In early days of Canadian story, to speak of the parish parson, brought to mind not only the idea of worship but also that of schooling, for in him was usually foundbecause of the pioneer condition of the countrythe embodiment of all the learning in his district. Nor was this less true of Sault Sainte Marie than of other places, for here we find the schoolmaster clad in the sombre garb of the Church of England priest who took upon himself the duty of instructing the youth in letters.
It has been said before that wherever the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Post was, there was read the service of the Anglican Church each Sunday, indeed the factor was ex-officio a deacon in that Communion, with powers of baptizing, marrying and burying in his district, in fact holding the same church authority as a ship’s captain at sea or of the chief officer of a military post in the absence of the Anglican priest, but in 1830 the Church Society of Upper Canada sent a Mr. D Cameron to minister solely to the people at and about the Sault who were not ministered to by the Jesuit Fathers, and he was in 1832 succeded by Mr. Williamafterward ArchdeaconMacMurray, who wrought his good work here until the year of the coronation of the late beloved Queen Victoria.
Mr. MacMurray established himself on the south side of the river with the Johnston family, one of the daughters of the household acting as his interpreter and whom he afterwards married.
Even at that late date, 1832, the route to Sault Sainte Marie was very vague, for, as the Archdeacon related in a speech delivered in Toronto in 1889, when he received the notification of his appointment he applied to Sir John Colborne, the Governor of Upper Canada, for information, as to the way to the new field, and by Sir John he was sent to Detroit with the assurance that someone there would surely be able to direct him. Arriving in Detroit he was sent to Mackinac and from thence he was paddled to his destination,
A parcel of land on what is now know as the Great Northern Road was selected by him as the site of a church which was soon erected by the Government.
The church stood where Borron avenue and the Great Northern Road join, and there has been preserved for us in a little book entitled the
Recreations of a Long Vacation,” by Reverend Dr, Bevan, a picture of the quaint structure which is here reproduced.
Adjoining the church was a little graveyard whose humble mounds were to be seen on the side of the ridge overlooking the town, but all traces of the graves have disappeared.
When David Pim came to live in Sault Sainte Marie he bought from the Crown the property whereon the church stood, and one morning, borrowing a yoke of oxen from Mr. Simpson, he hitched them to the building and pulled it down to the lower ground, converting it into a dwelling house for his family, and this, the first church building in the settlement, may be seen and recognized today in the old homestead of the family nestling among the trees, on Pim street.
During the week, in the years of its public life, benches and desks occupied the floor of the church, and there the children gathered to learn from the lips of their reverend teacher. And when Sunday came it found the desks pushed back and the benches arrayed for the reception of the devout worshippers. It was in this same school house that the little company of soldiers drilled under the guidance of Major Wilson.
In 1837 Mr. MacMurray was succeeded by Mr. O’Meara, who visited the Sault once in each six months, staying two or three days at each visitation and then hieing away to the mission on the Manitoulin.
Sir F. Head, who had succeded Governor Colborne, came to think the work done hardly called for Government aid, and so the mission was closed and the settlers of that period were left again without regular ministration. However Mr. MacMurray’s work told, for when the Rev. Mr. G. A. Anderson was sent in 1849 to re-establish work among them and the Indians of Garden River, he found the most affectionate memory of the church in the minds of all who had refused to listen to the preaching of sectarians.
At that time the district was under control of the Bishop of Toronto, who in 1842 visited the mission with a small company. Service, after the removal of the church building, was held in
the stone house, where it continued off and on until in 1870 the first stone church was begun, the corner-stone being laid by Bishop Bethune in the presence of the soldiers who were on their way to quell the Red River rebellion.
Some years ago there were discovered in the vault of the Court House the minutes of the Vestry of the Parish, and among other interesting things was a record of a motion of thanks tendered to Captain Wilson, which reads as follows :
” Proposed by Colonel Savage ;
” Seconded by Mr. Hamilton,
” That the thanks of the Vestry be given to Mr. Wilson for his kindness in lending the field piece (gun) for the purpose of being fire half an hour before Divine Service as a warning to the Congregation, and that the expense be defrayed by the Vestry.
-” (Sgd.) JOHN CARRY,
Thus did the sometime instrument of war lend itself to more peaceful occupation.
While holding service in the stone house the clergy were not always masters of the situation. It is a tradition that the good and sturdy householder had theological views of his own and no preacher was allowed to continue his discourse until he comformed to the views of the general host. No doubt this unique feature helped materially to hurry the erection of a proper church edifice. This was begun in 187o, the year of the Red River trouble, and the following account of of the laying of the corner-stone is copied from a Toronto daily paper :
Sault Sainte Marie.On Friday, July 22,
the Bishop of Toronto, accompanied by the Rev. James Chance, Indian Missionary at Garden River, and the Rev. C. I. S. Bethune, M.A , of Port Credit, laid the corner-stone of the Sault Sainte Marie church. Under the corner-stone a glass jar was deposited, containing the names of the Bishop and accompanying clergymen ; year of the Queen’s reign ; names of the Governor-General and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario ; names of architect and contractor ; names of the subscribers to the building fund ; silver coins, fractional currency, postage and bill stamps of Canada and the United States ; the latest copies of the Toronto newspapers, Canada and Ontario Gazettes, and Scottish American. In the record it was also noted that the Canadian Volunteers encamped at Sault Sainte Marie,’ whilst en route for Red River, most generously contributed towards the erection of the church. The church is to be built of stone, design and plan by Mr. Charles J. Bampton ; the contractor is Mr. John Damp, the builder of the Sault Sainte Marie gaol and Court House.”
The gentlemen who were foremost in the movement of building the church were Wymess Simpson. the last H. B. Factor here ; Sheriff Carney, Mr. Swinburne, Colonel Savage, to whose memory a modest stained glass windows stands in the present church ; Mr. Trott, the storekeeper, now up in years ; Mr. Merton, Wm. Turner, W. J. Carleton, Wm. Van Abbott, Colonel Prince, Mr. Prior, Mr. Towers, Mr. Moore, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Fred. Falkner, Mr. Hamilton, Dr. Tre-, Henry Pilgrim, James Phipps, David Pim and James Bennetts, whose old house ” Trelawn ” stands broken and shorn of its former beauty below the Bruce Street Hill. The children of many of these are still in Sault Sainte Marie and in them as in their fathers does the church find her most loyal sons and daughters.
A list of the clergymen who have guided the affairs of the church may be of interest and will be as follows :
Wm. MacMurray 1832
F. A. O’Meara 1839
G. A. Anderson 1848
John Carry 1865
James Chance 1868
E. F. Wilson 1872
John W. Rolph 1873
Thomas Appleby 1876
H. Heaton. 18S2
George B. Cooke 1884
Frank Greene. 1885
W. Windsor 1889
Eustace Vesey 1890
Robert Renison 1894
Edward Capp 1899
In the diary of David Pim there is an entry for April 2nd, 1866, with reference to the census. It relates that there were then 304 souls in the school district, and of that number 79 were between the ages of 5 years and 16 years, or between the ages when children ought to be at school. However little provision was made for their education. One family afforded a governess while the children of the rest of the people wentas they took the notionto a little school kept by two maiden ladies, the Misses Hoige, till finally a public school was erected by public subscription, the site being near the north-east corner of Pim and Wellington streets.
Mr. William Turner, one of our respected citizens, was the first teacher here paid by the town, and he gathered out of the 79 eligible children about 5o scholars. Mr. Turner was succeded by Miss Jane Cameron, who afterwards was wedded to Judge McRae. On Sunday the school-house was used alternatively by Mr. Sallow, a Methodist gentleman, and Mr. Chance, the Anglicen missionary.
Apropos of the erection of the stone church of 1870 is a story of the late Colonel Fred Cumberland who represented Algoma after the Confederation of 1867 in both the Ontario and Dominion Houses.
Colonel Cumberland was in the Sault soliciting votes, and on the Sunday afternoon in question was engaged in a politico-friendly chat with a number of townsmen in Phipps’ store, where Messrs. Plummer & Co’s hardware store stands at present.
One of the company threatened to put into the field a candidate in opposition to the Colonel who had during the course of the afternoon been solicited for aid for the new church.
“I tell you,” he finally exclaimed, “what I’ll do. If you return me by acclamation I’ll present your church with a stained glass window and I’ll have the words Peace on earth, good will to men,’ burnt into the glass. ” And so it was agreed.
Colonel Cumberland was returned by acclamation and in due time the window arrived and was placed over the altar in the east end of the church where it may be seen and admired to-day standing as it does as a parable that politics should not affect the peace and good will which obtain in the present happy congregation.
And all in town helped in the good work with money and labour, and St. Luke’s pro-Cathedral stands not only as the witness of Truth in the town, but as the embodiment of the religious devotion of all the town’s people of 1870.
In 1873 the district was finally set apart as a missionary diocese, and the first Bishop in the person of Frederick Dawson Fauquier was consecrated for its direction.
He was born at Malta in 1817 and educated at Coburg College, being admitted to the diaconate in 1845 and elevated to the priesthood in the following year. He occupied successively two incumbencies before his consecration, those of S. Huntingford in 1851, and of Zorea, 1852-7. He was consecrated at Toronto, October 28th, and died at Toronto December 7th, 1881.
He was known throughout the district for his simple, manly ways. His house, like Jean Valjean’s Abbe, was ever ready to receive whoever came. Even to-day throughout the Sault one hears the name of good Bishop Fauquier, and his former friends show with profound affection mementoes of his visits to their homes.
During his episcopate the stately home of the Bishops of Algoma, on Simpson avenue, was built the foundations being laid two years after his consecration.
In 1874 the present Shingwauk Home was begun to take the place of a former institution which had been burned at Garden River. The event of the laying of the corner-stone was one of great moment, for Lord and Lady Dufferin passing on their way to the coast, stopped off to perform the ceremony. They were welcomed by a salute of 17 guns and the shouts of all the people and, as Lady Dufferin in her ” journal ” relates, proceeded under an arch to a small boat which conveyed them to the site of the building.
Here were gathered the Indians from the reservation as well as the towns-people and many from the American side of the river, and Lady Dufferin declared the stone ” well and truly laid.” The Home was opened on its completion by Bishops Hellmuth and Fauquier, the latter of of whom is buried with his wife in the quaint cemetery, a few hundred yards to the north.
The Home is the outcome of the efforts of the Reverend E. F. Wilson, who came to Canada from England to undertake farming. He settled near Sarnia, and there the idea of working among the Indians first seized him.
He studied for the ministry, and finally having been received and ordained, he came to Garden River where the first Indian home was erected. It was, however, burned, it is said by incendiaries, and Mr. Wilson, not to be discouraged, journeyed to the Sault to erect a second home.”
The Church Missionary Society which paid his stipend at this time, objected to his Indian work, and Mr. Wilson, after some correspondence, was forced to continue his work without their support. However, through the generosity of some English sympathizers, he was able to carry out his plans. One building after another grew up on the grounds of the new Home, until a little communityof picturesque stone houses was formed.
The buildings today are much enlarged for they contain not only the original Shingwauk Home (named after Chief Pine of Garden River), but the Wawanosh (or White Swan) Home for Girls, originally on the Great Northern Road, together with the Hospital servants’ houses,. principal’s house, gymnasium, and a beautiful chapel in memory of the first Bishop.
The Ojibway-English paper published at the Indian Homes in 1878 is here reproduced.
Until 1875 the Roman Catholic citizens had worshipped in a wooden church immediately in front of the present Sacred Heart Church and in the upper part of which lived Sargeant Hynes and his family. In early years (1841) an effort had been made to build a stone edifice, but discouragements were too great and the work stopped.
In the wooden building, however, the people met for devotions, until in the same year that saw the building of Bishophurst, there was begun the erection of their magnificent house of worship, whose solid splendid tower of mingled browns and greys must ever be an architectural delight to lovers of the stately and beautiful.
A copy of the local paper in the possession of the writer contains a notice of THE PEACE PIPE.
An Ojebway newspaper published monthly at the Shing-wauk Home.
VOL. I. OCTOBER 1ST. 1878. NO. 1
The Peace Pipe.
TT is purposed to issue this paper in eight page form.; same size as the A. M. News ; on the 1st. of October next, provided not less than 300 subscribers can be seemed by that time, the price being 85e per annum to in. dividuals, or if any band will agree to take 50 copies they may have them for 150. a copy ; the sum of $12.50 to be paid us in advance by the Indian Agent.
Seamen :Indian correspondence ; a story from history ; editorial ; European news ; American news ; Extracts from Indian Acts and Reports ; Advertisements of traders ; Sunday school questions; Bible translation; new hymns ; extracts from Indian grammar.
In 1870 the first Methodist tabernacle was erected and continued to be used until 1901, when it became a public. school and the congregation betook themselves to the new edifice on Spring street. The Baptist body came in in 1889 and erected their place of worship at the corner of March and Albert streets.
In 1897 the old parish church of St. Luke was remodelled and the present spacious temple became as the result. It was constituted a pro-cathedral (that is, a parish church which is used for a cathedral) by the present Lord Bishop, Dr. Thorneloe, who was appointed in 1896, on the resignation of Bishop’s Fauquier’s successor, Dr. Edward Sullivan, who, racked and worn by the hardship of his episcopal work retired from the diocese to fill a less trying post, the Rectorship of St. James, Toronto, where he shortly afterward passed away.
Dr. Sullivan was a prince among men who sacrificed himself for his work. His name was as well known in England and the United States as in Canada, and his death caused deep and widespread sorrow.
From the one little school-room the town has developed several schools. The first step from Pim and Wellington streets was the erection, for school purposes of the building since burned, where soon will stand the new post-office and customs house at the corner of Queen and East streets, then followed the erection of the pile until recently used as a municipal building and high school.
In 1889 the Central School was built and the Fort School on Huron street quickly followed.
At present, counting the separate schools and the main and branch public schools and high schools, there are ten buildings set apart for the purposes of secular education, with a staff of twenty-seven teachers.