Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.


The Reformed Church of Cortland grew out of a work in 1906 on the East Side which was originally begun by the Congregational church. There came a time in this work when the Mission felt that it could support itself, but the home church insisted on managing the work, which led most of the workers to withdraw and form an independent church. A chapel was secured and Charles W. Roeder, a Christian layman, now pastor of the Flatlands church of Brooklyn, who had at first been in the employ of the Congregational Mission Board, assumed the leadership of the new congregation. This movement was stoutly resisted by the Congregationalists who claimed the whole East Side of Cortland was their ecclesiastical field. After a most successful work for a year, under Mr. Roeder's leadership, the church applied for membership in the Montgomery Classis, being led to this move thro Rev. Robert Clements, then pastor of the Presbyterian church of Cortland. After many months of discussion, classical visitation of the field, and hearing, also, much from the Congregational side, the Classis received the church which had been in existence for more than a year, thus disproving any infraction of church comity.

The church was organized March 18, 1908, and the following consistory duly installed, Robert C. Colver, W. T. Linderman, M. G. Spaulding, and M. J. Haynes, elders, and deacons Harry D. Cole, Herman Baldwin, Harry E. Todd, and John W. Lee. The church came into the Classis without asking any aid from the Board of Domestic Missions and with a well-equipped chapel already for holding services, and lot on which to build the future church. Hoever, such were the conditions--local opposition on the part of the other churches, and an evident lack of unity with the denomination to which they had become attached (owing to continued agitation on the part of a few men) that the work lacked a leader upwards of a year, tho the people were enthusiastic, and audiences overflowed the chapel, a large Sunday school gathered every Sunday and the usual organizations of men and women, germane to the Reformed church, were found doing splendid work.

Rev. Garret D.L. DeGraff, who had been at Blue Mountain, N.Y. ever since his graduation at New Brunswick in 1901, assumed the pastorate on December 20, 1908. For a little while the work went forward in bounds, but Mr. DeGraff's health, very poor for several years, soon gave out and he died, after a few months illness, on November 23, 1910. Again the church was left to struggle on alone for another year, or until November, 1911, when Rev. John E. Winne began a year's supply. He was a member of the Schenectady Classis.

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