- You can see the original site of the Presbyterian Church were Finney attended. The present building was built many years after Finney left the area. The original clap board building he was in had been moved across the street by the Methodist. It burned in the mid 1800's.
- The woods where Finney prayed, is now an open field.
- The location of Squire Wright’s law office has been determined, although the original building has long been replaced.
- The locations of several homes and businesses mentioned in the autobiography have been approximated using old maps, although no deed work has been done. The location of the homes of some of the people mentioned in his memories. I have also found the home of pastor George Gale's where Finney boarded while living in Adams.
-You can visit the grace site of one of Finney’s most respected prayer partners, Able Clarey.
- In Henderson I have found the Finney family homestead. The last of the buildings, originally built around 1808, was torn down around 1939. Only a bit of foundation and a few fruit trees remain.
- Across the road from the farmstead, is the location of the log school house where Finney taught at age sixteen. The building has long since been removed but an oil painting of the school, painted by a former student, now hangs in the local historical society.
- Finney’s mother's grave has been found. Other family members, including an older sister also are buried in the old neglected graveyard.
- I have also found the place where George W. Finney, Charles younger brother had built a mill. We not search any deeds to confirm this location.
- The location of the Presbyterian Church has been determined from old maps, but the building has long since been removed.
- The Baptist church in Henderson, which held joint prayer meetings with the Congregational Church the Finney’s were members of, still stands but is not in use.
- The site of the stone Presbyterian Church where Finney ministered has been located. The original building is long gone. The remaining part of a second wooden structure has been turned into a private residence.
- I have found the home of Elder Ballard, with whom Finney stayed during his winter in Brownville.
- I found the old Baptist church that related to Finney when he brought revival to this remote hamlet. There are a number of fine stone buildings in the area that allow us a look into the past.
- The location of the homes of the two elders who managed the church has been located using old maps.
- The location of the stone school house where Finney first preached has been verified. A modern school building now stands on the same site.
- The locations of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches have also been found. These two congregations are mentioned in Finney’s Memoirs.
- The Hoover hotel still stands on the same location. The first owner of this hotel, John Hoover was converted during Finney’s time in Evans’ Mills.
- The second school house just outside the village of Evans’ Mills has been located. This was the place where a man brought a gun to the meeting to kill Finney while he preached. It is a fine stone school house now used as a private residence.
- The grave of Samuel C. Kanaday can be seen as you drive past the cemetery. He was a strong supporter of the revival, and a man with whom Finney had stayed while in LeRaysville.
THE “GERMANS” NEAR EVANS MILLS
- The location of the settlement of the Palatine German settlement has been located. The old wooden school house where Finney preached, which is now a private residence.
- The Elders names mentioned in local history books match those on nearby gravestones. A couple of their houses can be located from maps, but no deed work has been done on the buildings now standing.
- Although the US Army removed the entire village, the original location can be seen. There is also a grave yard nearby. (This site is not on the main tour, but it can be visited as a side excursion on the self-guided tour.)
- This is the area where Finney preached and conducted his first altar call.
- The brick meeting house where Finney had preached still stands and is in excellent shape. It is now a Catholic Church.
- The location of the Copeland Hotel where he stayed has been determined but has been replaced by the library.
- One of the first "praying women" Finney met was Polly Copeland. Her unsaved husband, Smith, the hotel keeper who refused to give Finney the keys to the village meeting house. Smith was converted under Finney’s preaching. Their home is one of the finest examples of yellow limestone construction I have seen. Both of their graves can been seen. Smith Copeland’s grave has an open Bible with a sword lying across it.
- The Congregational Church that grew out of this revival can be seen.
DEACON RANDALL’S NEIGHBORHOOD
- William Randall, the Congregational deacon, was harassed to the point that he could no longer conduct church in Antwerp. He lived outside of the village and had invited Finney to his neighborhood to preach. I have found both the school house and the Randall homestead.
- From Antwerp Finney was invited to a neighborhood nick-named “Sodom”. I have located area where this village once was, but the site cannot be accessed because it is part of Fort Drum.
- The Baptist and Presbyterian Church can still be seen standing next to each other, just as they were in Finney’s Memoirs. While the buildings are not original, they still illustrate the story of how these two churches rivaled for the hundreds of souls that came in through the revival.
- I have found the location of where Finney and Nash stayed while in this area.
- I have found the original location of the Presbyterian Church, which grew out of Finney’s meetings. It was being torn down while I was doing this research.
- The DeKalb congregation later moved to nearby Richville and placed themselves under the care of Gorham Cross, the pastor who had been associated with Finney at Sodom and Antwerp. In fact, he had a similar ministry in the DeKalb area and his family has an integral part of the Finney story. Gorham’s church is still going and his original house is nearby. (This site is not on the main tour, but it can be visited as a side excursion on the self-guided tour.)
- Just outside the village of Lowville you can see the grave of Daniel Nash. It says "Labored with Finney" on it. I have also found the location of his church and homestead.
- Nash was a local pastor and there is a small monument to him on the front step of where the church once stood. This congregation half later disbanded after being moved to village of Lowville, where a handsome stone church stands to this day.
THE SOUTHERN TOUR
- I have found the First Presbyterian Church there, which was erected after the revival. There is a second Presbyterian Church of Utica that no longer exists.
- The location of the historic Bagg’s Hotel, which is central to the revival story in Utica, has been found, although the building no longer exists. Only the foundation stones can be seen. (This will not be on this tour, as there is not much to see.)
- The Presbyterian Church Finney preached in is still active there. Some of the descendants of those mentioned in the Memoirs still live in the village and attend the church.
- You can see the Floyd Homestead. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Finney had led Floyd’s wife to the Lord.
- I have located the site of the farm rented by Pastor George Gale, who had moved there from Adams after Finney left. Finney stayed with him at the farm during the revival.
- I have found a home that Finney had visited while working in Western.
- Finney mentions that a flow of opposition came out of Trenton. It was a Universalist stronghold in this area for years. In fact, this is the location of the first Universalist Church in New York. The congregation still meets occasionally and a surprising number of very historic buildings still remain in this interesting little village.
- The old stone meeting house where Finney preached in Trenton still stands, and is now a beautiful private residence.
ELMERS HILL & WRIGHTS SETTLEMENT
- There is not much to these two places today. Finney preached in a school house at Elmer’s Hill, which was removed when a large man-made lake was developed in the area.
- In Wright’s settlement, the original homestead where the revival among the young people broke out still stands, although it is no longer on its original location. Another house which was built by the principle family of this godly little hamlet still stands and can be seen on the tour. This village is also the boyhood home of Albert Barns, who wrote a popular Bible commentary.
- There is a Presbyterian Church and a nearby court house, both of which are mentioned in the story of the revival of Rome. Neither buildings are original to Finney’s first visit to Rome, but he preached in this building which now stands on his second visit to Rome thirty years later.
- A handsome brick Presbyterian Church still stands in Whitesboro, which grew out of the revival. There are many buildings still standing right where they did when Finney was there.
-I have found the general location of Finney’s in-laws farm where he often retreated and rested between revivals.
- Part of the training Institute that Pastor George Gale had built in Whitesboro still stands in the village, although it is not recognizable from old pictures.
NEW YORK MILLS
- Many of the original brick mills still stand today. I have been able to determine the specific location of the factory that Finney visited in which he brought the mill to a halt.
- I have found deeds for George Andrew’s house. His house is part of the story because he was Finney’s brother-in-law and Finney had stayed at the Andrew’s farm few time, resting or recovering from illness.
- A large old Presbyterian Church, which was affected by the revival, stands on the original location today.
- Finney’s revival was strongly supported by the local Presbyterian pastor who lived here. The original building still stands in beautiful condition and remains active. It was started by the grandson if Jonathan Edwards.
- This little village is noted for being the place where Daniel Nash died. He was almost interned in the grave yard just down the street from the Presbyterian Church.
The tour ends back in Syracuse.
HOW TO PREPARE
Before you take the tour you should read the first fourteen chapters of Finney’s biography to become acquainted with the story or to refresh your memory.
You can download a free PDF version of this here:
You can purchase the full version from most Christian bookstores or borrow a copy from your local public library.
Secondly, be prepared to have some of your impressions about Finney changed, and perhaps even your concept about revival will be adjusted. The more time I spent getting to know Finney, beyond just reading other people's books about him, the more I appreciated him. He was not like the man I first thought he was. Then, the more I looked at this revival, the less I liked the characterizations that are often given to it.
If you suffer from motion sickness, you might want to take your medication before you begin.
Feel free to bring snacks, although there were will be rest stops along the way.
We will be walking around several cemeteries, so you should bring the right kind of shoes for this and rain gear if necessary.