The history of the Presbyterian Church in the township is interesting. Previous to the erection of a Presbyterian church in Laird those of that faith met with the Presbyterians at MacLennan – a long and arduous trip by wagon. The MacLennan congregation had become divided through disagreements on several matters; for example, the type of music used in service. As a result, the older group, maintaining the strict Presbyterian views became known as the “Oatmeals” and the younger group with a more modern outlook were known as the ”Philistines”. It has not been determined to which group the Laird Presbyterians belonged.

Knox Presbyterian Church

After the first S.S.#1 School was built, church services were held there, served by the ordained and unordained who preached at MacLennan. Outdoor services were often held under the trees on the Reuben Evoy property when the weather was fit, but it was soon obvious that a better solution had to be found. Area Presbyterians then decided to build their own church.

Construction and planning were initiated in the fall of 1891. With winter fast approaching, it was decided to hire a carpenter to oversee the project because most members of the church were busy performing their farm duties before the start of winter. The site selected for the church was located on Section 5, along the MacLennan-Soo Road on property belonging to Will Hollingsworth. The boundaries of the property were to measure 8 rods west, 5 rods north, 8 rods east and 5 rods south to commencement point, as the deed for the land points out.

With the site selection complete and work ready to begin, Malcolm MacNeil was hired as carpenter. His wages for the project were agreed upon as $50.00, and his room and board were provided by Ed Hollingsworth. All the lumber, shingles, finishing materials and labour for the project were contributed by the members of the church. An item of interest is that Mr. Hollingsworth collected $52.00 from the many commercial travellers who called at his store, in order to purchase new door and window frames from a supplier in Collingwood. By a fortunate coincidence, it so happened the bill for these materials was exactly $52.00.

Plastering and interior work on the church was completed by Thomas Muldoon. Mr. Rob Wilson, who lived close to the new church, often spoke of the discomfort he endured while holding nails in his mouth, in order to use them on the shingles for the roof which was done in cold weather. The first seating used consisted of wooden planks and blocks. At a later date, chairs were purchased for .25 cents each to replace the planks. The present pews were put in by Fred Brown. The original pulpit was made by Dan McIver, who later built the Maple Leaf School.

With the building complete, services began in the spring of 1892. The average collection collected each Sunday was $2.00 or on a good day, $3.00. The first minister was the Rev. J.P. McGinnis, with Mr. Will Hollingsworth as first secretary­ treasurer. Board of managers was made up of David Andrews and James McHardy. Mrs. Ed Hollingsworth helped to organize the First Ladies Aid and became the first President with Mrs. Tom Taylor, Mrs. Hunter, Mrs. Barclay, Mrs. Lothian, Mrs. Dave Andrews and the Misses Maud Lothian, Belle Wilson, Mary Wilson, and Jean Wilson. Mr. William Evoy was the first Sunday School Superintendent and his daughter, Edith Evoy, was the first organist, followed by Belle Fraser. Aird Hollingsworth and Mary McBain were the first children baptized and Duncan Fremlin and Lulu Brown were the first couple married.


Curious to know more?  Delve Further Into The Prebyterian Church In Laird here:
Laird Chronicles Chapter 4 – The Churches Of Laird
Laird History Volume Two – Churches
Photos – Bibles, Hymnals, Devotionals
Photos – Books & Sunday School
Photos – Church Records