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The Snyder Hill Free Will Baptist Church

The land that the church was on was donated by Joseph Snyder, He was the son of Jacob Snyder and Mary Schoonover. These records were kept by Wilber A. Genung a deacon of the Church and the great-grandson of Jacob & Mary Snyder.

Transcribed by: Janet (Genung) Nash, great granddaughter of Wilber A. Genung.


The Snyder Hill Free Baptist Church was organized on April 3rd 1824. At this first meeting, Brother Daniel Reeves was chosen Moderator and Wessels S. Middaugh was chosen Clerk at this meeting it was voted that - this church be called The Dryden and Caroline Church. Under the care of Brother Elder E. Dodge, also voted that - Brother David Reeves be Deacon, and Brother - Wessels Middaugh - Serve as Deacon, also that Brother Solomon Hutchinson serve as clerk. Also voted that - the First Saturday in every month, be covenant - meeting day. Listed among the charter members were the following: Edward C. Dodge, David Reeves, Wessels Middaugh, Solomon Hutchinson, Samuel Snyder, Benjamin Quick, Benjamin Vickory, Eastus Hoose, and Elyan Evans.

The account - of the first covenant meeting held Saturday the 1st of May 1824 was as follows: The Brethren and Sisters met agreeable to appointment - meeting offered by singing and prayer to almighty Lord. Had a comfort able time while conversing about the kind dealings of God to each other. Meeting closed by prayer. Signed - Wessels S. Middaugh

Passing on down the years to a covenant meeting May 12, 1838. Brothers and Sisters met at - Schoolhouse on Snyder Hill on Sunday May 13th - after the meeting Brother Daniels repaired to the water and Baptized Brother Simon Peter Willsey and Sister Willsey and Another. Brothers as we pass along and find others joining in the fellowship from time to time, in good numbers.

On April 16th 1843 Elder Stephen Krum Preached on Easter Sunday At Snyder Hill Schoolhouse. He United with the Church and became it Pastor. His Pastorale - covered a long period of years and in 1856 through his efforts - the present church was erected: He being it first - Pastor and during these years of service many souls were Saved. He lived to a ripe age of 96 years and died in 1903. Many Pastors have served the church from that time until the present.

Under date of June 21st 1843, we read if for any reason a member was absent for three Sundays he was to be visited to find out the reason for his absence, and we also learn that - it was voted to leave the Owego Quarterly meeting and Unite with the Spafford Quarterly meeting. The following delegates to be sent - to paid meeting: Chester German, Samuel Onan and Wessels Middaugh.

Today under the leadership of its present Pastor the old book is still taught and Gods faithful still pray for lost souls, that they may repent and be saved. So we pray that as the years come and go this church may be able to continue to help the community and its people who ever they may be.

The Snyder Hill Baptist Church near Ithaca to the Seneca Baptist Association.

Greetings: We wish to state that our first year in connection with the Seneca Association has been a happy one. Our church under the active leadership of our beloved pastor Rev. L. Rowe Williams is in a peaceful and harmonious mood. Every branch bearing fruit. Six have been baptized, and one by letter. Preaching services have been regular and well attended.  Prayer meetings Wednesday evenings have also been well attended. Covenant meetings Saturday afternoons every three months. The Sunday School under the superintendency of Brother Robert Davenport has been edifying and well attended. The Christian Endeavor under the pretense of Bro Oswald Baker is doing good work, and have added a 1500 lb. bell to the church, and its clear tones can be heard five miles away. The Ladies Aid, and the Young People's Aid are doing noble work. The Pastor along with having charge of the City Mission in the City of Ithaca has succeeded in organizing a Sunday School on the Coddington Road, and a Sunday School and preaching service at Hayts Chapel, where he preaches Sunday afternoons. Done by Order and in Behalf of the Church, This 6 day of Sept. 1916 Signed: Wilber A. Genung

We enclose herewith $1.10 for Association Expenses. NOTE--- Each Church in this Association is requested to send an amount equal to at least 34 cents per member for expenses of printing Programs, Minutes, etc. Send this amount to the Clerk of the Association, not to the Secretary of the State Convention.

(The following was written by Wilber A Genung,
Deacon of Snyder Hill Baptist Church)
April 1st, 1933
Resident Members of the Snyder Hill Church

(Date is believed to be the date they joined the Church)
Wilber A. Genung July 3rd 1881
Truman A. English June 5th 1887
May English Sept. 21st 1902
Leah English 1906
Elvia English Dec. 13th 1922
Rev. C. J. Sovocool July 10th 1921
Gertrude M. Sovocool July 10th 1921
Ruth A. Beesmer Sept. 5th 1915
Orrie S. Cornelius Sept. 14th 1930
Gertrude E. Cornelius Sept. 20th 1925
Ralph A. Cornelius Sept. 14th 1930
Ruth Cornelius Sept. 20th 1931
Jessie Sears July 16th 1922
Bessie Sears July 5th 1919
Carl James Sears Sept. 31st 1928
Donald B. Sears Sept. 31st 1928
Ina Jennie Sears Sept. 31st 1928
Franklin Sears Dec. 11th 1932
Abner B. Newman Sept. 14th 1930
Lottie J. Newman Sept. 14th 1930
Howard Genung Oct. 31st 1914
Alice Genung Oct. 20th 1932
Edna Genung Sept. 18th 1932
Oswald J. Baker Sept. 20th 1931
Bertha English Sept. 18th 1932
Robert Davenport May 31st 1933
Bessie Davenport May 31st 1933
Ernest Smith July 22nd 1934
Sadie Smith July 22nd 1943

Written by : Wilber A. Genung

Sunday June 18th was old home day at Snyder Hill, also childrens day which was observed at the morning service, a large congregation which nearly filled the old church, was on hand to hear the childrens program, which started off the day with a bang. The Alter had been furnished with wood Ferns, Peonys and Roses. The Program started with the congregation singing, "The church in the wild wood" followed by the speaking of the children, with Miss Ina Sears in charge, during the Program the choir sang several beautiful selections. Dr. Arthur Carson who with his family recently returned from Missionary work in China spoke during the service hour. Service was over shortly after noon, a picnic dinner was served in the Young Peoples Hall across from the church, which was taxed to capacity with old friends from far and near who had gathered for the dinner and the old home day. In the afternoon beginning at two O' clock with sermon and a song service by the Rev. J. Irving Reese Pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Ithaca. Following Rev. Reese a brief history of Snyder Hill Church was read by Olswald Baker who said Snyder Hill Free Baptist Church as it was then called was organized April 3rd 1824 and the present church was built in 1856. Its first Pastor Rev. Stephen B. Krum, lived to the ripe age of 96 years and he is buried in the Cemetery adjoining the Church property, the land upon which the church stands was given by Joseph Snyder who was one of the early settlers of Snyder Hill. Dr. Arthur Carson spoke again also Mrs. Carson, and the Rev. C. J. Sovocool former pastor spoke freely from ________. M. M. Sweetland of Ithaca also was present and spoke a few words and the Rev. Frank Stiegher, present Pastor closed the after noon program with a few well chosen words. The Old Home Day was a success in every way and was greatly enjoyed by every one who attended. Former residents were present from as far away as Berkley California. Old school mates met who had not seen each other for long years. Some of the places from which former residents come to meet again was Caroline Depot - Danby - Ithaca - Dryden - Caroline Center - Bethel Grove. Approximately one hundred and fifty people were in attendance through out the day.

Memorial Windows Dedicated Yesterday 1915 Prominent Speakers at Service in the Snyder Hill Baptist Church

Snyder Hill, Sept. 13th 1915 - A large congregation was present yesterday at the dedication services of the stained-glass memorial windows to the pioneers of the Baptist Church. Many people from Ithaca were present. The church was beautifully decorated with flowers, while the new windows were admired by all. The meeting was presided over by Milton E. Snyder chairman of the committee on improvements. There were several local speakers besides others from Ithaca and elsewhere. The services were opened by the Rev. L. Rowe Williams, pastor of the church for the past two years, with a short invocation, followed by reading from the Scriptures. The Rev. Charles Bogardus of White Church offered prayer. The pastor then called Milton E. Snyder to the platform to preside.

In his opening remarks, Chairman Snyder spoke of the long connection of his family with the church and of his grandfather and father having been among the pioneer members, so that he had inherited his interest tin the church. He thanked all who had co-operated in making the improvements possible, the total cost being about $300. of which there was a balance due of only $20., which was raised by the meeting.

The chairman called the pastor, the Rev. L. Rowe Williams, as the final speaker. He described the memorial windows and told to whom and why they were put in and paid high tribute to the descendants of those honored, and also requested that the house should be dedicated to God.

The windows are inscribed to Rev. Stephen Krum, the first pastor of the church: Joseph M. Snyder, Deacon David Cornelius, Deacon Elihu English and wife, Peter Genung, Darling A. English and wife, and Jesse U. English.

The Rev. Estus VanMarter, a former pastor and present worker, spoke of several of the earlier members of the church and said he was greatly pleased with the new windows and other improvements and with the activities of the church.

Deacon David Cornelius read from minutes of some of the early meetings.

The Ladies Aid Society of the church is doing good work in connection with the church and outside, The president, Mrs. Winona English is devoted to the work. The Rev. L. Rowe Williams, pastor of the church, has proved himself efficient as a leader, in as much as the hall has been closed for four years and things were much different from what they are today, when he came here two years ago. Not only Snyder Hill, but at the Inlet Mission and at the county jail, he has rendered efficient work.

History of The Snyder Hill Baptist Church
1824 - 1974

(This paper was unsigned, unsure who was the Author of this writing)

The Free Will Baptist Church of Snyder Hill was organized April 3, 1824 with Elder Edward E. Dodge as pastor and Wessels Middaugh and Daniel Reeves as Deacons. Meetings were held in the Dryden School house until the present building was erected in 1856. It was built on land donated by Joseph M. Snyder, son of Jacob Snyder, first permanent settler on Snyder Hill and was dedicated June 7th 1856. Rev. Stephen Crum was the first Pastor.

In the early days the church was heated by two stoves in alcoves at each side of the church. These were removed and two propane gas furnaces were installed prior to 1955. These proved to be unsatisfactory and were replaced by an oil burning furnace in 1963. In 1905, the Fruit and Flower Mission raised money for a new organ to replace the old one. Special dedication services were held in Sept. 1915 when the new stained glass windows were installed, each costing $25.00. Rev. L. Rowe Williams was pastor at the time.

In 1916, money was raised to purchase a bell. Cary English, who was born on Snyder Hill, engineered the project. He hauled the bell from the East Ithaca Railroad Station with horses, up to the church where, with the help of others, it was pulled up into it's present position. It was first rung for service on June 25th, 1916 and is still being used.

Many changes have taken place during the years as new improvements and equipment have been introduced in the area : such as electricity; and as automobiles became more prevalent, there was no further need for the large stone foundation in the front of the church formerly used as a horse block in the horse and buggy days. A few stone steps with iron railings are now in use. Also a communion set was purchased and used for the first time in 1933. Previously a goblet was passed around.

One hundred years after the church building was erected, two veteran house were bought, one for a Sunday School room to be attached to the church, and the other for a parsonage. Also in that year, the first Vacation Bible School was held.

From 1945 until 1957, students from the Baptist Bible Seminary, Johnson City, served our church as pastors: Stanley Smith being the first and Lauren Hoyt the last. Mr. George Carapelle, one of these students made the first sign marked "Snyder Hill Baptist Church" It was placed on the front of the Church Sept. 19, 1948. In June 1957 , Rev. Jerome Travis became our first resident pastor living in the parsonage. During his pastorate, many improvements were made on the church property, such as a two story addition to the rear of the church, laying a hard wood floor in the church auditorium, installing more modern electric light fixtures and comfortable pews. Also new pulpit furniture.

Release Time Classes for the Caroline School children were held in the Snyder Hill Church after Brooktondale withdrew.

The Church has been affiliated with several organization of Baptist churches, such as the Spafford, Owego, Seneca Associations and G.A.R.B. Yearly and quarterly meetings were held. In 1958, the church withdrew from the G.A.R.B. and it then became an independent Baptist Church. In June 1972, Rev. Melvin Negley became Pastor. He has started a bus ministry by means of which a great many are now attending the church services. Negotiation are under way for purchase of land across the road from the church.


"The Church is no longer a church today, It has been sold and remodeled. The stained glass windows have been removed and new modern windows replace many generations, This church held a pride of Worship, family and friends with it for many years. All things must come to and end, that is why we need to record our history, so when we are gone the memories of our life will live on  in our writings."

Janet ( Genung ) Nash


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