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Church History of Belfast

from History of Allegany Co., New York, pub. 1879, edited by F. W. Beers, pp 212-213


The records of the earlier years on the history of this church are not to be found. In French's gazetteer of the State of New York it is stated that Elder Sanford formed the first church in 1808 or 1809.  Whether this date is nearly correct it is impossible to determine, but it is certain that Elder Sanford held meetings in the town even earlier than the first year mentioned.

In a brief outline in the history of the church, which was published in the minutes of the Allegany Baptist Association for 1867, it said that the Baptists of Belfast formed in conference April 6th, 1811, at which time Isaiah Smith preached and Isaac Sanford preached to the conference occasionally.  Thaddeus Bennett was licensed to preach in July, 1813, Samuel Very in the following September and Ziba Huff in 1814.

Just when the conference was organized into a church, it is stated, cannot be definitely asserted by the oldest members, but it must have been some time prior to 1826, when the church was received into the Holland Purchase Association.  In 1834 it was transferred to the Genesee River Association and to the Allegany Association in June, 1862.

the first pastor was Rev. Josiah Smith. Since his ministry the successive pastors have been as follows: Rev. Solomon Dimmick in 1828 and 1829; John p. Evansfrom the latter part of 1829 to the close of the year 1831, called again in 1835 and served a year; H. E. Prosser , a licentiate, who commenced preaching in 1836 and remained two years; Rev. M. M. Coleman, who came in 1838 and went away in 1841. In October 1841, Rev. J. R. Eldridge was called, and served the church eighteen months. In 1843 he was succeeded by Rev. B. Thomas, who remained until 1849. Elder Bailey came in December, 1849, and remained till February, 1863, at which time Rev. J. Trowbridge came, and served for two years. Rev. William Stoweassumed the pastoral relation in March, 1857, and continued four years. Prof. J. Hendrick, principal of the Genesee Valley Seminary, came as a supply in February, 1861, and preached regularly till June, 1867. The next pastor was Rev. B. F. Mace. He remained about a year. In 1870 or 1871 Rev. R. A. Waterbury, a licentiate, came and preached a while. Rev. E. H. hillman came in 1873 or 1874. He was succeeded by Rev. D. P. Lappeus.

Other preachers, whose names cannot now be ascertained, have occupied the pulpit from time to time. It will be seen by reference to the list of pastors that the church has not always been supplied.

The church edifice was erected in the summer of 1842, at a cost of $1,200. It will seat two hundred and fifty.

The present membership is about fifty.

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A society of Christians of this denomination was organized with eleven members, “and was received under the care of the Presbytery of Angelica,” says Hotchkin, in his History of Western New York, “February 22nd, 1830. In 1831 it was reported by the presbytery as vacant, and consisting of eleven members.” It was never subsequently reported.

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Methodist Episcopal

At a comparatively early date a Methodist society was formed in Belfast, an account of the organization of which we are unable to give in consequence of the loss of the early records, which are not known to be in existence.  The house of worship was erected in 1848 or 1849 at a cost of $1,500.  It will seat comfortably about two hundred and seventy-five persons. There is a Sunday school under the auspices of the church.  For the reason above stated, we cannot give the names of the successive pastors.  The present pastor is Rev. J. A. Smith.

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Roman Catholic

There is a society of Catholics at Belfast also, under the pastoral care of Rev. George J. Dunbar, of Belmont.  Their church was erected twenty years or more since and has recently undergone extensive repairs.  It was dedicated August 18th, 1878.  A view of this building will be found on another page.

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Allegany County, New York GenWeb

Last updated on July 20, 2006
© copyright 1999, Vivian Karen Bush
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