Prospect Church History

First is the update report from 2004 giving the latest information about Prospect United Church as of 2004.  The second are some excepts from the publication Waymarks and Guideposts.  You can find information about this book on the Ashton United Church Events page.  An article describing some of the masonry work undertaken by Beckwith Township is found here.

Report for 2004

In early December 2004 the Prospect Church Trustees were notified by Ross Trimble, CAO of the Township of Beckwith that the documents for the transfer of the Prospect United Church property to the Township were ready to be signed. The survey, required for the transfer was financed by the Township. Confirmation of the transfer was forwarded by Mr. Trimble to Trustee Sara Surjadinata. The Trustees of Prospect United Church requested that the Ottawa Presbytery disband the congregation effective December 31, 2004.

The Prospect Trustees would like to thank Lillian Hobbs for organizing an evening church service this summer (2004). We are fortunate to have her as part of our church community. The offering from this service was given to Beckwith Municipality to help with the upkeep of the property.

Many thanks also to Brenda Murray and her helpers for cleaning the church.

 

Our Roots

The following are excerpts from “Waymarks and Guideposts” compiled and written by Dorothy Lewis.  It is “A History of the Churches which have evolved into The Ashton Pastoral Charge”.  It contains information about the three churches (Ashton United Church, Munster United Church, and Prospect United Church) which once composed the Ashton Pastoral Charge (now the Ashton-Munster Pastoral Charge) along with information about other churches and families involved with the churches of the area.  The book was printed in 1998 and is available through Ashton United Church.

Churches referenced in this publication are:  Ashton Methodist Church, Munster Methodist Church, Prospect Methodist Church, Victoria Methodist Church, Melville Presbyterian Church (Ashton), Knox Presbyterian Church (Black’s Corners), Zion  Presbyterian Church (Carleton Place), and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Appleton).

Prospect Methodist Church

The Augusta Circuit, on the St. Lawrence River, extended from Prescott to Kingston, and as far north as there were settlers.  In the spring of 1819, the circuit riders first visited Goulbourn and adjacent townships. All the territory on the Rideau River, from Merrickville to Hull, and north to the Ottawa River, was cut off from Augusta and formed into the Rideau Circuit in 1820. Early circuit riders were Calvin Flint in 1820, William Jones in 1821, and Ezra Healy in 1822.

In Beckwith, Ezra Healy preached in the home of Brother Kerfoot at Prospect. He organized Bible classes and it is recorded that George Kerfoot’s class had 16 members. Under the direction of Mr. Healy, the Prospect Methodist congregation was formed. The first church was made of logs, and stood almost directly across the road from the present stone building.

When the Prospect Methodist Church was rebuilt of stone in 1847, the site was relocated to the north side of the 4th Concession.

It would appear that William Kerfoot had made a portion of his property, on the north side of the 4th Concession, available as a cemetery, many years before a deed was prepared in 1847. The earliest tombstone records the death of Andrew, son of John and Jessic Poole, who died October 24, 1821, aged one year. A stone to the memory of Nanoma J. (d.1824) and James F. (d.1830) pays tribute to two children whose surname is not given.

The church had a gallery across the back. There were four or so rows of benches, raised as in a theatre, so the people at the back could see. It is not known when the gallery was built. William Anderson remembered being up in it as a child. Mabel Anderson said that at one time, there were three seats on the left side at the front, running the opposite way and facing the pulpit. The choir and the organist sat on the right side at the front. Sheds were along the west side and along the back of the church. Alterations appear to have been made in the 1870’s, as illustrated by the following clippings.

Christian Guardian, December 10,1873

The Prospect Weslyan Methodist Church will be re-opened on January 1, 1847.

Almonte Gazette, Janaury 9, 1847

     Re-opening – We are glad to hear that the re-opening of the W. Methodist church at Prospect on New Year’s Day, was a great success. An immense number of persons were present, so that the building was crowded to its utmost capacity. A fruit festival took place in the evening, which came off very pleasantly. The church in that place has been undergoing repairs for some time past, and the friends adopted this mode of raising the sun (sum) to pay off the dept. They may well feel pleased with their success, having raised in receipts and subscriptions, the handsome sum of $683.

At the turn of the century, the church was lighted by hanging lamps, six along each side.  Later, Mr. Andy Thompson donated gas lights in memory of his wife.  Electric lights were installed when hydro came to the community.

In 1923, both Prospect and Munster Churches celebrated 100th Anniversaries.

In 1996, we celebrated the 150th year of the building of the church.  It was nice to see so many former members and their families. In 1997, we had our annual communion service, and an evening service organized by Lillian Hobbs. Everyone thought this evening was very special.