Clio Logo

The Old Log Church was built in 1814 in Preble, NY in the same year that the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was organized. The decision to build this structure was decided by the First Methodist Episcopal Society in their first meeting at John Gill's home in Preble, NY. The church was taken down in 1824 once the new Methodist Episcopal Church was finally finished.


  • Site of Old Log Church Historic Marker

On the night of the first meeting of the First Methodist Episcopal Society in 1814, the decision to build the first Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was approved and put into motion by the chair of the society, James Selkrig. The decision to build a new church for its congregation and its growing population was vital for the continuation of worshipping within Methodism. After the approval to build the MEC, they official purchased an acre of land that was called the "gospel and school acre." This plot of land was called the "gospel and school acre" because on this plot of land after the Methodist Episcopal Church expanded in the 1850's, the Methodists added a schoolhouse onto the church so children from this divinity could go study. On this land for the next ten years, the society built a structure out of logs so that the MEC congregation could still go worship during the time of the building of the MEC.

Once the cabin was completed, the people that attended the church continued to go for the next 10 years until the new church was finished being built. The people of Preble have been described as "frustrated" with such a small space for so long, especially once the population kept growing. The information on this old log church is very minimal due to the lack of time the church was running. The history of Preble states that the town and its people used logs for the purpose of building all their structures in the town due to the abundant amounts of trees there were in Preble, so the building of the log church was a perfect fit for the temporary church. Without the building of the log church, the possibility of Preble losing its Methodist Episcopal population to the surrounding areas was very real, because the actual church took 10 years to complete and without a designated area to worship, the Preble people could have left to worship in the surrounding areas. With this log church, even though they had there struggles worshipping within the small log church, they were still able to maintain a worshipping area. The people of Preble considered the log church was a good solution until the new MEC was built. The log church went out of commission and was taken down once the new MEC was built in May of 1824. The Old Log Church, even though the history of it is not extensive, was a time for the people of Preble, NY to go worship until the new church of the First Methodist Episcopal was finally finished being built.

Van Buskirk, Helen E. "The Methodist Episcopal Church of Preble ." (Preble) . . Cortland Historical Society, Nov 2019.

History of Cortland County. Cortland, New York. 1885.

Currie , Estella . Cortland County Bicentennial Commission. Preble's Progress, Cortland Historical Society, Nov 2019. ser. No.117, vol. MS, no. M678.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Elizabeth Wavle-Brown, Cortland, NY (c)2018