The early settlers of Edwards were from Protestant areas
of United States and from Protestant European countries so these
churches naturally were the first formal organizations in the
various sections of the town.
In 1819, only seven years from the time the
first pioneers came to Edwards they began having meetings of
the faith they were accustomed to before settling in the wilderness
that was to become Edwards. Traveling clergymen served
the people wishing to worship God with others who shared their
beliefs and services were held in many different places.
The Methodist Church has a good history, which will help any
of you wanting to go in depth on the early meetings. Everts
History of St. Lawrence County also has an excellent section
on the religious societies of Edwards.
Union/Universalist Church in Village
In the village there were not enough members of one faith
to have a church of their own so the people of five different
faiths, Presbyterians, Baptists, Universalists, Episcopalians,
and Methodists, got together and built a small church on Main
Street at the corner of Church Street. This cost $1000
and was built in 1850.
Thomas Noble gave the land for the church.
The combined congregations grew and needed a bigger church
so in 1886 they built again. William Grant designed and
built it for $2800. A description of it at the time it
was dedicated in Feb 1887 can be read in a newspaper account
of it in the folder on the Union church in the
Edwards History Center.
this church became the home of just the Universalists, although
officially still a Union Church for all faiths, and remained
Universalist until that group became too small to have their
own parish. At that time it closed and remained empty
until April 1969 when it was torn down. The last picture of
it was taken 17 Aug 1967, and is shown here.
The newspaper account says the bell weighs a thousand pounds.
It is mounted on a base in the front corner of this lot, having
been placed there in 1976 at the request of the Bicentennial
Committee. The base was repaired and faced with brick
last year, courtesy of the village. The clapper had to be taken
out back in 1976 because the adults kept ringing it! It
is in the History Center.
Methodist Church in Village
1900 the Methodists decided to purchase the old school that
was beside them and not used since the opening of the bigger
school in 1898. They acquired one half of the building,
turned it a quarter, and added it to the rear of their church
for more room. The other half was purchased by the owner
of the house on the other side (Davison's house), turned a quarter
and used as a store. It can be seen at the edge
of later pictures, still standing, although used only for storage
by the Davisons.
In the early 1880s the Methodist congregation had grown
to a point where they felt they could support their own church
building and in 1885 they left the Union church (still the little,
original one) and erected their own church a short way along
Main St. from the Union Church. It was finished in Feb
1886 at a cost of $2400. This picture
(above left) shows the Methodist Church and Parsonage before
1900, in its location before the building was moved back to
allow the state road to go through the village. Henry
Noble (1898-1999) told me one day that he watched them move
the building back.
The 1962 picture (at right) is the original church that burned
on 15 Sep 1972. Immediately the Catholic priest, Father
Charles Richard, offered the use of the Catholic Church to their
congregation. I know that he immediately called their
pastor, because just as soon as I got back home from watching
the fire, I called Father Richard and said I felt we should
offer our church to them. His reply was "I already have".
The offer was accepted, and Sacred Heart Church was shared for
19 months until the new Methodist Church was finished.
The consecration of this church was 28 April 1974.
Paul Darnell, the pastor at the time the original church burned,
had just joined the local fire department. This was at
a time when the clergy did not usually join volunteer fire departments.
Then, as it turned out, his church was the first fire he turned
out to help fight!
The final picture of the Methodist Church shows how it looked
on December 31, 1999.
Methodist Church in South Edwards
appears that the South Edwards Methodist congregation was the
third group to have their own church. It was given to them by
The Independent Order of the Good Templars, a temperance organization,
when they no longer could support a building. Since the organization
did not form until 16 March 1894, it stands to reason that it
was probably after
1900 before they disbanded and donated their building to the
Methodist group. In the St. Lawrence County History published
by Everts in1878, the Methodists were holding their services
in the school in South Edwards. This picture, from a 1928
newspaper article describing an Old Home Day of South Edwards,
shows an early view of the South Edwards Methodist Church.
The date of the picture is not known. Part of the bell
cupola can be seen at the top of the picture.
There are not many changes from the spring 1976 picture of
S. Edwards to the 31 December 1999 picture shown here, except
for the fairly new handicapped entrance. It has been mentioned
that the prisoners from the Gouverneur Correctional Facility
painted the black trim around the church, as shown in the 1999
St. Edward Catholic Church in Talcville
came changes in the religious affiliations of Edwards' townspeople.
The opening of the mines in Talcville in the late 1800s attracted
workers from the areas of the world who practiced Catholicism
and they wanted a church of their own in which to follow their
religion. At first they were dependent on priests from neighboring
communities coming to Talcville for Mass, but not on a regular
basis. In 1891 they were able to have Daniel Dart build a small
church just as you turn onto Ames Road in that community. Since
they had very little extra money with which to buy accoutrements
for their church, they made many of the items at home with their
tools and/or sewing materials.
The first picture shows what
it looked like in 1932, white with dark green trim. The second
picture shows the church in 1957.
Notice the cross on the roof. That cross was added to the shrine
built in the side yard of the present rectory on Trout Lake
Street, by Manie Hurley as a memorial to her son, Terry.
After the church was razed in 1962 because of the mobility
of the parishioners and their usual attendance being at Sacred
Heart in the village, a number of items from it were stored
in the garage of what was then the rectory in Edwards village,
on Back Street. In 1997 during the 75th anniversary celebration
of Sacred Heart parish, the church members were reminded that
the artifacts were still stored upstairs in that garage and
were available to Sacred Heart. Some were accepted by former
St. Edward parishioners and some were distributed in other ways.
The small confessional was specifically donated to the Edwards
History Center and was added to the collection.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Edwards Village
opening of the mines in the village brought many Catholic families
to the new work site, and therefore, a desire for a Catholic
In 1928, under the guidance of Father Maguire, their church
was built. The first picture shows some workmen sitting
on the steps just after it was finished. Notice the
double-hung plain glass windows on the front, before any stained
glass decorative windows had been donated.
Over the years, it has been redecorated, and sometimes changed,
as needed; the latest refurbishing
being done in 1997 for the 10 Aug 1997 celebration of the 75th
year of its incorporation. This picture shows how it looked
after it was repainted to closely match the original color scheme.
The original main color was white. All of the renovation
work was done by parishioners. The handicapped accessible
ramp was added in the summer of 2001.
The colored picture was taken on 10 August 1997 after the
refurbishing, and on the date of the 75th anniversary celebration.
Assembly of God Church in Village
churches remained the only ones in the town until 1953 when
the Assembly of God denomination was established in the village. This
parish first held services in the IOOF Hall. They bought the
site of the former school on East Main Street where Stanley
Todd had started a house, but not finished it, completed the
house, and built a church. The first picture shows how it looked
in the Bicentennial year. In 1996 they celebrated the
of the completion of the church, which was constructed at a
cost of $7,000, and totally debt-free. Leah Noble's records
state that their pastor at that time was Rev. Gerald Smeltzer.
I recall he was a talented, well-liked man, and missed very
much when he was transferred.
The second photo shows how it looked on December 31, 1999.
Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church, So. Edwards
The newest church building in Edwards is located in South
Edwards, and the church itself, as stated in
their history, was established in 1991 by Pastor Kevin Thompson
and his wife, Rose, and a handful of people, as a home meeting
group. Pastor Thompson moved to Harrisville in 1989, but
grew up in the Watertown area.
The building, erected in 1995, is utilitarian in design,
as is the more modern practice, and has a growing group so they
have already erected an addition (in 1999) attached to the right
side of the original building, to meet their needs.
This picture was taken on December 31, 1999.
LaVerne H. Freeman, Jan 2000 ... Revised Feb 2000 for posting
on the Internet
Assembly of God Church History - 2000
Fellowship Church History - 1999
Edwards Bicentennial Book
... Edwards on the Oswegatchie – 1976
Everts, History of St.
Lawrence County ... 1878 ... Religious Societies in Edwards
of Sacred Heart parish and missions ... Testimony of our Faith
Methodist Church History ... 1999
files in the Edwards History Center on the Edwards Churches
Northern Tribune ... newspaper article of Feb 1887 on Union Church