Notes About The First Baptist Church in Perth

Notes About The First Baptist Church in Perth

First Baptist Church Perth ON_s.jpg

Baptist-church.jpgFirst Baptist Church- from Perth Remembered

Perth Courier, May 31, 1889

The New Baptist Church

The opening of the now very complete Baptist Church, on D’Arcy Street, under Rev. D. Laing, took place last Sunday and marks another step in the progress of the church history of this town.  The people of Perth have the reputation of being an eminently church going people which estimation does them no more than simple justice.  This being the case, it follows that they should desire a convenient and modern place of worship.

The old church in which the Baptist congregation worshipped for so long had been brought to a knowledge of a better life and around which so many sweet memories had been woven—had become too small for the proper prosecution of church work and somewhat more than a year ago the congregation determined to erect a new edifice and the contract for the new building was let in April of last year and on the 28th June the cornerstone was laid by Mrs. McMillan, the oldest consistent member of the church here.




First Baptist Church- from Perth Remembered–The original First Baptist Church in Perth in the location of the present building. The building to the left of the church is the Parsonage of the First Baptist Church at 21 D’Arcy Street. Note the wooden sidewalks. In 1925 the roof of this house was raised to provide for a full second story.

Only two members who witnessed the erection of the first church survived to see the opening of the second, Mrs. McMillan of Perth and Mrs. James McLaren of Drummond.  The church is of red brick with stone foundation and a basement.  Cathedral stained glass windows ornament the front and the ceiling and other woodwork is of dressed pine relived by imitation of cherry.  The aisles are carpeted.  The pulpit desk is small but of neat design and colour.  Behind this is a handsome pulpit sofa presented by D. Hogg and behind this is the main baptistery.

Electric light is used and the building is to be heated by furnaces.  On the building committee were Dr. Kellock, chairman, J.F. Kellock, H. S. Leckie, Robert Ritchie, William Allan.  The history of the congregation from its organization to the present time was given in a very interesting and concise form by Dr. Kellock at the Monday night meeting as follows;  In the year 1841 through the generous efforts of some friends in and around Perth, a chapel was erected on the side of the present building.  This structure of 30 by 48 feet was plain and innocent of paint.

Baptist ministers visited Perth and preached from time to time but the church was not organized until after the arrival of Rev. R. A. Fyfe who began his missionary labours here in April of 1842.  The church was organized by him on the 31st Oct., 1842 having been dismissed from the Beckwith Church for this purpose. These with three others formed the constituent members.  The only survivor of those is Mrs. (Cal) McMillan of Perth and Mrs. James McLaren of Drummond and who were, after a lapse of 47 years, present at the opening of the service on the night of the 26th inst.  The Rev. R.A. Fyfe (afterward Dr. Fyfe), the devoted and honored head and founder of Woodstock College, was the first pastor with a stipend of sixty pounds a year, half of which might be paid in country produce or store goods.

Three deacons, a treasurer, a clerk and five trustees constituted the first office bearers.  Mr. Fyfe continued his ministry for about a year when he was summoned to Montreal to take the oversight of the Baptist College in that city.  He was succeeded by Rev. James Cooper (afterwards Dr. Cooper) just from Scotland, a faithful, earnest pastor, whose memory is dear to all.  In 1847 he was succeeded by Rev. P. McDonald, who left the following year when Mr. Fyfe resumed the pastorate but owing to the failure of his wife’s health he was compelled to leave once more after another year’s service.  The following ministers have been in charge since that time 1847 viz:  Rev. Messrs. Porterfield, R. Hamilton, John Cameron, Ashton, J. Mackie, Thomas Henderson, R. Nutt (?), W.A. Caldwell, J. Forth, J. W. Thorne and D. Laing, the present pastor.

Fourteen pastors in 47 years, an average pastorate of over three years; the longest that of Mr. Forth, 8 years and 4 months, the shortest that of Mr. Porterfield, six months.  Most of these were faithful, earnest, godly men, some of them afterwards attaining to the highest positions of honour in the denomination.



In 1841 the original church was erected on the site of the present building. The building 30 feet by 48 feet, plain, unpretentious and void of paint, was erected on the site of the present brick church on D’Arcy street, and REV. R.A. FIFE was the first minister.  A year afterwards Mr. Fife was called to take charge of the Baptist College in Montreal and was succeeded in Perth by REV. JAMES COOPER. The old building in its lifetime had undergone repairs and additions as circumstances demanded. In 1851 the addition of a tower gave it a more ecclesiastical appearance.

In April, 1888, the contract for the edifice having been let the old historical church in which the Baptists had worshipped for two or three generations, where so many had been brought to the knowledge of a better life, the scene of many hallowed memories, was torn down. While the new one was being built the congregation met for worship in the Music Hall. On the 28th June, the corner stone was laid by Mrs. McMillan, the oldest member of the church, assisted by Hattie Kennedy (Mrs. Arthur Jackson) and Margaret Robertson, the two youngest members.

Services appropriate to the occasion were held, an eloquent address being delivered by Dr. Castle, principal of McMaster College, Toronto. In 1875 a vestry was added at the rear of the main building but the old chapel had to be replaced and a new structure was built in 1889. The opening of the new church took place on Sunday, May 31st, 1889.– from Perth Remembered



The Klassens in Concert
Public · Hosted by First Baptist Church, Perth, Ontario

Friday, April 28 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM

17 D’Arcy St, Perth, ON K7H 2T9, Canada



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 and now in The Townships Sun

Related Reading:


Smith’s Falls and District Baptist Church

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

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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