Pleasant Vale (Oxford, Conn.) Methodist Episcopal Society Records, 1834-1910

Extent: 0.5 linear feet, in 2 small flat Hollinger boxes.

The Pleasant Vale (Oxford, Conn.) Methodist Episcopal Society Records document the Pleasant Vale Methodist Episcopal Society in Oxford, Connecticut, also known as Zoar Bridge and Riverside, later known as Stevenson Union Church Association, and currently the non-denominational Riverside Community Church Oxford.  The collection is comprised of three record books that contain trustees minutes, class records, and a few baptisms (in the Stevenson Union record book).

In 1810 a meeting house was built in the valley of Pleasant Vale in Oxford, CT, between the Housatonic River and the road.  The nearby Ezekiel Curtiss Bridge (later rebuilt and called Zoar Bridge) allowed the meeting house to serve families on both sides of the river. The building was open for meetings and to anyone who wished to preach there.  Since those who most often used the building were Methodist circuit riders, in 1834 the land occupied by the meeting house was deeded to the Pleasant Vale M. E. Society. During the mid to late 1800s Pleasant Vale was on a circuit with East Village and was sometimes referred to as Riverside or Zoar Bridge.

In the 1890s the Housatonic Power Company (now the Connecticut Light and Power Company) made plans to build a dam across the Housatonic River at Stevenson, CT. The land to be flood by this dam included the Pleasant Vale church. In 1897 the Stevenson Union Church Association was incorporated as the successor to the Methodist Episcopal Society of Pleasant Vale so that an agreement could be made with the power company, which would provide land and construct a new church as close as possible to the old one, as well as relocating the Riverside Cemetery next to the church.  The dam was constructed in 1918 and 1919, and in the fall of 1919 the new Stevenson Union Church was completed on Lake Zoar, Oxford, Connecticut.

During the first half of the 20th century the church mostly hired Methodist pastors and was affiliated with nearby Methodist churches such as Derby and Great Hill. In 1951 the congregation voted to join the Methodist annual conference. By 1977 membership had dwindled and the church closed its doors, but in November 1980 it reopened under the leadership of Rev. Roland Gray.  In 1981, the Seymour: Great Hill and Oxford charge was separated into Seymour: Great Hill and Oxford: Riverside. The church is no longer affiliated with the New York Annual Conference, but continues today as the non-denominational Riverside Community Church Oxford CT.

Names:

  • East Village Methodist Episcopal Church – (Conn.)
  • Pleasant Vale Methodist Episcopal Society- (Oxford, Conn.)
  • Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church – (Oxford, Conn.)
  • Stevenson Union Church Association – (Oxford, Conn.)
  • Zoar Bridge Methodist Episcopal Church – (Oxford, Conn.)

Types of Material:

  • Baptismal records
  • Church records
  • Membership lists
  • Minute books

Call Number: LCH.0013