The Founders: The Twenty-two Persons who Established Old Hay Bay Church in 1792, by J. William Lamb

Reviewed by Brian Tackaberry, UE

Hay Bay Church is the oldest Methodist Church in Ontario. Constructed in 1792 at Adolphustown, Ontario, it stands today as a National Historic Site of Canada. This book is Number 4 in the Hay Bay Series, which deals with the establishment of Methodism in Ontario, with particular connections to its roots in the Bay of Quinte area. Historian J. William Lamb brings his years of research to describe the lives of the twenty-two people who founded that church. The original subscription list, dated 3 February 1792 and recorded in various Methodist histories, lists those founding members and the amounts of their donation, which permitted the construction of the Old Hay Bay Church. The list of members includes names familiar to those researching early Ontario families, particularly with United Empire Loyalist connections. Not all were Loyalists; not all were Methodists prior to the construction of the church, and not all remained Methodists. They include the surnames: Allison, Bininger, Casey, Clapp, Dafoe, Davis, Embury, Ferguson, Frederick, German, Green, Hover, Huff, Ketcheson, Roblin, Ruttan, Steel and Vandusen. Through his research, the author has revealed more about the individual lives of each of the founders than had previously been recorded. Each chapter deals with one of the founders. The story for each person is well documented from a variety of sources, and often goes into their family background prior to coming to the Adolphustown area, as well as their wives and the first generation of descendants, where known. It includes the signatures of all members, grave markers of several, and the only known portrait of any of the founders, that of William Ketcheson, progenitor of the Ketcheson family in the Belleville area. The church they founded in 1792 was the first Methodist Church west of the Maritimes and by 1827 the Bay of Quinte Circuit was the largest Methodist Circuit in all of Upper Canada. It can be considered the foundation stone of the largest Protestant Church in all of Canada today. In the next few years there are plans for four more additional small books dealing with the history of the Church. The next one will describe the tragic drowning of ten young people after a church meeting there in 1819. Author J. William Lamb is a past president of the Canadian Methodist Historical Society and historian of Old Hay Bay Church. He is also editor of the Hay Bay Guardian, an annual publication on the history of the Methodist Church in Upper Canada. This book is an excellent resource for those with family connections to the Quinte area, or simply for anyone who has a general interest in the history of the Methodist Church or the early years of Upper Canada.


Author: J. William Lamb
Title: The Founders: The Twenty-two Persons who Established Old Hay Bay Church in 1792
Publisher: Hay Bay Books, 2005
Pages: 144 (soft cover)
ISBN: 0973331313

Available from: Old Hay Bay Church, RR #2, Napanee, Ontario K7R 3K7
Cost: $25 CND ($20 + $5 postage & handling), $20 US ($16 + $4 postage & handling), by cheque payable to “Old Hay Bay Church.”