The Preaching Rock of Lanark County

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The Preaching Rock of Lanark County

preaching rocks

 

Though there is some debate as to the ownership of the original land, but the rock was likely on the farm of John Dick where settlers came together for the area’s first church services on Lot 13 Concession 9 of Lanark. This land was deeded to John Dick, son of James Dick and Janette Brown who both died before reaching their destination in Canada. James drowned at Lachine while Mrs. Dick passed away shortly after she and here 11 children arrived in Lanark Township.

Religion was of paramount importance to the region’s pioneers who were often in need of spiritual aid and comfort, and it was common for services to be held in the homes and barns of a village to which people would come from all the surrounding area. Like all of these settlers, the people of Rosetta lost no time in forming congregations and holding such services, often atop this large outcropping now called The Preaching Rock.

The Preaching Rock, which until recently remained the site of annual outdoor church services as shown in the photo above, is now part of a farmer’s field. The protruding slab of rock is located in a pasture of what is now the James family sugar camp.

Early settlers walked long distances sometimes barefoot to hear a preacher give his sermons from The Preaching Rock. In addition to giving the use of his family’s land to his fellow residents’ spiritual needs at the Preaching Rock, John Dick also donated a corner of his farm for a church and cemetery, land upon which a church and cemetery remain today.

The first Presbyterian Church at Rosetta was built on land purchased from the James Dick family who emigrated from Bathgate Scotland in 1821. Families such as the Peacocks, Robertsons, Ramsbottom and Campbells also settled in the Rosetta area, the first earliest recorded burial was Robert Stoddart, in 1828.

Before the construction of the church, services were held at the preaching rock, on land originally owned by Robert Arnott.

Though there is some debate as to the ownership of the original land, it was likely on the farm of John Dick that settlers came together at a large rock for the area’s first church services. Religion was of paramount importance to the region’s pioneers who were often in need of spiritual aid and comfort, and it was common for services to be held in the homes and barns of a village to which people would come from all the surrounding area. Like all of these settlers, the people of Rosetta lost no time in forming congregations and holding such services, often atop this large outcropping now called the Preaching Rock.

The Preaching Rock, which until recently remained the site of annual outdoor church services as shown in the photo above, is located in a farmer’s field very near this cache’s location. In addition to giving the use of his family’s land to his fellow residents’ spiritual needs at the Preaching Rock, John also donated a corner of his farm for a church and cemetery, land upon which a church and cemetery remain today.

 

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Commemorative services were held at the rock in the early 1980s. Service at Preaching Rock George James farm Rosetta 1983.–Photo- Lanark & District Museum

Ministers –-Rev. James Whyte Reverend James Payton

Choir

Back Row- Harry Stead, Alex Bowes, Kenneth Bowes, Laurie Munro, Lyle Mather, Alex Perry

Front Row- Mrs. James Dobbie, Mrs. Gould Borrowman, Mrs. Wayne McNicol, Mrs. Merle Pretty

Congregation:

Stewart Rodger, George Rodger, Mrs. George Rodger, Margaret Baird, Mr and Mrs. Norman Dunlop (second row)

Mr. and Mrs. Maynard MacIntosh, Mrs. Wm. Traill, Reta Traill (fourth row)

With files from the  Lanark & District Museum

Geocaching click

 

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historicalnotes

Robert Robertson senior married Elizabeth Gemmill in 1837 and was the first deacon in the Middleville Congregational Church in the Rosetta area where the “Preaching Rock” is. He lived on E half lot 10 Concession 8 in Rosetta, later sold to the Peacock family.

 

From Kinkaid Loney Monuments

The first Presbyterian Church at Rosetta was built on land purchased from the James Dick family who emigrated from Bathgate Scotland in 1821. A tragic beginning to their new life in Canada, James drowned at Lachine while Mrs. Dick passed away shortly after she and here 11 children arrived in Lanark Township.

 

Families such as the Peacocks, Robertsons, Ramsbottom and Campbells also settled in the Rosetta area, the first earliest recorded burial was Robert Stoddart, in 1828.

Before the construction of the church, services were held at the preaching rock, on land original owned by Robert Arnott.

Cleaning of the entire cemetery has once more revealed their fascinating histories.

From the Buchannan scrapbook

Annual ‘preaching rock’ service remembers settlers By Susan Fisher Citizen correspondent ROSETTA An annual open-air worship service at the Preaching Rock of Rosetta is getting to be a tradition here. Sunday, for the fourth year in a row, Lanark County residents gathered to pray at the rock in a farm field near this tiny settlement between Almonte and Middleville. The focus of the service was the “preaching rock,” a ridge where it is said settlers first worshipped in the early 1800s before their church was built.

At the Sunday service this year a corner of the rock served as the pulpit, while an organ accompanied a small choir from the United Church congregations of Middleville, Hopetown and Lanark. The historic tale of the rock, now located on the farm of George James, remains tantalizing to people in the area. There seems no doubt that early pioneers did worship there, but exactly when and for how many years is not clear. Local lore says early families walked barefoot as far as 26 miles to the rock to have their children baptized.

Some confusion surrounds the identity of the original owner of the land, reported to have been Mrs. James Dick, a widow with 11 children who settled in the area in 1821. However, current owner George James says the land was in fact owned by a Mr. Arnott. “My uncle used to tell me he remembered worshipping at the rock as a teenager” says James, probably after the Rosetta United Church burned about 1919 and before the current building was completed. “He was the only one I heard of who had actually worshipped there.” James’s uncle, George Peacock, died in 1958 at the age of 83. The idea of establishing an annual service at the scenic rock was prompted by Lanark resident Alex Bowes. “Alex- took me to the site one Monday morning and asked why couldn’t we hold a service here again?” says Rev. Bob Condie, who presided at this year’s service.

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada03 Oct 1985, Thu  •  Page 3

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
03 Oct 1985, Thu  •  Page 3

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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