Our Origins

In 1789 the County of Ontario, New York extended from the Pennsylvania state line northward to Lake Ontario and included several of the present counties of western New York. In 1796 the Town of Northfield was established east of the Genesee River and north of Rush and Mendon. In 1808 the name of the township was changed to Boyle, and later Boyle was divided into the several towns now forming the northeastern part of the County of Monroe. Boyle was divided and Penfield created and named on March 30, 1810 in honor of a pioneer settler, Daniel Penfield. A post office was established here about this time.

The first religious services held within the boundaries of Monroe County, of which we have any account, were connected with the French Missions in the 17th Century. This section remained in the peaceable possession of the Native Americans until after the Revolutionary War, when immigration from the newly created United States into western New York began. The first permanent settlements were made in 1789 in Wheatland and near the head of Irondequoit Bay. During the next five years settlements began to spring up in various parts of the county, although growth was greatly retarded by the difficulties of access, dense forests, and the unhealthiness of the climate when the lands were first cleared. The unsettled relationship with Native Americans also tended to retard immigration.

In 1795 a small band of Baptists from North Swansea, Massachusetts arrived in what is now Manchester New York. The North Swansea church was the fifth Baptist Church to be established in the colonies that traced their origins to Rev. John Myles, a Baptist preacher who had fled Wales in 1663 to escape the religious intolerance and persecution under Charles II. Leaving that area, a small group settled in the Berkshire area of Bristol County, Massachusetts, until some moved west to the Genesee Country, to a part of Farmington, now Manchester.

This group formed a congregation on October 24, 1796 and officially became the First Baptist Church of Farmington (which became the First Baptist Church of Manchester in 1822) on February 13, 1797. In the summer of 1800 a group of members of the Farmington (now Manchester) Baptist Church met at the home of Lemuel Spear to form the Palmyra (now Macedon) Baptist Church.

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