Originally written by Jean Anderson in the Fall of 2004. Updated in 2012 and 2013
In the beginning people met in each other's homes and a log schoolhouse. As early as 1836, Rev. Rogers conducted the first service in Bobcaygeon. Those who wished to be married or have their children baptized found it necessary to go to Peterborough.
In 1860, our Church began with the arrival of Rev. John Paterson. On March 15, 1867, we purchased lot 11 from Thomas Need. Don Whyte had a BP station on this property prior to the building of the Post Office.
This little white church was a modest frame building with a porch, fence and driving shed. There were no hymn books in the pews until 1877. Mr. Orr was the precentor and established the proper pitch for singing. No organ was allowed, as it was regarded as an "instrument of Satan."
Early in 1877 an organ was installed and was not without opposition, as one of the Elders and his wife resigned.
The first recorded stipend for the minister was $500. Rev. Patterson retired on July 6, 1875, and died the following year. He is buried in the Dunsford Presbyterian Cemetery.
The church was destroyed by fire in November, 1899. An arrangement was made with the Baptist Church to hold services in their Church.
At that time, Alex Orr and Irvine Junkin were leaders in the Temperance Movement. Mr. Junkin had an 8-room house. The largest room was a general store. Here he also carried out his duties as postmaster. In 1899 this home, store and post office were set on fire in the night. The family barely escaped with their lives.
Saloon keepers didn't care much for the Temperance Movement.
After several meetings, John L. Read, grandfather of Ken, rose to his feet and moved "That a church known as Knox Church, be built on the Junkin Lot on the north side of the river" (where the fire had been) and said "I will guarantee it a free sight."
Mr. Blackwell from Peterborough was employed to draft plans and on September 17, 1900, Peter Grant was engaged to erect the new Church. The cornerstone was laid October 11, 1900, and the new church opened its doors March 17, 1901. Erection costs totalled $3500.
The steps from the basement opened into the church where the baptism font stands and the choir was along the platform. There was a red velvet curtain in front of the choir. The beautiful window at the front of the Church on the west wall was installed in 1913 in memory of John and Mary Braden.
In May, 1938, the congregation voted to extend the Church by moving the West wall 13 feet. A contract was awarded to John M. Grant for $1075. He was the grandson of Peter Grant who built the Church. There were anxious moments when the window had to be set back!
The work was finished by fall. Now the choir had ample room, the ladies an enlarged kitchen and the Sunday school a new room. The actual cost was $1203.13. Read Brothers donated the lumber and Ruthven Hay (Amy Read's father-in-law) donated the light fixtures.
The first wedding, performed by Rev. Smith, was for Mr. and Mrs. Bill Kelso. Shortly after, we joined with Rosedale Presbyterian Church to form a two-point charge.
The washrooms were installed in 1978 with holding tanks on the South side, as the town had no sewers or water. Carpentry work was done by Carl Anderson, electrical by Innis Ingram, plumbing by Jim Telford.
In 1991, the stained glass window at the entrance to the Church was installed, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Ross Forbert. The stained glass windows at the back of the Church above the inside doors were made by Joe Rasmussens. Doug Anderson built the coat closet at the front entrance to the Church. A new piano and organ were purchased in 1991.
The first manse on Sherwood Street was purchased from John and Janet Aiken for $600 on May 1, 1883. The present manse was built in Bobcaygeon Heights in 1989. The developer allowed a $20,000 down payment for the old manse leaving a balance of approximately $100,000.
In 1993, a Planning for the Future committee was formed. After many meetings, on Sunday, April 30, 2000, sod was turned for our new church hall. The next day the builders started.
During construction, many hours of volunteer labour were donated. Many of our church families provided lunches and coffee to the workers every day.
We now have a large hall complete with an elevator, a kitchen with new dishes and dishwasher, new chairs and tables, office and minister's study. Official dedication was Sunday, December 10, 2000.
Banners have been made and now grace the Sanctuary and hall. Donations from Crossbeat resulted in the construction of a stage/storage area in the hall. The carpentry was performed by Doug Anderson and David Boak. The staining was done by Bill Kennedy.
In July 2002, lightning struck the steeple and damaged the organ, security system and put a hole in our roof. A range hood with a fire suppression system for the hall kitchen along with other upgrades have been made to meet all fire regulations.
A beautiful stained glass window has been installed, donated by Marjorie Oliver in memory of her family. Two women's groups amalgamated, now known as Presbyterian Women.
In May 2000, Roberta Kennedy retired as organist and choir director after many years of dedicated service. Pat Carnegie filled this position in September of that year. In September 2004, Rob White replaced Pat as organist and choir director. In 2008, Janice Craig succeeded Rob as organist and choir director. Our current Choir Director, Ruth Eberts, began her service in June of 2013.
Since the first minister, we have had 22 ministers. Some stayed as long as 16 years, while the shortest stay was 1 year. Five ministers served in the first Church building, the others in our present building. Rev. Bryce Innis ministered in both and his wife laid the cornerstone for our present Church.
Let us give thanks to our forefathers who have gone before us. Make us grateful for our heritage. Make our faith and commitment as sincere, our worship as alive, our fellowship as deep as those who lived in other times.
Through the years I have clipped and kept many facts and figures of our Church. Forgive me if I have left out or made mistakes. To the many people who have encouraged me, a sincere thank you.
Jean Anderson, Fall, 2004