Bicentennial Minutes

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Years 1878-1900



In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and Reconstructionism was over in the South.  After national troops were pulled from the south, the poor treatment of blacks intensified.  In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened to pedestrians.  The first bicycle was built in 1885, which started a biking craze in the United States.  The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 and the distribution of Coca Cola began in Atlanta.  It was advertised as a hangover remedy.  The game of basketball was invented to keep students occupied in 1891.  As the 20th century began, the first auto show was held in Madison Square garden.   Meanwhile, here at the Second Congregational Society of Verona these events were occurring.


February 1878  Rev. Charles F. Janes was installed as pastor following Rev. David Biggar who had served the longest term.  Rev. Janes served as pastor until September 3, 1882. 

          In 1881, the church decided to become full Presbyterian.  At the annual meeting on December 5, 1881 it was voted unanimously to be governed by the rules of the Presbyterian Church of the United States. 


December 31, 1881 at a regular meeting it was resolved to organize under the Presbyterian form, and to elect 6 elders to serve terms on a rotating system.  The following were the first elders to be elected:

                   Julius Smith and Epaphroditus Day                            6 years

                   Alfred R. Lawton and Samuel Brewster            2 years

                   John Dodge and Israel Young                                     1 year


January 1, 1882 Rev. Janes administered The Lord’s supper and the six elected elders were ordained and installed.


September 3, 1883 to June 1, 1883 No pastor served the church.   There were various pastors that served and during the winter union meetings were held with the Methodist congregation in Verona.


June 1, 1883 Rev. William C. Taylor began serving as pastor.  He served until September 30, 1888.


In 1883, the main church was refrescoed and the chapel was done in 1889.


July 1889 Rev. Martin Grant began working as pastor until April 14, 1891 when he requested dismission due to ill health.


August 18, 1891  Rev. Walter Mitchell was installed as pastor.  He was born in Scotland.  He served the church until April 11, 1893.


December 7,1891 It was voted at the annual meeting to change the name of the church to “The First Presbyterian Society of Verona.”


July 1, 1892 At county court in Rome, NY, Judge I.J. Evans authorized the change of name from the Second Congregational Society to the new name on the 10th day of August 1892.


August 13, 1893 Rev. Donald A. McLeon began his term as pastor until March 1 1895.


October 8, 1895 Rev. Frank W. West was installed as pastor and served until September 2, 1900.


When the 19th Century ended the church was without a pastor.


Bicentennial Moment


During his 5 years as pastor, Rev. West began the Annual Roll Call in 1898.  It was held on the last Thursday in February.  The service opened at 11 o’clock with a song, and reading of scriptures. Four former pastors: Rev. J.W. Whitfield, D.I. Biggar, C.F. Janes, and Walter Mitchell, were present.  Elder J.W. Dodge prepared a condensed history of the church.  Rev. Frank West gave a short address and a dinner was held at 2 PM in the chapel.  The roll call included 130 responses either by letter or in person.


The Second Roll Call was held in 1899 and the third in 1900.   At the third Annual Roll Call, it was unanimously voted to continue this custom on the last Thursday of February annually.