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318   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

The old days are gone; the woods are gone; the pioneers themselves rest in the shadows of the old stone church; but the memory and influence of these simple, believing pioneers will remain long after even the church itself has crumbled into dust.

EARLY RELIGIOUS REVIVALS

 

Frequent reference is made in these sketches to the intensity of the religious fervour prevailing in Ontario within a period roughly extending from 1830 to 1850. A partial explanation of the phenomenon may be found in the conditions then existing. The tide of emigration from Europe was at its height. Family and community ties with the old land were being forever broken; hardships of many kinds pressed with crushing weight upon the pioneers. The loneliness of isolated families was beyond description. The dense forests, the great lakes and rivers, and the dread magnificence of nature were all calculated to make a deep impression on minds peculiarly susceptible to spiritual influences. Perhaps never were the comforts of_ religion more deeply felt, even by the Jews during the Babylonian captivity.

One of the most extraordinary phases of the wave that then swept over Ontario was seen in the Millerite frenzy of the 'forties. Some first hand information regarding this was obtained from Charles Allin, then living in Newcastle.

"Two brothers named Huff represented the Millerite movement in the district covering Newcastle, Orono, and Kirby," Mr. Allin said.


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