Madison County, NY


East Boston Church History 1807-1817
East Boston Church Members 1807-1817
Lenox Congregational Church History
Lenox Congregational Church Account Records 1811-1822
Lenox Congregational Church Baptisms 1822-1860
Lenox Congregational Church Members 1804-1860

History of the Lenox Congregational Church
At Quality Hill, Madison Co., NY

On 11 March 1804 there was a meeting in the school house located near the home of Col. Thomas W. Phelps in what was at that time the Town of Sullivan to discuss the formation of a Congregational Church. The Rev. Sylvanus Palmer chaired the meeting and Phineas Cadwell served as Clerk. After numerous sessions and discussions the format for the Articles of Faith and Covenant were agreed upon, and in the summer of 1805 the founding members formally approved and pledged to uphold the principles set forth in these documents.

The records of this church include the names of members during the years 1804-1818. Most of those names also appear in and in the Records of the Lenox Congregational Church 1822-1860 and the Lenox Congregational Society Minutes 1810-1898. Thus it seems that this early church record marks the beginning of the Lenox Congregational Church at Quality Hill.

A church society officially named the “Congregational Society of Sullivan” was formally incorporated on 3 June 1806 and is probably associated with this same church. Phineas Cadwell, Moses H. Cook, Edward Lewis Jr., and Jacob Phelps signed the incorporation document recorded in “Incorporation of Religious Societies”, Vol. I, p. 1. That document named Edward Lewis Jr., Sylvanus Smalley and John Hills as trustees. After the Town of Lenox was created from the Town of Sullivan in 1809, this organization was apparently known for a brief time as “The Lenox Religious Society.”

During the spring of 1810 the Lenox Religious Society and the Congregational Society of Sullivan merged to form “The Lenox Congregational Society.” The Sullivan society involved in the merger seems to have been associated with a church located in the East Boston/Canaseraga area founded in 1807. Recently elected Deacons, Nathaniel Hall and John Hall, filed the incorporation document recorded in the “Incorporation of Religious Societies” Vol. 1, p. 7- 8 on 9 May 1810.

The joint society decided to share pastoral services, and on 22 Aug 1810 Rev. Ira M. Olds was installed as the minister of both churches. His ministry with the church in the Town of Sullivan ended in 1817 when that church was disbanded, but he remained as the pastor of the Lenox Congregational Church until he was relieved of his responsibilities by the Onondaga Presbytery on 11 Apr 1832.

The Lenox Congregational Church erected a house of worship on the eastern end of the Quality Hill green circa 1814-1819 with the first recorded use of the building taking place on 8 Mar 1819. Religious services were conducted in that edifice until 1903. Standing vacant for a number of years, the church was torn down circa 1930.

Today two historic markers stand along NY SR 5 south of the former church location, bearing witness to events that occurred during the nearly century long history of the Lenox Congregational Church. One marker commemorates the drilling of the horse artillery on the green during the War of 1812. The other marker, a reminder of the strong abolitionist sentiment in Madison Co., commemorates the gathering that took place within the church, where several members banded together to found the Lenox Anti-Slavery Society in 1836.

Sandra B. Wilsey - 2012

Source: Information and lists extracted from the Lisle Collection #R0112, Sub Group C, Series VIII, Box 28, Items 73a and 74, at the Boston Congregational Church Library, Boston, MA, copies of which are located in the Canastota Library, Canastota, NY, and Lisle Collection #R0112, Sub Group C, Series XIX, Box 29, item 91 at the Boston Congregational Church Library, Boston, MA.


©1999- MadisonCountyNewYork.com All rights reserved.