The earliest American Presbyterian presence in Montreal was in the St. Gabriel Street Church. It held this connection from the founding of St.Gabriel's in 1790 until the formation of the Presbytery of Montreal in 1793. Some members left in 1803 to form their own church, St. Andrew's Presbyterian. The Americans seceded from St. Andrew's in 1822 and founded the American Presbyterian Society when the Scottish members of the congregation decided they wanted a minister from Scotland. The Scottish segment retained the property and name of St. Andrew's. The minority of Mr. Easton's church in St. Peter Street
The first building of the
American Presbyterian Church opened in 1826 at the north-east corner of St.
James and Victoria Square, where Morgan's wearhouse used to stand,
and the Bank of Nova Scotia now stands.
It opened for Divine worship on Dec.1st, 1826. In 1866 a new building was
completed on the south-east corner of René Levesque and Drummond,
based on a design of M. Morrell of
Brooklyn. It was embellished in 1902 by the addition of the Tiffany windows.
The IBM-Marathon Building now occupies
The congregation of the American Presbyterian Church was mainly middle-class. An 1864 survey showed that a disproportionate number were merchants and manufacturers (almost 60%) and many owned or were partners in those enterprises. The Church's members influenced the community, most notably, through participation in the temperance movement and the American Presbyterian Free School in the working-class suburb of Griffintown.
Some of the pastors are worthy of special mention. The first minister of American Presbyterian, Joseph Stibbs Christmas founded the first temperance society in Canada. George Perkins, a graduate of Princeton, left his ministry in 1839 to return to the United States to work as an abolitionist. In 1923 another minister of this church, Richard Roberts, was the first in Montreal to broadcast his sermons, though not without opposition.
[1909 postcard from the collection of Patty Brown]
The American Presbyterian Church in Montreal was affiliated with the Presbytery of New York for a century. In 1925 it joined the newly formed United Church of Canada and became known as the American United Church. In 1934 the congregation amalgamated with Erskine United Church to become the Erskine and American United Church.
PASTORS OF THE AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, MONTREAL
Joseph Stibbs CHRISTMAS Aug. 1824 - Oct. 1828
George W. PERKINS May 30,1830 - June 1837
Caleb STRONG Sept. 1839 - Jan. 1847
John McLEOD Nov. 7,1847 - April 1857
James B. BONAR July 1857 - Feb. 1869
Rev. Geo.H. WELLS Nov. 1871 - Oct. 1891
Rev. T.S. McWILLIAMS May 1892 - Oct. 1902
Rev. Richard ROBERTS Nov. 1904 - June 1920
Alex KERR Associate 1922
Where to access the American
Presbyterian Church records: