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Church histories a treasure trove

When we arrived home from school, Mum announced that the parcel from Eaton's had arrived.

My one fear was that maybe they had made a substitution since I was counting on wearing on Easter Sunday the black patent leather shoes with the bows, new ankle socks and the most beautiful dress I had ever seen, which had a pattern of apple blossoms and tied in the back. To top it off Mum had let me choose a hat.

I begged to go to Gram's to show off my new clothes. Finally Mum gave in, with a warning to keep my outfit clean.

On the way, we spotted a mother fox and little ones by the apple tree in the hollow. To get a closer look, I jumped the ditch but misjudged the distance and landed in water and mud up to my ankles but this wasn't going to stop us. Cliff and I crawled through the barbed wire fence. Once again trouble hit, I got caught up and ripped my dress and my beautiful hat landed in a fresh cow paddy.

With tears streaming down my face, I walked into Gram's kitchen. I was sobbing too hard to speak so Cliff told them what had happened. Aunt Sadie went into action. First came the washing of the ankle socks and the scrubbing of my shoes inside and out. Gram began stitching the torn dress before it was washed and starched but the hat smelled so badly, it had to be put in the woodshed.

When Mum and Dad arrived, I was wearing an old shirt of Gramp's. To my surprise, no lecture was given. Mum just held me close and told of racing down the hill by her home and falling and ruining her new dress on Easter Sunday. Gramp reminisced about being dressed in a new suit and how the muffler fell off when on his way to church.

The conversation led into the different churches. Their memories of the churches they attended or visited, the ministers who came and went, the organists, the interior of the buildings and the people of the congregations were as clear as a bell to them.

Today, many of the churches of yesteryear no longer exist. In some cases all that is left is a photo.

As we research our family, we often wonder about the church our relatives attended and the folk who sat in the pews beside them.

Thanks to those who have compiled church histories, we can walk down the aisle and catch a glimpse of the many churches throughout New Brunswick.

If you visit the website of the New Brunswick Libraries and search by the subject - Church history New Brunswick - you may be amazed at the number available. If the book is not in your local library, look into getting a chance to view a copy through inter-library loan.

Here are some of the books available:

* Pax Vobis - A History of the Diocese of Saint John, its Bishops and Parishes by Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan provides the family researcher with many interesting facts concerning the spiritual life of their Catholic ancestors and the individuals who nurtured their faith. The book is filled with many photos in both black and white and colour of the churches in the Saint John Diocese with historical details of their establishment.

* The 1913 History of Saint Andrew's Church, Saint John, New Brunswick by David Russell Jack reveals much church history. Not only is this book filled with information, photos of ministers and parishioners but it has biographical sketches of a few of those who were prominent at various dates in the work of the church.

* Rev. G. Herbert Lee's 1880 publication An Historical Sketch of the First Fifty Years of the Church of England in New Brunswick can now be read online at

* A History of Trinity Church, Sussex, N. B. and its Rectors 1792-1974 was prepared in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the present Trinity Church in Sussex on Feb. 24, 1874.

* The 125th Anniversary - Trinity Church, Kingston 1789-1914 by Rev. Gordon C. Lawrence gives us a look into a time period long forgotten

A History of the Anglican Church in the Parish of Springfield and a General History of the Surrounding Area by Ernest G. C. Graham provides a wealth of information on the churches, community and settlers in this 1983 publication of 225 pages.

* St. Paul's Anglican Parish, Hampton, N.B., 1810-1996, A History provides details on the 23 rectors who served the parish as well as the involvement and activities of many of the parishioners in their association with the church.

* The Central United Baptist Church at Saint John, N.B. 1850-1950 is a brief centennial history of the Brussell Street United Baptist and Leinster Street United Baptist Churches from the date of their formation to the occasion of their union in 1916 and that of their successor, Central Baptist Church.

* In 1925, Rev. A. L. Fleming, the rector at that time, compiled a most valuable historic sketch of St. John's Church, Parish of St. Mark, Saint John, in a 416-page book, titled A Book Of Remembrance or The History of St. John's Church, Saint John.

* On Earth as it is in Heaven - Gothic Revival Churches of Victorian New Brunswick by Gregg Finley and Lynn Wigginton, published in 1995, explores the legacy of New Brunswick's churches and examines the architecture and furnishings of the 19th century houses of God. In so doing, the publication provides a great deal of information on the history of churches in New Brunswick. Included are more than 100 original paintings and drawings

* To commemorate the 50th anniversary in 1889 of St. Luke's Church, a 200-page book titled A Review of the First Half Century History of St Luke's Church, Portland, edited by Rev. L. G. Stevens with information on the rectors, curates and members of the congregation, was published.

* History of Trinity Church, Saint John, N.B. 1791-1891, compiled and edited by Rev. Canon Brigstocke, D.D., rector in 1892, is not only a 202-page history of a church but gives a glimpse of the people who attended and supported it.

* Greenock Church - Saint Andrews, N.B.: From 1821 to 1906 by Melville N. Cockburn is very interesting.

* Fifty Years in the Fredericton Methodist Church and an Account in Detail of Semi-Centennial Jubilee Exercises in December 1902 provide lots of details on Methodist history, the building of the church, folk who attended, fund raisers, jubilee services in 1902 and much more.

* The History Of Germain Street Baptist Church - St. John, N.B. for its first 100 years, 1810-1910, published in Saint John in 1910, includes lots of information.

* David's Kingdom by W. A. Spray - a history of the Anglican church in the parish of Chatham (Miramichi) and published in 1979 - is also of biographical and genealogical interest. It contains black and white illustrations, notes and an index.

* Milestones in Methodism - A History of Centenary-Queen Square United Church of Canada, Saint John 1791-1966 gives a look at two churches.

Although we may have strayed from the church and religious belief of those who walked before us, or the church building may be long gone, reading the church history seems to bring us closer to our ancestors and may give us a better understanding of some of the decisions, they made.

Ruby is downsizing her library collection and has several Church Histories for sale - listed at  If you can't find what you want send her a message as many of her books are still on the shelves and have not been listed.


Query 1789: Barlow-Jenkins: In 1783, Ezekiel, Jesse and Grace Barlow arrived in Saint John. A year later, Joseph and Thomas Barlow arrived. I am looking for their parents and where they came from. Also searching for the ancestry of Griffith Jenkins Sr. Contact: Kay Dyer, 6525 Lochside Drive, Saanichton, BC, Canada V8M 1Y2 email

Query 1790: Moore-Cunningham-Robinson-Rolston-Kingston-Elliott-Armstrong-McClelland-Rowan: I am looking for any information on John Moore (d. 1878) married to Margaret Cunningham (d. 1868). John Robinson (d. 1909) married to Mary Rolston/Ralston (d. 1859). John K. Moore (b. 1837) married to Mary Jane Robinson (d. 1875), second wife was Ida. Jane Kingston (d. 1884). Samuel and Mary Cunningham. Richard Elliot married Armstrong (who d. 1883 in childbirth) and a McClelland and Rowan marriage. It appears that most of them settled in Saint John or Kingston. The Moores may have been in the Shanklin area? Leslie Moore Connors email

Query 1791: Brentnall-Hamm-Perry-Burgess: John M. L. Brentnall and Sarah Wilson Brentnall, a widow, were married in 1841 in Springfield, Kings County, New Brunswick. One child, John James, ended up in Chelsea, Suffolk, Mass. He married Elmira Elizabeth Hamm (1871) and Helena Gertrude Perry(1900) and had a total of five children. Another child, Sarah E. F. Brentnall, married Wakefield Burgess in 1888 in Chelsea, Suffolk, Mass. They had one son, George G. Burgess, in 1893. In 1900 they were in Everett, Mass. John M L Brentnall came to New Brunswick, Canada in 1841 but I've never been able to find out from where in England. Contact: email

Query 1792: Wood-Mason: I am looking for the obituaries of Edward John Wood, born 1902-1979, and his wife Victoria M. Gailey-Wood, with maiden nameMason, who died in 1971. They lived at the Head of Millstream and are buried in the Gailey Cemetery, near Carsonville. Contact: Christina Morey email

Query 1793: Kirk: Trying to find information on the John Kirk family who came from Ireland in 1837 and settled in Westfield Parish. Two children, Martha and Alexander, were born in New Brunswick in 1839 and 1844 respectively. Can anyone supply me with information on any Kirks who are buried in the Westfield United Church Cemetery? Contact: James Eric Kirk email

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

Ruby contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on the third Saturday of the month.

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books
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