Origin and early History of the First Congregational Church of Portland, New York. 1810
Submitted by PHGS Member Dee Davidson


 
 
 
In 1810 the first preaching service in Portland was held in the tavern of CAPT. JAMES DUNN on the well known DUNN farm, afterward owned by JOHN DUDLEY and now by Carl RYON, This farm is just east of the cemetery. 

 The Preacher, the Rev John SPENCER, discovered from the text ; " For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" His audience was very small, not numbering more than 6 persons besides the DUNN family. Rev. Spencer and other travelling ministers continued to hold occasional preaching services in this settlement known as CENTERVILLE. Now PORTLAND, [ Chautauqua Co.], until in 1814 regular services were conducted by Mr. Amassa WEST, a teacher at the ancient Crossroads, Now Westfield, NY, On January 31 1818, at the log house of JOHN CHURCHILL, [lot #38 T 5] Rev John Spencer organized the First Congregational Church of Portland which was the first organized church in the Township. 

The 18 Original Charter members in 1818 were: 
 

JOHN HOUSE, 
JOANNA HOUSE, 
JOHN CHURCHILL, 
SYLVESTER CHURCHILL 
WILLIAM COUCH, 
ABIGAIL COUCH, 
FREDERICK COUCH 
JOHN HURLBURT 
LOUISA HURLBURT 
ANDREW KELSEY 
DAVID EATON 
MARY EATON 
MERCY EATON 
AUGUSTINE KLUMPH 
WILSON ANDREWS 
KEZIAH ANDREWS 
ZACHARIAH PRICE 
NANCY McCLINTOCK 

The Rev John SPENCER, the founder of this church, was sent to the Holland Purchase by the general Association of Connecticut. His labors at first were confined to the Main Road, from Batavia To Buffalo, and thence to Westfield, but as new settlements were formed off the main road, he was sure to visit them too, going as far south as Olean. As a consequence of this large territory, the individual churches could not have had many visits from him, as riding horseback, was his only mode of conveyance. He always preached a sermon and administered the sacrament at each visit. 

I have no further information on these people but it may help someone, 
Dolores Pratt Davidson Findley Lake/ Chautauqua Co NY 

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