In and Around Hannibal: Methodist Church celebrates 175 years

Next Sunday marks the 175th anniversary of the Hannibal Methodist Church.

The Certificate of Incorporation was filed in the Oswego County Clerk’s Office March 13, 1839.  The first pastor was the Rev. John Whitcomb, who served until 1840 when he was succeeded by the Rev. Benjamin F. Brown.  

The membership of the Hannibal Methodist Church increased under the pastorate of the Rev. Benjamin Brown, largely due to revival meetings held by him and his assistant, the Rev. Hiram Matson.  Soon after this, a lot was purchased where the present church now stands.

This lot was sold to the Hannibal Methodist Church for $80 by Benjamin Phelps, who also donated half the purchase price.

In 1841, a brick church edifice was erected at a cost of $1,150. This is the structure which is attached at the rear of the current building.   

In 1864, about one-third of the original church was removed and a new brick church was built on the front or the remainder at a cost of about $8,000.

The old section was then used for prayer and class meetings. Missionary suppers were held there for 10 cents a person!

The Rev. Josiah C. Darling was pastor in Hannibal from 1879-1882 and during his leadership a new organ was purchased for $100 and a furnace was installed.

During the term of the Rev. C.E. Babcock from 1887-88, a town Sunday School Association was organized and he became it first president.

Following him came the Rev. B. Day Brown who is credited with the formation of the Epworth League with a membership of 75. This replaced the Oxford League.

A Young Ladies’ Home Mission Circle was established as well. The Women’s Foreign Missionary Society had been formed previously. I guess the church has always been working to attract the ‘younger woman!’

The Rev. Jabez Stallwood was appointed pastor in April of 1893. Beginning in the first year of his arrival, the nation was gripped by a financial panic and Hannibal did not escape its effects.

Despite the hard times, the church and the societies connected with it prospered and accomplished much work. An entry made by Rev. Stallwood in the records in 1895 reads as follows:

“The farmers in this vicinity all seemed to think that they must grow potatoes this year. Some planted their whole farms with that useful vegetable, the result being that they sold for 10 cents per bushel.  They had little to give for preachers and less on the benevolences, but it has been a good year considering the circumstances of the people. Most of them have done what they could.”

At the end of Rev. Stallwood’s term in 1898, the church was entirely debt free and in good condition.

Extensive repairs were made to the parsonage on Cayuga Street during the early 1900s. New oak pews replaced the old ones.

A new furnace and an acetylene gas lighting system was installed.  Ten stained glass windows were added at a cost of $2122.13. Six were donated in memory of deceased members, one given by a family, one by the Epworth League and two were purchased by the church.

The Rev. Harlow Skeel, a pastor of 40 years previous, preached at the re-opening service. Although 80 years old at the time, he spoke with an eloquence and energy seldom equaled as he spoke of those who labored to found the church.

Other speakers were pastors from Oswego, Bethel and both Hannibal Presbyterian and Baptist churches. Belle Brackett was the organist and R.A. Powers, chorister, led a full choir.

In 1912 much work was done in repairing the parsonage including the addition of a porch. The following year, electric lights were installed.

Through the endeavors of the Sunday School classes (Sunday school was for everyone, not just the children then,) the Ladies Aid and private subscriptions, the church remained debt free.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story!


Speaking of the Hannibal Methodist Church, on June 22, the church will celebrate its 175th year with an old-fashioned Church Revival followed by a picnic at Hannibal’s Firemen’s Field on Rochester Street at 11 a.m. Dress as you might have 175 years ago for church, or as you would feel comfortable today. They promise good music and lots of fun to fill the day.

The Hannibal Historical Society has released the Hannibal Methodist Church ornament, the latest in a series of ornaments offered by the Society. The pewter ornament is presented in a black pouch and features a red cord for hanging.

Those wishing to purchase an ornament are invited to contact Ann Mahaney at 564-5658. Start your Christmas shopping early, these ornaments make wonderful Christmas gifts.

The United Methodist Church of Hannibal Center/South Hannibal will hold a chicken barbecue from noon until gone today (June 14) at the church in Hannibal Center on County Route 21.

Tonight, is the Hannibal High/Central School Alumni Banquet at the Elks Lodge in Fulton.  The social hour will be held at 5:00 with dinner at 6:00.

Letters from alumni will be posted on a bulletin board for all alumni to read.  Drive carefully and have a wonderful time!

The Senior Meals Program meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for lunch at the Senior Center promptly at noon.  The center opens at 10 a.m..

There’s always something to do at the center, which is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street. Give Rosemary a call at 564-5471, and make your reservation.

This weeks menu is:

Monday, June 16 — Cook’s choice (call for details)

Wednesday — Hofmann hot dog, baked beans, seasonal salad, cookie

Friday — Healthy choice cold plate, dessert

Activities: Monday — games and Wii bowling; Wednesday — Music and the Medicare savings program; Friday —  games

Bone Builders meet at the American Legion Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:45 a.m. Bone Builders concentrates on weight bearing and balance exercises to help prevent osteoporosis from getting worse.  Louise Kellogg and Ginny Hughes are the instructors in Hannibal.

Give either one of them a call or stop in during the class and check it out. I know they have a real good time at that class!

Friends of the Library June raffle is “Say Cheese” and includes an oak and wine cheese server complete with glasses, cheese, crackers, photo albums and more.  The drawing will  be June 27.

If you’re looking ahead to the Festival of Trees, the People’s Choice Award is to the theme of A New York Christmas. The date is Nov. 22 and 23!

Registration for Hannibal’s pre-K program has begun for the 2014-15 school year. If your child will be 4 years old, on or before Dec. 1, 2014 they are eligible for this program. Call Fairley School at 564-7945 ext. 3004, and they will be happy to mail the info to you. Bus transportation will be provided and registration is on a first come, first served basis, so do it now!

Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) meets at Our Lady of the Rosary (Cayuga Street across from the high school) meets on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.

The Hannibal Methodist Church serves a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted though) on Thursdays at 11:30.  Don’t eat alone, come on down and join the fun and fellowship. The church is one block west of the Village Square on Route 3.

Plans are underway for the fourth annual SOS Music Fest July 18-20 in Hannibal. For information, call Erik at 564-6133.

July 20, the 22nd Concert in the Park at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field will be held following the Save our Students (SOS) Fest at the same site. The 10th Mountain Division Band return for this concert. If you have never heard them you are in for a treat, if you have heard them you will remember how fantastic they are.

The outstanding Fulton Community Band will also perform.  Both bands will combine for the last part of the concert . Food and refreshments will be available, parking and admission are both free and the event will take place rain or shine.

Rita Hooper



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