View all Stories

The Salvation Army in Kinmount

August 17, 2023

Kinmount Circa 1910

By Guy Scott

The Salvation Army started in London England in 1865. William Booth, a Methodist missionary minister, founded the East London Christian Mission to work among the alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes and other ‘undesirable’ groups in the poorest section of London. The Salvation Army missions preached hope and salvation to these groups. A military structure was added when workers objected to being called volunteers, preferring the term ‘regular.’ The Salvation Army doggedly administered to the ‘down and outs’ of society, often starting with soup kitchens. The SA shunned regular church doctrines and methods, preferring to concentrate on inner salvation and charitable works. In 1885, the Salvation Army opened branches in Canada, again concentrating on the less privileged groups in society. It was the campaign against alcohol that brought the Salvation Army to Kinmount. At the height of the lumbering industry, Kinmount had 3 hotels and alcohol flowed freely. The SA became active in town about 1887 under the direction of Captain Wiggins. Another leader was Captain William McWilliams. Mrs. Paul Crego was the first local convert, and two of her family became prominent officers. The headquarters was beside the old town hall, next to the jail and undertaker. Regular services were held and members canvassed outside the bar rooms on Main Street. The Kinmount branch remained active until 1922. The Salvation Army is best known for its soup kitchens to aid the homeless and for its outreach programs for the down and out in society. Their Christmas donation drives are a part of the holiday season, with their donation kettles and bells. The reputation of aiding those in distress is well earned, and a story told to me by a World War I veteran illustrates this reputation. During the war, the SA would distribute ‘care packages’ to those in the trenches. The Kinmount resident, while huddling in Flanders mud, had a visit from the SA distributing such comforts as dry socks, writing paper, chocolate bars, handkerchiefs, etc. Imagine his surprise when such a parcel was placed in his hands in the front lines, freely given with a ‘God Bless.’ He always remembered this act of kindness: when he was down and out, risking his life for his country, the Salvation Army was there for him. He repaid that act of kindness every Christmas. Ye reap what ye sow.

© Copyright 2024 - Maryboro Lodge Museum