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Rev. Mathew Witherspoon Maclean


Maclean, Rev. Mathew Witherspoon, M.A. Minister of St. Andrew's church, Belleville, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 11th June, 1842. His parents were Malcolm Maclean and Catherine Macpherson. Mathew Witherspoon Maclean completed his education at the University of Glasgow in 1862. While a divinity student, he visited Canada, and was then prevailed upon to make this country the field of his future labours. He entered the Divinity Hall of Queen's College, Kingston, where he studied for two years; and then took a session at Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, U.S., where he graduated in 1866. Shortly afterwards he returned to Canada, and was licensed by the presbytery of Niagara, in connection with the Church of Scotland, on the 13th June, 1866. In August of the same year he was ordained and inducted to the pastorate of St. Andrew's church, Paisley, in the County of Bruce, by the presbytery of Guelph, in connection with the Church of Scotland. Here he found abundant scope for his zeal and energy. "The country," says the 'Scot in British North America,' "was newly settled, and the spiritual wants of the people has been but inefficiently and irregularly supplied." We further learn that Mr. Maclean was the only pastor belonging to his denomination within forty miles. His work extended over the large area of five townships, and in addition to daily pastoral visits, he travelled, every Sabbath from twenty to forty miles, preaching three times a day. His church increased so rapidly that it became necessary to provide additional accommodation for what had previously been a sparse and dwindling congregation. Three mission stations were organized at different points in the neighbourhood. In 1871, he accepted a call to the pastorate of the Mill Street Presbyterian church at Port Hope, where he remained for two years. On November 12th, 1873, he became pastor of St. Andrew's, Belleville, the oldest Presbyterian church in the city. Mr. Maclean was clerk of the presbytery of Kingston, in connection with the Church of Scotland, from the date of his settlement at Belleville up to the time of the union of the Presbyterian churches of the Dominion. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Queen's University, Kingston; is president of the Belleville Mechanics' Institute and Library Association, of which he was a prominent originator and promoter; is a trustee of the Belleville High School; is convener of the Home Mission Committee of the presbytery of Kingston, having charge of an extensive mission field, and is chaplain of several local organizations. Mr. Maclean has been a somewhat extensive traveller: he has visited the West Indies, the Western States, Europe and Manitoba. On the 29th of September, 1869, he married Isabella Elizabeth, eldest daughter of George Davidson, of the firm of Davidson & Doran, Kingston foundry, an ex-mayor of that city, and one of the oldest members of the Board of Trustees of Queen's University.


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