History of the
First Baptist Church
Ulysses, Potter Co., PA

[Copied from a member's pamphlet received in 1983
on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the church.
Submitted by Sheri D. Graves]

In the town of Ulysses, Potter county, Pa., August 3d, 1833 three brethren and four sisters united in a conference at the dwelling of Edmond Brace.
The meeting was opened by singing, and prayer by Elder James Clark, missionary from the New York State Convention.
The names of the brethren and sisters composing the conference were Samuel Cushing, Rufus A. Freeman, Charles Parish, and sisters Annis Cushing, Polly Freeman, Samantha Leonard, Nancy Goff.
Appointed Brother Samuel Cushing Clerk of the Conference.
Sunday, Aug. 4th, 1833, Ira Gilbert and Eliza Gilbert united with the Conference.


Sept. 26th, 1833.´┐ŻA council met at the house of Edmond Brace, in Ulysses, to consider the propriety of recognizing the above named four brethren and five sisters as a regular Baptist Church.
The council was composed of Elder James Clark, Missionary, and Brethren Frederick Tanner, Consider Ellis, Genesee Association: Elisha S. Babcock, Middlebury Church.
Elder James Clark acted as Moderator, and Brother Samuel Cushing Clerk.
The council recognized the Conference as the first Regular Baptist Church in Ulysses.
Voted that Brother Freeman be the leader of our meetings.

Sept. 29th, 1833---Hosea Cushing, Edmond Brace, Jerusha Brace and Milla Atwood were baptized into the fellowship of the Church by Elder James Clark.
Voted to hold the covenant meetings the Saturday before the third Sabbath in each month.


The Church records show a union until Beb. 15th, 1834, at which time, the Clerk says, Brother H---- C---- and Sister S----L---- have left us.
Feb. 14th, 1835---Edward Brace's name appears on the minutes as Ch. Clk.
Sept. 19th, 1835---Voted Brother S. Cushing, R.A. Freeman and E. Brace Trustees for the Church, with power to transact business for the Church with regard to obtaining a lot of land for the Church.

E. BRACE, Ch. Clk.
JAMES CLARK, Moderator

March 19th, 1836---Chose Brother R.A. Freeman standing Moderator, and Brother James Lewis Standing Clerk.
Aug. 20th, 1836---Met according to appointment; meeting opened by singing and prayer. First, heard the letter to be sent to the Association; second, voted to receive the same; third, voted that Brethren, Wm. Howe and James Lewis be our Delegates to attend the Association.
Sept. 14th, 1836---J. Lewis attended the Association, and the Church was received.
At this time the statistics of the Church are as follows:

Constitutional Members   9

Baptized                10

Received by Letter       6

Excluded                 2

Dismissed                1

Present Number          22

1856, Aug. 23---Voted to ask a dismission from the Canisteo River Association to unite with the Tioga Association, in this State.
1862, Aug. 24---Voted to ask for a dismission from the Tioga Association, to reunite with the Canisteo River Association.


Many of the members who organized this Church were from the Cushing family in Worcester, Otsego county, N.Y., and the business forms and manner of discipline seems to be much after the forms and habits of the old East Worcester Baptist Church.
The discipline of the Church for a number of years was pretty thorough, and in some cases might appear to one not acquainted with the circumstances to be rather severe.
On the whole, the discipline of the Church has been very good.


On the whole, the Church records have been very well kept, and in some cases in a very business-like manner, clearly stating what was done and why it was done. In some cases the records are not quite so clear as might be desired.


The first revival of any amount of which there is any mention made in the Church records was in 1854, under the labors of Elder Calvin Thomas. Soon after, about thirty united with the Church.
The next was in 1865, under the labors of Elder F. Sherer.
The next in 1868, under the labors of Elder Omens. Many are now living witnesses to the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the labors of these brethren.


The records of the Church show an unusual amount of union in the Church. In hiring and dismissing ministers, in electing officers, in receiving and dismissing members, and in excluding members. In all these cases the records speak of the Church being in union.


The Church records show that its financial matters have been kept up in a business-like and honorable way.
They have not seemed to adopt the doctrine of repudiation, but rather the Bible doctrine: "Owe no man any thing." "The laborer is worthy of his hire."


Feb 19th, 1842---There is an account of the Bingham Estate offering to the Church fifty acres of land, because they were the first Church organized in the town. That land interest the Church transferred to Elder Tracy Scott.
June 17th, 1843---The records state that the Church received an order of $20 drawn by John Smitzer upon the N.Y. State Convention, which they transferred to Elder Tracy Scott.


Aug.   3, 1833   James Clark, Missionary of the N.Y. State Convention

March 15, 1834   Elder Randall, Baptized two.

May   20, 1837   James Lewis invited to preach one half of the time.

Dec.  14, 1839   Tracy Scott.

March,    1849   Lewis S. Robertson

Nov.   4, 1854   Calvin S. Thomas

July  28, 1855   Emery H. Covey, Licensed.

May    1, 1861   Charles Wilson.

Nov.  19, 1864   John G. Conover.

July  17, 1868   S.H. Murdock.

Aug.  15, 1874   N. Hart

Feb.  12, 1876   Ira Thomas, for three months, every alternate Sabbath.

June 1 7, 1876   William Storrs


Dec.  14, 1839   Gardner H. Olmstead

Aug.  15, 1840   Martin S. Dean

Aug.  25, 1855   C.P. Cady, Leavitt Cushing

June  16, 1866   O.R. Bassett


Aug.   3, 1833   Samuel Cushing

Feb.  14, 1835   Edmond Brace

March 19, 1836   James Lewis

Nov.  19, 1836   Gardner H. Olmstead

Feb.  16, 1861   C.G. Cushing, Clerk pro. tem. 

Oct.  14, 1865   B.J. Cushing

April 14, 1866   O.R. Bassett, Clerk pro. tem.

Nov.  20, 1867   F.M. Johnson

Dec.  19, 1868   O.R. Bassett

May   23, 1874   C.H. Towsley, Clerk pro. tem. 


The Church was recognized Sept. 26th, 1833, and up to Sept. 26th, 1877, gives it a history of forty-four years. The statistics for that time are as follows:


Baptized              139

Added by letter       136

Added by Experience    22

Restored               16 

Dismissed by Letter   118

Excluded               55

Dropped                 4

Died                   30

Present Number        115

The above table is taken from the Church Records.
The minutes of 1876 shows the present number to be 78, having 37 not accounted for on the records.


Three have gone from the Church to the Methodists and eight have come from the Methodists to the Church.
Two have come to the Church from the Disciples.
One came to the Church from the Sabbatarians, and three have gone from the church to the Sabbatarians.
The Church has withdrawn the hand of fellowship from persons for heresy, for dancing, for neglect of covenant obligation, for slander and falsehood, for drunkenness, for profanity, for dishonest in deal, for disregard of the Lord's day, for not paying a subscription, for general unchristian conduct, for breaking the 7th Commandment, for breaking the 8th Commandment.

(The following account is copied from a newspaper clipping found in the scrapbook of Mrs. John L. Raymond of Ulysses, Pa. Neither date nor name of newspaper were given.)


Ulysses --- In the nation-wide collection of scrap almost every kind of metal was donated except a church bell until the First Baptist Church of this place decided that one formerly used here should go to reform the enemies of Christianity. The story of the bell and its donation to the government is told by the pastor of the church, the Rev. N. Johnson (sic), who has served in the ministry for more than 30 years, as follows:
"When the Ulysses Baptist Church burned Mar. 9, 1916, the large bell, which for so many years had sent forth its invitation on Sundays to gather for worship and to hear of God's message of 'Peace on earth, goodwill to men' and on week evenings to gather for prayer and praise, fell from the belfry and was broken to pieces.
"Since then, up to Oct. 9, those pieces had been stored in a cellar but now are on their way to oppose in some form or other the adversaries of the Christian religion who merit our undying hatred, not for them personally but for their ways of life and their plans and purposes to overthrow all decency, freedom, democracy and all else that we, as Christians, hold dear.
"Those pieces of metal which once served such a holy purpose will still serve a holy mission as they in some form express to our adversaries our firm determination that one day, we pray it may not be far distant, a burst of melody from bells all over the world shall sound the knell of a defeat and gloom over all their diabolic plans and purposes."



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