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The Packet & Times
April, 1933

The Rev. John Hart Dies at St. Mary’s. Was Also at Severn Bridge

Word has been received of the death of the Rev. John Hart of St. Mary’s who for a number of years, during the early days of his ministry, was stationed in Atherley and Severn Bridge. He also was closely associated with the Rev. Thomas Williams, a pioneer missionary in Simcoe County, and the father of Mrs. S. T. Reed, of Ardtrea. The St. Mary’s Journal, in its obituary notice of the Rev. Mr. Hart says in part:

On Friday evening, April 21, there entered into rest the Rev. John hart, and aged citizen beloved by all for his goodness and kindly deeds. He was in his eighty-fourth year and had been confined to bed for some time.

The late Mr. Hart was born in the village of Thornhill in 1849, a son of James Hart and his wife Ann Black. His parents had immigrated from Ireland in 1837, and his father’s first act was to shoulder a musket in defense of his country in the rebellion of 1837-38. When John was eight years old the family removed to Brock Township, near Port Perry. There he took his turn at the work of pioneer farming. One of his early experiences was the driving of a team of oxen. His opportunities in the way of schooling were slight, but he made the most of them. He had been converted at the age of fourteen, and shortly afterwards became a local preacher of the Methodist church. For four years he attended Bradford Grammar School and secured his second class certificate. He had hardly begun teaching when he was encouraged by the Rev. Thomas Williams, a pioneer missionary, to enter the ministry, which he did at the end of two years.

His first charge was at Brooke, near Owen Sound, under the superintendence of the Rev. Mr. Williams. The two preachers were responsible for fourteen preaching appointments and in order to reach his appointments he had to follow a blazed trail on horseback. He studied in the saddle and wrote at night. His private study was the tower of an old Indian church. The Rev. Mr. Hart was sixty-two years in the ministry and forty-four years in the active work. In his preaching he was evangelistic and eloquent, and he had many converts.

By his kindly ministry he won the love of his people, and his is still held in affectionate remembrance by those to whom his ministered. The charges held by the Rev. Mr. Hart included Manvers, Atherley, Severn Bridge, Holland Centre, Chatsworth, Varna, Rockwood, Kinore, Parkhill, Woodham, Apin, Hensall, Corinth and London.

He was married first to Miss Lavinia Carruthers, of Whitby, who predeceased him in 1916. By this union there were four children: John, who died at Woodham in 1904; Willliam W. of Winnepegosis, Manitoba; Mrs. H. P. Madden, of London; and Mrs. Herbert Whiteman, of Toronto. In 1919 he married Miss Sarah McLaughlin, of Cardinal, Grenville County, who faithfully ministered to his needs in his declining years.

The Rev. Mr. Hart’s latter years were filled with many happy memories, and in his retirement he made many warm and close friends among those with whom he came into daily contact. While health permitted he was always found in his pew on a Sunday morning and he took delight in assisting in the work in any way.


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