was the first fruit of one of the most interesting revivals the church has ever experienced.  One writing in later years has this to say, " An incident connected with this glorious work of grace, is worthy of recording.  So strong was the faith of a few brethren that God was about to pour out His spirit upon the people, that as the school house was small in which they met for worship, they repaired to the woods and cut down boughs from the trees to make a shade on the outside of their house to shield the people from the rays of the sun.  And while they were thus engaged, some made light of it and others ridiculed them, and even some professing Godliness required a sign of his coming before they could believe, but they conferred not with flesh and blood, and like Nehemiah went on to build.   The leafy booth was finished and seats put in form the comfort of the people, and behold the inhabitants of the surrounding country came in and filled the house and booth to overflowing and the Spirit of God came down and many were smitten with such convictions of sin that they cried out, "What must we do to be saved"  As fruit of this glorious work forty eight were added to this Baptist band, and many went other ways.  The church received accessions to their number for more than a year as fruit of this revival."

It may be of interest to know that the old school house stood near the willow tree upon the lot on the forks of the road now owned by Mrs. Purvis, and that it is still standing among the barns of the old Benedict farm.

At a church meeting held in July 1827 the name of the church was to be known hereafter as the Baptist church in McLean and a delegation was appointed to meet with other churches in Tully, when arrangements were made and a time appointed for the forming of a new association.  A delegation was also sent to Truxton in October of that year when the association was duly organized.

For four years now the church had worshiped with out a church building.  The school house did service for the larger gatherings, while the homes of Elder Platt and Joseph Hart were the meeting places for church and covenant meetings.  It had been voted to enclose and lay the floor of the meeting house before the pews were sold.  Accordingly on the 5th of April 1828, the sale convened.  The highest price paid was $65 although several members took more than one pew.  Payment was to be made in good saleable, neat stock, grain or first and second rate pine lumber.  The church held their first covenant meeting in their new house of worship April 12th 1828.

After four years of service Elder Platt resigned.  His labors had been blessed by his Master in a great degree, fifty-five had been baptized under his ministrations.

Ezra W. Clark was the next pastor beginning on November 1st, 1828, and remaining till November 1st 1831.  During his stay the church had constant additions, and a good work was done, twenty-nine being baptized in three years.

For a year following Ezra Clark the pulpit was supplied by Elder Benjamin Andrews and W. W. Powers.  In February 1833 Benjamin W. Capron accepted the pastorate.  It was in this year that at the request of Elder Stutely Carr and others, twelve members were set off as a branch of the church holding their central point at Dryden Village, but it was not a flourishing branch and in a few years became extinct. Elder Capron left after two years work, having baptized three persons; while many were dismissed and some excluded.

After being without a settled pastor for about a year a call was given in February 1836 to Thomas H. Greene, he did not stay, however, but one year.

The next pastor was Elder M. M. Evarts staying for five years and laboring with much acceptance to these people. He had the pleasure of receiving nineteen will converts into the fellowship of the church.

Elder Albert Cole from the Virgil church succeeded Mr. Evarts in June 1842.  In two years he labored with much success in the edification and building up of the church and in gathering in souls into the garner of the Lord.  As fruit of his labor twenty-nine were baptized into the fellowship of the church.  He closed his work April 1844 being followed by A. Kanpp, who remained 'till December 1846.

Thomas Purinton, 1847-1853

Elder Thomas Purinton commenced preaching the second Sunday of February 1847.  Thomas Purinton was born in Middlebury, Mass, and came to Truxton, NY, in 1815 being then thirty seven years of age.  In 1820 together with Alfred Bennett of the Homer church this church experienced a gracious revival, one hundred and twenty person were baptized.  In a few years another large in-gathering took place.  He has left the statement that he baptized upon profession of faith in Christ, over one thousand persons.  He was pastor of the Truxton church twenty five years during which time it is known that twenty of its members became ministers of the gospel.  In 1840 he began to preach for the Fabius and Truxton church staying seven years.  In 1846 he was united in marriage to Miss Tirzah Long of his native town of Coleanine, Mass.  In the seven years and six months that he labored in McLean, he might with all propriety have adopted the language of the Apostle Paul, "You know how that through an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you" He had the misfortune ot dislocate his right shoulder which gave him much suffering yet he was tenaciously punctual to his appointments, and when he fell, he fell with his armor on.  His last sermon was the funeral of a young lady on May 18th.  His last text,  " Be still and known that I am God." He died May 29th, 1853, aged 74 years.  The funeral was attended by a very large number of his old friends form adjoining churches.  Fourteen ministers were present, Rev. H. Bowen, of Cortland, preaching the sermon.

During his ministry the church was edified, strengthened and build up in the faith, and occasionally enjoyed season of refreshing from above.  Sixteen souls were baptized.  One year the church reported sustaining three weekly prayer meetings.  The work of the various benevolent societies was promoted and a marked difference is seen in the sums of money given to them.  Yet the church was not without its trials.  In 1847 a resolution was passed condemning secret societies and some were excluded for persisting in belonging to them.

In August 1852 at his request C. D. Hart was released from the clerkship, which office he had filled to the satisfaction of his brethren for twenty years.  David Whipple, Jr., was appointed to the office.

After the death of Elder Purinton the church was supplied by J. Scott a licentiate from Hamilton, who is still active in the Christian ministry living at present in Syracuse.  Elder Gibbs also supplied for a short time.  He was followed by Alvin Bennett, brother ot Alfred Bennett, who supplied for nearly a year and a half.  These were times of peace and unity and of edification among the members of the church.

May 13, 1855, A. T. Boynton commenced his first term of service with this body.  He was ordained on the 14th of November of the same year to the work of the Gospel ministry.  About this time the Lord put into the hearts of his people to beautify the house of the Lord, accordingly the same year they painted the church, and in the following spring graded and enclosed the grounds on which it stands. The beautiful shade trees which we enjoy today are living witnesses of the work of Elder Boynton.  In the following Autumn the church, through the persistent efforts of the pastor, succeeded in purchasing a bell for the meeting house.  Hannah Hart, giving one hundred dollars providing the others would give the rest.  At this time the church possessed no musical instrument and Deacon Amos Hart promised if the bell was bought without his assistance he would present the church with a melodian: accordingly on January 10, 1857, it was presented for the use of the choir.

Scarcely had the clear tones of the bell rang out upon the surrounding country before a very precious revival broke out.  Beginning with the Methodist brethren they labored together till their congregations were too large for one house when with mutual consent they each resorted to their own churches to work.  Brother W. G. Dye assisted the pastor, and twenty six converts were baptized, fifteen of whom were heads of families, some of these being alive and present with us to day.

Elder Boynton remained with the church until April 1st 1861. In the six years of his pastorate God had abundantly blessed his people, and great good had been accomplished.  Over forty persons had been baptized during this first ministry.

For four months the church was supplied, then Rev. D. B. Purinton entered on his short pastorate being appointed in December 1862, to the secretary ship of the Home of Mission Society in West Virginia.  Having labored in these parts before he felt it his duty to return and aid in relieving the destitute and suffering churches.

Elder O. W. Gibbs became pastor at this time.  After one year's work the brethren released him and Rev. C. Elliot supplied again for a year.

Elder Boynton commenced his second pastorate April 2, 1865. It was during this year that the house of worship was extensively repaired.  Before this the pulpit stood on the east end being reached be seven stairs, now the pews were changed to face the west and the choir was to sit in the gallery where the pulpit had stood.  Brother Boynton remained with the church this time two years making in all eight years of service.  His work was a means of help and a great blessing to many and to this day fruits of his labors are seen.

On the first of May 1867 Rev. S. G. Keim began to preach, staying for one year.  Then came Rev. C. A. Smith working with the church between two and three years.

Some precious seasons of revival were seen again and  in all nineteen confessed Christ by baptism.  These were also times of trial and disappointment, showing how frail and liable to sin human nature is.

In 1870 the society released the land used for burial purposes to a new society, formed under the law, and which took the name of the McLean Cemetery Association. [ A brief history of McLean Cemetery.]

The church was supplied again by O. W. Gibbs, and by others until April 1, 1873, when Rev. W. J. Betts began his pastoral work.  For nearly four years a good and substantial work was done.  The brethren spent a goodly sum again in repairs and altogether it was a time of growth.  The church has its perplexities, also in a greater degree its blessings.

We have now passed a half century of the church's history. The remaining years are well known to not a few present with us to day, and the work of these we will leave for the future historian to record.

Two facts of importance, however, might be mentioned of these later years.  During the pastorate of Rev. F. H. Gates, 1878-1880, a lot was purchased and the parsonage built.  Through the patient efforts of the members of the church over $1200 was raised to meet this expense. Again in 1888 the people, young and old undertook to remodel the interior of the church building.  Rev. J. W. Barr was pastor at this time, a man who was loved and honored by members and townspeople alike and whose life is still as a sweet fragrance in the memory of all.

It has been felt that this history should not be closed without a word of appreciation for those who helped to make the worship of the house of God.  A pleasant service by the use of instrumental music.  As far back as 1854 and 1855 Mr. and Mrs. James Mineah brought their small melodian in a democrat wagon, if the day was fine, and it was carried upstairs to the singer seats, their daughter Susanna, playing for the service.  After the services of the day were over it was taken home again at night.  This continued for about two years, then Deacon Amos Hart.  Susanna's grandfather presented a $70 melodian to the church.  Miss Susanna Mineah played until her marriage and was a very regular attendant.  She was succeeded by her sister, Martha Mineah afterward Mrs. N. Darby who played until the time of her death.  She was greatly missed.  The church felt as though she could not be spared.  Sarah Ronk took her place as organist and played as long as her health permitted. These two were beautiful Christian characters, faithful unto death.

Among the most notable choristers was Deacon Charles Hart who led the singing for a great many years.  He was followed by his son, Edwin Hart, and he by his brother, John.

The writer is indebted to the wife of former pastor, Rev. A. T. Boynton, for the use of a history of the church written for the association in 1859 and to the corresponding secretary of the Cortland Association for the loan of a bound volume of minutes.  Acknowledgments are also due to all who have in any way contributed to the store of facts which has made this history possible.


The first mention of the existence of a Sunday School is found in a letter to the association of 1830.  The report say, "They have largely encouraged Sunday Schools", and the letter of 1832 says " Sunday School and Bible class continue to flourish and union prevails."  But now comes a great break, and from this date, with but one exception, until the year 1857 no school is mentioned.  One of our older members, S. S. Steadman, has this to say of these days, and we quote in full that we may note the prevailing ideas, and see the advance made since these days.

"Sometime in the forties there arose a Sunday School party in the church.  It was headed by the pastor and was for several years in the minority but grew in strength and number until they were about in equal numbers.  Those not in favor of a Sunday School were the more wealthy and influential.  The contention was quite sharp at times.  At last Deacon Amos Hart did off a room over the hall and nothing was to be said or done about the Sunday School except in that room.  It is said to have cost Deacon Hart $100.  Among the superintendents none deserve greater credit than David Whipple, Sr.  The majority were disinterested , a few were opposed and very few were interested enough to help.  He had difficulty in getting teachers, some one to lead the singing, money for supplies and worst of all in getting scholars.  Most of the children were not form the homes of the church people.  During the intermission the more spiritually inclined gathered around the stoves talking and eating their dinners.  There were several groups gathered in the back seats talking over family affairs and another company on the steps in pleasant weather visiting while the more worldly were gathering in the sheds talking the things of the world.  All this time the children would be roaming through the cemetery or at the nearby well or going to the post-office for the mail.  The school was usually opened May 1st and ran out when it was too cold to do without a fire if not before.  The had no lesson sheets, and the lessons began in John and continued through the season committing the gospel to memory at the rat of six verses a week.

On May 9th, 1857, the church book say it was voted that Elder Boynton serve as superintendent in Sunday School, and from this time on there seems to have been a school with out any serious break.

In 1862 the minutes report, "Have eighty pupils and pleasure to teach them"  In 1864 D. Whipple Jr. is superintendent and a new library has been obtained.  From 1866 to 1868 there was large attendance under the leadership of Dudley Andrews.

The year in which W. French was in charge there were sixty-four scholars and eight teachers whose names are as follows: Miss Adaline Bennett, Mrs. L. Hart, Mrs. Sweet, Miss Dunham.

There have been some very faithful teachers, among whom might be mentioned J. B. Hart, who taught a large class of young ladies for a great many years.

For the last thirty years the school has kept along its way with but very little change.


Philip L. Platt 1824-1828, Ezra W. Clark 1828-1831, Benj. Capron 1833-1835, Thos, H. Green 1836-1837, M. M. Everetts 1837-1842, Albert Cole 1842-1844, Abram Knapp 1844-1846, Thos Purinton 1847-1853, A. T. Boynton 1855-1861, D. B. Purinton 1861-1862, O. W. Gibbs 1863-1864, A. T. Boynton 1865-1867, S. G. Keim 1867-1868, C. A. Smith 1868-1871, W. J. Betts 1873-1877,G. W. Bliss 1877-1878,  F. H. Gates 1878-1880, C. F. Whitcomb 1880-1882, J. A. Ford 1882-1884, S. P. Way 1885-1888, J. W. Barr 1888-1892, J. E. Dodsley 1893-1894, F. W. LaBar 1895-1897, J. T. Greene 1898-1899, T. W. Carter, 1900 - 1905


Amos Hart 1824-1835-63, Ithamer Whipple 1824-1825, Park Morgan 1829-1835, D. Whipple 1835-38-1879, S. Reynolds 1835-38-1841, Park Morgan 1842-1843, C. D. Hart 1843-1850, Ambrose Hill 1858-1861, Thomas Darby 1858-1866, John B. Hart 1867-1883, D. Whipple, Jr. 1867-1883, T. M. Weeks 1879-1900, E. P. Hart 1885-, C. E. Olney 1900-1901, M. J. Weeks 1900-, John Ronk 1901-


Samuel Noyes, Amasa Cobb, Jesse Stout, N. T. Murdock, John Benedict, Amos Hart, Samuel Crittenden, Ithamer Whipple, Richard Francis, Joseph Hill, Solomon Reynolds, James Mineah, C. D. Hart, A. L. Jones, Furnam Stout, Patterson Francis, Oliver Nye, Chanuncey Bennett, David Whipple Jr., Thomas Darby, Ambrose Hill, Albert Benedict, J. B. Stout, Semon D. Ronk, Edwin Stout, J. B. Hart, Dudley Andrews, Theodore Smith, Nathan Darby, T. M. Weeks, B. F. Robertson, James Whipple, F. H. Benedict, John A. Ronk, J. F. Dayton, Allen Howard, C. E. Olney, George Gillen, Smith Steadman.


David Whipple, Sr., 1824-31,  Chas. D. Hart 1831-38, Daniel Burton 1838-40, Chas D. Hart, 1840-52, David Whipple, Jr. 1852-77, Nathan Darley 1877-81, E. P. Hart, 1881-


It is not certain that they came in the order here given.

David Whipple, Sr.
Rev. A. T. Boynton, 1857
J. P. Smith
David Whipple, Jr., 1864
D. Andrews, 1866-1868
Rev. C. A. Smith, 1868-1869
W. French, 1869-1870
P. F. Hart, 1871-1872
Rev. W. J. Betts
J. F. Dayton
Mrs. C. C. Gleason, 1878-1879
Rev. F. H. Gates, 1879-1880
F. H. Benedict, 1880-1882
E. P. Hart, 1882-1895
J. A. Ronk, 1896-1898
L. J. French, 1898-1900
C. E. Olney, 1900-1901
E. P. Hart, 1901-1903
M. J. Weeks, 1903-


Thank you John for sharing your family records with the
Tompkins Co., NYGenWeb Site.
Transcribed by Janet M. Nash.

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