Bicentennial Minutes - Sunday, January 12, 2003
As we begin the bicentennial year of our church’s history and reflect on the past, the information in the following presentation is taken from Bert Dodge’s A History of the First Presbyterian Church and Society of Verona, N.Y., which was published by the session in 1900.
The church’s formation occurred during the year of 1803. At this time, the United States is 15 years old, Thomas Jefferson is President and purchases the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, and Ohio enters the United States as a free state.
August 5, 1803 Reverend Peter Fish, Presbyterian, and Rev. Timothy M. Cooley, Congregationalist, met with a number of professing Christians in the Verona area. They voted to take the first steps to form a Christian church. They adopted a confession of Faith and Covenant. Twenty-two members were part of the new Christian Church.
November 10, 1806 inhabitants of Verona held a meeting to form the “First Religious Congregational Society in the Town of Verona.”
September 23, 1807 Israel Brainerd was installed as pastor of the society and was given an annual salary of $365. Some believe that the phrase “Another day, another dollar” may have been coined here as a result.
Summer of 1814 Brainerd Meeting house was completed. It was located ½ mile west of Blackman’s Corners.
January 6, 1829 a portion of the members met at Hand’s Village (at the time this portion of Verona was known as the hamlet of Hand’s Village). They decided to start a second Congregational Society in the town of Verona. They were not satisfied with the current location of the church in Blackman’s Corners. It was decided that the church would be changed to a Presbyterian Church when 2/3 of the members at a regular meeting shall vote for such a change.
In 1829 the current church was built. Mr. Dodge of Verona built the current church for $3,000. It was erected on a lot previously occupied by a schoolhouse, which was moved to a lot just north of the church. When the church was christened, George Gardner climbed to the top of the steeple and threw a bottle of liquor to the ground. The bottle did not break, but the liquor gurgled out. Some bystanders said the noise sounded like “good, good, good.” There was a belief that a horse shed was owned by the church, but it was built and paid for by church members.
February 11, 1830 Forty-four members requested dismission from the parent church at Blackmans’ Corners to form another. The request was granted. A committee from the Oneida Presbytery met with the 44 persons and 11 others. They were pronounced a church of Christ under the care of the Oneida Presbytery. It was not officially a Presbyterian Church until 1881.
September 18, 1830 Reverend Luther Myrick was the first pastor called and he was dismissed April 18, 1832.
These are some of the significant people, dates and events of our church’s founding and early history. In closing, I would like to share with you a small portion of the sermon that was presented the day of the last service before the congregation actually moved into this structure.
This sermon was presented by Rev. Abel Wood
“Let us turn then far back to the year 1797, when the first tree was felled on the site of this pleasant village, in the then unbroken wilderness. It was the trail of the brave Oneidas, and this naturally guided the early settlers to the spot. The forest laid low by the sturdy blows of the settlers’ axes, quickly let in the sunbeams to dry up their murky depths, and our village was built; not bearing then the name of the beautiful Italian city which now we bear, but simply known as “Hand’s Village”, from the name of one of its early settlers.”