History of Victoria County - Part 19

The Church of England in Lindsay

Fourth in order of seniority in Lindsay comes the Church of England.

The first service was held in 1855 in the old town hall by the Rev. John Hickey, who had driven in as a missionary from Fenelon Falls. In 1858 the Rev. John Vichas was appointed incumbent and a 99-year lease secured from the government on the lot on the south side of Kent Street, now occupied by the Post Office. Here in 1859 a large frame church, in service for the next twenty-six years, was erected.

Prominent among the church members at this time were William Stoughton, T. C. Patrick, W. D. Russell, G. M. Roche, Wm. Bell, Dr. Joshua Fidler, Wm. Grace, Wm. Lang, John Thirkell, Hartley Dunsford, and John Bryans. Messrs. Stoughton, Fidler, Grace, and Dunsford were among the early church-wardens. In early times Mr. T. C. Patrick took a prominent part in the music of the church and his mantle fell later on Inspector J. H. Knight, who was long organist and choirmaster.

The Rev. W. T. Smithett succeeded Mr. Vicars in 1872. In 1881 the Rev. Vincent Clementi was appointed rector with the Rev. S. Weston-Jones as curate-in-charge. The latter succeeded to the rectorship in 1883.

In 1884 preparations were made to build a new church. A Building Committee, consisting of Wm. Grace, D. Brown, Thomas Walters, Rev. Weston-Jones, Adam Hudspeth, and R. L. Bryans, and a Finance Committee, consisting of J. H. Knight, C. D. Barr, Dr. Burrows, J. H. Sootheran, and G. H. Hopkins were duly formed. Mr. Adam Hudspeth donated a church site of half an acre on the south side of Russell Street between William and Cambridge streets and the Finance Committee purchased a quarter acre of adjoining land with a view to putting up a school house and a parsonage at some later time. The plans adopted were prepared by Messrs. Stewart and Denison, Toronto. The contract for constructing the church was awarded to Messrs. McNeely and Walters of Lindsay. The corner stone was laid with Masonic honors on Dominion Day, 1885. Most Worshipful Brother Hugh Murray, of Hamilton, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada, officiated. The completed church was dedicated on November 25, 1885, by the Lord Bishop of Toronto and eleven assisting clergymen.

The new church was built of white brick on foundations of Bobcaygeon limestone, 110 feet long by 59 feet wide. Ohio bluestone was used for the facings. On the northeast corner was a tower fifty feet high surmounted by a spire sixty feet high. The latter was finished off with a finial of hammered iron. The front of the church was lighted by a large triplet window, 14 feet wide and 22 feet high. There were seven windows in the main walls on each side and five claire-story windows in the upper walls supporting the roof. The rear of the church was built in a half-octagon shape and was lighted by three windows. The seating capacity of the church was reckoned at 550. The price paid to the contractors was $14, 659.27. As all the expenses bore very heavily on the congregation, it was not until February 24, 1921, that the mortgage covering the church’s debt was formally burnt

The Rev. C. H. Marsh became the rector of this new St. Paul’s church in 1887 and today, in 1921, is still the incumbent. The following curates have assisted him during his thirty-three years of service in Lindsay:--Rev. Wilson McCann, B.A., now deceased; Rev. Carl Smith of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Rev. Archdeacon Perry, of Hamilton; Rev. Dr. Hallam, Lecturer at Wycliffe College and Editor of “The Canadian Churchman”; Rev, Major. Mcllmara, of St. John’s church, Toronto; Rev. Kingstone; Rev. Bilkey, of Brantford; and Rev. G. R. Maconachie, who is still with him.

During the first year of Canon Marsh’s sojourn in Lindsay, a school house was built on the church lot and in 1905 a building uniting the school house and church was put up at the cost of $1500. In the same year a new pipe organ, costing $2450, was installed. A rectory was built on the church property in 1914 at a cost of $7000.

According to the last census, there are 1394 Anglicans in Lindsay.

History of the Lindsay Baptist Church

The first local Baptist church was organized on Saturday, February 28th, 1862, when thirteen Baptists, resident both in Lindsay and Ops, gathered in a private home for church fellowship. These original members were Mr. And Mrs. Wm. Thornhill, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Richardson, Mr. And Mrs. David McGahey, Mr. And Mrs. George Calvert, John Calvert, Mr. And Mrs. William Garnett, Mrs. Duncan Fisher, and Peter Fisher. The meeting was presided over by “Elder” Alexander McIntyre, of Fenelon Falls. William Thornhill and Peter Fisher were elected deacons at this time and John Calvert was given like office in the following year.

Application for a building site was made to the government and two lots were secured, one at Hill Head, near Reaboro, in Ops, and the other on the northwest corner of Wellington and Sussex Streets, Lindsay. The original Board of Trustees, constituted in July 1865, were William Thornhill, Josehp Wilkinson, Peter Fisher, James Weir and George Calvert.

In 1865, the first minister, the Rev. A. A. Cameron, was called. He was succeeded in 1866 by the Rev. Matthew Gold, who left in 1870. The church records for these early years are still sulphurous with the discipline meted out to fractious sheep of the flock.

The congregation met for a time in a frame building on Cambridge Street south on the site of Dennis’s brick livery barn. Meetings were also held in the town hall. About 1866 a chapel was built on the Hill Head Lot and in October 1867 a frame church, 50 feet long by 30 feet wide, was put up in the Willington Street lot and painted by a bee under the direction of Daniel Silver. This church was formally opened with a tea meeting on January 13, 1868. During the sixties great financial assistance was gratuitously given to the church by Mr. William Craig, of Port Hope. Generous and unfailing support was also given, and for nearly half a century, by Mr. George Matthews, a native of Birmingham, who joined the church in June 1867 and was a deacon from May 1872 until his death in 1914.

In 1871 the Rev. John Cameron, of Claremont, became pastor. He was followed two years later by an Englishman, the Rev. Mr. Prosser. In January 1873 the Ops church members separated for business and the observance of ordinances and on August 23, 1873, twenty-one members were give letters of demission and formed themselves into an Ops church. Various mutual arrangements have been made since that time with regard to pulpit supplies but the exchequers and communion rolls have remained separated and distinct. Baptisms at this time were performed in the Scugog River, just above the Riverside Cemetery,

On March 3, 1878, the Rev. W. K. Anderson, who followed Mr. Prosser, preached his first sermon in Lindsay. The Rev. Mr. Anderson continued his pastorate for nearly fifteen years, and was greatly loved by his people.

In 1885 negotiations were made for the purchase of the brick church and Sunday School on Cambridge Street vacated by the Bible Christians two years before, on their amalgamation with the Methodists. Temporary occupation had already been conceded to the Saved Army, under Captain Munt, but the zeal of the brief movement was fast evaporating. A bargain was finally struck between the Baptists and Methodists for a purchase price of $5374. Alterations were made. A new Gothic arch was cut through the wall in rear of the pulpit and an alcove, in which a baptistry was inserted, built in rear. Gas was also introduced to replace the oil lamps formerly used. The old church was sold for $2100, and converted into a dwelling house. By October 1886 only $836 was still outstanding on the new church and George Matthews, the church clerk, promised to subscribe one-half of this amount if the church would raise the other half. The response was immediate and on November 10, 1886, a clear deed to the property was secured. A meeting for thanksgiving was held that same evening. The deacons at this time were Messrs. Matthews, Richardson, Silver, Mitchell and Harding.

The Rev. Mr. Anderson was succeeded in 1892 by the Rev. H. Ware, of Chatham. The latter was found dead in shall water of Sturgeon Point on May 18, 1893. Subsequent pastors have been the Rev. Ralph Trotter, 1893-4; the Rev. L. S. Hughson, 1895-l903; the Rev. G. R. Welch, 1903-1911; the Rev. H. Bryant, 1911-1920; and the Rev. P. B. Loney, called in 1920.

The last census recorded 353 Baptists in the town.

The Salvation Army in Lindsay

The work of the Salvation Army was begun with a public meeting in the present town hall at eleven o’clock on the morning of July 29, 1883. Lieut. Frere and Sergeant Brodyard opened the campaign and were reinforced on the following day by Captain Wass. Special meetings were then held for six weeks in Bell’s music hall on William Street.

A search for permanent quarters was soon made and a building site secured on Peel Street, the present location. An old pioneer log cabin, which stood on the lot, was pulled down and cut into firewood in April 1884. The citadel for the Army was built during October and November 1884 by T. McWilliams. A spectacular street poster announcing the opening of the new building was headed, in flaring letters: “A big joke on the devil.” The lot east cost $1100 and the building $2000.

The first permanent officers of the Army in Lindsay were Captain Glory Tom Calhoun and Lieut. Breakneck James McGinley. This early period of their local history was marked by demonstrative conduct, incomprehensible to the town, and by unreasonable persecution on the part of the police. The Army, for example, determined to herald the incoming of the New Year in 1885 by a hallelujah procession, and marched up Kent Street at 12:15 a.m.—“beating their tom-toms,” as one hostile editor put it. The whole contingent was arrested and spent the night in the council chamber. Their trial produced great excitement and the court room was so crowded that benches broke and several people were singed against the coal stove. Captain Calhoun was fined two dollars and his followers were dismissed with a warning. On another occasion the Army band made a gratuitous instrumental assault on the town band, marching round and round the latter while a public band concert was in progress and challenging the secular program with clamor and fanfare of hymns. The audience was put to flight by excruciating chaos of sound. In the eighties, too, a female lieutenant, native to Lindsay, was courtmartialled and drummed out of the Army for refusing to discard her bustle. All these extravagances now seem very strange and far-off, for persecution has ceased and the Army has come to comprehend better the purposes of its venerable founder and has abandoned demonstration for zealous work amongst the submerged derelicts of humanity. Discretion has caught up with the zeal and much good work has been done.

In March, 1921, under the effective leadership of Captain Pace, a new citadel was opened on the site of the earlier structure, which had been found inadequate. The cost of the new building was $13,000. It is a trim two-storey edifice of red brick., built on standard army lines. The ground floor is a Sunday School, known as the Junior Hall, and the second floor auditorium the citadel proper, capable of seating 300 persons.

The last census reported 118 Salvationists in Lindsay and the surrounding township.

The Cemeteries of Lindsay

The tribes of Northern Europe, from which we have sprung disposed of their dead by burial in the earth, with various religious rites. This ancestral form of burial is still universally followed in Victoria County.

The first Protestant cemetery in Lindsay was on the block bounded by Francis, Sussex, Colborne, and Albert streets, where the Alexandria school now stands. About 1860 a new plot was purchased on the hill-slope in the East Ward at the southwest corner of Durham Street East and the town boundary. This cemetery was ready for interments on October 16 1862. The grounds were unfortunately inadequate, and on August 24, 187o, the Riverside Cemetery Company was incorporated, and threw open a necropolis of thirteen acres on the east part of the south half of lot 17 in the fifth concession of Ops, about a mile south of the town. The first board of directors comprised the following:-- President, J. S. McLennan; Secretary-Treasurer, Adam Hudspeth; Directors, D. Brown, E. Gregory, Joseph Watson, B. C. Wood, S. Bigelow, and J. Hamilton. Bodies were transferred from the older cemeteries to this new field on the bank of the Scugog. Newspaper files record that on May 22, 1876, a wagon, loaded with rotten coffins, three tiers high, and surmounted by a nonchalant, tobacco-smoking driver, passed down Kent Street on its way to the new place of burial. This cemetery is still in use.

The early Roman Catholic cemeteries were two in number: one, where most of the villagers were buried, on Patrick Murphy’s farm near the Murphy school-house (school section No. 1) four miles south of Lindsay, and the other on King Connell’s Point. In 1860 Father Farrelly blessed a new cemetery on the western boundary of the town, opposite the end of Mary Street. This burial ground was abandoned in 1897, during Mgr. Laurent’s incumbency, when a plot of 23 acres on the west bank of the river, south of the town, was purchased for $2300 and greatly embellished.


Next - History of the County of Victoria Part 20


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