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.


In Revolutionary times this place was called "Keder's Rift" but about the year 1800 it became known as "Westerlo." Still later, because of the prominence in the community of Major Yost Spraker, it received the name of "Sprakers Basin," which has for many years been abbreviated into its present form. The people of the community were in the habit of going to "Sand Hill" for service until about 1790 when meetings began to be held in the homes of the people by the nearby pastors. On October 29, 1796, at a public gathering a Reformed Protestant Dutch church was organized under the direction of the pastor at Fonda, Rev. Abraham Van Horne, who installed these officers: Elders, Andrew Michel and Daniel Cornue, and Rynier Van Evera, and Deacons William Bellinger, Jacob Ehle, and Joseph Van Ingen. In 1803 John Roseboom and Peter Quackenbush were the elders and William Bellinger and Wessel Cornue were the deacons. In 1805 Rev. John C. Toll had come into the work. In 1806 Andrew Mitchell gave land for the building of the new church contemplated. But just as soon as plans were laid for Westerlo then Currytown wanted a church too, unless Westerlo would build at Currytown. The division was unfortunate at the time to both communities. But Westerlo went ahead and the new church was built in 1807. In 1814 it was proposed to move the church to Canajoharie--a geographical term which included a large area, sometimes on both sides of the river. The minutes extant of the Westerlo church are not carried beyond 1824, but Rev. Isaac Labagh, a later supply and pastor, recorded many statistics in the Lawyersville church of which he was at the same time pastor. The period was one in which the "Wyckofites" were eager to do battle, and Rev. Toll and others were drawn into the secession,and when they could not take their church with them they went off and started a "True Reformed Church."

For nearly a score of years the Sprakers church was supplied, Rev. Douw Van Olinda who had nearby fields, often preaching here. It was not until Mr. Romaine came to Canajoharie that definite plans were carried out for the reorganization of the church in 1858. It was incorporated April 9, 1858. The first pastor, Rev. E. Vine Wales (1859-1861) came from the Otsego Presbytery. He died in Oneonta where he had lived since 1865. This was his last pastorate. He had been in Fort Plain twenty-five years before this. Rev. Benjamin Van Zant of Canajoharie supplied the church for two or three years. In 1869 Rev. David K. Van Doren was called and remained until 1873, preaching also at Currytown. He went to the Third Reformed Church of Albany and had later pastorates at Schuylerville, Scotia, Middleburgh and New Salem. He died in 1908. The next pastor was Rev. Edward G. Ackerman (1874-1878), who also served Currytown. He died in 1899. Rev. James M. Compton supplied the pulpit from 1878 thro 1883 (cf Ephratah). Rev. John Minor came in 1854 and remained a couple of years (1884-1885). Rev. John Thomson was ordained by the Classis in 1887 and installed over the churches of Sprakers and Stone Arabia, and was here for five years (1887-1902).

Rev. James B. Campbell was called to the church in 1903 and stayed until 1906. Tho a New Brunswick graduate, Mr. Campbell had about equally divided his ministry between the Reformed and Presbyterian bodies. He came to Spraker from Shawnee (Pa.) Presby. Church and on leaving went to the Raritan, Ill. church, and next to Port Jervis, where he died in 1911, as pastor of that church. A man of rare spirit, evangelistic, and of great power of prayer. His son, Rev. Donald Campbell became a Congregational minister and when pastor of the Schodack Reformed church, demitted the ministry. Rev. C. V. W. Bedford was the stated supply at Sprakers and Currytown in 1909, and served the church for nearly four years. He went next to Hagaman (cf). The present pastor of the church is Rev. Harry A. Eliason, who supplying the pulpit for a year or more, was licensed and ordained by the Classis and installed over Sprakers and Currytown on July 14, 1914.

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