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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    First program meeting of the Upper New York United Methodist Historical Society

    July 12, 2017 / By UNY Communications / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    The purpose of the Upper New York United Methodist Historical Society is to work with UNYCAH in preserving Methodist materials related to the Upper New York conference and antecedents and to promote knowledge of Methodist history and skills for preserving and disseminating it. 

    The Society and guests met in its first program meeting June 17, 2017 in the community building of Esperance-Sloansville United Methodist Church. Tables full of resources on Schoharie County Methodism were available for browsing prior to the meeting.  

    It was endorsed in the meeting that the Society wants to encourage and help local church historians and that the Society seeks to meet twice a year, sometimes combined with another group or event.  The next Society meeting is planned to be joint with the Saturday, September 30, 2017 meeting of the Upper New York Commission on Archives and History at the conference archives at 7481 Henry Clay Boulevard in Liverpool, New York.  Details will come out later.

    It was also noted that historical research requests are currently on hold until the combining conference archives are placed and sorted.  There are about 260 boxes from the North Central Conference archives which need to be moved from storage into the conference archives space.  Members of the UNYCAH team planned to start this at a July 8 UNYCAH work day at the archives.  Western New York Conference archives still need to be moved to Liverpool.     

    The business meeting was followed by a slide program on Schoharie County Methodist Churches (including some early Methodist figures such as James Dempster, and both German and New England settlers), a spaghetti lunch, and a tour to some local historic churches in Duanesburg and Quaker Street and optional stops in Esperance.

    This is one slide from the presentation on Methodism in Schoharie County by Ken Jones. The churches in the county are split between two conferences, Upper New York Conference and New York Conference.  The first Methodists came to the Schoharie area in the late 1700's and the first Methodist societies were established around that time. The slide show started with some historic Methodist figures.

    The tour started at the original 1793 Christ Church (Episcopal) near Duanesburg. Duanesburg was founded by James Duane in 1765.  The church has three New York State historical markers in front by the highway.

    Christ Church was erected by Judge James Duane, first mayor on New York City when it was the Capitol of the United States. In this church the pulpit with lectern below was central (not the altar) and there was a box for the Duane family in the front left facing the pulpit.  Several prominent early Americans are buried under the floor of Christ Church including James Duane (who died 1797 before his house in Duanesburg was finished) and William North, Duane's son-in-law and aide to General Steuben in 1779.

    "Devil Repellant" horseshoes in the left back of the Episcopal sanctuary - The smaller card notes that Saint Dunstan 909 - 988 was the Archbishop of Canterbury and relates a story how Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the Devil’s foot when he was asked to re-shoe the Devil’s horse. This caused the Devil great pain and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe was over the door. This is claimed as the origin of the lucky horseshoe (always displayed with the ends up).

    This is the 1807 Friends Meeting House (and carriage sheds) in Quaker Street. The village was home to agents on the underground railroad.  This building was erected near the site of the original log structure of preacher Ezekiel Tripp. The Society was organized about 1790.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 867 local churches and 65 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."