The Baptist Churches of Middleville have a long history. A log building with four-sided roof that came to peak at a centre point was constructed on the East half of Lot 15, 6th Concession in the area known as the 7th line corner where it meets Wolf Grove Road. The pews were hewn boards that sat upon wooden blocks. When it was first used, it was non-denominational.
On July 5th, 1834, a meeting was held to establish this building as a Baptist Church. The attending people adopted a Constitution with two guiding principals and five Articles of Faith to guide their Congregation.
Constitution drawn up by founding members of the Baptist Church on Saturday, July 5, 1834
Article 1: The Church shall be an independent Baptist Church, possessing the sole power and right of managing all her own concern, both spiritual and temporal, under Christ our Head, meeting every Lord's Day and attending to the things according to the pattern of the First Churches.
Article 2: Persons who give credible evidence of piety shall be admitted as members of this Church on profession of their faith and attending to the Ordinance of Baptism by immersion of water.
The congregation met in this building until 1859 when a second building was constructed on a second site.
Middleville Baptist Church on left and former manse on right. Photo 1905 Pictured: at door, Mr. Nichols (brother), Reverend Nichols, Crawford Dodds, at fence: Addie Allan, Clara Croft, Mrs. AH Croft, Evelyn Rankin, Jennie Affleck, Maggie Blackburn, Agnes Affleck, in buggy: Tena Dodds, Mrs. Reverend Nichols, Nichols children and dog named Faust
In 1850, a plan to purchase property on Lot 15, 5th Concession in the heart of Middleville was discussed. A deal was struck to purchase the land in 1856 from Mrs. Borrowman. The names on the deed were James Affleck, Crawford Dodds and William Rankin. Logs were prepared to build the new Church which was completed in 1859. This building was used for worship until 1886 when the new frame structure was built. This last frame Church had a platform at the front where the pastor mounted two steps to the pulpit. Behind the pulpit was a sliding door that opened to reveal a galvanized immersion tank sunk into the floor. It had a wooden cover with two parts that lifted off and the tank was filled with water when there was to be a baptism Persons to be baptized descended wooden steps at one end and exited up wooden steps at the other end. The women's long skirts dripped water all the way down the aisles as they emerged. Other baptisms were conducted at a place along the Clyde River.
The last Baptist Church in Middleville was closed in the early 1970's. It was only used for occasional special services after that time. In 1995, the Church was sold and is now a private dwelling.
The Baptist Manses
There were two buildings used as a Baptist Manse. The first is a log cabin originally built on Lot 16, Concession 7 and then moved to Concession 8 along the Galbraith Road. This building has been moved a third time and now sits inside the Middleville and District Museum as an example depicting log cabin living in the late 1820’s and ‘30’s.
The Baptist Manse was constructed beside the Church in the village. It was later sold to Arthur and Ethel Croft and used as a private residence.
The Baptist Churches of Middleville and their manses were an important part of the community for many decades. When you visit the Middleville and District Museum, be sure to look for the history and artifacts of the Middleville Churches in the Museum's Church exhibit.
This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.