Remembering the Baptist Church
A Brief History of Buxton's
First Baptist Church
Information compiled by Shannon Prince & Margo Freeman
Interior of Buxton Baptist Church
Sometime prior to the year 1840, a small number of Baptists settled in different parts of Raleigh Township, Kent County, Ontario. Wherever there were two or three Christian families in a settlement, they would hold house-to-house prayer meetings. These services resulted in the organization of a church about the year 1850, meeting from house to, house, as they did in the days of St. Paul.
As settlers increased their numbers, a church was erected at Concession 11 on the Talbot Road, now commonly called the Middle Road. This church was erected on a plot of ground sold to them for a nominal sum of five shillings by Mr. and Mrs. George Hatter. The trustees were Alfred West, William H. Jackson, and Isaac Washington. Some of its deacons were George Hatter, Willis Hosey, and Joseph Burqes. Other charter members were Mrs. George Hatter, Mr. Jno Carter, and Mrs. Ellen Hosey.
This church was known as the South Buxton, or First Baptist Church, as Buxton was a tract of land consisting of 9,000 acres, extending north and south from Gore A (or the 7th Concession as we call it) to Lake Erie, and a blind line from east to west. Elder Lacy was perhaps the first pastor of this church. He carried on revival meetings and many newborn souls were gathered in the church.
Christian families living in and near the north-western portion of this tract of land, found it quite inconvenient to attend services in this church as often as they wished. There were no roads except the Talbot read, so they began holding meetings in a schoolhouse known as Shadd's School on Concession 7.
After a few years, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Moorehead donated a plot of land for the erection of a church on Concession 7, near the Drake Road. A log church was erected there in 1865. The deed was not issued until 1879; the names appearing thereon are Solomon Jones, Abram Shreve, Jordan Harrison. Some of its deacons were Gabriel Green, William Isaac Rhue, Solomon Jones, Thomas Rhue, and George B. Shreve. Charter members include Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Moorehead and daughter Christine, Mr. and Mrs. William Isaac Rhue and daughters Sarah and Angeline, Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Jones, Mrs. Elizabeth Harding, Mr. Jno Jackson, Mrs. Boswell, and Mrs. Mitchel. This church was known as Second Baptist.
As the result of a great revival meeting by Rev. Hubbs and the faithful members of this church, many sinners were drawn into the fold. Sometime prior to 1869, Sabbath Schools were organized in each of these churches. As time moved on the membership in both churches was reduced by death and removals. It was now that Enos Johnson donated a parcel of ground in a more central location (being lots 18 and 19 Clinton St.), in what became a portion of the village of North Buxton, providing these two bodies would unite and build a church on the donated site. This was accepted and consummated in January 1883 through the efforts of Rev. P. T. Stanford. The Cornerstone was laid out May 28, 1883 and the dedication service was preached in the B.M. E. church by Elder T. F. Scoff of Chatham. The building was erected and worshipped in, though not finished inside for a few years.
In spite of occasional setbacks, hard times, difficulties of travel, etc. the church flourished. There were regular revivals, which built up the church membership. At one time, the membership was well over one hundred, but a goodly number of them, were nonresident, as many had moved away, chiefly to the United States, without calling for their church letters. The present revised roll is between fifty and sixty members.(Information contained here is circa 1960, present roll is now 3 active members.)
Exterior of Buxton's Baptist Church
1883 - land was donated by Enos Johnson to erect the First Baptist Church; cornerstone was laid out in May 28, 1883
1883 - the 43rd Anniversary of the Amherstburg Regular Baptist Association held their conference here in September; since the chapel was not completed, services were held in the B.M.E. Church; George B. Shreve was superintendent of the Sunday school there were 6 teachers and 64 attending
1883 - the first session of the Women's Home Mission Society was held in North Buxton with Mrs. E. W. Shreve as first President and organizer
After Emancipation - J.H. Washington was a successful traveling Missionary that was stationed here in North Buxton; he later died, was buried here in the cemetery and his tombstone was stolen
1883 - Rev. Richard Quarles (of Kentucky 1883-1889) secured the stained glass windows
1888 - Rev. Richard Quarles had the church plastered by Ned Harris; abelfry was built and a bell was placed in it; chairs took the place of long benches; a choir was organized by Hattie Rhue Hatchett
1889 - A Young People's society was organized by Mr. M. F. Hatchett
1893 - Rev. T. J. Henderson minister.
1902 - Rev G W Gordon minister 50 attending
1910 - Rev. Edison in charge and the church was tastefully decorated
1913 - no pastor; 70 in attendance
1917 - 1918 Rev. Peavy, 91 attending
1931- 1933 Rev. H. L. Talbot, 92 attending
1934 - no pastor, 89 in attendance; the doors are open and the Deacons take charge; few sermons since last pastor left
1941 - local Historian Dorothy was allotted $10 to compile the local history of the Association and the churches there in; books, after completion were to be sold for 50 cents and the monies given to the treasurer of the Association
1943 - North Buxton has organized a Cradle Roll (for newborns & young people who attended Sunday School) and Home Department (Missionary Society visited the elderly and shut-ins)
1945 - the North Buxton Union was inactive until September of 1944, but reorganized for the coming year
1949 - The church now had Explorers, C. G. I. T., and Mission Band
1957 - a building improvement drive was held
1959 - received an electric organ from Rev. & Mrs. W Gardner
1963 - church improvements - new floor completed, wainscoting for the auditorium, Bibles donated by nieces and nephews of the late Mr. & Mrs. M F Hatchett, a door for the vestibule was donated by the children of Mr. & Mrs. W J Shreve
1970 - auditorium was painted and paneled and the new red carpet was installed
1980 - received new electronic organ donated by Mr. Bryce Shreve
1997 - new sign erected and shrubs planted
1998 - celebrated 115th Anniversary in the Sanctuary and 148 years of Baptist witness in the Elgin Buxton Settlement
1998 - severe thunderstorm caused a large tree to fall across the front walk, damaging the roof, the wrought iron railings and the front steps.