Rev. Thomas Hickey in Stratford, Ontario

The Rev. Mr. Hickey's memory, not altogether a hallowed one, is bound up with the little log house in its Sunday aspect of church. For a time the Anglican services were held in the dining-room of the Shakespeare. Every Saturday evening that willing and muscular youth, S. R. Hesson, carried the benches there from the bar and other rooms. In the muddy weather of the spring and fall the return of Saturday night meant that this young man had to take a lantern and walk down to the Little Lakes, there to meet his employer's (Mr. U. C. Lee) team of horses. The teamster always carried an axe, but it took two pair of arms to keep the animals out of the difficulties of that local Chat Moss; and often as not the wagon had to be left there till the Monday morning. But such labours did not prevent Mr. Hesson's self-imposed Sunday duties.

Mr. Hickey was a short, thick-set, dark, smooth-faced young man, who weighed three hundred pounds or over. He received three hundred dollars a year from the scattered parish, and the Missionary Society supplemented the sum with a grant. On Sunday afternoons Mr. Hesson drove him out to St. John's, Zorra, where he officiated for the Rev. Mr. Fauquier, then in England; and sometimes to Hungerford. Mr. Hickey sang well and gave a good sermon, and he with Mrs. Sargint made things progress, first to the schoolhouse and then to the small frame church towards which Dunlop had contributed. He managed, however, to give offence through some very plain speaking in regard to card-playing, and by his manner in the pulpit, which was apt to be influenced by the potations indulged in before he got there The country people were inclined to befriend Mr. Hickey; but a memorial of complaint was made to the Bishop. A year or two passed over before the congregation made a second attempt to have him removed, this time successfully. At the investigation in regard to the question of drink, the dark little parson did not increase his popularity by laying the blame upon his wife. "It was all Jane's fault," he reiterated. There had been a pig killing, the weather was cold, something to warm the inner man was at hand, and Adam's old excuse, "I did drink" instead of "I did eat." The last straw seems to have been laid upon a long-suffering congregation when in his transit from chancel to pulpit he took a short cut over the small door in the railing. His surplice caught in the closing hinge, and the parson took an impromptu ride.

From In the Days of the Canada Company
by Robina and Kathleen MacFarlane Lizars published 1896 by William Briggs, Toronto.



Before Thomas Hickey's arrival services were performed by Canon Bettridge