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.


This church was formerly known as the "Farmer Village Reformed Dutch church" and was incorporated in 1830. On October 28, 1830, pursuant to a resolution passed by the Consistory of the Lodi Reformed Church (cf), a meeting of the citizens of the place was held and the following chosen as the first consistory of the church: Peter Rappleye, John Kelly and Joseph Smith, elders, and Jacob Voorhees and Peter Ditmars, deacons. These were installed by Rev. Asa Bennett, pastor of the Lodi church, on November 28th, 1830. Bennett's call to the Lodi church provided that he should spend one-fourth of his time at Farmer Village. For several months after the organization these men were the only members of the new church. The church building was dedicated September 28, 1831, the Rev. J. F. Schermerhorn preaching the sermon. On Jun 8, 1831, a call was extended to Oscar H. Gregory of New Brunswick Seminary, which was accepted, and on August 11 following, he was ordained and installed pastor of the church. At the time there were thirty-one members, but within two weeks thereafter twenty-five united with the church. The first Sunday school was organized in 1832. Isaac Covert was chosen superintendent, served one year, and was succeeded by James C. Knight, who held the position thirty-nine years. Also during this pastorate the first parsonage was built on the spot where the present one now stands, on land given by Peter Rappleye, who had also given the land for the church building. This pastorate closed, with great regret among the people, after a period of six years and eight months. Later Dr. Gregory was pastor of the North church at Watervliet (1848-1870). He was President of General Synod in 1860. Union College gave him the degree of D. D. in 1853. He died December 11, 1885, at Watervliet.

Rev. Benjamin Bassler was the next pastor, commencing work September 1, 1838, and continuing until he death twenty-seven years later (1866). Mr. Bassler came to the church from Sharon and Cobleskill. He was a Swiss by birth. He began his ministry under the most favorable circumstances; the church was prosperous, out of debt, the congregation increased in strength and numbers. The parsonage was repaired at an expense of several hundred dollars in 1842. In 1850 a session house was built at a cost of $604. In the year 1857 the church building was extensively repaired at a cost of $3,000; an addition of nineteen feet was made. The galleries running around three sides of the auditorium were taken down, and the pulpit removed from the west to the east end of the room. On September 6, 1857, the church was rededicated, the Rev. O. H. Gregory preaching. The parsonage was again repaired in 1860, at a cost of $450, and a new organ costing $1,000 was purchased in 1861. More than two hundred and fifty were received into the church during Mr. Bassler's ministry. Rev. Wm. W. Brush succeeded Bassler, coming to the church from the New Brunswick Seminary in 1866, being ordained and installed in June of that year. Twenty-three were added to the church during his pastorate. Leaving in April, 1868, he went next to Marbletown (Ulster Co.), and, later, to Geneva. He died in 1878. Rev. Albert A. Zabriskie followed, coming also from New Brunswick, and was ordained by the Geneva Classis and installed over the church July 29, 1868, resigning November 1, 1869. Twenty-six were added to the church in this pastorate. After ten pastorates in New York and New Jersey, Mr. Zabriskie became pastor of the Bloomington, N. Y. church, his present field.

The Rev. J. C. Forsythe succeeded Rev. Mr. Zabriskie, commending his labors in Mary, 1870. The parsonage was again repaired at a cost of about $450, and thirty were added to the church during the five years of his ministry here. Leaving Interlaken he entered the Presbyterian church. He died in 1898. In November, 1875, Rev. Philip Furbeck was called and his pastorate continued until October, 1881. Fifty were added to the membership of the church under his ministry. In 1877 the interior of the church was extensively repaired at a cost of about $2,500. Mr. Furbeck had a four year pastorate at Fonda (cf). He went next to Little Falls, N.J. for a six year pastorate, then returned to the Montgomery Classis and was at St. Johnsville (St. John's) for five years (1888-1892). He died after a pastorate at Taghkanick, July 23, 1899. After Mr. Furbeck, Rev. Wm. N. Nasholds was called, and installed March 1, 1882. During his service the old parsonage was sold and removed and the present one built on the old site. The total cost for building the new parsonage and repairing the barn was $2,800. Thirty-seven were admitted to the church during his pastorate, which terminated October 1st, 1887. Mr. Nasholds had come to Interlaken from Geneva (cf). Since 1905 he has been in the Second Church of Rotterdam. In May, 1888, the Rev. F. W. Palmer accepted a call from the church as was installed July 19th, continuing to serve until February 15, 1893. During this period the church grew rapidly in membership and in power, and enjoyed great prosperity. One hundred and forty members were admitted into the church, and the membership numbered about two hundred and sixty. The old session house was taken down and an addition was built on to the church comprising parlors, dining hall, and kitchen at a cost of $1,200, in 1889. At the April communion in 1890, thirty-eight were received. Mr. Palmer also organized the Christian Endeavor, King's Daughters and Young Ladies' Missionary Society. Mr. Palmer entered the Presbyterian ministry and has served for many years in Auburn as pastor of the Central Presbyterian church.

The present pastor, Rev. E. B. Van Arsdale, was ordained and installed in this he first pastorate on the 8th day of August, 1893. During these years about one hundred and eighty-five have been received into the church. In the Falls of 1904 the church building was thoroughly renovated at an expense of $3,200. The church was rededicated January 12, 1905, the sermon given by Rev. F. W. Palmer of Auburn, a former pastor. This church, now in its eighty-fifth year, has had a record of steady growth in numbers, of wholesome, spiritual development, of prosperous, financial administration, is thoroughly organized and active in all departments of its life, and is today a leading influence in community affairs, and a loyal supporter of the interests of the denomination and the kingdom.

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