History

Early photograph of the Ransomville United Methodist Church.
Circ. 1905.

 

The following history of the First Methodist Church in Ransomville, New York, was written by W. E. Shaver, May 29, 1905.

“During the spring and summer of the year 1904, I had several conferences with Dr. S. A. Morse, the presiding Elder of the district as to the feeling of the people (in) the vicinity of Ransomville toward Methodism.  In looking around, it was found that there were several who were members of this denomination, but had no place to attend services.  Presiding Elder Morse was on the grounds several times during the fall and on Sunday, October 2, 1904 held the first Methodist Episcopal service in the Wesleyan Methodist Church at 2:30 p.m.  At the close of the service, all who were interested were invited to stay and consider the advisability of starting a Methodist Episcopal Society in Ransomville.  An expression was taken in favor of doing so and the conference at Niagara Falls was held a few days later.  Reverend W. E. Wells was appointed pastor in charge of Fillmore and Ransomville churches.

The first service by the pastor was held October 16, 1904 at 2:30 p.m. in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was secured until  the last Sunday of the following March at $1.50 per each Sunday service, which consisted of preaching services only.  April 1, 1905, we rented the hall of Mr. Henry Swigert for our service at $1.00 per week.

Mr. & Mrs. C. R. Clarke, Mr. & Mrs. W. E. Shaver, Mrs. Emma Gow, Mrs. Helen Fellows, Mrs. Edna Young, Miss Mary Shaw and Byron Smithson have been received into full membership by letter and John Young, Miss Helen Armstrong, Mrs. Mary Cramer and Miss Jennie Picard on probation.

On February 20, 1905 at 7:30 p.m. the members and congregation met at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and incorporated the first Methodist Episcopal Church of Ransomville, New York.  Six trustees were elected:

  • 1st year term – C. R. Clark
  • 1st year term – Alex Gow
  • 2nd year term – S. H. Morris
  • 2nd year term – W. E. Shaver
  • 3rd year term – Byron Smithson
  • 3rd year term – Miss Mary Shaw

The officers of the board were elected at follows:

  • S. H. Morris – chairman
  • W. E. Shaver -Secretary
  • B. Smithson – Treasurer

On February 22, the Board of Trustees met at the residence of W. E. shaver at 1:30 p.m. where it was moved and carried that the First Methodist Church of Ransomville, New York build a church edifice to cost about $2,000.  On February 23, 1905 the trustees purchased from Mrs. Ellen Molyneaux the site for the building, lot of 80 feet frontage, exclusive of the cemetery at a price not to exceed $750.00.  The design decided on was No. 270 in the book of church plans furnished by the board of church extension.  Building committee elected was W. T. Gentle, Chairman, Pastor W. E. Wells and the board of trustees.

The finances of the society aside from the building have practically all been provided for – for the first year work and in all lines connected with the work.  So far, we have found it to far exceed our expectations and feel that the smile of heaven has been on all we have undertaken.

“W. E. Shaver, Secretary

 

By October 19, 1905,  the amount received from all sources was $2,446.69.  Total paid for building the church, $2,188.97, leaving a balance of $257.72.

The work progressed so rapidly that it was almost completed and furnished when the church suffered a severe blow in January, 1906, with the sudden deaths of two leaders in the Society, Mr. Willis Shaver and Mr. Stephen Morris.  Mr. Shaver’s was the first funeral service held in the new church.

The Ladies Aid Society was organized on July 10, 1905 and through the following years, public suppers were held every month and every fall a fair and chicken dinner were held.

In 1914, money had been raised to pay off the mortgage and in June of 1914, the event was celebrated by burning the mortgage on a plate in front of the pulpit, a luncheon was served for members and friends attending the service and a picture was taken of the ladies who had worked so hard and faithfully for the church.

In the past, several homes had been rented for a parsonage for the pastor to live in.  Now with the church paid for, it was decided to buy or build a home.  In 1921 or 1922, the present home was purchased from Mr. Joseph Sherman for a parsonage.

About 1950, the entrance to the church was changed from the west side to the east side.  Mr. M. P. Arnold ha been chairman of the committee to renovate the basement to alleviate water coming through the floors.  (Years later, the entrance was returned to the west side of the church – where it is today.)

On October 16, 1955 the church celebrated their 50th anniversary.  The Rev. Clarence French was the minister at the time.

With the congregation growing, more room was needed for Sunday School classes for the many children then attending.  Plans were made, money pledged and in 1957, a new building was added to the rear of the church.  In 1958, the new Church School addition was consecrated.  The Reverend Howard Pasel was the Pastor at the time.

In January, 1978, the church was sided with aluminum siding and stained glass windows were covered with plexiglass.

July through September of 1979, the sanctuary was painted, carpeted and new lighting fixtures were installed.  Outside of the fellowship hall was also painted.

By the mid 1970’s, membership reached 209 and on December 16, 1979, a Re-Dedication Service was held with Reverend Vernon Bigler, District Superintendent, giving the dedication prayer.

The first children baptized in the Methodist Church were Mrs. Ruth Curtiss, Mrs. Jennie Gates, and Miss Marion Cramer.

PASTORS

W. E. Wells 1904-1908
R. M. Pierce 1908-1909
A. W. Birke 1909-1911
T. G. Pynn 1911-1912
D. H. Edwards 1912-1913
John Sagar 1913-1914
H. C. Sears 1914-1916
G. E. Manning 1916-1920
D. C. Flatt 1920-1925
C. W. Pettit 1925-1929
H. E. Crossley 1929-1931
Peter VanDuren 1931-1938
J. A. Mann 1938-1944
A. E. Lenzner 1944-1951
C. F. French 1951-1958
H. A. Pasal 1958-1961
O. T. Carroll 1961-1964
Robert H. Jones 1964-1970
Frank McLaughlin 1970-1977
Victor Smith 1977-1984
Jacob Denny 1984-2003
John W. Wetherwax 2003-2007
Leslie Drayer 2007-2010
Matthew Worley 2010-