The Annesley Story From Cabin to Church
Much of the information to follow has been gleaned from the Annesley History Book “From Cabin to Church 1849-1999” It is printed here with permission.
Upper Canada was one of the first “foreign mission fields of the Methodist Episcopalian church as well as several other streams of Methodism. They established missionary circuits north of Toronto where both settlers and missionaries put down roots in the Queens Bush which remains to this day.
Mid December 1849 Methodist worship began in the Miller home.
June of 1856 a log church seating 150 was built on the Irwin farm at a cost of $150. To the north and east the Lyons family and others formed a worship group which later became Harkaway Methodist/United and joined with Annesley in 1979.
In 1867 Confederation year, Mark Armstrong sold a portion of his farm as a site for a new church in Cornabuss (Markdale). It lay north from todays Victoria past Mark Street and west of the Toronto Sydenham Road (Hwy 10).
June 6th 1870 a frame church 48′ x 32′ was dedicated on the present site of 39/41 Eliza duplex.
June 23 1870 Robert Caswell set fire to the new church (and a barn). This crime was deemed to be in protest against the strong stand taken by the Methodist establishment against the consumption of alcohol.
January 7th 1872 a replacement frame church was dedicated on the same site where it remains today. A Sunday School addition was added in 1874 which was later moved and forms the bones of the home on the west side of the Annesley parking lot.
December 20 1885 a solid brick church 42’x72′ was dedicated on the present site. The total cost was $8500 with a $6000 mortgage.
November 26 1895 a violent windstorm blew down a large chimney sending it through the roof,the main floor and into the basement accompanied by a few pews.
December 17th 1905 the brick church is destroyed by fire. The community is stunned but contingency plans are immediate unifying.
December 16th 1906 First service conducted in the new brick church. It was built at a total cost of $24,500.
October 19th 1986 The “Annesley Memorial Centre” addition was dedicated. It was a brick structure of 6000 sq ft., fully accessible.