Mr. J. M. Denyes, B. A., of the Newburgh High School staff, has kindly supplied The Beaver with the following contribution to the early history of this province. we will be very glad to receive similar favors from others who may have facts of interest at their disposal:
Newburgh, Oct. 26th, 1901
To the Editor of the Beaver:
Very many of your readers have been deeply interested in the “Old-time Records” which have appeared in your columns. Mr. Casey has done a real service to many hundreds of readers. In his references to the early history of the church in Upper Canada and especially to the origin of the work in this district, I do not remember seeing any detailed references to the building of the first Methodist church in Upper Canada, which was erected at Hay Bay. I have lately been reading our early church history, and a recital of the following bit of history may be of interest to some of your readers, particularly of the Methodist section. It was the year of the first Parliament of Upper Canada, 1792, which witnessed also the commencement of the first Methodist church, William Losee, a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church of the United States, having been admitted on trial for the itinerant work in 1789 and appointed to the Lake Champlain district and having obtained liberty in 1790 to pursue his work father north and been, ordained, the next year, became the first regular Methodist preacher in Upper Canada. His work was located in a wide district covering what is now the front of Lennox county and a part of Prince Edward county. One of his appointments was in the 3rd concession of Adolphustown in the house of Paul Huff on the Hay Bay shore. It was here that Losee founded the first regularly organized class in Canada, on February 20th, 1791.
The congregation at the home of Paul Huff so increased that the house became too small and early in the year the preacher and people began to think of a house solely for the worship of God. It was resolved to undertake the work and the following is a copy of the epistle of the originators to the public and the societies and of the subscription to the enterprise.
Adolphustown, Feb. 3d. 1792
Dear Friends and Brethren:
As the Almighty God has been pleased to visit us in this wilderness land with the light of a preached Gospel, we think it requisite to build a meeting house or church for the more convenient assembling of ourselves to gather for social worship before the Lord.
We do agree to build such church under the direction of William Losee, Methodist preacher, our brother who has labored with us this twelve months past, he following the directions of the Discipline for the Methodist Episcopal Church, or in his absence, under the direction of any assistant preacher belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church in Great Britain or America, sent from there by the proper authority (such as the Bishop) to labor among us. We do further agree that no other denomination or society of people shall have any privilege or liberty to preach, or teach in the said Methodist church without the consent or leave of the assistant Methodist preacher then laboring with us. We do further agree to build such church 36 by 30 ft., two stories high, with a gallery in the upper story or second story. Said house to be built on the north west corner Paul Huff’s lot of land No. 18, 3rd concession, Fourth town.
We the subscribers do promise to pay or cause to be paid to the Directors toward the building of the said church as it is wanted, the sums of money annexed to our names underneath where we have hereunto set our hands the date above written:
Paul Huff - 10-0-0
Peter Frederick 4-0-0
Elizabeth Roblin 12-0-0
William Casey 7-0-0
Daniel Steel 3-10-0
Joseph Ellison 3-0-0
William Green 1-0-0
William Ruttan 10-0-0
Solomon Huff 2-0-0
Stophel Garman 2-0-0
John Green 3-0-0
Peter Ruttan 4-0-0
Joseph Clapp 5-0-0
John Bininger 1-0-0
Conrad Vandusen 15-0-0
Henry Hover 8-10-0
Casper VanDusen 2-0-0
Arra Ferguson 3-0-0
Daniel Dafoe 2-0-0
Andrew Embury 2-0-0
Henry Davis 4-0-0
Wm. Ketcheson 2-0-0
Paul Huff doubtless gave the land as well as the subscription. Elizabeth Roblin was a widow who with her husband and family had come into Canada by way of Lake Champlain coming up the St. Lawrence by bateaux and settled at Hay Bay. William Casey lived on the north side of Hay Bay on what is now call Casey’s Point. Henry Hover, Wm. Ruttan and Conrad Vandusen were neighbors, pious men, and useful in the church. Peter Ruttan went by the name of “Noisy Pete” from his custom of crying aloud, and shouting for joy. Andrew Embury was a nephew of Philip Embury of New York. Casper Vandusen was a brother of Conrad. Joseph Clapp was the brother-in-law of the widow Roblin. Daniel Dafoe has many descendants in the Bay of Quinte townships as has also Stophel Garman, who had settled on a fine piece of land adjoining Casey’s Point. Henry Davis was a Dutch soldier. Wm. Ketcheson, who was also been a soldier in the revolutionary war had carried his family to Nova Scotia, but losing all his property, by fire in 1787 had come to Canada. In 1800 he moved up to Sydney, where many of his descendants are yet to be found.
The subscriptions are seen to be very liberal considering the scarcity of money. A second church was begun at almost the same time for the members on the eastern part of the circuit. My letter, however has already become long enough.
J. M. DENYES
OLDEN TIME PUNISHMENTS
Here are some samples of the sentences meted out to criminals by our grandfathers, in the good old days of nearly a hundred years ago. It has been before stated in The Beaver that probably the first hanging that took place in Upper Canada was at, or near Finkle’s tavern, near Bath, of a man convicted of stealing a watch. The Hon. Richard Cartwright was said to have been the presiding magistrate in that case. He had the reputation of being very severe in his sentences. But times and circumstances were very different then. The condemned man protested his innocence to the last, and it was afterwards ascertained, that the man was not guilty, the watch had been lost and was found again.
Until quite recent years a large tree stood nearly opposite Finkle’s tavern that was used as a sort of whipping post. Those condemned by the magistrates would be lashed to it and publicly whipped. One of the first to be thus punished was a Negro for stealing a loaf of bread.
Prof. Adam Shortt gives in the last number of Queen’s Quarterly the following account: “As samples of the sentences given in the higher court of Assizes at this period (1818) the following bay be taken, from the August Assizes at Kingston. John C --, Esq., (one of the Magistrates) for forgery, one month’s imprisonment; and ten pounds fine, John C. Wilson, grand larceny, restitution of the stolen property, three months imprisonment and public whipping, 39 stripes. John Grace, grand larceny, one month’s imprisonment, public whipping, 39 stripes and banishment. Mary Smith, grand larceny, one month’s imprisonment and private whipping. Noble Bowman, assault upon a female, ten days imprisonment and five pounds fine. Alice Braydon, keeping a house of ill-fame, one month’s imprisonment, standing in the pillory half an hour with a label of her offence on her back. Mary Fiske, keeping house of ill-fame, one month’s imprisonment and sitting in the stocks half an hour.
“In the following year, 1819, for an assault with intent to murder, a man was sentenced to two month’s imprisonment and a fine of three pounds. Another man, for knowingly uttering a forged receipt, was sentenced, “to be hanged on Thursday, 11th of November next.” A third man for stealing a cow was sentenced to be hanged on the same date.”
We have read in these early records of men being branded with a hot iron for stealing and for forgery, of others being sentenced to be hanged for forgery or for counterfeiting money, and banishment from the country on pain of death for returning, for these and numbers of other crimes. In a file of the Kingston Gazette of 1818, now in the writer’s possession, there are several instances given of person being convicted and sentenced at court of being hanged before the proceedings of the court terminated at that time.
In England and Ireland hanging for sheep stealing and similar crimes was practiced during the early years of this century.