Red Rock 150th Aniversary Luncheon Servers

Red Rock 150th Aniversary Luncheon Servers

Wednesday, October 10, 1900




A Big Day for the Little Burg. — Speeches, Music, and a Clam Bake, Ball Games and Foot Races. — A History of the Place, and its two Churches.

Red Rock is the hub of the universe to-day. With appropriate ceremony, speeches and sports it celebrates its 150th. anniversary, and the 40th. of the erection of its marble shaft on the monumental rock. The little hamlet has a proud record; many worthy sons has she sent into the busy world and their deeds will be recounted with pleasure. The following historical sketches, from the “Souvenir and Advertiser”[1] will be of general interest.

Red Rock was settled about 1750, mostly by down east Yankees. Among these first settlers we find the names of Davis, Doty, Ford, Parke, Jenkins, Wilcox and others.

In regard to the early name of the place, tradition says that a traveling vender of tinware was so unfortunate as to upset his cart somewhere in this valley, scattering his goods along the highway and that the inhabitant’s gathered around to give him such assistance as they could, but that the ungrateful man accused them of stealing his wares, and declared he would give them a name that should stand by them for all time, and named the place Pilfershire, by which name it was known henceforth.

No doubt this peddler’s story was a vile slander upon the good name of the people. However, they determined that it should not stick, and in 1825 a meeting was held and it was voted to paint the large rock, by the road side red, erect a wooden column thereon and name the place Red Rock.

This was done and the wooden columns stood until 1860, when the present marble shaft took its place. It was dedicated with imposing ceremonies, speech making and a big dinner. Hon. Charles L. Beale, then Member of Congress from this district, was orator of the day.

Many men of note were born and received a part of their education within the limits of the present school district. Among these were judges, members of state legislatures, lawyers, ministers, doctors and school teachers. Of judges were Hon. John Cadman and Hon. Hiram D. Ford. Dr. Elias W. Bostwick and Col. Philetus W. Bishop were members of our state legislature and Dr. Samuel M. Reynolds of the state legislature of Massachusetts. Of ministers were Elders David Ford and Rufus Howes of the Christian church and James M. Jenkins of the Methodist church. Dr. Richard Beebe, Dr. Elias W. Bostwick and Dr. Samuel M. Reynolds, all of whom were born and brought up here became noted physicians. Col. Sidney W. Park of Albany, who commanded the 125th Regt. N. Y. State Infantry in the civil war was born here.

Of the early school teachers most of whom had their birthplace here, were Joseph G. Ford, Frederick Manley, H. D. Ford, Edward Pierson, Joseph C. Ford, J. W. Braman, Miss Lucy Palmer of New Concord, and later the Vanderburg brothers, Edgar, John and Richard, William Sweet, Dr. Richard Beebe, Dr. Elias W. Bostwick, William and Asher Goodrich and still later Rowland T. Ford, Miss Anna Pettit, (afterwords, Mrs. F. V. Burrows), Miss Ellen Harmon, (afterwards Mrs.William Finch) and many others of whom the limits of this paper will not permit a mention. Of the teachers who have gone out from this school district their name is legion.

The Christian society of Red Rock was incorporated May 11, 1829 with John Wilcox, Reuben Jenkins and Warren Ford trustees, the church was built the following year.

The Methodist society was organized Dec. 1, 1829 and incorporated under the name of “The Trinity Methodist Society of South Canaan” with Ma? Park, Israel Northup, Ebenezer ??kins, Joseph Jenkins Jr., and ??se Ford tustees(sic). This church was also built the following year.

In those days the use of ardent spirits at ???ings, even of churches, was unive?? In view of this fact Deacon Cu?(Call?) of Flat Brook, agreed with the trustees of the Methodist society, that they would not allow any intoxic???? ???? to be used at the raising of their church he would give them several e?e pine trees. This agreement was faithfully kept and the society received several thousand feet of fine lumber thereby.

The Baptists had large and flourishing society on Macedonia, and their church was the only house of worship in this vicinity 90 and more years ago. A large congregation came from mile around to attend the service held there.

Somewhere near 5 years ago the old church was taken down and rebuilt a mile down the hill on a site near the Stickles blacksmith shop. Later the society disbanded and the church was torn down.


Jonathan Ford, one of the first settlers, was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary army. Ezra Parke, son of Smith Parke, also served three years in the same war. Martin Parke, William Mercer, Thomas Bishop and others whose names I cannot obtain at present, were in the war of 1812. The war of the Rebellion called many of the sons of Red Rock to the field, Several of whom died in the service. Among those who enlisted were Warren Blinn, 1st Lieut.; Henry H. Park, 1st Sergeant, Eber T. ??astle, Corporal, Chas. W. Battersall, George W. Holdridge, Sylvester Pettit, Stephen S. Reed, of the Ind. sharpshooters; Alonzo B. Reynolds, Vincent Burrows, W. H. Briggs, 91st Regiment; ??el DeGroff, John E. DeGroff, ?? A. Wilcox,????….???? ??lored troops;[2] ????….???? 128th Regiment; H ???? Bostwick, 1st Eng. John W. ???cox ??? Regiment; Asa Holdridge ??? Regiment; Isacc Briggs, 1st ????; Charles W. Noyes, 37th Ill. R??ment.

Two Red Rock boys were in the service in the war with Spain. Elliot Webster, a member of the 21st Regiment U. S Regulars, was in hot fighting in the trenches at Santiago and is now in the Phillipines. Thaddeus W. Parke enlisted in the 1st Regiment, U. S. Vol. Engineers and went with his regiment to Porto Rico.


The first saw mill in the place was built by Joseph Jenkins and Ezra Parke, Sr. It was located on the Indian Brook a few rods above the Methodist church.[3] Afterwards it became a wood turning mill and cider mill, and was owned and run a long time by Hiram Blinn, who moved it to its present location near the house of Chas. DeGroff. Seventy years or more ago another saw mill was built just below the premises of H. H. Park, and this region was known as Shingletown. The Stickles saw mill, I think, was built not far from this time.[4]

Elder David Ford ran a wagon maker’s shop in the building that is now A. H. Ford’s barn. Later a wagon and blacksmith shop was built opposite the dwelling house of Vincent Burrows. Hiram Crane was the proprietor. Thomas Bishop also had a wagon and blacksmith shop on the premises now owned by L. W. Pitcher. Benj. Freece carried on the business of wagon making in the shop that stands between the churches, and was noted for his excellent work.

Samuel DeGroff, Sr., was a noted horse shoer and for many years his shop was a busy place.

The old grist mill did a flourishing business, and large quantites of Nova Scotia plaster were ground there.[5] The old carding mill on Mrs. Mary Stickles place was built by Robert and Hart Reynolds and operated by them; afterward it was owned by Hiram Hayes, who manufactured cotton rope, yarn and batting.

Some of the earlier merchants who did business in the old store that stood on the site of the present one, were J.W. Vincent, Daniel G Thorpe, E. D. Hunt and Cyprian Powell. Much more interest about people and places could be written but time and space forbid.

The Methodist Church.

Among the beautiful pictures.

Which hang on memory’s wall

Is one of a quaint old village

That seemeth best of all.


For oft in my early childhood.

I played by its rippling rills.

Roamed o’er itss verdant meadows

Climbed its rugged hills.


Or perchance with my little brother

In the noontides sultry gleam.

I lazily basked neath the willows.

Beside the sparkling stream.

With these and many other pleasant recollections concerning the little village of Red Rock often recurring to my mind it will be readily understood how, when asked by my pastor to write a brief history of the M. E. church for this paper it hardly occurred to me to refuse. Though it would be impossible for me to do so were it not for Mr. Francis Park of Chatham, through whose kindness I am supplied with many of the facts which I am able to give to you.

On looking over the records of the town of Canaan we learn that during the summer of 1829 five churches were built. One at North Canaan or as we know it now, Queechy Lake; one at South Canaan as it was then called, now Red Rock. These two churches were Methodist. The leading organizers of the South Canaan or Red Rock church were Ebenezer Jenkins, Martin Park, Israel Northup, Joseph Jenkins, Jr. , and Jesse Ford, Jr. But just here let us pause a moment and look at the photographs of this old couple with their pleasant genial faces and quaint old fashioned attire. No doubt some of you who have known their decendants for many years may guess their names but if not let me tell you. They are Smith Park and wife, Molly, who I believe were members of the first Methodist class at Red Rock and I believe there has never been a time in the history of the church but that the names of some of their descendants have been upon the church book.[6]

Here too is a picture of John Alley who soon after died preached and organized the first temperance society here which was kept up for many years. We must not pass over good old Deacon Curtis either — a Baptist man — who as the story goes offered to give the Methodist society a large pine tree if they would raise their church building without liquor although some thought it impossible, it was done. The building went up very nicely, and as to the pine tree, it grew so large that it could not be sawed in the mill without having its two sides first chipped off.

This church was incorporated under the name of the “Trinity M. E. church of South Canaan.” These two churches were prominent places in Methodism for all this section of country and formed a part of the large circuit then traveled by the circuit preachers appointed by conference. It was called a four weeks circuit for one man to go around. There being two men it gave these churches preaching once in two weeks. The alternate Sunday being supplied by local preachers. Among the first preachers after the church was opened were Mr. Carley Mr. Wm. Lull, Brown, Albert and Nash.

In 1841 during the ministry of Elijah Crawford the old Presbyterian church at New Concord was bought and became a regular appointment which I think consisted of Spencertown and Red Rock, White Mills, and New Concord. These appointments were again divided a few years later and New Concord was connected with Red Rock. Now we notice another group of ministers those who served at Now Concord and Red Rock, Nathaniel Mead, A. H. Furgeson, Geralds, W. G. Browning, P. Ward and Wm. Brush, and as we turn again to the old records we find that in 1856 the M. E. church at New Concord was removed to East Chatham and since then Red Rock and East Chatham have always formed one appointment. Rev. T. W. Chadwick was the first minister after this change was made. He was followed by, A. N. Molneaux, T. Y. Bates, Marvin R. Lent, each staying two years. After this came Araon Rogers in ’63 W. S. Bouton ’65 '67, Abram Davis '68, ’70. At this time I was(sic)

After Mr. Davis in '71 came Mr. Wm. Harris and now the pictures of memory become more distinct and I see so plainly the neat little white church and the broad platform with its steps leading up on either side just opposite the church is a pretty woodland, as we look for a moment upon it every restless passion is charmed down, all the natural religion of the soul springs up within us and we feel truly that this is a pretty place for a house of worship.

After Mr. Harris came Mr. Wm. Mackey, a very earnest devoted man who I believe has since been honored with larger fields of labor He was followed by ????….???? '76 '77 ????….???? H. B. Gilbert ????….???? Mead ’ 81 ’ 83, Newman K. Heroy ’ 85 ’ 86. A. Lincoln Shear ’ 87 ’ 89. The names of Eckert Shaw, Potter, Smith, Keogan and Albrecht are familiar to all. At different times in the history of the church special meetings have been held and many new members added. The present pastor, Rev. J. S. Ladd came in ’ 99.

The Christian Church.

This church was organized on the 25th day of May 1822, with seven members. The name of the church clerk who recorded this, was David Ford. There were present at this organization, three ministers, viz: Levi Hathway, John L. Peavy and David Call. As near as our information helps us, this church was depending largely upon Revs. Levi Hathway, John L. Peavy, David Call, L. S. Rixford and Stephen Hitchcock for preaching until Nov. 8th 1829, when David Ford was publicly set apart to the Gospel ministry by the following ministers, viz: Levi Hathway, John Spore, Edward H. Peavy, Amos Starks aud Leonard S Rixford. In this meeting, only the day before the ordination, the church, which was built in 1829, was dedicated on Nov. 7th, 1829; John Spore preaching the morning sermon, Levi Hathway preaching in the afternoon and John Spore preaching in the evening again. On the 25th day of March, 1830, Mr Chester Goodrich and his wife, Phebe, gave a warrantee deed to the trustees of said church,[7] John Wilcox, Reuben Jenkins and Warren Ford, or their successors in office. The first book of records continued until 1866, and showes(sic) that the regular monthly church fellowship and business meetings were continued also the annual meetings were held regularly, and the necessary organization effected yearly, also the regular preaching has been continued since the beginning, and the ordinances of the church have been observed until this day.

The names of the pastors of the church are as follows:

David Ford, 1829–1840. At which time he was given a letter of dismission from the pastoral care of the church, by his request. He died Dec. 1, 1868, and is buried in Red Rock Rural Cemetery.

H. V. Teal, Dec , 1840-Feb., 1842.

G. N. Kelton, 1842.

Jedediah Hoag, 1843.

Philletus Roberts, 1844.

J. C. Wagner, 1845–1849.

G. N. Kelton, 1849–1858.

Joel Gallup, 1858–1864

Jedediah Hoag. 1864

C. W. Havens, 1804–1888 At which time, his health utterly failing, he resigned the pastoral care of the church and died the next year, and is buried in the cemetery near the church he served so long and faithfully.

Lester Howard, 1888

O. F. Winget, 1889

N. W. Crowell, 1890–1892

A. A. Lason, 1892

W Chase, 1892.

F Metzger, 1893.

Foster Crissie, 1894-Dec. 1860.

J. McGlauflin, Dec., 1895 to date.

/ By J. McG.

Transcribed from The Chatham Courier, October 10, 1900, Page 1 (

[1] What is this “Souvenir and Advertiser”? Does a copy exist? jhc

[2] “…lored troops”. Tell me more. jhc

[3] Would this have been on David Cooper’s place? jhc

[4] My great grandfather John Howes had a sawmill at his farm on Fog Hill (at the intersection of Fog Hill Road and County Rt 5). William Stewart had a saw mill at my place on Clark Road. Those mills would have been later and steam driven I think. Gene Stickles had a mill at his place (now Ted Guterman’s) and sawed the lumber for my dad when he built our house in 1950. I think he also sawed the lumber for my grandparents new house in 1951. jhc

[5] Plaster used locally perhaps? Perhaps in the old churches and schoolhouse? jhc

[6] These pictures must be in the “Souvenir and Advertiser”. jhc

[7] Somewhere I saw Paul Burson’s place across the highway referred to as “the old Goodrich place”. jhc

Pictured in the Photo

Back Row L-R:

Center Row L-R:

Front Row L-R: