3856 County Road 25, Morganston

Morganston United Church (1910)
Roll No. 1411-011-040-07500 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Gothic Revival Church

It isn’t difficult to find a Gothic Revival style church in Cramahe Township or indeed in Northumberland County or in the province of Ontario.

This style echoes the fine cathedrals of Europe and the many lovely churches in the United Kingdom, but ours are definitely the Upper Canada version. These churches were established based on the materials, manpower and expertise on hand, the weather, and the proclivities of the modest, hard working farmers who built their places of worship in their new land, to bind their communities together.

This church has been in private hands for decades but it is well maintained and is still a significant landmark in the tiny hamlet of Morganston.

It is first and foremost Gothic Revival in its architecture, with its steep peaks and exquisite Gothic leaded windows in the main building and tower.

It gives off a solid and substantial vibe and it was a church for close to 100 years. Now it is one among many which has lost its public raison d’être. The good news is that discussion in the 90s contemplating a tear down has now abated.

It is in a lovely rural setting and there is a warmth in the red brick that clads so many buildings in Cramahe, many from the brickworks of Joseph Keeler and his son who are credited with land development in the area.

It began as a Methodist church, over time became United and is now a private home.

History or Associative Value

The Morganston Methodist church is younger than many others in Cramahe Township. In fact the property on which it sits was bought and sold many times before Marcus Wesley Massey sold the land to the South of his house and store in the hamlet of Morganston, to the Trustees of the Methodist Church on 14 April 1910. The church was built and dedicated on 30 October 1910. It stands today as one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the township, now in private hands after a long career serving its community

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

3856 Highway 25, Morganston, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 8, Lot 17
The original Crown land grant for Concession 8, Lot 17 was among the earliest in Cramahe Township, occurring on 14 December 1798 when land went to Phyllis Grant (1782-1857). In that year each of the members of the Executive Council of Upper Canada (the governing body under Lieutenant Governor Simcoe) received for their services a land grant of 6000 acres for themselves and 1200 acres for each of their children. One of these Executive Councillors was Admiral Alexander Grant (1734-1813) of the Royal Navy, and Phyllis was one of his 11 daughters.

By 1822 Phyllis had married Alexander Duff (1770-1809). She sold Lot 17 on 23 January of that year to Thomas Dickson (1776-1825) of Queenston, near Niagara Falls. Dickson was Phyllis’s brother-in-law, being married to her older sister Archange (1780-1829).

By 1836 Thomas and Archange Dickson were dead and their only(?) daughter Mary Theresa Dickson (1814-1866) had moved to Britain. She married John Stewart Lyon (1808-1862) in London that year and the property in Cramahe Township placed in trust for herself and her new husband on 18 November 1836. One of the trustees was her uncle Walter Dickson (1776-1855). Walter Dickson is listed in the Land Office record for this transaction as a “Writer to the Signet”. This is a Scottish term for a solicitor, the “signet” being originally the private seal of the Scottish Kings. The second trustee was Richard Mackenzie (1780-1850), Deputy Keeper of the Signet. The Keeper of the Signet was the senior office in the Society of Writers of Her Majesty’s Signet, an association of Scottish solicitors. This office was ceremonial, the administrative functions of the Society being under the charge of the Deputy Keeper. The third trustee was Thomas Bushby (1793-1865), a Commander in the Royal Navy. The fourth was named Isaac Bayley (?-?). The final trustee was George Lyon (1805-1879), John Lyon’s brother.

Dickson, Bushby, Bayley, and Lyon sold the property to Hugh Bothwell (?-?) of Cramahe Township on 14 November 1844. No connection has been found between Bothwell and the previous owners of the property, but it is interesting that Cambria Center, New York is less than 20 km from Queenston, Ontario where the Dicksons resided.

Bothwell sold the property to Gilbert McMicken (1813-1891) of Queenston on 28 July 1845. He was the husband of Ann Theresa Duff (1808-1887), daughter of Phyllis Grant, the original owner back in 1798.

On 25 October 1848 Gilbert and Ann McMicken sold Lot 17 to Samuel Reddick (1824-1893) of Cramahe Township, a farmer married to Elizabeth H. Babcock (1824-1884, m. 1845). They had one son, Wellington (1850-1909), born in Cramahe.

Samuel Reddick sold the eastern half of Lot 17 to John Brien (1809-?). Little has been found about Brien, other than the facts that he was a resident of Cramahe Township and that his wife’s name was Mary. He soon (19 May 1854) sold his half of Lot 17 to John Henry Reycraft (1816-1901). Reycraft’s family consisted of wife Martha Jane Moore (1821-1891), and children Esther (1845-?), Joseph (1847-?), Eliza Jane (1848-?), William John (1848-1941), Martha (1853-?), and John George (1857-1927).

On 17 September 1892 ownership passed into the hands of John Henry Reycraft’s youngest son John George Reycraft. His wife was Annie Beamish (1867-1893, m. 1883) and their children were Ethel May (1886-1927) and Ida Flora (1891-1973).

John George Reycraft in turn sold the 100 acres in the eastern half of Lot 17 to John Alexander Anderson (1865-?) on 18 March 1899. Anderson was the proprietor of a general store. His first wife was Emma Jane McColl (1870-1901, m. 1891) by whom he had five children: Mabel Gladys (1893-1980), James William (1895-1898), Harry Milton (ca. 1900-?), Alta May (ca. 1900-?), and Mildred Alice (ca. 1900-?). His second wife was Maud Mary Bailey (1878-?, m. 1904) by whom he had another three children: Jean Elizabeth (1908-?), Margaret Beatrice (1910-?), and Francis Mildred (1912-?).

On 13 March 1909 The Anderson’s sold their property to farmer Marcus Wesley Massey (1849-1938). Massey’s wife was Mary Ann McKague (1852-1945), and they had seven children: William Fletcher (1875-1876), Clarence Wesley (1876-1968), Estella Grace (1880-1899), Frank Percival (1881-1938), William Albert (1885-1966), Mary Winifred (1888-1897), and Lilly Jane (1892-1988). Marcus Massey was the grandson of the brother of Daniel Massey (1798-1856), founder of what would become the Massey Ferguson Company, and great grandfather of Vincent Massey (1887-1968), the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada, and Raymond Massey (1896-1983), famous Hollywood actor. This means that Marcus was the second cousin of the father of the famous Massey boys.

Marcus Massey sold 1/8 acre just south of his house/store at the corner of what are now called Highway 25 and Morganston Road to the Trustees of the Methodist Church on 14 April 1910. The Morganston Methodist (later United) Church was built on this property, and dedicated on 30 October 1910.

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