A History of the Rice Lake Indians by Mary Jane Muskratte Simpson

Note on Mrs. Fife

The early settlers in adjoining villages attended divine service at Alderville, as this was the first church erected in the district.

The Rev. S. Armour was the first Minister in Otonabee, followed by the Rev. James Evans of Rice Lake Indian Mission, and the Rev. D. McMullen, Cobourg.

Rice Lake circuit was formed in 1825-26 with 110 members, and included what are now the Townships of Otonabee, Monaghan, Cavan, Smith and Emily. The Rev. Wellington Jeffers writes: "I did in association with the Rev. C. Vandusen travel the Cavan circuit in 1831-32 and live in the Mission House at Rice Lake. We were out two weeks at a time travelling through Monaghan, Cavan, Smith, Ops, Douro, Dummer, Otonabee; the village of Peterborough, and Mud Lake Mission. In this route we preached twenty-one times, to prevent ennui we preached also at Fife's, Gilchrist's Mills (now Keene) and Howson's."

It was in 1828 that Mrs. John Fife gave us the example of a brave woman walking nine miles to Hiawatha over a trail from where the church of Bethel now stands near Keene. Hearing of the preaching at Hiawatha, she crossed the Indian River on a fallen tree at Weir's Creek. Carrying her baby on her back she went along through dense forest and over rough hills, following the trail to Hiawatha. On her return she was so enthusiastic that Mr. Fife determined to go with her the next Sabbath, listening to the sermon he was converted, and prevailed upon the minister to return to the Fife home. To his cabin came people of the Church of England, Presbyterians, and others; and, so far as the local historians can determine, services were held in the Fife home for fifteen years.

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