Thursday, July 17, 2014

Comstock's History Page Twenty-six

CAYUGA COUNTY NEW YORK by Austin B. Comstock

I will be posting each page of this history separately. The index, posted on June 24, 2014 in 4 parts, provides the page numbers; you can also search the blog for a particular name appearing anywhere within it. 
The index is also being published at and will eventually have a link back to this blog.
I hope you find something new!

Page Twenty-six
partiality for some of his flock, and the voice of scandal asserted that he was inclined to give his woman parishioners more time than was seemly.
Certainly no gentleman of generous emotions would listen to frivolous charges. But whether true or not it was certainly the seeds of dissolution and one of the things that eventually was the cause of the disbanding of this society. The preacher was discharged in disgrace. After he left, contention ran high and some of the best members withdrew and others became lukewarm and converts ceased to be added.
It was a long time before another pastor was engaged, but after much discussion they agreed on one Axdell who was settled as the shepherd at a moderate salary. Mr. Axdell was a pious, earnest, creditable man and did all he could to build up the church but to little avail; internal dissension and external causes were too strong against him. Heresy was creeping in, infidels were beginning to whisper. Quakers were increasing, Unitarians were growing bold and Universalists were teaching unwelcome doctrines.
Mr. Axdell struggled among these difficulties until 1837 when he gave up in despair and left for parts unknown. In 1838 another attempt made to revive the nearly defunct society was tried. Reverend Johnson was secured and a hope that he would perhaps be able to start again the smouldering firs of religion that were ignited with so much promise 16 years before, but poor man he reckoned without his host.
The building had gone into decay and the seed of skepticism ad taken root and produced 100 fold; the choir had dispersed and its members had forgotten the hymns of Zion. Some had backslidden beyond power of recovery and some had moved away. Many were dead and the Reverend, with lessening faith and failing strength continued the unequal contest nearly two years, working as preachers seldom work, but the Society could not be resuscitated. It was doomed to annihilation. At the expiration of his engagement he bade a melancholy farewell to the faithful few and departed to fields of more promise. This was in 1840. In a few years the church began to show the marks of vandalism but it still stood, its spire 100 feet high, firm and erect, a monument of the past and a measure of the state of religion and public opinion in other days. Probably the five Protestant churches in the town had no more members than did this church about the time of its greatest glory.
After the old church had been entirely abandoned it went rapidly to destruction, and in 1858 it was torn down and the remains divided among a greedy few; a part came to
Sherwood and was used for the enlargement of a barn. Who got the Silver Chalice that once consoled so many hearts we do not know. But we do know of many foot stools and two fiddle cases that were decorated with the beautiful red velvet that lent beauty to the pulpit.

No comments: