There was quite a stir at the Cemetery Thursday afternoon, and those who braved the long walk for the purpose of witnessing an interesting ceremony were well repaid for their trouble. Those who have had occasion to accompany a funeral to the cemetery on a cold winter's day, will remember, no doubt, what a trying ordeal it was to stand with uncovered head by the side of a grave while the last sad rights were being performed - the wind and snow blowing a blinding gale, which rendered unceasing locomotion necessary to prevent one's extremities from being nipped by the frost. Only those who have gone through this painful experience can properly appreciate the generosity which prompted Mr. J. G. Williams to erect on the grounds a Mortuary Chapel, wherein service may be held, and the mourners thus be sheltered from the winds that howl about the cemetery on a frosty day. The necessity of a chapel, such as has now been erected, by Mr. Williams, has long been felt, but the authorities have never considered themselves sufficiently rich to undertake the work. Mr. Williams has, therefore, placed the public under. deep obligation to him for bis public spiritedness in this matter, and all our citizens will join in according him hearty congratulations on the completion and dedication of his labor of love.
THE OPENING OF THE CHAPEL.
The ceremony of opening the Mortuary Chapel was announced to take place at three o'clock, by which time nearly two hundred people had been crowded into the attractive looking edifice. The authorities of St. John's Church were in attendance, and many prominent gentlemen of the town also graced the proceedings with their presence The ladies, too, were well represented. The officiating clergymen, Rev. Mr. Daniel, Rev. Mr. Shortt, and Rev. J. Ardill, of Merriton, Ont., occupied the chancel, and as the proceedings were about to be opened by the Rector, Mr. Williams arose in his seat and addressing the Rector, said that it afforded him a great deal of pleasure to present this chapel to St. John s Cemetery in memory of his wife. He hoped that the public would always find it convenient and useful. He hoped they would accept the chapel, Which he presented in memory of his wife.
Rev. Mr. Daniel said he was sure he spoke the feelings of the Churchwardens and all concerned, when he most heartily accepted the presentation in the spirit in which it was made. He hoped that his dear friend, Mr. Williams, would long be spared to see the benefits of it. He was glad that they were able to meet together in this way and open the building in a proper manner by the public worship of God.
The Rector then conducted the regular Church service, assisted by Rev. Mr. Shortt, after which the proceedings partook of a more informal character.Mr. Daniel said the occasion had afforded him a great deal of pleasure, and before calling on any one to say a word in keeping with our purpose, he would say a few words directly upon the object of our gathering.It was not because the builder and donor of our chapel was present - if he Were not present perhaps the speaker would feel freer to speak than he did, but he said what he had to say because he thought it was no more than right. If any person was entitled to be called a benefactor in this place, our brother who has presented this memorial chapel to the Cemetery Committee, is entitled to that name. He could say further, if he had been studying the subject for a life time, - if he had been making it a special object to find some memorial suitable for such a purpose as he had in view, the speaker doubted if he could have secured anything more suitable or proper than this chapel. Perhaps only those who have stood by the open grave in winter time can understand what a boom such a place like this will be. In making this presentation to the committee, Mr. Williams had made himself a benefactor. He thought he was saying nothing more than would be fully concurred in, not only by the brethren of the cemetery committee, but by the people generally in this community. He could assure Mr. Williams that the donation was highly appreciated. It was valued hot only for the use to which it would be put, but for the spirit in which it was given, and for the object for which it has been erected. He thought a more suitable memorial to his estimable wife could not have been found, and he spoke the wishes and prayers of the people when he hoped the declining years of their brother would be greatly blest, - that God would make the evening time of his life a great comfort, and give to him that love which he alone can give. He trusted as years pass on, and he drew nearer to the grave, that God would bless him, and make the result of his generosity a blessing and comfort to all.
Judge Benson said he did not expect to be called upon to make any remarks but as he had been asked to say a few words he could only say on behalf of the congregation of St. Jahn's Church, of which he was one of the church wardens, that in the name of people of. St. John's Church, he could extend their very hearty thanks indeed to our friend, Mr. Williams, for the generous gift that he has made to the church. It was, as the Rector had said, a very great boon. We will feel it more in the cold blasts of winter than we would do on such a day as this, and for all time as the cemetery is used, men, women, and children will rise up and call Mr. Williams blessed for having given such a building as this in which to hold the burial services, instead of being exposed to the cold blasts of winter. On that ground, a great boon had been conferred on the community. There was another feature that ought not to be overlooked, that the chapel had been erected to one who was long a member of St. John's Church, and who was recollected with loving affection by every one who was brought in contact with her during her life. It was fitting and proper that her memory should be perpetuated where her body lies, and no more suitable means could have been adopted than the course adopted by Mr. Williams. In this way they would all thank him for the generosity he had exhibited. He could repeat what the Rector had said, that he hoped many years would be spared their worthy brother, and that it would be many a long year before it would be necessary that this chapel should have to be used in connection with a burial service in which he was concerned. They all looked upon him as one of the benefactors of the congregation of St. Johns Church for which he had long labored. The congregation had been under obligation to him in the past, and they were new placed under additional obligation by the presentation of this chapel.
Rev. James Ardill, a nephew of Mr. Williams then spoke. He based his remarks on St. James 2, 17 and 18, "Even so faith, if faith hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith by my works." Also Revelation 14 chap, and 13 verse. Speaking on the line of the texts, he urged his hearers not to sever faith and works, but to give evidence of their faith by putting that faith into practice showing by works the depth of our faith, he pointed out the noble example set by his venerable relative, and urged others to "go and do likewise."
The chapel is situated just at the main entrance to the cemetery, and is an attractive looking frame building of Gothic architecture. The chapel has been painted a drab color, with ornaments painted appropriately to match. The dimensions of the building are 20x30 feet; the chancel 10x15 feet, and the entrance 5x6 feet. Three gothic windows allow the light to enter on each side of the building, while a large window is located in the chancel and two at the opposite end. The inside is nicely finished, and furnished with desk, chandeliers, hanging lamps, etc. To the left of the chancel, hangs a tablet of black marble, with the following inscription in gold letters:
This building was Erected by
JAMES GUEST WILLIAMS.
In memory of his wife, PATIENCE,
Who died July 23rd, 1880.
The building is well laid out, its appointments being well considered by the designer, who was Mr. Williams himself. The cost of the building was $1,200.
To the south of the chapel has been erected by the Cemetery Committee a red brick vault, in which the dead will be temporarily placed in rough weather. The two buildings, although owned by St. John's Church, will be placed at the disposal of all denominations who use the Union or St. John's Cemetery.