The Memorial Church
Erected At Adolphustown in Honor of the U.E. Loyalists
An Historical Account of the Affairs of Adolphustown Parish
Interesting Description of the Memorial Edifice
The following resume of the history of the affairs of the parish of Adolphustown, with the description of the handsome church building which has been erected there as a sacred memorial in honor of the United Empire Loyalists of 1784 who settled in that vicinity is taken from Our Mission News, a magazine published in the interests of the domestic and foreign missionary society of the church of England in Canada.
Adolphustown was one of the fifty-seven rectories established in the year 1836 by Sir John Colborne, then lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, and into it the Rev. Job Deacon, who had been in charge of the parish from 1823, was immediately inducted as its first rector. His death occurred in May, 1850, in the 56th year of his age, according to the inscription on the tombstone. Rev. Job Deacon, however, was not the first who ministered to the church people in Adolphustown. As far back as 1787, the Rev. John Langhorn, a missionary of the society for the propagation of the gospel, had labored among the United Empire Loyalist settlers from Kingston to the Napanee river, and in 1792 had built two churches, one in Bath, which yet stands, and the other in Fredericksburgh.
The parish church in Adolphustown was erected by Rev. Job Deacon about sixty years ago. It is a frame and rough-cast structure of the homely pattern then in vogue. A space railed in on the east side serves for the chancel; a pulpit raised on high faced the gallery running across the west end; the vestibule and vestry are underneath the gallery. For a number of years the pews (which were square) were rented for the sum of one penny a year.
The Rev. J.A. (afterwards Canon) Mulock succeeded the Rev. Job Deacon as rector of the united townships of Adolphustown and Fredericksburgh. He held services also at several out-stations. After a popular ministry of seven years Canon Mulock resigned amid profound and universal regret, to be succeeded by the third rector of Adolphustown, the Rev. R. Harding, who for the long period of twenty seven years held the rectory. In his time the old frame church in Fredericksburgh was pulled down, and the pretty Gothic brick church which now adorns the site was erected.
Rev. R. Harding, beloved as he was by all for his integrity and fidelity, at length retired, when the lord bishop appointed to the rectory, the Rev. R.S. Forneri, B.D., who entered upon his duties in the fall of 1883. The new rector signalized his coming by several new departures. The pulpit in the old church came down from its high soaring, the chancel arrangements were improved, and some of the square pews were divided. With the assistance of the Rev. A.L. Green, whom the bishop ordained deacon, services were established at four new stations in the parish. But his most ambitious undertaking has been the erection of the United Empire Loyalists' memorial church.
Adolphustown appears to have always enjoyed a position of some prominence among the loyalist settlements round the Bay of Quinte. "No township," says Dr. Canniff, "is more rich in matters pertaining to the United Empire Loyalists than Adolphustown. Here settled a worthy band of refugees whose lineage can be traced back to noble names in France, Germany and Holland. Here was the birth-place of many of Canada's more prominent and worthy sons, and here repose the ashes of a large number of the devoted pioneers." It was after inspecting the registers of the parish, filled with names well known in loyalist traditions, and after visiting the pioneer cemetery nearby, over which ruin and neglect reigned, that the thought occurred to Mr. Forneri of erecting a lasting monument in the form of a memorial church to the honored dead, those heroes and heroines who a century before had renounced home, wealth and kindred in the revolted colonies of America, to come and live in the wilderness under England's flag, and convert the wilderness into fruitful fields. No time was lost by the rector in carrying out this idea, and the corner stone of the sacred edifice was laid with much eclat, on the 16th day of June, 1884, during the loyalist centennial celebration in Adolphustown, by His Honor J.B. Robinson, Esq., lieutenant-governor of Ontario. After a short but impressive service by the archdeacon of Kingston in the old church, and procession there-from to the new site, beautiful for situation, - the gift of J.J. Watson, Esq., the ceremony was performed in the midst of a brilliant assemblage, ecclesiastical and lay, flanked on either side by a company of volunteers, who closed the interesting proceedings by firing three volleys in honor of the event.
During the summer and ensuing winter the rector exerted himself to collect the necessary funds for proceeding with the building, and with so much success that the following summer saw the spot covered with the materials and alive with workmen. Soon the edifice rose under the eye of the architect; Joseph Power, Esq., of Kingston and by the time the building season closed it stood in its graceful proportions, externally finished except the steeple.
The nave of this handsome memorial church is about 45 ft. x 30 ft. with the addition of a chancel of 24 ft. deep. It is built of Kingston stone with cut dressings, in the early English Gothic style. On the south side is the entrance porch, and an octagonal bell-tower stands at the junction of the nave and chancel, - the latter of which is apsidal, and under the same roof as the main building. The contractor was Mr. William Evans, of Napanee, under whom the work has been beautifully executed, and on its elevated site in full view of the bay, presents a very pleasing appearance, and is no unworthy monument of the men to whose memory it is erected - men who exhibited such a noble devotion to the inspired maxim: "Fear God, honor the king," and who deserved before all things that their children to all generation should be taught and should exemplify in their conduct the same righteous principles.
It is earnestly hoped that by the end of 1887, the church may be completed, but the committee are resolved, if possible, not to incur debt. They, therefore, earnestly ask for support and good will. The chairman of the general building committee is the venerable archdeacon of Kingston, who, from its inception, has given the undertaking his warmest sympathy and support.
It is gratifying to be able to mention that the church, as far as it has gone, is paid for. But all the internal work, and furnishing remain to be done, and the building committee have no funds on hand to proceed. The final paragraph of their last excellent report will supply us with suitable words wherewith to conclude this sketch. "We require,", they say, "an additional sum of $2,000 to complete what will be a small but beautiful edifice in memory of the brave and loyal founders of the province. We would ask for new subscribers to this house of prayer, in which the names of the chief loyalists of Canada will be handed down on mural tablets to lasting remembrance and honor.
"It is well known that the members of the church of England in this parish are few in number. They have given liberal proof of their interest in the undertaking. They deserve every encouragement. But it is chiefly on patriotic grounds that we claim the sympathy and support of all who desire the erection of this sacred memorial in honor of the U.E.L.'s of 1784."