J. Smyth Carter.

The story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 online

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ious institutions. Meetings for public worship were held, and in 1787 they
sent a messenger to Philadelphia for a "Book of Sermons" and a hymn-book,
both of which were used under the direction of a lay reader until they obtain-
ed their first pastor.

In 1789 they began the erection of a church, the first Protestant church
built in Upper Canada. It was a quaint white edifice of the Dutch style of
architecture. There was nothing especially peculiar in its appearance, noth-
ing to arrest the attention of the passing stranger, nevertheless it possessed a
history all its own. More than a hundred years have elapsed since its erec-
tion. Generation after generation have grown up about it. Generations have
come into this world, grown old and died, still the old bell in the low to war
continued to call the worshippers together. The scattered inhabitants met
here for prayer half a century before Morrisburg was born.

The first pastor in connection with this early church was Rev. Samuel
Schwerdfeger, a native of Saxony. He organized the congregation and dedi-
cated the church "Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church." In 1792 the Luther-
an congregation petitioned the Government for the lot, containing about
seventy -five acres, upon which the church stood, as a glebe. They received a
"license of occupation," with the further promise that a deed would soon be


issued. With this assurance they cleared a portion of the lot, built a parson
age and made other improvements. In 1799 a description of the land was
issued from the office of the Surveyor-General in place of a deed, as the gov-
ernment was not yet in a position to issue deeds for such lands. In the mean-
time the labors of the pastor were unremitting, and congregations had been
organized in Osnabruck and Matilda ; both of these congregations have long
since ceased to exist, the members having proselyted to the Episcopal or
Methodist churches. Mr. Schvverdfeger's faithful pastorate closed at his
death, in 1803.

The second pastorate began in 1804 and extended over a period of three
years. The pastor, Rev. Frederick Augustus Myers, was a son of Rev. Fred-
erick Myers, first pastor of the Bay of Quinte parish.

The third pastorate, from 1808 to 1811, was conducted by Rev. J. G. Weag-
ant, a native of Hanover, a university graduate and a school fellow of Rev. F.
A. Myers. In 1811 Mr. Weagant apostalized from the Lutheran church and
was re-ordained in Quebec by Bishop Mountain of the Episcopal church, but
remained in Williamsburg as a Lutheran pastor. When the fact of his
apostasy became known the Lutherans feared that by the new arrangement
they were to be absorbed into the Episcopal church and the indignation of
some of them was undisguised. The invitation extended them to unite with
the English Church was accepted by a few families, while the great majority
stood aloof from the proposed arrangement. In the meantime, during the war
of 1812-14, church affairs had been much neglected, and at the close of hostilit-
ies some members of the disbanded regiments came to Canada. More than
one of these German soldiers possessing a liberal education visited the Luther-
ans in Williamsburg under the title of Lutheran ministers. Some of the
people were greatly imposed upon, and one of these imposters especially
proved himself to be "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

The fourth pastorate began in 1814 under the direction of a former minister,
Rev. F. A. Myers. Some difficulty then arose, as Rev. Weagant refused to
vacate the parsonage and glebe and also prevented the Lutherans from using
the church. Rev. Myers for a time preached in the homes of his flock untij
by agreement the Lutherans secured the use of the church for a portion of the
time. In 1817 Rev. Myers also apostalized to the Episcopal church. He then
settled in Matilda (Iroquois) and continued to officiate there as an Episcopal
minister till his death.

On Oct. 7th, 1818, the church wardens conferred upon Colonel Henry Merk-
ley the power of attorney to secure from the government the patent deed for
the clergy land granted by license of occupation to Salem Lutheran congrega-
tion, called since Rev. Weagant's apostasy St. George's Church, but their
efforts were of no avail, and for nine years they were without a pastor.


In 1824 a minister in the person of Rev. I. L. Senderling was secured. He,
however, declined the pastoral call on account of the idadequate salary, and
during his brief stay labored as a missionary.

The fifth pastorate of the church began in 1826 when Rev. Herman Hayunga
accepted the call. Mr. Hayunga was a native of Denmark, who had received
his education in Germany. He was a very active and successful pastor and
during his stay St. Peter's Church, North Williamsburg, was founded. In
1837 owing to ill health he resigned his charge. His interest in the church
was, however, preserved, and at several interims during succeeding years he
was supply administrator.

The disputed church property long continued a bone of contention until by
act of parliament a division of the land was made, the Episcopals retaining
the south half with all the improvements, while to the Lutherans remained
the unimproved portion to the rear. This settlement was unfair to the Luth-
erans, who later received a government grant of $2,000 to partially atone for
the loss of their church and glebe.

During the early thirties Mr. Conrad Frymire donated the congregation
three acres of land a short distance above the old church and there the Luth-
erans rebuilt. The corner-stone of the new church was laid April 20, 1833 ;
the last Lutheran service in the old church was held June 16th, and on July
14th, 1833, Rev. Mr. Hayunga consecrated their new "Evangelical Lutheran
St. John's Church."

Between 1837 and 1839 is recorded the sixth pastorate of the church under
the care of Rev. Simeon Dederick, a graduate of Hartwick Seminary.

The seventh pastorate began April 21, 1840, when Rev. Sharts preached his
first sermon in the field, where he remained during the next eighteen years,
the longest pastorate in the history of the congregation. A new parsonage
was erected in 1842, and in 1856 Rev. Sharts secured subscriptions to the
amount of $3,070 for the erection of a new church, but for some years the
work was held in abeyance. In 1858 Rev. Sharts resigned, and during
the next three years Rev. Hayunga was again acting pastor. In 1858
the parish as then constituted of St. John's Church. Riverside, and St. Peter's
Church, at North Williamsburg, was divided, ths latter withdrawing from
the ministeriuiu of New York to enter the Hartwick Synod.

Rev. J. H. Hunton ministered during the eighth pastorate, from 1861 to
1872, and during that interval the present church at Riverside was erected,
the dedication being held August 16, 1863. About that time St. John's con-
gregation was dismissed from the ministerium of New York, and was received
into the Canada Synod. In 1862 Rev. Hunton began preaching in Morrisburg,
and later service was regularly held in the town hall there.


During an interim of one year, before the appointment of Rev. L. Hippie
as pastor, Rev. J. D. Roth, of St. Peter's Church, North Williamsburg,
supplied the congregation. By the resignation of Rev. Hippie in 1874 the
ninth pastorate was concluded.

The tenth pastorate was also brief. The paetor, Rev. Augustus Shultz,
although remaining but one year, made a deep impression in favor of conser /a-
tive church life and practice. During his pastorate the erection of St. Paul's
Church, Morrisburg, began.

Rev. J. Fishburn, President of the Canada Synod, was pastor for about one
year, and by him was dedicated St. Paul's Church, Morrisburg. In October,
1876, his son, Rev. M. H. Fishburn, became pastor of the parish, consisting of
St. John's Church, Riverside, and St. Paul's Church, Morrisburg. He re-
mained in charge until February, 1882.

The twelfth pastorate entended from 1882 to 1890, Rev. A. H. Kinnard being
superintendent. In the winter of 1886-87 the parish was divided, Rev. Kin-
nard remaining in charge of the St. John's congregation, while Rev. J. M.
Long became pastor of St. Paul's Church.

In 1890 the two congregations again united, and the thirteenth pastorate
was entered upon under the care of Rev. W. L. Genzmer. During the latter
part of his ministry he also officiated at St. Peter's Church, North Williams-
burg, which pastorate had for a time been vacant.

Rev. O. D. Bartholomew became pastor in 1893, and his resignation was
presented in the spring of 1895, thus closing the fourteenth pastorate.

The next minister was Rev. S. L. Keller, who, finding the parsonage at St.
John's Church ill conditioned, tendered his resignation in May, 1898. He
however made an appeal on behalf of his successor for a parsonage in Mor^is-
burg. The need in this department was satisfied by Mrs. T. Dardis, who in
1898 donated the present parsonage, an ideal home, to St. Paul's congregation.
Rev. Keller's resignation not being accepted he remained until impaired
health caused him to sever his connection with the parish in the yea,r 1900.
Other changes were resulting. In 1899 St. John's Church was greatly repaired,
and on September 17th of that year was re-dedicated. G. J. Cook, f
Toronto, also added a beautiful fence to the cemetery at St. John's Church.

The present and sixteenth pastorate began in 1900. The pastor, J. C. F.
Ruff, is a native of Pennsylvania, a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of
Gettysburg Theological Seminary, and received ordination August 31, 1834.
In August, 1902, there was bequeathed by the will of the late George J. Cook,
of Toronto, the sum of $10,000 to St. John's Church, and $4,000 to St. Paul's
Church, as a perpetual endowment towards the support of the pastor. Mr.


Cook's parents were members of St. John's Church, and in that vicinity the
donor had spent his boyhood days, and his action in bequeathing so gener-
ously will ever be deservedly esteemed.

In September, 1902, the St. Lawrence parish was separated from the Canada
Synod to join in the organization of the Synod of New York and New England
for the prosecution of English work.


Soon after the initial settlement of Dundas county a number of Lutheran
families settled in the vicinity of what is now North Williamsburg. Among
these were included the names of Berkley, Casselman, Schell, Merkley, Hanes,
Whittaker, and others. They worshipped at St. John's Lutheran church,
Riverside. Finally the apostasy of their pastor. Rev. Weagant, and the fact
of inter-marriages caused religious matters to grow somewhat intricate.

In 1825 Rev. Sender ling put forth an effort to build a church at North Wil-
liamsburg, on a site given by John Cook. After much labor in this direction
the Lutheran and Presbyterian bodies decided to build a union church. Rev.
Hayunga became pastor in 1826, preaching in a private house until 1827, when
the proposed church was built. Both denominations used the church, but
finally some difficulty arose between them in reference to the payment of the
church debt; these unpleasant conditions continued until 1836 when matters
were satisfactorily adjusted.

Rev. Dederick became Lutheran pastor in 1837, and two years later Rev.
Hayunga supplied at North Williamsburg. In 1840 Rev. Sharts became pastor,
serving with some intermissions until the year 1858. Some difficulty arose
about that time and Rev. Bridgeman caused a division in the congregation
and built a church at Bouck's Hill, a short distance to the east of North

Rev. Hun ton became pastor in 1863, and the following year Rev. J. Fishburn
was placed in charge. In 1864-5 the present Lutheran church, a large and
commodious house of worship, was built at North Williamsburg independent
of the Presbyterians; succeeding pastors were, Revs. Hunton, Boyer, Fish-
burn, Roth and Hippie.

Some time previous to 1874 Lutheran services were instituted at Dun bar, and
during Rev. Hippie's pastorate the present comfortable Lutheran church was
built at that place.

Rev. Prof. John Whittaker served the North Williamsburg parish for a
short time, and in 1884 Rev. M. H. Fishburn was the stationed minister.


His successors have been Rev. Genzmer (1890), Kev. Murray (1893) and the
present able pastor, Eev. John Shunk.


William Losee may be termed the apostle of Methodism in Upper Canada,
although as early as 1778 a class made up of Paul and Barbara Heck and
others had been stationed in Augusta. It appears that Losee's first visit to
Canada was in 1790, when he came to see some U. E. Loyalist friends, and on
his way preached in Matilda, Augusta, Elizabeth town and the Bay of Quinte
District. So keen a flame of revival followed his preaching that the settlers
petitioned the New York conference to send them a missionary. The petition
was granted, and Losee was appointed to Canada. He soon founded the
Cataraqui circuit, in the Bay of Quinte district, the first quarterly meeting
being held there September 15, 1792, in Mr. Parrot's barn, in the first con-
cession of Ernestown. Losee soon formed another circuit, extending from
Cornwall to Kingston, known as the Oswegatchie circuit.

Itinerancy was a distinguishing feature of Methodism in those days. Some
of the pioneer preachers were Darius Dunham, James Coleman, Sylvanus
Keeler, Elijah Woolsey, Samuel and Michael Coate and Hezokiah C. Wooster.
These and others of their class endured unspeakable hardships, traversing
forests, crossing streams and rivers, making their way over roads almost
impassable, while as to worldly support they asked only to subsist. When
night overtook them they often slept in the wood, or should they find a
friendly settler their bed and fare would be of the rudest. But they toiled on
for the welfare of men and the glory of God.

Among the early preachers in the township of Matilda was Joseph Sawyer,
of whom Playter in his "History of Methodism" wrote: "He be<jan his labors
in Canada in 1800. He was a man of strong mind, great energy, and a single
eye. He was a useful man, and some of his converts became preachers of the
Gospel. He was married, and after his location he settled down on a farm
bordering on the St. Lawrence, in Matilda." Finally he was tried for per-
forming the ceremony of irarriage, and as a punishment was sentenced to
banishment. In company with his family he was put into a canoe and ferried
across the river . His pardon was soon secured, chiefly through the efforts
of the late John Rose, of Dixon's Corners, who rode on horseback all the way
to York (Toronto), carrying a petition begging for the reverend gentleman's
reprieve. The writer is informed that the name of the couple whom Mr.
Sawyer married were Frederick Bouck and Hannah Locke . After being pardon-
ed, Mr. Sawyer returned to Matilda where he for many years labored. During that
time he of ten preached in settlements distant from the front. Meetings were
held in houses, barns, wagon shops or school houses, and in the third concession of


Matilda in the homes of Edward Shaver, Robert Larmour, John Barkley,
William Lavis, James Smyth and others. Many of the old people who have
gone, and possibly a very few who yet remain, after beirg pardoned were
christened by Mr. Sawyer. In the autumn of 1834 he fell from his horse and
broke his leg, but he bore his pains cheerfully. He died in the United
States some years later.

Mrs. Sawyer, the wife of the venerable preacher, was a wonderfully scrupu-
lous woman. With her cleanliness was next to Godliness.; It is told that when
the soldiers came to her house for water she would not allow them to draw it
out of the well, but would do so herself, and after their departure she
would rub the long well-pole and scrub the bucket after they had dipped
their pails into it or drank from its overflowing brim.

The Oswegatchie circuit formed in 1792 was in 1795 divided into two circuits,
and as settlement increased a further sub-division resulted in the founding of
the Matilda circuit, which covered a considerable area. The first Methodist
church in Dundas, a frame structure of humble style, was erected at Point

In 1823 an early camp-meeting was held in the grove not distant from the
church, and Mr. Harkness in his I. H. S. Semi-Centennial says: "This early
meeting was under the supervision of William H. Williams, a youthful and
zealous Methodist missionary, and was the first camp-meeting in the eastern
part of what was then Upper Canada. The country folk for miles around
gathered here from day to day and from night to night, some to scoff and some
to pray, to break the monotony of their lives and mingle with their fellows.
Many of them remained for weeks, returning home at intervals or leaving
someone in charge of their premises. Whatever may have been their object
in coming they generally learned to pray before they returned. The meeting
left an impress upon the character of the people that is yet plainly visible and
that has been far reaching in its effect. Nearly all the old men living at the
middle of the century dated their conversion to that season of prayer and the
vicinity has continued to be a sort of centre from which Methodism has

In 1830 the primitive church was replaced by a larger and more substantial
one of stone. Later the construction of the canal isolated the Point, and in

1855 a new church was built on the site of the present one. Its dedication in

1856 was followed by a successful series of revival services conducted by Rev.
James Gray.

The old Matilda circuit, the parent mission of Dundas Methodism, was
significant in many ways, and it is a matter of regret that the early records
were not preserved. The minute books from 1841 are extant, and from these


we glean some notes of interest. For 1841-2 the stewards were: Matthew
Coons, George Brouse, Daniel Carman, Samuel Shaver, Thomas Smith, John
Hickey and John Fetterly; while among the leaders appointed were: Simon
Ault, Jacob Brouse, James McDonald, C. M. Dillabough, Peter Adams, R.
Cook, David and George Coons, Robert Redmond, Frederick Bouck, Samuel
Cooper, Robert Crosby, Jacob Ault, James Stewart, H. W. Bowen, Philip
Baker, Andrew Allison, Peter Brouse, William Munroe.

At a meeting held April 16, 1842, it was resolved that Peter Brouse, Tinis
Hickey, Jesse W. Rose, W. H. Bowen and Frederick Weaver be appointed to
secure a deed of a piece of land from John Hickey for the purpose of erecting
a chapel in Williamsburg, and on February 16, 1844, the following were
appointed a building committee in connection with the Mariatown church:
H. W. Bowen, Daniel Rose, I. N. Rose, James Doran.

The records of the forties show that for supplying provisions for the "par-
sonage house" the circuit was divided into twelve districts, each supplying
one month's allowance of three bushels of wheat, fifty pounds of meat,
fifteen pounds of butter, one pound of tea, ten pounds of sugar, five bushels of
oats, 3s 4d in cash for sundries. In addition thereto hay was supplied for the
parson's horse.

The Matilda circuit extended into the rear townships of Dundas, and in
March, 1845, a building committee was appointed in connection with the erec-
tion of a chapel at Armstrong's Mills (Chesterville). The members of the
committee were William Munroe, John Fetterly, Samuel Smyth, Thomas
Killan, John A. Merkley and James Hanes ; while the following were appoint-
ed trustees : Wm. Munroe, Giles Bogart, Wm. Merkley, Jeremiah Hanes,
Gilbert Munroe, John Fetterly, John M. Merkley.

One very interesting record in the early minute book is a list of furniture at
the Matilda parsonage, June 1, 1847, which included 12 chairs, 2 French bed-
steads, 1 long post bedstead, 1 cooking stove, 1 parlor stove, 2 tables, 1 bureau,
1 cow, 1 churn, 1 pair andirons. This was the chief equipment of the minis-
ter's home and premises, now the site of the beautiful residence of H . H. Ross,
Iroquois. In 1855 another list appeared as follows : Two short post bedsteads,
1 long post bedstead, 1 bureau, 1 box stove and pipes, 1 cooking stove and
pipes, with furniture (injured), 1 rocking chair, 8 common chairs (pretty well
worn), 3 common chairs (damaged), 2 half -leaf dining tables, 1 kitchen table
(damaged), 1 beaufet, 1 book-case and desk, 1 large spinning-wheel.

For the year 1849-50 the trustees of the Edwardsburg church (then included
n the Matilda circuit) wer Henry Bolton, Henry Armstrong, Thos. Smith,
Geo. Anderson, John Adams, David Freece, James Me Ilmoil, James Froom,
jr., John S. Froom.


For the year 1854-5 the second quarterly business meeting was held at
Mariatown, on Oct. 28th. At that meeting it was decided that Rev. Mr. Cole-
man be allowed three dollars per month for keeping the junior preacher.

Meeting May 20th, 1857: "Resolved that this quarterly meeting recommend
that the Matilda circuit be divided as follows: the Matilda circuit to embrace
Matilda, Wood's, Marshall's and Keek's; the Morrisburg circuit, Morrisburg,
Mariatown, the brick and stone school houses, and Mciutosh's; the Edwards-
burg circuit, the appointments in Edwardsburg." At a meeting held Feb.
18, 1860, the trustees appointed for the new church in the 7th concession of
Edwardsburg were: Elisha Adams, N. Wilson, David Froom, Richard
Wallace, Alfred Adams, John Anderson, Richard Robinson, James Mulhol-

The circuit expenses for 1876-7 were divided according to the following
plan: Village classes, $125; Wesley church, $80; Dundela, $150; brick church,
Rowena, $150; Paul Coons' class, $55; Charles Mclunis' class, $55; Alex. Be:>k-
stead's class, $80; M. Keek's class, $50.

A list of pastors of the old Matilda circuit are here subjoined: 1826 Cyrus R.
Allison; 1831-2 Solomon Waldron; 1833 Ezra Healey, Vincent B. Howard; 1834
John Carroll, Geo. F. Playter; 1835 Henry Shaler, Solomon Snider; 1838 Henry
Shaler, George Goodson; 1837 Asahel Hurlburt, George Goodson ; 1838 Asahel
Hurlburt, George Ferguson; 1839 Geo. Ferguson, Benjamin Nankeville; 1840
Benjamin Nankville, Thos. Harmon; 1841 Benjamin Nankeville; 1842 Daniel
Berney, Ozias Barber; 1843 Daniel Berney, Robt Lochead; 1844 Thos. Bevitt,
Jas. Elliott; 18-15 Thos. Bevitt, Win. H. Williams; 1846 John Lever, James
Armstrong; 1847 John Lever, Win. McGill; 1848 Jas. Musjrrove, David C.
McDowell; 1849 Jas. Musgrove, Wm. Chapman; 1850 Asahel Hurlburt, John
G. Witted; 1851 Asahel Hurlburt, John B. Armstrong; 1852 Francis Coleman,
David Robertson; 1853 Francis Coleman, Wm. Burns; 1854 Francis Coleman,
Jas. Masson; 1855 James Gray, John B. Armstrong; 1856 James Gray, Henry
H. Pardue; 1857 Jas. Gray, Geo. M. Meacharn; 1858-9 Robert Bre water,
Richard Hay worth; 1860 Robert Brewster, Brock ROSP; 1^61 Wm. Coleman,
Thos. H. Walker; 1862 Wm. Coleman, Josiah Greene; 1863 David C. McDowell,
Wm. H. Rowsron; 1864 David C. McDowell, Jas McCullough; 1865 David C.
McDowell, Wesley Casson; 1868 Win. Scott, Elisha Tennant; 1867 Wm. Scott;
1868-70 Wm. Morton; 1871 Wm. R. Dyre, Wm. Ryan; 1872-3 Wm. B. Dyre;
1874 Marniaduke L. Pearson; 1875 M. L. Pearson, Geo. C>. Poyser; 1876 Thos.
G. Williams, Lewis Conley; 1877 Thos. G. Williams; E. W. Crane; 1878 T. G.
Williams, David C. Sanderson; 1879 Andrew A. Smith, D. C. Sanderson; 1880
A. A. Smith, 8. N. McAdoo; 1882-5 Alfred McCann.


In 1884 Iroquois circuit was organized. The present Methodist church


there was constructed in the year 1876, at a cost of $17,000. It is a fine stone
edifice, excellently equipped, lighted by electricity, comfortably seated, and
has lately been renovated at a cost of $700. The parsonage is a plain, comfort-
able, substantial stone building possessing modern equipment, such as bath
room, waterworks, etc.

An Epworth League, Woman's Missionary Auxiliary, and Ladies' Aid are
flourishing societies in connection with the church, while the Sabbath schiol
is under the direction of Superintendent T.S. Edwards, assisted by a staff of
excellent teachers.

Two rural appointments, Keckville and the White church (con. 2), are
included in the Iroquois circuit. At Keckville Sabbath school and preaching
service are held in the school house; the congregation numbers from 50 to 70.
The White church is prettily situated, comfortably equipped, and presents
a neat appearance. Much interest is here taken in the Sabbath school and

Online LibraryJ. Smyth CarterThe story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 → online text (page 15 of 40)