George Knapp Collins.

Spafford, Onondaga County, New York online

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from eternal damnation, for all or nearly all have gone to
their final reward, yet it did not save the church buildings
from subsequent desecration as a place of religious worship.
On the 22nd day of August, 1829, a religious society was
incorporated at Spafford " Corners " under the name of
the " First Presbyterian Society in Spafford," and Erastus
Barber, Ellis Taft, and Silas Cox were made trustees.
Uriah Roundy, in speaking of this church society, says : " I
have no knowledge of this society, and yet I knew all the
men named in the Articles of Incorporation. Erastus
Barber resided at the head of the Buck Tail road where Sey-
mour Norton subsequently resided ; he was once a Member
of Assembly in the New York Legislature in this State.
This society never had any meeting house, and must have
* died a borning.' "


At an early period in the history of this town there were
a number of persons residing here who were known as Free
Will Baptist, and were presided over by Elder John Gould,
who resided in a log house standing east of the Homer road,
on Lot 31, Tully, near the present residence of Mrs. Norton,
widow of Erastus Norton. This society was duly incor-
porated December 13, 1825, v/ith James Avery, Shadrack
Roundy, Thomas Smith, John Lawrence, Rogers Ide and
Alexander R. Jackson as its first board of trustees. At the
meeting held for the purpose of incorporation, Daniel
Owen, a soldier of the Revolution, presided as Chairman,
and James Smith acted as Secretary. In the year 1828,
this society built a church building on the hill east of Spaf-
ford Corners, adjoining district school house No. 2, on
premises conveyed to it by Asahel Roundy and Hannah, his
wife, February 12, 1828. The Board of Trustees at that


time were Roswell Prindle, Shadrack Roundy, James Avery
and Zerah Pulsifer. At this time this was the only church
building in this portion of the town, the society had a large
and respectable membership, and the church gave promise
of a long and useful career, but about 1832 or 1833 it was
struck by a proselyting wave from the newly discovered
Mormon religion, and a large share of its membership,
under the lead of its pastor, Elder Gould, were carried from
the fold of the church into the embraces of the new faith.
Among those who are said to have severed their connection
with the church at this time, sold their possessions in town,
were rebaptized into the new faith, and who departed from
this State with the Mormons' movement, were the follow-
ing: Elder John Gould, Zerah Pulsifer, and his brother
Daniel Pulsifer, Shadrack Roundy and Uriah Roundy, his
brother, Elias Humphrey, Mayhew Hillman, James Oliver,
Mr. Ensign, and Mr. Cheeney and their several families;
also Mrs. Maxson, Miss Maria Ripley and Miss Maria
Brown. Some of these people separated themselves from
the Mormon movement, on or before the Nauvoo incident,
which resulted in the death of Joseph Smith, the Prophet,
and settled in the Great West; among whom were Elder
Gould, Uriah Roundy and Maria Ripley; but the greater
number of them finally settled in Salt Lake City, where
their descendants remain to this day. It was not possible
for this church to recover from this exodus of membership
into a movement like this, so the church went quickly into
decline. After the church building had stood open for a
long time to the weather and been a place where cattle in
the fields had found shelter, it vv?-as finally sold in the early
forties to Captain Asahel Roundy, who moved it near the
Homer road, south of the " Corners," and converted it into
the dwelling house lately occupied by Seymour Norton.

When this building was first erected, the frame being a
large and heavy one, nearly every person in town turned
out and assisted in the " raising." After the plates and
rafters were in place, as was common in those times, one of
the men assisting climbed up, and standing on the upper
plate in his stocking feet, broke a bottle of whiskey upon It,
dubbing the building *' God's Barn." This at the time
raised a great laugh, but many in after years recalled the
prophetic character of the incident.


Maria Brown, named above among the Mormon prose-
lytes, was a daughter of Judge Brown, of Scott, N. Y., and
a sister of Porter Brown, a present resident of that place.
After leaving Spafford she married Elder Ward, a Mormon
leader, and finally settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, v/here
she remained for several years, but ultimately renounced
Mormonism and returned to the States, where she wrote and
published, in 1857, the work entitled " Female Life Among
the Mormons."

The following are condensed extracts from that work
relating to Spafford people, and incidents which occurred in
this town. " My early life was passed in that beautiful and
picturesque region which borders Skaneateles Lake, in the
State of New York. Circumstances over which I had no
control determined me to abandon my home and pivately
visit relatives of my mother, who were living near Albany.
For that purpose I left the house of A J (Alex-
ander R. Jackson, a member of the Free Will Baptist
Church?) residing in Spafford , Onondaga County, New
York, and took the stage for Utica in the same State. Hold-
ing a conversation with a middle age gentleman in the stage,
(Elder Ward her future husband), I said: Many people of
my acquaintance in Scott and Spafford have embraced
Mormonism. There was a family in Cold Brook by the
name of Cheeney, suggested the man. " Yes," I answered,
" Mr. Cheeney's family were considered very fine people,
were members of the Free Will Baptist Church, and the
Pulsifers too ; Pulsifer, the " Swamp Angel," (Uriah Roundy
says the "Swamp Angel" was a Mr. Ensign instead of Pul-
sifer) , and I burst into a laugh. There were two families
by the name of Pulsifer, both believers in Mromon. A
child died in one of these families, and the Mormons gave
out that on a certain night an Angel would come and carry
the body to Heaven. The time appointed arrived, the rela-
tives of the child were assembled, when a figure in white
and with small bells attached to its garments, appeared.
A party of unbelievers lying in ambush immediately gave
chase. The figure ran for the neighboring swamp, but was
pursued, taken and stripped of its angelic robes, and proved
to be Pulsifer, the uncle of the deceased child."

" False," said my companion.

" I assure you it was the truth, I continued, and poor


old Mr. Humphrey was deceived by them too. The old
man was determined to be right if possible. He was first
a member of the Free Will Baptist; then he joined the
Seventh Day Baptist, left them, and was baptized to the
faith and order of Mormon; subsequently, he deserted the
Mormons and united with the Baptist again, and then finally
returned to the Mormons, by whom he was dipped seven
times in succession, on account of his apostacy. He re-
mained faithful to them after that, but always observed
the Seventh Day.

"Were you ever acquainted with Elder Gould?" he

" I have seen him, he used to preach in Spafford."

" He did and with great acceptability, yet he joined the

" And poor Mrs. Maxson was induced to leave her husband
and children and go with them ; and Maria Ripley, a young
woman, left her aged and infirm parents and went off, too.

" My companion informed me that his name was Ward,
and that he was a man of property and a widower with two
children, that he was well acquainted mth many people in
Scott, my native place, and had frequently heard the name
of my father mentioned as a citizen of exalted reputation."

About the time of the Mormon exodus a Mrs. Gale, the
wife of a respected citizen of Spafford, was a subject of
" second sight," frequently saw visions, and claimed to hold
daily intercourse with the spirits of her departed friends;
on one of these occasions she saw and conversed with the
departed spirit of a Mrs. Mapes, who exacted a promise on
her part to intercede in behalf of her two young lady daugh-
ters, whom she exclaimed, were in danger of ruin by the
improper influence over them of Elder John Gould, Pastor
^ of the Free Will Baptist Church. This delicate duty Mrs.
Gale discharged by entering the church, during divine
service, and in the persence of the worshippers denounced
the conduct of their pastor in reference to the Mapes girls.

Mrs. Gale, afterwards describing her experience on this
occasion, said : " For several days after being charged by
the spirit mother with this delicate task, I was greatly
oppressed and wished to escape the duty, but when I entered
the church door my burden rolled away, and as I opened my
mouth, language came freely, and a calmness came over my


feeling, such as I had been a stranger to since I first saw
and was charged by the spirit of Mrs. Mapes.

Uriah Roundy, Esq., in speaking of Elder John Gould
when pastor of this church, said he was once tried by a
church tribunal in this old church building, for alleged
improper conduct on his part in kissing Mrs. Alexander R.
Jackson, one of the parishioners of the church, and humor-
ously explains that after a long and protracted trial, he
was finally acquitted, because the church tribunal was
unable to determine from the evidence whether the alleged
kiss was a " carnal or spiritual one."


The following abbreviated sketch of Shadrack Roundy,
and his two sons Lorenzo and Jared, was taken from a more
extended account written by Elizabeth D. Roundy, wife of

" Shadrack Roundy resided in the town of Spafford, New
York, where he heard of the Revelations of God to Joseph
Smith, and embraced the Gospel as taught by Our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ. Soon after he moved to Pennsyl-
vania, and from thence to Kirtland, Ohio, where he assisted
in building a temple to the Most High.

" After receiving blessings and ordinations, he went from
there to Caldwell County, Missouri, where he received a
Commission as Captain of a Company of fifty. He was
afterwards made Captain of Police, and also chosen aide
de camp to Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, in the Nauvoo
Legion. About this time he became a member of General
Smith's life and body guard. After the Nauvoo persecu-
tions he was chosen one of the pioneers to search for a new
home, and subsequently was appointed Major and Presi-
dent of the Second Division of Mormon Colonists that
crossed the Plains. Arriving at Salt Lake City he was made
Bishop of a Ward, elected a member of the first Legislature,
and subsequently of the High Council. He was a man of
influence among the people and stood high in the Council
of Leaders of Latter Day Saints. He died in Salt Lake


" Lorenzo Wesley Roundy, second son of Shadrack, was


bora in Spafford, June 18, 1819, and shared all the hardships
and vicissitudes of his parents, before arriving at Salt Lake
City. At the latter place he was a member of the Nauvoo
Legion, and took part in all the Indian Wars of the Mormon
Colon5^ He was made Superintendent of the Co-operative
Mercantile Institution at Kanarra, Iron County, Utah, was
two or three times elected to the Legislature, was ordained
Bishop in 1860, and finally made President of the Southern
Colony of Mormons. He was drowned, crossing the Colo-
rado River with a party of Mormon emigrants, May 24,


" Jared Curtis Roundy, third son of Shadrack, was born
in Spafford and moved with his parents to Salt Lake City.
Like his brother Lorenzo, he also took part in all the Indian
Wars, was at one time Sheriff of Summit County, was
ordained Bishop of Wanship, and at one time was Justice
of the Peace. He was a man of influence among the
Mormons, and was generally respected by every one. He
died in Arizona, May 21, 1895."


Hon. Washington Roundy, son of Uriah Roundy, was
born in the town of Spafford, September 26th, 1824, and
left that place with his father during the Mormon exodus.
After the Nauvoo incident his father separated from the
main branch of the Mormon Church, renounced the doctrine
of polygamy, and settled with his family at or near Man-
teno, lov/a, where his son Washington grew to Manhood
and became a man of wealth and prominence. By occupa-
tion Washington Roundy became a farmer, and owned and
managed a farm of over a thousand acres of land. He was
a man of, marked character and wielded a strong political
influence in his adopted State; among other political offices
held by him v/as Member of the Legislature of the State of


On the 14th day of April, 1838, a number of religious
people of different denominational beliefs, met at the school
house on the hill east of Spafford " Corners," for the pur-


pose of organizing a society, preliminary to building a
church building at that place. At that meeting a consti-
tution was adopted, which will explain the wants of the
people and the purposes of the meeting better than any
statement we can give on the subject.

" Constitution of the Spafford Union Meeting House

"Whereas, we the subscribers, inhabitants of the town
of Spafford, feeling desirous of having some suitable place
for public worship, have resolved, at a public meeting held
for that purpose on the 14th day of April, A. D., 1838, to
form ourselves into a society called the ' Spafford Union
Society,' of which society every person subscribing a sum
shall be a member thereof, and own rights and privileges
therein according to the amount so subscribed by such
persons. The object of the society is to build and keep in
repair a meeting house. ' Said meeting house shall be called
the " Spafford Union Meeting House " and shall be situated
at Spafford Comers, on a site where the blacksmith and
wagon shop of G. Lewis now stands. Said shops are to
be removed and the site purchased by said Union Society.
Said meeting house shall be finished off in a good work-
manlike manner, on a plan to be adopted by a Committee
to be appointed by the subscribers for that purpose.

" There shall be Trustees appointed by the subscribers
according to. law, whose duty it shall be to see that said
meeting house is kept im, repair, and to transact all business
appertaining to said Society. Said Trustees shall appor-
tion the time of preaching among the several denominations
in manner as follows, viz. :

" Every Gospel Denomination, a majority of whose male
members who meet at Spafford Corners for public worship,
and who may join in this Society, shall have the privilege
of having stated preaching in said house. All other denom-
inations shall be considered as transient preachers. Every
Gospel Denomination shall have the privilege of preaching
in said house ; but no transient preacher shall interfere with
the stated preaching of any denomination, without the
consent of such denomination.

" It is understood that whenever any Quarterly Meeting
Association or funeral is proposed to be held in said house,


every denomination whose time the above mentioned meet-
ing's shall encroach upon, shall give up that part of the time
for use of such meeting-. All rights owned by members of
this Society shall be transferable. It is hereby understood
that no denomination shall occupy more than an equal part
of the time, provided the other societies, who are members
of this Union, wish to occupy an equal part of the time.

" This Constitution shall not be altered or amended with-
out the consent of at least three-fourth of the subscribers."

At a meeting held the 30th of April, 1838, for the pur-
pose said Society was duly incorporated under the name of
the " Spafford Union Society " and Joseph Bulfinch, John
R. Lewis, Martin E, Knapp, Samuel Gale, Joseph Cole,
Jacob W. Darling and John Collins were chosen its first
Board of Trustees. At a subsequent meeting of the Board
of Trustees, by ballot it determined that John R. Lewis
and Samuel Gale should hold office for one year, Joseph
Bulfinch and Jacob W. Darling for two years, and Joseph
Cole, Martin E. Knapp and John Collins for three years.

In the book of minutes of this Society, under date of
April 30, 1838, when said Society was incorporated, is the
follov/ing :

" Now for the purpose of carrying the foregoing plan,
(meaning the constitution above quoted) into operation,
We, the subscribers do hereby agree and bind ourselves
to pay the sum set opposite our respective names, to the
Trustees of said Union Society; one-half of the sum sub-
scribed to be paid by the first day of January next, and the
remainder to be paid one year from the first day of January

Spafford, April 30, 1838.

John Collins $ 100.00

Thos. B. Anderson 50.00

Joseph Cole 50.00

Sylvanus N. Grout 50.00

Gershom Lewis 50.00

Joseph Bulfinch 75.00

Alexander Hill 6.00

John R. Lewis 100.00

Easten Cole 100.00

Silas Randall 25.00

Russel M. Burdick 20.00

Levi Hurlbnt $


Russel Tinkham


John Baxter


Titus Haight


John Grout


Willard Doty


Edwin S. Edwards...


Timothy Owen


Moses Pressy


Samuel Gale


James Mellen _




Odin Brown


Alonzo Sanford


Levi Applebee


Horace Pease


Isaac Day


John Fisher


John Harrington


James H. Norton


Hiram Mason


Orrin Town


Jonathan Ripley


Randall Palmer


John L. Ripley


Jonas TerBush


William Billings


Stephen Randall


Edward Scribens


John Ford


Lydius D. Whaley


Oliver S. Smith


Zebulon Davis


Nathan Palmer


Jonathan Johnson


Hiram W. Hays



Bezaleel W. Taft

Peres Miner

Nelson Isdell

Martin E. Knapp

Nelson Berry

Whipple C. Har-

Erastus Hays

A. M. Roundy

Benjamin Stanton ...

Homan Barber

Emily Barber

Annis Barber

Titus French

Stephen Crane

David T. Lyon

Rufus Breed

Phillip Fisher

Elias Davis

Leonard Melvin

Franklin Smith

Richard Gale

Kortright Knapp ..

Zara Berry

John R. Connine


























In accordance with the suggestion made in the fore-
going Constitution, Joseph Bulfinch, John R. Lewis, Mar-
tin E. Knapp, Joseph Cole, Jacob W. Darling and John
Collins, Trustees of Spafford Union Meeting House, re-
ceived a deed from Gersham Lewis and Mehitable, his wife,
oi one-quarter of an acre of land, known as the wagon
and blacksmith shop of G. Lewis, bounded on the
east and south, by the north and south highways, and
on the north and west by lands of Joseph Cole. Said
deed of conveyance was dated July 7, 1838, consideration
$75.00, and acknowledged the same day before Daniel R.
Robinson, Commissioner of Deeds, but not recorded. In
the years 1838 and 1839 said Board of Trustees erected
the present meeting house, on said lot, and had the same
ready for occupation in the Spring of 1840.



April 30, 1839, Russel M. Burdick and Lewis C. Davis
were elected trustees of said Society, in the place of John R.
Lewis and Samuel Gale, whose tei-m of office had then

Under the date of April 30, 1840, the following entry, in
the handwriting of Dr. John Collins, appears in the book
of minutes of said Society :

"At an annual meeting of the members of the Union
Meeting House Society, held at the school house in District
No. 2, pursuant to a legal notice, and adjourned to the
Union Meeting House this 30th day of April, A. D., 1840,
Joseph Cole was appointed Chairman and John Collins
Secretary of said meeting. Then elected by ballot, Silas
Randall and Benjamin Stanton to fill the vacancies of
Joseph Bulfinch and Jacob W. Darling. The resignation of
Lewis C. Davis was accepted and Solomon S. Rowe was
elected to fill the vacancy. Thomas B. Anderson was
unanimously elected salesman to sell slips in the Union
Meeting House, pro tern. The following is a list of the
purchasers, and number and price of slips purchased:

Hiram Hayes No. 1, price $ 32.00

Solomon S. Rowe " 2, " 32.00

Gershom Lewis " 6, " 60.00

Joseph Bulfinch " 32, " 110.00

Easten Cole " 12, " 74.50

Joseph Bulfinich " 16, " 60.00

Moses Pressey " 44, " 31.75

John R. Lewis " 11, " 70.00

John R. Lewis " 8, " 70.00

John R. Lewis " 30, " 95.00

John Collins " 7, " 72.50

John Collins " 33, " 95.00

Russel M. Burdick " 18, " 51.00

Zenos Tinkham " 3, " 50.00

Silas Randall " 22, " 40.00

Erastus Hays " 4 " 50.00

Silas Randall " 20 " 45.00

John Grout " 29, " 95.00

Levi Hurlbut " 34, " 95.00

Samuel Gale " 17, " 50.00

S. N. Groiit " 35, " 90.00

S. N. Grout " 15, " 60.00



Edwin S. Edwards

David T. Lyon

Lemuel Bessey

J. Johnson and A. Burdick

H. Anthony and J. H. Norton

Stephen Randall and R. Palmer

Homen Barber

A. Hill and Wm. L Skelley

Lewis C. Davis

Aaron Brown (half slips)

Jeremith Cotterell (one-half slip).

Hiram Mason (one-third slip)

W. Doty and M. E. Knapp

Henry S. Grinnell (one-third slip)

Stephen Crane (one-third slip)

John R. Lewis

Coomer Anthony (one-half slip) ...




" John R. Lewis to Gersham Lewis, slip No. 9.

John R. Lewis to Anson Churchell, one-half slip No. 12.

Gershom Lewis to Abigail Stringham, slip No. 9.

" Joseph Cole, Chairman. John Collins, Secretary,"

From a pencil memoranda made on the margin of the
book of minutes of said Union Meeting House Society in
the handwriting of John Collins, it appears there were
twenty slips in the body of the meeting house and tewnty-
four slips under the galleries on the sides of the house,
making forty-four slips in all.

In the book of minutes of this church society, in addition
to the foregoing report, appears from year to year a brief
statement of the results of the election of trustees. This
brief record continues down to the year 1889, and there-
after there is no record whatever.

This church building has now stood for upwards of sixty
years, and by reason of its substantial character bids fair
to stand for sixty years more. It is now the only church
building at the " Corners," or in that portion of the town
in use for religious purposes. All denominations which
formerly held religious services here have died out except
the Methodist, and they are in the last period of dissolu-
tion ; and still the people cherish with respect the old church


building, and protect it from desecration and the insidious
attack of the elements. All funeral services are held in
this building, and occasionally divine services are .con-
ducted here by a minister from the Borodino charge of the
M. E. Church at that place. On these occasions the people
attend irrespective of denominational belief. The word
" Union " appears on the weather vane perched on top of
the belfry of the church building, and well typifies the
religious character of the people who have always wor-
shipped in this old Meeting House.


A Society commonly known as the Farmers' Alliance,
was organized in the Village of Borodino on the first day
of January, 1871, and incorporated under the name of
" Spafford Agricultural Society," with Dr. Van Dyke Tripp
as President, Edwin A. Clark as Vice President, Simon B.
Wallace as Recording Secretary, Aretus M. Legg as Corres-
ponding Secretary, Otis Cross as Treasurer, and Jeremiah
Olmsted, Orson B. Morton, Francis Ide, Albert E. Fulton,
Moses P. Moule, and Samuel H. Stanton as Trustees. The
following additional names are also mentioned in said
articles of incorporation: Horace Prindle, H. L. Darling,
Benjamin Monk, Ansel Grinnell, C. B. Morton, William N.
Stone and Moses Crane. Mr. Uriah Roundy says there was
some sort of insurance connected with this organization,

Online LibraryGeorge Knapp CollinsSpafford, Onondaga County, New York → online text (page 5 of 32)