Erving — Churches
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The church history of Erving may be briefly told. There may have been occasional public worship in the town previous to 1818, but, in the absence of evidence upon that head, it is probable that the earlier settlers attended religious services in adjoining towns. In 1818, Elder David Goddard, of Wendell, began to supply Baptist services to the people, and with Elder Andrews, of Hinsdale, N. H., continued to serve them more or less in that respect until 1830, although after 1820 the Massachsetts Missionary Society furnished some assistance. In 1830, Revs. Dr. Packard and T. Packard, Jr., of Shelburne, preached occasionally, and in September, 1832, a Congregational Church was organized with 15 members.
Worship continued to be held in school-houses and other places most convenient — as it had been held since 1818 — until 1842, when the present Congregational Church edifice was erected in the village of Erving. Neighboring ministers supplied to that year, when Rev. Josiah Tucker was settled as the pastor of the Erving Church and of a Congregational Church at Irvingsville, in the town of Orange, preaching alternately in the two villages. Following him, preaching was provided by Prof. William Tyler, of Amherst College, and Revs. Charles Chamberlain, A. B. Foster, John H. Stratton, George Trask, Ochus G. Hubbard, R. G. Hayward, and others.
The church began to wane in 1853, and in 1854 a press of financial difficulties led to a sale of the church building, then owned by a company of proprietors. A revival occurring shortly afterward, the church building was repurchased, and since then the church, which now numbers 48 members, has prospered fairly. Since 1865, Rev. A. Stowell, who preaches also for the Congregational Church of Wendell, has been the pastor.
A BAPTIST CHURCH was organized as a branch of the South Orange Church in 1835, and after a brief existence of four years became extinct in 1839. 'There is now in Erving the Baptist Mission Society, a branch of the Baptist Church of Wendell. It numbers 15 members, and is supplied with preaching by Rev. Mr. Davis, of Wendell.
A UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY was organized in 1836, and continued until 1848, when, by reason of a material decline, it was dissolved.