Perth Courier, August 23, 1945
The first settlement of the township of Dalhousie, Lavant and North Sherbrooke was undertaken at Dalhousie in the fall of 1820 by Scotsmen from the neighborhood of Glasgow and Paisley who, before leaving their native land, had formed themselves into groups or societies, the most important of which was the Losmahago comprising 33 families or perhaps as many as 300 emigrants in all. They sailed from Scotland on July 4, 1820 in the ship Prompt arriving at Quebec about two months later. Not having made any arrangements for settlements they were induced by government officials by a grant of 100 acres for each head of a family and a cash grant of ten pounds sterling if they selected Lanark County as their future location. The same agency undertook to transport them and their belongings to the location for two pounds sterling each. They came via Prescott and reached Perth on Sept. 15, 1820.
Another vessel, the Brock, making a faster passage, arrived at Quebec bearing another society of seven families. The Transatlantic Society, who selected home sites simultaneously with the Lasmahangos. They actually were the first settlers of Dalhousie, though closely followed by the Lasmahangos. Of the former, five families of James Blair, John McLellan, John McNangle, Neil Campbell, and Donald McPhee all settled on the 1st Concession of the township.
The passengers of the Prompt remained in Perth until Sept. 30, 1820 when the government paid an installment of one third of their bonus money. Then they set out for their new home in Lanark Village in wagons. Near there, on a hill top overlooking the Clyde, they were deposited with their baggage and they located a short distance to the west of the present site of McDonald’s Corners. Prominent among the original members of the community were James Martin, William Barrett, Charles Bailey, James Watson, George Brown, Thomas Easton, George Easton, Edward Conroy, Peter Shields, John Donald, John Duncan, Andrew Park, James Park, John Todd, William Jack, James Hood, Alexander Watt, and Robert Forest.
North Sherbrooke was first settled in 1821 by a subsidiary society of Lesmahangos of Dalhouisie, formed in Scotland by John Porter, Daniel Ritchie, James Gilmour, Anthony McBride, Ebeneezer Wilson, Duncan McDougall, Archibald McDougall, Arthur Stokes, William Christelaw, Josiah Davis, James Nesbit, and Alexander Young. The settlement was in close proximity to Dalhousie and its history was largely identified with that township.
The residents of Dalhousie and North Sherbrooke organized a local government under crude municipal laws as early as 1821. Records indicate that a Mr. Vertue was first collector and Thomas Scott was township clerk in 1828.
In these townships, the first place of public worship was in St. Andrew’s Hall built about 1828 with Rev. D. Gemmill from Dairly, Ayrshire, Scotland as the first minister.
When the present system of municipal government was introduced in 1850 the three townships formed a municipal union and elected a council comprising John Kay, Edward Conroy, Donald McLeod, William Purdon and James Smith. John Kay was named reeve and Andrew McInnes clerk of North Sherbrooke, was treasurer.
Before the erection of the first church building at McDonald’s Corners in 1836(?) services were held in a grove. The original building was a log structure on the present site of the home of Dr. M.R. Kerr. Rev. J. Findlaybecame the first regular minister of the charge in 1846 serving Dalhousie, McDonald’s Corners and Elphin communities until 1850. After a vacant pulpit for five years, Rev. James Geggie(?) was installed in 1855 and remained until 1862. Again a vacancy occurred and in 1862 Rev. Walter Scott succeeded until 1864. During the year 1864 to 18678 no record of appointment exists but in 1875 Rev. William Burns of Perth acted as moderator with Rev. Mark Turnbull as missionary from 1870 to 1872.
In 1872 the second church building, a plain, drab structure 60 by 30 feet was erected. The outside walls were of great 3 x 4 inch planks dowelled with oak pins and the inside walls of wainscoting, lath and plaster. To this church Rev. Robert McKenzie came in 1875 and remained until 1885. During his ministry, the church grew and prospered.
In 1885 the Snow Road Church was organized and a building costing $1,600(?) was erected. At the 1886 Assembly, the churches of McDonald’s Corners and Elphin were transferred to the Presbytery of Kingston so that they might be grouped with Elphin and this arrangement lasted until 1927 when they became part of the Presbytery of Lanark and Renfrew.
In 1886 Rev. A. MacAulay became minister and occupied the newly erected manse at McDonald’s Corners. After a respite due to the loss of his voice, Rev. MacAulay continued his ministry until 1891 when he received a call to Woodville. He was succeeded by Rev. W. K. McCulloch until 1892 when Rev. James Binnie, honors graduate from Queen’s University, took charge, remaining until 1902. Mr. Binnie then proceeded to other posts and died at Durham in 1944.
Rev. W.A. Gray came to the charge in 1902, remaining until 1908 and he was responsible for the building of the present church. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on June 3, 1906. Rev. A.J. McMullensucceeded to the charge in 1908, remaining until 1917 when Rev. A.M. Lettle(?) came in 1918. He remained until 1926. The charge was transferred from Kingston to the Lanark and Renfrew Presbytery in this year and in 1928 the present minister Rev. Kenneth McCaskill, M.A., entered upon his ministry