Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
of Later Day Saints
by Leigh Ribbel
The work of this church was started in the Stokes Bay area about one mile north of the village at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ribbel. Mrs. Ribbel being the only member of the church at that time. Through the efforts of these people, with others, Elder Ben St. John, was the first missionary sent here by the church in 1899. A large number accepted the work.
In the year 1900, Missionary Elder John Shields organized a branch. Elder Henry Ribbel was the Pastor, with William Burley and his son Albert, as officers. The Branch was livly and grew to a membership of 125.
After a time, members and officers began to move away including, Pastor Henry Ribbel who moved with his family to New Liskeard in 1912. They remained there for about five years, and again moved back to their home near Stokes Bay (The Rory McLennan house that was once on Hidden Hills ground). Again the work of their church revived, and became known as a group under Pastor Ribbels leadership.
Finally, two groups were formed. One known as the Lions Head Group under the leadership of Henry Ribbel and the other known as the Stokes Bay Group under J.L. (Leigh) Ribbel. Then the two groups united and became known as the Stokes Bay Group. After the passing of Elder Ribbel in 1939, the group still carried on under the leadership of his son J.L. Ribbel. Meetings were conducted in the homes and also in the Orange Hall.
In 1950, a church was built at Stokes Bay and a Branch reorganized with Ivan Thompson as Pastor, which continued until 1959. The membership covered from the lower side of Eastnor Township to Tobermory – a membership of about 40.
The following is a list of heads of families who were members when the
work first opened up in this area: Ribbel, Burley, Romph, McFarlane, Hiltz,
Fletcher, Hahns, Wyonch, Adams, Shute, Varey, Housen, Waters, Mack, Reid,
Slocum, I. Thompson (Indian), Spier, Johnson, Prescott, Thompson, Belrose,
Smith and Masterson.
The Reorganized Church of Later Day Saints.
Services in the church had to be discontinued some years ago due to the
lack of members as families moved away, and death took its toll of the older
members. The church was sold and is now a private dwelling and owned by
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Jones.
After being unusued for many years, the Knox Presbyterian Church was
refurbished, reorganized and rededicated in June 1948. It still carries on with Sunday services in the summer, and Sunday School in winter. It is considered
a Mission Church by the Presbytery, and a student minister is supplied every
summer. Some from as far away as Scotland. Other necessary services are
rendered by the incumbent at St. Paul's, Wiarton.
The first Student Minister was Kingsley King. Also remembered is Hugh
Lowry who later went to P.E.I. A great help to the church was Reverend Ed
Hale of Wiarton, who preached many sermons at Knox after it was reorganized
and helped in many ways to get it underway.
Pages 102 - 103 of Old Timers Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
By Helene Scott