Some Interesting Facts Regarding Well Known
Churches in This County
THE BATH METHODIST CHURCH
Rev. Dr. Tucker, of Bath, has very kindly supplied THE BEAVER with a copy of the original agreement for building the Methodist church in Bath. Edmund Wright residing at the old homestead, Conway, recently found it among some old papers of his father, the late Solomon Wright, Esq.
The article bears date of July 27th, 1848 - forty-nine years ago, and is between the trustees then appointed and Mr. Thomas Maunder, builder, and William Davey and James Davey his sureties. The trustees at that time were Solomon Wright, James Foster, Elisha Shorey, Charles James and Samuel Rogers. They were all well known and active business men in Bath or its vicinity at that time, but not one of them is living today.
Mr. Wright was a well known and highly respected farmer, and a very reliable and liberal member of the Methodist church. He died some years ago at his residence on the front of South Fredericksburgh, where some of his family now reside. James Foster was a tanner in Bath, a gentleman of quiet and industrious habits. He died in Bath about thirty years ago, and lies buried in Methodist churchyard there. Elisha Shorey was also a well-known farmer residing in Bath. He was the father of the venerable Mrs. E. Priest, who lived for years in Napanee and is now in Toronto with her son. Samuel Rogers was, for years, one of the most active business men in Bath, where he lived and died and now lies buried. Charles James was at that time quite a young man. He soon afterwards moved to Napanee and was for many years one of the prominent Methodist church workers and business men here. He died some years ago, but is still well remembered by nearly all our readers.
The article specifies that a good substantial frame building for the Wesleyan Methodist church for divine worship, "was to be built at Bath and to be furnished throughout in a workmanlike manner by the 1st of August in the year 1849." Minute specifications are given, and the price to be paid was £275 ($1,100). The same building is still in use, and of the same dimensions, though it has been several times repaired and improved during the past forty years.
It seems somewhat singular that while the Methodists had preaching at Bath and a class there ever since 1794, there was no church erected until such a comparatively late date. For many years previous to the building of that church, the congregation worshipped in the old brick academy.
SOME EARLY LUTHERAN CHURCHES
Many of the early settlers of this locality, especially those of German descent, were members of the Lutheran church, and they built some of the first churches erected and used in this county.
W. Nelson Doller, of this town, has now in his possession the original deed of the land on which the historic old Lutheran church, near Close's Mills, in North Fredericksburgh, now stands. The deed was given by Philip Smith, the owner of the farm adjoining, as bears date of July 15th 1815, and specified that "out of free will and motion" he deeds an acre of land round the said church (so as to take in the graveyard) to the members of the Lutheran church, their heirs and successors, but no names of trustees are specified. The witnesses were Lewis Fralig, David Barry and Jacob Smith. They were all well-known residents then, and the Smiths and Fralicks now residents of the locality are descendants of these hardy pioneers. The church appears to have been built previous to that time, according to the phraseology of the deed, but just when it was first erected is no now well know. It was probably about 1810, however, and many years before any church was erected in Napanee, or anywhere else in this particular vicinity. The Methodist churches at Adolphustown and Ernesttown (near Parrott's) were built earlier than that and the Anglican churches at Bath and on the front of South Fredericksburgh, but probably none others in the county. The old Fredericksburgh church still stands firm and sound, though repeatedly repaired, and the burying ground has always been kept in good order. In it still lies all that was mortal of the earlier residents of that section of the county. For years it was used by both the Lutherans and Methodists, until the former gradually grew quite few, when most of those who remained joined the Methodists. On the 12th of September, 1879, George I. Smith and George Schryver, surviving trustees of the old Lutheran church, conveyed the property over to William Nelson Doller, Colin Schryver and Thomas Chambers as trustees of the Methodist Episcopal church, to be held and used as before for religious purposes. It is now regularly used as a place of worship every Sunday, being the afternoon appointment of the Morven circuit.
THE ERNESTTOWN LUTHERAN CHURCH
There was also a Lutheran church, built at an early day, probably near the same time, in Ernesttown, not far from Ernesttown station. For years the same minister attended both congregations, and also one or two others still father east in the county, but where no churches appear to have been built. That church is also still standing and in use occasionally by the Methodists. There is a well known burying ground in connection with it, where the heads of many of the leading families now in the township, lie buried. The last of the Lutheran ministers in this county labored here over forty-five years ago. We believe that the last, or among the last, was Rev. Mr. Plato, who joined the E. Methodists and became an itinerant preacher in that body.
IN RICHMOND ALSO
In an old copy of the Kingston Gazette, of June 1828, we notice quite a lengthy report of a public meeting held on the 13th of May of that year, "at the school house of the late Andrew Kimmerly, Esq., for the purpose of taking into consideration the building of a Lutheran church in the first concession of the township of Richmond." That was on the farm now owned by George Madole on the Deseronto road. Resolutions were adopted in favor of building a church, of the management of the same, for procuring subscriptions and the like, but no final steps were ever taken regarding the erection, that we can learn. Peter Kimmerly was the secretary, and on the various committees occur the names of Gilbert Merkel, Frederick Oliver, John Kimmerly, Andrew Kimmerly, William Bowen, Straats Kimmerly, Henry Kimmerly, Archibald Caton and David Kimmerly. All are dead now, we believe, except David Kiimmerly, who still lives in that locality.
"The late Andrew Kimmerly" here referred to, was the grandfather of our townsman, Ira Kimmerly, and the head of a very numerous family, well-known throughout this county. He first settled south of the Napanee river near the "big bend" but afterwards moved across and became one of the early pioneers of Richmond township. He died in 1828. The family, and many of the other early families of the locality were originally Lutherans. For years the Lutheran preacher from "Big Creek," Fredericksburgh, used to preach to them in the school house and in the homes of the surrounding residences. No church appears ever to have been built there, though the records just referred to would indicate that an organized attempt was made at that time.