Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
First Missions
Southern Quebec, Canada Gospel History 1908-1920
Revised May 3, 2017

In the summer of 1908, Harry Dennison from Ireland and John Baillie from England sailed from Liverpool to Newfoundland, and on to Halifax. Then they arrived in the province of Quebec in August to work among the French people, but with no success. Both workers had learned French in France. Then they went to Holland Landing, about 80 km north of Toronto, [SE Ontario] for a convention. After convention, Harry Dennison and Willie Wilson, who is from Scotland, came to Quebec, but this time they worked among the English people. They went to Cherry River (8 km north of Magog) to a family by the name of "Powers" (Mr. Powers is Vena Sullivan's mother's brother). Harry and Willie worked in the woods with Mr. Powers. The Sullivans met Harry and Willie at this time in 1908. Harry and Willie had gospel meetings in the area.

Eventually, they had meetings in Maletta (8 km west of Magog). Alice Hasting and her two younger sisters, Mabel and Ruth, attended the meetings, and made their choice. (Alice later married Joe Miles, parents of Jim, Ralph & Ron Miles) Mabel and Ruth later went into the work in the States. However, the workers could not stay with the Hastings, because the father was against his daughters going to meetings. So the three young ladies met secretly to read and have fellowship, in the woods in the summer.

In the winter 1908-1909, Harry Dennison and Willie Wilson went to "Dennison's Mill", the same name as Harry's last name. Dennison's Mill is about 10 km northeast of Richmond, but they had no response there. Then they started for "Wilson's Mill", the same name as Willie's last name. Wilson's Mill is about 120 km northeast of Richmond so they took the train from Richmond to Robertsonville, from which Wilson's Mill is another 30 km. They walked about 15 km in the snow, following the horse's tracks, since the roads were not open in the winter. After 15 km they stopped at a house and asked to stay the night, but the next morning the people sent them away. The man of the house tells later of having seen them walking. "The one big strong man walked ahead able to place his feet in the horse's tracks and a small frail man trying to follow and falling by times." The big man was Harry and the small man was Willie. They walked another 15 kilometres to Wilson's Mill and, once there, asked for the one responsible for the hall and were told it was a man named "Tom Hopper" who lived about 5 km away. They walked in the snow and in a storm, stopping at people named John and Margaret Fraser, (Everett Fraser's parents). John and Everett met them in the yard. (Everett was 12 years old then). Everett remembers them asking where Tom Hopper lived, and talking together; then Everett and his father came in the house and told his mother who they where and what they did. She said, "Why didn't you invite them in?" She had being praying to God to send help. Harry and Willie went to Mr. Hopper, got permission for the school and stayed the night there. The next day, on the way back, they invited the Frasers to gospel meetings.

Following is the testimony of Margaret Fraser. Sitting by the window, she saw two men walking in a snow storm and said to herself: "They must have a very important message to carry to be travelling in such a storm!" Mr. John Fraser and his son, Everett, were in the yard sawing wood, and these two men came to ask information about using the school in Wilson's Mill, 2 km away. John said that his brother in law Tom Hopper was responsible and that he lived further on that road. Harry and Willie went to Hopper, got permission to use the school, and the next evening they planned to have a meeting. On the way back, they invited the Frasers. Harry and Willie went to the school to have a gospel meeting but John went alone to the first meeting. Harry and Willie stayed at the Hoppers. John came home and said to his wife. "They speak from the bible; it comes out of the bible!" She said she would go the next evening. From that time John, Margaret, and Ella the daughter went to the meetings and made their choice. Ella later married Jack Chamney, one son Hedley never married and the other son Everett married Alice Reid in 1949.

In 1909, Harry Dennison and Willie Wilson were staying with the Frasers. They had gospel meetings in Glen Lloyd on "Rang 11" in Inverness, 10 km north of Wilson's Mill. The Guys family came and made their choice. They are the parents of Lewis, Emma and Agnes. Then Harry and Willie went 5 km further north on "Rang 11" to Glen Murray, at the Gosford road corner. They had gospel meetings in a school. Joe Miles and his cousin Willie Miles attended those meetings. Between 1909 and 1913 there were gospel meetings again in Glen Murray. Herb Harper was one of the two workers, and it was then that Joe Miles and Willie Miles made their choice. Also, in those years, there were gospel meetings in Lemesurier located 6 or 8 km south of Frasers. Alex Hutchison came and made his choice. He later married Agnes Touchette, a French lady from Lachute, who had already made her choice before 1913.

In the years 1910-1914 the workers invited the three Hasting girls, who had made their choice in 1908 but had not been to fellowship meetings as yet, to come to the meeting at Frasers with the Guys family and with Joe Miles and Willie Miles. Workers suggested Joe Miles marry Alice Hasting and they later married in 1922. They are the parents of Jim Miles, Ralph Miles and Ron Miles. Willie Miles later married Emma Guy, the parents of Russell Miles. There was a Sunday morning meeting at Frasers with Alex and Agnes Hutchison, the Guy family and Willie Miles family. Agnes Guy later went into the work. Joe Miles' family met by themselves. Baptisms were done behind Joe Miles' farm in the Becancour River. This area was called "Megantic". In the summer of 1914, there was a little convention at Alex Hutchison's farm, in Lemesurier in Megantic.

In 1910 Harry Dennison and Crawford Crooke came to Quebec and went to North Hill, 30 km. east of Sherbrooke, 5 km northwest of Gould. They had gospel meetings and Mrs. Morrison, Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. McKaskle, and Mr. O'Field came to those meetings and made their choice. George Howe came to one meeting as a boy. He came back later in life and made his choice in Bishopton. He remembered something Harry said, "Jesus made no chicken dinner to draw people" as the churches did at that time. Sunday morning meetings were in Mrs. Morrison's home and also a small convention was there from 1910 to 1913. In 1911 Harry came back with Robert Reoch.

In 1914 Jack Chamney and Willie Turner went to East Hill, 3 or 4 km south of Knowlton and had gospel meetings on the Stage Coach Road, east of Mount Echo Road. A total of seven people made their choice in those meetings, a French Canadian couple, Franc and Celina Martin, Levi and Florence Page (pronounced Pagee), Mrs. Flanagan, Mrs. Sanborn and Hattie Paige. Frank and Celina Martin were the parents of Marjorie and Ruth. Marjorie married Ron Miles and Ruth married Bob Bergeron. Mrs. Flanagan, Mrs. Sanborn and Florence Page were all Dean Dudley's sisters. Hattie Paige was Walter Paige's sister. Walter Paige came to these meetings but made his choice later. A Sunday morning meeting started at Page's home first but was later transferred to Martin's home because Mrs. Page stopped going to meeting. They came back to meetings later in life. In a Brome history book, "the two preachers were threatened to be tied, tarred and feathered" (these preachers being Jack and Willie) so they left the area. This area was also called Pleasant Valley and Lost Nation.

In 1915 Annie Corcoran, a half-sister of Harry Dennison, and Annie Cook from Ontario, came to Quebec. They went to the Hasting family in Maletta and stayed with them. It was here where the three girls had made their choice in 1908. Annie hid the fact that she was related to Harry, because the father, Elwin Hastings, hated him for influencing his three daughters, Alice, Mabel and Ruth, in making their choice. Elwin made them work, sometimes in the barn, to earn their stay. They wanted to look for a place for gospel meetings in Eastman. It was winter time and Elwin sent them a long way around while he went ahead of them to warn the people not to let them have any place for gospel meetings. Annie Cook came back home with one of her feet frozen. Elwin felt bad for the rest of his life for having done this. They finally got a place for gospel meetings in Eastman and Elwin came to the meetings because he felt bad for Annie. He continued to come to the meetings and brought other people with his team of horses and wagon. Elwin wrote a letter to his daughter Alice at this time, telling her that he regretted what he had done to her, that he was attending all the meetings now and "tonight, I took 17 people on my wagon with me to the meeting".

In the winter of 1915-1916, Annie Corcoran and Annie Cook had gospel meetings in Eastman. The Hasting and Tibbits families came. Elwin Hasting and his wife, Guy Tibbits and his wife (Lyle Tibbits' parents) and all four made their choice. Later that year, Annie Corcoran and Annie Cook had gospel meetings in Cherry River, 8 km north of Magog. The Sullivan family who had met Harry Dennison and Willie Wilson in 1908 came to the meetings and three made their choice, John Sullivan and his wife Eva, and their son Eric, who was 11 years old then. They are the parents of Vena Sullivan. She was 6 years old then. Vena made her choice in 1921 at the convention at Tibbit's in Magog. Vena is the only one still living of that generation.

Sunday morning meetings were at the Tibbit's home first, then when the Sullivans moved to Magog later in 1916, meetings were moved to the Sullivansí home. Not long after, the Hastings moved to Georgeville not far south of Magog. The Hastings, Tibbits and Mrs. Hopp (a neighbour of Hastings in Maletta who made her choice soon after those meetings in Eastman) all met at Sullivan's. Also, in that meeting, there was Mrs. Cullins, who came from somewhere else and had moved to Magog, and Mrs. Bruce, who had made her choice in Windsor and moved to Magog. The Tibbits went to the Garden Hill convention in Ontario the following summer and then wanted to move near Garden Hill to be near the convention place. George Walker told them it would be better to stay where they were and there could be a convention at their farm. So there was a convention at Tibbits the following year until 1925. They lived on the main road to Montreal, 5 km west of Magog. Today the farm is on the southeast corner of highway 112 and Autoroute 10. There were 32 people there and many were baptized.

In 1915, Jack Chamney and Willie Turner went to South Durham, 15 km west of Richmond. They had gospel meetings and three families came and made their choice, the Youngs, Davidsons and the Burrs. Sunday morning meetings were at Johnny Young's home. Annie Corcoran and Kathie McCart were together in this area the following year.

In 1917 Jack Chamney and Willie Turner went to East Angus. They had gospel meetings and the Beane family attended, and the parents made their choice (Stella Beane's parents). East Angus is 20 km east of Sherbrooke.

In 1917 Jack Chamney and Willie Turner went to Abbott's Corner (20 km south of Cowansville) where Dean Dudley made his choice. He is a brother to the three sisters who made their choice in East Hill in 1914. Many remember Dean Dudley with his truck, because he brought many to meetings and conventions.

In 1917 Jack Chamney and Willie Turner went to Vale Perkins (20 km south of Magog). They had gospel meetings, the Magoon family came and the parents made their choice. They are the parents of Burton Magoon and Mabel who later married Eric Sullivan. Later that year, Jack got sick and stayed a long time at Magoon's. He later married Ella Fraser.

In 1918 Willie Turner and John Verge from Newfoundland went to East Dunham (15 km south of Cowansville) and they had gospel meetings. The Perkin family, Jim, Nancy and their daughter, Maud, came and made their choice. These are Earle Perkin's parents and sister. Dale Spicer came to these gospel meetings and made her choice a few years later.

In the spring of 1918, Willie Turner and John Verge went to West Sutton (between East Dunham and Sutton) and they had gospel meetings in the school that used to be just east of the four corners. The Bergerons came to those gospel meetings. They were Dot, Bob and Eugene's parents. Dot later married Elmer Johnson. Elmer Johnson made his choice around that time. Willie and John stayed at the Bergeron home and one night, near the end of the mission, the light in the bedroom where they were staying, stayed on most of the night. Mrs. Bergeron and her daughter, Dot, thought something was wrong. They peeked in to check, and saw them both on their knees praying in the middle of the night and this really touched them. They thought, rightly so, that they were praying for them about their souls, as they were about to test the meetings. Mrs. Bergeron made her choice, also her daughter, Dot and her son, Bob Bergeron and his wife, Arlene. Arlene was Lorimer and Ken Willy's sister.

In 1912-13 in New Brunswick, a man named Burchill Stewart made his choice. He was married to a French lady, whose maiden name was Charette, and she was from Massawippi, Quebec (20 km south west of Sherbrooke, between North Hatley and Ayers Cliff). They moved to Massawappi in 1917 where she came from. That same year John Cook and Hugh Roberts came to stay with the Stewarts in Massawappi. They had gospel meetings nearby on what is now #143 highway, and met the Greer family. Early in the winter of 1918, John Cook and Herbert Harper had meetings in the same area. Ernest and Mabel Greer came to those gospel meetings and also Mrs. Young, Mabel's mother. All these made their choice. A Sunday morning meeting started first at Stewart's, but Mrs. Stewart quit going to the meetings so the Sunday morning meeting was moved to Greer's. For many years, Burchill Stewart brought a crippled man to meetings, by the name of Ernie Dean.

Many of these people, afore mentioned, were connected, relatives, neighbours or friends. The Dudley's (Dean, Minnie, Florence and Annie) grew up on the "Old Stage Coach Road." Dean left home and went to "Abbott's Corner". This is where he lived when he made his choice in 1917. Minnie married a "Sanborn". The family home is the brick house on the northeast corner of "Stage Coach Road" and "Mont-Echo Road". Minnie and her husband lived in the little house just south of it. Florence married Levi Page (Pagee). They lived in Rosenburg; the family house is on the southwest corner of "Mont-Echo Road" and "Rosenburg Road". They moved many times and after they stopped going to meetings, they left for the United States. Later in life, they made their choice again and came back to Quebec, and lived in the little school near the Martins on Stage Coach Road. Annie married a Flanagan and moved to Warden near Waterloo. This is what probably led the workers towards the "Melbourne Ridge". Sunday morning meetings were at Page's but were very soon transferred to Martins. Franc St-Martin came from St-Mathias and Celina Royea was from the area. They later changed their name to "Martin", and they lived on Stage Coach Road, 3 km east of "Mont-Echo Road". The little school across from the house was built later; the first one being further west of their house.

A Mrs. Fuller made her choice in these first years, quit and came back in her old age. Hattie Paige, who made her choice at this time also, was a great friend of Celina Martin. Hattie probably brought the workers to Glen Bolton. The same two workers, Jack Chamney and Willie Turner traveled throughout East Hill, Melbourne Ridge, South Durham, and Willie Turner continued to East Dunham and to West Sutton. There was a connection between all these people. Hattie's sister, Minnie, was married to Charlie Smith's brother who lived in Melbourne Ridge. Jean Booth remembered workers preaching in Melbourne Ridge in those early years. Charlie Smith was married to Eva Beauregard. Eva's brother, Albert, was married to Gertrude Davidson, who was the niece of Mr. Davidson in South Durham, and Mrs. Davidson is Charlie Smith's sister. Eva Smith and Gertrude Beauregard later made their choice in the 40's.


See also: Yesterdays of Brome County, compiled and edited by Clifford W. Smith, 1976; The Brome County Historical Society, Publisher; Brome Lake, Knowlton, Quebec, Canada. See pp. 119-120 (Out of Print)

QUOTE from this book mentioning some people in the above account: "When the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918 struck the settlement, few homes were spared.  Two of my classmates, Lawrence, son of John and Annie Flanagan and Eunice, daughter of Frank and Selina Martin were victims.  Their funeral services were held in the schoolhouse. Jack Charmany and Willie Turner, although not ordained ministers, did have a following and converted a number to their teachings.  In 1919 in the stream near the schoolhouse they held a mass baptism by total immersion." 

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