For a time they held their meetings in the schoolhouse at Lower Genegantslet, then obtained the use of the Methodist Church in Greene every other Sunday. Finally the M.E. Society became large enough to hold services every week, so the Baptists were obliged to rent the only place available - a vacant store-room in the Goff Block, then owned by William Hatch, one of Greene's early merchants. This was in 1839 during the pastorate of Rev. Chauncey Darby. The store-room was equipped with counters and shelves which the owner would not allow to be removed, so Rev. Darby used the end of an old counter for his pulpit and the congregation sat around the room on boxes and benches. Finally the place became too small to hold them all and he secured an adjoining room so that the people could hear the service from each one.
One day as Elder Darby was walking down South Main Street, (Now Chenango Street) he saw George R. Lyon removing the tools from his blacksmith shop which was where his house later stood (Now the site of the Mobile Gas Station). He asked Mr. Lyon what he planned to do and Mr. Lyon replied that he was going to build a house there. "Would you sell the shop to me?" asked Elder Darby. "Yes!", replied Mr. Lyon. So a price of $50.00 was agreed upon. The Elder then hitched up his Horse and rode around among his people and told them that he had purchased a church. The result was that in a few days the members of the Society brought several yoke of oxen and drew the building on to the rear end of the church lot for which they had contracted, on the corner of Chenango and Mill Streets. (The deed, dated 1847, from William Hatch, states "The land on which the church stands, also the old house formerly used as a Meeting House)
The 24 feet by 36 feet blacksmith shop was repaired and fitted up for a Sanctuary and used until a new church was built.
When the building committee drafted the subscription paper, it was headed by the pastor with $50.00, and when it was due he sold his horse to pay it. HE accepted whatever was offered: "A yoke of two year old steers to be delivered in the spring", boards, hewed timber, stone at the quarry, team work, material, labor, a barrel of pork, etc.
In Artemas Haynes' Account Book records are found of the building of this church in 1842. He and A. Newton went to Oxford to Look at Meeting Houses and churches there, after which he drew the plans (for 75 cents) for it. He "drew timber with Mr. Storm", and "Made a bargain with Mr. Dibble" to build the House. Stone for the basement and foundation came from the Birdsall Quarry and for Haynes own work on the foundation, making window frames, and getting stone, he received $18.00 for two weeks work. Later he spent three days "Going around trying to settle subscription".
A picture of this church shows it to be similar in appearance to the old Episcopal Church (now Catholic). During summer services it was so packed with people that a multitude even crowded the front yard and listened, with church windows up and door open, to Rev. Darby.
The original church lot extended from Chenango Street to Stillman Watson's on the west corner of Monell Street. In 1856 the church conveyed to him a portion of the lot which adjoined his property and as this appears to be that on which the "Blacksmith shop church" stood, he probably acquired that building at the same time."
Contributed by Lynda & B.J. Ozinga - 2002.
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