A short history by Bill Cowan

The closing of St. John’s Anglican Church, Waupoos makes one think back to the role the church has played in North Marysburgh. When the United Empire Loyalists came to Marysburgh in 1784 after the American Revolution, they had many needs. After choosing lots on the Bay side or the Lake side, they went about building log cabins to provide shelter; and soon thereafter considered how they could attend church services in their new community.

They first met in homes that were large enough to accommodate them. Some of the more enterprising settlers built stone houses much like the David house high above the St. John’s church. This was the home of Conrad David who gave the lot on the land below to the Anglican Bishop of Quebec in 1830. From the original documents, we see the wording of the bond that the Bishop’s representative, Jacob Harvey, a Catechist, and Conrad David (1) signed and sealed on the 27th of September 1830. The church was in existence at the signing of this bond. The document refers to Saint John’s Church and the wardens at that time – John Allen, Samuel Molyneux, and John Kerr.

Bishop Mountain of the Diocese of Quebec made a journey to the far western part of his Diocese and determined it was much too large , thus the formation of The Diocese Of Toronto in 1834, under Bishop Strachan. The Parish of Marysburgh ( St. Philips in Milford and St John’s in Waupoos) joined the newly formed Diocese of Toronto in 1839. Reverend J. Tooke was the first Priest, appointed in 1850. 14

The original church building, a wooden structure, remained until 1877 when the good people of Waupoos raised the money to build the church that still stands, with its beautiful view of Lake Ontario. The church was built of brick and stone, and consists of chancel, nave, tower, spire and vestry room. The interior was finished with stained pine, the font and the chancel furniture are of varnished oak. The building stands East to West, in keeping with the tradition in the area that folks lived either East or West of the Rock (2). St. John’s was opened for divine service on December 13th 1877, completely paid for.

In 1920, when St. Philip’s church burned to the ground, the congregants of St. John’s came immediately to their aid, making room for them on Sunday during reconstruction and raising funds to help offset the cost of re-building. Typical of the warm hearts in Waupoos, these feelings carry over to building today, The late George Bellwood, a former member, stated that you had to get to church a half hour early in the 1930’s to get a seat, not an easy task from George’s Waupoos Island home.

The Deconsecrating of this historic church and the completion of its mission in this area took place on August 24, 2022 at 4:00 PM.

Bill Cowan UE

1. Conrad David’s father was Heinrich David, a Hessian soldier and the original Loyalist. He was given 200 acres of land for fighting for the British during the war. Heinrich David married well. His new wife was the daughter of the Duke of Hesse, a member of the German Royal family. We honoured the David family several years ago when Ed David, a direct descendant, and his family travelled from California to attend a special service at St. John’s.

2 From “ East & West of the Rock” page 48, published 2005.