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 county of Lewis in which are situated the West Leyden and Naumburgh churches (as was also the New Bremen church) was formed from Oneida county March 28, 1805 (Jefferson county being formed the same day). Alexander Macomb, who came from Ireland in 1742, had five sons in the War of 1812, one of whom was Maj. Macomb of Plattsburgh fame. On June 22, 1791, Macomb bought nearly all the land in Lewis county, some 3,816,960 acres (cf Naumburgh). The town of Lewis was formed November 11, 1852. West Leyden was first settled in 1789 by two families named Newel and Ingraham, who remained, however, but a few years. In 1799 Col. John Barnes, Joel Jenks, from Rhode Island, Medad Dewey and John and Cornelius Putman, from Somers, Ct., settled here. Major Alpheus Pease (dec. 1816) built the first grist mill in 1802. The names of Hunt, Tiffany, Felshaw and Pelton are among the earlier settlers. In 1831 ten German families came to West Leyden. The first church formed in the village was a Baptist organization in 1798. Its building stood where the present Union church is. The Congregationalists formed a church in 1806, Rev. Nathaniel Dutton being the organizer. Other ministers of this church were Reuel Kimball, Arnaziah Clark, Eli Hyde, Calvin Ingalls, Jeduth Higby, and Comfort Williams. In 1826 the congregation joined the St. Lawrence Presbytery. The building stood on what is now cemetery ground. On August 16, 1847, the St. Paul's Lutheran and Reformed church was formed of which Frederick Meyer, Frederick Schopfer and George Tries were the trustees. A question arising in 1885 concerning the matter of worship the families of the Reformed persuasion in this Union church withdrew and organized the "Reformed Protestant Dutch church of West Leyden." This was September 17, 1856, and the first trustees were, Philip Rubel and Frederick Meyer, elders, and Frederick Schopfer and Valentine Gleasman, deacons. Rev. John Boehrer came to the church as its first pastor soon after the organization and continued with it until 1862. Mr. Boehrer later on was pastor of the nearby churches of Naumburgh and New Bremen. Leaving Naumburgh he became pastor of a Buffalo church (1887-1897), but was without charge from 1897 to the time of his death, 1913. During Boehrer's pastorate another church was organized December 7, 1858 and was called the "United German Protestant Lutheran and Reformed Congregation," in which Peter Wolf, Jacob Roser, Peter Kantser, George Tries, and Heinrich Roser were the trustees.

Rev. John M. Wagner succeeded Mr. Boehrer in September, 1862, and continued the work thro 1864. Wagner was from the German Palatinate and gave his best efforts for the German churches he served. For nearly thirty years he was pastor of the large and influential German Evangelical church in Brooklyn, in which pastorate he (lied January 21, 1894. In the summer of 1864 Rev. Frederick F. Schlieder came to the West Leyden church. Mr. Schlieder was born in Germany. Coming to this country he was graduated at New Brunswick, and in 1865 was installed over the church here. He had two pastorates at West Leyden, this one of eight years, and a second , beginning in September, 18S9, and continuing for eighteen years, or until failing health compelled him to relinquish the pulpit. Altogether Mr. Schlieder served the West Leyden church twenty-five years. He died February 2, 1915. His son, Rev. Albert Schlieder, is pastor of the First Church of Hackensack, N. J. Under the shadows of the old West Leyden church Mr. Schlieder spent his last days. There was no pastor during 1873, but in 1874, Rev. Jacob Weber became the minister in charge, and remained with the people for five years. Rev. Henry W. Warnshuis succeeded Weber but stayed only half a year. After leaving West Leyden lie went west and entered the Presbyterian church for work in Dakota. John H. Reiner was the next pastor. He was born in Russia, of Jewish extraction, and came to America in 1880. His only known work was this pastorate at West Leyden (1881-1885) and another at Gallatin (1886-1887). He visited the West Leyden field in 1912. During Reiner's pastorate the parsonage was built and the Ladies' Aid Society organized. It was also in his time that a division occurred in the church, and the faction withdrawing built a meeting house in 1889, supplied since by the Ava Methodist minister. Following Reiner came Rev. Henry Frech (l885-1888), tho Rev. S. Kern had supplied the pulpit for a year (March, 1885-March, 1886). Nothing further than this West Leyden work is known of either of these men, except that before coming to West Leyden, Frech had been pastor for four years of the German church (2nd) of Jamacia. In 1889 Rev. Julius J. Keerl supplied the pulpit for six months or until the return of Mr. Schlieder. In June, 1908, the Rev. George S. Bolsterle, recently graduated from New Brunswick, was ordained by the Classis of Montgomery and installed over the West Leyden church, Mr. Bolsterle, did a fine work of reorganization and greatly encouraged the people in the three years he remained with them. For the past three years the church has been supplied during the summer by the seminary students, with occasional services by the Classical Missionary. Among these students have been Stephen W. Ryder of New Brunswick '13, who is now in the foreign missionary work in Japan, Bert W. Maass, now at Schodack Landing, John Putman and Chauncey Stevens of New Brunswick '16. In the Fall of 1914 Joseph M. Spalt began a lay work at West Leyden, which continued for a year.

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