CASE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES
THE CANADIAN ITINERANTS' MEMORIAL:
CONSTITUTING A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF METHODISM
From its Introduction into the Province,
till the Death of the Rev. Wm. Case in 1855
BY JOHN CARROLL.
“Tell ye your children of It. and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."
VOLUME 1 TORONTO: PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL ROSE,
AT THE WESLEYAN PRINTING ESTABLISHMENT 80 KING 8TREET EAST. 1867.
DEDICATION To the Ministers and Members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and to the various Methodist Bodies in Canada, this Book is modestly, but affectionately, inscribed in hopes that the remembrance of a common parentage may lead them to compromise their differences, and combine and economise their energies in one undivided phalanx, to urge forward, instrumentally, the glorious work of evangelization by their brother in the common faith, THE AUTHOR. Guelph March, 1867.
PREFACE. The following pages comprise a book so nondescript as to require, perhaps, an exposition of its character, mode of construction and object. It is not a history, in the ordinary sense of that term, much less a single biography, nor yet a bundle of biographies; but a biographical history. The primary design is to give a presentation of one particular public man, the Rev. William Case, and a secondary one, of all the Methodist Ministers and Preachers who have labored in the two Canada’s, from the first till the time to which the work comes down, all of whom we have, in one way or another, connected with Mr. Case. His life is the principal stream, the others are the tributaries.
The several biographies thus combined, when completed, constitute a history of Canada Methodism from its plantation in the now united Provinces of Eastern and Western Canada, till 1855. There is nothing peculiar in this feature. The biography of a succession of leading men in any community, whether secular or religious, will ever necessarily constitute a history of that community. This historical issue, however is the result rather than the design of the present work. It was by no means designed, when commenced to imply a reflection on the history written by my painstaking personal friend, the Rev. George Frederick Playter, recently removed from amongst us the first volume of which is already published, and the second, of which he lived to complete and left ready for publication, and which, it is to be hoped, will be given to the public by some means. Much less is our treatise designed to forestall the expected exhaustive work of the Bev. Dr. Ryerson, of whose intention we knew nothing when we began to write. Our humbler production, going first, we hope the researches it contains will contribute in some measure to enrich the pages of the more comprehensive history.
Although this work of ours has involved more labor and care, than anyone besides ourself will ever be able to appreciate, it has, notwithstanding, been written con amore. In writing it we have felt in some measure the pleasure referred to in the following extract: “One who was most successful in such a research has said, He who recalls departed ages back again into being, enjoys a bliss like that of creating." The bliss has been ours. Biography had always great attractions for the writer; and especially, since his conversion, religious biography. About the time he first began to take an interest in religion, he met with and read a volume of the “Preacher’s Experiences." His youthful mind was much fascinated with the exercises and adventures of those remarkable men. After that he steadily perused all the biographies of the itinerant preachers, European and American, published in the magazines and otherwise.
The first thought of writing anything of that kind himself occurred to his mind so early as 1834-35, when he travelled the old Matilda Circuit, where he met with “Atmore's Methodist Memorial," confined to the early English preachers. A few years after he perused with great pleasure the " Non-Conformists' Memorial," on which Mr. Atmore's work seems to have been modelled. Inquiries of the older people relative to the preachers they had had among them in former days, which was his constant habit, was prompted by a curiosity on that subject, and their answers and remarks were easily remembered without any memoranda. About the time he fell in with the latter of the two works above mentioned, he prepared a memorandum book, and began to make collections with a view to a Memorial of the Methodist Preachers who had labored in Canada, to be alphabetically or chronologically arranged.
Subsequent divisions in our provincial Methodism discouraged him, and he gave up the project. After one of the most embarrassing of those schisms was healed, some of his materials were embodied in a sketchy work with the title of “Past AND Present." That work, except a few copies in the author's possession, is out of print. It would now sell readily and a number of highly respectable friends of his have urged the issue of a new edition. But he felt a reluctance to perpetuate a work, a large part of which, from its very nature, was necessarily ephemeral.
About that time the idea of the present work presented itself to his mind. A kind of book which it was thought would preserve all the memorials referred to» and yet give them unity and a readable form.
He had no materials, for the private or interior life of Mr. Case furnished him by his immediate friends, or any permission to write such a life, a publication which was, by many, thought desirable. That is a field yet open to anyone who has the means of cultivating it. He has in no wise forestalled such a project but humbly imagines he may have put valuable materials within the reach of the biographer. As a public man, Mr. Case was the property of the community, and for taking the liberty of contemplating his public career, the author makes no apology. He has said nought but God of him and he thinks that the presentation of the example of his many public virtues and those of his contemporaries, is an act God in itself, and adapted to have a beneficial influence on all who contemplate those examples.
Although this book is called the Itinerant's Memorial, it is not restricted to them alone, but it preserves recollections of many others beside: such as local preachers, other officials, and private members of the church also, so far aa they connected themselves with the plan of the work, and materials were found for the purpose.
The book, it is confessed, does not fall under any existing literary category. It bears some resemblance in plan to Lady Huntington and her Friends but it is not strictly the same in form. If a model was adopted at all, it was Herodotus, "the story-teller of antiquity," who makes The Persian War Of Invasion the pilot on which all his scenes in ancient history are made to turn in his camera. This method, he thought would suit the miscellaneous and fragmentary character of the materials he designs to preserve. Mr. Case is made the central figure, and the others subordinate ones in the group, like Herodotus, he has divided his work into Books, not Chapters, and has numbered the paragraphs for convenience of reference. Like the Story Teller's, some of his episodes are rather long, especially in the “retrospective” part, but in neither case could it be helped.
Although this publication was long revolved in mind, it has been hastily written, and that, too, in the midst of multiplied other engagements — domestic, pastoral, and connexional.
The largest second half of this first volume has been written since the first half began to be printed. This, besides producing hurry, has, perhaps, led to some repetitions.
The author expects both his style and taste to be severely criticised. Punctilious people will censure him for not applying the title Reverend more to his ministerial subjects, but his own opinion is, that the frequent recurrence of little common-place prefixes mar the grand simplicity of such heroic characters, besides everyone will know that they were ministers, without bandying the title Rev. in every sentence. He allowed himself to be overruled by his Editor and Publisher in prefixing; 'Rev. William' to Case and his Contemporaries, which does not suit his ideas of simplicity, but the average judgment of readers will decide between them: Canada has had no Case in anywise likely to be confounded with Wm. Case.
It will be said that he has descended too often to trivial matters, and has related them in a style too familiar, or that such things should have been preserved alone in notes. His answer is, (1), he has not aspired to the dignity of history (2) that the incidents referred to were necessary to a just portraiture of the times of which he has written (3) and if necessary to be preserved at all, they might as well appear in the text as anywhere else, or even better. Notes call off the attention and where they recur often, which in this book they must have done, tease the reader’s mind.
One other objection will be but too justly, made — the style is more parenthetical than it should be in order to easy reading. This is largely characteristic of the author at all times, who early acquired the habit of crowding what he wrote about into a small space but it arose especially from the brevity he aimed at in this work, joined to the multifarious items he had to preserve, some of which came to light after a paragraph, or sentence was written and had to be thrust in somehow. Had he possessed all the materials it now contains at the beginning, it might have been, written more flowingly or if he had now time to re-write it, this characteristic might be secured. This is not now possible; and he will never be paid for the drudgery he has already performed, without taking on him that additional labor.
The ascetical will say the book is not religions enough, and that the writer should have moralized more, but as he has furnished the data, he thinks the reader will be lead to moralize for himself.
Others of an opposite character may think the records of such humble labors unworthy of preservation. Let such listen to the poet's indignant protest:
'While heroes claim the palm, and poets sing
The sapient statesman and the patriot king;
While beauty, genius, wit, by turns demand
The sculptor's labor and the painter's hand;
While wondering crowds loud acclamations raise.
And earth reverberates with the favorite's praise
Shall nobler Christians, in a Christian age
Have no memorial in affection's page?
Shall ceaseless vigils, persecution, strife.
The sacrifice of ease, of health, of life;
Have no distinction grateful? no record?
Yea I valiant champions of a heavenly Lord,
As long as patience, resignation, love,
Are prized by saints below and saints above,
To sufferers meek I who pain and scoff defied
Who warned and wept, endured and died,
Ye shall be honored”
To honor such men has been the author's design in the following pages. How far Ids manner of treating the subject has contributed to that worthy object he must leave to the public and posterity to say.
Of one other feature of this work the reader must be apprised before he enters on its perusal. The author has several times quoted himself, verbatim; or, rather, reproduced portions of Past and Present, as well as parts of miscellaneous articles in various periodicals. His justification is this: they wore originally his own, and he gave up the project of what was likely to be a paying edition of his former work, that some of the more sightly stones of the first structure might be brought into the new edifice.
The Analytical Index which follows will furnish the clue for tracing any particular person who may chance to be a special object of interest and inquiry to any one that consults the book. By this means a consecutive memoir may be compiled of any one of the Itinerants. This first volume ends with the year 1815; the second will come down to 1855.
The author, in conclusion, wishes to record his sense of obligation to the painstaking oversight of the Rev. Dr. Wood, who has kindly acted as Editor of the publication, while its pages have been passing through the press, by whose wise suggestions some blemishes have been avoided” Guelph, March 1867.
REV. WILLIAM CASE, AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
BOOK FIRST: MATTERS BEFORE MR. CASE'S ENTRANCE ON THE ITINERANCY.
1. On the twenty-seventh day of August, 1780, in the town of Swansea, on the Massachusetts sea-board, an event of much importance to two countries, the State of New York, but especially Canada, occurred, in the birth of a child, who was to do much in his own person for their religious and consequently material interests, but more by influencing others, being destined largely to sway and direct. That individual was the late Reverend and Venerable William Case, "the Father of Indian Missions in Canada."
2. His parents, it is surmised, belonged to that class of small farmers who then constituted the mass of New-England's rural population. From the best information we can get, the elder Mr. Case was a man in only moderate circumstances. We would have been glad to tell how far his son's future course was influenced by the moral and mental character of the parents, but have to confess ourselves without the desired information.
3. How much of his boyhood was spent in his Eastern birth-place, has not been ascertained. So also we are denied the pleasure of presenting those early out-croppings of future character so interesting to the curiosity and which justify the oft-repeated adage, that “the boy is father to the man." It is surmised at least, however, that his stay in that country must have covered his school-going days, New-England then, as well as now, was in advance of all other parts of the American Union, and of many other places besides in the matter of common schools, and William gave evidence that he had received a God common school education, by following the occupation of school-teaching in youth; by his ability to write printable letters and perform the duties of Secretary of Conference while yet young in the ministry, achievements utterly beyond the reach of many of his brethren in that day, notwithstanding they preached well; and by the interest he evinced both in primary and academic education during the whole of his ministry, embracing some part of it times when education was neglected and decried by many. As his children were somewhat numerous, William's father removed his family, it is thought, before the time of his son's majority, from the less productive veil and smaller farms of the “Old Bay State" to the more fertile lands of Central New York, then covered with a deqa and almost boundless forest The Rev. Dr, George Peck gave it as his opinion to the writer that the family settled first in the “town" (township) of Chatham, between Albany and Springfield. Thirty years afterwards we found relatives of Mr. Case scattered from Schenectady to Newark on the Erie Canal. In this region any man who could wield an axe would soon clear broad acres for himself. Here no doubt this young man acquired those habits of toil and of submission to privation which answered such important ends to him in his after course.
5. William”8 arrival at manhood found him there amid the inspiring grandeur of forest scenery; the rude and boisterous activities of frontier life and the primal elements of what is now one of the richest parts of the ”Empire State.” We have learned pretty directly that William’s youth was characterized by wildness and that his amiable heart and handsome person exposed him to some dangers from which he did not wholly escape.
6. The American Republic had now existed twenty years In that very short time, her population had been wonderfully augmented in the frontier States — from natural increase and foreign immigration, pushing its surplus members westward; or, rather, while the less adventurous remained in the older settlements, the more enterprising and adventurous tried their fortunes in the attempt to found new ones.
7. Many of these pioneers spread themselves in Western Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, — and further into the great valley of the Mississippi, laying the foundation of the now mighty States of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, while others reclaimed the wilderness parts of New York, and thence went on north-westward into the then territory o£ Michigan.
8. Immediately after the recognition of American Independence, the adherents of the Royal cause in the revolutionary struggle, the sturdy old Unity of the Empire Loyalists, from choice or necessity, withdrew from the territories of the new Republic, ten thousand of them seeking homes in the wilds of Canada, locating themselves along the dividing waters from Montreal westward along the St. Lawrence, Bay Quinte, Lake Ontario, Niagara River, Lake Erie, and Detroit River, to the foot of St. Clair. They coasted the entire way in row- boats, trailing them up the rapids of the St Lawrence by main strength, as draught animals did in after years or carried their effects on pack-horses through the wilderness which intervened between their abandoned dwellings in the old colonies and the country of their future homes. The toils and sufferings of their journey were incredible; and after their arrival at their journey's end, their labors and privations were great for many years. At first their milling was done by hand, or the grain was ground in steel "hand mills," furnished, along with three years' provisions, by the Government, one for each township, and after water-mills were built, they often coasted from fifty to a hundred miles to have their grinding done. Or, where the distance was not so great, their grain and flour were carried for many miles upon their backs.
9. But these ardent minded and enduring men under both Governments, must have the ordinances and controlling influences of the Christian religion, or their very energy of character will work their overthrow. How are they to be provided with those ordinances? Where shall the preachers be found, qualified in sufficient numbers, or with the required rapidity, to follow up this overflowing stream of human existence in its north and westward course? How shall the supply be kept up to the demand? Who shall defray the cost of their education, and their outfit when educated? Who pay the expenses of their journey? And who support them in adequate respectability and comfort to comport with their dignity and refinement when one has been settled in each locality? Who? Certainly not the new settlers themselves, whose thoughts and energies are too much occupied with the toils and shifts necessary to procure a scanty subsistence. The very same reason might be alleged why they have not the means, if they could be supposed to have the disposition, which few of them had, to secure so desirable yet so expensive an object. And, whatever may be said for the disposition and the ability of those in the older settlements of the Continent to conceive and carry out a scheme so vast and God, they certainly neither effected nor projected any such work. In this unparalleled and unprovided-for state of things it pleased an overruling Providence to make the necessary provision, and that the very best, considering the peculiar character of the case, for the religious wants of the pioneer settlers. He is not only about to provide them ““ Pastors after His own heart,” but pastors after the people's heart also— men who can sympathise with the class of persons to be benefited — in tastes, and share with them in hardships.
11. Two tiny slips from the yet young and vigorous stock of Methodism in Europe were transplanted into American soil, in 1766, apart from each other, the one by the Hecks and Embury in the city of New York, the other by Robert Straw-bridge in Maryland. In 1769, the first two Itinerant Lay Preachers were sent over by Wesley himself. Two years afterwards two more were sent by the same authority. Subsequently, other European Preachers came over, either by authority or at their own instance. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, or soon after, all those preachers returned to Britain, or entered the ministry of the different churches of the land, except the inviolable and indomitable Asbury, who marshaled the native American Preachers raised up in the country, of whom there were now a score or more, and led them on amid the din of war in a bloodless but more glorious conflict — a conflict, too, which was crowned with victories. They reported, at the close of the war, no less than fourteen thousand, nine hundred, and eighty-eight members in their widely-scattered societies.
12. In 1783, the Independence of the United States was acknowledged. In 1784, the English hierarchy for the Colonies being overthrown, and the Episcopal Church itself being in a state of complete disorganization, Wesley sent over the Rev. Dr. Coke to organize the American Methodist Societies into a compact connexion, with the style and all the appliances of a Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States was the result. Great God attended this measure. Up to 1790, however, the labors and successes of the new church had been confined to the country south of the city of New York, with the exception of the city of Albany and a few intermediate places on the Hudson.
13. About the year just mentioned, or a little before, Freeborn Garrettson, with a band of ardent young preachers, was commissioned by Bishop Asbury to introduce Methodism into the country up the North River, east and west, as for north as Lake Champlain. Six circuits were the fruits of the first year's efforts, extending from New Rochelle to the Lake above named. One of his nine young men was Darius Dunham a name afterwards celebrated in Canada.
14. In many of the new settlements in which the gospel was introduced by the Methodists, since the organization of the American Methodist Church, the first laborers who prepared the way for the regular Itinerants, were private members of the church, or local preachers, who had emigrated from older places, in common with others, and who when they arrived at their new homes, with a zeal which characterized all Methodists in that day, sought the spiritual God of their neighbors, by holding prayer meetings, exhorting, and preaching as they were able. This was particularly true of Canada, among whose early settlers, whether "U. E.'s," discharged soldiers, or immigrants from the old country, there were several Methodists. Thus in 1760, “a Methodist local preacher, named Taffy, commissary of the 44th regiment, came to Quebec," and preached in that city while his regiment remained there. In 1785, the Hecks, some of the Emburys, and John Lawrence, settled in Augusta, and held a class meeting among themselves. In 1788, Col. Neale, of whom more hereafter, preached and formed a class near Niagara; and Lyons, an exhorter from the States, and McCarty, a converted Irishman, a Whitfield Methodist, held meetings under many difficulties in the Bay of Quinte country, until McCarty was made away with in a mysterious manner. These particulars arc to be found in Playter’s History.
15. In 1790, the never-to be-forgotten William Losee, not succeeding to the satisfaction of his ardent mind on the Champlain circuit, to which he had been sent at the beginning of the previous Conference year, and being on an elevation where he could look down into the valley of the Sf. Lawrence and having, furthermore, relations in the British Province which comprehended that valley, as well as possessing early proclivities towards the British Government, asked leave to explore that country, and received permission from Bishop Asbury, or Elder Garrettson, "to range at large” for the ensuing Conference year, (1790-91). He crossed the St Lawrence, certainly somewhere below Matilda, (and probably as far down as St. Regis), for he preached in Matilda on his way westward, also in all accessible places as far up as the Bay of Quinte. The first person known to be converted through the instrumentality of his preaching was a young relative of the preacher, a Joshua Losee who found the peace of God while wrestling in an agony of prayer in a lumber shanty one Sunday, while his fellow workmen were away. This was on a point of land on the American side of the river and so great was his rapture, that, to use his own language relative to his ecstasy, "You might have heard me shout across the St Lawrence." Another of his early converts in that township was an ignorant, wicked young man named Joseph Brouse, known many years afterwards among the people as “Uncle Joe Brouse.” He was struck by the power of God while in the act-of making making derision in a religious meeting, in answer to Losee's prayer, who on seeing his misconduct, lifted his eyes and hands to heaven and cried out, "Smite him, my God. My God, smite him!” He fell like a bullock under the stroke of the butcher's axe, and writhed on the floor in agony, until the Lord in mercy set his soul at liberty. Other early converts in that region were, Michael Carman, Peter Brouse, and John Van Camp. Farther up, Losee found a people prepared for the Lord. Paul and Barbara Heck, among the primal founders of the New York Methodist Society, as also John Lawrence, who had married the celebrated Philip Embury's widow, and Samuel Embury, Philip's son, who became the first leader of that class, as we have elsewhere shown, were now in the township of Augusta, in the neighborhood of the "Big Creek," since 1785. The leading subject of our treatise, Mr. Case, no mean authority, says of the then religious state of the Province; — "The only ministers in the country, I believe, were Rev. Mr. Bethune, of the Scotch Church, in Lancaster, Rev. Mr. Stuart, of Kingston, Mr. Langhorn of Bath, and Mr. Addison, of Niagara. Perhaps there was a Lutheran minister in the Dutch settlement in Matilda, and another at the Bay of Quinte. Besides these, I cannot learn there were any others; so that the settlements from the Lower Canada line to Fort Maiden, a distance of about 450 miles, were mostly without religious instruction and throughout all those settlements religious feelings were found among the few, and fewer still attended to the religious duties of family devotion. Some families there were who had been members of Mr. Wesley's society in Ireland. The names I recollect are Detlor, Heck, Embury, Dulmage, and Lawrence. Some of these belonged to the first Methodist society in New York.
16. The next year, 1791-2, the memorable year of the venerable Wesley's death, and the year of the enactment of the Constitutional Act for Upper Canada, William Losee received a regular designation in the Minutes of the New York Conference to "Kingston," his circuit standing in connection with the renowned Jesse Lee's first New England district! The Conference which appointed him sat in Albany, New York, May 26, 1791. So soon as the ice would bear his horse, he crossed the dividing waters at Cape Vincent having come through a trackless wilderness, a journey of weeks. He soon organized a circuit around the shores of the Bay of Quinte, not forgetting to visit his friends along the banks of the St. Lawrence, and, we have a right to believe, those in the Niagara country also.
17. About the same period of which we are writing, Methodism entered what is called the “Lake Country," so called from its comprising several beautiful collections of water, severally from ten to thirty miles in length, most of them designated by euphonious Indian names, such as Owasco, Cagugu, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayandaigua, and the like. This southern side of the State of New York was reached by the pioneer itinerants from Pennsylvania, through the valleys of Wyoming and Susquehanna. Thus was the country in which the Case family resided, becoming gradually surrounded, and permeated by religious influence through the instrumentality of Methodism.
18, We are sorry Mr. Case kept no journal, or at least that none has come into our hands. This, with his prevailing silence with regard to himself, has left us in ignorance of the human instrument, and the particulars of the great turning point in his life, namely, his “translation out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son." He simply says in his Jubilee Sermon, “I was converted in February, 1803”. He was then twenty-three years of age. From some vague recollections of circumstances casually recited by those who had knowledge of those early times, the author received the impression that his newness of life in Christ began in a revival, which imparted coincidently the same blessing: to several other young men in the vicinity, who also entered the ministry, some of whose names will occur as his coadjutors in the work before we have done.
19. Methodism in that stage of its progress and history was characterized by glowing enthusiasm and tireless activity. Every particle of talent among its votaries was called into immediate and constant requisition. In two short years after his conversion, namely, in 1805, Mr. Case had passed through the subordinate grades of exhorter (then thought to be an indispensable preliminary link, and very justly, in view of the general rawness of the candidates), and local preacher, and was recommended to the New York Conference, which then comprised the whole of the State of New York, some adjacent parts of New England, and the whole, of Upper and Lower Canada, in which Provinces, particularly the former, he was to spend the greater part of his life.
20. It will be our duty to devote a paragraph or two to the religious state of that country to which he was about to repair. Methodistically considered at least. And here, as our work is so largely biographical, we must present what we have gleaned relative to the first agent whose time while in the Province was exclusively devoted to the plantation of Methodism.
21. Where William Losee was born, or brought up, curious as we may feel about the pioneer-preacher, we have not the means of determining. The first information we have of him is in the General American Minutes of his having been “received on trial” for the ministry. This was at commencement of the Conference year 17890. The session of Conference took place in the city of New York, May 28th, 1789. He was enrolled among Garrettson's pioneer band of young men, and designated to “Lake Champlain” along with David Kendal], as his senior colleague. The next year his name appears in the Minutes among those “Continued on trial” but it does not appear as appended to any station, nor does his last year's circuit appear, at least by that name. It was during the Conference year, beginning October the fourth, 1790, that he was allowed to “range at large” and came on the exploring tour to Canada above described. He crossed, as we have surmised, at St. Regis passing up the north-western branch of the St. Lawrence, preaching in Matilda — cheering, mayhap, by the way the little coterie of German-Irish Methodists, the Hecks, and Lawrences, and Emburys, in the township of Augusta, beyond the “Big Creek" — and going on to re-animate the adherents of Lyons and McCarty in the “Bay country,"
22. Losee has been described as being at the period at which we write, about twenty-eight years of age, rather tall and active, — and, despite a shrivelled arm, an agile and fearless horseman, usually riding upon the gallop. As a preacher he was more hortatory than expository. He was impassioned, voluble, fearless, and denunciatory, cutting deep and closely, and praying God to “smite sinners”! He was, probably, more awakening than consolatory; and more of a John the Baptist, with a temporary, preparatory mission, than one adapted to build up a permanent cause, as the issue will most likely show.
23. His labors the first year, seem to have resulted in very extensively signed petitions, which were forwarded by his own hand to the Conference which sat in New York, May 20th, 1791, asking for his re-appointment. The prayer of these petitions was granted, and he was re-appointed — entering the Province, as we have seen by crossing the ice so soon as it would bear his horse, which he had not brought with him in his first journey, — having traversed the forests of the Black River country, guided by the tributaries of the Mohawk, till he surmounted the water-shed between the two great valleys; and then traced those of the Black River to it mouth.
24 His circuit was named from the then village of Kingston. it included all the settlements, fifty or sixty miles each way, east and west from Kingston. He reported to Conference at the end of the year, at least five classes, some of which he organized for the first time, and others he may have only reorganized, having substantially existed before. They would rank, perhaps, according to priority, as follow: — Augusta class first, the Niagara class second, Adolphustown third, though the first regularly formed, next Earnestown, and lastly Fredericksburg; these included 165 members.
25. The next year, he and Darius Dunham, were appointed to supply the work in Canada, and it was divided into two circuits, Cataraqui and Oswegotchie both of them designated by formidable Indian names. Cataraqui was used interchangeably with Kingston, as the former was the ancient name of the place; and Oswegotchie was named from a river and fort on the American side of the St. Lawrence, near where Ogdensburg now stands, bearings that name — although the labors of the preachers were bestowed on the Canada side. Dunham had special charge of the former circuit, Losee of the latter; yet, as Mr. D. alone was in full ministerial orders, he probably sometimes exchanged with the other for the purpose of dispensing the ordinances. At the close of this year, 255 members were returned for Cataraqui, and 90 for the other — 345 in all.
26. These men and their circuits disappear from the list of appointments in 1793-4. Dunham and the country appear again, but Losee never. What became of the well-remembered proto-preacher of Canada? Playter gives an answer at once frank and touching, and likely authentic. We will not mar his account: — "The cause was never published except in conversation. It reflects no shame on the man, and yet thereby he was unable to perform the duties of his station. To give the light in this connection is better than to leave the matter in darkness, and to allow scope for speculation or suspicion of after writers, and of future prying inquisitiveness. He was the subject of that soft but powerful passion of our nature, which some account our weakness and others our greatest happiness. Piety and beauty were seen connected in female form then as well aa now, in this land of woods and waters, snows and burning heat. In the family of one of his hearers, and in the vicinity of the Napanee river, where he formed the third society, was a maid of no little moral and personal attractions. Soon his attention was attracted; soon the seed of love implanted in his bosom; and soon it germinated and bore outward fruit. In the interim of suspense, as to whether he should gain the person, another preacher came on the circuit" (his senior in office, Dunham), “visits the same dwelling, is attracted by the same fair object, and finds in his heart the same passion. The two seek the same person. One is absent on the river St. Lawrence, the other frequents the blest habitation never out of mind. One, too, is deformed; the other, a person of desirable appearance. Jealousy crept in with love; but at last the preference was given, and disappointment like a thunderbolt overset the mental balance of the first itinerant missionary of Canada. He became entirely unfitted for the constant and laborious duties of his ministry. His condition was doubtless made known to the Bishop, who kindly and quietly dropped him from the itinerant list. After the balance of his mind was restored, he left the Province, returned to the United States, and after a time he engaged in trade in a small way in the city of New York," — an inglorious termination, rather, of a heroic career. The writer has personally heard tradition confirmatory of Mr. Playter's account] nor does he wonder that these ardent, and not too much experienced young men, were so smitten with one, in youth, who when the writer saw her, at the age of sixty, was still fascinating — much as he deplores the result to poor Losee, he did not, however, wholly cease to be useful, but continued to preach in a local sphere, and after some years, returned to visit his friends in the Bay country, and gave them some arousing sermons. We return from this episode, and resume the thread of our brief annals.
27. Dunham and the local laborers, several of whom, such as Roblin, German, and the Steels, had been raised up, probably laboured od during the Conference year of 1793-4, as the numbers at the close of that year, for the two circuits, the “Lower" and the “Midland,” as they are called, stood at 332.
28; Three preachers appear in the Minutes of 1794-5, for Canada, namely, the “Elder," Darius Dunham and James Coleman, specially designated to the "Lower Circuit," and Elijah Woolsey to the “Upper." In 1795, there is a return of three Circuits — the Oswegotchie, the Bay of Quinte, and Niagara, with 483 members. Four preachers are appointed for the Conference year 1795-6, Sylvanus Keeler being employed in addition to the names given for the previous year. In 1796, they return 474 members. Keeler is discontinued, Woolsey removed, and Samuel Coate and Hezekiah C. Wooster, usually known as “Calvin Wooster,” sent in their places. In 1797, they return 795 members, but we cannot find the stations for Canada, or the appointments made at the Conference, although the ministers appear in the list of “elders," and are stationed in no other part of the work. Most likely the same men were on the same ground as the year before. Wooster was in Canada we know, and a great revival of the work of God took place under his labours. It began in the spread of sanctification among the members. No wonder, therefore, that the published returns for the next Conference, gave 899 members for Canada. At the Conference of 1798, Dunham, Samuel Coate, and Coleman were continued; Wooster went home to die in glorious triumph; and Michael Coate, a brother to Samuel, took his place in the Province. They report a decrease of thirty, the first reported for Canada, the result of the “sifting” after the revival, in 1797. Still they have the Godly number of 869. At that Conference Michael Coate removes, and Joseph Jewell comes on, to take charge of the whole as “Presiding Elder." The next Conference, held in New York, June 19, 1800, they have doubled the cape of another hundred, and report 996 members. At that Conference, Dunham locates, having travelled twelve years; Samuel Coate goes out of the country; Keeler is called out again; and four new names appear in the Canada field, namely, Joseph Sawyer, William Anson, James Herron, and Daniel Pickett, seven labourers in all. A stronger staff than the Province ever had before. They return at the Conference of 1801, as members 1,159 souls, an increase of 163. The Conference distributes the work into five Circuits, and manns them with Jewell, Samuel Draper y Sawyer, Seth Crowell, Keeler, Pickett, Anson, Jas, Aikins John Robinson, and Caleb Morris — five new names, and ten in all. They report in 1802, fifteen hundred and two members. At that Conference, Jewell, Robinson, Pickett, Sawyer, Keeler, and Crowell, remain in the Canada work; and Thomas Madden Peter Vannest Nathan Bangs, and N. U, Tomkins, take the places of those whose names we miss. In 1803, they report no increase, and the number stands at a round sixteen hundred. This year, but nine laborers are appointed by the Conference, although there may have been another under the Presiding Elder. Jewell removes, and the District is intrusted to Robinson who proved himself scarcely worthy of the trust, as we shall see in the sequel Keeler, Sawyer, Bangs, and Madden are still on the ground, and we welcome Samuel Howe, Reuben Harris and Luther Bishop, who are strangers. Although their standard-bearer has owed faintness, they present at the Conference of 1804, an increase of fifty nine — total, 1,649.
29. Now, a joyful event occurs to the Methodists in the Province; Samuel Coate who is so favourably known to our readers, takes the District, and marshals under him, on seven circuits, nine God men and true, among whom we read one name new to us, but now known to fame; this is no other than the then rising Martin Ruter, afterwards Doctor Ruter. Harris is gone, but Anson always acceptable, is back again. They report at the Conference of 1805, which is the real starting point of our biographic history, seventeen hundred and eighty seven members. Henceforth, we must give fuller particulars.