Parish history

St. Bartholomew Parish / Melrose

Established around 1820
First church in 1826
First pastor in 1926

Melrose or “the Emigrant Road”, as it was called in the earlier days, was settled in 1820 by Irish families who migrated to Canada. About sixty families in all comprised this group of early settlers. Among them could be found descendants of the most illustrious and distinguished Irish families of that time: the Lanes, Carrolls, Harnetts, Hickeys, Savages, Burnes and Noonans.

The first church built in Melrose (1826), was constructed entirely from logs, and occupied a position on the farm of John Roach. The church was built by Rev. John Cummis, while the old cemetery, wherein lie the remains of most of the first inhabitants of Melrose, about thirteen in all, marks the exact spot occupied by the rustic church. Some years later, Rev. Edward Savage, a direct descendant of the pioneer family bearing the name, bought the lot and erected a monument to the memory of the early colonists buried there. Father Savage also erected a beautiful wooden cross in the present cemetery.

The little wooden log church was demolished after a few years, and the Holy Sacrifice was celebrated for ten years in the home of James Carroll. A new edifice was then constructed directly opposite the position now occupied by Saint Bartholomew’s church in a part of the present cemetery. It was a wooden structure built in 1838, under the spiritual direction of Rev. Antoine Gagnon of Barachois. During some 65 years, the faithful of Melrose attended services at this church, during which time the mission was served by such venerated clergymen, as Rev. John Sweeney, afterwards Bishop of Saint John; Rev. Thomas Connolly, after Vicar General; Rev. John Mooney, F.-X. Babineau, Patrick Bradley and Rev. F. Collerette.

The latter, from Cap-Pelè, was instrumental in bringing about the completion of the plans of his predecessor for a new church at Melrose, and in 1902, the beautiful church as it now stands was completed. It was blessed by the late Rev. Arthur Meahan in 1903.

Until 1907, both Melrose and Port Elgin were missions depending upon Cap-Pelè, but later became attached to Middle Sackville. They remained so until 1926, when Father R. B. Fraser, then Pastor of Sackville, took up residence in Port Elgin until 1932, thus becoming the first pastor of Port Elgin.

Due to a significant decrease in the number of  faithful, the St. Bartholomew Parish put an end to its worship activities September 16, 2018.