To see the historical presentation which was a part of the dedication of the

Condensing nearly two centuries of church history down to a list of events cannot do justice to the total heritage of a church. The most important aspects of church life cannot be fully appreciated from viewing such a list. Missing are the important day-to-day advances in faith and growth.

How can you list the results of over 9300 Sunday worship services? (and 9,300 + sermons!) Or how can you include the fruits of, perhaps, 50,000 Sunday School classes? Or the influence to thousands of young people who have been involved in the church's youth programs, including Girl and Boy Scouts, Brownie and Cubs?

So, while the following is a list of important milestones in the life of the church, It can only dimly reflect the heritage of spirit, faith, service, and fellowship of the people of the Penn Yan First Baptist Church.

1803 Simon Sutherland, "Faithful and earnest preacher of the Baptist faith" moved to southern
Yates County from Stanford, Dutchess County, where he was born in 1779. It was through the
labors of Elder Sutherland that most of the Baptist societies in Yates County were founded.

1805 A Baptist society was formed in Himrod, in Milo township, by Elder Sutherland. This church, now called the "Himrod Baptist Church" was first called the "First Baptist Church of Milo." The "Baptist faith" was now just 8 miles away from the tiny hamlet of Penn Yan!

1811 The second Baptist church to be formed in the township of Milo was located in a settlement just 4 miles south of Penn Yan which was called "Cathead." This church became known as the "Second Milo Baptist Church.". Eventually, the tiny community around the church was renamed "Second Milo." This evidently was favored over the more colorful early name. This church later became the "mother church" of the Penn Yan Baptist society.

Around 1811 Baptist preaching began in Penn Yan by Elder Sutherland and Samuel Carpenter. The need was great, for at that time the village reportedly contained two or three dozen dwellings, and at least three taverns.

1828 Ernest efforts were begun to establish a Baptist society in Penn Yan, which by now had several hundred residents.

1830 The "First Baptist Church of Penn Yan and Jerusalem" was founded on May 26th with 27 members. (Jerusalem is the township directly west of Penn Yan.) The 27 founding members transfered their membership from the Second Milo church, as well as from two Baptist churches in Jerusalem Township. (both of the latter churches eventually disbanded as the population of the areas diminished.)

1835 After holding meetings in homes, a school house, the court house, and a printing office, the first church building was built by the Penn Yan group. Located on the site of the present building, The 40 x 63' building was the first brick church building in Penn Yan. Little else is known about the building, and no pictures are known to exist.

1871 The present Romanesque Revival building was built at a cost of $25,000.[Photos]
An old handwritten record indicate that the plans were drawn up by "I. N. White". This is probably in error, as the building is typical of the work of H. N. White. Horatio Nelson White was a well known Syracuse architect of the period, who designed many New York State churches.

The 52 x 110' building had a "new and fine toned bell" in it's 120 foot steeple. Also included was a "large and very melodious organ" built by William A. Johnson of Westfield MA, his opus 345.[Photos] [Info]

At that time, there were still no other brick church buildings in Penn Yan. 108 years later the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places, as part of the Yates County Courthouse District.

1899 The original 120' steeple was found to sway in the wind and when the bell was rung! The steeple was hastily removed! It was rebuilt in the present form 6 years later. (Scroll down for a photo of the building with the original steeple)

1903 The floor of the sanctuary, originally level, was raised at the rear, the organ was moved from the the rear of the sanctuary to the front, and a kitchen was added at the rear of the building.

1915 A 30 x 50'  "Acron style" addition was built to house the Sundy School. A central two story room was surrounded by small class rooms on the ground and second story levels. These class rooms joined into the larger room by opening sliding windows and folding doors. On Sunday mornings, the Sunday School classes would hold an opening worship service together, then would close the windows and doors to seperate into groups for individual studies. A dining room and kitchen were located in the basement level.

1924 Rev. William Wheatley worked with several other men of the church to form a Boy Scout troop. This troop was originally Troop 3. Later, when all troops in the Finger Lakes Council were renumberd, it became Troop 44. It is now one of the oldest active Boy Scout troops in the state.

1925 The "Baraca" men's class held an attendance contest with the Binghamton Baracas. Penn Yan won with 1,879 men crowded into the 2 local theatres! This aroused great interest which brought on a series of evangelistic services. Several weeks of effort led to the addition of 108 new members.

1930 In 100 years, the church membership had grown from 27 to 846. A huge anniversary celebration was held.

1931 The organ was greatly altered by the Marr and Colton firm of Warsaw, NY. The tracker (mechanical) action was replaced by electro pneumatic action chests, and a new console was provided. The present instrument contains 1200 pipes.[More info]   Most of the pipes from the 1871 Johnson Organ were retained, resulting in a fine quality of tone characteristic of Johnson organs.

1952 The Sunday School portion of the building was renovated. A new floor divided the 2 story portion, classrooms were enlarged, and windows and folding doors becme solid walls.

1994 A major roof timber failed, again endangering the steeple, roof and sanctuary. The north and west sides of the steeple were stripped of the shifted brickwork, new trusses were built, and the area rebricked.

1995 - 1997 The sanctuary was redecorated, a new roof installed, and the 1871 brickwork was repointed.

2003 - 2004 The 1915 addition was demolished, and has been replaced by the "Jessup Christian Education Center", a modern 2 story addition which houses the Christian Education facilities, dining room, kitchen and church offices. Photos of the project can be found on the "GALLERY" page.

For the historical presentation which was a part of the dedication of the


More Yates County and Penn Yan history can be found at:

with original steeple

The following is from "History of Yates County, NY" - Church History of Penn Yan
By L.C. Aldrich - Published 1892

(Page 324) Baptist preaching in this locality, was conducted by Elder Simon SUTHERLAND and Rev. Samuel CARPENTER as early as 1811, but it was not until the year 1828 that any movement was made in the direction of establishing a Baptist society in Penn Yan. In the year last names about eighteen or twenty former members of the old Second Milo church severed their relations with the mother society for the purpose of founding a Baptist church in the village. Among the persons so withdrawing form the old society are remembered as these: Stephen and Polly RAYMOND, Gideon BURTCH, Thomas, Lydia and Mehitable BENEDICT, Samuel and Isaac RAYMOND, William and Lucy FREEMAN, Pond and Pamelia CURTIS, Eunice RANDALL, Artemas ENOS, Sister YOUMANS, Sally NASH, Mary TELFORD, and Sister FIRMAN.

The early meetings of the new society were held in residences of members, in old Masonic hall, schools, the courthouse, and in the printing office of Brother BENNETT. In April 1831, a meeting was held in the old academy, at which time were chosen these trustees: Morris EARLE, Stephen RAYMOND and Abraham H. BENNETT. At a meeting held February 11, 1834, it was resolved to build a brick church on Main street, to be in size, forty feet front and sixty feet deep. At the same time the society chose a building committee, as follows: William M. OLIVER, Morris F. SHEPPARD, Elipha PECKINS, Abraham H. BENNETT, William BABCOCK and S. S. BARKER. The first house of worship occupied the same site as the present church of this society. It was a plain brick building and cost $9,000. It was occupied by the society until 1870, and then torn down to make room for the elegant edifice to be erected the next year. The new church was built by Moses e. BUCK, at an expense of $15,000, besides the material in the old building. The entire new building, including lot, represented a total of $25,000. The trustees were the building committee of the new edifice, and were as follows: Andrew F. CHAPMAN, Martin F. HICKS, Henry A. DOUGLASS, George W. SHANNON, Ephraim SANFORD, Jeremiah RAYMOND, Henry BRIGGS, Watkins DAVIS and Gilbert SHERER. The new church was appropriately dedicated May 18, 1871, the sermon of the occasion being delivered by Rev. T. Edwin BROWN, of Rochester.

The following named persons comprise the succession of pastors of the Baptist church and society, viz.: Samuel CARPENTER, David HULBERT, John D. HART, Ira BENNETT, Orel MONTAGUE, Samuel ADSIT, Howell SMITH, Hiram k. STIMPSON, Charles MORTON, Samuel D. BANBRIDGE, Charles N. CHANDLER, Edwin P. BRIGHAM, N. Judson CLARK, G. M. PETERS, T. R. PETERS, J. P. FARMER, D. CROSBY., D. R. WATSON and Edward M. SAUNIER. (End of 1892 report)

To see the historical presentation which was a part of the dedication of the