Church Records

Brief Church History of Dufferin County

From an article published in the Orangeville Banner August 1, 1963, p. 10.

Build First Church on Purple Hill Site

The first missionary enterprise in Orangeville began by the efforts of the late Seneca Ketchum Sr., who came into the settlement from the vicinity of Mono Mills, and conducted the services as a non-denominational lay reader about the year 1837.


That same year the first church was built on Purple Hill. It was a small log building known as St. Mark's.
The Rev. John Fletcher was the first Anglican minister, appointed to the field in 1850; he remained here until 1856.
Mr. Fletcher was succeeded by Rev. John Van Linge, who remained until 1861.
In 1861 Rev. Alexander Henderson, M.A., who had graduated from Trinity University was sent by Bishop Strachan to the "parish of Orangeville and Mono and parts adjacent."
Mr. Henderson's incumbency was one of the longest in the annals of church history - 40 years until he retired in 1902. He was created a canon about 1880. Canon Henderson was rector in the old St. Mark's Church, which stood on the site of the present brick edifice, the latter being built during his unusually long rectorship in Orangeville.


The first Roman Catholic Church in Orangeville, St. Peter's, was erected in 1841 with the Rt. Rev. Michael Powers, D.D., as first bishop.
Following Mr. Powers in 1850, Rev. A.F. M. Carbonnel was bishop for 10 years and in 1860 Rev. J.J. Lynch came to the church.
The see became a metropolitan in 1970. Bishop Lynch becoming the first archbishop in 1870. He remained with the church until 1889, when Most Rev. John Walsh was archbishop for the next 10 years.
He was followed by Most Rev. Denis O'Connor, who remained in the see until 1910.


In the early days there were two branches of the Presbyterian Church in Orangeville. The Old Kirk of Scotland and the Canada Presbyterian Church.
Rev. W.E. McKay, the veteran Presbyterian minister of Orangeville's pioneer period, was pastor of the "Old Kirk."
According to early records Mr. McKay, who had come from Ireland, was ordained in Orangeville in the year 1856, and was pastor of the Prebyterian Church continuously until his death in 1885, a term of 29 years.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, 1863, the newly erected Canada Presbyterian Church was opened for divine service. Prof. Burns preached in the morning and resident minister Rev. a. McFaul, at night.
The church was described in the Orangevlle Sun as being a rougheast structure, 26 by 46, built in Gothic style, with a solid stone foundation, and seated to accommodate 300 persons. It was built by Hugh Haley from plans prepaed by Mr. Dunbar, Ferguson and Graham painted the chruch and he ornamenting and finishing was by J.K. Riddall.


A union between the new church and the "Old Kirk" took place in March, 1880, at which time Rev. J.M. McIntyre was pastor of the Canadian Presbyterian Church.
As a result of the union, the new St. Andrew's Chruch was organized and the large edifice was erected on West Broadway.
Mr. McKay continued as the pastor of the new church for about five years, when he was succeeded by Rev. W.A. Hunter.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Chruch is now Westminster United Chruch.


There were three branches of the Methodist Chruch in Orangeville in the early years- Wesley Methodist, Episcopal Methodist and Primitive Methodist - and it is possible that the first Orangeville mission was started by the Primitive Methodists.
The first Methodist minister stationed in Orangeville in 1855 is said to have been Rev. Thomas Dudley, and he was followed the next year by Rev. M.S. Gray.
On April 18, 1884, all the branches of the Methodist churches were united.
After the union, the congregations of the three former Methodist Chruches in Orangeville were united as the one Methodist Church.
At the time of the union the pastor of the Orangeville Methodist Chruch was Rev. George M. Brown, who was followed in 1884 by Rev. Robert Cade and Rev. J. Simpson, From 1885 - 1887 Rev. J.G. Laird and Rev. J. Simpson served the church and from 1887 until 1889 Rev. C. E. McIntyre.


Rev. Allan E. Kitchen was the first Baptist minister in Orangeville. He began his pastoral work here in 1863.
After Mr. Kitchen there appear the names of Rev. E.D. Sherman and Rev. C. Carroll, in the 70's and early 80's.
Rev. J.L. Gilmour, M.A., D.D., came to Orangevlle in 18 619(sic) and after leaving Orangeville he became prominent not only in the Baptist Chruch of Ontario and Quebec, but also in the field of higher education. During his term in Orangeville the Baptist congregation increased in membership.
Following Dr. Gilmour came Rev. F. Tracy in 1891; he was later made Dr. Tracey. Then in 1893 Rev. John Roney became minister, followed by Rev. S.B. Crosby in 1896; Rev. J.P. Brown in 1898, and Rev. C.E. Burrell in 1880.


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Last updated: February 2008