125th Anniversary Booklet


Several years previous to 1874 Mr. and Mrs. Martin Williams moved to St. Johnsville from Charleston Four Corners where they had attended the Christian Church of Rural Grove.

Mr. Williams is the prime mover for the establishment of the organization of the Christian Church of St. Johnsville. Early in 1874 Reverend Charles E. Peake came to visit Mr. Williams. While here, Reverend Peake delivered an impressive sermon, and the rest is history.

Everyone took on a project, or donated towards the building of Grace Church. By a study of the names and other churches who contributed to the beautiful stained glass windows in our church it is evident that Mr. Williams headed this project.

On the South side of the church, the "Employees of the Agricultural Works" are noted on the south entrance window. In the sanctuary, from west to east "In Memory of Hattie Russell" window restored in 1974, the original name has been lost. "Helen C. Beardslee East Creek", "Peter A. Snell", "Delancy", and the choir loft window states "Charles E. Peake, first Pastor".

The altar and Reverend Peake's window were draped after his tragic death.

From the altar west the windows on the north side are: Laurens Grove, Charleston Four Corners, Burtonville and Quaker Street, Hartwick and Otego, The large window facing Center Street states, "Erected By the Young Men of St. Johnsville". Who were these young men? At the north entrance "John Bowdish of Rural Grove" and "J. G. Vanderveer Rural Grove". Mr. Vanderveer was Mr. Bowdish's father-in-law. The 1878 History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties lists Mr. Bowdish as a local store owner, and as a member of the New York State Legislature. He was also a noted author of poems. I have his book, "Golden Hours", and found that he was interested in Christianity and nature.

Mr. Williams must have contacted his former friends and new business acquaintances to donate to the Grace Church windows.

The odd part about the other churches donating windows is that some of these churches have clear glass windows. It appears that at that time people were interested in supporting the construction of a new church. We enjoy their generosity.

The Grace Church Family has been touched by heaven's hand over the years.

By Anita A. Smith

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 Grace UCC
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000--Berry Enterprises
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