The First Presbyterian Church of Geneseo began when the Reverend Daniel Thatcher, a Presbyterian missionary, gathered settlers together for prayer and Bible study in 1795. May 5, 1810 marks the beginning of Central Presbyterian Church history. Missionary Daniel Oliver came to Geneseo and organized a small group of Congregationalists as a new church. In 1814 the Presbyterian form of government was adopted. In 1815 our church was incorporated under the legal title of Geneseo Gospel Society.
Our first house of worship was a plain, wooden structure located on Temple Hill. The congregation soon outgrew the Meeting House and in 1818 built the White Church near the south end of Main Street. In 1858 the church divided into Old School and New School. New School adherents continued to worship in the White Church while the Old “Schoolers” built a small brick church on the site of the present edifice. Rev. F. DeW. Ward was installed as pastor on February 16, 1859. The Central Presbyterian Church was incorporated on March 29, 1859. The two Presbyterian churches coexisted in the village from 1858 to 1880 when they were reunited. The White Church was abandoned and the Brick Church was greatly enlarged. A disastrous fire completely demolished the 57 year old cathedral style Brick Church on December 15, 1937. The building in which we meet and worship today was dedicated on October 13, 1940.
Membership information including baptisms, deaths, weddings, changes of status and other pertinent facts are recorded in the church register. We continue to provide historical information to genealogists and others upon request. Pictures of the 1937 church fire were loaned to David W. Parish to be included in his book, Ellen’s Kitchen.
The Supply/Historian’s office has been renovated. Computer, printer and file drawers were donated. Files are being organized and updated. Session minutes and membership records needing repairs have been rebound. Pictures of various events and cam cordings are used to preserve our Church heritage. A three-fold bulletin board in the Social Hall displays new members, baptisms, projects and historical information. The Memorial Cabinet in the narthex contains an exhibit of the C. Frederick Yoos Memorial Garden. Fifty year members of the Central Presbyterian Church are honored yearly to commemorate the May 5, 1810 anniversary, which marks the beginning of our church history.
The great-great grandson of the Reverend Ferdinand DeWilton Ward, our minister from 1848-1858 (White Church), 1859-1861 and 1866-1873 (Central Presbyterian Church), visited Geneseo from October 10-13, 2001. Geoffrey Ward is writing a book about Ferdinand Ward. Our Historian files contained books, pictures and articles pertaining to Reverend Ward. His diary was of great interest to Geoffrey.
1810 Rev. Daniel Oliver
1810-1817 Served by Missionaries
The Original “White Church”
1817-1819 Rev. Abraham Foreman
1822-1832 Rev. Norris Bull
1834-1835 Rev. John C. Lord
1838-1841 Rev. John M. Lewis
1843-1848 Rev. Benj. B. Stockton
1850-1857 Rev. F. DeW. Ward
1859-1868 Rev. Geo. P. Folson
1868-1870 Rev. I.N. Sprague
1877-1889 Rev. J.E. Kittredge
The Central Church
1861-1866 Rev. Henry Neill
1866-1873 Rev. F. DeW. Ward
1874-1880 Rev. Charles S. Durfee
The “United” Church
1880-1906 Rev. Josia E. Kittredge
1906-1908 Rev. Walter E. Price
1909-1923 Rev. Theodore M. Carlisle
1924-1949 Rev. Joseph Sunter
1949-1953 Rev. Alan J. Perrine
1953-1966 Rev. William Henry Dilts
1966-1991 Rev. Charles Fredrick Yoos
1994-2002 Rev. Francois Lacroix
2002-2005 Rev. Kathryn Stimson
2005-2009 Rev. Beth E. Godfrey
2009-2012 Rev. Dr. Carson Mouser
2012-Current Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Lowmaster