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 Protestant Dutch Church of Hagaman's Mills (as the village was at first called) was received into the Montgomery Classis in October, 1855, though organized five years previously as an Independent Presbyterian church. A portion of the congregation of the 1st Presbyterian church of Amsterdam asked the Presbytery of Saratoga to divide the church, giving to them the right to be known as the Amsterdam Presbyterian church. Tho a majority of the members opposed the memorial, still the Presbytery yielded to the minority. Two-thirds of the congregation withdrew and formed the United and Independent Presbyterian Church of Hagaman's Mills. The village was first settled by Joseph Hagaman in 1770, who came from Dutchess county, and was of Holland descent. It is interesting to note that the session of the original church became the first session of the Independent Church, Aaron Marcellus, Gilbert Conner, Joseph Hageman, Francis M. Hageman, and Myndert Pauling being the elders, and Jeremiah W. Hageman and Henry Rowe being the deacons. The act of Presbytery was the first Tuesday of January in 1850, but before the month was out the other church was formed, David W. Candee being the moderator, and John W. Thatcher the clerk of the meeting. There were a hundred members at the start. The church called Rev. Charles Milne to become their pastor. He was the pastor of the church before the division. This church was independent of the Saratoga Presbytery. In February, 1855, the congregation voted to change their name to the Hagaman Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, and a committee was appointed to go to Classis with such petition which was favorably acted upon. In its first report to Classis the church numbered fifty families and sixty-one members.

The first pastor of the Hagaman church was Rev. J. Lansing Pearse (uncle of Rev. R. A. Pearse of Minaville, cf), who was ordained, and installed over the church in the latter part of 1856, by the Classis of Montgomery. After leaving this field in November, 1859, Mr. Pearse went to the Delmar church, which he served for about forty years, dying there in the pastorate in 1908. For the most of this time he was the stated clerk of the Classis of Albany. Rev. Elbert Slingerland, who had previously held pastorates at Chittenango and Mohawk (cf) was installed in August, 1860, and remained thro most of 1862. He was the sixth pastor at Scotia, N. Y. (1857-1860). Later he was pastor at Mohawk for the second time for several years before his death which occurred in 1876. The next pastorate was the longest in the history of the church (1863-1887), and was ably filled by Rev. Andrew J. Hageman, who was ordained by the Montgomery Classis in this church. After another pastorate at St. Thomas, D. W. I. (1887-1890), Mr. Hageman developed a throat trouble which kept him for a quarter-century out of the active work of the pastorate, tho he occasionally supplied pulpits until his death in 1912, at Somerville, N. J.

Rev. Maurice G. Hansen succeeded Hageman at Hagaman in 1887 and and remained here thro 1893. This was his last pastorate. He died in 1904. Mr. Hansen was a voluminous writer for the religious press, and also translated much from the Dutch, especially of the old prints and documents of the church at its foundation in America. Rev. William A. Wurts followed Rev. Hansen in 1893 and stayed thro 1901. Mr. Wurts had already been in the Canastota church for eight years, and also at Lysander (cf) for six years. After leaving Hagaman he took up work at Sharon, N.Y., in which field he spent about eight years, next supplying the church at Lawyersville, N.Y. for a few years. He is now living at Sharon springs and occasionally supplies vacant churches.

Rev. David C. Weidner was the third pastor at Hagaman to be ordained in the church by the Classis of Montgomery. This was in 1902, and Rev. Weidner remained about four years, going next to Schuylerville, N.Y. from which field he went to the Park church of Jersey City in 1913. Rev. George G. Seibert came to Hagaman from the Helderberg church at Guilderland Centre in 1906, and resigned in 1911 to take up the important work at the Owasco field. Mr. Seibert was followed in the pastorate by the present pastor, Rev. Charles V. W. Bedford,who had already had charges in the Classis at Johnstown, Currytown and Sprakers. During Mr. Seibert's pastorate the church was extensively repaired, and during the present pastorate a new chapel has been erected, the gift of one of the members of the church, Mrs. Caroline Yates.

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