Smith’s Falls and District Baptist Church


first baptist church smiths falls.jpg

Photo from their website

Perth Courier, November 10, 1933

Smith’s Falls and District Baptist Centennial

Celebrating 100 years of progress, members of the Baptist Church of Smith’s Falls, together with former members of the congregation and many prominent visitors, observed the centenary anniversary of the organization of the church in this district.  The celebration opened with special services on Sunday, October 29, special speakers assisting in the celebration.

The main feature of the 100th anniversary celebration was the dedication of a memorial on the Perth Road about three miles from Smith’s Falls which marks the site of the home of Elder Duncan McNab, organizer of the church in this district.  The memorial is a stone column which was the original chimney of the McNab home and on it has been placed a beautiful bronze plaque.  Grounds about the memorial have been beautified and a concrete platform has been built about the base.

An interesting glimpse of the past was provided by an address by Tom Farmer of Perth, a great-grandson of Elder McNab.  Though the Smith’s Falls Baptist Church was organized in the home that stood on the site of the memorial 100 years ago, for the men and women who had urged the organizers, had probably spoken of them to accept Christ earlier in their lives.

Continuing, Mr. Farmer sketched the early life of Duncan McNab and his wife Catherine Ferguson and of their coming to Canada in 1815(?)1825(?), to take up residence in Beckwith.  Some few Baptists were in this district then but no meetings were held and Mr. and Mrs. McNab soon arranged for these gatherings.  Often he would leave his loom on a Saturday afternoon and walk barefoot through the swamps and bush trails preaching at various spots.  In the district in which he preached, the Carleton Place Baptist Church was organized in 18??, the Smith Fall’s Baptist Church in 1833  and the Drummond and Beckwith churches later.  After 15(?)16(?) years spent in Beckwith the McNab family moved to a farm in Elmsley Township and here they carried on aggressive Christian work.  The home which stood where the memorial is now located was soon became a centre where settlers met to worship God and very soon organized what is now the 100 year old church.

Members in the Baptist Church possess a proved heritage, a noble inheritance built up by labor, the sacrifice and the righteousness of those pioneers who built so well that today we might worship in the comfort of he church built by their labors.  He spoke of the names of Henderson, Anderson, McPhail, McLaurens, who rode through the woods from settlement to settlement up and down the St. Laurence, the Ottawa and the Rideau, preaching in lumber camps, school houses and log cabins.  Our pastors McDiarmid, Denovan, McGregor, Lenule(?) and Luchens laid the foundation of the New Testament principles so broad and deep that they were still quoted to us.

Amid a hushed silence the unveiling of the plaque which adorns the memorial took place, Miss Flora McNab, a great granddaughter of Elder McNab removing the Union Jack which covered the tablet.  As she did so, the audience rendered the Doxology and the service at the memorial was brought to a close by the singing of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

In the evening the large dining hall of the church was filled with members, former members, and friends from out of town for the annual Thanksgiving offering supper.  Seated at the head table were Rev. H.W. Wright, B.A., of Beamsville, a former pastor; Rev. and Mrs. H. Bryant; W.T. Ferguson; Mrs. W. T. Clark, 92 years of age and the oldest member present; Mrs. J. Stobo(?); Miss Mina McNab of Arnprior; Mrs. G. McVean; and Mrs. And Mrs. Norman McLeod.  Mr. McLeod is the oldest deacon.

Miss Beulah Miller, granddaughter of Mrs. Duncan McEwen, a pioneer member, contributed a large birthday cake which was cut and enjoyed by all.  Letters and greetings from former members were read these including:  Miss L. Dayton of Remsen, New York; Mrs. E.J. Stobo of Toronto; Everton Miller of London; Miss Christine Ferguson of Preston; Mrs. Edna McKinton of Vancouver; Mrs. Jean Banks of Ottawa;Mrs. Gordon Keith of Toronto; Mrs. W.T. Trappscott of Victoria, B.C.; Rev. T.J.H. Rich of Arnprior; Harold Sheppard of Detroit; Miss Mina Gile of Salem, Oregon; Mrs. G.W. Rudden in memory of her husband, a former deacon; Messrs. Robert and Herman Gile of Salem, Oregon; Mrs. P.W. Brown of North Bay; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Allport of Cobourg; Mrs. R. Sheldon of Ottawa; Mrs. A.R. Miller of Ottawa;Rev. E.P. Laws of Brantford; Dr. Jessie Allyn and Nurse(?) Laura Allyn, missionaries in India and former members.

A complete history of the Smith’s Falls Baptist Church was read by Miss Anna Ferguson.  Miss Ferguson’s reading detailed the progress made since the days of Elder Duncan McNabb in 1833 to the present time with the splendid church in Smith’s Falls with its affiliated organizations and societies brings the word of God to large congregations at each service.

Mrs. Bryant read the obituary of Mrs. Duncan McNab who passed away in 1874 at the age of 88(?) years.  The article was written by Rev. R. Lennie.  Miss Washburn read a Christmas letter to the Church in 1891 byArchie McDougall of Pilot Mound, the first clerk of the Baptist Church in Smith’s Falls.


First Baptist Church Smiths Falls has a 180 year history of service to the Lord. Sitting on the north edge of Smiths Falls’ busy downtown, FBC hosts a 225 plus sanctuary, a number of large classrooms, and a great church library that draws people from the community.

Related reading

Memories of The Old Church Halls

Tales From the Methodist Church in Perth

Knox Church– McDonald’s Corners

The Littlest Church in Ferguson Falls

The Beckwith Baptist Church

Old Churches of Lanark County

Before and After — Auld Kirk

Another Example of Local Random Acts of Kindness- Zion Memorial United Church

Hallelujah and a Haircut —Faces of St. James 1976

What did Rector Elliot from St. James Bring Back from Cacouna?

The Emotional Crowded Houses– St. James

A Sneeze of a Tune from St. Andrew’s Church in Carleton Place

The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

Let The Church Rise– A Little History of St. James Anglican Church

The Church that Died


Want to see more? 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

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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