The History of the Potsdam Congregation
of the Church of the Brethren
Potsdam Church of the Brethren Georgetown Church of the Brethren Georgetown Church of the Brethren There is no record to indicate what the original name of our congregation might have been, although in the beginning the greater church body was known simply as Dunkers. The name Fraternity of German Baptist was adopted by the 1836 Annual Meeting who in 1871 formalized the name German Baptist Brethren. This continued in use until the 1908 Annual Conference commemorating the 200th anniversary of the founding of our denomination in Schwarzenau, Germany, when the delegate body voted to change the name to Church of the Brethren. The Georgetown German Baptist Brethren church name was changed in accordance to Georgetown Church of the Brethren and remained so until 1947 when it was decided in a congregational meeting to change the name to Potsdam Church of the Brethren to conform to the village name. The Potsdam Church of the Brethren as we know it today had its beginnings in the late 1820’s when families of the Dunker faith started taking up patents on the vast majority of the land in the southwestern portion of Union Township. Elder Phillip Younce of the Brush Creek congregation near present day Nashville preached about once a month or every six weeks to these hearty pioneers gathering in their log cabins, barns and groves for worship. His was a wide circuit, tending also to the needs of the Pitsburg and Painter Creek churches, all of which were preaching points under the name of the Ludlow arm or district of the German Baptist Brethren church. Four sections of land meet at the intersection of present day Cross Street and Main Street or State Route 721. The original village plat was laid out on the northeast quarter on the farm of John and Susannah [Warner] Ditmer. On August 16, 1845 in two transactions, they sold lots to George Hatfield and David Longenecker, the first deeds issued in the newly established community of New Lebanon. It soon became unofficially known as Georgetown, perhaps so called after Hatfield who as a huckster was the first businessman, and by 1880 the postal deliveries were made to Potsdam, creating the unusual situation of a village being known by three names.