Religion In Collins / Collins Center
Jacob Taylor and his missionaries were, of course, the first established religious group in the Collins Center area. While the first Quaker meetings were held at the homes of various parishioners, it wasn't until 1820 that an actual meetinghouse would be built in what is now, the Town of Collins. (The congregation, established in 1817, met in a school house until the church was built.)
In 1840, a meetinghouse would be built between Collins and Collins Center. The meetinghouse stood in front of the Quaker Cemetery on the East West Road (the present route 39). The cemetery remains as evidence.
The growth that came to the Hamlet of Collins after the building of the railroad system, created a need for the Quakers to move their meeting house once again. In 1887, the Quakers would begin construction of a frame building to be used as a meeting house. This building is still used by the Quakers today.
Very few changes have been made to the meeting house, as very few changes have beset the Quakers themselves. They are still a passive community, eager to share and help their neighbors or fellow members of their religious cult.
In 1823, Rev. John Copeland formed the Methodists congregation in the Collins Center area. The congregation began by meeting in the homes of its members then in a schoolhouse. In 1834, a church was partially erected, the interior remaining unfinished for as many as ten years. The church stood on the present Konert Road, approximately .3 of a mile south of the present Route 39.
In 1844, it was decided that the church needed to be moved nearer the village of Collins Center. Congregation members placed the building on log skids, dragging it across the fields to the present Collins Center Zoar Road, by an oxen team. The same edifice, including modifications, is still in use by the Methodist Society today.
A resident pastor, Rev. Curtis Graham, was first enacted at the Methodists church in 1845. The practice of resident pastors remains in effect today, although the location of the parsonage has changed. For many years, the parsonage was located at the corner of East West Road (Route 39) and Church Street (Collins Center Zoar Road). With modern technology booming all around, the area was forced to renovate the local highway system. In the mid 1960's, both of these roads were widened to accommodate the heavier traffic. The parsonage was bulldozed to make room for the modernization. The house next to the church was then purchased, and has since been the Methodist parsonage.
During the 1860's, enlightenment rocked the area. It was during this time that the formation of new religious cults was begun. Inclusive in this formation was the Free Methodists and the Universalists. Both of these religious organizations threatened to dissipate the Methodists congregation, yet, it held fast. Today the local congregation is as strong as ever.
The Free Methodists
The Free Methodist organized in the Collins / Collins Center area about 1860. Initially members held their religious meetings in private homes, but by 1865, they were able to build a church. In 1897, the congregation purchased a house on South Division (now School Street) to use as a parsonage. (This house was later sold, and remains standing next to the old Collins Center School.)
The building (which still stands on Route 75, near the intersection of Route 39) managed to maintain its congregartion until the late 1960's. By this time the size of the congregation has so increased, that a new church, and parsonage, was built, northeast of the prior location. Within a few years, the size of the congregation and the inability to locate a permanent pastor forced the church to close. The church and parsonage was sold in the early 1980's. The church structure now houses a private school (The Blossom Garden School) and the parsonage is now a private residence.
Somewhere near the time of the formation of the Free Methodists Congregation in this area also came the formation of another religious cult, the Universalists. The Methodists elected to assist the Universalists with the formation of their religious endeavor. Until, this sect had adequate funds to built their own place of worship; the Methodists allowed them to use their church on a bi-weekly basis for religious meetings.
The sect lasted only a few years after their meeting house had been built. While very little remains to help us discover the ways and means of the sect, the building, which housed their church, still stands proud. The Collins Center Grange presently utilizes it.
This page last updated: April 1, 1999