St. James Church and the Canal Workers

As has been suggested in past articles on the European Canal Workers, their arrival in Dartmouth on the ship Corsair in 1827 led to major changes in the village of Dartmouth. One of these changes had to do with the building of St. James Presbyterian Church. St. James presently occupies a very conspicuous location at the intersection of Portland St., Prince Albert Rd and Alderney Drive. However, the first St James was located on King St. on the site presently occupied by the Fire Station and it is believed that some of the Canal workers assisted with the construction.

In order to get permission to build the first St. James Church a request had to be signed by a fixed number of parishioners. It was only after the Canal workers arrived, some of whom were Presbyterian, that a sufficient number was available and a successful request was drafted. Some of the people who may have signed this petition include stonemasons: Alexander Grant, William Patterson and R. Cummins. It is interesting to note the many connections we, today, have with the Canal Workers of the 19th century.

The last photo is the second St. James Presbyterian Church built on the corner of Portland St. and Prince Albert St. If you have a photo of the original St. James Presbyterian Church, we would love to see it.

-Bernie Hart