Base Gagetown Community  History Association




History of the Jerusalem Charge 1839-1939
Methodist 1839-1925, United Church 1925-1939l
by Rev. H. L Chappell

(Part 1)


Dr. Johnson, in speaking of the early history of Jerusalem so far as the Methodist Church is concerned, says: “for many years before a minister was stationed there, this region of country was cared for by the preachers from Saint John and Portland.” This general statement makes it difficult to fix an exact date for the first Methodist preaching service in this part of the country. Perhaps some local record may supply this lack. It would certainly be interesting information if it could be secured. It is on record that, for several years previous to 1839, William Parette, a devoted Irish Methodist and local preacher of Saint John, held services at various places on the Saint John River and, presumably, at Jerusalem and other points in the surrounding communities. Among those who waited on Mr. Parette's services was a Mr. William Porter, an Irish Methodist, residing at Westfield, whose interest in the cause led him to apply to Rev. Enoch Wood, chairman of the Saint John District, for a regularly ordained minister.

In response to this appeal, Rev. Mr. Wood sent Rev. Arthur McNutt, a "visiting Missionary" for New Brunswick "to look over the ground." In 1839 he visited Jerusalem and the surrounding district where "he enjoyed the spirit of Primitive Methodism among the small flock who were to build a church for themselves and their neighbors.

Mr. McNutt’s report was favourable to the request of Mr. Porter and others for more regular services under some arrangement whereby an ordained minister would have the work under his care. This report and appeal was immediately acted upon: for in August of that year a company of ministers journeying to Fredericton by steamer in order to celebrate the centennial of Methodism, held a special meeting of the District on the steamer to consider the report of Mr. McNutt. The result of this meeting was that Rev. David Jennings was at once assigned to this general region extending many miles in all directions, including Jerusalem. This appointment came into operation in September 1839, just one hundred years ago.

David Jennings is described "as a large, athletic bachelor and a great pedestrian." As a child he had
come from England and and his first preaching was "among the Baptists," but when at Horton Academy he heard a sermon from William Somerville, after which be could never doubt the validity of infant baptism. Introduced to Richard Knight by Charles Dewold, he was sent as a paid local preacher to Port Hawkesbury, and afterwards to Guysboro. Though not accepted by the English Conference he preached at Long Reach, Sussex and Bathurst; and afterwards went to Ontario, where be was received into the itinerant ranks, in which he rendered long and laborious service.

"For the first year, "to the settlements west of the Long Reach, "he traveled far and wide on foot and
in the second year on horse-back. In this he was a true follower of John Wesley, who was the first Methodist Circuit Rider. A part of his hearers were the children of settlers who had listened to such early preachers as the Manns, Fidler, Jessop and others, but many of them were Irish Protestant immigrants, whose love for the religion of their fathers had not been quenched by their separation from its visible fellowship. To a number of both classes, Jennings and his successors, as well as self-denying local preachers from Saint John proved messengers of salvation. As the records indicate growth and prosperity, Mr. Jennings evidently did excellent work on his extended field. It is not certain what were the appointments on this large field at this time, but besides Jerusalem they seem to have included Greenwich, Welsford, Long Reach, and a number of other widely scattered points.

In 1841 Mr. Jennings was followed by Rev. William Allen under whose ministry the first Methodist
Church in Jerusalem was built. The church was formally dedicated for worship in August 1841, Rev. Enoch Wood, Chairman of the Saint John District, being the preacher for the day, assisted by the pastor, Mr. Allen. Almost immediately after the building of the Jerusalem Church, steps were taken to build one at Jones' Creek. This church built in 1842, is still in use. In these centres where the cause was well established by commodious churches, as indeed in other places, the ministry of these devoted men was greatly blessed by excessive revivals of religion and the churches strengthened.

Following Mr. Allen in 1842, Brother William Parette, the local preacher, was again on the field. The
next year Brother George Thompson served for three months and Brother James Sullivan finished out the year. The circuit up to this year was attached to St. John North, now to Saint John West. In 1844 Rev. Christopher Lockhart was on the field. For the next three years the circuit was again without an ordained minister and the work was carried on by such laymen as Matthew Thomas, who after five months has to give up on account of sickness, his year being completed by John Flinn from Christmas until the end of June. Matthew Thomas was responsible for the next year and he was followed by John Flinn who was again in charge for the next year.

It was in 1845 that the first church was opened at Coote Hill. Mention is made of Rev. Frederick
Smallwood as minister about this time but I have not been able to find definite record of this. In 1848 Rev. Robert Temple was the minister and he was followed by Rev. James Taylor who remained for two years. He was the first minister since Mr. Jennings who remained for more than a year. Rev. William Tweedy remained for three years from 1851-1854. During his pastorate the appointments on record are: Jerusalem, Coote Hill, Nerepis Road, Fowlers, Jemseg, Jones' Creek, Cheyne Settlement, Whites, and the Reach.


In 1854 Rev. D. D. Currie came to the circuit and is remembered not only for the notable revival of religion during his three years pastorate but for beginning a history and opening books in which to keep the records of the circuit. It was while Mr. Currie was here that this circuit was organized and called the GreenwIch Circuit and was separated from Saint John West Circuit. The Greenwich Circuit consisted of Welsford, Kingston, Jerusalem and other appointments including Westfield, Clones, Whites Bluffs, Upper Westfield, West Kingston, Petersville and Gagetown, taking in points in Kings, Queens and Sunbury counties. Among new churches organized and built was the church in Clones, which is still being used and which was opened in 1854. Also a separate class was formed in Summer Hill in the last year of Mr. Currie’s pastorate.

When the Greenwich Circuit was organized at Jerusalem, Saturday, August 18, 1855, the following officers were appointed: Circuit Steward, William Porter; Chapel Stewards, Jerusalem, Thomas Harrison, Nathaniel Inch; Coote Hill, Thomas Cooey, James Graham; Jones Creek, Hiram Edgett; Kingston, Bery White; Society Stewards, Jerusalem, John Inch; Coote Hill, James Quinn; West Petersville, John Woods; Gagetown Road, James Kerr; Clones, Samuel Corbett; Jones' Creek, Hiram Edgett; Greenwich, Anna I. Belyea Kingston, John Holder; Westfield, S. H. Powler; Greenwich, Mrs. J. Pitt; Westfield, M. Cheyne; Class Leaders, James Graham, J. Johnstone, I. Harrison Sr., Will. Porter and Bradford H. Lyon; Local Preachers, William Parette. Then there were Trustees appointed for the churches at Jerusalem, Coote Hill, Clones, Jones' Creek, Whites Bluffs (Lower Kingston).

The Rev. James Burns followed D. D. Currie in 1857 and remained for three years. The circuit horse was sold and the money used to buy furniture for the Mission House. Mr. Burns was given a grant for the use of his own horse on the circuit.

Rev. Stephen T. Teed came in 1860 and also remained for three years. At the end of his first year the following are listed as the appointments paying into the circuit: Jerusalem, Coote Hill, Oromocto, Clones, Olinville, Long Reach and Petersville. These were the appointments for the three years of Mr. Teed's pastorate. Evidently Kingston was formed into a separate circuit at this time.

Rev. D. B. Scott was on the circuit for the next three years and the appointments that paid were, Jerusalem, Coote Hill, Jones' Creek, Oromocto, Olinville, Summer Hill, Juvenile, Clones and Welsford. At the May meeting of the Quarterly Official Board in 1866 the following resolution was passed: Upon consideration of the great extent of the circuit and consequently the excessively laborious work devolving upon the minister, and the urgent request from Welsford for additional preaching on the Sabbath, and also of the wish as far as can be ascertained of our members on
the Long Reach part of the Circuit to be united with Kingston Circuit, it was moved, seconded and carried that the Conference be respectfully requested to alter the bounds of the Circuit so that it will include only those preaching places in the parishes of Hampstead, Petersville, and Blissville. A Parsonage Aid Committee was formed at this meeting also. So a Parsonage or Mission House must have been in existence at this time. There is an itemized account in existence of materials, labor, etc., for building and for furniture of Wesleyan Parsonage submitted by Mr. Scott. (In back of Circuit Stewards Book).

The Rev. Joseph Sutcliffe was in charge for the next year but there is no entry in the Minutes of the
Quarterly Official Board for the year. Rev. J. S. Allen followed Mr. Sutcliffe and stayed for three years. His records show the following appointments listed on the financial statement: Jerusalem, Coote Hill, Jones' Creek, Olinville, Welsford, Patterson Settlement, Clones, Summer Hill and Juvenile. Rev. Isaac N. Parker followed Mr. Allen in 1870 and remained for two years. At his first quarterly board meeting a motion was passed that Mr. Parker preach twice each Sabbath and lead the classes in those places. It was also passed that Patterson and Juvenile Settlements be dropped from the Circuit and be added to Fredericton Circuits. At the Spring meeting of the Official Board in 1871 it was agreed to change the name of the Circuit from Greenwich to New Jerusalem.



(Part 2)


Rev. C. W. Dockrill was the Superintendent of the Circuit for the year 1872-73. At his spring Official Board meeting it was decided to divide the Circuit by cutting off Coote Hill and Welsford to form the Welsford Circuit leaving Jerusalem, Jones' Creek, Olinville. Clones and Summer Hill to constitute the Jerusalem Circuit. Cheyne's Settlement was also included in the Jerusalem Circuit in 1873 when Rev. Thomas Allen was in charge. Brown's Flats appears on the list in 1873 as also does Day's Settlement.

Rev. George B. Payson took charge in 1876 and remained for one year. He was followed by Rev.
Edward Bell who stayed for two years. A church was opened at Brown's Flat in 1878. Rev. A. R. B. Shrewsbury arrived in 1879 and was on the circuit for two years. Subscriptions were received from Public Landing during his pastorate as well as from Oak Point.

In 1881 Rev. Richard Opie became the minister and at this time Speights Settlement was listed on the financial statement. On December 26, 1882, a meeting was held in the school house at Olinville it was reported that there was still a debt of two hundred dollars on the church which cost $1,126.35. On May 15, 1902 Rev. J. B. Gough delivered to the Board the promissory note "which was given to Thomas Hastings as being paid in full." After Mr. Campbell had been on the field for two years he was followed in 1897 by Rev. J. S. Gregg. Evandale was now added as a preaching point on the field. In 1898 Rev. J. B. Gough came to the circuit and remained for four years, a record for a Jerusalem pastorate. During his pastorate a thanksgiving and reunion service was held at Jerusalem to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Methodist church in this place. Mrs. Gough read a short history of the work that had been done. A hymn composed by Rev. Mr. Pascoe for the occasion was read, as also were letters from former pastors. 'The little girls of the Sunday School sang two selections."

Rev. W. E. Johnson came to the circuit in 1902 and was followed in 1906 by Rev. L. J. Leard who was succeeded in 1910 by Rev. Gilbert Earle. It was during this year that Summer Hill was taken from the Jerusalem Circuit and added to Gagetown Circuit but was again attached to this Circuit in 1913 when Rev. L. J. Wason became the minister. It was during Mr. Wason 's pastorate that the points on the river, namely - Oak Point, Jones' Creek and Brown's Flats were taken off and added to the Westfield Circuit. Thus leaving the Jerusalem Circuit in its present form consisting of Jerusalem, Summer Hill, Clones and Olinville.

After four years in Jerusalem Mr. Wason was followed in 1917 by M. S. Linton, Supply, under Rev. A. E. Chapman of Welsford. 1918, Rev. Arthur Whitesides, who stayed two years. 1920, Rev. W. R. Pepper, who stayed two years. 1922, Mr. A. G. Batstone, supply for one year.
1923, Rev. J. E. Shanklin, who remained for ten years.

Mr. Shanklin's was by far the longest pastorate of any in the history of the Circuit. This was made possible under the Manual of the United Church of Canada which has no time limit for the pastorate. Under the discipline of the Methodist Church of Canada the pastorate was not to exceed four years for one term. 'The United Church of Canada was formed by the Union of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches in Canada, and the Union was consummated June tenth, nineteen hundred and twenty five, during Mr. Shanklin's pastorate at Jerusalem.

In less than a month after his arrival on the field, Mr. Shanklin held a meeting to consider the building of a new parsonage. Some six years previously and at other times later on meetings had been held for this same purpose but the old parsonage had always been repaired and made do. There were present at the meeting July 24, 1923 the following: Rev. J. E. Shanklin, Baniford Kerr, Medley Moore, James T. Kerr, Harry W. Scott, Percy A. Inch, George McKinney, Harry Kerr and W. A. Machum. The choice of a site was referred to the Conference Location Committee. At a meeting held November 23, 1923, it was moved by H. W. Scott and seconded by W. T. Inch that the recommendation of the Conference Location Committee be accepted. It was moved by W. A. Machum and seconded by H. W. Scott that the Circuit be canvassed on the proposition of building a new parsonage at a cost of $3,500 to $4,000. It was moved by P. A. Inch and seconded by
James T. Kerr that the canvass be on three annual payments, i.e., on October the first of the years 1924, 1925, 1926. The collectors to be as follows: Olinville, John A. Donald and Fred McCutcheon; Clones, Medley Moore and Baniford Kerr; Summer Hill, James T. Kerr and Harry W. Scott; Jerusalem, W. T. Inch and Percy A. Inch.

At a meeting Dec. 26th Mr. John H. Donald sent in his resignation of his seat on the Parsonage Board and George McKinney was appointed in his place. Over three thousand dollars was reported subscribed on the new parsonage fund. It was decided to call for tenders for the frame and rough lumber required for the new parsonage and other plans were discussed and made. At a meeting held February 12, 1924 there were present: Rev. J. E. Shanklin, James T. Kerr, William Donald, Frederick MeCutcheon, W. Teed Inch, Percy A Inch and W. A. Machum. Tender for rough lumber was accepted and plan were discussed, certain changes being made. Thus plans and work proceeded so that Mr. Shanklin and his family were able to move into the new parsonage late in the year of 1924. The parsonage stands a monument to Mr. Shanklin's enterprising spirit and practical mind as well as the sacrificial and devoted efforts of the people of the Circuit.

After Mr. Shanklin had served for ten years, during which he became endeared to the people as a true pastor, he was followed by Rev. Arthur Organ who stayed for two years. Rev. R. W. Braine ministered for a year and nine months, leaving March 31, 1937. The field was without supply for one month then Rev. A. C. Quigley, an Ordained from Pine Hill Divinity Hall supplied until the present minister Rev. H. L. Chappell was inducted on July 2, 1937.

On October 17, 1937 Summer Hill congregation celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their church with Rev. R. H. Baxter of Welsford as special speaker. Letters from former pastors were read and in the evening an historical sketch of the church was read. The pastor Mr. Chappell was the speaker for the evening service.

This sketch would not be complete without some mention being made of the splendid laymen without whose faithful service and support this fine record could not have been achieved. This circuit has produced many clever and enterprising men and women outstanding among whom is the late Dr. James R. Inch who was born near Petersville in 1835. He became President of Mount Allison University and In 1891 was made Chief Superintendent of Education for New Brunswick.

On June 20th, 1939 the Saint John Presbytery. recognized the Hundredth anniversary of this circuit by holding its sessions in the Jerusalem Church. The evening session was a public meeting presided over by the chairman of Presbytery, Rev. R. H. Baxter of Welsford. Rev. Dr. H. T. Gornal of Saint John was the special speaker.

The ground regularly covered by the earliest preachers is now occupied by our ordained men. Points of other circuits were also ministered to at various times. This must be regarded as an excellent record of progress in a section of the country where there has been no outstanding growth in the population.

"When He first the work begun,
Small and feeble was His day
Now the word doth swiftly run,
Now it wins its widening way.

"More and more it spreads and grows
ever mighty to prevail,
Sin's stronghold It overthrows
Shakes the trembling gates of Hell.

"Saw ye not the cloud arise
Little as a human hand?
Now it spreads along the skies,
Hangs o'er all the thirsty land.

"Lo! the promise of a shower
Drops already from above;
But the Lord will shortly pour
All the spirit of His love"

We have in a general way tried to cover the history of the Church work of this Circuit during the past hundred years. It is a glorious record of faith and achievement and as we face the future may the next hundred years provide, if possible, an even more glorious record.


Special anniversary services were held on the four appointments of the Charge. On Tuesday, August first, the service was at Olinville, with Rev. L. J. Wason, a former pastor as the special speaker. A duet was sung by Mrs. Andrew Thom and Mrs., William Simpson. Service was held in the Summer Hill Church on Wednesday, the second, with Rev. R. H. Baxter, B.A., of Welsford, as the speaker. The Moore Male Quartet sang two selections. Clones welcomed back an old minister at a service held Friday, when Rev. J. B. Gough spoke to a nearly full church. A solo, "The Man of Galilee," was sung by Mrs. Wm. Simpson.

It was in Jerusalem that the first Church on the circuit was built in 1841. The present one was dedicated in 1895 and in it the three special services were held on Sunday, August the sixth. The front of the church was beautifully decorated for the occasion with a profusion of ferns and flowers. Across the front of the church in relief on a back-ground of greenery were the figures "1839-1939” symbolizing the centennial of the circuit. The church was full to overflowing for all three Sunday services and it was impossible for more than half the people to find accommodation for the evening service. Rev. H. L. Chappell, B.A., present pastor of tile Charge, presided over all the services.

At the morning service Rev. L. J. Wason led in prayer. Rev. Levi J. Leard, a pastor on the circuit 29 years ago, was the special speaker for the service. He took as his text John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." The choir sang the anthem "Praise my soul, the King of Heaven." At the close of the service Holy Communion was celebrated. Rev, H. L. Chappell was assisted by Rev. L. J. Wason, Rev. L. J. Leard, and the two elders, Messrs. T. L. Short and H. W. Scott.

At the afternoon service Rev. J. B. Gough led in prayer. A historical sketch of the circuit for the past hundred years was read by Mr. Chappell, who also referred to the former pastors who were able to be present at the centennial: Rev. Messrs. J. B. Gough 1898-1902, Levi J. Leard 1906-1910, Leonard J. Wason 1913-1917, and J. E. Shanklin 1923-1933. The special speaker for the afternoon service was the Rev. J. H. Freestone, B.D., of Bermuda. Mr. Freestone’s sermon was based on Matthew 16-19, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." A duet, "The Church by the Side of the Road," was sung by Mrs. Ronald Inch and Mrs. William Simpson.

At the evening service Hervey's Litany was sung by the choir and was followed with prayer by Rev. L. J. Leard. The Moore Male 'Quartet composed of Walter, Murray and Kenneth Moore and Walter Short sang two selections: "The Church in the Wildwood," and "Child, Come Home." A solo "Sunrise" was sung by Mrs. Ronald Inch. Mr. Chappell read letters and greetings from former pastors of the circuit. The special speaker for the evening was Rev. J. E. Shanklin. Mr. Shanklin took his text from Isaiah 35:1, "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." Mention was made of the many enterprising and devoted men and women who had worked and given of their
time and energy for the church and without whom this wonderful record of a hundred years would not have been achieved.

Continuing the celebration of the Anniversary, on Thursday, the tenth, the Jerusalem Charge held a birthday party at the New Jerusalem Hall, to which members of congregations of the charge invited former members and friends. The grounds were lighted up with lanterns and on an open-air stage various skits, readings, musical numbers and other numbers were contributed by the people. The whole proceedings were climaxed by the lighting of the hundred candles on the huge birthday cake, which was afterwards cut so that all present received a piece. Thus was concluded the Anniversary celebrations of the Jerusalem United Church.

On behalf of the Charge I would like to express our appreciation and thanks to those who in any way contributed to make the Hundredth Anniversary a success.

H.L. CHAPPELL, Minister.

This historical sketch has been compiled by Rev. Dr. F. A. Wightman, of Fredericton, and the present minister, Rev. H. L. Chappell, Jerusalem.