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Although Rev. George's communicants may have been influenced by his 1,700 sermons, they certainly had minds of their own. In Rev. George's obituary which appeared in The Presbyterian in Oct., 1870, the people of St. Andrew's were referred to as:

Shrewd intelligent emigrants, mostly from the south of Scotland, quite capable of appreciating the best productions of his gifted mind, so that he had a constant stimulus to study.

Having originated in lowland Scotland where education and libraries were highly valued, the people of St. Andrew's were not long in establishing the first library in Scarborough. A constitution was drafted at a public meeting on April 7, 1834:

At a meeting held in the Presbyterian Church at Scarboro, it was Resolved, that whereas it is thought expedient to establish a subscription Library in the Township of Scarboro (without reference of Sect or Party) for the instruction of the Inhabitants, as the best means of providing extensive reading: as a number associated together will be able to have a greater variety of books ... No book of a seditious, deistical or licentious character was to be allowed on the shelves, on any pretence whatever.

The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #10

Individuality and Freedom:
Religious Movements

St. Andrews Road -- or "The Church Lane" as it was once called -- has both a Beginning and an End. Quite the opposite with St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough. This congregation has its roots in social turmoil and economic upheaval in Scotland almost 200 years ago. Today, St. Andrew's enters a new age amid the most significant disruption in lifestyles since the industrial revolution. The future of St. Andrew's depends largely on how her people respond to the great changes of the Twenty-First Century. The story of St. Andrew's has no Beginning and, more importantly we hope, no End.

From Bruce McCowan's Concluding Remarks to The Scots Kirk: An Oral History of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough.


Two hundred years ago, the socio-economic structure of Scotland was radically different from what it had been even fifty years before. Against this backdrop of economic change, other forces had also been at work on the religious fabric of society. Ordinary people in Cumnock had taken a very serious stand on the politically motivated "Oath of Abjuration" between 1712 and 1716.

The Secession Church in Scotland was, indeed,  partly born out of a combined notion of individuality and democracy -- fully four decades before the American Revolution -- for their secession was:

... from a party who have got the management in their hands and who have got the majority on their side in the judicatories, particularly in our Assemblies and Commissions, and who are carrying on a course of defection from our reformed and covenanted principles, and who are suppressing ministerial freedom and faithfulness in testifying against their present backslidings by inflicting censures upon ministers for witnessing by protestation and otherwise against the same.

And so, several years later, in 1738, the Praying Society of Cumnock, Ayrshire, joined the Secession Church. A list dated 1757 records the names of the "Seceders" in the Parish. These early Ayrshire proponents of individuality and freedom -- while all very ordinary rural folk -- could have been among the intelligent tenant farmers who also devised better ways of organizing their farming economy.


In the Town of Cumnock

John Dempster Jean Hutchon
Hugh Marr Margaret Marr

In the Country Parish
(Rural Cumnock)

Charles Logan Agnes Sloan
Agnes Edward Margaret McRae
Sarah Reid Christian McRae
James Crosbie James Osburn
John Crosbie Alex. McMillan
William Crosbie Janet McOwan
Alexander Hare James Morton
James Simpson Agnes McRae
Helen McErvaille Christian Crawfurd
John McCartney Jean Kennedy
Janet Crosbie James McNight
John McMillan Nicolas Crosbie
Jean McNight Jannet Ritchmont
Mary McMillan John Osburn
Robert McMillan Sarah Wilson
John McMillan James Osburn
William Brown Sarah Wilson
Helen Hannah James Osburn
Archd. Williamson Jean Osburn
Archd. Patterson George Vallance
Janet McColl John Brown
John McRae James Tinnoch
George Sloan George King
Janet Harkness Jannet Good
James Sloan

In the next generation, we know that John McCrae and Jean McCowan, great-great-great grandparents of the John McCrae, the author of In Flander's Fields, were strong supporters of the Secession Church. The values of John McCrae were partly shaped by the impact of the Lowland Clearances on his ancestors.

Let's take a closer look at some of that social turmoil and economic upheaval in Scotland, commonly known as the Agricultural Revolution.

The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #4

The Church and Temperance

The Scots Church played an important role in moderating the oftentimes wild behaviour of the early settlers in Canada.


In Scarborough, the first temperance society was formed in 1834 primarily by the Scots of St. Andrew's Church under Rev. James George... 

Finally, on February 2, 1882!: "We take very great pleasure in giving to the world, through the columns of the Markham Economist, the news that now every member of the Session of Knox Church is a pledged total abstainer."

By the turn of the century, there was evidently a rule in Scarborough that "no liquor was allowed at the [barn] raisings".

The war against intemperance in Scarborough peaked in the early decades of this century. At the meetings of the St. Andrew's Young People's Society, the members presented their own essays. Papers in opposition to drinking included "How Intemperance Hinders Missions" by T.A. Paterson on November 30, 1904, "Temperance Organizations" by Rev. McArthur on November 19, 1908, and, perhaps, "How to Break Bad Habits and Cultivate Good Ones" by Allan Green.

From Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play