Interesting Heritage

THE FOUNDERS of St. John's Episcopal Church were identified as Protestant Irishmen. They were among over a million persons who left Ireland because of the potato famine in the 1840's. Genealogy of these Johnstons, Doonans, Armstrongs, etc., shows they are in reality Scottish and English from settlers in Northern Ireland after the rebellion of 1607.

THE RECORDS of religious meetings prior to the formation of the parish in 1873 were destroyed in a home fire. The first known clergyman was the Rev. Jacob S. Chamberlain, who came in 1867 when Mrs. Joseph Johnston, Jr., was dying.

THE FIRST CHURCH was built on land deeded to the trustees June 1, 1869, by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Foster.  The church was built that year and the rectory when the Rev. William Thomas Currie was in charge.

SIGNERS OF PETITION and resolution to organize were James Connelly; Thomas, William and James Doonan; William Holden; James Y., Thomas L.,James F., John H., William L., and William H. Johnston; James Blakeley, John L, Mayne, L. D. Willard, Robert Hicks, E. L. Vance, John and James Gauley, William Braden, William Clarke, Augustus Kendall, Thomas and John Holdsworth, Frederick Keim and Stephen Wharton.

THE FIRST BAPTISM recorded was the Fourth Sunday in Lent 89 years ago when Ellen Maria, daughter of Robert W. and Rachel Johnston, was christened at her parents' home in Bowling Township.  The first wedding was that of Ann Carr and John Doonan, both of Preemption, on February 13, 1873.

IN THE EARLY DAYS a few baptisms were held at the Edwards River south of the church.  The marble baptism font was given in memory of Rachel Ferns.

THE VESTED CHOIR of twenty-two was instituted on Thanksgiving Day 1917.

THE CHURCH BUILDING was moved in June, 1919, and the new building commenced in July.  The parish suffered with only occasional services through the Second World War.  In 1951 the Rev. Edwin M. Fisher assumed duties and the old rectory and guild hall were sold and a new rectory purchased. The next priest in 1954 resided in Geneseo so the rectory was sold.

THE ORANGEMAN'S HALL was purchased and moved to the church property and dedicated April 13, 1958. In 1959 the tower on the church was modified from a flat to hip roof.  The interior of the church was painted recently and exterior painting is set for this year.