History of Churches - Town of Wilna

Town of Wilna, Jefferson County, New York

The following information was extracted from Evert's History of Jefferson County, NY 1797 to 1878.

St James’ Church

The first Catholic Church in Northern New York was built 1818 in Carthage on a lot given to society by Mr. LeRay. The first trustees were: Claudius S. Quillard, Edward Galvin, John Finley, James and Vincent LeRay, John Deley, and James Walsh. For years many of the Catholics of Watertown attended this church.

Methodist Episcopal Church

As early as 1820, the Methodist churches itinerant visited this locality. The first members were: Jesse Penfield, Benjamin G. Paddock, Isaac Puffer, Elisha Wheeler, ND Nathaniel Salisbury.
Towns of Carthage, Champion, Copenhagen, Pinckney, Tylerville, and Denmark formed one circuit, and belonged to Gouverneur District. The first board of trustees were: E. Horr, Hiram L. Chambers, Allen Peck, Joel P. Rice, Enenezer Wheeler, Willard Bartlett, William L. Chambers, Nelson Rulison and Joel Miller.

Grace Church

At first occasional services were held, in connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, by the rectors of Trinity church, Watertown. In 1867 a church building was consecrated. This church has two missions in Champion and Copenhagan. H. W. Hammond, George L. Norton, C.F. Bissell, J. L. Norton, William Carpenter, L. H. Mills, H. J. Welch, William Hutchinson, J. Pringle and N. Wagoner officers of the Church.

Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Society formed at Carthage in 1851 with Hiram McCollum, John Hewitt, and Suel Gilbert as trustees. A Presbyterian Church formed in Natural Bridge 1840 with John Camcross, John J. Lasher and Lewis Decker as trustees.

Congregational Church

In 1835 many Christian people of Puritan faith and profession organized a church. Philo Wood was elected deacon and Merritt Coughlin, clerk. It was voted that the church be called “The First Congregational Church of Carthage” and that it be connected with the Black River Congregational Association.

Disciples Church

The religious services conducted by the Disciples Church begun in 1855 with Elders, from Carthage, B. F. Bush and Marcus Bickford. The church edifice was built in 1862.

Baptist Church

This church was set apart from the Baptist Church of Champion in 1833. It was at that time known as “The Baptist Church of Wilna.” A. P. Lewis was clerk and John Chase was elected clerk. A church edifice was built in 1840 and destroyed by fire in 1861. In 1870 a new edifice was built costing $1600. Later officers were Joel Hopkins, and William Manney with 187 members. The Sunday School attendance of 140 under direction of A. E. Sawyer.

Other Churches

Methodist Church at Natural Bridge
Universalist Church at Natural Bridge
The Presbyterian Church at Natural Bridge
The Union Church at Woods’ Settlement
Methodist Church at North Wilna