Church and Family History Research Assistance

for Genessee County, New York



The First Baptist Church of Christ in Darien, to those who have obtained like precious Faith, send greeting: Dear brethren, it seemed good unto us to give you some account of the providence of God towards us, and the views the Church have of the course she ought to take under the present circumstances. A few years since the Church received the ministry of an Elder, whose general mode of preaching was to address the passions of fear and self-interest. Some of the members did not think this mode of preaching to be teaching the whole counsel of God; and providentially we were visited by a minister whose method was to illustrate the doctrine of God's divine grace, in the calling of his people by his gospel to the knowledge of himself, to sanctification and perseverance unto eternal glory, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

At this time two sentiments manifested themselves in the Church. It was thought proper to dismiss both these Elders, and obtain one whose ministry was expected to bring us into unity of the faith. But in this we have been disappointed; complaints were made against teaching the doctrine of God's electing grace, according to his sovereign pleasure. About this time protracted meetings were introduced among us, and we were told by the leaders in these meetings that if we had assembled in the exercise of the faith we ought to, we might obtain salvation for our fellow sinners around us for whom we would pray in the faith; that the blessing might be obtained this very day, and if we had assembled without this faith, we might as well take our hats and go home. This we believe to be contrary to truth; but God has revealed his purpose to make his Church the glory of the whole earth, and an eternal excellency; that it is our duty to labor for this object according to the direction of God, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and not after the will of his creatures.

Our sentiments in this thing have either been misunderstood or misrepresented. We believe it is the duty of all those to whom God has given gifts for the edifying of the Church to use them for the purpose for which they were given; and that to neglect to do so would be sinful; that for ministers to give themselves daily to the ministry of his word, would, when God gives an opportunity, be an indispensable duty. But for them to teach, that to themselves alone, or in connection with the Church, belongs the power of prevailing with God to save all we desire should be saved, and use our efforts for; seems to be contrary to fact, as illustrated by examples in scripture - instance Paul's laboring for his brethren in the flesh - and is a heresy that ought to be instantly rejected.

Trials arose, between our Elder and some brethren that marred the peace of the Church. One of the ministers in the Association circulated reports designed to destroy the reputation of our Elder; they being circulated privately among us, when the Church sought information they could get no specific statement of them nor their author, for some time. Disaffected members labored to have the Elder dismissed. The Church labored to have dissatisfied brethren cease to harbor their trials, but to have the Elder reclaimed before dismissing him with the commendation of the Church. One of the members brought a trial against the Elder; the brethren in the second step of labor decided against him, and admonished him and the Elder; the Church declined hearing the case, the laboring brethren having decided against the aggrieved brother. It was afterwards requested by the aggrieved brother to have an advisory council, with permission to bring trials before them on which he had not labored, and those mentioned above. The Church informed him they would grant his request after he had complied with the rules of discipline, if he failed of obtaining satisfaction. He and other members left the Church, and, by the assistance of the Elder who had circulated the reports, were formed into a conference, and were subsequently fellowshiped by a council as a Church. This Church excluded the brother who had taken the lead in managing these things for his departure from the discipline of the Church. After this we called a council to advise with the Church, desiring to give them a general account of the means used by those out of the Church to separate and divide us; but they refused to receive any information only in relation to the conduct of our brethren who left the Church, and required our consent to admit on the council those brethren who had used their influence to separate us. Seeing our brethren unwilling to know all our situation, and hoping it might be useful to give information as far as they would receive it, we gave our consent; expecting they would confine their advice to the subject on which they received information. In the result they required us to fellowship our brethren as a sister Church, without any retraction by the excluded brother in relation to the cause for which he was excluded.

This Church has been received into fellowship by the general Association, and, as we believe with a knowledge of the above facts; we, therefore, deem it our duty to discontinue our social connection with that body, until they manifest a disposition to comply with the command of Christ recorded in Matthew 18:16-18.

We will embrace this opportunity to express an opinion relative to some of the leading movements of the present age. And first in regard to the ministry: God calls to this office such gifts as are adapted to the work he means to accomplish - that no man takes this honor to himself but him that is called of God as was Aaron - and that the lavishing of money to educate ministers in schools of science and literature, can neither confer evangelical nor apostolic character; that an enlightened understanding, an honest heart and a thorough knowledge of the scriptures of truth, furnish all necessary knowledge to perfect us in usefulness. We have viewed with alarm the attempts made to change the elements used in the sacrament, and believe this or any other attempt to alter or amend any of the institutions of the Gospel, to evince a want of confidence in the wisdom or goodness of the Law-giver, and manifests the height of arrogance by supposing ourselves capable of improving the institutions of him who is perfect in knowledge. Also that the encouragement given by awards and public approbation, to the writers of fictitious narrative and ingenious romance, has a tendency to turn the mind from the scriptures of truth, and turn us unto fables, and that such practices should be discountenanced by the religious community.

David Halsted, Clerk, in behalf of the Church.


Cooley, Halsted (very incomplete list due to loss of records).



The history of Wales Hollow Church available to us, begins with a letter from Elder David Wooster, the pastor, dated September 13, 1835, as follows: "Strykersville, Genessee Co., New York, Sept. 13, 1835. BROTHER BEEBE:- At our Covenant-meeting yesterday, myself and wife took our leave of the people with whom I have laboured in the Ministry of the Gospel for seventeen years, and with whom I have stood in the relation of Pastor from the organization of the Church, until the first of January 1834, at which time I thought it my duty to withdraw my labours from them.

From the first of my experience in the ministry, I have had trials in regard to the popular religious movements of the day, although I have in some degree sustained them. I have served the Board of Missions, and continued in their service until I had lost all feeling of interest in it; and on the last appointment by the Board, I spent but one day in preaching. It has ever been my desire to exhibit the gospel so as to exalt the Creator and abase the creature. This course has been satisfactory to christians sound in the faith; but to unsound professors, and to the world in general, it has been received as hard sayings. The struggle in my soul for some time past has been truly great; on the one hand, to think of separating from that dear body of Brethren which have been raised up under my ministry, and for whose welfare I feel the deepest interest, for I think them precious christians, notwithstanding many of them have become strongly attached to the measures of the day; while upon the other hand, I look at the Truth and its Divine author, and see, throughout the whole Scriptures, a straight line drawn between the Church and world, and believing, as I do, that the present religious movements are directly calculated to unite the Church and the world, I am constrained to give my influence decidedly in favor of the Word of God's being the only safe and infallible rule of faith and practice for the saints of God. And, viewing myself near the threshold of eternity, and with due deference to the authority of my Lord and Master, I do hereby enter my solemn protest against the present popular measures of the day, which appears to be serving God with gold instead of a broken heart and contrite spirit. I have not time now to give you my views in full, but probably shall esteem it a privilege to visit your columns again.

Ministers and brethren in these parts are generally opposed to the Old School Baptists; but I know of a goodly number that I think would come out on the Old School ground, could they be visited by the faithful servants of the Lord. I would suggest the inquiry for the consideration of my brethren, the greater part of whom live far remove from this place. In view of the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, may it not be duty to appoint a General Meeting in this section of the country? I do believe the result of such a meeting would be, under the Divine blessing, beneficial. But for the present, adieu. - ELDER DAVID WOOSTER."

The meeting suggested evidently took place, and an account of it was published, as follows: "Strykersville, N. Y., June 28, 1836. DEAR BROTHER: Under the divine blessing of our heavenly Father we have been permitted to enjoy a precious season at our meeting at Wales Hollow, Genessee Co., N. Y. The ministering brethren in attendance with us were Elders Salmon, Avery, Sawyer, and myself. Our meeting was continued for three successive days. As in the primitive state of the church the saints were wont to correspond with each other by written Epistles, we feel a desire for the consolation of our brethren abroad, to send them our epistle of love, and make them acquainted with our affairs. We have been greatly comforted and refreshed by the labors of our Brethren who have visited us, and whose preaching has been to us like cold water to a thirsty soul; and we do rejoice that God has reserved some witnesses who will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, even in this day of peculiar darkness, rebuke and blasphemy in the which error is marching forth in huge form and with gigantic strides, as though intent on spreading desolation over the whole family of mankind, by arts, craft, and flattery; calling darkness light, and light darkness; error truth, and truth error; applying names to creatures, and power to creature performances which belong exclusively to God. By this course they not only manifest a disposition to rob God of his glory and bring dishonor upon his blessed cause, but also to rob the saints of their daily food and comfort. They also encourage men to profess religion while they are strangers to grace. They also teach for doctrines the commandments of men, by urging the necessity of Theological Schools, to supply the work of the Holy Spirit in qualifying men to preach, and that modern protracted meetings, connected with anxious seats and rooms of enquiry, are essential to the salvation of souls. The formation of numerous unscriptural religious societies, affords a lucrative employment for a host of officers and agents, at from $40 per month, to $2000 per annum; all of which we believe to be in direct opposition to the authority of the great Head of the Church, and therefore the saints should neither touch, taste, nor handle, and we would most earnestly entreat such of God's dear children as have gone astray, after these things in the language of the living word, to come out of mystical Babylon. And for ourselves we desire above all things, as we love God, and as we regard his precious cause and Kingdom, to walk in the truth; and we do most earnestly exhort all such as love our Lord Jesus Christ to take a decided scriptural stand against all the abounding spiritual wickedness of the day, however trying it may be to flesh and blood or carnal feelings, or however few may approbate the course - come life, or come death, praise or shame, prosperity or persecution, yea; bear all these things, and more if circumstances require, and God permits them to come upon us.

Such are our views, Dear Brethren; we cannot in conscience go where God has not given precept or example to warrant us in our religious course. We wish not to persecute, but rather plainly to point out the errors of those who are engaged in the new inventions of the day. Finally, brethren, may the God of all grace and truth lead us into the knowledge and understanding of The Truth, and enable us to walk therein. Now unto Him that is able to keep you and us from falling, and to present us faultless before the throne with exceeding joy; to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen. GEORGE CLARK, ISAAC BUSH, NATHANIEL BUSH, GEORGE TRIPP, ABRAM TABOR, H. TABOR, DAVID WOOSTER."

Also, a further letter from Nathaniel M. Bush, dated at Wales, August 2, 1836: "DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: We wish through the medium of your valuable paper to inform our brethren of the Old School, of our situation. At our last covenant meeting, July 13th, we, as a church, withdrew our fellowship from all such as have departed from our articles of faith, and from the solemn covenant in which we have engaged to walk; and we do in the presence of God and the elect angels, without human reserve, devote ourselves to God, and choose the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as our only God, Saviour and sovereign legislator for time and eternity; and we do solemnly covenant to take his word as the only rule of our faith and practice. We also disclaim all connexion with those who have departed from the above rule by their new systems, going into the new measures of the day, and following after those who practice such things as we believe are, in their nature and tendency, subversive to the faith and order of the Gospel of Christ. We wish our Old School Baptist brethren to visit us at Wales. Done by order and in behalf of the Church. NATHANIEL M. BUSH."

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