churches


The north-south streets at the eastern end of Deseronto are numbered, like those in many North American towns. We have First Street, Second Street, Fourth Street and Fifth Street, but Third Street is nowhere to be seen.

Numbered streets on map of Deseronto from Bing

Well, that’s actually not quite true: you can see it in the Archives.

Here is a detail of a plan of the town made in about 1895:

Third StreetYou can see Third Street in the middle of the map and there’s also a Sixth Street on the far left. As you can see, Third Street was never a very long road, stretching only from Main Street down to the flour mill on Water Street.

On this day in 1896 (the Victoria Day holiday), most of this side of town went up in flames, destroying docks and many buildings. Newspapers across North America reported on the fire. This clipping is from the May 27th 1896 edition of the Daily Public Ledger of Maysville, Kentucky:

Daily Public Ledger report on Deseronto fire of 25 May 1896

Fire destroyed two-thirds of the east end of the town of Deseronto, Ont., and nearly a hundred families are homeless. The Rathbun Co.’s big flour mill, storehouse and elevator, the shingle and lumber docks, the Roman Catholic church and about one hundred dwelling houses were burned. Most of the houses were occupied by workmen. The total loss will exceed $300,000.

The original Roman Catholic Church of St. Vincent de Paul stood on the north side of Dundas Street in this part of Deseronto. The church had been built in 1883 at a cost of over $4,000. Herbert A. Osborne took this photograph of it in around 1895:

St. Vincent de Paul church, c.1895

When the church was rebuilt, it was located further west; still on the north side of Dundas Street but away from the more industrial areas of the town. It was completed in November 1896.

Unlike the church, it appears that Third Street was never rebuilt after the fire. By the time the map below was made for the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway in 1912, the road  had vanished.

Detail of 1912 map of the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway

A neat example of history affecting geography!

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Rev. Creeggan's communion set

In August the Archives was contacted by Avril Sullivan of Cranbrook, British Columbia, who had found an interesting item at a local garage sale. It was a boxed portable communion set engraved with the words “To Rev. J. Creeggan from the Guild Tyendinaga June 26, 1927”. Avril was willing to send the  box back to this area and wanted to know if it would be of value to the Archives.

Alfred Henry Creeggan was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1871 and was ordained as a deacon in the Anglican church in 1894. He was appointed to the Mission of Tyendinaga in 1903 and stayed there until 1927, with the exception of the period between 1914 and 1919, when he served as chaplain for the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. He was appointed as the Rector of Gananoque in May 1927 and died there on July 16th, 1933. It seems that this set was a gift from the women of the Tyendinaga Guild (now the Mohawk Guild) on his departure from the parish.

Rev. Alfred Henry Creeggan

Photograph of Rev. Creeggan from the Journal of the Provincial Synod, 1919

We do hold some objects like this in the Deseronto Archives: notably some materials from the former Anglican church of St. Mark’s in Deseronto, but generally we collect written and photographic items rather than museum-type objects and our policy is only to collect materials relating to Deseronto. As the connection with the Parish of Tyendinaga was so strong in this case, we contacted The Venerable Bradley D. Smith, the current Rector, to see if the box might be better placed there.

Father Brad was able to explain the ‘J’ in the inscription: the Rector was known as ‘Jack’ when he lived around here. [It should be noted that Creeggan’s son was called Jack – and was also a clergyman, so perhaps the set is connected to him.] He also suggested that as the communion set was still in good condition, it could be used in the parish by those people who are licensed to administer Communion to parishioners who are unable to leave their homes. None of these licensed individuals currently own their own communion sets.

Avril Sullivan, the owner of the set, was delighted with this planned use of Rev. Jack Creeggan’s gift from the Guild and is sending it back to the parish where it was presented to him. Now the only mystery is how it ended up in British Columbia!

Inscription 'To Rev. J. Creeggan from the Guild Tyendinaga, June 26, 1927'

Did you miss the chance to explore Deseronto’s Doors Open sites on May 28, 2011? Or perhaps you weren’t able to visit all of them?

Fear not! We’ve made all the Deseronto site brochures available here for you to look at. Just click on the images below to get a large version that you can print off or read online.

Deseronto Cemetery [site 22]
Camp Rathbun [site 23]
St. Mark’s Hall [site 24]
Grace United Church [site 25]
Public Works Garage: former aircraft hangar [site 26]
Naylor’s Theatre [site 27]
Deseronto Post Office [site 28]
Deseronto Town Hall [site 29]
Rathbun Memorial Park [site 30]
McGlade Funeral Home [site 31]
Foresters’ Island [site 32]
Former industrial sites [site 33]
Church of the Redeemer [site 34]
St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church [site 35]
Founding of Deseronto [site 36]

Deseronto map We’ve got a group of Women’s Institute members coming to visit Deseronto next week. The Archives won’t be open, as they are coming on a Tuesday, but we have put together a small exhibition for the group to see. They will also be having a look around the town, so we have also made a brief tour guide which pinpoints some of the significant buildings, past and present, including photographs and descriptions. It seems that this might be of interest to other visitors to Deseronto and it is now available to download.

Detail of quilt made by the Steady Gleaners

Detail of quilt made by the Steady Gleaners

The photograph shows a detail of a large signature quilt (sometimes known as friendship quilts) which was made by a group called the Steady Gleaners, members of the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer in Deseronto. The quilt bears the date of its creation: 1894. The Steady Gleaners seem to have been a fund-raising group, perhaps raising money for missionary activities. This quilt may have been made for such a purpose.

Photographs of the top and bottom halves of the quilt have been put into our Flickr collection and the names of all the women whose names are stitched onto it can be seen there. The president of the society, Mrs Robert John [Fanny Gertrude] Craig, was the wife of the Presbyterian minister of the church and the daughter of Hugo Burghardt Rathbun (1812-1886) and his wife Louise (née Storm). The signature of her daughter, Gertrude, also appears on the quilt. Mrs Craig would have been 41 when this quilt was made; her daughter was 15.

One of the clever things about putting the Deseronto picture collection online with Flickr is the ability to annotate the photographs. If you go to Flickr by clicking on the image below you will see that each of the cast members of this Methodist Church concert has their name attached to their face in a note.

Anyone with a Flickr account can add to photos in this way (signing up for an account is free), so anybody with additional information about the photographs can annotate them or comment on them within Flickr. You can see an example of this on a photo of a crashed aircraft in the Deseronto Archives collection (although I’m not sure how useful this particular annotation is!). It would be good to get fuller names for some of the married women in this photograph, who are mainly identified by their husbands’ names (e.g. Mrs Walter Scott).

The Methodist Church in Canada merged with the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada. The church hall of Deseronto’s United Church was named Stover Hall in honour of Percy Stover and his wife, Gertie (née Snider), who are two of the individuals in this photograph.