Return to Ruby Cusack dot com Home Page

Rich details of congregations in church records

The Church of St. John & St. Stephen,
Saint John, N.B. 1836-2008

Sunday should have been a day of rest but it wasn't for Mum. The minister, his wife, Gramp and Gram were coming for supper.

The good china, best silverware and linen napkins were on the table. Biscuits, potato scallop and corn scallop had been prepared. The whipped cream for the molasses cake was in the icebox.

Once the meal was finished, the conversation rolled around to church and changes that had taken place.

I was surprised to hear about the history of our Kirk, the church we attended. Many years ago, the congregation - for some reason I did not understand - decided to leave the location, where they either started to build a church or had one there and moved about a mile up the road. One lone tombstone in the Morrison field is all that is left as a reminder.

Even more surprising was the discussion on the union in 1925 and the dissension it created. Gramp and the preacher talked of communion tokens that were used in some churches.

Discussions continued as to how the Methodist Church building was now a blacksmith's shop and how halls were used by the Temperance Society - all this was certainly  very interesting to hear

Not everyone has a grandparent to tell about the church history - thus publications are a great source of information. They provide an understanding of the religious beliefs of our ancestors.

I learned a great deal from Laurie Hossack's Gloria - The Church of St. John & St. Stephen, Saint John, N.B. 1836-2008, a compilation of historical documents, news articles and stories collected over the past 171 years since the founding of St. Stephen Church Hall in 1836. Fortunately, church year books had been published from 1875 until 1935. Writings by several people had also been preserved in the church vault.

The first St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, located on North Market, was previously known as the Methodist Asylum Chapel. Erected in 1824 of yellow brick, it had 16 double pews and 40 single pews on the lower flat.

"The Presbyterians brought with them to Canada everything associated with the term Calvinism, its good and not-so-good, its strengths and its weaknesses. It objected to the operation of anything on Sunday and any recreation fraught with manifold temptation. It brought also the diligence, thrift and stewardship that contributed so much to the making of Canada. In 1852 the first organ was in use in a church service."

The formation of the Boys Brigade at St. John's Church in 1889 was the first Boys Brigade formed in North America. The Boys Brigade still exists in many countries of the world. In Canada though, the movement has been largely replaced by the Boys Scouts.

The year 1889 was a sad time period for Rev. Donald Macrae and his children. A box of poisoned candies was sent to his residence as well as to the homes of four other ministers in Saint John. Although a doctor was summoned, Mrs. Macrae died a few minutes after his arrival. She was the daughter of Kenneth McLea of St. John's, NL.

In 1908, there were six Presbyterian churches located in Saint John within a mile or so of each other.

The author gives us a look into the personalities of the ministers and the problems they experienced as leaders. He chronicles the establishment of the churches up to and including 2008. For example St. Stephen Church on City Road opened in 1868 with 187 gas jets for lighting. It was also heated by three furnaces.

The laying of the cornerstone for the new St. John & St. Stephen Church located at 101 Coburg St., Saint John, took place on Oct. 27, 1963. Memorial windows were moved from the St. Stephen Church on City Road and installed in the new church.

In this publication, you will find several photos, the church register of 1913, information on many church organizations, lists of elders, memorials, bequests and details, not only of church buildings but of Presbyterianism and the contributions of the members of the congregation.

Gloria - The Church of St. John & St. Stephen, Saint John, N.B. 1836-2008 by Laurie Hossack is available at several research institutions. A limited number of copies are available for purchase by emailing

Changes continue to take place. Today the Church of St. John & St. Stephen is known as the Grace Presbyterian Church.

Since histories of many churches throughout New Brunswick have been compiled, I suggest you look for one on your ancestor's place of worship as it may provide an insight into the part they played in the church they attended.

Pictures, taken in 1963, show people leaving the former Church of St. John & St. Stephen on City Road in Saint John, New Brunswick and beginning the march up Garden Street to its new home on Coburg Street.


Query 1744: Schools in Albert County and Westmorland County. I am seeking information for a book I am preparing on early schools in Albert County and Westmorland County. Beverly Harrison,

Query 1745: Rafford: Lewis Rafford, born Ireland 1756, died Nashwaak, N.B., in 1840, married Mary (possibly), father of three children born in New Brunswick; Corporal in 1785 in Corps of Pennsylvania Loyalists; made four petitions for land (all in New Brunswick), but I can find no evidence of a grant. Can anyone help me with my Lewis Rafford brick wall?
Sara Hayden, Calif.,

Query 1746: Dibblee-Secord: Archibald Dibblee, born between 1835-1841. Married to Eliza. Lived in Saint John. Who were his parents and siblings? Is he a descendant of Ebenezer Dibblee and Margaret 'Elizabeth' Secord?
Email Zuhra Abawi

Query 1747: McInelly-Carroll: John McInelly was supposedly born in Ireland and lived in New Brunswick 1749-1780. His family married into the Charles Carroll family and the Grant family. The Carroll line came from Armagh, Ireland, but I do not know about McInelly family.

Query 1748: Mabee-Grant: Alfred Grovenor Mabee was possibly born in 1846 in New Brunswick. His wife was Elizabeth Lynham Grant. Their first child was born in Australia in 1872. Who were his parents and siblings? Did he come alone to Australia and leave family behind?
Carolyn Tueno, Australia,

Query 1749: Dale: Sapper Jeremiah Dale, served in the First World War and Second World War. According to his attestation papers of 1914, he was living in Harcourt, N.B. Born April 1888, the son of Andrew Dale. Can anyone provide information as to where he lived after the war and the location of his burial place?
Evelyn Cathalin, Ireland,

Query 1750: DeWolfe-Edgett-Tyners-Carter-Casey: Hazel Esther DeWolfe, born in 1900 in Saint John to Robert DeWolfe and Linda Edgett. Ancestors may have come from Bantry Bay, Ireland, and possibly related to Tyners. Thomas R. Carter was born in Charlotte County to Thomas Carter and Susan Casey. Seeking information on place of origin of their ancestors.

Query 1751: Harris-Sutherland: James Harris, born circa 1800, in possibly England, came to New Brunswick circa 1835. Married Margaret Sutherland in 1842 and they probably had 14 children. Seeking information on parents and ancestry of James Harris.
Sandra Jean Harris,

Query 1752: Sederquest-Cahill: Lizzie Cahill married Ernest Sederquest June 7, 1910 in Ft. Fairfield, Maine. Ernest died June 4, 1915 shortly after the death of his daughter. At the time of the death of Ernest, his wife was expecting a child. Who were the parents and siblings of Ernest Sederquest? Also interested in locating information on the descendants of his siblings.
Barbara Dutton, Alabama, U.S.,

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query as the subject. For more information on submitting queries, visit

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

Back to Home of  rubycusack dot com