Branching Out 1986

December 1986

Grand River Branch 

The June meeting was held Sunday June 6 at Bloomsburg Baptist Church south of Waterford.  Originally called Culver Plains it was founded by Jabez Culver, UEL.  It was changed to Bloomsburg after Bloomsburg, Pa. by Wm. Kitchen who married Lovinia Heath, daughter of John Heath and Anna Sovereign.  Wm. Kitchen donated the land for the present church and cemetery.  Bloomsburg Baptist was previously known as 2nd Township Baptist as it was formed at Culver Plains as a mission station of Boston Baptist.

Doris Lefler Kemp, the speaker, outlined the baptism traditions and the history and architectural changes of the church.  She showed pictures of an old Roman style arch culvert just north of the church which is designated of architectural interest.  a tour to local cemeteries, Old Windham, Greenwood and the Haviland plot, and the Culver Cairn reinforced the Loyalist settlement of the area.

The July meeting was held in Vittoria at the Baptist Church, the first so recognized in the Norfolk area and founded by Titus Finch in 1803 in co-operation with the Shaftsbury Association as the Baptist church of Charlotteville.

The first meeting house was a log building on Oliver Mabee’s property.  In 1807, a new building was erected on on acre obtained from Mabee and the cemetery is still on this site.  The present church was dedicated in 1852.  This church, known as “the Mother of Churches” sent missionary tours to Woodstock and Aylmer and sent members to organnize new churches in Walsingham (now Port Rowan), Stoney Creek, Middleton (now Delhi), Forestville and Simcoe.

Vittoria is of historical interest as the Statutes of Upper Canada, passed in 1801, enacted that the courts for the District of London should be held at Charlotteville (now Turkey Point).  In 1815, when the Statute was repealed, provision was made for holding court at Tisdale’s Mill.  The new capital was named Vittoria after the famous British victory at the town of that name in Spain during the Napoleonic wars.  The new building completed in 1817 was pretentious.  The foundation was stone and the walls were brick made in Pennsylvania and brought across the lake by schooner.  The building was destroyed by fire after serving ten years as court house, jail, London District Grammar School and Masonic Lodge.  The courts were moved to London which became the district capital.  The old foundation was used when the present Anglican Church was built.

A tour of the cemeteries in the neighbourhood revealed that Ryerson, Austin, Boughner, Chadwick, Lemon and Marr ancestors and Isaac Gilbert are buried there.  The large fieldstone tombstone of Joseph Ryerson UEL is unique.

Directions were then given to the historical plaque and dam site in Simcoe where Aaron Culver was given rights to his first mill by Governor Simcoe.

The fall meetings were held at Myrtleville, Brantford, Port Dover when Wm. Yeager, Curator of Eva Brook Donly Museum was the guest speaker, and the museum at Norwich.

We will close this year with our annual Christmas tea and sale of crafts and home baking November 15, 2:30 at First United Church, Waterloo, Ontario.

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