Archive for the ‘Member’ Category


Noah Phelps (ca 1829-1900), a lumber merchant from Merritton, originally from the United States.

Phelps was one of the founders of the Ontario Methodist Camp Ground which became Grimsby Park. He was elected the first president of Grimsby Park in 1874 and remained president until his death in 1900. He also served as Postmaster of the Grimsby Park post office. He was an ardent supporter of temperance, Methodism, and the Chautauqua movement.

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A black and white portrait photograph of William James Luke (1859-1938). W. J. Luke is pictured standing holding a walking stick under his right arm, and plants, branches, driftwood and pinecones included as a background.

William James Luke was born at Whitby on September 29, 1859. He was a member of the Public Utilities Commission of Whitby for 28 years, retiring in 1934.

He was a member of the town council, a prominent Mason and secretary-treasurer of the Methodist Tabernacle Sunday School.

He worked for Grand Trunk Railway in his youth on the Whitby-Lindsay line, was foreman for some years with the Watrous Engine Works at Brantford, and worked with his father in a cooperage business. He later sold and repaired bicycles and in 1914 opened the first Ford car dealership in Whitby on the south-west corner of Dundas and Centre Streets.

He died at Whitby on January 25, 1938, and is buried at Groveside Cemetery, Brooklin.

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John Wesley Vanwormer, born June 10, 1805, died April 24, 1884. This undated portrait was taken in his later years at Frank Cooper’s photography studio, possibly ca. 1875-1884.

He lived at 189 William Street, the location shown on the map.

The ornate photographer’s imprint appears on the front of the card and there is a handwritten inscription on the back.

J W Vanwormer an American a Turner by Trade, a Methodist in religion settled in London about the year 1834. Married Miss Park a daughter of the first gaoler of the Co of Middlesex and a sister of Saml. John & Wm. Park the two first named afterwards being Co. Gaolers. All those named being now dead. Mr. E R Cameron Barrister here now is a grandson of John Park.

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Yeoman Gibson was born at Ebberston, Yorkshire, England, on March 21, 1828 and came to Whitby in 1847.

He started out as a clerk and bookkeeper and then went into the grocery business for himself in 1857.

He was a strong supporter of the Methodist Church and presented a silver communion set to the church in Whitby in 1854. He was secretary-treasurer of the Building Committee of the Methodist Tabernacle in 1875. He was secretary for the church for many years.

He was a member of the town council from 1863 to 1866, Reeve in 1876-77 and Warden of Ontario County in 1877. He died at Whitby, Ontario on December 28, 1894 and is buried at Salem Cemetery, Kinsale.

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The members of the band shown here left to right are:
Back row – Fred Hempstead, Earnie Steacy, Grancy Nichols, Brock Leonard, Clarence Burgess, Albert Jewell.
3rd row – George Swadling, Syd Climo, Bill Cooper, Ron Harris, M.E.Hall (leader), Mrs. Rosaline Kerr, (pianist) Mr. Jefferies, Milton Harper, Bill Burge, Stewart Macklin.
2nd row – George Burch, George Hall, Oona Lacey, Elsie Hall, Hubert Steacy, Nellie Scarfe, Mary Hall, Harold MacMillan, Hubert Harris.
Front row – Bobbie Cooper, Ernie Cooper, Borden Leonard, Frank Stone

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George Copway was a Rice Lake Native Missionary. He converted at a Methodist meeting at Cobourg in the 1820’s and became famous in both Europe and the United States.

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Mr. J. Edward Fisher, originally from London, England, was a concert accompanist, teacher of piano, organ and singing and had his studio in Hooey’s Block, South King Street. He was also the organist and choirmaster of the Cobourg Methodist Church.

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Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, son of Methodist Episcopal Bishop John Reynolds, was born at Kingston, Upper Canada on January 23, 1814.

He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto and at the age of fifteen he went to England for four years as a soldier. He served in the Canadian west with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and was elected to parliament, but could not take his seat because he was not 21 years of age.

He was president of the Marmora Foundry.

He was involved in business, railroading and banking. He was tried for treason in the Rebellion of 1837 and was acquitted. He held nearly every municipal office in Belleville and the County of Hastings.

From 1854-1881 he was sheriff of Ontario County at Whitby. From 1859 to 1862 he built Trafalgar Castle as his residence (later known as the Ontario Ladies’ College and as Trafalgar Castle School).

He was warden of St. John’s Anglican Church, Port Whitby. Nelson G. Reynolds died at Whitby on January 16, 1881 and is buried at St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, Port Whitby.

Methodist Episcopal Church – N.G. Reynolds son of Episcopal Methodist John Reynolds, to run as reform candidate in Hastings County. …from the British Whig (Kingston) Apr. 14, 1836 p. 3, col. 3;

Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada – Nelson G. Reynolds, the son of John Reynolds, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was arrested and brought from Belleville to jail in Kingston; he was one of the arrests in connection with the rebellion. …from the British Whig (Kingston) Jan. 6, 1838 p. 2, col. 2, 5

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The purpose of a woman’s life is just the same as the purpose of man’s life—that she may make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living.

                          —Louise McKinney

Private Life

Louise Crummy was born on September 22, 1868, in Frankville, Ontario, into a pioneer family. Her father, Richard Crummy, left Ireland in 1842 to build a new life in Upper Canada, and 15 years later, brought Esther Empay over as his bride. Louise was born as the sixth child in a family of 10, and was the second of three girls.

She graduated from high school, and then attended Ottawa Normal School to obtain her teaching certification—though her real ambition was to be a doctor. At that time, it was almost impossible for a woman to go to medical school, so Louise, like many young women with dreams of other, less traditional, careers, settled for teaching. She taught in Ontario for four years, beginning in 1886. She then moved west to join a sister in North Dakota, where she taught for an additional three years before becoming deeply involved in the Temperance Movement.

In 1894, she became an organizer for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). While working for the cause of temperance, she met and married James McKinney—a kindred spirit, whose parents were also Irish Ontarians. They married in Ontario, and had one son, Willard, in honour of Frances E. Willard—founder and leader of the WCTU and one of the 19th century’s best-known women.

The McKinneys moved to Claresholm, Alberta in 1903, and were active in organizing the first church in the town. Both Louise and James McKinney were raised as Methodists, and their faith played a central role in their lives—both private and public. When they took up residence in Claresholm, they organized church services, and two years after their arrival, helped to build the Methodist church. James taught a Bible class for Sunday School, and Louise filled the role of Primary Superintendent.

On the rare occasions that McKinney had time to enjoy a holiday, she was fond of travelling and sightseeing. Fortunately, she was able to combine this pleasure with her WCTU work, while attending the World’s Conventions. She and her husband had the opportunity to visit Boston (1907), Brooklyn (1913), and London (1920). She also visited Lausanne (1928), as well as touring Italy and Switzerland. On her way home, she stopped to visit the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Louise McKinney was the first woman elected to government in Canada – a choice made by both men and women. In 1917, in the first election in which women were allowed to run for office or given the vote, McKinney ran as a Non-Partisan League (NPL) candidate in Alberta. She ran for the NPL because she believed liquor and brewing companies influenced the major political parties through their donations. She won a seat in the election, as did Nursing Sister Roberta MacAdams, but because she was sworn into the Alberta Legislature before Sister MacAdams, McKinney has the distinction of being the first.

McKinney organized 20 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) chapters in the West, serving as president of the Alberta and Saskatchewan Union for 20 years. Under her guidance, the WCTU strongly influenced the political and social growth and development of Alberta. The WCTU stood not merely for temperance but also for promoting a Christian lifestyle. Many social reform movements had the support of the WCTU, which played a major part in obtaining the franchise for women in 1916. Social service and immigrant work were also important areas of focus for the organization. However, McKinney’s focus was on the temperance movement. She believed in the educational value of prohibition campaigns and was active in promoting her views on the negative effects of alcohol and smoking. She had a major role in the 1915 provincial campaign to ban alcohol, which made Alberta the second province to adopt prohibition.

McKinney was significantly involved in politics; but often questioned partisan practices. The power of liquor contributions to political party funds was an issue that she took a stand on by not belonging to either of the two major parties. When the NPL was established in Alberta she gave it her enthusiastic support. She was persuaded to occupy candidacy in Claresholm during the 1917 provincial election and to her own surprise, was successful, becoming the first female legislator in the British Empire.

McKinney also became known very quickly as one of the most capable debaters in the Assembly when bills were introduced and debated. She was interested in legislation to aid people with disabilities, and consistently pressured the government until prohibition laws were made more effective. Her major initiative was the improvement of the legal status of widows and separated wives. McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards drafted a bill which she introduced which was passed to become the Dower Act, one of Alberta’s most progressive laws. A strong proponent of women’s rights, McKinney urged the adoption of social welfare measures for immigrants and widows.

McKinney was a delegate to the final Methodist General Conference in 1925. She attended the first General Council of the United Church of Canada and signed the Basis of Union as one of the Commissioners—one of only four women and the only woman from Western Canada. Back then, the Temperance Union’s members were powerful activists who took on taboo issues such as family violence.

Defeated in her second election in 1926, McKinney subsequently retired from active politics. In 1929, she was one of the five women of Alberta who carried the appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which finally established the status of women as “persons” under the British North America Act of 1867. In recognition of that work, McKinney was made a World Vice-President of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE).

…from The Famous Five

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Erie Street Methodist Church – Watford

Francis Hume

(from Settlers and Lambton Heritage Museum files)

Francis Hume married Sarah Kersey (1840–), daughter of Edward and Jane Kersey, in the 1860s. Her parents came from England and settled briefly in Toronto in the 1830s. Then the Kerseys headed west to Warwick Twp. They packed their household effects on a train, but the train line ended in London. They had to hire wagons to complete their journey.

When Sarah was growing up in Warwick Twp., walking seven miles to church was a common occurrence. The settlers thought nothing of this form of getting from one place to another. Joseph Russell “Uncle Joe” Little preached at some of the first church services. Special services were held in Warwick Village.

For a while Francis and Sarah Hume farmed land across the road from her parents. Her husband’s poor health brought an end to the farming and they moved into Watford where he became a contractor. They attended church on the 6th Line at Gardner’s Clearing. The Humes had seven children.

Francis Hume built the Erie Street United Church and Zion Methodist Church on the 2nd Line SER, Warwick. Altogether he built five churches in the Watford area.

When Mrs. Hume was interviewed by Kate Connolly in 1926, she talked about the changes in her lifetime. She noted that a lot of people were “away from the church” compared to her childhood. She blamed the “motors” and the radio. She ended with the comment, “Isn’t radio a blessing? Why, sometimes I listen to five sermons on Sunday!” …from The Township of Warwick: A Story Through Time

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