JEFFERSON COUNTY NEW YORK

HISTORY OF THE FLOWER MEMORIAL
THERESA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 1825 - 2000

A compilation of successive histories gathered for the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Theresa Presbyterian Church May 6, 2000


CONTENTS

History 1825-1900

History 1825-1926

Centennial Celebration 1926

Rededication 1926

History 1825 -1941

History 1825 -- 1975

Brief History 1825-1999

Brief History 1825-2000

Stained Glass Window History

Brief History of the Flower Family

Pastors


From the Watertown Daily Standard, Saturday, May 12, 1900 --original clipping saved and provided by Aziel LaFave, July, 1999

1825 -- THERESA'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH -- 1900

History of the Society that Recently Celebrated its Seventy-Fifth Anniversary
-- A Record of the Growth of the Organization

The Presbyterian Church Society of Theresa was 75 years old this week and the Anniversary was fittingly observed. This is its history:

From the Watertown Daily Times -- Monday, June 28, 1926

CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Theresa Organization is 101 Years Old -- Events Since Organization Reviewed

Following is a paper read Sunday at the 101st anniversary of the First Presbyterian church of Theresa. It is a revision of one given by the same author at the 75th anniversary in May, 1900, and can be found with the record of proceedings of that anniversary.

by DR. J. R. STURTEVANT

Previous to 1819, the territory now occupied by the corporation of the village of Theresa was practically an unknown forest. The red man encamped in numbers along the shores of Indian river and with his spear snatched its finny tribes from its dark waters., kindled his council fires along its banks, erected his wigwam and pursued the swift-footed denisens [sic] of the forest over these hills upon which now graze herds of kine and across the valleys where now, are evidences of permanent civilization. Here, a little over a century ago, a little band of worshippers planted the cornerstone of this society. At that time, it was no uncommon thing to hear at nightfall, the howl of the wolf, the human-like wail of the panther and the low bellow of the moose. No restrictive laws prevented the hunting of game at all seasons. The muscalonge could be speared by the boat load with the aid of the jack light and no one interfered.

"Theresa High Falls" was known and described as the "jumping off place." None are now living whose memories go back to that distant day. Outlying settlements had existed for a time, but it was not until 1819 that the first family, that of Anson Cheeseman, took up its abode near the lower bridge. Mr. Cheeseman was employed by the late Mr. LeRay in operating a saw mill. The last survivor of that immediate family was the late Benjamin Palmer Cheeseman who died on Aug. 16, 1899. There are, however, numerous decendents of the third, fourth and fifth generations some of whom have been members of this church.

In that same year of 1818 James Shurtleff, afterwards a leading member of this church, occupied the land and built thereon the stone house still standing a little over a mile from this village and now owned by the Tilley family, Mr. Walter Tilley being our present postmaster.

Sylvester Bodman came in 1820 and Nathan M. Flower in 1822, Abraham Morrow, Dr. John D. Davison and Anson Ranney about the same time and who subsequently became active members of this church.

These with others, had at the end of the first quarter of the 19th century, formed a small community and laid the foundations of this pleasant and prosperous town. Sixbury and Foster, noted hunters of wild beasts and red men, had traveled these wilds for 40 years, Sixbury living to the advanced age of 110 years and dying on the very spot where the projected city of Joachim was founded, but which has never been built, after seeing the game, both brute and human, vanish and civilization well advanced.

First Organization Formed.

Now it happened that on the 8th day of May, 1825, Abraham and Lucinda Morrow, Sylvester and Relief Burt Bodman, Nathan and Mary Ann Flower, Abner and Elizabeth Cheeseman, Mary Walton, Rhoda Eggleston and Hannah Rogers, all save two bearing letters from other Presbyterian Churches, saw the fitness of organizing themselves into a society, and which was consummated on that day at the home of Abraham Morrow, the Rev. William B. Stowe acting as moderator.

Unfortunately, at the time that the memorial church was built, the book of records of the session was missing and was not recovered until some little time afterwards. Thus it came about that the list of "charter" members supplied only from memory and tradition contains the names of three who were not charter members and omits the names of three who were, the latter being Elizabeth Cheeseman, Hannah Rogers and Rhoda Eggleston.

James Shurtleff and his wife, whose names are on the marble tablet as charter members, did not join the church until 1822, seven years after the organization. On the date of the organization, Abraham Morrow and Sylvester Bodman were elected and ordained as elders and deacons, both holding said positions until death; Mr. Morrow until his death 50 years later. The next date recorded was on June 28, 1829, when Talman Evans and wife were received. The next on Dec. 15, 1831, after which the records appear with greater frequency. It may be presumed that with so small a membership and no regular house of worship there was little occasion for frequent meetings of the session. The population was much less than at present. The records were so infrequent that some interesting events have passed almost into mere tradition.

By a thorough scrutiny of the session records we are able to give a fairly correct list of the ministers who have, either as stated supply or pastor administered to the spiritual affairs of the church, although the records are notably deficient as to the length of service of some of the early spiritual advisors. I also discover omissions of records of membership for there are several dismissals by letter and some cases of disciplining of persons who had not been recorded as members. Other names have been given us of those who, if not members must have been active workers and whose names appear nowhere upon the records.

A body corporate was formed on Dec. 22, 1835.

Accomplishments Shown.

Regarding the work of the ministers who served this church during the first half of its existence, it seems that the fruits of their labors were fully equal to those of modern warfare against sin, judging from the record of additions.

Among those most prominent upon the written page and upon the memory of those who were living at the time of the 75th anniversary may be mentioned first, that of Roswell Pettibone whose name first appears Dec. 5, 1831. He was located at Evans Mills and served that church and this, probably, as stated supply. His last recorded appearance was on June 13, 1839. He remained to see the new Union church erected and dedicated. The late Governor Roswell Pettibone Flower was named after him. During those years the Rev. J. Sessions and W. Crittendon were present occasionally and moderated the session. But it would appear that Mr. Pettibone was the principal worker in the field for about seven years during which time 33 persons were added to the membership. He was a warm personal friend of Nathan M. Flower and of great influence here, and is described by those who knew him as an uncompromising and fearless abolitionist.

Thirty-Eight New Members.

Rev. L. M. Shepard was elected pastor June 13, 1839, and served as such until June 30, 1842. During his pastorate 38 were added to the membership. Those who knew him spoke well of him in the highest terms as a "shepherd" in deed as well as name and was much beloved by his flock. During 1843 and also in 1848-9 Rev. W. Crittenden served this church. Misfortune befell him, and the loss of his wife and his only child so preyed upon his mind that he lost his life by suicide during a temporary attack of insanity. His ministry here in 1843 alone resulted in the addition of 18, 16 of whom was [sic] on confession of their faith. Thus, his labors were, evidently, not in vain.

Rev. Chas. W. Treadwell began as stated supply on Aug. 30, 1851, and continued in that relation until May 30, 1863, constituting the longest period of ministerial service up to that time in this church. During this period 100 names were added: 69 on confession of faith and 31 by letter. Among the notable days were the 16th of April, 1860, when 10 names were added, 24 on April 29th, and 14 on May 6th, a total of 48 April 16th to May 6th. The total for that year was 51. Among those names, I find that of Miss Mary Ann Collis, now Mrs. Orson Godfrey of Phoenix, N.Y.

Pastor Favored Slavery.

Those living 25 years ago and who were best qualified to pass judgment spoke well on the ministry of Mr. Treadwell. However, in politics he was said to be, like Mr. Pettibone, an extremist, but of directly opposite sentiments, being in sympathy with the rebellion so that it became expedient for him to discontinue his labors here as the people of this community, in 1861, did not consider sympathy with human slavery consistent with salvation of human souls.

Rev. S. L. Merrill was stated supply from Dec. 12, 1863, to Aug. 18th, 1867. He was an earnest worker in the cause of the Master.

Rev. J. R. Keiser came May 3, 1868, and declared the pulpit vacant Nov. 7,1869.

The next record is of Jan. 12, 1871, when Alexander Smith became pastor and remained until some time in 1873, leaving very incomplete records of this unfortunate alliance. Mr. Smith was a scholarly and profound preacher. It was during his pastorate that the parsonage was built. Then, on May 19, 1874, came Rev. B. Alexander Williamson, who remained until Aug. 6, 1876, most of the time as pastor, resulting in 21 additions and otherwise a successful pastorate.

The records are then closed until April 23, 1877, on which date some present will remember seeing for the first time that man who was destined to be a powerful influence in this church and community [Rev. Joseph A. Canfield]. That noble face, keen black eye and earnestness of manner made deep and lasting impressions upon his hearers, and in the seven succeeding years how we all came to love him and how during the years succeeding his pastorate his occasional presence here was the signal for expression of hearty pleasure from all classes. How he always brought sunshine and good cheer of that sort which inspires to better and nobler lives. He had anticipated being with us at the 75th anniversary, but died suddenly some months before that celebration.

Present Church Built

During the pastorate of Mr. Canfield the present church edifice was built. During his temporary absence in 1884 on account of ill health, the Rev. Doctor Taylor of Beverly, N.J. served this church very acceptably as substitute and with signal ability.

Then in June, 1885, came the Rev. George W. S. Wenrick as our pastor, having preached here on March 1 previously. Fortunately, the time has not passed so completely from the memory of a goodly number present that a history of his stewardship is need at this time excepting for the information of posterity. Those were six happy and prosperous years which we of that period recall with pleasure, and the memory of a goodly number of additions to the church membership, and we have evidence that his heart still goes out to us as friends not to be forgotten. Mr. Wenrick has retired from active ministry and he and his good wife are enjoying a well earned leisure at Los Angeles, Cal. Fortunately I have a fresh message from Mr. Wenrick received a few days ago in which he says:

Letter From Rev. Mr. Wenrick

"Thank you very much for your invitation to the anniversary service June 27. Please extend to Mr. MacFarland and the church my most cordial greetings with the wish that the day may be a great day for the Theresa Presbyterians and an inspiration for the growth and progress of the church. To those who may remember me I sent a special message of love and gratitude, and to those who have only heard of me, I bespeak grace, mercy and peace.

"To you all I send this text: Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.
"Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.
" For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

During the summer and autumn of 1892 Alexander Wouters, a theological student, preached here to large congregations and during his stay the Christian Endeavor Society was organized. I think that he is now pastor of a large Congregational church in Brooklyn.

In the fall of the same year, Rev. Thomas Miller preached on a few Sabbaths.

Next come the very successful pastorate during which the 75th anniversary of the found of the church was celebrated, and the longest ministerial service thus far in the history of this church. On April 24, 1892, Mr. Chas. G. Cady, secretary of the Y.M.C.A. of Watertown, preached in this church and on the first of June following commenced regular service as stated supply and on Aug. 15, 1893, was ordained and installed pastor serving as such until Dec. 31, 1905, during which time 126 were added to the membership. During his pastorate the Presbyterian congregation enjoyed, under his direction, and with Mrs. Cady at the organ, a period of the finest music thus far in the history of this church. Standard music from the great masters was often rendered with the assistance of noted singers such as Miss Kathleen Douglas, now a resident here, her two brothers, the late Senator Curtis N. Douglas and the late D. C. Douglas, Mrs. Fred Davison of Buffalo, Mrs. Jasper Lamble of Northampton, Mass., and others including the late Mrs. Chamberlain of New York and the late Miss Kate Servey of Watertown.

The musical talent of the Rev. and Mrs. Wenrick and the Rev. and Mrs. Cady will not soon be forgotten.

The next record of ministerial supply was on Sept. 20, 1906, when the Rev. Hugh Craig was present as moderator and up to Sept. 28, 1909, did good service as stated supply and during his service 17 were added to the membership. Mr. Craig was an able preacher and made many warm friends here and preached several times here after his term as stated supply closed.

Rev. W. H. Bruens Arrives

On March 13, 1910, the Rev. W. H. Bruens of Marion, N.Y., preached here and on March 31 was elected pastor and served with much ability for 8 years and preached his farewell sermon on March 31, 1918.

During his pastorate 48 were received into membership. Many tender re- collections are entertained here of Rev. and Mrs. Bruens and their son, John.

On July 14, 1918, the Rev. Chas. A. Riley began service as stated supply, was soon installed and served this church for seven years, during which time 13 were added by letter and 24 on profession of faith. His resignation in the spring of 1925 was not accepted by those assembled to act upon the same but the pastor overruled that action and on retiring was given a farewell reception and a purse of money, leaving many friends.

On Oct. 18, 1925, our present acting pastor, the Rev. E. O. MacFarland, working under the origination of National Missions, began his labors here and at once attracted the interest and co-operation of this church and many able sermons he has given us and succeeded in enlisting the general interest of the society and especially the young people and already, on Easter Day, 25 were added to the membership.

The good work is still going on, and many need repairs have been made or are under way, stimulated by his keen interest and inspiration.

Places of Worship

The private homes of the early settlers, a schoolhouse until recently used as a barn on the premises of the late George E. Yost and in which Brigham Young once preached, and the old brick tavern seem to have been the places of divine worship for all denominations until 1838 when the Union church built during the two preceding years by the united efforts of the Methodist and Presbyterians was completed and dedicated in Sept., 1838, by the Rev. R. Pettibone and that celebrated Methodist divine, afterwards Bishop Jesse T. Peck. The cost of the edifice was to be not less than $1,800. It was largely paid for by selling the pews or "slips" as they were then called. It was used by both denominations on alternate Sundays until 1849 when the Methodists sold out to the Presbyterians and built a church, where the Dresser block now stands and which was destroyed by fire some years later.

During these eleven years of joint ownership many enjoyable and profitable union meetings were held.

For 19 years thereafter the old church did good service for the Presbyterians and was replaced by the present edifice in 1880. It was dedicated in April of that year, the Rev. J. Jermain Porter, D.D. of Watertown preaching from the text "For He loveth our nation and hath built us a synagogue."

The story of that change is recorded elsewhere, how the Rev. Joseph A. Canfield came to us in 1877, found the society with a dilapidated church and a debt of six or seven hundred dollars and little visible prospect of its liquidation; how he encouraged the people to efforts for its cancellation and for repairs to the building; and how when success to that end seemed in sight, a former Theresa boy, John D. Flower, chanced to discover the effort, and so circumvented the plans of the pastor and people that instead of a renovated old building at the struggling expense to the members of the congregation, this beautiful monument to the memory of struggling pioneers has stood for 48 years as an evidence of gratitude to God of worthy children, of worthy parents, all of whom have passed to their reward.

A subscription paper for the purchase of a bell for the use of the Presbyterian church bears date of Dec. 6, 1859, resulted in the purchase of the bell which since that time has called to worship. Its cost was $468.73.

Raise Money for Bell.

No parsonage had been owned by the society until June, 1871, when the lot upon which the parsonage now stands was purchased at a cost of $850 and the parsonage built thereon. It was the building of this that created the debt which existed when Mr. Canfield came. Its first occupant was the Rev. Alexander Smith.

Of the charter members the name of Nathan M. Flower is naturally and deservedly prominent. He was only 26 years of age when he came to Theresa, but at once became active and influential in all that enhanced the interests of his new home town. He was elected elder in 1836 and from that time until his untimely death in 1843 from apoplexy at the age of 47 was clerk of the session. His name is still a household word in Theresa, although many years have passed since his death. And so he still lives and his influence is still a blessing to the people while this beautiful temple of worship with its graceful spire pointing heavenward tells us that

"Lives of great men remind us

We can make our lives sublime

And, departing leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time"

His noble wife bravely took up the working tools of life which had prematurely fallen from his nerveless grasp, and her posterity rise up and call her blessed.

Flower Family Active

One of her sons, Roswell P. Flower, became member of congress and governor of the state of New York.

The Grand Army Post here was named in honor of another son, Col. Geo. W. Flower, who was a gallant soldier in the Civil War and who gave the organ. The beautiful "good Samaritan" window was erected to his memory by his widow. The one on the other side of the church was erected by Dr. James B. Carpenter to the memory of his wife, who was a sister of Governor Flower.

Another son, John D. Flower, already mentioned as the one who initiated the idea of a memorial church, continued to contribute liberally to the upkeep and preservation of his parents' monument until death made it no longer possible.

Still another son, Anson F. Flower, born after his father's death, always manifested a keen interest in the church of his parents, presented the pastors and Sunday school libraries and contributes by endowment $60 annually to the pastor's salary.

Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor, daughter of Governor Flower, and a well known philanthropist of Watertown, has also contributed to the preservation of her grandparents' memorial.

Sylvester and Relief Bodman were of that sturdy New England stock which invariably makes a salutary impression on a community. Emigrating here from Massachusetts in 1820 and enduring all the hardships incident to such a journey in those pioneer days, they became factors in sowing the seeds of virtue and industry here.

Mr. Bodman died Oct. 14, 1859, 24 years and elder, much regretted by this community, while his good wife fought out the battles of life until the advanced age of 104, and some of us present enjoyed the pleasure of her friendship.

A venerable Methodist divine, preaching from this pulpit on a certain occasion remarked that when he was a Methodist pastor here many years before, there was a family of Bodmans who were Presbyterians and very excellent people, but he didn't know whether their descendants were or not! But we know that every child of that family became faithful members of the church which their parents helped to found and how the mantle of the father fell upon the son whose 50th anniversary of eldership was celebrated in this church on Dec. 7, 1906, at the close of the morning service and when he was presented with an easy chair by the congregation. He died on the 27th of March, 1910. Again the mantle of the father had fallen on the son and in turn upon the grandson, for Henry Bodman was elected elder on March 16, 1904, and is still a member of the session.

Abraham Morrow, the other member of that original session, lived many years after those old associates had gone and died in this village on April 27, 1875, at the age of 81. Their children all became members of this church. His wife survived him for several years.

Meetings at Morrow Home.

The home of Abraham Morrow seems to have been the meeting place of the session for many years. Mrs. Morrow and Mrs. Bodman were the only surviving charter members at the time this church was dedicated and the Bible which has since graced this pulpit was a gift from them.

April 24, 1837, James Shur[t]leff with Nathan M. Flower was ordained elder. Mr. Shurtleff was a prominent and useful citizen and held the office of justice of the peace as did also Mr. Flower. Mr. Shurtleff moved from here to Plessis where he served that church as elder four years, dying there on Aug. 1, 1846, aged 78.

On the 25th of November, 1840, Anson Ranney, another of the early settlers here and a deservedly popular and prominent citizen, was added to the session. Mr. Ranney was identified with the best interests of the town and was for several years its supervisor.. He died at Lockport, N.Y., March 31, 1859, whither he had removed several years previously. He built the house now the home of Randolph Bodman and Mrs. Amelia Ostrander.

Feb. 17, 1847, Ansel N. Brittian [sic] and Gilman Evans were elected elders and served as such until death called them. Mr. Evans dying June 4, 1875, and Mr. Brittian June 22, 1888, Mr. Brittian having served as elder 41 years. Mr. Brittain [sic] was the founder of a large chair factory which prospered until destroyed by fire years after his death.

Dec. 7, 1856, B. J. Owen and Atwood Bodman were inducted into the office of ruling elder after a sermon by the Rev. C. W. Treadwell, text from1st Timothy, 5-17. Mr. Owen met only a few times with the session and was dismissed by letter, removing to another place in 1858. He was a merchant here, a very conscientious man and Christian and was superintendent of the Sunday school.

Aug. 8, 1875, Captain John S. Vanderburg, a merchant here, was installed elder and served thus until his removal to South Dakota in 1881, where he did similar service until his death years later.

R. C. Collins Elder.

Mr. R. C. Collins was ordained elder on March 1, 1880, and was a very active member for nine years, during which time he was clerk of the session and frequently represented the church in Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly. He died in Utica last winter at an advanced age. He built the house where Mr. Wm. Dixon now resides.

Aug. 8, 1889, Henry P. Cheeseman and J. R. Sturtevant were added to the session. Mr. Cheeseman was for years, a merchant here, held various offices of trust, was a most faithful worker in the church and superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. He died Sept. 14, 1921, very suddenly.

Your historian, J. R. Sturtevant, came to Theresa Feb. 3, 1873, to practice medicine, and there are not as many living in this place as there were then. He brought a letter from the Presbyterian church at Canton, N.Y. Served as either assistant or superintendent of the Sunday school for 16 years, and by the sufferages of this church is still a member of the session in which he has served nearly 37 years, most of the time as clerk.

Gave Clock to Church.

On Sept. 3, 1894, Emmons R. Stockwell and John Hildreth were elected elders. Mr. Hildreth served faithfully until his death Feb. 1, 1904. He was an honorable, Christian gentleman and an active business man here for many years. Emmons. R. Stockwell, for 16 years postmaster of this town, died on Sept. 27, 1916. He was a very obliging and efficient postmaster and a kindly and courteous gentleman. The clock at the left of the choir loft was a gift to the society from him.

Lewis Perry and Henry Bodman were elected elders on March 16, 1904, Mr. Perry serving until dismissed by letter on July 4, 1909, to the Presbyterian Church at Sparrows Point, Maryland. He was a very active and desirable member of the session. George D.Wright was elected elder and served as such until his removal from town some years later.

George D. Waldradt was elected elder on March 22, 1911, and served until March, 1920 when he declined re-election much to the regret of the session and congregation.

Irvin VanAllen was elected elder on March 21, 1917, and Jesse LaFave and C. H. Kelsey on Nov. 12, 1921. These three are still members of the session.

The records of this society as to trustees show that they have been as follows:

Anson Ranney, James Shurtleff, N. M. Flower, Artemas Baker, N. W. Lull, A. N. Brittain, A. R. Bodman, Norval E. Douglas, Jacob Ostrander, John D. Flower, Dr. J. B. Carpenter, Wm. T. Goodenough, J. C. Morrow, W. E. Hoyt, Atwell C. Brittain, Mathew Avery, J. S. Vanderburg, J. R. Sturtevant, Henry P. Cheeseman, E. R. Stockwell, W. F. Swan, Wm. M. Lamble, John Hildreth, Jacob Snell, Wolsey Peck, Geo. D. Waldradt, Chas. A. Young, George D. Wright, Edward S. Cook, Henry H. Hubbard, Randolph Bodman, Earle Young, Clinton Busler, Irvin VanAllen, Norris Stone, Paul Pooler, William Dixon, Roy Alton and James H. Waldradt.

The total number of members since its organization approximates 600.

During the Morman excitement in the 80's, a few Presbyterians embraced that faith and were excommunicated.

Very few cases requiring discipline are recorded by the session. One man and his wife were cited before the session in 1839 on the charge of having quarreled with themselves. They signed a statement of humble confession and repentance and it was read before the church on a Sabbath day and there is no record of their ever quarreling again.

With the exception of this case the records of the session contain no evidence that married life in the church has been other than one continued honeymoon.

Now it may properly be asked, what good has come out of the Presbyterian church of Theresa and what, in a general way, has been its influence. That that influence has been benign, no one will dispute. Certainly a goodly number of its more than 600 members and their descendants have been a credit to themselves and the community. One governor, who was also a member of congress, one colonel in the Civil War and in fact the whole family received their early inspiration from the same source. A goodly number of professional men and women who have become well known as physicians, lawyers and educators and have risen to influence in this and other communities.

That the influence of this and other churches in this village has been the chief factor in the moral and religious uplift of this community no one will deny.

God hasten the time when, in this enlightened age, three small Protestant churches in this or any other small community shall combine their forces into one strong organization entertaining the same faith and creed, relying upon the same and the only God, relying upon the same blessed Saviour, march on in solid phalanx in the great war for righteousness. In the meantime, awaiting that glorious day, we will continue the same harmonious relations now existing.

The book is still open to be added to by our successors and if the next historian can glean some little assistance by this humble effort, well and good; and if the record of individual lives has been an inspiration to better living, the existence of the Flower Memorial church will not have been in vain.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

From The Watertown Daily Times, June 28, 1926
Companion article to Dr. Sturtevant's history of the church

CHURCH OBSERVES ITS CENTENNIAL

Nine Speakers on Program of Flower Memorial Church Celebration
MANY FORMER RESIDENTS PRESENT FOR ANNIVERSARY
Dr. J.R. Sturtevant Recounts History of Church
FOUNDERS' DESCENDANTS TO SPEAK
Morrow, Bodman and Flower Family Representatives
Are on Platform and Give Brief Talks.

Theresa, June 28 -- Nine speakers made up the speaking staff on the program of the centennial celebration of the Flower Memorial church in this village Sunday and each speaker brought what seemed to be a climax message. Long had the workers of the church worked for this celebration and their leaders were splendidly rewarded with a perfect program well rendered. The weather man gave a perfect June day with sunshine tempered with a cooling breeze. Early in the day out of town visitors began to arrive and by 10:30, the hour of the morning service, there were many former workers here, with visitors to take part in the celebration of the beloved church.

The morning service followed the regular order with a centennial sermon by the pastor, Rev. E. O. McFarland, from the text, "Everything shall live whither soever the river cometh, and everything on the banks shall be healed." There were special musical selections by the choir, male quartet and a solo by George D. Waldradt.

300 at the Luncheon

The luncheon, served at the town hall by the women of the church at 12:30, with its after dinner speeches, was one of the features of the day. The hall was decorated with flowers and the big room was a place of beauty. There was room for all attending and the young women quickly served the big company. The speaker and some church officials were seated at tables on the stage. With these were president of the village, W. Scott Sargent, and Mrs. Sargent, the supervisor of the town, E. J. Stratton and Mrs. Stratton, speakers of the day and members of the families of founders.

Howard F. Farrington, superintendent of the First Presbyterian church Sunday school of Watertown and president of the board of education was the first after dinner speaker, being introduced by Rev. Mr. McFarland, toastmaster. Mr. Farrington stressed the need of character building in our youth; asked that we seek to earn the degree of C. B. -- character building -- and pointed the need of men taking an active interest in church and Sunday school work, -- if we would have our children build for a better community and nation. He made a striking illustration of the visit Mark Wilder made to the western city, the home of a mail order house that Mr. Wilder's firm supplies paper for their catalogs and the luncheon in which the president of the firm, Mr. Sears, said he was retiring to train his boys into useful men. Another official of the firm remained engrossed in the business and died recently broken-hearted because of the waywardness of his son who must end his days in prison.

Mr. Farrington's address made a profound impression and his message went home.

The Mayor Speaks.

Mayor John B. Harris of Watertown was the concluding speaker and brought a message of real worth to this community. Always a favorite speaker with Theresa people, he was at his best Sunday. He pleaded for lives dedicated to constructive work -- be the position what it may. The boy or the girl that always takes that choice and decides for that living will have a useful life.

The noon program came to a close in time for a short recess before the opening of the afternoon service at the church at 2:30.

The Historical Session.

Promptly at 2:30 the services opened at the church with the people from all the churches of the place. On the platform were sons and grandsons of the founders of the church. Little did Abram[sic] and Lucinda Morrow dream, when the church was organized in their home 100 years ago that a grandson would be the chief orator of the day. And the Bodman family had on the platform A.R. Bodman, grandson, trustee, Henry Bodman, elder, Charles Bodman and Charles Bodman, Jr., of Governeur, each of whom made brief talks. In the audience were other members of the Bodman family. Also on the platform was Fred S. Flower, who spoke briefly of his memory of other days, as it related to the church of his fathers. In the audience were Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor and other members of the Flower family, each of whom was introduced and some spoke briefly.

Attorney William D. Morrow Speaks.

Attorney W. D. Morrow, of the tax department in Albany was one of the speakers in the afternoon and made a profound impression on his hearers. His fine platform presence, his command of the English language and the feeling with which he told his story, stirred his audience and made his address stand out as the message of the day, as it related to the men and the women of other days.

Mr. Morrow recounted something of the history of the church and told of the early settlers of the section who were responsible for the establishing of the parish. He said:

"One by one these sturdy characters of pioneer days passed on -- their life work well done to be taken up and carried on by their children. And in looking back within my memory over the past I somehow feel that their children recognized the responsibilities placed upon them and that in connection with this church they took thought of the words of the Lord recorded in Holy Writ, that were spoken to Solomon in a dream one night shortly after the completion of the temple on Mount Moriah: 'I have heard the prayer which you have offered Me and I have made this house holy. It shall be My house and I will dwell there. And if you walk before Me as David, your father walked, doing My will, then your throne shall stand forever.'

"And looking back in the past who shall say that these men and women, children of the early pioneers, did not walk as their fathers walked doing God's will."

It remained for Dr. J. R. Sturtevant, long an official in the church and now in his 80th year, to come to the platform and tell of the history of the church. The doctor spiced his history with wit.

The Evening Service.

A union service of all the churches of the village brought to a close in the evening the centennial celebration of the church. The first speaker, Rev. Morris W. Derr, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church, brought greetings from his church and stressed the need of Christian living.

Rev. T. W. Carling, of the Methodist church here, was proud of the past, but begged his hearers to look to the future to better days and greater deeds.

Rev. Darwin F. Pickard, D. D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Watertown, made the closing address, asking for more devoted service to the church.

SIDELIGHTS

The Misses Helen and Annie Bearup were at the head of the table arrangements for the luncheon and the tables showed the work of a master touch.

It was a matter of regret that not a single former pastor could be at the celebration, although messages were received from a few who wrought here in other days.

Squire Haskin, organist of the Methodist church, and Mrs. Jennie Eddy, assistant organist of the same church, assisted in the musical program of the day. Mr. Haskin playing for the evening service and Mrs. Eddy for Mrs. A. A. Stratton in her solo work.

The male quartet, composed of H. H. Hubbard, George D. Waldradt, L. D. Pickert, and A. A. Stratton were features of the musical program of the day.

The offering at the afternoon service was bountiful among the gifts being a check for $500 from Emma Flower Taylor.

Attorney Howard R. Sturtevant, holding an important position with the New York Central Railroad, was in from Buffalo to sit in the family pew again and hear his next door playmate of his youth, Attorney W. D. Morrow, deliver his address.

The people of Oxbow and of Evans Mills came in goodly numbers to the celebration, the pastor of the Evans Mills Presbyterian church offering the prayer at the afternoon service.

The oldest person at the celebration was Leonard Irwin, who walked into the town hall to the dinner as young as many who were 90 years younger.

The president of the Clayton village, Fred S. Rodenhurst and Mrs. Rodenhurst, were back again to enjoy the church service.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Watertown Daily Times News Article dated October 3, 1926

Rededicate Presbyterian Church at Theresa in Impressive Manner

Big Part Played By Flower Family in Establishing Place of Worship Told By Pastor in Address

Theresa, October 3, 1926 -- Beautiful summer weather and October foliage helped to make a perfect day for the services at the Presbyterian church Sunday when the redecorated church was dedicated and visiting ministers and others helped in the services.

At the morning service the sermon was by Rev. U. L. Mackey of New York City, who has charge of the missions of the state. He is a preacher with a message and he brought an inspiration to the congregation of the morning. There was a number of special musical numbers. The communion service followed the preaching.

The dedication service was in the afternoon and brought a larger number out with many attending from Watertown and other points. Rev. E. O. McFarland, the pastor, was the preacher and his sermon had to do much with the early work of the Flower family charter members of the church. Special musical numbers were given by Mrs. Fred S. Flower of Watertown and Mrs. A. A. Stratton of this village, soloists.

The evening service was a union one of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches with Rev. T. Wilson Carling of the Methodist church giving the principal addresses. The Sunday school orchestra of 14 pieces of the Methodist church, with Mrs. George C. Eddy at the piano, assisted in the musical program. Rev. Mr. Carling stressed the needs of a working church and stated a church means to one what one makes it.

A real surprise came at the evening service when there walked in the church Rev. and Mrs. Charles G. Cady with Mr. and Mrs. Perry of Bainbridge. For a term of years Rev. and Mrs. Cady worked in the Flower Memorial Church a most successful pastor, and she a most accomplished organist. They left a wealth of friends behind when they left. A wave of applause went over the congregation when Rev. Mr. Cady came to the front and spoke briefly of his first days here.

All in all the services on Sunday were ideal and complete. The church organization, over a century old, finds itself in a beautiful building brought about by the efforts of their leader, Rev. E. O. McFarland, and his loyal people.

In delivering the dedication address Rev. Mr. McFarland told of the struggles of the little church.

He said in part:

"David was a great man. As a youth he was the Lindbergh of his day and generation. Lindbergh alone and unaided by his flight over the Atlantic captured the imagination of the world.

"David alone and unaided slew Goliath of Gath and became a world's hero for all time. He was great as a poet, great as a warrior, great as a ruler of his people. His God had given him victory over all his enemies. Peace now reigned within his borders. He is in the evening time of life. The great house he had erected for his last days is finished. He is communing with his faithful friend Nathan, the prophet. He is recalling in memory the wonderful providences of God by which he had been taken from the sheep folds and been three times crowned king. He casts his eyes around the luxurious furnishings of his oriental palace. Suddenly a thought comes into his mind: 'Here I am dwelling in a house of cedars and my God dwells in a tent with contains,' and Nathan answers, 'Do all that is in thy heart for God is with thee.' Although David was not permitted to build the temple of his God we read that it pleased God that he purposed in his heart the erection of a dwelling place for the Most High.

"We pass by a description of the most wonderful place of worship ever erected by the hands of man know as Solomon's temple which for beauty and richness of adornment has never been equaled.

"We seek a practical application of our text and the marvelous story of the temple and its building.

"Our first observation is God is pleased with, and accepts and honors by his presence, a place of worship erected in his name.

"How does it come that we are here today in this stately and commodious place of worship? Whence this newly decorated building set apart to worship, prayer and praise?

"To answer these questions let us go back in imagination over 100 years to a place called Springfield, Otsego County, N.Y. There is such a powerful religious movement such as were frequent in the early days of our country. A young man by the name of Nathan M. Flower was strongly impressed by the necessity of yielding to the higher impulses of his soul. Like Moses he saw him who is invisible and then and there made the first great venture of his life by stepping out on the unknown and found his God.

"The spiritual influx of life that flooded his soul was powerful, effective and enduring.

"Although a bachelor living with his sister to keep house he established a family altar and enlisted in the active service of the Master which only ceased with death.

"In the year 1822, having heard of the great water power of the Indian River in the wilderness of Theresa he came to this place with a soul consecrated to God and a mind already trained to business and illuminated by the Spirit, harnessed the falls of Theresa, established a business, won the confidence of his fellow men and attained marked success in his chosen occupation. He loved his church and in its worship he took delight. No task too humble -- no service too long or hard.

"His last farewell to his beloved church and fellow members was a scene never forgotten by those who heard and witnessed it. He knew that he was in his house of worship built on the site where we are now, for the last time. He spoke with such grace and inspiration as they had never heard before.

"He raised his arm which was soon to be palsied and invoked the blessing of Almighty God upon his dearly beloved brethren. Said he, 'I stand here as a minute man with my hours, yea minutes, numbered upon me. In this last appeal I shall ever make to you, from the bottom of my heart, I entreat you, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, "Be ye also ready." I ask your prayers for me as I have also prayed for you. I commend my wife and dear children to your care and protection. Teach them as I have taught your children to love the Lord.' Four days after, he was gathered to his fathers.

"Here my friends we have the secret of the success of the Flower family and their descendants which have had a commanding influence in church and state for 75 years. The secret is found in the courage, spirit of adventure, Christian character, vital faith, and active service in the course of righteousness that came from the family altar in the home of Nathan M. Flower.

"That the Flower children, whom a dying father committed to the care and protection of his fellow workers in this church, have not been unmindful of their splendid heritage, permit me to read an extract from the New York Evangelist issue of Jan. 11, 1900:

" 'When the Rev. Joseph Andrew Canfield, of distinguished forbears, a fine scholar and beloved pastor, took charge of the Presbyterian church in Theresa, he found the congregation discouraged, a dilapidated church and a mortgaged parsonage. The new pastor said, 'We must roll off this burden of debt and repair the church.' The said, 'The times are hard, crops poor and prices low; we must wait for better times.' He replied, 'You are too poor to be in debt; you must sink it, or it will sink you.' He immediately opened a subscription book. The ladies organized for the work and began with holding dime receptions in a small grove. At the second reception, as the tables were about ready, a gentleman and lady entered the grove and took seats. After they were served, a $5 bill was handed to the lady treasurer and the proffered change refused. The pastor coming up was introduced to John Flower, who inquired for what object the ladies were holding the pleasant treat. He then asked for the subscription book and put down $100 in the name of the Flower family, saying, 'I will see that it is paid.' A few days later, a letter came from Anson R. Flower (R. P. Flower was then in Europe), requesting them to cross off the Flower family subscription, and substitute the enclosed check for $250. The people were inspired with new courage and soon the debt was cancelled and the church refurnished.

"The following spring, at a gathering of the Flower family in the home of a sister, it was said, 'We have for some time been contemplating the building of a monument to the memory of our parents in the Theresa cemetery. Why not do it at once?' After all but John had favored the proposition, he was asked why he was silent. He replied, 'Since you have asked me, I will tell you what has been running through my mind ever since last fall, when I visited the old church in Theresa, where our parents worshipped and we were brought up. It is this, what better memorial can we build to our reverend parents than a church?' The family clapped their hands all around the table. Soon after this, a letter from Roswell P. Flower of New York, asking if the Flower family might build a church as a memorial to their parents who were charter members of this church. After some correspondence, the result was a neat and elegant house of worship completely furnished with pipe organ, cathedral windows, cushions, carpets and chairs, at a cost of about $16,000.

" 'Soon after the dedication Anson R. Flower sent to the trustees a permanent endowment for his portion of the pastor's salary, furnished a fine library for the Sunday school and a large pastor's library for the parsonage.'

"To Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor, the only surviving child of the late Governor Roswell P. Flower, the church and congregation is indebted for many timely and opportune gifts. The electric organ-blow doing service today and the handsome electrically lighted way-side preacher at the door stand for a past of her generous contribution at the time of our centennial celebration.

"To Charles H. George and his mother, Mrs. John S. George, as a memorial to John S. George, we are indebted for the harmonious and colorful decorations of our church today. Mr. George is a great-grandson of Nathan M. Flower, whose daughter, Caroline Flower, married Silas L. George.

"It is only fair to say in conclusion that the help extended toward this church is only a very infinitesimal item in the grand total of benevolences since the day when the children of Nathan M. Flower sat around a table and purposed to build a house unto the Lord. A blessing like that which came to David has fallen upon them. Churches of other denominations --(the Roman Catholic Chapel in this town was the gift of John S. Flower). Hospitals, libraries, cemeteries, municipal and charitable institutions too numerous to mention have been their beneficiaries.

"May the descendants of our illustrious pioneer and all here present through all time remember that the blessing of the Lord alone maketh rich and that the best investment on this planet is to lend money unto the Lord and have it put to a use where moths do not corrupt or thieves break through and steal."

The dedication followed immediately.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

History of the Theresa Presbyterian Church

dated March 25th, 1941 by Irene Waldradt Walters
transcribed from Church Records CD-ROM by Diana Schnettler June, 1999

It stands there on the hill, at the top of Main St. -- in quiet dignity; beckoning to all who so desire, to come and find within its walls the peace and contentment which the world is so in need of today. And as we heed this call and enter in -- we cannot help but wonder at the beauty we behold; the stained glass memorial windows depicting the Bible characters of Ruth, Moses, David, Christ, the Good Samaritan, St. Paul, the Lamb of God -- and as we listen to the sweet and mellow strains of the pipe organ and note the simple beauty of its architecture, we stop and wonder how this all came to be; what noble purpose inspired the erection of this building. Let us go back over the years to the beginning of the nineteenth century and glean from the yellow pages of time, the origin and history of the Theresa Presbyterian Church.

Previous to the year of 1819 the territory now occupied by the corporation of the Village of Theresa was practically an unbroken forest. Red men encamped in numbers along the shores of Indian River and here, [to] this country of Indians, wild hearts, privation and hardship came a little band of worshippers who planted the corner stone of this society.

The first family to settle here was that of Anson Cheeseman in 1819. A little later in the same year came James Shurtleff, who, as has been told previously, settled on the land and built thereon the stone house which is now known as the Tilley farm, and who afterward became a leading member of this church.

Sylvester Bodman came in 1820 and Nathan M. Flower in 1822; Abraham Morrow, Dr(?) John D. Davison (?) and Anson Ramney (?) about the same time and subsequently all became active members of this church organization.

Two or three years elapsed and then on the 8th day of May 1825 Abraham and Lucinda Morrow, Sylvester and Relief Bodman, Nathan and Mary Flower, Abner and Elizabeth Cheeseman, Mary Walton, Rhoda Eggleston and Hannah Rogers; eleven in all and all save two bearing letters from other Presbyterian churches, saw the fitness of organizing themselves into a society and which was consumated on that day at the home of Abraham Morrow, the Rev. Wm. B. Stowe of the Presbytery of Watertown acting as moderator. James Shurtleff and wife did not join the church until 1832, seven years after its organization.

On the date of the organization, Abraham Morrow and Sylvester Bodman were elected and ordained as Elders and Deacons, both holding office until death. The next date recorded was June 28th, 1829 when Talman (?) Evans and wife were received; the next date is Dec. 15th, 1831, after which the records appear with greater frequency. It may be presumed (assumed?) that with so small a membership and no regular house of worship that (?) there was little occasion for frequent meetings of the Session, therefore the records were so infrequent that some interesting events have passed almost into mere tradition.

A body corporate was formed on Dec. 22nd, 1835 and among the first of the ministers to be mentioned is the name of Roswell Pettibone beginning Dec. 5th, 1831. He was located at Evans Mills and served that church and this; probably as stated supply. His last recorded appearance was on June 13th, 1839. He remained to see the new "Union" Church erected and dedicated. Thirty-three persons were added to the membership during his seven years of service. He was a warm personal friend of Nathan M. Flower and of great influence here. He was described by those who knew him as an uncompromising and fearless abolitionist.

The Union Church mentioned above was built jointly by the Presbyterians and Methodists in 1838 and was known as such until 1849 when the Presbyterians purchased the interest of their Methodist brethren. This building was used until 1879 when it was replaced by the present brick structure.

Rev. S. M. Shepard was elected pastor June 13th, 1839 and served as such until June 30th, 1842. During his pastorate, 38 were added to the membership. His successor was Rev. W. Crittenden in 1843, his service ending in 1849. During his pastorate 18 members were added, 16 of whom were on confession of their faith.

Rev. Chas. W. Treadwell began as stated supply on Aug. 30th, 1851 and continued in that relation until May 30th, 1863, constituting the longest period of ministerial service up to that date in this church. During this period, 100 names were added, 69 on confession of faith and 31 by letter. People who knew Rev. Treadwell spoke well of his ministry. However, like Mr. Pettibone, he was an extremist, but of directly opposite sentiments, being in sympathy with the rebellion so that it became expedient for him to discontinue his labors here as the people of this community in 1861 did not consider sympathy with human slavery consistent with the salvation of human souls.

Rev. S. L. Merrill was stated supply from Dec. 12th, 1863 to Aug. 18th, 1867. Rev. J. R. Keiser came May 3rd, 1868 and delcared the pulpit vacant Nov. 7th, 1869.

The next record is of Jan. 12th, 1871 when Alexander Smith became pastor and remained until some time in 1873 leaving very incomplete records of this alliance. Mr. Smith was a scholarly and profound preacher, and it was during his pastorate that the parsonage was built.

Then, on May 17th, 1874 came Rev. B. Alexander Williamson who remained until Aug. 6th, 1876, most of the time as pastor and resulting in 21 additions to membership.

The records are then closed until April 23rd, 1877 on which date the man who was destined to be a powerful influence in this church and community came to the church, namely Rev. Joseph A.(?) Canfield, who remained for seven years. All classes (?) came to love and honor him for the spiritual blessings, sunshine and good cheer which inspires _______(?) _________(?). During his pastorate our present building was erected.

At this particular time before the new building was erected the church was in desperate straights financially, with a dilapidated church and a mortgaged parsonage. It was agreed to open a subscription book as a remedy for these ills. The ladies organized for the work and began holding dime receptions in a small grove. At the second reception, as the tables were about set, a gentleman and lady entered the grove and took seats. A five dollar bill was handed to the lady treasurer, and the proffered change was refused. The pastor, upon coming up, was introduced to Mr. John Flower who inquired for what object the ladies were holding the pleasant treat (?). He then asked for the subscription book and put(?) down $100 in the name of the Flower family saying, "I will see that this is paid." A few days later a letter came from Anson(?) R. Flower requesting them to cross off the Flower family subscription and substitute the enclosed $250 check. The people were inspired with new courage and soon the debt was cancelled and the church refurnished.

The following spring, at a gathering of the Flower family in the home of a sister(?), it was said, "We have been contemplating for some time the building of a monument to the memory of our parents in the Theresa Cemetery. Why not do it at once?" All but John favored the proposition. Upon being asked why he was silent, he replied, "Since you have asked me, I will tell you what has been running through my mind ever since last fall when I visited the old church in Theresa where our parents worshipped and where we were brought up. It is this; what better memorial can we build to our revered parents than a church?" There was unanimous consent all around. Soon after this a letter came from Roswell P. Flower of New York asking if the Flower family might build a church as a memorial to their parents who were charter members of the church. After some correspondence, the result was a neat and elegant house of worship built under the able direction of the late Geo. Yost who made most of the plans (?) and detailed specifications, the final cost being about $16,000 (?). This building was dedicated to God on April 20th, 1880, a day long to be remembered by all who attended. (Miss Kate Moak (?) was organist at this dedication, mother of Jessie Stratton).

In 1885 came the Rev. G. W.(?) Winnick (?) as pastor for six years during which time the church prospered.

During the summer and autumn of 1892(?) Mr. Alexander Waters, a theological student, preached here to large congregations and during his stay the Christian(?) Endeavor(?) Society was organized.

In the fall of the same year, Mr. Thomas Miller (?) preached here.

In May (?), 1893, Mr. Chas.(?) G. Cady, dean(?) of the Y.M.C.A. of Watertown, commenced regular services as stated(?) supply(?) and on Aug. 15th, 1893 was ordained and installed pastor, serving as such until Dec. 31st, 1905, during which time 137 were added to the membership. Under his leadership, the Men's Turkey Supper was organized in 1902 (?) and this has become an annual event, being now in its 38th year.

It was during Rev. Cady's pastorate that, on May 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1900, the 75th anniversary of the Theresa Presbyterian Church was observed -- another period (?) long (?) remembered. May it here be said that under his musical leadership and with Mrs. Cady at the organ, the talent they(?) cultivated has(?) followed down(?) through the years. When the time came for Rev. and Mrs. Cady to retire from their active duties, their thoughts came back again to Theresa and to old and lasting friendships and they returned to spend their golden years where many happy years had been spent at the beginning of their career(?). We are indeed proud that this is so and wish them many years more(?) in our midst.

The next record of ministerial supply was on Sept. 20th, 1906 when the Rev. Hugh Craig was present as moderator and up to Sept. 26th, 1909 did good and faithful service as stated supply during which period 17 were added to the membership. Mr.(Rev?) Craig was an able preacher and made many warm(?) friends.

On March 13th, 1910 the Rev. W. H. Brenan(?) of M____(?). N.Y. preached here and on March 31st was elected pastor and served with much ability for 8 years ending his service here Mar. 31st, 1918. During his pastorate 48 were received into membership.

On July 14th, 1918 the Rev. Chas. A. Riley began service as stated supply, was soon installed and served this church for seven years during which time 13 were added by letter and 24 on profession of faith. His duties ended in the spring of 1925.

On October 18th, 1925 the Rev. E.A. MacFarland working under the organization of National Missions began his labors here and at once attracted the interest and cooperation of this church. Twenty-five were added to membership, many needed repairs were made both at the manse and church, this being stimulated by his keen interest and inspiration. Another splendid achievement(?) at Theresa, if carried out, which Rev. MacFarland sponsored was the plan of a park for the village and the procuring(?) of the consent of Wm.(?) __(?) L. Santway to make the gift(?). He also made a Union of the Oxbow Presbyterian churches(?) serving both each Sunday besides teaching his large Bible class of men, one of the largest ever organized up to that time.

During his ministerial service, on June 27th, 1926 the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Theresa Presbyterian Church was observed. Among the high lights of the day was the service in the morning and again in the evening. The luncheon served at 12:30 in the town hall was of particular note in that 300 people sat down to eat; the largest gathering to be served at one time known in Theresa, and very ably and quickly handled by the young women of the church. The Misses Helen and ______(?) Bearup were in charge of the table decorations and the result showed the touch of the artist's hand. The speakers and church officials were seated at tables on the stage. On the program appears such names as Mrs. A.A. Stratton and Geo. D.(?) Waldradt as soloists; Mr. Frederick S. Flower (?), Mr. __(?) D. Morrison(?), Dr. J.R. Sturtevant and many others as speakers. Another period long to be remembered in this church history.

Rev. E.A. MacFarland served until the spring of 1928 at which time the Rev. J.C. Stoddard came to the church serving as minister until June, 1934. From that date up to the present time, the Rev. T.R. Elman and our present Rev. W.S. Bishop have served faithfully and well.

So end (s?) my story of the past; of the church at the top of Main St., and no doubt there are many here who could have added much to my feeble efforts. But, I, too, will say, as did the late Dr. J.R. Sturtevant, "If the next historian can glean some little assistance from this humble effort, Well and Good," and if the record of individual lives has been an inspiration to better living, the existence of the Flower Memorial Church will not have been in vain.

(?) -- indicates words which were illegible in the copy of the original transcript. In some cases, I have given my "best guess", in others, I've left the blank. (DWS 6/3/99)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

BRIEF HISTORY
of the
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF THERESA, NEW YORK

[prepared by Aziel LaFave for the 150th Anniversary in 1975]

The Presbyterian Church of Theresa, New York was organized on May 8, 1825, with nine charter members.

Private homes were the first places of worship. Later, services were held in the first school-house in Theresa, now a barn on the former George Yost residence. Services of all denominations were also held in the Old Brick Tavern, so called.

The Methodist congregation was also active and they too needed a church building, so in 1838, the Presbyterian and Methodist congregations combined efforts and built a church that was used jointly until 1849. At that time, the Methodists built a church of their own where the "Dresser Block" or V.F.W. building now stands. The Presbyterians then bought full interest in the first church building and used it until the present building was constructed and ready for use.

The construction of the building was made possible by funds contributed by children of one of the charter members, Nathan M. Flower.

Persons responsible for the construction were:

Architect -- John Hose of Watertown

Superintendent of Construction -- George E. Yost of Theresa

Frescoe Painting -- Marsh and Shaffort of Watertown

Joiner Work -- E.D. Sheley of Theresa

Painting -- Huntington Brothers of Theresa

Organ -- Albaught and Kemp (address unknown)

(organ pipes imported from Italy)

Marble Tablets -- Watertown Marble Works (George VanVleck)

Windows -- While the writer finds little in the records concerning the windows, the facts have been passed along by Rev. Chas. G. Cady and others that they were made by Tiffany's of New York City. It is further alleged that our most valuable window is the one at the right of the entrance which is dedicated to Silas and Caroline George. The window depicting, "The Good Samaritan" was installed seventy-five years ago this past May 5th.

The building was dedicated April 20, 1880 and the total cost of construction was fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00).

In the late 1940's, the organ was rebuilt by the Estey Organ Company of Burlington, Vermont. This included a new console.

In the early 1950's a need was felt for classroom space and other facilities. The Bishop Class, a women's group, started "Building Fund", which slowly grew as the women raised money in many ways for about two years before it became a church-wide project. Generous donations, including that of Mrs. May Vock who early in the project provided an amount to be matched by the Bishop Class in one year and who later made other donations for furnishings, made it possible for the construction of the Annex by Gerald and Glenn Timmerman in 1957-58. Throughout the building are small placques, memorials to past members, which were contributed during this time. The building cost about thirty-five thousand dollars, more than twice the cost of the church building. Due to the drop in purchasing power over the years, the congregation felt that it received an excellent building for the amount of money invested.

On May 11, 1958, the Annex was dedicated during the morning worship service, conducted by the Rev. W. Halbert Campbell, DD, the minister of our church at that time.

It is interesting to see the influence of the church on its congregation over the years. It once seemed to be one of the important centers of social activity, being not only one's church, but one's service club as well. The Session of the Church seemed to exercise some control over the moral conduct of the congregation. One couple who was found to be quarrelsome was brought before the church body and reprimanded. People who showed interest in the Mormon faith, which was active for a time here, were dismissed from the congregation. At the time of the War Between the States, a minister was dismissed who seemed to be in sympathy with the Confederate cause.

After World War II, the church began to play a less important, different role in the lives of some people. This followed the national trend of the time, as church attendance declined and people became more involved in other social, civic and benevolent activities. The other Protestant Churches were undergoing similar changes. Joint meetings were held, various plans studied and in 1970 the congregations of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Churches voted to join a United Ministry. This became a reality in November, 1970, when the Reverend DeWitt H. Loomis, an Episcopal priest, became the first minister to serve the United Ministry of Theresa. Under this, the present arrangement, the congregations worship together, rotating the services among the three churches. All expenses of joint worship and ministry are shared. Each congregation maintains its ties and responsibilities to its denominational groups -- Diocese, Presbytery, Conference, etc.

Perhaps there is no better way to close this brief history than to quote the last paragraph of the story of our church written for our One Hundredth Anniversary, by Dr. J.R. Sturtevant.

"God hasten the time when, in this enlightened age, three small protestant

churches in this or any other small community shall combine their forces in

one strong organization, entertaining the same faith and creed, relying upon

the same and only God, rely upon the blessed Saviour, march on in solid

phalanx in the great war for righteousness. In the meantime, awaiting that

glorious day, we will continue the same harmonious relations now existing."

This history was compiled by Aziel LaFave. [Theresa, New York, 1975]

HISTORY OF THE THERESA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

From the "Brief History of the Presbyterian Church of Theresa, New York

Compiled by Aziel LaFave

Adapted by Diana Schnettler, May 18, 1999

During the settlement of the area which is now known as Theresa, congregations of all denominations met in private homes, the schoolhouse or even the Old Brick Tavern to worship. On May 8, 1825, area Presbyterians met and decided to establish a Presbyterian church.

Those present at this meeting, the founders of our church, were Abraham Morrow, Sylvester Bodman, Abner Cheeseman, Nathan Flower, Elizabeth Cheeseman, Lucinda Morrow, Mary Walton, Mary Ann Flower, Relief Bodman, Hannah Rogers, Rhoda Eggleston and the Reverend William B. Stowe, moderator of the meeting.

In 1839 the Presbyterian and Methodist congregations built a church which they used jointly until 1849 when the Methodists built a church of their own. The Presbyterians bought full interest in the original church which eventually was razed in 1878 to make room for a new one, built at a cost of $15,000 by the children of the Flower family.

The new church was dedicated to the service of God and the memory of Nathan M. and Mary Ann Flower on April 20, 1880. It still serves today.

The church is constructed of Syracuse, Watertown and Theresa brick, Governeur marble and Potsdam sandstone. The roof and spire are covered with slate and iron. Featured in its interior are a LaBagh and Kemp organ and two marble tablets mounted on either side of the chancel.

In the early 1950s, it became apparent that more room was needed to accommodate the needs of the congregation and community. The women's group, known as the Bishop's class, started a building fund for an addition to the church. Eventually, through dedicated work, generous donations, and matching a large donation from Mrs. May Vock, the $35,000 necessary to build the addition was raised.

Officially named the Vock Auditorium, the addition familiarly known as the Annex, was dedicated on May 11, 1958.

After World War II in Theresa and in the nation, church attendance declined as people became involved in other social and civic activities affecting not only the Theresa Presbyterian Church, but the Methodist and Episcopal congregations in Theresa as well. In 1970, these three congregations voted to merge into a United Ministry.

In the years since then, denominational lines have blended. The combined congregations grew and flourished until, in 1992, another addition was built adjoining the annex. This new addition provides office space for the pastor, a copy room and a large meeting room for Sunday School classes, Session and many other committee meetings.

BRIEF HISTORY
Of the
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF THERESA, NEW YORK

Compiled by Aziel LaFave, Donald Wilcox, Gerald Desormeau, Douglas Gleason and Diana Schnettler

The Presbyterian Church of Theresa, New York was organized on May 8, 1825, with nine charter members.

Private homes were the first places of worship. Later, services were held in the first school-house in Theresa, now a barn on the former George Yost residence. Services of all denominations were also held in the Old Brick Tavern, so called.

The Methodist congregation was also active and they too needed a church building, so in 1838, the Presbyterian and Methodist congregations combined efforts and built a church that was used jointly until 1849. At that time, the Methodists built a church of their own where the "Dresser Block" or V.F.W. building now stands. The Presbyterians then bought full interest in the first church building and used it until the present building was constructed and ready for use.

The construction of the building was made possible by funds contributed by children of one of the charter members, Nathan M. Flower.

Persons responsible for the construction were:

Architect -- John Hose of Watertown

Superintendent of Construction -- George E. Yost of Theresa

Frescoe Painting -- Marsh and Shaffort of Watertown

Joiner Work -- E.D. Sheley of Theresa

Painting -- Huntington Brothers of Theresa

Organ -- LaBaugh and Kemp (address unknown)

(organ pipes imported from Italy)

Marble Tablets -- Watertown Marble Works (George VanVleck)

Windows -- While the writer finds little in the records concerning the windows, the facts have been passed along by Rev. Chas. G. Cady and others that they were made by Tiffany's of New York City. It is further alleged that our most valuable window is the one at the right of the entrance which is dedicated to Silas and Caroline George.

The building was dedicated April 20, 1880 and the total cost of construction was fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00).

In the late 1940's, the organ was rebuilt by the Estey Organ Company of Burlington, Vermont. This included a new console.

In the early 1950's a need was felt for classroom space and other facilities. The Bishop Class, a women's group, started a "Building Fund", which slowly grew as the women raised money in many ways for about two years before it became a church-wide project. Generous donations, including that of Mrs. May Vock who early in the project provided an amount to be matched by the Bishop Class in one year and who later made other donations for furnishings, made it possible for the construction of the Annex by Gerald and Glenn Timmerman in 1957-58. Throughout the building are small plaques, memorials to past members, which were contributed during this time. The building cost about thirty-five thousand dollars, more than twice the cost of the church building. Due to the drop in purchasing power over the years, the congregation felt that it received an excellent building for the amount of money invested.

On May 11, 1958, the Annex was dedicated during the morning worship service, conducted by the Rev. W. Halbert Campbell, DD, the minister of our church at that time.

It is interesting to see the influence of the church on its congregation over the years. It once seemed to be one of the important centers of social activity, being not only one's church, but one's service club as well. The Session of the Church seemed to exercise some control over the moral conduct of the congregation. One couple who was found to be quarrelsome was brought before the church body and reprimanded. People who showed interest in the Mormon faith, which was active for a time here, were dismissed from the congregation. At the time of the War Between the States, a minister was dismissed who seemed to be in sympathy with the Confederate cause.

After World War II, the church began to play a less important, different role in the lives of some people. This followed the national trend of the time, as church attendance declined and people became more involved in other social, civic and benevolent activities. The other Protestant Churches were undergoing similar changes. Joint meetings were held, various plans studied and in 1970 the congregations of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Churches voted to join a United Ministry. This became a reality in November, 1970, when the Reverend DeWitt H. Loomis, an Episcopal priest, became the first minister to serve the United Ministry of Theresa. Under this arrangement, the congregations worshipped together, rotating the services among the three churches. All expenses of joint worship and ministry were shared. Each congregation maintained its ties and responsibilities to its denominational groups -- Diocese, Presbytery, Conference, etc.

This period of shared ministry ended in June, 1981 when it was decided that all persons desiring to become members of one church would join the Presbyterian congregation. This ended the Episcopal and Methodist churches in Theresa. The Episcopal Church was eventually sold. The Methodist church and parsonage became the property of our church.

The merger occurred during the pastorate of the Rev. Randall Gill who served as our minister from 1979 to 1984. Rev. Gill was succeeded by the Rev. Steven Becker who served from 1984 to 1996. Our present pastor, the Rev. Robert Vrooman, was installed as designated pastor in 1998.

Music has always played a large part in our church life. Following in the tradition of Squire Haskin, Jessie Stratton and others, our services have been brightened by: Jan Freeborn, William Breitenbuecher; Beth Johnson, who also served a Governeur church, and James Corriveau, our regular organist from 1976 to 1996. (Mr. Corriveau also provided vital consulting services to us in connection with organ rebuilding and building expansion projects.) Presently Chris Hyde-Hall and Helen Timerman, both of whom are school music teachers, share the position of organist.

In order to maintain the quality of our organ a major rebuilding project was undertaken in 1985, costing some $23,000. The work was performed by the firm of Frederick Wm. Knapton & Sons, Glenburnie, Ontario, Canada, and included input from our former organist, Squire Haskin, as well as our organist at the time, James Corriveau. Mr. Corriveau's recommendation at the time of project consideration: "The work items proposed will both correct the existing deficiencies and enhance the instrument ... and provide a reliable, more enjoyable instrument for another 40 years." Of interest, David Raville, who performed much of the work, remains our maintenance contractor.

As our congregation grew, a building, renovation and expansion project was undertaken in 1990. Plans were developed for improvements to the Community Outreach Center (former Methodist Church); the pastor's residence; and an addition to the Vock Auditorium. Subsequent to the start of planning major structural repairs to the sanctuary roof were found necessary.

The upgrade / expansion program was a considerable financial undertaking. Roof repair alone cost $75,000. Approximately $28,000 was required for work at the pastor's residence and the Outreach Center. The annex addition, providing two offices, toilets and a meeting area, cost $70,000. The new addition was dedicated on November 8, 1992. Work on these projects was performed by Colligan Construction Co. of Watertown, local builder Wayne Fleming, and prisoners from Dry Hill Correctional Facility, Watertown. Trustees also undertook much-needed refurbishing and strengthening of the church steeple in the 1990s, work performed by Churchill and Son of Clayton.

Obviously, none of these projects could have been done without considerable financial help, much of which came from our own congregation. Additional funds were received from Watertown First Presbyterian Church, Community Action Planning Council, Northern New York Community Foundation, and the ladies of our own Nearly New Shoppe, who provided our largest single gift.

Much of the foregoing took place during the period when the Rev. Steven A. Becker was with us. He provided a level of dedication, leadership and guidance for which we remain most thankful.

We are fortunate, indeed, to have been remembered in the estates of C. Earl Young, Henry and Irene Walters and Lila Bellinger. These, added to the many other gifts and endowments over the years have placed the church in a favorable financial condition at century's end. We are also fortunate to have been the beneficiaries of the gift of the carillons by the Wilcox family.

The church continues to have an active Sunday School and Youth Groups. Each year Vacation Bible School is well attended. During the summer of 1999, dedicated volunteers created a small park behind the church overlooking the river which will provide a picnic area and places for prayer and meditation.

Although the church supports several missions such as La Casa de la Esperanza, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Heifer Project International, it maintains a steady focus on local mission as well. A local mission project of long standing is the Spirit of Christmas Project which provides toys, clothing and food to needy families in the area at Christmas.

Our Nearly New Shoppe was a mission project which was run by dedicated volunteers from both our church and the community. It provided clothing and other items to people at very affordable prices. It closed its doors in January, 2000 after nearly twenty years of service due in large part to lack of business.

Theresa Presbyterian has not remained untouched by technological advances. The church bulletins and newsletters are now routinely done on computers and the pastor communicates with many church officers and members of the congregation by e-mail. The church even has its own web site on the internet. In 1998 the Trustees had all church record books transcribed into a machine-readable form. The minute and roll books of both the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations have been copied on to a single CD ROM disk, which will preserve the records for future generations to consult.

Theresa Presbyterian Church has a long and interesting history. From its quiet beginning to its emergence as a memorial to Nathan and Mary Anne Flower donated by their loving children, it has continued to grow, to struggle, and to prosper throughout its 175 years of existence. One of the many things that characterizes the church is the feeling of continuity of faith and purpose one experiences within its walls and among the people of its congregation.

"Everything shall live whither soever the river comethand everything on its banks shall be healed." Ezekial 47:9

In the early 1920s a supply minister was needed because the installed minister had resigned. The supply minister whom Presbytery sent was a man of Scotch ancestry by the name of E. O. McFarland.

When Rev. McFarland came to Theresa, he thought that the village with its beautiful river and well-kept houses was a lovely community. With that in mind, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the church, he chose as the text of his sermon Ezekial 47:9.

On the 150th Anniversary, the Rev. DeWitt Loomis used that same text. In keeping with tradition, Rev. Robert Vrooman will also refer to the above text on the occasion of the 175th anniversary.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Theresa Presbyterian Church
History and Tour of its Stained Glass Windows

told to Diana Schnettler by Aziel LaFave August 28, 1999

1. The "George" Window

The window is dedicated to Caroline Flower George, eldest child of Nathan Flower, Sr. and wife of Silas L. George of Watertown, NY whose descendants still operate the S.L. George jewelry store on Public Square in Watertown. This window is the only one whose design is markedly different from the others in the sanctuary. It does not depict a Biblical figure or story, but is more symbolic, using lilies and other Christian motifs in its design. It was crafted by Tiffany in New York City. In the 1920s, then later in his retirement, we had a minister by the name of Rev. Chas. G. Cady. [He] told us that this was the most expensive window that we had in the church, and probably the most valuable of the eight. Gold was used in the process to obtain the red hue in the window.

(Caroline's second husband was Dr. Derby of Antwerp).

2. The David Window

This window was placed in memory of John Davidson Flower, son of Nathan Flower, Sr., and John's wife, the former Abigail Catherine Bullard of Theresa. [It was] John [who] suggested that they build this church in memory of their father and mother. John travelled around the country to check on projects that the Flower money was invested in. He was an active member of the firm. John lived mostly in New York City. According to Emma Flower Taylor [his niece], he said to Abigail, when life became hectic, "Abbie, pack up. You and I and the kids can go back to Theresa, get board and rooms at the Getman House for $4.00 per week." They never did it.

3. The Ruth Window

Dedicated to the memory of John S. George about whom not much is known. He may have been a son of Silas. Margaret's maiden name is also unknown.

4. The Moses Window

Dedicated to the memory of Roswell P. Flower, another of Nathan Sr.'s sons, who was named for the first minister of the Presbyterian Church in Theresa, Rev. Roswell Pettibone. Roswell Flower went to Watertown and worked for Henry Keep who was eventually to become his brother-in-law by virtue of the fact that they married the Woodruff sisters of Watertown, daughters of the owner of the Woodruff Hotel. Woodruff also owned property in the towns of Alexandria, Orleans and Theresa. Roswell was a manager for Henry Keep and showed a marked talent for investing and making money for his employer, a talent he was to use to form an successful investment firm with his brothers in New York City. He later became a congressman and was consulted by the President on financial matters. After that, he became Governor of New York State. The Adirondack Park was formed during his tenure.

5. The "Lamb of God" Window

Dedicated to the memory of Roxeline Celia [Flower] Carpenter, daughter of Nathan Flower, Sr., this window was also crafted by Tiffany of New York City. It portrays a beautiful young woman with a lamb at her feet. Once source believed that the woman is St. Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. Roxeline is the great-great grandmother of author John Irving.

(Roxeline's husband was Dr. James B. Carpenter of Governeur.)

6. The St. Paul Window

Dedicated to the memory of Anson Ranney Flower, son of Nathan, Sr., who clerked in a store in Theresa and married a Ms. Babcock, daughter of the owner of Babcock Carriage Company in Watertown. He eventually amassed a fortune, and helped finance the building of this church along with his brothers.

(Some years after Anson's first wife died, he married her sister).

7. The Good Samaritan Window

Dedicated to the memory of Colonel George E. Flower, son of Nathan Sr., who was known as Colonel, but had only attained the rank of captain during his service in the Civil War serving in the 35th N.Y. Volunteers. He was wounded in Antietam. His homestead is located at 228 Main Street in Theresa. He was the first mayor of Watertown, and was also a member of the Flower Banking House. He helped build the Watertown Sackets Railroad and the Armory.

(George married Elizabeth Putnam).

8. The Jesus Window

Dedicated to the memory of Nathan Monroe Flower, Jr. who was the eldest son of the Flower children. He went west in the Gold Rush to prospect for gold, but while he wasn't terribly successful in that quest, he did become a successful rancher. Frederick Stanton Flower worked in banking houses, and was the son of Nathan's brother, George Flower.

It is believed that the memorial windows on the right side of the church as one faces the altar were installed in the fall of 1926 or the spring of 1927. Emma Flower Taylor made a point of attending services in Theresa Presbyterian once or twice a year during her lifetime (1870-1934). Not only did she make generous financial donations, but when she attended the 100th Anniversary Celebration in 1926, she pledged to finance the redecoration of the interior of the church and furnish memorial windows. Interior decorators were hired, and, following the completion of the redecorating, Marie Jones Bauter, cousin of Aziel LaFave's father, was asked to describe the sanctuary and its color scheme so that the stained glass windows would match it.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

History of the Flower Family

Speech researched, compiled and delivered by Aziel LaFave

Date unknown

For many years we have seen the [somewhat meaningless] names of Flower on our [stained glass] windows. These people struggled to establish this community and this church, just as we are in a struggle for the next three years to repair the building which they left in our care.

Mr. Burns, the director of the very successful filming of the story of the Civil War [an acclaimed PBS documentary], spoke recently at the National Press Club. He told how history has been told and how it should be told. It used to be "filtered down." It should filter up. In this way stories of very unusual families become noticed -- Flower, an example.

We will speak tonight about two branches of the Flower family -- the one that settled in what is now Illinois and another branch that settled in Theresa. We will first talk of the Illinois branch.

The head of this branch was Richard Flower, born in Hertferdshire, England, a few miles southwest of London. He married an Elizabeth Farnham, a brewer's daughter. This fact later becomes significant.

His oldest son, George, decided to come to America. He ended up in the southeast portion of what is now Illinois. There he founded the settlement of Albion. Albion is the Celtic name for England, so he brought a little of England with him.

Even at the turn of the century, that is, in the early 1800's, slavery was becoming controversial. George's oldest son, Edward, (oldest of 13) was outspoken against slavery and went back to England in 1824 at the age of 19. Because of his being so outspoken, his father might as well have left him with his grandparents upon arrival.

He wandered around England for a time then finally settled in a little community called Stratford on Avon Creek.

We'll leave Edward for now and go back to his grandfather, Richard.

Richard was becoming alarmed over the success of Napoleon at that time. He thought that Napoleon, by his military successes, would disrupt the economy of England. He also heard great stories [in the late 1700's] about our Midwest from Son George. He arrived (we don't know how) on the south shore of Lake Michigan where he was offered some swampy land for 25 cents per acre. He declined to buy it, but moved farther south to buy some better farm land. I don't believe that he moved south quite as far as his son's place in Albion.

Now we will leave Richard and go back to son, Edward whom we left at Stratford on Avon.

He, too, continued in the brewery business, quite successfully, and also became the mayor of Stratford.

During his term as mayor, it just so happened that there was the 300th anniversary of the birth of Wm. Shakespeare. He felt that the town should celebrate in some way. He got the idea of building a memorial theatre. His father (according to some) donated the land next to the Avon Creek (called river later). Edward built the theatre with mostly brewery profits.

The theatre opened in 1879. Edward had one or two Shakespeare companies at Stratford and another playing quite regularly at Old Bailey in London.

The first theatre burned in 1926. Now another generation has entered the picture, Archibald Flower. In recognition of his work in promoting Shakespeare plays, he was knighted by King George V. Now we have Sir Archibald Flower.

After World War II it was taken over by the next generation, Farnham Flower. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1956. Now we have Sir Farnham.

His brewery grew to a $150,000 ale combine, one of the world's largest at that time.

Footnote: Flower's ale can be purchased at the Pilot House pub in Kingston. I was told that it is of excellent quality.

One thing more on this part of the story. What would you guess that they used the swamp for on Lake Michigan that was 25 cents per acre?

Now for the Theresa branch of the Flowers.

This church congregation was established by Nathan Flower and others whose names are on the plaque at the front of the church. At the end of [Nathan and wife Mary Anne's] long journey to the North Country, they arrived after dark. Nathan and Mary Anne Flower were taken in for the first night by the Shurtleffs (Ruberta's ancestors) who had already arrived and built a log cabin. The evening was spent in prayer and reading of the Bible. When the Flowers related this in a letter to the family back home, they thought that they were in good company.

Nathan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, his father having settled there from England, the 7th son of George Flower. When he settled in Theresa, he built a fulling and carding mill on the north side of the river at the lower bridge across from [what is now] Tanners house [110 Bridge St]. He and his wife and nine children lived in this house.

Nathan became an active citizen, a justice of peace, on the Session of this church and, I believe, clerk at one time. He died at the age of 47. His granddaughter, Emma Flower Taylor, had this to say: "Four days before he died, he addressed the congregation 'with such grace and emotion as to bring tears to all eyes.' His last appeal to the congregation was that he asked for their prayers and commended his dear wife and children to their care and protection [saying] 'Teach them as I have taught your children -- to love the Lord.'" According to his granddaughter, Mrs. Taylor, he started the Sunday School.

What is remarkable about Nathan's family is what outstanding citizens they became. From humble beginnings they became famous in business and government.

The nine children were Caroline, Roxeline, Nathan, Jr., George W., Orville P., Roswell P., Marcus A., John D., and Anson R. They lived in the house where Tim and Sue Tanner now live [110 Bridge St.] -- a rather crowded house[hold]. They were very, very poor.

Upon the suggestion of John, it was decided to build this new church building as a memorial to their father and mother. It was financed mostly by John, George and Roswell, and, later, Anson.

Time doesn't permit telling about all their children, but I do want to say something about the four men that I mentioned. All four had a very successful finance house in New York City which made lots of money -- the Merrill Lynch of that time.

John did some contracting and construction and [was] a partner in Flower Brothers. He married Abigail Bullard, a relative a few generations back of Lila Bellinger.

George built and/or financed railroads in the U.S. and Canada but was also a partner in the Flower Brothers. When in Theresa, he lived where Judy Decker now lives [228 Main St.]

His niece, Emma Flower Taylor, tells the story about John living in N.Y.[C.] after a hard day on Wall Street. He came home and told his wife, "Abbie, pack up. You, I and the kids can go back to Theresa, stay in the Getman House and get board and room for $4.00 a week each, bu they didn't do it.

George was mayor of Watertown and a Colonel in the Civil War and taught school for 20 years.

Roswell P., named after our church's first minister, Roswell Pettibone, became a powerful financial figure on Wall Street, a Senator in Congress and Governor of N. Y. State. I'll try to tell you a few interesting things about him without repeating what I told you the night that I talked about the windows.

Roswell worked in the brick yard on Red Lake Road, cut wood and delivered it to people in Theresa for 25 cents per half cord. He also taught school here. When campaigning for U.S. Senator, he told in his campaign speeches that he went barefoot in summer until 15 years old -- didn't feel natural without one or two stone bruises on his feet. In morning, could warm his feet where a cow had lain all night (he worked for some farmers). On Wall Street, his comments on business could make the stocks move up and down. His death brought a day of near panic on the stock market. He was often a guest at the White House. John D. conferred with him. He was very religious as were his brothers. He always tithed. When he and his brothers built Trinity Church, he insisted that pews would be free -- no pew rentals.

Anson, the last one I'm commenting on. He started by clerking in his uncle Anson Ranney's store, was a member of Flower Brothers -- with Babcock Carriage Co.

Perhaps it's well tonight to have learned something of some of the people themselves whose names appear on our church windows.

From the Session and Trustees' records, we know that those people, together with the Shurtleffs and the Bodmans for at least two generations struggled hard to make this church survive -- and survive it did.

THERESA PRESBYTERIAN'S PASTORS

1831-1839 Rev. Roswell Pettibone

1839-1842 Rev. S. M. Shepard

1843-1849 Rev. W. Crittenden

1851-1863 Rev. Charles W. Treadwell

1863-1867 Rev. Samuel L. Merrill

1868-1869 Rev. James R. Keiser

1869-1871 Pulpit vacant

1871-1873 Rev. Alexander Smith

1874-1876 Rev. B. Alexander Williamson

1877-1885 Rev. Joseph A. Canfield

1885-1891 Rev. G. Winnick

1892 (summer) Alexander Waters

1892 (fall) Thomas Miller

1893-1905 Rev. Charles G. Cady

1906-1909 Rev. Hugh Craig

1910-1918 Rev. W.H. Brenan

1918-1925 Rev. Chas. A. Riley

1925-1928 Rev. E.O. MacFarland

1928-1934 Rev. J. C. Stoddard

1934-1942 Rev. T.R. Eeman / Rev. W.S. Bishop

1942-1944 Rev. Marcy Punnett

1944-1951 Rev. John DeB. Flikkema

1951-1954 Rev. Albert.T. Stoddard

1955-1962 Rev. W. Halbert Campbell

1964-1971 Rev. Adele B. Spencer

1970-1975 Rev. DeWitt H. Loomis

1976-1978 Rev. Henry O. Meyerdierks

1979-1984 Rev. M. Randall Gill

1984-1996 Rev. Steven A. Becker

1998- Rev. Robert G. Vrooman

Please note that the spelling of the names, especially of some of the earlier ministers, may not be accurate. They were taken from handwritten sources which were not entirely legible.



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