Re-opening of the Building in which the Father
Famous Agnostic Used to Preach
Hamlet of Hanover Green, New York
Thanks to Jackie Thurlow for donating this!
Special interest attaches to a service held recently in the little church, a picture of which is here given. The building has a peculiar fame, in that it was the church in which the father of the late Col. Robert G. INGERSOLL used to preach. It stands in the hamlet of Hanover Green, N. Y., near Waterville. For many years it has been unoccupied, and its doors and windows have been boarded up. There are many families in the neighborhood, but either they have other church connections, or do not attend any church, so the old edifice, in which the notorious agnostic heard his father proclaim the truths which he spent his life in assailing, has not echoed the sound of praise and prayer for a quarter of a century. The long silence has now been broken for a few weeks ago the building was once more crowded with eager listeners, and from the impregnable Book the Gospel message was declared within its walls.
The incident came about in connection with
the work inaugurated by Mr. H. B. GIBBUD, of Springfield, Mass., among
the hop-pickers. Every season, for ten years past, Mr. GIBBUD has
arranged for Gospel services among the thousands of men and women who go
to the hop gardens of Oneida and Madison Counties in New York State to
gather the harvest. The evangelists travel in a wagon through the
district, visiting the gardens during the day, distributing tracts and
religious literature. In the evening, a Gospel service is held in
some centrally situated place, sometimes in a farmhouse, sometimes in a
barn or schoolhouse and occasionally at the crossroads in the open air.
Evangelist E. C. BAKER was working this season in the district, and noticing
the old disused church asked permission to hold a service in it.
It was readily granted, and the building was opened and cleaned.
Notices were sent out that a Gospel address would be given there on Sunday
afternoon. The day turned out wet and the roads were muddy, but that
did not deter a large audience from assembling. Two ministers from
the neighborhood came to help the evangelist. There was some hearty
singing of hymns and an earnest sermon from John 3; 16. After the
service there was some social talk among the neighbors, and a desire was
expressed to have the historic church opened again. This was no meaningless
suggestion, for a hundred dollars was contributed on the spot toward putting
it in decent repair. Some of the older persons present described
Dr. INGERSOLL as an earnest preacher, with great power as a revivalist.
All appeared delighted at the prospect of the old church being again opened
and promised to support it.