Fredonia Baptist Church, Fredonia, NY

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Fredonia Baptist Church Archives
Fredonia, Chautauqua County, NY

(Submitted by Nathan Towne, 30 Mar 2010)

FBC photo 1910
 

The Fredonia Baptist Church, or at times called the Fredonia Baptist Society or the Baptist Society of Pomfret, was formed in 1808. Zattu Cushing was the founder, and his barn was the first meeting house. The society built a wooden structure on the present site in the early 1820s. It served until 1852 when the present brick building was erected. Today's address is 19 Church St., Fredonia, NY  14063.

The archives contain a number of record books, member lists, maps and seating diagrams, newspaper articles, and a few contributed articles. Most original records are transcribed by Marsia Painter, Maggie Ball, Susan Gullo, Lois Barris, Douglas Shepard, and Wendy Straight. Some punctuation is added to these transcriptions, and some spelling is corrected. Notes that seem to have been added at a later date in another hand are so noted. All transcript files are in portable document format (pdf) and html.

An index of names appearing in the archives is below.

The archives are maintained by the Church Archivist, Wendy Woodbury Straight. Please direct questions or comments by email to 'wendy at netsync dot net'.


Record Book A of the Fredonia Baptist Church records consists of a small (6" x 8"), cloth-bound volume of minutes of church meetings and lists of members from 1821 to 1831. During most of this period, the church was known as the First Baptist Church of Pomfret. Church Clerk Martin D. Harmon began the practice of signing each set of minutes in 1831. At the beginning of Book A are unsigned copies of what appear to be the selected, or perhaps the only surviving, minutes of church meetings from 1805 to 1820, when the church was known simply as the Baptist Church of Pomfret.

Record Book B of the Fredonia Baptist Church records is a large (10" by 15"), leather-bound volume of minutes of church meetings and lists of members from 1832 to 1841. The minutes are signed by the various church clerks of the period. During most of this era, the church is known as the First Baptist Church in Pomfret.

Record Book C (2.5 MB), which covers 1848 to 1870, is in quite a large file, but can be viewed in smaller files along with other inserted pages. Book C also contains a list of members covering 1850 to 1872.

Record Book D (1.3 MB) of the Fredonia Baptist Church records is a large (10" by 15"), leather-bound volume of minutes of church meetings and lists of members from 1870 to 1915. The minutes are signed by the various church clerks of the period. During this era, the church was known as the First Baptist Church in Pomfret. Book D also contains a list of members covering 1872 to 1915.

Two Trustees’ Record Books were found in the church archives in the early twenty-first century. These two books are records of the church as it was incorporated under a 1913 New York State law for the incorporation of religious societies. They have entries dated 1822 to 1884.

The archives contain a variety of correspondence and other loose-leaf records dating from the inception of the church to the 1890s. These records are broken up into pages covering the pre-1850 records, the 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s.

A portrait album that was given to Rev. Howard Malcolm Jones in 1868 as a farewell gift from the congregation is among the archives. It contains portraits of many members of the congregation.

The archives also contain a number of miscellaneous items:

  • Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, by Eber Pettit, original edition published in 1879 by Willard McKinstry, editor of the Fredonia Censor, the newspaper in which the sketches had first appeared. Eber Pettit and his father James Pettit were Underground Railroad conductors, and there is ample evidence that their family, their Baptist friends, and their many other close acquaintances were part of the Underground Railroad's network in western New York. The 'Sketches' has been republished by Paul Leone (Chautauqua Region Press, 1999).
  • Preface to Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, by Eber M. Pettit in The Fredonia Censor beginning 26 February 1868.
  • Eber M. Pettit, the Underground Railroad, and the Fredonia Baptist Church, by Wendy J. W. Straight (December 2009).
  • Obituary of Dr. Eber M. Pettit in The Fredonia Censor, 20 May 1885.
  • Obituary of Helen Pettit Barker, in The Fredonia Censor, 2 Jun 1880.

Index

This is an index of surnames appearing in the records marked above with a dagger (†). There are about 18,000 references in this index.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 

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