St John's Anglican Church, Sandwich, Ontario

From The Township of Sandwich, Past and Present by Frederick Neal
published in 1909 by Frederick Neal, Sandwich, Ont.


When Michigan was ceded to the United States in August 1796, many people preferring to remain loyal to the old flag, moved to the south side of the river, Sandwich became the rendezvous and known to these early settlers as South Detroit.   Near the spot where the tower of St. John's Church now stands was erected a small log building which was used for a place of meeting for civil purposes, a school for children and on Sunday for a place of worship for the Protestants of the community.

On the land immediately adjoining was opened the first Anglican graveyard west of Niagara.   In this little building, Richard Pollard (who was six years Registrar of Deeds for the District of Hesse), as a Layman, held the services of the Church of England.   In the year 1802 he was ordained and became the first rector of the parish of Sandwich with missionary jurisdiction over the whole Western District.   In time records of many a family in the western counties of Ontario appear the name of Richard Pollard as the faithful priest who had baptised, married and committed to the dust many of their members, while over in Michigan the archives of St. Paul's Church, Detroit, tells us that it was he who founded our church in 1805.   As rector of Sandwich he was chaplain to the forces at Fort Malden, now Amherstburg.

The first church was built in 1807 and remained so until after the defeat of Commodore Barclay on Lake Erie in 1813 when the American General Harrison, landing in Amherstburg, passed up what is now known as the Malden Road in pursuit of Proctors Army, made a short halt at Sandwich where the Baby House became his headquarters, and the little Anglican Church a stable for the Kentucky Horse.   After the defeat of Proctor at the battle of Moraviantown and the death of Tecumseh the American army retreated as fast as it advanced and the little church that had proved a shelter for themselves and their steeds was now given to the flames by the Kentucky Mounted Rifleman.   This was in the month of September 1813.
St Bede the Venerable
St Bede window in the chancel of the present
St John's Anglican Church

Next Page - The Second Church in Sandwich, Ontario

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Christ Anglican Church
Amherstburg, Ontario
Anglican Churches of
Woodstock Ontario
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