Historic Structures

United Presbyterian Church, Perth New York

Date added: March 23, 2010 Categories: New York Church

There is a typewritten sermon preached by one of the ministers a number of years ago which tells how one of the people who assisted in the building of this church had a relative who manufactured the brick of which the church is-built. Unfortunately we were not able to attain a copy of this, we have little other information about this structure.

Exterior brick of the common burnt red variety manufactured locally in this neighborhood; metal roof, Interior, plaster walls with white: wood work.

The following is from the book HISTORY OF FULTON COUNTY published in 1892:

The United Presbyterian church of Broadalbin is located at Perth Centre, the organization of tile society having taken place under the name of “The Associate Reformed Church of Broadalbin,” at a time when this section of Perth was included in Broadalbin. Although the title is now a misnomer, it has never been changed, but the society has under present consideration a plan for changing the name to “The United Presbyterian Church of Perth.” It will be remembered that shortly after the revolution a number of families from Scotland settled both at West Galway and Perth Centre, all of whom were Presbyterians, and attached to the principles and mode of worship of their native church. It is known that the Presbytery of Albany at an early day sent one of its ministers, Rev. John McDonald, to organize those who were attached to the Presbyterian church at Baliston, West Galway, Broadalbin, and Johnstown, into religious societies, and services were conducted at times in these societies by ministers of that Presbytery. Probably during the greater portion of the time there was no supply for this place, and at such times the people were wont to assemble at the house of Daniel McIntyre for social worship. The exercises conducted by him consisted of reading the scriptures, with comments, singing and praying. It is probable that at first these services were conducted in the Gaelic tongue, as many of his neighbors could not speak English, but toward the close of the century they were conducted in the English language. It cannot be definitely stated when the societies of West Galway and Broadalbin were organized, but it must have been about 1790, as the Presbyterian congregation of that p]ace was formed in that year. The society at this place probably erected their first house of worship about 1797 or 1798. It was occupied, however, for several years before the building had been entirely completed. At the beginning of the present century, both this society and that at West Galway were connected with the Presbyterian church and were supplied by a licentiate from Ireland, neither church being able to support a settled pastor. A portion of this society which felt aggrieved at certain changes made in the manner of conducting the singing, withdrew in 1802, and having united with a small congregation at Manny’s Corners, called the Rev. John I. Christie as pastor. By that time a number of families had settled at Perth who were members of the Associate Reformed church at West Chariton, then under the care of Rev. James Mairs. The latter was occasionally invited to preach at this place on week days, and his doctrines and mode of conducting the services pleased the people very much. In 1803, the church was, by request, taken under the care of the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Washington, then embracing all the churches of this denomination in the northern and western portion of the state of New York. That body furnished this congregation with a few supplies, among whom was the Rev. Robert Easton. When the church was formally received under the care of the Presbytery it was intended to retain Mr. Easton permanently as pastor, but as he was compelled to keep previous promises to a church in Montreal, he was unable to remain. A unanimous call was then made for Rev Robert Proudfit, a licentiate from Pennsylvania, who came and was installed as pastor of this congregation April 10, 1804. The church then began to enjoy the advantages of a stated ministry, and not until this took place was the Lord’s supper administered to its communicants.

The first church building in this place was originally located on the site of the present one,and was erected (as has been stated) two or three years before the close of the last century. It is described as being, at the time of Rev. Mr. Proudfit’s arrival, “a large barn-like structure,” being merely enclosed with clapboards, without plaster, with a floor made of loose boards. It was destitute of a pulpit, and the pews were constructed of slabs fastened to upright standards. This building was soon removed and taken to a lot directly opposite and on the south side of the road. This change was due to the fact that the trustees did not have a secure title to the land and a removal was necessary. The lot upon which it afterwards was placed was conveyed to the congregation by Daniel McIntyre as a free gift, the deed being dated March 15, 1805. The church was removed without being turned around, which placed the door in the rear end of the building, and in 1805 John Canieron was engaged to finish the interior at a cost of $550, which he did, still leaving the entrance at the rear.

Tile following persons were elected trustees of the church May 10, 1804, and their election is recorded in the clerk’s office at Johnstown under the date of May 29, of the same year: James Robb, Daniel McIntyre, jr., Peter McGlashan, John Cameron, Peter Robertson, Duncan Stewart. The election of elders was postponed until September 20, 1804, when John Walker, John McBeath and John McIntosh were installed as elders of the congregation.

The repairs to the interior of the edifice must have been completed in 1806, as the sale of pews took place in January of that year, and the total amount realized was $1,179 50 The old church was used until 1831, when the present brick structure was finished and occupied during the summer. In 1861 improvements were made to this building at an expense of $600, and in 1867, $700 were expended in repairing the parsonage, the latter having been built in 1833.

In 1858 a union of the Associate and Associate Reformed churches was effected, forming the body known as the United Presbyterian church, and since that time the congregation at Perth Centre has been known as the “United Presbyterian Church of Broadalbin.”

Rev. Mr. Proudfit remained with’ this church until October 18, when he resigned to take a professorship of Latin and Greek in Union college. He was followed by Rev. James Otterson, who was installed September 12, 1821, and continued as pastor until May 17, 1827. His successor was Rev. Malcolm N. McLaren, who came November 2, 1827, resigning in April, 1833. Rev. David Caw, from Scotland, was the next pastor, and was installed February 12, 1834, and released from the charge May 14, 1845. The congregation was then without a regular minister until the summer of 1847 when Rev. John M. Graham, of Ohio, came and remained with them ten years, resigning in August, 1857. His successor was Rev. J. L. Clark, who came May 10, 1858, and remained until June 10, 1872. Rev. Andrew Henry began his pastorate in July, 1873, and continued in the office for seventeen years. The present pastor, Rev. John M. Adair, came to this congregation in May, 1890, from Stone Valley church in central Pennsylvania, a charge which he had held for thirty years. The present membership of the church is about 100, and the Sunday-school contains about 135 scholars and teachers. The pastor acts as superintendent and is assisted by H. B. Major. The present elders are James Donnan, Joseph Clark, George Clark, William McEwen, Daniel McLaren, Archibald Robertson and W. J. McQueen; the trustees are James H. Van Der Bogart, James W. Robb, Alexander McFarlan, Jay D. Mosher, John A. Chalmer and Daniel Reddish.