Note: The following is from Quaker History and Genealogy of the Marlborough Monthly Meeting, Ulster County, NY 1804-1990+, compiled by Shirley V. Anson and Laura M. Jenkins. This hard-cover volume is for sale from the church for $16.00 plus shipping.
Also available from the church is Friends and Neighbors: A Pictorial History of the Town of Plattekill and Southwest Lloyd, Ulster Co, NY. This soft-cover volume, compiled and edited by Shirley V. Anson, is $20.00 plus shipping.
To order either book, write Clintondale Friends Church, P.O. Box 105, Clintondale, NY 12515.
Now, from Quaker History and Genealogy...
PLATTEKILL PREPARATIVE MEETING
About the year 1790 Friends began holding meetings in their homes in the neighborhood of Clintondale. It was not until the 7th month 1806 that the meeting was formally approved by Marlborough Monthly Meeting and this meeting was called the Plattekill Preparative Meeting.
According to the minutes of the 12th month 1807, it is revealed that there was an existing meeting house being used at that time, since a request was made to build an addition on to it. The committee appointed by the monthly Meeting found "...it is their judgment that Friends there [Clintondale] had best to make their house do for the present...."
After approval in 1811 a new rectangular meeting house 26 ft. x 36 ft. with 10 ft. posts was erected at the cost of $750. Built after the fashion of Friends meeting houses, it had two entrances, one for the men and one for the women and was used for more than 75 years. It stood on the same grounds as the present meeting house now stands.
Among the leading families who aided in building and establishing the Friends Society and building the meeting house were: Dr. Adna Heaton (a physician of wide reputation and a minister), Daniel Lawrence, Reuben Bernard, Benjamin Gough, Sarah Heaton and Hannah Church.
Right from the establishment of the Clintondale meeting, constant steady growth and progress showed. Even during the time of the 1827/1828 Hicksite separation which had caused so much friction in the Esopus and Milton meetings, this small meeting continued in the time established Quaker manner with barely a mention of the conflict going on around them.
Up until 1831 the Monthly Meetings had been held only at Milton and the Valley, but on the 23rd day of 2nd month 1831 Clintondale became the third site for the monthly meetings and after that each place served as a meeting place every third month.
The most noted of the early Friends ministers were: Dr. Adna Heaton, Hannah Church, Nathaniel Selleck, Nathaniel Thorn, Sarah Roberts, Sarah E. Roberts and Esther Weeks. Esther Weeks, daughter of Nathaniel Thorn, was probably the most noted of the early Friends ministers who went out from Clintondale. She traveled throughout the United States and Canada on behalf of the Society of Friends and was greatly loved wherever she went. She and her husband, Abram, are buried in the Clintondale Friends Cemetery.
In 1879 a request was sent forth to the Yearly Meeting to change the name of this meeting from Plattekill Preparative to Clintondale Preparative Meeting and this was granted. This change has caused some confusion as the Valley Meeting later changed their name to the Plattekill Preparative Meeting.
The first salaried preacher was S. Adelbert Wood, who came to Clintondale in 1880 for an annual salary of $300. He was followed by William Thomas Willis in 1885, who was responsible for introducing hymn singing to the quiet Quaker service. During the time of Pastor Willis' ministry it was decided to replace the old meeting house and the present meeting house was built and started to be used for services in 1889. The church building has been changed through the years with additions....
In 1865 a Sunday School, used by the Friends and Methodists jointly, was organized. The efforts of the officers and teachers were blessed with an increase of pupils and augmented interest in the work and in 1866 it was concluded to hold a picnic. This annual gathering of thousands at the "Quaker Picnic" was much publicized in the newspapers and was unquestionably an event looked forward to each year. In 1886 an article in the Poughkeepsie Eagle entitled "A Monster Quaker Picnic" stated "....There were fully 8,000 people present and 2,000 teams....People came in droves from all parts of Ulster, Orange, Greene and Dutchess Counties...." At first the picnics were held at Coutant's Grove near Ardonia, then in 1889 at Hasbrouck's Grove (now William Walker's property) in Clintondale. After the grove was cut down the picnic was held in 1904 at New Hurley and soon after was discontinued.
Harrie R. Keats came in 1889 and it was with him that the revival movement began in Clintondale. He seemed to be a natural evangelist and won a great many converts. He also served as pastor in Milton for a few years.
James Wood, brother of S. Adelbert Wood, was pastor during the years of 1895-1897. A fine carpenter, he made the white oak pulpit still used in the Sunday School room. He was followed by James Price in 1897 who was an elderly man and one of nine who had survived "Libby Prison" during the Civil War days.
Fred Ryon, who came in 1900, helped put the Clintondale Quakers back into the headlines of the newspapers. On March 31, 1902 the following article ... appeared in a local newspaper:
HUSTLING TIMES AT CLINTONDALE
W.C.T.U. Members Ply The Saw and Hammer
Trying to Head Off The Opening Of a Saloon
The Latest Achievement of An Active Society
Clintondale is at the front again and the members of the W.C.T.U. are laboring under great excitement. A short time ago a piece of property in the town of Lloyd, only a short distance from the Clintondale postoffice, known as the Pinckham lot, was sold to John Auchmoody who resides near Ohioville. Nothing strange was thought of the transaction until it was quietly whispered around that Mr. Auchmoody intended to establish a hotel on the premises, and about April 1st sell liquors, that the young men and old, too, might see the product of their vineyards in a wine glass. Clintondale is not a very large place - only a handful of citizens - but among its people it has an active lot of women and a very active W.C.T.U. Upon all questions of political significance this society is always a power, and its women are proud of this reputation enjoyed. they knew, too, that for over thirty years no person had been licensed to sell liquor in the town of Plattekill, of which the village of Clintondale forms a part, and to head off the proposed hotel was a question which demanded prompt action and courageous management.
With all the force known to the gentle sex and with their usual determination they settled upon a plan which they were sure would defeat the hotel scheme. Adjoining the old Pinckham property Miss Fannie Hull owns a lot, and it is within 200 feet of the prospective hotel. The women knew that without a majority consent of the property owners within that number of feet of the house no license could be granted any hotel, and here is where the fine work of the W.C.T.U. came in. The only thing to be done, after deliberate consideration of the women, was to erect a house on the Hull lot and secure a tenant before April first. There was no chance for competing architects to get in on the contemplated house, but tireless energy and no particular knowledge of carpentering were the requisites. Accordingly a force of women set out to do the work themselves. They dug ditches, hauled stones over while the foundation was being built, and in various ways assisted with their presence and theirs efforts to erect the house so much needed, while their patient husbands were at home mending stockings, doing the cooking and singing nursery rhymes to their children who needed a mother's attention. It was a sight long to be remembered in Clintondale, and the white whiskered fruit growers who chanced to pass the scene of action were horrified that such a thing as a hotel was to become a permanent fixture in that law-abiding town, where grapes and summer boarders were the principal commodities.
Among the women who manifested considerable interest in the project was Mrs. Ryon, wife of the Friends minister; Mrs. Hulda Sutton, wife of the undertaker of that place; Mrs. Kate Covert, a woman who despises the use of "red eye" and "John Barley Corn," and many others, all of whom thought they were doing their Christian duty in performing such work as they selected in endeavoring to crush out the hotel.
No report could be secured as to whether the new house had as yet been rented. It is said that it is only about fourteen feet square, and possesses all the modern inconveniences. The whole matter is considered a good joke in the village of Clintondale and people who come to Kingston delight in relating the circumstances surrounding the "spite house" and its erection."
Other articles appeared with follow-up stories and altho the W.C.T.U. won their long hard fight and John P. Auchmoody's liquor license was revoked, in December of 1902 persecution, by the friends of the saloon keeper, was directed at the Friends minister Fred Ryon and his wife Olive. In Rev. Ryon's pastoral report he relates the following: "After the liquor license was revoked by the County Judge, the saloonist immediately secured a license in his wife's name for the carrying on of the same unlawful business in the same place. Thus the business was protected by the liquor license system of the great State of New York.
"After some months had elapsed, while tenants were being changed the W.C.T.U. house was destroyed by fire. The wind being favorable, no damage was done to the liquor selling establishment....
"Much persecution followed of those persons who were outstanding opposers of the establishing of the liquor house. Especially bitter were those against Olive Ryon and the pastor. Three times the house in which we lived was set on fire. In each instance it was discovered in time to save the building. Our insurance policy was revoked and for safety our goods removed to other places.
"From time to time, reports reached us that even our lives were being threatened and that Mrs. Ryon would be made the sorriest woman that ever was....
"The isolated location of the house in which the pastor lived, as also its close proximity to the source of their persecutors, made it desirable that they be removed to another part of the village.
"Owing to the `Reign of Terror' which the liquor forces had brought over the community, the people opposed to the saloon, were afraid to harbor the Ryons. It was under these existing conditions that they asked the Monthly Meeting to grant them the privilege and authority to solicit funds with which to purchase a parsonage in a desirable location. Consent was given and in a couple of months time the present Friends Parsonage [on Crescent Avenue] at Clintondale was purchased and fully paid for."
The move into the parsonage did not alleviate the strain caused by the harassment and the Ryons left Clintondale in the spring of 1904 to serve as pastors at Poplar Ridge, Cayuga County, N.Y.
In 1902 Clintondale Preparative Meeting became the Clintondale Local Business Meeting, still under the guidance of the Marlborough Monthly Meeting.
Walter Commons followed in 1904 as pastor and stayed for a year and a half at the salary of $500. He was followed by a spiritual, strong willed man, Samuel H. Hodges, who arrived in 1906 with his wife Emma and eight children. The port-cochere was added to the church during his stay.
Caleb Hodges, son of Samuel, followed his father for a two year term starting in 1907. He was married to Florence Cornell, daughter of Charles E. Cornell. It was said he was a smart young preacher who could speak the pointed truth and make you like it.
Following him in 1909 was John D. Piper, said to be the most beloved pastor that Clintondale ever had. He held a position of father to all his congregation and a pastor to all of the community for twelve years. During his ministry the Sunday School room was enlarged, the stained glass windows were installed, new pews were added, the kitchen was built on the back of the church and a new steam heating plant was installed. His wife Suzanne helped organize the Friends Circle in 1915 with Emma Jenkins, wife of Winfield Jenkins, serving as the first president.
Leaving the job of Field Secretary of the Yearly Meeting, Albert G. Shepherd came as pastor in 1922. A genius in handling the finances of the church, he was known as a scholar and one of deep thought and profound wisdom.
He was followed in 1926 by Levinus K. Painter, a graduate of Hartford Theological Seminary. He and his wife Margaret, who was a trained worker in Religious Education, saw the need for larger rooms to hold classes and in 1927 the large room beside the kitchen was built as a cost of $600.
Under Levinus Painter's leadership and enthusiasm for work, the cemetery next to the meeting house was cleaned, reshaped and stones reset. There have been no further burials in these grounds since the early 1900's.
The Sewing Group began in 1929 and still actively meets each Wednesday sewing for the American Friends Service Committee. A carry-in lunch is provided for the sewers and anyone wishing to join them. Some of the women, who have been in the past and those that are still actively involved with the Sewing Group are: Alida Smith, Jennie Minard, Marion Jenkins, Alice VanSiclen, Louise Stanfield, Elizabeth Hurd, Marjorie Sutton, Florence Minard, Vida Sutton, Cora Hull, Christine Hull, Lillie Harcourt, Gladys Thorn, Lizzie Minard and Mildred Minard.
B. Russell Branson and his wife Bessie Phipps came to us in 1929 for a nine and a half year period. His love of working with the children and young married couples is well remembered by some. Due to his efforts, the basement room was cleaned out, a cement floor laid, celotex walls and ceiling were installed and the Junior Department of the Sunday School gained a room. he did much to strengthen the bonds of Christian fellowship between the Quakers and the surrounding neighborhoods and churches.
It was in 1939, towards the end of his ministry in Clintondale, that he compiled a souvenir booklet of the history of the Clintondale Friends Meeting in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the present meeting house. His valuable writings of 41 years ago have enabled us to enlarge upon the history of this meeting, as no other source could have.
The 50th anniversary celebration, held on May 21, 1939, was held at the meeting house with an address by Rufus M. Jones on "Quakerism During the Past 50 Years." A fine picture of the congregation was taken in front of the church and a copy can be found [on the web page above]....
From 1939 to 1941 Kermit Schoonover, who now resides in Wakefield, Rhode Island, was pastor. He left in 1941 after having been granted a scholarship at Harvard University.
Herbert Huffman was pastor during 1941 and 1942 when the Clintondale Friends Monthly Meeting was formed, ending 138 years as a part of the Marlborough Monthly Meeting.
Mr. Huffman was followed in 1942 by L. Willard Reynolds and his wife Sabron. His days at Clintondale coincided with World War II and after leaving us in 1945 he continued serving in pastoral work, now residing in Grinnell, Iowa.
For the following five year period (1945-1950) Marlin Dawson, who enjoyed his time with the young people, came to Clintondale Meeting. He also went to the Tillson Friends during the winter months to preach on Sunday afternoons.
Dr. James Brimelow, who instituted the Couples Club, led the Friends from 1950 to 1953.
A young man, Mark Peery and his wife Nancy were with us for a short time during 1953 and 1954. he left the teenagers with many fond memories, after instilling a deep respect and understanding of all forms of religion by visiting the surrounding churches.
Jesse Stanfield, who held a Doctor of Divinity degree, answered the call to be pastor in September 1954 and served until his retirement in 1964. In 1959 he was instrumental in forming Boy Scout Troop #171 in Clintondale, which was (and still is) sponsored by the Meeting.
After the death of his wife Vesta in 1961, he was aided in his work by Louise Harries, who became his wife in August of 1962. Even after his retirement he continued to play active roles within Monthly and Yearly Meeting Committees, until his death in September 1975 at the age of 86 years.
Gerald Sutch was pastor between the years of 1964 and 1971. He and his wife Irene were blessed with the birth of their son Joel during this time. Besides being actively involved in the Quaker and Methodist Youth Fellowship, he worked closely with the New Paltz Migrant committee and held evening services at the packing houses of some of the apple growers.
The beloved Rossiter Seward joined us in 1971 with his wife Phyllis. He rekindled a light in all that knew him and left in 1974 to lead the Friends Meeting in Poughkeepsie. After suffering a stroke, he never recovered his strength to lead his congregation and his death in 1979 left a deep feeling of loss on both sides of the Hudson River.
Carleton Cates, who enjoyed incorporating music in his ministry, came to serve as pastor in 1974 and in 1976 returned to his native state of Maine.
The present pastor, Herbert Pettingill, Jr. and his wife Martha came from Chicago Friends Meeting to join us in 1976. They have become well known within the community, spending many hours visiting in homes, hospitals and nursing homes. "The Front Pew" newsletter has grown and blossomed under his guidance, reaching out to over 200 people each month.
Now, as the Carillon, donated in 1979 to the Meeting, rings thru the town daily we are reminded that as the only remaining active church in the village, members as well as the whole community feel a deep need to maintain the Clintondale Friends Meeting as our Christian witness.
End of history.
Note: We are in the process of bringing the history of the church up to date.
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