Sacandaga Valley Churches
The first church building constructed in the Sacandaga River Valley was at Fish House by Sir William Johnson in the 1700’s. It’s denomination was Episcopal but it’s exact location, date built, and most other information has been lost in history.
Before churches were built people congregated at various places to worship God and share fellowship: barns, private homes, and outside in the summertime. Meetinghouses were built for all purposes of social, spiritual, and government use.
Regarding research of church histories: some denominations would form then split in two, mostly due to location. Or form and no beginning organization date would be noted, only date or year in regards to disbandment. Names changed and varied. One of the early churches in the Jackson Summit area of Mayfield was the German Methodist Episcopal Evangelistic Association which no real history could be found regarding dates, meetinghouse, or church in references.
Circuit riders followed early settlers to hold religious meetings wherever people would congregate. In book by John J Bennis ; Edinburg: A Town Divided, a journal of sorts is related regarding one of these missionary circuit riders. This journal covers a nine day stay in the valley area.
Regarding terminology in this particular journal the word “corrupt” is used a few times. This does not mean the people the reverend encountered were criminal. It means lacking in guidance or knowledge.
In 1802 the Reverend John Taylor left Williamstown, Massachusetts on July 20th and arrived in Albany on the 21st. From there he traveled to Tribes Hills just outside of Amsterdam. Then visited the valley with his first stop in Mayfield:
September 9th 1802: Arrived at Mayfield and was put up by Mr. TenEyck. Of him I obtained information respecting missionaries in Canada who have spoken with Mr. McDole who has been in Canada for three years. Missionaries are greatly wanted. The people are perishing for lack of knowledge. They are from the United States principally and have been almost entirely neglected.
Sept 30th Rode to Galoway, a part of New Broad Alban, 8 miles. The town like all the others in this quarter, are very much divided. The Presbyterians are, however, taking measures for settling the gospel by uniting with a part of Amsterdam.
October 1st Preached to 35 people at deacon Otis’s. Ye people attentive. Visited several families. This town does not stand in great need of missionary labors, and yet so much so as any part of ye country I have seen.
October 2nd: Spent the day in study
October 3rd Preached to a large audience in a meetinghouse, the first I have preached since leaving Deerfield. I find people in this part of the world much more attentive apparently in ye time of service than in New England. It is the practice of these people always to have a contribution when they are supplied. Received $2.16. This church contains 50 members. Gave one of the Lathrup’s , and one of Dodridges address to Deacon Otis, to be circulated in the neighborhood.
October 4th Rode to northwest Northampton, on the Sacandaga River a branch of the Hudson, 50 miles northwest of Albany. In the evening preached a lecture to 40 persons and appointed another on Wednesday 2 miles to ye north. This is a large town but ye people are divided into 8 or 10 different sects, and no one keeps up meetings upon ye Sabbath. It is probably as corrupt a place as Sandy Creek, yet here and there is a good character.
October 5th Visited families
October 6th Visited school and preached a lecture, about 40 persons present. Here there are about six professors of religion, and by that account very corrupt. Appointed a lecture tomorrow 8 miles to the southeast in the same town. East in this county of Saratoga lies a town by the name of Northfield, quite new, and perhaps in much need of assistance but cannot visit them. But by the very little attention paid to religion here, may be seen, ye small number who attends lectures. There are about 150 families in the town, considerably scattered. No missionary has visited the town except Mr. Fish about 6 years ago.
October 7th: Visited with several families found them very corrupt, and apparently without any sense of religion. Afternoon preached a lecture about 40 people present. Some appeared to have some effect. As there is no other town in this county which needs assistance. I have concluded to leave missionary ground.
The entry goes on the relate October 8th and 9th as traveling back home.
Columnists note: In 1802 Northampton would have been Fish House and Northfield mentioned in the journal at that time in history would have been Edinburg. There is no other mention is made of what the Reverend Taylor did from Sept 9th through the 30th. There is also no noting of his denomination.
In regards to the reverends entry about “no one keeps up meeting upon ye Sabbath” could have been due to the time of year. The valley peoples very lives depended on gathering whatever crops they could, making everything they needed from soap to candles, butchering meat, and a myriad of other things to survive for the coming winter. Some denominations considered it an absolute sin to do any work on Sundays and required members to acknowledge that sin.
Although Methodist encampment retreats in 1860’s were an early part of Sacandaga Park history by then some churches had already been established in the valley. These religious retreats were taken mostly by people who lived out of town and came to the spot near the river for rest and relaxation.
The Circle in Sacandaga Park was formed due to these retreats which started as tents, then became more permanent cottages before the FJ&G railroad came into the Park and on to Northville in 1875. The Adirondack Inn was built in 1888, a picnic grove was established, and even more people came.
When the railroad came in, the peace of the retreats was disrupted. The park fire of 1888 burned 111 cottages and the property was sold to the railroad. The FJ&G rebuilt the area with better cottages that had electricity and running water. Then leased or rented the rebuilt cottages to various individuals. Then the plans for the amusement park were underway. And the rest of that is another history.
These listings are simply when members organized ,when church was built, the architectural style used, and what may have become of those structures.
BAPTIST CHURCHES IN THE SACANDAGA VALLEY
EDINBURG: Baptist Society organized 1798; built 1816 ; Society met in private homes and barns until church was built. Square two story building with pews on three sides. Each half of the congregation faced each other while sermon was delivered by pastor from a hidden corner. Continued until 1852 when society ceased to exist. Building demolished.
PROVIDENCE : Organized 1796; Built 1847; Colonial style with square bell tower. Wood construction. Six window square. Approx 30’ x 40’ original exterior. Stained glass Still stands on Fish House Road used in summer services.
BROADALBIN / MAYFIELD: Church Of Broadalbin: Organized 1792; Built 1798; Rebuilt 1878; Reincorporated 1879; Both Mayfield and Broadalbin areas worshiped in a log cabin structure built at Nine Mile Tree Road. This structure was abandoned and congregants moved to Broadalbin. New structure was completed in 1798. In 1833 larger meeting house was built dedicated in 1835. Destroyed by fire on 1877. Current Brick church was built and dedicated in 1878. Louvered arch window bell tower with spire. More history at aplacetogrow.com
NORTHVILLE: First Baptist Church of Northville. Organized 1802; First Built 1870; rebuilt 1901; Meetinghouse was built and dedicated in 1804 at corner of Bridge and Main Street. Wood construction 32’ x 40’ This was shared with other denominations. No glass in windows or heat source. Meetinghouse remodeled in 1847, torn down 1869. New church built in 1870. Colonial style. 75 foot bell tower square base and dome top with spire. Large rectangular paned windows. Built of wood construction 72’ x 38’. Faced Main Street. Seating for 500 with attached lecture room held 175. Dedicated 1869. In 1902 lightning struck the bell tower. The bell was sent crashing down through the balcony and into the basement. From photo, the church structure still stood in the aftermath. But a great deal of damage had been done.
The property was sold church rebuilt in 1903 at it’s present location on First Street. The new church was 60’x 70’. Auditorium 40’ x 48’. Square Bell tower 65’ from ground to top. The church architecture style is colonial with and is of wood construction. Pews of red oak, oak flooring, memorial stained glass windows. Many renovations. The original bell recast and inscribed. Extensive history at bconny.org
EDINBURG: Bible Chapel Baptist in Doctrine: Partridge private home. Site later bought by unnamed Christian organization and remodeled. Remodeled again in the early 1980’s. Now home of Bible Chapel.
HADLEY: The Free-Will Baptist Church: formed in 1826. No other history
BROADALBIN: Hemlock Independent Gospel Church est.1853: Wood construction, peaked roof, board and batten, ginger bread trim . Church has undergone interior renovations and is mentioned as summer ministry in 2005 by Baptist Church in Northville at website fulton.nygenweb.net/churches
METHODIST CHURCHES IN THE SACANDAGA VALLEY
MAYFIELD UNITED METHODIST: founded in 1780 by Selah Woodworth organized 1816 built 1823. 1851 Steeple added. 1867 renovated inside. Wooden structure angled front. Curved arch windows in hexagon belfry with steeple top. Pointed arch windows on church. Other history at mayfieldny.org
EDINBURG Hill Church: organized 1822 built 1824. Now a private residence
BROADALBIN: United Methodist: Organized 1824; Built 1825; Organization occurred in a private home. The original building was 35’ x 40’. 1840 an addition made the building 40’x 60’. Colonial. Square four column open belfry with flat roof. In 1867 – 1868 the existing building was elevated and a basement (lecture room) was constructed under the sanctuary. 1885 a bell was purchased. In 1902 an additional room for the choir and organ, behind the pulpit. Memorial stained glass windows installed 1920. 1959 educational wing and fellowship hall were added. More history at fulton.nygenweb.net/churches
EDINBURG: Beecher Hollow Methodist : organized;1804 built 1836 Wood construction. Colonial style. 4 column belfry elevated pulpit. Stained glass windows.
DENTONS CORNERS: Methodist Episcopal Church of organized 1825 -1877 no other history
OSBORN BRIDGE: Methodist Episcopal organized 1827. First church made of logs. Destroyed by fire. Replaced with frame building south of Denton’s Four Corners no date. Building was 35’ x 45’ rectangle with rectangular windows. Colonial style with square belfry. Demolished in Reservoir project 1930. Congregation moved to Methodist Church at Fish House.
FISH HOUSE: Northampton United Methodist Church at Fish House. Organized and built 1859: First church at Fish House was Episcopal built by Sir William Johnson in the 1700’s. Demolished shortly before this church was built. Congregation from Osborn Bridge joined when valley was flooded and their church was lost in 1930. Interior renovations in the 1940’s. Renovations in 1999 to restore church to original as much as possible interior and exterior. Colonial Style. Wood construction. Paned windows. Two column on either side of front door. Square, 12 column, flat roofed belfry. Memorial stained glass window panels.
NORTHVILLE: First United Methodist : Organized 1821; First Built: 1826; Enlarged 1849; Rebuilt Brick 1872. In 1805 utilized Baptist meetinghouse was built on the corner of Bridge and Main. Shared with other denominations until 1812 then utilized a vacant school building . First built was a wooden structure on the corner of Washington and Main streets. Then later the wooden structure was moved to build brick church on same site in 1872. All bricks came from a brickyard just south of the village. gothic style. Steeple with cross. Center front doors. Large arched stained glass windows and circular. Elevated center pulpit and choir loft. Vaulted sanctuary ceilings Downstairs Kitchen area and fellowship room. Brick addition for educational rooms built in 1962.
CRANBERRY CREEK: organized 1889. Church moved from valley in 1929
CONKLINVILLE: Wesleyan Methodist Church 1844 no other history.
BATCHELLERVILLE: Methodist: Photos but no real history. Late 1800’s abandoned before the 1930 reservoir project Congregation moved to Beecher Hollow Church.
CRANBERRY CREEK: Community Church organized 1889 built 1891. Moved from valley in 1929. Was extensively remodeled inside to aid structure in 1999.
FISH HOUSE: Presbyterian Church of Northampton: Organized 1808; First Built 1816; Rebuilt 1870; First built was wooden structure replaced by brick in 1870. Closed it’s doors in 1915; Steeple removed in 1947; Brick Gothic now privately owned . New roof 1999. Grave site contains the remains of Revolutionary War soldier David Marvin and wife and also Samuel Duncan who helped form the Presbyterian church in Northville.
MAYFIELD: Mayfield Central Presbyterian. Organized and built 1827. Colonial style. Square open belfry with four spires. Wood construction. 1901 Session room added. Horse sheds removed 1974. Other information at mayfieldpresbyterian.org
BROADALBIN: First Presbyterian Church. Organized 1792; Built 1839; Colonial style wood construction. 12 foot high paned glass windows. Four column peaked open belfry. 1904 Fellowship Hall was added. 1979 new roof and the exterior of the church was painted and the sanctuary Fellowship Hall was redecorated.
NORTHVILLE: Organized 1849; built 1853; Northville United Presbyterian. Colonial architecture, wood construction, Addition of educational rooms on the back 1957 . Square louvered belfry with spire. Stained glass windows. Center aisle interior with two side aisles. Large cornice molding above the alter and original tin moldings around ceiling in sanctuary. In 1937 memorial balcony railing installed and bears the names of disciples at front . Basement Fellowship Hall has kitchen and newly installed bathroom. Elevator for handicapped access was installed approx 1999. Church was damaged by fire in 1936 and was repaired. Other information at northvillepres.org
BATCHELLERVILLE: organized 1849; built 1867; Batchellerville Presbyterian Church was moved during the reservoir project. Northville Presbyterian utilizes this church for summer services. Colonial Wood construction with open square belfry. Center elevated pulpit. Box pews. Stained glass windows.
FISH HOUSE: References note the beginnings of a Catholic church but only the foundation was dug. A map in 1868 notes property and what looks like a building, but references relate there was no structure built.
NORTHVILLE: St Francis of Assisi organized 1920; built in 1922; In 1887 Catholic missionaries celebrated mass in private residences from 1887 – 1891. In 1920 a Franciscan residence was established in house built in 1896 which serves as the Rectory today. Summer masses at Rustic Theatre in Sacandaga Park until 1933. Construction on church began with a horse drawn scoop to dig out the basement. Stone for foundation came from Seven Hills Road. Brick Construction. Italian renaissance style. Arched windows. Domed steeple. Woodwork and beams solid oak: stained glass
windows were made in Innsbruck, Austria. Basement serves as gathering hall and kitchen.
BROADALBIN: St Josephs Catholic built 1955; After the valley was flooded. Peaked roof construction. Rectangular stone Circular stained glass window in front. Smaller pointed arch windows on either side with large window at the back.
NORTHVILLE: Pilgrim Holiness Mission Church organized in 1906; Built 1907-08; . Two storey building with living quarters upstairs. Small barber shop attached to it’s south side. Flat roof and facade. Doors faced Main Street. Seats instead of pews. Printing press in the basement gospel literature was made. Still stands on Main street in Northville private business offices. New church dedicated in 1991 on Mountain Road. windows feature a cross with shafts of light, praying hands, and the Star of David on alternating windows. The front windows pilgrim ship. The top of the altar from the former church made into a cross behind the pulpit. More history at :http://phcofny.homestead.com/files/northville.htm
EDINBURG: 1930 established on Fox Hill no other history.
EDINBURG: Beecher Hollow Presbyterian Built approx 1824 torn down 1866.
CRANBERRY CREEK: Christian Church. Organized 1820; Built 1845; Building was 26’ x 40’ ceased to exist in 1876.
TOWN OF DAY: 1st Christian Church organized 1833; Built 1845; Congregants met in school house before church was built.. Church was wood construction 30’ x 44’ with belfry. All denominations were invited to make use of it. In 1878 membership was 200. This church was moved from valley before the reservoir project. Contact info at townofday.com
WEST DAY: 2nd Christian Church built 1857. Ministers served in both 1st and 2nd Christian churches. Demolished in 1930 reservoir project.
DAY CENTER: Methodist Episcopal formed 1865; Church built 1868; Plain wooden structure 30’ x 40’ Demolished in 1930 reservoir project.
DAY SOUTHEAST CORNER: Low Dutch Reformed Stone Church built 1844; Built completely of cut rectangular stone. Dimensions were 28’ x 45’. Square belfry and railings on top. In 1867 the church changed denomination to Presbyterian. Demolished in 1930 reservoir project.
CONKLINVILLE: Wesleyan Methodist church organized 1844; No other history found in references .
CONKLINVILLE: St. John’s Episcopal Church organized 1868; No other history found in references.
FISH HOUSE: Protestant Episcopal organized 1855; In 1854 bought a cooper and blacksmiths shop converted it into a church. Dedicated 1871. Still active in 1878. After 1892 no records were found.
TOWN OF PROVIDENCE: Barkersville log church. No other information
BROADALBIN: Episcopal Chapel Built 1888 Demolished 1981: Husted’s private chapel . Then later moved in 1943 to Chalmers estate then destroyed in 1981. More history at http://www.fulton.nygenweb.net/churches/churchbrd.html
FOX HILL: Evangelical Wesleyan. No other known history.
QUAKERS: In Mayfield before1840 there was a Quaker place of worship no date as to when they left. The “Friends Meeting House” still stands today and is used as a private residence.
Edinburg: Quakers in the population but no record of a Quaker meeting house
Town of Providence: Log meeting house south of Briggs cemetery–then a second meeting house replaced the first one but no record how long it lasted. Also a meeting house in Town of Northampton according to Spafford’s 1824 Gazetteer of NYS no other history.
MAYFIELD: Palmerite Church at Munsonville: No date as to when it was built; was empty by 1867. Taken down and moved to Anthonyville used as barn.
EDINBURG Beecher Hollow Presbyterian Built approx 1824 torn down 1866.
by Lorraine Frasier