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History: Rev J H Stoody and the WCTU

The Rev.  John H. Stoody, D.D.

Rev John Henry Stoody

Washington County, Pennsylvania, USA
DEATH16 Aug 1933 (aged 68)
Silver Lake Junction, Wyoming County, New York, USA
BURIAL TonawandaErie CountyNew YorkUSA
MEMORIAL ID29581031 · View Source
Fannie Cordelia (Wainman) Stoody (WIFE) -- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29581557/fannie-cordelia-stoody

Rev. Dr. John Henry Stoody was the son of Emanuel and Mary (Jones) Stoody. He was born Fallowfield. He was the husband of Fannie Cordelia (Wainman) Stoody. He was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church: Genesee (now Upper New York) Conference 1887 F 1880. The Spencer-Ripley Methodist Episcopal Church, located on North Goodman Street at Ripley Street in Rochester, New York was founded by Rev. Stoody.
April 6, 2013
Obituary from Mack Willis
September 1, 1933
STOODY.--Rev. John Henry Stoody died at his summer home at Silver Lake, Wyoming Co., New York, August 17, 1933. Rev. Stoody was pastor of the Lake Como Methodist Episcopal Church two years ago and then left for his home in Buffalo, New York. He was for half a century a very prominent minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. During his pastorate in Lake Como with his wife they made many friends. He was beloved by all for his devotion to the work of the saving of souls and his faithful service for the church. The sympathy of this community is tendered to the bereaved wife and family. Dr. Stoody in his will left $10,000 to be held in trust by the Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York. The income of this is to be given each year to 10 schools as prizes to pupils who exceed in oratory or essays. Among those schools is Bethune-Cookman College and Daytona Beach. The total bequests for church institutions and relatives was $41,000.

Methodist Episcopal Church
Genesee Conference Journal
1933, Page 319-320 Memoir 

Family Members

  • Fannie Cordelia (Wainman) Stoody


John Henry Stoody was born to Emanuel and Polly Mary (Jones) Stoody on August 4, 1865, in Washington County, Pennsylvania. This was just four months after the assassination of President Lincoln and during that time when distant troops still had not received word as yet of April 9th's official end to the Civil War. It was a time of great sadness for the nation as a whole and a time of great devastation for the South in particular complicated by the North's rule over the south to affect integration in government.

John Stoody became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church and apparently had a vision for it very early on.:Genesee (now Upper New York) Conference 1887 F 1880. (These dates would have made Stoody age 22 and age 15, respectively.) Stoody is said to have had a passion for the saving of souls. The Spencer-Ripley Methodist Episcopal Church, originally located on North Goodman Street at Ripley Street in Rochester, New York was founded by Rev. Stoody. (When the original Spencer-Ripley burned, its replacement building was erected on the corner of Culver Road and Parsells. Then it merged with Monroe Ave Methodist church to become Covenant United Methodist Church in 1973.)

John Stoody married Fannie Cordelia (Wainman) Stoody in Eldred, Pennsylvania on May 7, 1895, just three months short of John's 30th birthday. Together John and Fannie would begin their family of three children the following year. A son, Ralph Wainman Stoody was born in 1896 (d.1979); daughter Winifred Lucenia Stoody Canright was born in 1898 (d.1995); and daughter Ruth Marie Stoody Artz was born in 1902 (d.1988). Their "home" was said to be "in Buffalo," though most likely Tonawanda. Their "summer home" was at the Silver Lake Assembly-Institute which was also known as the Silver Lake Junction because of the railroad spur which stopped twice a day at the camp grounds and was also known for its slow movement.

As a resident of the Silver Lake Assembly, Rev. Stoody was eligible to run for office as a Trustee and did so, serving as a Trustee during one of the most traumatic times in the history of the camp grounds. The troubled economic times known as the Cleveland Recession profoundly affected the Assembly and caused much of the Assembly's property to fall into foreclosure and the programming to cease.during the years involving the turn of the century (1900). 

It was John Stoody who saved the Assembly from total collapse by purchasing the mortgages, offering them back to the Assembly at affordable rates, and enabling the Assembly to gain all their properties that had not been sold off to others. Having the properties back in their possession, John Stoody worked closely with the Silver Lake Trustee President to getting the programming of the Assembly re-established in 1908. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the Epworth League which invigorated the Assembly (and later the Institute) with new, young blood which became the next generation(s) of Silver Lakers. The Epworth League summer conferences of youth were very popular, as were the annual panoramic photos of the participants in front of Epworth Hall. 

At some point, Rev. Stoody received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) in recognition of his significant and successful work. (Still at work to find a date and location for this.)

It is particularly significant that Dr. Stoody be honored in the former WCTU Headquarters Building because of his commitment to the cause of preserving the sanctity of the American family through the principles espoused by the Prohibition Movement. John Stoody even ran as a candidate for Congress on the Prohibition Party ticket for New York's 42nd Congressional District in the 1918 election.* We can well imagine him not only involved in the Assembly-Insitute's programming, but also the Temperance Assemblies.

Stoody’s Silver Lake connection was deepened by a family connection.  His wife, Fannie Wainman, and her sister, Mary, were the daughters of Thomas C Wainman, who owned and operated lumber mills in Ossian (near Dansville) and Eldred, PA.  He had built a cottage with lumber from there that was transported on his canal boat up the Genesee Canal.  (That cottage is the one on Genesee now owned by Dick Lee, who has a photo of the two ladies on the cottage porch.)  Both women married Methodist ministers active at Silver Lake Assembly. (Mary’s husband was Rev. Ephriam G Piper).  Their father’s business success provided a tidy legacy for his daughters, and Fannie’s financed Rev Stoody’s rescue of the Assembly from bankruptcy and his other philanthropic activities.  The daughters were able to buy cottages of their own, the Stoodys purchased the Hoags’ place across from the library, and the Wainmans the cottage on Lakeview owned now by the Turners..*

* Nancy Culley graciously contributed to this report. 

The year was 1872 and in Wyoming County, NY, three significant events took place: (1) The Genesee Conference Campground Inc. sold its Bergen Campground and purchased lake shore property on the north east shore of Silver Lake; (2) The Pioneer Cabin Museum became an officially organized entity, prepared to purchase land, and made plans for the Pioneer Cabin made of donated logs; (3) The Silver Lake Railroad, the new railroad spur from Silver Springs to Perry began making its daily run past the Walker Road Entertainment Complex, past the Ice House, past the double railroad track that serviced both the ice house and Walker Road and made its next stop at the new Camp Wesley campground to and from the Perry Passenger and Freight Station, eventually taking on two trips a day.

The Genesee Conference Campground Inc. was unofficially renamed as Camp Wesley and posted on the new concrete train station, diaagonally across Lakeside Ave. from Koinonia Inn. Even more significantly, the campground quickly became a gated community to help protect it during the long off-season. and overnight hours. With its gates and strict rules, the original purpose of the campground was "to save souls," to promote and teach faith and the spiritual life, to promote and sustain high standards of dress, language, conduct, and keeping faith as a top priority in life.

In stark contrast, Walker Road rapidly became the entertainment and debase capital of Wyoming County as residents of Walker turned their properties into gaming tables and machines, competitive games and gambling, access to the water and swimming, dance halls, roller skating, food and drink, and the strong push to imbibe alcohol and smoke and chemicals of tobacco. People traveled noted distances to get to Walker Road, its renown hotels and restaurants. Situated next to each other and therefore within walking distance, one could experience the extremes of purposes and lifestyles.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) very quickly became aware of the Walker Road situation particularly because of its ready availability and promotion of alcohol and tobacco which were the WCTU's two prime concerns contributing to the breakdown of the American family and individual, interpersonal problems at home, at work, and at school, leading to loss of relationships, employment, home, future, and already limited funds. They became the voice of American women and children left at home with little or no money for food and household expenses. (end of GAF)

Source: Online History begins:

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTUwas founded in November 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio. After Frances Willard took over leadership in 1879, the WCTU became one of the largest and most influential women's groups of the 19th century by expanding its platform to campaign for labor laws, prison reform and suffrage. Frances Willard. In 1874 Willard was elected the new secretary of the WCTU. Five years later, in 1879, she became its president. Willard also started her own organization, called the World's Women Christian Temperance Union, in 1883.

History of WCTU

The WCTU – Committed to Reform

Frances Willard and WCTU officers, 1895
Frances Willard and WCTU officers, 1895
In the winter of 1873-74, the desire for temperance catalyzed the largest mass movement of women the country had ever witnessed, affecting small cities and towns all over America except for the Deep South. Beginning in New York and Ohio, thousands of women took to the streets protesting the sale of beer and alcohol in the saloons of their towns. The women were reacting to a climate of greatly increased alcohol consumption after the Civil War and to the pressure of economic forces beyond their control. The brewery and distilling businesses had grown to be national industries; improved production methods increased the supply of alcoholic beverages and an expanded railroad system delivered the alcohol to local saloons more quickly.


Founded in 1869, the Prohibition Party pushed actively for further legislative control and prohibition of the national alcohol industry. The women who participated in what came to be called the “Woman’s Temperance Crusades,” however, perceived an immediate and local threat to their families and communities that a national political party seemed unable to address. Initial groups in Fredonia, New York and Hillsboro and Washington Court House, Ohio, after listening to a lecture by Dr. Dio Lewis, were moved to a non-violent protest against the dangers of alcohol. Normally quiet housewives dropped to their knees in pray-ins in local saloons and demanded that the sale of liquor be stopped. In three months the women had driven liquor out of 250 communities, and for the first time felt what could be accomplished by standing together.  Throughout the winter and well into the spring of 1874, regular prayer meetings and protests took place. The women succeeded in persuading hundreds of saloon owners to shut down their businesses. More than 900 communities in 31 states and territories witnessed a crusade; many of these areas went dry because of the women’s efforts.
As the spring wore on, however, opposition to the Crusades grew. Increasingly, former supporters began to question the value of the Crusades. Newspapers voiced strident criticism of women marching. Churches and temperance organizations began to see the non-violent protest as too labor intensive, too costly, and ultimately counterproductive to the long-term goal of turning America into a dry nation. Elizabeth Cady Stanton urged the Crusaders to work for woman suffrage, which the suffragists believed would give women real power to address a broad spectrum of social issues. The combination of these disparate forces brought an end to the Woman’s Temperance Crusades in the summer of 1874.

WCTU Formed

That summer, at the first meeting of the National Sunday School Assembly held in Chautauqua, New York, a group of women called for a national convention to establish an organization of women who would work to ensure that the gains of the Crusades would have lasting influence. Pre-organizational discussion was held by the women. They decided to hold a national convention that November in Cleveland and the WCTU was formed. Mrs. Annie Wittenmyer was elected president; Miss Frances E. Willard, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Mary Johnson, recording secretary; and Mrs. Mary Ingham, treasurer.
The WCTU institutionalized, nationalized, and expanded on the Crusades to combat the national market and trade in alcohol. Initially, the WCTU continued to use the method of moral suasion and invoked the moral authority of women to create individual and local change. All around the country the WCTU formed local unions and used various methods to reduce drinking, including holding prayer meetings, signing temperance pledges, personal visits to homes and saloons, and personal contacts with drinkers. The national WCTU, under the leadership of first president Annie Turner Wittenmyer, focused on developing methods to campaign for the national regulation of alcohol, creating a national weekly paper, developing literature to be used to educate the public about the harmful effects of alcohol, and using petitions to be presented to the U.S. Congress.
Behind the WCTU’s temperance reform was “protection of the home.” The slogan “For God and Home and Native Land” (later changed to “Every Land”) expressed the WCTU’s priorities. Through education and example the WCTU hoped to obtain pledges of total abstinence from alcohol, and later also tobacco and other drugs. The white  ribbon bow was selected to symbolize purity, and the WCTU’s watchwords were “Agitate – Educate – Legislate.”
Local chapters were called “Unions” and were largely autonomous, but closely linked to the state unions and national headquarters. There were clear channels of authority and communication and the WCTU quickly became the largest woman’s organization in the United States (and later, in the world.)
The crusade against alcohol was a protest by women, in part, of their lack of civil rights. Women could not vote. In most states women could not have control of their property or custody of their children in case of divorce. There were no legal protections for women and children, prosecutions for rape were rare, and the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven.
Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded. At the end of the 19th century Americans spent over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages each year, compared with $900 million on meat, and less than $200 million on public education.

Frances E. Willard, President

National Prohibition Convention, 1892
National Prohibition Convention, 1892.
GAF:"This is the same year that the new WCTU building was constructed at the Silver Lake Assembly grounds." Quote by Rev. GAF.
In 1879 the WCTU elected Frances E. Willard as its second president. Willard broadened the WCTU’s methods and its program for reform and turned to organizing political means in addition to moral persuasion to achieve total abstinence. Under her leadership, the WCTU increasingly saw its role as an organization advocating for broad social as well as political change. The WCTU began working to reform labor laws, child welfare laws, and age of consent laws. It advocated for prison reform, temperance education in schools, and woman suffrage, while continuing to seek individual commitments to personal abstinence, and legislative mandates for local, state, and national prohibition. Willard called this wide program of reform her “Do Everything” policy, and under her leadership the WCTU grew to be the largest organization of women in the nineteenth century. As historian Catherine Murdoch notes, the WCTU was “the most popular, and by many accounts the most progressive, women’s association of the nineteenth century.” By 1890 more than half of the counties in the United States had a WCTU chapter. By 1894, under “home protection” the WCTU was endorsing women’s suffrage. By 1896, 25 of the 39 departments of the WCTU were dealing with non-temperance issues. To promote its causes, the WCTU was among the first  organizations to keep a professional lobbyist in Washington, D. C.

The local union (chapter) of the National WCTU found itself not having to look very far to find the greatest need for their work in Wyoming County. It was the Walker Road community of residents. Not only did the Walker Road community of residents present a prime example of alcohol and tobacco abuse, but also of gambling, gaming, and ladies of the night. They were particularly horrified by the Walker Road community of residents because all of these abuses, under the guise of "entertainment," were taking place literally in the front and backyards of individual homeowners and their families of young children.

In other words, the gambling, gaming, alcohol and tobacco were being offered and sold by individual homeowners making use of the ever-growing crowds. Most "customers" could not tell where one property left off and another's began because in most cases, the concentration of gaming tables and games were so concentrated. The children of the Walker Road community of residents spent each summer of being entertained by all of these characters and activities and it is conceivable that some, perhaps even many of them may have been able to participate in the revelry as they earned coins from customers having the children become "runners" for drinks, food, and even tobacco.

If one wanted a classier atmosphere in gaming, one would could spend one's time in one of the professional hotels, such as the Walker House (Hotel) whose facilities were designed to please the public and provide a beautiful atmosphere in doing so. For a more casual and less expensive experience, it was available, literally, from house to house and yard to yard.

From History of Perry, N.Y., by Clarke:

For a few weeks every summer the WCTU held the Silver Lake Temperance Assembly. At that time Mead & Stearns were in charge of the temperance assembly, which drew large crowds to the lake. It was first conducted on the then Saxton grounds in a large enclosure resembling a cheese box in appearance. After a few seasons that proved too small to accommodate the crowds and they removed to the present Pioneer grounds, where a covered auditorium was erected, surrounded during the season by many campers in tents and cottages. The Silver Lake Temperance Assembly was always separate and apart from "the Silver Lake Chautauqua Assembly, when that institution was in its most flourishing condition;" so much so that "Frank B. Smith, then editor of the Perry Herald and News, published a daily newspaper with a measure of [financial] success."

This began a period of great stress and at times, out and out anger. On the west side of Walker Road (the lake side)., across the street from the Pioneer Cabin Museum grounds, and the south-eastern section of the Museum Grounds which was where the WCTU auditorium was located. One can barely imagine the loud religious-moral services on one side of Walker Road competing for the loud sounds of a rollicking  crowd "eating, drinking, and being merry" on the other side. Had each determined to remain on their own side of the street, that stress and anger may have never bubbled over.

It wasn't that the drinkers and smokers were encroaching upon, or disturbing the WCTU's activities as much as the well-intentioned women of the WCTU were traveling to the west side of Walker, preaching and chastising the wine, alcohol, and beer inbibbers, and yes the smokers also, to give it up and return home to their wives, families and responsibilities. "Give Up Demon Rum; Give Up Your Evil and Foul Ways!" This generated a growing anger among Walker Road residents and customers who despised this blatant interference with their ability to make money and to have the freedom of choice without being brow-beaten. So intense was the anger that there was no effort made to hide or camouflage the actions of the residents and their customers. They ganged up, walked across the street and burned down to the ground all of the facilities of the WTCU located on the Museum grounds.

Were the suffragets defeated? Not in the least. They saved whatever they could and marched one mile south--down Walker Road--to the secure gates of the Silver Lake Assembly, paid to enter, and had an immediately successful conversation with the President of the Assembly Board. The Assembly already had a huge auditorium which intentionally wasn't being used during the Temperance Assemblies. The Silver Lake Assembly then offered to help them building a "headquarters building" in 1892 which is the same year that Epworth Hall was completed.

The 1950s brought considerable change to Silver Lake Institute. A new municipal road was built through the center of the Institute both dividing it in two and forever eliminating the gated community and its benefits. By the mid 1950s, the Walker Road Entertainment Center was mostly gone except for the skating rink. Mostly because of that, but also because Prohibition had come and gone and women had won the right to vote, the prime missions of the WCTU in Wyoming County was mostly finished and they moved out of their headquarters building. The building was renamed "The Chapel." Eventually, however, the old timers began to tell the story of the saving of the Silver Lake Institute by John N. Stoody and it wasn't long before another name change came the old WCTU Headquarters Building. This 1892 historical building now stands as the John H. Stoody Memorial Hall in his honor.

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