History of St. Mark's Church



 

St. George

Charlotte County

New Brunswick

by

Anita Grearson
   
  FOREWORD

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."

Burial Ground

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.
    First Clergyman

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

1. Clergyman

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

13.Patrick Clinch

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 builders.
  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.
  Framed Structure


  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 school room.
  Nave

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.
  Tower


  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.
  Cathedral Glass


  The windows are all glazed with cathedral glass giving a very restful pleasing effect to the eye.
  Seats


  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.
  Rectory Fire


  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

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.
  Church Women


  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.
  MEMORIALS

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

2nd. window
Ellery S. Johnston 1892-1950

3rd. window
Leroy Morin
Annie C. Jenkins
Windsor Morin

1st. window on left in Nave
L. Kathleen Murray
Samuel Murray
Kathleen Murray (wife)
W. Russell McCumber
Iva R. McCumber

2nd. window
Rev. Henry I. Lynds
Alice Medley Lynds (wife)

3rd. window
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

Organ
In memory of the men who served in World War one and two.

Collection Plate
Dorcas J. McGee

Alms Basin
St. Mark's Girls Branch of W. A. 1924

Missal
Rev. Canon F. J. LeRoy - Founder of St. Mark's Senior W. A. - Dec.25, 1963

Bible on Lectern
Capt. & Mrs. Walter Hersey

Font Cover
Mary Augusta Brown 1872-1955

Font Rail
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

Guest Book
Lloyd A. Maxwell
Donald W. Maxwell
Clifford Maxwell

Lights
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

Prayer Desk
W. Dawes Gillmor

Cross on Altar
Rev. Samuel Thomson 1st. Rector

Brass Vase
Annie M. Sayre 1841-1921

Pulpit
Katharine Watson 1836-1908

Clock in Basement
In memory of Grace McCallum

Hymn Rack
J. B. Spear 1897

Prayer & Hymn Books
All in memory of former Church Members

Arborium
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


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