Centennial Celebration " 100 years to the community"
The Ellis Methodist Episcopal Church was formed September 13, 1895 at a meeting held at Ellis Hollow School (District # 10) where founding trustees were elected as follows: Ann Smith, Emery Baker, David Cornelius, Albert Heffron and Lydia Ogden. David Cornelius was subsequently elected to the Office of President on September 20, 1895. Original subscriptions for the construction of a church totaled $1,559.37. The church in Ellis Hollow would be centrally located and built on land conveyed to the society by Ann Ellis Smith, youngest daughter of Major Peleg Ellis, for a consideration of one dollar. The parcel represented a portion of the original Peleg Ellis homestead. The newly constructed church would be a memorial to Carrie R. Smith, Ann and John Smith's only child, who died at eight years four months of age on March 22, 1862. Carrie was interred next to her grandfather, Peleg Ellis, at the Ellis Hollow Cemetery which is in close proximity to the church.
Reverend R. H. Riegel, pastor assigned to the charge, was a strong advocate for the construction of a church which was completed during the pastorate of Reverend J. E. Showers. Rev. Showers conducted the dedication service in April 1896. The building construction is a representative example of late nineteenth century rural ecclesiastical architecture featuring and adaptation of the Akron Plan popularized by an Akron, Ohio architect, George W. Kramer and a Methodist minister, Lewis Miller. Components of the Akron Plan evidenced in the church construction include the corner pulpit platform, radial orientation of pews, and moveable pocket doors allowing for expansion of seating area. Church sheds were built under the direction of Charles Cornelius, William Davenport, and Robert Cornelius.
Sunday services at the Ellis Methodist Episcopal Church were held at 2:00 in the afternoon with class meetings commencing at 3:00 p.m. Services were complemented each week with Wednesday night prayer meetings. The worship schedule has been modified numerous times in the past, culminating in the present Wednesday evening worship service at 7:30 p.m. Church services are conducted from Palm Sunday through Christmas Eve.
The Ellis Hollow Church endured one potentially serious natural disaster when lightning sparked a fire in the steeple during the summer of 1951. The Dryden Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call, saving the church from possible destruction. In 1964, the need for kitchen, bathroom, expanded Sunday School and meeting space facilities prompted the move of the church onto a basement foundation that would accommodate a growing membership.
Designated a historic place on both the State and National Registers in 1993, preservation of the church has been of primary concern to the community. At that time, church trustees created a Historic Preservation Fund for the purpose of ensuring funding for restoration projects. Ellis Hollow residents have supported historic preservation efforts with voluntary contributions necessary to provide matching funds for grant requests to New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites and Properties Fund.
Tribute to My Church, Church of my girlhood you regally stand, With open door and outstretched hand, Calling to worship, the faithful few, Whom God is prompting His will to do. All through the valley, your spire gleams, Pointing to God from our worldly dreams, And even to those who enter not, Subconscious to them, you're a hallowed spot. Each year you grow dearer to our hearts, For of each life you've been a part, You've reared our children, you've buried our dead, And succored hopes that had well nigh fled. God grant we may ever carry on, The work of those forever gone, Faith of Our Fathers, Holy Faith, We will be true to You till death. By: Zelle Middaugh Pritchard
Peleg Ellis, first settler of what was to become the Village of Ellis, first came to the area in 1799. Zelle Middaugh Pritchard was the great granddaughter of Major Peleg Ellis. Zelle is buried in Ellis Hollow Cemetery 1881-1966. From the Centennial History of the Town of Dryden 1797 - 1897 compiled and edited by; Geo. E. Goodrich, with the aid of the centennial executive committee and many others. " Ellis " in 1896 a new M.E. Church was erected there, of which we are able to give the accompanying view. Until the erection of this building the class connected with it met in the school-house, the pastors being in 1896 Rev. J. E. Showers and since then Rev. Francis H. Dickerson.
Thank you Janet Nash for transcribing these records into digital format.
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