Churches of the past

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
West Mountain Methodist-Episcopal Church

CHURCHES OF THE PAST by Euretha Wolford Stapleton From Our Heritage p. 66

Most of the residents of the town of Berne are familiar with the ruins on an old edifice still standing on the top of West Mountain, a church long deserted, but surrounded by the graves of those who worshiped there. In the 19th century Berne had many such small churches.

For fifty years after the founding of Berne the majority of residents were of Germanic, Dutch, or Swiss origin and the two firmly established houses of worship were the Dutch Reformed and the Lutheran. With the end of the Revolution and the arrival of many English and Scotch Irish, other denominations wished to preserve their religion and gradually, as numbers warranted, a number of small congregations were formed and erected churches.

The church on West Mountain was a Methodist-Episcopal and from the dates on the tombstones, must have flourished during the second half of the 19th century. There was another Methodist Episcopal church in the hamlet of Berne located jus east of the present fire house. Organized in 1845 the group was active for a few years then after the congregation dissolved, the building served as the church hall for the Dutch Reformed Church. West Berne and South Berne also had Methodist Episcopal churches as also did Reidsville. It is unfortunate that with their passing the records of these congregations and their accomplishments have been lost.

A Baptist Church was built near Peasley Hill and its cemetery remains with the dates from the early 18 hundreds on stones bearing such names as: Tubbs, Crosby, St. John, Bouton, Peasley, and West.

Of all these churches only that on West Mountain is still visible, a skeleton reminder of other times, soon also to become just history.

Long Past

Recent Past