Church and Family History Research Assistance

for Schuyler County, New York



Burdett Church, at Burdett, was organized on June 2, 1840, by members who withdrew from the Baptist Church at Bennettsburg, on account of the introduction of unscriptural missionary principles and practices. A frame meeting house, with galleries on three sides, two stories, and a steeple, was completed in about November 1841. The church united with other Old School Baptist churches in the area, in the Chemung Association. Pastors of this church included Elders Reed Burritt, Almiron St. John, S. H. Durand, Charles Bogardus, and possibly others. The church continued to meet at least until 1910, and probably longer, as Elder Bogardus died in 1925. We have done considerable research on this church, including extracting obituaries from old church papers for many of the members.

The following writings by Elder Reed Burritt, who with other Elders and brethren, led the Old School Baptists of this region out of the clutches of the falsely so-called benevolent institutions of the day, show clearly the reasons why our people withdrew from the New School innovations. We invite a careful reading of these letters, as well as in Tompkins county, and other county links, which are a sample, showing the trials more than thirty of our churches passed through in the state of New York. Elder Burritt moved to Burdett on about January 2, 1836, and preached for the church there the remainder of his life.

"SOUTH WESTERLO, May 25, 1835. BROTHER BEEBE:- I have for many years past thought much of the Baptists; I have been with them about 27 years. I thought that they knew much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that they were aware his Kingdom was not of this world, that it was not at all depending on the united efforts of Baptists with Pedobaptists, nor with worldlings, nor even an educated Ministry for its support or prosperity; and while I have seen them departing from the rule of the Gospel for some years past, I could not give them up, but still hoped and believed that they knew so much about the truth and that God had such care for them, that they would see their errors and would right up again; but alas, I am discouraged. It is about ten years since I disfellowshiped the Theological Seminary, and all those Institutions in which the Baptists were united with other denominations. I never fellowshiped, nor did I know till about a year ago, that any man but a Baptist could be a member of the New York State Baptist Convention. I had heard it called a Baptist Convention and supposed it was such, not having been so particular as to examine its articles; but when I found that any man who paid so much money could be a member - that $10 would make a life member and $30 a life Director - whether they have grace or not, and that no man could be a member without money, any more than they could join the Society of Free Masons without money, I was much tried and resolved to support it no longer. But, my good brethren, if I may so call them, said the Convention was only a Missionary Society, and the money of unbelievers will go as far to spread the Gospel as that of believers; and our Preachers at home take money of the Society, and even yourself, and why not take it for Missionaries, as I could not support any other institution than the Missionary Society. Many called me hard and strenuous, and I thought myself that it would not do to refuse to send the gospel to the destitute, as though I had power or men had to send out preachers; thus I gave my influence and collected for the Convention once more - but not without my trials; yet I had not strength enough to withstand, but the Lord has given me more and for which I think I feel somewhat thankful. My prayer is that he will give me wisdom to direct me and my brethren also, and cause us to renounce every thing that is not gospel. But to return; when I considered the difference between a Minister who receives something from one of his hearers for his support and receiving him into his Church for so much money, and not only receive him as a member but a director, and that for life, let his character and conduct be what it may, I came to the end of my path. But some will say that the Convention is not the Church; true enough, but I ask when you consider it to be in the visible Kingdom of Jesus Christ or out of it, certainly it is one or the other. If out of it, I as a Baptist have nothing to do with it; if you say that it belongs to his Kingdom, then dismiss all except Baptists - scourge it thoroughly, turn out the buyers and sellers, overthrow the tables of the money changers; let Grace give membership; let it be a house of prayer and no longer a den of thieves; but as it is now I have no fellowship for it. But I have another objection to the Convention, and that is this: it supports the Seminary which I renounced long ago, or at least encourages it, and depends on that institution for Ministers and chooses them in preference to others. I have been acquainted with quite a number of them and can say in the fear of God, if I know what the Gospel of Christ is, I have never seen much of it about them. I have wondered to see their boldness; I think I never saw one of them daunted or embarrassed in my life by the great or the many, and neither did it appear like a holy boldness. But when some of them informed me how they were drilled in the Factory, I saw at once how they came by their boldness; I found that it was because they had so thoroughly learned their trade, in their own estimation, that they feared no one. For the information of those who do not know, I will just relate what I have been told by some of those preachers, if I may so call them, who have been through the Seminary. In the forepart of their studies they prepare their Sermons and deliver them to an assembly made up of their school mates and perhaps their teachers, until they have made such proficiency that they will allow them to come before a public assembly; but they must write their sermon and commit it to memory, and then the house or room must be prepared similar to a room that is prepared for a puppet show; a curtain is drawn across one end with sufficient room behind it for a monitor, who holds the written sermon while the apprentice or candidate for the Ministry stands in front with the congregation before him, when he with all boldness begins to deliver his sermon, knowing that if his memory fails him he can stand so close to the curtain that his Monitor can put the word into his ear without being discovered by the audience; thus he is drilled till he is thought sufficient to come out before the public, knowing "who is sufficient for these things." The above accounts for some things which are peculiar to Seminary Preachers. One is the boldness above mentioned; they seldom if ever preach a sermon without writing a part, if not all, and have it well studied or take it with them and read it off. Another things is they are generally more correct and connected than those who preach extempore. I have always thought that their sermons had no God in them; they are destitute of that spirit and power which is peculiar to the sermons preached by those to whom a dispensation of the Gospel is committed, and a necessity is laid upon them; and woe unto them if they preach not the Gospel, who instead of the Seminary, have no doubt been in the belly of hell until Israel's God brought them unto dry land again. They have such a sense of the greatness of the work, and of the awful responsibility that is upon them, that they dare not go on in any other name nor strength than the Lord Jesus Christ; and then the flock of God is fed with the sincere milk of the word, &c. Should I see such a preacher going to the heathen, I think I am ready to communicate for his support, but so long as the Seminaries manage as they do, I have no fellowship for them. And as for the Bible Society, in the way it is managed I have nothing to do with it. To give the Bible to the destitute without note or comment, is certainly commendable and right; but for members of the visible Gospel Church to be yoked together with unbelievers, or those who are without, in a religious society for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom is unscriptural, and every understanding Baptist knows it. As for the Tract Societies, I suppose my brethren would wish me to give my opinion in relation to them - and I am very willing to do so. The American Tract Society I think is Babylon in full - as Babylon signifies mixture or confusion; and certainly where five denominations are united as they are in that Society to publish Tracts, and a publishing committee made up of members out of each denomination, to examine the Tracts before they are published, and to publish nothing but what they will all subscribe to, who does not know that it is all hypocrisy and deceit. A Baptist that is really one could not stay there. To the Baptist Tract Society I will mention some objections. First, money gives membership and that throws it out of Christ's Kingdom; second, many of the Tracts are not true, and those that are, are painted so high that it spoils them, and yet they are called "winged messengers of mercy," which is anti-scriptural; and lastly, it finds employ for so many of those educated and efficient Gospel Ministers to peddle them, who, if they are what they pretend to be, ought to be otherwise employed; and if they are not what they profess to be,I do not wish to support them while they are running to and fro through the earth in the manner they now do. I cannot help those of my brethren who are tired with me on account of my present sentiments, unless I can be the means of convincing them of their error. I have no apologies to make, only that I am very sorry I have had so much to do with Anti-Christ's Kingdom as I have. May the Truth prevail till Christ's Kingdom is wholly separated from it. REED BURRITT."

"CALUMNY. South Westerlo, Nov. 24, 1835. BROTHER BEEBE:- Many of our friends have been very much agitated since my communication appeared in your 13th No. of Vol. 3rd, on account of a statement in that article relative to certain regulations at the Theological Seminary at Hamilton, N. Y., viz: "In the forepart of their studies, they prepare their sermons and deliver them to an assembly made up of their school mates, and perhaps their teachers, until they have made such proficiency as will allow them to come before a public assembly. Their sermon must be written and committed to memory, and the room prepared similar to one prepared for a puppet show; a curtain is then drawn across one end with sufficient room for a monitor, who holds the written sermon while the apprentice, or candidate for the Ministry, stands in front with the congregation before him; he then with all boldness begins to deliver his sermon, knowing that if his memory fails him, he can approach the curtain so near that his monitor may put the word into his ear without being discovered by the audience. Thus he is drilled until he is thought capable of appearing before the public, knowing "Who is sufficient for these things." Now, sir, when I published the foregoing, I had no idea that it would cause such a general ferment as it has. My friends began to enquire of me who were my informants? I have told them that Elder D. Corwin of Westerlo, N. Y., was one of them. Not long after naming him as one of my informers, I was told that he denied it, and said that there was no such thing practiced at that Seminary, and also went so far as to say that he did not believe that I ever thought he had told me so; and through his influence I am held forth to the public as having published a falsehood. Subsequently Elder Corwin has acknowledged, in the presence of a number of witnesses, that he did tell me the substance of the above, only with this difference - that the discourses delivered were not called sermons! Now, Brother Beebe, it is possible I was mistaken in regard to the name of that performance, as I had understood that the Seminary was considered a very sacred place - so much so indeed, that young men could there be prepared for the Ministry of the Everlasting Gospel, and that those discourses were delivered by those who were preparing for the Ministry - it was therefore natural for me to conclude that their addresses were upon the subject of religion, and would be called sermons. The above reminds me of a circumstance which occurred a few years since in Durham, N. Y. A certain man, a member of a Baptist Church, became disaffected with me on account of a sermon I had preached on the doctrine of Sovereign Grace, and said he would not come to hear me preach any more, nor let his family come; and that if he had a dog that would go to hear Burritt preach, he would kill him. However, after a few months he ventured to come again, and after meeting he said to me privately, I suppose that you have heard the report of my having said that if I had a dog that would go to hear you preach I would kill him. I did not say so, but I acknowledge that I did say, if I had a dog that would go hear you preach, I would cut his head off. REED BURRITT."


Ayres, Burritt, Dickerman, Elliott, German, Hessenger, Holly, Jaquish, Manning, May, McNish, Owen, Reed, Reynolds, Sharp, Shelton, Slauson, Terry (incomplete list due to loss of records).


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