Galeville Methodist Episcopal Church Records (1872-1902)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, April 19, 2004
Volume: 1 bound volume
Acquisition: This record book was acquired for the Society in 1958 by then President Kenneth E. Hasbrouck. He claimed to have found the book in a barn located in the hamlet of Milton, town of Marlborough, NY.
Access: Unrestricted. A partial transcription of these records by Kenneth E. Hasbrouck is available at the Huguenot Historical Society Library.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Historical Note

Little is known about the history of the Galeville Methodist Church. [1] It was incorporated on August 23, 1852 under its first board of trustees, which included Levi Benson, Reuben F. Roberson, Samuel Brundage, DeWitt C. Gale, and Sylvanus B. Howell. The church building was apparently erected that same year. [2] By all accounts, the church flourished in its early years but began to languish in the later 1880s. By 1900, the congregation was without a minister. [3] The church was sold and torn down sometime after 1902. Throughout its fifty-year existence, the church served parishioners from Galeville and several surrounding hamlets and townships in southern Ulster and northern Orange Counties.

Collection Description

The Galeville Methodist Episcopal Church Records provide documentation of the activities of the church and its congregants during the late nineteenth century. The main strength of the records lies in the annotated listings of members, church officials, and marriages, which serve to document family networks within the congregation. For example, the Chronological Record of Official Members, Probationer's Records, and the Alphabetical Records of Members in Full Connection the Class Records (see below) all provide detailed documentation of the church membership process and about the makeup of the congregation. These listings often give the place of residence for each member, as well as remarks about their admission, dismissal, and involvement in church activities. Occasional death notices are also found.

In addition to Galeville, nearby communities represented include Highland, New Hurley, Bruynswick, Tuttletown, New Paltz, Gardiner, and Shandaken, all of which lie within Ulster County. More distant communities mentioned include the Orange County towns of Crawford, Mt. Valley, Pine Bush, and Walden. There is also at least one reference to visitors from Paterson, New Jersey. Frequent names found among the records include Alsdorf, Anderson, Conklin, Cooley, Dean, Decker, DuBois, Evans, Gale, Green, Howell, Horton, Lockwood, Scott, Seymour, Turnbull, and Winfield.

Within the book, the records are organized under the following headings:

Historical Record (1874-1902, scattered)
Chronological Record of Official Members (1875-1898)
Class Records (1873-1886 and undated)
Probationer's Records (1872-1898)
Alphabetical Records of Members in Full Connection (1873-1896)
Marriage Records (1874-1898)
Record of Baptisms (1873-1898)

However, it is important to note that the collection contains some inherent weaknesses as well. Records tend to be scattered and irregular rather than comprehensive, and there are many gaps. Most problematic is the conspicuous lack of any records predating 1872. Financial records and trustee meeting minutes are nonexistent, and the Historical Record section contains only five entries written over a 22-year period.

The records are in very good physical condition. The cover boards and binding are heavily worn but still intact. The pages are slightly yellowed and stained. The large majority of the handwritten text is very legible, but some entries are difficult to read. These include the historical record from 1874 and occasional entries written in pencil.

Other related collections held by the Huguenot Historical Society include the Gale Family Papers (1818-1910), and the Guilford Dutch Reformed Church Records (1832-1930), and the Orange and Ulster County Methodist Circuit Rider's Records (1789-1840).


[1] The hamlet of Galeville lies within the township of Shawangunk, Ulster County, New York.

[2] Hasbrouck, Kenneth E. History of the Township of Shawangunk. The Congregation of the Reformed Dutch Church of Shawangunk, 1955, pp. 58-60.

[3] Historical Record, A. A. DuBois, 1902. Galeville Methodist Episcopal Church Records (1872-1902). Mss collections, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY.