Reverend Robert Alexander Fife

Section S, Lot 27
Toronto Necropolis

Born on October 20, 1816 in Saint-Phillipe, Quebec, Robert Fyfe was the son of James Fyfe, a Scottish immigrant from Dundee. Fyfe married Jane Maclerie Thomson (b. April 12, 1815, Scotland; d. December, 1847, Toronto) on February 17, 1843 at First Baptist Church, Montréal, Québec. Two sons were born who died in infancy. Fyfe remarried to Rebecca Smith Kendall (b. 1815; d. May 22, 1884 in Woodstock) of Brookline, Massachusetts in August 15, 1848. Fyfe was determined to enter the ministry and, in the fall of 1835, he entered into courses at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution in Hamilton, New York (later Madison University then Colgate University). In the fall of 1836 Fyfe began studies at the newly formed Canada Baptist College in Montréal. For the 1837-1838 school year he renewed his studies at the Worcester Manual Labor High School in Worcester, Massachusetts in preparation for further theological studies. Beginning in October 1839, Fyfe, studied at Newton Theological Seminary Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts. On August 25, 1842 Fyfe was ordained at Brookline, Massachusetts. At some point the degree of Doctor of Divinity, D.D. was conferred upon him. During September, 1842 Fyfe began a pastorate at First Baptist Church in Perth, Ontario helping it to be officially organised later that year. He served until the fall of 1843, when he became Principal of Canada Baptist College in Montréal for one year, serving until the fall of 1844. From September, 1844 until September, 1848 Fyfe became the pastor of Bond Street Baptist Church in Toronto. He did much to help bring cohesion and stability to the many divergent background variations of the immigrants who comprised the membership especially over the issue of close communion. In September 1848 Fyfe returned to Perth to take up the pastorate there again, but left around October 1849. Shortly thereafter, upon invitation of the Baptist church in Warren, Rhode Island he preached and accepted the pastorate serving until June, 1853. From November, 1853 Fyfe served at the First Baptist Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin until September 1855. In October, 1855 Fyfe returned to Bond Street Baptist Church. In 1860 he left to become the first principal at Woodstock College (then Canadian Literary Institute). In 1859, with a friend, Fyfe had purchased the Christian Messenger (which had begun in 1854), a denominational paper published in Brantford, and made its place of publication Toronto, renaming it the Canadian Baptist in 1860. He provided outstanding editorship until 1863. Fyfe also wrote a book The Teaching of the New Testament In Regard To the Soul; And the Nature of Christ’s Kingdom in 1859, which espoused the traditional amillennial view. Under Fyfe’s leadership mission services were begun in the western part of the Toronto. This mission eventually grew into the Beverley Street Baptist Church. At some point Fyfe also served on the board of the Upper Canada Religious Tract and Book Society (founded in 1832 in Toronto, Ontario). He was a strong proponent of allowing more than one denomination to have schools of higher learning. Fyfe died in Woodstock, Ontario on September 4, 1878 and was buried beside his first wife and children.

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