Church Ministers: Rev Frank Rae (1884-1890)May 20, 2015
The Third Minister of our Church (1884-1890) was The Rev. Frank Rae
Frank Rae was born in 1856 in Anderston, Glasgow, the second son of Matthew and Henrietta Rae. In 1871 Frank, aged 16, was working as a stockbrokers’ clerk and still living with his family in Glasgow. By 1881 the family was living in Newington, Midlothian and Frank, aged 26, was a divinity student in New College, Edinburgh.
Frank was working as a probationer in Edinburgh when he received a call, which he accepted, from Maxwelltown Free Church. The call was sustained by the Presbytery on 24th December 1883. An account of the Ordination and Induction in 1884 reported a large attendance in “the handsome and spacious edifice of Maxwelltown Free Church,” this before the installation of the unseemly organ pipes.
The Rev. Frank Rae started work in a parish described as “almost rural, but with the fortunate composition of business and professional men, of farmers and other country folk making a happy community.” This description ‘rural’ of Maxwelltown shows a great change from earlier times when it was described as one of the most lawless places in the UK. Frank Rae gained a reputation as a brilliant, cultured and eloquent preacher.
During his short time in Dumfries, not only did he establish himself as a parish minister, but he met and married his wife. On 15th July 1890, aged 34, he married Elizabeth A. Barbour, aged 22, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Barbour. The wedding took place in Belmount, the Barbour Home in Troqueer. The wedding was conducted by David Ogilvy minister of the Free Church Dalbeattie.
Frank and Elizabeth left Dumfries immediately after their wedding when Frank took up the position as minister of the Free Church in Uddingston. The family set up home in Glasgow Road, Bothwell and on the 10th July 1892 their first son Matthew was born. On 21st June 1898 their second son Robert Barbour Rae was born.
Frank Rae settled to life in a parish in a busy industrial area where coal mining and steelmaking were the main industries – a far cry from Maxwelltown.
In 1902 Rev. Frank Rae journeyed to Canada on the Tunisian to visit, and by 1906 the Rae family had left Uddingston and settled in Unionville, Ontario, where Frank was Minister of the Presbyterian Church. Frank stayed as minister until the Canadian churches united to form The United Church of Canada in 1925, when, aged 69, he retired.
Rev Frank Rae was the moderator of Toronto Presbytery in 1915.
In 1914 Matthew Rae, aged 22, a surveyor, enlisted in the 4th Regiment of the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was taken prisoner in June 1916. Matthew died in a prisoner of war camp in 1917, aged 24. Matthew is commemorated in Plot A56 Kortrijk (St. Jan) Communal Cemetery, Belgium. He was awarded the 14/15 Star. The Town of Unionville named a park ”Matthew Rae Park” in his memory. In 1923 Robert Rae, aged 25, married Jean Marie Davidson, aged 22, in Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada.
The family are buried in St Johns 5th Line Church Cemetery, York, Toronto. Frank Rae died aged 88 in 1942. Elizabeth Barbour died aged 86 in 1954. Robert Rae died aged 73 in 1971. Jean Marie Davidson died aged 92 in 1991. B. W.