Photo and History contributed by Marilyn Smith Henderson
St.Thomas Church holds just one service a year these days. Since there is no heat nor electricity in the church, the service is held in the warm weather months. There is a small cemetery located here. Located at the end of Robinson Rd in the Robinson District along Rt. 745.
courtesy of Aileen McGaw of Oak Hill
The following article was written by Maxwell Vesey, a noted St.Stephen writer, to celebrate the Centennial Service of the Saint Thomas Anglican Church in the year of 1936. This copy was obtained by Graydon Mitchell, a former resident of Moores Mills, from the 1936 Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB. Permission rec'd from Saint Croix Courier to place on this site; Moores Mills St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Moore's Mills, New Brunswick.St. Stephen, NB By permission of the Saint Croix Courier Page Loaded Dec 16, 1999
A large congregation gathered at St .Thomas Anglican Church, Moore's Mills, Sunday afternoon for the centennial service in commemoration of the church's founding. The Festival of All Saints was chosen as the day for the service, Among the congregation were a large number of the descendants of those who had been the founders, inc1uding Milton and Holmes Maxwell, warden and vestry clerk respectively, who are great-grandsons of James Maxwell, one of the first wardens of St. Thomas. Chauncey R. Pollard of Moore's Mills is the other present day warden.
The rector, Rev. Victor M. Regan, was assisted by the Rural Dean, Rev. A. Brock Humphrys, St. Andrews; Rev. Edmund Hailstone, Christ Church, St, Stephen; Rev. James T. Ibbott, Trinity Church, St. Stephen and Rev. D. W. Blackwall, retired rector of the ecclesiastical Parish of St. David, St. Patrick and St. James, of which St. Thomas is a part. The impressive service included the dedication by Rev. Mr. Hailstone of an altar cross given by Miss M. Olivia Maxwell in memory of her sister. the late Mary Elizabeth Maxwell, and a brass collection plate, the gift of the newly formed Women's Auxiliary of St. Thomas. Rev. Mr. Ibbott was the preacher, delivering an eloquent address.
St. Thomas was founded by Loyalist, and has been carried on largely by their descendants. Prior to the erection in 1836, and for some years after, it was part of an extensive mission of the rector of Christ Church, St. Stephen, Rev. Skiffington Thomson, D. D., who took charge in 1824. It is probable that services were held in centrally located houses between the date of Dr. Thomson's arrival in1824 and the erection of St. Thomas in 1836.
The land on which the church is located was purchased from Captain Thomas Mitchell. who was the first school teacher in St. Stephen. He was one of the party of Loyalists who came with Captain Nehemiah Marks in 1784 and founded St. Stephen. This first group received a garden lot each on King Street, St. Stephen, and a hundred acre farm each on both sides of the road that is the extension of King Street northward over Old Ridge. As their families increased and grew up more lands were required.
In 1799 a petition was presented to the Governor and Council of New Brunswick asking that 5,100 acres be granted to the following Captain Thomas Mitchell, Thomas Grimmer, Michael Simpson, James Maxwell, John Hastie, John Murchie, Andrew Murchie, James Lane, George Lane John Ryan, John Corvin, Alexander Row, Hugh Chisholm, William Maybe William Buchanan, William Fraser, Jr., and Jacob Maybe. With the exception of Buchanan and Row all the names appear on the origninal grant of St. Stephen. Captain Mitchell's descendants are Warren and Watson Dow, St. Stephen.
This grant extended above their farms of the original grant on Old Ridge further out into the forest. They cleared the land and settled their sons and sons-in-law upon it. It would not be long before church services would be required, and as the distance to St. Stephen was seven miles the rector of Christ Church Rev. Dr. Thomson, was accustomed to ride on horseback over the rude road which extended past Old Ridge to the new settlement.
It was not until 1812 that St. Stephen civil parish was divided and St. James taken from it. At this date the settlement of Oak Hill was made to the north and a road cut through connecting it with Old Ridge. On this road the site was selected for St. Thomas Church, an acre of land just about the turn off a track that led down to the hamlet of Moore's Mills in the valley below.
The decision by the settlers to build a church being made, organization was begun. On April 4th, 1836, the first vestry meeting was held. The first wardens were Captain Thomas Mitchell and James Maxwell. The vestry consisted of Maxwell's four sons, Daniel, John, Joseph and William, and his son-in-law, John Grimmer, vestry clerk; and Joseph Connick, James Buchanan, Joseph Clendennin, James Toal, Josephus Moore, John S. Phillips and Thomas Fraser. Vestry Clerk John Grimmer was the grandfather of Mr. Justice W. C. H. Grimmer.
The church was in process of construction during that year, and at the Easter meeting, April 3, 1837, a deed of an acre of land was given by Thomas Mitchell, "to the rector, wardens and vestry of St. Thomas, for the consideration of three pounds lawful money." There is no record of the consecration of the building, for all such documents were burned in a later fire which destroyed the original building. It is probable, however, that it was consecrated by either Dr. Thomson or Rev. Jerome Alley, then rector of All Saints, St. Andrews, as there was no Bishop nearer than Bishop John Inglis at Halifax, New Brunswick not having been formed into a separate bishopric. Glebe lands were assigned to St. Thomas. In the Statutes of New Brunswick, March 20th, 1840, the Legislature "authorizes the rector, wardens and vestry of St. Thomas to sell certain of the Glebe lands."
The first resident rector was Rev. John S. Thomson, who came in 1850 and remained for twenty years. There was a vacancy for a year and then David Nickerson came and was with them until 1874. It was during his time that the rector of the parish was built at Oak Bay. The original St. Thomas Church was burned in 1873 while undergoing repairs. This was a heavy loss to the congregation, especially as they were without a rector of a time. Rev. Foster Almon, rector of the newly organized Trinty Church in St. Stephen, aided them with services, and by helping to get another church begun. Rev. Hastings Wainwright seems to have been rector of St. Thomas for a short time leaving in 1876
Then cam an interval of three years when they were without a rector, but during that time they completed their church and got it consecrated in 1878. Rev. J. W. Millidge was sent by Bishop Medley about this time and remained the beloved rector for nearly thirty years. His successor was Rev. David Blackall, who arrived in 1908, retiring after long and arduous services to his people in 1935, and was followed in June of that year by the present incumbent, Rev. Victor M. Regan.
St. Thomas is one of the seven churches in the ecclesiastical parish of St. David, St. Patrick and St. James. It is a widely spread one, extending as it does through the three civil parishes of the same name, from the charming little woodland Church of the Heavenly Rest on the Saint John highway near the Didgeguash River, to the outskirts of St. Stephen and the county north and west of it, including Christ Church, Elmsville, Tower Hill and St. Thomas.
The rectory is centrally located at Oak Bay where the original church of this parish was established well over a 100 years ago. The church was burned and not rebuiIt on the site. Instead it was erected on the Bay Road and last year it had its centennial. Christ Church, Elmsville, is also close to the century mark. An early church, St. David, stood on Church Hill on the ridge above Oak Bay. This was burned and all that remains is a little graveyard buried in the woods. This was not rebuilt. Tower Hill Church was built much later, as was the Church of Heavenly Rest, which was the gift of a lady, a summer resident of Bobabec at one time.
The Right Rev. George C. Lemmon, retired Bishop of Fredericton, preached at St.Thomas' Anglican Church, Moores Mills. His sermon was part of the bicentennial celebrations of the Anglican Parish of St.Stephen, of which this church forms a part.
The Anglicans in St.Stephen formed their church by electing a vestry and wardens on Easter Monday, April 19, 1802.
Reprinted with Permission from the Saint Croix Courier- August 2002.
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