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Souvenir: Presbyterian Church in St. George
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This is the pamphlet of the history of the Presbyterian Church in St. George, Ont., published in 1908.
The original document was provided by the South Dumfries Historical Society.
Date of Original
9 February 1908
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South Dumfries Historical Society
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.2501 Longitude: -80.24966
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Souvenir: Presbyterian Church in St. George, 1908.
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Full Text


Presbyterian Church

ST. GEORGE Dedicated February 9, 1908

Rev. D. M. Marshall, Pastor

'Lest We Forget'


Presbyterian Church, St. George,

Sabbath, February gth, 1905.

"A land of promise, a land of memory. A land of promise flowing with the milk And honey of delicious memory."—Tennyson,




OVER three-quarters of a .century of history is back of Presbyterianism in St. George, and without a doubt, it has witnessed many important changes and events along the years in the community. It carries us back to pioneer days when our forefathers hewed for themselves little homes in the "forests primeval," built the mills whose ruins to-day are the admiration of the antiquarian, erected rude school houses, little churches and laid the foundations, strong and well, upon which the succeeding generations builded. At this crisis in our history we love to look back in reverence to our fathers, and we feel they are still with us—the past calls out to us—and posterity cries from out the future—"Quit yourselves like men."

Our fathers were religious men and loved the Church of God. Accordingly we read that the first divine services were held in a school house, about a mile west of St. George; then, in 1834 a church edifice was erected. This was supplanted by a new brick church, more commodious, in 1861, and to-day we begin a new chapter in our history in the dedication of this new house of worship to the honor and glory of God. Thus the world moves on:

"I read on the porch of a palace bold, On a brazen tablet, letters cast,— 'A house though a million winters old, A house of earth^comes down at last.' Then quarry thy rock from the Crystal All And build the dome which shall not fall."

To many the old church has hallowed associations. Memories from out of the past consecrate it dear to them forever. At the mystic touch of memory old faces, old voices, old friendships, old days leap forth out of the shad-



1814—First house erected in St. George.

1832—First divine service in St. George was conducted by Rev. Wm. Proudfoot, father of Prof. Proudfoot, of Knox College.

1834—Organization of congregation by the Rev. Wm. Proudfoot.

1834—First church built—cost $650.

1836—Rev. Thos. Christie, of Flamboro, ministered to the congregation at St. George.

1838—Rev. James Roy became first pastor of St. George Presbyterian church.

1845—Organization of the first church in Brantford by Rev. James Roy.

1860—Rev. Robt. Hume, M. A., ordained and inducted.

1861—Nov. 17—A new brick church dedicated by the Rev. Dr. Ormistou, of Hamilton.

1885—Rev. W. S. McTavish, B. D., was ordained and inducted.

1896—Rev. D. Y. Ross, M. A., inducted. 1905—Death of Rev. D. Y. Ross.

1906—May 25—Rev. D. H. Marshall, M. A., ordained and inducted.

1907—July 23—Laying of corner stone of new church by Hon. Wm. Paterson, Minister of Customs, Ottawa.

1908—Feb. 9—Dedication and opening of new church by Rev. W. S. McTavish, of Kingston.


DEDICATED Nov. 17,1861.

'Yet have Thou respect unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my Cod, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee this day: that Thine eyes may be open towards this house night and day, even toward the place whereof Thou hast said, My Name shall be there." - II. Chron. 6:19-20.



ows and stand with them in the light of the living present. The new church may never be the same to them.

"We may build more splendid habitations,

Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,

But we cannot buy with gold

The old associations."

But courage, sad heart—if God's Church be militant, it must obey the marching orders. There is a lesson which the church of God must needs remember—that buildings and orders and forms are but the instruments of the day's work. The attractive power of Christ's Church is not dogma, ritual or architecture, but Christ Himself. It is solemn to think of the fleeting series of men, and all the fleeting phenomena of our changeful existence, but it is in striking contrast to the Everlasting Word—the Rock-basis of all—"the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever." Remember Christ lives—and therefore we can front the change and decay in all around we see, calm and triumphant. Men may go; what of that ? Churches may pass away; but what of that? Christ lives. Is the host below leaderless? Onward ! Onward ! He lives.



St. George Presbyterian Church




pioneer settlers, who came to this district in 1814, the early twenties and thirties, were not only men of the energy and perseverance necessary to cut down the forest, build houses and till farms, but were for the most part men with a deep desire that they and their families should possess all the advantages of education, religion and sound morality, that make for good citizenship and a strong nation. Therefore they joyfully welcomed the coming, in 1832, of the Rev. Thomas Christie and the Rev. Wm. Proudfoot, missionaries of the Church of Scotland, who at the call of dut}^ left important and comfortable positions in that land to undertake the arduous life of missionaries in a new and sparsely settled country, where riding on horseback was the usual mode of travel over roads little more than forest trail.

Divine service was first held in a schoolhouse situated one mile west of St. George, and a few rods north of the gravel road, in 1832, at the time when Grace church, the first church in Brantford, was being built.

In 1834 a church edifice was built where the Presbyterian cemetery now is, and a congregation organized with



twelve members and a number of adherents. Rev. Thomas Christie, whose headquarters were at Flamboro, and Rev. Wm. Protidfoot, father of Rev. Dr. Proudfoot and of Vice-Chancellor Proudfoot, of Toronto, who had located at London, ministered to these until 1838.

In that year the Rev. James Roy became the first Pastor of St. George church. Educated in Scotland, a man of strong physique, abundant energy and a kind heart, he not only ministered to the needs of his scattered congregation by faithful preaching and attention to pastoral work, but took a keen interest in education, occupying for several years the position of Superintendent of Schools.

Among those who came under his influence was his frequent visitor and a member of his congregation, the late Principal Caven of Knox College, one of the leaders of the Church in Canada, who was at that time teacher at what is now known as McLean's School.

In 1843 there were but three Presbyteries in Canada, those of Toronto, Flamboro and London, and St. George belonged to Flamboro.

Mr. Roy's work was not confined "to St. George. The "Records" state that in 1845, the members of the congregation of the United Associate Presbyterian church St. George in and around Brantford, who occasionally had services in a school house which stood in what is now the Market Square, Brantford, petitioned the Flamboro Presbytery to be formed into a congregation in Brantford, under the inspection of the pastor of St. George, Rev. James Roy. Mr. Roy was appointed to take the necessary steps to organize the congregation and form of session. In 1847 Rev. James Roy resigned the oversight of this congregation, having thus had charge of the first Presbj^terian church in Brantford for two years as well as being honored by its organization.

Mr. Roy, being taken ill on one of his many horseback journeys through his extensive parish, fell from his horse and was killed, 1852.

Services were maintained without a pastor for eight years, and in 1860, the Rev. Robert Hume, M. A., was

ordained and inducted over the congregation, to which he faithfully ministered for 24 years.

The following year a new and commodious brick edifice was erected and dedicated Nov. 17, 1861. Dedicatory sermons were preached by the Rev. Dr. Ormiston, of Hamilton, a gifted orator, at morning and evening service, and by Rev. Dr. Thompson, of Gait, at the afternoon service. The church minutes record that the sermons were rich in thought and illustration, and peculiarly appropriate to the interesting occasion. Truth was fervently and eloquently preached that will not soon be effaced from the mind. The audiences


were very large and many could not find entrance. The day was exceedingly pleasant, the most delightful of the season. A Soiree was held the following evening, at which the church was again filled to excess. The chair was taken by the pastor, and speeches were delivered by Revs. Messrs. Lee, Donald, Laing, Fletcher, Porteous, and Rev. Dr. Ormiston and by Rev. W. Lund, of the Methodist church and Rev. Dr. Davidson of the Baptist church. The following day the children of all the Sabbath schools wrere entertained. All the services were peculiarly pleasing and profitable.

MR. R. TURNBULL, Precentor for Many Years.

After a time the old frame church, which had done good service for 27 years, was moved to Main street north and transformed into a dwelling house, for which purpose it is still used.

During Mr, Hume's incumbency a neat and comfortable brick manse was built, surrounded by pleasant grounds and gardens, and the church prospered; the membership which had grown steadily, was increased from year to year.

In 1864 the U. P. Hymn-book was added to the Psalms in the service of praise. The singing had been under the direction of a Precentor, the position being filled by Mr. R. Turnbull and later by Mr. P. Rudell. Later the organ was introduced, Miss R. Rudell being the first organist.

Mr. Hume was a man of a quiet and reserved nature and kindly disposition. His sermons were marked by deep erudition, logical reasoning and sound doctrine. He preached also at Branchton for a time and occasionally held services at Harrisburg. A Young People's Literary Society under his management did good work. For a number of years he has lived a quiet retired life in Toronto.

In 1885 the Rev. W. S. McTavish, B. D., was ordained and inducted as pastor of the church, coming fresh from the college and entering upon the work with an enthusiasm and earnestness that was maintained throughout his pastorate. Genial and affable he speedily won a wide popularity. Among other valuable instruction he inculcated systematic giving, setting the example by giving "the one-tenth." A Society of Christian Bndeavor was organized, he giving special attention to young people's work. Under the direction of Mrs. McTavish, "a daughter of

MR. P. RUDELL, Precentor for About 30 Years.

the manse," the work of the women of the church, hitherto mostly confined to assisting in choir, Sabbath school and social gather- |fJS ings, was given wider scope Jj by the founding of a Ladies' ^

Aid Society, and the organization of the Women's I Foreign Missionary Society and the Gordon Mission Band. The resignation of Mr. McTavish in 1895 to accert a call to" Deseronto ™ iBlil

was a matter of deep regret ^88W to everyone. »

In May, 1896, Rev.-D.Y. IB Ifefc^

Ross, M. A., was inducted v| lfcfe&^^^

into the pastorate and entered upon the work with the experience gained in two former successful pastorates. A year devoted to the work in the mission fields of the West, gave him a keen insight into the value of mission work, which always had his support and assist -tance, as well as that of Mrs. Ross. All departments of the work begun by his predecessor were ably carried on. Kindly and courteous, he was conscientious in the discharge of his duties in the pulpit and as a pastor, especially when illness or sorrow entered any home. He gave special attention to the church attendance of the children, and valuable assistance and instruction in the praise service, possessing musical gifts of a high order. In 1897 the Book of Praise, one;of the finest collections of hymns extant, was introduced.

Oil September i9th, 1904, the 7oth anniversary of the organization of St. George Presbyterian congregation and the building of the First Church was celebrated. Sermons were preached on the Sabbath by the Rev. R. G. McBeth, M, A., of Paris, and on the Monday following a lecture given by the Rev. R. E. Knowles, M. A., of Gait. Initial

REV. W. S. McTAViSH, B. D.


THIS committee comprises a body of men who are able and willing workers, either on Committee or off it. Their faithfulness in response to so many calls during the operations is praiseworthy. A great deal of the work, i. e., brick, sand and stone hauling, excavating, carting the lumber from Brantford, removing the old sheds, etc., has been managed by them to lessen the expense of building. Not only this committee, but the whole congregation have manifested an active interest, and have responded admirably to the calls of this committee for assistance.



Reading from left: Front Row-E. B. Ronald, Rev. D. H. Marshall, C. Congo; Second Row—J. Greenfield, J. Wilson, T. M. McEwen, Clerk, F. B. Doud.


Rev. D. H. Marshall, M. A., was born at Snelgrove, Peel County. His early education was attained at the Brampton High School, from which institution he entered on a career as public school teacher. In 1899 he entered upon a course at Toronto University, and graduated with honors in the department of Oriental Languages in 1903. He received his M. A. degree in 1904. In the fall of 1903 he entered on his theological course at Knox College, from which he graduated in 1906, winning several scholarships. On May 24, 1906, he was ordained and inducted as pastor of St. George Presbyterian church, where he has incessantly labored in the cause of righteousness with that zeal and enterprise that are bound to win for him great success.

who have enriched church life of many of the cities of our own Province, such as Toronto, Hamilton, London and Brantford, as well as many places throughout our Dominion, notably in the West as far as the Pacific Slope. They are also to be found doing good work in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, California and other of the United States.

It is worthy of note that the pastors, with the exception of the pioneer, came from Ontario, their early homes being within a small radius of each other, Mr. Hume's boyhood being spent in Esquesing, Mr. Mc-Tavish's at Nassagaweya, Mr. Ross' at Fergus, Mr. Marshall's at Brampton. All were men with fine educational advantages and wide scholastic training, each having won his Degree in Arts at the University of Toronto before entering on a Theological course at Knox College, Toronto. Of them each and all it may be said that they were honorable gentlemen, honored and appreciated not only by their congregation, but by the whole community, and were valuable members of Paris Presbytery of which St. George became a part in 1861, and of the other Church Courts.

MR. DAVID REID, Clerk of the Session for 13 Years.

steps toward the building

^^^^^^^^^ of a new church edifice

M-{ were taken at the beginning

Jfo ,,, of 1905.

Though suffering from ill health for a twelvemonth, Mr. Ross was only absent from his pulpit a few weeks when death claimed him on Dec. 22nd, 1905, and he passed to the Upper Sanctuary.

May 24th, 1906, Rev. D. H. Marshall, M. A., was ordained and inducted as

Pastor, and although only in his second year he and his helpful wife have already endeared themselves to all. Affable and tactful, with abundant energy, and entering into all branches of the work with enthusiasm, he is proving himself a worthy successor of the scholarly gentlemen who have preceded him in the pastorate.

The pastors have been assisted in the work by a number of able men in the eldership: —

1857—R- Christie, G. Dewar, J. Anderson, R. Turnbull.

1871—T. W. Charlton, G. Clark.

1880—D. Ronald, W. B. Wood.

1886—Alex Hunter, D. Baptie.

1888—J. H. Fleming, C. A. McLean.

1895—}. M. Robb, D. Reid.

1898—F. Doud, W. M. Turnbull.

1902—C. Congo, J. McNeilly.

1907—J- Wilson, T. M. McEwen, E. B. Ronald, J. Greenfield.

The church just abandoned has been used for prayer and praise for 46 years, and within its walls sermons have been preached by many of the most noted divines of the Church in Canada, and by renowned missionaries from distant lands, many of whom are now numbered in Heaven's Honor Roll.

From out its membership have gone men and women


Reading from left: Front Row—J. Greenfield, Dr. J. L. Addison, Ch.,

F. B. Doud ; Second Row—Guy Durham, T. M. McEwen, Chas.

Robertson, D. H. Nellis, Rev. D. H. Marshall, J. Heveron, Sec.;

Third Row—Wm. Robb, A. Woolman, E. B. Ronald,

J.Wilson, J. Ronald; Fourth Row—C. Congo,

Wm. Patrick. Jos. Warmington.




Organ Prelude.

Hymn i, verses i, 2, 4, CHOIR


Singing, Psalm Selection 72

Scripture Reading.

Prayer. Anthem, "Thou Art the Father" Mrs. Adams


Dedication. Announcements.


Singing, Hymn 389

Sermon, I. Kings, 9 : 3

REV. W. S. McTAviSH, B. D., PH. D.


Offering. Singing, Hymn 462

Benediction. Organ Postlude.

EVENING. Organ Prelude.

Singing, Psalm Selection 91

Scripture Reading.


Anthem, CHOIR




Singing, Hymn 185

Sermon, Proverbs 9:10

REV. W. S. McTAviSH.



Singing, Hymn 608

Benediction. Organ Postlude. [20

Rev. Dr. McTavish addressed a gathering of Sabbath School children and young people in the afternoon at 3 o'clock. The choir of Glenmorris Presbyterian church conducted the musical program.

On the following evening, Feb. loth, an excellent supper was served in the basement from 6 to 8, followed by a refined programme in the auditorium. Members of the Presbytery and local ministers delivered addresses. R. A. Shaw, tenor, of the Metropolitan church, Toronto, rendered several selections; Miss Mary Day Smith, soloist, of Toronto, contributed several numbers, and the Manchester Quartette again delighted the gathering.

Rev. J. A. R. Dixon, Ph. D., of Gait, continued the opening services on Sunday, Feb. 16, and preached morning and evening. Miss Scholey, soloist, of Toronto, rendered special solos.

A grand entertainment was held in the church on Monday evening, February lyth, when the following well-known talent acquitted themselves nobly:—Donald C. Mac-Gregor, Toronto's famous baritone; the Tresham Symphony orchestra and a nine-year-old clarionet player; Mrs. Milne, reader, of Brantford.

Miss Nell McKenzie presided at the organ during the Sabbath services, and as accompanist at the entertainments, and in both instances proved herself a musician of ability.

^^^gg,-::.;:, ;;.,..

TRUSTEES. J. Greenfield. Jas. Mullin, Chairman. D. H. Nellis.


The corner stone was the gift of Mr. Chas. Congo. The hymn board was the gift of Mr. Jas. Turnbull. The Ladies' Aid—Always doing and always helping.

The new Pulpit Hymn Book was the gift of Miss Annie E. Reid.

Our brethren in the sister churches—they lent a hand. Thank you.

Robt. Rudell, Esq., of New York, presented a very fine pulpit Bible in memory of his parents.

The corner stone was laid by Hon. Wm. Paterson, Minister of Customs, Ottawa, on July 23, 1907.

One hundred chairs for use in the Sabbath School room were presented by Mrs. (Dr.) Addison.

The beautiful oak pulpit desk and seat were donated to the church in memory of the late Martha Robb.

The church bell was purchased and put in the tower by our friends in the community, also a clock—-both timely gifts. Special thanks are due Messrs. Robt. Hickox and M. Horning.

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Souvenir: Presbyterian Church in St. George

This is the pamphlet of the history of the Presbyterian Church in St. George, Ont., published in 1908.
The original document was provided by the South Dumfries Historical Society.