Rectors of St John's Sandwich 1814-1909

From The Township of Sandwich, Past and Present by Frederick Neal
published in 1909 by Frederick Neal, Sandwich, Ont.
Wall cross above alter, St Johns

Again referring to the first rector, Mr. Pollard, Mr. Hind has found an entry in the parish records which is as follows:   "The Rev. Richard Pollard of Sandwich was absent from that place from February 1814 to June 1815, on account of the war, and was appointed and sent to Earnestown, on the Bay of county, during that period.

Mr. Pollard says that each visit to the garrison at Amherstburg from Sandwich cost him £6 and three days time, and he received for his services as chaplain to the forces £100 per year.

Mr. Pollard was followed by the Rev. Robert Short in 1814, who continued rector of St. John's till 1827.   He was unmarried, but later married Miss Maria Forsythe of this town (Sandwich).   He went to Lower Canada when, after serving in several missions, he died in 1879 at Montmorenci.

Then came the Rev. Edward Jukes Boswell from 1827 to 1828, when he was transferred to London and became the first missions stationed in that now Cathedral City, preceding immediately the Rev. Benjamin Cronin, who became the first bishop of the Diocese of Huron on its separation in 1857.

The Rev. Wm. Johnson came from the West Indies to Amherstburg. and then to Sandwich as the teacher of the grammar school, 1828, and later was ordained to the ministry, and continued rector till his death, which took place September 5, 1840. It was during his incumbency and in August. 1838, that Col. Prince and family came to Sandwich, and this was followed by the first square pew put in the church. The family consisted of six members and there was not a vacant pew or place to put one, except the space between the pulpit and the front pew, and it was arranged that Mr. Prince might have his pew built there, and this was done; quite an addition in every way to the little church. The family was most exemplary in its attendance at church, and its influence was felt far and wide. Mr. Prince: was one of the wardens from 1834 to 1836, when he became the member of Parliament for Essex.

The Rev. Thomas Earl Welby came as the successor to Mr. Johnson; he was a major in the Army. and had been an officer of the 13th Light Dragoons in India. He was an officer during the rebellion of 1837 at Brantford and had a fine estate and large private means. Mr. Welby was the finest type of an English officer and gentleman and belonged to one of the oldest families in England, antedating the Conquest. With his sense of duty as a soldier, and his great regard for his high office as a clergyman of the Church of England, he was soon an active, zealous and much-beloved pastor. Owing to circumstances he was called home to England, and left us in 1842, but he left to the church the rectory he had provided for himself on the bank of the Detroit River and which has been used by the different rectors who have since succeeded him. Not contented with the work he could do about town, Dr. Welby extended his efforts into the country and with the assistance of his late friend, Col. Sparke, he founded what after- church was first built on the Talent Road, known at that time as the wards became the mission of St. Stephens, Sandwich West. This Irish Settlement and among those who took part in its erection were George Vollans, Edmund Taylor, Robert Nicholson, Richard Walker, John Jessop and Messrs. Robinson and Bennett.

In 1850 Rev. Thomas Earl Welby was appointed Archdeacon of George in the diocese of Capetown. On Ascension Day, 1862, he was consecrated at Lambath Palace Chapel, Second Bishop of St. Helena. He was 37 years Bishop of St. Helena and died on the feast of the Epiphany 1899, being killed by a fall from his carriage in the 89th year of his age. His diocese included the islands of St. Helana, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean, and formed part of the ecclesistical Province of South Africa.

In 1843 came the Rev. Wm. Ritchie, who remained till 1851, when he went to West Guilliambury, County of Simcoe; he with the Rev. Mr. Leitch, came from the Presbyterian Church to our Communion, and was ordained by Bishop Strachan, the first Bishop of Toronto, in 1843, and appointed at once to Sandwich.

The Rev. E. H. Dewar came in 1853. While rector of St. John's, he succeeded in founding a church in Windsor - All Saints-which has now a large and influential congregation, fine church buildings and a well-trained surplus choir the present rector being the Rev. Rural Dean Chadwick. Mr. Dewar's ministry ceased at Sandwich in 1857 and devoted all his energies to the building up the parish of All Saints. In 1859 he resigned and became rector of Thornhill, which parish he faithfully served until his death in the autumn of 1862.

In addition to his other duties in 1856 the Rev. Mr. Dewar published a monthly paper called "The Churchmans' Friend."

The Rev. John Hurst succeeded Mr. Dewar from 1859 to 1863. He also conducted services in All Saints, Windsor, in addition to his work here and in 1863 he resigned his charge at St. John's and continued as rector of All Saints until 1873 when he ceased his ministry in that important parish and went to England where he became secretary of the Colonial and Continental Church Society. He became Vicar of St. Marks, Tollington Park, London, in 1881, and was appointed rector of St. Swithin's Church in 1892. He died February 26th. 1903.

The Rev. Francis Gore Elliott succeeded Mr. Hurst. He was a native of the County of Essex. eldest son of Col. Matthew Elliott, of "The point," below Amherstburg, one of the most prominent men in is Majesty's service in the early days. He studied for the church in Montreal and was ordained by Bishop Strachan. His first care was in the Township of Colchester. He was rector of St. John's from 1863 to 1879. It is told of his father that he was the means of saving Gen. Proctor from being shot by Tecumseh at Moraviantown by throwing up his rifle.

The Rev. Richard W. Johnstone followed from 1879 to 1887. He was born at Tulah, Ireland, in 1835, entered Trinity College, Dublin, as a divinity student and ordained a deacon by Bishop Cronyn, in Londen, Ont., in 1859, and a priest in 1862. Serving in various parishes he became rector of Sandwich where he served eight years. He was superanuated in 1893. He was a man of most scholarly attainments and genial disposition. He died at Fort Gratiot, Mich., February 24, 1906, aged 71 years. His remains were interred in St. John's graveyard.

Rev. Duncan N. Hind, the present rector, succeeded Mr. Johnstone and entered upon his appointed duties August 10, 1887. Mr. Hind was born in Toronto June 24, 1853, and educated in King's College, Nova Scotia. He passed several years in the Northwest on the C. P. R. survey, and returning to Nova Scotia was ordained by the late Bishop Burney in 1879. Mr. Hind is a son of the late Professor Henry Y. Hind. Since assuming the rectorship of St. John's Parish he has succeeded in making many improvements, being very ably assisted in all his undertakings by his parishioners. Among the improvements above mentioned being the new brick Church House erected in 1906.

Next Page - 1903 Centennial of St John's Anglican, Sandwich