A History of St. James Episcopal Church, Cleveland, New York

Introduction

She on earth hath union with God the Three in One
And mystic sweet communion with those rest is won.

It thus seems fitting to dedicate this little history to the memory of those who have given to us, as a heritage, St. James Church. The selection of any for especial mention has been avoided, except insofar as it has been necessary to bring out those recorded facts which tell us the story of the church’s past. This purpose has been adhered to for two reasons. To single out and extol the work accomplished by those of whom we have some knowledge, would be unjust to those unknown, whose services were just as true, just as laudable, and just as helpful. In addition, we know that they all labored, not for their own honor, but for the glory of God, and could their wishes now be known, not one would desire a place of pre-eminence.

As a small boy, I considered the church building a most stately edifice with its spire seeming to almost pierce the clouds. But, today, when I return in gaze across the “tannery pond” at the delightful little structure ensconced among the trees that now almost overshadowed it, there comes to my mind the stanza of Thomas Hood:-

I remember, I remember the fir trees dark and high.
I used to think their slender tops were close against the sky.
It was a childish ignorance, but now ’tis little joy,
To know I’m farther off from heaven than when I was a boy.

But this thought is only a passing one, for when I enter the portals, I still admire the graceful proportions the churchly surroundings, the beautiful chancel windows, I feel the calmness and peace that abide within those walls. And when the service begins- the same service of prayer and praise that now for nearly fifty years has been raised before that altar- God again seems as close and real as he did so many years ago.

Therefore though the work of securing the data and arranging it has been considerable, the task has been a pleasant one. My information has been drawn chiefly from the minute book of the vestry, the history of Trinity Church, Constantia, New York, an the records of Trinity Church, Camden, New York. Many have kindly given me details,, and I feel under special obligation to the Bishop of Central New York, the Rt. Reverend Charles Tyler Olmstead, Mrs. M. Veitenheimer, of Washington, D. C., Miss Mary Beach of Cleveland New York , the Reverend George D. Ashley, of Camden, New York, and Mr. George G. Baker, of Cleveland, for many years the clerk of the vestry, without whose faithful records much of interest would have been lost.

While the following account is both imperfect and incomplete, nevertheless I trust it may be found somewhat interesting to those who know St. James Church and are desirous that its story be not wholly lost.

B. G. Foster
Washington, D.C.
Oct. 30, 1912

History of St. James Church

It would be delightful to be able to record the first public service of the Episcopal Church in Cleveland. Who composed that little band of worshippers, where and when was first heard the opening sentence, “From the rising of the Sun, even unto the going down of the same, My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure offering * * *.” Who was the leader in the initial service? Alas! those who were present have probably all passed away and have left us no record of the faint beginning of the work that was finally to result in the establishment of St. James Church.

However, it seems reasonable to conjecture that among the earlier inhabitants of Cleveland, those who were Episcopalians attended services at Trinity Church, Constantia, the pioneer in this part of the country. Clergy men from both Oswego and Camden, New York, officiated at that church, and it is not unlikely that one of these was prevailed upon to visit Cleveland. It appears from the history of Trinity Church, Constantia, that the Reverend Amos Pardie visited that parish in 1832 and that Reverend Timothy Minor came as resident missionary to Constantia in 1834, being followed by the Reverend Henry Peck who remained until 1846. Surely with the thriving village of Cleveland, only six miles away, containing, as it did, so many who were either Episcopalians or who had been brought up in the Mother Church of England, these clergymen, at least occasionally officiated at the latter place.

At any rate, when the dawn of recorded history breaks, we find the Reverend A. P. Smith, rector of Trinity Church at Camden, making monthly missionary journeys to Constantia, New York. It was his custom to spend Saturday night at Cleveland, going to Constantia Sunday morning. Morning service was then conducted in Trinity Church, and often, afternoon service also. Those who accompanied the good dominie from Cleveland, took their lunch with them and between the services, the church yard became the dining place of the visitors. After the completion of the services at Constantia, the commuter returned to Cleveland and through the courtesy of the Methodist brethren, evening prayer was set in their church. The Methodist church was erected in 1840 and the accompanying photograph made in 1868 show the building as it originally appeared except for the smaller extension at the rear, built in 1868. Occasionally the minister was accompanied by members of the Camden church choir. The Reverend Mr. Smith was rector of the church at Camden from 1846 to 1850 and from this period we can follow the development, with one or two exceptions, with a fair degree of accuracy and particularity.

The Reverend Mr. Smith was followed by the Reverend S. Chipman Thrall, who was rector of the Church at Camden from 1851 to 1853, and who seems to have continued the arrangements of his predecessor.

During the period the Bishop of the Diocese, the Reverend William H. De Lancey, D.D., D.C.L., also officiated at intervals and administered the rite of confirmation in the Methodist Church.

The Constantia Church history shows that following the Reverend Mr. Thrall’s incumbency, the Reverend Joshua L. Harrison came to Constantia in 1853 and a preliminary note in the minute book of St. James Church states that he held occasional services in Cleveland. Mr. Harrison was rector of the Camden Church from 1853 to 1856. From this time, for a period of several years, history regarding church services at Cleveland is silent, but since we find at Constantia the Reverend James Winslow in 1858 and the Reverend Adice E. Bishop in 1860, both rectors of Trinity Church, Camden, the former as Deacon from December 27, 1857 to August 29, 1858, and the latter from January 2 , 1859, to October 16, 1859, we can conclude with reasonable assurance that these clergymen like their predecessors, at least, now and then officiated at Cleveland.

Such in brief, was the beginning of the work at Cleveland, as disclosed by the facts that have come to light, But from those yet living we learn that for a time preceding the year 1867, the religious work of a public character, in so far as our church was concerned, was practically dormant.

Just want a renewal of activity began, is uncertain but when 1867 is reached, we find that a congregation had collected of sufficient size to warrant the renting of a room. This, undoubtedly the first regular place of worship, was the 2nd floor of the building at that time owned by David D. Terpenny. The building, though altered materially, is still standing, being located on the South side of Lake Street about midway between Division and Center Streets. At the time, no minister was regularly engaged in the work at Cleveland, but it nevertheless had so prospered that on May 27, 1867, formal application was made to the Rt. Reverend A. Cleveland Coxe, Bishop of Western New York, for permission to organize a parish. This was forthcoming under date of July 2, 1867, and immediately, steps were taken to formally organized under the laws of the State. The document relating thereto is so interesting that it is here given in full:

Notice is hereby given- That a meeting will be held in this room on Monday evening, July 22nd, 1867 at 7:00 o’clock, P.M., for the purpose of choosing two wardens and eight vestrymen to serve until the next Easter week and to take other steps necessary to complete the organization of a Protestant Episcopal Church Society in this Village. All duly qualified attached to this Church are invited to attend.
Signed,
Wm. Foster

State of New York, Oswego County, ss., On this 22nd day of July, 1867, came before me William Foster to me personally known who being by me duly sworn, declares and says that the above notice was by him publicly read in the time of morning service on Sunday the 14th day of July, and Sunday the 21st day of July in the year 1867 to the congregation worshiping in the Society’s Room owned by David D. Tarpenny in the Village of Cleveland Oswego County, State of New York according to the rights of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Signed,
Wm. Foster

Subscribed and sworn before me this 22nd day of July, 1867.
Henry Garber,
Police Justice,
Cleveland, Oswego Co., N.Y.

Certificate of Incorporation

To all whom these presents may concern; We whose names and seals are affixed to this instrument, do hereby certify that on this 22nd day of July in the year 1867, the male persons of full age worshiping in the Society Room owned by David D. Terpenny, in the Village of Cleveland, Oswego County, state of New York, in which congregation divine worship is celebrated according to the rights of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York, and which is not already incorporated met at their place of worship aforesaid for the purpose of incorporating themselves as a religious society under the acts of the legislature of the state of New York and in pursuance of notice duly given to the set congregation in the time of morning service on two Sundays previous to such meeting, that those duly qualified (male owners of full age) belonging to said congregation were requested to meet at the time and place aforesaid for the purpose of organizing “(incorporating themselves)”, and of electing two churchwardens and eight vestryman; and we further clarify that there being no rector of the set congregation, the undersigned William Foster, was by a majority of the persons so met called to the chair and presided at the said meeting William Foster and Charles Kathern were duly elected church wardens of the said congregation and church and DeWitt C. Stevens, William H. Foster, Henry J. Caswell, Joseph A. Turck, James R. Bones, Abram M. Carpenter, Asher S. Potter, Henry Garber, were duly elected vestryman; That Tuesday in Easter week was by the said meeting fixed on as the day on which the said offices of churchwardens in vestryman should annually therefore cease and their successors in office be chosen; And that the said meeting determined and declared that the said church and congregation should be known in the law by the name of the Rector Church Wardens and vestrymen of St. James Church in the Village of Cleveland, Oswego County.

In testimony whereof, we, the said William Foster who presided at the set election of wardens and vestrymen and Charles Kathern and Asher S. Potter who were present and witnessed the proceedings aforesaid have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed are seals this 22nd day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1867. Signed:

William Foster (Seal)
Charles Kathern (Seal)
A.S. Potter (Seal)

Signed and sealed in the presence of
Jas. R. Bones
E.P. Turek

State of New York, Oswego County, ss., it is hereby certified that on this 22nd day of July in the year, 1867, before me the subscriber personally appeared William Foster, Charles Kathern, and Asher S. Potter and severally acknowledged that they had respectfully signed and sealed the within instrument; And I further certify that the said persons who made the said acknowledgement are to me personally known to be the same persons described in and who executed the set instrument.

Henry Garber,
Police Justice,
Cleveland, Oswego County, New York

The instrument bears on the outside the written approval of Bishop Coxe and was recorded in the County Clerk’s Office on July 24th 1867, Book F of Miscellaneous Records page 60.

The question of the name of the new Church apparently caused some discussion, as the following extract from the minutes of the first vestry meeting of July 22nd 1867 will indicate:-

On motion by Mr. Kathern, that the church should go by the name of St. Mary’s, Motion lost. On motion by H. J. Caswell, that the name should be the Church of the Redeemer, Motion lost. On motion by A. S. Potter that the name of the church should be St. Paul, Motion lost. On the motion of William Foster that the name of the church should be St. James, Motion carried.

During the remainder of 1867, there was pronounced activity. The first regular service after the organization of the parish was held by Bishop Coxe on August 9, 1867, when he administered the sacrament of baptism and the rite of confirmation, the Reverend H. V. Gardner being present and assisting. On August 14th, Messrs. Foster , Kathern and Bones were elected delegates to the Diocese Convention, held in Elmira, on August 21, with Messsrs. Potter, Garbor, and Turck as alternates, and St. James was admitted into union with the Diocese at that Convention on August 22nd.

At a meeting held September 28th, “for the purpose of selecting a suitable site for the location of the church * * *,, Mr. William Foster proposed giving to this Society, a building lot situated on North Street, near the corner of Bridge Street, said lot being given for the express purpose as of erecting there on a suitable edifice for the worship of God.” The offer was accepted. The vestry furthermore began active plans for the erection of the church, for we find that at a meeting held October 6, a building committee composed of William Foster, C. Kathern, and J. A. Turek, was appointed, and it was determined that the edifice should be 28X75 feet, including the chancel.

That same autumn, Reverend James Stoddard was called to be the first rector of the parish at a salary of $675, and accepted, his work beginning November 10th, 1867. In the meantime, Mr. Foster had, as lay reader, conducted the services. Mr. Stoddard remained only through the winter . He resigned at a meeting held April 7, 1868, at which meeting William Foster, Jr.. and Henry J. Caswell resigned from the vestry. Mr. J. H. Turck and Mr. Crawford Getman were elected to fill these vacancies. It would seem that the present building was then being erected, for at a meeting of the vestry “held at their rooms, June 27 1868”, it was determined to “give a Grand Festival or Sociable Gathering”, in the following July at Marble’s Hall to procure money for “purchasing an organ and capital Chancel Window for the new Church.” That this was successful is evidenced by the fine organ that was installed and by the windows that adorn the chancel. It is said that Bishop Huntington once remarked, “It is the most churchly in design and coloring of any chancel of window in our Diocese.” And the writer may add that among the many works of art in stained glass it has been his good fortune to see, he considers that the Chancel windows of St. James Church constitute one of the two most beautiful. During the spring and summer, services were conducted by Mr. Foster as Lay Reader. On September 4th, of the same year, the vestries of St. James Church and Trinity Church, Constantia, held a joint meeting and a result, together called the Reverend H. V. Gardner, St. James agreeing to pay $500, an Trinity $300 as a stipend. This call was accepted September 24, 1868.

Up to 1868, St. James Church had been in the Diocese of Western New York, but in that year the Diocese of Central New York was organized and Cleveland came within the territory comprehended by it. Consequently we find that at the primary convention of the Diocese which met in November, 1868, William Foster and Charles Kathern were present as delegates. The Reverend Dr. Littlejohn of Brooklyn was elected Bishop but declined, an on January 2, 1869, Messrs. Foster, Kathern and Garber were appointed delegates to the second convention of the new diocese to elect a Bishop. This convention met the same month and selected Bishop Huntington. Evidently the church building, with the possible exception of the steeple, was by that time completed, for we find it noted for the first time “a meeting of the wardens and vestry of St. James Church of Cleveland held in church.”

When the annual election occurred Easter week 1869, William Foster and Charles Kathern were again elected wardens and the vestrymen were Crawford Getman, Joseph A. Turck, Henry D. Eaton, James R. Bones, Henry Garber, Joseph H. Turck, Enos P. Turck, and Clinton Stephens. This year, the vestry determined to increase the Reverend Mr. Gardner’s stipend, $50, pay his house rent and $25, towards his livery bill for horse to Constantia.

By July, 1869, St. James church must have been completed and free from debt for on July 20th, it was consecrated. The letter of Consecration is as follows:-

Diocese of Central New York

In the name of God, Amen:-
Whereas, the rector, church wardens and vestrymen of St. James Church, in the town of Cleveland, County of Oswego, State of New York, and Diocese of Central New York, have, by Instrument this day, presented to me, appropriated and given an House of Worship, erected by them in said town, to the worship and service of Almighty God according to the Ministry, Doctrines, Liturgy, Rites and Usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, have placed the same under my spiritual jurisdiction and that of my successors in office, and have requested me to consecrate it by the name of St. John’s church .

Now therefore, be it known that I, Frederick Dan Huntington, S.T.D., Bishop of Diocese of Central New York, having taken the said House of worship, under my Spiritual Jurisdiction and that of my successors in office did, on this 20th day of July in the year of our Lord, 1869, under the protection of Almighty God, and in the presence of divers of the Clergy and of a public congregation there assembled, Concentrate the same to the Worship and Service of Almighty God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, by the name of St. James Church.

And I do buy these Presents, declare the said St. James Church to be concentrated accordingly, and thereby separated henceforth from all unhallowed worldly and common uses, and set apart and dedicated to the service of Almighty God for reading and preaching His Holy Word, for celebrating his Holy Sacraments, for offering to His glorious Majesty the sacrifice of prayer, thanksgiving an praise, for blessing the people in His Name, and for the performance of all other holy offices, according to the terms of His Covenant of grace and mercy in His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and according to the Ministry, Doctrines, Liturgy, and Usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto affixed my hand and seal in Syracuse, the day and year below written and the first year of my Consecration .

February 23, 1870
F. D. Huntington,
Bishop of the Diocese of Central New York
(Seal)

It is stated that the service of consecration was a most beautiful. The church was decorated for the occasion with a wealth of Flowers . Mr. George P. Reuss of Rome was organist and the choir was at least in part made up by singers from that same city.

At the annual parish meeting held April 19, 1870 the same wardens were again reelected and we find the vestryman to be J. A. Turek, James R. Bones, Henry D. Eaton, Crawford Getman, H. W. Travis, J. S. Beach, J. H. Hemenway and Hiram Dobson.

It is evident that up to the fall of 1870, but one service each Sunday had been held for by a minute of the meeting of October 11th, of that year, we learn that the vestry determined, with evidence misgiving, to have “a test upon the subject of having two services a Sunday”. Apparently the “test” was successful, for since that time when there has been a resident rector, two services have been the rule.

It appears that when the church was first built, the bell was hung quite low in the steeple behind slated windows, and this was found unsatisfactory because of the muffled sound. Therefore at a vestry meeting held April 4, 1871, it was resolved to put new, open windows higher up in the tower an raise the bell. At the same time, the tower which originally had finished to match the side walls of the church was shingle to correspond with the roof. This bell, by the way bears an inscription showing that it was presented by Mr. Kathern. By the annual Easter election, the original wardens were retained and H. D. Eaton, J. A. Turck, J. S. Beach, F. H. Argersinger, C. Getman, H. W. Travis, J. R. Bones and J. H. Hemenway were declared vestryman.

At a meeting held April 15th, 1871, we have the last record of the Reverend H. V. Gardner as rector, after a short note of a meeting held May 29th, there is a complete lapse of the records for five years . The history of this can only be surmised. Mr. Foster read the services twice each Sunday, certainly during part of August and September, 1871 and again in June and July 1873. Taking this with the following extracts from the history of the Constantia Church, we can fill in the gap generally and with reasonable certainty.

The Reverend William A. Ely, was called to the rectorship (of Trinity Church, Constantia) May 28th, 1870 *** Though there is no record, it is supposed that he carried on the work at Cleveland in connection with his duties at Constantia, where he resided and which was by far the stronger of the two stations.

Probably therefore Mr. Ely was engaged at Cleveland between the fall of 1871, and the spring of 1873. Then during the vacancy caused by the leaving of the Reverend Mr. Ely, Mr. Foster again read the services during the summer of the latter year, when the Reverend Charles A. Wenman took charge as indicated from the following additional extract of the Constantia Church history:

The Reverend Mr. Ely had been succeeded by the Reverend Charles A. Wenman, who resided at Cleveland and who in turn was succeeded by the Reverend R. L. Mathieson.

At this point the church records again began and we find under date of April 18, 1876, the certificate, signed by Reverend Robert L. Mathison as rector, showing that the original wardens were once more reelected and that the vestryman selected, were C. Getman, J. A. Turck, H. W. Travis, H. D. Eaten, A.M. Carpenter, J. S. Beach, Philip Kime, and S. M. Jewell.

The annual election held April 4, 1877, saw no change in the vestry except that William Foster, jr. Was selected in the place of Mr. Carpenter. On April 17th, 1877 Mr. Mathison resigned and on the 7th day of October, 1877, “the Reverend William Long was duly installed as rector of the parish by the consent of the Bishop and the unanimous vote of the Vestry”. Mr. Foster as lay reader, had conducted the services in the interim. The years 1878 and 1879 saw no alteration in the vestry and in 1880 the only change was that caused by Dr. Foster F. Potter succeeding Mr. Philip Kime. That same year the vestry presented to the Trustees of the West Vienna Free Chapel “the Melodeon or Organ at West Vienna”, which apparently had already been loaned to that Chapel, and very likely had done service in the original meeting room in the Terpenny Building.

The vestry for 1881- 2 remain the same as in the previous year, and no changes found as the result of this election held April 4, 1882, except that Mr. G. G. Baker succeeded William Foster, Jr. In October 1882, the Reverend Mr. Long passed away after presiding over the church for five years and the church was once more without a rector.

Two blank pages in the minute book convey little information for the years 1883 and 1884, but we will learn from other sources that Reverend John A. Arthur, then engaged in preparing for the ministry was appointed by the Bishop, as lay reader and to take general charge of the church’s welfare. He began his work on January 1, 1883, while studying for orders in Syracuse. His first confirmation class comprised 19 persons, four of them being from Bernhards Bay, during his incumbency , the church was thoroughly repaired and repainted . On February 26, 1885, Mr. Arthur was ordained Deacon and left on the last Sunday in February, 1886, just prior to his advancement to the priesthood and is responsible to a call to Grace Church, Cortland.

In 1885, the senior warden was the same as from the beginning, but his associate for so many years, Mr. Kathern had passed away and the sole remaining member of the original vestry, Mr. Joseph A. Turck was elected junior warden. The vestry of this year was the same as in 1882, except that Messrs. F. W. Bennett and Charles Waters had been elected to the vacancy caused by Mr. Turck’s selection as warden, and in the place of Mr. Jewell.

At the annual election in April 1886, no changes were made and the minutes shown that this election was called on notice “by the Deacon-in-charge, Reverend C. A. Potter”. This, by the way, is also the last record showing William Foster as an official of the church, for when we reach the annual election of 1887, Mr. Joseph A. Turck has been made senior warden and Mr. Crawford Getman junior warden. The vestry also now was composed of Messrs.. H. D. Eaton, H. W. Travis, E. R. Argersinger, G. G. Baker, F. F. Potter, C. Waters, J. Waters, and E. Morenus.

At a meeting in September, 1886 we find the vestry accepting with thanks “a set of altar cloth appropriate to the Trinity season,” the gift of the ladies of the church, including St. Agnes Guild, the latter also preventing a carpet for the chancel. The altar cloths are those still in use. This is the first recorded item of the work of the ladies, but thereafter there are several notes acknowledging their material existence. It may not be amiss at this point, however, to state, that as has been the case with all religious work from the dawn of Christianity and will be until the end of time, the fact that St. James Church has been and still is a living institution, is due in great measure to the unswerving loyalty, the sacrifices and the devotion of the women who have been an now are numbered among its members. From reliable sources, it is learned that it was largely, if not wholly, because of the energy and work and appeals of a few women, that the beginning was made. And when it was determined to make the trial, the ardor and insistent labor of these resulted in bringing together the congregation in the upper room of Terpenny’s shop, the formation and teaching of the Sunday- School, the securing of building funds and the care, preservation and improvement of the church sense. In the periods of prosperity and growth and advancement, they were foremost in the work. In the times of adversity and trouble and out, it was their determination, their spirit, their absolute unwavering fidelity that knew no surrender or despair which immeasurably helped to carry the church through the dark hours and trying times and past the crisis is that seemed to threaten it with dissolution and destruction. All honor in respect to the women of St. James Church!

Undoubtedly by March 1887, the Reverend Mr. Potter had left, for on the 19th, of that month, the vestry appointed a committee to wait upon the Bishop and advise him of the need of a “resident clergyman”, with a statement of what could be raised towards a stipend the committee acted promptly, for at a meeting in April, it reported that through the Bishop, arrangements had been made with the Reverend George L. Neide to take charge, and Mr. Neide was duly installed. The election of 1888 saw but one change, Mr. G. Moreunus taking the place of Mr. Argersinger, and the same gentleman were again elected in 1889.

It was during those years at the writer, then a small boy, first remembers with distinctness, the church. He recalls the Sunday school, of which he was a constant but restless attendant, meeting after the morning service was concluded, through which he had sat with a restraining hand upon his shoulder, while he watched the colors that crept across the seats, appear and fade as the sun shone upon the stained glass windows or was hidden by the passing clouds. The school was called together in the front pews, or when the winter storms made the snow at he around the doors and the rafters Creek about one of the two stoves, whose glowing interior made a vivid illustration of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. How well he calls to mind the children’s hymns that were sung, among them the favorite, “ The Morning Bright”. But amidst all these memories, that which stands out preeminent, that which made the deepest impression, was the Christmas festival and the preparations for it. Long before the glad day, loads of evergreens were brought from the woods north of the village and piled in the rear of the church. The task of the boys was to strip the small sprigs and sprays from the branches, while with deft fingers the ladies placed them layer upon layer on rope and cores, wrapping the stems with twine and forming heavy wreaths that slowly lengthened an wandered in graceful curves over the backs of the pews until they extended the length of the church. These, the young men then looped in heavy festoons from rafter to rafter and intertwined among the cross braces of the roof. Lighter wreaths of feathery green trimming fouled the cap of the wainscoating and outlined the windows, the choir arches is in the chancel, the sloping sills were banked with evergreens and high above the channel was placed a Christmas star. Thus the church by Christmas Eve had been transformed into a greenwood bower and never from the temple’s altar of sweet smelling incense at Jerusalem, ascended a sweeter odor than that produced by the commingled fragrance of the pine, the Hemlock, the fir and the Cedar which permeated St. James Church at Christmas-tide.

To be perfectly frank, the services of the day are not recalled with any degree of vividness, but can one who was once a boy there, ever forget the celebration of the Sunday school? It was of course held in the evening and all that day, which it seemed, would have no ending, the small fry were debarred, while the bustle at the doors, the arrival of the mysterious bundles and packages the air was suppressed excitement betokened the preparations, going on within. At last the “first bell” rang out the announcement that the time long anticipated had arrived, and we trouped in to gaze with awe and wonder an excitement upon the Christmas tree. A perfectly formed, cone shaped evergreen, it usually was placed in front of the lectern, was draped with strings of popcorn, paper chains of varied hue, colored cornucopias and glittering ornaments. Candles flickered and sparkled among its green boughs and wonderful packages weighed down its lens, or were piled at its base. The evening service was read the famous songs among them “Carol, Brothers, Carol”, and “ Gather ‘Round the Christmas Tree”, were heartily sung, a short address was delivered by the rector and then came the distribution of the presence. With ill concealed eagerness we watched each article taken from its place, the name thereon read aloud until our own was called. With what promptness we responded, secured our gift, usually a toy or game, and returned to our place to examine it, comment on it, and without delay, make a clandestine attempt to try its merits in the shelter of the pew. The service over, the long strings of popcorn were divided among the boys and as the lights were extinguished, we left for home, trudging through the snow in the crisp winter air, happy, contented, and carefree.

But coming back from this digression, in 1890, the death of Mr. J. A. Turck left the office of senior warden vacant. Mr. Getman was elected to the position and Mr. H. D. Eaton was made junior warden. The vestry remained as before except that Mr. Augustus Cross was elected to the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Eaton being made worn warden. There is no record for the years 1891 and 1892. In 1893, however, Mr. Getman was still senior warden, Mr. Baker was the junior warden and the vestry was composed of Messrs. Travis, J. and C. Waters, Eaton, Beach, Hamilton Eaton, L. Humez, F. Kime, and C. Morenus. In 1894, the vestry with one exception remained as before, Mr. E. Humez having succeeded Mr. Travis.

On May 1, 1895, the Reverend Mr. Neide removed to Holland Patton, New York, and then appears the most discouraging and forlorn note in the record book of St. James Church.

The vestry of St. James Church, Cleveland, New York, ceased to be on Tuesday in Easter Week, 1895 (April 16th). The wardens resigned same day, it being understood that George G. Baker act as Senior Warden until such time as new wardens and vestry be elected.”

To those not conversant with the situation, a word of explanation may be given. At the time St. James Church came into being, Cleveland was a thriving, prosperous village. two glass factories, a large tannery, with a number of sawmills and other woodworking establishments gave employment to many and made much business. These, however, depended almost wholly upon the primeval forests that stretched for miles northward. The glass factories used the wood for fuel, the tannery employed the bark and the great logs fell victim to the mills, driven by the streams that were born among the Sylvan fastness, and had been shaded for centuries by the giant trees thus doomed to destruction. The devastation of these forests meant the disappearance of the industries dependent upon them and though the manufacture of glass became independent of this one, great natural resources of the country, that two, in time succumbed to other inevitable causes of decay. As a consequence many were forced to seek their livelihood in other places, leaving Cleveland a quiet country village and the church week in numbers and resources.

By this time, St. James had become a mission, but services during the summer in autumn of 1895 were held frequently. Among those officiating, were the Reverend Joseph M. Clarke, the Reverend Horace B. Goodyear and Mr. F. W. Maccaud, a lay reader. The Reverend J. A. Farrar held services in November and was permanently appointed to the charge, Beginning December 1, 1895, on account of poor health, Mr. Farrar resigned in August, 1897, whereupon the Reverend Messrs. J. M. Clarke, E. W. Sophore and G.E. Pucucker and Mr. A. W. Allen, a lay reader of officiated at intervals until February 13, 1898, when regular services began by the appointment of the Reverend E. C. Hoskins, as rector.

During 1898, the Ladies Guild had the church painted and papered, enlarged the choir and installed a water motor to pump the organ. The Reverend Mr. Hoskins resigned in February 1899, the Reverend M. J. Hoffman conducted Good Friday and Easter services, the same spring and on April 9th, Bishop Huntington appointed the Reverend V. T. Stafford, rector. The Reverend Mr. Stafford remained until March 15, 1903, and during his rectorate a furnace was installed and the church re-shingled. The pulpit was afterwards filled at different times by the Reverend Messrs. A.A. Jaynes, Mr. Dunham of Camden, New York, C. J. Lambert, George C Richmond, W. W. Raymond and Bishop Olmstead.

In August 1904, the Reverend Thomas Stafford officiated and on September 1 of that year was appointed rector by the Bishop. Since that time, the interior has been re decorated and electric lights installed. In September, 1904, Bishop Olmstead appointed as a committee to take charge of and look out for the material welfare of the church and parish, Messrs. George G. Baker, Eaton Beach, Silas F. Potter (son of Mr. A. S. Potter, and original vestryman), Frank X. Gouchi and Eugene Morenus. In 1906 Mr. Beach died and Mr. Edward Extale was appointed by the Bishop to fill the vacancy, since which time there has been no change. The Reverend Mr. Stafford is still in charge of the work, having thus served for a period of eight years, faithfully and honorably.

Thus, we bring this history,- a short and in perfect one- to a close. Any attempt at a narrative of spiritual results accomplished would be futile an has been carefully avoided, and should be a stranger to this Church’s work, plod through the foregoing record, necessarily dull and uninteresting to an outsider, he may wonder if the effort, the struggles, the sacrifices unavoidably involved, were and are worth while. In conclusion therefore it is desired to state that in collecting the data, it has been the pleasure of the writer to correspond with many of the old members and none have mentioned the church, except with deep affection, and many have paid tribute to the truths their learned and the good accomplished. To those who, by necessity or the desire of fame or fortune, have been drawn away from Cleveland into the busy life of the outside world, it is a privilege and an inspiration to again attend and take part in the old familiar services within her walls. The cross-topped spire still points to the overarching sky, her bell still calls to worship, her doors still open in welcome to all who may wish to enter. The Scriptures which are able to make men wise until salvation are still expounded . The sacraments of baptism in the holy communion are yet administered. At her altar, the sacred rite of confirmation is performed, the marriage vows are spoken in the last solemn service, with its words of Christian consolation and hope, is held over the bodies of those who, lovingly her in life, are at last brought home to their final resting place. In such an institution worth upholding and continuing, or should it be allowed to become silent, to decay and I? There is but one answer, and that answer is being spoken by the church itself.

And what of the future! St. James appears to have passed its most serious crisis. Financially, it is in better condition than it has been for a long time, its members, though not many, are faithful and are determined that with the help of Him they serve, the work shall go on. The village of Cleveland may never become a great business center, but it has many and varied attractions as a quiet resting place for summer. Located on the North Shore of beautiful Oneida Lake, supplied with an adequate water supply, beautifully shaded, wide streets, concrete walks an electric lights, it has many advantages and conveniences ordinarily unattainable in smaller towns. It has already and will still further attract a most desirable class of people, many of whom will look to and assist in the work of St. James Church. May she go on in her work of aid, comfort and inspiration and may she grow in all grace and spiritual life!

Till with the vision glorious cur longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.

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