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Archive for March, 2015

Rev. Abraham Neelands

Charges:

1877 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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1875 Rev. James Wallas

Charges:

1875 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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1874 Rev. Joseph Gibson

Charges:

1874 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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Rev. Thomas Patchell

Charges:

1873 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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Rev. R. H. Smith

Charges:

1873 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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Rev. John C. Stevenson

Charges:

1872 Innisfil (Simcoe Cty)

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sim m BellEwartInnisfil

In the 1840’s Bell Ewart was rapidly growing to become an industrial centre for Innisfil.

With its large sawmill, flour mill, shipyard, lime kiln, hotels and stores, it had grown in the early sixties into a village whose population exceeded 1500 persons.

The town was named for the Christian names of a man and wife, and the correct spelling is Bell Ewart, as it is on the Post Office Stamp in Bell Ewart, to this day.

Church History:

Just when the first Methodist Society was established in Bell Ewart is uncertain, but the name appears in the first minute of the first Quarterly Board Secretary’s book in the late summer of 1855 with an appropriation for the year of five pounds. This was their share of the ministers’ stipend which totalled 110 pounds, 1 shilling.

In 1867 both Baptists and Methodists were using the schoolhouse for religious services.

There was talk of building churches, and the H. W. Sage Lumber Company through the manager, Mr. Russell Sage
offered $1,000 to the congregation first able to raise an equal amount.

The race was on, Mr. S. C. Webster and the Rev. George Brown prepared subscription lists for the Methodists and received a total amount of $1,918 in cash, with promises to pay by October 1st, 1867. The larger part of this amount was collected from the country and the village of Lefroy, the canvassers going as far afield as Big Bay Point, Painswick, Cookstown, and Bradford. They even got twenty dollar subscriptions from Mr. H. B. Beecher and Mr. H. W. Beecher of Albany, New York, former mill owners in Bell Ewart.

The Methodist Church

The building, of timber frame construction upon a post foundation, was similar to its present form except that it had a vestry and tower and was clad with wood siding. It was built upon land purchased from Mr. Harris in Toronto for the sum of $218.

The following men were appointed trustees by the Quarterly Board: Alexander Gartley, Alexander McCullough, John Long, John Willoughby, George Dixon, Thomas H. Dixon, S.C. Webster,
Robert Grose and George McKay.

Evidently, the Baptists and Methodists were ties in the race, for the Sage Company donated $1,000 to each, and work on the new churches began forthwith. The Baptist plans were somewhat more pretentious than those of the Methodists and, running out of money before the building was completed, the edifice stood for a number of years, a mute illustration of Jesus’ words in Luke 14:30, at last to be sold and removed to Tollendale.

The First Organ

Later in 1867 another subscription was circulated to raise money to purchase an “instrument for the use of the Wesleyan congregation at Bell Ewart”.

We note on this document that two socials at S. C. Webster’s netted $20.55. Some indecipherable kind of function at the schoolhouse brought in $25.00. A concert at Lefroy added $4.00. A “lover of music” contributed $1.00. Mr. W. D. Lawrence donated a calf which either died in infancy, or like Willie’s calf “grew up to be father’s cow,” or perhaps just had no market value. At any rate, no dollars and no cents are indicated by three ciphers in the proper columns, and the musical life of Bell Ewart profited nothing from the transaction.

However, a total of $114.34 was collected and expended $110.00 for the “instrument” and $2.00 for a “box for the instrument”: Mr. Hugg kept .25 cents, and an unknown person received $2.09 for expenses incurred in collecting and purchasing the organ. The account was closed with no balance and no deficit.

The choir sat on a platform three or four feet high behind the congregation, facing the minister. The first organ used in the church was called the “Donkey Organ”.

The first organist was Mrs. McKay, wife of a Lefroy merchant; then Miss Margaret Grose who played and led the singing; then Mrs. I. Gilpin, who was born the year the church was built; lastly Miss Margaret Buchanan now Mrs. T. Sawyer, who filled the position until the church was moved.

They say the old Methodist Church was noted for its wonderful choir, and that people came for many miles to hear the Gilpin Brothers sing.

Rise and Fall

Again in 1869 a sum of $79.95 was collected with which to finance the building of a driving shed. Mr. A. Long was the builder and the total cost was $84.00.

In 1871 a minute appears as follows in the Quarterly Board Book: “Moved by Alexander Gartley, seconded by Andrew Sibbald that in view of the embarrest condition of the W. M. Church at Belewert that the trustees ask for the sum of 300 hundred dollars from the church relief fund. Carried”.

That this was a comparatively large sum is seen from the fact that their apportionment for the next year’s finances was the usual $75.00, but we are given no further information in the matter.

In 1875 the minister’s income was reckoned as follows:
Salary, $300; Table Expense, $275; horse keep, $60; fire wood $40; Children’s Fund, $82.25; traveling expense $6; incidentals $5; making a total of $768.25. The young minister received $336.80.

By 1885 Bell Ewart is contributing as much as Wesley to the circuit funds, being exceeded only by Victoria. Henry Grose is elected class leader, and Andrew Long elected Steward.

During this time certain economic factors were at work in the community which inevitably had an effect on the church.

Shortly after the church was built the big sawmill burned and the lumber company decided to rebuild nearer the source of their forest supplies. Many of the congregation moved with the company to Longford.

Then in succession the flourmill burned, the stores closed, the shipyard fell into disuse, and with the coming of the railways on either side of the lake many more of the residents left the vicinity and the town became a skeleton of its former greatness. The time arrived when the majority of the church
members lived in Lefroy and the surrounding country, and the congregation began to talk of moving the church to Lefroy.

The Removal

By 1900 the Innisfil circuit consisted of four appointments namely: Stroud, Wesley (Nantyr), Bell Ewart and Cherry Creek.

The Wesley service was at 1:00 p.m., Cherry Creek at 3:00 p.m., and Bell Ewart and Stroud at 7:00 p.m. The minister was in charge of the evening service every other Sunday at Stroud and Bell Ewart, and a local preacher took the alternative Sundays.

The staff of local preachers consisted of Mr. I. N. Gilpin, merchant at Lefroy; Mr. Henry (Squire) Grose, farmer where Frank Corner now lives; Mr. George Peacock, blacksmith at Fennels.

One Sunday evening early in the spring of 1902, the Rev. R. Mckee was in charge of the service in Bell Ewart and a very high wind came up. The church building was of frame structure which swayed and creaked badly, and the coal oil lamps attached to the ceiling by long iron rods were swaying dangerously.

At the close of the service the minister called a meeting of the officials and advised them that he would not hold another service in the building since he considered it unsafe.

The majority voted to move the building to Lefroy where the main strength of the congregation lay.

Mr. McKee gave leadership in organizing the dismantling, removing and the rebuilding on the new site donated by Squire Grose. During the time of change, services were held in the grange hall, and by December of 1902, the work was complete and the new church opened.

The marvelous oyster supper served on that occasion was still remembered in 1952.

Mrs. Ross Ardell, nee Nellie Pickett succeeded Mrs. Sawyer at the organ.

The Lefroy Church

The new church arose from the timbers of the old, being firmly fixed on a stone foundation which provided a basement in place of the former vestry, and clad in brick instead of the wooden siding.

The tower and gallery of the old church were discarded, and entry was made in the new up four steps on the outside to a landing inside the doors, ahead down steps to the basement, or turn to the right or left up four steps into the body of the church. Here in the wintertime one was greeted by the warmth of two large stoves whose long stretches of pipes reached to the chimneys at the front of the church.

On the front wall hung a large board bearing the text, “God is Love”, ingeniously executed in fret-saw work by Mr. John Thompson. Here on uncomfortable straight-back benches a generation sat to hear the Word of God, or rose to sing the vigorous Methodist hymns, or knelt to draw nigh in prayer to the throne of God’s marvelous grace, or went forward to the altar rail to receive the Bread of Life and drink from the one common cup the sacramental wine of their soul’s salvation.

In 1919 on motion of Arthur Green and Adrian Bateman it was decided to close the Cherry Creek and Wesley appointments, 33 voting “yes”, 2 “no”, and one ballot spoiled.

The members of Wesley appointment transferred to Lefroy, and those of Cherry Creek to Gilford, Churchill, Ebenezer and Lefroy.

Ebenezer was transferred to the Bradford circuit, and in 1922 the name of the Innisfil circuit was changed to Stroud on motion of Mr. T. A. Sawyer and Mr. F. A. Tebo; the appointments now being Lefroy, Gilford and Stroud.

Church Union Begins

The first echo in Lefroy of that movement, world-wide in its significance, towards church union is recorded in a minute of the Official Board of the Innisfil Circuit meeting on February 12, 1912. “Vote on Church Union was now called which resulted as follows, twenty members present. Twelve members vote yes, and one no, seven refused to vote today.”

At that time Big Bay appointment had closed, Painswick no longer had regular services, and the church there was offered for sale a year later, to be finally sold in 1917 for $335 and the money applied to repairs on the parsonage.

In 1919 a minute of the Official Board reads, “moved by Robt. Stewart – W. C. W. McCullough that this Board do place
itself on record as agreeable to meet the Presbyterian Brethren to discuss Church Union.
Carried”.

In 1925 the Officials instructed the Recording Steward, A. W. Green, to make arrangements for the participation in a joint meeting of all the churches in the area going into the United Church of Canada, the said meeting to be held at Churchill.

Three delegates were appointed and the report was presented to the next regular meeting of the Board by Mr. J.
Wilson Black. Here are some excerpts from the minutes at that time.

“Moved by J. W. Black and seconded by Louis Neilly that the delegates place themselves on record as desirous
of uniting. Carried.”

Next, one member from each congregation was appointed to a sub-committee to frame a resolution which was then adopted. The essence of the several decisions taken at the
meeting was that a four-point charge be formed with the following congregations:

Churchill (Presbyterian), Lefroy (Methodist and Presbyterian), Gilford and Stroud; that until such time as the change can be arranged the present charges and circuits call ministers. A new spirit of being involved in great things imparts itself even to the minutes of these momentous meetings.

At the first regular meeting after Union in the fall of 1925 it appears that the two charges have been established as they are today, Stroud and Lefroy as one, and Churchill the
centre of the other.

It is stated, “Rev. Mr. McKeown (of Churchill) was also present and helped very much in the meeting on questions touching our relations with his churches”.

Thereafter no more minutes were written on the old book. It was placed aside and a new one begun for the new United Church of Canada.

It should be noted here that for many years prior to union the two congregations held a united Sunday School, with the late Robert Stewart as superintendent. With the care of the children already under joint sponsorship, it was almost inevitable that the two congregations draw more closely together. Old people used to go to both services, the Methodist in the morning and the Presbyterian at night.

Members:

Ministers:

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oxf m FoldensOxford n w

In 1804, ROBERT HAMILTON acquired from the Crown the 200 acres of Lot 12, Con 4. This was eventually broken up into several lots . In the same year he acquired the 200 acres of lot 13, Con 4.

In 1856, MR. HAMLTON gave a life lease for the north half of this lot 13, 100 acres, to FRANKLIN FOLDEN SR. FRANKLIN FOLDEN SR. emigrated from Ireland at that time. His name came to be applied to this village soon after 1866. It appears from the registry office records that FRANKLIN FOLDEN SR. leased his farm to BENJAMIN THORNTON and moved to another farm which later was occupied by the RAWLINGS family. This 2nd FOLDEN home was a mile west of the main corner of the present village. The first Methodist church was built on the present site of Folden’s United Church, in 1866. It was constructed on a parcel of lant 50′ by 60′ leased by FRANKLIN FOLDEN SR. and BENJAMIN THORNTON. FRANKLIN FOLDEN JR. relocated to the original Folden farm then sold it to JOSEPH BARNETT.

The first Methodist Minister was REV. LEWIS WARNER of the Ingersoll circuit, who travelled on horse back.

WILLIAM RIVERS would bring people from “The Pines”.

The 1st Trustee Board were:

REV. WARNER; Chairman, HEZEKIAH C. WILSON; Secretary-Treasurer,JOHN R. WAITE; GEORGE GALLOWAY; WILLIAM LOWES; WILLIAM RIVERS; ENOCH SAGE; FRANKLIN FOLDEN SR. and RA. JANES.

In 1903 the original lot that the Church was on was enlarged when JOSEPH BARNETT sold 1/3 of an acre to the Trustees.

In 1911 the original Methodist Church was replaced.

The Building Committee were: WILLIAM PULLIN, JOHN SHELTON JR. and CHARLIE W. BUDD.

The finance committee were: GEORGE SHELTON, FRANKLIN FOLDEN JR. and RICHARD WILSON.

The new church was built by ADAM OLIVER.

Corner stones were laid by; M.S. SCHELL, former M.P.; LT-COL. T.R. MAYBERRY, M.P.P.; WALTER PULLIN, Woodstock; JOHN SHELTON SR., Ingersoll and MRS. W.B. SAGE of Foldens. WALTER PULLIN, a pioneer resident of Oxford County, came in 1873 to Foldens. He was born in England in 1834.

The stained glass windows were presented in the memories of DAVID OSMOND, ENOCH SAGE\{donated by his sons

ALBERT and EMERSON\}, MRS. FRANKLIN FOLDEN\{donated by her son FRAKLIN JR.\}, DR. J. ROGERS\{of Ingersoll\}, MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM RIVERS\{by WALBURN and ELSIE\}, one donated by the West Oxford Council, GEORGE J.

COOK, HENRY MERRILL, MARTIN WILLIAMS, HENRY SEALEY, JAMES PULLIN and BYRON JENVEY, One donated by DR. RALPH WILLIAMS\{of Ingersoll\} One by MRS. J. MARTIN in memory of her 2 daughters, MRS. ROBERT G.

ANDERSON and MRS. RICHARD H. WILSON. One in memory of LELA, daughter of REV. and MRS. DRAPER One in memory of MRS. STEPHEN HILL Two members have entered the ministry: WILLIAM COMFORT SAGE, son of MR. and MRS. ALLEN SAGE and ERNEST S. CLIFTON, son of MR. and MRS. GEORGE CLIFTON. MISS JOSEPHINE NANCEKIVELL, gave herself to Evangelistic work.

MARION FOLDEN was the 1st bride married in the church to MR. JAMES GUTHRIE.

Folden’s Methodist Bible Class and Epworth League 1911: EARL SHUTTLEWORTH, ALBERT BUDD, NICK SHUTTLEWORTH, GEORGE MANZER, WILBUR BUDD, WILLIAM FOSTER, WESLEY OSMOND, RALPH FOLDEN, ELIZABETH\{BABE\} SHUTTLEWORTH, EDITH BUDD, CHARLES HOYLE, MRS C. HOYLE, MRS. CHARLES BUDD, MARY OSMOND, WILL ATKINSON, EDNA OSMOND,
MARION FOLDEN, HENRY BARNETT, MRS. H. BARNETT, MRS F. MYRON RUTHERFORD, MRS. M. RUTHERFORD, REUBEN NANCEKIVELL, JOHN LAWLER, MAUDE OSMOND, HEMAN THORNTON, MRS. MUNNS, WILLIAM
HASKETT, MRS. W. HASKETT, MARY HARRIS, MRS. J. WILSON, JOSEPH WILSON, VERA THORNTON, TILLY SANDERSON, EVA LEWIS, EDITH HILL, MAY THOMAS, MRS. CHARLES HILL, JOSEPH BARRETT, MRS. E. PHILLIPS, EDWARD PHILLIPS, MRS. J LAWLER, FRANKLIN FOLDEN, LESLIE PULLIN. …from  The Axe and The Wheel; A history of West Oxford Township;  Compiled in 1974 by the West Oxford Women’s Institute

Ministers:

1866 Rev. Lewis Warner

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Rev. John Corbett

Charges:

1869 Flinton (Lennox Cty), 1869 Cloyne (Frontenac Cty)

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Rev. Richard Clark

Charges:

 

1869 Erin/Garafraxa/Douglas Village (Wellington Cty)

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