Taverns and Drinking in Early America

Monson, Massachusetts

Methodist Episcopal Church

Contributed by the pastor, Rev. Henry Lummis.

The formation of the first Methodist class in Monson was in 1825. It was organized by Rev. Joel W. McKee, then the regular preacher of old Brookfield circuit. It consisted of some 20 probationers; and Horace Moulton, a young, energetic, earnest Christian, a leading spirit in the movement, was appointed its first leader.

The following winter, the class having grown larger by about one-third, Selah Stocking, afterward a member of the New England Conference, and subsequently, by transfer, a member of the New York Conference, became its second leader. The following are the names of the class-members at the date April 1, 1826: Selah Stocking (leader), Joseph Morse, Dolly Smith, Patty Smith, Anna Smith, Waite Morse, Pallas Bumstead, Harriet Bumstead, Celestia Bumstead, Mosely Dwight, Daniel Paul, Sarah Paul, Annis Chaffee, Elizabeth Scripture, John Ormsby, Aulinda Blanchard, Royal Buffington, ______ Buffington, Francis Bartlett, Melvina Truesdell, Sabra Bumstead, Mary A. Bidwell, Rhoda Chaffee, Theda Chaffee, Tammason Davis, Mrs. Bartlett, Peasley Truesdell, Jr., Calvin E. Chaffee, Marcus J. Pease, Ann Smith, — 30 members in all.

Mosely Dwight, still living, one of the patriarchs of the New England Conference, was the third leader of the class. He became a Christian in a revival in his native village, Somers, Conn., under the labors of the then eminent evangelist, Asahel Nettleton. The first regular Methodist preacher in the town was Rev. Joel W. McKee, in 1825. He held his meetings in the old school-house, near the South Cotton-Factory, on week evenings, once a fortnight. He was one of the "weeping prophets," but preached with great acceptance and success. One of the circuit preachers closely following Mr. McKee was Isaac Jennison, who was appointed to Brookfield circuit in 1827-28. It is not certain whether George Sunderland followed Mr. Jennison or not, but he was assigned to this circuit in 1829 or 1830. Horace Moulton was on the circuit in 1830-31; Enoch Bradley, 1832; Ebenezer F. Newell, 1833; Amass Taylor, 1834; Horace Moulton and George W. Green, 1835; Otis Wilder and James 0. Dean, 1836; Joseph W. Lewis, 1837-38. During these two years Monson was included in Wales circuit, and preaching was enjoyed every other Sunday. Efficient aid in pulpit services was often rendered by Drs. Raymond and Patten, of Wilbraham Academy, the former then a student.

Rev. Charles Virgin was on the circuit in 1839; Rev. William Gordon, 1840; Rev. Walter Wilkie, 1841; Rev. Thomas W. Guile, 1842; H. S. Shed (a local preacher), 1843; Rev. R. P. Buffington, 1844; Rev. Spencer Tileston, 1845; Rev. William A. Clapp and Elder Bennett, 1846; Elder Bennett (a Baptist preacher), 1847; James Billings (an English local preacher), 1848. Rev. W. B. Olds, was pastor in 1849-50; Rev. John W. Dadmun, 1851-52; Revs. Charles Noble and J. Paulson, 1853; Rev. John Paulson, 1854; Rev. David K. Merrill, 1855-56; Rev. Silas Piper, 1857; Rev. Thomas B. Treadwell, 1858-59; Rev. Albinus 0. Hamilton, 1860-61; Rev. Frederic Woods, 1862-63; Rev. Hiram P. Satchwell, 1864-65; Rev. Rodney H. Howard, 1866-68; Rev. Charles K. True, 1869; Rev. William J. Pomfret, 1870-72; Rev. William Silverthorne, 1873-74; Rev. Osmon W. Adams, 1875-76; Rev. Henry Lurnmis, 1877.

Monson first had regular Sunday preaching in 1848. Mr. Billings lived in the house opposite the grist-mill, north of Rev. Mr. Tufts. He worked at secular labor through the week, and on Sunday morning preached in the Methodist chapel, and every other Sunday evening at the North Factory school-house. At the beginning of this year there were but 8 members in the society, — Levi C. Bates, Joseph Bumstead and his daughter Harriet, Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson, Mrs. Chadwick, Mrs. Lucy Leonard (a sister of Rev. Horace Moulton), and a colored woman, Harriet Porter. Three efficient workers came into the place during the year, — Elijah Cutter, Ira Fales, and Willard Willis.

There was a gracious revival in the autumn, resulting in gathering many souls into the church. From this time on, Monson has been a station, having stated service on the Lord's day.

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This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006