Who Really Built the Baptist Church in Carleton Place?

Who Really Built the Baptist Church in Carleton Place?


Baptist Church – Carleton Place, Ontario.

almontegsmall.jpgMarch 29 1873– Almonte Gazette-–The handsome new brick church in Carleton Place, erected by the Wesleyan Methodists, will be dedicated on Sabbath next, 31st at 10.30 a.m. The Rev. Mr. Elliott will conduct the service and also preach in the afternoon. The Rev. Mr. McDowell will also preach in the evening. A tea-meeting will be held on Monday evening following, at which a number of speakers will be present. 

The Baptists organized in 1822 as the New Testament Baptists which was just one year after the founding of Morphy’s Falls/ Carleton Place.  Two missionaries arrived in Beckwith on a Wednesday evening and remained with the Baptist people for about twelve days. They began with a prayer meeting in one of the homes, and held further meetings on the succeeding evenings of that week.  The first log church was built in 1817  Lot 27, Con 6 of Drummond in 1817. It was then replaced with a large permanent brick building beginning late in the year of 1907.

The property that the current Carleton Place Baptist church sits on at the corner of Bridge and Herriot Street was once just very dense bush. A short distance from this present church was another place of worship that the Baptists attended that was simply known as the Town Line Church.  The Rev. Lawrence Halcroft (1798-1887), a resident of Carleton Place for over forty years, came here by call in 1843 and for eleven years was minister of the local Baptist Church and they met every Sunday just after 2 pm.

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Miss Gillies in front of the Gillies home on Bridge Street with the Baptist Church on the right- Photo- Public Archives

The present day Carleton Place Baptist Church that sits on Bridge Street today was actually built in 1831 by the Wesleyan Methodists. The Carleton Place Methodist congregation was first organized by the Rev. Mr. John Black in 1829, and in 1831 and they built the first church in the village of Carleton Place/Morphy’s  Falls. The Carleton Place Baptists were at first led by a layman named John McEwen, but in April 1843 a Scottish immigrant named Lawrence Halcroft arrived in the village. Halcroft was soon ordained and became pastor of the churches at Tennyson and Drummond as well as Carleton Place. In 1868 the Baptists in Beckwith decided it was cheaper to repair the Town Line church in Carleton Place than build a new one in Black’s Corners.

The church at 299 Bridge Street was a frame structure at its early beginnings, large enough to seat 250 persons. It was more than likely sold to the Baptists by the Wesleyan Methodists when they decided to move in 1888. According to some historical writings in newspaper archives the chapel was used as a grammar school in the early days as well as a church. In 1871, the wooden church was moved (*would love to know where it was moved to) and the present brick church on Bridge Street was built by Wesleyan Methodists, not the Baptists. When the Methodist’s congregation became larger they built and moved to a new church at the corner of Beckwith and Albert Streets. (Zion-Memorial United Church)

In June of 1891 it was moved and passed at a meeting that the Beckwith Church be recognized and received into the fellowship of Carleton Place. An argument erupted whether to honour the Sabbath on a Saturday or a Sunday. The two families that did not agree with Sunday were excluded from the church.


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Photo- Ottawa Journal 1973

Sadly in September of 1973 there was a steeple fire in the Baptist Church which caused a lot of smoke and water damage. But, the original pews remained and two old ceiling fixture medallions were also saved. A new hall was added that consisted of 9 classrooms, a choir room and a minister study. Pastor Brian Affleck is currently the Senior Pastor at Carleton Place Baptist Church. He and his wife, Edith, have been ministering together here for the past 15 years.

The church is located at 299 Bridge Street, which is at the corner of Bridge Street and Morphy Street in Carleton Place.  Parking is available on Morphy Street and James Street.


Church Guide

Guide to Church Services, 1870.  St. James’ (Church of England) – ½ past 10 o’clock a.m. on each alternate Sabbath, and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the other Sabbath.  St. Andrew’s  (Church of Scotland) – 11 o’clock a.m. every Sabbath.  Zion Church (Canada Presbyterian) – ½ 2 o’clock p.m. every Sabbath.  Reform Presbyterian – 11 o’clock a.m., and 3 o’clock p.m., on alternate Sabbaths.  Wesleyan Methodist – ½ past 10 o’clock on alternate Sabbaths, and ½ past 6 o’clock on the other Sabbath.  Baptist – ½ past 2 o’clock every Sabbath.  Roman Catholic – occasionally, of which notice will be given.-Howard Morton Brown

*Searched for two hours in 1871 newspaper archives and could not find out where the building was moved too.. sigh…

As the Methodist numbers increased, a larger more central location was desired, and subscriptions were sought. Some 200 members and adherents participated, and construction began on the present site early in 1888. The cornerstone was laid on May 6 of that year. The first worship service was held in the new building on Sunday, 9 December, less than a year after the cornerstone was laid. The next year, the bell was placed in the tower.

After Union in 1925, when St. Andrew’s and the Methodist congregations joined and the church became Memorial Park United Church.

With files from: Beckwith by Glenn Lockwood, A History of Drummond Township by John C. Ebbs, The Almonte Gazette and the Ottawa Journal

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:

Baptist Church Carleton Place

Notes About The First Baptist Church in Perth

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

St James and St Mary’s Christmas Bazaar 1998 -Who Do You Know?

Old Churches of Lanark County

When The Streets of Carleton Place Ran Thick With the Blood of Terror!

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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