Baptist Church

West Ellery, Chautauqua County, NY

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The first church in the Town of Ellery was the Baptist Church organized with nine members, at West Ellery, in 1808, then in the Town of Chautauqua, as Ellery was not formed until February 29, 1821.

The nine original members were: Elder Edmund Jones, then a resident of the present town of Ellery; Sabra Putnam, wife of John Putnam; David Atkins; John Park; Hannah Park; Miles Scofield; Sally Scofield and Abigail Scofield, who met at the home of John Putnam's near Chautauqua Lake, two and one half miles south of Dewittville, for the purpose, to "organize a church."

A council was subsequently called for this purpose, with the following: Elders, Peter P. Roots, of Fabius; Joel Butler of Sangerfield, Oneida County; Hezekiah Eastman, probably of Madison County; and Joy Handy, who met on October 10, 1808, and received the brethren and sisters into fellowship as a church. On the next day the council ordained Edmund Jones to the Gospel Ministry.

Frenches Gazetter states that this society never built an edifice in Ellery but other records state a house was erected in 1808. There are very few records and some confusion concerning this house. It may have been a log house. When John A. Cadwell deeded this same plot of land in 1836, to the Ellery Methodist Society of West Ellery, it mentions there being a house, on that plot of land erected by the Baptist which they were to receive and have the use of for religious purposes.

Many of the members were from the Dewittville vicinity and desired a church nearer to their homes. In February, 1817, the church was geographically divided into two parts, by a line running due east from the lake. Those on the north side retained the church name of the, "First Baptist Church of Chautauqua." Those on the south side of the 1817 geographical dividing line by the minutes of the 37 Anniversary of the Harmony Baptist Association of August 24--26, 1875, were referred to as the "Second Baptist Church of Chautauqua," after 1921 of Ellery. This dividing line left John Putnam in the "First Church of Chautauqua."

In July, 1817, Mr. Putnam was ordained a Deacon. In the Chautauqua County Directory, the following statement was given by Azariah Jones and Mrs. Susan Waterman, daughter of John Putnam, "John Putnam was a Deacon of the church for over forty years."

It is quite evident from information given in the Chautauqua County History books, oral history from descendents of the charter members of the church, books on County churches, that the Ellery members of "The Second Baptist Church of Chautauqua; after 1821 "The First Baptist Church of Ellery," for a short time met in the West Ellery Baptist house of worship, then gradually joined with the Ellery Center Baptist Society which organized in 1814, and known as "The Second Baptist Church of Ellery."

Frenches Gazetter of New York
Young's History of Chautauqua County
Chautauqua County Court House, Mayville, NY
History of Chautauqua County and It's People
Chautauqua County Directory 1873-1874
County Book on Churches, Miss Elizabeth Crocker
Centennial History of Chautauqua County

Material compiled by Doris W. Carlson and daughter, Loraine C. Smith

SOURCE: Loraine Smith, Town of Ellery Historian. 2002.