Marshlands (Marshfield) History

This community in Gaines Township was originally named Marshfield for its pioneer settler, Danforth Marsh. The Methodist Episcopal Church of Marshfield was the second society in Gaines Township and was organized about 1850. It was incorporated December 5, 1873. Among the early members were David and Amanda Smith, James H. and Betsey Watrous, and Ethan and Juliana Strait. (note: the round, stained-glass window above the altar area, 1998 PCVUMC, is in memory of the Straits).

The first minister was Rev. Samuel Nichols who held services there once in every two weeks. The Church has been in the Gaines Charge and has been served by the same pastors.

The Church building was constructed in 1874 at a cost of $2,300.00.

Information from the Tioga county History, 1897, gives the above information together with the statement that “The Church now has thirty-five members. There is a Union Sunday School with an average attendance of about fifty pupils. Charles Watrous is the Superintendent.”

Marshlands Church functioned through the years as a center of the community. Marshlands also had a Baptist Church. For many years, the Vacation Bible School for the Gaines Charge was held in the Marshlands Church and Marshfield Grange Hall. As small farms gave in to hunting camps and summer homes, and the young people began leaving the area to find employment and the older generation passed on, the church attendance dwindled. The church building had no inside plumbing. Eventually, those attending church there decided to close for the winter months and hold only summer services to accommodate the large number of visitors who were in the area only during the summer months. This was the last few years (1980s) prior to the merger.