Our History

(3) Rev. Schwerdtfeger died in 1803 and was succeeded by Frederick Augustus Meyers, a Lutheran student minister, and the son of a Lutheran Pastor from the Bay of Quinte area. Meyers left in 1807 to go to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to complete his education. In 1814, Meyers came back to this area as a Lutheran Pastor and served the congregation he had begun in Matilda township while there as a student minister. In 1827, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and became the first Anglican priest to serve the Anglican Parish of St. John the Baptist in Matilda (now situated in Iroquois). He remained there until his death in 1832.

In 1808, the Rev. J.G. Weigandt (whose name came to be spelled Weagant), the son-in-law of The Rev. .].C. Schwerdtfeger, accepted a call from the Lutheran congregations of Williamsburg and Osnabruck, and arrived at Riverside. He had previously served the small Lutheran flock along the Bay of Quinte and was well acquainted with The Rev. Charles James Stuart and the Meyers family. The development of Lutheran churches in North Williamsburg and Osnabruck depleted the Lutheran membership at Riverside (East Williamsburg). Finances were difficult for everyone in those days. The clergy often did not receive the promised subscriptions from their parishioners who were often very poor as well. The Anglican clergy in the colonies were better off than their confreres in other churches because of the assistance given to them by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel located in England. This period of great political unrest made life difficult for the struggling young communities in this region.

Upon arrival in Williamsburg in 1808, Rev. Weagant found that the Commons in the front of the centre of the township was divided lengthwise with the west side used by the Presbyterians and the east side belonging to the Lutherans. The land was then (with the consent, apparently of all concerned) divided crosswise into “camps” or blocks and some was left undeveloped. These blocks were divided between the Lutherans and Presbyterians. Weagant records that at that time it was decided by all that should one of them not have a resident minister, then the entire Commons would be for the use of the residing clergyman. This happened after the Presbyterian minister, Rev. Mr. Broeffle died and his widow remarried and moved to another place. Thus, the Commons came entirely under “Lutheran occupation” and was used for the benefit of the congregation and their minister.

In early 1811, Weagant complained to his congregation that he could not subsist on the meagre stipend they could provide and that he would have to leave and go elsewhere to make enough to support his family. They indicated that they did not want him to do that and wanted to try to force those in arrears to meet their subscriptions. Weagant did not support such pressure tactics. Having previously consulted with the Churchwardens, the next Sunday he stated that as he was a Hanoverian, a King’s subject born, having received his education in the royal University of Gottingen in the Kingdom of Hanover and as they had been in the habit of having their children (who could not read German and did not understand sufficiently the German language) instructed in the Church Catechism by their former ministers (Schwerdtfeger and Myers), he would make application to the Lord Bishop of Quebec that he should be received as a Minister of the Church of