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Bishop Black and His Preachers 
E. Arthur Betts

When Cliff and I were leaving for school, Mum told us the minister and his wife were coming to supper. As usual, we received a lecture to be on our best behaviour, to use proper manners which she stressed meant no reaching across the table, and most important of all to remain seated until everyone finished eating.

This fellow, who was dressed completely in black except for his white collar, really seemed to enjoy Mum’s cooking. He took a second piece of the Washington Pie that was smothered in whipped cream and remarked,  “This reminds me of the desserts my mother served when I was a boy in England.”

After he left, I asked Mum, “Are all preachers made in England?”

Before she had a chance to reply, Ken said, “Ministers don’t get made, they just decide to work for the church.”

In “Bishop Black and His Preachers”, E. Arthur Betts devotes thirty-eight pages to biographical notes on the Methodist ministers received into the Maritime Districts from 1786 to 1873.

Thomas Allen was born in 1841 In Leicestershire, England. In 1869, he came to Nova Scotia. After his retirement in1905, he lived in Petitcodiac and Moncton until his death in 1936. The Maritime Conference Archives has some of his papers.

Adam C. Avard was from Guernsey, Channel Islands, where his father was a local preacher. He died in Fredericton in 1821 and was buried beneath the pulpit of the chapel.

George M. Barratt of Shropshire, England came to New Brunswick in 1838. He died in West Saint John in 1878.

John Ellis was born in Donegal County, Ireland circa 1846. He migrated to Saint John and was converted there. He died at St. Martins in 1877.

George S. Milligan was born in Thornhill, Scotland about 1829 and was ordained in 1858.

Edwin C. Turner was born at Baie Verte in 1850. After retirement, he lived in Debec, where he died in 1921.

John Prince was born in Moncton in 1820, and converted in Pointe de Bute while teaching school. He soon proved useful in the congregation.

Humphrey Pickard was born in Fredericton in 1813. In 1842, he was chosen as the first Principal of the Academy at Sackville.

George B. Payson was born in Fredericton in 1825. He excelled in visiting.

Frederick W. Harrison who was born in Woodstock in 1834 was much beloved by his people.

Bishop William Black was born in Huddersfield, England in 1760. He emigrated at the age of 15 and lived near Amherst. His first mission was to Petitcodiac. He retired in 1812 and died in 1834.
A plaque to his memory is on the Point de Bute Cemetery archway: “To the glory of God and in memory of Reverend William Black the first Methodist preacher in Canada who began his ministry in this community in 1781."

Bishop Black and His Preachers” by E. Arthur Betts is available at several libraries.

The Archives of the Maritime Conference is located in the Maritime Conference building in Sackville, New Brunswick - adjacent to Mount Allison University - and holds records of Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational Churches within the region of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Gaspé peninsula of Quebec, and the island of Bermuda, prior to 1925, and of The United Church of Canada after 1925.

Holdings include those records created by local congregations such as registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials; historic membership rolls and communion rolls; general membership lists; minutes of church boards, committees, and organizations (including women's groups); printed annual reports of local congregations; congregational newsletters; local church histories; correspondence; photographs and slides; audio-visual materials; and ephemera.

Approximately 280 Pastoral Charges in the Maritime Conference (including closed congregations) have deposited some original records in the Archives. Of this number approximately twenty-eight percent have included registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials. Those registers that pre-date 1850 are few in number. Visit their website at

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Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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