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.


Cayuga county, in which Owasco is situated, was formed in 1790 from the Onondaga military tract, a large land area, purchased of the Indians, and used by the government for paying the land bounties given the soldiers of the Revolution. Simeon De Witt (N. Y. State Surveyor-General) laid out this tract, giving classic names to most of the communities. Cammerhoff in 1730 wrote the name of the place, "Aca'-go." The first settler of the country was Roswell Franklin (1789). In 1792 Capt. John L. Hardenburgh bought six hundred acres of land near Owasco Lake. Col. Hardenburgh settled about three miles from the foot of the lake, his house being where about where the Auburn City Hall now is. Auburn was called "Hardenburgh's Corners" until 1805. Here near Owasco was the settlement of the Alleghans who occupied the land for several centuries before Columbus came, and until the Cayugas conquered them. The place was called Osco or Wasgough (Owasco). The celebrated Indian chief, Logan, was born here. The first of the Hardenburghs had come to America from the Netherlands in 1640. Sir John Hardenburgh was knighted by Queen Anne for gallantry at the decisive battle of Blenheim. Of his six sons (and six daughters) Johanes (1706-1786) lived at Rosendale, N. Y., and was a Colonel in the Ulster Col. Militia for twenty years, a Colonial Assembly member (1743-1750), and also of the first Provincial Congress (1775). The old Hardenburgh house is still standing in Ulster county. His son, Johannes, Jr., was Colonel of the 4th Ulster Regt. during the Revolution. Jacob Rutsen Hardenburgh, a brother, was Queens (now Rutgers) first college president. Leonardus Hardenburgh, son of Sir John Hardenburgh (b1714) had a son, John L., who was a Lieutenant in the 7th Co. N. Y. (1776), Adjutant in 1789, and Captain of Levies in 1782. Ten years later he came into this country where he died April 25, 1806. The first settlers in 1792 were Benjamin and Samuel DePuy and Moses Cortright from Orange County, and Jacob and Roeliff Brinkerhoff from Harrisburgh, Pa. In 1795 the families of Jacob Roeliff and Luke Brinkerhoff, Thomas Johnson, Jacob Loyster, Andrew Johnson, Abraham Bodine, Isaac Parsell, James Dales and Charles Van Tine came from the Conewago Reformed church near Gettysburgh, Pa. These later settlers met at Col. Hardenburgh's home September 23, 1796, organized the Owasco church, and, later (1797) built the first house of worship in Cayuga county. They found here on coming, the families of Adam Tries, Daniel Miller, Elijah Price, and Benjamin DePuy. Later came the Cuykendalls and Gumaers from Orange county (N.J.). Of the first missionaries there were Rev. Daniel Thatcher, and Rev. Asa Hillyer of Orange, N. J., Rev. Matthew Perrine, Rev. James Richards and Rev. Henry Miller, also of New Jersey, these last becoming teachers in Aubury Seminary. The organization took place at the home of Col. John L. Hardenburgh, the founder of the city of Auburn on September 23, 1796. In 1796 Rev. Peter Labagh was sent to the western part of New York with Rev. Jacob Sickles. In Todd's Life of Dr. Labagh the latter is said to have organized Owasco in 1796. In 1797 the first church was erected, at a spot about midway between what are now Owasco and Owasco Outlet. It was built of logs, twenty-five feet by thirty feet,with four windows each eighteen inches square, and slabs for seats. It served the congregation for eighteen years. The first consistory consisted of Elders Jacob Brinckerhoff and Cornelius Van Auken, and Deacons Roeliff Brinckerhoff and Thomas Johnson. Col. Hardenburgh married the same year Martina Brinckerhoff and the names of their two children, John Herring and Maria are on the Owasco register (1798-1800), Rev. Abram Brokaw, pastor. Col. Hardenburgh died in 1806. The consistory at the time of the building of the church consisted of Elders James Brinckerhoff, Thomas Johnson, Cornelius De Witt and Jacob Brinckerhoff, and Deacons Samuel Hornbeck, Abram Selover, Levy Boadly and Isaac Selover.

The ground on which the present church is built was given by Martin Cuykendall. Three or four years were spent in the building of the second house of worship. In 1811 a subscription was made for the work, and in 1813 the seats were sold for $3,772 and $1,300 additional was raised. This enabled them to build in 1815. Rev. Abram Brokaw was the first pastor at Owasco. It was also his first pastorate and lasted twelve years, when he accepted a call to the church at Ovid, where he remained fourteen more years, or until 1822 when he joined the "True Reformed" or "Wyckofite" church, for which secession he was suspended by the Classis. Rev. George G. Brinckerhoff, from whose congregation at Conewaga, Pa. many families had migrated into Cayuga and Genesee counties, New York, and who was settled at Sempronius, N. Y. (near Owasco) supplied the pulpit until the coming of Rev. Conrad Ten Eyck in 1812. The entire active ministry of Mr. Ten Eyck was in the Montgomery Classis at Mayfield, Veddersburgh (Amsterdam), Fonda's Bush, Sand Beach at Mayfield, Veddersburgh (Amsterdam), Fonda's Bush, Sand Beach and Owasco, at the latter place preaching for fifteen years. In the call the churches at Owasco and Sand Beach (Owasco Outlet) promised to give Mr. Ten Eyck $150 and 150 bushels of wheat annually. The nearest market at the time for wheat was Utica where it sold for a dollar a bushel. During his pastorate here, or in 1816, a great revival swept over the two congregations, resulting in additions to the churches of three hundred and fifty-one members. Three years later on complaint of a few members Mr. Ten Eyck was tried by the Classis on the charge of teaching a free and unlimited atonement. Both Classis and Particular Synod (to which body appeal was made) upheld the teaching and work of the good minister. The was in 1819. At the close of his work in these two churches (1826) Mr. Ten Eyck retired from the active work of the ministry. His daughter Elizabeth, married Rev. Robert W. Hill, Auburn '26. Mr. Ten Eyck died in 1844 at East Gainesville in the eighty-eighth year of his age.

Rev. Israel Hammond succeeded Ten Eyck in the pastorate, coming in 1831, and remaining until 1839. He had two short pastorates later at Mt. Morris and Gorham, N. Y. He died in 1856. Rev. William Evans was installed in 1839 and served seven years or until 1846, when he gave up the active work of the ministry. Rev. Jacob D. Dutcher came from New Brunswick Seminary to this his first charge and remained five years (1846-1850). After preaching for some thirty-three years he entered the consular service at Port Hope, Can. He died in 1888. Rev. Henry A. Raymond (father of Rev. Dr. A. V. V. Raymond) had a short pastorate of less than three years (1851-1853), but continued for twenty years in the work in other fields. He died in 1877. Rev. Wilson Ingalls followed Mr. Raymond in a twelve year service to the Owasco church (1853-1854). Mr. Ingalls studied theology under Dr. Nott of Union College and came from a ten year pastorate in the 1st Church of Glenville. Rev. George L. Raymond, Auburn '62, was a member of this church. He had a ten year pastorate at Blooming Grove, N. Y. He died in 1889. Following Mr. Ingalls came Rev. Alonzo Paige Peeke (1865-1872). After a pastorate of eight years in the Rhinebeck church, Mr. Peeke went west and served the churches at De Kalb, Ia., and Centreville, Mich. He gave a great deal of time and work to the institutions of the church at Holland, Mich. He was finishing a ten year work at East Millstone, N. J., where he died in 1900. He had two sons in the ministry, Louis Peeke, a Presbyterian pastor, and Harmon V. S. Peeke (born at Owasco), who since the graduation at Auburn Seminary in 1893, has been in the South Japan mission of the Reformed church. Rev. George H. Peeke (a brother of the former pastor) was called to the vacant pulpit and began work in the latter part of 1872 and stayed until 1875. Mr. Peeke entered the Congregational ministry in 1876 and after twenty or more years in that denomination next began work (1898) in the Presbyterian church of Sandusky, O., where he died December 20, 1915.

At the beginning of the pastorate of Mr. Alonzo Peeke the "Wyckofite" or "True Reformed Church", a secession from the Dutch church, which began in 1823, was disbanded, the building being sold to the Methodists, and now used by them. The successor to George H. Peeke was Rev. Alfred E. Myers (1893-1915 in the Collegiate church of New York City), who after studying at New Brunswick and Princeton, graduated at Union Seminary in 1870. He began his work in the Owasco Reformed church in 1876 and closed it in 1878. In the second year of his work a division occurred in the church, resulting in the organization of a Presbyterian body, which Myers served for six or seven years. Other pastors were Rev. H. C. Chadsey, Rev. Mr. Hoyt, and Rev. D. I. Biggar. Afterwards for a few years this church was supplied by students from Auburn Seminary. Lying vacant for many years, after a few brief pastorates, it was finally sold by the Presbytery to the Roman Catholics (1912). Naturally the old Dutch church suffered severely from this defection and its serious consequences can be traced even to the present day. Rev. Robert H. Barr became the next pastor, coming to the church in 1880 and remaining thro 1883. In 1888 Mr. Barr went to the associate Reformed church located at Newburgh. Rev. Jonah W. Vaughn's pastorate (1884-1889) came next, followed by that of Rev. Ira Van Allen (1889-1892). Mr. Vaughn died in October, 1913. Mr. Van Allen later served Mohawk (1892-1898) and for a decade now has been supplying the church at Owasco Outlet. Rev. John A. Rodgers an Auburn Seminary graduate supplied Owasco for ten years, or until April, 1903. He became a member of the Classis of Montgomery in 1896, but was never installed over the church. Rev. Robert Ivey was received from the Syracuse Presbytery in 1903, installed over the church in October of the same year, and resigned in March, 1905. Rev. J. Cassius Sargent became stated supply of the church in August, 1905, and continued until September, 1910. He joined the Classis of Montgomery at the Spring session of 1910, but was never installed over the church. Leaving Owasco, Mr. Sargent went to the Cato Presbyterian church (originally Reformed-cf) but in September, 1912, he became pastor of the Liverpool Presbyterian church. The change in the community is evidenced in the fact that during Mr. Sargent's supply of five years he had seventy-eight funerals. Rev. Geo. G. Seibert came to Owasco from a pastorate of six years in the Hagaman, N. Y. church (cf). He began his work at Owasco on January 1, 1912. Mr. Seibert was the first pastor, educated in the school of the church and trained in the experiences of the denomination that the Owasco church had had for twenty years. This century-old church, whose light has never ceased to shine, still holds its place of power in the religious life of the community. There is manifest a deepening love for denominational activities and an awakening zeal for missions at home and abroad.

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