By Doug MacDonald
As part of the 190th Anniversary of St. James, a very special Memorial Service will be held in the Church and Cemetery on May 28 at 10:30 am. The Memorial Service will include a sermon to honour “those who’ve gone before us”, a celebration of the traditional Anglican Eucharist and beautiful, traditional music and hymns with the St. James Chancel Choir.
After the church service, those who wish may proceed to the Cemetery where the Clergy, if requested, will offer a short prayer or blessing at the grave of a loved one. Members of the Cemetery Board will assist in locating grave sites or guide visitors on a tour of the Cemetery.
Within the Church are memorials of brass, marble, and stained glass. Stained glass windows, no matter how beautiful, are infused with sadness. On the north wall of the Altar is one of the most beautiful windows in St.James – a memorial to Freda and Norman Jones. Early in 1908, eighteen-year-old High School student, Freda, fell ill with typhoid. She died in October 1909. Seven months later, her brother Norman, twenty-one, had just completed second year Medicine at McGill. On a canoe trip to a summer job as a fire ranger in the Temigami Forest, Norman drowned in Lake Obakita on May 31, 1910.
Two windows are memorials to victims of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic: Andrew John Kerr (1866 – October 31, 1918) Captain and Fire Chief of the Kemptville Fire Department, and James Raymond Eager (1881 – May 30, 1919) of Heckston, a member of the St. James Choir.
At the west end of St. James is the glorious circular rose window commissioned for $150.00 by the students and teachers of the Sunday School and presented on June 2, 1882. Robert Leslie, Superintendent of the Sunday School, wrote “the inscriptions on that fine window will often be read and remain a memorial for hundreds of years to the zeal and devotion of the youthful donors”.
High above the Altar is the magnificent Triptych. These three windows are a memorial to Reverend John Stannage, the sixth Rector of St. James. John Stannage is buried in St. James Cemetery alongside his daughter, Anne (Stannage) Patton (1841-1908) and her husband Alfred Patton (1837-1902), eldest son of the first Rector of St. James, Henry Patton.
In historic St. James Cemetery, names once sharply chiselled on stone provide a glimpse into the story of our community, from the first pioneers to the present. Many names are quickly recognized, others all but forgotten. Perhaps one might pause by the grave of Eli and Elias Hurd, twin sons of Abigail and Trueman Hurd, who died at 11 months in 1825. We honour Harriet Amelia Patton, first wife of Rev. Henry Patton. Harriet died at age 31 in 1844, and rests with her four infant children, Elizabeth d. 1834, Andrew d. 1836, James d. 1841, and William Henry d. 1842.
Resting among Bishops of the Church, Members of the Parliament of Upper and Lower Canada, of the Dominion Parliament, and Reeves of Kemptville, is Thomas Thompson (1824-1916) appointed Sexton of St. James in 1868 — annual salary $50 for “washing and cleaning the Church, cutting firewood, making fires, ringing the bell, trimming and lighting the lamps”. For digging graves and attending funerals from December 1 to April 1, he was to receive an extra $2.00. Thomas Thompson remained Sexton for 40 years.
An invitation is extended to all whose ancestors, family, friends and loved ones are a part of the story of St.James Anglican Church. You are invited to step into history on Sunday morning, May 28.