BURGEO'S CLERGYMEN AND CHURCHES
The Parish Register does not record anything prior to 1840, when Mr. Blackmore came here. Archdeacon Wicks [Wix] was on this South Coast before that and no doubt married a great number of people but no record of them was kept. Reverend Thomas Bridge was also on this shore and did some mission work. That was during the time of Mr. Blackmore and there are records.
The first church built, no doubt, by the first minister, Mr. Martin Blackmore, was situated on the same ground where, since, there have been two others. One of them, the present one, and the other built in, say 1856, were constructed by the second Rector, Mr. John Cunningham. The first was very near what is now the Public Road but at that time, I am told, only a path. Immigration from Hermitage Bay increased considerably during the 1850s, therefore, a larger church was required. The writer remembers it well and it was only taken down in, say 1894, to make a place to put a larger one. The old church, the second to sit on this holy ground, was large and commodious and nicely finished inside with hardwood pews and choir stalls and pulpit. Every family had a pew in 1860 when the writer came to live here. There was a most beautiful font and I and others were sorry to see it set aside to be replaced by another according to the ideas of newcomers to the place.
The parsonage was first occupied by Reverend Blackmore. Whether he had it built or whether it was already built when he came, I have never heard. The second incumbent, Mr. John Cunningham, added to it on the north side shortly after he came in 1848. He also commenced building a new church in the fifties and of this church I have fully written before. There were no other buildings on the north side of the Main Road, except the School and Church. The Church grounds are the same today as they were in 1840. Two pieces of land in Burgeo, for Church purposes, were conveyed to the Lord Bishop on August 16, 1844, by John B. Cox. One lot, appropriated by the Lord Bishop in 1844, is that on which the Church, School, and Rectory stands. Where the other lot is located, I do not know.
At Upper Burgeo there are three pieces of land belonging to the Church. The first piece was conveyed by William Anderson and others on April 12th, 1844. The second piece was that appropriated by the Bishop on August 16, 1845. The third piece was conveyed on April 13th, 1844 by William Anderson and others. I know of the location of only two pieces of this land in Upper Burgeo belonging to the Church. One is located on the Island where first stood the little church building that was used every Sunday afternoon from Easter Sunday until November. The writer attended service there almost every Sunday. The second piece is on the SandBankss and used for a cemetery, which is now unfenced, I am sorry to say. I do not think any person living knows where the third piece is located. A new church was built on the Island in the early eighties. It was consecrated by Bishop Jones and the writer was present and took part in the service (started the hymns). This Church did not stand long and was blown down in the fall of 1879. The new Church was then built on the SandBankss within two or three years. The carpenter was Edward Cunningham. Owing to the people moving away almost in a bunch and older ones passing away, this church was taken down. Part of it was used at Ramea and part of it was sold. This closes the record of churches at Upper Burgeo from, say 1840 to 1880, under three clergymen, Mr. Blackmore, Mr. Cunningham, and Henry Cunningham.
After the latter incumbent, Mr. Field came, then Mr. Smart (now Canon Smart). Mr. Smart was followed by Messrs. Allsop, C. Nichols, Stickings, Fletcher, Tarrant, and Parsons. Victor Cunningham is now the incumbent. How long he will remain is hard to say. The men of the last forty years did not remain long in one parish and this is not good for the Church. Mr. Smart (now Canon Smart). Mr. Smart was followed by Messrs. Allsop, C. Nichols, Stickings, Fletcher, Tarrant, and Parsons. Victor Cunningham is now the incumbent. How long he will remain is hard to say. The men of the last forty years did not remain long in one parish and this is not good for the Church.