Photo Friday—Universalist Church, Clarendon, New York

Universalist Church, dedicated in 1837,
Clarendon, New York.

Acknowledgement: This post is based on History of Clarendon from 1810 to 1888 [2] by David Sturges Copeland, published in 1889, and Pullman Architectural News, Summer 2014, Volume 2, No. 2 [3].

The town of Clarendon, Orleans County, New York, figures prominently in the history of our Wetherbee line, and visa versa.

The area of Clarendon was “discovered” by Issac Farwell in 1810, and the first log cabin was constructed there in 1811 by his brother, Judge Eldridge Farwell, and Eldridge’s family. The town was established in 1821. [2]

The Universalist Society of Clarendon and South Murray was formed by the early settlers at a meeting held at the nearby village of Holley on 3 Nov 1832. Among the first 13 members was Henry Wetherbee. By 1834, the society had grown to 50 members. [2]

In June 1837, the church building was dedicated, the first of any denomination in the town. The church was built in the federal style from locally quarried limestone, and the church bell was bought in from Troy. [2] “At that time through auction, people purchased their pews—the highest price paid was $125.00 while the least was $15.00. $2,590.00 was raised from this sale.” [3]

In 1869, David Wetherbee and two others were appointed to a committee “to remodel the church according to their best ability.” [2]

Several Wetherbees were trustees of the church over the years: [2]

  • Samuel Wetherbee in 1838, 1844, 1850, and 1853
  • David Wetherbee in 1863, 1866, 1872, 1875, and 1878
  • John M. Wetherbee in 1868

David Wetherbee was the clerk of the church in 1888, and assisted David Sturges Copeland with his history of Clarendon, providing church records. [2]

Copeland wrote of the church [2]:

How many have been carried to their last home out of the middle doors! How many steps have sadly moved out of the side doors, when their friends have been taken away, that have years since followed in the same procession to the silent city! If this old church had only a voice, out of its stone walls, out of its solemn bell, out of its galleries, out of its doorways, what would it say for the historian to chronicle? Truly, its silence is golden, beyond the power of all earthly language!

John Wetherbee brought his family, including sons Samuel and Henry, to Clarendon by 1821. David and John M. are two of Samuel’s sons.

The last regular Universalist service was held in the church in May 1959. Unfortunately, the church building was demolished in the fall of 2006. The Pullman Architectural News [3] tells the story of the building’s demise.

John Wetherbee (1751-1836) is 5th great-grandfather of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.

Brothers Samuel Wetherbee (1800-1879) and Henry Wetherbee (1810-1879) are 5th great-uncles of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.

Brothers David Wetherbee (1831-1911) and Sergeant John M. Wetherbee (1838-1875) are 1st cousins 5x removed of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.

Sergeant John M. Wetherbee was terribly wounded at the Battle of Mine Run in 1863 during the American Civil War, and died of his injuries 12 years later.

[1] Alan Isselhard, Clarendon, NY Town Historian (photograph).
[2] History of Clarendon from 1810 to 1888, David Sturges Copeland, 1889.
[3] Pullman Architectural News, Summer 2014, Volume 2, No. 2.