Archive for March, 2014

McCARTY (McCarthy), CHARLES JUSTIN (James), itinerant preacher; born in Ireland, date of birth unknown; married Catherine Lent, and they had four children; died c. 1790.

Charles Justin McCarty was living in the province of New York when he became an ardent follower of the evangelist George Whitefield. He came to Canada in 1788 and preached effectively in the homes of loyalists in the Bay of Quinte area. His attempt to settle there was frustrated by the Mecklenburg land board, which turned down his petition for land “for want of due Proofs,” despite McCarty’s claims of persecution and imprisonment in the Hudson valley area for his loyalty to the crown. His preaching and personality had a polarizing effect in the townships west of Kingston. The Reverend John Stuart*, who sat on the land board with Neil McLean and Richard Cartwright*, considered McCarty “an illiterate Irishman . . . a Man of an infamous private Character,” and noted, “I think we shall be able to banish him for Crimes of a henious Nature.” On the other hand, 41 residents of the area signed a petition that he “continue with us,” recommending his sobriety, honesty, piety, and religion.

In April 1790 McCarty was arrested and tried on charges of being a vagabond, impostor, and disturber of the peace. The Court of Quarter Sessions, held on 13 and 14 April at Kingston and presided over by Cartwright, McLean, and Archibald McDonell*, ordered McCarty to leave the district. He apparently left but came back, for on July 13 he was again tried and ordered deported to Oswego, New York. He was never seen alive again, and accounts of his death have varied from starvation on an island, which seems probable, to murder, based on the discovery of a stabbed body.

Though McCarty had no official connection with the Methodists, his loyalist followers were largely of that faith and he had the Methodist style and emphasis. He has thus been claimed by Methodist historians as a martyr. Formally organized in 1785 in the United States, the Methodists were a new and unknown denomination, generally scorned by members of older churches as being enthusiasts and dissenters. Nathanael Burwash* later described this derisive attitude as “a spirit of arrogant enmity towards the Methodist body” and claimed that “the extreme instance” of it was McCarty’s death “through the action of the civil authorities at Kingston.” At least two other dissident preachers were in the Kingston area at the time and did not meet such hostility. A teacher in Adolphustown by the name of Lyons had preached the Methodist message without opposition, and William Losee*, a deacon of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States who had arrived just before McCarty’s trial, was able to form lasting Methodist societies which included many of McCarty’s supporters.

Other writers have defended the integrity of the court’s decision, pointing out that even a grand jury had been consulted on the final verdict and that at least one of the judges at his second trial, Robert Clark*, was or soon became a Methodist. Yet with his loyalty questioned and his request for land refused, McCarty was indeed a rootless wanderer in a post-war era suspicious of opportunists and unproven newcomers.

Four years after McCarty’s death, his widow married John McDougall of Ernestown. Some of McCarty’s children settled in the Cobourg area, and his youngest son John became one of the original trustees of Upper Canada Academy, the forerunner of Victoria University.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by  J. William Lamb

PAC, RG 1, L3, 281, 3232 A; L4, 7, p.30; RG 31, A1, 1851 census, Hamilton Township (mfm. at PAO). PAO, RG 1, C-IV, Hamilton Township papers, concession 5, lot 15; RG 21, A, Assessment rolls: Northumberland and Durham counties, Hamilton Township, 1808–15. United Counties of Northumberland and Durham Surrogate Court (Cobourg, Ont.), no. 1251, will of John McCarty, 4 Dec. 1877 (mfm. at PAO). Kingston before War of 1812 (Preston), 156–63. “Marriage register of St John’s Church, Ernest Town, no.2,” OH, I (1899), 20. PAO Report, 1904. Encyclopedia Canadiana, VI, 236. Illustrated historical atlas of the counties of Northumberland and Durham (Toronto, 1878). H. C. Burleigh, “The fate of McCarthy the martyr” (mimeograph, 1974) (copy at United Loyalists’ Assoc. of Canada, Toronto). G. F. Playter, The history of Methodism in Canada . . . (Toronto, 1862), 18. Thomas Webster, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada (Hamilton, Ont., 1870), 36–39. W. S. Herrington, “The trial of Charles Justin McCarty,” RSC Trans., 3rd ser., XXI (1927), sect.{{ii}}, 63–70. C. B. Sissons, “The martyrdom of McCarty – fact or myth?” Canadian Journal of Religious Thought (Toronto), IV (1927), 12–18.

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STORY, GEORGE PHILLISKIRK, educator, Methodist clergyman, author, and editor; born June 26, 1853 in Filey, England, son of William Story and Elizabeth Jenkinson; married July 7, 1880 Elizabeth Steer in St John’s, and they had three daughters, one of whom died in infancy, and four sons; died July 7, 1894 in St John’s.

George Philliskirk Story was the eldest of William Story’s four children and the only one of a short-lived family to survive his father. William, a native of Hull in Yorkshire, opened his own drapery establishment at Filey in 1827 and served as the town’s postmaster for 40 years. A leading lay Methodist and a man of volatile and irrepressible high spirits, he earned the sobriquet of Ram’s Horn for a sermon on the fall of the city of Jericho. He named his eldest son after George Story of Harthill, a kinsman who had been an early and influential follower of John and Charles Wesley, and Harrison Philliskirk, a fellow Wesleyan in Filey.

A career as teacher was marked out for George Philliskirk Story. He studied at Westminster Training College in London, graduating with a first class diploma. After some years teaching in Methodist schools in Yorkshire, in the mid 1870s he was appointed headmaster of the grammar school run by the church in Carbonear, Nfld, but within a year he abandoned this position for the ministry.

Following three probationary years as an assistant in the two St John’s circuits, Story was ordained in 1880. That summer he married the daughter of John Steer, a leading merchant in the city. The next eight years were spent in hard and onerous labour as a circuit preacher around the island: at Channel (Channel-Port aux Basques), Hant’s Harbour and Catalina on Trinity Bay, and Freshwater on Conception Bay. Then in 1888 Story was recalled to St John’s as guardian and chaplain of the new Methodist College home, a residence for outport students attending the college. The years in St John’s were marked by the outbreak of a serious epidemic of diphtheria in 1889, the burning of the old college and residence in the great fire of 1892, and the Newfoundland financial crisis of 1894. During 1892 Story travelled widely through central and eastern Canada to raise money for the rebuilding of the college ($8,000 was collected).

By the time the new quarters were opened in November 1893, Story had been chosen as president of the Newfoundland Conference of the Methodist Church. During his tenure he again travelled extensively, to New England, Ontario, and the Maritime Provinces, as well as within Newfoundland, but this activity ended in a serious physical collapse, the result of a heart condition aggravated by overwork. A move to the new inland circuit at Whitbourne effected only temporary recovery. Story suffered a relapse while visiting St John’s in May 1894 followed by pneumonia, and he died there in July at the age of 41.

The image of George Philliskirk Story that remains is of a short life of unremitting and intense labour as a circuit preacher. His work in linking the Methodist community in Newfoundland with its Canadian counterparts was significant. In 1891, as secretary of the Newfoundland conference, he visited Mount Allison College in Sackville, New Brunswick, and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to establish more formal relations with these institutions and facilitate the entry of graduates from the college in St John’s into their programs. A writer for the Methodist periodical press and editor of the St John’s Methodist Monthly Greeting in 1890–91, he was also the author of some 108 sermons that have survived in manuscript. Mostly the product of his last years in the ministry, they display an uncommonly disciplined form, clarity, and reserve.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by  G. M. Story

An oil portrait of George Philliskirk Story and his manuscript letters, notebooks, and sermons remain in the possession of the contributor, a grandson, in St John’s.

Filey, Eng., Methodist Church, Reg. of baptisms, 1853. PRO, HO 107/1214, 107/1260; RG 10/4814. Christmas Rev. (St John’s), 1892. Methodist Monthly Greeting (St John’s), July 1894. Methodist Recorder (London), 16 Aug. 1894. Filey Post and Weekly List of Visitors, 6–13 Feb. 1886. Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser, 13 July, 30 Nov. 1880; 23 Feb. 1886. Weekly News (St John’s), 12 July 1894. Charles Lench, The story of Methodism in Bonavistaand of the settlements visited by the early preachers . . . (n.p., 1919), 153. D. G. Pitt, Windows of agatesa short history of the founding and early years of Gower Street Methodist (now United) Church in StJohnsNewfoundland (St John’s, 1966). G. M. Story, George Street Church1873–1973 (St John’s, 1973), 45. Collegian ([St John’s]), 1960: 78, 189. Daily News (St John’s), 4 Sept. 1964: 23.

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Source: Courtesy of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec / 52327/1955801

LUSHERROBERT LANGHAM, Methodist minister, author, and newspaper editor; born c. 1787 in London; married Esther —, and they had at least one son and two daughters; died July 10, 1849 in Montreal.

Robert Langham Lusher was attracted to the Methodist movement as a young man. In 1817 having been accepted as a probationer for the ministry, he was appointed by the British Wesleyan Conference to overseas missionary work. Lusher’s first assignment was Montreal, where he arrived with his young family late in 1817. Except for a year in Quebec, from 1817 until the summer of 1822 he served the Montreal circuit; while there he was received into full connection by the British conference in 1821.

At Lusher’s arrival in Montreal, the town’s Methodists numbered probably fewer than 100 and were largely loyalists of the mercantile and artisan classes. They were divided in their allegiance to American or British church authorities, but by 1820 had united under the British Wesleyan Conference. Lusher’s style of preaching soon began to make Methodism respectable in Montreal, overcoming the prevailing prejudice against Methodist preachers as what a letter in the Montreal Gazette termed “strolling enthusiasts.” He was able to obtain civil registers for baptisms, marriages, and burials and the Montreal Methodist society increased in numbers and affluence so that a larger chapel was soon required. The Methodist Chapel, as it was called, was completed in 1821. Under Lusher’s leadership Methodists cooperated with other denominations in establishing several religious and benevolent institutions such as the Montreal General Hospital and the Emigrant Society of Montreal. He was, however, disappointed by one development within his own denomination: the agreement of 1820 between British and American Methodist authorities [see Henry Ryan*] which left Upper Canada under the influence of the American preachers, many of whom, he believed, held the “[British] constitution and Government in the utmost contempt.”

In 1822 Lusher was appointed to Halifax and in 1825 to Liverpool, Nova Scptia. On both circuits he travelled to isolated settlements along the southern shore. He returned to England in 1827 and served in Oldham, Halifax, Manchester, and Bath. At the request of the Montreal Methodist society, in 1838 he was once again assigned to the Montreal circuit by the Wesleyan Missionary Committee of the British conference and at the same time was appointed to preside over the Lower Canada District, a post he held for a year.

Relations between the British Wesleyan Conference, responsible for Lower Canada, and the Canada Conference, presiding in Upper Canada, were greatly strained. One of the chief points at issue was the policy of the Christian Guardian, edited by Egerton Ryerson*, who did not hesitate to criticize government policy on the disposition of the clergy reserves. In a letter to fellow minister Robert Alder*, Lusher perhaps reflected a typically British attitude in his horror of the Christian Guardian’s “inflammatory character . . . calculated to promote dissatisfaction and disaffection to the Government” as well as its “anti-Wesleyan position in reference to the Church of England and its union with the state.” In August 1840, immediately after the British Wesleyan Conference had officially broken its link with the Canada Conference (Lower Canada remaining as it had been, a district in direct connection with the British conference), a new church paper, the Wesleyan, appeared. It was published twice monthly in Montreal with Lusher as its first editor. The aim of the Wesleyan was to disseminate British Methodist news and opinion throughout the Canadas, no doubt as an antidote to the influence of the Christian Guardian. After a year Lusher gave up the editorship and in 1842 moved to Trois-Rivières. The paper resumed publication in Toronto.

Lusher’s later years were clouded by ill health. After serving the Trois-Rivières circuit for less than two years, he retired in 1843 to live in Montreal among the members of his former congregation, who greatly revered him. Robert Langham Lusher’s contribution to the social and religious life of British North America was conservative rather than creative or original. In upholding a British attitude of uncritical deference to authority he perhaps failed to appreciate the need of the colonial church to shape its witness within its own social context.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by  Nathan H. Mair

Robert Langham Lusher is the author of The last journey: a funeral address, delivered . . . July 8, 1838, occasioned by the death of the late RevJohn Barry . . . (Montreal, 1838); The laws of Wesleyan Methodism epitomized and arranged . . . (Manchester, Eng., 1834); Recollections of the outlines of a sermon, delivered . . . April 3, 1825, on occasion of the death of MrsEunice Waterman . . . (Halifax, 1827); and A sermon, preached at the Wesleyan Chapel, Quebec, Sunday, March 26th, 1820, occasioned by the death of his late majesty George the Third (Montreal, 1820). He was the editor for the first volume of the Wesleyan, which was published at Montreal from 6 Aug. 1840 to 8 July 1841.

St James United Church (Montreal), Memorial letterbook, 17 Jan. 1842. SOAS, Methodist Missionary Soc. Arch., Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Soc., corr., North America (mfm. at UCC, Maritime Conference Arch., Halifax). UCC, Montreal-Ottawa Conference Arch. (Montreal), 7/StJ/1/1; Montreal Presbytery, St James Street Methodist Chapel (Montreal), reg. Wesleyan (Toronto), 2 (1841–42)–3 (1842–43). Wesleyan Methodist Church, Minutes of the conferences (London), 11 (1848–51). Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada, The minutes of the annual conferences . . .from 1824 to 1845 . . . (Toronto, 1846). Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, 41 (1818)–43 (1820); 48 (1825)–49 (1826); 54 (1831). Canada Temperance Advocate (Montreal), February–March 1840. Canadian Courant and Montreal Advertiser, 23, 30 Jan., 6 Feb., 18 Dec. 1819; 5 June 1821. Christian Guardian, 25 July 1849. Montreal Gazette, 28 Nov. 1808. Montreal Herald, 11 Oct. 1817–20 March 1819; 18 Dec. 1819; 17, 24 Feb. 1821; 26 Jan. 1822. Montreal Transcript, 21 Oct. 1837; 2 Jan., 31 May, 14 June 1838; 8 Aug. 1840; 10 July 1849. Borthwick, Histand bioggazetteer. G. H. Cornish, Cyclopædia of Methodism in Canada, containing historical, educational, and statistical information . . . (2v., Toronto and Halifax, 1881–1903). E. A. Betts, Bishop Black and his preachers (2nd ed., Sackville, N.B., 1976). J. [S.] Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries . . . (5v., Toronto, 1867–77). G. E. Jacques, Chronicles of the St-James StMethodist Church, Montreal, from the first rise of Methodism in Montreal to the laying of the corner-stone of the new church on StCatherine Street (Toronto, 1888). N. H. Mair, The people of St James, Montreal, 1803–1984([Montreal, 1984]). J. H. Turner, Halifax books and authors . . . (Brighouse, Eng., 1906).

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CLEVELAND (Cleaveland), AARON, Congregationalist minister and priest of the Church of England; born October 29, 1715, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, son of Aaron Cleveland, a building contractor, and Abigail Waters; died 11 August 11, 1757 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Aaron Cleveland graduated in 1735 from Harvard College, where he was known as an outstanding wrestler, swimmer, and skater, “a large and powerful man.” In 1739 he was ordained in the Congregational church at Haddam, Connecticut, and on August 4 of the same year he married Susannah Porter, an acknowledged belle and the daughter of the Reverend Aaron Porter of Medford, Massachusetts.

Cleveland’s popularity waned within a few years, possibly because he was reflecting the influence of the celebrated revivalist, George Whitefield. In 1746 he “obtained dismission” from Haddam, and in April 1747 was called to Malden South (Everett, Mass.). He paid a visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in May 1749, and after preaching to a considerable assembly was urged to “make his settled abode” there. The Anglican community was already served by St Paul’s church and a handsome meeting house was planned for the dissenters (Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Calvinists, etc.). February 1751 found Cleveland in his new charge. Pending completion of the meeting house, he preached in St Paul’s every Sunday in the afternoon “to good Acceptance”; his colleague, William Tutty of the Church of England, discoursed to his flock in the morning. This arrangement worked amicably, and Tutty could inform the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel of the perfect harmony existing between the two congregations. It had been otherwise the previous September, when Tutty had stigmatized the New Englanders as “a cheating designing people,” dishonest and given to prevarication, “and all under the cloak of religion.” Governor Edward Cornwallis*, who found Cleveland “well pleasing,” granted him four lots of land in Halifax and area and took a keen interest in the new meeting house (later St Matthew’s church), of which Cleveland was the first minister.

In a year or so Cleveland seems to have become restless; perhaps once more his popularity was lessening. He was veering towards the Church of England and left Halifax in late 1753 for Norwich, Connecticut, his widowed mother’s home. As acceptance by the SPG demanded his presence in London, he settled his affairs in Halifax before sailing for England in June 1754; he left his wife and children in Boston. He was subsequently ordained and on July 28, 1755 was appointed a missionary of the SPG. The society offered him a post in Pennsylvania. The vessel in which he was returning to America was cast on the Nantucket shoals and Cleveland, who showed great bravery in assisting the sailors, received a severe head injury. Resuming this hazardous voyage he landed in Halifax in October 1755 and shortly afterwards continued to Norwich, still a sick man. The congregation in Lewes, Delaware, would not accept him as their new minister, but on the high recommendation of the Reverend William Smith he was transferred in 1757 to New Castle, Delaware. He then set out for New England to get his wife and ten children. In Philadelphia he stopped to rest in Benjamin Franklin’s house and died there suddenly from “dropsey” on August 11, 1757.

Cleveland’s widow received the remainder of his salary, plus £50, from the SPG and opened a shop in Salem, Massachusetts. Grover Cleveland, twice president of the United States, was a descendant of Aaron.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

by   Maud M. Hutcheson

Essex Institute (Salem, Mass.), ms letter of Aaron Cleveland, [1751]. The genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland families, comp. E. J. and H. G. Cleveland (3v., Hartford, Conn., 1899), I. New EngHistand GenealRegister, XLII (1888), 73–78. Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard graduates, IX, 493–500. [R. M. Hattie], Looking backward over two centuries (Halifax, 1949), 10–11. I. F. MacKinnon, Settlements and churches in Nova Scotia, 17491776 (Halifax, [1930]). W. C. Murray “History of St. Matthew’s Church, Halifax, N.S.,” N.S. Hist. Soc. Coll., XVI (1912), 150–57.

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APPLETONTHOMAS, educator; born  in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England; fl. 1818–35.

Thomas Appleton is remembered chiefly for his role in a minor dispute that symbolized a much broader issue. In the early 1820s he became the central figure in a debate over how schooling in Upper Canada should be organized. Lieutenant Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland* and the Reverend John Strachan* favoured the spread of the national system, a network of monitorial schools controlled by the Church of England; reformers, on the other hand, supported the expansion of the system of non-denominational common schools inaugurated by the Common Schools Act of 1816. This debate was not resolved until the creation in the 1840s and 1850s of a non-sectarian, state-supported system of universal schooling under the supervision of Egerton Ryerson*.

A Yorkshire Methodist, Appleton came to Upper Canada in 1818. After teaching for a brief period in Scarborough and King townships, in February 1820 he took up a post at the York (Toronto) common school. His future was soon placed in jeopardy, however, by Maitland’s plan to create national schools, which supposedly would play a key role in ensuring the loyalty of the populace. A few months after Appleton’s move to York, Joseph Spragg*, whom Maitland had recruited in England with the object of turning the York school into a national school, arrived in the capital. Strachan, a member of the district board of education and a close ally of Maitland, now took the lead in trying to have Appleton replaced. Eventually Spragg was appointed to the York school for a five-month period and Appleton was given charge of a nearby common school in the “market square.” Shortly afterwards, this arrangement was made permanent and Spragg’s school was transformed into the Upper Canada Central School, the first of Maitland’s planned series of national schools.

Here matters rested until mid 1821, when Appleton was abruptly denied his allowance for the previous six months on the grounds that the Central School had superseded the common school. The trustees of the common school, Jesse Ketchum*, Thomas David Morrison*, and Jordan Post*, petitioned Maitland and the district board on Appleton’s behalf, but their appeals met with no success and they resigned in protest. In 1823 Appleton appealed to Maitland, who referred the matter to the recently created Board for the General Superintendence of Education. Strachan, as superintendent of the board, advised Maitland that Appleton’s salary had been discontinued because, after the reduction of the common school fund in 1820, the district board had decided to support only one school in each township, and in York the presence of the Central School had made Appleton’s school expendable. Maitland, according to Strachan, thought this argument “perfectly satisfactory” and no action was taken on Appleton’s petition.

Despite his loss of salary, Appleton stayed on as a teacher at the common school, relying on the fees of his students. He continued petitioning, and in 1828 the House of Assembly established a select committee – composed of James Wilson, Robert Randal, John Rolph*, John Matthews, and Thomas Hornor – to investigate his charges of high-handedness on the part of the Executive Council. The reform members who dominated the committee saw an opportunity to expand what seemed a relatively routine case of unfair dismissal into a full-blown discussion of “family compact” policies. After all, the Central School had been established on the recommendation of the Executive Council but without the approval of the Colonial Office or the Upper Canada legislature. Moreover, some members suspected a deliberate attempt by Maitland, and perhaps Strachan as well, to set up through the national schools a system of Church of England schools which would rival the nondenominational common schools. From the outset, then, it was clear that the committee would take Appleton’s side. After hearing several witnesses, including Appleton himself and Jesse Ketchum, the committee requested that the authorities pay Appleton the money owed him. It also announced that the Central School “is professedly adherent to the church of England – and, therefore, ought not to be supported by the revenues of a country struggling against ecclesiastical exclusion.” Nothing came of the committee’s report.

Appleton did not discourage easily and in April 1832 he appealed directly to the Colonial Office. Once more his efforts were in vain, for in 1833 Lord Goderich decided, after receiving information on the case from Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne*, that the affair did not warrant interference. Two years later William Lyon Mackenzie*’s committee on grievances considered another petition from Appleton, and resolved that the teacher was entitled to £85 4s. in compensation. It is not known whether this payment was ever made.

The details of Appleton’s life in the 1820s and 1830s are obscure. In 1828 he was still teaching in York, and in 1835 Mackenzie described him as a resident of Toronto. His name, however, does not appear in city directories or assessment records for the 1830s; indeed, the name Thomas Appleton does not appear again in records of any kind until 1841, when a Thomas Appleton is listed as living in King Township. There is good circumstantial evidence to indicate that the Appleton of King Township was the same person as the subject of this biography. If so, Appleton lived a long and productive life. The Thomas Appleton of 1841, an English immigrant and New Connexion Methodist, moved into King Township that year. By 1851 he and his wife Elizabeth had three children, and Thomas with his son Tapple was operating a sawmill. At the time of the 1861 census Thomas was a widower and was residing with Teavill C. Appleton, probably a brother. He died in Aurora on July 31, 1866 at the home of his son-in-law, William Hartman, brother of Clear Grit politician Joseph Hartman*; he was then 82 years of age. That Appleton himself may have had ties with the reform party is indicated by a letter of 1841 from one T. Appleton – undoubtedly Thomas, his son Tapple, or Teavill – to Robert Baldwin*. In this letter, written from Whitchurch Township, Appleton asked Baldwin to fulfill “the promise you made me at the Husting.”

Appleton was described as “a good teacher and a kind man, held in equally high esteem by the pupils and their parents.” During the 1820s and 1830s his case had focused attention on the increasingly important question of who was going to control the evolving system of public schooling for the children of the masses. Was it to be the church or the state, the appointed executive or the elected legislative branch? In the Appleton case the assembly put itself on record as favouring state and legislative control, but the resolution of the issue required another two decades of debate.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by  J. Donald Wilson

AO, MS 451, York County, King Township cemetery records; RG 21, York County, King Township, assessment rolls, concession 2, lot 21, 1863, 1865–66. MTL, Robert Baldwin papers, Appleton to Baldwin, 18 Oct. 1841. PAC, RG 1, L1, 29: 10; L3, 7: A 12/2; RG 5, A1: 24063–65, 33541–42; RG 7 , G1, 69: 159–61; 70: 90–91, 328–30; RG 31, C1, 1851, 1861, King Township, concession 2, lot 21. PRO, CO 42/411: 210; 42/413: 208, 251; 42/414: 340–48. Univ. of Toronto Arch., A73-0015/001, 17 March 1830 (photocopy at AO). York North Registry Office (Newmarket, Ont.), Abstract index to deeds, King Township, concession 2, lot 21 (mfm. at AO). Documentary history of education in Upper Canada from the passing of the Constitutional Act of 1791 to the close of RevDrRyersons administration of the Education Department in 1876, ed. J. G. Hodgins (28v., Toronto, 1894–1910), 1–2, 4–5. J. R. Robertson, Old Toronto: a selection of excerpts from “Landmarks of Toronto,” ed. E. C. Kyte (Toronto, 1954).Town of York, 181534 (Firth). U.C., House of Assembly, Appto the journal, 1835, 1, app.21: 81; 2, app.65: 19; Journal, 1828: 63, 66–67, 114; app., “Report on the petition of T. Appleton”; 1835: 204, 213, 232, 264. Newmarket Era, 3 Aug. 1866. R. R. Bonis, A history of Scarborough (Scarborough [Toronto], 1965). F. M. Quealey, “The administration of Sir Peregrine Maitland, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, 1818–1828” (PHD thesis, 2v., Univ. of Toronto, 1968). G. W. Spragge, “Monitorial schools in the Canadas, 1810–1845” (dpaed thesis, Univ. of Toronto, 1935). J. D. Wilson, “Foreign and local influences on popular education in Upper Canada, 1815–1844” (PHD thesis, Univ. of Western Ont., London, 1970). E. J. Hathaway, “Early schools of Toronto,” OH, 23 (1926): 322–27. G. W. Spragge, “The Upper Canada Central School,” OH, 32 (1937): 171–91.

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CHISHOLMKENNETH, businessman, office holder, and politician; born March 17, 1829 in Toronto Township, Upper Canada, son of Alexander Chisholm and Mary McDonell; married first 1854 Margaret Elliott (died 1863), and they had a daughter; married  secondly September 1865 Mary Ann (Minnie) McMaster (died 1904), and they had three sons and a daughter; died September 26, 1906 in Brampton, Ontario.

Of Scottish-loyalist background, Kenneth Chisholm’s parents settled in Toronto Township, which Alexander Chisholm, a native of Glengarry County and a veteran of the War of 1812, had helped survey in 1819. After a brief primary education, Kenneth went to work as a clerk in Churchville. In 1852 he located in nearby Brampton, working as a grain salesman for Peleg Howland, a local merchant and brother of William Pearce Howland of Lambton Mills (Etobicoke). He next opened his own grain business and general store in Milton. He soon returned to Brampton, however, and with his future father-in-law John Elliott bought out Howland’s business, which was renamed K. Chisholm and Company.

Using his centrally located store as his base of operations, Chisholm rose steadily in local fame. From 1855 to 1873 he was postmaster, a position that brought an enormous burst of business to his store. As well, he served as reeve of Brampton for several terms (1867–71, 1873–75, 1876–77, 1879) and as warden of Peel County for an unmatched record of three terms (1868–70). A Liberal, in 1873 he was elected mpp for Peel, a seat he would retain until his resignation in 1892.

When Chisholm started out in business in 1854, Brampton was at the beginning of two decades of spectacular economic growth based on a booming grain trade. The village not only was situated on a main road, between Orangeville and Lake Ontario, but also acquired good rail connections (the Grand Trunk and Credit Valley railways). Under such conditions, Chisholm’s general merchandising and grain-weighing operations flourished. In partnership with his brother-in-law Matthew Elliott, the ambitious entrepreneur was able to expand his grain-handling activities to Eldorado Mills (Eldorado Park) near Brampton and to obtain a storehouse in Orangeville. Chisholm by himself bought out the Bill Hill Quarries at Credit Forks, strongly promoting the Credit Valley Railway, which passed by the site, in the process. In 1883 he became a director of the Central Bank of Canada and four years later he helped to organize Brampton’s Board of Trade.

In 1880 Chisholm, Matthew Elliott, and other members of the town’s commercial élite bought into the internationally renowned Haggert Foundry. It had been this operation, along with Dale’s Nurseries, which had put Brampton on the map by the 1880s. Unfortunately for Chisholm, such fame was not to last much after he became vice-president and a minor investor in the foundry. By the late 1870s railway access and the expansion of newspaper advertising ensured that the foundry would soon lose its monopoly on agricultural implements and stoves in the region. Its fortunes steadily declined, until finally the company lapsed into receivership in 1891. Chisholm’s investment evaporated, a loss that was compounded by the failure of the Central Bank in 1887. His palatial estate on Main Street, Alderlea, was sold after his business failures; it is now a Royal Canadian Legion hall.

During his time of public prominence, Chisholm had contributed much to his community. Along with his father-in-law, he was instrumental in establishing Brampton as a centre of Primitive Methodism in Canada [see William Lawson*]. He donated land for St Paul’s Primitive Methodist Church and stone from his quarry for St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. As well, he gave land for and built the town’s concert hall. Chisholm contributed generously to the Brampton Agricultural Society and is credited with being a founding member and organizer of Brampton’s first golf, cricket, and tobagganing clubs.

After his financial collapse and departure from provincial politics, he became a figure of merely local note. In 1892 he was appointed registrar of Peel County, a position he held up to his death, despite failing mental health. A respected older resident, he continued to participate in such local events as “Scotchman’s day” in 1895, the celebration of the queen’s jubilee in 1897, and the exhibits by the Peel Pioneers at Brampton’s fall fair in 1900. He died of “senile decay” in 1906. Even though the site of his general store at Main and Queen streets is still referred to as Chisholm’s Corners, Chisholm has largely disappeared from local histories and folklore.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

   by   Gayle M. Comeau-Vasilopoulos

AO, F 171, MU 640, no.114; RG 8, 1–6-B, 66: 210. NA, RG 1, L3, 102: C12/199; RG 31, C1, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, Brampton, Ont. Ontario Geneal. Soc., Halton-Peel Branch (Oakville, Ont.), Index to cemeteries for the counties of Halton and Peel, sect.2, no.379 (copy in Region of Peel Arch., Brampton). Region of Peel Arch., M80-0004 (Haggert Foundry files); Registered survey plans for Brampton, 1848–88, esp. map H, no.34.Conservator (Brampton), 22 Aug. 1895, 22 June 1897, 5 Oct. 1900, 22 April 1904, 27 Sept. 1906. Zuhair Kashmeri, “Chisholm ignored in Brampton history: eventual financial collapse shadowed contributions,” Brampton Daily Times, 6 Aug. 1977.Brampton centennial1853–1953old home weekJuly 1st to 5th ([Brampton, 1953]).Brampton’s 100th anniversary as an incorporated town1873–1973 (Brampton, 1973). W. P. Bull, From rattlesnake hunt to hockeythe history of sports in Canada and of the sportsmen of Peel1798 to 1934 (Toronto, 1934). CPG, 1891. Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose and Charlesworth), vol.1. Directories, Brampton, 1873/74; Can., Prov. of, 1857/58; Ont., 1901/2; Peel and Halton counties, 1866/67. A history of Peel Countyto mark its centenary as a separate county1867–1967 (Toronto, 1967). Illustrated historical atlas of the county of PeelOnt., comp. J. H. Pope (Toronto, 1877; repr. Port Elgin, Ont., 1971). W. J. Rattray, The Scot in British North America (4v., Toronto, 1880–84), 3: 801. W. D. Reid, The loyalists in Ontariothe sons and daughters of the American loyalists of Upper Canada (Lambertville, N.J., 1973).

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MCOLLDUNCAN, soldier and Methodist clergyman; born August 22, 1754 at Glastrein, parish of Appin, Scotland; married 1784 Elizabeth Channal in Halifax; died 17 December 17, 1830 in St Stephen (St Stephen–Milltown), New Brunswick

Duncan M’Coll was one of eleven children of Hugh M’Coll, a feuar of Glastrein. As a young man he entered a Glasgow commercial office but returned to Argyll after his apprenticeship and joined his father in business. Unfortunately their enterprise was a failure. After several setbacks the elder M’Coll was forced to sell the rights to Glastrein and another property, Carvin, both of which had been in the family for generations, and to retire on a modest income. At the age of 23 Duncan M’Coll faced a future of limited prospects. Fortunately the family had a number of military contacts. Among these was Colonel John Campbell of Barbreck, commanding officer of the 74th Foot (Argyll Highlanders), which was being raised for service in the American revolution. Barbreck enrolled the young man as a company pay sergeant late in 1777.

The following summer the 74th sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In June 1779 M’Coll accompanied his regiment to the Penobscot River, where under Brigadier-General Francis McLean* he participated in the construction of Fort George (Castine, Maine) and in its defence against American attack in July and August. The next spring he was sent to New York as paymaster to the 2nd Grenadier Battalion. He remained in that city until the fall of 1781, when he accompanied his battalion to the relief of Lord Cornwallis in Virginia. The force was too late to save the British commander and retired to spend the winter at Jamaica, Long Island. While there M’Coll underwent a religious conversion, finding a “peace of soul,” a freedom, and an ability to forgive which led him to abandon many of his old habits and friends. A member of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, M’Coll sought a spiritual catalyst within the Church of England but could not find it among the chaplains he knew. In the fall of 1783 he was discharged from the army and set off for Halifax on a refugee ship belonging to Philip Marchinton*. The ship was driven off course in a storm and eventually reached Bermuda, where the passengers spent the winter. Among them was a young refugee, Elizabeth Channal of Philadelphia, who had been disowned by her family for joining the Methodist connection. Over the winter M’Coll was greatly influenced by the Bermudan Methodists who provided a framework and theological direction for his religious ardour.

In the spring of 1784 the vessel resumed its journey to Halifax, where M’Coll and Miss Channal were married. The newly-weds spent the next year in Halifax, the groom finding employment for a time with Marchinton. In 1785 they moved to the recently founded town of St Andrews, on Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick, where many of the disbanded Argyll Highlanders had settled. M’Coll entered the employ of two army officers and took charge of their business in St Stephen Parish, some 20 miles up the St Croix River from St Andrews. St Stephen had been settled in 1784 by loyalist refugees and members of the British commissary corps whose first home in Nova Scotia, at Port Mouton, had been destroyed by forest fires. When M’Coll and his wife arrived in the spring of 1785 they found a wretched, lawless, and demoralized people, “a mixed multitude . . . from many parts of the world,” living on the largesse of the British government, lacking any sense of community or purpose. In the absence of a clergyman the M’Colls began to hold prayer-meetings at their home in November 1785. On the first Sunday there were six persons present; on the second, more than sixty. Within two months a revival had broken out: in M’Coll’s words, “some fell on their faces, some ran to the doors and windows, others adored the Lord.” There were 21 converts in a matter of weeks and as the movement grew the following year M’Coll found himself more and more involved in pastoral work and less and less in his employment. He then severed his business connections, “called the believers together, and joined them together as near the Methodist plan as I knew and was able.”

M’Coll brought his characteristic vigour and enthusiasm to the work. His early activities had been confined to the village area of St Stephen Parish, known as Saltwater, but after 1786 he began to proselytize in its rural districts (including the area that was to become St James Parish) and in the neighbouring parishes of St David and St Andrews. Between 1787 and 1795 he averaged a dozen converts a year and succeeded in bringing virtually all of the pre-loyalists as well as most of the less affluent loyalists of St Stephen into a single community and under a single discipline. By 1790 M’Coll was able to erect a chapel at Saltwater built entirely from the resources of the local Methodist communitet, despite his success in establishing the Methodist cause in southwestern New Brunswick, he had no status in the wider Methodist connection until 1792 and received financial support from neither the British Wesleyan Conference nor his impoverished parishioners. M’Coll not only maintained himself and his wife but, where necessary, provided meeting-rooms, seats, and fuel from his own resources. As he noted in his journal, his property, which was managed by Mrs M’Coll, “was blest abundantly.”

M’Coll began his ministry at a time when Maritime Methodism was just beginning to coalesce into an organized church. William Black founded the Nova Scotia District in 1786 and M’Coll became a member of it in 1792. That same year, as one of only two Methodist preachers in New Brunswick, he was given a circuit which included the societies at St Stephen, Saint John, and Fredericton. He held this appointment for two years. In 1797–98, as the only preacher in New Brunswick, he was given responsibility for the whole province. Meanwhile he had been summoned by Bishop Francis Asbury to a meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Conference at New London, Conn., where he was ordained on 22 July 1795. The return to St Stephen was the occasion of the second of the three great revivals which marked M’Coll’s career. That of 1795–96 nearly doubled the membership of the existing societies and provided the impetus for a major missionary endeavour resulting in eight new societies. A similar expansion characterized the third revival, which occurred at the conclusion of the War of 1812. By 1816 M’Coll’s circuit contained 15 per cent of the membership of the Nova Scotia District. The growth of the Methodist presence in Charlotte County is perhaps best illustrated in the baptisms of the period: before 1800 M’Coll baptized an average of 13 people a year; between 1815 and 1820 the figure increased to 52.

The third revival marked the end of M’Coll’s missionary endeavours. By 1816 the 62-year-old cleric was serving 14 classes organized into 7 societies on a circuit more than 100 miles in length. The toll of 30 years of arduous circuit riding was compounded in the years between 1816 and 1819 by the deaths of virtually all of the remaining converts who had met in M’Coll’s house in 1785, culminating in the death of Elizabeth M’Coll in March 1819. The loss of his wife devastated the childless missionary but he continued to minister to his large circuit until 1826, when the executive committee of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society agreed to grant him a pension of £70 a year in return for clear title to all of the property on the St Stephen circuit. The next year an assistant missionary was sent to take the more distant societies in St David, St Andrews, and St Patrick parishes and thus allow M’Coll to concentrate his efforts in the St Stephen heartland of the circuit. In 1829 M’Coll retired from the active ministry. He died the following year at the age of 76.

M’Coll played an important role in defining community values and in moulding the popular culture of southwestern New Brunswick in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In this he was unique among Maritime Methodist clergy, his influence stemming from the fact that he was not settled by the district on different circuits at three- or four-year intervals. Mrs M’Coll suffered two still births between 1784 and 1788, the second of which nearly took her life and left her a semi-invalid. This disability provided the conventional excuse for the couple to remain in St Stephen and M’Coll successfully resisted several attempts by the district to move him.

M’Coll had his greatest successes among the pre-loyalist and loyalist farmers and lumbermen of St Stephen, St David, and St James Parishes. He was also the principal religious influence in the communities on the American side of the St Croix and for 20 years was able to prevent the building of any church in the Calais area. He was less successful in the town of St Andrews [see Samuel Andrews*] and had no impact on the merchant and official élite which dominated the political and social life of southwestern New Brunswick. Curiously, he particularly failed to have much impact on the Scottish groups in the county. For 20 years he made 24-mile trips every month to provide Gaelic services for the farmers on Scotch Ridge, but few became Methodists and M’Coll’s long association with the community came to an abrupt end in 1821 when, during the course of a sermon, he attacked the Calvinist doctrines of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

At the heart of M’Coll’s religious philosophy was the concept of vital religion, which, like most late-18th-century evangelicals, he perceived as a series of positive responses on the part of each individual to the initiatives of the Holy Spirit, responses that would lead to conviction of sin, conversion, and spiritual rebirth. The new creature wrought by these experiences would manifest his rebirth in a changed life and conduct. This view of an active religion was reinforced by the Methodist doctrines of universality and holiness. The first of these affirmed that every individual is capable of receiving and accepting the grace of God (that the damnation of man was not the result of God’s decree but of man’s free choice); the second postulated that individuals are capable of knowing they have reached a state of grace. These doctrines posed a clear imperative to mission which drove M’Coll and other frontier preachers into the most inhospitable environments in their desire to offer the free gift of salvation to all people. Like his master, John Wesley, M’Coll always preached for conversion, although he was often distressed by some of the emotional responses that accompanied the process. And like all evangelicals he possessed that intensive introspection which viewed every act, no matter how trivial, as possessing a moral significance. In an often coarse and brutal frontier society, M’Coll drew the configurations of righteousness, demanded that his converts live within them, and worked incessantly toward the conversion of every individual in the community. His rules of conduct were not only spiritual guides but also recipes for survival in the harsh frontier environment.

Like most Methodists, M’Coll hesitated over the crucial question of whether he and his converts should remain in and remake the world or should be gathered out of the world into a society of the perfect. He never entirely abandoned the latter solution, but as his societies became numerically significant he came more and more to test his influence in the wider community. The mind of the man and his relationship with the community are perhaps best reflected in an incident he recorded in his journal. In 1796 or 1797 one of the weaker members of the St Stephen society married, and at the urging of some of his non-Methodist friends determined to cap the event with a dance – a euphemism for a two- or three-day-long drunken celebration with strong sexual overtones. M’Coll remonstrated with the man to no avail. On the Sunday following the celebration the groom and his friends were in the congregation when M’Coll directed his sermon against the miscreants: “He is in your hands, by exclusion from us; his blood now lieth upon you, as the blood of John the Baptist lay on Herod and his wicked family. Look ye well to it.” The man apparently spent several difficult years before finally seeking and finding reconciliation with his Methodist brethren. And M’Coll noted with grim satisfaction, “For many years after this, I found none in the place who attempted to advocate dancing.”

M’Coll’s considerable authority stemmed from his flawless personal life – observers such as Archdeacon George Best, an Anglican, repeatedly commented that his character was beyond reproach – and from the dedication he brought to the task of evangelizing and protecting “his” community. His determination to maintain purity of worship led him to forbid even the taking of collections during services or at class meetings, and a disinterest in material things resulted in a ministry for which he received no remuneration before 1805. In the performance of what he perceived as vital duty M’Coll demonstrated great zeal and considerable courage. In 1786 he continued his services in defiance of the magistrates who threatened to prosecute him for his activities. On a number of occasions he went forth to do battle with various New Light, antinominian, and other itinerants who disturbed the peace of the St Croix valley. At the same time, M’Coll was no sectarian. His quarrel with the remnants of the New Light movement was theological: he perceived their emphasis as part of an antinomianism leading to violent emotional outbursts, whoredom, adultery, and family breakup, and finally to the abolition of all moral law. In most cases his concerns were broadly evangelical rather than specifically Methodist. He worked with Baptist preachers who passed through the area, willingly surrendered control of his American classes to the Congregational minister who was brought to Calais in 1810, cooperated with the Church of England clergymen of Charlotte County, was a founder of the St Stephen branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1819, and consistently supported the Bible Society in preference to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society.

M’Coll’s relations with the civil authorities were generally good. Although the small Methodist sect was initially persecuted by the St Stephen magistrates, M’Coll’s military record and political conservatism soon persuaded the authorities that the social order was in little danger from such dissenters. M’Coll later used his record to good effect in obtaining for himself and other Methodists licences to preach from Lieutenant Governor Thomas Carleton*. M’Coll’s birthplace, military credentials, and unquestioned loyalty were particular assets in the 1790s, when most of the preachers in the Nova Scotia District were Americans, and taken together may explain why the district conference left him in the sensitive border area for so many years, though his permanency was in clear violation of the Methodist discipline. Apart from his efforts to secure toleration of Methodist activities, M’Coll played little role in the civil life of the colony. In part this reflected the combination of pietism and social conservatism which marked his outlook; in part it stemmed from the low status of most early Methodists. M’Coll always accepted the distinction between church and chapel and never challenged the legal position of the Church of England. Even on the marriage debate, which began in the early 1820s, his journal is silent. And this despite the fact that he always lived in a community where Methodists greatly outnumbered adherents of the established church.

Only once, during the War of 1812, did M’Coll play a leading role in the public life of the colony. Since he almost certainly ministered to a clear majority of the population on both sides of the upper St Croix River valley, he had a particularly strong incentive to prevent the war from spreading into the community. Shortly after hostilities began, he initiated the formation of a committee drawn from leading citizens from both sides of the border which played an important role in maintaining peace in the region between 1812 and 1813. The situation became rather more serious in June 1813 with the arrival of American troops in Calais. M’Coll intervened with their commander, who attended his services, and later with the British commander, Sir Thomas Saumarez, both of whom agreed to a truce in the community. M’Coll continued services on both sides of the border throughout the war.

M’Coll’s influence in southwest New Brunswick survived him. In 1785 he had entered a society in which Methodism was virtually unknown. As late as 1861, 30 years after his death, more than 70 per cent of the native-born heads of households in St Stephen parish were Methodists. And when the Sons of Temperance entered New Brunswick in 1847 their first division, appropriately, was organized in M’Coll’s St Stephen chapel.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

   by   T. W. Acheson

Duncan M’Coll’s journal was published in several parts under the title “Memoir of the Rev. Duncan M’Coll, late of Saint Stephen’s, Charlotte County, New Brunswick” in theBritish North American Wesleyan Methodist Magazine (Saint John, N.B.), 1 (1840–41): 251–58, 291–302, 331–36, 411–15, 458–62, 491–98, 571–78, 611–18; 2 (1841–42): 5–11, 47–54, 121–29, 161–69, 201–11, 248–53, 452–56.

PAC, RG 31, C1, 1861, St Stephen Parish. PANB, MC 256, MS1/1 (Reg. of baptisms and burials, 17941848); 6/9 (Corr. with London Missionary Committee, 1828). UCC-M, Wesleyan Methodist Church, Nova Scotia District, minutes of the district meeting, 1816, 1826, especially 1 April 1826. E. A. Betts, Bishop Black and his preachers (2nd ed., Sackville, N.B., 1976). H. A. Davis, An international community on the StCroix, 1604–1930 (Orono, Maine, 1950). G. [S.] French, Parsons & politics: the rôle of the Wesleyan Methodists in Upper Canada and the Maritimes from 1780 to 1855 (Toronto, 1962). D. W. Johnson, History of Methodism in Eastern British America, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Bermuda. . . . ([Sackville], n.d.). I. C. Knowlton, Annals of Calais, Maine, and StStephen, New Brunswick. . . . (Calais, 1875; repr. St Stephen, [1977]). MacNutt, New Brunswick. Matthew Richey, A memoir of the late RevWilliam Black, Wesleyan minister, Halifax, N.S., including an account of the rise and progress of Methodism in Nova Scotia. . . . (Halifax, 1839). T. W. Smith, History of the Methodist Church within the territories embraced in the late conference of Eastern British America. . . . (2v., Halifax, 187790). Robert Wilson,Methodism in the Maritime provinces (Halifax, 1893). A. B. Dickie, “St. James, N.B.,”Presbyterian Witness (Halifax), 15 April 1916: 5.

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GIBSONDAVID, surveyor, politician, and public servant; born March 9, 1804 in the parish of Glammis, Forfarshire (Angus), Scotland, the son of James Gibson and Margaret Watson; died January 25, 1864 at Quebec City.

David Gibson, whose father was a tenant farmer, was apprenticed at 15 to a land surveyor in Forfarshire. Once his term was completed in 1824, he decided to practise in North America. Inquiries brought a negative response from a friend in Virginia but Gibson’s uncle, Alexander Milne, in Markham Township, Upper Canada, replied that it appeared quite easy to qualify as a surveyor in the province. Gibson took this answer as a sign that work was available.

After obtaining letters of introduction he set out for Quebec in 1825. He procured work surveying the Lower Canadian–United States border, but even with the help of Lord Dalhousie [Ramsay*], with whom family friends had influence, he was unable to obtain permanent employment. Armed with letters of introduction from Dalhousie, Gibson moved to his uncle’s farm in Upper Canada, turning down an offer of a highly paid position in a grocery firm in Montreal.

Despite his uncle’s optimism, Gibson did not immediately receive work. However, Lieutenant Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland*, primed by Dalhousie’s letter, advised Gibson to apply as soon as work became available. This he did and, upon passing the provincial examination, was appointed in December 1825 a deputy surveyor of roads and in September 1828 surveyor of highways for the southern part of the Home District. These posts, together with surveying for farmers in the neighbourhood, gave him more than enough employment.

In 1828 Gibson married his cousin Eliza Milne. The following year Gibson bought a lot on Yonge Street at Willowdale in York Township, and began to take an increasing interest in public affairs. In 1831 he was elected president of the York Temperance Society. At about the same time he became an avid Reformer, organizing and speaking at Reform meetings, presenting petitions, and assisting William Lyon Mackenzie. In 1834 and 1836 Gibson was elected to the assembly for the 1st Riding of York, and he gained a reputation as a reasonable but forceful proponent of radical reform. Perhaps as a reward for his assistance to the Reform cause, the Toronto City Council gave him jobs surveying streets and sidewalks, and he made a report on the feasibility of bringing water into Toronto from various sources. Gibson served as secretary of the York Township meeting in 1836, and as chairman in 1837. He was also a prosperous farmer, winning prizes from the Home District Agricultural Society and selling stock at ever increasing prices.

Gibson was acknowledged by members of all parties as a moderate and sensible Reformer, not one who would be expected to take part in an uprising. In fact, he learned that the rebellion of December 1837 was likely only two days before it began, when Mackenzie, who misrepresented the nature and strength of the movement, told Gibson to choose his side. Once he learned the true nature of affairs, Gibson stuck by his decision to join, in the belief that wrong as the rebellion was, it could still bring denied reforms. During the rising at Toronto he protected the loyalist prisoners held at Montgomery’s Tavern from mistreatment and led them to safety when government forces under JamesFitzGibbon and Allan MacNab shelled the tavern. For this he was much praised by the prisoners after their release, but his farm was nevertheless ordered burned by Sir Francis Bond Head*.

After the skirmish at Montgomery’s Tavern, Gibson hid near Oshawa for a month. He then escaped across Lake Ontario and commenced a surveying business in Lockport, N.Y., where he carefully avoided involvement in the border troubles of 1837 and 1838. He also avoided Mackenzie, who called him a coward in print, because Gibson had left the battle at Montgomery’s. After a short period of hardship, Gibson found employment as an engineer on the Erie Canal and brought his family to Lockport. He prospered, bought a farm, and, despite obtaining in 1843 a pardon for the charge of treason, remained in the United States and even applied for citizenship in 1846.

In 1848 he was dismissed from his job on the Erie Canal, probably because of a change of party in the local government. At that time he decided to return to his farm in Upper Canada, which had been managed for him by relatives during his absence. Gibson was soon doing well again. He was immediately given employment as a provincial land surveyor. From June 1848 to August 1849 he surveyed the Durham Road and the town plot of Durham in Grey County. His sons James and William acted as chain-bearers, and later became prominent surveyors. In 1851 he was appointed a member of the board of Canada West to examine candidates for the position of surveyor. He also attempted to regain his old seat in the legislature in that year in order to defend his views on the strict separation of church and state. His defeat by John William Gamble* ended his political career, but his economic fortunes continued to rise. In August 1853 John Rolph, then commissioner of crown lands, with whom Gibson had remained friends, appointed him inspector of crown lands agencies and superintendent of colonization roads for Canada West, a position he occupied until his death. In 1861–62 he was also responsible for supervising the surveying of roads in the Algoma region.

Gibson was raised in the Church of Scotland but, upon coming to Canada, his interest in religion waned. After the rebellion he decided that he had neglected the spiritual life of his four sons and three daughters. He began attending the Methodist Episcopal church of his wife, but he also attended a Baptist church.

Between 1828 and 1856 Gibson surveyed much of Simcoe, Grey, Huron, and Bruce counties, as well as townships in Wellington, Wentworth, Ontario, and Dufferin counties. Between 1854 and 1863 he also surveyed, inspected, and superintended the construction of the important Elora, Saugeen, Goderich, Southampton, Garrafraxa, Peterson, Muskoka, and Victoria colonization roads which opened up vast areas of Ontario for settlement. He travelled throughout Canada West in the course of his work, yet still was able to visit and manage his farms in Lockport and Willowdale. He and his sons also owned an “extensive” sawmill in Parry Sound which was sold shortly before his death. By 1860 Gibson was spending less time in the field and more in Quebec to attend to general office work and meetings of the board of examiners. At his death in 1864 he was well off, with developed and undeveloped properties throughout Canada West, as well as his two farms.

…from  the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by   Ronald J. Stagg

PAC, MG 24, B15; RG 5, A1, 180. PAO, Gibson (David) papers; RG 1, A-I-4, 34–35; A-II-6, 3; CB-1. Christian Guardian, 19 March 1831. Globe, 27 Jan. 1864. Muskoka and Haliburton (Murray). Illustrated historical atlas of the county of York . . . (Toronto, 1878; repr. 1969). M. A. FitzGibbon, A veteran of 1812the life of James FitzGibbon (Toronto, 1894; repr. 1972). P. W. Hart, Pioneering in North Yorka history of the borough(Toronto, 1968). Assoc. of Ont. Land Surveyors, Annual report (Toronto), 31 (1916), 51–54.

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WILLIAMSRICHARD, Wesleyan Methodist minister; born c. 1790 in England; died August 1, 1856 in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia; he was survived by his wife.

Richard Williams was raised in an Anglican home in England and in his youth was converted at a Methodist meeting. He served initially as a class leader and local preacher in the British Wesleyan Conference, and in 1813 became a probationer in the itinerancy. Two years later he volunteered to become a missionary and was appointed to Montreal.

The War of 1812 had temporarily disrupted the work in Upper and Lower Canada of the Methodist Episcopal Church, based in the United States, and caused a shortage of preachers. This disruption, in combination with the Wesleyan Methodist proclivities of some English immigrants, induced the missionary committee of the British Wesleyan Conference to send missionaries to the Canadas. Williams was one of the first missionaries to arrive in Lower Canada. The committee’s action led to severe rivalry between the American and English branches of Methodism, which was eased temporarily by an agreement between them in 1820, leaving Lower Canada in Wesleyan hands. From 1815 to 1825 Williams served on the circuits of Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Melbourne Township, and Saint-Armand in Lower Canada, as well as in Kingston in Upper Canada, before moving to Saint John, New Brunswick

From the outset, Williams was an energetic itinerant, who doubtless assumed that Wesleyan Methodism. was superior to the American variety. He found the Methodists in Kingston “very anxious to obtain an English missionary; and what a mercy it would be to grant them their request!” He located many erring Protestants in and around Montreal and described St John’s (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) as a large village whose “inhabitants are wicked to a proverb,” a distinction shared by the people of Chambly.

On February 18, 1819 at the district meeting in Kingston, Williams was elected chairman of the Canada District. The missionaries at that meeting prepared an address to the Duke of Richmond [Lennox*], governor-in-chief of British North America, assuring him that their object was to turn many from “darkness to light,” and that they would not fail to give “strenuous exhortations to the people of our charge, that they may be taught, both by precept and example, while they fear God, to honor the King . . . and to adorn our holy religion by a uniformly peaceable demeanor, and cheerful subjection to lawful authority.” By such means, Williams and his colleagues helped to build a loyal, British-oriented Methodist community in Lower Canada and thus kept alive the contest between British Wesleyan Methodists and Canadian Methodists, a dispute that would not be resolved until 1847.

Williams’s arrival in New Brunswick coincided with the decision of the missionary committee to divide the Nova Scotia District into two, an action that was unpopular among the missionaries and their adherents. In May 1826 he was appointed chairman of the newly created New Brunswick District, which also included the Annapolis valley in Nova Scotia. The committee’s action was indicative of its determination to promote self-sufficiency and local initiative in its missions, a policy that was coupled unfortunately with an unwillingness to listen to its missionaries or to approve steps taken by them to strengthen the Methodist cause. Its attitude had grown out of the society’s chronic shortage of funds and its insistence on replicating Wesleyan Methodism in the colonies.

From the time of his appointment to New Brunswick, Williams and his colleagues were in difficulty with the secretaries and the committee. The latter was tightening the system of allowances for missionaries, who in turn argued that the new arrangements would create personal inconvenience and hinder the development of new circuits. They urged the secretaries to pay some attention to their honest judgement. Williams himself put up a spirited defence of the costs he had incurred in his final year at Quebec. In 1832 the secretaries claimed that the New Brunswick District’s financial statement was misleading and unbusinesslike and that Williams was “utterly unfit” to manage financial matters. He was replaced that year as chairman by the Reverend John Bass Strong, a former colleague in Lower Canada.

After 1832 Williams did not figure prominently in the district meetings or in correspondence with the secretaries in London. He served on several circuits in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and in 1840, as a missionary who had entered the ministry in England, he was permitted to return to that country. He spent 1840–42 in Cornwall, before being sent back to New Brunswick. In 1844 he was appointed chairman of the Newfoundland District. He presided over the district meetings from 1844 to 1849, when he became a supernumerary because of illness. He moved to Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, in 1852 where, although retired, he continued to preach regularly. His last sermon was given at Tupperville five days before his death.

Richard Williams was a large man with a brusque temper and a strong devotion to the tenets and usages of Wesleyan Methodism. According to the Reverend George Oxley Huestis, “neither the face of clay, nor the presence of the devil, could divert him from his purpose or change his mind when he thought he was right.” He helped to build some strong circuits on the,. unpromising soil of Lower Canada, strengthened the influential Saint John circuit in New Brunswick, and gave quiet leadership in the New Brunswick and Newfoundland districts. Assuredly, he was convinced that Wesleyan Methodism was the best, but he recognized also the necessity to adapt it to British North American conditions. His preaching, “always rich in evangelical truth, was characterized by . . . the prominence which he gave to those great scriptural doctrines, justification by faith, and entire holiness.” Despite his commitment to preaching he believed funeral sermons to be evil; “in life and in death I am opposed to funeral sermons, and when I die let no funeral sermon be preached on my account.” His wish was granted: an address was given instead at his funeral.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

    by   G. S. French

SOAS, Methodist Missionary Soc. Arch., Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Soc., corr., North America, New Brunswick District, minutes, May 1826, May 1828; letter to Strong, 13 July 1832 (mfm. at UCA). Wesleyan Methodist Church, Minutes of the conferences(London), 2 (1799–1807): 272–73; 4 (1814–18): 107; 6 (1825–30): 37, 142; 9 (1840–43): 24; 10 (1844–47): 50; 11 (1848–51): 220; 12 (1852–54): 62. Wesleyan Methodist Church of Eastern British America, Minutes (Halifax), 1857: 4–5. Provincial Wesleyan (Halifax), 14 Aug. 1856. Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries, 2: 23. French, Parsons & politics, 67–74. G. O. Huestis, Memorials of Wesleyan missionaries & ministers, who have died within the bounds of the conference of Eastern British America, since the introduction of Methodism into these colonies (Halifax, 1872), 128. J. G. Reid, Mount Allison University: a history to 1963 (2v., Toronto. 1984), 1, chap. 1.

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JACKSON, EDWARD, merchant, prominent Methodist layman, and philanthropist; born April 20, 1799 at Redding, Conn.; died July 14, 1872, at Hamilton, Ontario

Edward Jackson received his elementary schooling at Redding and was then apprenticed in the trade of tinsmith. After his marriage in 1826 to Lydia Ann Sanford of Redding he emigrated to Niagara, Upper Canada, moving shortly after to Ancaster, and, in 1830, to Hamilton. There he sold tinware and set up a tin factory which employed his nephew William Eli Sanford* and four other men, all of whom in time became partners in various branches of the business. Jackson held the controlling interest in these but preferred to remain anonymous. Thus, the Hamilton firm, under Dennis Moore*, was D. Moore and Company, and a foundry in London, Anderson, Sanford and Company. With industry and sound investment, Jackson eventually amassed a considerable fortune.

Jackson’s parents were members of the Episcopal Church but his wife was a Methodist. He was converted to Methodism during revival services in 1832 and became a life-long class leader and Sunday school worker. Of his three children, only a daughter, Emmeline, survived infancy. She married her cousin, William Sanford, in 1856, but died 18 months later, only briefly survived by an infant daughter.

The effect of this double bereavement was to direct Edward Jackson’s energies to religious and philanthropic works. He supported Methodist missions on the Pacific coast, was the main contributor to the founding of Wesleyan Female College in Hamilton, and served as president of the board of the college. He was also founder and principal supporter of Centenary Methodist Church, the corner-stone of which was laid by Mrs Jackson, May 28, 1866. He took an active part in the campaign to provide an endowment for Victoria College, Cobourg, and personally endowed the chair in theology in 1871. A year later, aged 72, he died at family prayer.

Edward Jackson was a man of handsome bearing and unimpeachable character, and was noted for his wit. He was highly respected as a public-spirited citizen, a successful businessman, and a sincere Christian.

,,,from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

by      H. P. Gundy

A biography by Nathaniel Burwash in the Canadian Methodist Magazine (Toronto), III (1876), 7–10, 97–104, was later issued as Memorials of the life of Edward and Lydia Ann Jackson (Toronto, 1876). Christian Guardian (Toronto), 17, 24 July 1872. Herald (Hamilton), 11 Nov. 1910. W. H. Poole, A sermon occasioned by the death of Edward Jackson, Esq., of Hamilton (Toronto, 1872). Can. biog. dict., I, 708–9. J. E. Middleton and Fred Landon, The province of Ontario: a history, 1615–1927 (5v., Toronto, [1927–28]), III, 126. Mabel Burkholder, “Out of the storied past,” Spectator (Hamilton), 8 Dec. 1956.

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