The Islands: Wolfe Island: Churches: St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence Church

click on photo for larger version
St. Lawrence Methodist Church
Submitted by Thelma Moye

St. Lawrence Church was built in 1874 as a Methodist Church.
Also called the Foot church as it was the methodist church located at the foot of the island.

Please email me if you have further information on this church, its priests, cemetery, records, or any photos related to it!

1839 Religious denominations:
(From County of 1000 Lakes)

Ch of England- 16 families
Ch of Scotland-6 families
Ch of Rome-44 families
Episcopal-15 families
Presbyterian-2 famlies
Universalists-17 families
Apostolic-1 family
Deists-5 families
Nothing-30 families

1842 Religion denominations:
(From County of 1000 Lakes)

Ch of England-239 people
Ch of Scotland-173 people
Church of Rome-406 people
British Wesleyan Meth-48 people
Can Wesleyan Meth-15 people
Episcopal Wesleyan Meth-90 people
Other Methodists-22 people
Baptists-2 people
Lutherans-7 people
Quakers-7 people
Dutch Reform Ch-8 people
Other-57 people

click on photo for larger version
St. Lawrence Methodist Church & barn
On the back is written St. Lawrence United Church of Canada, on Wolfe Island located corner lot of Woodman Farm formerly Bamford Farms. In those days Churches had long barns near them so that horses could be tide up and kept from the cold in winter.
Photo submitted by Brian Woodman

The St. Lawrence Church was built in 1874 as a Methodist church, at the foot of the Island on property owned by the Bamford family. No record of any deed to cover transaction of land from Bamford family to church has been found.

Situated on the south shore on lot 9, con 18, its tall steeple
was used as a landmark by ships passing up the river.

St. Lawrence was opened with a dedication service on March 15 1874. Isaac B. Aylsworth was the presiding elder and the preacher came from St. Lawrence, New York State. In the early years the church was served by a preacher from St. Lawrence, New York State.

The Church was built of wood frame.

click on photo for larger version
St. Lawrence Methodist Church-Inside!
Thanksgiving day photo taken inside St. Lawrence United Church.
few photo's can be found of inside the Churchs in those days.
Photo submitted by Brian Woodman

From 1878 map:
M. E. Ch W 1/3 lot 9 con 18 South of baseline land owned by Wells Bamford.

Later in 1915 the church was revamped with new coloured glass
windows, new pews, carpets etc.

St. Lawrence remained a Methodist church until time of church union in 1924.

Lightening struck the steeple on July 30 1957 and the church burnt to the ground.
The only door to the church was directly below the steeple.
It was not possible for anyone to get inside the church.
Consequently all was lost in the fire.
It was never rebuilt.

No parish records have been found for the church,
but people are still looking!

Because of the loss of the steeple as a navigational
landmark a lighthouse was built at the extreme foot of the island.

NEW! Letter by church minister about the church, 1940!
Church letter 1940

Submitted by AM Benson
Transcribed by Dean Snider
Kingston Whig Standard
June 7, 1935 page 10
History Given of The United Church of Wolfe Island
93rd Anniversary of Methodists and 80th of Presbyterian

On June 9th and 10th the United Church, Wolfe Island commemorates the 93rd anniversary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Wolfe Island, and also the 80th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in that locality. While both congregations are known to have existed before that time, yet these are the dates of organization as found in the church records. It was on June 11th, 1842, that the Methodist Church formed itself into an organized congregation. Rev. Thaddaeus Lewis being the first ordained minister. A reference to Alexander Forester, as local preacher intimates that he held services prior to 1842.
It was not until 1855 on June 26th that the Presbyterians met together to deliberate the best schemes for erecting a church. This meeting was presided over by Col. Angus Cameron of Garden Island, who also donated the first Bible used and which still is in the possession of the church. The fact of the nearness of Wolf Island to Queen’s Theological College would suggest that divine services were being held by the Presbyterian Church on Wolfe Island prior to that date. Of the two denominations the Presbyterians were the first to build a church, although in the Methodist records reference is made to the Mount Zion Chapel property, at the north ferry. As this church is not further referred to and owing to the continued use of the school houses for church services, it is thought no such church was built. In 1855 while the Presbyterians were arranging to build their church, an offer was made by the Baroness de Longueuil, who offered the exclusive use of her church in the afternoon of every Sabbath for eight years free of charge, providing the new Presbyterian Church was built on the same side of the island as hers. This endeavor to unite the Presbyterian and the Anglican Churches, so the recorder states, was acted upon with great earnestness at first but, trouble arising, the union was soon dissolved.
Presbyterians Build
The Presbyterians then began to erect their own structure on Thomas Terrent’s corner, the seventh concession base-line. Thus on April 17th, 1858, in St Andrews Church as the new building was called, the Presbyterians of Wolfe Island were organized into a congregation and delegates duly appointed to present their petition to Presbytery. While from 1843 onward reference is made to ordained ministers in the Methodist congregation, it was not until 1850 that the first Presbyterian minister, Rev. Donald Ross, was stationed on the island. Previous to that time various professors of Queen’s had conducted baptisms and students held services, the first of whom mentioned being William Darrach in 1858 and Hugh Cameron in 1859. In the year 1860 a call was extended to George Porteous, a graduating student in divinity at Queen’s. His stay among the people of the island was over a very long period of years.
In 1879 St Andrew’s Church was moved to the village of Marysville, where it now stands, and is used for Sunday school and young people’s gatherings. At the time of writing the sons of the former builders are replacing the shingles with a metal roofing.
Methodist Church
Turning once again to record the progress of the Methodist Church, its first building was erected in 1862. This was built at Big Bay. Thirteen years later at the foot of the Island the present church was built. In 18?? the village church, which has been used by the united congregation since their union, one year previous to the general union in 1925, was erected.
To mention a few names of those far-seeing people can only be done with apologies for omitting others who did much to build up the Christian community in Wolfe Island. Of these the name of George Keyes, who served the Methodist Church as recording steward from 1862 over a long period of years, and who aided in building all three churches in the Methodist congregation: of Woodmans, McCreadys, Grants, Rattrays, Joslins, Nyles, Armstrongs, Davis, MacDonalds, Hinckleys, and a host of others of equal importance, some of whose descendants are still living on the island; others have moved away.
It is needless to refer to the splendid devotion of these people to the United Church into which union they entered voluntarily in 1924. Preparations are being made to have this anniversary long remembered by the people, especially as celebrations for the first decade of church union are being held all over Canada, and in particular as the congregation is entering into its second year as a self-sustaining charge. The present minister is Rev. A.W. March, BA, BD.

A small cemetery is all the is left to mark the existence of this church. The cemetery itself is older than the church. No burial records have been found for the cemetery. Many are buried with no markers. Some are the pioneer settlers and a few are United Empire Loyalists. Earliest recorded stone is Jonthan Joslin died Sept 23 1846.


Please email with any information on priests who served at St.Lawrence.

Church Links

Cemetery Online-online St. Lawrence tombstone transcriptions, and tombstones photos.


-County of 1000 Lakes, Chapter 14: Island Communities.
-St. Lawrence Cemetery Transcriptons by Fern Small
and Ken Collins 1972
-1878 tenants map, Wolfe Island

The Islands: Wolfe Island: Churches: St. Lawrence

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