Interesting Christians: William Waite

William Waite

Rev. William Waite was born June 9, 1731 in Rhode Island. He became a silversmith and a Baptist clergyman. He married Mary Nichols in 1751 in Rhode Island, where they remained until 1772 when they moved to the White Creek, New York area. Rev. Waite planted a Baptist church in the area. A log building was constructed at what is now the intersection of County Route 68 and the North Hoosick Road (Barker’s Corners).

Only a few years after its founding, the church was nearly destroyed by the Battle of Bennington. Half the congregation sided with the British and half with the Americans. (Rev. William Waite fought in the Battle on the American side, helping procure supplies for General Stark). The Historical Marker near the site of the church building says it was burned during the battle. However, one account say it was used to house Hessian prisoners after the battle, and another that it was sold by the church when the new building at Waite’s Corners (Center White Creek) was completed enough to occupy (about 1786). In any event, the battle finished the church for about two years, but Rev. Waite was able to collect three other members and begin the work again. In 1779 the church was formally reorganized.

A few years later it had become too big for the log building, and they proposed building a bigger one at the intersection of what are now County Route 68 and Andrews Road, but in 1784 Rev. Waite gave the church a piece of land from his farm in Center White Creek, two or three miles west of the previous building, where today’s Center White Creek Baptist Church still stands. A building was constructed at that time, but that original building was replaced by the present structure in 1855. Rev. Waite retired from preaching in 1793 and died in 1826. His wife died in 1822.

There are some differences in the accounts of where the early church met and when, some saying it started in Walloomsac and moved to meet at Barker’s Corners (Curtis Corners at the time) after the Battle of Bennington, others saying it met at Barker’s Corners and that building was burned in the Battle. The historical marker at the site claims the latter. At one time there was a small cemetery there, but it has long since disappeared. Whether the log church was used after the Battle or they met in homes between 1779 and 1784 is unclear.

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