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 original name of this church was "Sand Beach," by which it is still best known. The church is at the head of Owasco Lake, situate about three miles east of the city of Auburn. The history of Owasco is to be read in conjunction with the story of the Outlet church, as the same pastors frequently supplied both of the fields. As early as 1807 efforts were made to build a church at the Outlet, and another effort was made in 1810. In November of 1810, pews in the new church (not year erected) were sold for $2,168.50, while Asa Jackson gave an acre of land on which to erect the new building. The church was incorporated in December, 1810. The year of the organization of the church is put in 1812. The first preaching at the "Sand Beach" church was by Rev. Abram Brokaw, who was also the first pastor at Owasco (1796-1808). But before this, at both Owasco and Owasco Outlet, preaching services had been more or less regularly conducted by the Missionaries, Revs. Daniel Thatcher and Asa Hillyer from Orange, N. J. and Revs. Matthew Larue Perrine, James Richards and Henry Mills of New Jersey also, the last three becoming professors at Auburn Seminary. The nearness of both of these fields (Owasco and Owasco Outlet) to the Presbyterian Seminary at Auburn has afforded easy opportunities for the pulpits to be supplied by the students of this school, especially during interims of the pastorates. This has meant, naturally, longer lapses between the pastorates than should have existed, and it has also resulted in distinct loss, thro certain periods, of the influences of the two churches upon the work of the denomination. The first pastor was Rev. Conrad Ten Eyck who also preached at Owasco (cf). He came to the church in 1812 and remained thro 1826. In 1816 eighty-nine additions were made to this church (two hundred and sixty-two at Owasco). Domine Ten Eyck was followed in 1826 by Rev. Benj. B. Westfall (1827-1828), who, after ten years in the Rochester church went to Stone Arabia (cf) where he died in 1844. For two years (1828 and most of 1829) the pulpit was supplied by Rev. John Dunlap, who died while preaching here, and by Rev. Henry Heermance, who died in 1846 while pastor at Kinderhook. Rev. John G. Tarbell supplied the Owasco Outlet church for two or three years (1830-1832). He spent some forty years of his life as a missionary in Michigan, where he died in 1880. Rev. Leonard Rogers became the pastor in 1833 and remained thro 1834. He died a few years later (1838). He was succeeded by Rev. Robert Kirkwood (1836-1839), who died in 1866. Following Rev. Mr. Kirkwood came Rev. John G. Moule, a Presbyterian minister who supplied the pulpit thro 1839-1841, and was followed by Rev. Richard W. Knight (1841-1844), who later supplied Cato, Lysander and Wolcott (cf) and died in 1873 after he had been out of the active work for some twenty years.

Rev. Aaron B. Winfield was next called to the church from the Presbyterian church at Friendsville, Pa. Mr. Winfield remained at Owasco Outlet from 1844 thro 1850, when he went to the Paramus N. J. church in which pastorate he died in 1856. Following this pastorate, Rev. Samuel Robbins Brown was called to the church in 1851 and resigned in 1859 to go to Japan where he spent ten years in missionary work. He bad previous to the Owasco Outlet work spent nearly the same time in China in a Chinese Boys' School. On a furlough to this country in 1869 he supplied the pulpit of the Owasco Outlet church for a year. At the end of this furlough he again returned to Japan and gave ten more years of his services as teacher in Yokohama and Nigata. He died at Munson, Mass. in 1880, in the seventieth year of his age. Guido Fridolin Verbeck joined the Cayuga Classis in 1859 and became a member of Montgomery in 1889. He went to Japan with Dr. Brown in 1895. He knew seven languages, and added Japanese in a few years. He was a citizen of the world. He founded Japan's system of education. One of his early pupils was Count Okuma, the premier of 1915. Verbeck of all foreigners who ever entered Japan may be justly termed its new creator. He died in 1898 at Tokio and was buried with imperial honors. The wife of Guido F. Verbeck (Maria Manion), noted missionary in Japan, Mrs. E. Rothesay Miiller, late of the Japan mission, who was Mary E. Kidder, and Caroline Adriance, names honored in the story of Japan's Christianization, were all members of this church during Dr. Brown's pastorate. Miss Adriance died at Amoy, leaving all her property to the Foreign Board. Mrs. Miller founded Ferris Seminary at Yokahoma, Japan. Miss Hequemborg also went into the foreign work (1873) from this church. Dr. Brown had the distinction of being the pioneer teacher in Christian education in China, in being the founder of the colleges for women in America, and of starting the movement for Christian education and theological study in Japan. Corwin's Manual gives a most interesting account of Mr. Brown's life. It was while he was principal of a school at Rome that Dr. Brown accepted the call to the Owasco Outlet church. He bought a farm near by and on it established a school in order to increase his stipend for living. The school flourished, the church waxed strong, a new edifice was built in 1855, a movement was started by him which resulted in the founding of the "Elmira Female College," the first of its kind in America. Rev. Dr. Griffes has written biographies of both Brown and Verbeck. John Garretson, who from his graduation at New Brunswick in 1826, devoted himself to the missionary movement and who served the Board of Domestic Missions for ten years (1849- 1859) as Corresponding Secretary, succeeded Dr. Brown in the Owasco Outlet church in 1861 and remained thro 1864. The present parsonage ground was bought in 1862 (the old property having been sold in 1854 for $1,400) for $1,25*0, and a new parsonage built for $1,100. The church cost $6,000. Under his secretaryship the Holland immigration took place (1847-1852), and Mr. Garretson's leadership enabled the Board to make great progress in the west. His last service was as Rector of Hertzog Hall in which position he died in 1875. Rev. John V. N. Schenck came in 1865 and after three years went to Pompton Plains, N. J., in which pastorate be died in 1874. He was followed in the church by Rev. Henry S. Huntington, a Presbyterian minister who filled the pulpit in 1870 and 1871. On leaving the Owasco Outlet church Mr. Huntington became pastor of the Calvary Presbyterian church of Auburn, later going to Caldwell on Lake George. In 1881 he entered the Episcopal church. He died December 22, 1895. A son, George, is rector of the Niles (Mich.) P. E. church, and a younger son, David C. is archdeacon of Western Michigan.

Rev. W. A. Rice preached here during 1871-1873, and Rev. Artemas Dean from 1873 thro 1875. Mr. Dean's previous ministry of twenty-five years had been in the Congregational church. After leaving Owasco Mr. Dean had two pastorates at High Bridge, N. J., and at the Palisades church. He resides at Mt. Carmel, Pa. Rev. G. A. McKinley supplied the pulpit from 1886 thro 1887 and Egbett C. Lawrence (cf Thousand Isles) during 1878 (both Auburn men), and Rev. Charles Anderson, a Presbyterian, from 1879 thro 1883, after a pastorate of thirty years in Sennet Presb. church; he died in 1900; and Rev. R. R. H. Dexter (Presb.), 1884 thro 1887, and who died in 1890, and Rev. Hervey D. L. Leland from 1888 thro 1889. Mr. Leland was allowed to demit the ministry by the Montgomery Classis in the Fall of 1912. Rev. Charles Maar became the pastor of the Owasco Outlet church on his graduation from Auburn, and was ordained by the Montgomery Classis and installed over the church in 1892, and remained until 0 1893 when he took up the work in the new Second Reformed church of Syracuse (cf). Rev. Frank A. Force was called to the church from Gallupville in 1895 and remained about four years, going to the Cortlandtown church at Montrose, N. Y. He is at present pastor of the Gallatin church at Mt. Ross, N. Y. Rev. Ephraim W. Florence succeeded Mr. Force, coming in 1899 and remaining thro 1902, going to the Currytown church (cf) in that year, from which he went in 1905 to the Philmont, N. Y. church. He has been living in Canada for some years now, serving the church of England. Rev. Ira. Van Allen, who has served the Montgomery Classis at Mohawk (1892-1898-cd) was pastor of the church during 1890 and 1891, just before the coming of Mr. Maar. After leaving Mohawk, Mr. Van Allen gave up the work of the active pastorate, and now for more than ten years he has been supplying the vacant pulpit of the Owasco Outlet church. Rev. Mr. Dean in 1875, and Rev. Mr. Maar in 1893, wrote histories of the church.

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