History of St. Mark's Church
My father, Llewellyn Spinney started gathering information for this history before his death, I continued to do so afterwards. I dedicate this history to him and all the other men and women who laboured for St. Mark's over the years. Anita Grearson
This is a list of all the rectors that served in St. Mark's Church, St. George, New Brunswick.
Rev. S. Thomson................ 1822-1849
Rev. J. McGivern............... 1849-1868
Rev. Ranald Smith.............. 1868-1899
Rev. C. E. Maiman............. 1899-1901
Rev. H. I. Lynds.................. 1901-1911
Rev. J. Spencer................... 1911-1919
Rev. F.J. LeRoy.................. 1920-1924
Rev. A. R. Yeomans............ 1925-1932
Rev. B. T. Keith................... 1933-1943
Rev. H. Doody..................... 1943-1945
Rev. Geo. Readman.............. 1946-1952
Rev. H. J. Hoyt..................... 1952-1958
Rev. M. Brown..................... 1958-1964
Rev. J. A. Secord.................. 1964-1970
Rev. David Genge.................. 1970-1976
Rev. Ralph Smith.................... 1976-1984
Rev. Earl Hawkes................... 1984-1986
Rev. Philip Ward..................... 1986
HISTORY OF ST. MARK'S CHURCH, ST. GEORGE, N.B.
In 1821 the land for the church had been purchased from the heirs of Peter Clinch for the sum of 15 pounds for the sole benefit and use of the Church of England at St. George.
Mr. Goodwin Sparks informs us that Thomas Murray was the first contractor for the church. The sills were cut on land which the Dillman Family now owns by Thomas Sparks and hauled by Major Flaherty. Further additions were built by William Boyd. Before the steeple was built, a small bell was hung in the belfry. This bell was rung by taking hold of the tongue with the hand and pounding away as hard as possible. When the new steeple was built, the belfry was taken off and for years was used as a well house near the home of C. H. McGee. The first house used as a rectory was the Currie House, present day site of the Murray House.
Excerpts from a report of Rev. Robert Willis February 1823: "St. George is something like an English village, the houses being near to each other but it is not populous. It is, however, increasing fast and I have no doubt of its congregation, in a short time, being equal in number to the generality of country congregations in this province. The two parishes of Pennfield and St. Patrick, one on each side of St. George, could have occasionally the benefit of the ministrations of the clergymen from St. George. The one of these parishes which is the nearest to St. Andrews has occasionally been visited by Dr. Alley but the other has seldom been attended to by any clergymen. Great credit and praise are due to the people of St. George, for their exertions in church building and contributing to the support of a resident clergyman. The Society having passed a resolution to afford some pecuniary aid to them (the Anglicans of St. George) in the erection of the church on their usual conditions, I have written to the Secretary to request that he will be so good as to inform me what sum I shall be authorized to draw for in their favour when the conditions are complied with; and having ventured to recommend that a sum not exceeding 100 pounds be granted to them. This place is rather more than forty miles from Saint John."
"When I was
at St. George in October 1822, the parishioners assembled and met me in the new
church, which, however, is not yet finished. The inside work only remained to
be done. They gave me assurances of their determination to complete it as soon
as possible; and professed their readiness to provide a suitable residence and
30 pounds per annum towards the support of a missionary, should the society be
pleased to take their wants into consideration and appoint one."
Adjacent to the church is the burial ground, a
sufficient and eligible piece of land for the purpose, which was given by a
parishioner, Peter Clinch in 1784, on the condition that it should be enclosed
by a neat and substantial fence. This condition
has been complied with. (This burial ground was used for 92 years.) The
exterior of the church being finished, the whole presents an appearance of
respectability and neatness.
Rev. Samuel Thomson
was the first clergyman at St. George. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin.
Previous to St. George, he officiated at the Church on Long Island on the river
Saint John. He had charge of the parishes of St. George, Pennfield and
St. Patrick's. He received 200 pounds a year 30 pounds to be raised by the local
church. The rest was to be paid by the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel, London, England. The population of the parish in 1822 was 700 and 400
were Anglicans, Communicants 73 and Confirmed 25.
Election Of Wardens
On March 21.
1823,(Easter Monday) a meeting was held for the purpose of electing wardens and
vestrymen for the following year. The wardens were Archibald McDiarmid, Patrick
Clinch. Vestrymen- Hugh Flaherty, J. G. Seely, Jonathan Wallace, John Higgins, Thos. Nicholson, Rufus
Clinch, S. Wallace, A. Wetmore, Thos. Carman. Vestry Clerk, J. Wilson. At the next meeting a system
for selling pews was set up, parishioners to hold the same pew forever as long
as rent paid. Wall pews 20 shillings per year - body pews 10 shillings. Pew
No.1 reserved for clergyman.
Pew Rentals and Pews
2. Samuel Wallace
3. John Clinch
4. Moses Vernon
5 Thomas Nicholson
6. John Higgins
7. Robert Johnston
8. James McDonald
9. Hugh Flaherty
10. John G. Campbell
11. Abraham Wetmore
12. Thomas Carman
14. Josiah G. Seelye
16. R. Clinch
17. Archibald McDairmed [McDiarmid]
18. Alex McVicar
19. James McDonald
20. Benjamin Harrison
23. John Carrick
24. Hugh Flaherty
25. O. Seelye
26. James Wilson
27. Gideon Knight
Consecration Of St. Mark's
St. Mark's Church was consecrated on
July 26, 1826, by the Rt. Rev. John Inglis, Bishop of Nova Scotia. (New Brunswick
belonged to the diocese of Nova Scotia until 1845 when it became a separate
diocese.) At this time the church also had been
given a grant by the Crown of 500 acres of land at L'Etang. On November 10,1828, 30 pounds was received from the Lt. Governor to help pay for building the church. The first baptism recorded at St. Mark's was in 1831 - Margaret Miller. She is buried in Pennfield. Age 100 years. (No dates on stone). On July 29, 1838, George John, son of Rev. Samuel Thomson and his wife Charlotte, was baptized.
Madras School and Others
In 1823, the Madras
school (Church school) was started in a building on the present site of
Don Southard's store. The first school master was Mr. Gray, who received the
sum of 15 pounds a year and had 40 scholars. Other private schools soon
followed. In 1840 there was one in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Mowat, taught by
Mrs. Mowat. The Mowat house was on the south side of the present Presbyterian Church.
James Vroom taught in the Madras school from 1869-71. In 1871 the School Act
created a local board and marked the beginning of the free public school
system. The Church of England owned the school house and leased it to the local
school board until 1889 when it was leased privately and eventually sold. Thus
James Vroom was the first teacher of the Superior School, St. George, after the
introduction of the free school system. In 1889, the four schools in use at
that time were combined in the old Elementary School of St. George.
Church Corporation Affairs
In 1836 the Church Corporation proceeded to build a spire on the church and purchase a bell for it. In 1851 the church was enlarged 22 ft. on the west end. In 1853 the first organ was installed, having been procured by the bishop from England. Mrs. D. Wetmore was the first organist. Until purchase of this organ, Mr. Wetmore led the singing with a violin. Rev. Thomson having died from being thrown from his wagon when his horse had suddenly taken fright at a passing menagerie. He is buried beside the church.
In the meantime, the Glebe or Church
land at the mouth of the L'Etang River had been first let to the Rev. Samuel
Thomson for five years for the rent of 5 pounds per year. Later stumpage was
sold and proceeds used for Church upkeep, the Church's firewood was also cut
there. At a meeting held on Jan. 7,1868, part of this land to be sold at
auction, the proceeds to be used only for the purchase of a lot of land and
building a parsonage house in St. George. April 25, 1870, $500 was borrowed to
finish the rectory - L'Etang property was used as collateral. June
30,1873, it was decided to lease to the school district one half acre of land
at L'Etang for educational purposes only at a nominal fee for 99 years and if
ever used for other purposes to revert back to the Church Corporation. March,
1880, remaining land was sold at L'Etang to help with indebtedness of the
Church. Ina McConnel & Wm. Hinds bought some of this land.
Excerpt From Chronicle of the Diocese of Fredericton 1886
Tuesday, August 10th., 1886, was a red letter day in the annals of these Parishes. The Metropolitan of Canada and Bishop of Maine, accompanied by Dr. Ketchum, arrived at St. George by the morning train. Service was held in Christ's Church, Pennfield, at which Maggie Trainor was baptized, and she, with 22 others, were confirmed, embracing young men and maidens, old men and children. The candidates were chiefly adults, six of whom were between the age of 40-70 years or more, the Rev. R. E. Smith, and Dr. Ketchum, took part in the baptismal service, the Metropolitan baptizing. At the confirmation the Metropolitan made a very effective and touching address, alluding to the death of Agnes Crickard, who had lately gone to her rest. He also referred in loving terms to his missing the late lamented and universally respected church warden, Isaac Justason, who always met him at the church gate.
The Bishop of Maine also spoke eloquently and effectively to the candidates and the congregation. They returned to St. George much edified and delighted with the services.
In the evening a confirmation was held in St. Mark's Church, St. George, where 12 persons were confirmed, all adults with the exception of 4. Three of these had been baptized on the previous evening. The Metropolitan preached from the text "Am I my brother's keeper." The sermon was an able one. The Bishop of Maine followed in a very powerful address, which thrilled the large congregation present. The church was filled to excess; the singing was pronounced excellent, and the whole service wonderfully effective. The whole number confirmed in the Mission was 35, which is very good, considering that there has been a confirmation in the Mission every year for the past three years, the whole number confirmed in that time being 81.
The parishioners and Rector were delighted to have the privilege of two Bishops ministering among them. All were astonished at the vigor of the Metropolitan in his 81st. year, and spoke of him with much affection. He came from St. Andrews in the morning, confirmed and addressed the candidates at Pennfield, and confirmed and preached in St. George in the evening.
On Wednesday morning at 8 o'clock the Holy Communion was celebrated. The Bishop of Maine celebrant, the Rector serving. Some 30 persons embraced the privilege of communing once more with their Bishop.
The presence of the Bishop of Maine
was an unexpected pleasure and a privilege which was much appreciated. All
hoped that he would come and see them again. He and the Rector went to St.
Andrews by a sailing boat, and arrived there some three hours before the
Metropolitan and his party, who went by train. Each party contended that they had
the pleasantest time.
New St. Mark's
The original St. Mark's church was in need of extensive repairs and was torn down in the summer of 1907 to make room for a larger structure.
Owing to the unremitting efforts Rev.
H. I. Lynds, pastor ably aided by N. Meating, A. C. Toy, Jas. Jack. George A.
Craig and H. R Lawrence, who constituted the building committee the present
building was erected and consecrated December 9, 1909. The construction cost
was $7695. The design of the building is inspired in its simplicity and
architecturally handsome and pervaded by an air of sincere piety. Mr. J. T. C.
McKean was the architect and J. H. Nesbitt and Son of St. Stephen were the
A Stone Basement
The building was a
splendid stone basement, walls are of rubble stonework, 22 inches thick
and I2 feet high executed in red granite with angle quoins, windows and door
jams in brick.
From the stonework up the building is a frame structure the larger roof of the nave being supported by 3 hammer beam trusses, all of Georgian pine. The length of the building is 90 feet 19 inches and width 52 feet 4 inches. The basement has a splendid school room sized 34 feet by 49 feet with fuel, sewing room and library leading from it.
The basement is entered through the
tower having a vestibule and porch to pass through before gaining access to the
The nave is entered
through an annex through the front having stone steps and concrete landings. It
is also necessary to pass through the vestibule and porch before entering the
nave. There is a side entrance from the vestry for the minister.
The tower is 17 feet square and retains the size to the height of 60 feet. Above this it is roofed, and with final, raised to the height of 30 feet more. The nave is 35 feet by 50 feet and is 40 feet from floor to apex of roof. The entire ceiling is sheathed with white spruce paneled off with 6 x 12 Georgia pine purlieus and all finished in natural state.
The windows are all glazed with cathedral glass giving a very restful pleasing effect to the eye.
The seats were secured and set in place by the contractors and are themselves a splendid piece of work, being made in ash, with dark finish, they correspond with the stained and natural woodwork.
On January 18, 1910 the rectory built in 1870 burned. A meeting was held and plans for a new one were started. Several plans were submitted and it was decided to use plan #1 which would cost $2325. It was started that summer and was finished and paid for by January 1912.
Some Activities of Succeeding Ministers
Rev. C. E. Maiman was a high church man. He was followed by Rev. H. I. Lynds in 1901, a friendly man widely known as a lover of fast horses, then Rev. J. Spencer, a dedicated worker who traveled ceaselessly throughout the county with his familiar old horse to visit his parishioners. He started a mission in L'Etang in 1918. Rev. Spencer on July 24, 1916, held a Congregational meeting in the church basement which was filled to capacity. He reported on the financial state of the church building fund and to destroy a $3,000 note held, as every cent of the building fund had been paid. The parish had raised $1,700 during the last eight years and the late Mrs. Jane (Nicholas) Meating had donated $2,000 in her will. To clear the balance of debt, the rector's personal canvas raised $1,200. The notes were then burned by the ladies of the church as the orchestra under James Watt gave several selections. The vestry men entertained the ladies with coffee and cake.
Rev. F. J. LeRoy was a tall, wiry, humourous man especially liked by the children. Electric lights were installed in the church in 1923. Rev. A. R. Yeomans followed in 1925 during this period wardens were first elected by ballot. Rev. B. T. Keith arrived in 1933 and stayed until 1943 when he joined the Armed Forces. Rev. Hubert Doody came next. He was especially remembered for Saturday night singsongs at the local Y for the Armed Forces stationed nearby,
During Rev. George Readman's stay the beautiful wooden reredos was given to us from the Cathedral in Fredericton and was assembled around the altar and in use by December 1947. Rev. H. J. Hoyt came in 1952. He was highly respected and was also an avid sportsman.
Rev. D. M. Brown came in 1958. He
grew up in the home of Rev. F. J. LeRoy. Rev. J. A. Secord joined us in 1964.
His solos were enjoyed by all. His hobby was being a ham radio operator. Rev.
David Genge came in 1970 and was remembered best as a friend to people of all
denominations. Rev. Ralph Smith followed in 1976. He too loved to sing. Rev.
Earl Hawkes in 1984 although retired was a great organizer. In 1986, came Rev.
Philip Ward, our present rector, a Christian educator, who loves music also.
Lay people who
have served the church through these early years were: Dr. Robert Thomson,
warden 1829; James Spinney, vestryman, 1854; James Vroom, delegate to synod
1889; Alta Wyman, Organist for a great many years; Alvah Toy, vestry clerk 1904
who served for over 30 years; W. S. Jewett gave a year's supply of coal in
1918; Murray Brown appointed lay reader April 1924.
As they were often short of money the ladies of the church were called upon not only to help raise subscription money but also to put on their usual suppers and teas.
Proceeds of an oyster stew in 1880 -$31.79. Tea party in 1893 $109.45.
First mention of Girls Branch of W.A. - April 1915.
Ladies paid taxes, insurance, repairs, painting and cleaning church during the year 1917 -$192.35.
April, 1917, ladies bought 100 chairs.
1919 moved and seconded that female voting on church affairs to be laid over for future consideration. Finally got the vote on May 22, 1925.
St. Mark's W. A. (ACW) formed in 1920.
The ladies continued to raise money for renovations of kitchen, basement, and
general expenses down through the years. The church hall has been the scene of
many happy times in the past as well as present years with ladies quilting,
putting on suppers and skits, the men with their choral groups and hobby
nights, the young people with badminton, Junior Choir, Guides and Scouts,
Little Helpers, J. A., and G. A.
Large 3 part window over altar in memory of Rev. Samuel Thomson, Rev. J. McGivern, and Rev. Ronald Smith.
Round windows in each end of Sanctuary in memory of Capt. Charles Johnson 1850-1924 and, wife, Agnes Johnson-1851-1925.
1st. window-on right in Nave
George Baldwin 1815-1899
Esther Baldwin 1824-1878
Ellery S. Johnston 1892-1950
Annie C. Jenkins
1st. window on left in Nave
L. Kathleen Murray
Kathleen Murray (wife)
W. Russell McCumber
Iva R. McCumber
Rev. Henry I. Lynds
Alice Medley Lynds (wife)
Annie L Southard
Windows behind font
Llewellyn Spinney 1894-1972
Royce Spinney 1894-1972
Window on right of font
William Southard 1878-1926
Alvenia Southard 1887-1964
In memory of the men who served in World War one and two.
Dorcas J. McGee
St. Mark's Girls Branch of W. A. 1924
Rev. Canon F. J. LeRoy - Founder of St. Mark's Senior W. A. - Dec.25, 1963
Bible on Lectern
Capt. & Mrs. Walter Hersey
Mary Augusta Brown 1872-1955
Margaret Olivia Murray 1844-1929 by Olivia Myles made by late Lawrence Hooper
Carpet in Nave
J. Rainnie & Margaret E. O'Brien
Carpet in Chancel
Mr. & Mrs. J. H. Brown
Herbert C. Brown
Guest Book Lectern
Leroy A. Maxwell
Alvah B. Langmaid
Lloyd A. Maxwell
Donald W. Maxwell
Donald Walter Stewart 1924-1944
Wall Plaques in Memory of
Joseph C. Spear Jan. 21,1918
Sgt. Frederick A. Woodbury 1918
Gunner Donald W. Maxwell Oct.1944
W. Dawes Gillmor
Cross on Altar
Rev. Samuel Thomson 1st. Rector
Annie M. Sayre 1841-1921
Katharine Watson 1836-1908
Clock in Basement
In memory of Grace McCallum
J. B. Spear 1897
Prayer & Hymn Books
All in memory of former Church Members
Mrs. Jessie Baldwin
Sources of Information
1. Minutes of St. Mark's Vestry meetings
2. Material from the Archives of New Brunswick
3. Chronicle of the Diocese of Fredericton (1886)
4. A historical sketch of the first fifty years of the Church of England in New Brunswick (1886)
5. Rev. Robert Welles, Ecclesiastical Commission of New Brunswick
6. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
7. Information from older members of the church
©Charlene Beney 2002