Original Presbyterian Church

The first Presbyterian Church in Harvey Station, York Co., N.B., stood adjacent to the Harvey Settlement Cemetery across the road from the current Knox Presbyterian Church.  It was built in 1851 by Presbyterian settlers who came from Great Britain in 1837 on the ship, Cornelius.  Image courtesy of Jocelean Swan Hall (October, 2004).

The original Presbyterian Church was built approximately 6 kilometers from Harvey Station in what was known as Manners Sutton, across from where the current Knox Presbyterian Church is. This location was a more central place due to where the settlers had taken up residence.

The original church was a wooden structure with no basement. The foundation was made of stone and the sills were placed on the stones. A large stone was used as a step at the entrance door. The outside of the church was shingled but never painted.

On entering the church, there was a vestibule (entrance-way). On the right of this was a small room that was used to keep items that were needed by the church, lodges, etc. A stairway also went up from the vestibule to a balcony where people could sit for church services.

There were two doors going from the vestibule in to where the church services were held. In this part of the church, the walls were plastered and left white. Lights with reflectors were placed along the walls. The first lights were probably candles later to be replaced by kerosene lamps. the floor was bare boards.

There were three rows of seats which were bench type seats with backs on them. On the pulpit was an organ with a round stool and seats for the choir.

The church was heated by one of the large round stoves of that time called a “ram-down.”

This church building was used for many other community activities besides a place for worship. It was a place where they held concerts, pie socials, picnics, elections, Lodge meetings, and also an Agricultural Society met here and arranged for the farmers to buy their seeds through the Society.

A community cemetery was started beside the church. This is now known as the Harvey Settlement Cemetery and is located across the road from the current Knox Presbyterian Church.

Although the first church was not built until 1851, the first Presbyterian Congregation was organized on August 13, 1840. Services were first held in the homes. After a school was built, services were held in the school until the church was built.

At first, Harvey had three Presbyterian Denominations. There was the Old Kirk, the Free Kirk, and the United Presbyterian Kirk. The church built in 1851 was meant to be used by all three. The Rev. Alexander Smith conducted the first services.

The church was used until the present Knox Presbyterian Church was built. It was started in 1925 and completed and dedicated in 1927. A stone cairn has been placed on the site of the first church.

Source: Photo and description provided by Jocelean Swan Hall and Janet Swan Watson

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest: