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History of the South Danby M. E. Church

By Charles Howland, son of Seneca, 1873


About the year 1810 an exhorter by the name of Lot came to So. Danby on horseback from Spencer, and stopped at Mr. VAN KLEECK's. He held a meeting at his house, and left an appointment for the circuit preachers who preached at VAN KLEECK's once in six weeks for some years afterward. South Danby then became a part of Spencer circuit Genesse conference and remained so until Oneida conference was set off from Genesse. The circuit was traveled from 1810 till 1820 by such men as the Rev's. PALMER, BRANDON, ROBERTS, PAIN, *ORCRUT, BIRGE, GILMAN, KENDALL, CUMMINGS, EVERTS, *SGARD, and *GRIPPING. I have not been able to ascertain the order in which they came.

* Note: A spelling correction on surnames above sent in by  Bill Griffing Orcrut = ORCUTT; Sgard = AGARD;  Gripping = GRIFFING

From 1820 to 1836 I have not obtained the order of the preachers that traveled on the circuit and but few of their names: LYMAN, STOCKING, TARRY and COLBURN.

A class was formed about 1812 or 1813 composed of Phineas NELSON and wife, Mr. DEARBORN and wife, Mr. VAN KLEECK and wife, Cornelius VAN KLEECK and wife and Mrs. BANKER. I cannot give the history from the commencement of the class till 1835 very distinctly.

About the year 1835 the great revival began under the labors of Rev. Thomas HEWIT a local preacher, it lasted nearly three months and there were probably one hundred and fifty conversions, seventy-one were baptized in one day.

Then there was a class organized of nearly a hundred members. North and South Danby were made one charge. So. Danby being supplied with preaching (by JOHNSON) regularly every Sabbath evening by the preacher stationed at Danby. It remained so until 1836 when it became a separate charge but a part of Danby Station. In 1835 or 36 the church was built. The first preacher stationed at So. Danby after it became a separate charge was Rev. Gaylord JUDD. He staid but a few weeks and was succeeded by Evira PUFFER who remained two years during his ministry. There was a revival at Ferris Settlement, a class formed there and that became a part of the South Danby charge. Peter CORNPTON succeeded PUFFER remaining one year. L.G. WEAVER came next and was followed by J.J. GRIMES. About this time JONES and JAMISON were here. WEAVER remained two years during which time there were revivals at nearly every appointment on the charge.

After this time, the Minister was nearly as I can recollect were as follows: Levi PITTS, Br. PILLBEOU, Br. SIBLEY, Epnetus OWEN, King ELWELL, Joseph WHITHOM, J.V. NEWELL, T. BRIGESS, S.W. LOOMIS, Mirror SWALLOW, William KINNEY, Henry FRANCE, William U. JEWITT, J.A. WOOD, Geo. W. REYNOLDS, J.D. BLOODGOOD, and S.W. BARROWS.

Howard Settlement, Smiley Settlement and Briggs neighborhood have always been a part of So. Danby charge. Wilseyville has for a number of years and Prospect Valley were added during J.A. WOODS administration.

Seven years ago a new parsonage was built at a cost of about $700.00. The church was repaired in 1871 at a cost of $1,200. Estimated value of church $2,000.00, of parsonage $1,000, total valuation of church property $3,000.00.

Six hundred nineteen ($619.00) were raised on the charge last year for church purposes. Preachers salary $500.00, Presiding Elder's claim $44.00, other purposes $75.00, making $699.00.

There now remains in the society two hundred members and thirty probationers. Probably there are not more than 35 alive that joined the church in 1836 and 7 of these not more than ten or twelve now belonging to the church in So. Danby.

The church is in a prosperous condition and by the blessing of the Great Hand of the Churches it is hoped that it will yet do much good for many years to come. South Danby has furnished three ministers of the Gospel: Jasper HEWITT, Seneca HOWLAND, and Samuel AUSTIN, and two ministers wives have gone forth from the charge whose names are Phebe and Clarissa WRIGHT.

Old Hundred

Praise God from whom all blessing flow
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


A History of South Danby and of the Methodist Episcopal Church

Furnished by Mrs. Steven HOWARD

About the year 1832 South Danby was quite a new country not as new as it was thirty years before this date when it was almost all a howling wilderness, for there was quite a large society of people very nice respectable people, what you might call good moral irreligious people. I did not know of but very few who professed religion. I will just mention their names: Mrs. John MANNING a Presbyterian belonging to North Danby church, Mrs. TOBIAS belonging to the same church, Mr. Phineas and David NELSON and there wives belonging to the Baptist church in the town of Spencer called Cowels Corners. This Father and Mother Phineus and Hannah MELS on being Methodist people. In Howard settlement were families belonging to the Candor Methodist Church Stephen HOWARD senior and family, Charles HOWARD and wife, Samuel AUSTIN and wife were all I knew off who professed religion at that time.

About 1833 a Methodist minister by the name of COLBURN came here and preached in the schoolhouses, Emily schoolhouse, Shingle schoolhouse near the Cemetery, Howland schoolhouse, Ec. There was an acquaintance of Mr. COLBORNE by the name of HOWARD who came to see him cc local preacher. COLBURN was a very mild good moderate preacher. But HOWARD was a very boisterous speaker. They united and gave out word that a woods two days meeting would be held in Mr. SMYLY's grove which raised great excitement through all of South Danby the first one ever held in the place.

F.K. HOWLAND got up a lumber wagon load to go to the grove meeting, and nearly all that had horse teams did the same so there was a very large crowd there. Mr. COLBORN preached the sermon, Mr. HOWARD responded very frequent and hardy amen, hallelujah, glory to Jesus who hath redeemed us with his blood and do see the angels by an eye of faith on those beautiful limbs of those beautiful trees. When the sermon was ended, then HOWARD exhorted quite briefly after which an invitation was given for all who wanted to be saved by the atoning blood of Christ to come forward. Then HOWARD says old men and women young men and children neel right down on your nees and pray for yourselves for the Lord is looking right into everyone of your hearts and we will pray for you but we can't save you and you must pray for yourselves. They all obeyed him and the voice of prayers was heard from nearly every lip vocally. The result was a great many conversions that day.

A short time after this meeting not more than one month, I should think, a local preacher by the name of Thomas HEWIT commenced a protracted meeting in the Howland Schoolhouse which lasted all the fall and winter. He preached every night and every Sabbath and the house was crowded every night rain or shine, wet or dry, nothing could keep them from meeting if they did have to go afoul and why because they spirit of the Lord was there, and souls were being saved by the scores, and no one soul stay away from a place where they could see all of their friends coming to Jesus. Father HOWARD could not hold quarterly meeting so he appointed a two days meeting at the schoolhouse. The house was full and he preached standing in the door for there were more people out door than in the house. At the lovefest in the morning there was not one person in the house that did speak a short word for Jesus and nearly as many who could not get in the house gave in their testimony. The meeting lasted until about three p.m. after the reformation there were seventy baptized in one day by Br. COLBURN below Mr. F.K. HOWLAND's mill pond some were sprinkled, some proved neeling by the side of the stream and some neeling in the stream. Since that time there has been what I call a South Danby Church from they did not choose to belong to North Danby, but felt as though they could and did sustain themselves.

(1834). After this one year they had a preacher by the name of DENSMORE [JOHNSON at North Danby--Caroline Meeting--Pleasant Valley] He was a very deep talented man well calculated to build up the Church, well educated to sift out all the chaff and take good care of all the wheat. He preached one year.

Then (1835) Brother BENHAM who had been a Missionary among the Indians 12 years he stayed one year and was afterwards sent to India as a missionary.

While BENHAM preached the first regular quarterly meeting was held on South Danby charge at a new wagon barn built and owned by Sheldon WILSON. He being a single man then. There was twenty baptized at that quarterly meeting .

1836 -- Next was Galord JUDD who stayed one year and lived at Sheldon WILSON with his family. He was the father of Charles JUDD who died a short time ago after being a missionary and doing a great deal of good.

1837 -- Next was Enos PUFFER who lived at what is now called Crum Town. He held meetings in that place and was the founder of the first Methodist class in that place, it being occupied previously by Baptist and Presbyterian up to this time. PUFFER held a protracted meeting in Howard Schoolhouse that winter which resulted in much good quite a number of conversions and two men received license to do exhort Jasper HEWIT and Nelson WARD. HEWIT is now a traveling minister in the Wyoming conference and Br. WARD has long been gone to his home on high. There was a very singular incidence occurred at that meeting that I will relate.

A young lady by the name of Anna NELSON and her cousin and sister had heard a great deal about PUFFERs preaching and was anxious to hear him. Anna was a Baptist the other two made no profession. When preaching and excitation was over, invitation was given for seekers. As usual the sisters and cousin were first to the anxious seal and the first to get religion. The meeting closed and the girls went to Stephen HOWARDs to stay all night. S. HOWARD invited PUFFERs, Amos STEVENS and Seneca HOWLAND home with him too. After they had reported the news to me, PUFFERs says we will have family prayer, so prayed first, then STEVENS, then HOWLAND, then the two young converts, then the Baptist land next but she soon lost her strength and then P.S. and HALL commenced again praying and all lost there strength. I could do nothing but look on with perplexed amazement, I says I fear my sister is dying. No they she is happy when all was over and she was herself again. I asked her what made her appear so, she said while she was praying there was a brightness came before which resembled the picture in our small bible of the transfiguration of Christ. PUFFER stayed two years.

1839 -- Next year Peter COMPTON preached one year.

1840 -- L.G. WEAVER preached two years. He was the means through the (lepf) sp? of the Lord of saving many more souls near the church and added many more to our number.

1842 -- Our ministers name was JONES who stayed one year.

1843 -- was James JAMESON he also stayed one year.

Thank you Roger Howland for sharing this information.


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