Amongst the collection of the
Archives of Ontario (GS 6414) and reproduced here, are baptisms for the “Maple Presbyterian Church” in Vaughan Township that covers the period December 1865 to December 1871.
The baptismal register consists of 12 pages, each headed with the title “St. Andrew’s & St. Paul’s Church, Vaughan”.
In December 1829, residents of Maple in Vaughan Township petitioned to build a Presbyterian meeting house. This was the first recorded existence of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Maple.
The site for the new church had probably been secured before 1829, as the first burial, Angus McDonald, was interred in the cemetery on 31 May 1827. In 1833 the deed for the church and
cemetery was registered, being the west part of Lot 19, Concession 3, Vaughan Township.
The first minister, Peter MacNaughton, arrived in August 1833 from Aberdeen, Scotland. As no manse existed in the early years, the minister lived with families of the congregation for a
month at a time.
As there were scattered groups of Presbyterians throughout Vaughan Township, it was decided in 1837 that the Maple church would hold services “two Sabbaths succeeding and the third Sabbath would be equally divided between the
church groups at Upper Corner and the Humber”. The Upper Corner congregation represented the area north of Maple and later became known as St Paul’s Presbyterian Church.
The congregations of St. Paul’s and St. Andrew’s were serviced by the same minister and acted as sister churches.
Reverend MacNaughton left St. Andrew’s in 1848 and from that time until 1859 the congregation was without a settled minister. Reverend James Carmichael, who is listed in the
baptism register entries, was one such minister. He later served for fifty years as a Presbyterian minister in King Township. Reverend Donald Ross came to St. Andrew’s in 1859 and remained there until Reverend William Aitkens succeeded him in
June 1865. Reverend Aitkens was the officiating minister during the period of the baptism entries listed here and several of his own children are included also. Reverend
Aitkens remained at St. Andrew’s until May 1880 when he transferred to New Brunswick.
A joint communion roll was created for St. Andrew’s & St. Paul’s in 1859 and listed 144 communicants. In years following, this number
grew to 229 communicants. Reverend Ross started a marriage register in 1860 and reactivated the baptism register that had lain dormant from 1848 to 1858. Reverend
MacNaughton began the churches earliest baptism register in 1833.
On an interesting side note, William Maxwell Aitken was born in Maple in 1879, son of the Reverend William Aitken. He was later knighted in 1911, created a baronet in 1916 and raised to the peerage in 1917 as Lord Beaverbrook.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Maple still stands today and celebrated its 150 Anniversary in 1979. Should you find a name of interest in the following transcriptions, you would be
advised to contact the Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives and examine the marriage and complete baptism registers for this congregation. The Presbyterian Church
in Canada Archives can be found on the internet.
Patricia Somerville & Catherine Macfarlane, eds. A History of Vaughan Township Churches. (1984), pages 327-335.
G. Elmore Reaman. A History of Vaughan Township. (1971).