by Doug MacDonald
On Sunday May 7, 2017, at 10:30 am, St. James Anglican Church will celebrate 190 years in the community. The congregation invites newcomers to North Grenville, descendants of the pioneers of the parish, those who have moved away and former members to return for a very special Homecoming 190 service.
Just over 190 years ago, the pioneer mission parish of St. James was established by the Church of England (some still refer to St. James as “the English church”). This large wilderness parish included the Townships of Marlborough, Wolford, North and South Gower and Oxford-on-Rideau. The parish centred on the Village of Clothier’s Mill (soon to be named Kemptville). To serve as the site for a village church and burial ground, three-fourths of an acre was granted by Squire William H. Bottum to Lyman Clothier, Trueman Hurd and Abraham Beach. On this lot, with funds raised by the young missionary Henry Patton, the first St. James was built in 1827. This was not only the first church in the village but also the first in the district.
Fifty-one years later, just a few feet west of the original church, Rev. John Stannage initiated construction of a “new” church. On St. James Day, July 25, 1880, St. James the Archdeacon Patton Memorial Church was officially opened.
To illustrate the deep roots the people of St. James have in the community, a few names from the generations of parishioners are noted. Emmeline and Lyman Clothier (saw and grist mills, hotel) the founding family of the village; Maria and Laura, first and second wives of William H. Bottum (heir to Crown land grants); Eleanor and Thomas A. Beckett (ferry, bridge, hotel, brewery); Mary Amanda and Robert Leslie (post master, town clerk); Elizabeth and Charles Ferguson (M.D., Member of Dominion Parliament) and parents of G. Howard Ferguson, Premier of Ontario; Isabella and Thomas Johnston (iron foundry); Edith and William Henry Anderson with Edith and Albert Langstaff (Anderson and Langstaff Department Store and The Dominion Concrete Company).
From the 19th and 20th centuries and into the 21st century, the names of family members who may wish to be part of Homecoming 190 continues to grow. To those who have a connection with St. James Anglican Church, you are cordially invited to “come home” for Homecoming 190.
The service on Sunday May 7, 2017, will include a sermon of Homecoming, celebration of the traditional Anglican Eucharist, as well as beautiful, joyful music and hymns with the St. James Chancel Choir. A warm and sincere welcome awaits as you step into history at St. James.