THE BROADALBIN METHODIST CHURCH
by Gordon Cornell
This history was generously donated by Gordon and transcribed with his permission. It was typed by Mary A. (Bryant) Morancie.
The history of the Methodist congregation is uncertain due to lack of good records. The noted Billy Hibbard in 1789 made Ash Grove his headquarters and traveled a 500 mile circuit. Ash Grove is located in the Cambridge, NY area. It appears that he penetrated this area.
On the last day of June,1792 the Rev. Freeborn Garrettson held a quarterly conference at Broadalbin and on the second day of the meeting, July 1, he said that about 400 persons assembled, and they had a moving and profitable time. Communion was served.
Methodist gatherings took place at homes and in whatever suitable places were available. The number of worshipers grew and it was becoming apparent that a regular meeting place was needed.
Sometime prior to 1824 the Rev. V. R. Osborn, formerly of the New England Conference, left for a time to attend to some business and recuperate his health. Being in the vicinity of Broadalbin he was encouraged to take on the Public School. A revival began in the school and spread throughout the town. Many were converted and it became apparent that a preaching place was needed.
The formal organization of the Church occurred on the 9th of March 1824, at the house of Trustum Dunham, in the village of Broadalbin. It was incorporated the same day. Mr. Dunham was building the house which became known as the Cleveland home. The upper story was left unfinished and without partitions, for that purpose, until a church could be built.
Some earlier Historians have stated the building was constructed in 1824 while others say it was 1825. While I can not say which is correct, I do have a copy of the record showing the land transfer from Doddridge Smith and his wife of the first part, and Doddridge Smith, Trustum Dunham, Reuben Thayer, Charles Mitchell, and William Chambers, Trustees of the second part, dated 1825. The 1824 date is in question in my mind.
The original building was 35 feet by 40 feet in size. The congregation grew and a larger building was needed. So in 1840 an addition made the building 40 feet by 60 feet in size. Once again, more space was needed so in 1867 - 1868 the existing building was elevated and a basement (lecture room) was constructed under the sanctuary.
A parsonage was constructed in 1871, out behind the church. Then, in 1874 the Parsonage was moved to its present location to make room for the construction of horse sheds. With the coming of the automobile the horse sheds were used less and less until finally space in the building was leased to the Broadalbin Knitting Company for storage of bales of fiber. Then on February 1, 1934 the sheds were seriously damaged by an early morning fire. The firemen were complemented for their efforts in saving the church and the Clarence McVean barn, but the sheds were damaged so severely it was determined they should be razed.
About 1885 the bell was purchased for $100 and was installed in the church belfry.
In 1902 an addition was added to make room for the choir and organ, behind the pulpit. Then in 1959, the educational wing and fellowship hall were started.
The congregation has operated under the following names: The Second Methodist Episcopal Society of Broadalbin, The Methodist Episcopal Church of Broadalbin, The Methodist Church of Broadalbin and the Broadalbin United Methodist Church. The name change to the Methodist Church of Broadalbin took place in 1941 and the latter change, to the Broadalbin United Methodist Church, took place in 1968 following the merger of the Methodist Church and the United Brethren Church.
The Epworth League was organized by Rev. H. M. Boice May 19, 1889, making it the oldest in New York State.
The Pipe Organ was installed during 1908. Since it was two years before electricity was brought into the building, it is assumed that the hand pump bellows were used to provide the necessary air.
A year of notable events took place in 1910 with electricity now available for lighting and the operation of the organ. In July of that year the home and Box Factory of Charles Wilkins, two doors to the south, burned to the ground. The heat and burning embers ignited the church roof repeatedly and only through the efforts of men and boys with ladders and pails of water was the Church saved. Then on October 19, 1910, Mary J. Tymerson was working at a Church oyster supper when her clothing caught fire and she was severely burned. She died 10 hours later!
The majority of the Memorial Stained Glass Windows were installed during December 1920. In 1941 the Epworth League was replaced by the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
In 1948 the Sanctuary was remodeled extensively, including new pews, and in 1951 the Portico was added to the front of the Church. 1954 was another year for changes as the old tracker organ was replaced with a new electrified organ, with only the pipes and blower saved from the original organ.
In 1955 Mr. Arthur Chalmers presented to the Church a record player, time switch, and a large number of records, making it possible to play chimes through the speakers placed in the belfry. This was an enjoyable dinner hour addition for most, but an occasional power outage would put the system out of sync and some of the neighbors became unhappy over the music that came forth at times like 2am!
Without doubt, the Methodists have had more Pastoral changes than any other Church in our Community. An exact count is not possible as more than one list of former Pastors seems to exist. However, to say that we have had 72 +/- in 176 years is impressive if you like high numbers.
While many of our members are relative newcomers, we do have a number of members who descend from Broadalbin Methodists of many years ago. I am at least the 4th generation of my family to hold membership in this Church, and I am sure that there are others who can say the same.
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Copyright ©, 2001 Gordon Cornell
Copyright ©, 2001 Mary A. (Bryant) Morancie, Jeanette Shiel
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Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:25:00 PDT