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Morrisville Community Church (Morrisville NY) Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University


Finding aid created by: EFB
Date: Jul 1970



Biographical History

The Community Church of Morrisville, New York, was formed in 1968 by a merger of the United Church of Morrisville and the First Methodist Church. The United Church was itself the result of a merger in 1925 of the First Congregational and the First Baptist Churches of Morrisville. The history of the Community Church of Morrisville is thus a composite of the histories of these four different churches.

The First Congregational Church of Morrisville was organized in June, 1805 by fifteen people, most of whom had come to the area from New England. They erected their first church building in 1817. In 1859, a vestibule was added, and in 1871 and 1902 extensive repairs were made.

Organized as a Congregational Church, in 1805 it was admitted to membership in the Oneida Association of that denomination. However, under the influence of the second pastor, the church voted to become Presbyterian, severed its relationship with the Oneida Association, and united with the Oneida Presbytery in 1819. There was continuing opposition to this change, and its extent was great enough to cause a vote two years later to return the church to its original form of worship and organization. The relationship to the Oneida Presbytery continued for a time, but it was severed in 1842, and the church reunited with the Oneida Association of the Congregational denomination. In 1859 and 1897 the church experienced great revivals and large numbers of people were added to the membership.

Part of the early records of this church are the minutes of church trials in which members of the congregation were "excommunicated" for failure to attend communion, intoxication, or working on Sunday, among other things. At one of the trials, Gerrit Smith was asked to serve as counsel. Noteworthy also is the fact that in 1842 the church voted resolutions against the institution of slavery and during the pre-Civil War period they continually gave financial aid to the cause of abolition.

The Baptist Church of Morrisville had its origin in 1809. It was received into the Madison Baptist Association in September 1809 and reported a membership of 27. In the early months of its history the church met in the schoolhouse for its services of worship, but later in 1809 the first meeting house was built.

In 1826 the congregation built on a new site, and in 1849 another new site was chosen and a third church building was constructed. This building subsequently became the home of the United Church.

The abolition movement also had its effect on the Baptist Church of Morrisville. The anti-slavery agitation caused a serious split in the church membership, and a large number left the church as a result.

In June 1925 the First Congregational Church and the Baptist held the first meeting of a committee whose purpose was to study the union of the two churches. In August an agreement was drawn up which provided for a trial union of one year. The first meeting of the churches under this agreement was in October 1925, and in January 1926 they welcomed the first pastor. The denominational groups within the church continued to maintain some identity, particularly as it was legally necessary for them to administer property. It was not until 1934 that the church undertook its own separate incorporation.

In 1938 the Congregational corporate body leased the former Congregational Church to the Roman Catholic diocese for use at St. Theresa's parish in Morrisville. The United Church now made the former Baptist Church its home. In 1939 the church building was improved by the addition of a new organ. Further improvements and expansion of the church facilities were undertaken in 1946.

The Morrisville Methodist Episcopal Church began on February 24, 1834, with services held at the Old Court House. In 1835 the construction of a permanent place of worship was begun on land which was donated to the society, and the first permanent pastor began his ministry.

In 1859 there is some record that Morrisville and Peterboro were linked as a single pastoral charge. Later, in 1876, records indicate that the churches in Morrisville and Eaton were also served by a single pastor. During this period the Methodists of the Morrisville area held yearly camp meetings at a farm near the town.

In 1881 and 1882 the church building, which was originally constructed upon a high foundation, was lowered to make entry more accessible for the elderly of the congregation. In the process the kitchen and other auxiliary space under the building was lost. A new organ was installed in 1893 after one corner of the building was rebuilt, and in 1905 the church was reshingled, repainted, and recarpeted. New sheds were also built to house the horses of the congregation during the services.

The promise of a subsidy from the Methodist annual conference induced the church to undertake the excavation of the church basement in order to provide more space. The subsidy was never forthcoming and the women's society paid the mortgage.

The Community Church of Morrisville, New York had its origins in discussions between officials of the United Church of Morrisville and the First Methodist Church of Morrisville as to the possibility of a union of the two congregations. A committee was formed to study the matter, and, after studying the various possibilities, such a federation or union, with the help of churches which had chosen one of the alternatives, the decision was made to merge the two churches into a Community Church and to affiliate with the Presbyterian denomination. These plans were approved by both congregations and the merger was consummated in 1968.


Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Morrisville Community Church (Morrisville NY) Records are made up of the records of five different churches. The Congregational Church, 1805-1925, merged in 1925 with the Baptist Church, 1809-1925, to form the United Church, 1925-1968, and this church in turn merged with the First Methodist Church of Morrisville, 1834-1968, to form the Community Church, 1968 to the present. The organization of the papers follows this sequence.

The papers of the Congregational Church of Morrisville, 1805-1939, consist of a church record book, minute books of church meetings, a church financial record book, minute books of the Woman's Missionary Society, church manuals, and legal papers and histories. Included in the record book is a history of the church from 1898 to 1939, part of which is made up of minutes of the annual meetings of the church. Of note also is the minute book, 1817-1938, of the Presbyterian Society, which was the legally constituted corporate body administering the property of the Congregational Church. The church manuals, 1849- 1903, contain statements of belief adhered to by the congregation and constitutions which detail its organization. The legal papers, 1939?, consist of a lease by the church of its property to St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church.

The papers of the Baptist Church of Morrisville, 1809-1934, include church records, church minute books, minute books of the Ladies Aid Society, minute books of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, legal papers, a church covenant and historical papers. The second volume of the church records, 1809-1934, and the first volume of the church minute books, 1835-1934, were both hand copied from original records and include a historical record of the church. The second volume of the church minutes, 1842-1892, contains the church covenant and articles of faith and practice, as well as a revised version of the same. The legal papers, 1849-1935, consist of a lease for a church pew and a lease of the Baptist Church property to the United Church. Among the historical papers, 1814-1909, are a letter from a former member, an announcement of a church meeting, and a souvenir brochure of the church centennial.

The papers of the United Church of Morrisville, 1925-1967, consist of a minute book of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, a minute and financial record book of the United Missionary Society, minute books and a record book of the United Circle, the papers of the Ladies Auxiliary, financial papers, legal papers, historical material and histories, and correspondence. The record book of the United Circle contains information regarding the church suppers organized by the circle. The financial papers, 1929-1945, include church treasurers' reports and church budgets. The historical material, 1939- 1969, includes programs, photographs, specifications, and bank records relating to the purchase and dedication of an organ for the church. Also found here are a history of the United Church written for its 25th anniversary in 1950 and a souvenir history written for the sesquicentennial in 1959 of the churches which merged to form the United Church. The correspondence 1966, relates to the existence and location of early church records of the Congregational and Baptist churches.

The papers of the First Methodist Church of Morrisville, 1836-1923, consist of a church record book, minute books of the Quarterly Conference, a minute book of the trustees, and a record book of the church school. Included in the church record book are membership records for churches in Eaton, Fenner, and Peterboro.

The papers of the Community Church of Morrisville, 1958-1968, consist of materials gathered by the committee of the United Church and the First Methodist Church which was organized to study the possibility of a merger and the shape that merger should take. This includes a copy of the consolidation agreement of Danby, New York, Federated Church, 1958; reports of the merger committee in Groton, New York, which created the Groton Community Church, and correspondence between the head of that committee and a committee member in Morrisville, 1964-1968; copies of the by-laws and the consolidation agreement of the West Winfield, New York, Federated Church, 1964; and memos to the members of the merger committee, letters to the church members and to denominational executives, a church newsletter, reports to the congregation, and an order of worship for the celebration of church union by the Morrisville Community Church, 1968.


Arrangement of the Collection

Other than the subdivision by church, the records appear to have been scanned in no particular order.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.


Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to church and clergy in and around Central New York. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.


Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Baptist Church of Morrisville (Morrisville, N.Y.) -- Archives.
Congregational Church of Morrisville (Morrisville, N.Y.) -- Archives.
First Methodist Church of Morrisville (Morrisville, N.Y.) -- Archives.
Morrisville Community Church (Morrisville, N.Y.) -- Archives.
United Church of Morrisville (Morrisville, N.Y.) -- Archives.

Subjects

Baptist church buildings -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Baptists -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Church records and registers -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Congregational churches -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Congregationalists -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Methodist Church -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
Methodists -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.
United churches -- New York (State) -- Morrisville.

Genres and Forms

Church registers.
Ledgers (account books)
Minutes.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Morrisville Community Church (Morrisville NY) Records
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The collection was microfilmed in August of 1970, from originals owned by the Community Church of Morrisville and lent through the courtesy of Mr. William Houghton.


Table of Contents

First Congregational Church of Morrisville, New York

Morrisville Baptist Church

United Church of Morrisville, New York

First Methodist Church of Morrisville, New York

Community Church of Morrisville, New York


Inventory