THE DEVIL IS DEAD!
by Andre Philpot
Although its founders and parishioners were Catholic, Marmora's little church of St. Matilda's and its yard played host to all ministries. Its establishment had, after all, been a community effort, organized by Manahan, supported by the Ironworks and all its workers.
The visits of Methodist preachers and exhorters were memorable public events. Henry Ryan, an Irishman, was assigned to "the Bay of Quinte circuit" in 1805, and preached there and later throughout Upper Canada until 1834.
"They would ride into town, put their horses in at an inn, lock arms, and go singing down the streets a stirring ode, beginning with 'Come let us march to Zion's Hill " What ensured was often part evangelical rally, part campground hijinks and part roadshow.
Ryan was sturdy and formidable as befits a man who was sometimes both preacher and bouncer. He was said to have strength enough to eject the unruly and wit enough to seldom need that strength.
"Some wicked fellows are said to have asked him if he had heard the news. "What news?", he asked. "Why the devil is dead!"
Then said he, looking around on the company, "He has left a great many fatherless children."
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