Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville

In 1888, the Congregational Church of North Pelham, a church that no longer exists in Pelham, was organized by a group known as the Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville (the church, formed with the assistance of representatives of the American Congregational Union, was known early in its history as the "Church of the Covenant").  The church was disbanded "after a short life."  The Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville, however, had a much longer history.  Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes two articles that she light on the early histories of the Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville and the Church of the Covenant.  The first is a brief article published in 1878 that detailed the first two years of the Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville.  The second is a brief article describing the establishment of the "Church of the Covenant," intended "to succeed the Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville."  

I have written about the Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville several times before.  See:  

Fri., Feb. 28, 2014:  Brief History of the Role Churches Played in the Growth of the Pelhams Published in 1926.  

Mon., Sep. 21, 2009:  January 1882 Account of the 1881 Christmas Festival Held at the Union Sabbath School in Pelhamville.

Mon., Aug. 24, 2009:  1878 Advertisement for Services of The Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville.  

Map of Pelhamville Published in 1868.
Source: Beers, F.W., Atlas of New York and Vicinity from
Actual Surveys By and Under the Direction of F.W.
Beers, Assisted By A.B. Prindle & Others, pg. 36 (NY, NY:
Beers, Ellis & Soule, 1868) (Detail from Page 36 Map
Entitled "Town of New Rochelle, Westchester Co., N.Y. (With) Pelhamville).

Since the records of the Congregational Church of North Pelham and the Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville have not been located and may no longer exist, an article published in the April 26, 1878 issue of The Chronicle published in Mount Vernon, New York sheds important light on the earliest years of the Union Sabbath School Society.  

Records in the Westchester County Archives make clear that, although the origins of the Society date back to 1876, the organization formally known as "Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville" was incorporated as a religious organization on July 20, 1878.  The incorporation records are available at the Westchester County Archives (Archive No. A-0086(2)S(CB3), Page 392).  It seems that the organization existed until at least 1895 when it conveyed property that it owned in Pelhamville to The Church of the Covenant.  See:  

"Westchester County Conveyances

PELHAM. . . . 

Union Sabbath School Soc. to The Church of the Covenant, lot 154 w s 2d av, Pelhamville.  1,000"

Source:  Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, Aug. 10, 1895, Vol. LVI, No. 1,430, p. 199, cols. 1-2.

Transcribed below is the brief article published in 1878 addressing the origins of what became the Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville, established by the Union Sabbath School Society.   

"LOCAL NEWS. . . . 

About two years ago the Christian people of Pelhamville, earnestly desiring that their children should receive instruction in Christian education, requested Messrs. Eli Trott and Jared Macy, both connected with the Children's Aid Society in New York, to organize a Sunday school that would be Christian and at the same time non-sectarian, so as to assimulate [sic] the various views of the people as near as possible.  After deep thought on the subject, the Union Sabbath School, of Pelhamville, was organized, with Mr. Eli Trott, Superintendent; Mr. S. B. Carlisle, Assistant Superintendent; Mr. Alex. B. Macy, Secretary; Mr. Jared Macy, Treasurer.

Their means being exceedingly limited, they were compelled to meet in the parlor of the house of Mr. Richard Sherwood.  The school consisted, at its commencement, of about sixteen scholars and teachers.  Under the blessing of Providence they now number eighty; and the room that was large enough at first is now altogether too small for their accommodation, and it is rendered absolutely necessary that they procure larger quarters.  In fact, during the past year they have been compelled to hold the session of the Sunday school in the open fields at frequent intervals.  In the event of sickness in Mr. Sherwood's family it would be necessary to hold their Sabbath exercises in the open air.  Feeling deeply that God has called them to a duty that must be performed, they have commenced to look around for assistance from the Christian community surrounding them, to aid them in procuring a larger place to meet in; and in thankfulness to their many friends who have assisted them, they are almost ready to build a chapel.  But more means are still necessary; and one of their friends in New York, the Rev. Albert C. Arnold, of the Church of the Disciples, has kindly volunteered to lecture for their benefit on 'Travel in Europe,' he having returned from an extended European tour.  The lecture will be illustrated by stereopticon views of prominent places visited by him.  The lecture will be delivered in the Chapel of the Reformed Church, Mount Vernon, on Tuesday evening, April 30, 1878.  This lecture has been delivered in the Church of the Disciples, New York, repeatedly, to large audiences.  Tickets may be procured at the following places:  Mrs. D. Ferguson's, Mr. John Berry's, Mr. King's book store, Dr. Gill's drug store, and at the door on the evening of the lecture.  If this effort meets with the success it deserves, the proceeds will materially aid the Union Sabbath School, of Pelhamville, in their endeavor to procure suitable quarters, that are absolutely necessary for their success in this duty that God has called them to perform."

Source:  LOCAL NEWS, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 26, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 449, p. 2, cols. 4-5.  

Immediately below is the text of the second article describing establishment of the Church of the Covenant.


On Thursday of last week, our Pelhamville friends carried to a successful conclusion the organization of a new church society, to be known as the 'Church of the Covenant.'  

At the meeting for organization, Rev. L.H. Cobb, Secretary of American Congregational Union, was chosen Moderator, and Rev. D. Washington Choate, D. D., Second Congregational Church, Greenwich, Conn., Scribe.  The Right Hand of Fellowship was extended by Rev. Dr. J.M. Wheton, of Tremont.

The society numbers 22 members, 19 of whom were present on the above occasion.

This organization is intended to succeed the Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville.  The chosen officers are:  

Deacons - David Lyon, Thomas Scott

Trustees - Thos. Scott, W.S. Algie, Thos. Borthwick, E.A. Patterson, David Lyon.

Stated services will be held every Sunday at 3 p.m., and Sunday School at 4 o'clock p.m."

Source:  Pelhamville, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Nov. 27, 1888, Vol. XX, No. 1145, p. 3, col. 3.

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