Presbyterian Families of Perth & Area
During the summer of 1818, Rev. Bell travelled to Brockville, Prescott, Lachine and Montreal in his efforts to raise funds for the erection of a suitable Church. The local settlers had agreed to furnish the necessary labour but were unable to contribute any financial support. More than 150 pounds sterling was raised, and a church building was built the following spring. Alexander Fraser, John Watson and Peter McPherson were named as Trustees of the the First Presbyterian Church.
At a meeting of Trustees and Elders on June 23, 1819 it was revealed that 185 Pounds Sterling had been raised and 169 Pounds Sterling used in the construction of the Church. On July 4, 1819 the first Service of Worship was conducted in the new building, with a full congregation in attendance. Col. Cockburn was present and Rev. Bell obtained permission and a grant of 4 acres of land to establish the Old Burying Ground, on Craig Street.
On January 21, 1821 three additional Elders were ordained Peter Campbell, for the rear half of Drummond, Duncan McTavish, for the front half of Drummond and James Ward for the rear half of Bathurst. On March 21, 1821 James Bryce, who had previously been elected but had declined, was ordained an Elder.
On May 28,1826 William Elliot was ordained an Elder.
On June 4,1826 Benjamin Carr was ordained an Elder.
On June 11, Mr.& Mrs. John Brown of Burgess, Dr. McLean and his brother William of Elmsley, Mrs. Golightly of Burgess, Mrs. Graham of Perth, Mary Gray of Bathurst and J.M. Bell of Perth became members. A complete listing of original members has not been located.
On September 3, 1826 John Holliday was ordained an Elder.
On September 9, 1826 John McCulloch and John Rowatt of Burgess, Robert and Janet Miller, of Bathurst and Mrs. Armstrong, of Elmsley, became members. 140 communicant members shared the Lord’s Table on that occasion.
On December 10, 1826 Betsey Armstrong, Christian McNee, Agnes Hill and Betsey Little became members. Church membership was now 388, in total.
On Sunday 23rd of December 1827, Rev. William Bell advised the congregation that he would start a Bible Class and that Sunday School hymn books would be given those persons attending. At this point, John Holliday, one of the Elders and the first School Teacher in Burgess, stood up and said that he could find no place in Scripture to warrant using these hymns. He advised that he would bring the matter up at the next congregational meeting, as he felt these hymns were lofty flights of fancy not warranted by the Word of God.
On later occasions Rev. William Bell was accused of violating his ordinance vows by introducing hymns into the church and John Holliday prepared a petition to Presbytery on the subject. His petition was rejected by Presbytery when they, on examination of certain hymns pointed out by Holliday, were found not to be objectionable by the Ministers present.
By 1829 some of Rev. Bell’s church members had become unhappy with his strict interpretation and application of rules and when appeals for assistance in forming a new church was rebuffed, Roderick Matheson, Alexander McMillan and Dr. James Wilson posted a bond guaranteeing the salary of a Minister and requesting that Rev. Alexander Stewart in Scotland find them a Minister. He wrote to Rev. John Wilson, Moderator of the Presbytery of Lanark Scotland, advising that he was appointing his son, Thomas Clarke Wilson, to the Church in Perth.
In 1832, Lot 26 Concession 10 of Elmsley Township became the Glebe or Clergy Reserve for the minister of St. Andrew’s Church.
In 1832, Robert Davidson, who had been ordained an elder in Scotland, was elected and received as a member of Session.
In February 1833 Roderick Matheson wrote the Lt. Governor of Upper Canada for financial support to finish building St. Andrew’s Church in Perth. 200 pounds sterling were borrowed from William Miller of Lanark, for a period of three years. One half was used to pay off current debts and the remainder toward completing the building. One hundred pounds was received from the government to complete the building.
On March 3, 1833, Thomas Nicoll was ordained an Elder.
On March 10, 1833, Thomas Clark, Thomas Carr Jr., Samuel Carr and Eliza Ritchie became members.
On June 9, 1833, George McCulloch and John Collins became members.
On September 8, 1833 Mrs. John Bell, Mrs. Ellis, Thomas Wilson, James and George Cuthbertson, John Myers and Mrs. Peter Campbell (widow) became members.
On June 8, 1834 John and Beatrix Richmond were readmitted to membership.
On December 13, 1834 Mrs. Ferguson(widow), and John Malloch Esq. were received into membership.
In 1835 John Holliday and others left the congregation and started a new Church down beside the river near the current Perth library. About 1850 this movement disbanded and some of the members joined the Cameronian Church in Almonte. The Scotch Line members started meeting in their homes.
On March 8, 1835 George Cuthbertson was elected and ordained an Elder on the following Sabbath.
On September 14, 1835 Alexander and Janet McNee and Christina Menzies were admitted.
On October 20, 1835 at a meeting of the congregation, approval-in-principal was given for union with the Church of Scotland. John Bell, William Spalding and Patrick Campbell were named in the motions.
At the annual meeting of the congregation, on January 1, 1836, it was indicated that membership was now 182 persons.
On March 12, 1836, Mrs. Charles Millar of Perth, James Campbell of Bathurst, and Donald Malloch of Drummond were received into membership.
On June 11, 1836 Session met to examine the roll with the following names mentioned as leaving the congregation; Mary Carr, Rhoda Mowrey moved from area; Thomas & Jean Dobie, and Margaret Ferguson left the congregation. Other persons were discussed re lack of attendance; John Hay, Jacob & Grace Kirkman, James & Isabell McFarlane, Duncan & Catherine Robertson, and James Campbell.
On June 12, 1836 Mary Scott, Isabella Dodds, Jean McPherson, and John & Rachel (Riddell) Scott of Burgess, were received into membership.
In 1836, Benjamin Carr were removed, and Thomas Nicoll resigned from Session.
On December 10, 1836 Margaret McIntyre and John Moffat of Perth, Samuel and John Bell of Bathurst, and Mrs. Elisabeth Richmond of Drummond were received.
On March 11, 1837 William & Jean Fraser of Bathurst were received into the congregation.
On June 10, 1837 Catherine & Mary Cameron were admitted.
On September 9, 1837 Mrs. Jean Fidlar was received.
On December 10,1837 Mrs. Mary Gemmill was received.
On March 10, 1838 Sarah Ross (widow), Eliza Ferguson, Jane Ferguson were admitted.
On June 9, 1838 Mrs. George Wilson, Mrs. Thomas Gemmill, Mrs. D. Fraser, and Helen Glossop were admitted.
September 9, 1838 Robert Gray was admitted.
On November 25, 1838 John Ferguson, Daniel McDonell and Ralph Smith were ordained Elders.
On December 8, 1838 Mrs. Bagg was received.
On December 31, 1838 Elders were Peter McPherson, Robert Davidson, Peter Campbell, John Ferguson, Daniel McDonell and Ralph Smith. (George Cuthbertson, Elder died 1838.)
On March 9, 1839 Duncan Graham, Mrs. Isabella Haggart, Helen Scott and William Wilson were admitted.
On June 2, 1839 Mrs. William Watt (Jean McPherson) restored.
On June 8,1839 William Watt and Mrs. McDonell were admitted. William McLaren, Thomas Wilson, George & Agnes McCulloch, John & Christian Collins, James & Mary Bryce were suspended.
On September 7, 1839 Donald Fraser & Robert Miller were admitted.
On November 10, 1839 Mrs. Robert Barber and Mrs. Thomas Oliver suspended.
On December 7, 1839 Isabella Christie of Perth and Robert Shaw were admitted.
On March 7, 1840, Margaret McPherson, Sarah Fraser, Jean Barber, Mrs. Caroline McDoudgall were admitted. Mrs. Boyd, James Ferguson, Mrs. E. Campbell, Mr.& Mrs. Hugh McKay, Joseph McIntyre, Alex. and Margaret McDonald, Donald & Catherine McDonald were suspended.
On September 12, 1840 Henry & Mary Montgomery, Margaret McDonald, Charles Miller Sr., Mary Dodds, Mrs. Jane Cowie, and Peter McPherson were admitted.
On December 12, 1840 Alex. Fraser, Margaret McGregor, Margaret Murdoch, John Collins & (wife)Christian were admitted. Mrs. Ellis suspended.
On March 13, 1841 William Wallace Sr., William Wallace Jr., Margaret & Isabella Campbell were received.
On June 12, 1841 George Atkinson, Mary Ross, Helen McDonald, Dr. J.S. Nichol & wife were admitted.
On September 11, 1841 George Bell, James Delap, Mrs. H. McDonald were admitted.
On December 11, 1841 Mr. & Mrs. Henry Montgomery, and James Bell of Concession 6, Bathurst were suspended.
On March 12, 1842 Peter McDiarmid, John James & Catherine Menzies, Mary & Elizabeth McDonald were received.
On June 11, 1842 Mary Blackburn & Beatrix Richmond by certificate, Stephenson Blackburn & Elizabeth McDiarmid were received.
On September 10, 1842 Catherine McDonald(widow), Jean McCready (widow), Thomas Adams, Margaret & Janet Andison, Euphemia McLaren, John & Robert Scott were admitted.
On December 10, 1842 Euphemia McLaren was received.
On March 11, 1843 Mrs. Ann Cormack & Elizabeth Smith.
On September 9, 1843 John Scott, Mrs. Chas. Glenn, Mrs. Robert Moffat (C) were admitted.
In 1843 Alexander McGregor & John McLaren died.
On June 8th, 1844 Joseph & (wife) Margaret Jones were admitted. Peter McPherson died
March 9th.1844. (26 yrs.an elder), Robert Shaw and Mrs. Spalding also died same period.
On September 7, 1844 John & Jean Hart, John & Elizabeth Fyfe, John & Agnes Gibson,(C) were admitted.
During 1845 the Free Church movement in Scotland reached Perth and some of Rev. Bell’s congregation left to form Knox Church, Perth.
December 11, 1846 John Glass Malloch was appointed to prepare a list of persons eligible to become trustees for Queen’s College.
In 1837 William Morris M.P. was able to have one third of the designated Clergy Reserves made available for Presbyterian Churches. On March 8, 1851 Session petitioned the Queen and both Houses of Parliament, requesting that the present settlement of the Clergy Reserve Fund might not be disturbed.
My ancestors were William Watt and Jean McPherson who appear in the records. They had a blacksmith shop i Balderson and later moved to Renfrew. Jean’s father Peter is mentioned but not William’s father or siblings.