1ISTORY OF FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF WEEDSPORT, NY
The 191 year old Weedsport First Presbyterian Church has a rich history of worship, home missions, foreign missions, and local service. The nucleus of this congregation began in 1805 as part of the First Congregational Society of Brutus (Presbyterian) of Sennett, NY. Thomas Jefferson was president of the United States at the time. In 1825, the year the Erie Canal was completed, the northern group broke away and along with other Presbyterians from Eastern New York, formed the Weedsport Presbyterian Church. There were 51 charter members. The church was built by the hands of members of the congregation from timbers hewed from local trees on land given by the Hamiltons, a family that was prominent in this church society for over 150 years. The final cost was $3000. In time, a stove and a fine pipe organ was installed.
The church grew because of the dedication of its people. Church on Sunday started with the Worship Service, continued with Sabbath School, lunch brought from home, an afternoon service, a break for supper and chores at home, and finally a prayer meeting in the evening. During the week were other meetings. The village also grew because of the canal. It was a prosperous time. In 1855, a fire totally consumed the Presbyterian church. The membership at the time was 129. This time an architect and a builder was hired. The present brick church was built the same year, only down the hill from the old one. The cost was $10,000. On the day of the building dedication there was a big snowstorm. Brother Warner, as ministers were known in those days, shoveled snow off the roof as best he could before the service. Water running down the inside walls flooded everything.In spite of the continuing waterfall, the dedication commenced and continued right to the end. It took another $9,000. to repair the damage.
Despite this set back and another devastating fire in 1947, the church continued to flourish and to meet the needs of the churched and unchurched.
Church interior prior to 1947 fire
A rear addition for Sunday School was added to the church in 1955. Purchase of the land north of the church was made the same year. Later the land in back of the church was repurchased. There has always been strong lay leadership to aid the current pastor or to take over in the interims between them. The pastors themselves have enriched the church with their many and varied gifts as they and the congregation have served the Lord.
Current church with addition taken January 2014
Written by former church historian