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Ridge Baptist Church, Town of Mount Morris

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"Agreeable to the above request the council convened on the 21st of June 1823 at the house of Joseph Coe and formed by appointing Elder Samuel Messenger moderator and Elder Henry R. Clark clerk, and after solemn prayer for wisdom and direction, provided to look into the situation of the brethren and sisters, and retiring for deliberation and being satisfied with their articles of faith and covenant, the coucil were unamimous in giving them fellowship as a church in gospel order"

Letter from D.P. Lake (David) to his brother Orrin Lake.

Discovered taped to the inside cover of the Records of Baptist Church At The Ridge, a ledger book of minutes from regular covenant meetings from April 19, 1923 to Sept., 15, 1849; covering the entire life span of the Ridge Baptist Church.

Repository: Livingston County Historian's office, 5 Murray Hill, Livingston County Campus, Mount Morris, New York.

The letter reads:

Hunts Hollow March 8, 1860

Dear Brother

I found your letter here as I came home this evening from a church meeting held at brother Taber's. We are wading through through (sic) such a scene of church labor as I never before witnessed. We have had extra meetings as much or more than to average ons (sic) a week since the year commenced, and I can not now tell how many committee meetings. And we are not yet through. What the result will be none of us yet know. I will not now attempt to give you any outline of the nature of the difficulties. Pray for us --

You can get more information about the early history of the Baptist church at your place from Brethren Benjamin and William Begole than I am able to give you. The organization occurred in 1823. I did not move in until '25 and then was not a member of the church. The moderator Ed.S. Menssinger I afterwards knew, but he has long since gone to his reward. Henry R. Clark, the clerk, I suppose was our Henry Clark of Cayuga, who is also now dead. I do not think I can give you any incidents of sufficient importance to be woven into a history. I know the church was small & feeble for a long time. It must have been some 4 or 5 years before they were able to build the old log meeting house, which by the way I think was the first house built expressly for public worship in the town. Their first preacher (at least after I became acquainted) was Elder Bennett (I believe his given name was Elijah) who supplied them only a part of the time, holding the meetings at Phelps. I think it was the fall of the year '25 when they settled Elder Oliver H. Reed. How long he supplied them I cannot now remember. I think not more than two or three years. Elder Ransom Harves was their next preacher. He was ordained there and continued with them until our father came there. They had some trials and some exclusions and but very few additions and no revival so far as I recollect until after you came into the place. I think it was the year '32. But most or all of these items you will doubtless find in your record. The next Baptist church formed in the town was that of Oak Hill, now extinct. William Dake will probably be able to give an outline of the history of that.

The church at Union corners was older than either but that was known as the Sparta church.

Do not think of any local news here that will be of interest to you. The methodists have held meetings nearly all winter at Nunda Station. It is said they have had quite a number of conversions. Here the difficulties in the church seem to hang like a dark cloud over us. Vice and iniquity prevail, and the ways of Zion mourn. We have had a very good preacher nearly five months, by the name Tenney. Expect he will leave the first of April.

But it is bedtime and I must close. I hope you will find it convienient to make us that visit you spoke of.

D.P. Lake

Contributed by: Liz Cornish

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