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New Immigrants (1820-1840)

The Camden VIII Chalice

The Camden VIII Chalice

The Camden VIII Chalice is engraved "Dixon & Son" on the underside

Unlike the Loyalist settled southern townships, Sheffield Township's settlers, many of them impoverished Irish, had to buy their land from the Commissioner of Crown Lands. Most of the first farmsteads were only 100 acres, compared to free 200 acres grants in the south. Only a third of the township was suitable for agriculture. The southern part had stony loam soils but the northern portion which had been purchased by the Canada Company had peat bogs and rock land with a thin loam layer. DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

During the 1830's and 1840's, hundreds of Irish immigrants made their way to the area. A vigorous campaign by Bishop Macdonnell, who had been appointed to Kingston, attracted Catholic Irish to the Erinsville area. The largest Catholic Church in the County was later built at Erinsville.

The Protestant Irish settled in the Tamworth area. Farming communities concentrated in two areas to the south and north of Tamworth, Sebastopol and Balaklava (Balahack). The Reidville community, south of Tamworth, was settled mainly by Presbyterian Irish. Early settlers in the area included Nicholas Shier, James Murphy, Robert Reid, James Reid and William Wilson.

Robert Reid settled his farm in 1833. The Reidville Post Office and the first log school-house were on his farm. The first Loyal Orange Lodge No. 431 was William Wilson's farm on the hill known as Orange Hill. Prior to building a church, services were held in private homes by clergy sent out from the Kingston Presbytery through organized churches at Camden V and Newburgh. Services were held at Chippewa at the home of Robert Reid, Sr., and at the home of Squire Rombough, north of Centreville and Bell's school house on the Tamworth Road.

Local families vied for the privilege of donating land for the church. The lot for Camden VIII Church and cemetery were donated by William Wilson. When the church was built in 1844, Wilson Hyland, a young boy, carried drinking water to the men who framed the timbers for the church. The interior had a small raised platform and flight of steps to the pulpit. From 1844-1881, the Church was a mission under the Kingston Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church.

The Camden VIII Chalice is engraved on the underside, "Dixon & Son.", active Sheffield England 1829-1867.

In 1881, it became an organized congregation with a communion roll of 67 names. A session was selected and the first elders were John Fleming, John Milligan, Robert Reid Jr. and Thomas Fingland. The first minister to reside on the field was the Reverend W.S. Smith who first served as a student missionary, then as an ordained minister, from 1881 to 1893. Under Reverend Smith, the name of the Church was changed to Knox Church, Camden VIII and the name and date of the church was placed over the doors at the entrance.

From 1921, it was under cooperation with the Methodist congregation of Tamworth circuit and then, in 1925, became Camden VIII United Church.

The 100th anniversary of Camden VIII Church was celebrated July 2, 1944. Reverend Dr. Semple of Belleville was the speaker. Music was provided by Tamworth United Choir in the morning and Enterprise United Church choir in the evening. After the morning service, a short memorial service in tribute to the original settlers was held in the adjacent cemetery.

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