Waterport Methodist Church served 3 congregations for nearly 150 years

Construction started on the Waterport Methodist Church in 1927 after a fire destroyed the original building in 1924.

Posted 24 September 2022 at 8:33 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 32

WATERPORT – Members of The Lord’s House in Waterport are currently repainting their building, which was formerly the Waterport Methodist Church.

In 1849, the small Methodist congregations of Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport combined to form the West Carlton Charge and share a minister. The Waterport Methodist congregation met at a schoolhouse for several years.

Methodist congregations from Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport combined and built a church in 1866.

William Hutchinson deeded half an acre of land on the south edge of the village to the First Union Society of the Methodist Episcopal and Congregational Church of Waterport in 1864.

The church was built in 1866, during the pastorate of Rev. A.L. Backus.

A fire on September 3, 1924, destroyed this building despite the valiant efforts of residents who formed a bucket brigade. Apparently, the fire sparked the formation of a local fire department and the purchase of firefighting equipment.

Construction of the present building was begun in 1927. Rev. Arthur Hart was pastor. The building was only partially completed when the Depression hit. Many of those who had made pledges were unable to make payments. Construction was halted and services were held in the basement for several years.

Work resumed in 1935. The pulpit and bell, the only items saved from the old church, were put in place and the building was dedicated on June 12, 1938.

All debts were paid and the mortgage was burned in 1944.

In the course of her research on the history of Orleans County churches, Helen Allen noted that the Waterport Methodist Church had 68 members in 1966. Lay officers at that time included:

Lay Leader: Marlin Shawver,

Financial Secretary: Franklin Thomas

Treasurer, Current Expenses: Mrs. Walter Hazel

Treasurer, World Service: Mrs. Mary VanWycke

Dist. Steward: Mrs. Mary Plummer

Pres. Mem’s Club: Herbert Gibson

Pres. Women’s Club: Mrs. Mary VanWycke

Trustees: Herbert Gibson, Marlin Shawver, La Verne Rush, Forrest Barstow, Mrs. Dorothy Merrill, Mr. Franklin Thomas

Church School Supt.: Mrs. Dorothy Merrill

The churches at Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport fell into disrepair as their membership declined. In 1985, after nearly 150 years as distinct congregations with a shared minister, members of the three churches merged and built a new church on Archbald Road and Route 18. The first service of the Carlton United Methodist Church was held on December 4, 1988, with Rev. Greg Crispell as minister.