Niagara Gazette

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March 17, 2014

HIGGS: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day, Niagara Falls' birthday

Niagara Gazette — Today is March 17, 2014 — a day of celebration for our Irish population which basically includes everyone as everyone seems to be Irish on this day. Wearin’ of the green is commonplace and there is plenty of corned beef and cabbage to go around. Let’s not forget the city’s birthday which is also celebrated on this date. A lot of water has gone over Niagara Falls over the past 122 years when the City of Niagara Falls was incorporated on this date in 1892 from the villages of Manchester and Suspension Bridge, which were parts of the Town of Niagara. Wikipedia continues the history stating that “New York state Governor Roswell P. Flower signed a bill into law, forming the city. Thomas Vincent Welch who was a member of the charter committee and then a New York state assemblyman, but more important, a second-generation Irishman, was there when the bill was signed and was responsible for asking Governor Flower to sign the bill on St. Patrick’s Day. George W. Wright was elected the first mayor of Niagara Falls.”

Continuing with the First Baptist Church early days I learned there was a lapse of regular pastors during the years following the departure of the Rev. Charles Keyser in 1857. The Rev. E.T. Robinson who served only one year departing in 1860, followed by the Rev. Henry W. Barnes from 1866 to 1870 and the Rev. A. M. Tenant from 1872 to 1874. This did not seem to affect the usual routine of activity at the church, however actual records are sparse during a period of 12 years until 1885 when two evangelists, Brand and Caldwell breathed new life into the church and many of the members who had drifted into other congregations came back. Later the evangelists stepped aside when a new pastor, the Rev. G. H. Kemp came to the church.

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