Chapter 18 Other Pioneers In The Maritimes

As years passed Mr. McEwen’s field of labor extended to many others parts of England, also to Scotland and Ireland. He crossed the ocean many times visiting his friends in the United States and Canada, including Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where he always took a godly and practical interest in the work in these two provinces.

It was the writer’s great pleasure in 1910 to see Nova Scotia for the first time. I had met beloved brother David Scott, a servant of the Lord, at the Toronto conference. Because of ill health he had just left Nova Scotia where he had labored for a number of years with much blessing from the Lord. He too had seen an ingathering of precious souls in Port Howe and also in Pugwash Junction (the name now given to Doherty Creek). Brother Scott encouraged me to go to Nova Scotia.

I arrived in Pugwash Junction for the conference on July 1, 1910, and there I met the much esteemed brethren, Ansley Goodwin and W. N. Brennan, whose fellowship through the years I greatly enjoyed. Since Mr. Scott had left Nova Scotia these two brethren were the only laborers among the assemblies in that province while Mr. John Martin was the only one in the neighboring province of New Brunswick. At that same conference were Mr. R. McCrory, my fellow-laborer from Ireland, and Mr. Edwin Tharpe, on his first furlough from China.

The conference was small at that time but a sense of the presence of God was evident and the saints appreciated the ministry of the Word. I met many of the dear saints of God from Port Howe and Pugwash Junction and heard much from them about Mr. McEwen and his wonderful work for God in that area.

Mr. McCrory remained for over two years in Nova Scotia. He and Mr. Goodwin had a tent together and saw the hand of the Lord in blessing. Mr. and Mrs. David Sharp had come from Scotland to New Glasgow and a little assembly was begun there. Mr. Sharp, a sculptor of rare talent, was a real help and mainstay in the assembly for years until he went to be with the Lord in 1961.

Mr. Brennan and I spent the winter of 1910-1911 in Cape Breton. There was one assembly in Sydney Mines and at Christmas of 1910, they had a three-day conference. A number of believers came who had never heard of assemblies and were very interested. Quite a few were baptized and took their place in the assembly. The interest shown at the conference was such that the next week at New Year’s the brethren decided to have another three-day conference. The Lord gave a precious season then also.

Among the believers who came into the assembly at that time were Mr. and Mrs. S. Batstone and their daughter, Nina, who was then just a young girl. She grew up with a real testimony for the Lord, became Mrs. Andrew Stenhouse, and with her husband has spent many years laboring for the Lord in Chile, South America.

Mr. McCrory remained for meetings and saw the Lord working in salvation and a goodly number were brought into the assembly. Mr. Brennan and I went to the city of Sydney and hired a hall where we conducted meetings. That was the beginning of the work in Sydney and souls were reached and saved.

About 1914 a young Englishman called Robert Milnes, a godly and devout believer, was commended to the work by the assembly in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. He labored with Mr. Brennan around Moncton, New Brunswick. In several places they saw precious souls saved but there was no assembly as yet in Moncton. In 1919 these brethren with Mr. A. Goodwin pitched a tent in that city. There was a good interest and an ingathering of precious souls to Christ. A number of these were young men who became the foundation of the assembly begun in 1921 and continuing on to this day.

Early in 1921 a young Irishman, Isaac McMullen, who was among the first converts the writer saw led to Christ when first going forth in the gospel early in 1905, came to the Moncton area. He had given me appreciated help in a tent in Brookline, Massachusetts in the summer of 1920, and the brethren in the Boston area commended him heartily. He returned to Toronto, Canada, and his home assembly commended him to the work of the Lord. He was a stirring gospel preacher and was greatly used of the Lord in New Brunswick. I had encouraged this young brother to labor in the Maritimes and when brother McMullen arrived in Moncton early in 1921, he had a few meetings there with Mr. Milnes.

After the meetings in Moncton, brother McMullen secured a country schoolhouse in Bryants Corner and preached nightly to a crowded audience. After preaching for several weeks there still seemed no apparent blessing. He announced that Easter Sunday would be the last meeting and went to the schoolhouse that evening deeply moved in his spirit. As usual the place was packed and the service began. It soon became evident that the power of God was very manifest. The audience sat spell-bound as this fiery young Irishman proclaimed the glorious gospel message. Two lighted kerosene lamps were on the desk before him and, in the course of his preaching, his hand struck one of the lamps. The light was immediately extinguished and the lamp went crashing to the floor. The preacher continued on and no one in the audience moved, but soon, as of old, anxious souls cried out in despair, “What must I do to be saved?” Strong men broke down and wept aloud and soon souls were being saved—young and old alike were rejoicing for they had found Christ as their Saviour. A grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, at least one son, and a daughter all in one family were saved that evening and later were all baptized together and received into assembly fellowship. For several weeks after that many more souls were led to Christ.

Mr. McMullen wrote me to come along and help him. Early in July, Mr. Brennan, Mr. McMullen, and I pitched a tent near Bryants Corner and the young converts drank in the Word. One lovely afternoon in August we held a baptism in a little river nearby. Long before the time announced people were gathering from every direction for miles around. We preached to the multitude and Mr. Brennan baptized twenty-two converts that day including the three generations of one family.

At that time we were having Bible readings on Lord’s Day morning with the young believers in Moncton, a few miles from Bryants Corner, and one Sunday morning the Lord’s Table was spread and we remembered our Lord’s death. Thus the assembly in Moncton began.