Sunday, August 11, 2013

Old St. Thomas Church, St. Thomas

One of my favourite places in St. Thomas is the old St. Thomas Church.  at 55 Walnut Street.  The church is beautiful and warm and loved.  The graveyard and church are full of history to discover.

Built between 1822 and 1824, the St. Thomas Anglican Church is one of the oldest structures in St. Thomas, Ontario.  The tower was added in 1825.  It was built on land donated by early settler, Daniel Rapelje.  The Church was continuously used until 1877 and was made a designated heritage property in 1982.   In 1986 the church was completely restored and renovated.

The church is surrounded by a pioneer cemetery with many notable grave sites both nationally recognized and locally significant. The oldest grave site is that of Daniel Rapelje’s son George.  Nationally significant sites include that of Judge Hugh Richardson, who in 1885 sentenced Louis Riel to death.  Local folklore tells of the witch’s grave, the Irish family curse of the Chisholm family where 7 family members died within 7 years.  Canadian soldier Octavius Wallace, who fought in the American Civil War as a corporal of the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and died at the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862 is buried here.

I found a lovely walking tour online that you might enjoy while you are visiting the old church.

Keep your eyes open for the kitty cat who comes to visit you while you are walking through the graveyard.

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