The Benjamin Long Family & the First United Methodist Church: An Unbreakable Bond
Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 7 PM
First United Methodist Church
65 Main Street North Tonawanda, NY
We revisited this historic church and explored its many ties to Benjamin and Mary Long and their descendants. Carole Barnard related the story of the Long family, their faith and this congregation.
While we do not know the exact denomination of the Longs before they came to Tonawanda, we do know religion was a strong influence in their lives. Family lore tells us Mr. Long moved his wife and daughters from Uriah Driggs hotel on Webster Street to avoid a planned New Year’s Eve dance, a function he deemed unsuitable for his five girls. Shortly after the Homestead was constructed, a Sunday school was established there and circuit riding preachers were invited to conduct services. This Sunday school became that of the First United Methodist Church and Christiana Long Smith was actively involved until her death in 1910.
From Christiana Long Smith’s role as a charter member of the Sunday school, to John Simson, husband of Frances Long, donating $2,000 toward the cost of a building, to Frances and John’s daughter, Mrs. John DeGraff, playing the organ for services, the stories of the Long family, this church and its congregants are woven into a beautiful tapestry.