Hoosick Township Historical Society

Edith Craig Reynolds By Lyle Somers

Edith Craig Reynolds was born on December 9, 1875 in Walworth, Surrey County, England. She was the daughter of George Henry and Mary J. Kennard, from London, England. She went to school at the London Schools and at Edinburgh University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In the year 1900, she married the Reverend Aeneas Nelson Craig of the Established Church in Scotland. They had two children that died at the ages of two and twelve. Their names were James Craig (2) and Agnes Mary Craig (12). Sadly, the husband, Reverend Craig, died in 1922 at Sinclair town Manse, Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

Mrs. Edith Craig was well known for elocutionary recitals at Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh, Scotland and in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. During the First World War, she entertained the armed servicemen and received high honors from the British Government for her service to the nation.

In the year 1924, Edith Craig came to the United States to visit her dead husband's relatives and to speak at a meeting of the North Baptist Convention. She found that she liked the United States and moved to Hoosick Falls, New York. She never returned to her native land, England. In 1924, Mrs. Craig became the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ellenburg Depot near Plattsburgh. A year later, she became the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hoosick Falls, New York.

In November, 1925, she was ordained by the Hudson River Baptist Association North as a fully ordained Baptist minister. During her pastorate in Hoosick Falls, Mrs. Edith Craig Reynolds was the first fully ordained female minister in the State of New York. She was also the first woman in the New York State Legislature who presided as Chaplin.

In January, 1928, Mrs. Craig married a man named Marcus T. Reynolds, of Hoosick Falls. Mr. Reynolds was the son of a member of the United States Congress and was also a wealthy, successful businessman. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds owned a home in Hoosick Falls and a town residence at the Hendrick Hudson in Troy. They would spend their winters in St. Petersburgh, Florida. While in Florida, Mrs. Reynolds was invited to preach at many of the churches in the area. In February, 1942, Mrs. Reynolds became an American citizen.

Sadly, Mrs. Reynolds' second marriage came to an end. In 1957, Marcus T. Reynolds passed away and Mrs. Reynolds was once again a widow.

Mrs. Reynolds was a member of many clubs, associations, and other community groups. She was a charter member of the American Association of Women Ministers, Trustee of the Rensselaer County Historical Society, Director of the Hoosick Falls Health Center, Chairman of the Reynolds Recreation and Community Development Foundation, a life member of the Town of Hoosick Falls Grange, a member of the Hoosick Falls Fire Department Auxiliary, Honorary Chairman of the Town of Hoosick Falls Rescue Squad, Honorary President of the Town of Hoosick Falls Little League, and a member of the Hudson River North Ministerial Association.

In the local area, Mrs. Reynolds became a major benefactor for many organizations. In Hoosick Falls, she gave money to the Hoosick Falls Fire Department so they could purchase a fire engine and auxiliary tanker as well as a completely equipped kitchen for the firehouse. She also completed the mortgage payment on the Hoosick Grange building. Mrs. Reynolds hired contractors to restore the Hoosick Falls Rescue Squad building and paid the remaining balance on the ambulance. She also contributed money to the Rescue Squad on a regular basis so they could replace the ambulance when needed.

In September, 1966, Mrs. Reynolds pledged to give the Town of Hoosick Falls $15,000 so a community swimming pool could be built. Because of her pledge, another $15,000 was raised by the community. Even today, we appreciate her contributions to the Town for the construction of the pool. The community pool is used for recreation, but it is also used to teach people how to swim. She also contributed funding to build the skating rink near the pool. Her contributions helped attract money from the State of New York's Environmental Protection Fund to build the facility.

Mrs. Reynolds helped the First United Church in Hoosick Falls to purchase a public announcement system and also purchase audio visual equipment for four local churches. The Reynolds Recreation and Community Development Foundation, Inc. was also created by Mrs. Reynolds to give the youth a place to go after school and during the summer.

Mrs. Reynolds also assisted the Boy Scouts. She helped build an Adirondack lean-to at Camp Wakrondack of the Mohican Council, Boy Scouts of America. She also contributed annually to the Council to help the Boy Scout movement.

As with all communities, the local health center is very important to the well-being of its residents. Mrs. Reynolds contributed money to build a fully-equipped four-bed-ward at the Hoosick Falls Health Center. She also gave the Health Center money each year to help pay their bills and one time, she contributed $2,200 to the Center to erase a financial deficit.

In Troy, where Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds had a residence, she contributed money to the Salvation Army, Leonard Hospital, the Troy Boys Club, the Vanderheyden Hall, the Rensselaer County Historical Society, and the First Baptist Church.

In 1966, the Kiwanis gave Mrs. Reynolds their Citizen of the Year Award, which was the first time someone from the Hoosick Falls area won such an award. Russell Sage Collage also gave her an honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters.

After all of her great achievements, Mrs. Reynolds died on September 3, 1971 at the age of 95. Upon her death, her estate established a four-year scholarship fund for students in Rensselaer County. The estate of Reverend Reynolds also established the Reynolds Foundation that annually gives funding to local organizations.

Because of her contributions throughout her life, Hoosick Falls offers many recreational opportunities for its youth and health care facilities for the elderly and the public. Although her name is found on many of the buildings around the Town of Hoosick Falls, I did not know of her many accomplishments until I read the many newspaper articles written about her. It is amazing how one person has touched the life of so many people. I think that the Town should honor her by dedicating a memorial to her next to the gazebo in the Town's park next to the municipal building. If we all gave of ourselves like Mrs. Reynolds, the world would be a better place in which to live. I believe that she is a patron saint of Hoosick Falls.

Lyle Somers - St. Mary's Academy - Winning Essay Contest
December 2006