First Church What became known as the Village of Shallow Lake was first visited by white people in the year 1862, who settled beside the creek which empties into the body of water that gave the village its name. During the summer months, the lake dried up leaving a chalky deposit known as marl on its floor. The marl held the necessary elements required for the manufacture of Portland cement.
Methodist ministry was begun in Shallow Lake as early as 1882 by the Minister of the Hepworth Church. However, an attempt to erect a Methodist Church in Shallow Lake in 1882 failed. Around 1882, a Methodist Church had been established in Hepworth. Having no church in Shallow Lake, a few families who lived there worshipped at Hepworth. Services were held in the hotel dining room, which was the upper level of a livery barn, or in the homes of the pioneers. The minister came, (often once monthly) by foot or on horseback.
In the year 1894, a few early pioneers and settlers, because of their strong faith and love of God, had a desire to build a Presbyterian Church. A piece of property, part of Lot 21, Concession 2, South Centre Diagonal, Township of Keppel, was purchased for $28. With prayer, sacrifice and perseverance, these ambitious pioneers erected Knox Presbyterian Church, Shallow Lake.
On November 29, 1894, a half-acre of land was purchased from James Cruickshank and Albert McInnis for $45, and on May 22, 1896, the cornerstone was laid for a Methodist Church in Shallow Lake. The church building was erected on the second lot west of McInnis Street on Princess Street and opened in October, 1896, with H. J. Harnwell as Pastor and Mrs. Grant as organist.
In 1895, a twelve branch chandelier with coal oil lamps was installed and used until 1938 when the building was wired for electricity. In 1971, it was donated to the Grey County – Owen Sound Museum by the Shallow Lake United Church Board.
In January 1899, a Presbyterian Ladies Association had been formed with eleven members. Without modern conveniences as we know them, the Association worked together raising money for the improvement of their church. A porch was built onto the front of the church for the tendered price of $25.00; the interior was papered, new carpet and matting were purchased. These ladies planned strawberry teas (admission – 15 cents and 10 cents); Irish suppers (admission – 25 cents and 15 cents). In 1908, a fowl supper was held for which they prepared and used 60 chickens (admission – 25 cents and 15 cents). Proceeds were $73.32. Wood stoves with ovens were used. These old fashioned kitchens must have been extremely hot by the time the fowl was roasted and the baking completed. Arrangements had to be made to have boys carry water from the nearest well; the boys who did this received a free supper.
Each summer the Methodist Ladies Aid and the Presbyterian Ladies Association joined in arranging an annual picnic at Sauble Beach. They didn’t travel by car, but with horse and buggy or team and democrat. Later they travelled in a truck which was locally owned.
Until 1905, Shallow Lake Methodist Church was linked with Hepworth. Then, in 1905, Shallow Lake Methodist Church became separated from Hepworth and made a circuit with Mount Horeb (1905-1917) on Lot 5, Concession 15 of Keppel Township and Ottewell in Amabel Township. In 1917, Shouldice was added to this circuit as an associate appointment which continued for three years. However, a four-point charge proved awkward and, in 1920, Ottewell and Mount Horeb were then taken from the circuit and added to the Wiarton Methodist Church.
In 1925, a new era was beginning, the population of the village had been decreasing after the close of the cement plant twelve years previously, and financial obligations of the church were rising. Both Methodist and Presbyterian congregations came to realize that two churches and two ministers could not be maintained.
In 1925, the Knox Presbyterian congregation, which opened August 24, 1894 on the corner of Cruickshank and Main Streets in Shallow Lake, entered The United Church of Canada on a vote of 40 to four. It was then amalgamated with Shallow Lake Methodist congregation. There is no record of any ill feeling during the transition. Four months previous to this, the Sunday schools had combined. The combined ladies organization became Shallow Lake United Church Women. The former Methodist building was used for worship services and the former Presbyterian building as a community hall. William John Patton, the incumbent Presbyterian minister, left in June for Carnuff/Redvers, Sask. W.A. Matthews, the incumbent Methodist minister was expected to remain. However, the transition did not take place without some confusion. The Sun Times announced on May 30 that the Methodist incumbent W. A. Matthews had been appointed to the Shallow Lake circuit for an additional year. On June 20, it was announced that the settlement committee had appointed William H. Bartlett as minister.
On July 16, 1925, William H. Bartlett was inducted as minister of the new Shallow Lake Charge which included the former Methodist congregation of Shouldice; on July 18, a farewell was held for Mr. Matthews. For a short time, Mr. Matthews supplied the Hepworth, Zion-Amabel, and Park Head circuit in the temporary absence of John P. Barbaree. However, he remained in Shallow Lake without appointment until December when he went to the former Lion’s Head Methodist circuit. Before coming to Shallow Lake, he served four years on the Kemble circuit and six years at Colpoys.
The Presbyterian Church building became the property of Grey Presbytery and was renamed “Community Church Hall”. The building was maintained by Shallow Lake United Church until May, 1983 when it was demolished. In June, 1983, additional land was purchased and a new Shallow Lake United Church was constructed on the same site.
A major realignment took place in 1931 when Shallow Lake was linked with Hepworth and Zion-Amabel, an arrangement which existed for 49 years until July 1, 1980. The Shouldice Charge transferred to First United Church, Owen Sound, and it remained linked from 1942 to 1972. Ottewell became part of the new Clavering congregation which was formed on Lot 38, Concession 2N in Keppel Township.
The Shouldice congregation probably would have closed at this point had it not been for the services of a retired United Church minister, William Fletcher Roach, who supplied the congregation.
1896-1898 Rev. Henry J. Harnwell
1898-1900 Rev. Judson Truax
1900-1901 Rev. J. A.Doyle
1901-1902 Rev. S. Laidman
1902-1903 Rev. William Walker
1903-1904 Rev. F.C. Copp
1904-1905 Rev. Lloyd
1905-1906 Rev. Cooper
1907-1908 Rev. G. Holmes
1908-1909 Rev. A. J. Elson
1909-1911 Rev. A. O. W. Foreman
1911-1913 Rev. L. L. Cavers
1913-1914 Rev. C. F. Meek
1914-1917 Rev. Robert Woulds
1917-1918 Rev. T. W. Hazelwood
1818-1920 Rev. Robert Magill
1920-1923 Rev. B. E. Newnham
1923- 1925 Rev. W. A. Matthews