The first resident of the town to make a profession of religion was Rev. Ebenezer Ingraham, who preached the first sermon in the little log school that stood near the elm tree on the farm on Canadice Lake Road. This was in 1809. The next school house in that district was near the burying ground. There in January in 1812, Elder Abijah Wright held a revival, the first in the town, in the summer following he baptized the wife of Pitts Walker in the pond made by the outlet, above the log bridge that spanned the stream at the present highway. The second baptism in this town was this, the first having been that of Albert Finch, by Elder Ketchum. The elder was from Bristol, and preached during the summer in the log school house on the Nutt farm. Other early ministers were Cable Briggs of Richmond, Warren Dey of the same town; Jehiel Spicer, Ira Spencer, Elder Walker, Andrew Ingraham, James Cahoon, Archelius Maker, Homer Blake, Daniel Peabody, William Smith, Sylvester Evens, Cyrus Pitts, James Sterling, Elder Hadley and Benjamin Blake. Those were residents for various periods and preached more or less as occasion served besides those on the circuit or sent by conferences.
The Presbyterian Church of Pittstown, afterwards Richmond, was organized in 1801, and a branch was formed in Canadice in 1828. It was enrolled as a church, in care of the presbytery of Ontario, August 25, 1829, and was denominated the Church of South Richmond or “Richmond Second Church.” In 1832 it took the name of Canadice. It was reported yearly as vacant, its organization was transient, and its members were not named. No meeting house was ever erected. Meetings were held in the Doolittle school house. It gradually declined. Most of the members moved to Ohio, and some joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, until it became so reduced as to be dissolved January 15, 1839. It was organized by Elder Dey, who preached to the society on alternate Sundays until Elder James Cahoon came to town. William Chamberlin was its deacon. The only members recalled were William Chamberlin and wife and two sons, John Becker, and Thomas Doolittle and their wives.
A Close Communion Baptist Church was formed by Elder Caleb Briggs of Richmond school house on April 12, 1834, the preliminary meeting having been held on March 1, preceding. The persons who composed the church when formed were James Hyde, Ezra Smith, Daniel Purcel, Elias Welch and Arnold Green. It was called the “Regular Baptist Church of Canadice” members were added from time to time, until it numbered thirty nine. On the last Tuesday of May 1835, it was resolved by a council composed of Justin Hudnot and Smith of Lakeville, Clark and Donaldson of Nunda, Sabin Phillips and Wilcott of Bristol; Adams and Sutherland of Richmond, and Elder Briggs, Benjamin and Josiah Huller of this church, to “Fellowship this church as a Church of Christ in gospel order.” It was taken into the Genesee River association on June 27, 1835, and into the Livingston County association on June 24, 1848 when it reported nineteen members in good standing. Elder Briggs was the Pastor for a number of years. Regular meetings were maintained during its existence except in the months of January and February in 1839, when the snow drifts made the roads impossible. The first baptisms were Charles and Charlotte Ellis on June 11, 1834. John Purcel was the first and only deacon.
A Congregational Society was formed through the activity of the Rev. Isaac Sergeant, who came into town as a Unionist. He preached at the Kimball school house: held a revival, at which many “forsook their evil ways, and bowed the knee to the mild scripture.” The society was soon dissolved and no records exist.
The Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America organized a church at the Bush school house, in March 1848, after a protracted effort and revival conducted by Minister Israel D. Trembly. His first sermon, and the first by a minister of that denomination in town, was delivered in November 1844. The original Members were Andrew Ingraham, Joseph Yost, William Smith, Eli Shaw and wife, Jesse Westbrook, John Winch, Benjamin and Jane Blake. William Smith was the first class leader. Jesse Westbrook, the second, and A. W. Doolittle the third and last. The greatest number of members was 34 at one time. It closed its labors as a church in 1864. The different ministers who labored with them were Rev. Thrembly Kitchel, Bixby Booth, Havens, Davis, Finny, Yorks, Paine and Broadhead. A class of the denomination was formed on Kimball Hill in 1865, and has no available record.
The Christian Church of the Town of Canadice and Springwater held meetings for years in the Waite school house. The meetings were chiefly for prayer, and occasionally Ira Spencer or Daniel Peabody would speak to them, but regular organizations were not effected until 1830. It was then formed by the Rev. Amos Chapman, who preached regularly to them for many years. At the same time, meetings were held at the Williams school house in Springwater. The two united and on April 18, 1834, the name now borne was given. On July 19 and 20, 1834, a general meeting was held at the horse barn of Stephen Walbridge. A church edifice was erected during 1836-37, and dedicated in October of the latter year. The ministers present were Oliver Barr, Joseph Bailey, Sylvester Morris, Bartlett and Gilmore. It was repaired in the fall of 1871, and rededicated in 1872. The first ordination was of Sylvester Morris Jr. on July 18, 1847. The church had its periods of death and prosperity. It has no regular preaching at present.
AS earlier stated, the first preaching was by the Methodist, Elder Ingraham in 1809, Revs. Bartlett and Clark in 1811, Jeheil Spicer in 1812, Silas Reynolds in 1816, and Elder Walker in 1808 were the first preaching in town of that denomination. A class composed of Jabez Northrup, Robert Collister, Jonathan Water, Daniel Knowles and their wives formed in 1817 on Bald Hill. Northrup was their first class leader, and Collister the second. The date of origin of the class from which sprang the present church is not known. It is ascertained that Albert Finch was baptized in 1812, James Anderson and family, devout Methodists, came to town during 1815, Silas Reynolds and wife in 1816, and a class was probably formed consisting of Anderson, Reynolds and their wives, Oloin and Orrin Anderson and their wives, Jehiel Spicer and others, but there is no positive information on this point. Meetings were held in the barn and school house. The first of many protracted meetings since held was by Elder Wright in 1812.
One was held at the J. B. Hoagland barn in 1829, and revivals took place in 1830-33 and since. Camp meetings were held on Bald Hill, upon the Hoppough farm in 1833, and dedicated in December of the same year. Other early members, besides those named were Uriel Spencer, one of the first trustees, Andrew Ingraham and wife, Henry Hoagland and wife, the Huffs and Elias Westfall. The church is now in a prosperous state.
Dues were 10¢ per month. During the year, the ladies bought nine yards of table linen for the church and also carpet for the parlors. On July 5, 1917, the ladies voted to hold a strawberry festival on July 10, at the church. The receipts of this successful affair were 31.05. Dinners were served to adults at 25¢ each, and for children 10¢.
In August it was decided to buy new shingles for the church roof and to hire someone to get the job done quickly. The shingling cost $21.00.
The members decided to run a tent at the Hemlock Fair to check the coats and parcels for fair visitors. In September they held a peach social.
The records show that the carpet cost only $45.43 for 77 yards; the strawberries for the festival cost $4.63. Times have changed a little in the past 50 years.