Canadian Methodist Historical Society

BYRNE, Alexander Sturgeon

Alexander Sturgeon Byrne was the son of Rev. Claudius Byrne, who was for about 24 years a labourious and useful minister of Christ, in connexion with the Irish Wesleyan Conference, and the the present time (1850) is exercising his ministry in Canada, in the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

The younger Byrne was also born in Ireland, in the town of Dungannon, County Tyrone, which event transpired June 20th, A.D. 1832. He was called at his baptism, after the Rev. Alexander Sturgeon, his maternal grandfather, who was for many years a highly esteemed and useful Wesleyan Minister in Ireland.

He and his family "Left Ireland, on Thursday, 13th. of July, 1848." "Embarked for America" - perhaps from some port in England(?) - "On Friday, 21st. July, 1848.". They had a safe and comfortable, though not speedy, passage across the Atlantic aboard the "Ivanhoe of New York" with 1200 tons of cargo and 500 passengers, taking them five weeks to complete the crossing. They "landed in New York, Friday 25th August, 1848" and stayed with relatives, his uncle was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Although there were offers of a church in the United States, but their purpose was to serve the interests of the Wesleyan Church in Canada; and for Canada they left in a few days, and, (we quote from Alexander's memorada) "Arrived in Toronto, Thursday, 15th. of September, 1848."

Alexander Byrne at the age of seventeen was an eloquant preacher and had led services in his father's churches for years. In Toronto he preached several times, much to the satisfaction and profit of those that heard him - making one excursion, to attend a chapel anniversary, in company with the Rev. Dr. Richey, as far west as London.

After his return from London, he remained with his family in our western capital till "Saturday, 18th of November, 1848" when he was appointed to supply the place of the Rev. Lewis Warner," then laid up by disease, "on the Yonge Street Circuit."

His itinerant labours began, as we have seen, on the Yonge Street Circuit, to which he was sent by the Rev. John Ryerson, Chairman of the Toronto District, to supply the place of the Rev. Lewis Warner, the then Superintendent of that Circuit, laid by from his work by severe indisposition. His labours on this his first Circuit, and the estimation in which they were held, are well described in and excellent letter from the Rev. Mr. Warner, now Chairman of the Barrie District (1853), the the compiler (Rev. John Carroll), which he gives entire, and without any remark of his own.

A sample sermon delivered by Rev. Alexander Sturgeon Byrne in London, Ontario, 18 May 1850

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