Knox Presbyterian ChurchBy The Team (Oct 8th, 2009)
Knox Presbyterian Church
Celebrating 150 Years in 2009!
PO Box 366,
Teeswater, ON, CA N0G 2S0
Pastor: Pastor Harvey Osborne
Sunday service is at 10 a.m. with Sunday School at 10:15 a.m. Youth group, Gr. 7 and up, meets every Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. Contat Margot or Andy Uyl at 392-8813 or Jean Bouwknegt at 392-8316.
Knox Presbyterian Church was built in the 1870s, and is now a continuing congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
From Electric Scotland (which has an excellent section on Bruce County!)
As early as 1856 the Free Church Presbytery of London sent the Rev. John Scott to minister to the spiritual needs of the Presbyterians in the vicinity of Teeswater, following this up by sending other ministers. As a result a congregation was organized, which proceeded to erect a place of worship. All this was before the end of the “fifties.” The Rev. Adam McKay was the first minister. His pastorate lasted from 1862 to 1870. In the last-mentioned year the congregation divided, part continued to worship in the old church, which then became known as Zion Church, with the Rev. Peter Currie as its minister. The seceding part of the original congregation worshipped for about a year and a half in the town hall, and then erected a church building that bore the name of Westminster Church.
The Rev. D. Wardrope was the pastor of this congregation from 1871 to 1886, and the Rev. James Malcolm from 1888 to 1905. During the ministry of the last-mentioned clergyman the two congregations became united. They now worship in the old church building, which at present bears the name of Knox Church. The Rev. D. Tait is at present the minister over the united congregation. The author is pleased to be able to insert here an account, which appeared in the Teeswater News, written by James Reid, that vividly tells of the early life of the Presbyterian congregation, and of other incidents of pioneer days, as follows: “Your correspondent came to Culross in September, 1854. In the summer of 1855 some twelve of us met at the corners of Samuel Wood’s lots on the 8th concession, now owned by Mr. David McDonald, to consider about purchasing a plot of ground in which to bury our dead, and on which to erect a church in which to worship God. Those south of the river overruled those north of the river, and it was agreed to purchase two acres on the 4th concession from Mr. Thomas Nicholson, for the sum of $40. This is the site of the present Teeswater cemetery. At the same meeting some one inquired if there was no one present who knew of any minister whom they knew who could be written to and asked to give us a sermon or two, as we were getting hungry, not having heard a sermon for nine or ten months. Alex. Graham, who lived on the 10th concession, where the Henderson family now lives, said he would write to Rev. John B. Mowat, of Niagara, who came in September of the same year, 1855, and preached in Mr. Gibson’s shanty, that being the only place at the time where a meeting could be held. This was the first sermon preached in Teeswater by a Presbyterian minister After this Rev. John Ross, of Brucefield, preached a few times. These two men advised us not to put up the church on the 4th concession, but to put it where the village was likely to be. In the spring of 1856 James Reid put up his first house, expecting his mother and brother from the province of Quebec, but as they did not come he lived on in his old shanty, and his house was used as a church during the summers of 1856 and 1857.. The Presbytery of London, of which Rev. John Scott was moderator, sent up a preacher now and then during these years to keep us alive until better times came. Among those who visited us then were “William Clark, who was an elder and catechist; Rev. Donald McLean, who was for a time stationed at Mount Forest, and Rev. John McMillan, of Fingal, who was afterwards also many years in Mount Forest. In October, 1857, the Presbytery sent up Rev. Alex. Young and Mr. Sutherland, two powerful preachers of the Gospel, and these two dispensed the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for the first time in Culross. Mr. Young preached in English in the house, and Mr. Sutherland in Gaelic in the barn. This solemn feast was observed in the good old way—four days preaching—on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the last being a day for the giving of thanks. On Thursday it was found necessary to have elders appointed for the Sabbath services, so the ministers asked Mr. Gibson whom he would recommend. After some consideration he named John McDonald and Hugh McDonald, both from the 8th concession, and Hector McKay, the catechist, who lived on the 11th concession, where Thomas Ross now lives. The last-named preached in Gaelic to the people living in the region known as the Alps. In those days there was a much clearer line between the church and the world than there is at present. Many of us now ask, Where is the church for which our forefathers died. The Sabbath at present has become a day of business, pleasure and toil rather than a day of worship. During the times of these communion services in the early days James Reid, then a bachelor living in his shanty, made the minister’s dinner for them. Mrs. Gibson’s shanty was the manse, and she hung up a carpet across the room to make a bedroom for the ministers. The shanty was covered with elm bark. One night a severe rainstorm came up and Mr. Gibson had to put an umbrella over the ministers to keep them dry. Compare that manse with the present one. Little do the ministers of the present day know about the difficulties of the pioneer church. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson were very kind to all the ministers in those early days, and their house was made the preacher’s home. They probably did more for the church in those early days than any other persons in Culross. The ground on which Knox Church stands was a gift from him, and yet his name appears in no place in the church records. In the winter of 1857-1858 the Presbytery sent up Rev. John McKay to us. An uncle of his, the Rev. A. McKay, of Lucknow, was also with us for three months, and boarded with Mr. Reid. Before he left in the following spring the contract of the first Presbyterian Church in Teeswater was let to a man named Westover, who lived on the 12th concession of Culross. The church was not completed until 1862. In that same summer the congregation extended a call to Rev. Adam McKay, and he was ordained and inducted into the charge. He was the first regularly settled Presbyterian minister in Teeswater or Culross. Previous to this time, in the fall of 1856, Rev. John Scott, of London, preached in Mr. P. B. Brown’s grist-mill, before the machinery was put in, and on the following Monday he baptized sixteen children.”