Back in the years preceding and following the dawn of the 20th century, the larger Sullivan County, NY, villages, such as Liberty and Monticello, had their own Methodist Episcopal (what the Methodists used to be called) churches with full-time clergy. However, the smaller villages and hamlets might have had a church building, but the clergy was shared between several villages. If you’ve heard the term “circuit rider” that’s what these clergy were. They carried the records of each of the churches with them as they rode the circuit.
In the Town of Liberty, in Sullivan County, NY, there was a circuit that served White Sulphur Springs (then called Robertsonville), Swan Lake (then called Stevensville), and Harris (then known as Strongtown). A succession of ministers served that circuit, and their compiled records are available to us, thanks to the diligence of Gertrude Barber back in 1929.
About church records
Church records, with variations depending upon denomination, tend to have records of liturgical events: baptisms, confirmations (“joining the church”), marriages, and funerals, with occasional lists of all the members of a particular church at a particular point in time. In an area that did not have state-mandated capture of birth, marriage, and death statistics until rather late (and then it was not infrequently neglected), church records can be the most important source of such data, surpassing even family Bibles due to their concentration of information about a locality.
Methodist Church Records: Town of Liberty, NY Circuit
We had previously included this compilation on one of our Memories of Liberty CD-ROMs, but now that we have discontinued our CD line, this one gets to stand on its own. For anyone with ancestors in the more rural parts of the Town of Liberty, or someone interested in the history of these areas, this collection is very important. We’ve also compiled our own index of the records.
Please CLICK HERE to see more information and to download this collection.