Friday, August 22, 2008

Grey County Travels – Part I

In the post about Place Names, I mentioned that I will be doing some travelling around Grey County to prepare for a presentation. This is part I telling about some of the things we saw on our first trip.

While stopped in Feversham for a look around and lunch, we talked to some of the people that had been involved in writing the Osprey Township history and who looked after the small local Osprey museums in Feversham and Rob Roy. They suggested that we stop in to see the former Buckingham United Church. We were warned that the church had been almost completely stripped bare by vandals. The cemetery board had done repair work inside on the ceiling.

To the west of the church is the graveyard. A common name in the cemetery is Buckingham.

We entered what was once a sacred place of worship for this farming community. How sad it was to see that vandals had stripped what they could from the building. The pews, the large iron stove and the empty piano bench remain.

When I got home, I checked the book that I had written about the United Churches in Grey Presbytery last year. For the book, I only had a sketch of the church that I had been given. Now I had a photograph of the outside of the building, which I will use if the book is every reprinted.

Buckingham United -- Closed

Buckingham was affiliated for many years with Badjeros and Maxwell United churches. In the 1850s, John Buckingham donated land for the log church and cemetery. This was the first church building in the northern part of Osprey. The pioneers walked great distances through the woods to attend services here.

In the summer of 1891, they began to build a new church, with great sacrifice of time and money. Horses and wagons brought the bricks up the mountain. In the spring of 1892, the red brick church was completed. On his way home from the 12th Line School, Norman Buckingham would put on a fire to heat up the church for prayer meetings. The Church paid him five cents for each time he did this work. When they did not have a minister, William Buckingham and Isaac Hawton would take turns leading the service.

Membership decreased when people attended other Churches in nearby communities. Many left around 1900 for the Prairie Provinces. The last service was held in the autumn of 1952 with Rev. Brampton officiating.

In 1965, under the direction of the cemetery board, the people of the district undertook a project to level the Buckingham Cemetery as the ground was very uneven. This was accomplished through donations of money, equipment and the labour of the men of Buckingham and a few descendants of the pioneers.

Since then, the people have gathered for memorial services. [1]
[1] Janet Iles. Churches of Grey Presbytery of the United Church of Canada: Historical Highlights. Owen Sound, ON : Janet Iles Consulting & Research Services, 2007. p. 72

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