HISTORY OF ST. MARK'S ANGLICAN CHURCH
(at Mt. Whatley , 1755-1981)
Background: The following is a brief history of the St. Mark's Anglican
Church, Mt. Whatley. It was included with the order of service held Sunday,
June 27, 1982 in celebration of "100th Anniversary of Rebuilding St. Marks's
Church". I have a copy of the original order of service document.
I feel it will be of interest to many on the list. If you have questions about
the Church they should be directed to the list as I know very little about the
church other than what is contained in this article. ~ Margaret Morehead
Posted to this site with Margaret's permission by Diane Shaw.
HISTORY OF ST. MARK'S ANGLICAN CHURCH
Approximately one mile from St. Mark's Church, Mount Whatley, N. B.,
one can find the historic site of Fort Beausejour. It was here in 1755, the
Rev. Thomas Wood formally and officially conducted a Church of England
service. The soldiers of the garrison and a handful of British settlers
comprised that first Protestant congregation on August 31, 1755.
In 1768, Rev. John Eagleson was appointed missionary in charge of the
mission at Cumberland Co. which at that time included the counties of
Westmorland and Albert. Mr. Eagleson resided in a large stone house on
the glebe, which was surrounded by its garden and orchard. The house was
situated about one mile from Fort Beausejour.
Rev. Eagleson held services in his home and in a school room at Fort
Lawrence for many years. It was in the mess-room of the Fort at
Westmorland Point that the largest congregation assembled, this part
being in the early days the most important centre of population.
Although the mission was established in 1768, the Parish Church of St.
Mark was not built until 1794. It was completed in 1796. The dimensions
were 46 feet long, 34 feet wide with 19 foot posts and the cost was 310
pounds. The church wardens in 1796 were Ralph Siddall and Samuel Gay.
James Law Samuel McCardy Hugh McMonagle
William Allen Thomas King Trueman Law
William Wells Charles Oulton Mr. Taylor
Titus Knapp Jeremiah Brownell Mr. Chapman
Vestry Clerk: Mr. James Watson
An interesting circumstance in connection with St. Mark's is that the
bell that has from the first summoned people to worship bears the
following inscription "Ad honorera Dei, Fecit T. M. Gros, Rochefort,
1734"; and it has three fleur de lis cast in it. Previous to the Acadian
deportation in 1755, it was used in the French chapel at Beausejour.
The bell is now in the Fort Museum.(Fort Beausejour Historical Site)
In November 1818, a meeting was held and a decision was made to take the
church down and build a new one which was 30 feet wide. The materials of
the old church were to be used as much as possible in the new building.
The Rev. Christopher Milner (also rector of Sackville) had the church
rebuilt in 1821 and it was consecrated in 1836. People attending church
at this time paid rent for the church pews in which they sat for
services. The rent was approximately 5 shillings per year.
At a church meeting in 1837, it was resolved to put a fence around the
church yard and the gate was to be locked. The windows in the bell tower
were to be hung on hinges so they could be opened during the ringing of
This Church was replaced by the present St. Mark's Church in 1880 The
old church was sold at a public auction on April 25, 1881. The center or
main church building was purchased by Martin Lowerison for $20.00 It was
moved several hundred yards down the road where it housed a cheese
factory and now is used as a barn. The chancel sold to T. E. Oulton for
$10.00 and the porch to James Sutherland for $2.50.
On June 29, 1882, the present church was consecrated by the Right Rev.
H. T. Kingdon, Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Fredericton, The
rector at that time was the Rev. Donald Bliss who was given a great deal
of credit towards the erection of the church. It was said he was
"Secretary, Treasurer, and Building Committee combined." It was not
until 1909 that a rectory was purchased by the church. The Bliss
property was purchased for $750.00 and served as rectory for several
years. The house has now been renovated and contains two apartments. St.
Mark's Hall was built in 1896. St. Mark's Women's Auxiliary was formed
To complete the history, one must not forget to mention the other two
churches that are included in the Parish of Westmorland, along with St.
Mark's church. The three churches are served by one rector.
The mission of Baie Verte, N. B. began about 1830 by Rev. R. B. Wiggins
who came over from Amherst, N. S. and held occasional services The first
St. Luke's Church was built around 1839 and consecrated by Right Rev.
John Medley in 1847. Other Rectors holding occasional services were Rev.
G. Townsend, Rev. R. Simmonds, Rev. Charles Lee and Rev. D. M. Bliss. On
October 17, 1889 the first resident clergy-man (Rev. Charles French)
came to Baie Verte from Michigan. A committee consisting of William
Prescott, B. Siddall and T. A. Welling were elected to act with the
rector. The present St. Luke's church was built in 1893.
The church at Cape Tormentine, N. B. was built by the Roman Catholics in
the late 1920's, but due to a dwindling congregation the church closed
in 1943. In May, 1949 the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton acquired the
church for $600.00 and called it St. James Anglican Church. The church
was renovated, a new sanctuary was built by Mr. Charles Palmer and a
prayer desk installed. St. Mark's Anglican Church donated a used organ
and the first service was held in St. James Church on August 30, 1950 by
Rev. Sydney Olorenshaw, rector of the Parish of Westmorland. On May 29,
1960 a Baptismal Font was dedicated. It was made and presented by Mr.
David McEachern in memory of his daughter. In 1965 the Rev. E. D.
McQueen dedicated an altar for St. James which had been given by the
Parish of Ludlow and Blissfield.
There is a list of the rectors included as well with the dates they
served. The list dates from 1755 to 1981. (not supplied)
RE: "The center or main church building was purchased by Martin Lowerison for
$20.00 It was moved several hundred yards down the road where it housed a
cheese factory and now is used as a barn." Around late December (1999) the "church /barn" fell down. I had a look last week and the building is indeed flat. However, in the "peek of the roof" an interesting old church looking window frame can still be seen. For those who live locally you can see it on the right as you travel
toward Point de Bute from Aulac.
Available Published Material:
A history of the Anglican Churches in Westmorland Parish is available.
The book, by B.H. Estabrooks, is titled:
"The Westmorland Solution
(A History of Anglican Churches in Westmorland Parish, 1772-1991)"
50 pages. $8.00, includes postage in year 2000.
210 Route 16,