Benjamin Chappell, the founder of Methodism on P.E.I., arrived on St. John’s Island from England in 1774. Imbued with the evangelical fervour of his friend John Wesley he could be seen ministering to his small flock of pioneers on a “projecting rock in a sheltered cove under the headland at New London Harbour.” The rock became known as Chappell’s Chair. In 1778 Chappell moved to Charlottetown from New London and established a Methodist meeting place in his modest Water St. home.
On 1 August 1807, Chappell noted in his diary that Rev. Bulpitt, who became the first resident Methodist minister, arrived in the colony. He was only allowed to preach his first sermon when he assured Lt. Gov. Des Barres that his Methodist followers would fight for the King.
In the spirit of outreach and the promotion of education, hallmarks of the Methodists, Hannah (Butterfield) Bulpitt, Rev. Bulpitt’s wife, the “white-haired, mop- capped” lady teacher with the “large spectacles and the heavy ruler” established the first infant school on the Island on Richmond St. between Queen and Pownal. Beside her school another kind of education was given by Benny Bray, an old soldier, who lived next door, and regaled the youth with his fairy tales. He had the moniker of “reprobate” probably because he refused to attend church.
From 1816- 1835 the first Methodist church was located on the North side of Richmond between Queen and Pownal. As the years progressed and membership grew, a new and larger church was built on the corner of Richmond and Prince. It was replaced in 1864 by the present “Brick” Church.
References: Islandnewspapers.com, article in the Dalhousie Review by Ada MacLeod and the Day Books of Benjamin Chappell.