Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Churches of the Tri-Counties Area
Chemung County NY
Erin Methodist Church, Chemung County NY
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Submitted to Tri-Counties by Suzanne Murphy 
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Original cover sketch by Jan C. Hill
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AUGUST 15TH, 1999


Worship Service 9:00 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Praise & Worship

9:30 A.M. – 11:00 A. M. Worship Service

Praise and Worship Randy Rockwell
Message Rev. Donald L. Roe
Mingle and Gather 11:00 A.M. – NOON
Lunch and Social Hour Noon – 1:00 P. M. Dish to Pass Lunch on the Grounds

Welcome 1:00 P.M. Warren Ingham
Music 1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. "Renaisance"

2:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M. "Lynn Kaki"

2:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. "Erin Gospels"

Benediction 4:00 P.M. Rev. Mari Rockwell

PASTOR Rev. Donald L. Roe
ASSOCIATE PASTOR  Rev. Mari Rockwell
LAY LEADER Suzanne Murphy
TRUSTEE’S Eleanor Bean

Earl Collson

Randy Rockwell

Francis Montgomery

Sharon Dupree

Wayne Parnussie

PPR CHAIRMAN Suzanne Murphy

Earl Collson

Marguerite Montgomery

Joyce Beach

Jean Parnussie


Willis Judson


Phyllis Judson

Willis Judson


North Central New York Conference Pastor Assignment Listing from 1897 for Erin United Methodist Church.
1897 – D. B. Kellogg 1908 – D. W. Smith
1909 – D. J. Ebert 1910 – C. C. Bogardus
1916 – C. M Flemming 1924 – N. L. Campbell
1929 – J. K. Hicks 1933 – 1937 No Listing
1937 – Arnold Melton 1941 – James Gordon
1943 – E. L. Kinner 1948 – Leslie E. Simon

(Pastor and Assistant covered all 5 Churches)
1954 – Horace R. Pittman Assistant Harry Johnson

Assistant Donald L. Roe

Assistant Bill Jenkins

1959 – William Swales 1961 – Alberta Callihan
1964 – Horace R. Pittman 1968 – Robert J. Clark
1982 – John E. Martin 1987 – Peter W. Bean
1989 – Donald L. Roe 1997 – Donald L. Roe

Assoc. Mari Rockwell

Listing of those who started Worshiping at Erin UMC and became Pastor’s later in life.
Peter W. Bean Darrell Englehart Finley Gray
Gary Judson Deb Roe Clyde Rosekrans
Stanley Smith    

Page 4 - Caption under picture on

Above is the cover of the First 100 Years Booklet done by Mr. George Patterson of Erin.

Following is the program that took place on February 9, 1975 to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Erin United Methodist Church Building.

Morning Worship 9:45 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.
Guest Speaker Rev. Warren Odem, Conference executive of Central New York Conference
Lunch and Social hour 11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.

Afternoon Program
Welcome Rev. Robert Clark
Introduction of oldest church member  
History of church Debba Cornell
Introduction of ministers  
Recognition and introduction of church members, who became ministers.  
History of the past one hundred years of our church Carol Vaughan
Introduction to the District Superintendent, Rev. Vernon Lee  
Musical selections Rev. Gene Callihan
Introduction of Ministers  

Page 6 Insert Pictures

Caption under first picture

Erin Church

Caption under second picture

Bishop Matthew Simpson,

In whose honor the church

was dedicated


Following is an account written by Carol Vaughn at the time of the 100th Anniversary Celebration ( February 9, 1975) of the building of the Erin United Methodist Church.

Methodism in The Town of Erin and The Forming of The Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church Society:

Sometime before the year of 1828, local preachers held meetings in Erin. Some of the preachers were John Greatsinger, James Taylor, and Jacob Allington. About the year 1828 the Rev. Hiram Crane formed the first class.

In the year 1832, just ten years after the Town of Erin was formed, Cornelius Becker and his family came from Delaware County and settled on a farm in the Town of Erin. The farm is the same property Eva Becker Earl and R. V. Earl now live on. Mr. Becker was an active and "dyed in the wool" Methodist. Methodism grew by leaps and bounds.

The first meetings were held in the Scotchtown School, which was a log building. They later moved their meeting place to the Rosekrans school house. This building was on the road from Erin to Swartwood, now known as NYS Route 223. The school was located at the intersection now known as Maple Drive.

After the Death of Cornelius Becker, his son Garrett S. Becker and his wife kept up the work in the church and lived on the same farm.

The meetings continued there for many years, and in December 1873, they held a meeting and elected a board of nine trustees in the name of the Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church. The first trustees were G. S. Becker, A. H. Park, William H. Howe, Lewis Thomas, Harvey Houck, Byron Park, Norman Rosekrans, William H. Blauvelt and Charles Baker.

On December 20, 1873, a meeting of the Trustees of the Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church was held, this time at the house of James Hollenbeck in the Town of Erin. There was a Board of Trustees organized. G. S. Becker was elected President and Charles Baker the clerk. This meeting started the ball rolling to build a church. A resolution was proposed to build the church within forty rods of the Rosekrans school house. That resolution was lost by one vote. Then it was the sense of the Board of Trustees that the church should be built in the Village of Erin. A resolution was made to that effect and was carried by one vote. At this same meeting another resolution was made to circulate a subscription paper to raise a sum of $3000 and that the subscriptions be binding after $2000 had been raised.

There must have been several meetings held from then on, but there seems to be no record of them until April 6, 1874, when the board met at the J. H. Rodbourn store. There was a resolution made at that meeting that the indebtedness at the time of the letting of the contract for the building shall be limited to $500 above the amount of $2000 on the subscriptions. At the next meeting of the board, it was resolved that the sketch, drawn by Hays, in Rev. Bull’s diary be adopted. A resolution was made and carried: "the dimensions of the church shall be 34’ x 60’ and a corner tower to be in proportion with the church. There shall be two side aisles and one center aisle".

The next meeting of the board was held at the house of Mr. John Davis on April 26, 1874. There were some changes made in the plans drawn by Mr. Hayes, such as the alter enlarged and the floor would be of 1 & ½ inch hemlock instead of 1 inch pine.

The meeting was adjourned until the 2nd of May at 2 PM to receive sealed bids for the building of the church, to be let to the lowest responsible bidder.

At the May 2nd meeting there were four bids received; they were as follows:

G. H. Humphy $3200.00

John Hadrill $2871.00

J. H. Rodbourn $2798.00

Trustees $2500.00

As there were no bids coming within a resolution passed at a former meeting, the trustees reserved the right of holding the letting of the building in their own hands.

The Trustees finally let the building to Joel Hamilton of Tioga County; This is if Mr. Hamilton could give a satisfactory security of the said $2500. There were three Trustees appointed to act as a building committee. They were William Howe, Harvey Houck, and G. S. Becker.

Later, there seemed to be a disagreement with the contractor Hamilton and the board requested the return of the plans and specifications which he would not return. The board appointed a committee of G. S. Becker and William Howe to seek legal authority to recover the said papers. The committee was to report to the board on May 20, 1874 at 6 PM in Rodbourn’s Store.

On May 20th, the committee made their report and was dismissed. The report stated that they only way they could get their plans back was through a law suit.

There were not any board records of what followed. Through other research, it is learned that the contract was let to J. H. Rodbourn and John Hadsill for the sum of $2500.

The foundation was laid by Gorman, Robinson, and Carpenter under the supervision of the building committee. The building was completed by the contractor, and I am sure much help was donated by the church members early in 1875; on February 10, 1875 the church was dedicated.

The presiding minister was the Rev. P. J. Bull and presiding elder, Thomas Tounery. It must have been one of the most exciting and prosperous days of Erin. The original board elected at that historical meeting in the Rosekrans School House stayed on the job from the beginning to the end.

Just a note: The first W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) was formed February 26, 1889 with 13 members, and Miss H. D. Fox was the first president.

A History of Erin United Methodist Church Life:

The history of the Erin Methodist Church is an exciting adventure story of the people who have worshiped here through the years. It includes all the people of Erin, for the church is an important part of the community. It also is an integral part of Methodism as a whole. A record of our church’s history has been kept in the Conference Annuals of the Central New York District. This running record has made possible the checking of dates and events in the life of our church; we greatly appreciate that our District Superintendent, Vernon Lee, lent us his complete collection of Annuals.

We think we have problems! When the people of Erin gathered to worship God in a Methodist program in 1851, slavery was a burning issue. The Committee on Slavery of the Central N. Y. Conference "took a position of hostility against slavery, and prospectively made emancipation a test of membership", (This information was taken from the Report on Slavery – July 27, 1855 – Conference held in New York Mills, Oneida County, July 28 – 31, 1855.) In 1856 it was voted to prevent any more slave holders becoming members of the church. What bravery it must have needed to take this stand!

Improvements in our church building have been made consistently through the years, and the record shows our church has seldom had a debt. The original debt was paid off by 1891 and no substantial debt was again owed until 1952 when the organ was purchased. The church was first carpeted in 1894, when $106 was reported to have been spent "for carpeting, a new pulpit, and other repairs".

Some early pictures of the church showed there were two doors in the entrance. Helen Hall told us that the one on the side gave entrance from a driveway that ran along the side of the church back to the horse sheds. There was an ice house on one end of the sheds. The men would cut ice from Byron Parks pond on top of Swartwood Hill to fill the ice house.

The church bell was purchased in 1904, along with the bell for the Breesport Church. Mark Schuyler was pastor of both churches at the time. The bells were tolled usually in the early days, not rung. When someone in the community died, it was tolled once for each year of the person’s life. During WWII, a gong was rigged at the side of the bell, so it could be hit with a wooden hammer for Civil Defense and fire alerts.

Mr. Simeon Fowler, A Civil War Veteran, was church janitor for many years. Randy Earl thought Mr. Fowler did the work free of charge.

Forty-four ministers have sheparded this congregation since the church was built. The honors of preaching the most years go to Horace Pittman. Bob Clark comes in for second honors for he has been here nearly seven years. We have never had a minister die while in service of our church, but L. T. Pepper became too ill to carry on his duties in 1934, but he must have recovered, as he was reappointed the following year.

Revival meetings were held with Erin Methodists participating in 1888, 1891, 1910, 1912, and 1915. Rev. Fanning was minister for the 1915 revival. That year there was an Evangelistic Crusade throughout the District. Eighty-five persons became probationers preparing for membership in the Erin Church (This may possibly include the Breesport Church.), as a result of the Revival.

It would be important to mention that the records of the Erin Church in the Annual Reports are sometimes mixed with other churches when one minister served two or more churches.

Our eldest member, Helen (Rosekrans) Hall, joined the church when she was 13. If it were 1901, as she is 87, then W. C. B. Turner was pastor according to the Annual Report for that year. Mrs. Hall remembers a large group joining the church at that time, including Annabelle Hollenbeck, Ethel Crandall Thomas, Clayton Rosekrans, and Lloyd Moultor. When these young folks joined the church, the Sunday School had a Home Department. Leaflets were purchased by the church. Mrs. Ethel Thomas, who is now 84 (in 1974), remembers driving her old horse, "Kit", to the various homes and giving the people, who did not come to Sunday School, the leaflets and questioning them on the preceding weeks material. She had 19 members in her Home Department Class.

A tobacco shed was given to the church by Jim Mitchell about 1908 or 1909. Randy Earl says it came from the Rodburn property. Chancy Rosekrans (Mrs. Hummer’s father) and Lola McDowell’s father, Varnum McDowell, moved the shed to the church. They used a couple of teams of horses. It was used for a kitchen. Water had to be carried and a wood stove was used; many dinners were prepared and served in that kitchen. It had a table in one corner where the school children were often served a mid-day meal for 15 cents. Dinners were served at noon in those days at the church.

The church was heated by a wood burning stove that was gotten from the Civil War Prison Camp in Elmira. The men of the church had wood cutting bees. Some land owners, like the McDowells on Park Station Road, would invite the men to come cut wood for the church. The ladies would gather at the farm house and cook dinner for the men. Before the furnace was put in the church, services were held in the class room in very cold weather.

The Ladies Aid and the Men’s Club during the 1920’s and 30’s worked hard to earn money but had lots of fun too. They put on dinners, ice cream socials, strawberry festivals and plays.

In 1930 it is recorded in the Conference Annual that $850 was spent lowering the ceiling and redecorating the sanctuary. There is a story behind these facts. Before Hitler made the swastika a thing of ill repute, it was the symbol of the Greek Cross. An active young adult Sunday School Class chose it for their name. The group worked hard to raise money, presenting plays in surrounding communities. They told no one of their goal and some church members were a bit annoyed that the class did not help meet church expenses with their money. When the class had about a thousand dollars raised, they announced their grand plan of sanctuary renovation. J. C. Hicks was minister at the time. Ray Thatcher and Cyrus McDowell did the carpentry work. Henry Miracle did a painting of Christ with a Crown of Thorns. These artists were not Erin men, but they were related to Eva Earl.

Much family life centered around the church before the era of rapid communication and transportation. Every Children’s Day was a great occasion with the children participating by reciting "pieces" and singing. Lola McDowell remembers the children making yards of daisy chains and decorating the church. Christmas was more of a church than a home celebration in years gone by. Both churches in the village had big Christmas Trees and parties…Most people attended both. Gifts were passed out by Santa Claus, who was Merritt Rosekrans for many years.

In 1955 the Annual Conference reported $1500 being spent on the Erin Church. My guess would be that this was when central heat was installed. In the following year $650 was spent, indicating another large task we’d undertaken, or perhaps it was all the furnace project. In 1967, when Wilson Buddle was our minister, $2742 was spent. The prayers and hard work of Debba Cornell led to the building of the new kitchen. Milton Halpin of Pine Valley was contractor.

Another bit of local history revolves around the evergreen cross on the hillside of Erin. Ira Nichols planted the cross. He was Howard Nichol’s grandfather. For many years the cross has been the site of an Easter Sunrise Service, usually led by MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) groups. It often included youth from surrounding communities.

The church organ was purchased while Alberta Callihan was pastor in 1964. It is a memorial to Gus Stannard, Mrs. Anna Blauvelt, Mrs. Ida Bixby, Mrs. Lola Neish, and Mr. Fred Rick.

Lighting of the church has gone through numerous changes. Originally, there were bracket lamps that burned kerosene; later a gas generator was installed and gas was piped to lamps in the church and classroom. Then, in later years electricity was put in the church, probably about 1920.

The pastor’s salary may seem small to us as it was in the early days of the church, but money was hard to raise at that time. A "Donation Party" was held each fall when all the members brought farm produce to the pastor’s family. Singing and recitations, Bible reading and praying took place.

The parsonage was sold in 1973. It sold for $6500. The next year it caught fire and was badly damaged. Some church records came to light when damaged walls were torn down. After the fire, it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Borden, who are repairing it and putting an addition on the back. (Note: Mr. and Mrs. Borden are still living in the house in 1999.)

New pews were secured from the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elmira in 1973. New carpeting was put in at about the same time. The entrance to the church has recently been repainted and a new light fixture installed.

NOTE: Thus concludes this wonderful account of the beginning history of the Erin United Methodist Church. The booklet/history was dedicated to the memory of the Reverand Robert Clark (a former and much loved and respected pastor at Erin UMC). Sincere thanks was expressed to George Patterson (an active member at the time) for the cover design and all the work of putting the booklet together.


July/August 1999:

The Erin United Methodist Church is alive and well today! We are in the same boat (or should I say "ark"?) as almost every church of every denomination is; we are experiencing a period of small attendance and a lack of young people in our membership and constituency.






This statement was developed by The Futures Committee of the Erin United Methodist Church - June, 1999. (The members of that committee are Joyce Beach, Pastor Don Roe, Warren Ingham, and Earl Collson.)


We would like to introduce you to some of the many things this community church has to offer you and your family. We worship on Sunday Mornings at 9:00 A. M. and have an informal evening service each Sunday evening at the Hicks UMC. This evening service is centered around music and the Erin Gospels and accommodating those who find an evening service more to their needs and liking.

The Sullivanville United Methodist Women have extended an open invitation to any of us to join them; we would like to form a UMW group at the Erin church and are ready to organize it, if we hear that you want it.

We are currently helping to support a mission cause at the Brown Memorial Church in Syracuse (called our "Cents for Mission") which serves the poor and underprivileged. It is amazing what a few cents a week from folks can do, if it is directed properly.

We have an Adult Sunday School class; we are able and willing to provide classes for any age group. Would you like a youth class during the week, if not on Sunday mornings?

You will find the people at Erin United Methodist Church to be friendly and open. We welcome all those who are searching for a meaningful relationship with God, and also those who want to be a part of a caring fellowship.

We are pleased to have the Hicks’ congregation worshiping with us. They have been a welcome addition to our parishioners. It has been a special experience to have them join us in worship, play, and work.

If you would like to have Pastor Roe (730-2005) or Pastor Rockwell (734-8336) call at your home, please let them know. Pastor Don Roe is at the Erin Church each Thursday evening at 7:00 P.M. and is available to visit, discuss, answer questions, etc. for anyone who chooses to stop by the church on Thursday evening. We also have a short worship time on Thursday evenings. Pastor Mari is most always there too, or may pinch hit for Pastor Don. Either is as close as your phone!

Come and see what we can do for you and your family; come and see what you can do for us. The caring community of Christ can offer support and strength in this busy world of ours.


As we celebrate 125 years as a Body of Christ, called Erin United Methodist Church, we must look to the future as we celebrate the past; one hundred and twenty-five years ago, our forefathers stepped out in faith. They gave and risked. They birthed this Church as a mother births a child, out of great pain, inspired by great hope.

In the lifetime of most of our present congregation, we have built the present kitchen and restroom areas. More recently we have re-roofed the entire Church (in four stages). This includes the steeple renovation completed in November 1996. The steeple was re-roofed in the 1900’s for $87. This time, the bill was considerably more – about 100 times more. And, it is – Praise God! – paid for. Clayton Murphy devised a replica of the steeple in the church dining hall, a drive began, and for $255 apiece, a symbolic shingle could be purchased in someone’s memory or honor. Gifts of a shingle were often anonymous. The Erin congregation is small but faithful, stout-hearted and determined to keep the structure intact. Under the pastoral guidance of the Rev. Donald L. Roe and the support of hard-working trustees and parishioners, the ultimate goal of paying off this debt, maintaining current expenses, doing other needed repairs and improvements has and is being realized.

Other repairs and improvements include a new furnace; a new hot water heater; new paint in the dining and kitchen area; new ceiling lights have been installed in part of the dining/Sunday School area. Some new appliances (some slightly used from rummage sale donations) have been added to the kitchen, making it much easier to put on the public meals that have been held as money raisers.

We have also acquired a TV set and by the time you read this we will be in possession of a VCR to enhance our teaching/learning skills. This is the age of "seeing" and "hearing’ as learning tools.

We continue to have great Rummage Sales as a means of revenue. It is a lot of work, but a good money-maker. Each time we have one, we find new ways to make it bigger and better. We pride ourselves on having something for everyone and very good quality merchandise. This year (1999), we held it for 3 days instead of two; we are still evaluating the advantage of this, but we had a great time and a great sale. Pastor Deb Roe lent us her expertise and advice once again. How she managed with her busy schedule borders on magic.

For the last 3 rummage sales, we have had a café/lunch counter; it has netted us some extra profit and an even greater bonus from it is the camaraderie and good conversation and relaxation it provides for the workers and the rummage sale customers. "Chef Murphy" does his best!

This year we were fortunate to have a new (to us) organ donated for the sanctuary. The one we had been using needed repair that was not reasonable to put into an organ of its age. We are very grateful to the family who donated it. We have also had some fencing donated to us by Pam and David Turner. Gwen Marciniak and Bernie Stansfield have been helping with the flowers that you see growing around the building; of course, Pastor Don’s green thumb is evident as well. Earl Collson is our faithful lawn mower. In the winter time, Jim and Dan Bean have plowed out the parking lot as has a good Samaritan across the street from the church on Church Road. Then we have our crew of "janitors"; they keep the church clean and we never get a bill! It is impossible to mention everyone who lends a helping hand to the Erin UMC. BUT REST ASSURED THAT YOUR GENEROSITY, KINDNESSES, AND CARING DOES NOT GO UNNOTICED……


In August of 1999, we give thanks for all this our history. The world has changed so much that we are at a crossroads of decision as critical as the one our founding fathers faced 125 years ago. They took a leap of faith. They were willing to take the great risk for the Lord. They were a radical minority. Most of the people of Erin, at that time, had no interest in their dream for a Church or were sure it was impossible to accomplish. And, here we are in a similar crossroads in August 1999.

We are stalled….Our Church is not equipped to move into the next Century. All the evidence tells us that we must take a giant leap of faith, or we will die of inertia!! WE MUST HAVE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION SPACE. Our Sunday school and youth groups die, because we have no real program space….The only classroom we have is not usable because there is no fire escape. Our restrooms are not really handicapped accessible. We need to insulate to cut fuel costs and bring our electrical wiring up to code; the list goes on.


If we move forward NOW, this Erin Church will live to celebrate 200 years of Witnessing. If we don’t, our future does not look good. The money we need to assure our future could be raised in a matter of months, if those who love this Church will seize the moment and consider "second mile giving". Make the church one of your beneficiaries! We repeat part of our mission statement: "WHAT GREATER HERITAGE CAN WE LEAVE OUR HERIS THAN A CHURCH FOR THE NEXT CENTURY". God Bless you. Pray about this; and then tell us what you want to do; tell us what you will do!


Down Memory Lane:

On the following pages are some letters we received from folks who had memories to share. Enjoy them as you read and appreciate them.

Date: Thursday, July 15, 1999 2:12 PM

Subject: 125 Anniversary of Erin Church

Dear Don,

I will not be able to attend the 125 Anniversary of the Erin UMC, but want to share some thoughts with you that you might pass on if appropriate.

I have wonderful memories growing up in the Erin Methodist Church and felt loved and cared for.

In Sunday School I loved the "Grand Opening" where we would sing all those wonderful old gospel song. My favorite was "Bringing in the Sheaves". I can still hear Helen Hall singing in my mind. Youth Group was wonderful in those days and especially the District Rallies. My Dad had an old 7 passenger Cadillac at that time and we kids would pile into that car (often many more than seven) and off we’d go to Elmira for a District Rally.

I especially loved the wood bees that the church would have in the Fall to get wood for the stoves. I can still remember Don Roe skidding logs with a team of horses. I wonder if he can still do that? I bet he can. Don is one of those persons who just never get old. We would work all morning and then the ladies would put on a wonderful meal at lunch time and them back at it in the afternoon. My job was to throw the sawed logs on the wagons and I remember how proud I was to be working along side all the men in the church. They really made me feel as if I belonged, like I was part of some really special team. And then I can remember getting up with my father at 4 a.m. (it might have been more like 6 a.m., but it felt like 4 a.m.) on Sunday morning and going down to the church and getting the stoves going. We would just pile that old stove in the sanctuary full of logs and get it red hot and then bank it down and go back home and have breakfast and get ready for church. We also had a stove upstairs in the Sunday Class room over the kitchen. I would help get that one going and then play the old pump organ up there until time to go. I don’t think that room exist today. I remember the day my Dad and I took that old stove apart and took it to the Historical Museum in Elmira. As I remember it came out of the Holding Point and was used during the Civil War to keep Confederate prisoners warm.

Then there were the great ice cream socials. I remember making the ice Cream up in our back yard and keeping the ice in our old ice house. Cranking those old ice cream makers was no easy job, but if you helped you got to lick off the paddles and I’ve licked a few in my day. And oh there was the times I helped paint the church. I, of course, was no painter and always got more on me than on the church. VBS was always great fun. And for some unknown reason I can remember a special craft Debba Cornell had us do one summer. We would take a leaf and put it on a piece of paper and then with a screen and tooth brush and paint we would spatter the outline of that leaf on paper. Now why would I remember that craft? And oh I remember some of the pastors. Horace Pittman, Bill Swales, Bill Jenkins. Bill Jenkins taught me Morse Code. You remember he was really into short wave radio.

Yes, I have wonderful memories of that Christian community and I am really grateful for the privilege I had of growing up in the Erin Methodist Church. I am also grateful for all the faithful people who are still committed to caring for the children and young people in the town, ensuring that they too will know the love of Christ through the caring witness of others.

Yours in Christ

Gary Judson

August 1999

The following reminiscent letter was received from Rev. Don Roe, our current pastor here at Erin; Pastor Don has served this parish twice in his ministry; once as an assistant pastor, when he assisted in ministering to the five parishes of the "Newtown Creek Larger Parish". Last year we celebrated with him as he completed over 40 years in the ministry. Pastor Don is now in his tenth year of serving the Erin flock; that is the longest that a pastor has been here in Erin at one time. Pastor Don is a prime example of longevity in years, stamina, enthusiasm, and dedication and service to the Lord. We are grateful for the Rev. Donald L. Roe.

Pastor Don’s letter is as follows:

The Erin Church that I remember from 1952 – 53:

I, my wife, Faye, and daughter, Becky, and infant son, Gary moved into the parsonage. It is the house where the Bordens live now. There was a barn where we parked the car. We had a shallow dug well.

There was no water or toilet facilities at the church, so the parsonage was the restroom facility for everyone at the church.

Rotary mowers were the new rage; I bought a "Reo" – two cycle. The fact that the pastor had a rotary mower was quite an excitement!

Jim Smith, Erin Historian, lived in the house next to the parsonage. He had an attached greenhouse. He was full of the tales of Erin and told us most of them. I wish I had taken notes. He was Marguerite Smith’s father-in-law.

Some of the old Saints that would have been in the church in its infant years were still active. Debba Cornell is one I recall.

Then, there were Josh and Ruby Bowen and their two children, Mary and Luther. They were the "new folks" who had come here from the "south"; I can’t recall which state. Ruby was a Saint; she sang and served and taught. Josh and the children were active too. I officiated at Ruby’s funeral in July of 1998. She had spent her last years with her son, Luther in Breesport. The Breesport Pastor was on study leave in Washington, D.C., so I was called to officiate. It was an honor. I had known and loved Ruby for nearly 50 years. Josh always wanted music with square notes. For some reason he could read square noted better than round ones.

In those days Erin was still a busy community. There was a band that played and marched in the parades. The church was the center of most social activity.

Rev. Gary Judson has spoken about the old wood stove. It was a rectangular steel box. It sat in the middle of the sanctuary floor. It could take logs 3 or 4 feet long. I was one of the fire stokers. The stove was originally in the Confederate Prisoner of War Camp in Elmira, N.Y.

The stairs that go to the upstairs classroom were being built in 1953, as I was packing to move to Mainesburg, Pennsylvania. I remember Bob Evenden making a trip to Horseheads to get stain for the stairs to be applied before they were used. I don’t think it ever got applied!

Those were the "Grand Old Days" of the Church. The Methodist Church was still adding members. We had problems, but there was an assumption that most people were interested in the church. In the early 1960’s, the national membership of the Methodist Churches began to decline. Erin Church has fewer members than it did in 1952-53.

God’s Word is as relevant in 1999 as it was back then….We are struggling to find the ways to tell this new world of the Saving Love of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Donald L. Roe

August 1999

As I type this letter from Rev. Deb Roe into the computer, my memory of the first time I met he comes to mind; I remember thinking that I would really like to have this pretty, energetic, and interesting little woman as my friend. That wish came to fruition! I am proud to call her "friend".

TO: Clayton and Suzanne Murphy


I came to Erin United Methodist Church in the summer of 1989. My husband, Rev. Don Roe had retired that year and was appointed at Erin UMC. Right from the beginning of my time there I felt welcomed and cared for.

My fondest memories are those of working with the folks at Erin UMC as we reached out to the young people of the Church and Community. We had wonderful and grand Vacation Church School each summer. When 19 or 20 adults were needed to present the church School, the folks of the Church always stepped forward.

It was at Erin UMC that I made friendships that will never end. In 1994 the Erin Gospels were born. Jim and Euna and Dan Bean joined me with guitar, fiddle and voice, and we stepped out where angels fear to tread! We played and we sang and we made music for the Lord.

Three years later Lynn Maki joined the group as a vocalist and guitarist; and then, just this year Nathan Agan graced us with his beautiful violin music.

My memories of Erin UMC also involve my call into Ministry from that Church. It was at Erin that I felt the Lord speaking to me about taking a new step. The folks at Erin UMC encouraged me every step of the way. For that I will be forever grateful.

During the years at Erin UMC there were events of great joy and of great sorrow. It is truly a Church for all seasons. We have walked paths at Erin UMC, hand in hand through both good times and sad times. And, we have grown…..

I wanted to add my letter of remembrances to the special book that is being made for the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Church. As I sit here and write, I realize that there is no way to list all the remembrances. They just live in my heart and will do so forever.

May God continue to bless you, the Erin United Methodist Church, as you continue to support, love and care for the Kingdom of God in this fragile and troubled world.

Peace and Love to each of you,

Rev. Deb Roe 8/3/99

Note: Rev Deb Roe is now the Pastor at the Starkey United Methodist Church. The Erin United Methodist Church is proud to have played a part in her desire to serve top the Lord.

August 1999

The following was received from Sharon Dupree; she is living here in Erin once again, after being a resident of Florida for a number of years. She has these memories to share with us:

Memories of Erin United Methodist Church

My earliest memories consist of getting up and getting ready to go to church every Sunday – without fail, we were always in church each Sunday. I remember the concrete fact that come Sunday – we would be in church. This fact, above all else made me realize in later years, that there was an importance in church, and when I sought for reality in life, it was to the church I turned to "find the truth".

I remember the pump organ in the upstairs classroom that we children loved to play; our feet hardly hit the pedal pumps and the fun of pulling out all the stops. The little chairs and tables were just right for our size. The Daily Vacation Bible Schools with their crafts, the marching in of the opening ceremonies and especially the long wooden plank tables loaded with Kool-Aid and Oreo Cookies, somehow all these things were a real treat to me; maybe being store bought and served out under the huge maple trees was it – I do remember….

Christmas was a special time for me too; I remember Henry Mix playing Santa, red-suit and all. The candy boxes given out to each child with hard candy ( and always two chocolate drops in each box) were a special treat. The two chocolate drops were my favorite candy.

I remember the time I was to recite the 2nd chapter of Luke for a Christmas Program, and as King, Janice Evenden was to do it with me. She made me laugh during the recitation, and I can still feel the terrible dread that came over me as my father placed me in the last pew and told to "just wait until we get home". I never forgot that spanking, and I never again disrespected the Bible! I learned that day, that the Word of God was a very important thing – worthy of a spanking, and in my mind’s eye (and my behind’s eye), that put it plenty high on the priority list!

As I sit here thinking, I remember the time as a teen, driving home late one night and stopping at the Erin church and going in; that was before people ever thought of locking churches. I went to the alter and told the Lord I wanted to work for him. I fully believe that because of that night, the Lord saw fit to save me years later and protect me through the turbulent years in between. The teen years were fun years at out church. With MYF, our social life was complete. We did not make it to many social activities at school, so the MYF became the center of the Erin social life for teens. The hayrides I remember the most with the stolen kisses!

I also remember the Easter mornings when we held services up at the evergreen cross on the hill. I remember my brother Gary playing his trombone, while we sang "Christ the Lord is Risen Today".

The WSCE (Women’s Society for Christian Services) would meet in homes and Mom’s special tea-dishes came out only on those occasions, when she entertained the ladies’ meeting at our house. It all seemed so glamorous to a young girl.

I remember some of the pastors; there was the Rev. Horace Pittman with his red hair and kind disposition. Rev. Alberta Callahan I remember, mostly because she was a woman. I remember my first solo was sung with the church choir.

Then there were the 4th of July celebrations and the Swedish meatballs that were always served. My brother remembers the ice cream socials, but I remember the cranking of the ice cream machines for hours, and in the end, getting to lick the paddles. I remember having the privilege of ringing the church bell; the ladies in the old kitchen preparing dinners, using the cast iron wood stove, and the trips to the bathroom that was the Hummer’s out-house across the yard from the church. Oh yes, I remember…..

April 15, 1999

The following letter was received by Euna Bean from a former resident of Erin and member of the Erin United Methodist Church, Jeannette C. Smith.

Dear Euna,

I enjoyed the letter I got from the church about the 125th Anniversary. I’m sure there will be lots of input for the church. People like Marguerite and the Collsons whould have lots to tell you about it. Also, Kitty Schanbacher, the Erin Historian. Also, maybe Arlene Smith (another sister-in-lay). She is at 931 Lenox Ave., Utica. She is the widow of Ray Smith.

Enclosed is a check for the church; I enjoy sending it.

Love from,

Jeanette Smith

August 1999

Dear Friends,

It has been so very interesting to read the wonderful letters that we have received from folks who are or have been members of the Erin UMC. I know you are enjoying them as much as I have while typing them into the computer.

I too have memories connected with the Erin United Methodist Church; many of the folk who are members here at Erin are my "kissing cousins"! My great grandfather was Merritt Rosekrans; one of his sons (my maternal grandfather) was the Rev. Clyde Rosekrans.

My parents are buried along side grandpa and grandma and grandma Mildred Rosekrans in the Scotchtown Cemetery here in Erin; one of my sons rests peacefully there as well. I married Clayton 11 years ago and began a new life here in Erin. It is a beautiful hamlet and loving, caring community. I am grateful and blessed to be a part of it all.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my son, Jan Hill, for doing the cover of this booklet; his artistic ability is truly a God-given talent. Clayton and I are vary proud of him.

God Bless,

Suzanne M. Murphy

Judges 6: 7 – 24

The Midianite Oppression:

7. And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites.

8. That the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: "I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage;

9. ‘and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.

10. ‘Also I said to you, "I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Armorites, in whose land you dwell". But you have not obeyed My voice’".

11. Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, where belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.

12. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor"!

13. Gideon said to Him, :O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, "Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites".

14. Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?

15. So he said to Him, "oh my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house".

16. And the Lord said to him "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man".

17. Then he said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me,

18. "Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before you." And He said, "I will wait until you come back".

19. So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them.

20. The Angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth". And he did so.

21. Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread; And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.

22. Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face".

23. Then the Lord said to him, "Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die".

24. So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

This is the Word of the Lord; we give thanks to God!

1999 – 2003

Pastor Donald L. Roe retires from the ministry of Erin United Methodist Church. Associate Pastor M. Mari Rockwell becomes the new Pastor of Erin and Sullivanville Churches.

Sunday School after regular service is suspended after a decline in participation by both Adult and Youth. A new Weekday Youth Class is formed on Wednesday Afternoon with fair success in the bring of New Youth into the Church. The start was slow, but we gained every week in numbers and class activity.

There are Adult Bible Study Programs carried on throughout the year.

The Robert Clark Camper Fund was growing very well during the first part of this period cue to the Great Market. We were not able to interest any of the youth in attending Summer Camp and had to donate the funds to the Conference Inner City Camper program. The slow market has hit the income of the fund very hard, making any large participation in camping a multi year requirement. This was one of our Mission projects along with the continued support of the Westside Ministries in Syracuse and the Local Food Bank.

We installed a new Lighted Sign in front of the Church to bring attention to our activities. We keep the sign current with any activities of the Church.

 The following was on a plaque made by James L. Smith for the 125th Anniversary of the Methodist Church in Erin.  The church is still in existence with a small congregation that holds fundraisers to keep the church operating.
Submitted by Patricia Wainwright, Curator of the Erin Historical Society Museum,
Erin, NY.  Contact Pat by e-mail <rodopat>

 Local Preachers Prior to 1827: James TAYLOR, John GREATSINGER, and Jacob ALLINGTON.
 The CIRCUIT RIDERS from the Oneida Conference provided religious services for The Spencer and Erin Circuits.  The first Circuit Preacher was the Rev. Mr. Torrey.
 The Rev. William Saunders was the first resident pastor.
 Early meeting places were the Scotchtown Schoolhouse, and the Rosekrans Schoolhouse.
Original members were Jeremiah BARNES & wife, C. C. HUMPHREY & wife, Cornelius BECKER & wife, James BAKER & wife, & Mrs. Joshua BAKER.
Ministers: 1851 R. M. BEACH, 1853 George WILKINSON, 1854 George HAVENS, 1856 William SELBY, 1859 John ROBINSON, 1861 Joseph J. TURTON, 1862 John ALABASTER, 1863 J. K. S. GRANDIN, 1865 W. E. PINDER, 1866 M. F. DEWITT, 1869 A. S. CHUBBUCK, 1871 William STATHUM, 1872 H. C. ANDREWS, 1873 P. J. BULL.
The present church edifice was built in 1874.  W. H. HAYES was the architect.  James H. RODBOURN, & John HADSELL were the contractors.  Trustees were Garrett S. BECKER, Alexander H. PARK, Lewis P. THOMAS, and Charles BAKER.
The church was dedicated on February 10, 1875 as THE SIMPSON METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF ERIN in honor of Bishop Matthew SIMPSON.  Thomas TOUSEY was presiding Elder with Rev. P. J. BULL as Pastor.
Ministers after erection of church building were: 1876 R. L. STILLWELL, 1877 S. T. TACKABURY, 1879 M. COYLE, 1880 N. M. WHEELER, 1881 B. C. SHERMAN, 1882 P. MINARD, 1883 G. W. MOXEY, 1885 A. S. DARLING, 1887 F. M. WINDNAGLE, 1889 O. N. HINMAN, 1890 J. A. COURTRIGHT, 1891 Joseph J. TURTON, 1893 John B. BELL, 1896 Daniel B. KELLOGG, 1899 W. Cleon B. TURNER, 1902 Mark SCHUYLER, 1907 Dwight W. SMITH, 1908 D. J. EBERT, 1909 Charles C. BORGARDUS, 1911 William T. FITZGERALD, 1912 Alfred H. YOUELL, 1914 C. M. FANNING, 1918 F. H. LOCKWOOD, 1920 Kenneth W. COOK, 1922 Richard F. WENTZ, 1924 Norman L. CAMPBELL, 1928 Oscar B. LYON, 1929 John K. HICKS, 1930 J. C. HAZELTON, 1933 Lyle W. PEPPER, 1935 Arnold MELLIN, 1939 James GORDON, 1943 Edgar Lee KINNER.
In 1946, the Church became a member of the NEWTOWN CREEK LARGER PARISH.  Ministers were: 1946 Leslie E. SIMON, 1949 Leon NORTHROP, 1951 Horace R. PITTMAN.  Associates were: 1947 Fenton S. BENNETT, 1948 Franklin J. WEAVER, 1951 Harry R. JOHNSTON.

Chemung County NY

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 06 JUN 2004
By Joyce M. Tice

You are our welcome visitor 06 JUNE 2004