When Bishop Mountain set out to visit his extensive Diocese in 1794, he visited Niagara on the Lake to perform the first confirmations. At that time he recognized a need for an Anglican Witness at another strategic military spot in Niagara, at the confluence of Chippawa Creek with the Niagara River. When William Leeming was sent to Canada by the Society for the Propagations of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the bishop directed him away from the intended destination to the village of Chippawa. Leeming was born on 25 February 1887 and attended St. Bees school and Cambridge University. He chose to settle on Lundy’s Lane in 1820. On 23 June 1823 he married Margaret Hickman Shaw and the marriage was performed by his brother, Ralph Leeming who lived in Dundas but had assumed responsibility for the ministry to the Six Nations People on the Grand River. William and Margaret never had any children, but had the responsibility for raising her sister’s son, Thomas Brock Fuller, who lived with them and later attended school in Niagara on the Lake and was confirmed in St. Mark’s church. Fuller later became the first Bishop of Niagara.
Leeming envisioned the expansion of the Anglican presence in Niagara Falls. Holy Trinity in Chippawa, Ontario began in 1821 and St. Johns in Stamford, Ontario in 1825. He seems to have established a small congregation as well in Niagara Falls South. Rev F.W. Miller became assistant to Leeming in 1830. He was seen as very high church, changing vestments during the service. Miller bought land from James Forsythe and built a Chapel of Ease in Drummondville, calling it St. George’s church. It was a frame building facing Portage Road. Many of the wealthier members of Trinity joined the new parish. The first baptism was of the child of Stephen and Matilda Barnes in 1836. Charles Leycester Inglis, son of the Rector of Halifax, became the second rector, beginning as assistant to Leeming. He married Jemima Murray, daughter of the Lieutenant Governor Murray. He served the parish for a total of 38 years. When Leeming died, All Saints and St. John’s were separated from Holy Trinity becoming separate parishes. A cemetery was laid out in 1854 and on All Saints day in 1847 the congregation moved from the St. George’s chapel into the new limestone building on Robinson Street. The parish history notes that until 1855, currency was counted in British pounds shillings and pence and candles were used to light the church until 1869.
The third rector of All Saints parish was Canon Bull who served in that capacity for seventeen years resigning in 1902. Bull was born in Dublin, Ireland. He came to Canada and receive his education at Coburg, Ontario and graduated from Trinity College in Toronto He became rector first of St. Peter’s in Barton, now part of Hamilton, Ontario and then of St. Paul’s in Glanford, Ontario. In addition to his ministry as rector of All Saints Church, Canon Bull was interested in the preservation of local history and was one of the founders and first president of the Lundy’s Lane Historical Society. Canon Bull was followed by Canon William Bevan, Rev. William Burt and then by Rev Percival Mayes. The history notes that nine men from the parish died in the First World War.
see The Story of the Historic Church of All Saints Niagara Falls Ontario by Rev Percival Mayes.
By Fred Habermehl
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