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Methodism in Lindsay,
Victoria County, Ontario Canada
The Methodist church in Lindsay stands a close
second to the Catholic church in paint of time.
In 1832, two years after Father Crowley had said his first mass in
Ops, the Rev. Conrad Vandusen rode in from the Cavan Circuit over
the quagmire trail through the forest and preached to a tiny log
cabin conventicle. Successors in this mission work were the Rev.
John Law in 1833, the Rev. John Black in 1834, and the Rev. William
Young in 1835.
In 1836 Cavan was united with the Peterborough Circuit and Lindsay
was supplied from the Brock Circuit on the west. The missionary from
1836 to 1838 was the Rev. Cornelius Flummerfelt, who was followed in
1839-40 by' the Rev. Horace Dean, whose son later became Judge Dean.
In 1841 and 1842 the visiting pastor was the Rev. John Sanderson, a
gentle soul known throughout the country side as "Little
Peculiarities," because of his constant reproof to critics of their
neighbors: "You know we all have our little peculiarities." Under
his direction an acre of land was secured from the government on the
southwest corner of William and Wellington streets and a small frame
building, used as a school during the week and as a church on
Sunday, was erected. This building, which is at once the oldest
school and the oldest Protestant church in Lindsay, still stands at
No. 23 Wellington Street. In 1852, on the erection of a second
church, it became the Methodist parsonage. It is now occupied by a
The subsequent pastors up to 1852 were the Rev. Herman Davis in
1843, the Rev. Gilbert Miller and the Rev. Samuel Fear in 1844, the
Rev. Gilbert Miller and the Rev. Abraham Dayman in 1845, the Rev.
William, Young in 1846, the Rev. David Hardy in 1847, the Rev. C. W.
M. Gilbert in 1848, the Rev. John Sanderson in 1849, and the Rev.
Cornelius Flummerfelt in 1850-51. None of these ministers lived in
Lindsay at all except the Rev. David Hardy, who sojourned in the
village during 1847.
Resident Methodist Minister
The first officially resident minister was the Rev.
Thomas Hannah, appointed in 1852. During his ministry a much larger
frame church, more recognizable in its architecture, was built next
to the original building but fronting on William Street. It is
occupied at the present day by Skitch's Carriage Works. The earlier
structure was then occupied by Mr. Hannah as a parsonage.
From 1854 to 1868 Lindsay was now the head of a
circuit and during most of that period two preachers were required
to cope with all the country appointments. The senior incumbents
were as follows:
1854-56, Rev. J. C. Osborne;
1857, Rev. James Greener;
1858-60, Rev. D. C. Clappison;
1861-63, Rev. S. C. Philp;
1864-6G, Rev. A. Edwards;
1867-69, Rev. James Greener.
The assistants were the following:
1854, Rev. Garrett Dingman;
1855, Rev. W. H. Chard;
1856, Rev. James Ash;
1857, Rev. A. L. Peterson;
1858, Rev. David Jackson;
1859, Rev. W. W. Miller;
1860, Rev. J. H. Stinson;
1861, Rev. N. S. Burwash;
1862, Rev. N. Galbraith;
1863, Rev. Thomas Adams, B. A.,
1864, Rev. W. F. Morrison, B. A.
In 1865 most of the country appointments were formed into an Oakwood
Circuit. In 1868 all remaining outlying charges were annexed to
Oakwood and the Lindsay church was left to devote all its energies
to development at home.
A floating debt of several hundred dollars was now paid off in 1869
and preparations were made to build a new brick church and a new
parsonage. In 1870 the Rev. Mr. Greener was succeeded by the Rev. C.
Freshman, D. D. A lot was purchased in this same year on the
northwest corner of Bond and Cambridge streets, and a parsonage
built. In 1871 a church of white brick was put up on the same
property at a cost of $12,000. It was dedicated to divine worship on
December 17, 1871, by the Rev. W. M. Punshon, D. D., the Rev. G. R.
Sanderson, D. D., and the Rev. G. H. Davis.
The ministers for the next fifteen years were as follows:
1872-74, Rev. James Brock;
1875-76, Rev. Charles Fish;
1877-79, Rev. Wellington Jeffers, D.D.;
1880-82, Rev. John S. Clarke;
1883-84, Rev. Wm. H. Elmsley;
1885-86, Rev. M. L. Pearson.
A Season of
In the early eighties two local congregations of
similar tenets, the Episcopal Methodists and the Bible Christians,
amalgamated with the Cambridge Street church. The Episcopal
Methodists were the dominant division of the Methodist church in the
United States. A mission on Peel Street flourished in the seventies,
but was closed in June 18 81 by the Rev. George Abbs, the presiding
elder of the district because of the atrophy of funds and
enthusiasm. The Bible Christian church had begun in England in 1815
in an evangelistic revival within the Wesleyan Methodist church. Its
leaders were pursued by the Methodists with the same bitter
persecution that they themselves had suffered from the Church of
England in the previous century. In Canada, a wider toleration
helped to heal the breach but separation prevailed until the
eighties. A Bible Christian congregation in Lindsay built in 1873,
at a cost of $8400, a white brick church on the east side of
Cambridge Street between Wellington and Peel streets, the building
occupied today by the Baptists. Their chief pastors during the next
ten years were the Rev. Mr. Ayers, the Rev. Mr.. Roberts, the Rev.
R. T. Courtice, and the. Rev. Mr. Limbert. On February 12, 1883, the
congregation voted to join the Methodist church, and one Sunday
morning in the following summer the members marched up Cambridge
Street in a body to be welcomed back into their ancestral fold.
Similar reunions of Methodist sub-denominations were being
accomplished throughout Canada at this time and on Tuesday, October
23, 1883, a service of commemoration and thanksgiving was held in
the Cambridge Street church.
The congregation had by these amalgamations become uncomfortably
large for the church building. Alterations and additions were
therefore made in 1886. Extensions were made on the north and south
sides, giving additional seating capacity for several hundreds. A
gallery was built around the north, east and south walls of the
interior and a pipe organ, fronted by a choir loft, placed in the
west. The pulpit was placed in front of the choir. While this
remodeling was in progress the congregation met each Sunday in the
upstairs auditorium of the town hall. The church was formally
reopened on December 19, 1886.
Pastors of the Cambridge Street
The pastors of the Cambridge Street church since
that time have been as follows:
Rev. Wm. Williams ,D. D., appointed 1888;
Rev. T. M. Campbell, 1891;
Rev. S. J. Shorey, D. D., 1894;
Rev. Thomas Manning, D. D., 1897;
Rev. Geo. W. Henderson, D. D., 1902;
Rev. Geo. J. Bishop, D. D., 1905;
Rev. J. P. Wilson, D. D., 1908;
Rev. S. J. Shorey, D. D., 1911;
Rev. A. H. Going, 1915;
Rev E. Val Tilton, 1918.
A second Methodist church, functioning in the East
Ward of the town, is now forty-three years old.
For some time prior to 1878, the Rev. James Greener, a superannuated
minister, had been carrying on pastoral work in the East Ward on his
own initiative. No church of any denomination existed east of the
river. In 1878 the Mayor of the town, Colonel Deacon, gave Mr.
Greener a quarter of an acre of land on Bertie Street, and Mr.
Greener, on his own responsibility and at his own expense, had a
little wooden church built on it. On the 17th of November, 1878, the
building was dedicated to the service of God.
The Rev. Mr. Greener was followed by the Rev. W. A.
V. Pattyson, the Rev. Thomas Culbert, and the Rev. G. W. Dewey. In
1888, during Mr. Dewey's pastorate, a two-storey frame church
veneered with white brick was built on the southeast corner of Queen
and Caroline streets. The building was 58 feet long by 42 feet wide
and had the main auditorium upstairs and the Sunday School on the
ground floor. The Bertie Street church was converted into a double
dwelling house. It was burned down on February 18, 1892. A parsonage
was built on St. Paul Street in 1889.
The pastors since the time of the Rev. Mr.
Dewey have been as follows:
Rev. Newton Hill, appointed 1891
Rev. John W. Totten, 1894
Rev. James McFarlane, 1897
Rev. A. J. Harvey Strike, 1900
Rev. H. L. Phelps, 1904
Rev. Jos. R. Real, 1908
Rev .David Balfour, 1910
Rev .J. S. McMullen, 1913
Rev. C. H. Coon, 1917
In 1920 steps were taken to put up a new church on the southwest
corner of Lindsay and Wellington streets. On March 17, 1921, a
$25,000 building of red brick was opened by Dr. Chown, General
Superintendent of the Methodist church in Canada.
The Methodists in Lindsay total 2262.