ASBURY CHAPEL

Built in 1844 - Lansing, Tompkins County, NY
(Found in an old news paper clipping dated Sept. 23, 1934)

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Asbury- Out of respect for "those who hewed the timbers and helped to raise the frame" of Asbury Methodist Episcopal Chapel, most of whom now sleep within the shadow of its lofty 90 year-old tower, members of the present congregation are refusing to permit the removal of their historic old edifice some four miles across country to Uher's Corners for use as a central church for five congregations in Lansing larger parish.

The proposition was advanced by Rev. Chester C. BEEBE of Ludlowville, pastor of the Lansing larger parish flock of some 1,400 members, who now administers to the spiritual needs of congregations in East Genoa, North Lansing, Asbury, Ludlowville, Lansingville, and Meyers Churches.

Mr. BEEBE proposes to combine the last five above-mentioned churches into one central church, to be established at Uher's Corners, where the Ludlowville-Meyers road crosses Auburn highway. Thru this combination the parish would be eligible to receive $1,500 from the Methodist conference, with which it is proposed that the Asbury Church be moved across country at a cost of $1,000, settled on the new central site, and equipped with electric lights and a furnace.

Trustees Refuse

The movement failed, temporarily, when a committee of three trustees from Asbury Church, meeting with similar committees from the other five churches of the parish, flatly refused to have their old church moved from its present site where the first church, a log house, was built in 1797 only six years after the first settler moved into the present town of Lansing.

When the Asbury committee of trustees, Andrew TARBELL, Charles TURPENNING, and Peace Justice Ed OZMUN continued adamant in its stand, it was suggested at the recent parish meeting that the central congregation plan be tried out, for six months, with meetings to be held in Ludlowville school. This compromise like wise failed when the Asbury delegation threatened to withdraw from the parish and devote its share in parish expense to improvement of its own church thru installation of electric lights and a furnace.

Supported by Old Timers

That the present congregation of some 35 active members has the support of hundreds of former members and friends was indicated Saturday when many of the old timers returned for the Asbury old home day celebration in the church. The pages of history were turned 137 years to the organization of the first Methodist class here and the history of the old church was followed down to the present day.

"During the year 1797" according to John H. SILKREG'S Landmarks of Tompkins County, "a Methodist class was formed at Asbury". The members were Reuben BROWN and wife, James EGBERT and wife, Walter EGBERT and wife, Abram MINIER and wife, and William GIBBS and wife. Reuben BROWN was appointed class reader by the pastor Anning OWEN.

"BROWN lived one mile east of West Dryden Corners and often started on foot, accompanied by his wife, and carrying a babe in his arms, over the then corduroy road, to attend church and lead his class at Asbury chapel, a distance of six miles.

Church built

"This same year, two log meeting houses were built, one at Teetertown and the other at Asbury". The one at Asbury stood at the east end of the present Asbury Cemetery and was used for district school purposes on week days and divine service on Sunday. This same year (1797) Asbury and Teetertown were attached as appointed to Seneca circuit.

"A. OWEN was the first regularly appointed pastor of Lansing Methodism. His remains, with those of his wife, now lie in the Kline Cemetery under a monument erected by the Wyoming conference. The first quarterly conference of Lansing Methodism was held in a barn near the spot where the present Asbury church now stands.

"In 1811, the log meeting houses became too small to hold the inquirers after Zion and were discarded. A brick house was built, and the famous red meeting house at Asbury.

Named after Bishop

"Shortly after the completion of the red meeting house, Bishop Francis ASBURY, first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church, passed thru Lansing on horseback and preached in the new meeting house, and in honor of him, it was named Asbury Chapel.

The late Mrs. Samantha GEORGE, grandmother of William R. GEORGE, (Daddy) GEORGE, founder of Freeville Junior Republic, as a small girl, sat on Bishop ASBURY'S knee.

Among the veteran preachers who served Asbury church was John KIMBERLIN, "whose dust lies in Asbury cemetery, underneath where the pulpit in which he so often preached. He was buried there according to his own request.

"In 1844 a disaster befell the Asbury society. On January 1, the famous red meeting house was no more; it was burned to ashes, but after the fire had burned out, a copy of the Scriptures was taken from the cornerstone, where it has lain for 33 years. During this same year, the present house was built, and some who hewed the timbers and helped to raise the frame" .....were members of the little congregation of 50 souls serving God at Asbury church when SILKREG wrote his "Landmarks" 40 years ago.


Thank you Janet Nash for sharing this little jewel.

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