Community Hall At Clayton
Clayton community hall, a landmark in that village, was destroyed by fire Friday, Dec. 23rd. Firemen said the blaze, of unknown cause, broke out in the woodshed at the rear of the hall, which was more than 100 years old, and was used as a Presbyterian church in the 1880s. The alarm was turned in by a, neighbour, William Bellamy, and four men from the Almonte volunteer fire brigade, Ross Stanley, Pete Munro, Frank Lowe and Keith Blakeley, under 1st Lieut. John LeMaistre, assisted by Clayton, citizens, fought the fire for two and a half hours. Firemen managed to prevent the flames from spreading to a house three feet away.
This historic building was originally the Presbyterian Church and then the old Clayton Community Hall, before a fire. The photo was taken in 1955. Photo courtesy of Jim Lowry
The accompanying newspaper articles, which appeared in the Almonte Gazette, speak of the death of Dr. Guthrie and of the opening of the new Presbyterian Church in the village of Clayton. Read the Almonte Gazette here
Death of Dr. Guthrie
Our telegraphic columns last evening contained a brief announcement of the death of the Rev. Thomas Guthrie, D. D., the well known preacher, author and magazinist. Dr. Guthrie’s name was known and cherished over the whole English speaking world. He was Minster of St. John’s Free Church, Edinburgh whither his fame as a preacher always drew crowds. He was indefatigable in his efforts to lift up the poor and outcast of the Scottish Capital, and devised many practical schemes for bettering their condition. While best known in Scotland and England as a pulpit orator, on this side of the water he made intimate acquaintance with tens of thousands through the pages of “The Sunday Magazine” of which he was editor and to whose skillful management he great success of that periodical was due. Dr. Guthrie was born in Brechin, Forfarshire in 1893 and passed away just after having reached the Psalmist’s limit of human life. By his death the Free Church loses its most distinguished ornament and the world one of its most whole-souled and active philanthropists. But few months have elapsed since the Kirk had to submit to a similar deprecation by the death of Norman MacLeod. Both these men were the fore most pulpit orators of their respective Churches; both were well known authors, and both were donators of widely read religion magazines and both loved, the harness from their backs within a very short time of each other.
Church Opening – We understand that the opening of the new Presbyterian church in the village of Clayton, last Lord’s day, was a decided success. The Rev. Mr. Stewart of Pakenham, conducted morning and evening services. A soirées was held on Monday evening at which very interesting and instructive addresses were delivered by Rev. Messrs., Bennett, Raney and Stewart. Apologies were received from several other brethren, who were prevented from attending. Both on the Sabbath and on Monday the church was crowded to excess, so much so that seats had to be improvised. We learn that the financial feature was all that could be desired. The new church which is exceedingly neat and simple in its internal arrangements, is capable of accommodating (with an end gallery) about 300 person. – Com.
A fascinating piece of local history. I presume this is why the present “neat and simple” church is called “Guthrie United Church”. The use of Biblical allusions throughout the article reminds me how far we have moved from our ancestors. Today, many people would not know what the following phrase means; “passed away just after having reached the Psalmist’s limit of human life.” Northrup Frye would be mightily disappointed.
Thanks again, Linda for your interest and love of our local history.
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News