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Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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St. Thomas Anglican Church Conclusion

Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and Methodists
The Presbyterians and Roman Catholics also had an early presence in the Stanley area. The Rev. Daniel McCurdy (1806-1873), of Onslow, Nova Scotia, was holding Presbyterian services on the Nashwaak about 1839. A student of Thomas McCulloch, McCurdy's mission field included Keswick Ridge, Harvey, Caverhill, Nashwaak, and Stanley. He laboured there for about 10 years before heading to Canada West.
It was not until 1855 that the Rev. Peter Keay (ca. 1828-1873), a native of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, was appointed Stanley's first permanent Presbyterian minister. He held services in the second schoolhouse built near the top of Stanley Hill, as well as at several locations in the surrounding area. Having studied medicine for a time, Keay was also called upon to minister to the sick. He remained at Stanley until 1868, the year that St. Peter's Church was built.
Like the Presbyterians, Stanley's Roman Catholic families first met for services in private homes. The first Mass was probably offered in 1836 by the Rev. Michael McSweeney, of Fredericton, in a large room in Mr. McGuire's tavern. Following McSweeney's death the same year, the next pastor of Fredericton, the Rev. William Dollard, who later became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of New Brunswick, travelled to Stanley yearly to offer up Mass. About 1845 the land company sold a company house and one-half acre of land in the village to Father Dollard. The house functioned as a chapel for several years. The present St. Patrick's Church was completed in 1870 under the Rev. James McDevitt's supervision, but there was no resident priest in the community until the 20th century.
The Methodists appeared on the Nashwaak somewhat later than the other denominations, with the first church being built about 1872 on the Glen Road at the Stanley crossroads. This became a community project with the Methodists receiving help in constructing the building from their Roman Catholic and Protestant neighbours. The Rev. G. M. Campbell was ministering there in 1875. The first official board of the Stanley Methodist church was held much later, in 1888. Over time, other churches were built in surrounding communities. With the establishment of these and other social institutions, Stanley and area had become a permanent mark on the New Brunswick landscape.


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