New Mills Pastoral Charge:

New Mills Presbyterian Baptism register

New Mills Presbyterian Baptism register

Most of the early settlers in the New Mills area were from Scotland and belonged to the established Church of Scotland. However, the first minister sent to the area was the Rev. James Waddell, a Scottish Secession Minister who was inducted into the New Mills and Bathurst Charge in 1832. It was during Waddell’s ministry that the first Presbyterian Church in New Mills was built. Support for the secession cause was not strong enough in New Mills and Bathurst to support a minister permanently and Mr. Waddell left in 1834 and it would be thirteen years before another permanent minister was procured.

In 1847, the Rev. Angus McMaster, another Secessionist (or Free Church minister), accepted the call extended to him by New Mills and began his thirty year minister there. His congregation was very scattered and included Point La Nim and Escuminac. Each Sunday he preached in both English and Gaelic (since some of the transplanted Highlanders had not yet learned English.)

In 1864, the congregations of Charlo and Jacquet River were organized.

The first church at Nash Creek was built in the early 1860s. This building burnt in 1876 and a new church was built in 1877. The church was first known as St. Thomas Presbyterian Church but the name was changed to Bethel Presbyterian Church sometime between 1895 and 1912.

When Rev. McMaster retired in 1877, the congregations were reunited under one minister. Point La Nim and Maple Green were put under the care of the minister at Dalhousie. A new church building, the present Zion Church, was built at New Mills in 1879-1880. In 1899 the present church at Charlo was built.

In the twentieth century, like their counterparts across the country, the congregations at New Mills, Jacquet River and Charlo faced the question of Church Union — did they wish to unite with other Presbyterian Churches, the Methodist and Congregational Churches as the United Church of Canada? The question was unique in this area where only the Presbyterian Church had made inroads.

The Session decided that the final vote should be held on 30 June 1925. At New Mills, the vote was 22 for and 19 against; at Jacquet River, it was 38 for and 38 against with the Minister casting a deciding vote in favour; and in Charlo, the vote was not recorded in the minutes but seems to have favoured union. The three congregations became congregations of the United Church and together formed the New Mills Pastoral Charge. Eighty-seven members left the three new United Churches to continue to worship as Presbyterians.

Upon the formation of The United Church in Canada, New Mills Pastoral Charge contained the preaching points of Zion United Church (New Mills), Jacquet River United Church, and St. Paul’s United Church (Charlo).

In 1925, the Presbyterian church in Belledune became St. Luke’s United Church. A congregational meeting was held in St. Luke’s United Church on 20 October 1949 for the purpose of re-organizing the congregation. Until 1967 St. Luke’s United Church fell under the jurisdiction of the Bathurst Pastoral Charge. From 1967-1970 Belledune was a separate pastoral charge but became attached to the New Mills Pastoral Charge in 1970 until its closure in 2002.

Charlo Young People's Society minutes, November 15, 1932

Charlo Young People’s Society minutes, November 15, 1932

The church at Jacquet River was closed in 1977 and St. Paul’s United Church (Charlo) closed in 2007.

Dalhousie Pastoral Charge:

Rev. James Stevens arrived in Campbellton in 1831 and travelled to Dalhousie every third Sunday. A Presbyterian church was built in Dalhousie by 1836 and

Dalhousie Presbyterian membership roll, 1882

Dalhousie Presbyterian membership roll, 1882

was one of the first churches built in the community. At this time, the Presbyterians in Dalhousie shared a minister with the Campbellton congregation and was comprised of New Mills, Balmoral, Mountain Brook, Dundee, Maple Green (now known as Dalhousie Junction), and Escuminac (Quebec). Mount Maria joined the church in May 1850.

In 1855, the pastoral charge was split and Dalhousie became a separate congregation with Rev. Alexander Forbes serving as minister of the new pastoral charge. By early 1877, it was agreed that a new church be built. These plans were delayed, however, by a fire which destroyed the manse in 1877. The new church building was dedicated on December 3, 1882. On July 26, 1902, the church was destroyed by fire. The congregation met in the Masonic Hall until the new church was constructed in that same year. St. John’s Presbyterian Church became St. John’s United Church upon the formation of The United Church of Canada in 1925.

In 1925, upon the formation of The United Church of Canada, Dalhousie Pastoral Charge contained the appointments of Dalhousie (St. John’s), Eel River (St. Johns), and Dalhousie Junction (St. James’). St. Johns United Church in Eel River closed in 1995 and St. James’ United Church in Dalhousie Junction closed in 1998.

In 2009, the congregation of St. John’s United Church decided to worship in the hall and the church building was demolished. St. John’s United Church is one of the two congregations in the Dalhousie-New Mills Pastoral Charge which was formed on January 1, 2010.

Dalhousie-New Mills Pastoral Charge:

On January 1, 2010, New Mills Pastoral Charge amalgamated with Dalhousie Pastoral Charge to form Dalhousie-New Mills Pastoral Charge with the preaching points of St. John’s United Church (Dalhousie) and Chaleur United Church (Nash Creek). After the amalgamation, it was decided that the congregation of Chaleur United Church, comprised of the remaining members of the New Mills Pastoral Charge, would use the church building in Nash Creek for their worship services.

Dalhousie-New Mills PC annual report, 2011For a listing of the Dalhousie-New Mills Pastoral Charge, please click on the following link:

Dalhousie-New Mills Pastoral Charge records listing