Johnstown, NY


The following booklet was kindly transcribed for this site by Melanie Carbin.


November 13th – 20th, 1938

The Pastor’s Message

“Glory be to Thee, O lord most high!”

  Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dedication of our Church building, may we not surely believe that God has been building with His people through the years. “Not by might, nor by power, but by Spirit, saith the Lord.”
To God be thanks and praise!

  Today we revive the spirit of the past. Old scenes and memories rise transfigured. Yet we dare not linger. Ours “to serve the present age” as faithfully as our fathers served in their day.

  Inspired by their vision, and loyalty, and spirit of sacrifice, let us go forward with Christ.

“Give us great dreams, O God, while Thou are giving
And keep the end; nor falter in the living,
That lures us on from dust to dignity.

Give us the courage of the soul’s high vision,
Though its fulfillment here we never see;
The heart to make and deep the brave decision,
And faith to leave the ultimate with Thee.”


Record of Pastorates


John D. Moriarity and Merritt Bates 1829-1830
J. B. Houghtaling and Merritt Bates 1830-1831
J. B. Houghtaling and Samuel Covel 1831-1832
Samuel Covel and William D. Stead 1832-1833
James Quinlan and John Haslem 1833-1834
Elias Crawford and Albert Champlin 1834-1835
Elias Crawford and Henry L. Starks 1835-1836
Dilion Stevens and Peter H. Smith 1836-1837
Dilion Stevens and Leonard L. Radley 1837-1838
James H. Taylor and Leonard L. Radley 1838-1839



James H. Taylor, Thomas B. Pierson and William Griffin 1839-1840
William Griffin, Thomas B. Pierson and R. T. Wade 1840-1841
Stephen Parks, Albert R. Speer and Myron White 1841-1842



Albert R. Speer 1842-1843
Peter M. Hitchcock 1843-1844



Peter M. Hitchcock 1844-1845
Benjamin Pomeroy 1845-1847
Hiram Chase 1847-1848
James Quinlan 1848-1849
William F. Hurd 1849-1851
William R. Brown 1851-1852
Robert R. Thompson 1852-1854
H. C. H. Dudley (part of year) 1854-1855
Tobias Spicer and William Tisdale (each part of year) 1855-1856
Merritt B. Mead 1856-1858
Henry T. Johns 1858-1859
Robert Patterson 1859-1860
William H. Meeker 1860-1862
Lorenzo Marshall 1862-1864
N. G. Spaulding and J. G. Perkins (each part of year) 1864-1865
Isaac C. Fenton 1865-1867
Henry L. Starks 1867-1870
Aaron D. Heaxt 1870-1872
William Clark 1872-1874
Leonard S. Walker 1874-1877
Thomas C. Potter 1877-1880
W. H. Washburn 1880-1883
Lorenzo Marshall 1883-1886
James H. Brown 1886-1891
W. H. Washburn 1891-1895
T. G. Thompson 1895-1900
F. R. Sherwood 1900-1902
M. DeLoss Jump 1902-1908
Charles L. Hall 1908-1910
William W. Foster 1910-1912
I. D. Van Valkenburgh 1912-1915
Robert L. Thompson 1915-1919
Charles M. Sturgess 1919-1927
Junius E. Mead 1927-1930
(Eugene Wiseman, Interim Pastor 1930)
David Paton 1930-


Members Official Board, 1888

Michael Argersinger D. H. Van Huesen
Fred Meyer William Dawes
A. C. Fields Peter Farmer
C. S. Wemple S. S. Sutliff
Charles Hodgson George R. Smith
B. M. Grant, Sr. Dr. James K. Youngs
Fred G. Baker Amos M. Adams
James Sutliff Frank Rupert
C. A. Phelps O. T. Humphrey
Fred P. Miller R. Walker
John C. Richards   


1888 Golden Jubilee Members 1938
Members at the time of Dedication who still survive

Scott Argersinger Mrs. Frances M.G. Moats
Mrs. Scott Argersinger Miss Ida McAllister
Mrs. Sidney Abbott William Miller
Mrs. Maggie Earl Adams Mrs. Lizzie G. McCabe
Mrs. W.J. Adams Mrs. L.K. Maylender
Mrs. Fred Behlen Mrs. Edwin Newton
Mrs. Mary Dempsey Bates Miss Frances Perry
Mrs. C. Fred Bower Mrs. Charles Phelps
Mrs. Fred G. Baker Mrs. Charles Parker
Mrs. Jessie G. Butterfield Cornelius Quackenbush
Miss Mary L. Brown Mrs. Cornelius Quackenbush
Mrs. Margaret M. Collins Mrs. Amanda P. Russell
Mrs. Ralph Chant John C. Richards
Mrs. Antoinette Dixon Frank Rupert
Edwin J. Day Mrs. B.E. Radeker
William Dawes Francis B. Sutliff
Mrs. William Dawes James Sutliff
Miss Paulina C. Fisher Mrs. Mary A. Stickland
Seth Fosmire Mrs. Harriet J. Shults
Eugene Fairchild Mrs. Harriet U. Symonds
Bethune M. Grant, Jr. Mrs. Abbie S. Sterns
Miss Margaret Grant Mrs. Burton Smith
Miss Charlotte Grant Byron A. Timmerman
Miss Jane Gilbert Mrs. Samuel Tyler
Albert B. Horth Abram J. Tyrell
Miss Adelia J. Horth Mrs. Bertha Van Huesen
Mrs. Abbie Hulbert Mrs. Henry Van Trump
David S. Hubbs Mrs. Carrie A. Wessells
Mrs. Kate V. N. Hess Barney Wemple, Jr.
Mrs. Arcelia F. Kirchen Mrs. Mary E. Wait
Mrs. Elmer Little, Sr. Mrs. Georgianna Whitmore
Lucius Loucks Walton F. Werner
Mrs. Lucius Loucks Walter F. Walker
Mrs. Elizabeth P. McClain Mrs. Walter F. Walker
Mrs. Nathan Miller


Golden Jubilee Program

Morning Worship, 10:30

SERMON – “The Church in the Modern World”
                 by Rev. Mark Kelley, D. D. 
                 District Superintendent, Albany District, Troy Conference

Evening Worship, 7:30

HISTORICAL PAGEANT – Written and presented by Mrs. Roswell Van Denburgh

Episode 1. John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience
Episode 2. Laying of the Corner Stone
Episode 3. Dedication Service, 1888
Episode 4. Class Meeting
Episode 5. Dedication of the Organ
Episode 6. Sunday School
Episode 7. Symbolic Scene


Mirth-provoking entertainment by our Young People.    A night of festivity.


ADDRESS – “The Personal Presence of Christ”
                   by Rev. Lemuel Jones
      Pastor of the Welsh Presbyterian Church, Poultney, Vermont
      The Praise will be led by the Welsh Choir


Missionary Play, presented by Members of Our Missionary Societies.
Interesting Missionary Features. Music.


ADDRESS – “An Attractive Partnership”
                  by Rev. Christian F. Reisner
                  Broadway Temple, New York City

                  Dinner at 6:15 P.M.                                Greetings from former Pastors.
                                 Music by “The Choir Singers of Albany”

Morning Worship, 10:30

SERMON – “The Silence of Jesus”
                  by Rev. Milton B. Pratt, D. D.
                       of Schenectady, NY


Evening Worship, 7:30

GRAND HYMN FESTIVAL by Massed Methodist Choirs – over a hundred voices.
                     Dedication of two hundred copies of the new Methodist Hymnal.

Note – The Senior Choir, under direction of Mr. A. J. Williams, Organist, and the Junior Choir, directed by Mrs. Alwyn Bauder, will contribute to the musical program of Anniversary Week.


The Officiary

BISHOP – Rev. Francis J. McConnell, D. D., LL. D.

PASTOR – Rev. David Paton
TRUSTEES – Frank H. Dooks, Eugene Fairchild, William Dawes, Arthur L. Adams,
Frank J. Palmer, J. Eddy Smith, Percy A. Ripton, Edwin Vosburgh.

STEWARDS – William J. Adams, Clyde Baxter, Alfred A. Cole, Fred Clemans, Kenneth
B. Chamberlain, Thomas B. Dawes, Walter Dixon, Frank E. Everson, Kenneth B. England, Walter A. Eacker, Percy Hann, Raymond Hann, Edward R. Hinman, George Hildenbrand, Frazier Henry, Jacob Hatzenbuhler, John Hillock, Lucius E. Loucks, Arthur Lathers, William F. Miller, George H. Musgrave, Harry Spawn, Frank Slater, Douglas W. Stevens, Elwin Shires, Simon Stata, John VanDerwerken, Roswell Van Denburgh, William A. Wright, Louis J. Merwin

W. F. M. S. PRESIDENT – Mrs. C. W. Rowles
W. H. M. S. PRESIDENT – Mrs. Percy Hann
ORGANIST – Arthur J. Williams

RETIRED MINISTER – Thomas G. Thompson, D.D.
LOCAL PREACHERS – Donald Trumbull, Richard Trumbull


Memorial and Other Gifts
Within the Fifty Year Period

PIPE ORGAN – John Q. Adams, William J. Adams, Arthur L. Adams

ORGAN HYMNAL – Mrs. Robert Sutton in memory of Robert J. Sutton, and Robert M. Sutton

PIANO – John Q. Adams

BAPTISMAL FONT – In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Abbott, by their daughter, Mrs. C. Jerome Smith

COMMUNION TABLE – In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Taylor, by their children, William Taylor, Daniel Taylor, Mrs. Walter Dixon, Mrs. Nina Williams

PULPIT BIBLE – Eureka Philathea Class

PULPIT HYMNAL – In memory of Mr. and Mrs. F. P. Miller, Senior Philathea Class

CHRISTIAN FLAG – In memory of Mrs. Frank J. Palmer, by the “Florence Wright Palmer” Class

AMERICAN FLAG – Senior Philathea Class

BRONZE PLAQUE – “In loving memory of Miss Ella Ross” by Eureka Philathea Class

BRONZE PLAQUE – “In loving memory of Miss Ellen Slade” by Class Amity

BRONZE PLAQUE – “In memory of Dr. James K. Young” by the Altruist Class

CLOCK – Eugene Fairchild

MAHOGANY FLOWER PEDESTALS – In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Ellis, by their daughter, Mrs. Elmer Little

ELECTRIC LIGHT GLOBES (and installation) – Mr. and Mrs. William E. Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Foster


Golden Jubilee Committees


Arthur L. Adams, Chairman; Mrs. Jacob Hatzenbuhler, Mrs. George Hildenbrand, Mrs. Francis T. Sutton, Mrs. C. Fred Bower, Mrs. Roswell Van Denburgh, Mrs. J. Milroy, Frank J. Palmer, J. Eddy Smith, Frank H. Dooks, Eugene Fairchild, Walter Dixon, Louis J. Merwin, John Van Derwerken, Rev. David Paton



CHURCH SCHOOL AND YOUNG PEOPLE – Walter Dixon, Chairman; Mrs. A. Newnham, Miss Nina Sloan, Harry Spawn, Arthur Lathers, Jacob Hatzenbuhler

MISSIONARY EVENT – Mrs. Jessie Milroy in charge; Mrs. C.W.Knowles, Mrs. Eva Sutton

PAGEANTRY – Mrs. Roswell Van Denburgh in charge; Mrs. Wlwin Shires, Mrs. William Hughes, Mrs. A. L. Adams, Mrs. Lyman Hawley, Mrs. Walter Dixon

CONGREGATIONAL NIGHT – Mrs. Jacob Hatzenbuhler in charge; Mrs. Burton Gray, Mrs. Robert Bedford, Mrs. Elwood Yeaple, Mrs. Forrest Fitzsimmons, Mrs. Park Neil, Mrs. Raymond Hann, Mrs. Jessie Milroy, Mrs. Avery Sarno, Mrs. Kenneth Chamberlain, Mrs. A. Newnham, Mrs. Guy Kilmer, Mrs. C. Jerome Smith

HISTORY – Mrs. George Hildenbrand

HISTORICAL EXHIBIT – Mrs. C. Fred Bower in charge; Miss Ida McAllister, Mrs. Anna Chant, Mrs. Sidney Abbott

MUSIC – Frank J. Palmer, Chairman; Mrs. Alwyn Bauder, Percy Hann, Arthur J. Williams, Rev. David Paton

PROGRAMS AND SOUVENIR BOOK – Louis J. Merwin, Chairman; John VanDerwerken

PUBLICITY – John VanDerwerken

DECORATIONS – Mrs. Francis T. Sutton, in charge; Mrs. C. Jerome Smith, Mrs. Eva Sutton, Mrs. Guy Kilmer

FINANCE – J. Eddy Smith

NEW HYMNALS – Raymond Hann, Chairman; Mrs. C. Jerome Smith, W.W. Chamberlain


Historical Sketch

A complete history of the Johnstown Methodist Episcopal Church has been compiled by Mrs. George Hildenbrand, Chairman of Committee in Historical Data. It is preserved, with other valuable records, in the Church safe. The history is given here in outline only; presenting the significant facts as cogently as possible.

Our Golden Jubilee coincides with the bi-centennial celebration of John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience.

May our review of fifty years of Christian fellowship and service bring to our congregation a similar heart-warming experience, that will send it on into the years ahead aglow with enthusiasm and adventurous faith in the service of our Lord.

“Other men labored, and we are entered into their labors.”

Who the “laborers” were who laid the foundation of Methodism in Johnstown is not known.

In 1791 Rev. Freeborn Garretson, Presiding Elder, “traveled west as far as Johnstown,” and after consultation with the local Methodists, promoted the building of a Church. This building, located on West Main Street Near where the Peoples Bank now stands, was dedicated on November 1, 1791. Presiding Elder Garretson preached the dedicatory sermon.

In the period between 1791 and 1814 little is known of the activities of the local Society. By the latter year Johnstown had become part of a regular circuit of the New York Conference, comprising some fourteen towns and villages situated in territory extending from the Mohawk River to the Sacandaga River. It was served by a series of circuit-riding Ministers. Of these Ministers, John D. Moriarty is prominently associated with our history. During his incumbency the Methodist Episcopal Society of Johnstown was organized and incorporated (August 31, 1829): a Sunday School was formed, July 1, 1829, and a second Church built.

This building stood on the site immediately to the north of the present Church. The dedication service was conducted by the Rev. John B. Stratton, then Presiding Elder, and for about fifty-nine years the building continued to serve the needs of the Society.

In this, and the intervening period prior to the erection of the present Church edifice, the spirit of revival, characteristic of Methodism from its beginning was warmly evident in the Church life. Spiritual revivals were experienced under the ministry of the Rev. J. N. Taylor in 1836, and again in that of the Rev. W. N. Meeker in 1860.

During the pastorate of the Rev. I. C. Fenton in 1865 there were two hundred accessions to the Church membership. Substantial increase in membership was also made under the ministry of the Rev. L. S. Walker (1874-1877).

According to the report of the Rev. W. H. Washburne in 1882 the numerical strength of the Church was represented by four hundred and twelve members-in-full, and twenty-eight probationers.

It became evident that larger accommodation was required for the growing congregation.

In 1881 the Society had purchased the lot on which the present Church stands for $4,000.00. Soon after the appointment of the Rev. Lorenzo Marshall to the Charge, the Society resolved to erect a new Church, but owing to difficulty in securing the necessary initial subscriptions the enterprise was postponed. By 1886 the sum of $12,000.00 had been secured, and on March 9, 1887, the Building Committed (D. H. Van Huesen, M. Argersinger, F. P. Miller, Rev. J. H. Brown) let the contract to Jonah Hess.

Good progress was made with the work, and on July 16, 1887, the cornerstone of the new building was laid with appropriate ceremony by Presiding Elder Samuel Meredith. Others taking part were the Rev. J.N. Coleman, the Rev. W. H. Hughes, and the Rev. W. H. Washburne.

The cornerstone contains a history of the Church from 1829 until 1887, names of officiary and members, copies of current newspapers, and other article of interest.

During the laying of the stone the choir sand the hymn beginning:

“On this stone now laid with prayer,
Let Thy Church rise strong and fair;
Ever, Lord, Thy name be known,
Where we lay this cornerstone.”

The petition of the hymn was to be richly answered through the years.

In less than a year from this time the building was competed and ready for service. In exterior appearance the edifice is the same as in the beginning with the exception of an alteration to the tower on the north-west corner. About 1925 this was considered to be in dangerous condition, and was reduced in height.

The Church is a commodious structure. The sanctuary is on an upper story; assembly room, class rooms, and kitchen on the ground floor.

June 20, 1888, was Dedication Day. Crowded services marked the occasion. The Rev. Dr. Hamilton of Boston, Mass., officiated at the opening service, preaching on Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” etc. The Rev. James H. Brown presented the report of the Building Committee, showing the total cost of the building and its furnishings to be $38,619.51. The great evening congregation was honored by the presence of Missionary Bishop William Taylor of Africa, who preached on Romans 2:14-16, and thereafter, using the beautiful and impressive ritual service of our Church, he dedicated the building to the worship and service of God.

Mr. William Dawes is the only surviving member still in office of the Official Board of that time, and Mr. William Taylor, an usher then, is still actively engaged in that office.

The Methodist Society now being equipped with finer facilities for carrying on the Lord’s work, attention was directed towards liquidating the debt involved. Membership had risen by 1891 to a total of five hundred and two, and so zealous were the efforts of the congregation that within eight years the mortgage was amortized. At an impressive service on December 31, 1899, the Rev. T. G. Thompson, then Pastor, assisted by the Rev. J. H. Brown, led in the ceremony of “burning the mortgage” amid great rejoicing.

Relieved of financial incubus the work of the Church flourished. Evangelistic fervor was manifest, and had its due reward in additions to the membership of both Church and School.

During this period, the Ladies’ Aid Society, organized as far back as February 7, 1878, played a practical part in furthering the temporal interests of the Church. Enlarging the vision of Christian service the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society came into being about 1891. The “Estella Thompson Home Missionary Society” was organized in 1899, and the Young Woman’s Missionary Society in 1900. The interest of the young people was stimulated by the forming of an Epworth League Society on April 8, 1889, and the Class Meeting, an active agency of the Church since the beginning, was enthusiastically maintained. Every department of the Church activity was zealously affected in the good cause of promoting the Kingdom.

On September 29, 1916, a handsome new Pipe Organ, costing $11,000, was dedicated. This generous gift was made by John Q. Adams, William J. Adams, and Arthur L. Adams. All the Church services were greatly and permanently improved by the addition of this magnificent instrument.

The One Hundredth Anniversary of the Inauguration of Methodism in Johnstown was observed in 1929. The week of October 13-20 of that year was filled with interesting commemorative events. Bishop W. P. Thirkield, the chief guest-speaker, opened the observance on the first Sunday with an eloquent sermon. A feature of the celebration was an exhibition of historical relics. It included the Communion Table used by the congregation in 1829, and also the first set of Communion vessels. The Anniversary Committee was composed of Arthur L. Adams, Robert J. Hillock, Eugene Fairchild, and Rev. Junius E. Mead.

In the interim between the Hundredth Anniversary and the present observance the Church has encountered much difficulty caused by universal industrial depression. Added to this the Church has suffered deeply by the passing of a discouraging number of its strong and substantial members. There is, however, no sign of halting. Unitedly and loyally the congregation carries on. An adult Choir first organized in 1911, still leads the praise, and assists the development of congregational singing. In the same respect, and as a feature of our Christian education program, a Junior Choir, consisting of forty-five voices and organized in 1937, does much to inspire our worship services. The Woman’s Guild, an energetic group of workers, made into being in 1934, and ever since then has done much to support the programs of the Church.

To complete the organized work for young people a Friendly Circle, for older-young people, was formed in 1937. Well manned with a staff of consecrated officers and teachers our Church School flourishes with a membership of almost five hundred.

The zeal and interest that has characterized our people through the years is in evidence today, bespeaking a bright and successful future for the whole Church.

It is fitting on this, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dedication of our old and honored place of worship, that we should thus briefly rehearse the main events and circumstances which have marked the passing years. The full tale may never be told – the toil and sacrifice and prayer that have perpetuated the ideals of those who laid the foundations of our Church in faith and love. Who shall tell of the numberless problems and difficulties met and valiantly overcome – of the heroic spirit and unfading vision with which our forbears carried on their holy task? Surely God was with them. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” And in the steadfastness of the Johnstown Methodist Episcopal Church amid the fluctuations of time and tide, we can surely see the Divine Hand guiding, upholding, sustaining, quickening. This is the secret of our Church’s place and influence. Let us ponder on the debt of gratitude we owe to God – to the godly men and women who have preceded us as workers in the Kingdom – to the devout and consecrated line of Pastors who proclaimed and exemplified the Christian doctrine. Le us keep the record true and pass on to posterity unsullied and enriched, the glorious inheritance of faith and works with which they have endowed us.

“Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision:
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

Faithfulness in OUR day of opportunity and privilege will be crowned with the same rich Providence that so well rewarded those who went before us.


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Copyright ©, 2002 Melanie Carbin
Copyright ©, 2002 Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:25:22 PDT