Our Story

We were organized in 1809 by Daniel McNeil, Samuel Haven, Amasa Townshend, James Salisbury, Isaac Parse, and Truman Parce, along with Mary Townshend, Polly Salisbury, and Elizabeth Parce, the First Baptist Church of Ogdensburg was founded in the turmoil prior to and during the War of 1812. Like many other Baptist churches, we have continued to live amid the turmoil of our day, seeking God’s answers to our questions and wisdom for faithful discipleship and service.
 
Our church building was erected in 1831, the same year that our Christian brothers constituted themselves as a mission auxiliary to the St. Lawrence Baptist Association. We have shown an active interest in mission work from our very beginning.
 
In 1881 our building was destroyed by fire. The organ and furnishing were all that were salvaged. Despite the lack of insurance in that era, the building was rebuilt by 1887 with donations and community support. During this time a neighbor of the church, Mr. Donnelly, gave a generous donation with the understanding that the steeple NOT be replaced. 
He feared another disaster in which the steeple would topple onto his home. Our building remains with a tower rather than a steeple to this day.
 
A wonderful asset to our spiritual and aesthetic life of our church is the 1920’s addition of stained glass windows which depict many of the well know Bible stories. These were crafted and installed by renowned Harry Horwood. Although he and Mrs. Horwood had not “officially” joined First Baptist as members, they enriched our life together in significant ways. We fondly remember Mrs. Horwood as our organist, and Mr. Horwood as choir director. They served us in this capacity for over 40 years.
 
Throughout the many years and cultural changes, we have remained a church, a gathered people who love our Lord Jesus Christ, lifting our hearts toward God in vibrant worship, seeking to grow deeper in discipleship and fellowship, and reaching out in service to our community and the world.
By Eleanor Harwell, Church Historian
 
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