"At a time when the province of Upper Canada was still struggling to recover from the turmoil of the Rebellion of 1837, the Episcopalians of Dundas and West Flamborough, displaying some of the spirit of the reformers, stood up to the authority of both church and state to insist upon the appointment of the cleric they wanted, the Rev. William McMurray" (p. 73). The Rev. William McMurray who served as a missionary to the Ojibwa Indians of Sault Ste Marie from 1832 to 1838 before taking up a position as assistant to the rector of Ancaster, the Rev. John Miller. Despite a series of communications and misunderstandings between McMurray, John Strachan (first as Archdeacon of York and later as Bishop of Toronto), Bishop George Mountain of Montreal, and Lt. Governor Sir George Arthur, McMurray settled in the community of Dundas where he became a well-liked and respected minister following the death of John Miller in 1839. "Finally on 2 October 1840 official word arrived from Government House in Toronto that all the necessary steps had been taken to enable McMurray's appointment. Twenty days later, on October 22nd, Sir George Arthur signed the letters patent appointing McMurray to the 'Parsonage or Rectory of Ancaster' with instructions to the Bishop to admit and induct him to the same. The actual induction took place on 6 May 1841 at the hands of the Rev. Henry James Grassett, Commissary for Bishop Strachan and Assistant Minister, later Dean, of St. James' Cathedral. .... Although for the rest of his ministry as Rector of Ancaster McMurray continued to live in Dundas, eventually building a church, also St. James, in 1843, he always signed himself 'Minister of St. James, Dundas'; he was never Rector of Dundas. Yet the affair effectively removed the centre of Episcopalian life in the region from Ancaster to Dundas. In the return of churches in the Diocese of Toronto made in 1843, the listing is under the parish of Dundas consisting of 2500 people and two churches, St. John's, Ancaster being one" (p. 94-95).
Includes reproduction of portrait of William McMurray at Trinity College.