Archive for August, 2013

Methodist Churches in Ancaster Village – by Mrs. A. McCulloch

It is thought that the Methodists formed a class in Ancaster Village as early as 1813 with Elder Daniel Freeman (1769-1835) as pastor. There is an unverified record of a log church being built here in 1828, and that it burned in 1834. It was replace by a frame church that burned in 1867, after which the Wesleyan congregation used St. Andrew’s and St. John’s Churches until the New Zion Church was built in 1860 on Wilson Street, almost opposite St. John’s Church. It was dedicated October 31, 1869, and , at a tea meeting on November 8, 1869, the $300 debt was completely cleared, and a small surplus was achieved. Since the 1925 Union of Methodist and Presbyterians, the New Zion Church has been called the Ryerson Church.

An 1867 directory for Hamilton and district mentions that the Wesleyan church “was erected about 1830 and will seat about 200 person – there is no resident pastor.” This was the church that burned in 1867. The directory also records a Methodist Episcopal pastor, the Rev. Mr. Collamore, in 1867, and the 1868 directory lists Rev. Mr. Yokam, but no Methodist Episcopal church is mentioned. The Methodist Episcopal Church, a white frame building, was located at the corner of Academy and Lodor Streets, and was built in 1860. It was closed in 1884 when the All-Methodist Union took place. It was used as a Sunday School for a while, then was sold in April 1900 and was moved to the southwest corner of Wilson and Halson Streets. There it was used by George H. Horning, implement agent, as a warehouse, In 1908, when Shaver and Reinke started their North Wentworth Telephone Co., and when the Brantford and Hamilton Electric Railway started running, the building was moved a short distance south to near the railway tracts to be used as a combined telephone exchange, railway ticket office, and waiting room.


1867  Rev. Owen Grafton Collamore 

1868  Rev. Yokam

Ancaster History

The village of Ancaster got its name from the township, which in turn was named after Peregrine Bertie, the Duke of Ancaster, by Lieutenant- Governor Simcoe. In 1787, when the first Loyalists arrived to settle in the township, this was the frontier, the west. The nearest settlement of importance was Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake. These Loyalist settlers had been granted land but could only choose a plot of land hoping that they would be allocated the land after it had been surveyed. They had no idea where the eventual boundaries would be and could end up clearing land for somebody else. The area was finally surveyed in 1793.

The founders of Ancaster are acknowledged to be James Wilson and Richard Beasley. They owned adjacent lots and, with Wilson’s skills as a millwright and Beasley’s money, they built a grist mill in 1791 and a saw mill the next year. Wilson then built up an industrial empire, which he sold in 1794 to St John Rousseaux. Rousseaux had a general store and ran a hotel in his home on Wilson Street. Before that he had been a successful trader with the aboriginals at his Humber River store. Rousseaux in turn sold the mills to a group of men known as the Union Mill Company and from the profits built another hotel, which he named the Union Hotel from the Union Company money that built it. This was the hotel used for the Bloody Assize during the War of 1812.

In 1812, before the war, a group of people from Brant’s Block (Burlington) petitioned for a new district to be set up between the Home District, with its County Town at York (Toronto), and the Niagara District, with its County Town at Niagara. The Brant’s Block people felt that it should be the County Town of the new district. People of Dundas thought that Coote’s Paradise was more suited so they petitioned too. Then the people of Greensville, Bullock’s Corners, and Crooks Hollow sent in a petition for Crooks Hollow to be the County Town. A fourth petition arrived from James Durand’s village on his farm. Then a fifth and final petition from Ancaster arrived. Before anything final could be done, the war had broken out and all plans had to be shelved. At the end of the war, when the matter came up again, things had changed. It had become apparent that the village on James Durand’s farm was the most up-and-coming and it was named the County Town. Except that it was no longer owned by Durand. So, instead of becoming Durand, the new town was named after the new owner of the farm, George Hamilton, and so became Hamilton. And now Ancaster, Coote’s Paradise, Greensville, Bullock’s Corners, and Crooks Hollow are all part of Hamilton.

In 1820, Job Lodor bought the Union Mills and revitalized the industrial complex in the 1820s. In 1826, William Wiard started a foundry and this employed Harris and Alonzo Egleston when they arrived here in 1832. Eventually they bought out Wiard and started an industrial empire of their own, including a grist mill that is now the Old Ancaster Mill. But gradually, in the 1830s, Hamilton’s position as a port on Lake Ontario took it beyond Ancaster as a centre for industry.
…from “One-day trips through the history of Southwest Ontario” http://www.herontrips.com/

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Rev. W.R. Vance


1905 West Lorne (Elgin Cty), 1912-1916 Merlin (London)

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Rev. E. Val Tilton


1918 Cambridge St. Lindsay,

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Rev.  Joseph E. Vinning New Connexion

He was received on trial in 1853 and ordained in 1856 at Cayuga, and he withdrew in 1864 No further information could be found about him.


1857-1858 Manvers, 1859-1860 Barkan, 1860-1861 Ancaster (Wentworth Cty), 1862-1863 Waterford (Brant Cty.), 1864 Owen Sound (Bruce Cty), withdrew 1864

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Rev. Yokam


1868-1869 Ancaster (Wentworth Cty.)

Sunday September 12, 1869 – went to funeral of Wesley Swezy at White Brick church – Rev. Yoken officiated.   prayer meeting at 7 pm Bowman Chapel…from Crowell Smith diary

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Rev. John S. Marsden  Wesleyan Methodist


1845 George St. Peterborough

Central Methodist Cemetary Peterborough – A few paces away from this big monument is the grave of Rev. John S. Marsden, a Wesleyan missionary who died in 1845 in the prime of his manhood. Of him nothing is known and no record appears in Methodist church history in Peterborough. His tombstone is fallen from its pedestal and lies askew on the grave of the man who must have been one of the first ministers of the gospel to brave the hardships of pioneering in the district.





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EdenvaleMethSimcoe1909The History of Simcoe County – Andrew F. Hunter, 1863 – 1940

The First Methodists

The first efforts of the Methodists in this county for the promotion of religious work can scarcely be associated with a particular spot, of which it could be said “here was the center of their movements.” The first Presbyterian workers were in connection with the Scotch Settlement of West Gwillimbury; while the Episcopalians regarded Shanty Bay as a centre for their early mission work. But if any place connects itself with the early Methodists, it would naturally be the islands of Lake Simcoe, where their efforts were directed about the year 1825 to christianize the pagan Ojibways, then so numerous.

Among those who first preached the Gospel to the Lake Simcoe Indians were Revs. Peter Jones, John Sunday, Elder Case, and others whose names are given in the published accounts, which it would be impossibe to summarize in detail. Many references to the early mission work on Lake Simcoe will be found in the Journal of the Rev. Peter Jones. Amongst the laborers in this mission field were also Revs. Gilbert Miller, Jonathan Scott, John and Thomas Williams, and the Rev. Dr. Rose; while of those who would pay occasional visits to different parts of the county, to perform the rites of baptism or marriage, and preach to the scattered settlers in their dwellings, there was Revs. Robert Corson, Ezra Adams, J. Richardson, Wm. and John Ryerson, and Henry Reid.

There was a controversy of some length in 1831-2 in the columns of the Christian Guardian (then, as now, the chief organ of the Methodist Church), regarding the Lake Simcoe and Matchedash mission to the Indians, in which the participants were Mr. Currie the school teacher, and the Rev. Mr. Miller, the missionary. The Rev. Gilbert Miller was the Methodist missionary at Orillia in 1832.

In 1824-5, (according to Rev. John Carroll’s “Case and his Cotemporaries,” vol. 3, p. 18), Rowley Heyland and Daniel McMullen, two Methodist Episcopal missionaries in the new settlements of Peel and Halton counties, had an appointment at Andrew Cunningham’s in West Gwillimbury. And in 1828, the Rev. John Black, a travelling Methodist missionary, held services at Monkman’s in Tecumseth, as stated in the chapter on that township (Vol II, p. 40).

Simon Armstrong, in a letter to John Robinson of Bond Head, gave his recollections of the origin of the old log-meeting house at the Sutherland appointment, lot 6, concession 8, West Gwillimbury, and of early Methodism in that locality. His remarks are worthy of a permanent place in connection with the history of this subject:–

“In the year 1835 a few of the settlers met in the house of Matthew Ney to discuss ways and means to build a meeting-house somewhere in the neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sutherland told of a promise they had made to their friends when leaving Ireland a few years before, that if ever they became owners of a farm in America, they would give a site and help to build a Methodist meeting-house. Their offer was accepted, being a sort of compromise site between the Parkers on the east and the Atkins and Longs on the west. Sutherland’s old log meeting-house may be called a pioneer of Methodism in the County of Simcoe. After all preliminaries were settled a subscription list was opened and each head of family was to subscribe at least two pounds, (to buy lumber, shingles, etc.,) and so many days’ work each. A poor man,–Matthew Woodrow–had no money to give, but he would hew the logs inside and out after the building was raised, which he did. It faced the east, its side to the road, with two square windows on each side, 7 by 9 inches glass.”

The Barrie Examiner of March 18, 1909, contained a list of the Methodist ministers in South Simcoe (with special reference to Thornton Church) from the earliest period to the present time. It is stated that the list, or at least the first part of it, was derived from documents preserved in the Library of the British Museum. The ministers in the earlier years, as given in the list, are the following:–


 Year Senior Pastor Junior Pastor
1829  Henry Schaler   James Currie
1830  Jacob Poole
1831-2  John H. Houston   Samuel Rose
1833  Gilbert Miller

 Year Senior Pastor Junior Pastor
1834  Robert Corson   Thomas Fawcett
1835  Horace Dean   Cornelius Flummerfeldt
1836  Horace Dean   John Lever
1837  Simon Huntingdon   John Lever
1838 Edmund Shepard   G. R. Sanderson
1839 Edmund Shepard  James Spencer

 Year Senior Pastor Junior Pastor
1840-1 John Baxter   Francis Coleman
1842  Francis Coleman   James Hutchinson
1843  Francis Colean   John Goodfellow
1844  Charles Gilbert   James Hutchinson
1845  William Coleman   Benjamin Jones

 Year Senior Pastor Junior Pastor
1846   William Coleman   Benjamin Jones
1847   Ezra Adams   Alexander Campbell
1848  C.ornelius Flummerfeldt   William S. Blackstock
1849  Cornelus Flummerfeldt   John Webster
1850  Luther O. Rice  Thomas Culbert
Cookstown Circuit was formed in 1851 with the Rev. Luther O. Rice as the senior pastor.

A list of the ministers of the Methodist church who ministered in the north part of this county, from 1836 onward, may be interesting at the present day. White’s log church (Dalston) was the local headquarters during the first years of the labors of this denomination.

1836 Rev. David Hardy was the first stationed minister in this part, making his home with William Larkins, sen., (lot 3, con. 1, Vespra), during his period of ministration. At this time Rev. Gilbert Miller was the resident missionary to the Indians, at Coldwater.

1837-1838 Rev. Thomas McMullen The first resident minister in Barrie. Rev. Jonathan Scott, missionary at Coldwater.

1839 Rev. William Price. Rev. Sylvester Hurlburt, missionary at Coldwater. In this year a largely attended Centenary meeting of the founding of Methodism was held at Kempenfeldt.

1840- Rev. Michael Fawcett, who resided at Painswick. About this time Rev. Dr. Anson Green preached at Quarterly meeting in the old log school-house in Barrie, which was then used as a meeting house.

1841-1843 Rev. John Lever, in whose time the first Methodist church was built in Barrie. Rev. Mr. Coleman was assistant for part of this time, and Rev. Reuben Robinson for another part.

1844-1846 Rev. Horace Dean, assisted part of the time by Rev. Francis Coleman. Notable visitors to the mission field about this time were Rev. William Ryerson and Rev. Hyram Wilkinson.

1847-1849 Rev. Luther O. Rice.

1850-1833 Rev. Lewis Warner, chairman of the Barrie district. Rev. Andrew Edwards, assistant for part of this time.

1854-1856 Rev. John Douse, chairman, with Rev. John Stokes Clarke assistant for part of his term.

1856-1859 Rev. William McFadden.

1860-1863 Rev. James C. Slater, chairman.

1864-1867 Rev. John Wesley McCallum.

1868-1870 Rev. George H. Davis, with Rev. H. Burwash as assistant for part of the term.

There were several other young assistant ministers during these years, many of whom subsequently became distinguished lights in the church. The first Methodist services in Barrie were held in an old log building near the N. W. corner of Dunlop and Mulcaster Streets, which at different times served as Mr. Sanford’s store, as a school-house, and as a meeting-house. This building satisfied the requirements of the day until 1841, when they erected their first church. In 1837, Rev. Wellington Jeffers, of the Wesleyan Methodists, preached regularly at Partridge’s, near Crown Hill. He was succeeded in 1838 by Rev. Mr. Steers. John, Richard and Thos. Williams sometimes held services as local preachers, afterwards receiving appointments in other fields of labor. These men were amongst the first advocates of temperance in the district. In the pioneer days, the people went to church at White’s Corners (Dalston) all the way from Innisfil township. Especially was this true of the Quarterly Meeting services.

Rev. David Hardy, the first resident Methodist preacher in the county, used to travel every week from Holland Landing to Penetanguishene in the discharge of his clerical duties. The members of his church lived from end to end of the county, and he ministered weekly to them at different places along the route. One of his appointments was at Gimby’s Corners (now Churchill).

Mr. Hardy performed some of his journeys through the county on horseback, although it is said that he was a rather unskilled horseman. Sometines when the roads were too bad he would leave his old black nag at a friend’s and finish his journey on foot. This pioneer preacher and the two or three others who immediately succeeded him were promised the sum of $100 by the parish for clothes and books, in addition to which their horses and themselves were to be fed by the parishioners. But they seldom received the whole of the promised yearly sum of $100 in cash, so poor were the people they served in those days.

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The History of Simcoe County  – Andrew F. Hunter, 1863 – 1940

The year 1839 was the Centenary of Methodism – the one hundredth year after Wesley established his first societies in England for the promotion of religious work.

The memorable event was celebrated in Upper Canada by holding in all the principal congregations, Centenary meetings, each of which was attended and addressed by a deputation of divines appointed for the purpose.

Simcoe county was included in the district apportioned to the Revs. William Case, Joseph Stinson, M. Richer, M.A., and William Ryerson. An important centenary meeting in the annals of local Methodism was held at Kempenfeldt, and it created a deep interest amongst the adherents of this denomination. This meeting was central both as to its locality and as to the interest manifested in its proceedings.

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Rev. Edmund Shepard


17 October 17, 1847, at Bytown, Rev. William ANDREWS, Wesleyan Methodist Minister,
to Armanella HOSKINS, step-daughter of John BURROWS, all of Bytown by Rev. Edmund Shepherd

July 7, 1848, George ARNOLD and Jane McCULLOUGH, both of Nepean by Rev. Edmund Shepherd

October 10, 1848, William Walter BROWN, to Eliza PALMER both of Bytown by Rev. E. Shepherd

November 7, 1848, C.A. BURPEE, merchant, and Mary, only daughter of William BOWLES,
both of Bytown by Rev, E. Shepherd


1838-1839  Newmarket (Simcoe Cty), 1847-1848Bytown

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Rev. Henry Schaler


1829 Albion (Simcoe Cty)

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