Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Early Progress Chapmanville

St. John the Evangelist Parish
As Johnville developed into a community, residents established social institutions to provide for mutual needs. Initially, Mass was said in private homes, but by the summer of 1863, the congregation had grown to the point where it could no longer gather in the settlement's largest house. Construction of a church began in the winter of 1864 with donations of materials and labour from the congregation. During the following summer, as the church neared completion, Johnville settlers William Boyd and Simon Cummins asked some of the Protestant pioneers living along the river to donate money and materials towards the project. Many of them did. In October 1864, Mass was said in the new church, which had opened debt-free.
For approximately five years, the Johnville church remained part of the Woodstock Mission, and Father Connolly travelled from Woodstock, a distance of 35 miles, to minister to the flock. In 1867 the Rev. Bernard Bartholomew McKeaney became the settlement's first resident Pastor. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Ethier, in 1874, who was followed by the Rev. W. F. Chapman, in 1876.