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South Shore Genealogical Society

Some interesting facts and figures about St. John's Anglican Church

Don Hardy, tour guide at St. John's for the past 4 years. Don and his wife, Jean, were also sextons for several years until just recently:

For three months each summer, the church would be open for tourists. Each summer, between 6, 000 and 7, 000 people signed the register! This does not include bus tours.

This past summer, one visitor - a Russian emigré living in New York - entered the church and said "It smells of time." So appropriate a description.

All the painting behind the altar was done on wooden boards - it was not wallpaper. (see photograph). It was handpainted, along with that ceiling of stars called the Mariners' Sky, by a lone woman parishoner, surname Page, in the 1860s.

The three stained glass windows in the apse were given by J.H. Kaulbach, who was High Sheriff of Lunenburg, in 1871. These were St. John, Jesus the Good Shepherd and St. Paul. St. John and St. Paul were lettered in German - Johannes and Paulus. These three windows came from England.

The Benjamin Smith window on the north side, in memory of his daughter, Margaret, was the oldest window on that side and was installed at a cost of $800 circa 1932-3.

The arched transom window that was placed over the front entrance doors was donated to the church before 1860 by the captain and officers of a British survey ship. It is felt that the window may have been installed originally in the old altar area at that time. In 1902, the window was not yet over the front doors, so it was installed there sometime after that. When that window was installed, the full Gothic doors had to be cut to a rectangular shape.

The tolling bell, cast at Whitechapel, England, was the original bell. This bell, pulled by hand rope, was pealed to call people to services. It was also tolled for funerals.

There are 10 chiming bells, cast in 1901 at Troy, New York. Each bears the inscription "Gloria in Excelsis Deo".

An additional inscription on the largest (tenor) bell reads: "Lord may these bells for ever be A tuneful voice o'er land and sea, To call thy people unto thee." The chimes were rung for the first time November 14, 1902.

The pipe organ was given in 1954 as a memorial to those parishioners who laid down their lives for their country.

Edward Jordan, co-chairman, along with Andrew Eisenhauer, of the rebuilding committee:

The tolling bell has the inscription "Mears of London" and is dated 1813.

The chiming bells were cast by Meneely & Co, West Troy NY

Ralph Getson's (curator of education, Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and President of the SSGS) special interest:

In the 1930s (?), Arthur Schwartz, a parishioner and pattern-maker at Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering (and mayor of Lunenburg during World War II), cast a small brass figure of the Rev. Jean-Baptiste Moreau. He would have carved the model in wood, laid the wooden pattern in moulding sand, added the cover and poured molten brass into the mould. Then he would have filed and polished the small figure. This wee figure, approximately eight inches high, was displayed in the church for many years. Then it was relegated to a closet, or elsewhere, and disappeared from public view for many years. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, Moreau appeared again, along with an explanatory plaque. The latest word on this artifact is that it is likely still buried under mounds of debris.

Some memorials and plaques recorded by S. Nelson 1997:

1. The brass plaque concerning the sanctuary lamp:

The Sanctuary Lamp Is Dedicated to
The Glory of God and in Loving Memory of
Capt. William Pike Cluett
1902 -1931
Amy Louise Tanner
1902 - 1937
Presented by
June Cluett Tanner and W. Guy Tanner
Dec 1967

2. The Honour Roll 1914 - 18:

Harry B. Shupe
Elsworth Smith
Eldon Schwartsz
Norman Tanner
George Deihl
Bruno Hebb
Eric S. H. Lane
Donald Purcell

3. The Honour Roll 1939 - 45:

Warren Allen
Moyle Beck
Henry H. Herman
Fred Knickle
Edgar Oxner
Charles Ritcey
Harry Schnare
Aubrey J. Smith

4. In memory of Merrill Giles Oxner, age 31, died 7 February 1935 in U.S.A.

5. Servers crosses given in memory of Kevin Frederick Romkey

6. Set of hand bells in memory of Robert E. Schnare


News Updates

Photographs of the church before, during and after the fire:

November 1, 2001 - The Burning
November 2, 2001 - The Aftermath
The interior after the burning - November 2001
The interior clean up progress - December 7, 2001 and December 28, 2001
The exterior encapsulation progress - January 16, 2002, January 23 - 27, 2002, January 31, 2002, February 7 - 15, 2002 and February 23 - March 2, 2002
Non-structural elements
The restoration of the altar
The exterior before
The interior before
The interior Christmas 1991
"Simon Birch" 1997

Canadian Heritage Minister, Sheila Copps, commits financial assistance at parish hall meeting November 16, 2001
Photograph of Solomon Morash, master builder in charge of the 1892 changes
A Short History of St. John's Anglican Church
People buried under the Church 1761 - 1826
Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia Historical and Architectural Survey and relevant Links
The Commemoration of St. John's Anglican Church as a National Historic Site October 11, 1998
Interesting Facts & Figures about St. John's

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