Doherty Creek, now called Pugwash Junction, only a few miles from Pugwash, became the center of great blessing and a rich ingathering of precious souls to Christ. It also became a time of bitter opposition. It was a rural district and the school house was opened for meetings. When the preacher arrived the place was in darkness, but in the distance he saw a light coming. Mrs. McLeod, a widow, brought a lamp and this was the only light during the first service.
Mr. Simpson arrived from Gait about this time and his coming was a cheer to the lonely worker. Mr. McEwen spoke of him many years later in highest terms, saying, “George Simpson was a true helper.” For weeks they continued preaching the gospel with increasing interest and increasing opposition. Mr. Simpson was also a good singer, and together the evangelists sang night after night,
Would you know why I love Jesus,
Why He is so dear to me?
For miles around the people came—some walking and some by horse and buggy. It was usual to see thirty horses tied to the fence. Later as they made their way home, their hearty singing was heard over the countryside and many came out to listen.
The Lord began to work in a wonderful way. Old and young were brought under deep conviction of sin as eternity with all its dread reality was brought before them. Hard hearts were broken as they heard the message in the burning power of the Holy Spirit, “How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,” 1 Corinthians 15:5, 6. But Paul also added his own personal experience of that glorious sight, saying, “Last of all He was seen of me also.” The fullness and spiritual wealth of Paul’s gospel preaching stirred the very being of the preacher at Pugwash Junction and this precious truth was reflected in may newborn souls.
Among the first converts was the widow, Mrs. McLeod, who had brought the lamp to the first meeting. Mrs. Nelson Piers was also saved. She and Mrs. McLeod stood nobly by the work and God richly blessed them and their families. During a work of grace many years later in 1901, conducted by Mr. D. R. Scott, Hiram, Mrs. McLeod’s son, was saved and also his wife, a daughter of Mrs. Piers. Hiram McLeod became the leading brother in the Pugwash Junction assembly and was a true shepherd. Their son, Oswald McLeod, is a well-known evangelist in the United States and Canada.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Eaton, prominent residents of the Junction, attended the meetings and became greatly interested. One night Mr. McEwen was appealing solemnly to parents to come to Christ, and said, “That child that God took from you lately—you will be separated from him for all eternity.” Although the preacher was unaware of it, the Eatons had lost a little boy a short time before. Mrs. Eaton left the meeting in soul trouble. The next night Mr. Simpson whispered to Mr. McEwen, “I believe Mrs. Eaton is saved. She looks different.” Just then she came over to Mr. McEwen and with deep emotion said, “You will never tell me again that I will never meet my boy,” and opening her Bible at Romans 10:9, she said, “I was saved through that verse last night.” Mr. McEwen went out and found Mr. Eaton weeping beside his buggy and pointed him to Christ.
Mr. and Mrs. Eaton had an open door for years for the Lord’s servants and gave a room where the assembly remembered the Lord. Mr. McEwen afterwards spoke highly of this worthy couple and appreciated much the untiring zeal in the things of the Lord by Mrs. Eaton. The Eatons were the parents of Cyrus Eaton, internationally known financier and philanthropist of Cleveland, Ohio.
Brother George Simpson remained in Nova Scotia preaching the Gospel for several years. In October, 1891 he and Miss Ada McPherson, a sister of Mrs. Eaton, were married in the bride’s home in Pugwash River. She was the Ada to whom Miss Ada King (later Mrs. Silver Allen) wrote the spiritually fragrant letters reproduced in this issue. After their marriage they returned to Ontario and later moved to Detroit. Brother Simpson’s health broke down and he was called home to be with the Lord when still a young man of thirty-nine. His life of service for the Lord was brief but many memories remain of his godly life and his love for his Risen Lord.
For some time before he died, Mr. Simpson was very short of breath and one of his last remarks to his wife was, “Oh, Ada, I’ll soon be in heaven. I’ll take one long breath of the fragrant air of heaven, and fall at His feet, and the story repeat, and the Lover of sinners adore.” He passed away on January 23, 1902, and his funeral was conducted by Mr. T. D. W. Muir. He left two daughters, Mrs. Gertrude Simpson Johanningmeyer and Miss Isabelle Simpson, a well-known nurse in the Washington, D.C. area.
The following letter, written to Miss Isabelle Simpson by Mr. David Scott in 1947, gives a few reminiscenses of his helping Mr. Simpson in pioneer work in Nova Scotia.
Dear Sister in Christ,
I wasn’t very long with your father in Nova Scotia but I remember some things. I was very young when I first went to New Brunswick, and then I went up to Dalhouse Junction to your father. He had been there for quite some time before and a few nice souls got saved… After a while we came to Jacket River and got a hall. The people came out well and it seemed as if God was working. The man who owned the hall had quite a large family and some of them were getting troubled. But the devil was surely busy, and one of the daughters became so bitter that she persuaded her father to shut the hall against us, and there was no other place for us so we reluctantly came away. The oldest boy in the family came to the station and he just cried. He said, “It’s all very well with you men, you are going to heaven, but I’m going to hell.”
This girl who had the door shut on us had the cheek to write me some time later to tell me that they had meetings and one night the hall was full and they had a glorious time. All that were in the hall were saved that night and the rejoicing was so great that they just walked up and down the aisle clapping their hands and praising the Lord. This boy that was so troubled was one that professed.
Some two or three years later I met three of these boys (brothers) on Boston Common and had a good talk with them. I asked the boy who cried at the station, “Was there any reality in that which his sister wrote me about when so many got saved?” “Oh, no,” he said. “There was nothing to it.” I asked him if he was saved. “No,” he said, “I wasn’t saved.”
It was very cold and we came to Coatsville to Sherwards. We tramped twelve miles that day with cases, etc… Your father had been quite a bit around Welford and had it rough there. They wouldn’t give him lodging at the hotel, but Mr. Pride, a Baptist, took him in. His wife was a Catholic and they were very kind. Mr. Pride told me that after he had watched Mr. Simpson’s life he said, “I felt I was a backslider, but after a while I came to the conclusion that I never was saved at all.” … I had been having meetings some eight or nine miles from Welford. The weather was very wet and the roads very bad, but the people were coming out well and there was a good interest, but I took a bad cold or flu and I couldn’t continue the meetings. I came up to Mr. Prides and your father had stayed there the night before. I don’t remember where he was going, but he had a bad cold and Mrs. Pride said to me, “I made Mr. Simpson go up those stairs on his knees last night and I’ll make you do the same tonight.” I did not know what she meant but she got my feet into a bucket of hot water and mustard. Then she took a couple of those big Nova Scotia salt herrings and split them up and bound one tightly on the sole of each foot. “Now,” she said, “Get up the stairs the best you can.” Well, when I unwrapped them in the morning they were actually cooked, and the smell!!!! I think a crumb of that fish would have poisoned a dog! But I felt so much better.
With our united love in Christ,
Yours by grace,
David R. Scott