St. Matthew's Church
240 Main Street Unadilla, NY
A History of St. Matthew's:
"As Unadilla grew in population and activity in the early 1800's, residents felt the need to improve the moral climate of the village. A village meeting was held in 1809 to establish a church. The vote to determine which denomination it should be ended in a tie between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians. The vote of the chairman, Sherman Page, broke the tie in favor of the Episcopal Church. Hence, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church is the earliest church building in Unadilla, consecrated in 1814." (Windows to the Past: a pictorial history of Unadilla, 1990) "St. Matthew's parish was organized on the first day of November, 1809 by the election of Josiah Thatcher and Abijah H. Beach as wardens, and Isaac Hayes, William Smith, Stephen Benton, Abel Case, Solomon Martin, Curtis Noble, Nijah Cone, and Sherman Page as vestrymen. This was the first church organization in town, and erected the first house of worship. For its early organization it was much indebted to the venerated "Father Nash," who held services at this place a number of years.
In January 1810, the vestry purchased a location for a church edifice and also ground for burial purposes. In the following March, a contract was let to Sampson Crooker for the erection of a building 34 by 50 feet, but in consequence of a lack of means the frame only was erected, and remained in that condition until April 6, 1813, when the parish having received a donation of $1,400 from the corporation of Trinity Church [Wall Street] of New York City, they were enabled to enclose and complete it. In December of the same year, Goldsborough Banyer of Albany, deeded to the vestry 116 acres about 2 miles from the church site, which subsequently became a source of revenue for the church. The church edifice was completed in the year 1814, and September 11th of that year was consecrated to the service of the Almighty God by the Right Reverend John Henry Hobart, bishop of the Diocese of New York. The church was erected at a cost of $2,000. In 1817 a bell was placed in the tower, which was cast in London in 1816. St. Matthew's was the first church in the valley between Cooperstown and Binghamton. (The History of Otsego, NY Unadilla Churches, Hollice and Debbie. http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/otsego/book/churches.html)
The story of how the church received the money from Trinity Church Wall Street is quite interesting. It is said that when it was discovered that there was a lack of funds to finish the building of the church, the vestry wrote to Trinity Church asking for a grant. They received a letter saying that the church was not dispensing any grants at the moment. One vestry member took it upon himself to travel to New York City and visit the vestry members of Trinity Church. He visited every member of the vestry separately and told them that he would hate to go back to Unadilla without even one "yea" vote for the grant to St. Matthew's. He asked if they could please vote yea so that he couldsay at least one person voted to give the church money. When the members of Trinity's vestry met at their next meeting and the issue of the grant was brought up, they were shocked to realize that every member of the vestry voted "yea" to the grant!
Here are some pictures of St. Matthew's original benefactor - Trinity Church Wall Street New York City