Before 1855, saddlebag preachers received a warm welcome and overnight accommodation in local homes like that of Phoebe and John Colling. Later, clergy lived in rented houses in the villages of Lowville and Kilbride.
In 1883-84, a ten room brick manse was built for $2,547.01 on land donated by Thomas Colling. The house was constructed with considerable able assistance from church volunteers. Taxes for the manse in 1884 were 44.00!
During the Official Opening, an admission fee was charged to view the house – adults 35 cents and children 20 cents. Money from this and other Socials and Teas were raised by church women to pay off the manse mortgage.
In 1885, the old Davidson’s Church on Appleby Line was moved behind the manse to serve as a barn. After a fire destroyed it in 1907, the congregation replaced it with the present concrete floored barn. During Rev. Kelly’s term (1930-36) the Young People’s Union played volleyball on the manse’s outdoor “court”. They also enjoyed parlour games and square dancing in some of the manse’s large rooms, much to the consternation of their strict Methodist parents.
In 1946, a bathroom with indoor plumbing was installed in the manse.
The present split-level manse was built west of the Church in 1958, on land donated by Eric Gudgeon’s family, and the old manse was sold.
Present owners, Ted and Deanna Rimmer have undertaken extensive restoration of this beautiful Victorian home, designated as a Heritage Site in 1994.
Current owners as of July 2020 are Ingrid Hollinger and D’Arcy Mccallum. They have done extensive renovations to the manse. However, the staircase is original.
Contributing Author: Lowville Community Calendar Committee