St. Michael's Church
St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church 1852-2004
Begun in Morris Twp. (now Morris-Turnberry), in 1852, St. Michael’s congregation moved to Blyth in 1876, when the congregation outgrew the confines of the original log church.
It had begun on the 7th line with the arrival of John Kelly and his family. The first services were held in the Kelly home with masses conducted by Father Wassereau of Ashfield.
The original log church and cemetery were built on Kelly’s land. The cemetery still remains on St. Michael’s Road.
Prior to the move, services were also conducted by Fathers Arnsboro, Cummons and McGraw of St. Columban Church.
St. Michael’s was constructed on Drummond Street, in Blyth in 1876. The total cost was approximately $4,000.
The official opening for divine service at St. Michael’s took place on Feb. 11, 1877. Bishop Jamot of Sault Ste. Marie led the service.
In 1880, St. Michael’s joined the newly-formed parish in St. Augustine. The following priests served the parish: Father O’Connor, 1880-1884; Father West, 1884-1889; Father McGee, 1889-1892; Father Quigley, 1892-1896; Father McKeown, 1896-1899 and Father McMenamin, 1899-1901.
In that year, the Blyth and Clinton parishes were joined by Bishop F. P. McEvay with Father McMenamin as the first resident priest in Clinton.
Father Pinsonneault served from 1903 to 1905, Father Hanlon from 1905 to 1910 and Father Dunn from 1910 until his death in the influenza epidemic of 1913.
Father Dunn was known for his wit and humour. In response to a very meager collection on one extremely cold and blustery winter day, one of the few parishioners who had braved the weather commented to Father Dunn that there weren’t many out. To that, Father Dunn said, “And those who were out weren’t out very much.”
Father John Hogan arrived in 1913, followed by Father Bart Gaffney in 1921 who did much to break down the barriers of religious prejudice.
During Father McDonald’s 12 years, many improvements were made in the parish.
Other priests were: Father O’ Rurke, 1932-1934; Father Sullivan, 1934-1953; Father Graham, 1953-1958; Father Reed Lewis, 1958-1962 (died in a car accident); Father McGuire, 1962-1965; Father Kelly, 1965-1972; Father McMaster, 1972-1974; Father J. Hardy, 1974-1980; Father John Pluter, 1980; Father Ray Renaud, Father Mark Poulin and Father Dino Salvador.
In the fall of 2001, St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s in Clinton marked the 100th anniversary as a joined parish. A special mass, presided over by Bishop Grecco of the London diocese, was held at St. Joseph’s. In 2001 the two congregations shared Father Lance Magdziak as their priest.
Christmas 2004 marked the final service held at St. Michael’s Church. The congregation, which numbered about 20 in the church’s final days, was combined with St. Joseph’s, but by June 2007 that church too was closed.
St. Michael’s was demolished soon after its closure.
The Catholic Women’s League was formed in 1952 and was very active in the community during the remainder of the years the church was in operation..