Three miles west of Prescott, Ontario, on Highway 2, overlooking the banks of the St. Lawrence River, stands a tiny church known as the Blue Church.
On Jan.1st, 1790, a number of inhabitants of the townships of Edwardsburg, Augusta and Elizabethtown held a public meeting and agreed to build a church on part of the "Church Commons" in the government of New Oswegatchie. The plot, situated near the centre of the river front of Augusta Township had been laid out in 1784 by Captain Justus Sherwood and almost all the settlers in these three townships had drawn one or more town lots there in 1784-87. The Church Commons included about 16 acres, running north from the river across the plot near it's centre and intended as a reserve for public use including sites for a church and a burying ground. The burying ground had come into use very early and it was beside this that it was proposed to build the church, finally erected in 1809. Included in the burial ground is a memorial to the late Barbara Heck who was buried there. She and her husband, Paul, were the founders of Methodism in Canada. The first church was burned down.
In 1845 the present Blue Church was built, chiefly to be used as a mortuary chapel. It is still used occasionally for services and stands as a memorial to the pioneers who settled this area. Charred timbers were found from the earlier church and were re-used as studs in the present church walls.
The graveyard attracts many tourists and history buffs. Many of the tombstones bear the names of Loyalists such as: Avery, Bottom, Breakenridge, Butler, Everts, French, Heck, Humberstone, Hurd, Hurlburt, Jessup, Jones, Knapp, Lawrence, Sherwood, Smades, Snider, Weatherhead and Wright.
Photo by Robert Charlton.