A Church History of Margaree Fox-Roost

New metal roof in Margaree Fox Roost
The new metal roof on the church
Karen Simon

Parish of Isle aux Morts, located on the southern coast of the Island of Newfoundland

The following was taken from the journal of the Rev’d David Blackmore, dated 30 July 1846, and is the earliest reference currently known to the community of Margaree. 

He identified 6 families living in the community of Maggeridge, and related performing baptism for 4 individuals:
• Hannah Collier, born 25 June 1846 to John & Elizabeth Collier
• Mary Francis, born July 1846 to William & Ann Francis
• Ann Walters, born 09 May 1846 to James & Jane Walters
• Joseph Osmond, born 04 Nov, 1844 to George & Elizabeth Osmond

Church services were held in private homes conducted by SPG missionaries or visiting clergymen. This custom continued, even after a priest was stationed in Channel Port aux Basques. The parochial record of public services begins in 1890 for most of the parish, though there are some services recorded for St. James’ Church in Channel as early as 1887.

The first recorded public service for this area was held at Marguerits on Saturday, May 7th, 1891. This was an evening service conducted by the Rev’d W. L. Romilly. However, in the record of services for St. James’ Church in Channel, we find that the Rev’d W. S. Rafter held a private communion at the home of William Hiscock in Fox Roost on October, 22nd, 1890.

Our parish records for baptisms, marriages, and deaths go back to 1854. The first recorded baptism held in St. Augustine’s congregation was administered by the Rev’d J. DeVal on July 9th, 1855. The child baptized was Benjamin Walters (born Jan. 5th, 1855), son of George and Elizabeth Walters. 

The first marriage recorded was that of George Osmond of Margaree, and Susanna Dicks of Isle aux Morts, married on September 14th, 1858 by the Rev’d W. W. LeGallais. The record does not state if the wedding took place in Isle aux Morts or Margaree – Fox Roost.

The first recorded burial service was held on November 28th, 1859, for Susan Osmond, aged 5 years.

By 1890, there seems to have been a small Methodist School at Fox Roost Brook in which occasional services were held.

One interesting entry appears in 1895. The Rev’d L. Goden held an evening service at Fox Roost on May 22nd, and following the service, “a meeting was held…to consider the erecting of a new School Chapel”. All were unanimous and a sum of $68 was then promised to be paid by September 1895. The School Chapel was built in the general area of the current church.

The Present Church

The Foreman for the job was Mr. John Hodder; the carpenters and labourers were all congregation members. The Corner Stone was laid on October 2nd, 1962. St. Augustine’s church was built with a seating capacity of 147 and at the cost of nearly $22,000. The bell, taken from the old church, provided a link between the old and new. Everyone in the communities shared in the work of building the church. Fishermen—those in the boat and in the plant—contributed towards a fish appeal for several years. Old age pensioners gave the first dollar of their cheque on a monthly basis. Berkley Billard, David Warren, and Alman Carter worked to show weekly films in the school (movies were collected by boat from Burnt Islands), and card games were held weekly in private homes. The CEWA (Church England Women’s Association) were active and greatly assisted in the work. 

What a legacy!

painting by Ed Coleman
Most recently, our parish fund raiser has been this painting, which was done by the Rev’d Ed Coleman

2022 will mark the 60th Anniversary of St. Augustine’s Church in Margaree – Fox Roost.

To commemorate this, a weekend of events is being planned:
• Friday, Sept 30th – an evening of entertainment at the church.
• Saturday, October 1st – an afternoon tea and quilt show
•Sunday, October 2nd – a service of celebration, 7pm at St. Augustine’s.

In 2021, a committee was created to oversee repairs on the church. 

Phase one was to replace the leaking roof. I am happy to announce that with fund raising efforts and generous support from our communities, a metal roof is currently being installed. 

Phase two includes upgrades to the interior and exterior of our church and grounds. Our upcoming fund raisers include a 2023 calendar and note cards.

Now, more so than ever in this COVID-19 era, family values and togetherness have come to mean so much. The upkeep on our church is vital to our communities.

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