424-564 County Road 185
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Little White Meetinghouse
Erected 1844, oldest house of worship now standing in Parma. Post-and-beam construction. Built entirely by labor of members of the First Presbyterian Society of Parma, organized March 24, 1829.
Its 13 charter members included state senator John E. Patterson, advisor to Abraham Lincoln.
Acquired by the Town of Parma, 1978.
By the County of Monroe — 1979
What was there
Community-built Presbyterian Church of Parma.
What is there now
The meetinghouse still stands and is labeled: “Meetinghouse and Museum.” When visited in 2012 the outside of the building appeared unkempt. Some war memorial stones are placed throughout the property. The inside of the building has been closed for viewing. Most of the historic collection that was once housed here has been moved to the Parma Historical building on 1300 Hilton Parma Corners Road (Route 259).
An excerpt from “History of Monroe County, New York” by W. H. McIntosh (1877) reads:
The Presbyterian church of Parma Centre was organized March 4, 1829, in the Atchinson school-house, under the direction of a commission consisting of Revs Mr Penny, of Rochester, Mr Cook, of Greece, and Mr Sedgwick, of Ogden, and the delegates, Deacons John Arnold and John Granger, with Mr Penny as moderator, and Mr Sedgwick as clerk. The following are the charter members: Daniel Clark Sr., Daniel Clark Jr., Emelia Clark, Orphla Clark, Clarissa Patterson, Harriet Vansise, Nicholas Kipp, Jane Post, Isabel Van Tuyl, Hannah Pulit, Phebe Gager, Lucius Peck, and Abby Peck. Services were held at the place of organization until the erection of a suitable structure in 1831, erected, in conjunction with the town, to serve the double purpose of town hall and church It was located a few yards west of the corner, on the south side of the street. Its first elders were Daniel Clark, Nicholas Kipp, and Lucius Peck, appointed in 1829, and two years later its first minister, Silas Pratt, was employed. In 1842, under the ministration of Shubael Carver, the fifth pastor of the church, dissensions arose on what was known as the “Oberlin doctrine of perfection.” At that time there were sixty one communicants, twenty four of whom followed Mr. Carver into Congregationalism, and retaining possession of the building, organized themselves into a new church. In two years, however, after the departure of Mr. Carver, it was dissolved, the building sold to the town, and the members scattered and were absorbed by other denominations. In the mean time the original church retained its form, and met for worship alternately at the Atchinson school house and the one on the Clarkson town line, one mile north, with Daniel Johnson as pastor. In 1844 a more substantial building, which it now occupies, was erected, and its method of construction affords a salutary example to the heavy church debts of later days. It was built almost wholly by the joint labor of its members by bees, knitting societies, and donations, requiring but little money for joiner work. Services were held before it was inclosed,—a work bench for a pulpit, nail kegs and slabs for seats, and in open air consecrated to the worship of God. It has had, since its organization, fifteen ministers and twenty six elders. The present minister is George C. Jewel, appointed in 1874, and the present ciders Thomas Breeze and Hugh Johnson, in 1871, and fifty nine communicants. There are no records in existence of the Sabbath school previous to 1842, the year of the division of its members, although a flourishing school had existed from the beginning. In 1842 it embraced six teachers and forty nine pupils, and at present has nine teachers and sixty pupils. The library has grown gradually by donations and small purchases. until it has become adequate to the wants of the school, and is in charge of Isaac W. Castle librarian.
- Parma was founded on April 8, 1808, and was named after Parma, in northern Italy.
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