Township of Essa
5786 County Road 21
Utopia, Ontario, L9M 1T0
Pioneer Cemeteries of Essa Township
Transcribed by Norma Hammond, Arnott Wilson & Helen Wanless, Ed: Ken Reese
Barrie, Ontario: Simcoe County Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 2000. Publications
In the early 1830’s, a number of families from Scotland settled in what became known as the “Scotch Settlement”. Initially, services were held in the homes and barns of some of these settlers. Eventually, land for a church was donated by Mr. Robert Crosbie. Additional lands were purchased for a cemetery. Construction of a frame building began in 1864 and opened in January 1865. The first service was led by Dr. Robert Burns, who was Superintendent of Missions of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and a Professor at Knox College. The church was named in his honour. In 1880, a basement was added. This was enlarged in 1889 at which time the siding was replaced with brick, new windows were installed and the roof replaced. In 1937, hydro was added. In 1939, the Knox and Wesley churches in Alliston united and Burn’s became part of St. John’s United Church. In 1969, Burns United Church (Essa) closed and their membership roll was transferred to St. John’s. A cairn was erected at the site with the following inscription: “The site of Burns United Church 1865-1970, named after the Rev. Dr. Robert Burns. The church served the Burns community for over a century.”
Based on information from: Local History Project, by Louise Gallaugher, 1977. This source is available at the Alliston Memorial Branch of the New Tecumseth Library.