Broadalbin in History
R. J. HONEYWELL
Return to Part I, "Broadalbin In History"
MISCELLANY TO DATE.
Denton Smith came to Broadalbin in 1863 and purchased the Chase saw mill in the eastern part of the village. Here in 1886 he erected a large lumber mill which he operated until his death in 1905. At one time a button shop was conducted in a part of this mill, but was soon discontinued. After the death of Mr. Smith the property came into the possession of the Broadalbin Lumber Company, who made extensive improvements, but on the night of June 7, 1907, the mill was destroyed by fire. A new mill was immediately commenced on the same site.
Kennyetto Masonic Lodge, Number 599, was organized Dec. 16, 1865, with 43 original members, and obtained its charter July 3, 1866. At various times Broadalbin had had societies of Good Templars, Odd Fellows, Macabees, Red Men, Rebekahs, et cetera.
In 1868 the drug firm of Knapp & Bradford was established, which became Bradford & Dickinson in 1870. It was in 1869 that John Wayne, said to be a descendant of General Anthony Wayne, bought a farm in the southern part of the town and built a house which was the first brick structure in Broadalbin. His son, George B., became prominent in the glove industry.
The Broadalbin Herald, an eight page weekly, was started on Nov. 29, 1877, by Rev. R. G. Adams. Since May, 1907, it has been printed in the office of the “Johnstown Republican.” “The Broadalbin Baptist” was the name of a small monthly magazine started in 1906, under the auspices of the Baptist Church. It was edited by the Baptist pastor and associates and was published in Broadalbin for thirteen months.
A disastrous fire in December, 1878, destroyed ten or more stores on lower North street, among them those of James Burr, groceries; Tomlinson Brothers, clothing; Wm. Finch, groceries; and J. E. Lasher, dry goods. They have been replaced by a substantial brick block. On April 12, 1894, Geo. Manning’s grocery, Finch & Lee’s pharmacy, Mrs. Mary Tymerson’s meat market, a saloon, and one dwelling, adjoining the place of the fire of 1878, were burned, and other wooden structures have taken their place.
The first telegraph line to enter Broadalbin was built from Amsterdam by a man named Peddie for the American Union Telegraph Co., in 1879, or the year following. The office was first established in the store of Tomlinson Brothers, who operated it for twelve years. A few years after its erection the line was bough by the Western Union Telegraph Co. The first telephone line was constructed largely through the exertions of Rev. R. D. Grant by the Hudson River Telephone Company, coming via Perth in 1880. Later the Glen Telephone Company bought all other rights, and on July 20, 1903, established an exchange in Broadalbin.
Kennyetto Inn, long known as the Osborne House, was built in 1881 by C. W. Boss. About 1895 a Keeley Cure inebriate hospital, locally known as the Gold Cure, was maintained in the building for one summer, and in the summer of 1898 a sanitorium was conducted by Dr. H. C. Finch, assisted for two weeks at the first by Dr. E. H. Pratt of Chicago. In 1904 the hotel was bought by a stock company and largely improved.
The Broadalbin Kennyetto Fire Company was incorporated at a meeting in the office of John M. Gardner Oct. 2, 1886. The first officers were: Leonard S. Northup, president; J. P. Rosa, secretary; George O. Dickinson, treasurer; who with John E. Lasher, T. Delap Smith, Cornelius Vanderwerken, W. E. Halleday, J. A. Bemis and Charles H. Butler formed the board of trustees. The hose and engine house was built in 1887 at a cost of $419.04. The company observed the first fireman’s memorial day with special services in the M. E. Church on June 9, 1907.
A serious epidemic of diphtheria resulted in many deaths in Broadalbin in 1870. In the summer of 1890 the Amsterdam aqueduct was constructed, passing the Ridge many yards below the surface. In 1895 the village school became a union school and a new building was erected. An Elgin system creamery was built in 1896 by a local stock company. About 1907 a plague of army-worms swept across the town from the northwest, devastating every grain field in their path, but was destroyed when in the southern part of the town by long delayed rains.
The Husted Family have incalculably benefited Broadalbin during their residence there. In the summer of 1890 Colonel Wm. H. Husted accidentally shot and killed himself near his summer home, but his relatives have continued their residence in Broadalbin. In June, 1891, a free reading room was established under their auspices. Later they bought and totally extirpated the old American Hotel from the corner of Main and North streets, besides conducting many other enterprises from the improvement of the village of benefit of its residents. Some of their buildings were designed by the late Stamford White, whose recent murder by Harry K. Thaw has gained world-wide notoriety. The members of this family most closely associated with Broadalbin are Miss M. K., Charles S., and Seymour Husted, Mrs. Cromwell, and Mrs. Beers.
Robert W. Chamber's Home.
Robert W. Chambers, an author of considerable ability and eminence and grandson of Dr. Wm. Chambers, for several years has made Broadalbin his summer home. Some of his novels touch upon colonial life in Broadalbin and Johnstown.
Tornado of 1897. --August 15, 1897, a tornado suddenly developed near the southern township line and, moving in a northeasterly direction, destroyed the Ponshaw barn, the Hardig house and barn, two barns at Thomas Steel’s farm, and the Daniel Steenburg barn, one mile beyond. This was the most severe whirling wind ever known in the Mohawk valley. The force it exerted was terrific, massive trees were twisted from the earth, fragments of timber were carried long distances and flung out of the cloud with crushing force, and the narrow escape of three houses along the route was providential.
Suspension Bridge (no longer exists)
Bridge building has been an important feature of internal development. Following are some statistical briefs; with one exception all were built of stone. Voted to be erected over the Kennyetto at Broadalbin, October, 1885, $1,200; Hons Creek, Benedict, 1886, $800; Frenchman’s Creek, Spencers Corners, 1889, $600; Kennyetto, West Broadalbin, 1889, $685, $150 additional allowed; Chuctanunda, West Galway, May, 1904, $800; steel bridge Kennyetto, East Broadalbin, July 9, 1904, $1,025; Frenchman’s Creek, Union Mills, July 18, 1905, $875. At the election of 1901 the system of working roads by direct monetary taxation was adopted, but has occasioned some dissatisfaction.
Railroad Surveys in the vicinity of Broadalbin are quite numerous. About 1877 a survey from Schenectady to Ogdensburg passed just east of the village. The Boston & Maine company surveyed from the Hudson valley to Rome through Broadalbin about 1882 and work was commenced on the east end of the line when the sudden death of the chief mover of the project paralyzed the work and it was not resumed. In 1891 J. W. Cleveland surveyed a line to Mayfield three and one-half miles long, which he estimated could be built for $40,000, but the project was abandoned. About 1892 the Utica and Saratoga enterprise awakened great enthusiasm. Gloversville pledged $30,000 and Broadalbin $5,000 for its construction, which seemed certain, but after $200 had been paid toward the expenses of the survey the enterprise suddenly collapsed. In 1895 J. W. Cleveland and Dr. H. C. Finch formed the Broadalbin Construction Co. and built two miles of track on private right, whereupon the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Co. was induced to complete and operate the the line to Broadalbin Junction. The first passenger train was run Nov. 22, 1895. Early in 1903 J. W. Cleveland surveyed a line for the Ballston Terminal Co., connecting their lines with Broadalbin. In 1907 this company was bought out by the Eastern New York Co., who has commenced work on an electric road to extend from Ballston through Broadalbin to Gloversville, with a branch to Amsterdam via Hagaman.
Electric Lights were first used in Broadalbin early in 1902, when a private plant owned by Miss M. K. Husted commenced operation. In December of the same year W. W. Finch & Co. furnished lights for the Broadalbin Electric Co. This company in 1901 expended $3,000 to develop the water power at Spook Bridge on the Kennyetto, but owing to defective construction the works were destroyed by high water. Later the company established a steam power house in Broadalbin, but in May, 1907, ceased operation, being unable to compete with the new Broadalbin Electric Light and Power Co. This company supplies Broadalbin and Mayfield from power houses in Gloversville, and is developing the water power at Eagle Mills. The Hudson River Light and Power Co. has projects a colossal dam at Conklingville on the Sacandaga which would create a lake forty miles long, flooding large parts of northern Broadalbin. Its construction, however, is as yet uncertain.
In 1906 Broadalbin experienced a sudden commercial boom. A national bank was projected, property rose in value, and houses were in demand. Altogether this stimulus of the life of the village did not mean as much as some people anticipated, nevertheless, it set Broadalbin growing faster than it had before in many long decades.
A few population statistics of the township are subjoined. Population in 1800, 1,133; 1814, 2,369; 1820, 2,428; 1830, 2,657; 1840, 2,738; 1850, 2,476; 1860, 2,534; 1870, 2,912; 1880, 2,175; 1890, 2,021; 1905, 1,919. Broadalbin village: 1850, 500; 1907, 960.
Union Mills, a place of some importance, is situated on Frenchman’s Creek and has a population of between one and two hundred. Seymour Carpenter was the first to locate near this place, where he erected a saw mill in 1827. A paper mill was built in 1828 by a small company, but was burned in 1840, rebuilt the following year, burned and rebuilt in 1867, and finally burned in 1877. The first store in the place was kept by John Schoonmaker about 1828, and a printing office was established by the Christian General Book Concern in 1833. Rev. Joseph Badger was manager and beside compiling and publishing several books for the use of his denomination he published a weekly paper called “The Christian Palladium,” but after a few years this was discontinued and publishing plant came into the possession of John and William Clark, who began the publication of the political paper called “The Banner,” which later was changed to a religious publication entitled “The Visitor.” This enterprise proved a failure, but an attempt was made to publish a family newspaper called “The Garland” before the publishing project was finally abandoned.
North Broadalbin, often called Avery’s and formerly Spencer’s Corners, is about one mile from the Northampton line. Duncan McMartin, who had achieved great prominence as a surveyor, lawyer and jurist, settled on what has since been known as the Spencer farm in 1810, built a saw mill and grist mill, and became a man of wealth and influence. In 1813 he was instrumental in forming a stock company which built and operated a woolen mill which continued in operation for eighty years.
Benedict is situated a short distance northeast from North Broadalbin and has very little individual history. It derives its name from the Benedict family, long prominent residents of the place.
Mills Corners, in the eastern part of the town, is named from the Mills family, in earlier years prominent residents of the place, but the Sawyer family has long formed a large proportion of its inhabitants. Here was one of the few plantation farms in this part of the country worked by slave labor, the Colton farm, now owned by George Hickok. An old hotel at the main cross-roads on the summit of Flea Hill (the local name for an outlying spur of the Kayaderosseras range, although often applied to the whole region), was in early days the rendezvous of counterfeiters. It is said they were often pursued by the sheriffs, but never legally apprehended, always escaping by a secret passage to an underground cellar large enough to admit a team and wagon. Other vague traditions cling around the place, but nothing can be authenticated. Modernly the hotel was used as a dwelling house and a grocery store was kept in one end of it by Alfred & Chauncey Sawyer for a number of years. While unoccupied a few years ago the building was destroyed by fire. Mills Corners post office, long kept by George Tuarjet, a half mile west of the corners, was discontinued in June, 1907.
Stevers Mills is on the Kennyetto two miles east of Broadalbin. At an early date a hammer and hoe factory was here conducted in connection with a turning shop by Harmon Vedder. In 1869 James B. Stever built a paper mill which was run more or less regularly until 1905; he also conducted a saw mill and undertaking establishment. A short distance further up the stream was Thompson’s Mills, were a paper mill was run by Samuel Thompson, who also operated a lime kiln and quarry.
Hooseville, as that part of West Galway north of the Chuctanunda is called, is divided between the towns of Broadalbin and Galway. It was formerly known as Van Vranken’s Corners. Mann’s grist mill has long been its chief industry in the Broadalbin section, and first the Hoose and later the Collier families have been the most prominent residents.
Vail Mills is situated in the great bend of the Kennyetto one mile southwest of Broadalbin in the town of Mayfield, but so closely related to Broadalbin life that it must be mentioned here. Between 1790 and 1795 Daniel Lefferts, the first settler, located here and built the first saw mill in southeastern Mayfield. William Vail came from Connecticut in 1804 and purchased the land still owned by his great grandsons, who conduct several important industries. On August 6, 1868, J. P. Rosa came from Union Mills and opened a general store, where he did a business of over $18,000 annually, which later passed into the hands of Edward Vosburg. In the early days when Broadalbin was Fonda’s Bush, Vail Mills was the Lower Bush, afterwards called the Lower Village, which name is still in use. Its modern name, Vail’s Mills, has recently lost its possessive form.
Woods hollow also is not in Broadalbin, but a short distance west of the Mayfield line. It was settled in 1795 by a man named Harmon, who built and operated a grist mill. At one time it contained two large paper mills, and in 1905 W. J. Kennedy built a shoddy mill of concrete blocks. Prior to 1890 the name of Woods Hollow gave place to that of Closeville, but the old name has since been revived.
Woolen Goods: -In 1813 a stock company was formed at North Broadalbin which erected a woolen mill on land owned by Duncan McMartin. The first directors were Duncan McMartin, Tiffany Brockway, James Sumner, John Fay and John E. Hawley. The business was carried on for some time, but in the depression following the war with Great Britain became unprofitable and was abandoned. The directors later cleared off the liabilities and carried on the business which afterward passed into the hands of John Culbert and Thomas Reddish. Later it passed Reddish’s two sons, and ultimately one of them, Daniel M., became sole proprietor and continued to own the mill, although it was operated by outside parties, until its destruction by fire about the year 1894.
Paper making in the earlier times was an important feature in the industrial life of Broadalbin. At an early date a paper mill was built on the present site of the hosiery mill by a man named North, who operated it for some time. He erected the large house now owned by W. W. Finch, and it is of interest to note that the contractor made a charge of $500 for the foundations of this house and accepted in payment of choice imported ram [sic]. The mill afterward passed into the possession of Noah D. Cleveland, who operated it for some time prior to his death in 1845, when it passed to his son, Daniel O., who conducted it for some time, then discontinued and operated a tannery for some time, but later put the paper mill again in operation and continued it until about 1867, when it was burned. He also conducted a foundry just west of the paper mill, and a large tannery long stood on the opposite side of the Kennyetto. The Broadalbin families are a part of the Cleveland thousands who inhabit America, all descended form Moses Cleveland, an early settler of Massachusetts.
As early as 1828 a paper mill was built at Union Mills by John Carpenter, John Schoonmaker, John Clark and Richard P. Clark and continued in business till 1840, when it burned. Rebuilt in 1841 by John Clark, it was again burned in 1867. A third mill was immediately erected by Nelson W. Bacon; in 1874 it passed into the ownership of W. H. Whitlock, and in December, 1877, this also was burned. Bacon also operated a paper mill at Eagle Mills, built at an early date, probably by his father. This also was burned about 1892.
A paper mill was built on the Kennyetto just above Stever’s Mills about 1850 by John and Samuel Thompson, and after his brother’s death was conducted by the latter until its destruction by fire in 1885. The last of Broadalbin’s papers mills was built at Stever’s Mills by James B. Stever in 1869, and operated until 1905. Paper made from wood pulp has come so much into use that the coarser brand produced in Broadalbin’s mills is no longer in demand.
Gloves have been manufactured in Broadalbin for half a century. James Louis Northrup (born in Galway Sept. 1, 1818,) opened a wagon making shop in Broadalbin in 1836 and, after operating a sole leather tannery and traveling ten years for a glove firm, in 1854 joined his brother-in-law, J. N. Richards, in the manufacture of gloves at Broadalbin, which was continued until 1860, when he removed to Johnstown, becoming one of its most prominent citizens, dying Oct. 25, 1888.
Arthur Smith came from Perth in 1840 and as early as 1862 began the manufacture of gloves on a small scale, which he continued for over thirty years. In 1888 Dye & Robertson started the glove industry which they still conduct. Andrew J. Waterstreet and Robert Wilson began the manufacture of fulled mittens at North Broadalbin in June, 1891. Jesse Hall, an Englishman, worked as a glove cutter in Broadalbin and afterward became a successful manufacturer in Gloversville. Other prominent glove makers who have made Broadalbin their home at some time are John Stewart Ireland and George Wayne.
In December, 1902, a stock company of twenty members, three of whom were afterward bought out by the others, bought a building on lower Main street, locally known as the Bee Hive, and rented it to Littauer Bros. Of Gloversville for a glove shop. Subsequently a large addition was built at the rear of the building and quite a considerable business was conducted, but in July, 1907, the business was discontinued owing to disadvantages of location.
The Knitting Industry began in 1884, when the Penobscot Knitting Co. bought the site of the old Cleveland mills and began the erection of a factory. The company consisted of W. J. Kennedy, James W. Bailey, F. and S. C. Higgins, and under the name of Higgins Bros. & Kennedy carried on the business until May, 1889, when a stock company was formed with a paid in capital of $75,000. The company added several enlargements of the property and also maintained a shoddy mill at Chase’s Mills (formerly known as Fox Hollow), in the east end of Broadalbin, where many were burned in succession. A few years ago some machinery was established in the old Chase grist mill, but this, known as the White Star Knitting Mill, was soon after destroyed by fire, whereupon a substantial brick structure replaced it. Small fires had often occurred in the main factory, doing more or less damage, but on the night of Nov. 29, 1905, it was burned to the ground with a loss of $110,000. During the following summer a new brick structure was erected on nearly the same site and went into immediate operation. In 1896 W. J. Kennedy resigned from the superintendance of Broadalbin Knitting Co. and built an independent shoddy mill at Woods Hollow.
POST OFFICE RECORDS.
In pioneer days a post rider twice weekly blew his horn loudly before entering the village, then rode slowly up the bridle trail where Main street now is, dispensing the mail direct from the saddle bags, while the whole populace collected to hear the momentus news which in those days occasioned the writing of a letter. In 1804 the post office was established and named Broadalbin through the influence of the Scotch element.
In the early days the mails probably came via Johnstown, later they were brought twice daily from Mayfield by stage until the building of the railroad gave more expeditious service. On Oct. 1, 1903, Rural Free Delivery Route Number 2, from Hagaman, which twice crosses the southern part of Broadalbin township, went into operation and diverted a portion of Broadalbin’s mail. On June 15, 1904, R. F. D. No. 1 was started from this office, penetrating the central region of the township.
The record of the postmasters is incomplete. Allan Burr held the office for eight years during Jackson’s administration, and was succeeded by Alexander Van Ness. Laban S. Capron also held it at one time. A list of postmasters for the last half century with the date when each assumed charge is appended: Dr. C. C. Joslin, 1857; Arthur Smith, April 17, 1861, resigned; Daniel O. Cleveland, Sept. 29, 1866; Arthur Smith, April 2, 1867, resigned; D. O. Cleveland, May 14, 1869; J. W. Cleveland, Oct. 1, 1874; F. G. Fuller, Nov. 9, 1880; Loren Sunderland, Sept., 1882; David Blair, June 22, 1885; Archibald Robertson, May 22, 1889; J. P. Rosa, April 23, 1984; A. A. Gardner, Oct., 1898.
DIRECTORY OF PHYSICIANS AND BARRISTERS.
E. G. Rawson was the first physician to locate in Broadalbin. He came from Connecticut in 1805.
William Chambers, born in Galway, 1798; Scotch-English ancestry, studied in Boston, distinguished for brilliant scholarship, died in Broadalbin August 26, 1874.
James Berry, graduated Castleton (Vt.) Medical College 1835, located in Broadalbin about 1840, later removed to Gloversville.
Chauncey C. Joslin, graduated Union College, licensed from Schenectady Medical Society 1840.
David N. Barker, born Edinburg, diploma from Castleton (Vt.) Medical College June 14, 1848.
Thomas Delap Smith, born Machias, Me., diploma from Medical School of the State of Maine August 15, 1867.
John K. Thorn, born New York, diploma from Albany Medical College Dec. 26, 1871.
Henry Clement Finch, born Northampton, license from Albany Medical College March 1, 1882.
M. Francis Drury, born Mayfield, diploma from Albany Medical College May 16, 1887, removed to Gloversville.
Reuben L. Howland, born southern Mayfield 1872, graduated Albany Medical College 1897, opened practice in Broadalbin 1897.
Lewis H. Finch, born in Broadalbin, graduated Columbia Medical College.
The Legal Profession:
Duncan McMartin located at North Broadalbin 1810, master in chancery, judge of court of common pleas 1813, elected to state senate.
James M. Dudley, born Peru, Vt., July 19, 1813, graduated Burr Collegiate Seminary, located at Broadalbin 1840.
Horace E. Smith, LL. D., born Weston, Vt., educated in common schools, Chester Academy, Vt., Franklin Academy, Sherburne Falls, Mass., and private instruction. Studied at Broadalbin with Abram P. Demarest, admitted as attorney of Supreme Court of New York Jan. 12, 1844. Practiced in Broadalbin till spring of 1847. Anti-slavery man, edited “The Free-Soiler,” member of Massachusetts legislature, introduced mammoth petition urging the enactment of prohibitory laws and fought through a bill favoring the petition. Elected dean and professor of Albany Law School 1879. Was a Presbyterian elder. His first wife was a daughter of George Mills of Broadalbin.
John M. Carroll, born Springfield, Otsego Co., April 27, 1827, of the same ancestry as Chas. Carroll of Carrollton, maternal ancestors (Huguenots) emigrated from Bordeaux in 1688. Graduated from Union College 1846, commenced practice in Broadalbin 1849, removed to Johnstown 1862, district attorney 1859, elected to 42nd congress 1870.
Richard H. Rosa, born in Broadalbin, practiced for some years, district attorney for twelve years.
Henry H. Parker, born Concord, N.H., Feb. 26, 1860, graduated from St. Johnsburg Academy, Vt., Phillips Andover Academy, Dartmouth College, Albany Law School 1886, located in Broadalbin 1887, removed to Gloversville 1888.
Fitzhugh Littlejohn, descended from the French Count Larchar, born in Broadalbin April 29, 1850, educated at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, read law in Broadalbin, admitted to the bar 1887, died in Broadalbin.
John M. Drury, born at Vail Mills Jan. 16, 1862, educated at Vail Mills and Broadalbin, taught for two years, won free scholarship at Cornell, graduated 1884, admitted at Albany November, 1889.
James H. Drury, born in Mayfield May 18, 1865, educated in Broadalbin and State Normal School at Albany, entered Union College 1887, remained two years, admitted, December, 1890, associated with his brother, John M., maintained offices in Broadalbin and Gloversville.
Emmet Blair for many years was Broadalbin’s leading resident lawyer.
Justice James Betts of the Supreme Court of New York state is a native of eastern Broadalbin.
The Baptist Church of Broadalbin was organized on Oct. 18, 1792, by a council consisting of Elders Butler and Finch, Samuel Halsted, Lemuel Cavil, Stutson Benson, and Brother French. The first deacons, chosen Dec. 15, 1792, were Robert Ryan and Seth Pettit. The first additions to the membership were Mrs. Rebecca Marsh and Mrs. Daniel Mory, who united Jan. 5, 1793. The first pastor was Rev. John Finch, pastor of the First Baptist church of Providence, who ministered to the society as circumstances permitted. He was a revolutionary soldier and his right hand had been disabled by a bullet wound. On Dec. 15 the church voted “to give Elder Finch five pounds in grain, meat, flax, wool and cloth, and forty shillings in work.” Today his great-grandsons are prominent supporters of the church he did so much to found.
In June, 1796, the church united with the Shaftsbury Association, the membership being 33, and in September, 1797, a “meeting at Fonda’s Bush determined to build a meeting house.” Alexander McQueen and Nathan Brockway were made building committee, and a report from the board of trustees shows that on May 17, 1798, 261, 12s, 3d had been expended on the structure. In the summer of 1798 it was used for worship, but eight more years elapsed before the rude pulpit and seats were replaced with permanent ones.
Saratoga Baptist association was formed from a part of the Shaftsbury Association on August 8, 1804, and the Broadalbin church united with the new association on August, 21, 1805. On June 1, 1816, through the influence of its pastor, Rev. Jonathan Nichols, an Arminian in faith, the church withdrew from the association, but in 1818 a reunion was effected.
A new church was begun Jan. 24, 1833, twenty rods east of the first one on land bought from Dr. E. G. Dawson. It was a frame building 43x60 feet, built by Elijah Roberts, and finished and dedicated in 1835. During the pastorate of Rev. William B. Curtis, 1838-42, 142 converts were added to the church. Feb. 15, 1841, the church adopted the revised constitution of the Saratoga Association, and in 1843 was the pastor’s salary was fixed at $400.
In 1868-69 about $2,400 was expended on repairs, but on Nov. 18, 1877, the church caught fire from adjacent buildings and was burned to the ground, the society realizing more than $4,300 from the insurance. Jan. 22, 1878, preparations for a new church were commenced, which was built under the supervision of Rev. Jacob Gray at a cost of $7,000. The church was reincorporated May 15, 1879. Repairs and improvements have been made from time to time, electric lights being installed in 1905.
The present membership is 284, the salary $1,000. The church formerly had a Young People’s Baptist Union, but on the death of Rev. O. J. Kingsbury, Jan. 1, 1906, it was discontinued and has not been revived. The Sunday school has a membership of 110, including a “Baraca” class of 25 men, organized in 1906, and a young ladies’ “Philathea” class, organized in May, 1907.
A list of the pastors who have served this church with the date when each assumed charge is subjoined. Vacancies of six months duration are recorded: John Finch, 1792; Hezekiah Gorton, licentiate, 1795, ordained Jan. 31, 1798; Jonathan Nichols, August, 1813; vacant two years; William Groom, 1818; James Delany, licentiate, Feb. 1, 1837, ordained Jan. 10, 1838; William B. Curtis, June, 1838; Ludowick Salisbury, June 20, 1842; G. C. Baldwin, September, 1842; H. H. Rouse, Dec. 23, 1843; Chas. E. Chandler, April 1, 1844; William H. Smith, April, 1849; William Garnett, May, 1852; E. Westcott, Aug. 18, 1855; G. W. Abrams, March, 1856; Frederick S. Park, 1857; Joseph L. Barlow, April, 1863; no pastor six months; W. F. Benedict, April, 1869; vacate six months; Hardin Wheat, Jan. 1, 1873; J. K. Wilson, June, 1874; A. K. Bacheldor, May, 1875; no pastor 17 months; R. D. Grant, October, 1878; John G. Dyer, Jan. 22, 1882; W. J. Quincy, January, 1883; A. J. Wilcox, February, 1887; M. H. Coleman, November, 1889; J. R. Shaw, Aug. 2, 1892; W. C. Carr, Nov. 1, 1898; O. J. Kingsbury, Jan. 1, 1903; died Jan. 1, 1906; D. E. Abrams, April, 1906.
The Presbyterian Church of Broadalbin was organized in 1792 by the Dutch Reformed Classis of Albany under the name of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Haerlem. For seven years the society was feeble, having no pastor nor church, but a revival then strengthened them and it was resolved to have a stated pastor. The first consistory consisted of Rev Coanrod Ten Eick, moderator; Dick Banta, Samuel Demarest, elders; Abraham Westervelt and Peter Demarest deacons. The first church was built at Vail Mills about 1800.
Jan. 13, 1823, the church was incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of Mayfield and withdrew from the Dutch Reformed Classis of Montgomery in August, uniting the following October with the Albany Presbytery. The sacrament was administered for the first time May 23, 1824, by Rev. John K. Davis. From 1835 to 1837 meetings were regularly held although there was no pastor in charge.
In 1839 a lot was bought from Dr. E. G. Rawson and the present church commenced. The old one was occupied until 1840 and sold in 1854. The new edifice was dedicated Jan. 7, 1840, by Rev. Hugh Mair of Johnstown. A new charter under the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Broadalbin was obtained Feb. 8, 1850. In 1871 the pastor’s stipend was advanced to $800.
Beginning Feb. 22, 1894, and continuing for twelve days, enormous union revival meetings were held in this church under the leadership of Rev. William Geil, bringing many into the various churches, in all about 400 making a start toward a higher life. The present membership is about 100, Sunday school 50, Christian Endeavor 15.
Pastoral Record: -Coanrod Ten Lick, 1799; vacant from 1811; Sylvester Palmer, Sept. 2, 1815; vacant from January, 1818; Alexander McFarlan, Oct. 1, 1822; vacant from April, 1823; John K. Davis, February, 1824; Loring Brewster, June 15, 1832; vacant from 1835; Lott B. Sullivan, May, 1837; William J. Monteath, Oct. 4, 1838; vacant from June, 1856; Charles Milne, June 8, 1857; various supplies from June 10, 1858; James Ireland, Jan. 1, 1859; George A. Miller, April, 1863; Mr. Ingalls, July, 1864; John Garrotson, licentiate, soon after Ingalls, ordained October, 1868, died Sept. 6, 1869; R. Ennis, Jan. 11, 1870; J. G. Cordell, May, 1871; Cyrus Offer, Jan. 1, 1873; P. J. Burnham, Jan. 1, 1875; Willard K. Spencer and other supplies, October, 1876; H. L. Hoyt, licentiate, November, 1877; vacant from October 1879; David M. Hunter, Oct. 26, 1880; H. T. Hunter, 1882; vacant from 1884; J. H. Trussell, Aug. 23, 1885; vacant from December, 1888; W. J. Thompson, Nov. 10, 1889; Isaac O. Best, April, 1891; J. H. Trussell, May 1, 1898.
The First Christian Church was first organized as a class of June 5, 1814, on which day Elder Jonathan S. Thompson baptized a large number of converts. Meetings were held regularly in houses for some time, the church being first regularly organized May 9, 1818, by Rev. Jabez King. On March 19, 1825, it was incorporated under the title, “The First Christian Church and Society of Broadalbin,” and the church was built one mile southwest of Union Mills in 1826.
Complete records are unavailable. A partial list of pastors follows: Jabez King, Jacob Capron, John Gardner, Joseph Badger, Joseph Marsh, G. W. Burnham, Harvey V. Teal, James Andrews, Hiram Pratt, Stephen B. Fenton, John Showers, Maxon Hosher, Charles I. Butler.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Broadalbin. The early history of this church is uncertain. The noted Billy Hibbard, who rode a 500 mile circuit, may have penetrated this region as early as 1789. The Montgomery Circuit, which included this section, formed a part respectively of the Philadelphia, New York and Troy Conferences. In 1831 this became a part of Northampton Circuit.
Prior to 1824 Rev. V. R. Osborn of the New England Conference, while recuperating his health in this vicinity, was induced to take the Broadalbin school. A revival started in school, it swept through the town, many were converted, and a preaching place became necessary. A Mr. Dunham was then building the house known as the Cleveland home and left the upper story without partitions for that purpose until a church could be erected. A building 35x40 feet was built on a lot bought from Dodridge Smith, and was dedicated in 1824 by Rev. Osborn. A class previously organized numbered among its first members Mr. And Mrs. Dunham, Dr. and Mrs. William Chambers, Mr. And Mrs. Dodridge Smith, Bryan Wait, Mrs. Fenton and Mrs. Hollister.
In 1840 the church was repaired and enlarged. In 1854 Broadalbin and Mayfield became separate charges and in 1866 Broadalbin became a station. Before the separation the joint salary was $300, afterward Broadalbin paid a stipend of $500. In 1867-68 the church was remodeled under the supervision of Rev. J. G. Perkins, the lecture room being formed by raising the building. Its present dimensions exclusive of choir loft are 40x60 feet. The parsonage was built in 1871 by Rev. A. C. Rose. An addition at the rear of the church was built in 1902.
The church has a membership of 214, with 25 probationers, a Sunday school of 150, and Epworth League of 70. The Epworth League was organized by Rev. H. M. Boyce on May 19, 1889, being the oldest in New York State. On May 31, 1907, H. W. Barker and R. J. Honeywell were licensed local preachers. On June 9, 1907, a young ladies’ “Delta Alpha” class and young men’s “Vires” class of about thirty members each were organized in the Sunday school, which also has a Queen Esther Circle. The value of the church property is perhaps $8,000 and the pastor’s salary of $1,000.
A complete list of pastors is appended. All appointments were made in April; where two names appear under the same date it is probably that the charge was covered jointly by two circuit riders. R. V. Osborn, 1824; Henry Eames and C. Pomeroy, `25; T. Clark `26; J. D. Moriarity, `27; J. Beeman, `28; S. Covel, `29; E. Goss, `31; Orrin Pier, `32; S. Stebbins `33; William Ames, `35; James H. Taylor and Henry Williams, `36; Roswell Kelley and J. P. Foster, `38; O. Emerson and H. B. Knight, `39; Jos. Eames and John Seage, `40; J. Squier and Jos. Quinlan, `42; E. Crawford and William Ameer, `44; William Ameer and Braman Ayers, `45; Braman Ayers, `46: S. Coleman, `47; C. Pomeroy and A. Lion, `50; P. P. Harrower, `51; O. E. Spicer, `53; John Parker, `54; R. Patterson, `55; H. H. Smith, 57; R. Westcott, `59; J. G. Phillips, `60; J. G. Perkins and W. H. Smith, `62; Jacob Leonard, `64; A. C. Reynolds, `65; J. G. Perkins, `67; B. M. Hall, `69; D. B. Wright, `70; A. C. Rose, `71; R. T. Wade, `74; R. G. Adams, `77; S. W. Clemans, `79; W. W. Cox, `82; D. M. Schell, `85; F. R. Sherwood, `86; H. M. Boyce, `89; E. J. Guernsey, `91; T. B. Gardner, `96; F. Lowndes, `99; A. D. Angell, 1902; W. J. C. Wilson, `06.
Other Churches in the township are the Disciples church at Benedict, the Hemlock nonsectarian church at North Broadalbin, the Episcopal chapel (private), and the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic church of Broadalbin.
The Sanhedrin is the name locally given to a cabal of malcontents which gradually came into being in some of the Broadalbin churches in the closing years of the nineteenth century. Their ambition seemed to be to control the organizations to their own satisfaction regardless of personal integrity or the welfare of the community-but their doings are beneath comment.
Crucial Decade: -Close observation substantiates the statement that the crisis of Broadalbin’s moral existence came in the decade at the meeting of the centuries (1896-1905). It was a battle of the giants, the princes of Light and Darkness. Although little was visible on the surface, corruption and strife within were disrupting the churches, while manifold forms of infamy and vice assailed them from without. Long it seemed a death grapple of mutual extirpation, but ultimately Broadalbin drew slowly out on the side of integrity. The churches took on new life and the whole community knew that a change was taking place; a matter of sensation rather than observation, but a fact incontrovertible.
Was it mere coincidence that within a few hours of the close of this period occurred the death of one of its principal actors, Rev. O. J. Kingsbury?
THE EXCISE CONTROVERSY.
In 1794 Peter V. Veeder, Daniel McIntyre and Alexander Murray as Commissioners of Excise granted licenses for the “keeping of inns and taverns” for the year of L 2 each to Willett Clark, Jeremiah Olmstead, James Lowry, Calvin Young. Samuel Sears, James Kennedy, Aaron Olmstead, Alexander Murray, Daniel McIntyre, Sr., David Joslin, Thomas Foster, Peter Hubbell, Daniel McIntyre, Jr., and Peter V. Veeder. Thus early the populace lifted the responsibility of legalized homicide-but the wheels of time rolled on.
As early as 1876 a prohibitory law was enacted by a heavy vote, but the election of 1884 the friends of prohibition were scattered and a license law once more came into effect. For some time following 1890 no license prevailed, but was again subjected until the election of 1899, when license for the hotel was legalized, but forbidden to the saloon. Two years later the local option vote prohibited the sale of alcoholics except by druggists on physician’s prescription. The election statistics were: Question No. 1 (saloon), yes 102, no 173; No. 2 (stores), yes 80, no 161; No.3 (druggist), yes 133, no 111; No. 4 (hotels), yes 104, no 161. This law was so openly and completely disregarded with impunity by the liquor dealers and civil officers that in 1905 it was abrogated, the vote standing: No. 1, yes 198, no, 146; No. 2, yes 135, no 124; No. 3, yes 171, no 81; No. 4, yes 160, no 121. A majority of the citizens seem satisfied that the public integrity should be sold for an annual perquisite-but the end is not yet.
Reverend O. J. Kingsbury was the hero-martyr of Broadalbin’s battle for a higher existence. Always solicitous for the advancement of the community’s welfare, he participated during ill health in the campaign of 1905 which doubtless aggravated his illness, and on New Year’s morning, 1906, he died, loved by his friends and respected by all who knew him. Well might his triumphant spirit, as it burst the bonds of human limitations, echo the exultant retrospect in the words of his 1903 Memorial Sunday text, “I have fought a good fight.” May the day speedily come when others, actuated by the same noble motive, shall put forth their strength and “fight a good fight for Broadalbin!”
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