First Baptist Manlius

Connecting with the heart of God

1873-1874 (Brother Corydon S. Crain)

There was no record of the Church having appointed a Pulpit Committee to search for a Pastor. However, on April 20, 1873, Brother Crain was given a unanimous call by the Church to be its Pastor for one year at a salary of $800.00 per year (a record). On May 2, 1873, he was received as a member of this Church with a letter from the Stockbridge Baptist Church.

Brother Corydon S. Crain was born in Lenox, Massachusetts on December 21, 1848. He graduated from the Hamilton Seminary in 1870 and came to Manlius from the Stockbridge Baptist Church in Stockbridge, New York (approximately twelve miles north of Hamilton, N.Y. in Madison County. Corydon Crain apparently was not ordained, since he was called "Brother Crain." This meant, of course, that he could not perform Baptisms or serve Communion, which must have caused some problems for the Church.

While the Church was struggling to fill its pulpit, the Presbyterians across the street were apparently in even deeper trouble.  On May 31, 1873, the Baptists resolved that we "cordially invite the members of the Presbyterian Church and Society to meet in our house of worship whenever in the providence of God they are destitute a minister to preach to them in their house of worship."  Brother Corydon Crain and Deacon Dunham were resolved to be a Committee to present the above invitation to the offices of the said Church and Society.  While this offer to share our services was probably an unselfish desire to help a struggling sister Church, there could also have been some hope of gaining members from a Church that might eventually have to close its doors.

There is an interesting parallel with the situation that existed later on in Fayetteville. There, as in Manlius, the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches were across the road from each other. They started meeting together because of a shortage of coal in 1918. In our case the Churches could have started meeting together because of a shortage of ministers. In Fayetteville the ultimate result was the formation of a United Church in 1933. In Manlius the Presbyterian Church simply closed its doors for five years from 1900-1905, then permanently in 1932.

At any rate, there was no indication that the offer was accepted.  Ironically, the Baptist Church was coming into a period when they were experiencing just as serious difficulties of their own in filling the pulpit.  Brother Corydon C. Crain was one of several revolving door preachers we had during these times.  When the farewells were written in the Church minutes, the ink with which the welcome was written had scarcely dried. There was not enough time for the Pastor to get to know his Congregation or the
village well.

On August 17, 1873, Hiram Smith, the Church Clerk since February 2, 1833, and during the 15 year gap in Church minutes, offered  his resignation. Action was deferred until the next Lord's Day, August 24, 1873; then again to "some week day,"which turned out to be Saturday, August 30, 1873, at 2 P.M.  His resignation was accepted, and I. N. Loomis, brother of Yettie Loomis, was elected the new Church Clerk.  Hiram Smith had served as Clerk for 40 years.

There is some information on Brother Crain's life after Manlius. He apparently was called to be Pastor of the Delphi Baptist Church. In the Delphi News section of The Weekly Recorder for Dec. 8, 1879, it was reported that a pound party at the Baptist Parsonage was held for the Benefit of Rev. Crain. There was a goodly number out. The ladies made Mr. Crain a very nice present of a cashmere dress pattern. Although the night was dark and muddy, they were disappointed in the number that were present. On January 15, 1880, it was reported that the members of the First Baptist Church (of Delphi) met to make arrangements for a donation for the benefit of Reverend Crain on January 23, 1880. All were invited to come and have a good time. Later, according to the Colgate University Seminary Alumni Record, he became an evangelist in the eastern and middle states, Canada, England, Ireland and Scotland. Later he lived in Boston, Massachusetts and was the editor of The Shepherd's Voice from 1890-1896.

Brother Crain's resignation as Pastor was read in Church on February 7, 1874, less than a year after he was called.  The Church voted acceptance with the understanding that his resignation take effect at the expiration of the time for which he was engaged to serve.  A Pulpit Committee consisting of Deacons Dewey and Dunham and Brother Hiram Smith was immediately appointed.  On March 29, 1874, a letter of dismission was granted to Brother Crain.

The Manlius letter to the Onondaga Baptist Association Meeting in September 1874 reported that "prospects were not encouraging.  We need a Pastor who will hunt up and reclaim the wandering and bury the dead.  For such a man some will double their subscriptions."  The delegates to that meeting were Clinton L. Scoville, a Church member and a licentiate, and Mary Avery.  Mary Avery (later Mary Avery Woodworth) was the first woman that we have a record of attending Association Meetings from the Manlius Church.  Discussions of Mission, Christian Education, and Children's organizations were becoming an important part of the Association programs.  There were areas for which Church women were taking a large part of the responsibility and it was important that they be there to take part in the denominational planning of the activities.