T. B. Fuller
Early Years

On Niagara Becoming
an Anglican Diocese

T. B. Fuller Becomes
First Bishop of Niagara

Rev. Robert Addison

Rev. Charles Hamilton
2nd Bishop of Niagara

John Philip DuMoulin
3rd Bishop of Niagara

Clergy in the
Diocese of Niagara
in the 19th Century
Clergy in the Diocese of Niagara in the 19th Century
The present Dean of Niagara, the Very Rev. J. Gamble Geddes, was ordained in 1834.   His whole clerical life was spent in Hamilton, to which he was sent as a missionary when it was only a small village.   He was a man of highly-cultured mind, of dignified and refined manners, a gentleman of the old school, of earnest faith and of devout life; a thoroughly convinced, reverent, and devout High Churchman of the Anglican type.

His life was distinguished by methodical, earnest, persevering work.   He was elected Prolocutor of the Provincial Synod for the session held in 1873, and Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Hamilton, of which he had long been rector, on the consecration of Bishop Fuller.   Dean Geddes is now living in retirement, after a ministry extending over fifty-nine years, and is held in reverent and loving regard by all who know him.

With the Dean has been associated in neighbourhood and work the Venerable Archdeacon McMurray, the school companion and life-long friend of Bishop Fuller.   Dr. McMurray, born in Ireland, came to Canada when a child.   He was one of the pupils of Bishop Strachan's famous school. On his ordination at the age of twenty-three, he was appointed by Sir John Colborne, then Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, to establish mission posts among the Indians on the north shores of Lake Huron, with head-quarters at Sault Ste. Marie.   He continued for six years ministering in the lone wilderness to these children of the forest, scattered along the shores of the two lakes.   He was then removed to the Rectory at Ancaster and Dundas, where he remained till he was transferred to his present charge, the Rectory of Niagara.   Dr. McMurray is a man of dignified and winsome manners.   At the founding of Trinity College he was sent to the United States to solicit assistance.   In a short time he returned with 10,000 dollars, as an expression of the sympathy of the Churchmen of the Republic for their brethren in Canada.   He was employed by Bishop Strachan to look after the interests of the Church in 1854, when the secularization of the Reserves was in progress.   The commutation scheme, devised by the Hon. John Hilliard Cameron, was in danger of being rejected by the Upper House, and it was largely due to Dr. McMurray's diplomatic influence that it was finally adopted, and that vexed question for ever settled.   In 1864 he was selected to visit England in behalf of Trinity College.   It is safe to say that no Canadian clergyman ever so favourably impressed the English people as did Dr. McMurray.   Everywhere his dignified manners and genial courtesy won for him devoted friends.   After twelve months he returned with a large addition to the endowment fund of Trinity College.   Dr. McMurray has throughout his long life been a patient, persevering parish priest, and now in his declining years he enjoys the respect and affection of all who know him.

The Rev. Dr. Atkinson, for a long time Rector of St. Catherine's, was the contemporary and friend of these pioneers.   He was a patient, loving man, who, though disabled by an injury received early in life, so that he was unable to walk or to stand in the pulpit, yet held a large and intelligent congregation together by his eloquent preaching and personal attractiveness.   He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Holland, a devout, gentle, humble-minded, earnest man, who had done noble pioneer missionary work in his earlier days.

Dr. Read, the present Rector of Grimsby, was also distinguished for long years of missionary toil.   The Diocese of Toronto owes its episcopal endowment to his persevering efforts.

The Rev. B. C. Hill, for long years missionary on the Grand River, was another of the Church's laborious pioneers.   He used to walk forty miles, and hold five services on the Sunday.   He was a great classical scholar, could read the Greek and Latin authors as readily as the English.   He was a peculiar man, and used to be betrayed in his fervour into giving his backwoods hearers a taste of Latin and Greek.   He was a most assiduous worker, holding services constantly during the week-days, in school-houses, or the homes of the people.   He was a pronounced Evangelical, and as such he devoted himself to preaching the Gospel as he understood it, without taking much trouble to instruct his people in the distinctive principles of the Church of England.   The result is, that of his abundant labours very little fruit has been gathered by the Church in which he toiled.

The two Leemings, Ralph and William, were modest, retiring men; not much was heard of them in the public life of the Church. They had, however, both seen hard pioneer work.   Ralph for many years devoted himself to missionary work among the Indians.

The Rev. Arthur, afterwards Archdeacon Palmer, was a prominent figure in the Church during the whole Episcopate of Bishops Strachan and Bethune.   He was an Irishman by birth, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, a man of splendid physique and majestic bearing. He settled in the backwoods, where the City of Guelph now stands, and so he saw a great deal of hard backwoods mission life during the earlier years of his ministry.   He was an in fluential man in all the public concerns of the Church.

from History of the Church in Eastern Canada and Newfoundland by John Langtry, M.A., D.C.L., Rector of S. Luke's, Toronto, and Prolocutor of the Provincial Synod of Canada. London, Brighton and New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1892.