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Presbyterian pioneer missionaries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia McKellar, Hugh 1924

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Array Presbyterian
The F. W. Howay
and R. L. Reid
Collection   of   Canadiana   Presbyterian
Pioneer  Missionaries
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta
and British Columbia
Rev. Hugh  McKellar, D,D.
PRICE  $2.00
1924  REV.  HUGH  McKELLAR,   D.D.
Formerly of High Bluff, Manitoba  INTRODUCTION
' I *HE chief reason for writing and printing the following
sketches is to keep in remembrance the names, life and
work of the pioneer missionaries of the Presbyterian Church
in Manitoba and the North West Territory, (now organized
into the two Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta). There
are also recorded sketches from and of several of the early missionaries in British Columbia, besides interesting facts given
by some of the pioneer settlers other than missionaries.
It is true the labors of the leaders will be recorded and kept
in remembrance in different ways, but the names and labors of
the great majority will be left unrecorded. This applies to
other callings and professions as well as it does to the Gospel
ministry. It is an instinct deeply seated in the human breast,
wishing to be kindly remembered by one's own friends. The
Master Himself left a memorial of His dying love with His true
Rev. Hugh McKellar, D.D.
Brief Historical Notes re the Planting
and Growth of the Presbyterian
Church in Manitoba and the
North West
The Early Missionaries Page 25
Sketches from Pioneer Presbyterian
Missionaries in Manitoba Page 36
Twenty-five Years a Missionary in
Manitoba and Alberta Page 59
The Founding of our First Indian Mission Page 87
Sketches of Pioneer Missionaries
in Saskatchewan Page 92 CHAPTER SEVEN
Pioneer Presbyterian Ministers and
Missionaries in Alberta Page 107
From Stornaway to the Canadian West     Page 134
French Work in Alberta by
Rev. J.  E.  Duclos, B.A. ^r< Page 160
Sketch of Mission Work in Alberta
By Rev.  C. R. Lang Page 172
JPresbyterianism in Calgary District,
Alberta Page 187
Pioneer Missionaries of British Columbia  Page 203
Missionary Experiences Page 208
British Columbia Missionary Experiences   Page 221
List of Presbyterian Ministers and
Missionaries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan,
Alberta and British Columbia Page 244 CHAPTER I
HTHE story of the Red River  settlement  established early in
the 19th century on the banks of the Red River is most
interesting, especially to Presbyterians.
The Earl of Selkirk in 1810 secured from the Hudson's Bay
Company one immense tract of land including the Valleys of
the Red River and the Assiniboine. He undertook to establish
a colony within a limited time and assumed the cost of transport, of outlay for the settlers, of Government, of protection
and of quieting the Indian title. This contract was made with
the Hudson's Bay Company.
There were two rival companies at the time, viz: The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. The North
West Company was bitterly opposed to the Earl's plan and
protested against the Hudson's Bay Company selling lands to
him and objected to establishing an agricultural colony in the
North West.
In the face of this opposition the Earl sent out a company
of settlers consisting of seventy Highlanders, chiefly from
Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and about fifteen or twenty natives
of the west of Ireland, who after a tedious journey, reached Red
River in 1812. Here they found themselves unwelcome visitors,
because of the opposition of the North West Company. They
were compelled to spend the winter in Pembina—seventy miles
to the south. A majority of them were persuaded to be transferred to Upper Canada, now Ontario, where they were offered
two hundred acres of land per family^ where their descendants
may be traced to the present day. The remnant betook
themselves to Norway House, north of Lake Winnipeg, but
were brought back under the protection of the Hudson's Bay
Company. ■■/.;£%
9 10
A tragical event took place at Seven Oaks, north of
Winnipeg, on the 19th of June, 1816. Governor Semple of the
Hudson's Bay Company with twenty-one of his associates were
killed by a band of Half Breeds and Indians. The unhappy
colonists were now at the mercy of the victors and were ordered
to leave the settlement :at once. Their houses were ransacked;
their goods pillaged, and they were again compelled to seek
refuge at Norway House.
In June, 1817, Lord Selkirk's visit restored the settlers in
their rights.    Two lots of land were granted by him as sites for
a^Presbyterian church and a school and the parish or settlement
was named Kildcnan, after their home parish in Sutherlandshire.
The noble Earl, before he left, arranged everything as far as it
was possible for him to do for the comfort and welfare of
the people, both materially and spiritually. He promised
to send them a minister of their own faith and in accordance
with that promise a minister was selected. The Rev. Donald
Sage, who for some reason or other failed to come, but a
godly elder, Mr. James Sutherland, was sent, who was authorized
to  .marry and baptize.   They enjoyed Mr. Sutherland's services PRESBYTERIAN   PIONEER   MISSIONARIES 11
only a few years, when he was forcibly carried off to Canada by the
servants of the North West Company. While at the settlement
Mr. Sutherland's services were of great value and highly appreciated. It is said "of all men that ever entered this country
none stood higher in the estimation of the settlers, both for
sterling piety and Christian conduct than he." After his
expulsion, which occurred in 1818, he came to reside in West
First Presbyterian missionary to Red River, 1851
Gwillimbury, Ontario, to which settlement many of the Red
River settlers had previously come. Here he continued to
preach and baptize among his countrymen. He passed away
in 1828, universally esteemed and respected.
The Earl of Selkirk, the Kildonan settlers' great and true
friend, returned to England, then went to the Continent to re- 12
emit his health, which had been seriously impaired by his
manifold labors and struggles, but he did not rally. He died
in 1820 in the fiftieth year of his age.
From 1818, the date of Mr. Sutherland's departure, to the
year 1851, a period of thirty-three years, the Kildonan settlers
had no minister of their own. They suffered many trials during
that period from flood, (the Red River overflowed its banks),
ako from the grasshopper plague. Still they held on by faith
in God. They kept up the family altar in their homesi The
word of God was their light. They persevered in prayer in their
own native tongue—the Gaelic language. The Church of
England held services regularly in St. John's Parish, adjoining
Kildonan. Also a Church of England school was within reach,
so that they were not without religious and educational advantages.   Still they longed for a pastor of their own.
In Dr. Gregg's Brief History of the Presbyterian Church
in Canada, it is stated that during the first ten years of that
period the settlers were nearly all Presbyterians. In the next
the Presbyterians were in the majority, but during the third
ten years the Presbyterians were in the minority. This might
mean that some of the younger generation joined the Church
of England, and it is no wonder since this church had supplied
public religious services on the Sabbath and School education
during the week and no doubt also they received Baptism for
their children. No doubt funeral services were also conducted
by the Church of England clergymen. i
Meanwhile the Selkirk colonists persevered in their application to the Colonial Committee of the Free Church of Scotland
for a minister. This application was finally transferred to the
Synod of the Free Church of Canada particularly to the care of
the late Rev. Robert Burns, D.D., then pastor of Knox Church,
Toronto and professor of Knox College, which resulted in the
appointment of the Rev. John Black, a recent graduate of Knox
College, Toronto. Mr. Black arrived in Kildonan in 1851 and
was welcomed with great joy by the Presbyterians. It is stated
that three hundred and upwards left the Church of England
in one day and placed themselves under Mr. Black's ministry,
but possibly a considerable number of the Scottish people continued their connection with the Church of England.
Mr. Black was the first Presbyterian minister in the great
Northwest Territories, He labored faithfully and with great
efficiency in that great valley of the Red River for the long period
of thirty-one years, from 1851 to February, 1882, when he passed
away, universally beloved and respected, a worthy successor of
the noble elder, Mr. James Sutherland. Now we have seen how
Presbyterianism was introduced and founded in the great North
West Territories, let us now for a little trace its line of progress
and the names of its pioneer missionaries and as far as possible
dates of their arrival and fields occupied.
Dr. Black, had under his over-seeing Kildonan Parish,
(Home Centre), Fort Garry or Winnipeg, Little Britain and
Selkirk, also Headingly, and in a sense the Presbyterian settlers
on the north side of the Assiniboine River as far west as Portage
La Prairie. The next Presbyterian minister, the Rev. James
Nisbet, arrived in 1862 from Oakville, Ontario. Mr. Nisbet
assisted Dr. Black in the work until 1866, when he was appointed
the first Presbyterian missionary to the Indians of the North
West. Mr. Nisbet married a daughter of Mr. MacBeth of Kildonan. Mr. John McKay, who was married to a sister of Mrs.
Nisbet, went with Mr. Nisbet as interpreter. Mr. and Mrs.
Nisbet, Mr. and Mrs. McKay with some others left Kildonan
for the great Saskatchewan Valley in the summer of 1866,
arriving at their destination in August. They selected a site
for a mission among the Cree Nation, whose Chief was Mis-
tawassis, on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River,
naming the new mission Prince Albert, in honor of the Queen's
Consort. The distance from Winnipeg was five hundred miles.
Here Mr. and Mrs. Nisbet spent eight years of faithful service 14
in the Master's cause. They were the real founders of the
present growing city of Prince Albert, also of the Mistawassis
Indian Mission, some fifty or sixty miles north west of Prince
Albert.    Both Mr. and Mrs. Nisbet passed away in Mrs. Nisbet's
Founder of Prince Albert Indian Mission in 1866, in reality founder of
CLty i°   ?nnce Albert.     Mrs. James Nisbet associated with her
husband m planting and building up the Prince Albert Mission
Built by Mr. Nisbet who like his Master was a carpente: PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 15
parental home in Kildonan in September, 1874, only eleven
days intervening. They were laid to rest in Kildonan churchyard.   A monument was erected to their memory.
The following estimate of Mr. Nisbet's labors was recorded
in the Minutes of the General Assembly. "Having labored
with unflagging zeal and self-denying devotedness, amid many
difficulties and discouragements,, a singularly unselfish and
devoted Missionary."
The Rev. Alexander Matheson, who was a native of the
Selkirk settlement and a graduate of Knox College, succeeded
Rev. John McKay were associated with,Rev. James Nisbet in
Prince • Albert Mission, Sask.
Mr. Nisbet to assist Dr. Black in Red River in May, 1866, and
remained until 1868. Mr. Matheson labored with fidelity and
success. Mr. Matheson passed away only a few years ago in
his own native parish of Kildonan.
The next missionary sent from Ontario was the Rev. Wm.
Fletcher, in 1868. Mr. Fletcher labored with acceptance in the
settlements along the Assiniboine River. Mr. Fletcher moved to
the U.S.A.
The  next missionary  was the   Rev.  John  MacNabb,   of munmiiiininiiiiiiiiiitiiiiiiiiiiiiftifiiiiiiiiif&ia
Lucknow, Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. MacNabb arrived as the
troubles of the Riel insurrection broke out in 1869 and 1870.
Mr. MacNabb labored in Little Britain, Headingly and Palestine
(now Gladstone) districts. Mr. MacNabb returned to Ontario
about 1872 or 1873.
The Rev. R. G. MacBeth, one of Kildonan's illustrious
sons, informed the writer that "with Mr. MacNabb came Mr.
D. B. Whimster, as teacher of the Kildonan public school. Mr
MacBeth further states that "Mr. Whimster did important
work both as teacher and afterwards as a minister." There
were now in the North West four Presbyterian ministers, Messrs.
Black, Nisbet, Fletcher and MacNabb.
Formerly of High Bluff, Portage la Prairie and Burnside,
afterwards missionary at Beulah, where he passed away.
Next to arrive was the Rev. Geo. Bryce, M.A., 1871. Next
was the Rev. Thomas Hart, M.A., in 1872, who along with Dr.
Bryce, had charge of Manitoba College.
The Rev. Alexander Fraser, also from Ontario, came about
1873. Mr. Fraser had charge of High Bluff, Portage La Prairie
and Rat Creek.    Mr. Fraser died at Beulah, Manitoba.
The Rev. Samuel Donaldson, a young minister from Ireland came about 1873. Mr. Donaldson labored in Meadow Lea
and Poplar Point, a good preacher and a faithful missionary. Mr.
Donaldson moved to the U.S.A. about 1881, where he passed away.
Rev. Allan Bell, B.A., who  from  1875 was pastor of the
Presbyterian congregation of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, for
over twelve years.
Rev. Mr. Bell was held in high esteem by the members
and adherents of his own congregation and rendered valuable
service in building up and extending the cause of Christ in this
Great West Land.
The Rev. Dr. W. C. Clarke, a minister of the Synod of the
Church of Scotland in Canada was enrolled a member of Manitoba
Presbytery, but shortly afterwards joined the Church of England
Superintendent of Missions representing the four provinces,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia—
formerly pastor of Knox Church, Wionipeg.
The Rev. James Robertson, pastor of Norwich, Ontario;
spent the winter of 1873 and spring of 1874 in Manitoba preaching
at all the points from Winnipeg as far west as Gladstone district (the farthest west settlement then in Manitoba). Knox
Church, Winnipeg, recently organized, extended a call to Mr.
Robertson, which he accepted and was inducted into that charge
in the summer of 1874. The Rev. Dr. Robertson was appointed
superintendent of Home Missions in Manitoba and North West ffliiMBfflilifflBM
Territories in 1881 and was called to his eternal rest in the opening
days of January, 1902.
The Rev. Edward Vincent was sent to Prince Albert about
the year 1872 or 1873, to be associated with Mr. Nisbet in the
work.    Mr. Vincent returned to Ontario in the summer of 1874..
Messrs. Hector Currie and Hugh McKellar arrived in
Winnipeg in July, 1874. Both graduated in Knox College,
Toronto, in April of that year and were appointed by the Knox
College Students' Missionary Society to take charge each of a
Home Mission Field in the Province of Manitoba, under the
Portage la Prairie, Man.
Formerly teacher in Mission School
Kildonan.   Later missionary in Manitoba.
direction of the Presbytery of Manitoba. Mr. Currie conducted
both morning and evening services in Knox Church, Winnipeg,
on Sabbath, July 5th, and it was my lot to conduct both services
in the same church on the following Sabbath, 12th July, 1874.
It seems like a dream for me now to look back to that day.
The Presbytery allotted Mr. Currie a mission field about
thirty-five miles north-west of Winnipeg, and to the writer
an extensive field about one hundred miles west of Winnipeg,
comprising five preaching points.    The majority of the families PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
were from Huron and Bruce Counties, Ontario, some from the
Township of Williams, Middlesex, and a few from Scotland and
Ireland. It was an active summer for me; but a joyful one.
Mr. Currie remained a year in Manitoba when he returned to
Ontario and was settled in Thedford where he remained for
about thirty-five years as pastor until the call came a few years ago.
It was my lot to succeed Mr. Nisbet at Prince Albert during
two years 1874-1876.
, Xj^ \ *. :- j*
1    ^|^'*                      s)
* %x4^m^:
f ••• i
Many years Convenor of the Assembly's   Appointed Principal Manitoba College,
Home Mission Committee and a great'
friend of the Pioneer Missionaries,
giving them great encouragement.
1883, who also was the great friend
of the Pioneer Students and Missionaries of Western Canada.
I returned to Ontario for the winter of 1876 and spring'of
1877. Was then appointed to Manitoba and labored in the
■mission fields east of Red River during the summer and fall of
1877. Called to High Bluff and Prospect, inducted into that
charge on the 8th of May, 1878, and continued in charge of that
field until the 1st of January, 1888. Returned to Ontario and
was called to the United Congregation of North Luther and
Woodland near Mount Forest, Presbytery of Saugeen,  where nmfMirtgnfiiiiiinnnnniiitfiiwMmrmfmiiBinBiiririiinnitiiiy
we remained for nearly ten years, April, 1889, to October, 1898,
then called to Burns Church, Martintown, Glengarry. Continued in that charge till the fall of 1904. Came west to .Alberta
in July, 1905, and was appointed to the Foothills Mission Field
in the Presbytery of Calgary until 1912 when I was permitted
to retire by the General Assembly which met in Edmonton that
From Dr. George Bryce's book entitled " The Scotsman in Canada."
During the first missionary decade the Revs. Alexander
Fraser, Alexander Matheson, Samuel Donaldson and Edward
Professor of Manitoba College.   Came to Winnipeg in 1871.
Vincent were active members of the Presbytery (Manitoba)
and were the foundation builders. Hugh McKeUar, Allen Bell,
James S. Stuart were a trio who did yeomen service in the splendid farming district of Portage La Prairie and at Gladstone.
John Scott, Hugh Borthwick and Wm. R. Ross, took hold of
Southern Manitoba and laid the foundation of numerous congregations, such as Emerson, Carman, Morden. and others, now
.self-sustaining, and influential. Alexander Campbell, James
Douglas, A. H. Cameron and Alexander Smith all earned a good PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
reputation for work in the later seventies.    Such men as McGuire,
James Wellwood, Donald McRae, Wm. Hodnett and Samuel
♦ Poison were hard working pioneers in this decade.
"At the beginning of the second decade, after the occupation of Manitoba by Canada, the pioneer Rev. John Black died,
James Nisbet passing away eight years before him, and Fletcher
and McNabb the two members of the original Presbytery, having
long since left Manitoba, are all deceased. About the beginning
of the second decade Dr. Robertson was appointed Superintendent of Missions. For the next twenty years he devoted
unsparingly his whole life and strength to the work.    He passed
REV.   THOS.   HART,   M.A.,   D.D.
Professor Manitoba College, 1872.
away in 1902, after more than two decades of service as
Superintendent. The Rev. D. M. Gordon succeeded Dr..
Robertson in Knox. Church, Winnipeg. Rev. Dr. Pitblado in
St. Andrew's Church, Rev. Jos. Hogg, Rev. John Hogg, the
Rev. Principal King, who was appointed Principal of Manitoba.
College in 1883, passed away in 1898, full of years and honors.
"The Kildonan   churchyard  has   become the Presbyterian 22
Westminster Abbey of Western Canada, where many of the old
Red River settlers have been laid to rest, also a number of the
pioneer Presbyterian missionaries. The Rev. John Black, the
pioneer of the church in the West; the Rev. James Nisbet, the
pioneer Indian missionary of the church; the Rev. John M.
King, the leader in theology of the West; the Rev. Dr. James
Robertson, the great missionary Superintendent, and missionary
statesman, of the West; the Rev. Dr. Thomas Hart, the eminent
classical teacher in Manitoba College; the Rev. Dr. James Car-
Who at the request  of Dr. Baird  kindly loaned the photos of the
following early missionaries, Rev. John Scott, Rev. Thos. McGuire,
Rev. J. P. Quinn, Rev. Jas. Lawrence, the first ministers of
the Presbyterian Congregation at Emerson.
michael,    Dr.    Robertson's   successor   as   Superintendent   of
The Rev. Prof. Baird, D.D., was sent out as pioneer
missionary to Edmonton, in 1881, driving the whole distance
of the one thousand miles from Winnipeg to that distant post.
The Rev. James Farquharson, D.D., settled in Pilot Mound,
Man., in 1883. The Rev. D. Stalker came to Gladstone in 1881,
at the invitation of Dr. Cochrane and Dr. Robertson. The Rev.
S. C. Murray, D.D., came West at the request of Dr. Robertson.
The Rev. James Lawrence, of Stonewall, Man. The Rev.
Alexander MacFarlane, a graduate of Knox College, ordained
in 1878. The Rev. Donald McRae, D.D., of Victoria, B.C.,
came to Manitoba in 1879 and to Victoria, B.C., in 1886; the
Rev. M. C. Rumball, of Morden, Man.; the Rev. Alexander
McTavish, 1884, Chater, Man.; the Rev. D. C. Court, 1888,
Wellwood, Man.; the Rev. Hugh McKay, D.D., 1877, Round
Lake; the Rev. Ewen McKenzie, 1888, Hurricane Hills, missionary to the Assiniboines; the Rev. Charles W. Bryden, 1880,
First pastor of Presbyterian Church of
Emerson and later West Lynn, Manitoba.
Selkirk, Man.; the Rev. W. L. Moore, 1886, missionary to Mis-
tawassis Indian Reserve; the Rev. D. G. McQueen, D.D.,
succeeded Dr. Baird in charge of Edmonton in 1887; the Rev.
Hugh W. Fraser, D.D., of the First Church, Vancouver; the
Rev. Peter Wright, D.D., came to Portage La Prairie in 1889,
afterwards to Vancouver, B.C.; the Rev. John Campbell, Ph.D.,
came to Victoria, B;C, in 1892; the Rev. W. L. Clay, D.D.,
Victoria, B.C., in 1894; the Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A., formerly
of Mount Forest, Ont., preceded the Rev. Dr. John Campbell
ni the pastorate of First Church, Victoria, B.C. mu
Pastor of College Street Presbyterian Church, Toronto, frcm the
time it was a mission until the close of his work.
Rev. Dr. Gilray was the friend and brother of the early Missionaries and settlers of Western Canada.—H. McKellar.
Rev. James Farquharson, D.D., Pilot Mound, Man., writes:
a V/OUR card of January came to hand.    I am not sure that
I can give you much help in writing up the early ministers
of Southern Manitoba as memory is my only available source
of information at present.
Pilot Mound, Southern Manitoba.
So far as I know, the Rev. H. J. Borthwick was the first
missionary in that region. He began his first work at Tobacco
Creek and surrounding country, the district in which Carmen
is^, situated. How long he labored there I do not know, nor do
I know exactly when he left it; but it was probably in the fall
of 1879..   At any rate he spent the winter of 1879 and 1880
25 26
in the Rocklake region. That must have been a very hard
winter for him as it was unusually severe. This of itself was
bad enough; but the weather conditions were greatly aggravated
by the fact that he lived at Calf Mountain, which was twenty
or twenty-five miles distant from the nearest part of his big
parish. After I was settled in the West he was called and settled
as Minister of Mountain City, some four or five miles south
of Morden. But his pastorate was short as he was out of the
charge before the Synod of Manitoba was organized.
He lived to an old age, preaching wherever an opportunity
presented itself, as long as he was able. Almost to the last
he.liked to visit the scenes of his former activities, and always
found a hearty welcome from those who knew him during the
pioneer days.
"The second to venture into the southern country was the
Rev. W. R. Ross, who settled in the Carman district and lived
in the town, I presume, from its earliest days. After laboring
for a few years as ordained missionary, he was called and settled
as Carman's first minister. ' At the first meeting of Rock Lake
Presbytery, he was appointed clerk, and continued to discharge
the duties of that office till he resigned his charge and moved to
British Columbia—probably in the early nineties. Dr. McRae,
now of Victoria, spent a year or perhaps a year and a half as
ordained missionary at Manitou and did good work there. I
remember his kindness to me, when as a student missionary I
visited him in the summer of 1880.
"The Rev. A. H. Cameron went as ordained missionary to
the Boissevain district in the fall of 1881, not far from the date
at which I began my work in the Rock Lake and continued to
labor there for several years.
"During the summer of 1881 and 1882 Rev. Dr. Patterson,
later of Cooke's Church, Toronto, labored as student missionary,
the earlier summer in the Wapopa and Deloraine districts, and
the later at Wapopa and Cartwright. The second summer he
had the use of a pony; but during the first he made his journeys
through the vast parish on foot. As long as I was visitor in these
regions he was spoken of in terms of the highest regard.
"The Rev. J. A. Townsend, was the first settled pastor at
Manitou where he did excellent work till his health failed and
he was compelled to go west and south to a warmer climate.
"Mr. James Todd (later Dr. Todd, of Boston, Mass.), then
a student missionary, relieved me of the care of Glenora and
Baldur districts, where he did good work for upwards of a year,
when he went to Manitoba College to prosecute his studies.
From this time onward the number of men who labored in the
Rock Lake Presbytery for a longer or shorter period became
too great for their names to find a place in this brief record.
The Rev. Dr. Todd passed away a few years ago.
"It may not be amiss to call your attention to the fact
that the Rev. R. G. McBeth, a native of Kildonan, while a
Labored as a student missionary in Southern Manitoba later
pastor Cooke's Church, Toronto.
student at Manitoba College, spent a summer vacation as our
missionary at Cartwright, and that at a still earlier period the
Rev. C. W. Gordon, since become famous as Ralph Connor,
spent a summer in the same field.
"It was my privilege to know most of these early missionaries personally and intimately, and have pleasure in
bearing testimony to the fact that they were a splendid body
of men." m
Dear Mr. McKellar,
" I received your letter asking me for a photo of myself
which I send with this mail. I recall my student days in Manitoba and Rev. James Farquharson, D.D. was always a great friend
of mine. He was the means of inducing me to go out there at
first and I have always been thankful for it because I enjoyed
my two summers out there very much."
Very sincerely yours
Wm. Pattebson
REV.  M.   C.   RUMBALL,   B.A.,   D.D.
Formerly of High Bluff, Manitoba and lately of Morden, Manitoba.
The Rev. M. C. Rumball, D.D., Morden, Man., writes:
"I enclose a list of men who worked here in Southern Manitoba prior to 1886:—Rev. H. J. Borthwick, A.M., 1876; Rev.
W. R. Ross, 1880; Rev. D. G. Cameron, 1882; Mr. W. Farquhar-
son, student, 1883; Rev. Jas. Farquharson, D.D., before 1884;
Rev. M. McKenzie, 1886; W. Patterson, student, now Dr.
Patterson, Cooke's Church, Toronto; Rev. J. A. Townsend,
before 1886; Rev. Dr. Lantrow, before 1886; Rev. J. Brown, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 29
before 1884; Rev. R. Brown, before 1886; Rev. J. Cairns, before
1886; Rev. S. Poison, before 1886.
"Dr. Rumball states all these worked before my day.
"The Rev. Dr. Rumball was called from High Bluff to
Morden in 1892.
"In 1884 the Presbytery of Rock Lake was formed with
Mr. Borthwick as its first moderator. Rev. W. R. Ross was
clerk, and Rev. James Farquharson (now Dr. Farquharson, of
Toronto, Ont.) convenor of the Home Mission Committee.
Afterwards moved to United States.
"The following item re Mr. Borthwick is extracted from
the twenty-fifth anniversary report of Knox Church, Morden,
Man., 1911, Dr. Rumball, pastor:—'When he (Mr. Borthwick)
began work in Manitoba, if he had not Wesley's parish, he had
as much of it as one man could well be expected to look after.
It extended from the Boyne River to the southern national
boundary and from near the Red River to the Turtle Mountains,
about 3,200 square miles. Many are the interesting tales the
veteran can tell of the early days.   He would gather a few chil- 30
dren together, teach them through the week, preach on the
Sabbath and then off to another settlement to do the same.
Thus he covered the ground, fording streams, wading sloughs,
facing storms, he carried the gospel message to the lonely settler.'
"In 1882, Rev. D. G. Cameron became the settled pastor
of the Nelson field where he labored till 1884.
"The Rev. Malcolm McKenzie was born in Broddick, in
1835, was educated in Glasgow, came to Canada in 1862, held
important congregations in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.    Early in 1885 he was appointed missionary to Rat Portage
(now Kenora) where he remained till called to Morden and
Mountain City. He was inducted May 6th, 1885. In March,
1892, after six years of faithful and effective work, Mr. McKenzie
resigned, and soon after was. called to Tyne Valley, Prince Edward
Island. In 1896, when he was on his way to the meeting of
the Presbytery he died suddenly at Summerside. His body
was brought to Morden and laid to rest in Hillside Cemetery."
W. D. Russell writes from Pasadena, Cal., April 27th, 1918:
"Dear Mr. McKellar: Your favor of the -8th inst., came as
a great surprise.    Of course I recall you perfectly as pastor PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
of High Bluff in the early eighties. I am glad to know that
after so many years of activity in the Master's vineyard you
are now enjoying comparative leisure in Calgary.
"My contribution to the early work of the church in Manitoba was so small as to be almost negligible. I reached
Winnipeg in January, 1880, having been appointed by the
Assembly's H.M.C. to missionary work on section B. of the
C.P.R. under Rev. Dr. Robertson's supervision. I labored for
three months among the camps, preaching on Sundays and
during the week as opportunity offered, also meeting the men
Founder of the Russell & Lang Book Store, Winnipeg.
Now residing in Los Angeles, Cal.
in a social way in the camps and giving individual help when
I could. During the winter Dr. Robertson came out and dispensed Communion which I recall was greatly appreciated by
the men. Life in the camps had some disagreeable features
but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the winter.
"Changing conditions led the Committee to send me in
June to Balmoral, (north of Stonewall) where I spent the
summer, but in the early fall my health quite gave way* and mi
very reluctantly I decided it was necessary for me to relinquish
the ministry. To explain the situation, I should state that in
1878 (my final year in Montreal Presbyterian College) a sudden
severe attack of cerebral hyperaemia put me out of work of
any kind for two years. My appointment to work in the North
West was an experiment and made possible through the kindness of Dr. Warden and other friends.
"When the inevitable presented itself, I started business
in a small way as bookseller and stationer, in the late fall of
1880, and continued at it for twenty years, coming here in the
fall of 1900. During my business career in * Winnipeg I was
interested in the formation of St. Andrew's Church and later
Westminster Church and served as an elder in both, also I was
the first S.S. superintendent in St. Andrew's and continued in
that position for about twelve years. Was also secretary-
treasurer and later president of the Manitoba S.S. Association.
"This brief sketch can be of little use to you save to show
that for a few brief months I weakly strove to fill a niche in
the building of the Cause in the early days. How one recalls
Robertson, Bryce, Hart and yourself, Hodnett, Douglas and
others, who labored as best they could amid hardships innumerable. The measure of success they secured may not have been
great but they all builded bravely and uncomplainingly and
never shirked duty in any circumstance.
"Here we have a church that enjoys a commanding
influence, considerable wealth and a* devoted activity. Our
pastor, (a young Scotsman), Robert Freeman, is in Y.M.C.A.
work in France. From the slip I enclose you will see he is in
the very thick of the fight and has a most enviable record as
preacher and entertainer. We pay his full salary while away
($7,500) also an assistant pastor in addition to pulpit supply,
simply doing 'our bit.' If any thought of yours is unanswered
in these lines, please write for it. With best wishes for yourself
and your undertaking.    Yours sincerely, W. D. Russell. "
Rev. D. Stalker, D.D., formerly of Gladstone,  Man.,  recently  of
Calumet, Mich., writes:
"With regard to your request for facts regarding the early
missionaries in Manitoba, I can give you the names of many
of them, but not the dates of arrival or leaving.    To get these
you will require to communicate with the individual missionaries
if they are living unless you can get the dates from the records
of the various Presbyteries.
"I arrived in Winnipeg about June 10th, 1881, the time of
the meeting of the General Assembly in Kingston. I remember
well the circumstances leading up to the event. Mr. Gibson,
who afterwards died in Demerara, and I were preparing to
write for our M.A. degree in Toronto and living in Knox College.
A telegram was received by me from Dr. Robertson, shortly
before appointed Superintendent of Missions for the West, 'To
REV.   D    STALKER,   D.D.
Formerly of Gladstone Mission Field, Manitoba 1881-1892 then
called to Calumet, Michigan, where he remained pastor for
about 27 years.
leave at once for Gladstone, Man.' that the field was without
a missionary. I obeyed the mandate and as soon as possible
my face was turned to the wide field of the west. Arriving in
Winnipeg, as I said, about the 10th of June, 1881. The first
Sunday in the city I preached in Kildonan. Dr. Black was in
Kingston at the Assembly, but I was entertained in the manse
and remember well Mrs. Black and a young son who was home. 34 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
Formed also the acquaintance of John Sutherland, whose friendship was enjoyed during my stay in the west. The following
week I was sent to visit the construction camps along the line
of the C.P.R. as far as Rat Portage and conducted service there
on the Sabbath. Called on all the Presbyterian families of
the place so far as known and preached in the hotel, Rat Portage
in the morning and Keewatin in the afternoon. Had my first
experience paddling a bark canoe for that was the only means
of transportation between the two points and the experience
was a somewhat precariqus one after night-fall. The following
week I came back to Winnipeg and went to Portage La Prairie
and Gladstone, going by stage with Mr. Frank May to the latter
place, over terrible roads and through swarms of mosquitoes
for that was the wet season. Preached in Gladstone the first
Sabbath of July, 1881, and remained there until the end of June,
1892, eleven years exactly. Preached in Calumet the first
Sabbath in July, 1892, and will end my 25th year there the
end of June this year. Gladstone field, or as it was called Palestine, was then a wide one. From Westbourne and Woodside
on the east to Arden on the west; from Beaver Creek on the
south to the pole on the north. You know better than I do
who were at work prior to 1881. That year came I think John
Ferries from Scotland and began work in the Brandon district.
He afterwards went to St. Ignace, Mich., were he was pastor
for nine years and highly respected. His next pastorate was
at Midland, Mich., wheie he died. His widow lives in Detroit
and the large family of sons and daughters are filling positions
of usefulness in various parts of the country.
"John A. McDonald and Donald McCannel went to Manitoba about the same time as I did. The former only remained
for a short time, the latter died at Carberry.
"James Farquarson went the same year. He was there
one summer previously as a student.
"The following year, 1882, came James Todd from Scotland. v
Completed his course in Manitoba College and had charge in
Burnside and Minnedosa. He afterwards had charge in
Wisconsin, Michigan and Massachusetts, U.S.A., and is now
retired from the active work of the ministry owing to illness,
since passed away.
"Then there is S. C. Murray, of Neepawa; Donald McRae, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Farquhar McRae, James M. Douglas, of Brandon; and James
Douglas, of High Bluff and Prospect; John Mowat, of Emerson
and Minnedosa; McKay, of Strathclair; Hodnett, of Birtle; Allan
Bell; some of these came before 1881. The Rev. J. S. Stewart
came in 1875 and was appointed to Gladstone mission field.
"You are doing a great work in trying to preserve the early
history of the church in the west. There has not been enough of
that done, much to the regret of many now, and to future generations."
Missionary in Southern Manitoba.
For a number of years Pastor of
Manitou Congregation, Rock Lake
Presbytery. CHAPTER    III.
The Rev. Hugh McKellar writes:
" A RRIVED in Winnipeg 8th of July, 1874, spent about four-
■**" teen years in the work of Home and Indian Missions in
the West from 1874 to 1888. Returned to Ontario the latter
year, spent nine and a half years as settled pastor in the
united congregations of North Luther and Woodland near
Mount Forest, Presbytery of Saugeen, and six years in Burn's
Church, Martintown, Presbytery of Glengarry. Returned to the
North West, Alberta, Presbytery of Calgary, July 1st, 1905;
spent about seven years in charge of the Foothill's Mission
Field, consisting of four preaching stations: Red Deer Lake,
Priddis, Glenmore and Millarville, and in 1912 I was allowed
to retire from the active work of the ministry by the General
"I may say the desire to see the great west was kindled in
me while a student in the Sarnia Public and Grammar School.
The late Mr. John Brebner was Principal of the public school
department and had a large class of young men and young women
preparing for the teaching and other professions. It was more
like a college class. Mr. Brebner was a master teacher, making
■every subject deeply interesting to his class, especially that of
geography. He would point out on the map of western Canada
the great Saskatchewan Valley drained by the two mighty rivers,
having their sources in the Rocky Mountains, flowing separately
like two great elbows for a thousand miles, then meeting and
forming one mighty channel flowing into Lake Winnipeg then
into the Hudson Bay. Its wealth of soil, its rich pastures, its
roaming herds of buffalo, its Indian tribes with their camping
grounds, unmolested and free; and more, this prophetic teacher
could see this wide and rich valley awaiting the coming of the
settler to develop its immense natural resources.    This desire
was gratified in an unlooked for way. During the close of the
session of 1874 the Students' Missionary Society of Knox College
decided to appoint two of the graduating class to labor in
Manitoba for that summer, under the direction of the Presbytery
of Manitoba, and asked for two volunteers from the graduating
class. My opportunity had come. I volunteered as also did another fellow-graduate, the late Rev. Hector Currie, B.A., of Thed-
ford, Ont., and to make a long story short, we left Sarnia by steamer on the 8th of June, 1874—preached in Port Arthur and Fort
William on the 14th of June—started on the 15th over the Dawson
Headmaster  Sarnia  Public   School,   afterwards  Inspector  of
Public Schools, County of Lambton, for 30 years.
Road (a hard road to
four hundred miles,
effects on their way t
to meet some of them
We held service on a
21st of June. Mr. C
as I had to turn back
Mr. Currie preached
on the 5th of July and
travel) for Winnipeg, a distance of about
There  were  several  families  with  their
o settle in Manitoba.    It was a pleasure
later on in their new homes in the west.
rock at Four Mile Portage on Sabbath,
urrie arrived in Winnipeg a week earlier
a part of the way to see after our trunks.
in the Mother Knox Church, Winnipeg,
it was my privilege to conduct the service 38 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
in the same church on the 12th of July.    It seems like a dream
to look back to that day and place.
"Mr. Currie's field was thirty-five miles north-west of
Winnipeg, and mine, called at that time Palestine, was about
one hundred miles west, then the farthest west settlement. The
large majority of the early settlers in that district were from
Huron and Bruce counties in Ontario. I had four preaching
stations. It was a busy summer but an enjoyable one. The
people were most kind and appreciative. The call to come up
higher came to Mr. and Mrs. Nisbet in September of that year
which explains my appointment to Prince Albert for two years.
From the fall of 1874 to that of 1876. Both Dr. Black and Dr.
Robertson insisted that I should go west without delay and
take charge of the work at Prince Albert. This meant a journey
of over four hundred miles from Portage La Prairie in the face
of winter, so instead of returning to Ontario that fall, as I had
intended to do, I had to turn my face westward. I felt it was a
call from the Master Himself. I was licensed and ordained by
the Presbytery of Manitoba in the church at High Bluff on the
27th of October, 1874. The ministers present at that meeting
were the Revs. Dr. John Black, of Kildonan, Dr. James Robertson, Knox Church, Winnipeg, Rev. Alexander Fraser, of High
Bluff and Portage La Prairie, Rev. Samuel Donaldson, of Poplar
Point and Meadowlea, and Mr. James O. Fraser, Elder of
High Bluff, Mr. Donald McLean, of Gladstone, and Mr.
Francis, of Headingly, both elders of the Presbyterian
Church. I preached on Sabbath evening, November 1st.,
in the pioneer Presbyterian church, Portage La Prairie, and
on Monday, November 2nd., started for Prince Albert mission.
I preached at Fort Ellice, on Friday evening, November 6th.
Mr. Archibald McDonald, chief factor, provided me with a guide
and three horses and a four wheeled rig by order of Presbytery.
The guide was a young French half-breed. We started from
Fort Ellice on November 7th, reached Touchwood Hills, Hudson's Bay post, on the 12th. Mr. McBeth was in charge of this
post, and showed me great kindness. The favorable weather
enjoyed up to this point now forsook us. We encountered a
heavy snow storm in crossing the great salt plain, sixty miles
wide and for the rest of the journey had to face a biting northwest wind.    On the 20th we reached the crossing of the south PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
branch of the Saskatchewan River. At this point the guide
with two of the horses returned to Fort Ellice and I continued
with one horse and rig down the river along the west bank to
the French mission, then in charge of Father Aundre, who
treated me with great kindness. I remained over Sabbath,
November 22nd., at the mission. With a new guide I started
on Monday morning for Prince Albert, a distance of about forty
miles, arriving there on Tuesday, November 24th., and received
a kind welcome from the people. I felt the deep responsibility
of taking up the work that Mr. Nisbet had laid down after eight
years of faithful and unremitting labors. Largely with his
own hands he built the commodious mission house and also the
building that served the double purpose of church and school.
He kept a full supply of medicine for both Indians and settlers;
indeed, the burdens the good man carried in his heart during
those eight strenuous years eternity alone will reveal. His
noble life partner, Mrs. Nisbet, had her full share in the work
and trials of those eight strenuous years. They bore the cross
together and now together they are wearing the crown.
"The Rev. John McKay, who from the founding of the mission, was associated with Mr. Nisbet in the work, had great
♦ influence with the Indians. He could speak eloquently to them
in their own tongue. Mr. McKay was on very friendly terms
with Mistawassis, the great Chief of the Cree nation. The chief,
himself, was a noble Christian man and did all he could for the
highest and best good of his people. Mrs. McKay, the wife
of the Rev. John McKay, who was a sister of Mrs. Nisbet, also
of the Rev. R. G. McBeth, must not'be overlooked in this narrative. She was, indeed, the true friend to the Indian women
and children during the many years she -was connected with
the mission. Mr. and Mrs. McKay we're associated with Mr.
and Mrs. Nisbet in the work from* the date the mission was
established in 1866. Mrs. McKay passed to her rest and reward
only a few years ago.
"The two years I spent in Prince Albert field were full of
activities. Manifold were the duties which devolved upon the
missionary during these two years. He had to supervise both
the Indian and the Home Mission work, to teach in the day
school for considerable periods when a regular teacher could
not be secured; to meet with the children for Bible instruction 40 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
and to accompany Mr. McKay in visiting Indian families a^
neighboring points. In the month of July, 1875, we visited
the Chief Mistawassis and his people while they were preparing
pemican and dried buffalo meat for winter supplies. Then
the encampment was about two hundred miles south of Prince
Albert. The day we left for our home return we witnessed a
wonderful sight—an immense herd of buffalo grazing quietly
in a valley of the south branch of the Saskatchewan river. There
might be two or three thousand buffalo, great and small, in that
herd. Mr. McKay told me it was a sight very few white people
born and brought up in the country had seen.
"Religious services were conducted regularly for the new
settlers at four points, first, at the headquarters of the mission
at Prince Albert, second, six miles down the river in Mr.
Morrison McBeth's house, third, eight miles up the river in a
new church we built in the summer of 1875, and which was
dedicated by the late Rev. George McDougal, the great pioneer
missionary statesman of the Methodist Church in the Northwest Territory. The fourth preaching point was the miners'
settlement still further up the river.
"Prayer meetings were also held at intervals in different
"I returned to Ontario in the late fall of 1876, where I
remained for that winter. Returned to Manitoba in the summer
of 1877. Had charge of five preaching points east of Red River,
Springfield, Sunnyside, Caledonia, Point du chene and Clear
"I accepted a call from the united congregations of High
Bluff and Prospect in Portage Plain and was inducted on the
8th of May, 1878, where I continued as pastor for nearly ten
years. It was a period of great activity and progress. New
settlements were extending westward at a rapid rate. The
C.P.R. reached Portage La Prairie in 1881 and continued westward at a rapid rate. Also a branch railroad was built from
Portage La Prairie northwestward, and new settlements sprang
up along that line, Westburne, Gladstone, Arden, Neepawa,
Minnedosa, Strathclair, Shoal Lake, etc. The establishment of
Home Missions along the C.P.R. were Meadowlea, Poplar Point,
High Bluff, Portage La Prairie, Burnside, Beaver Creek, Car-
berry, Chater, Brandon, Oak Lake, Virden, etc.
"My neighboring ministers and missionaries at that early
date were: Rev. Samuel Donaldson, Poplar Point and Meadowlea; Rev. Allan Bell, Portage La Prairie; Rev. James S. Stewart,
Gladstone; Rev. Dr. McRae, Burnside and Neepawa (later of
Victoria, B.C.); Rev. James Todd, Burnside and Minnedosa
(later of Boston, Mass.); Rev. Finlay C. J. McLeod, B.A., 1879,
missionary to the C.P.R. construction camps, also missionary
to the families residing in the new outlying settlements. Mr.
McLeod was a faithful, self-denying servant of God in this west
land, travelling on foot from camp to camp and from settlement
to settlement, preaching on Sabbath and visiting the homes
during the week, and when possible, he would read a portion
of the Scripture and engage in prayer with each family. Mr.
McLeod never married. He resided during his retiring years
on a homestead four miles north of Virden, Man. He built
his house at the foot of the south bank of the Assiniboine river
where he cultivated a splendid vegetable garden. When you
entered the dwelling you instinctively recognized the abode of
a scholar by the class of books and other literature on his table.
Mr. McLeod attended regularly the Sabbath services in Virden,
also the young people's meeting at the close of the regular service
on Sabbath evening, then walked home. This was his habit
winter and summer. He was the friend of the young people
and a great favorite with them. The call to his eternal rest
was sudden. He was invited by one of his young friends to be
present as a guest at her marriage ceremony held in tl\e church
and as he approached the steps of the church he fell and in a
few minutes the end had come. It was a translation from the
church militant to the church triumphant. Mr. McLeod was in
his eightieth year, born in Scotland in 1833, died at Virden in 1913.
"Other early neighbors were:—Rev. Farquhar McRae,
Beaver Creek and Burnside; Rev. Dr. D. Stalker, Gladstone,
1881-1892, (later of Calumet, IVJich.); the Rev. D. McCannel,
Carberry; the Rev. Alexander McTavish, M.A., Chater; the
Rev. T. C. Court, Petrel; Rev. Alexander Smith, Cadurcis;
Rev. J. M. Douglas, Brandon; Rev. James M. Wellwood; Rev.
Mr. Livingstone; Rev. S. C. Murray, Neepawa; Rev. George
Flett, Okanase; Rev. John McKay, Strathclair; Rev. Wm. Hod-
nett, Birtle; Rev. John Mowat; Rev. John McArthur, Beulah,
Man., (later of New Zealand)." 42
Miss Flora J. Fraser
Miss Fraser came to Manitoba with the family from Georgetown, Ont., in the spring of 1873, settling at High Bluff. She
taught school at Portage la Prairie, Prospect, and Wesley College, Winnipeg, in the early days of that institution.
In 1891 the family again moved west, settling in the
Hamiota district. In 1898 she left the old homestead, moving
into Hamiota with her father, where she conducted a book and
fancy store. She always took a prominent part in all matters
pertaining to the social welfare of the country in which she resided, teaching the Young People's Bible class for a number of
miss flora j. fraser
High Bluff, Manitoba, later Hamiota, Manitoba.
years, and many of the class will recall her sympathetic counsel
and advice in years to come. She was president of the Women's
Missionary Society in Hamiota for a number of years, and in
her turn, president of the Minnedosa presbyterial. She was
also a member of the executive of the provincial of the Women's
Missionary Society in Manitoba. She took part in all other
organizations for the advancement of the public welfare.
Hamiota lost one whose memory will be long cherished PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 43
and revered by old and young, and the province one who has
done much to promote good citizenship, and one whose consistent Christian life pointed all who came within her influence
"to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us."
The following excellent sketch was prepared at my request by the
Rev. J. H. Cameron, who is at present Presbyterian
Missionary at Coquitlam, B.C.    Mr. Cameron writes:
"It was in the spring of 1882—some correspondence with
Dr. Cochrane, then Convenor of the Assembly's H.M.C., ordination by Picton Presbytery, marriage and away to the far West,
via Toronto, Chicago and St. Paul to Winnipeg. This was our
honeymoon, our journey to Manitoba and the North West,
then a terra nova and terra incognito to most Nova Scotians.
It was partly the call of the work, partly the call of the new
and partly the search for better health. We faced it with small
experience and less money, but youth is full of hope.
"Winnipeg was reached in July, just after the big boom,
and the big flood. The streets were a sea of mud, glazed and
shining black; but mud nevertheless and only needing a shower
to make it glue. Not a block of pavement. Manitoba College
was a lonely pile, away out on the prairie three or four blocks
outside of the town. St. Andrew's Church met in Selkirk Hall,
and Knox Church in Knox Hall, a long, low ramshackle, wooden
building. There I attended my first Presbytery meeting in the
Northwest, the Presbytery of Manitoba it was then. Its domain
and dominion reached from the Lakes to the Rockies and from
the international boundary "to the ends of the earth."
"The giants of those days were, Dr. Bryce, Rev. Thomas
Hart, Rev. D. M. Gordon, Rev. C. B. Pitblado and Rev. James
Robertson. Doctors of Divinity were rare in those days, with
Revs. Hugh McKellar and James Farquharson close behind in
the ranks, and Tibb, of Rapid City, McCannel, of Carberry,
Cameron and others among the boys in the back seats, sometimes
turning into levity the seriousness of the front benches, and
they were serious—even the boys were, underneath their
apparent levity, and great vital questions were discussed, such
as the powers of the superintendency, then a new piece of machinery in the Presbytery and its powers; besides the great
question of the evangelizing of the rapidly opening West. 44
"My first field of labor was the Oak River district,
appointed thereto at a Presbytery meeting held in Brandon
in July. Brandon was then mostly canvas, its Grand Union
and other hotels, lumber fronts with flaring signs and the
rest of structure canvas. The C.P.R. ran as far as Flat Creek,
about thirty miles beyond.
"Our first experience on our way to Oak River was a
runaway along the banks of the Assiniboine. Our new horse,
not liking new fangled notions, ran away at the sight of an uplifted umbrella.    It had just rained and ourselves, our baggage
Formerly pastor of Kildonan, Manitoba, later a missionary at
Hamiota, Manitoba; more recently in British Columbia.
and brand new buckboard were thick with the soft black mud.
When the umbrella was taken down trouble ceased until a new
experiment brought a new runaway. We learned our lesson
to begin with when on our way to Rapid City we met a stranger.
'How far is it to Rapid City?' we enquired. He smiled and
said, 'You are in Rapid City.' It was miles away out on the
prairie, but there were booms in those days. Subdivisions
"There was a church opening at Rapid City where Rev.
J. C. Tibb was then the missionary. In the speeches and
festivities we shared, particularly the latter, and the good people
presented the missionary to Oak River and his young wife with
a cake 'to begin housekeeping with.'
"At Oak River we made our home for a few weeks under
the hospitable roof of Mr. J. O. Fraser, the father of the settlement, who had moved up to that locality from High Bluff, where
the Frasers were old timers, having come out from Ontario in
the early seventies. Mr. Fraser's house was the only frame
building in the settlement at that time, which led a humorous
Scot on his way past for the farther west to remark 'This man
must be the king of the settlement.'
"My field covered all the territory from the south end of
Shoal Lake to the Assiniboine River. It now contains at least
five congregations, Orrwold, Hamiota, Scotia, Oak River and
Tarbolton. My beat was Viola Dale, Hamiota and Scotia one
Sunday and Oak River or Black's Station and Tarbolton the
alternate day. The towns of Hamiota and Oak River were
non-existent at that time. My first trip was amiss. Trying
to find the way from Black's to Tarbolton, fourteen miles, all
the trails looked alike to the greenhorn from the east and forked
this way and that, wood trails and hay trails, until he was utterly
at sea, and finally he pulled up at six o'clock p.m. where he should
have been at 3 p.m. for his service, at the log house of Mr. J. M.
Wedderburn, who by the way is a son of the late Prof. McLagan
Wedderburn, of Aberdeen, Scotland.
"Our first winter in Manitoba was an experience long to
be remembered. Our log 'manse' looked nice and comfortable
but when winter came the temperature inside that house was
but a wee bit higher than outside. At night when fires went
out, everything froze solid, bread, fruit, water, everything. Milk
was kept in solid chunks of ice and meat frozen hard as rock.
We often ate our meals with overcoats on and had to take intermissions to warm up 'between courses.' My wife set meals
with kid mitts on hands to keep the crockery from freezing to
the fingers, bedding frozen about our faces from the moisture of
our breathing was a nightly experience. Log houses can be
made warm on the prairies, even frost proof, but we had not
"The great Missionary Superintendent visited us occasionally. His visits were always full of encouragement and kindness.
His hand shake was an inspiration and he left us in better heart
for the work.
"The pioneers of this district evinced considerable interest
in the work. Scotia, a new station, was opened up. A good,
frame church was built at Black Station and a hall at Hamiota.
The people were mostly poor, just making a start. Frosts were
prevalent, prices of grain very low. Their market at Brandon
was forty and fifty miles distant.- Wheat sometimes sold as low
as thirty-three cents and thirty-five cents per bushel and the
grain buyer was a law to himself. Sometimes the settler would
return from his three days' trip with oxen to Brandon without
money, the whole price of his load having gone out in expenses.
But these brave men endured the privation and difficulties of
those days manfully and in the end the great majority of them
prospered. Much credit is due those pioneers. They really
are the men who made the North West commercially and
spiritually. They stayed with the country and proved that it
was a good country to live in and a country in which men could
make homes and prosper. Some who fled the country during
those early days of trial and went to the States returned later,
poorer and wiser men. This was my first charge as a minister,
my first love, and I still remember with gratitude the kindness
of those pioneers, the Frasers, Kerrs, Andersons, Barrs, Mcln-
toshes, Blacks, Sibbalds, Wedderburns and others. They were
good stuff—the salt of the earth. For hospitality, no people
on earth exceeded the early prairie settlers. They kept an open
house for all travellers and for a neighbor in trouble they had
ever a helping hand. Their houses were small and poor as a
rule. Some were dug-outs, but for hospitality, courtesy and
cleanliness, with exceptions, they bore the palm. They were
faithful in church attendance as a rule, coming long distances
with oxen. A top buggy was a rare sight at that time. But the
young; missionary from the east was disappointed to find that
the settlers from Scotland were among the poorest in matter
of church attendance and that the saying of Max O'Rell that
'Sandy MacDonald was a man who kept the Sabbath and all
else he could lay his hands on' failed in the first part of the sentence at any rate.    But the early missionaries on the plains PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 47
must have built better than they knew. One of the leading
ministers of Victoria, B.C., used the remark of late years, 'The
best church people we have out here are the prairie people.'
"But the farther west was rapidly filling in now and in
the summer of 1884 I was appointed to Battleford, in the Presbytery of Brandon. Across the plains we went from Swift
Current with two bairns, one an infant of five weeks old, two
hundred miles to Battleford. At Swift Current we hired a
half-breed to take ourselves and stuff across the plains, which
he did for forty dollars, he taking our baggage in a cart, I driving
a prairie schooner in which were stowed wife and bairns and
provisions. Miles and miles of bare prairie, not a house all
the way, not a stick of wood to kindle a fire for over one hundred
miles, not a well of water or stream for sixty miles. Buffalo
heads and bones were everywhere to be seen and buffalo runs
criss-crossing our trail every little bit of the way. It was a
miserable trip. A cold east wind with drizzling rain set in, by
day chilling us to the bone and at night wetting our bedding
through the thin tent we carried with us, so that we had to sleep
with an open umbrella over our heads to keep dry. By the time
we reached Battleford the missionary was more ready to use
the language of the imprecatory Psalms than preach the Gospel
of Peace. Reaching Eagle Hills and the welcome timber we
made a large fire and dried our bedding and clothes and got
thoroughly warmed. That camp fire is still a grateful memory.
Being the pioneer missionary to Battleford, there was neither
church nor congregation. We secured a deserted Hudson's
Bay store and fixed it up for a church and an old log house on
the Battle River flats for a manse. Any night lying in bed
you could see the stars through the roof of that manse. We
organized a Board of Managers. The chairman was Sergt.
Warden of the Mounted Police, 'Scotty Warden,' a brother of
the late Dr. Warden our Church Agent. James Clinkskill,
afterward M.L.A. in the N.W. Legislature, was secretary-
treasurer of the Board.
"Battleford was a typical frontier town in 1884. The
population consisted of ranchers, store-keepers, Indian Department Officials, Freighters and N.W. Mounted #Police. We
think we have reached the high water mark in the high cost of
living in our day, but we have not reached the mark of Battle- 48 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
ford prices in that day. Sugar was 15 cts. per pound, tea 80 cts.,
rice 2 lbs. for 35 cts., coal oil $1.25 per gallon, and when one of
the rival stores ran out of supply promptly the price went up to
$5.00 per gallon. In the closing days of the rebellion we paid
$1.50 per doz. for eggs and $1.00 per lb. for butter.
"The church services were well attended by both civilians
and mounted police. A church was built on the plain between
the Battle and Saskatchewan rivers, afterwards named 'Gardiner
Church.' A Blue Ribbon Society was formed which had a
membership of over fifty. We actually observed, the Anglican
missionary and myself, the week of prayer. It is only right to
say that the meetings were not crowded.
"Then the break up—the rebellion. It could have been
avoided. The powers that be had been warned. A half-breed,
a secret agent of the government, told the writer three or four
months before the outbreak that he had been among the Indians
and had reported to Regina that discontent among them was
strong and that they had said to him, 'When the snow melts,
there will be trouble.' But those reports were pigeon-holed at
Regina. The banks of the Saskatchewan were far removed
from Ottawa and votes there were not numerous. So the fires
were allowed to smoulder until they broke out into the flame
of actual rebellion.
"It was a day of great excitement in the frontier town
that Sunday in April when the news arrived of the clash near
Prince Albert between the half-breeds and the N.W. Mounted
Police and Prince Albert volunteers and that a dozen of the
Prince Albert men had been killed, and that Poundmaker and
his Indians were on the war path. There was no church service
that Sunday. Every citizen was busy getting moved into the
fort. The two wagons in town were kept busy until 10.30
p.m. that night. The missionary and family were the last to
be moved in. The men and local mounted police were busy
all day digging trenches inside the stockade, rifle pits, so-called.
The earth and bags of Indian Department grain were piled
up against the inside of the stockade as a defence against rifle
fire. A Home Guard was formed and every able-bodied man
was given a« rifle. The missionary was made chaplain of the
Home Guard. Then four or five weeks of camp fife. Rations
were served daily to all the people in the fort, about 350 persons PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 49
in all. There were many wild rumors that the Blackfoot Indians
had gone out and wiped out Calgary, that the settlers all over
the N.W. Territories near Indian Reserves had been massacred,
that Big Bear and the Edmonton Indians were moving down to
join the Battleford Indians and wipe us out of existence. Fortunately the rumors were false, but they caused much excitement
and alarm in our hemmed in company in the Battleford 'fort.'
But when one day the Fort Pitt Garrison of N.W.M.P. under command of Inspector Dickens, son of the famous novelist, arrived
down the river by scow, we learned that innocent blood had
been shed by Big Bear's savages. Young Gilchrist, of Wood-
ville, Ont., and Gavanlock, who used to attend our services at
Battleford were among the victims. Then the arrival of Col.
Otter for our relief and the battle of Cutknife Hill where seven
of our Battleford Home Guard fell. It was a solemn hour when
we saw seven caskets let down into one great wide grave, the
band playing 'Nearer My God to Thee' and the soldiers firing
the last salute over the graves of their fallen comrades. It was
our first experience of the horrors of war and quite enough. Of
these days and experiences much could be written but space
will not allow.
"As our congregation was broken up and scattered because
of the rebellion, we left Battleford in June, returning to Manitoba. We took journey to Swift Current along with freighters
who had brought in supplies for the military. In connection
with our outward trip we had a providential escape from the
Indians. We were to leave for Swift Current on a certain morning but some orders from General Middleton delayed the outgoing
freight brigade. That morning Poundmaker and his Indians
captured an incoming company of freighters a few miles out,
just at the point we would have reached if our original plan
had not miscarried, as we were to have a convoy of Mounted
Police there would have been fighting and bloodshed. We had
reason to sing 'God reigneth.'
"After a few weeks' sojourn at the hospitable manse of
Rev. Hugh McKellar at High Bluff, Man., I decided to return
to the Maritime Provinces again."
Work in New Brunswick
"Early in 1886 I was settled as pastor of Bass River congregation in Kent Co., N.B., the church once served by Rev. James 50 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
Fowler afterwards professor of botany in Queen's University.
The missionary work there was even more strenuous than in
the West. Besides three main churches in that charge, there
were twelve other adjoining settlements in which I held services
as often as I could.
"At this season there came a time of gracious reviving.
With the help of Evangelists Vans and MacKay, special services
were held which led to a great awakening all through that region.
Evangelistic services were continued by myself for six months
at various points within my sphere of labor and over three
hundred members were added to the church. It was during
these, services that Rev. T. F. Irving, the bright and earnest
young minister who died a few years ago at Shubenacadie, N.S.,
took his stand for Christ. Besides him several other young men
were led to devote themselves to the work of the ministry.
"In regard to recruits for the ministry, my experience
has led me to conclude that if we had more frequent revivals
of religion there would be plenty of recruits. 'There shall be
a willing people in the day of God's power.'"
To the West Once More
"But the call of the West was in my soul. After nearly
eight years in New Brunswick, I returned to Manitoba in the
summer of 1893. My field of labor was Russell, Minniska and
Silver Creek in the Presbytery of Minnedosa. Here I was called
and settled the year following. A manse was built and the
congregation grew in numbers and financial strength. Sunday
Schools, Young Peoples' Societies and Ladies' Missionary Associations were organized. Here also we enjoyed a time of
refreshing and the membership of the church was doubled as
the result and several recruits were secured for the ministry.
One was Rev. James Clark who removed to the United States
and the other Rev. J. F. Cocks, Ph.D., now in charge of the
Lantern Slide Department of the church, Toronto. Silver
Creek was the home of Alex Crerar, now Hon. T. A. Crerar, a
member of the Dominion Cabinet. I had the pleasure of
receiving 'Alex' into the membership of the church and I can
remember how earnestly he sought to gain a sure footing for
his faith in the truth before he took that step.
"At Minniska we had a most remarkable Christian Endeavor Society.    Old and young to the number of over eighty PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 51
were members of it. They attended the gatherings of the society
without fail through the busiest seasons in the year and the
coldest winter weather and nearly every member took some part in
the meetings. My nearest ministerial neighbors in this field
were Rev. R. Frew, of Birtle, who was until the war, chaplain
at Constantinople to the British residents there and Rev. John
McArthur, of Beulah, a great missionary enthusiast, who later
on removed to New Zealand. At the close of my pastorate in
Russell, Dr. Robertson with his own hand drafted the accompanying minutes.
"In 1897 came a call to Kildonan and a ten and a half years'
pastorate by the. Red River of the north among the Selkirk
settlers where my work ceased to be pioneer and missionary
in the Western sense of the word.
"During my pastorate in the old parish the Jubilee of the
coming of Dr. Black to the Red River and the organization of
the Congregation was observed and the old church was renovated and reseated and modernized. These were among my
most pleasant years in the ministry, and we carry with us the
most grateful remembrance of the loyalty and kindness of the
Selkirk settlers in the parish of Kildonan.
Work in British Columbia
"During the last ten years, since 1908, my work has been
across the Rockies in British Columbia. In South Vancouver
I organized Westminster Church and built the present church
building, having begun with a congregation of less than two
dozen and a debt of $150.00 contracted by a predecessor to
secure a meagre equipment. At the end of the first year a
comfortable church was built seating about two hundred and
I was called and settled as pastor. At the end of the second
year the church was self-sustaining with a membership of one
hundred and fifty and a Sunday School of three hundred. All
this was pioneer work, (thereafter days of darkness and trouble).
"Later on I spent two years on Vancouver Island organizing
new missions and reviving old and decayed ones, at Qualican
Beach, Parksville and surrounding country. This was the most
strenuous work I did in all my ministry, preaching three times
each Sunday, walking twelve miles and fifteen miles to overtake
it, besides leading the singing and conducting Sunday Schools,
this when over sixty years of age.    Surely there is need of re- 52 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
vising our methods in the Presbyterian Church.   They are not
God's methods.
"Now on my last lap in ministerial service I am in pastoral
charge of St. Andrew's Church, Port Coquitlam, and still
carrying on along the lines of my life work, preaching the word,
trying to push onward and forward the boundaries of the Kingdom of Christ our Lord. I have worked and ever done the best
I knew, but as I look on my ministry I am constrained to say,
'Lord, I have been an unprofitable servant'."
iry at Headi
Sketch by the Rev. Wm. Mullins, Tees, Alta., February 1st, 1918.
"My dear Mr. McKellar:—Just got your letter last night.
It went to Medicine Hat in care of James Hargrave, who sent
it here to me. I am very glad indeed to hear from you and to
know that yourself and family are in good health.
"Now as regards a brief sketch of experiences in the mission PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 53
fields of Manitoba in the early times, I may say that I was li-
. censed by the Presbytery of Montreal in the spring of 1879 and
came out to Manitoba in October of that year and was
ordained by the Presbytery of Manitoba in January, 1880, the
Rev. Dr. Black being Moderator on that occasion. On arriving
in Manitoba was appointed to the fields of Headingly and La
Riviere Sale. I remained in charge of those fields for about
three years. Had fairly good success at Headingly. That
mission, I believe, was founded by the Rev. John Black, of
Kildonan. I preached at several different points along the
River Sale, at the Parker Settlement, Township of Siben and
Starbruck. I was the, first to preach at Starbruck. The Rev.
Mr. Douglas was my successor at that point, where I believe
there is now a church building and manse. I also began the
first work in Gretna, Man., where I gathered quite a large number of people of various denominations, Lutherans, Methodists,
Anglicans and others. This mission was la^er taken over by
the Presbytery of Winnipeg. There is now a large church
building and a regular organized congregation. After laboring
within the bounds of the Presbytery of Manitoba for several
years, removed to North Dakota where I spent fifteen years.
I may also say that while in Manitoba I labored in connection
with the board of French Evangelization. This then is a very
brief sketch of my experience in mission work in Manitoba,
which might be amplified to a considerable extent."
Sketch from the Rev. Dr. Donald MacRae, Pastor Emeritus, of
St. PauVs Presbyterian Church, Victoria, B.C. Dr.
MacRae writes:
"With reference to the matter about which you wrote,
I have to say that in June, 1879, I was appointed by the Presbytery of Manitoba to the Pembina Mountain district, where
I labored upwards of two years. The place has been known
for a good many years past as Manitou. I served a considerable
extent of country. I afterwards served for one year at Burnside.
I then went to Neepawa and served the beautiful plain district
for about two years, where a church was built, after which I
returned to Ontario and after a few months' rest I went to Victoria,
"In January, 1886,1 was appointed by the General Assembly PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIE!
Home Mission Committee to the charge of the settled part of
the southern part of Vancouver Island, preaching at some seven
or eight different points, until after about five years I organized
a new congregation in Victoria West. I devoted the whole of
my time to this until my retirement from active duty four years
ago. This I think about covers the information you require.
There is, I think, only one congregation in the district that I
first served, one congregation at Burnside and three in the
Neepawa district and five in the district I served in the Vancouver
Island district."
Formerly missionary in Manitoba afterwards pastor of St. Paul's
Church. Victoria, B.C.
The above brief and modest sketch by the Rev. Dr. MacRae
of his missionary work in Manitoba and Vancouver Island gives
him a high place among the early founders of Presbyterianism
in Western Canada and British Columbia. H. McK.
The Rev. Samuel Poison, 486 East Kildonan, Man. Mr. Poison
kindly sends the following brief sketch: re his missionary
work and experience in Manitoba:
"Being of the West, my preparation for the church's work PRESBYTERIAN   PIONEER MISSIONARIES 55
was in Manitoba College, being one of the first class in theology,
licensed by the Presbytery, September 18th, 1878. First appointment afterwards was to Millbrook and to Clear Springs.
I was ordained January, 1880. After being licensed, I spent
the winter of 1878 and 9 in Knox College, Toronto. In May,
1886, I was transferred to a district lying between Morden and
Carman, remaining four years; during latter part of this time
was called by the northern part of this wide field, but urgent
demands from farther west prevailed and the Home Mission
Committee transferred my efforts to the Souris district in the
fall of 1890.    There, as in my former places of labor, and as at
ary in Manitoba.
that time in the West, it was oiginizing pioneer work. Within
two years of toil arrangement of this extensive field was effected
and I accepted a call to the Hartney part. In 1898, October, I
accepted an appointment by H.M.C. to Swan Lake congregation.
In 1906, I retired from regular pastoral oversight. Work in the
church continues its demands and it is a matter of thankfulness
to find fitness continued for regular Sabbath and week day duties.
"Such experiences as the foregoing verily come under the 56
heading 'Pioneering.' Among the many duties and conditions
common with all our mission fields, one of the outstanding is
that of church building often trying and disappointing happenings into the doing, but these were offset by the satisfaction and
pleasant experiences."*
The Rev. James Duncan
The Rev. James Duncan took his college course in Manitoba
College, was a fellow student of the Rev. Samuel Poison and
was licensed at the same time as Mr. Poison by the Presbytery
of Manitoba,  September 18th,  1878.    Mr. Poison states that
Graduate of Manitoba College and mission;
Prince Albert.
ly in Manitoba and
Mr. Duncan, while pursuing his studies, very successfully supplied in several of our mission fields about Winnipeg. Mr.
Poison also states on being licensed he was sent I think to the
Carrot River district in the Prince Albert locality. While
there, (Mr. Poison further states) owing to heavy work and
exposure in the doing of the same he suffered a slight paralytic
strpke and was unfitted to continue the church's work. For
two years he rested at home in Ontario, recovering so far that PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 57
he was able to return to the West and take up his former duties.
He spent a few years in the Presbytery of Brandon, but his
former breakdown left its effects, resulting in his retirement
from the ministry.
Rev. John McArthur
The late Rev. John McArthur was born in Scotland, near
Oban, in 1848, and at the age of four came with his parents to
Canada, where he was brought up on a farm in Ontario. He
attended the High School in Walkerton and then having from
Beulah, Manitoba, later of New Zealand, where he passed away.
early years resolved to be a minister, was advised by his pastor
the Rev. George Bell, to go West and attend Manitoba College.
Came to Manitoba in 1880. During these years of study he
took a mission field two hundred miles in extent. After graduating in Manitoba College, Mr. McArthur rendered great service
to the cause of Christ, having charge of important Home Mission
Fields in the province of Manitoba and the Northwest, such as
Shoal Lake, Roseburne, Birtle, Strathclair, Fort Ellice. In
1888 he was settled in Beulah, Man., where he labored until 58 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
he went to New Zealand, owing to Mrs. McArthur's ill health
in 1901. His work in Manitoba lay in districts sparsely settled
where he had long distances to travel, but it was faithfully
carried out and only the health of Mrs. McArthur compelled
him to seek work in a milder climate. For some years he was
Convener of Home Mission work within the bounds of his own
Presbytery, (Minnedosa). In addition to the Home Mission
work, Mr. McArthur had charge also of Indian Mission work.
After going to New Zealand, Mr. McArthur made Otahuhu
his headquarters, supplying in various places. He was called
to Opunake, where he labored until an accident made his retirement necessary. His ministry was more of a pastoral than of
a preaching nature. His last illness was of a very brief duration,
being sick only a couple of days, bronchial pneumonia seized
him, and in a few hours he fell asleep in Jesus. During his last
stay in Otahuhu he was superintendent of the Sunday School
and some eight or ten years ago when Papatoetoe, Howick and
Otahuhu were one charge he willingly gave his services in the
expanding work, prior to the division of that charge. His heart
was in his work and his love to his Master spoke from every
word of his and was evident in all his life. Of him truly it may
be said, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
The Auckland Presbytery places on record its high estimate
of the life, character and labors of the late Rev. Mr. McArthur,
in the following terms: "The Presbytery regrets to notice an intimation of the death of the Rev. John McArthur by the
prevailing epidemic at his residence, Otahuhu. Mr. McArthur
arrived in New Zealand a good many years ago and for a time
was engaged in locum tenens work at Waipu, Pairca and several
southern places. His last charge was Opunake in the Presbytery
of Tacanaki, which he resigned and took up his residence at
Otahuhu, where he has resided in retirement. Mr. McArthur
was a man of sterling Christian character and devotedly attached
to the interests of the cause of Christianity. The Presbytery
sympathizes with his wife and family and commends them for
comfort to the Great Comforter Who has promised, 'I will not
leave you comfortless; I will come to you'."
William McDonald,
Acting Clerk of Presbytery. CHAPTER IV.
ABOUT the year 1892, Mr. F. J. Hartley, a son of the manse,
took up mission work at a place called Norquay. He made his
home with Mr. Jarvis Earle, and preached in six different school
houses. The only event of note during the six months, was a
prohibition sermon which he preached and for which a bartender
REV.   F.   J.  HARTLEY,   B.D.
Calgary, Alberta, formerly a missionary in Manitoba.
threatened to horsewhip him.    However, as this never happened,
it is hardly worth mentioning.
In the fall of that year, Mr. Hartley returned to Manitoba
College, of which Dr. King Was Principal and Professor Baird,
one of the teachers. The young man being a Mark Tapley
disciple, was always enquiring if there was not some place in
Manitoba where it would be difficult to do mission work, and at
last he discovered a place called Beausejour, at which he arrived
one stormy winter night.    It had been the custom of the students for some time, to sleep in the station house, but Mr. Hartley
crossed the road in the blizzard and made friends with Mr.
Sam Turner, the storekeeper, and Mr. Turner was good enough
to invite him to stay all night.    This he did in the following
manner.    "We just have two beds, but if you can bunk in with
me I think we can put you up for the night."    After the light
was extinguished, the young missionary asked Mr. Turner why
it was that no one offered the students a room, and the reply
was that it had been offered to one man.    He declined to occupy
a room with anyone else.    This un courteous act was visited
upon the heads of all following students.    In the morning, Mr.
Turner arose betimes, prepared breakfast and provided a sumptuous repast for the young preacher, who to his dismay, discovered
that it was nine miles to the nearest preaching point, no horses
or rigs available, but believing in the perseverance of the saints,
he made up his mind he would walk.      Now, as it had been
snowing all night and as there was no road, Mr. Turner feared
for his missionary guest, and not being able to shake his determination, he walked with him three miles so that he would not
be lost.    Mr. Hartley felt that he was called to take up mission
work at this point, and for a year, summer and winter, became
missionary for this part.    It was here that he met Katie, made
famous by Ralph Connor, in "Beyond the Marshes."
The next year Dr. Bryce, the convener of home missions,
asked Mr. Hartley to take charge of Gretna village church.
Gretna is a village in the Mennonite settlement on the boundary
line. Here, the young preacher remained until he had passed
through his college course of three sessions. Immediately on
his being licensed he was called to the town of Roland, Man.
The congregation was small, and Mr. Hartley brought his bride
to three upstairs rooms. The Presbyterian church in Roland
had never given a call before and rallied around their young
minister. Soon a manse was built, large and comfortable.
Another year saw the field separated from the Clegg congregation, which was twelve miles away, and a new church built
at Myrtle. Mr. Hartley remained here until the year 1912,
nearly fifteen years, and saw the church grow from a mission PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 61
charge to one of the strong congregations in the Rock Lake
presbytery. The giving to missions grew in proportion with
the congregation and when he accepted a call to Castor, Alta.,
ill the Red Deer presbytery, there were over two hundred members on the roll of the church.
Shortly after coming to Alberta, the Castor presbytery was
organized, and Mr. Hartley became the first convener of home
missions, and with horse and buggy travelled over the whole
of the country from the Battle River, in the north, to the Red
Deer, on the south and west, and the Saskatchewan boundary
on the east, over roads that are indescribable. Castor being the
end of the steel in that year, did not appeal very earnestly to
the missionary spirit of Mr. Hartley, although a number of
splendid men rallied round him in the town.
In 1915 he was called to Canmore, a mining town on the
main line of the C.P.R., and he found there Robert Hunter,
superintendent of the Sunday school, and Sam Stirton, treasurer,
men who were very anxious to make the church that Ralph
Connor built and in which it was said he wrote Black Rock, a
great success. The new minister threw himself heart and soul
into the work, preaching at Georgetown, The Gap, Exshaw and
Kananaskis, besides the village church at Canmore. When he
accepted the call, and finding that the town was about one thousand of a population, he expected that the school would be able
to educate his children. Mr. McCrimmon was the principal,
but explained that the school only took up work as far as grade
eight. Accordingly, he resigned and was appointed as ordained
missionary to Ogden. The church at this point had a strangling
debt and the minister set himself resolutely to pay this off. In
the two years he was there, with the assistance of Mr. E. Scruton,
who valiantly championed the cause, and the assistance of good
workers in the Ogden church, one-half the debt was paid. Two
months after coming to Ogden, the minister was asked to take
charge of Pleasant Heights in an afternoon service. It was the
war time, men were away, money was scarce, and for a year or
two Ogden and Pleasant Heights worked together as a mission
station. At the end of that period they organized themselves into
a congregation and called Mr. Hartley. At the close of the war,
Pleasant Heights and Ogden separated, and Mr. Hartley remained
with the Pleasant Heights end.    Here Mr. and Mrs. Hartley are 62 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
building a congregation, strong and virile. About seventy families
are working for Jesus Christ's kingdom in this part of the city.
Sketch by the Rev. John   Mowat, Freswick, By Wick, Scotland,
January 31st., 1918.
"I am very pleased to hear from you and will endeavor
to comply with your request and send you some bones and skin
in due time I being licensed in Toronto in the spring of
1881, was appointed to Balinafad, Toronto Presbytery. In the
fall I went to Edinburgh, Scotland, and took a winter session
there. Returned to Canada in 1882 and was appointed to
Deloraine, Man., and remained there one and a half years acting
Missionary in Manitoba for 25 years.   Returned to his home,
Freswick, Scotland, where he passed away.
as architect and carpenter, building two new churches opened by
the Rev. James Farquharson on the same Sabbath (work which
being done, made troublous times) then removed and was appointed to Stratherne, south of Brandon in the spring of '84,
where the work was very pleasant, being amongst a lot of Old
Country settlers.   As there were no railroads as yet I supplied PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 63
at ten different points where the usual practice was supper, bed
and breakfast, and off on the prairie again.
"After three years I removed to Newdale in '87, a field
reported as having paid nothing for four years on account of
poor supply.    Here I met with success, building a very nice
new church, and got along with the people very well.    Quite a
number united with the church, and the finances were improved
up to the requirements.    After laboring here for three years
my throat became affected and I returned to Scotland for one
and a half years, during which time I visited Palestine and the
East.    Sorry that as you suggested you were not my travelling
companion.    I returned to Manitoba in the fall of 1892 and
was appointed to Douglas (Brandon).    For the half year there
the  people  were  hearing  probationers  in  view  of  a  call.    I
supplied various fields through the province for short periods
until 1895 when I was appointed to Indianford where I labored
for three years, building a nice little church and seemingly laying
a foundation for the cause.     From there I was appointed to
Orr for a year where there was much opposition to the work
from the Plymouth Brethren,  also  at Prairie Grove,  east of
Winnipeg during  1902,  where there was a mixed population
and little could be done.    From there I was appointed to Semo
in 1903, for three years on the east shore of Lake Manitoba
near the line of the Canadian Northern Railway.    Here the
country was bluffy and swampy.    The people lived chiefly by
cattle raising.    The distance between the points was very great.
Settlers being few, little progress could be made.    The long
drives began to tell on my whole frame, so that I was compelled
to think of giving up the work, which I did, applying to the
Presbytery of Winnipeg in  1907,  and returning to  Scotland,
where I have been since preaching a good deal, and assisting
at communions through the county of Caithness.    I am thankful
to say my health is good, and that I have been keeping fairly
well.    I am staying with my brother and his family here (about
six miles from John O' Groats).    I am pleased to hear that you
are with your family, and I am extremely glad to hear from you
as it recalls many happy memories where I regarded you as one
of my warmest friends and I now hope that this very distorted
statement will furnish you with some material for the good work
which you have taken up, and if on any future occasion I can 64
supply you with any information, it will be a pleasure to do so.
I hope this will reach you safely and if at your convenience you
can send me a few lines, it will be as water to a thirsty soul to
get news from the North West.
"With very kind regards and every good wish, I am, yours
faithfully, John Mowat."
Miss Hodnett, 827 N. Broadway, Long Beach, Cat., writes August
15th., 1918, regarding her father's labors in Home Mission
work in Manitoba:
"If the enclosed notes of father's life are too late to be of
any service I am sorry.    They are very indefinite I realize, but
at this distance from home it is impossible for me to have anything but memory to refer to.
"Rev. W. Hodnett was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1837.
He went to England in 1854, where he began his studies for the
ministry. In 1858 he came to Canada. His first charge was
near Lindsay. Later he was at Columbus and still later near
Port Hope. In the fall of 1879 he came to Manitoba, where
his first charge was at Birtle, to which point he drove all the PRESBYTERIAN. PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 65
way from Winnipeg. During the first few years he ministered
to a very wide field, including such points as Birtle, Ellice, Bins-
earth, Silver Creek, Shellmouth, Rossburn, Todburn, Beulah,
Arrow River and other points that probably you will know of
better than I do. The field was reduced from time to time of
course, as more workers came to relieve him and during the
last few years of course Birtle was self-supporting if I remember
rightly. Father left Birtle about 1894 and went to Killarney
for a couple of years and later was a couple of years in the Moose
Mountain country. He retired from the ministry about 1902
and died on December 23rd, 1908, at the age of seventy-one
years. Mother died just seven months previously, on May
24th, and there was left a family of four sons and three
daughters. One of the sons has since been killed in France
and the youngest is still there on active service. Trusting you
are meeting with good success in getting data for your book.
. I remain yours very sincerely, Annie Hodnett. "
Sketch by the Rev. James Douglas, M.A., January 24th, 1918.
Mr. Douglas resides in Edmonton, Alta., and writes:
"Dear Mr. McKellar: I was pleased to get your letter and
pleased also to know your purpose in sending it.
"I began my work at Morris, Man., in the summer of 1878.
In that same year there were two Methodist ministers, one belonging to the Episcopal Methodist, the other to the Canadian
Methodist church. There was also an English church, though
no resident minister, the minister going there from Winnipeg
either on Saturday or Sunday morning. We had our service
in the evening and we had the English church minister as a rule
at our service. Dean Grisdale, Canon Pinkham, now Bishop
Pinkham, of Calgary, Canon Matheson, now Archbishop
Matheson, cousin to our Mr. Matheson, who was once settled
at Selkirk. In the morning I had a large parish extending from
Letellier to Christie Settlement. Another Sunday I had Union
Point in the forenoon, then Silver Plain, then Plum Coulie,
then the Calder Settlement. At Morris we had good help and
good men such as John Brown, Andrew Brown, Wm. Lavier
family, four sons and three daughters, all good singers, who
had charge of the service of song. At Silver Plains we had a
good man in John S. Campbell, who formerly had a boarding 66
house in Winnipeg. At Morris I was appointed Inspector of
Schools extending from Emerson and Gretna to Neverville,
some thirty schools in number. In travelling over this ground
I had a fair knowledge of a wide extent of country, and found
many Christian and devoted people. A son of John Brown, our
elder at Morris, whose name is Andrew, became a student, and
I gave lessons in Latin and had him write some essays. Then he
became a student in Manitoba College, and is now settled in a congregation at Baltimore, in Maryland, U.S., and doing good work.
"I was called from Morris to Salle River and Starbruck
I                 ^ftj
%  V^^j&Ly*^ :^(-V     A
0- 'yS *               1
Residing in Edmonton, Alberta.   Labored in Morris, Manitoba.
where I spent some five years. Headingly is one of the places
where I had a fortnightly service in a church edifice built by our
highly esteemed pioneer missionary Mr. Nisbet, the man who
opened up and did good work at Prince Albert. The building
at Headingly was erected by Mr. Nisbet's own hands. Mr.
Sutherland, of Headingly, knew him well. At Headingly we
had good men in Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Frances. Mr. Frances
married a daughter of our esteemed Dr. Black, a noble woman.
"At Morris we had some few weeks of special services and PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 67
had a number of additions to the church there.    I got help from
James McCrath, a devoted young man.
"I have been retired for a considerable time, yet I am still
at work, not over a congregation, but wherever I get a chance
even here or at Edmonton. I am ever on the outlook. The
service of our Blessed Lord must be maintained and persevered
in and that is what I am at now."
Sketch of the life of the Rev. James Douglas:
The Rev. Mr. Douglas was born at Wishaw, near Glasgow,
Scotland, October 21st., 1833. He came to Canada in 1854,
settled in Montreal and studied at McGill University, later going
to Knox College, Toronto, graduating in 1865. He was ordained a minister August 2nd., 1865, and settled at Middle-
ville, Lanark county, Ont. Later he removed to Kemptville and
then to Port Perry, Ont.
In 1878, Mr. Douglas left Port Perry and moved west to
Winnipeg as a pioneer missionary. A few weeks after his arrival he was called to Morris, Man., where he remained until
1887. He then moved to Winnipeg to give his children the benefit
of city schools and other advantages. While living in Winnipeg he was called to Headingly, Starbuck and La Salle and remained in charge until about 1890 when he was called to High
Bluff and Prospect on the Portage Plains. Here he remained
until 1902 when he retired and moved to Edmonton, Alta.
Since that time he has been on the list of superannuated
ministers and until a few years ago preached in various churches
in and around Edmonton.
During his ministry he was an earnest Gospel preacher of the
orthodox type, a great reader and a firm believer in the second
coming of Christ. While in Manitoba, he was active in all
branches of church work and endured many hardships of the
pioneer days.
In 1866 he married Margaret Blythe, of Brockville, Ont.,
and had a family of three sons and two daughters. The daughters
died in childhood. His sons, J. M. Douglas, R. B. Douglas and
H. W. B. Douglas are living in Edmonton.
Mrs. Douglas died at Edmonton, in 1910, at the age of
seventy years after a long and useful life. She was a loving wife
and mother and a devout Christian, loved and respected by all
who knew her. 68
Mr. Douglas is now in his ninety-first year. He lives with
his eldest son, J. M. Douglas, and is enjoying very good health
considering his advanced age.
During the early days in Manitoba, before the government
had a regular system of school inspection, Mr. Douglas, for many
years used to inspect the schools from a point a few miles south
of Winnipeg to the international boundary line, on both sides of
the Red River.
The Rev. A. McTavish, M.A., Eyebrow, Sask., writes:
"Your card re early missionaries to hand. I will give you
the names of all the early pioneers I can think of: Dr. Black,
Kildonan; Dr. Bryce; Mr. Nisbet, Prince Albert; Dr'. Robertson,
first Superintendent of Missions; Dr. Hart; Dr. Baird, Edmon-
Formerly of Chater, Manitoba, later of Eyebrow, Saskatchewan.
ton; Dr. Farquharson, Pilot Mound; H. McKellar, Prince Albert
and High Bluff; Mr. Ferries, Brandon; Alexander Campbell;
Stonewall; J. M, Douglas, Rapid City and Brandon (Senator
Douglas;) Allan Bell, Portage La Prairie; D. Stalker, Gladstone;
John Mowat, Brandon Hills, etc.; Mr. Wellwood., Minnedosa, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
all these were in the country before my arrival. A. McTavish,
1884, Indian Head, Chater, Treherne, Carnduff, McDonald,
Eyebrow; Alexander Urquhart, Regina and Brandon; Geo.
Lockhart, Alexander; W. L. H. Rowand, Burnside, Rapid City,
Fort William, came in 1885 I think; then S. C. Murray, 1885,
Neepawa and Port Arthur; C. W. Gordon (Ralph Connor)
Mr. Currie, Virden, 1886; D. H. Hodges, Oak Lake, 1886; M. C.
Rumball, High Bluff and Morden, 1888; James Todd, Burnside
and Minnedosa; Mr. Hagh, Glenboro; Peter Fisher, Deloraine and
Sketches contributed by Miss Annie Fraser, of Emerson, Man.,
at the request of the Rev. Prof. Baird of Manitoba College.
The Rev. J. C. Quinn, M.A.
The Rev. J. C. Quinn, M.A.—an Irishman, large of physique
and eloquent and powerful of speech was a man of outstanding
strong personality.    He was a man  of scholarly attainments
REV.   J.   C.   QUINN
Early missionary in Manitoba.
and was earnest and energetic in his Master's service.    He was
called to Emerson in 1885—December.    Systematic giving was
a strong point in his organization.    For this he made frequent 70
and urgent pulpit appeals. He accepted a call to Minot, North
Dakota, in April, 1888. During Mr. Quinn's pastorate there
were fifteen persons united with the church at one time.
The Rev. James Lawrence
The Rev. J. Lawrence was inducted as pastor of Emerson
Presbyterian church, August 28th, 1888. The Rev. Joseph
Hogg and the Rev. Dr. DuVal were present. Each had been
lately inducted to his. respective charge in Winnipeg. Mr.
Lawrence, a native of Scotland, with experience as a Christian
business man in Scotland and South Africa, there as city missionary in Edinburgh and Glasgow, a minister of a Presbyterian
church at St. Thomas, Ont., and Stonewall, Man., and along
with this a sincere wish to serve his God whom he so dearly
loved, came to us eminently fitted for his work. His ministry
might be described as teaching "God is love." How he taught
us the scriptures of Old and New Testaments at Sunday School,
prayer meeting and church services, and how he lived! No
wonder there was true hunger and true satisfaction found in
them and that the church records fourteen uniting with the PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 71
church  within  six  months.    During  his  five  years' pastorate
fifty-seven persons joined the church.
The Rev. James Douglas
Mr. Douglas moved with his family to Morris, Man., the
summer of 1878. I remember Mr. and Mrs. Douglas driving
twenty-five miles on a summer Sabbath morning to administer
the Sacrament in Emerson (during one of the vacancies), conducting all the services of the day there, and returning to their
own home after the evening service. During Mr. Douglas'
ministry at Morris he was the government public school inspector
from Morris to the international boundary, some twenty-five
miles south, both sides of Red River. On these inspection
tours he was usually accompanied by Mrs. Douglas or some
of his family. These visits resulted in the dissemination of a
religious and social influence that far exceeded the scope and
purpose of their educational value. Our home was highly
favored in that it often enjoyed this rich experience. Sometimes Mr. Douglas spent several successive evenings with us.
One of these evenings stands out in my mind most vividly.
It was a veritable "Cotter's Saturday Night." The worship
of course was placed entirely in Mr. Douglas' charge whenever
he came, but he followed our usual rule of psalm or hymn
singing, Bible reading and prayer. This evening, father, mother
and children beside the Douglasses composed the company.
It was a cold night, there was a good warm fire. The
atmosphere was worshipful. You could feel it just as one feels
an atmosphere in presence of death. Mr. Douglas chose John
three, read and explained. When he came to verse sixteen he
seemed to draw a word picture of Heaven, the Father, and Son
and love in it. The world and people and sin and going astray,
and God trying to show and persuade the people to forsake
the wrong doing but He could not, yet how God tried to show,
to persuade people He loved them, God loved people. God so
loved, He sent His only begotten Son to save them—us. Love
made Him die for us. If we could just understand that love—
the Father's love of the Son, and the Son's love for the Father
and the love of both for us. Love was in it all. I was under
the teen age but can still see and feel that whole scene. 72 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Sketches kindly sent by the Rev. Dr. Baird, Manitoba College
"Dear Mr. McKellar: I am sending herewith some material
for your book of reminiscences. I have been delayed on account
of waiting for Miss Annie Fraser, of Emerson, whose contribution came just this morning, but I am sure you will recognize
that it is of very considerable value. In my own part there is
nothing original. I have simply copied the material that was
available. I regret that during the press of the winter session
I have had no time to do more. With good wishes I am, yours
very truly, Andrew B. Baird. "
Rev. Alex. Matheson
The Rev. Alex. Matheson was born at Kildonan in the
Red River settlement, on the 18th of March, 1827. On attaining years of manhood he became teacher in the parish school
in his native place and in 1848 organized the first Sunday School
in the Canadian West. After a course of study in Knox College,
Toronto, he was ordained in 1860 as minister of Lunenburg
and Avonmore in the Presbytery of Glengarry. After several
years he returned to the west, and was home missionary, first
to the Little Britain and Selkirk group of stations and afterwards to the Portage La Prairie, High Bluff and Burnside group.
In 1885 he was again called to Lunenburg and remained six
years. Then he came once more to the West and was minister,
first at Little Britain, and later at Springfield. He retired
from active service in 1897 and died on the 15th of February,
1911. Mr. Matheson was a strong preacher and took great
delight in expounding and enforcing the great doctrines of grace.
Rev. P. S. Livingstone
Rev. P. S. Livingstone, of Broadview, N.W.T., died in
Brandon. Mr. Livingstone had sustained an injury by a fall
while out at the mission of Rev. Hugh McKay. In consequence
of some misunderstanding of the real nature of the injury, Mr.
Livingstone suffered great agony, and after undergoing an
operation at Brandon passed away on the morning of the 16th
December. Mr. Livingstone was a graduate of Queen's College,
and after several years of pastoral work at Pittsburg, and afterwards at Russelltown in the Presbytery of Montreal, went to the
North West in 1882. He was doing good service in his field
when at a comparatively early age he was recalled by the Master. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 73
The Rev. Archibald Matheson
On February 27th, Archibald Matheson, of South Qu'Ap-
pelle, was also removed by death. Born in Argyleshire,
Scotland, on September 4th, 1828, he removed to Ontario in
1853, and resided in Woodstock, London and Clinton. At
the latter place he lived until 1882 when he removed to the
North West. In the autumn of 1884 he began to render service
in the mission field, and at Fort Qu'Appelle, South Qu'Appelle,
Rose Plain, Balgonie, and in the country adjacent to these
points, and his service was recognized and furthered by receiving ordination in accordance with a special enactment of the
General Assembly. At Balgonie, a substantial church has been
erected in remembrance of the work of this worthy missionary.
In the spring of 1898 he gave up his appointed work, and since
that time, from Moose jaw to Broadview, he has supplied pulpits and given service of a missionary and evangelistic character.
For such service as he rendered his previous training in Clinton
as elder, and superintendent of the Sabbath school in the church
there for some thirty years, peculiarly fitted him; and it was
his delight, as it was ever counted his privilege, to preach Christ
and Him crucified. His visits to the pioneer settlers and his
many helpful words will not soon be forgotten. His manly,
generous and enthusiastic nature commended the message which
he bore, and brought many to recognize not only the force of his
personality, but his interest in their everlasting welfare.
Rev. Finlay C. McLeod
Mr. McLeod was born in Scotland in 1833 and came to
Canada where he graduated in McGill University and Presbyterian College, Montreal. He came to the West in 1879 where
he labored with great fidelity, especially rendering helpful service
during the time of the construction of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. He lived retired at Virden for some years before his
death on the 7th of October, 1913. He was a warm friend and
consistent supporter of the cause of Christ, commending the
Gospel which he preached in the more strenuous service of former
. days.
Rev. Alex. Campbell
Rev. Alex. Campbell, B.A., (Stonewall, Man.; Presbytery
of Manitoba).    Son of Peter Campbell, farmer, born at Drum- 74
mond, Ont. Queen's College, Kingston. Ordained, October 9th,
1873. Married, December 27th, 1865, Eleanor Woodside, off
Toronto. Appointed missionary to Manitoba (Rockwood group)
October, 1875. Without charge at present. Has been also minister of Westmeath, Ont.
Rev. Farquhar McRae, M.A., Ph.D.
k The Rev. Farquhar McRae, died at Portage La Prairie,
Man., on the 5th of May, 1913. He was born in Rosshire,
Scotland, was educated at the Normal School, Glasgow and
the University of Aberdeen. After teaching in Onndel, England, he came to Canada, serving Knox Church, West Williams.
In   the  West  he  labored  at  McGregor,   Beaver,   Austin  and
Portage La Prairie and Burnside, Manitoba.
Wellington, then in Longburn and Oakburn and for sixteen
years he rendered faithful service at Burnside, Man. Retiring
two years ago to Portage La Prairie, he gave his help to several
congregations. One of the first Gaelic scholars of the country,
he served the Presbytery of Portage since its beginning, as Clerk, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 75
and endeared himself to the people of his flock by his sincere,
sympathetic and kindly nature.
Rev. John McKay
Rev. John McKay, of Prince Albert, N.W.T. This well-
known missionary died at Prince Albert on the 22nd March,
1891, in the sixtieth year of his age. He was born at
Edmonton, and brought up in the Red River settlement. In
1866 he joined the mission begun by the Rev. James Nisbet
as interpreter, and was afterwards ordained as a missionary
by the Presbytery of Winnipeg in 1876. He settled in the Mistawassis Reserve, about seventy-five miles north-west of Prince
Albert, where he labored among the Indians, faithfully and
successfully, until his death. He was an excellent man and
highly respected in the North West.
Rev. Allan Bell
Rev. Allan Bell, (Portage la Prairie, Man.; Presbytery of
Manitoba). Son of James Bell, farmer. Born at London, Ont.
Toronto University and Princeton College, N.J. Ordained, July
14th, 1875. Married, May 27th, 1875, Kate Brown. Inducted
to present church, January, 1876. Number of communicants,
Rev. Wm. Mullins
Rev. Wm. Mullins, (Headingly, Hamlet, Man., Presbytery
of Manitoba). Son of Wm. Mullins, leather merchant. Born
at Potsdam, N.Y. Presbyterian College, Montreal. Ordained
and inducted, January 14th, 1880. Predecessors, J. Black,
D.D.; J. Nesbit and Donaldson. Number of communicants,
25.   Has charge of the Headingly group of mission stations.
Rev. James Sieveright
Rev. James Sieveright, B.A., (missionary Prince Albert,
N.W.T., Presbytery of Manitoba). Son of Wm. Sieveright,
merchant. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Marschal College and
Free Church College, Aberdeen; Queen's University, Kingston.
Ordained, July, 1857. Married, August, 1859, Frances Anne
Petrie. Appointed a missionary for three years in 1880. Number of communicants, 30. Previous pastorates, Melbourne;
Ormstown,   and   Chelsea,   Que.;   Goderich,   Ont.     The   first 76
missionaries were in connection with the Foreign Mission.    Rev.
James Duncan was the first home missionary.
Rev. Hugh J. Borthwick
Rev. Hugh J. Borthwick, M.A.; (Mountain City, Man.,
Presbytery of Manitoba). Son of John Borthwick, schoolteacher. Born in Scotland. Edinburgh University; Queen's
College,    Kingston;   Victoria   College,    Cobourg.        Ordained,
For many years missionary in Southern Manitoba.
August, 1853. Married, April, 1848, Marion, daughter of
John Taylor, W.S. Edinburgh. Inducted to present church,
November, 1881. Number of communicants, 45. Previous pastorate, Chelsea, Que.
Rev. James S. Stewart
The Rev. J. S. Stewart for over forty years a Presbyterian
home missionary died suddenly at the residence of his son,
Mr. R. M. Stewart, Highland Park, Ottawa, January 1st, 1918.
Just as he was getting out of his bed and preparing to put on
his clothes, he was seized with a paralytic stroke and expired in
The late Rev. Mr. Stewart was born at Inverness, Scotland,
seventy-eight years ago and came to Canada with his parents
when he was about fourteen years of age. He settled in Stor-
mont county and received his early education in the Indian
Lands school, a preparatory school for college in the county of
Glengarry. The late Mr. Stewart graduated from Knox College,
Toronto, in the year 1875 and began his missionary work in
Manitoba that same summer in the Gladstone mission field
and occupied mission fields in the provinces of Ontario and
Quebec. He had been doing missionary work in Beauce county,
Que., for the past sixteen years and up to about a month ago
RiiV.   AND   MRS.   J.   S.   STEWART
Formerly of Gladstone, Manitoba.
when he*retired. Rev. Mr. Stewart then took up his residence
with hisjson at Highland Park. His wife, who was Margaret
Meldrum, predeceased him thirty-three years ago. He is survived by one son, R. M. Stewart, also one sister, Miss Jane
Stewart, and one brother, Alexander Stewart residing on the
old homestead at Sandringham, Stormont county.
A further statement regarding Mr. Stewart's labors:
"Another of the veterans has passed to his reward.   The 78 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Rev. James S. Stewart belonged to a class of stalwarts that
graduated from Knox College in 1875. His memory is associated with such names as McKellar, McKechnie, McKerracher,
and McRae, and was worthy of that fellowship. He was born
seventy-eight years ago in Inverness, Scotland, and came to
this country with his parents when a boy of fourteen years.
He was a man from Glengarry, having been educated at the
school in Indian Lands, although his parents settled in the
county of Stormont. He began his missionary work in the
North West and labored with great fidelity in Gladstone and
affiliated stations. He was a saintly man and the flavor of his
life will abide in that community.
" Although loyal to the West, on account of Mrs. Stewart's
failing health, he returned to the East and labored for the last
sixteen years in Beauce county, Que., up until a few months
of his death. Mrs. Stewart was the eldest daughter of Rev.
Mr. Meldrum, of Harrington, and inherited the spirit of her
Highland ancestors.    She passed away thirty-three years ago.
"Mr. Stewart was one of the many men who silently lay '
foundations and seldom received public notice.    Nevertheless,
their work is genuine and abiding and in the end will receive the
recognition that is their due."
The above estimate is from the pen of the Rev. Dr. R. P.
Rev. Dr. Alexander Hamilton
On Sunday evening, June 2nd, at Keewatin, Ont., there
occurred the death of the Rev. Alexander Hamilton, D.D., a
few hours after the close of the service in the Union church.
Apparently in his usual health, Dr. Hamilton conducted the
evening service and retired about eleven o'clock. On entering
the bedroom, Mrs. Hamilton found her husband standing by
the bed and suffering from pain which he attributed to severe
indigestion. He then lay down and fell into a peaceful sleep,
in which he quietly passed away. Dr. Hamilton had been in
the Presbyterian ministry about thirty-four years.
Though tragic in its suddenness, the passing was beautiful
in its gentleness and peace. The Sabbath's work done, and
well done, he lay down to a well-earned rest and awoke in glory
Alexander Hamilton was born at Motherwell, Perth county. PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 79
Ont., about sixty years ago. He was a son of the Manse, his
father, the late Rev. Robert Hamilton ministering to the congregations of Motherwell and Avonbank for the long period of
forty-three years. Alexander studied in St. Mary's High School,
Toronto University and Knox College, also taking a postgraduate course in Scotland. His entire ministry was in the
West, at White wood, Stonewall, Boissevain and Keewatin,
where he is remembered with gratitude and affection. His
life partner, Margaret Inglis, who survives him, was a loving
and faithful helpmate. Manitoba College honored him with
the degree of D.D. and the Synod of Manitoba chose him as
Clerk. These things would indicate his scholarship and ability
and also the respect which he enjoyed of his fellow laborers in
the West.
The funeral at Avonbank, on Friday afternoon, the 7th inst.,
was beautiful in its simplicity; the tributes paid by Revs. Dr.
Baird and Major Gordon were tender and sweet; and the prayer
offered by Rev. Dr. Neil, brought us all very near to the divine
presence. Others taking part in the service were Rev. F. N.
Atkinson, minister of Avonbank, Rev. F. Matheson, representing Stratford Presbytery, and Rev. J. L. Small, at one time
minister of Keewatin.
At the service, in addition to a large congregation, there
were the three brothers of the deceased, James, of Goderich;
Robert, of Gait; and W. T., of Toronto; their wives and other
more distant relatives.
The words of Holy Scripture are peculiarly,, fitting in the
passing of Dr. Alexander Hamilton—"Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord; they rest from their labors and their works
do follow them."
The above penned by J. L. S. and taken from The Presbyterian and Westminster.
Rev. S. C. Murray, B.A.
Rev. S. C. Murray, B.A., came to Manitoba in July, 1885.
He was a native of New Brunswick. After graduating from
Mount Allison University, he studied theology at Princeton,
N.J. In his graduating year he was discovered there by Rev.
Dr. Robertson, who had no difficulty in securing a promise to
"Go West" on the completion of his course.    As soon as the 80
Seminary closed that Spring, Mr. Murray presented himself at a
meeting of the Presbytery of St. John, which after examining,
licensed him to preach the Gospel. A little later he came West,
accepting the mission field centering around Neepawa. The district was comparatively new, though the existing settlements had
been pioneered for the Church by such men as Mr. Goldie and
Findlay McLeod. Rev. D. McRae had held the field continuously for three years, leaving in the Autumn of 1884, and Rev.
Alex Campbell had been in charge during the winters of 1884 and
Mr. Murray found stations organized at Neepawa, Glendale,
Salisbury (Arden) and Acton (now Eden).    Settlement had ex-
REV.   S.   C.   MURRAY,   D.D.
tended, however, beyond these centres, and Mr. Murray was
soon found investigating the fringes as far north as Philips
Ranch (thirty miles). He opened services at the north end (now
Birnie). He found settlers too far south-east to attend service
at Neepawa, and frequently preached in the Dumfries' school.
This was the beginning of a congregation that later built a church
at Oakdale, and finally developed into what is now known as the
Inkerman congregation. Once a month he went south west to
Creeford, twenty-four miles—and as soon as the Iroquois school PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 81
was ready to hold an audience Mr. Murray was found preaching
there, even before it had been opened for school purposes.
When Franklin developed into a centre, the Iroquois school
service was removed to Franklin. A faithful Shaganappi, that \
had been trained to missionary service by the Rev. Alex Campbell,
with buggy or cutter was his only means of transport, but "Nell"
always got him there, and for the most part on time. This wee
pony frequently made trips to Carberry and Brandon on the south
as far as Penman north east, and north as far as the Ranch. In
the first two years only one appointment was missed. Returning
from the induction of Rev. Alex McTavish at Chater in the month
of January minister and pony came through, but with so little
margin that even yet he wonders why he attempted the journey
on such a day, or why another prairie tragedy did not go into
history. Distance, roads, or weather, never prevented fulfilment of appointments—six pastoral charges eventually developed
in the territory that was kept well in hand by Mr. Murray in
those early years. Gradually the outside appointments were cut
off, and organized into separate missions—and Neepawa became
a vigorous self-sustaining charge—Mr. Murray was not allowed,
however, to confine his energies to his far flung mission field.
He was appointed clerk of the old Brandon presbytery when there
were only four presbyteries west of the Great Lakes—and when
that presbytery covered nearly half the province and a large
section of Saskatchewan. When the Presbytery of Minnedosa
was organized, there was only one name suggested for clerk—in
1884 he was appointed Convenor of the Home Mission Committee—with some twenty-five mission fields, including over sixty
stations to keep in touch with. Many of the fields were visited
personally to a point beyond Yorkton. In addition to the service
rendered Presbytery, he had been appointed clerk of Synod,
when there was only one synod in the West, the "Synod of
Manitoba and the North-West Territories." To this synod was
added the Presbytery of British Columbia. Mr. Murray during
his synod clerkship saw the four presbyteries develop into four
synods. The heavy strain on his energies at Neepawa was relieved in 1893 by a call to St. Paul's Church, Port Arthur. In
1894, the Presbytery of Superior was organized and Mr. Murray
became its Home Mission Convenor. This young presbytery
extended from White River on the east to the boundary of Man- 82
itoba on the west and included the Rainy River District. Before the railroad had entered this district Mr. Murray had gone
through all the settlements at least twice, reaching on the second
of these trips as far as Mine Centre, forty miles east of Fort
Francis. He visited the majority of the homes in the pioneer
settlements, before there were either churches or schools. He
conducted services in private houses and in Government road
camps. He baptized scores of children for the early settlers—
when the only means of transport was by canoe on the river or
on foot over the bush trails leading to the settlements. More
than one student missionary felt sore after his departure, as the
results of vigorous tramps through the forests. He had a hand
in the organization of this entire district. He would be absent
from his pulpit as long as three weeks—but his congregation was
sympathetic and cheerfully accepted such supply as could be
locally secured. In 1907, Manitoba College honored the service
by conferring the degree of D.D. upon the servant.
It was this genius for hard work and organization that suggested Dr. Murray as Home Mission Superintendent for Manitoba
in 1911. He resigned St. Paul's Church after a pastorate of
eighteen years and four months, and gave eight and a half years'
of hard work—with only one month's holiday—to the work of
Superintendence, and once more realizing that the strain was too
wearing, sought relief in a quiet rural pastorate at High Bluff
and Prospect, where he has labored for the past four years.
Carberry, Man.,
6th December, 1917.
Dear Mr. McKellar:
Yours of November 19th. is before me, but in response I
feel that I have little or no information that will be of any use
to you inasmuch as the pioneer work was largely a thing of the
past when I came to the West in 1884. By that date the real
pioneers had been in the field for ten or twelve years, and I think
you will likely have all the necessary data concerning them. For
myself I came to Manitoba at the urgent request of Dr. Robertson—had no intention of staying for more than a few months or
yet of going into the work of the ministry, but the situation appealed to me as presented by the Doctor, viz., the importance of
holding on during the winter when the supply of students was not
available, so I came in the fall of 1884.   Met with Dr. Robertson PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 83
in Winnipeg at a presbytery meeting in Knox Church and was
sent to occupy the old Auburn mission field. The Doctor visited
me in the Spring and induced me to stay for following summer—
and from that paid me regular visits, always urging me to stay
at the work. Finally I agreed to take a special two year course
in theology at Manitoba College, was ordained in 1888. Received a couple of calls—one of them from the field that I had
been occupying—(Auburn). This I accepted and retained till
1913. Of course the congregation changed with the flight of the
years. When I went there I had eight regular preaching stations.
Ultimately, the field was divided and is now embraced in two
self-sustaining congregations having five substantial churches and
two good manses. My contemporaries in the Brandon presbytery were, A. McLaren, A. McTavish—Todd, Wellwood, Campbell Murray, McKellar, Bell, F. McRae, McKenzie, Anderson,
Douglas, Mowatt, Livingston, etc., etc.
If there is any special line of enquiry that you need will be
pleased to give you what aid I can, but find my recollection of
details very uncertain.    With very kindest remembrances,
(Signed) T. Collins Court. 84
Rev. Peter Straith, M.A.
In 1877 Mr. Laird, Lieut-Governor of the North West Territory asked the Home Mission Committee to*send a missionary to
Battleford, at that time the seat of government for the Territory.
Battleford, at that time the seat of Government for the Territory. In response to this request, Mr. Peter Straith, M.A., was
appointed and was ordained, on his way to the field by the Presbytery of Winnipeg. Mr. Straith's ministry was confined practically to detachments of the Mounted Police, and to officers and
employees of the government and their families. He had formerly
been a very successful teacher, and now gave a good deal of attention to educational matters, as no schools had as yet been opened.
Before his return to Ontario Mr. Straith for a short time took
charge of the work in Prince Albert after the retirement of Mr.
Rev. Alexander Stewart, D.D.
On the completion of his studies in 1875 Mr. Stewart was appointed by the Home Mission Committee, as missionary to the
hitherto unoccupied Swan River district, North-West Territory.
On his way to the field he was ordained by the Presbytery PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 85
of Winnipeg, and by arrangement with the Ottawa government
he was provided, at cost, with lodgings and other necessities, at
the Swan River barracks of the North-West Mounted Police, a
few miles to the north of Fort Pelly.
Previous to his arrival the services among the police had been
conducted according to the Anglican order, but owing to the absence of a minister of that Church this was discontinued and nearly
all the Protestants, both officers and men, regularly attended
the Sabbath morning Presbyterian services. Every Sabbath
afternoon, services were held at Fort Pelly, where the Hudson Bay
officers and men were nearly all Presbyterians from Scotland.
Along with these there were some half-breed farmers, traders,
trappers, etc., and their families. During the winter the Fort
was visited by Mr. Robert Campbell, a former factor of the
Hudson Bay Company, who had retired to Scotland. He greatly
encouraged and helped the missionary and gave a generous contribution to meet expenses. Sabbath evening services were held
at the barracks for people not connected with the Mounted Police
but who were employed by the government in public works of
various kinds. A school was also kept open during a part of each
week for the.children of married policemen and others in and
around the barracks. Occasional excursions were made into territory around the barracks and Fort Pelly, but owing to the very
small and scattered population little could be accomplished in
this way. As an evidence of their appreciation of what had been
done for them the policemen and others at the barracks sent a
liberal contribution to the Home Mission Fund.
Owing to the removal of the Mounted Police headquarters
to Battleford, the missionary was sent in the fall of 1876 to Prince
Albert to succeed the Rev. Hugh McKellar, who was retiring from
that field. Prince Albert had been founded as an Indian Mission
by the late Rev. James Nisbet under the care of the Foreign Mission Committee, but by the influx of white settlers, the Indians
were pushed back and ultimately settled upon a reserve. Prince
Albert thus became practically a Home Mission field, but until it
was actually handed over to the Home Mission Committee,
services were held for Indians in the vicinity, through the aid of an
interpreter, Mr. John McKay, and visits were paid to Indian tents
and camps that happened to be in the neighborhood. Besides the
services at Prince Albert proper, others were held at various points 86
among the settlers. A school was maintained at Prince Albert,
under the care, at this time, of the Rev. D. C. Johnson, who also
rendered valuable assistance during the transition period. CHAPTER   V.
The account given by Rev. R. J. McDonald, Prince Albert, Sask.
IT is a single day's journey now from Winnipeg to Prince
Albert, with the most modern conveniences of travel. But it
was a different story in the year 1866, when a little band of Presbyterian folk set out from old Kildonan to make this trip, in order
to establish our first mission to the Indians.
The leader of the party was Rev. James Nisbet. Mr. Nisbet
was born in Glasgow on September 8, 1823, and recently the
centenary of his birth was duly celebrated by St. Paul's Church,
Prince Albert, which, as a congregation, is in direct succession
to the mission which he established fifty-seven years ago. As a
young man, he came to Canada. He was a skilled cabinet-maker
and builder, and these trades proved a valuable part of his training for future services, little as he probably realized it when learning them. Having decided to enter the ministry, he was one of
the early students in Knox College, Toronto, and on completing
his course in 1850 was inducted as first minister of Knox Church,
Oakville. His son, Thomas, is now Superintendent of the Sunday
School of that church.
Mr. Nisbet was one of the first of the great host of ministers
who heard "the call of the West." In 1862 he came out to the
Red River settlement, to assist that great pioneer, Rev. Dr.
Black, in caring for the various sparsely settled communities of
what is now Manitoba, with Kildonan as their central church.
The Kildonan people had been feeling for some time that the Presbyterian Church ought to be doing its share of missionary work
among the Indians, for the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Churches had been for some time in the field. The Synod
in the East was slow to move and for some time did little but pass
favorable resolutions. But the Kildonan people were anxious to
do something, and when the forward step was decided upon, they
spent a day in prayer, and of their scanty means raised $500 in
money and kind to equip a missionary. Mr. Nisbet was willing
to undertake the work, and was chosen by the church to make a
beginning. He had married a daughter of a large and well-known
Kildonan family—the MacBeths—of whom Dr. R. G. MacBeth,
of Vancouver, is a surviving member.
The Church and Mr. Nisbet wanted to find a place for their
mission where there was real need and real work to do, and where
there would be no overlapping with any other Protestant missions. They thought of the North Saskatchewan, where was a
tribe of Crees uncared for, though the exact location was undecided. The party got ready. It consisted, as far as one can
learn, of Rev. and Mrs. James Nisbet, Mr. John McKay and his
wife, who was also a MacBeth; Mr. and Mrs. George Flett, William MacBeth, Alexander Poison, and three children. Mr.
McKay and Mr. Flett knew the Cree language and were qualified to act as interpreters. Mr. McKay came of a sturdy stock.
His father, James McKay, had been a member of an expedition
sent out to find Sir John Franklin, and had married in the North
the daughter of a Hudson's Bay official. He had four sons and
these had been sent down to Kildonan to school. John was a
noted buffalo hunter and he was to guide the party.
Belongings were packed into eleven carts and a light wagon—
those old Red River carts they were, whose creaking when the
axles became dry could be heard for miles along the trail. Sometimes the carts had to be turned into rafts to ford the rivers.
The horses were turned loose every night to forage for themselves.
The party camped on the trail and cooked their food over open
They left Kildonan in June, travelled by Portage la Prairie,
Fort Ellice, Fort Qu'Appelle, up through the Touchwood Hills,
passed near where Humboldt now stands, crossed the South Saskatchewan at Batoche, and thence to the North Saskatchewan at
Fort Carlton. There a raft was made, all belongings packed on
it, and, piloted by an Indian, they drifted down the North Saskatchewan till the present site of Prince Albert was reached.
They had travelled for sixty-six days, resting every Sunday, and
it was August when they arrived at their destination. Mr.
Nisbet named the place Prince Albert, in honor of the Prince
Consort, husband of Queen Victoria. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 89
The site of the mission was chosen because of the natural
beauty of the surroundings, the distance from any* other Protestant mission, and the need of a large band of Crees. There was
a Hudson Bay post a little farther down the river, in what is
now East Prince Albert. The exact spot of the landing will
shortly be marked by a suitable monument, to be erected by the
Prince Albert Historical Society. Across the river was unbroken
forest, but on the south side the country was mostly open, more
so than at present. The grass grew high, as high as the horses'
backs, and had to be mown to make a place to pitch the tents.
They were sometimes afraid of the small children getting lost in
the tall grass around the mission. It may be mentioned that
later John McKay set out on horseback and marked and cut a
cart trail to Carlton. He little dreamed that such contraptions
as automobiles would be running over that trail within half a
Small log shacks were erected that autumn as speedily as
possible, to house the party and their animals. Later, the large
mission house was built, which served as a residence for the missionary and his family and staff. A few Indian children were
taken in to live with them. For a short time also a school was
held in this house, but a building for school and church was erected
not long after. Around the buildings was a stockade, which also
enclosed the garden. The stockade was for protection, if necessary, against the Indians, but it served chiefly to keep off the
Indians' dogs, who proved to be more troublesome than their
owners.    The stockade was later removed.
Mr. Nisbet's aim was to have a missionary that should be,
so far as possible, self-sustaining. This was necessary, in view
of the distance from any source of supplies. Farming operations
were begun the year after their arrival. Mr. Nisbet is said to
have grown the first wheat and erected the first flour mill in this
province of Saskatchewan, which has since become the first grain-
producing province of the Dominion. The country around supplied the meat for the first few years. Mr. McKay used to go
out with the Indians on the buffalo hunt, and there are a few in
, Prince Albert who can tell of seeing the cured meat piled up in
the storeroom in bales, or dried, pounded and kept in skins as
There were some good Indians who responded readily to 90 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
kindness. But others were wild, quarrelsome, all too ready to
get drunk when they could find liquor, and inclined to be ugly when
drunk. The results were inevitably slow in disclosing themselves.
Mr. Nisbet was small of stature, but an indefatigable worker.
He gave the Indians the Gospel message as he could, Mr. McKay
or Mr. Flett interpreting. Both of these men were later ordained
and rendered splendid service.
Chief Mistawasis, of another Cree band, who had met Mr.
Nisbet and Mr. McKay, sent a request from his tribe for a resident missionary, and so the second Indian mission of our Church
'was opened at Mistawasis, with Rev. John McKay in charge.
Through his influence, the band not only remained loyal in 1885,
but offered their services to the Government as scouts. Mr.
McKay died in 1890. The last time he attended Synod, he went
out by the first passenger train to leave Prince Albert. Mr.
Flett was missionary at Okanese for many years and died in 1897.
But to return to Mr. Nisbet. He was patient and tactful,
and ready to use any legitimate means to win the Indians' hearts.
To feed them was often the surest way—some of them looked for
too much pampering. The winter of 1868-9 was severe and the
Indians suffered from cold and hunger. Starving families made
their way to the missionaries for help. Mr. Nisbet was anxious
to get the young people to come to school, but the kitchen was a
stronger attraction than the schoolroom. He then offered to
give a comfortable supper to anyone who would come to night
school for a lesson in English and a Bible story, and thus began
• the first school, which the following year, with a new school-
house, grew to an enrolment of twenty-two.
The hope lay, as always, with the young. The old were hard
to move, and in some cases suspicious. A certain old Indian, when
dying, ordered his friends to carry him away, for fear Mr. Nisbet
would baptize him when he became unconscious. Inevitably
too, when they began to receive the truth, it was only an imperfect grasp they had, mixed with superstitious elements. One
Indian saw Mrs. McKay put her bread into the oven to bake.
The oven being rather hot, she put a piece of newspaper over it.
The Indian enquired, "Is that a leaf from the Holy Book you are
putting on it to make it rise? "
Mr. Nisbet's plans were only partially realized. He would
have liked, for instance, to have established a resident school, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 91
where Indian children could have been taught and trained in the
pursuits of civilization, away from the influence of the teepee.
To do satisfactorily all he wanted to do would have required a
large staff, which the Church thought it had not resources enough
to supply. Perhaps the trouble was not shortage of resources so
much as lack of vision. Besides, there were obstacles inherent in
the situation which only years of persistent, painstaking labor
could remove. Special cUfficulties kept cropping up. An epidemic of smallpox among the Indians, for instance, added greatly
to the burdens borne by the devoted missionaries. Mrs. Nisbet's health became bad, and both she and her husband needed
medical attention and rest. They obtained leave of absence to
return to Oakville for this purpose, and left Prince Albert in
September, 1874. Three weeks' travelling brought them to Kildonan, where lived Hon. Robert MacBeth, Mrs. Nisbet's father.
This was the end of their journey. Ten days after their arrival
Mrs. Nisbet passed away, and eleven days later, heartbroken and
worn out by his labors, her devoted husband followed her. They
sleep in Kildonan churchyard, along with many other stalwarts
who have rendered real service to Church and State in our Canadian West.
This is the story of the founding of our first Indian mission.
It did not become a permanent institution, for later the Crees
moved away from the vicinity. Their old reserve, to the northwest of Prince Albert, was taken over by a tribe of Sioux, among
whom our Church now conducts the Round Plain Day School and
Mission, so long associated with the name of Miss Lucy Baker,
but now in the capable hands of Rev. J. G. Meek. Elsewhere the
Church has its well-known Indian schools, which continue to
render splendid service. Mr. Nisbet was the pioneer in this work.
In fact, he was regarded as the first foreign missionary of what
was then "the Canada Presbyterian Church," as a tablet in St.
Paul's Church testifies, and his memory should be treasured and
honored. Where he established his mission stands to-day the
well-appointed little city of Prince Albert, recognized as a real
beauty spot, in the midst of the finest agricultural area of the
province. Churches of various denominations strive to hold this
land for Christ whom Nisbet served. And so while he and his
faithful helpers rest from their labors their works do follow them. irac*
The Rev. Dr. Hugh McKay, of Whitewood P.O., Sask., writes:
< 6I was glad to hear from you and shall try to give you at least
A a part of the information you ask for.    In March, 1884,
I first saw Winnipeg.    Going north to Okanese, I met the Rev.
Geo. Flett in charge of that mission.    There was also a little
Of [Round Lake, Indian Mission, Saskatchewan.
mission school at Crow Stand, near Ft. Pelly, under the charge
of Cathbert McKay.    The mission at Birtle south was under
the charge of this missionary, Rev. Lunkan-Sieachy, a Dakota
t       In the fall of '84 we opened our boarding school at Round PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Lake, and in '86, Rev. B. Jones and wife joined me in the work,
She is a sister of Rev. Geo. McDougall, who perished somewhere
near Calgary, in the snow, about forty years ago.
"The mission at Crow Stand (Ft. Pelly) was strengthened
by the appointment of Rev. Mr. Laird, (who is now retired,
living near Broadview) during his time new buildings were
erected, and the boarding school placed on good footing. Then
Rev. Mr. White and Mr. Gilmore had charge, then Rev. Mr.
McWhinnie, who did a good work. The school was enlarged,
hospital built, and many improvements made in the school and
The Birtle School.—"The outstanding figure in this school
has been Miss McLaren, who won the esteem and confidence
Rev.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hugh   McKay of  Round Lake  Indian
Mission and a class of girls.
of all the surround'ng Indians, and carried on for a long time a
successful school.
Portage la Prairie.—"The early workers—Miss Fraser and
Miss Laidlaw—these two women nobly carried on the work
there for a number of years, having only poor accommodation
for the work. They were followed by other workers, the most
prominent being, Rev. W. A. Hendry, who has at present charge
of the large school, housed in these magnificent buildings placed
at his service by the government.
The File Hills.—"This mission received its first uplift by
the Rev. Mr. Campbell who afterward was settled at Wolseley, 94
and then at Broadview. He was followed by Mr. Skein, a grand
teacher and missionary, who is still remembered by his pupils.
Then followed Miss Gillespie who nobly fought the battle and
lifted up the school into the bright light in which it now stands.
Miss Gillespie changed her name, and is now Mrs. (Hon.)
Motherwell, (Minister of Agriculture of Saskatchewan).
The most prominent name in connection with Moose Mountain mission is Rev. Mr. Dodds, who now has charge of the
Cecilia Jeffery School, in Lake of the Woods.
For a number of years teacher at Birtle Indian School.
A successful missionary.
The Hurricane Hills Mission.—"The only names standing
out prominently are Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie. Rev. E. McKenzie and his good wife did faithful work there and to know
something of the value of their work visit the mission. In the
homes, at the school, at the church, you will see at once that
good work has been done here.
Muskowpitong and Reapot.—"The Rev. Mr. Moore opened a
very successful school and mission here, which was closed when
the large industrial school was opened at Regina, under the PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 95
care of Rev. Mr. McLeod, followed by Rev. Mr. Sinclair. You
may remember John Thunder, of Pipestone, who is a pure Dakota Indian, and still in the work.
"I should not forget to rriention perhaps the oldest worker
at present engaged in the work. When a young man he was
engaged by the Hudson's Bay Company, in transportation
between York Factory and the forts in the interior, then trading
out on the plains among the Cree Indians, making his headquarters with McDonald, of Qu'Appelle. Then in '84 I found
him and engaged him as interpreter and ever since he has been
Okanase Mission, Manitoba
engaged as a missionary, not only at Round Lake, but visiting
and holding special services along the Qu'Appelle Valley, visiting Pasque, Muskowkelung, Piapot, File Hills, Mistawassis and
Prince Albert, Ft. Pelly, Crowstand, Okanase, Rolling River,
Lizzard Point, Swan Lake, Moose Mountain. He is still hearty
and is at his best when standing with open Bible in his hand
pleading with his people to be reconciled to God. You know
more about the north missions, about Prince Albert than I do,
so I will not write of them. 96
"Professor Hart, of Manitoba College, is a name dear to
all the early workers in the' Indian work. When most discouraged and cast down, his letter would come reviving fresh
courage, and lifting us to renewed zeal and love in the work."
The Rev. W. M. Rochester, D.D., writes:
"In February of 1891, almost a year after my graduation,
and following a period of service in Erskine church, Montreal,
as assistant pastor, and in response to an invitation of a special
committee sent by the Home Mission Board to investigate
conditions in the Prince Albert congregation, I undertook the
work there.
Missionary to Prince Albert for several years.
"The journey from the far east was made in the severest
weather, a temperature of forty below zero confronting us when
we arrived at Regina. The severe weather had proved the undoing of the railway service; our journey, therefore, was
continued westward in the caboose of a freight train to Moose
Jaw, where for ten days we enjoyed the hospitality of the manse,
Then occupied by Dr. and Mrs. Clay.   Our arrival in Prince PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 97
Albert was made at the unseemly hour of three in the morning,
not too late however, to be Welcomed to the hospitable home
of Miss Baker, our pioneer missionary teacher in that district.
"Prince Albert presented as it nestled under the hill on
the south bank of the North Saskatchewan a very inviting appearance after the desolate waste of snow covered plains, having
for its north outlook across the mighty Saskatchewan what
Colonel Butler in his 'Great Lone Land' designates the sub-Arctic
forest. From the day of our arrival we never ceased to revel
in the beauty of Prince Albert and its surroundings.
"Conditions in the church did not present so favorable an
outlook. The congregation was united, however, and extended
a very hearty welcome to the new pastor and his wife. A very
comfortable house, owned by the congregation, was available
for our dwelling—a building of historic associations, having
been the refuge for the women and children of the town and district when Prince Albert was threatened by the rebels in the
days of the second Riel Rebellion. A stockade of cord-wood
had been constructed around the house enclosing the little church
which then stood in the centre of First St., and thus constituted
a stronghold of defense for a beleaguered company in anticipation
of the enemy's arrival following the fight at Duck Lake. An
interesting memorial of that rebellion is the marble tablet in
each of three churches, the Presbyterian, Methodist and the
Anglican, erected to the memory of thirteen gallant young men
from the town, who, in as many minutes were cut down by the
rebels, who from their entrenchment in a log house found these
poor fellows easy marks for their rifles as they stood silhouetted
upon the snow of the open plain.
"The discouraging feature of the situation was the financial.
Property had been gjven to the local congregation by the Foreign
Mission Commission. Part of this had been sold to the town
for the city hall site and public square. The proceeds, however,
were sufficient only to lift the mortgage on the manse. With
the property sold to the town went the church building, so without money, with no possibility of sale for property still in hand,
with business at its lowest ebb, and with obligations outstanding
for current expenditure covering a considerable period, the situation was not reassuring. The congregation, however, rallied
splendidly with the result that in a year's time a solid brick PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
church, well furnished, seating 350, was erected at a cost of
$6,000. Not a little of the labor upon this building was
voluntary. Systematic efforts were immediately adopted to
secure money with the result that in five years' time, and from
the congregational contributions alone, save a sum of $750
received from the sale of some property, only a debt of $1,100
remained upon the building. Owing to the confusion consequent
upon the handling of the Foreign Mission property, some of
which consisted of building lots within the town limits, being
handled by various persons at different times, and the difficulties of communication in those early days with Winnipeg
and Toronto, the congregation had, in addition to its financial
difficulties, some serious legal entanglements to resolve. From
all these, however, in a short time we were set free. The
congregation from being in receipt of $400 annually from the
Home Mission Board soon passed to the self-supporting stage.
It soon also became what it continues to be, the strongest body
in the town, and made its influence felt powerfully upon the
life of the community. The membership was largely increased
and Sunday School, Bible Class and Young People's meetings
"Being the centre of an extensive district, heavy outside
work devolved upon the pastor of the Prince Albert congregation. In the foreign work of the church voluntary interest led
to the responsibility for work among the Sioux Indians adjacent
to the town, these being part of the refugee company from the
United States following the Custer massacres; among the Crees,
a little to the west of Prince Albert where ultimately Miss Baker
established herself, and also the long established mission to the
Crees at Mistawassis. The members of this last mentioned
band under the leadership of their great Chief, Mistawassis,
offered their services at the time of the rebellion for the defense
of Prince Albert. This loyalty to the Dominion was an evident
fruit of the faithful mission work of the past years. Also to
the north, west, east and south lay a great area in which home
missionary service had ample scope, and though not a home
missionary convener, the visiting of this entire area and the
assumption of responsibility for advice as to the manning of
the fields, fell upon the pastor of St. Paul's church.
"Five years of very happy labor were spent thus when a PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 99
call to a congregation in Toronto lead to the surrender of the
work in this most interesting field."
The First Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon
Saskatoon was first settled by families who came out—
mostly from Ontario—under the direction of the "Temperance
Colonization Society." As in other new districts, the work of
the church was first carried on as a student mission field. It
was in the Presbytery of Regina, where Dr. Carmichael was
convener of Home Missions. Services were conducted in a
school house on the east side of the Saskatchewan river.    Here
also was a little Methodist church. But in 1900, when there
were brighter prospects of development for the district and the
town had begun to grow on the west side of the river, the need
of a church building was urgent. In the spring of that year,
J. Rex Brown, a student of Knox College, was sent to this field.
At first, the meetings were held in a room above Mr. Clinkskill's
general store. Then permission was secured from the C.P.R.,
for the use of the "round house," where a locomotive was always
kept in readiness in case of damage to the bridge over the river 100
by flood. Chairs were put in one corner and the student-missionary stood beside a big locomotive to preach. This continued
throughout most of the summer. These quarters were not very
satisfactory, however, and steps were taken to erect a church.
It required faith and courage to undertake the task under the
circumstances, but it was bravely faced. A building committee
was formed of which Mr. James Clinkskill was chairman and
Mr. Thomas Copland, secretary-treasurer. Subscriptions were
solicited, plans made and the contract let, for a modest frame
building. It required some time, of course, to put the whole
matter through and before the church was completed, the chilly
days of fall began to come on. There were no means of heating
the round house, so as soon as the walls and roof of the church
were completed, willing helpers swept out the shavings and put
in the chairs on Saturday night so that services could be held
on the Sunday. Then on Monday, the chairs were turned out
again to make way for the carpenters or plasterers or painters
Before the winter came on, a comfortable and attractive little
edifice had been completed and opened. The objection was
made by some that the church was larger than the size of the
congregation warranted; but in two years the faith of those
who made the plans was vindicated, because the necessity arose
of enlarging it. From that time the congregation grew rapidly
and steadily, developing into the present Knox church, of which
Dr. Wylie Clark is minister. J. Rex Brown.
The Rev. Andrew Little, of Belcares, Sask., June 2, 1919, writes:
"Dear Mr. McKellar: Re my work in the West: I came to
the West in the spring of 1895, a student from Knox College
^Missionary Society. My appointment was Summerville and
IPetrel north of Carberry, Man. Here I received a cordial Wellcome and remained for eighteen months. The Lord used me in
service to the blessing of many souls; I was welcome to the
Ihomes of all, Catholic as well as Protestant, to whom I read the
iScripture, offering prayer in each home and telling of Him whom
we love. It was a great joy to me. By the grace of God the
whole community was changed, and the people not only paid
my salary but gave me gifts until I was filled with astonishment
at the goodness of the Lord. I felt poor and needy in myself
but He made His grace and manifested His strength in my
weakness and His goodness toward His helpless child. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
"For twenty years, year by year, I have received tokens
of continued love from the people for which I thank our Lord
and give Him all the glory. In the spring of '96 I went to
Manitoba College and studied under Dr. King, whose stern, yet
tender, and inspiring teaching did much good for me. In the spring
of '97 I received a mission field in southern Manitoba, Dry
River and Glenora. There were four appointments at which
I preached every Sunday, riding on my wheel a distance- of
thirty-eight miles, conducting a prayer meeting at each appointment during the week.
Pastor, Killarney, Man.    Formerly in the presbytery of Prince
Albert, Sask., also labored in Nanton, Alberta.
"The Lord blessed the work and I trust it was to the glory
of His Holy Name, but it did not seem to me to be as spiritually
successful or as joyful as my first mission field and to-day I
doubt whether our Lord required from me the expenditure of
energy I gave to the work. Physically I do not think I have
ever gotten over it, but my whole life was on the altar for His
glory. I attended the session of '98 and '99 in Manitoba College and the summer session of '99 in theology.   During the 102 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
winter of '99 and 1900 I received a mission at Beaver Lake»
now Tofield in Alberta. I wish I could tell you the hardness
as well as the joys of my labor there, but to put it on
paper would require too much space and perhaps try your
patience in reading it. Some of my joys were experienced in
fellowship with the Rev. Dr. McQueen and the Rev. Alexander
Forbes, of Fort Saskatchewan. One of the hardships was a
night spent in the Beaver Hills thirty miles from any residence
on some hay covered with horse blankets. I had only summer
clothes as I had not gotten my trunk from Edmonton. There
were six inches of snow and the night was cold. I suffered
intensely from my hands and the wolves howled all night long.
As I laid there looking at the stars, our Father was caring and
loving and keeping. Another night was spent lost in the whiteness of the snow on Beaver Lake, but doubtless you have had
experiences of this kind yourself and know what it means.
However, the winter's work was blessed of God our Father
and recorded, I trust, to His glory. I returned to Manitoba
College in the spring of 1900 and spent the summer session in
theology, the Rev. Dr. McVicar being one of our teachers,
and to me he is a man of blessed memory.
"In the fall of 1900 I went to Knox College, taking the
winter session of 1900 and 1901, graduating in April, 1901*, at
Toronto. I was appointed ordained missionary to Saskatoon,
Sask., and received directions from Dr. Robertson, Superintendent, and Dr. Carmichael, then of Regina. I was ordained
and licensed at Regina in May, 1901. On the following day
after ordination I went north to Saskatoon, one hundred and
sixty miles north of Regina. It was then only a village, having
about one hundred and fifty people. Here I commenced my
ministry proper. The nearest ordained minister of our church
was ninety miles away at Battleford. I was truly thrown on
my own responsibility. By the grace of God I did not fail,
by His grace only. Here I preached at Saskatoon, at Osier
eighteen miles north, at Smithville eight miles west and at Dun-
durn, twenty-five miles south and at McGee's ranch twenty
miles east. I was honored with the privilege of laying the foundations of Presbyterianism in this large district. The Lord
blessed the work. The village of Saskatoon grew rapidly. At
the end of my two years' appointment, the congregation became PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
self-supporting and called me. In June, 1903, I was married
to Mary Hannah Copeland, of Dundalk, Ont., and in her God
gave me a loving wife and faithful helpmate in the work of His
"In the year 1903, the Bar Colony emigrants arrived in
Saskatoon, three thousand coming to our village in one day,
for there I was permitted of God to be the minister of comfort
to many of these home-sick emigrants in a strange land, many
from Scotland. I wish I had the power to picture to you some
of my experiences as a minister of cheer and comfort in these
tent homes of strangers in a strange land. My opportunity
was great and unique but it also carried great responsibility.
Our dear Lord used me, I believe, to His glory. Our congregation grew rapidly till we had to enlarge the building from a
seating capacity of one hundred and seventy-five to a capacity
of five hundred. I remained with the congregation for nearly
three years after they called me. In the spring of 1903, Osier
became a mission field and had a student of their own, so also
Dundurn. A new presbytery was formed, the Prince Albert
Presbytery, of which I was a charter member and a Moderator.
In the year 1904, Smithville built a new church and in the fall
-of that year became a mission field and had a student of their
own. For the next year and a half I had charge of Knox church
alone. The village grew from a population of one hundred and
fifty souls in 1901 to a population of five thousand in 1905. But
the demand was too great on me. My health gave way and I
was forced to resign in the fall of 1905. The people were beyond
words kind and generous to me. Our Lord has truly been good
to me. I was appointed ordained missionary to Battleford
and went there in November, 1905. It had been a mission
field for twenty-five years, but the town grew. In one year's
time they became self-supporting and called me and I served
them for nearly seven years. Here, also, my experience was
unique. It was said that twenty-five thousand emigrants
passed through Battleford to the south country in the years of
1907 and 1908. I do not think that there were nearly so many,
but there was a great host, and I had thus the privilege of
preaching to many an emigrant who would not hear the message
again for years and I have heard from many of them of the
blessing received and carried from that outgoing story of Jesus 104 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
and His love. Here, also, a new presbytery was formed, of
which I was a charter member and of which I was Clerk for four
years and Moderator for one year. The people treated me with
the greatest respect, esteem and love and were always generous.
"In December, 1912, I was called, on my reputation, to
Nanton, Alta. This, too, was a revelation of the Lord's goodness to me as the change of climate did me much good. Here
I stayed only one year, when I was called again, without being
heard, by the congregation here.
"I have ministered here for five years and a half. That
the Lord blessed my efforts at Nanton is evident, for after being
here for two years, they offered to call me back again if I would go.
"Now, Mr. McKellar, I have only just touched the subject
in passing. I have never told so much about myself to anyone
before. Do not think I am egotistical. To God alone belongs
all the glory. I acknowledge that with my whole heart. If
this is no use to you, then put it in the stove. If it is I shall
be glad and my prayer is that God may bless your efforts and
crown them with success. I ever remain in your love and esteem, Andrew Little."
The Rev. Dr. John Ferry, of Moosejaw, Sask., writes regarding his
life and work in the West:
I came to Indian Head in 1889, preached the first Sunday in
February, and two other places and called a meeting to be held
in the Indian Head church the next day. We had a good turn
out, and with a whole vote it was agreed to, at once organize a
United Congregation. We formed a Board of Managers by vote,
but elders were elected by ballot, and for life; but if any other
denomination came, in the future, and if any persons wished to go
with them they were to have their Church certificate given to
them without any prejudice. We had men on both courts, and
I never heard a murmur in any single case. I believe matters
went better than if all had been of one section of the Church.
We had all things common, and all went well as far as I know.
In March I was asked by letter from the Clerk of Presbytery
if I would take the oversight of Qu'Appelle station, and the
Presbytery would give me an assistant. I replied, I would do the
best I could, if I were allowed to find my own assistant. They
consented. On the following day I met Norman McLeod, a
middle-aged man, without any training for the work; but I ob- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 105
served he had a good deal of sound common sense, and a good
clear knowledge of his Bible.
We met by agreement the next week, but he refused to act,
but before we parted he consented to try the work a month. He
did good work, gave abundant satisfaction to all the people, as a
catechist, for many years. He was a God-given man. Such men
are to be found all over the country, if the Church would look
after them.
We continued giving service every Sunday to Qu'Appelle,
Indian Head and surrounding country, for nearly three years,
McLeod preaching three Sabbaths out of four, my giving every
fourth Sunday night. He taking Indian Head instead of me, each
one giving three times every Sunday.
Qu'Appelle asked to call a minister. The call came out in
my favor, as I could get a good house and schoo lin Qu'Appelle.
We had been living in the Qu'Appelle valley in a half-breed shack,
miles from school. I moved my family and centered our work at
Qu'Appelle, but in a short while the North-West Territories had a
vote taken re License and Prohibition. I was President of the
Dominion North-West Branch. I had to step into the fighting
line or resign. I stood for the fight. I knew the cost, as most
of the men liked whiskey, both hotels were my largest givers to
the Church. The result was I left, and at the request of Dr.
Robertson I moved to Broadview, by consent of the Presbytery.
At the request of Dr. Robertson, I took charge of Chater
and North Brandon. There were good and true men, but matters had gone low and slow. I took hold in October. The following summer we had to put twenty-six feet to the length of the
church. I, personally, decided in my own mind that I would, if
possible, try a new plan, in raising funds for this project. I had by
this time learned that it was not a hard matter to build churches,
but to pay for the cost was a different matter. I kept my plan
to myself, said nothing to any person, but advised the friends to
have as little expense as we could. We, therefore, just told the
builder to carefully knock the back end of the church out, and
build on to it twenty-six feet. He did so. When ready we
moved the platform back to the new added length. We had no
re-opening services. We sought no strange minister. Saving
such expense, I just, without any reference, took my lengthened
area as the natural thing to do, and, we with the pepple, thanked 106 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
our God that the change had been completed without an accident or injury to any person or thing; so the first service ended;
but not so, the second. I intimated a meeting of session and mangers for the next day. On saying let us get on to business, I
asked the oldest men how they would try to raise the eight hundred dollars to pay the cost incurred. They, and all in the meeting, were just for the usual way, going round with a sheet for subscriptions. I told them of the uncertainty of this method. I
proposed a new way, by asking the people to place on the plate
at the one service a thank-offering, the whole of the eight hundred
and fifty dollars. I shall never forget how they laughed when I
stated my plan. They said many people just were waiting for a
chance like that to get clear of letting other people know how
much or how little they signed to pay. I urged my plan. At
last they consented to try it, and take a chance, to have after to
take the sheet. After I had their consent, I said there were
conditions to go with my plan. I said, first, the plan must be
frankly stated by the minister only; second, we must not mention
the plar until the minister explains it. I said, I shall not tell my
own wife of it, you must do the same with your wives, and your
girls. So all agreed. The result was, that three weeks after the
church was finished, it was paid for in full—and three dollars
And the churches of the charge agreed that they each would
adopt that system, which I know they did for many years after.
I believe they largely do yet. I was in Brandon over four years,
I was called to Drayton, North Dakota. I was in the States
seven or eight years. The American Church used me well while
I was here. I returned to my behoved Saskatchewan, in Canada.
Dr. Strang soor after sent me a letter asking me to go to Kisby
for the winter. I replied, I would not go for the winter, but said
I would go for a month, till he couM get a man. However, it is
well known to the Church, I stayed between seven and eight years.
I have built five churches and four manses. Paid debts of
two large churches, and two manses. Never left a congregation
with increased debt; but always much reduced. In all cases
much stronger in every department. In my ministry I have
been abundantly blest, far above measure. I have loved the
work.    He has greatly blest above that I expected.
Sketch by the Rev. A. B. Baird, D.D., Manitoba College
"Dear Mr. McKellar: All I need to say about myself is
that when I received my first appointment as a missionary in
the West I was pursuing my theological studies in the city of
Leipsic, in Germany—that was in May, 1881. I came back "to
Canada in the summer of that year, was ordained on the 16th of
August, 1881, at my old home church in Motherwell, Ont.,
and I immediately left for the West to undertake work at Edmonton. The railway carried me as far as Winnipeg, but for
the western part of the journey I had to depend on equipment
provided by myself. I bought a horse and buckboard in Winnipeg, a tent and blankets, a few cooking utensils and a supply
of provisions. It was too late in the season to find -any party
going to Edmonton to which I could attach myself, so nearly
the whole of the journey had to be performed alone. I travelled
by way of Portage la Prairie near which I had my memorable
meeting with you, Gladstone, Minnedosa, Fort Ellice, where
I spent a Sunday with Chief Factor Archie McDonald, Fort
Qu'Appelle, where I held a Sunday service with the Mounted
Police and Hudson's Bay men, Duck Lake, where I attended
Mass in the morning with Pere Andre and held a Protestant
service in the afternoon, Battleford, where I spent a week on
account of bad weather, the guest for most of the time of Lieutenant-Governor Laird, and then the long stretch of nearly
three hundred miles without an inhabitant between Battleford
and Edmonton. During this period I was for four days without
seeing a mortal, putting up my tent each evening, tethering
my horse, cooking my supper, and sleeping with the howling
of wolves as a lullaby.
"I met with a great welcome on reaching Edmonton.    We
secured a ramshackle hall to hold services in, it was really a
loft over a granary, but the people addressed themselves to
work with great spirit and the next summer we erected a comfortable church accommodating about two hundred people.
Services at outside points were established at Belmont, Sturgeon
River, Fort Saskatchewan and Clover Bar.    The work expanded
REV.  A.  B.  BAIRD,   D.D.
First Home Missionary in Edmonton, Alberta.  Labored in that
district from 1881 to 1887, afterwards appointed Professor
of Manitoba College.
so rapidly that in the summer of 1884 the Home Mission Board
sent me a student helper in the person of John L. Campbell,
now minister at Abbotsford, B.C. In 1885, James Hamilton,
now of Goderich, helped me; in 1886, A. S. Grant, recently
Superintendent of Home Missions, was my assistant, and in
1887, in view of my approaching departure to take up work in PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 109
Manitoba College, a newly ordained minister, the Rev. D. G.
McQueen, was sent, and he became my successor.
"In addition to the regular services at the places named
above, occasional services were held at Victoria, eighty miles
down the Saskatchewan, the Peace Hills farm, near Wetaskiwin,
and the Crossing of the Red Deer river. It was work of the
most inspiring character, there certainly was no overlapping in
those days; the minister received the heartiest kind of welcome,
even from men who paid but little attention to church matters,
and he had at his back, especially in Edmonton, and in the nearby places where regular services were held, a loyal band of
workers who were always ready to deny themselves in the way
of Christian service.
"So far about myself. Now what can I do for you about
other men who did good work long ago? I have here the minutes of the General Assembly back to 1875, and of the Synod
which preceded it. I have the pamphlet of 'Historic Sketches'
published in connection with the Century Fund. I have Dr.
Bryce's 'Life of Dr. Black' and similar publications. I am ready
to send you lists from the old Synod and Assembly records, but
I cannot let these volumes go out of my hands. I can, however,
lend you the 'Historic Sketches,' or the 'Life of Dr. Black,' or
Rev. R. G. MacBeth's books on the early history of the West,
or give personal reminiscences of old-timers if you tell me what
you want.    I am, yours truly, Andrew B. Baird."
The Rev. D. G. McQueen, D.D. writes:
"The Rev. Dr. Baird arrived in Edmonton October 29th,
in 1881, and the congregation of First Church was organized at
a meeting in the office of the late James McDonald, on the 3rd.
November, 1881. His first sermon was preached in the Methodist church at that time vacant, on the 6th. November, 1881.
The congregation worshipped in a hall until the opening of
their own church on the 5th. November, 1882, exactly one year
from the time of the first service in Edmonton.
"His first service at Fort Saskatchewan, at that time the
headquarters of G. Division of the N.W.M.P., was held on the
8th. January, 1882. He also began services in 1882 at Belmont
school house, which is now within the city limits, at the Clover
Bar settlement across the river east of Edmonton, and the Stur- 110
geon River settlement, twelve miles due north of Edmonton.
A student, now the Rev. J. L. Campbell, was sent out by the
Student Missionary Society of Knox College during the summer
of 1884 to assist in the work, another, the Rev. James Hamilton,
came for the summer of 1885, and for the summer of 1886 the
Rev. A. T. Grant, who needs no introduction to any historian
of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
"I reached Edmonton on the 27th. day of June, 1887, after
ordination by the Presbytery of Regina in, which Edmonton
was then located, at Qu'Appelle, and within the little church
Dr. McQueen holds a record for length of pastorate in the same Presbyterian
Congregation west of the Great Lakes.
her husband's hands in his great work.
Mrs. McQueen has nobly upheld
there, on the 21st. day of June, the Queen's Jubilee Day, Dr.
Baird left for Winnipeg August 16th., 1887.
"Knox College sent a student, afterwards the Rev. Wm.
Neilly, to start our work at Red Deer. He was the first missionary of any church to be located and begin work in the whole
Red Deer district. The Methodists came in that fall and
occupied the field which we, as pioneers, had broken for cultivation. From my arrival in Edmonton, I held all the northern
part with the assistance of students during the summer until PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 111
some time after the completion of the Calgary and Edmonton
railway, which was completed and train service began in 1891.
We had followed the construction work of the road and were the
pioneer church at all the points along the road from Calgary
to South Edmonton. The Methodist minister at South Edmonton and myself started a fortnightly service at South Edmonton
and our first missionary was Rev. David Arnot, then a first
year's student in theology of the U. P. Hall, Edinburgh. The
Rev. James Buchanan, a graduate of Manitoba College, was
our first ordained missionary at Innisfail and Red Deer for a
few months. The Rev. John Fernie succeeded him at Innisfail and Little Red Deer for a short time, and then was sent
up to Lacombe as our first settled man in that district. The
Rev. J. L. Muldrew, then a student, had succeeded him. Mr.
Fernie ministered occasionally to Ponoka and Wetaskiwin, being succeeded in the two latter by the Rev. Mr. Morrow, now
of Medicine Hat, in the fall of 1893. The Rev. Alex. Forbes
arrived in Edmonton about the last day of December, 1894,
and I took him down to Fort Saskatchewan as his field of labor
on the first of January, 1895. He remained there for fifteen
years and then removed to Grande Prairie, in February, 1910.
"We had previously sent Mr. Robert Simpson, who was
recalled after spending eighteen months, owing to lack of development of the country. I am not sure of the year, but Mr.
Simpson is now minister at Camlachie, Ont., and you could get
accurate information from him and also Mr. Forbes about Peace
River (I corresponded with both ministers re this matter.—H.
McK.). I will give you a list of names of men to whom you
could write for fuller and more accurate information: Rev.
J. L. Muldrew, North Vancouver, B.C. His work on construction of C. & E.R.R.; Rev. John Fernie, Carlyle, Sask. His
work on South Edmonton; Rev. I. M. Morrow, Medicine Hat.
His work at Wetaskiwin, Ponoka and Battleford; Rev. Alex.
Forbes, Grande Prairie. His work at Fort Saskatchewan, Peace
River and C. Spirit River and Peace River Crossing; Rev. Robert
Simpson, Camlachie, Ont. His work at Peace River and Spirit
River;'-Rev. W. G. Brown, Red Deer. His work north; Rev. M.
White, Lacombe. His work there and Home Mission work; Rev.
Wm.  Simons.    His work at Vermilion, presided as minister at 112 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Vermilion and Superintendent of Presbytery of Edmonton and
The Rev. Mr. Morrow, of Medicine Hat, writes:
"I went to Wetaskiwin from Princeton, where I took a
post graduate course in 1893, arriving in northern Alberta at
Angus Ridge, Bittern Lake and Ponoka (there was just the
section house there) as well as services at Wetaskiwin (and Leduc
"I came to Medicine Hat, June 1st., 1896, and conducted
services at Dunmore, now Coleridge; also opened services at
Woolchester and Plume Creek school house. (Woolchester is
sixteen miles from Medicine Hat). I went to Coleridge and
Woolchester alternately every Sunday afternoon at three o'clock
and got back to Medicine Hat for service at seven in the evening.
I conducted three services until 1903, when students came here
for Dunmore and south country.
"The Rev. Mr. McLaren came here about 1904-5 and
preached at Walsh; also at Coleridge and Seven Persons. Rev.
Mr. Sutherland was also at Walsh. Mr. Oliver, now professor
at Saskatoon, took Walsh for one summer, staying at Mr. Har-
grave's ranch, 1904-5. Rev. Mr. Edmison also took Walsh and
Irvine, 1905, (I think he is now in Brandon). Rev. Mr. Downey
a student from Scotland, took services in Walsh, Graburn and
Irvine in 1906-7.   He is now in Glasgow.
"Mr. Comery had Seven Persons and Amos 1910-12, being
appointed by Mr. Reid in whose congregation he worked. Rev.
Hector Fraser was at Gleichen and worked south of here in the
Cypress Hills for two or three years. Before Mr. Fraser was
in Gleichen, Rev. Mr. Patterson, who was finished at Westminster, Vancouver, was missionary at Gleichen about 1900,
and before him, Rev. Mr. Walker.
"I had charge of the whole district from Medicine Hat
west as far as Gleichen and east as far as Swift Current, taking
communion and baptisms everywhere except Maple Creek along
until 1903. Rev. Hillis Wright, late of Pincher Creek, was at
Colerid%e and Woolchester, 1905-7."
Mr. W. M. Connacher, one of the senior elders of Knox church,
Calgary, writes:
"I am informed that the Rev. Angus Robertson came to
Calgary in June, 1883, and was missionary in the church at Cal- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 113
gary, High River and Sheep Creek. He also preached at Pine
Creek during the week. On November 21st., 1883, Knox church
congregation was organized. Dr. Herdman came to Calgary
in July, 1885, and took charge of Knox church. The Rev.
Angus Robertson continued in the other stations under his
charge. Dr. Clark was inducted in November, 1903." (Dr.
Herdman was appointed Superintendent of Missions which he
held until his death, June, 1910.—H. McKellar).
The Rev. Wm. Simons writes:
"My recollections of pleasant associations with some of
the heroes of our church in the early days of Alberta are very
dear to me. I spent a year in Alberta as a mechanic in 1887-8,
and I returned as a theological student in the spring of 1899.
My first mission field was Priddis and Sheep Creek. In the
fall of 1899 I was transferred to Davisburg and Pine Creek,
then a student mission. In the spring of 1900 Davisburg and
Pine Creek was raised to the status of an augmented charge,
and by permission of the Assembly I was ordained and inducted
on the 1st. of June, 1900. In the fall of 1901 reached self-support
and I continued as minister of the charge until the fall of 1902,
the year of the great freshets, when on account of ill health,
I was obliged to resign and seek lighter work in the interior of
British Columbia. I continued at Slocan, B.C., until the spring
of 1904, when I returned to Alberta and to the Edmonton Presbytery. For one year I supplied Namaka and associated points
and then turned my wandering steps toward Vermilion, which
was then being placed on the map of Alberta. For seven
years I continued in Vermilion until the fall of 1912, when the
General Assembly laid hands on me and sent me once more to
wander over the northern Alberta field. When I came to Alberta, in 1899, there were then two presbyteries in the territory,
viz: Calgary—extending from Didsbury south to the international
boundary and east as far as Maple Creek in Saskatchewan,
and Edmonton presbytery—extending from Olds to the north
Pole, and east almost as far as Battleford.
"Of our co-presbyteries of these early days, we all have
the most tender recollections. J. C. Herdman, the peace-maker
who always poured the oil of moderation for any difference of
opinion in the presbytery; C. E. McKillop, the genial warrior, 114
the kindest of friends, and the terror of evil doers; Gavin Hamilton, the clerk and the pioneer of our Mormon missions; G. L.
Scott, of Okotoks, who returned east many years ago, and is
now turning his thoughts again to the West to give his boys,
now young, a chance in the new land; J. P. Grant, of Pincher
Creek and Maple Creek; J. A. Jaffrey, of Macleod; McQueen,
of Edmonton; Forbes, of Fort Saskatchewan; and others who
are still with us, doing heroic work in the interests of the moral
and spiritual well-being of this new province.
"I must not close without a reference to the great chieftain,
Dr.  Robertson.    He preached for me at Pine  Creek,  on the
Superintendent of Missions in Alberta.
last Sabbath of August, 1901, and after the service I drove him
to Calgary. He went north to Edmonton and returned to Calgary the following week for the half yearly meeting of presbytery
in Calgary, then went east to the meeting of the Home Mission
Executive, and never came back to the West, at least to Alberta."
The Rev. Gavin Hamilton writes:
"In reply to your card asking for information about the
early missionaries in southern Alberta, I have to say that I ar- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
rived here on the 5th. September, 1891, and was first settled
at MacLeod, where I remained until May, 1897, when by decision
of Calgary presbytery, I was sent to the Mormon settlement,
where I worked until May, 1906.
"The Rev. J. P. Grant, in 1891, was stationed at Pincher
Creek and continued there until 1902, the year of Dr. Robertson's
death. When Mr. Grant, Maple Creek—I believe Mr. Grant
came to his field before I came west for I know that I was
present at the opening of the new Presbyterian church at Pincher
Creek in January,  1892.    Mr.  Amos, the Methodist minister
my s
a pas
Missionary in the Presbytery of MacLeod for a number of years.
A faithful missionary, now retired in Beaver Mines, Alberta.
at MacLeod, preached in the morning and I preached in
"Rev. H. R. Grant succeeded at Pincher Creek, staying
i for four or five years.    Rev. J. A. Jaffray was at MacLeod
1897 until he went to Edmonton. He (Mr. Jaffray) was
successor at MacLeod.
"The Rev. Charles McKillop, B.A., was pastor at Leth-
je from 1889 until he retired on account of ill health, after
3torate of over eighteen years.    I was present at Mr. McKil- I
lop's induction in January, 1892. Mr. McKillop had, previous
to this, been in the service of the Home Mission Committee
(Mr. McKillop was their inspector of schools for Alberta).
"The Rev. A. M. Gordon, B.D., came to Raymond in 1889
(?), and remained two years there, after which he succeeded
Mr. McKillop as minister at Lethbridge, being called by that
congregation while he was at Lethbridge. The new church was
built, costing $8,000.00.    Mr. Gordon is still in France.
"In 1892, Mr. Morrow came to Medicine Hat church, was
then in the Presbytery of Calgary. The Rev. Mr. Scott was at
High River for two years, I think, (1895-1897).     .
"The Rev. Mr. Matheson, B.D., of Nova Scotia, came
west in 1890 and built a church at Okotoks, and at Davisburg,
' Sheep Creek, etc. I preached on Mr. Matheson's field two
weeks while he was getting married. Maple Creek was then in
the Presbytery of Calgary, which had just separated from the
Presbytery of Regina. A little while before I came west, Edmonton was also in Calgary Presbytery.
"Dr. Herdman was Home Mission convenor when I came,
and the Rev. C. W. Gordon, clerk of Presbytery (Ralph Connor)."
The Rev. John Fernie, of Moore Mountain, Carlyle, Sask., writesj
PI "Your post card of 20th. January duly received here on
the 23rd., but we have had such cold weather that it seems to
freeze your faculties as well as your bodies. I have also had a
struggle with la grippe to keep from falling into his clutches.
I am glad to say that after a close shave I have won out."
"Any request coupled with Dr. McQueen's name is as good
as a command to me. We were much associated in the work
in the nineties. I am not quite sure whether I understand
what you wish but I shall do what I can as far as I am able.
In the early part of my work in Alberta (I am not quite sure of
the dates), in the fall of 1890 I was appointed by Dr. Herdman
and Dr. Robertson to the Gleichen field. At that time it
stretched from Stair to Canmore. However, at the next meeting
of presbytery the last place was struck off and after that my
field did not, in practice, extend beyond Cochrane. I preached
every alternate Sabbath at Cochrane and at Gleichen. When
I preached at the latter place I went as far as Langeven, where
I preached on Mcnday—at Tilley on Tuesday—at Cassilis on PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Wednesday,' and at Crowfoot on Thursday. My work was
finished for that week and I went home to Calgary. On a few
occasions I preached at Bowell, but it did not come regularly.
At that time the places mentioned, although they appear on
the C.P.R. time table as stations, were only section houses.
At that time there was only one train each way, so that unless
I could catch a freight train I had to travel during the night
and find my way into the houses and into bed. However, I
got to know the places so well that I could easily manage. On
the Sabbath on which I preached at Cochrane, I was able to
Missionary in Alberta.
get as I had no out-side work that week. I continued working
in this way until the end of 1902. At the fall meeting of the
Presbytery of Calgary at Medicine Hat in that year (1892), I
was ordained and designated to Shephard, at which I had hitherto
no service. I held regular service till the end of December of
the same year, when I was appointed to Innisfail with the choice
of going to Lacombe. I continued at Innisfail until I left on
the 8th. of June for Lacombe. I remained there until the spring
of 1897, when my engagement being terminated on the 31st. 118 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
March, 1897, I left and went to Winnipeg, where I remained
until October, when by Dr. Robertson's advice I went to North
"With regard to the other missionaries in the field or rather
in the presbytery, there were Rev. Charles W. Gordon (now Dr.
Gordon of St. Stephen's, Winnipeg), Mr. Patton at Revelstoke
and then at Ket, the river which is now Grand Forks, B.C.
Mr. Munro was at Pine Creek; John A. Mathieson at High
River, and Mr. McLeod was at Medicine Hat. He is now dead.
He was succeeded by Mr. Morrow, who went from Wetaskiwin.
Dr. McQueen was in Edmonton. He and I were a great deal
together in in those days.
"Dr. Herdman was then in Knox church, Calgary. When
in the Gleichen field, there was Mr. Dobbin, who worked alongside of me, but I cannot remember his initials. James Buchanan,
now of Elmvale, Ont., was in Innisfail until the end of 1892,
when I succeeded him.    Mr. Grant was then in Pincher Creek.
"When I commenced, I opened up Langdon. So far as I
know, no service of any kind had been held there until I did so
in 1890. In the fall of 1892 I was ordained and designated to
Shephard. I certainly was the first ordained minister there,
and I think no service had been held there until the opening
of the church, at which I was present. I supplied it until
the end of that year, when I went for six months to Innisfail. When I went to Lacombe I opened Wetaskiwin and
preached there every alternate Sabbath, from June until September, 1893. Later I opened up Ponoka. In 1895 and 1896,
I chose the site for the church and made the arrangements for
building it.    The building of it was carried out in 1897."
An additional item supplied by the Rev. Mr. Fernie:
"It occurs to me that I omitted to mention that I was the
first to hold regular service at Lacombe, when I went there in
1892. I rather think that at odd times they had a service. I
was also one of the first members of the Edmonton presbytery.
Authorized by the General Assembly of 1896, it met at Edmonton
and was duly constituted on-Tuesday, 1st. September. At that
meeting, Peter Naismith was ordained. Dr. McQueen was appointed convener of the presbytery's Home Mission Committee,
as he had been in the Calgary presbytery.    I was continued PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 119
convener of church life and work, as I had been in the Calgary
The Rev. W. G. Brown, B.D., of Red Deer, AUa., writes:
"I graduated in the spring of 1902 and went direct as a
.missionary to the shantymen of Nipissing, Muskoka and Parry
Sound, where I served for two summers as a student. In the
spring of 1903, as soon as the lumber camps closed for the winter,
I came as a missionary to the miners of the Slogan district, in
B.C., where I labored for four years with great interest, and I
believe that God blessed the work.    The next year I spent in
Scotland, studying. I came to Red Deer in March, 1908. I
have been Home Mission convener for eight years and during
that time the whole presbytery of Castor was opened up and
organized under my convenership, in addition to a good number
of new fields in the present presbytery of Red Deer. I have
an old minute book of this congregation, in which the first minutes are of a meeting held in May, 1894. The student in charge
was Thomas Ladler and the minister, the Rev. John Fernie.
The Rev. W. Atkinson, now of Queensville, Ont., was minister 120 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
in Red Deer in 1898.   The Rev. J. C. Forster, now of Watford,
Ont., was here in 1902."
The Rev. R. Simpson, of Camlachie, Ont., writes:
"On April 10th., 1900, I arrived from Scotland and Dr.
Herdman gave me the choice of four fields. I chose 'the hardest'-
—Gleichen. For four or five months I was on that field, which
comprised all the railway from Crowfoot to Shephard and Rose-
land Creek. Then I was moved to Springbank, Jumping Pond,
Nose Creek, Lewis and a school house on the Midnapore Trail,
and at this time I opened work in the school house in east Calgary, just across the Elbow bridge. This field was adjusted
and I was moved to Cochrane, where, by the help of God, we
built the first church in 1901. This field included Cochrane,
Laidlaws, Dog Pond, Beaver Dam. In the summer of 1902,
I went to Manitoba College and was missionary at Stoney Mountain. Returning to Alberta in April, 1903, I was ordained by
the Presbytery of Calgary on the eve of taking my departure for
Peace Liver.
"The Peace River mission was planned by Dr. Robertson
and I was chosen by him; also by him solemnly designated for
that work at a meeting of the Calgary presbytery.
"My young wife and I started for Peace River in June,
1903, arrived at Sprit River August 1st., visited and preached
at Grande Prairie, at Saskatchewan Lake. September, 1903,
built manse church, with our own hands—chopped it out of the
timber literally, even to hand-made shingles and whip sawn
boards. We were recalled in the spring of 1905, owing to shortage of funds and a blunder by some one—at least we received
a letter from Rev. E. D. McLaren when we were one day on our
way out, asking us to remain. We arrived out in July, 1905—
went to Arrowhead, August, 1st., 1905. Owing to ill health,
returned to Alberta, January, 1906—took up work at Penhold.
Remained in charge four years and a few months. Owing to
serious ill health had to relinquish labors until October, 1911,
when we were called to Noble (near Lethbridge). Again for
health reasons we accepted the call to Camlachie, Ont., 1913.
"There were no other workers in Peace River when we were
recalled. I have given you my fife story in brief and my labors
in that dear province were labors of love and great joy.    My PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
heart is in Alberta still, for there I spent many of my prime
young years. I have the honor to be one of the admirers of
those heroes of faith who for the honor and glory of our Lord
counted not life dear but gave it for Him."
The following brief outline of Rev. Charles McKillop's life in the West
is reproduced from the Lethbridge "News." sent by Mrs. McKillop
"Every one remembers the year 1885, the year of the Riel
Rebellion. Before that year Lethbridge was not much to boast
of. At that time there was no church building to give 'visibility' to the church in Lethbridge, but the Presbyterian Church
* ^
. i^mH
Lethbridge, Alberta.
was already at work, the first to hold services in the new town.
The congregation then worshipped in the old Alfonse Hall.
Sunday School was held in the Winnett furniture shop. In the
autumn of 1885, the building of the present Knox church was
begun.    It was opened for service on the 17th. of February.
"In the summer of 1886, the 4th. of July, Mr. McKillop,
one of the church's pioneers in Alberta, and one to whom this
town owes more than can be told, began his work in Lethbridge. 122 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
" The great Superintendent of Missions, Dr. James Robertson,
first saw the capacity of the young minister, and recommended
him for this post. His home presbytery refused to release him
for six months after the appointment was made, and for months
he was the only resident clergyman. His first communion service was held soon after he was placed, to ten members. The
minister of Knox church represented true Christianity, strong
and muscular, always fearless and out-spoken. By virtue of
his prowess and thorough knowledge, he became a true leader
of the town. If the saloons were particularly noisy, the question
was asked, 'what is McKillop doing?'. He effectually handled
the 'red light' district, and by him were rowdyism and drunkenness kept within bounds. He thought Sunday work in the post
office was not needed. The law took this view; but was set
aside. Petitions had no effect, nor the General Assembly.
Then Mr. McKillop prepared a letter to the Canadian public,
setting forth the facts of the case and sent a copy of the letter
to the Post Master General. The result was a noteworthy
interview between Inspector and Minister, which settled the
case once and for all. He was spared to see Lethbridge transformed from a typical frontier town into one of the most prosperous, progressive, up-to-date towns of western Canada, and
it is not too much to say that in the moulding of the character
of the town, Mr. McKillop had no small or unworthy part.
"He was sent to a hard place, but he proved to be the man
for the place, and in the fine condition of Lethbridge his memory
will be lovingly cherished by all who knew him.
"Mr. McKillop came to Lethbridge July 2nd., 1886, and
was pastor for eighteen years. He preached his first sermon
July 4th.
"The Presbyterian church was the first erected in Lethbridge and was used by Methodists, and Baptists. Mr. McKillop
took charge of Roman Catholic funerals, as well as Protestants
of all denominations—Roman Catholic and Protestant worshipped
side by side at his services. Mr. McKillop died on the 20th. of
August, 1907.
"Mr. McKillop resigned his charge, 1905, because of ill
health and took charge of the work at Raymond for two years,
resigning because of continued ill health." PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 123
Sketch by the Rev. Wm. Hamilton, Wetaskiwin, July 2nd., 1918.
"Dear Mr. McKellar: If I did not at once comply with
your request my apparent omission was due not to a lack of
interest in the scheme which at present engages your attention,
but to a sense of inability of contributing anything likely to
promote the object in view. I have no wish to shirk what you
consider a duty, and therefore add my contribution to that of
others whose services were more abundant and in spheres of
labor more prominent.
"My first years of service were spent in Scotland, and then
transferred to Canada. After landing at Halifax, N.S., I spent
some months in supplying Gordon church, Bridgetown, in the
beautiful Annapolis Valley. Was called the following year,
1885, to Kingston (now Reston), N.B. I became pastor of a
congregation, two of whose former ministers occupied prominent positions. One, Rev. John McLean, a man of piety and
called the McCheyne of New Brunswick, was the father of the
late Mr. John S. McLean, a prominent merchant in Halifax
and identified with every good work in that city. The other,
Rev. James Law, one of the most eloquent preachers of his day,
was the father of Mr. Andrew Bonar Law, M.P., Chancellor of
the Exchequer, and a prominent member of the British Cabinet.
"After a lengthened pastorate there, I came West. Ross-
burn, Man., was my first mission. It was an interesting field,
but owing to the severity of the winter, I only remained one
year, removing to Alberta in 1906. Alix, a new town on the
Lacombe branch of the C.P.R., was my first appointment in
this province. On arriving there early in the week I found no
church or manse and no congregation. There were a few Presbyterian families. These were called for, a hall was engaged and
a service announced for Sabbath evening. The attendance was
certainly encouraging and continued fairly good during my
three and half years' ministry there. A number of stations
associated with Alix, and supply was given to them. Though
these services were fairly well attended, a lack of interest in
spiritual things and a decided parsimony in contributing for
the support of ordinances, had a chilling effect. Being offered
another appointment, I accepted, leaving a fully organized
congregation of thirty-four members and three elders.
"Killam, on the C.P.R., about seventy miles from Wetaski- 124
win, was my new field of labor. Situated in a rich agricultural
district, and having a fine share of Scottish Presbyterians, the
field was certainly more promising. From the first there was a
marked interest in the services, and this lead in a few months
to the congregation going up to augmentation. A manse was
built and the church gradually increased in numbers and financial
ability. Under the present pastor a church was built at Prairie
Park and paid for within a year. It is now one of the most
prosperous congregations in the Lacombe presbytery.
"After four years I was compelled, owing to my state of
health, to resign. Though unfit for regular service, I preach
occasionally, and by request continue to act as clerk of presbytery, having my name by leave of General Assembly placed on
the roll."    Rev. Mr. Hamilton has since passed away.
Grand Prairie, Alberta.
The Rev. A. Forbes, D.D., of Grand Prairie, Alta., writes:
"I came to Fort Saskatchewan from Aberdeen, Scotland,
in the fall of 1894. There had been students there under Dr.
McQueen before I came.    In August, 1909, the presbytery asked PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 125
me to look up the Peace River, and Grande Prairie country.
Mrs. Forbes and I started out with ponies and buckboard and
covered about 1,200 miles, visiting Athabasca Landing, Lesser
Slave Lake, Peace River Crossing, Dunvegan, Spirit River and
its various points, and everybody (only a few) on Grande Prairie.
In February following we returned to take up the work and here
we have remained.
"Mr. Robert Simpson was the first to be sent to Peace
River district, and settled at Spirit River, I think, about the
year 1903. He remained two years. In the interval it was
"In 1909 I had service there and made periodical visits
there, visiting and holding services until, I think, 1913, when
Rev. Mr. McVey was sent out. Then followed Rev. J. Thompson for six months, and now Rev. J. Pritchard. Peace River
Crossing was always Anglican, until larger settlement, when
Methodists and Presbyterians went in, and our man, Rev. W.
Graham was appointed there in 1914, I think.
"I may say that Rev. J. Thompson was also six months
at Pouce Coupe. That is eighty miles west of here. Country
has developed and it is still developing. Railway came in 1916.
Hospital opened, 1913, and several churches built. Plenty of
room for extension. Dr. McQueen and Mr. Simons know a
good deal about the work here."
The Rev. James Chalmers Herdman, D.D.    {From Knox Church
Magazine, Anniversary Number, Calgary, October, 1919).
' We are privileged to give in this number appreciation of
the late Dr. Herdman by his brother, the Rev. A. W. K. Herd-
man, who is engaged in the active work of the ministry in the
Presbytery of Calgary, by Mr. James Short, who knew him
intimately; and by the Rev. Hugh McKellar.
Dr. McQueen, of Edmonton, writes:
"Dr. Herdman came to Calgary from Chatham, N.B., I
think, in the fall of 1885, just after the turmoil of the rebellion
of that year had subsided, and remained as pastor of Knox
church until his appointment as Superintendent of the Synod
of British Columbia and Alberta by the Assembly of 1902. Calgary was in the Presbytery of Regina for some time prior to the 126 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
Assembly of 1887, when the Presbytery of Calgary was formed.
The records of the Synod of British Columbia would say whether
he was Moderator of the Synod of British Columbia and Alberta
while the two provinces were under the one Synod. I was appointed by Assembly the first Moderator of the new Synod of
Alberta, and immediately after formally opening the Synod in
Knox church, Calgary, I asked them to appoint Dr. Herdman
- as Moderator, which they did. I think that was in April, 1907.
"It is well for us to remember that Dr. Herdman was with
us through the days of small things and that his two sons made
the supreme sacrifice in the great war."
Dr. McKellar writes:
"My first acquaintance with Dr. Herdman was at a meeting
held in Toronto. He gave me interesting information of families
with which I was acquainted in early days in Manitoba. They
were residing about thirty or thirty-five miles south-west of
Calgary. From this, one would understand our beloved brother's
self-sacrifice and faithfulness in visiting the sparsely-settled districts about Calgary. He never spared himself in ministering
to the spiritual well-being of the pioneer settlers, both as pastor
and Superintendent of Home Missions. He and Mrs. Herdman
were also deeply interested in the young Chinese residents in
the city. These young men were formed into classes to receive
instruction from Dr. and Mrs. Herdman, assisted by other
Christian friends. They looked after the well-being of young
people, especially of young girls without homes in the city. In
July, 1905, I received the appointment to the Foothills Home
Mission field through Dr. Herdman, and during the years following up to 1910 (the date of his death) I found in him a true,
kind friend. Dr. Herdman was the friend of all the home missionaries. He was held in the highest esteem by the pioneer
settlers and ranchers, and his memory is held sacred by those
who remain. The sorrowful news of the death of Dr. Herdman
reached the General Assembly when in session in the city of
Halifax, in June, 1910. A resolution was unanimously passed
and ordered to be sent by telegraph to the widow and family
conveying to them in that hour of bereavement the heart-felt
sympathy of the General Assembly." PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 127
Rev. A. W. K. Herdman, B.A. writes:—(brother of Dr. Herdman)
The Rev. James Chalmers Herdman, D.D., was born on
February 13th., in 1855, in the manse of St. Andrew's Church,
called for many years the "Kirk" in Pictou, N.S., of which his
father, Rev. Andrew Walker Herdman, M.A., was minister for
thirty years or more. The son's desire to be a minister was
formed in early childhood and strengthened with his years.
Stories of his youthful piety and sensitive moral nature were
plentiful in those days in Pictou. His parents used frequently
to find him alone in his room in the dark, kneeling beside his
bed speaking to God in prayer. Fond of outdoor games, he
would only engage in clean sport and would refuse to play if
bad language was used by any of his companions. He seems to
have had a natural gift for painting for at the age of twelve
he had pencilled sketches of all the leading characters in Bun-
yan's "Pilgrim's Progress."
Because of a slight lisp or impediment of speech, his father
tried to dissuade him from the ministry and encouraged him to
enter on a mercantile career, but the son's heart was set on being
a minister and he pleaded with his father to give his consent
if he succeeded in gaining a bursary within a certain time. This
seemed an impossibility for one so young, but James, having
gained the consent of his parents, for filial obedience was his
characteristic all through, set himself to work for this end, and
great was the joy when, to the surprise of all, he stood first in
the list of competitors. He took his Arts' course in Dalhousie
College, then went to Edinburgh University, where he helped
to support himself, in a position (between sessions) as the librarian in the Public Library. He showed marked ability throughout his course at Edinburgh and won the degrees of M.A. and
B.D., from the University and Divinity Hall. He was a favorite
with his fellow-students and when he was leaving for home
they gave a dinner in his honor. He stipulated that the toasts
should be drunk in water or lemonade; and although intoxicating
liquors had always been used on such occasions heretofore, his
wish was respected at the banquet. Before leaving Scotland
for Nova Scotia, he preached for his uncle, Rev. Dr. James
Chalmers Herdman, parish minister of Melrose, his uncle remarking publicly that two of the same name stood that day in
On his return to Pictou he preached for his father a sermon
in St. Andrew's Church from the text, "I, if I be lifted up will
draw all men unto me." The youthful appearance of the
preacher, who after a regular college course, was less than twenty-
one, together with the maturity of him, made a deep impression
in his native town.
He was pastor of two churches in his lifetime, Campbell-
ton, N.B., and Calgary, Alta. To the former he was called in
February, 1878, and here he built up a strong and deeply
attached congregation. Here he was married to Miss Loudon,
of Chatham, N.B. While here he took frequent trips to lumber
camps in order to preach and administer ordinances to those
out of the way, when he heard the call of the West, and came
to Calgary, in 1885. Was soon after called, and the first Knox
church erected. Here all accounts that he labored with unflagging energy, not only for his own congregation, to which he
was intensely loyal, but also for the wider home mission interests
in those pioneer days. He was fearless in his public utterances,
but especially was he valued for his expository treatment of
the Scriptures in Bible class and prayer meetings. Perhaps in
1901, the degree of D.D., was conferred upon him by Knox
College, Toronto.
In 1902, he was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Home Missions for Alberta and British Columbia. As
such he labored with consuming zeal, and at too high a pressure
for his finely strung organism; he broke down and died not long
after, on June 7th., 1910. Student missionaries have spoken
of his sympathy for them on their fields; he often lent them
money out of his own pocket which was not always returned.
He had been an enthusiastic Alpine climber and so was
buried under the shadow of the mountains he loved, with this
text at the bottom of the monument chastely inscribed: "I to
the hills will lift mine eyes from whence doth come mine aid."
Many high tributes have been paid to this self-effacing
servant of God, but what he himself must have prized more
than all was the enconium passed by his mother ere her voice
was forever silent and her spirit had winged its flight. As she
felt the cold hand of death upon her she asked for the passages
again to be read to her that he had recommended for her perusal
in the "Pilgrim's Progress" about crossing the River, then said, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 129
"James is one who never caused his father or me a single tear
or a moment's anxious thought," and then the sweetest of smiles
passed over her.face as she felt the water, not "too deep." The
lines which he was fond of quoting might fittingly apply to his
own ministry, we think, in Knox church, for seventeen years:
"Servant of God, well done,
Rest from thy loved employ,
The battle fought, the victory won;
Enter thy Master's joy."
. A. W. K. Herdman
James Short, K.C., Elder in Knox Church, writes:—
Unfailing courtesy was one of Dr. Herdman's outstanding
characteristics. His ripe scholarship, well-balanced judgment,
his wisdom and knowledge of men and affairs and his modesty
all combined to make him an ideal counsellor and teacher of men.
It was little wonder that successive waves of students and missionaries assigned to the District gravitated to his home for
advice and assistance. Not only students, but people of all
sorts and conditions flocked to his door. He gave of his slender
means as freely as of advice until he himself was stripped of all
but fche bare necessities.
In all public and social questions his interest was keen
and advanced. His views, always modestly and so fittingly
expressed, were not only listened to with respect, but were constantly sought after and frequently adopted. There was a
sweet reasonableness about his ideas that commended them to
his hearers: Suaviter in modo, yet adamant where principle
was concerned. He resolutely opposed the Boer war as unjust
and unnecessary, a position which subsequent events have abundantly justified. Feeling, however, ran high at the time and
his courageous stand cost him many friends.
As an interpreter of Scripture, Dr. Herdman had few equals.
He left an impress upon his hearers and particularly upon his
classes for Bible study, that makes his name amongst them still
a household word. His was a life that did much to mould the
character of the West, and to bring honor upon the name Presbyterian, and Presbyterians will do well to honor the name of Dr.
The Rev. Peter Henderson, M.A.
The Rev. Peter Henderson, M.A., who came out from
Scotland, was one of the pioneer missionaries in the Nanton
mission field, also in the Willow Creek Valley. Mr. Henderson's able services were highly prized by the people. Rev. Mr.
Henderson is now settled as pastor in North Vancouver.
Short Historical Sketch of Rev. John Kennedy,
of MacLeod, Alberta
Writing reminiscently of his associations with the Presbyterian Church in Alberta in the early days, Mr. Kennedy says:
The honor of laboring for the Presbyterian Church in the
Province of Alberta with such heroes as Dr. McQueen, Dr.
Herdman, Dr. Forbes and Dr. White, and a fine array of gifted
students, of whom were R. Simpson, pioneer of the Peace River
country, D. K. Allan, W. Chambers and others of the Edmonton
and Calgary presbyteries with a synod which embraced Alberta
and British Columbia, "gives a rich past and sustains one for
the present."
In these two presbyteries, presided over by our great missionary statesman, Dr. Robertson, and his successor, Dr. Herd-
man, an untiring worker, were gifted men who had a vision of
the needs of the West and its vast possibilities and with whom
he had the privilege of discussing many intricate problems relating to the church work. From these two live centres were
despatched workers who knew no dangers or hardships in their
zeal for the cause of the church they loved.
Early in 1901. he, with J. S. Ferguson as Presbyterian
scouts, had a vast foothill country and plains with Carstairs
as headquarters. Afterwards he worked in the Edmonton presbytery on the mission field of Horn Hill. Subsequently he came
to southern Alberta and associated in the work with A. C. Bryan,
solid and sound, C. E. McKillop, genial warrior and terror to
evil-doers, Gavin Hamilton, pioneer of our Mormon missions,
J. A. Jaffray, of MacLeod. His marching orders were from
Dr. Herdman and A. C. Bryan, of Nanton, with a roving commission to the plains east of High River and Stavely, to minister
to the settlers in that vast territory. Rev. R. Simpson, of
Stirling, Ont., writes of Mr. Kennedy as follows: PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 131
"Mr. J. Kennedy came from Scotland and threw himself
into the work with characteristic vigor, and being of a genial
disposition, indefatigable in labor and a fervid evangelical
preacher, he was soon known as a great spiritual force. A real
genuine revival broke out in the staid and quiet valley of Willow-
dale, greatly delighting the venerable Dr. Robertson, who spoke
most highly of Mr. J. Kennedy's work at a meeting of the Presbytery of Calgary. He bore testimony to the spiritual character of
the work being done and of the crowds who attended the services
for years afterwards. I hear Mr. Kennedy spoken of with
gratitude and respect by those who profited by his ministry.
Dr. Herdman and J. Kennedy were always on friendly and
cordial terms which those who knew Dr. Herdman, is in itself,
a testimony to the worth of any man. I
Following is a short extract from a sketch by Rev. A. C.
Bryan, of Taber, Alta.:
"A pioneer of the High River presbytery—one of the stalwarts who helped to lay the foundations of the High River
presbytery even before it had come into being as such, was
John Kennedy. Student of the Glasgow Bible Training Institute and later a graduate of Manitoba College, he was no novice
when he came to southern Alberta. In Scotland, he had done
extensive evangelistic work, also in northern Alberta on mission
fields. His first charge was the Little Bow field. On this far
flung mission, with seven or eight preaching stations and its
ever enlarging area, J. Kennedy endured hardships as a good
soldier of Jesus Christ and took possession of the land for Christ
and the church. In many respects he was an ideal pioneer
missionary—athletic of frame with a super-abundance of vitality
and radiating good cheer; a big human, always on the job, glorying in long distances and four or five services a Sunday; a ready
and forcible speaker with a clear-cut Christian experience of
his own and always jealous and zealous for the Master. His
services were well attended and the members of his audience
always on the alert. His work on the Little Bow and his memory
are still cherished by many of the first settlers. He afterwards
accepted a hearty and unanimous call to the important charge
of MacLeod where he still exercises a fruitful ministry. May his
bow long abide in strength." 132 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
Historical Sketch of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church,
MacLeod, Alberta
The Rev. J. P. Grant conducted the first service in the
present church (now enlarged) on a beautiful Easter Sunday,
1890. Afterwards, he was called to Pincher Creek. The presbytery selected its name from. MacLeod. Associated in the
MacLeod presbytery are many honored names where many
difficult problems in the Crow's Nest and work on the boundary
fine were discussed by the great Dr. Robertson, Dr. Herdman,
Dr. McLaren and the frontier men, Gavin Hamilton, J. A. Jaffray, A. Walker and our brave students who faced the great
outposts for our church.
The first minutes of the session in the Presbyterian church ]
of MacLeod are as follows:
MacLeod, 25th July, 1891.
The minutes of the kirk, first session of the Presbyterian
church at MacLeod, on the above date.
Present: Rev. J. P. Grant, Moderator; H. Bates, J. Kidston,
T. E. Patterson, Elders. Moved by Mr. Kidston and agreed
that Mr. Patterson be clerk of the session.
On the communion roll of 1890 (Rev. J. P. Grant) the first
name is Mr. H. Bates, by certificate, Sunday, May 5th., 1890,
then follows Mrs. Bates, by certificate from the Presbyterian
church of Kemptville, Ont., including an array of old timers
whose names we revere. Miss Storey, Major A. Stuart and Mrs.
Stuart, Mr. and Mrs. W. Black, Mrs. Robert McCrae and others.
Abridged minutes of the Board of Managers:
Minutes of a meeting of the managing committee of the
MacLeod Presbyterian church held at the Queen's Hotel, MacLeod, on the evening of April 4th., A.D. 1890.
Present: Rev. J. P. Grant, Mr. John Black, Mr. McCrae,
Sergt.-Major Heatherington. Mr. C. N. Campbell, clerk of
the Supreme Court, Maple Creek to the boundary line, was
appointed secretary of the managing committee. Mr. J. Black
was authorized to obtain payment of the amount due for rental
of the church from the school trustees and report to the next
Such names appear as Malcolm McKenzie, afterwards K.C.,
George McFarquhar and others.
Ministered to by Rev. Gavin Hamilton, Rev. J. A. Jaffray.
Rev. A. Walker.
God, in His good providence, has spared: J. A. Struthers,
T. S. McLean and R. Patterson, three elders who preside at the
Lord's Table at our ever recurring sacramental Sabbaths.
Mr. S. McCrae and R. Patterson, who wore the scarlet
and gold of the R.N.W.M.P., in the oldest fort in the West,
now MacLeod, take their customary places in the same old
church, on the same old site, to worship God, the Maker of the
East and West, North and South of this fair world. CHAPTER  VIII
Sketch by Mr. Murdoch McLeod, Edmonton, Alberta.
I was born in Stornoway, Rosshire (Isle of Lewis) and at the
age of seventeen left for the great North West in the service
of the Hudson Bay Co. We sailed June 24th., 1861, and after
a long and perilous voyage, of over seven weeks we reached
. York Factory, August 17th. I spent the first year trading
with the Indians on the McKenzie and north to the Arctic to
Fort Anderson, eighty miles from Franklin Bay, in the Arctic
Ocean, where we wintered. The fur was sent to Norway House,
one of the most important posts of the Company. For many
years it was the capital where officials met annually to arrange
matters in connection with the fur trade. Here, Sir George
Simpson, the governor, used to come by canoe from Montreal,
a distance of several thousand miles. Immense quantities of
fur were shipped to England by way of Hudson Bay.
In the spring of '63, myself, two other Scotchmen—two Es^
quimos and fourteen Indians travelled the McKenzie and
Coppermine, seeking for the Smithsonian Institute, Washington,
how far north the different species of birds went. The only
means of travel was by dog-train in winter, the men following
on snow-shoes, and by canoe in summer, often making portages
of many miles, each man carrying from one hundred to two
hundred pounds. While we were in the Upper McKenzie, we
dressed in deerskin coats, but while in the Arctic we wore the
Esquimo costume. After enduring the hardships and privations
of the North for six years, I returned to Red River.
The English Church and Roman Catholic were the only
missions started in all this vast territory. In '64, I met Bishop
Bompas, "The Prophet of the North," at Slave Lake, and took
him to Fort Simpson, a distance of three hundred miles. The
Bishop, myself and an Indian made the trip together, and by
the time we reached Fort Simpson the Bishop was able to speak
the Indian language. He entirely won the confidence of the
Indians. A wonderful linguist, he soon translated a large portion of the Bible into the Indian language and taught the Indians
to read it. He lived with them many years without once returning to civilization. He was loved and respected by red men
and white, irrespective of their religious beliefs, and wielded
an enormous influence for good wherever he went.
In '67, there were only two Presbyterian missions west of
what is now Ontario.    Rev. Mr. Black, at Kildonan, and Rev.
When a young man from Stornoway, entered the service of
Hudson Bay Co.   Resided in Manitoba for some yeais,
now a resident of Edmonton, Alberta.
Mr. Matheson, at Stone Fort, where I wintered. Stone Fort
was built in the stormy times when trading parties existed and
hostile bands were ever on the war-path. It had a massive
stone wall around it and the Company buildings were in the
centre. In '68, I left the Company and went to Fort Garry
(Winnipeg) where I started the building of the first log church.
In October the following year, I settled at High Bluff near the
Portage and started farming till Riel's Rebellion broke out.
On October 21st., '69, Riel, with an organized force, took 136 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
possession of the highway to intercept Hon. Wm. McDougall,
the new governor and staff. They confiscated the goods and
seized the mail. Riel had commanding influence over the
French half-breeds and the support of the priests. I might say
the blockading party was actually quartered in Pere Richot's
house, and O'Donoghue, a dangerous rebel, was studying for
the priesthood. November 3rd., they rode down to Fort Garry
and took possession. Some forty loyal settlers were protecting
the government supplies at Dr. Schultz's house, when the rebel
force of three hundred men came down and seized all and imprisoned the men in Fort Garry. Dr. Schultz himself was
placed in solitary confinement. About seventy-five of us from
High Bluff, Poplar Point and the west, came to Kildonan to
help the rest of the white settlers. A message came from Riel
that the prisoners would be released if we returned to our homes,
which we decided to do. A mere handful of men, we were
making our way home through the deep snow of winter, when
we were intercepted by a large force of Riel's men, mounted
and well-armed. It was represented that Riel wished to see us.
We returned to Fort Garry and much to our surprise were thrust
into prison, Boulton, Scott, Powers, Parkers and myself, sentenced to death by shooting. We were taken prisoners February
17th., and I was in irons forty-three days. To this day, I bear
the marks of the handcuffs. March 4th, Scott was shot in the
most brutal way at a few hours' notice. I was told I would
be shot three days' later, but Riel apparently changed his mind
or this story would not be told. The shooting of Scott was to
strike terror into the community, but it failed in its desired effect, many of Riel's own men turning against him. Finally,
Colonel Wolseley arrived with a large force and Riel and the
other members of the provisional government fled to the States.
In '75, I married Sarah McLeod, of Gladstone. We settled
at Westborne, Man., but we still had difficulties to face. For
four years we had grasshoppers, followed by high water. It
was at this time we first met Mr. McKellar. Mr. Grant, of
Burnside, came with Mr. McKellar. We were busy fighting
the grasshoppers from the grain when they arrived, and they
both turned in and gave us their help.
In '79 we left for Edmonton. Our party consisted of fifty-
five men, twenty-two women and two children.    We had fifty PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 137
wagons and carts, and fifteen half-breeds to drive the carts.
After two days' travel, we met Messrs. McKellar and Stewart
on Boggy Plains. They spent the night in our camp, and christened one of our children, Margaret Anne.
We left Winnipeg, September 1st., and were nearing Battleford, October 15th., when a severe snow storm met us and held
us up for two weeks. Battleford consisted of a store, and a few
half-breed houses. We reached Edmonton, November 18th.
The river was frozen over, and we crossed on the ice. There
were only twenty white men and six white women within five
hundred miles of Edmonton, the summer we arrived, and all
our supplies had to be freighted from Winnipeg. The people
were very kind and friendly and welcomed new-comers. The
Methodist and English church had missions, but no school
was started. After three attempts, Mr. Glass and myself started
a school in the fall of 1880.
In '86, the North West Rebellion broke out. We were
living in Belmont. A rumor was started that one thousand
Indians were at Fort Saskatchewan, sixteen miles away. We
all left our homes in great haste, turning the stock loose and
taking with us what little we could carry, thinking we might
never return. We took refuge at the Hudson's Bay Company's
fort. About five hundred of us sought protection for about
three weeks. The women and children were placed inside the
stockade, which was fourteen feet high, with bastions at each
corner. The fort itself simply consisted of a few one-storey
log buildings. The settlers always had their own arms in case
of trouble. Chief Factor, James McDonald, was in charge of
the fort.
About one thousand soldiers and volunteers and the Mounted
Police from McLeod, arrived and met the Indians atJFort Pitt,
where the real trouble was, and the rebellion was soon at an end.
The reason Edmonton was chosen for settlement was
because the original survey passed through here, thence through
the Yellow Head Pass on to Vancouver, but the main line was
finally built through Calgary and the Kicking Horse Pass. As
all our supplies had to be freighted from Edmonton, this, for
many years, was a handicap to Edmonton. However, in spite
of all drawbacks, Edmonton went steadily ahead.
In 1907, I sold my farm in Belmont and moved to the Okan- 138 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
agan Valley, B.C., but returned to Edmonton in 1910, where
we have since made our home."
Sketch by Rev. J. S. Shortt, M.A., of Olds, Alta.:
"My student experiences as a missionary began in Alberta
in the spring of 1894, twenty-five years ago this spring. Dr.
Robertson wrote me at Queen's in March, saying; 'Foothills is
your field.' That constituted my credentials, letter of introduction, and full direction. The summer of 1894 was very dry,
and crops were a failure. The ranchers along the creeks in the
foothills were better off than the farmers out on the plains.
Many homesteads were abandoned that summer, and several
of the improved homesteads were sold for fifty or one hundred
dollars. Many settlers remained because they were too poor
to leave. I recall a popular song of those old dry days in Alberta
a quarter of a century ago. It used to be sung to the tune of
'Beulah Land'. Three couplets of this doggerel song are all
that I remember, but they serve to describe the situation fairly
We look away across the plains,
And wonder why it never rains,
Our horses are a broncho race,
Starvation stares them in the face.
We do not live, we only sta3r,
We are too poor to get away.
"Naturally, there was an atmosphere of depression amongst
the people which made it difficult to carry on religious work.
Yet there were redeeming features of the life of those early days.
The people were hospitable and neighborly. The keen, competitive spirit of later and more prosperous days was absent.
There was greater simplicity and more unaffected kindness.
Many an old timer to-day moralizes on the changes that have
taken place and concludes that in many ways the old days were
"The field known as 'Foothills' was detached from the
Pine Creek and Davisburg appointments and formed into a
field in 1893 with three points, Sheep Creek. Fish Creek and Red
Deer Lake. The first missionary on this field as thus constituted, was Farquhar McCrae, a man of delicate constitution
but of real and earnest missionary spirit, who later passed away
before completing his theological course at Queen's. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 139
"McCrae had many and varied experiences in trying to
carry on his work in this field. There were in the district, several
young Englishmen, many of them of the remittance class, and
all anxious to maintain the reputation of the far West as a 'wild
and woolly' country. These young fellows resented or pretended
to resent the presence in the district of a representative of the
Church. It savored too much of the encroaching civilization of
the effete East. They set themselves to make life miserable
for the missionary in every possible way.
"At the Sheep Creek appointment, McCrae conducted ser-
Of Olds, Alberta, formerly in charge of Pine Creek and
Davisburg, Alberta.
vices in an abandoned shack a little way above the forks of the
creek. The writer knows the spot well and also a rare fishing
pool-near by where the creek cuts into the bank and curving
around forms a number of deep eddies. Here many a speckled
beauty used to rise greedily to the fly. But that is another
story. In the deserted building by the banks of the creek known
as the Swede's shack, services were conducted every Sunday
afternoon. Over the low rafters were spread a number of skins
of deer and other animals left behind by the late owner.    A 140 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
number of wild young fellows visited the shack one day and
filled one of these skins with rubbish and dirt and suspended it
partially concealed over the space between the preacher's seat,
which consisted of an empty soap box, and the pulpit, which was
an old barrel turned bottom side up, with several staves missing.
A stout cord ran over the rafters from this modern substitute
for the sword of Damocles, to the rear corner where, on the
following Sunday, sat a group of young men clad in various
kinds of nondescript cow-boy costumes. Just as the missionary
rose with his tall form to give out the text, the cord was suddenly
released and the whole bundle of rubbish descended on the
preacher's devoted head. Then with loud guffaws and much
ribald laughter the cow-boys shuffled out of the shack and,
mounting their ponies, galloped off with loud whoops and simu-
ulated war cries.
"It was in the fall of this year, 1893, that the first building
was erected in the Foothills field, a little log building situated
at the forks of Fish Creek. It was opened by Rev. Mr.
Matheson, ordained missionary on the Dewdney (now Okotoks)
"In the spring of 1894, the writer came to this Foothills
field and remained for a year. These were the days of small
things in our church work in the West. Owing to adverse conditions produced by drouth and consequent failure of crops,
with poor transportation facilities and low prices, the country
was making no progress and, indeed, the population was actually
declining. Yet the Church held its ground and later began to
reap the harvest from the seed sown under these discouraging
"The adjoining fields of Davisburg and Dewdney and High
River, were administered to by Rev. Mr. Walker and Rev. Mr.
Matheson during these hard years and noble work they did.
Mr. Matheson could relate many amusing incidents of his experiences in these early days. His house in Dewdney was on
the old McLeod trail at the foot of the bill that descends into
the valley of Sheep Creek. One day, Mrs. Matheson's brother,
who lived in the Davisburg district, brought to the manse a
fine leg of mutton which, in the absence of a refrigerator, was
hung on the outer wall of the house. As the family were preparing to retire, a noise was heard outside and, going to the door PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 141
they saw in the moonlight, a man making off up the hill with
the leg of mutton. Mrs. Matheson's brother immediately gave
chase in his stocking feet and, being an athletic young fellow,
soon overtook the thief and compelled him to give up his spoil,
and the precious leg of mutton was brought back in triumph.
"In the spring of 1895, I was appointed to the Penhold
field, but with headquarters at Red Deer. This summer was
very wet and cold, followed by early and killing frosts in the end
of August. Many of the early settlers in this, as well as in other
districts, built sod-roofed shacks and these proved very poor
protection against the heavy rains. The mission work on this
field in these days presented all the features of pioneer conditions. The settlers were poor, ready money being very scarce,
and the market for produce quite undeveloped. Butter was
ten cents a pound and eggs, eight cents a dozen. Yet the people
were kindly and hospitable and the missionary was welcome to
share the best that was available."
Sketch by Rev. M. White, D.D., Lacombe, Alta.
"Dear Mr. McKellar: I hope you can get enough material
out of the enclosed to enable you to give a brief place to Lacombe
in your historical sketch of the Presbyterian Church in Alberta.
"With best wishes for you in this work and with very kind regards,
I am, yours very sincerely, M. White.
When I came to Lacombe, Alta., in 1897, I was the only
ordained Presbyterian minister between Innisfail and Strath-
cona. In addition to Lacombe, the other points under my care
were Milton, Fairview, Chigwell, Spruceville and Blackfalds.
My work entailed a drive of sixteen miles one Sabbath, and
fully thirty miles the other Sabbath. With the exception of
Lacombe, where there was a frame church, the services were
held in homes and log school houses. My 'field' extended about
forty miles north and south and about fifty miles east and west.
In addition to this, I had the oversight of the mission north,
including Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, and Angus Ridge. Covering
such a large territory, much time was, of necessity, spent on the
trail, leaving but little time for quiet reading and study; and
many a cold, long and, as the country was very thinly settled,
lonely drive the missionary had.
"The work, especially the visiting, was hard and wearing, 142
but there was real joy in visiting the lonely settlers, in the little
log cabins on the lonely prairie, and leaving with them a message of comfort and a word of cheer. It was work worth doing,
and the hardships are not to be compared with the satisfaction
which such a work brings.
"In 1900, (I am writing now from memory) a prairie church
capable of holding one hundred was built at Fairview, in 1902
a frame church capable of holding one hundred and twenty
was built at Blackfalds, and a year or two later, a frame church
capable of holding one hundred and twenty was built at Chig-
■    REV.   DR.   M.   WHITE,   D.D.
Canmore, Alberta, formerly of Lacombe, Alberta.
well. In 1904, the out-stations were cut off from Lacombe
and became separate missions under the names of Morningside,
Blackfalds and Tees. In 1902, the Lacombe congregation
purchased a manse, and in 1908 built a fine brick-veneered
church capable of holding about three hundred, with a basement
for the Sabbath school. In addition to the above missions, I
had the privilege of organizing into separate mission fields,
Alix, Ponoka, Ersline and Stettler.
"In the district where, in 1897, there was only myself, one
ordained missionary, and one student missionary, there are now, PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 143
in 1918, at least seven ordained men, and four student missionaries. I have been privileged during my twenty-one years at
Lacombe, to see the work grow; but we are only at the beginnings
of things yet in Alberta, and much hard work lies before the
Church in the coming years."
Extract from Report by Rev. W. G. W. Fortune, B.A., B.D., Gm
eral Secretary of The People's Prohibition Association of
British Columbia.
The following refers to missionary work done by Mr. Fortune
in Alberta:
In November, 1906, after six and a half years' ministry,
Mr. Fortune accepted a call to Red Deer, Alta., the congregation
going up from augmented list to self-sustaining, proffering $1,200
per annum of a salary. During -the year and four months of
Mr. Fortune's ministry a debt of over $800 was paid off; the
membership greatly increased and the givings to the schemes had
risen beyond the $400 mark.
In March, 1908, Mr. Fortune took up the duties of General
Secretary of the Alberta Temperance and Moral Reform League,
laying the foundations for the glorious victory over the traffic
in 1915. During the five years' tenure of office, the Searchlight,
the official organ of the League, was started, and a vigorous
local option campaign in almost one-third of the province inaugurated, but an injunction filed by the liquor interests was
sustained by the court, and the government was not allowed
to take the vote arranged for. In 1912, the United Farmers
asked for the direct legislation, which was granted by the government and the first and only referendum was on the liquor traffic,
which received its quietus.
Mr. Fortune resigned his position in 1913, believing a change
of climate and water might restore his impaired health, and he
moved to Victoria, B.C.
Sketch by the Rev. James Buchanan, M.A., Synod of Alberta,
Presbytery of Calgary, Congregation of Innisfail and
Associate Station.
First mission field consisted of Innisfail, Penhold, Wavy
Lake, Antlers, Sweetman's, Little Red Deer, Red Deer Crossing,
Morgans, Blackfalds, Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Scarlets, Airdrie,
Bowden and several other points where service was given. 144 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
First missionary, Rev. James Buchanan, ordained Medicine
Hat, June 1st., 1891. Previous to this, Mr. Buchanan was on
the field from April, 1891, and previous to that a student named
Fleming had conducted services in the district.
Manse erected in 1891. Church erected in 1892 and opened
by the Rev. Charles Gordon, of Banff (now Ralph Connor).
Money to build church lent from Morton Trust. First managers
elected in Constantine's store in June, 1891. They were George
Murray, G. West, Dodds, George Constantine, Dickson. Communion roll formed summer of 1891. First preaching service
held in George Constantines' and Dodds' houses. Services at
Wavy Lake held in C. Ross' house. Services at Little Red
Deer held in school. Services at Red Deer Crossing held in
N.W.M.P. barracks, soldiers in attic, several of them looking .
down through hatch. Mr. R. McClelland, A. Stewart and
Bannerman were managers. Olds organized winter of 1902.
Story told in Robertson's Life, pp. 339, is story of effort that failed
to reach Olds for this purpose. Communion roll formed in
1892, and communion held in railway station. Mr. Webster
leading manager here. Sabbath schools were conducted so far
as possible at several points on the field.
The Rev. James Buchanan was sent to Canada by the
Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland, in the spring of
1888. He was a student Missionary in the parish of Airdrie,
having charge of the Rawyards Mission, and assisting the parish
minister, the Rev. D. H. Peterson.
Mr. Buchanan was the first student missionary to work
on the C.P.R., his first field being the long stretch of railway
from Jack Fish to Vermilion Bay. After graduation in theology
from Manitoba College, Mr. Buchanan was ordained in St.
John's Church, Medicine Hat, on June 1st., 1891, by the Presbytery of Calgary, the ruling spirit of which was the noted
personality, the Rev. James Herdman. In his student days,
Mr. Buchanan served the mission fields of Dominion City and
Welwyn. His appointment to open the work in the district
between Calgary and Edmonton illustrates the masterly character
of the great Superintendent. Two deputations, one from Minta,
Dakota, headed by the Rev. John Hogg, the other from a field
in Manitoba, visited Mr. Buchanan just as the College closed,
and offered him the pastorate of these fields.    Dr. Robertson PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 145
learned the purpose of these men, and calling upon Mr. Buchanan
after the visit of the persons named, laid upon the table a cheque
for $70.00, said, "You are to go to open the Red Deer, take train
to-morrow, and report to Mr. Herdman for information" and
he went out. Mr. Buchanan reached Red Deer in company
with Rev. Mr. McLaughlin, a Methodist minister from the
far north, who was returning home from conference. His first
meal in the rough board shack hotel consisted of a piece of sow
belly, dark fried potatoes, very black bread, very dark stewed
apples and tea sweetened with dark sugar, and cost one dollar.
In the reception room were a number of barrels filled with bottles
of Carling's beer, and seated on these, several men played cards.
Not knowing where the Presbyterians were, he went to a house
under construction and owned by a well known ex-Methodist
minister; making his business known, the reverend gentleman
replied: "I have nothing against you as a man but as a Presbyterian minister you are not needed here. You will get no
welcome. There are no Presbyterians near, and you can only
poach, as this is a Methodist settlement." Mr. Buchanan
being an independent Scotchman answered: "Well if Dr. Robertson and Mr. Herdman sent me here to poach among Methodists,
they will soon find their mistake, and I will make it hot for them,
but if I find you are lying, I will make it hot for you." Relenting,
Mr.— said he was sorry he could not put Mr. Buchanan up for
the night, but he would go out with him and see if any Presbyterians were at the store. Very soon he espied a man crossing
the prairie, and shouted, "Helloa, Bob, here is your new
minister." Introduction followed, and the missionary was taken
in charge by Robert McClelland, and found his first boarding
place in his hospitable home, his bedroom being an attic over
an outside milk house and reached by an outside stair. To
dress, one had to stand in the middle of the room right under
the peak of the roof, still, the generous kindness of Mr. and
Mrs. McClelland more than made up for all other physical
discomforts. Mr. McClelland's home was at the Red Deer
Crossing about four miles from the Red Deer site. For some
months, Mr. Buchanan preached at "the Crossing," Innisfail,
Wavy Lake, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Little Red Deer, Bowden,
Carstairs, Airdrie, Olds, the Dog Pond and a number of other
points which he visited and broke to the people the Bread of Life. 146 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
The manse and church at Innisfail were erected by Mr.
Buchanan, much of the manual labor being done by his own
hands. He made plans, raised money, hired and paid the men,
and was able to give "visibility" to Presbyterianism.
During his ministry at Innisfail, Mr. Buchanan was married
to Catherine Pollock, of Paisley, Scotland.
It was here that the story told in the Life of Dr. Robertson
on page 339, took place, but the good doctor forgot to tell that
the missionary walked at the head of the horse for over five
hours, tramping snow and helping the good Superintendent to
keep warm as he sat in Mr. Buchanan's cutter.
A number of people had settled seven miles east of Innisfail, and these people from the shipyards on the Clyde at Yoker,
were anxious to have their children baptized.
Through snow three feet deep the missionary and his young
wife, battled their way to this settlement and arrived fairly
exhausted. Scotch hospitality in the shape of whiskey toddy
was curtly refused with a "We don't use that stuff." It was set
aside, and for many years Mr. Buchanan regretted his gruff-
ness, until he learned that the good Scotch people had become
ardent prohibitionists, and the change of sentiment in the
community was traced to the event noted here.
The names of those early days of Presbyterianism in the
Red Deer country are worthy of remembrance; the Browns,
McTaggarts, Duncans, Dodds, McCallum, Ross (Hugh and
Charlie) Murray, West, Fleming (at Penhold) Stewart, Sergeant
Diamond of the N.W.M.P., Constantine, a splendid Baptist,
whose home ever provided a prophet's chamber for the missionary.
In 1892, Jack Muldrew came from Knox College to assist
in the work and rendered great service.
Two things took Mr. Buchanan away from Innisfail.
Shortly after his marriage, Mrs. Buchanan was thrown from the
buggy in a runaway and besides a broken wrist and dislocated
shoulder, she suffered internal difficulties that demanded medical
attention and skill.
After Mr. Buchanan had given "visibility" to Presbyterianism in the Red Deer country, the Home Mission Committee
reduced his grant by $104.00.
The grant was paid by a number of friends in Central church,
Hamilton, who, when they learned of the action of the Home PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 147
Mission Committee, at once stopped their payments, and thus,
while the missionary lost what he expected, the Committee
lost an annual payment of $520.00. Was the Home Mission
Committee's action wise?
Mr. Buchanan, since leaving the Innisfail mission, has
served the Church at Richmond, B.C., then at North Pelham,
Dundalk and Elmvale, Ont.
For over ten years he was clerk of the Presbytery of Orange-
ville; was Home Mission convener for Synod of Toronto and
Kingston, and for twelve years was convener of systematic
giving in the same synod.
In 1915, Mr. Buchanan was honored by being elected to
.the Moderator's chair in the great central Synod of Toronto and
At the present writing, October, 1917, he is full of vigor
and still able and willing to preach Christ and Him crucified and
to uphold the Blue Banner of the Covenant.
The Rev. Wm. Shearer, D.D., writes:
"Rev. Dr. Shearer came to Alberta in the spring of 1910.
Previous to that time he had been engaged in work in the
province of Quebec and eastern Ontario. He was fifty-three
years of age and had been thirty years in the ministry. Although it was his intention to retire from the regular work of
the pastorate owing to ill health, the spirit of the West and the
great need of missionaries took possession of him and he offered
his services to the home mission of MacLeod presbytery. He
was sent to the Raymond mission field, which was made up of
three preaching stations, Raymond, New Dayton and New
Sterling. Most of the people in and about Raymond and New
Sterling were Mormons. Having purchased a cheap pinto and
buggy and harness, he spent his time visiting not only the people
within a reasonable distance of these towns but the lonely settlers many miles beyond, many of whom had never had a call
from a minister since they came to the country.
"Dr. Shearer was not long in Raymond before he was
dragged into controversy with Mormon leaders. This led to
his making a special study of their doctrines and practices.
He was horrified to find such teaching among a people claiming
to be at least partly Christian.    Their conception of God and 148
Jesus Christ was debasing. Their doctrines influenced their
morals. Blasphemy and impure conversation prevailed everywhere. Although such evidence as would stand in a court of
justice might not be easily obtained, yet none could live any
length of time among them without being convinced that polygamy was being practiced.
"At the end of a year, Dr. Shearer was invited by the Laymen's Missionary Association of Calgary to superintend the
home mission work being done within the bounds of Calgary
presbytery.    At  that  time  Calgary  presbytery  extended  east
REV.   WM.   SHEARER,   D.D.
Formerly missionary in Raymond, Southern Alberta, afterwards
Superintendent of Home Missions in Alberta.
and west across the whole width of the province. At the east
end it extended north and south from the international boundary to the Red Deer river. At the west end, from Okotoks
to Didsbury. This was a busy year. Besides dispensing the
sacraments on the student fields and planning for the opening
of new fields, Dr. Shearer was instrumental in securing the
gift of several sites in new towns for churches. At that time,
Mr. Hugh McKellar was laboring on the Red Deer Lake and
Priddis mission, preaching twice every Sunday and making a PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES 149
long journey between stations over not very good trails. John
Claxton was our missionary at Cochrane, a very widely scattered
and difficult field. He afterwards moved to Bassano, and from
there to Knox church, Medicine Hat. Mr. Forbes was at Can-
more tendering heroic service, walking along the railroad from
Exshaw to Canmore every week in the discharge of his duties.
He afterwards went to the Davisburg field, from whence, after
' laboring a short time he went to Scotland for a visit and died
immediately on his return.
"On the Canada Eastern line at Didsbury and Carstairs,
Mr. D. Marshall and Mr. J. Rex Brown were not only serving
their respective augmented churches, but doing real home mission work for many miles east and west of these towns. At the
Edmonton Assembly, in 1912, Dr. Shearer was appointed one
of three district superintendents for Alberta, his appointment
being the presbyteries of Red Deer, Lacombe and Calgary.
Purchasing a team of horses and a good substantial buggy, he
started out early in July to view the land. On his first trip
he covered seven hundred and fifty miles north of the Red Deer
river. He found about eight or nine homesteading ministers
who, besides farming, were conducting services on the Lord's
Day in private houses and school houses, where there were any.
Among these were Isaac Anderson, of Lone Butte, since deceased, John Brown, of Verdant Valley, E. E. Rose, of
Stevenville, W. J. Cruikshanks, of Frasertown, Wm. Millar, of
Delia. These were foundation builders, whose work will not
soon be forgotten.
"Rev. F. J. Hartley was settled at Castor and took a deep
interest in the student fields north and south, spending a lot
of his time visiting among them. Rev. W. G. Brown, of Red
Deer, and Dr. White, of Lacombe, were also men whose energies
were spent freely and largely outside their regular work, visiting
missions for many miles beyond the boundary of their own
"Shortly after this, owing to rapid filling up of the country by
homesteaders and the long distances to be travelled by our men
when attending meetings of presbytery, Castor presbytery was
organized out of the east end of Red Deer presbytery; and Medicine Hat presbytery out of the east end of Calgary presbytery.
"In the^spring of 1919, after nine years' of incessant travelling 150 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
over the prairies and among the muskegs of the foothills, Dr.
Shearer resigned his position as Superintendent of Missions and
settled down as the pastor of Redcliff, an augmented charge
in Medicine Hat presbytery. His predecessor was Rev. G.
Lawson Gordon, who came from Nova Scotia, in 1911, to offer
his services as a missionary. His first mission was in the neighborhood of Three Hills, but from the fall of 1911 up until the
time of his sudden call home, on January 5th., 1919, he labored
faithfully, not only in the new town, but all over the surrounding
country. Few ministers ever rendered more self-denying service
or were more dearly beloved by all classes than he."
Mr. Peter Walker, of Cayley, prepared the following sketch at the
request of Rev. J. McLean Beaton, pastor of North Calgary and Beddington.
"Well, about the history of the church at Cayley. I am
afraid I cannot give anything that would be of much value. I
think the session clerk could give the most information, but I
understand the first minute book was lost about the time Mr.
Innes left, but I will try and give you a few facts of the early
days and you can use them if they will be of any value.
"The pioneer minister of Cayley district as far as I know
was the Rev. Mr. Campbell, of High River. He preached the
first sermon in Cayley in the house of George Wickens, in the
summer of 1903. I cannot give you the exact date he came.
Occasionally, when it was convenient for him to leave his own
congregation, after he left High River, his successor, a Mr.
Simpson, came down occasionally to Cayley.
"In the summer of 1905 a Mr. Woods, a student missionary
from Tongue Creek, held services every other Sabbath. In
the summer of 1906 the Rev. John Fletcher, an ordained
missionary, stayed for seven months and conducted the first
communion service in Cayley. In the summer of 1907 we had
a Mr. Scott, a student from Knox College, for three months. In
October of the same year Mr. J. McLean came to Cayley, and
was ordained and inducted on July 14th., 1908.
"Then appeared the Rev. J. McLean Beaton and preached
his first sermon in Cayley, on May 3rd., 1909. I think that is
the correct date, but I can find no record of his ordination and
induction, but you will remember that yourself. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 151
"Mr. Sinclair had the books at the time of your resignation
and I cannot find any date for it, but Cayley was vacant all
summer, except with supply, until Mr. Mclnnes came. I cannot find even a date for his induction, but I think it was about
the first Sabbath of January, 1913, and stayed about nine months.
"After his resignation, the co-operation scheme was tried
for six months but did not prove satisfactory. (Part of summer
of 1914 and winter of 1914 and 1915).
"Then Mr. McGookin, a student, was here for nine months.
Mr. Mcintosh came in May, 1915, and had to resign on account
of ill health. Our present pastor, the Rev. A. McWiUiams,
preached his first sermon as pastor, on June 4th., 1916.
"This is a very meagre report, but I have no way of finding
out the dates of the different stages as there is no record kept
of augmentation help we were getting until lately, but I think
the Session could give some information on the subject and
number of members.
"In 1905, when Mr. Wood was here, all that acknowledged
to be Presbyterians were six families.
"As there have been three or four different secretary-
treasurers, records were not kept as they ought to be. I will
enclose a report of our last year's standing that may help to
throw some light on the progress made."
About   the   Early   History    of   the    Presbyterian    Church    in
Pincher   Creek,   Alberta
Mr. R. Henderson, Elder, writes:
"About the beginning of the year 1884, the attention of
the Home Mission Committee was called to the growing settlement at Pincher Creek. The district had already obtained a
reputation for its fine ranches and its salubrious climate. It
was ascertained that a considerable number of Presbyterian
families lived in the neighborhood who were desirous of church
privileges and it was determined to send a missionary into the
field who should have charge of a station also at Fort MacLeod.
The missionary chosen to open up the new field was Mr. W.
MacKenzie, a student. Mr. MacKenzie arrived about midsummer, 1884, and continued in charge until the breaking out
of the rebellion, early in the following year, when he left to go 152
to the front with a local regiment as chaplain. During Mr.
MacKenzie's stay, fortnightly services were held in the old hall,
which subsequently became part of the old school house.
"Towards the close of the summer of 1884, the Rev. Mr.
Gordon, of Winnipeg, now Principal of Queen's University,
Kingston, visited the field and administered the sacraments.
Mr. Gordon on this occasion administered the rite of baptism
to John N. Kettles, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kettles.
Owing to the disturbed state of the country during the rebellion
and afterwards, over a year elapsed after Mr. MacKenzie's
departure before a successor was appointed. Then an ordained
missionary, Mr.. Currie, arrived and spent a few months in charge
of the work in the summer of 1886. On his departure then ensued another vacancy, until the Rev. R. C. Tibb, now clerk of
the Toronto presbytery, was appointed to the field in 1888.
He remained in charge until the end of the following year.
Then, after another vacancy, the Rev. J. P. Grant, now of
Maple Creek, Sask., took charge of the field, beginning his
ministry in June, 1889. Two years before Mr. Grant arrived,
a Methodist church had been built in Pincher Creek. The
Presbyterians had subscribed liberally towards the building fund
on the understanding that they should have the use of the edifice for their occasional services. This privilege was at first
granted, but subsequently a rental of $50.00 a year was charged.
This demand, which in the circumstances, was considered unfair,
together with the growing strength and independence of the
congregation, led to the desire on the part of the Presbyterians
for a church building of their own. It was determined to secure
a suitable site and to take steps toward building a church, and
accordingly lots were secured and purchased in 1891, and on
the 11th. of May, in the same year, at a special meeting of the
managers, it was moved by Mr. F. Willock, and seconded by
Mr. L. Bell and resolved, 'That we go on and build a church.'
It was a big undertaking at that time, the Anglicans, Methodists, and Roman Catholics had already built, and with true
western liberality, the Presbyterians had subscribed in each
case. The congregations worshipping in these sister churches
found the burden of maintenance sufficiently heavy and as a
consequence, when subscriptions towards a Presbyterian church
were sought, very few except Presbyterians contributed toward PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 153
the enterprise. The cost of material was great, and labor, too,
was expensive, nevertheless, the work went on and the church
was built and duly opened in less than a year. In 1892, a belfry
was built to receive the bell, which was presented to the congregation by Mrs. McLennan, of the Stewart Ranch. It was during
this year that the field was divided, Mr. Grant remaining in
charge of Pincher Creek, and Mr. Whiteman being' placed in
MacLeod. Despite the liberality with which the committee
was met by the members of the congregation, a debt of nearly
$1,200 remained on the church, greatly to the embarrassment
of the work. At first, a large portion of this debt was carried
on the personal note of the managers, with interest at twelve
per cent. In November, 1902, arrangements were made with
the church and manse building committee, by which a loan of
$500 was secured at five per cent., but the debt still continued
"Dr. Robertson visited the congregation and encouraged
the people to make a supreme effort to wipe out the encumbrance, promising a liberal personal contribution should they be
successful. A subscription list was opened, and again the
response was hearty and liberal. At the same time an appeal
was made by Mr. Grant to friends in the eastern provinces.
By this effort the floating debt was discharged and there
remained only the $500 due the church and manse board. This
was paid off in yearly instalments, the last payment being made
about the close of the century. Great praise is due the congregation for their liberality during these early years, their numbers
being very few and very few of them wealthy.
"The question of the minister's salary was made comparatively easy during these times by the generosity of Mr.
W. H. Benson, of Ottawa, who in this time of stress contributed
$500.00 yearly towards the stipend fund.
"In 1898, the church became vacant by the removal of
Rev. J. P. Grant to Maple Creek. He was succeeded by the
Rev. H. R. Grant, a recent graduate of Manitoba College. The
work went steadily on; the church being now free from debt, it
was decided to provide a manse for their young minister. A
building adjoining the church property being offered for sale,
the managers decided upon its purchase. Within four years it
was paid for, the Ladies' Aid being largely responsible for this 154 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
happy state of affairs. The amount contributed for stipend
being gradually increased. The grants from augmentation were
gradually decreased and, in 1902, the congregation became
self-supporting. For about five years, Rev. H. R. Grant labored
with great acceptance and most of this time held regular services
in Cowley, Mountain Mill, and Fishburn, in addition to his
ministry in Pincher Creek. In 1904, Mr. Grant accepted a
call to Rossland, B.C. Owing to the difficulty of securing supply, the presbytery, with the consent of the congregation,
requested the Rev. D. S. McPhail to supply the church for
three months. At the end of that period, Mr. McPhail was
tendered an unanimous invitation to become their minister,
which he accepted. Up to this time there was no regular kirk
session, the congregation being asked to choose three suitable
men for this office chose F. Willock, J. H. MacEachern and
W. S. Ross, and in October, 1904, these gentlemen were duly
ordained, as the first session of Pincher Creek Presbyterian church.
"Rev. D. G. MacPhail ministered to the congregation
about two years and about the 1st. of October, 1916, the congregation was declared vacant.
"On the 22nd. of August, 1907, Rev. W. W. Aitchison was
inducted as pastor, and for about five years discharged the
duties of the ministry with great acceptance. During Mr.
Aitchison's ministry the congregation increased in every way.
Mr. Aitchison was a true friend, a faithful visitor and a model
pastor, and is now in the Presbyterian church in Hanna, Alta.
Mr. Aitchison was succeeded by the Rev. Hillis Wright, who was
called from the congregation of Elkhorn, Man., and began his
ministry in August, 1912. He preached with much acceptance
for about three years and, receiving a call from the congregation
of Cranbrook, B.C., accepted same, leaving many warm friends
at Pincher Creek.
"During the vacancy after Mr. Wright's removal, a number
of ministers applied with the view of a call. The question of a
union with the Methodist congregation was freely discussed
for some months and a deputation from the union committee
at the request of both congregations, visited Pincher Creek
and explained very fully how such a union could take place,
and after further discussion in both congregations, a united
meeting was called to meet in the Presbyterian church,  the PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES 155
Methodist congregation having met in their own church at
an earlier hour the same evening to discuss finally the situation, and when they attended the union meeting stated, 'That
at their meeting from which they had just come, that by
resolution duly moved and carried, the Methodist congregation
had agreed to affiliate with the Presbyterian church, and from
henceforth the two congregations would be known as the United
Church of Pincher Creek. The Rev. Dr. Ferguson, Superintendent of Home Missions for the Presbyterian Church and
Rev. Mr. Barner, Superintendent of Home Missions for the
Methodist Church. These two gentlemen, representing the
joint union committee of both churches, gave very valuable
assistance in connection with the whole matter. A new members' roll having been duly prepared, the United congregation
gave an unanimous call to Rev. J. N. Wilkinson, who had been
minister in the Methodist congregation of Pincher Creek. Mr.
Wilkinson began his ministry in the United congregation about
the first Sabbath in July, 1917. The union has been a great
success and the happiest results are already apparent.
"The foregoing is from a statement prepared by Rev. D. G.
McPhail at the request of the session, who was minister of the
Presbyterian church in Pincher Creek in 1906, and forwarded
to the Historical Committee of Synod of Alberta at the request
of Rev. Mr. McKellar, by Robert Henderson, a member of the
Historical Committ3e of MacLeod presbytery.—Pincher Creek,
13th March, 1918.    R. Henderson, Elder.
The Passing of a Pioneer Home Missionary
The late Rev. Archibald McLaren, M.A., pastor of Davisburg, Pine Creek and Melrose, in the Presbytery of Calgary,
entered into rest Sabbath morning, December 22nd., 1912, after
a brief illness, at the age of sixty-two years.    It was heart failure.
Mr. McLaren was a loyal son of the Presbyterian* Church
in Canada. He was born of Highland Scotch parents in the
township of East Nissouri, County of Oxford, Ont., raised in a
farm home hewn out of the forest, a type of the pioneer homes
of Canada, centres of industry and of moral and religious training.
The next step in his education was spent in the public schools
of his native township, after which he entered* the Brantford
high school under the leadership of the late Principal Mills, 156 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
whose memory Mr. McLaren revered until the end of his life.
Mr. McLaren was a graduate of Queen's University, from which
he received his M.A. degree. So far as the writer of this sketch
can learn, Mr. McLaren took his theological course in Union
Seminary, New York (at least a couple of sessions). As a student
Mr. McLaren did home mission work in Manitoba, laboring in
Springfield, Sunnyside and adjoining stations east of Red River,
then labored for six years in Kansas City Presbytery. Spent
four years as a missionary in the mountain districts of eastern
Tennessee,   among  the  mountaineers,   and  was  a  member  of
Formerly of Medicine Hat, Alberta, later Pine Creek and Red
Deer Lake.
Knoxville Presbytery. Returned to Canada about 1898, took
up work at Fort Colbourne for about six years. While preparing
to come to Alberta, he spent a short time doing home mission
work in the Presbytery of Owen Sound; then came to Medicine
Hat, October, 1905, where he labored with great fidelity in that
extensive home mission district, within the bounds of the Presbytery of Calgary.
His life work was truly laying foundations for others to
build upon.    He was held in high esteem by his people and PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 157
the children loved him. After twenty-five years of strenuous
work, Mr. McLaren was advised by his physician to take a year
or two of rest. On resuming work he received a hearty and
unanimous call from the congregation of Davisburg, Pine Creek
and Melrose in the same presbytery, where he labored with
great acceptance and growing in the esteem and love of his people
until the Master's call came and His servant was ready.
He was laid to rest in Union cemetery on Thursday afternoon, December 24th., 1912. The services were conducted
under the auspices of the presbytery of which he was an honored
member. The moderator, Rev. P. A. Walker, presiding. Rev.
Wm. Shearer read the Scripture lesson; Rev. Dr. Mclvor led in
prayer; the Rev. Hugh McKellar and Rev. Mr. Church (Anglican
clergyman) gave brief addresses; the Rev. A. Mahaffy offered
prayer at the grave and the Rev. J. A. Clark pronounced the
benediction. There were representative elders and members
present from the different parts of the congregation. Mr.
George McLaren, a brother of the deceased, was present from
Nelson, B.C., also sympathizing friends from Calgary and Medicine Hat. The Rev. Messrs. Clark, Mahaffy, Esler, McWilliams,
Shearer, Rannie and Dr. Mclvor acted as pall-bearers. There
are left to mourn his loss a widow and three young daughters,
three brothers and two sisters, Miss Annie, who spent twenty-
six years in the Indian mission work in Birtle, Man.
Copy of resolution passed by presbytery re Mr. McLaren:
"It was moved by the Rev. H. McKellar and seconded by
the Rev. E. E. Hench, that this presbytery place on record its
deep sense of loss and great sorrow at the sudden decease of the
late Archibald McLaren, December 22nd., 1912, age sixty-two
years, at the Holy Cross Hospital, Calgary.
"Mr. McLaren was of Highland Scotch descent and was
born in the county of Oxford, Ont. He was a graduate in Arts
in Queen's University, and student in theology in Union
Seminary, New York. His chief ministry was in the mission
fields of our own Canadian West. He laid foundations for others
to build thereon. Knowing from experience the needs and
hardships of the missionary, Mr. McLaren was ever his warm
friend, pleading that he receive greater consideration and more
generous support for his arduous and oftimes thankless and discouraging  labors.    It  is  very  satisfactory to  know  that our —I
missionaries are now in the enjoyment of that for which our late
brother so ardently contended.
"Mr. McLaren was a faithful attendant at the courts of
our church and was ever ready to do his share of the work. His
presence and wise counsel will be greatly missed. The Presbytery of Calgary desires to express its deep sympathy with the
congregation of Davisburg, Melrose and Pine Creek in the
sudden and unexpected loss of so faithful and beloved a pastor.
But very especially do we wish to express our heartfelt grief
for the widow and family in this, their hour of great sorrow.
Our prayer is that the God of all comfort and consolation may
be their comfort in the hour of great need."
Experiences in Home mission Work
Sketch by the Rev. J. A. Claxton, B.A.
About thirty years ago I came as a student missionary to a
Home Mission Field with Calgary as centre. Here I landed
with others in May, and at once set to work to invest in a native
pony and saddle. My field was far-flung, extending to Jumping
Pond on the West. I also supplied points north and east of the
City. I started by securing room and board in a home in Calgary,
but that proving too much for my purse I secured quarters with
a Bachelor, Billy Gibson by name, a resident of Springbank. This
was one of the happiest summers and I vowed then that if ever
opportunity offered I would return to the Land of Sunshine.
Some nine years later as an ordained minister the opportunity
was offered, and I landed with wife and family in the midst of a
November snow storm at Cochrane. Here we lived in close
quarters for the winter, and in due time were privileged to occupy
the commodious manse, that stands at present on the same lot as
the church.
At first this proved to be a very extensive fielcf, but I had good
health and enjoyed the long journeys north and south. On my
first Sunday I got lost and was forced to find shelter with a rancher.
At another time I was not so fortunate, and had to be content with
a saddle blanket for a pillow and a table in a deserted shack for
a bed. However, the Lord was with me that night and during
the nine years that we went in and out, along trail, up hill and
through coulee on horseback and by vehicle.   When we left two PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
new churches had been built and a commodious home for the
minister. What friends we had in those days! Can we ever
forget the Laidlaws, Skinners, Kings, Fishers, Munroes, etc. etc.
REV.   J.   A.   CLAXTON,   B.D.
Medicine Hat
Since that time our lot has been cast in a smaller arear. We
spent four years in Bassano and have up to the present writing
been eight years in Medicine Hat, but the Pioneer Days in Home
Mission Work, with all their hardships have been the days of all
the days the best. CHAPTER   IX.
FRENCH   WORK   IN   ALBERTA   BY   REV.   J.   E.   DUCLOS,   B.A.,
IT was in March, 1916, that I received a letter from a French-
Canadian in Bonnyville, stating that there were thirty families
leaving the Roman Catholic Church, and he asked if a minister
of the Gospel could come and "teach them how to perform their
religious duties."
I was then pastor of Erskine church, in Edmonton. I
immediately asked Presbytery leave to visit the field, and I
found that whilst the letter purported the truth, there were
only four families who were both ready to sever their connection with the Roman Catholic Church and to join any evangelical
society. The others had drifted into a state of infidelity and
indifference, but these four formed the nucleus of a great work.
I spent two days and two nights with them reading and discussing the doctrines of the Bible and comparative religion,
continuing as late as two o'clock in the morning.
These people were thirsty for the truth. They eagerly
entered into the controversy and listened most attentively.
It was a great joy to me to unfold the truth to a people to whom
had been denied the Gospel for generations.
In the matter of supply I could not promise them anything
more than the services of a student. I afterwards thought
that so critical a situation should not be handled by a novice,
but by an experienced minister of the Gospel. I again brought
the matter before presbytery, which referred it to the synod.
The synod favorably considered the appeal from Bonnyville,
and the French and bi-lingual work in Alberta, and strongly
recommended it to the earnest consideration of the Home Mission
Board. My appointment to the work was also strongly recommended.
But the great war was on already two years. The Home
Mission Board had a deficit of $137,000.00 and was retrenching
in fields which had already been occupied for years. It was
therefore unwilling to open any new field however important it
might be. My personal appeal before the Home Mission Board
having proved unsuccessful, I returned to Edmonton sad hearted,
but not discouraged. The appeal from Bonnyville was a Macedonian cry which had to be answered at any cost.
By mutual consent, presbytery supplied my pulpit for
July, and instead of taking my usual holiday, I spent that month
in Bonnyville. Interesting meetings were held on four Sundays
in succession.    These were in nature expository,  controversial,
THE   REV.   J.   E.  DUCLOS,   B.A.
Bonnyville French Mission, Alberta.
and questions were asked. A petition of forty names was signed
favoring the establishment of a Presbyterian mission in Bonnyville.
The priest, alarmed at the turn of'things, appealed for aid,
and a Jesuit Father was sent from Edmonton to denounce the
new movement. The^'homes of this parish were immediately
visited and the people warned against a wolf in sheep's clothing
and they rallied in full force at mass on Sunday.
From the pulpit, the Jesuit Father launched tirade after
tirade against me and those leaving the Roman Catholic Church; 162 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
With the narrow bigoted class, this kind of fulmination suited,
but it worked against the grain of even staunch Roman Catholics
of a liberal type, and it rather helped than hindered our work.
I returned to Edmonton more determined than ever to
champion this noble cause. Ministers came to persuade me to
wait until after the war was over, or at least until spring, when
the financial condition of the Board would be healthier. My
invariable reply in every instance was, "This work must go on.
It is the Lord's work and this is the best time to start it. It
is a spiritual warfare that should be actuated by the same enthusiasm as is shown in the great European war."
Mrs. Duclos, my wife, strongly opposed the resignation of
my pastorate to take up a work so casual in character. And
as there was no salary attached, or guarantee of financial support, there was nothing but poverty staring us in the face. It
was a time of trial and heart-searching. One morning after
breakfast, as we were discussing the matter I could not persuade
her to consent to my resignation. She stood stolid as a rock.
I arose, somewhat impatient, to walk out of the room when
she said, "We have not had worship yet." I sat down and
inadvertently opened the Bible to 1 Corinthians, 16, without
turning a leaf, and my eye struck the 9th. verse, "For a great
door and effectual is opened unto you and there are many adversaries. "
"Isn't this wonderful," I said, "I am more persuaded
than ever that this is a call of the Lord, and you, my dear, are
the first adversary."
"Well," replied Mrs. Duclos, "If you believe that it is a
call of God, then I shall follow you."
At the presbytery meeting I expressed my regret at the
inability of the Board to take up the work. I tendered my
resignation, declaring that God would provide. This act of
renunciation on my part was not expected, and out of sympathy
for me the presbytery passed a strong resolution recommending
to the Board my appointment. The appointment was made at
a smaller salary than I had in Erskine church, but to me it mattered little.
I In the last week of October I was on my way to Bonnyville, driving from Edmonton, a distance of one hundred and
eighty miles.     Then began the  conflict of a great spiritual PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 163
warfare; a race and creed conflict; family and individual conflict, and an opposition manifested from the bishop down to
the parish priest. The first thing the existing authorities did
was to remove the school teacher, who whilst a French-Canadian
and a B.A. of Laval University, was not a Catholic at heart
and would not teach accorcling to the instructions of the Church, ►
and being sympathetic with our cause he would become a dangerous element in the community. November the 7th. was the
fixed date for his departure. The trustees wrote to the Department in Edmonton asking to retain him until his time at least
would expire. The people, who liked him as a teacher, being
the best they ever had, also petitioned for his retention. But
it was of no avail. The decrees had been sealed and he had
to go. On the morning of the 7th., the teacher came to me
with a telegram which read as follows: "Come to Edmonton
immediately with your luggage, a place is waiting for you,"
signed by a member of parliament.
"That," I remarked, "is all bluff. It is to get you out of
Bonnyville at once and you will find it out."
"I was thinking so," he replied, "but what can I do?"
He went to Edmonton and remained there two months, paying
board in a hotel without doing a stroke of work.
He then got something to do in the government service,,
but things were made so hard for him that he had to leave Edmonton.
One   ecclesiastical   scheme  had   been   accomplished.    One
dreaded obstacle had been removed.   Now Duclos must go.    I
had started a night school at the request of the people, beginning
^with twenty-three pupils, nearly all married women and men
and bachelors, and the enrollment rose to forty.
It was a most interesting thing to see husbands and wives,
some of them being totally illiterate, while others could barely
read and write, come to learn the primary elements of education.
One faithful but observant member of the Roman Catholic
Church said to his priest, "You are against the progress of the
community. You have sent away our teacher, the best we
ever had, and now you are trying to close the night school. Mr,
Duclos is doing good work; why not leave him alone. He has
done more good for the little time he has been here than all the
priests together for the last nine years." 164 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
Seeing that several of his people were forsaking the papal
standard to accept the teachings of the Reform Church, and that
some of his loyal ones were reproving h'm for his actions, the
priest became discouraged and declared from the pulpit one
Sunday morning, that he was going to leave. He sold his horses
and outfit and returned to the province of Quebec.
This was a great triumph for the Gospel of Christ and an
eye opener to the people. In some quarters creed bitterness
was much intensified and I was warned to carry a revolver, as
a plot was laid against me. I answered that I had never carried
a revolver to protect myself; the only weapon I ever used was
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Though much has been said against me, I have never been
molested. Roman Catholics have learned to respect the cause
which we have, by the Grace of God, established in Alberta.
A French-Canadian free thinker told me one day, "You
do not know what good work has been done even among Roman
Catholics. It has made them more liberal-minded and more
kindly disposed towards Protestants. It has given them <a
greater desire for education and has stimulated them to material progress, and they attend church better now."
In this vast West we are confronted with a great race problem which is seriously threatening our national ideals, and there
is no subject that requires to be dealt with more tactfully than
it, and none is more difficult to solve, in a new and rapidly
growing country than this delicate question.
Creeds may be assailed and torn to shreds; dynasties may
be upset and wiped off the earth, yet the flustered effect produced in either case will, in time, blow away.
Not so, however, with race sensitiveness. Like the seismic
needle, which, susceptible to every quiver of the earth, registers
the shock, however slight it may be, so race sensitiveness feels
the slightest jar of hostility, and in every ethnic clash records,
with indelible signs, the wounded pride of the patriot.
In the solution of this difficult problem, the Gospel of Christ
must be fundamental and the Christian Church the melting
pot in which to seethe this great racial mixture into one patriotic
When the Divine Master taught the Samaritans, whose,
bitterness towards the Jews was proverbial, he broke down the PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 165
race barrier and established a creed of common brotherhood.
On this basis we have founded our French and bi-lingual cause
in Alberta.
Five years have now elapsed since the inception of this
work. Starting with nothing but a large field of non-Anglo-
Saxon people; with no church organization whatever, but with
all the obstacles that the Roman hierarchy could place in the
way, we now have a pretty church at Bonnyville, which was
opened last July and dedicated free of debt, and which is the
first French Protestant church west of the Great Lakes.
A hospital was established four years ago, and a new one
is now being erected at a cost of $15,000.
Cold Lake, forty miles north, constitutes a large settlement
of French-Canadians and Scandinavians, sprinkled here and
there with English people. This whole community, being perforated with bolshevism and infidelity, resisted for a long time
the opening of a public school. The Roman Catholic Church,
which had priority of settlement in Cold Lake, could not handle
the situation.
But a break was finally made in this hardened field by
starting the school with a Roman Catholic as teacher. For
seven years there had been no school. Race and religious difficulties kept parents from educating their children. But now
the school is operated and is taught in accordance with the
ordinance of the province. I cannot occupy space to relate the
steps taken to arrive at this successful issue, but Roman
Catholics give us the credit for opening the school and of con-'
ciliating the people, but it was done by the grace of God and in
the presentation of the Gospel of Christ.
At a later period a cottage was hired and a hospital started,
in which Sunday services are also held.
At Durlingville and Ardmore, a Scandinavian and English
colony, midway between Bonnyville and Cold Lake, a church
has been erected and also two school houses.
At La Corey, a mixed community of Scandinavians, English
and French, a church was built, which will serve also as a school
house in the meantime.
St. Paul, the largest French-Canadian town in Alberta, is
the latest field which we have invaded, but it has been done
n the face of bitter opposition. 166 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Anonymous notes were received threatening us to cease or
we would be burned out. The residential home, which served
as our first meeting place, was stoned, windows were broken,
and the house set on fire and narrowly escaped being burned
to the ground. This deed of perpetration was done by a few
fanatics, for the better element was strongly opposed to such
behaviour and looked upon it as a disgrace to the community.
French-Canadians are, as a rule, peaceable citizens and the more
enlightened ones are broad minded and tolerant.
By the grace of God the tide changed. A church has been
erected and a congregation organized. There are five fields,
including Edmonton, now in operation, constituting fifteen
preaching stations. Within the last two years two school homes
have been established in Edmonton for boys and girls from rural
districts where there is either no school or schools of an inferior
Now, it can be seen, that to make possible the success of
this missionary enterprise our work was made a forward movement of a three-fold character.
First—The Evangelical.
The preaching of the message of our Lord has been paramount in establishing the fraternal bond of a common humanity,
and this has been done in both French and English. The
evangelical side of the work has been the vital and most comprehensive part of our mission, for it deals with conviction,
conversion and righteousness. It has to do with the construction
of the human character and moves, therefore, on lines of greatest
On this principle, sixty French-Canadians, comprising
twenty homes, have openly renounced Roman Catholicism to
accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Presbyteiian
Church, and as many more Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists
and Methodists have united in fellowship with us; but our great
field of labor is with the unconverted of all classes, and this
demands a ceaseless effort of aggressive work, a method of evangelization enjoined upon us by our Lord and Master.
Among the converts was an old man of eighty-two years
of age. He believed thoroughly in all the doctrines of the Roman
Catholic Church until he had heard the Gospel of Christ expounded to him.   At the first communion service he answered PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
all the questions without any equivocation whatever. He is
now eighty-six years old and is still bright and quick of perception. He is happy and rejoices in the full and assured
salvation of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
The Hospital Side of the Situation.
The hospital was made, from its very inception, an integral
part of our work. It was organized as a mission hospital in
October, 1917, and I superintended it most carefully. We endeavored to make the mind play an important part in the healing
of the sick and that faith should become a fundamental ingredient
in our prescriptions. This was not an easy thing to do with
nurses who had more faith in medicine chests than in the application of Gospel truth, but we pressed upon them the necessity
of winning the confidence of patients in order to obtain from
their work the best possible results; that they should enter the
sick room with a pleasant countenance, having a demeanor
hopeful and assuring, and it worked like a charm.
Our first nurse, the late Miss Stewart, would, as she thought,
maintain the dignity of her profession by refusing to go out on
district work. She was a kind and big hearted girl and was
easily reasoned with in the matter. She was shown the
importance of breaking down prejudice among a people who
were adverse to our institutions by inspiring them with confidence in our work, and that this, at the very outset, could be
most successfully done in the home, where the sick could more
bravely submit to treatment by a heretical nurse.
A splendid opportunity presented itself for a test of this
It was in December, 1917, that a French-Canadian woman
took seriously ill. Prejudice and superstition were too deeply
seated in the composition of the sick woman to allow herself to
be brought to a Protestant hospital.
But there was no doctor, and no other nurse in the whole
district, so her husband ventured to come for Miss Stewart
and within an hour this devoted nurse found herself by the
bedside of her new patient, whose home was a small shack 16x18,
cluttered with farm truck. There were four inmates, father;
two grown up sons and the sick mother, living in this small one
In this unscreened place of embarrassment Nurse Stewart
remained ten days and ten nights, with no other place to sleep
than with her patient. The people wondered at such self-denial
and love. It was, as the statesman would say, "her coup d'etat."
It was the great stroke against prejudice and superstition.
Neighbors came to be treated and were pleased with the nurse
and the successful treatment she gave them, and the woman
of the shack who was in such a critical condition Was restored
to health again. Nurse Stewart, by the grace of God, did it.
Her smiling countenance, her self-denial, her assured manner,
which left no doubt as to her ability to heal, all inspired confidence of recovery.
However much the restoration of health of these women
was due to professional nursing, theirs were cases of psychological
healing. This instance of sacrifice on the part of Miss Stewart,
for the alleviation of suffering humanity, raised her in the estimation of French-Canadians far above the status of a skilled
nurse. It won her the praiseworthy appellation, une vraie bonne
personne, une vraie saints. The barrier of prejudice to our
hospital was now broken down and Roman Catholics from every
quarter of the country came to be treated in an institution,
which, some time previous, they were afraid to enter.
In Miss Stewart there was a gracious feature essential to
inspire the sick with confidence in their nurse. Before retiring
for the night she would kneel by the bedside of her patient in
silent prayer. And this holy attitude beautifully harmonized
with her work of love and self-denial.
Twelve months later whilst nursing flu cases at Tofield,
Miss Stewart was smitten with the dreadful disease and died a
martyr to service and devotion. Had she been a Roman
Catholic she would have been canonized as a saint. The little
shack, though it has been removed elsewhere, remains as a
hallowed spot in the memories of those to whom this sacred
story is familiar.
Psychological bearing in the treatment of the sick is irrefutably convincing. A young husband took very sick with
grippe and swollen glands. He was suffering acute pain in the
neck and shoulder. The nurse was attending him twice a day
in his home, three quarters of a mile from the hospital, but he
was growing worse.   He sent for me.    I drove to his house -PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
with the nurse at eleven o'clock at night. The nurse, who was
skilled in her profession, touched the painful spot on the patient's neck and then said to his wife, "Keep applying thermafuge
warm.   Don't let it get cold."
The patient, calling me to his bedside, said in French, "This
nurse is doing me no good whatever. She does not seem to
care a bit and I am suffering agony.    I want the other nurse."
I took the nurse aside and asked, "Can you not do something for him?" "Nothing more," she replied, "it must do
its time." "Well," she interjected, "I could apply bread
poultice for a change, but there is no milk here." "I'll drive
to the hospital for some," I answered, "and in the meantime,
do something for him; massage him; let him feel that you are
taking an interest in him." When I returned in half an hour,
he was a different man. Smilingly he said, "Mr. Duclos, I
feel so much better. The pain is all gone." And then he
quietly whispered, "She can nurse all right."
The removal of the pain in the case of this man was not due
to massaging, whatever good it may have done. It was an
instance of mental therapeutics.
Christ was first to teach the psychology of healing, and
the Gospels are full of instances to confirm this fact.
The Educational.
Education is fundamental in the lifting up of a people to
a higher plane of living. The preaching of the Gospel and
the work of our hospitals are distinct channels of education,
essential in training the mind in righteousness and the heart in
But we want also the purely intellectual school with its
axioms and dry logic to discipline the mind, and homes were
opened as residences for boys and girls in order to give them
the education afforded in the public school. Two distinct phases
of teaching are unconsciously wrought in the fives of these young
i eople.
Firstly: The sense of Canadian patriotism. In the public
schools they learn to respect our flag and traditions and they
become English without knowing it.
Secondly: The religious education the boys and girls receive in homes transforms their young fives and makes
missionaries of them.    They return to their respective homes 170
with new convictions and ideals. The Scriptural training they
daily receive in their own tongue makes them earnest and fit
to teach their parents the Gospel of love and redemption.
On a whole, these two educational departments fit them
for the pursuits of life and to measure more equally with their
English fellow citizens. An expedient phase of this educational
work is that it meets a perplexing social problem.
A great difficulty we have to contend with in our French
,work is the marriage question. Our young people are bound
to inter-marry with Roman Catholics, because they have no
other alternative than bachelorhood.
The instinct of love is the same in all generations. It is
blind to defects, recalcitrant to opposition, and heedless to
counsel. These three phases of the situation I have regret-
tingly seen displayed in the short space of time during which our
French work has been in existence.
Our school homes will help to remove this perplexity. Here,
boys and girls, coming from different parts of the province,
get acquainted with one another, and when the time comes
that these youths want to marry they will know just where to
get a wife.
Our French and bi-lingual work viewed in its broad and
comprehensive sense, is at once patriotic and Christian in the
highest degree.
Our hospitals are the outdoor steps of our missionary work.
They lead right up to the threshold of the inner life and afford
a grand opportunity of dealing with the soul. They are instituted
where municipal hospitals cannot be built, and our missionaries
and nurses penetrate into the most remote parts of the country,
healing the sick and bringing the sweet message of the Gospel to
pioneer settlers.
Boys and girls from these backwoods places can now
come to school in Edmonton, where they can learn and prepare
to rightly take their place in shaping the destinies of our land.
One cannot compute the good that has been done by the
institution of our work in this great non-Anglo-Saxon district.
Even Roman Catholics declare that it has done more for progress and for the uplifting of the community than any other
The establishing of organic union among all the Protestants
in our mission fields is the strongest argument against the charge
of a divided church.
And it is delightful to hear on special occasions, these people
of different races and training, singing the same hymns and
listening eagerly to the same Truth. This fusion of thought
and soul ultimately means the welding, on the anvil of the
Gospel, a great heterogeneous element into one Christian nationhood. CHAPTER   X.
Sketch of Mission Work in Alberta
By Rev. G. R. Lang
jV^TRS. Lang and I, with our two young children, arrived from
*V1 Ontario at Olds, Alta., a little town fifty-six miles north
of Calgary, the sixth day of November, 1901.
I was appointed to take charge of that ordained mission
field by the late Rev. James Robertson, D.D., who was at that
Formerly in charge of Vegreville schools.
Formerly of Vegreville, Alberta.
time Superintendent of Missions for the whole country lying
between the east boundary of Manitoba and the Pacific Ocean.
My predecessor was the Rev. Hector MacKinnon, one of the
many MacKinnons from the Maritime Provinces, who have
devoted their lives to the work of the Presbyterian Church.
Previous to his going to that field, Rev. Peter Naismith was
in charge, and I believe was the first Presbyterian missionary in
that district.
When I entered on my duties, the field consisted of five
preaching stations. Two of these, Olds and Bowden, were on
the railroad fine running from Calgary to Edmonton, the only
railroad connecting these two cities at that time. The following
spring, Bowden, and a point about six miles west, were taken
from the Olds field, and a student, George MacKinnon, a cousin
of Rev. Hector MacKinnon, was placed in charge. The next
change was to withdraw from Hainstock, a point about seven
miles west of Olds, and take up another point, York district,
about nine miles south-west of Olds. The reason for withdrawing from Hainstock was that the Methodist minister was
holding services there alternately and no services were being
held at York district. The other point, called Bennet, was
about five miles east of Olds. Another point eight miles or so
south-east of Olds, was taken up later, but eventually we got
down to three: Olds, Bennet, and York district.
In those days we were (ften visited by Rev. Dr. Herdman,
successor to the late Dr. Robertson as Superintendent of Missions
for Alberta and British Columbia, who not only took a very
deep interest in the work and gave himself unsparingly to it,
but also brought cheer, encouragement, and good advice to the
minister and his wife, and it was, indeed, a great pleasure to
have him as the guest of the manse.
These were the days of trails, wet seasons, and at times,
very bad roads, and sometimes when it was not safe to take the
shortest way and go through the sloughs or mudholes, we took
the round-about-way, going through shallow water, over brush
or anything else that might be in the way, which added considerably to the distance to be travelled. We were fortunate,
however, in always being able to get through without any serious
trouble, but it was a common thing for men to be stuck in the
mudholes and have to lighten their load before they could get
out. On, one occasion the Methodist minister, driving with his
wife and child, was going through a nasty mudhole when the
doubletree broke and the team walked off, leaving the buggy
standing in the hole, and the little family sitting in the buggy..
The minister and his wife had to walk the buggy pole and carry 174     IS'    PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
the child in order to get on to the dry ground. I think, however,
with that exception, he also was fortunate in his travelling experiences.
The people of the town and district were very nice, kind
and hospitable, and glad to have Mrs. Lang and myself visit
them in their homes. They appreciated our efforts on their
behalf, and the seven years of labor with them were among our
happiest days.
There was a nice church at Olds and a little manse, but as
our family was not large we got along very well in our small house.
I wish to mention an episode that stands out in my memory
in connection with the experiences of those days. One morning
I was at the station about to take the train to attend a meeting
of presbytery, when an excited young man hurried in and wanted
me to officiate at his wedding the next day. Well, as requests
of that kind could hardly be set aside, that put an end to the
thought of attending the presbytery meeting.
The bride-to-be, lived about thirty miles west, across   the
Big Red Deer river, and the marriage was to be in the forenoon
of the next day.    This necessitated making the greater part
of the journey that afternoon, which was done, the young man
taking a livery team to bring back his bride, and I taking my
own team to bring back myself, as there was only room for two
in his buggy.    We arrived in the evening at the home of a rancher
on the east side of the river, where we remained over night.
The rest of the journey was made the next morning, but with
horses  and  saddles.    The  reason for the horses  and  saddles
was that the sawlogs were coming down the river so thickly
and with such force that it was dangerous to cross with buggies,
and even with horses and saddles we had to watch our chance.
(There was no bridge, and we had to ford the stream).    We
reached the home of the young lady somewhat ahead of time,
and in the interval I had an opportunity of viewing the surrounding country.    The ceremony over, a sumptuous repast partaken
of, and a generous fee placed in my hand, we turned our faces
townward, the bride's father and mother accompanying us in
their democrat, thinking they might be able to ford the river,
and take the bride as far as the ranch where we had left our buggies and other horses.    However, when we reached the river
the logs were coming down in such numbers and so swiftly that PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
it was impossible to take the democrat across. How then were
we to get the bride across? The groom and I watched our
chance and crossed on our horses, then he took the two horses
back, got the bride on the one and himself on the other,
and after a little manoeuvering and a good bit of excitement,
seasoned with amusement, they got safely over. Then, leaving
the democrat and its occupants on the other side, and with
groom and bride on the one horse and I on the other, we started
for the home of the rancher, where we bad left our buggies.
The rest of the trip to town was made in peace and quietness.,
and in time for the happy couple to take the train for a little
honeymoon outing.
Exactly seven years from the day we left Ontario for Olds,
we left Olds for Vegreville, a town seventy-three miles east of
Edmonton, on the Canadian Northern railway, and situated
almost in the centre of a large foreign district, consisting chiefly
of emigrants from Austria. For five years and five months I
labored there as minister of the Presbyterian church. A hospital had been established there by the Women's Home
Missionary Society, (this was before the amalgamation of the
two Societies), a few years earlier, and at the-time of our arrival,
was in charge of Rev. George Arthur, M.D., and was, indeed, a
great boon to the people, as there was no hospital nearer than
Edmonton at that time. Dr. Arthur, however, with his intense
interest in the people, and his keen insight into their needs,
was not long in charge before he was planning something more
for their good. First, it was a night school for foreign young
men and women, which was carried on successfully for some
time, and in which the doctor was himself the teacher. Next,
it was a home for boys of foreign parentage living too great a
distance from schools to be able to take advantage of them,
and so the first boys' home was established, with Dr. Arthur's
mother in charge as matron, who gave the first year of her serr
vices free, and also made a contribution in money large enough
to support a boy for one year. It was not long before three more
homes were opened and in. full swing, two for boys and one for
girls. Dr. Arthur carried on this work very successfully, though
handicapped at first by the scarcity of funds, till the spring of
1914, when he resigned the superintendency of both hospital
and homes.    On his resignation being accepted, I was appointed 176 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
secretary-treasurer of the hospital and superintendent of the
girls' and boys' homes, now known as the "school homes."
For nine years and seven months I was in charge of these homes,
and during that time we had the pleasure and satisfaction of
seeing many girls and boys getting a chance, they could not
possibly have gotten otherwise, to make good. Each home was
in charge of a matron, a good Christian woman, who devoted
herself unsparingly to the best interests of those under her care.
At first they all received their secular training in the town schools,
but later, owing to the lack of accommodation in these schools,
the Women's Missionary Board had to provide a room and a
teacher for the lower grades. The moral and religious training
was given by the matrons and myself. The girls and boys attended the church services Sunday mornings, Sunday school in
the afternoon, and in the evening we had our own service in our
schoolroom. It is a great pleasure to think of those who have
gone out from these homes, and are measuring up well.
Later, it was thought advisable to concentrate, and gather
the boys all under one roof, and in January, 1923, a new boys'
home, the erection of which was begun the previous fall, was
completed, capable of accommodating thirty boys. So that
now the work is being carried on in two homes, a girls' home
that will accommodate twenty-two girls, and a boys' home
with a capacity for thirty. In these homes, girls and boys are
getting a much needed opportunity to realize their best, and be
fitted for life's service.
Sketch of work in British  Columbia and Alberta  by  The Rev.
P. McNabb.
"Dear Dr. McKellar: After spending almost fifteen years
in the pastorate at Kilsythe, etc., in the Presbytery of Owen
Sound, it was a great change to plunge into missionary work
in the interior of British Columbia. This was at Arrowhead,
where I remained, gaining experience and preaching the Gospel
for about nine months in the year 1908. In the year 1909,
was called to the pastoral charge of Trail. This being a smelter
town, gathered to itself an entirely different class of citizens
from that in the upper district of Arrowhead. The latter were
nearly all connected with the lumber business. When I arrived, the saloons were open seven days in the week and twenty- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
four hours in the day. Drinking was accompanied by the music
of slot machines, and gambling was carried (silently) on in most,
if not all, the saloons. The effects of both are unrecordable.
Other vices, also, were not wanting, and unmolested.
I had been giving occasional services at a saw-mill a few
miles out of town. Did not know whether my services were
doing good, or being appreciated, when light came. It was thus.
An old man who had seen all sides of life, east and west, met
me as I was amid hope and doubt, making my way to the camp.
He greeted me in his usual hearty way. Then added: "I do not
go to church, nor take much stock in religion, but I want to
tell you that the boys are always glad to see you come, and enjoy the "services, though they do not say much about it. He
knew. From that day I felt a burden gone. One of this crew,
a French-Canadian, took sick, and was very ill. A visit or two,
and with his permission, a chapter of John's Gospel, was read
and prayer offered for this young man, far away from home
and kindred, was greatly appreciated. He was noticeably
moved. God in His providence was pleased to restore him to
health. When it came to my last Sabbath in that district,
this brother accompanied me, well out of the woods, to show
his appreciation and, by the way, to confess where his greatest
weakness lay. Said he, "A glass or two and it is all over with
me, and then (referring to the saloon-keepers) they get all I
have." I knew the truth of this, and also that he ought to
know more about Jesus, and made the best I could of my time.
Another, a descendant of the Emerald Isle, known as Paddy,
became, in the course of time, a warm friend. One day I said
to him, .'Mr.—, do you not sometimes think of death, judgment
and eternity'? 'Well,' was the reply, 'to tell you the truth,
there was a time when I did not. But I do now.' A few heart
to heart words passed, and the next moment we were both on
our knees in the sand by the lake shore. Will it be said, as the
secret things of grace are unfolded, 'This-man was born there?'
"At Trail, there was a saloon for about every two hundred
of the population. Prostitution, notwithstanding the fact that
it was contrary to law, divine and civic, was a source of revenue
to the city coffers. During my stay there, an effort was made
to stamp out this unnatural business, with good effects a year
or two afterwards, when the mayor of the city took courage 178 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
and put the law into force. My work in that city, with but one
or two exceptions, was pleasant. Time will not reveal the
fruits.    Eternity alone can do that.
"My next move was to Ashcroft, the gate-way to the Cariboo, where I had the pleasure, and endured the pains, of stated
supply, for about one year. It was my pleasure to hold services
with men constructing the C.N.R., along the North Thompson
river. These men were not accustomed to having service up
to that time. At first, I felt timid about offering, but made the
attempt and was cordially received. On my arrival, I found
the men, some playing cards, some mending, some reading.
Soon all was in reverent readiness for the service. It will be
always a pleasure to remember the hearty way those fellows
Sang the old Gospel hymns. Their favorite seemed to be, 'Shall
we gather at the river.' All nationalities seemed to be represented. I cannot say that in all camps they were equally anxious
to hear the Word. In one, I thought I could get them to listen.
So, standing in the middle of the floor, preliminaries in order, I
began to preach, and was getting along, as I thought, pretty
well, when the supper gong sounded a summons to appear in
the dining-hall. A stream of humanity flowed past me, leaving
me to meditate on the folly of trying to preach to men on an
empty stomach. A strike soon followed, and many of the camps
closed down, much to the regret of many of the men.
"From this place, the next move was to the missionary district of Three Hills, Alta., which was then in the early days of
its settlement. It would take too long, and only repeating
what is the experience of most prairie missionaries, to relate
the long drives and kind hospitality almost invariable. One
can never forget the long drives and warm hearts. The people
appreciated the means of grace. My headquarters, Three Hills,
grew from the very beginning and is now one of the leading
congregations of the Presbytery of Red Deer. There rallied
about me a faithful band of workers, both in church and temperance activities. John Barleycorn was loose and licensed. But
a price was on his head and many were the brave scouts after
him. He lost his license in 1915. His friends are since strongly
defending him, but his lawlessness is sure to meet the same fate
as his license. It, too, will cease. Three Hills' early settlers
can never forget the fruits of the traffic.    We were all filled PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 179
with indignation when our friend Mac fell a victim to the fumes
and later to the flames. We were also filled with pity for the
little ones left fatherless by the ravages of this horrible monster.
"The congregation was made up of five or six different communions, but all fell in heartily with the Presbyterians. Here,
I spent almost five years of very pleasant fellowship and service.
For my comfort a cosy, if small, manse was built, followed by
the erection of a neat church. A number of preaching stations,
both east, and west, and south were served as best I could.
There are some outstanding experiences connected with this
outside work. One made a lasting impression. It was in connection with the organization of what is called Orkney—a
considerable number of the homesteaders being from that part
of Scotland. It was a bitter cold day, with the wind blowing
strong and the thermometer far below zero. In spite of this,
some two dozen people, mostly bachelors, gathered at the home
of one, Mr. R. Roberts, a Welsh homesteader. The service
was characterized by the accompaniments of the early days.
They appreciated the means of grace. Three men were selected
from their number to be the first board of management. These
were, Messrs. Wm. Murray, R. Near, and R. W. Ferguson.
They served faithfully and well. The bronchos we had to take
us—^one of the Dawn boys and myself—through the storm,
were unequally yoked. One was good after his own kind, but
the other had but few in his class, fortunately. When it came
time to start, he was not of that mind. It took more than coaxing to start him. To his credit it must be said, he was as persistent once started at the going as the balking. They have
finished their course. The station in the formation of which
they had a part, still lives and thrives, though born on such a
cold day.    It is warm-hearted and loyal.
"After spending two and one half years in the heavy field
of Langdon, was approached by the Alberta Auxiliary of the Canadian Bible Society to engage in the work of field secretary to
which the presbytery dissolved the pastoral tie, and since 1919,
have toured a very large portion of the province of Alberta in
the interests of that great missionary organization,
Yours sincerely,
P. McNabb. 180
The Rev. P. Naismith, Alta, writes:—
I arrived at Calgary from Glasgow, Scotland, in June, 1893,
and commenced work at Olds, situated fifty-six miles north of
Calgary, as the first missionary in that district. My experiences
onfthe field were not new or unexpected to me.
The Calgary and Edmonton railroad was opened in the spring
ofjthat year. The place looked somewhat new. The settlers
got there two months prior to my arrival—which numbered
about twenty families, mostly from Nebraska, U.S.    A few shacks
Formerly missionary in Alberta.
with a hotel made up the site of the town. I at once adapted
myself to my surroundings and in that way soon got to know the
I had to get a house to live in. The weather was nice and
warm. The manse was a one roomed shack with a shed at the
back. The next thing to get was furniture and a few shelves
for my books. I bought all we required at the lumber yard. I
set to and made a table and a bedstead with a few packing cases.
We got along very well and so got settled down to work. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 181
The people were very nice and gave us a hearty welcome—
minus the formal reception. I at once set to and visited the
people, by and by overtaking every house in about four hundred
square miles. The hearty hand shake and the cup of tea were
given in real American style.
We had about six Presbyterian families in the district, but
all were the same to me, so that in every shack, tent or mansion
the missionary was welcome. This just suited me. Some would
say, when I presented myself as a Presbyterian minister, "We
don't belong to your Church." We sunk the distinction and met
the man.    This attitude opened many a door to my great message.
General Scope and Method of Pioneer Work.
Visitation was the first essential; not the formal stiff call;
but real visitation was the power in my work on that wide field.
My system was my own as far as I know. I made it a point
after visiting a few families a few times, to arrange a service
in what I considered the most central and most suitable home, the
home of the most respected neighbor in the community, to which
home all were welcome for our service. I took up some simple
form of service, a few hymns, reading and expounding a chapter
which contained the great message of redeeming love. Our
service on such occasions commenced at 8 p.m., and lasted about
an hour, after which I had generally to drive ten or twelve miles
home. This continued mostly in the winter months, in all kinds
of weather, but it was worth while and it agreed with me. This
work was very encouraging. We had all the difficulties peculiar
to a new country to contend with, such as long drives and bad
roads. Still, the pioneer missionary, to be a success, must
forget himself and his own comfort for the sake of those to whom
he ininisters, and a small thing like a nor'-west blizzard or low
temperature, often fifty degrees below, could not prevent the
missionary from driving his thirty miles or attending his three
services each Sabbath.
The encouragements lay, not in the comforts the missionary
enjoyed—he was a true pioneer—facing all that this life offered,
hard work, seK-denial, and much privation. The physical strain
was enormous and nothing but the most rugged constitution
could continue for any number of years under it.
The spiritual life was maintained by meditation and prayer? 182 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
and living close to the Master, as Christian fellowship was rare
and bare.
J. C. Herdman rallied around the work and the missionary.-
He, along with D. G. McQueen, were ever my friends and sympathizers. The genuineness of the men was a stimulus and
inspiration to the missionaries of the West. In their arduous
duties they were pioneers themselves and had their hearts and
lives saturated with love of the West, in the highest and truest
sense of the term, the laying of the foundations in righteousness
of this great country. Nor can I ever forget the wise counsel
and practical help that came from the large-hearted missionary
(the Martyr of the West) the dear Superintendent, Dr. James
Let me say the missionary must possess deep Christian
principles, the highest motives and be willing to sacrifice and.
die for the Master he tries to serve.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
P. Naismith.
Sketch by the Rev. A. W. R. Whiteman.
In the summer of 1906 I was asked by the late Rev. Dr.
Herdman, Superintendent of Home Missions, to undertake the
work of our church in Cardston. The appeal came to me altogether unsought, and after considerable thought, I decided to
accept the invitation. On the first Monday in September,
1906, Mrs. Whiteman and I and little daughter arrived in Cards-
ton. A warm welcome was extended to us. For five months
no services had been held and the people seemed delighted to
have the work re-opened.
The Rev. Gavin Hamilton, a very able and devoted minister,
had opened the mission, built church and manse and had given ■
at least ten years of faithful service to Cardston and the surrounding country.    Mr. Hamilton is still with us, residing near Cowley,
in the Crow's Nest Pass.
The stations connected with Cardston were, Mountain
View and Boundary Creek. At Mountain View, an old log
building had been secured and converted into a church. Its
openness made it unfit for service in the winter time. A
movement was made to secure a new building, and after considerable effort among the people and outside, a very handsome PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
little church was erected. Much of the labor was cheerfully
given, and the people had the pleasure of seeing a church building
and worshipping therein—the work of their own hands.
At Boundary Creek we met for worship at the home of Mr.
and Mrs. Tuttle, who were ever kind in placing their home at
our disposal. Forty acres of land had been secured by the
late Dr. Robertson, Superintendent of Missions, for church
purposes.   It was resolved to make use of this property and
erect a church thereon. Thirty-nine acres were sold and one
acre reserved for our church building. Subscriptions were obtained and in the summer of 1908 a new church building was
erected and opened for service the first Sunday in June, by the
Rev. A. M. Gordon, B.A., of Knox Church, Lethbridge. Though
the day was unfavorable, a goodly number were present, and the
service was much enjoyed. The opening of the new church
gave an impetus for the time being, to our work.   A call for 184 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
services came from Spring Coulee, some sixteen miles east of
Cardston. A month of services was arranged. The late Wm.
Thompson and Mrs. Thompson were the originators. Services
were begun in the school house, and continued monthly for
some time, when a permanent service was established. A movement generously supported by the late Wm. Thompson, was
begun to secure a church. The matter assumed concrete form
and the present building was erected and opened for worship
by myself, in 1911. The church was placed under the care of a
missionary. ,
Services were applied for at Raley and began in the school
house. Mr. Church, who resides there, taking a very active
An invitation then came from Owendale, some twenty
miles south-east of Cardston, to open services. A prayer service
was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rightmeyer, which could
only be occasionally given owing to the many engagements of
the missionary. Arrangements were made to erect a church,
subscriptions were received, and the work began very auspiciously. A handsome little church was erected and opened by
myself, free of debt, on the second Sunday in June, 1912. Mr.
Farr, student missionary, was in charge for the summer months.
The Presbytery of MacLeod, realizing the need of a church
at Magrath, appointed the Rev. A. M. Gordon and myself to
visit and make arrangements for the erection of a church, if
possible. We found the people in sympathy, and the matter
was left in my hands. I visited the place on a given Sunday,
preached to a good congregation, explained the situation, and a
ready response came from all present. The work was undertaken at once, and a very handsome building erected. The Rev.
J J. Cameron, of Raymond, was then in charge.
At Aetna, a service was begun in the summer of 1910, in
the school house. A number of non-Mormon people had come
in, and it was thought wise to give them church services. A
missionary was appointed, Mr. Walker (student), who gave
services at Kimball, Aetna, etc., visiting homes in the surrounding country.
The work of the mission had become so extensive that
the Superintendent advised that help should be sent, accordingly,
a student; Mr. Hyslop Dickson, was sent to Mountain View PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 185
and Boundary Creek, in the summer of 1908. Mr. Dickson,
(now the Rev. Hyslop Dickson, of Manitoba) rendered valuable
services during the months he ministered to the people.
In 1909, Mr. J. Cook, now Rev. J. Cook, missionary in
India, was sent by the Home Mission Board, and rendered
excellent service. He was succeeded by Mr. John Adam Smith,
now Rev. J. Adam Smith, of Saskatchewan. Mr. Smith was
very active indeed. Services were held at Selby's schoolhouse,
as well as at Boundary Creek and Mountain View.
In 1909,1 was assisted by a Mr. Wilson (student, of Princeton, U.S.A.) at Spring Coulee and Magrath. Mr. Wilson was
succeeded by another of the same name, and again he was
succeeded by his brother, Rev. Mr. Wilson. Then followed
the Rev. Mr. Smith, who is now retired, near Red Deer.
Some experiences have left a deep and lasting impression.
There are times when even the life of the missionary is at stake,
during the summer that Mr. John Adam Smith was assisting
me at Boundary Creek, a very severe accident occurred, when
Mr. Smith almost lost his life. His pony stumbled, threw the
missionary and fell upon him. For part of a day and night
he lay helpless upon the prairie. Not being far from a home, he
was discovered, and every care given him.
Mr. Dickson, too, had a thrilling experience. While fording
the Belly River, his pony became unmanageable and the missionary was unhorsed, but clung tenaciously to the pony's neck.
Pony and missionary were carried a considerable distance down
the river, when a landing was made and the lives of the missionary
and pony saved.
While fording the St. Mary River with my ponies, accompanied by a friend, the stream had become swollen by waters
from the canal at Kimball being turned into the river. The
ponies were submerged, excepting their heads, but kept their
feet. My friend and I had great difficulty to keep the buggy
from upsetting. Our overcoats and other articles carried were
swept away. Owing to the steadiness of the ponies, they were
able to get their feet firmly on the bottom, and thus we reached
the shore, well soaked, but none the worse for our experience.
Our coats, etc., were recovered some days after, about two miles
down the river.
The work at Cardston was always interesting.   The in- 186 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
stability of settlement of families was a very discouraging factor.
The necessity of securing school privileges for our children,
soon became apparent to the missionary. A meeting was called
of the parents interested. It was decided to ask the Presbytery
of MacLeod for the privilege. Our plan was laid before the
Presbytery. It was resolved to raise three hundred dollars
towards the support of a teacher and ask the Home Mission
Board to supplement the balance at three hundred dollars. The
church was to be used, and the institution would be called,
"Alberta College for Boys and Girls." The Home Mission
Board refused to grant our request, and consequently the matter
was closed. At that time there were nearly sixty non-Mormon.
children of school age. Before a year had elapsed, there were
only a dozen left. Families moved away to other parts to secure
facilities of education. After spending five and a half years of
very strenuous, but most interesting work, I was called to
another charge. A very happy and profitable ministry was
closed. The most pleasant memories remained of kindness and
friendships which have not been broken.
In December, 1911, I was called to St. Andrew's Church,
Cochrane, twenty-two miles west of Calgary. The field was a
very inviting one. The brickyards and stone quarries which
were employing a large number of laborers, added much to the
prosperity of the field. The surrounding country, with its
many large ranches and beautiful homes were very inviting,
and we can never forget the hospitality and kindness of the people.
In the spring of 1914, I was invited by the Board of
Robertson Theological College, Edmonton, to become a financial
secretary, which position I held for almost five years.
In June, 1915, I accepted the position of financial secretary
of Knox church, which position I have now occupied for eight
years. Rev. A. W. R. Whiteman. CHAPTER   XL
Rev. Angus Robertson
REV. Angus Robertson, a graduate of Knox College, Torooto,
was appointed to take charge of the Calgary district by the
General Assembly's Home Mission Committee in June, 1883. His
first service in Calgary was held in I. G. Baker's store, with an attendance of nearly thirty.    By the Fall of the year, the first
First Presbyterian missionary in Calgary and surrounding district.
Presbyterian church was erected costing about $1,000.00. Major
Walker, now Colonel Walker, called the attention of the Rev.
James Robertson, Superintendent of the Presbyterian Home Missions, to the need of a mioister and getting services organized,
so in November of the same year, the congregation was organized
and a Communion roll established.
The town proceeded to grow rapidly. A new church was
commenced in 1886, which was opened for service in November,
1887, dedicated by the Rev. Dr. Pitblado, of Winnipeg, Rev.
Dr. Robertson, Superintendent of Missions, and the Rev. Mr.
Betts of the Methodist Church, Calgary.
The Rev. Angus Robertson conducted the last service in the
old church, the Sabbath previous, who then gave a review of the
early history of the founding of the cause.
In 1890, Angus Robertson, the noble founder of Presbyterianism in Calgary and. adjoining settlements, was laid aside with typhoid fever, and passed away in Medicine Hat hospital. The
funeral took place in Calgary. The remains were interred on the
very crest of a mound overlooking the town in the new cemetery,
in which this was the first interment. A tablet to his memory is
placed on the walls of Knox Church, Calgary, and another was
erected in the church at Donald. Both church and tablet being
now, however, moved to the rising town of Field, B.C.; and at
Maple Creek, Assiniboia, there is a handsome stone church called
the Robertson Memorial Church, named after him. These facts
alone bear witness to the widespread nature of his labors, so that
he was indeed as the tablet of Knox Church says, "Pioneer Missionary in the Western land."
The Rev. J. C. Herdman
In June, 1885, the Rev. J. C. Herdman came from Campbell-
ton, N.B., to join forces with Mr. Robertson. At that time, the
whole Presbyterian staff in the whole country consisted of these
two ministers at Calgary, Mr. Baird, of Edmonton, now Professor
Baird of Manitoba College, a student, Mr. W. P. McKenzie at
McLeod, and an ordained supply at Medicine Hat. While the
nearest minister to the West was on the banks of the Fraser River,
well down by New Westminster on the coast line.
In 1883, the Office Bearers of Knox Church were members of
Session, Rev. Angus Robertson, Moderator, Major James Walker
and Mr. Joseph McPherson, Elders. Managers, Dr. Andrew
Henderson, Mr. A. McNeil, Mr. Wm. Robertson, and Mr. McKel-
vie.    Communicants, Major James Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
McPherson, Messrs. Thomas Swan, J. R. Mitchell, and Dr.
Andrew Henderson, and adherent Mr. William Robeitson.
The first meeting of the Session was held on the fourth day of
February, 1884, when eight communicants sat down at the table.
On July 1st., 1885, Rev. J. C. Herdman took charge of the
congregation, and on February 17th., 1886, the congregation resolved to become a self supporting charge.
Knox congregation continued to make substantial progress
under the pastorate of Dr. Herdman, which continued until June,
1902,fwhen he was appointed Superintendent of Home Missions
on, Superintendent of Home Missions in
REV.  J.   C.  HERDMAN,  D.D.
Pastor of Knox Church, Calgary,
in Alberta, and late
British Columbia also.
Dr. Herdman passed away in June, 1910, deeply regretted by
a large circle of those who knew him best, especially by the old
timers in the West.
Mr. James Short, K.C., an esteemed Elder of Knox Church,
refers to Dr. Herdman in the following terms: "Unfailing courtesy was one of Dr. Herdman's outstanding characteristics. His
ripe scholarship, well balanced judgment, his wisdom and know- 190 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
ledge of men and affairs and his modesty, all combined to make
him an ideal counsellor and teacher of men.
In all public and social questions his interest was keen and
advanced. His views always modestly and so fittingly expressed,
were not only listened to with respect, but were constantly sought
after and frequently adopted. There was a sweet reasonableness
about his ideas, that commended them to his hearers, yet adamant,
where principle was concerned.
As an interpreter of Scripture, Dr. Herdman had few equals.
He left an impress upon his hearers and particularly upon his
classes for Bible Study, that makes his name amongst them still,
a household word. His was a life that did much to mould the
character of the West, and to bring honor upon the name "Presbyterian" and Presbyterians will do well to honor the name of Dr.
Dr. Herdman was held in the highest esteem by the pioneer
settlers and ranchers, and his memory is held sacred by those who
' remain. The sorrowful news of Dr. Herdman's death reached
the General Assembly when in session in the city of Halifax in
June, 1910. A resolution was unanimously passed and ordered
to be forwarded to the bereaved family by telegraph, conveying
to them the heartfelt sympathy of the General Assembly.
Rev. John A. Clark, B.A., D.D.
The Rev. John A. Clark, B.A., now Dr. Clark, succeeded
Dr. Herdman, as pastor of Knox Church, in November, 1903.
The congregation made rapid and substantial progress under
the pastorate of Dr. Clark in all departments of Christian work.
During Dr. Clark's ministry in Knox Church, two large and costly
church edifices were erected. First, that on Centre Street;
second, that on Fourth Street West. The latter, one of the finest
and best equipped church buildings in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
As a preacher and pastor, Dr. Clark was greatly beloved by
his own people and his resignation of his charge deeply regretted.
As a citizen, Dr. Clark held a strong place in Calgary and
Dr. Clark had two able and efficient assistants associated
with him in the work, each for a period, in the Rev. J. S. Shortt, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEERJMISSIONARIES
M.A., now of Olds, Alta., and the Rev. A. D. Archibald, now of
Vancouver, B.C.
l  ^Under the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Clark, the services of
REV. J. A.  CLARK,  B.A., D.D.
For 12 years pastor of Knox Church, Calgary, now
pastor of St. Matthew's Church, Halifax.
the Rev. A. W. R. Whiteman, B.A., were secured, to fill the duty
of Financial Secretary for the congregation. Mr. Whiteman's
appointment was made in June, 1915.
The Rev. Dr. Fulton, an American Presbyterian minister
by appointment, ably supplied the pulpit from January, 1916, to
January, 1917. 	
The Rev. Dr. Fraser, former pastor of the First Presbyterian
Church, Vancouver, B.C., was called and inducted in May, 1917.
Dr. Fraser's pastorate was very brief, yet though so brief, Dr.
Fraser gained the deep affection of his people, and his sudden
death was deeply mourned by old and young.
Rev. J. Macartney Wilson, M.A., D.D.
The Rev. J. Macartney Wilson, M.A., D.D., succeeded Dr.
Fraser in the pastorate of Knox Church, and during the six years 192 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
of Dr. Wilson's ministry, substantial progress has been made in
all branches of Christian activities. Dr. Wilson proved himself
an able and eloquent preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
as a teacher and instructor of the young, Dr. Wilson gained for
himself a strong place in the affection and confidence of the boys
and girls and young people of his congregation, which of itself is
a victory worth attaining.
Dr. Wilson's resignation has been accepted with very deep
regret by his own people, also by the citizens of Calgary generally,
but all are pleased the Doctor has been appointed to the chair of
Systematic Theology in Robertson College, Edmonton.
A brief account of its history, by Mr. John A. Bell, a venerable
member of the Session.
A number of the members of Knox Church residing in the
west end of the city were organized into a congregation which
they named Grace Church. This was in 1904. In the Spring
of 1905, a frame building was erected, which was opened and
dedicated July 2nd., 1905.
The Rev. C. A. Meyers was called to the pastorate and served
about a year to the satisfaction of an ever growing congregation,
composed of Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists, and
Congregationalists, Grace Church being the only congregation
in the western portion of the city.
We were next ministered to by the Rev. A. Mac Williams,
M.A., now of Gladys, Alta., until 1910, when Mr. MacWilliams
resigned his charge after a successful pastorate of about
four years.
The Rev. Alexander Esler, now Dr. Esler, was our next
pastor, during whose eight or nine years' ministry Grace Church
enjoyed remarkable growth and prosperity. An addition was
made to the building giving a seating capacity of some six hundred. This, too, was soon outgrown and plans were laid for the
building of our present commodious stone church on the corner
of 15th. Ave. and 9th. Street, West. The church was dedicated
in^l912, where Mr. Esler, of revered memory, remained until
June, 1919, when on account of health he felt it necessary to PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES 193
change to a milder climate.    Dr. Esler received and accepted a
call from Robertson Memorial Church, Vancouver.
When Dr. Esler left us we had a membership of one thousand.
The Rev. A. D. Reid, now of Edmonton, was our next Pastor,
who remained with us for a period of about eighteen months,
-when a unanimous call from Knox Church, Edmonton, was received and accepted by Mr. Reid. Mr. Reid left many friends
in Grace Church to mourn his short pastorate and departure for
The Rev. J. R. Laverie, B.A., was assistant pastor during
Mr. Reid's term and six months afterwards in full charge, when
he also was called to Edmonton. Mr. Laverie was appointed
by the Presbytery of Calgary to visit several of the outlying districts in the Presbytery, visiting homes and engaging in family
worship with them, encouraging the parents to conduct family
worship with their children, encouraging the families and residents to attend meetings for public worship on the Sabbath, and
distributing religious literature, also baptizing the children of
parents who expressed a wish to dedicate their children to Christ.
Mr. Laverie held preaching services in different settlements, as
opportunity presented itself. In his itinerancy, Mr. Laverie, like
the Apostles of old times, went from place to place earnestly commending the Gospel of Jesus Christ to old and young.
During this period of service, Mr. Laverie was supported
financially principally by the liberality of a number of Grace
Church's people, which had been truly an act of real service in
the Master's cause.
The next and present pastor is the Rev. Robert Johnston,
D.D., late of the American Presbyterian Church, Montreal.
Dr. Johnston's ministry is greatfy appreciated by his la^ge and
attached congregation of Grace Church. Notwithstanding the
exceeding and great inroads made upon our Church during and
since the war, we are in a flourishing condition and have one of
the largest Sabbath schools west of the Great Lakes.
Mr. Bell's concluding words are: "On the whole, the mem
bership look forward with keen appreciation of the great work to
be done, and trust to the Almighty to be our leader. Added to
the work being cared for locally, Grace Church is supporting
Nugent of India and Rev. Mr. Fraser of Korea, both of whom
have bee i recent visitors with us. 194 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
The following brief items are from a statement prepared by the Rev.
A. Mahaffy, B.D., Calgary.
"The suggestion of a congregation in this district was made
by the Rev. J. A. Clark of Knox Church at a prayer meeting in
the house of Mr. David Henderson, 9th Ave. For the. present
they decided to continue their connection with Knox Church,
that was in the winter of 1905. Near the close of the year, Mr.
Clark again urged that something be done. The Session decided to procure an assistant for Mr. Clark, who would be responsible to work up a cause in East Calgary. This decision
was carried out and the Rev. Alexander Dunn, M.A., B.D., came
to be assistant to Mr. Clark, this was in the winter of 1906.
The first regular service was held on the 15th. of April, 1906,
in the school house. This service was conducted by Mr. Clark.
In the time of Dr. Herdman's pastorate there had been union
services with the Methodists held in the afternoons, but the first
time the Presbyterians met alone for worship was on the evening
of Easter Sunday, 1906. A fitting day for a Christian congregation to arise.
Mr. Dunn then conducted evening services during the summer, and at the close of that summer the people expressed a desire to be organized into a congregation, provided Knox Church
would give some financial assistance. This help was promised,
resulting in the Presbytery granting them to be organized into
an augmented charge, taking the name of St. Andrew's, also permission to call a minister. A call was given to Mi. Dunn, which
he accepted.    This was late in the fall of 1906.
A church was built, which was opened on September 23rd.,
1906. Dr. McRae and Mr. Dunn conducted the services. The
first Communion was dispensed in November, 1906, when about
twenty new members were received and admitted to the roll of
the Church.
The first session was appointed by Presbytery and consisted
• of Mr. Linton, and Mr. Neilson from Knox Church.
At the annual meeting of the congregation at the beginning
of 1907 a Session was elected consisting of Messrs. C. H. McGrady,
J. P. Ross, and R. C. Bruce. At this meeting the first Board of
Managers were elected, consisting of Messrs. R. J. McLaren, PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Chairman, Wm. Bellemy, Secretary, John.Law, Treasurer, and
Messrs. Wm. Law, Robert Law, J. P. Ross, J. A. *Ros^, Andrew
Broach and I. Vincent Shaw.
Work amongst the children was first started by Mrs. Albert
May and Miss Christie who held classes for the Sunday School in
their homes alternately.
In June 1907, Mr. Dunn accepted an appointment to In-
dore College, India, and resigned the pastorate of St. Andrew's
After having heard a few candidates, the congregation at a
REV.   ALEX.  DUNN,  M.A.,   B.D.
Formerly of Calgary, pastor of St, Andrew's Church, East Calgary,
now residing in Vancouver.
meeting on the 29th. of August, 1907, decided to call the Rev.
A. Mahaffy, B.D., of Port Elgin, Ont. Mr. Mahaffy accepted the
call and was inducted on the 10th. of October, 1907.
During Mr. Mahaffy's pastorate, substantial progress was
made, a fine and commodious new church was erected largely
designed by the pastor himself.
Mr. Mahaffy resigned his charge of St. Andrew's Church to
assume the work in Rosedale Home Mission Field. 196 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
The Rev. A. McTaggart, B.A., received and accepted a call
from St. Andrew's Church, East Calgary, under whose efficient
ministry the Master's cause in every branch of Christian work is
carried on with energy and success.
Mr. McTaggart, during the years of his pastorate in St.
Andrew's has, in an increasing degree, been gaining the confidence and loyalty of an attached people.
The first Presbyterian Church services on the North Hill
were held in a tent near 16th. Ave., North West Crescent Heights,
in the summer of 1908, and conducted by Rev. C. A. Mitchell. In
1910, Rev. J. Kennedy began services in the Crescent Heights
fire hall, where the meetings continued until a church was erected
in the Rosedale sub-division in 1911, and called the Rosedale
Presbyterian Church. Rev. C. B. Kerr was minister from 1911 to
1913. In 1914, Rev. A. Mahaffy was called to the church on the
hill, and a more suitable location was sought for the services. After
meeting for a time in the Crescent Theatre, on Centre St. N., the
present centrally located site was secured, on the corner of 13th.
Ave., and 1st. St. N.W., and building operations begun. The
name of the congregation was changed to the North Hill Presbyterian Church. Before the building could be completed, the
financial depression came, and the war broke out, and it was decided to finish the basement and use it for church purposes, until
an opportune time should arrive to complete the structure. The
congregation has worshipped in this place since that time, and are
expecting to complete the work of building in the near future.
The present minister is Rev. J. Rex Brown, who followed Mr.
Mahaffy in 1917. During the six years of the Rev. Mr. Brown's
ministry in North Hill congregation, rapid and satisfactory progress has been made in all the departments of church work.
The membership has been greatly increased. A good working Session and managing Board, a noble band of teachers, loyal
to the Master, a splendid Bible Class taught by the pastor, a
largely increased attendance at the Sabbath School. The Ladies'
Aid are carrying on their department of work with great success.
The attendance of young people and of boys and girls at the regular services of the sanctuary is a most encouraging feature in the PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
life of North Hill Church, which is a great tribute to the pastor,
Rev. Mr. Brown and his loyal band of workers.
In the Fall of 1907, the Rev. C. A. Mitchell was commissioned to start three missions in the outskirts of the city of Calgary. They were situated in Bankview, Hillhurst and Crescent
Heights. From this small beginning grew the three congregations now in existence. The first service in Hillhurst was conducted by Mr. Mitchell in Riley's Hall, with a congregation of
seven present. The church rapidly grew in numbers and towards the end of the year a Sunday School was opened. On
January 19th., 1908, the first Board of Managers was elected,
consisting of Messrs. Barton, Girling, Martin and Richards. In
January of that year a move was made to secure lots on which to
build a church. A site on Centre Avenue, offered by Mr. Wm.
Ross, was accepted and active preparations started for the erection of a church building in March, 1908. Permission was
granted by Presbytery to form a Communidn Roll and a Communion service was held, Messrs. Hugh Neilson and George
Templeton of Knox Church officiating as elders.
The Ladies' Aid was formed in March, 1908, and the choir
organized in May of that year. Just at this time the first session was appointed, consisting of two elders, Messrs. A. J. Barton and J. W. Martin, and the regular organization of the church
was completed.
The building fund was opened in July and active operations
commenced on the building.
Nearly all of the men of the congregation helped. The most
active workman being the Rev. C. A. Mitchell. Some of those
active in the work have now passed away, among them Mr.
Andrew Mitchell and Mr. Wm. Millar, both of whom did splendid service.
The Honorable Mr. Justice Stewart laid tl e foundation stone
on September 26th., 1908. During the building operations, it
was the custom of the men to cease work on Wednesday evenings
at prayer meeting time to join in an open air service.
The Church was opened by the Rev. J. A. Clark (now Dr.
Clark) of Knox Church, on November 22nd.,  1908.    In 1909, 198 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
became an augmented charge. The same year in October, Rev.
C. A. Mitchell was called to the pastorate of Hillhurst Church,
when he threw himself wholly into the work of building up a substantial congregation in that rapidly growing section of the city.
Rev. Mr. Mitchell resigned his charge of Hillhurst Congregation in April, 1911, to move to British Columbia. The next
pastor was the Rev. P. A. Walker, B.A., of Montreal. Under
Mr. Walker's pastorate, rapid progress continued to be made.
The present fine church building was erected on January 26th.,
1913, the church was opened by Professor J. M. Millar.
Mr. Walker's ministry ended on March 4th., 1916, when he
resigned to return to Eastern Canada.
After a vacancy of three months, the Rev. Robert Macgowan,
B.A., of Winnipeg, was asked to take charge of the work for a
year. A unanimous call, was received and accepted by Mr.
Macgowan on January 17th, 1917, to become their permanent
Mr. Macgowan at once threw himself into the work of reducing the debt on the church building and in the space of about two
years succeeded in raising about $20,000 towards this object—
nor in the meantime did he neglect his regular ministerial duties,
for he faithfully continued his work of visitation and preaching
and it is safe to say that there is no better loved minister than the
present minister of Hillhurst. The congregation is now in a
flourishing condition with a membership of three hundred, and a
Sunday School numbering three hundred and ten scholars and
twenty-four teachers.
There is every sign that the congregation which, fourteen
years ago laid down their trowels to pray as the work of the
building proceeded, will reap the fruits of their labors in seeing
the cause which made such progress during those years, become not only a large and flourishing congregation but a centre
of light, spiritual power and missionary enterprise in coming days.
The Rev. A. W. K. Herdman, B.A., minister in charge of
Manchester and Glen More Home Mission Fields, Manchester
South of Victoria Park on Macleod Trail is an interesting Home
Mission, with a fine Sabbath School and preaching services conducted.    Mr. Herdman is assisted in the work by devoted Chris- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
tian workers. Besides, the Rev. Mr. Herdman conducts a service
alternately in Glenmore school house on Sabbath afternoons. It
is a noble work Mr. Herdman and helpers are carrying on in Manchester and Glenmore Mission.
In charge of the Rev. Captain Muncaster. Captain Mun-
caster reports as early as 1910, the growth of the city northward
and north east invited church extension and mission services and
Sunday Schools were established in North Calgary and at Belfast. The building now used by the North Calgary congregation,
half way between the Nose Creek bridge and Centre Street was
opened for service just two years ago, and last year an addition
was made to the church at Belfast.   Both congregations are under
Formerly missionary of North Calgary and Beddington
now of Dryden, Ontario.
the charge of Rev. Captain W. H. Muncaster. The Rev. J. M.
Beaton, now of Dryden, Ont., spent several years of his ministry
in charge of North Calgary Mission and Beddington. Mr. Beaton
was a faithful missionary.   He madeiiimself at home amongst 200 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
his people and was a great friend of the young people and the
children. He left the most kindly feeling in the hearts of the
people towards him, both old and young. Many a cold drive
and walk he had to make in those pioneer days.
In charge of the Rev. F. J. Hartley, B.D. Mr. Hartley reports:—
The Pleasant Heights congregation in the north western part
of the city was organized nine years ago. Rev. A. W. K.
Herdman, B.A., supplying ordinances, and a substantial church
was built. The people in this part of the city are nearly all old
country people, mostly Scotch and dreading debt. They built
the church as they could pay for it. Accordingly, Pleasant
Heights with a comfortable church is without debt to-day.
In 1916, Rev. F. J. Hartley, B.D., was appointed, ordained
Missionary and the next year was called. The church has under
his ministration been thoroughly organized. Mr. Wm. Macfarlane,
being Superintendent of the Sunday School. Messrs. Joseph
McConnell, Samuel Tyson, John Lang, Sydney Parkis being
elders. Mr. Samuel Tyson, Chairman of the Managing Board,
Mrs. J. McConnell, President of the Ladies' Aid, Mrs. Hartley,
President of the Missionary Society. Miss Daniel, Organist.
The church has about seventy members since the Technical and
Normal schools have moved into this part of the city; a good prospect of successful work is before the congregation.
The present pastor of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church is the
Rev. Captain McColl, recently settled. This congregation like
others in the city was nourished at its beginning by Knox Church.
The Rev. J. S. Shortt, M.A., when assistant to Rev. J. A. Clark,
took charge of the work in St. Paul's Mission. Later on, the Rev.
S. B. Hillocks, B.A., was pastor for a period. Then the Rev.
A. C. Wishart, B.A., was called. For ten years Mr. Wishart continued the faithful pastor^of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 201
Whose pastor is the Rev. A. Rannie, B.A. This congregation
has had an excellent history under the pastorate of the Rev.
Mr. Rannie. The Master's work is carried on with great efficiency
and success. Mr. Rannie has a band of faithful associates with
him in the work. Rev. Mr. Rannie is Moderator of the Synod
of Alberta.
Rev. Mr. Lund, pastor, who is doing excellent work in that
section of the city.
Andrew Crawford Bryan, B.A., B.D., subject of this sketch,
is a native Canadian, born in 1867 at Hadlow, within sight of the
city of Quebec. His early education was received mostly at St.
Francis College, Richmond, Que., where later he taught for four
years. In 1888, he graduated in Arts from McGill University;
and in Theology, with the degree of B.D. from Queen's, in 1895.
After a winter in Edinburgh and Glasgow, he was called to Knox
Church, Westport, in the Presbytery of Brockville, where he
spent a happy and useful pastorate of eight years.
In 1904, he responded to the call of the West and was stationed
at Nanton, Alta. This ordained mission field comprised six
preaching points at the time, and stretched from Willow Creek,
in the foothills to the Little Bow River on the prairie, a distance
of some thirty-five miles, with an average breadth of about fifteen
miles. After eight strenuous years here a self-supporting charge
was built up at Nanton, and four student mission fields erected.
In 1912, Mr. Bryan accepted a call to St. Andrew's Church, Lethbridge. An inadequate church plant, a crushing debt, the great
war and a vigorous prohibition campaign made the three and a
half years spent in Lethbridge exceedingly trying.
Toward the end of 1915 Mr. Bryan was settled in Taber,
Alta, and continued his ministry there till the Fall of 1921, when
he passed on to Ogden. Despite hard times and a severe breakdown in the pastor's health, the Taber record is: A manse purchased, the church debt decreased, and the membership roll
greatly augmented.    Mr. Bryan's ministry culminated in Taber, 202
as in Nanton in a union on the part of Presbyterians and Methodists.
REV.   A.   C.   BRYAN,   B.A., B.D.
Pastor of Ogden Church, Calgary, formerly labored in Nanton,
Lethbridge and Taber, Alberta.
Mr. Bryan has been both Moderator and Clerk of the Presbyteries of Macleod and High River, and Moderator of the Synod
ofjfAlberta in 1912. In 1923, he was appointed by the Synod of
Alberta as one of its members to the First General Council of
the United Church of Canada.
Mr. Bryan has been for some years a member of the Synod's
Prohibition Committee and has ever taken a deep interest in this
cause. Many of the pamphlets used extensively in the Prohibition Campaign of 1920 and 1923 were the product of his pen. He
has also bent his bow successfully against many a wet correspondent in the press.
It is only fair to add in conclusion, that much of Mr. Bryan's
success in his work has been due to the hearty and capable cooperation of the lady in the manse. What Mrs. Bryan has
wrought as Choir leader, President of the Ladies' Aid, President
of the W.M.S., teacher in the Sunday School, director of the orchestra, pastoral visitor and confidential adviser to raw students
and bachelor minister would take volumes to tell.
THE first missionary was sent out by the Irish Presbyterian
Church in 1861, the Rev. John Hall. Mr. Hall labored faithfully until 1865, when he resigned and went to New Zealand
where he labored for forty years, after which he returned to
Ireland where he died in 1911.
Early missionary in British Columbia.
The second missionary was the Rev. Robert Jamieson, also
of the Irish Church, but appointed by the Church in Canada.
On the 16th of July, 1862, he arrived in Victoria. The Rev.
John Hall extended a cordial welcome to Mr. Jamieson and
gave him valuable assistance in establishing his headquarters at
New Westminster. Mr. Jamieson labored for many years amid
great discouragements, with great fidelity and devotedness.    His
congregations were small and fluctuating, occasionally prospects
were bright but often the times as he describes them were "very
very hard." He was the sole missionary of the Canada Presbyterian Church till 1864, when he was cheered by the arrival of
the Rev. Daniel Duff, who like Mr. Jamieson, labored with
great zeal and fidelity in various places in Vancouver Island
and on the mainland. In consequence of ill health, he returned
to Ontario in 1867.
In 1869, another missionary from the Canada Presbyterian
Church, the Rev. Wm. Aiken, arrived, but he too remained in
the province only a few years, during which he rendered excellent
service.    He returned to Ontario in 1872.
Missionaries under the auspices of the Church of Scotland
were sent out to British Columbia.
The Revs. Messrs. Nimmo, Somerville, and MacGregor
came under the auspices of the Church of Scotland, each of whom
after a few years of valuable service, returned to Scotland.
Extracts from the Presbyterian Church in Canada
Synod Reports, 1864-1870
Foreign Mission Committee: Messrs. J. McTavish, R. F.
Burns, D. H. Mac Vicar, W. B. Clark, Dr. Taylor; Messrs. T.
Wardrope, T. Lowery, D. Inglis, R. Ure, W. Reid, J. Gray,
W. Caven, J. Smith, J. Laing, J. J. A. Proudfoot, W. S. Ball, J.
Stevenson, W. Inglis, James Black, J. Morrison, J. Scott (N),
Dr. Holden, Mr. Wylie, Mr. D. McLellan, Dr. McQueston;
Messrs. J. Dougan, W. Clark, G. Rogers.
The correspondence entered into with the Free Church of
Scotland issued in a generous offer of £100 sterling a year for
the support of a missionary in British Columbia. It is regarded
by your committee as providential that they had at the time
in their hands the offer of a volunteer in all respects qualified,
who with a whole-souled consecration, (which of itself is a primary requisite) was ready to go forth wherever they might
choose to send him. With the consent of the committee, Mr.
Duff carried out an intention previously formed of spending
the winter in the old country. He was ordained and designated
at London by the Presbytery of the Boards on the 19th of April,
(a blessed meeting long to be remembered), and set sail for his
distant destination from New York on the 23rd. of May. Since
the sessions of synod commenced, advices have been received PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES 205
from him announcing his safe arrival at Panama. Special
thanks are due to the Colonial Committee of the Free Church
of Scotland for their liberal grant; nor can we lose sight in this
connection of the great loss which we, in common with the other
sections of the colonial field, have sustained in the death of Dr.
John Bonar, the indefatigable convener, to whose singular
energy, urbanity and tact this wide-spread enterprise lies under
such lasting obligations.
The Presbytery of British Columbia (connected with the
Church of Scotland) was organized in 1875, Rev. Simon
MacGregor, moderator; Rev. Wm. Clyde, clerk, and Rev. George
Murray, with Rev. Robert Jamieson, as corresponding member.
One of the first acts of the presbytery was the ordination to the
ministry of Alexander Dunn and A. B. Nicholson. Mr. Dunn,
Rev. George Murray and Rev. B. K. McElmon still remain.
The above statement regarding the early Presbyterian
missionaries in British Columbia is based chiefly on an article
from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Logan, of Vancouver, which appeared in the January Record, 1917, and from Dr. Gregg's
History of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Notes from the Rev. Dr. Dunn's History of
Presbyterianism in British Columbia
The Presbytery of British Columbia in connection with
the Church of Scotland, was formed September 1st., 1875, consisting of Rev. Simon MacGregor, (moderator); Rev. Wm.
Clyde (clerk); Rev. George Murray, Alexander Dunn and Alexander B. Nicholson, the last two being ordained at said meeting
and their names added to the roll. Mr. MacGregor was minister
of St. Andrew's Church, VictoA&, B.C., Mr. Nicholson had charge
of the rural districts in vicinity of Victoria, Mr. Clyde in charge
of St. Andrew's Church, Nanaimo, Mr. Murray in Nicola Valley
and Mr. Dunn had charge of the district along the Fraser River
now covered by the Presbytery of Westminster. Rev. B. K.
McElmon was settled in Comox. Rev. Robert Jamieson was
in charge of St. Andrew's, New Westminster. Mr. Jamieson came
from Ontario, in 1862. Rev. D. Duff also came from Ontario.
Rev. W. Aitken labored at Nanaimo and other points with much
ability for a short time then returned to Scotland. Mr. Duff
also returned to Ontario.    Within six years of its formation all 206
the original members of the Presbytery of British Columbia
left the province excepting the Rev. Mr. Dunn, who remained
pastor of Langley and associated stations for eleven years. During that time three churches were built, at Langley, Mud Bay
and Arm or Delta. Dr. Dunn mentions in his book, Presbyterianism in British Columbia regarding the people to whom he
ministered at Langley and adjoining districts. "The people
to whom I ministered at Langley and adjoining districts almost
to a man treated me from first to last with much kindness and
consideration and at our departure in 1886, they presented us
with handsome gifts, together with a purse containing $104.00."
New Westminster, B.C.
For nine years previous to 1875, the Church of Scotland
had a minister stationed at Victoria, first, Rev. T. Somerville,
M.A., second, Rev. Simon MacGregor? M.A., lately of Appin,
Scotland* For ten years subsequent to 1875, the Presbytery
of British Columbia in connection with the Church of Scotland,
occupied almost all the chief centres of population throughout
the province. During these years seven church edifices were
erected, all free of debt except one.    These main positions were PRESBYTEPIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 207
held and these churches and manses were built during the darkest
and most depressing period known in the history of the country.
From 1875 to 1885, the population of the province remained
all but stationary. The Cariboo gold fever had almost spent
itself. Money was so scarce in some quarters that difficulty
was experienced in obtaining the necessaries of fife, but the
building of the C.P.R. revolutionized matters generally. Men
could then readily find remunerative employment, money began
to circulate more freely, farmers could dispose of their products
at fair prices. From 1885, the tide of immigration began to
rise and it continued to increase in volume until, in 1891, the
population was double and treble in some districts what it was
five years before. The Canadian Church came in with the tide
and reaped the many advantages accruing from that favorable
The Presbytery of British Columbia met once a year, generally in St. Andrew's Church, Victoria, on the first Wednesday
in May. On looking back to these early years of ministerial
life in British Columbia, while I remember some things fraught
with pain, I also remember many times and occasions of happiness of the purest kind, the preaching of the.Gospel at the places
of meeting and from house to house was one of these pleasures.
I was always glad when the Sabbath came, was always able to
keep appointments and, rain or shine, good roads or bad, I always found the people waiting. Almost all attended. Many
felt lonesome, some felt homesick, especially when Sunday
came. Most appeared eager to hear the Gospel preached, to
gain something to cheer and strengthen them in their struggles.
To preach to people in such frames of mind was a great pleasure,
involving at the same time deep responsibility. Previous to
the union of the congregations with the Presbyterian Church in
Canada, the ministers of the Church of Scotland in British
Columbia were as follows:
On Vancouver Island: St. Andrew's church, Victoria—Rev.
L. Somerville, Rev. S. McGregor, Rev. R. Stephen; St. Andrew's
church, Nanaimo—Rev. Wm. Clyde, Rev. A. H. Anderson,
Rev. J. Miller; Comox—Rev. B. K. McElmon; Wellington—
Rev. James Christie. On Mainland: Langley, Maple Ridge—
Rev. Alex. Dunn; Nicola Valley, Cache Creek, Clinton, etc.—
Rev. George Murray. CHAPTER   XI11.
By Rev. Dr. John Campbell, (Victoria, B.C.)
IN 1843, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post
at Camosun, the Indian village of the Soughees tribe, where
now stands the beautiful city of Victoria, the "Queen of the
West" and the capital of the province of British Columbia.
Victoria, B.C.
Victoria is the seat of government, a residential city, a
city of beautiful homes, picturesque parks, fine drives, and
streets for cleanliness and beauty nowhere surpassed in Canada.
The Indians on the Pacific coast were remarkable for selecting the most beautiful sites for their villages and that of the
village of Camosun was the most charming north of California.
A bird's-eye view of it shows a land-locked harbor behind Beacon
Hill, a forest clad undulating range of hills towards the setting
sun. Mount Baker, the giant of the Cascades, its head covered
with eternal snow, and towering in the blue vault of heaven,
is seen toward the rising sun. To the south, across the straits
of Juan de Fuca, are seen the snow-covered Olympic Mountains
in the State of Washington.
The climate is a delightful medium, being neither cold in
winter nor hot in summer, mainly due to the Japan Current and
the physical geography of the southern part of Vancouver Island.
Sir James Douglas was the first factor of the Hudson's
Bay Company here. He and those associated with him as
their names indicate, MacTavish, Munroe and Findlayson,
were men from "Bonny Scotland." In religion, as might be
expected, they were Presbyterians, but the Presbyterian Church
of "The Land of the Hill and the Heather" was not then as
faithful in looking after the spiritual welfare of those who left
her shores as she is now. They were nearly twenty years roughing it on the Pacific slope before a minister of the Presbyterian
Church was sent them to conduct divine service according to
the simple but impressive form of the church of their fathers.
Great bodies move slowly, and so, while the Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland and the Canadian Presbyterian
Church were discussing the advisability of taking up the work
in this far west, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church in Ireland took the initiative and sent across the sea as
a foreign missionary, the Rev. John Hall, a talented young man
from Belfast. He arrived at Fort Camosun after a long voyage
around the "Horn," in June, 1861, and preached the first sermon
under Presbyterian auspices on the last Sabbath of that month
in the police court room, where, no doubt, the Gospel was greatly
needed, and thus he became the pioneer of Presbyterianism on
the Pacific coast.
The social and religious conditions of Victoria at that time,
the time of Cariboo and Fraser River gold-mining excitement,
were such as to need a man of strong faith and tactful, and such
a man was the energetic, scholarly and optimistic young Irishman from Belfast.
At once he gained the confidence of the young Presbyterians
who gathered around him. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was observed in Victoria for the first time according to the 210 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
rites of the Presbyterian Church, on the second Sabbath of
January, 1862, when fifteen men and two women were at the
communion. On the third day of February, three weeks after
the first communion, a meeting was held to organize a Presbyterian congregation at which twelve men were present. The
Honorable Chief Justice Cameron was voted to the chair, and
the following resolution was passed, which brought Presbyterianism into visibility in British Columbia, "That this meeting
do now and hereby organize itself into a congregation to be
called "The First Presbyterian Church of Vancouver Island"
and that the Rev. John Hall be and is hereby invited to be its
At that meeting a committee was appointed to purchase a
site, and erect a church. A site was purchased for $1,100, and
a building erected which was dedicated to the worship of God,
in March, 1863. The formal dedication of the church was the
occasion of great rejoicing among the little band of faithful
Presbyterians, for it was the first Presbyterian church on British
territory, not only west of the Rocky Mountains, but west of
Dr. Black's church at Kildonan.
Soon after the dedication of the church, a Sabbath school
was organized, the first in the province, with two teachers and
seven pupils. A silk banner was presented to tjhe school by one
of the ladies, in the centre of which was beautifully painted
the "burning bush" with the words, "Faith, Hope and Charity"
across the field, and "First Presbyterian Church Sabbath School,
organized in 1863" around the border. That banner is still
hanging in the school.
Many changes have taken place in the congregation, in
the Sabbath school, in the pulpit and in the pew, but the bell
with its silvery tone which called the people to the church dedication on that Sabbath morning, fifty-three years ago, still peals
out from the tower of the beautiful new church its reminder
to the people of God, to assemble to worship Him in the beauty
of holiness.
Within a year after the church dedication, Mr. Hall went
to Australia, and the Colonial Committee of the Church of
Scotland sent out the Rev. Dr. Somerville, who was pastor for
two years, at the end of which time he returned to Scotland
and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Reid, who was sent out from PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 211
England, a man who, by education and ordination was a Congre-
gationalist, but became identified with the Presbyterian Church
and did excellent work.
In 1882, the congregation was received into "The Presbyterian Church in Canada" and placed on the roll and under
the supervision of the Presbytery of Toronto.
The year after the arrival of the Rev. John Hall on Vancouver
Island, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in
Canada sent the Rev. Robert Jamieson, a member of the Presbytery of Toronto, as a missionary to the Fraser River Valley.
He began work at New Westminster, where he built St. Andrew's
Church, the first Presbyterian church erected on the mainland.
Thus, the Rev. John Hall and the Rev. Robert Jamieson were
pioneers of Presbyterianism in British Columbia, the one being
the apostle of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian
Church to Vancouver Island, and the other that of the Canadian
Presbyterian Church to the mainland. More suitable men could
not have been sent.
In 1884, the Rev. Donald Fraser, a graduate of Queen's
College became pastor of First Presbyterian Church, and being
a strong preacher and a fearless energetic man, did good work.
Mr. Fraser died in 1891, and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr.
Campbell, a graduate of Knox College, who was pastor for twenty-
one years, and since the outbreak of the war has been chaplain
to His Majesty's troops. Dr. Campbell's induction into the
pastorate of First Presbyterian Church, Victoria, was the last
official act of the Presbytery of Columbia, whose bounds were
co-extensive with the province, for the General Assembly of
that year divided the Presbytery of Columbia into three presbyteries, Victoria, Westminster and Kamloops to constitute the
Synod of British Columbia.
In the territory which is now occupied by the Synod of
British Columbia where fifty-three years ago was only one church,
now there are five presbyteries with twenty-seven self-sustaining congregations, twenty-nine ordained mission fields and forty-
three student mission fields. Surely "the little one has become
a thousand, and the small one a strong nation."
First Church has for over half a century occupied a prominent
place in the extension of the Gospel on the Pacific slope, for she had
strong men in her pulpit, and good men and women in her pews. 212 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Presbyterian Mission Work Among the Chinese
on Vancouver Island
By Rev. Dr. John Campbell, (Victoria, B.C.)
Chinese came across the Pacific to British Columbia much
earlier than most of the people in Eastern Canada seem to know.
Many of them were engaged in gold-mining in Cariboo and the
Fraser River. For many years little was done by the Christian
churches to give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They seemed
anxious to send missionaries to China to bring the glad tidings
of salvation to the "heathen Chinee" but they paid little attention to the heathen Chinaman who came to their own door
from far-off benighted China.
In time, however, the scales fell from the eyes of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and in 1892 the General Assembly
appointed the Rev. A. B. Winchester, missionary to the Chinese
of British Columbia. The work was begun in Victoria, and soon
spread to Vancouver, Nelson, Cumberland, Calgary, Lady-
smith and other towns. Some years previously, Mr. Winchester
was a missionary in China, and had the advantage of being
familiar with the customs and habits of the people, and a fair
knowledge, of the Cantonese dialect.
All the Chinese on the west coast were from the province
of Canton. He had an assistant, Mr. C. A. Coleman, who also
had been for several years in China and could speak the language
fluently. While Mr. Winchester was superintendent of the work
in this province, and concentrated most of his efforts in Victoria, where were five thousand Chinese, Mr. Coleman had charge
of the work in Vancouver city. The hall in which the work was
begun in Victoria was near Chinatown, and the mission greatly
prospered. The Young Peoples' Societies of the Presbyterian
churches of the city supplied teachers who gave instruction in
reading and speaking English for about one hour every evening.
The teaching of English was to induce the young men of Chinatown to come to the mission, for they knew their success in this
country largely depended on their knowing the English language.
At the conclusion of the English classes, a Gospel service was
held, conducted by Mr. Winchester, in Chinese, at which all the
pupils of the English classes were present. So successful was
the work, and so many professed faith in Jesus that the superin- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
tendent, in 1898, applied to the Presbytery of Victoria to have
a congregation organized in Chinatown to be named as "The
First Presbyterian Chinese church." The application was
granted, and a congregation was organized with an ad interim
having Mr. Winchester as moderator. It is very significant
and appropriate that the First Presbyterian Chinese. congregation in Canada should be organized in Victoria and under
the very shadow of First Presbyterian church, the mother of
Presbyterianism west of the Rocky Mountains.
Within two years three very intelligent devoted young
Chinamen were elected and ordained as elders. Two of them
are still in the session, the other having returned to China, where
he is reported to be doing good work among his countrymen.
Mr. Winchester accepted a call to Knox Church, Toronto,
and Mr. Ng Man Hing was appointed as missionary to the
Chinese in Victoria, and his assistant was Mr. Mah Seung.
Mr. Ng was a graduate of the Presbyterian College at Canton.
He was a shrewd Oriental, who mingled superstition with his
Christianity, and occasionally pulled the wool over the eyes
of the wise men of the General Assembly's Foreign Mission
Committee. The Rev. S. Ewing was appointed by the Committee to succeed Mr. Winchester as superintendent. After
two years he was retired, and the office of superintendent
abolished. Mr. Ng was removed to Toronto and Mr. Mah
had full charge of the work in Victoria.
At this time, 1899, Miss Caroline A. Gunn, of London,
Ont., was sent to Victoria as missionary to the women and children in Chinatown. After acquiring a fair knowledge of the
Cantonese language under the tuition of Mr. and Mrs. Mah,
she did good work for several years, being greatly respected
and much loved by the mothers and their little children. She
went back to London, owing to her health being such that she
could not continue the strain of teaching and visiting from house
to house among the Orientals in Chinatown, whose surroundings
at times, were not the most attractive to the aesthetic notions
of a refined young woman of education and culture.
Mr. Mah was removed to Cumberland, and Mr. L. W. Hall,
who was in charge of the mission there, was taken to Victoria.
Most of the missions which were in excellent condition in British
Columbia years  ago  are. now practically abandoned.    Those, 214 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
however, at Victoria, Vancouver and Cumberland are in fair
All denominations adopted the same method of carrying
on the Gospel work, namely, teaching English first, followed
by a Gospel service. Very few now attend the classes for acquiring English and, consequently, few are at the Gospel services.
The cause is not that the young Chinese are less interested than
they were, but the Chinese immigration tax of five hundred dollars per capita imposed by our government, prevent young
Chinese from coming to British Columbia and those who have
been here before that tax was imposed have learned all the
English they need to earn money, and so drop out of the English
teaching classes and, consequently, out of the mission, unless
they have, in the meantime, become interested in the Gospel.
Thus, our Gospel mission work in British Columbia among the
Chinese is at a low water mark. It is not desirable that the
Pacific coast should be flooded with Orientals, but it is scarcely
fair that the Chinaman should have to pay five hundred dollars
for the privilege of coming into Canada, while other nationalities less desirable than the Chinese should be allowed to enter
Canada free of immigration tax; also that we should expect
China to admit our people into China free. We, as a Christian
nation, do not practice the Golden Rule.
Indian Missions on Vancouver Island
By Rev. Dr. Campbell, (Victoria, B.C.)
The island of Vancouver is about three hundred miles long
by an average of about one hundred miles wide. For "sheltered
valleys and stormy capes," rugged mountains, mineral wealth,
giant trees, trackless forests abounding in bear, panther, elk,
deer, willow grouse and English pheasant, there is no island in
the north Pacific equal to Vancouver Island.. The pheasants are
not native, but were introduced by the Hudson's Bay Company
forty years ago and they multiplied very rapidly, for the climate
was favorable and there are few birds of prey and no foxes on
Vancouver Island. The west coast of this interesting island
is rugged and rocky and noted for its creeks, lakes and rivers
and abounding in halibut, cod, salmon, trout and other species
of the finny tribe, that would delight the heart of any disciple
of   Noah   Webster  or   Izaak   Walton.    The   scenery,   whether PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
viewed from the Gulf of Georgia on the east or the Pacific Ocean
on the west, is a continuous kaleidoscopic panorma of ever-
changing landscape of rugged grandeur and poetic beauty which
eclipses even that of "the land of the hill and the heather."
The climate is delightful, being neither hot in summer nor cold
in winter, but a pleasant and salubrious medium, especially in
the southern portion of the island. The temperature is regulated by the Coast Range Mountains and the Japanese Current,
which corresponds to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. It flows
from the warm waters of the East, and the Indian Ocean and
strikes the west coast of Vancouver Island about the middle,
one branch of it flowing towards Cape Scott in the north, and
the other towards Glover Point in the south and enters the
harbor of the city of Victoria.
On Vancouver Island, the only part of British Columbia
in which the Presbyterians carry on mission work among the
aborigines, there are fourteen different tribes of Indians, all
speaking the same language, but different dialects. The
language of these tribes is very simple and very expressive and
by no means difficult to learn. Few of our missionaries or
teachers of the mission schools have, however, made any effort
to learn the language, but were satisfied with having a smattering
of Chinook. This is a jargon of English, French, Spanish and
Indian words made by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company in early days for trade purposes with the Indians. All
the coast tribes speak Chinook, which is now the general medium
of communication between such of them as do not understand
each other's dialect. This commercial jargon has only four
hundred and fifty words, and has no verbs and no words to express the doctrines of Christianity, and the teaching of the Word
of God in relation to the Atonement. To try to preach the
Gospel in Chinook is a farce, an utter impossibility, and mainly
the cause of our missionaries bringing so few of the adult Indians
into the Church. The children, however, are being brought
into the Kingdom by our missionaries in very encouraging numbers, but the children are taught English in our mission schools
and they memorize the Catechism and read the Bible in English
and all the divine services for them are conducted in English.
Mr. William Duncan of the Church of England, the first
Protestant missionary to the Indians on the West Coast, has 216 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
declared time and again that missionaries should learn the Indian language, for it is impossible to teach the Gospel of Jesus
Christ in Chinook. Mr. Duncan has been at Metlakatla, in
the north of British Columbia, for over sixty years, and has
been the means of converting the Indians there, from being
blood-thirsty savages and given up to atrocious habits of
cannibalism, to being a highly civilized and Christianized community, so he knows of what he speaks.
Our General Assembly's Missionary Committee, in sending
missionaries to the West Coast Indians, should make it a sine
qua non condition that they learn the Indian language.
The only hope for Christianizing the Indians is to educate
and Christianize the children, for notwithstanding all the missionary work done amongst them by the Catholic and Protestant
churches, the religion, with few exceptions, of the Indian of
seventy years ago, is the religion of the Indian of to-day.
The religion of the West Coast Indians, if it can be called
a religion, is a cross between witchcraft and spiritualism, of
which the "shuman" or medicine man is the medium. He is
supposed to be in communication with spirits, whom they believe he can call up at any time, and use at will to help or injure
his fellow-tribesmen. All catastrophes on sea and land and all
pain and sickness they firmly believe to be the work of witchcraft and evil spirits. Spirits, good and bad are present everywhere, the Indian believes although visible only to the shuman,
the shuman who with a magic rod, a wooden rattle, a soul-
charm, yelling and gesticulating, frantic calls, professes to break
the spell of witchcraft, drive out the evil spirit, and heal the
patient. After performing a vigorous ceremony of bodily
contortions and demoniacal gesticulations, he falls to the
ground, apparently in a trance, and while in that condition,
those around him watch to catch up any word that he may
utter. Should he utter the name of the witch, she is at once
sought out and put to the most cruel death, although her character previously was blameless. Both the friends and enemies
of the shuman stand in terror of him, for woe betide the man
or woman who incurs his displeasure for he is sure to take
vengeance at an early opportunity. The advent of the missionary and the civil law have largely checked the practise
of this superstition, but there are tribes   in British Columbia
which have not yet been reached by the missionary of the
Gospel, or the influences of civilization.
British Columbia Indians are not believers in the resurrection of the body, although firm believers in the immortality
of the soul and in a future, state in a world beyond the setting
sun. To show their respect for the dead they deposit at the
graves their bows and arrows, their guns, canoes, blankets and
ornaments. It is very pathetic to see at the graves of little
children their toys and playthings. This custom has no religious
significance any more than has the placing of flowers by Chris-
. tians at the graves of departed friends. The Indians, however,
believe that the spirits of the dead often visit the graves and,
seeing these things as the tokens of affection and love, are greatly
The first missionaries to the Indians of the north west Pacific coast, were two Catholic priests that arrived with Spanish
adventurers, who, more than a hundred years ago, came around
Cape Horn to trade with the Indians of Nootka Sound. After
a few months of fruitless effort to establish a mission, they
abandoned the work and returned to Madrid. Every day they
remained among the Indians their lives were in danger, for the
tribes were continually at war with each other, which they carried on with revolting cruelty, beheading the men and enslaving
the women and children. The heads of their victims they used
. as trophies of war at their dances.
After this, the Roman Catholic Church sent other priests
who were as unsuccessful as their pioneer predecessors. The
only indication now of their presence at some of the villages
is the decayed foundation logs of the huts in which they lived.
This, however, is sufficient for the Catholic Church in British
Columbia to claim that these villages and tribes were pre-empted
by them as mission fields, so that they look on all Protestant
missionaries as intruders* They call our missionaries, sects and
intruders who spoil their work and pervert their children. The
Catholics, in their methods of missionary work are wiser in their
day and generation than we are. They devote comparatively
little time to the Christianizing of the adult Indians, but concentrate their efforts in training the children in the tenets and
practices of the Catholic Church. Their time and work and
energy increase in geometrical ratio on the three classes of men, 218 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
women, and children. Their primary aim is to baptize the
children, and when a child is baptized by a priest the Catholic
Church lays claim to him anywhere, and everywhere, and under
all circumstances, no matter what he himself or his parents
may say or the "bigoted sects," as they are pleased to call
Protestants, may teach. Their motto seems to be, "once a
baptized Catholic always a Catholic." That surely is perseverance of the saints with a vengeance.
In 1874, Bishop C. J. Seghers and Father A. G. Brabant,
made the first visit of the third effort of the Catholic Church to
establish mission stations on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
In this they succeeded, and began the work by baptizing in several villages between Cape Flattery and Nootka Sound, over
eight hundred children, and that in one month.
The four principal churches of Canada, the Presbyterian,
Methodist, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic are all doing considerable work among the Indians of Vancouver Island, and
contiguous islands on the west coast. The first missionary to
the Indians here, sent out by the Presbyterian Church, was the
Rev. J. MacDonald, a devoted and talented young man. He
arrived in 1890, and after visiting several tribes, began work
at Alberni, near the middle of the island, where there are two
tribes, the Shisahts and the Opichsahts. His assistants were
his sister and Miss Leister, young women well educated and
greatly interested in the work to which they were appointed.
After two years, Mr. MacDonald returned to Ontario. His
successor was Miss J. B. Johnson. While she was in charge,
a boarding school was built to accomodate fifty children. She
was a woman of much energy and good executive ability. Miss
Johnson was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. J. Motion and Mrs.
Cameron as teacher. Mr. and Mrs. Currie with several assistants are in charge. At Veluelet, in 1894, the Rev. Mr. Smart,
Ontario, opened a'day school, which was taught by Miss Armstrong, who did excellent work. Mr. Swartout, conducted
services in all the villages on both sides of Barclay Sound and
Alberni Canal. These services were well attended and much
appreciated by the Indians. The Indians at Veluelet are in
comfortable circumstances and five in well-furnished houses.
The house in which Mr. Swartout usually held Sunday services
was built by the Indian himself.    The rooms were carpeted PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES 219
with beautiful Indian rugs. His wife was a graduate of the
Presbyterian boarding school at Alberni. She led the service
of praise with a Guelph cabinet organ.
The source of income of the West Coast Indians is fishing,
seal and whale hunting, and hop picking, in the Oregon and
Washington hop fields. The village of Dodgers Cove, the name
of the Ohialets, is half way between Alberni and Veluelet. It is
like all the Indian villages, beautifully situated. Here the
Presbyterian church had a very successful day school, with
services every Sabbath for the parents and their children. The
teacher was Mr. McKee, who was assisted by his wife, one of
the noblest of Christian women. At Guelph, Ont., she was a
public school teacher. She gave her services at Dodger's Cove
without any remuneration from the church. Her services were
of the best, and the church should have given her some compensation sic vita. The work there is now abandoned, for the
Indians have moved away to another reservation, and Mr. and
Mrs. McKee have retired from mission work to the Indians.
It may be said to the credit of Mrs. McKee that the school
house at Dodger's Cove was a model of cleanliness, betraying
the dainty touch of a woman's hand. The children were well
taught, well dressed and spoke English with marvellous fluency
and correctness.
At Ahousaht, a beautiful Indian village on Flores Island, is
the most northerly point at which the Presbyterian Church has a
mission among the Indians of British Columbia. The Ahou-
sahts were the strongest and the most savage of all the Indian
tribes on the west coast. Many years ago they took possession
of Flores Island by treacherously massacring, on a dark night,
every man, woman, and child to which the island belonged.
In 1895, the Presbyterian Church sent Mr. Russell as
teacher and missionary to the Ahousahts. His assistant was
Miss McNeill. All the children of the village were taken into
the school and made excellent progress. After a few years, a
large boarding school was erected. Mr. and Mrs. Russell returned east and Mr. and Mrs. Butchart were put in charge of
the work.    They did good work.
They were succeeded by the Rev. J. H. Millar, B.A., who
had as assistants, Miss McNeill and Miss MacKay, most efficient  and   competent  young  women.      After a  few  years  of 220 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
faithful work, Mr. Millar resigned his Ahousaht appointment
and accepted the pastorate of a church in the middle west, when
he made Miss MacKay mistress of the manse as Mrs. Millar.
Mr. Millar was succeeded at Ahousaht by Rev. J. Ross, who
had been for several years missionary at Dodger's Cove, Veluelet
and other villages on Barclay Sound. Mr. Ross, being a practical house-carpenter, greatly improved the boarding school
buildings. Mr. Ross followed the example of his predecessor
and made Miss McNeill, his assistant, Mrs. Ross; his wife.
A year ago, Mr. Ross resigned his appointment to Ahousaht
and was succeeded by Mr. Vanderveen who, while he was missionary to the Veluelet Indians, married the teacher of the
Ahousaht boarding school. Mr. and Mrs. Vanderveen have
great influence over the Indians and their children and are doing
splendid work among the tribe. Last summer, the boarding
school building at Ahousaht and also that at Alberni, with almost
all the furniture, were burnt. It was, without doubt, the "work
of incendiarism.
While the carrying on of mission work among the coast
Indians by the boarding school system is more expensive to the
Church than that of the day school, it is much more satisfactory
and yields much better results. By the former, the children are
all the, year round under the care and supervision of those in
charge, while by the latter, when the parents go to the fruit
and fish canneries and the hop-picking fields, they close their
homes and take their children with them and thus, practically
cause the day schools to be closed the greater part of the summer. The Roman Catholics have a large boarding school at
Clayoquot, on the west coast, between Ahousaht and Veluelet,
to which they take the children of their tribes to be educated. At
that school there is an efficient staff of priests and nuns to teach
the children the elementary branches of English education but
more especially the doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church.
We should not forget that all this country at one time belonged to the Indians, and we came across the Atlantic and
took possession of it and therefore the Christian Church, without
speaking of the State, should make adequate provision for the
Indian. We should send the Gospel to foreign lands, but the
heathen at our door, whose land we have taken, "this beautiful
Canada of ours," should be our first care, but it is not. CHAPTER  XIV.
British Columbia Missionary Experiences
Sketch by Rev. Joseph McCoy, D.D., (Victoria, B.C.)
*%yjp dear
A VI duly to
Mr. McKellar:   Your letter of January 19th. came
to hand, but owing to the rush at the close of the
year and a disability with a cold, the delay has occurred.
"Let me take this opportunity to very heartily wish you a
very happy New Year.    A good many years have come and gone
since as young men we met in Toronto, and much experience,
some sad and to be regretted has entered into my own life and
possibly also into yours since then, but thanks to our Heavenly
Father, I believe more of gladness than sadness and more for 222 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
thanksgiving than regrets has fallen to my share; and I must
think has been your experience also.
As we look back, one thinks of so many who have passed
over, while we are left. Not one of our professors is left with
us. The serious principal; the meek professor of church history;
the professor of systematic theology; the critical director of
homiletics—all gone.    But so much of their work remains.
"Once in a while I glance at the group-picture of our graduating class, and observe that probably the half have finished
their work here. Frank R. Beattie, David Ross, W. J. Smyth,
Alex. Fraser, John Johnston, I know have gone; then I am not
sure of A. T. Coulter, B. J. Brown, T. Atkinson and J. C. Watt,
nor D. G. McKay. But then, we must not be cast down, for
forty years cannot pass without changes. It will be forty years
about the end of March next, since eighteen of us /marched out
with the imprimatur of dear old Knox College, as having completed our course of training and commended to the guidance
of the Spirit to carry on God's work. With all our fervor of
youth and hope, how little after all did we realize the responsibility that rested upon us.
"Rennelson, Scrimgeour, McKerracher, Kenneth Junor, are
names that come back from the galaxy of stars in the skies of
my student days. And all the great leaders are gone: McVicar,
Caven, Grant, Cochrane, Jenkins, MacRae, Cooke and others.
Topp, Robb, McTavish, Proudfoot, McMullen and McKay, of
Woodstock, and so many others. What an array of eminent
men have labored in the Presbyterian Church in Canada! a
highly favored Church, a richly endowed Church! It has stood
as the representative of all that is true, generous, helpful, carrying forward the well-being of the people, and pointing to the
true service of all good—God. May she continue to bless the
people, and be herself blessed.
"In regard to my work in the mission field in British
Columbia, I could write some experiences, but whether it would
be of any value is a question. However, since you have asked
for it, and you thus do me the honor of presenting me among
honored pioneers, I should not withhold it.
"Being out of charge for a short time while living in
Toronto, one afternoon about the end of November, 1898, I
received a letter from the late James Robertson, D.D., the Sup- PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 223
erintendent of Missions, asking me to go to establish a mission
at Cascade City, in British Columbia. It was primarily a mission to the men building the railway from Robson westward to
Greenwood. I sent word immediately that I would go. I
did not know, however, where the place was, nor could I find
anyone among the railroad people of Toronto, who could tell
me. But I regarded it as a call, in God's providence to continue in the work of the ministry to which I had devoted my life.
"I quickly made- arrangements, leaving my family in
Toronto, and started on my western journey on Friday, 2nd.
of December, 1898, amid a heavy snow storm. Sunday afternoon we arrived in Winnipeg, still snowing. We found our
way to the hospitable home of our old college friend Dr. Andrew
B. Baird. The next day we called on the late Dr. King,
Principal of the Manitoba College, reviving memories. He it
was who had tied the nuptial knot for me in St. James's Square
Church, Toronto. I called also on Rev. Charles Gordon, who
performed the home-secretary work for the great Superintendent
of Missions during the latter's excursions to the fields so
scattered. From him I received instructions to go as far as
Revelstoke; then take train south to Arrowhead, where I would
find a steamer down the Arrow Lakes to Robson. Then I was'
to meet Mr. Tye, the chief engineer of the railroad construction.
He would furnish me with a cayuse on whose 'hurricane deck'
I should be carried to my field of labor—Cascade City.
"On the night train of Monday, December 5th., I started
from Winnipeg, on a dreary winter journey across what appeared
to me the most desolate country. A few men at each of the
stations we passed, would make a hurried appearance on the
platform, and then disappear, and after a few heavy pants from
the engine we were again speeding across the snowy waste.
Friday morning found us in the mountains. I shall not soon
forget that sight as I came out of the refreshment room at Field.
The air was pretty well filled in the lower strata with the smoke
and steam of the throbbing engines. Above and beyond that
huge, steaming, crawling monster, the train, towered the mountains covered with snow and ice, and reflecting the slanting
morning sunlight from the myriad of diamonds which glorified
the draping—the view was magnificent. Too cold, however,
to stand long in the open, we soon took our place inside, and re- 224 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
sumed the western journey. What extreme caution was
exercised by the crew on that steep grade, till we came to Glacier
and the Loops. Men stood at switches, ready to throw them
open and run the train on an ascending track, should any part
of the brakes give way. These were set fast, and guards sitting
in the snow watched with care every passing car.
"Night brought us into Revelstoke. With aching neck
and shoulders, from the constant peering out at the heights, we
were quite ready for rest,
"Another short railway journey to Arrowhead, and we
came on a mild foggy morning to the head of Arrow Lake. Here
was open water, a beautiful expansion of the great Columbia
River. The steamer is of very small draught, so that it can ride
clear of shoals, and propelled by a great stern wheel. Off on the
shore yonder some one observes a towel displayed on a long
fishing pole. It is a signal from some prospector, or rancher,
that he wishes the boat to turn in there, and presently the steamer
heads toward the shore. Wharf? No matter. The steamer
pushes her nose up on the edge of the bank, and passenger or
freight or mail is taken aboard, and the accommodating vessel
slides backward into the water, and continues on her course.
On the way I find that it is not necessary to go on to Robson,
so I land at the famous camp, Brooklyn, the headquarters of
the contractors making the grade preparatory to laying the steel.
"Monday morning we started with several others, with
a team of horses and sleigh, to travel over the tote road to Cascade City. For the sake of the horses I walked up most of the
hills, and I preferred to run down on foot the other hills for the
sake of my neck. Tuesday evening as it was setting in toward
the darkening, we arrived at our destination.
"Beautiful for situation is Cascade, but when that is said
one has little more to say. There were the usual 'hotels' of the
construction camp, thirteen of them, and other places needless
to be named. There were a few stores, a few families, a sawmill, a school-house, and a few other houses in construction.
Several hundred lots had been staked off and the streets marked,
but not a side walk or a graded street. Each hotel and store
along the main street had its own platform, but these were not
the same height or width, so it was no easy task to avoid tripping
at night except for the light from the windows of the 'hotels.' PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
"We visited several men, and found most quite favorable
to having a mission started; and the trustees granted the use
of the school for services on Sunday. Here, then, on Sabbath,
18th. December, 1898, we opened the mission, using for the
text, Hebrews 12:1. From that until the 31st. December, 1899,
we were enabled by God's goodness to conduct morning and
evening service every Sunday.
"As the prospects seemed to show that when the railroad
would be completed, comparatively few would be left, but surely
enough to have some place in which to worship. For these,
provision should be made before the helpers would be away.
Upon consultation with the representatives of the townsite
company, Messrs. Chandler & Stecker, they donated a lot to
the church. This was not far from the location for the railway
station and quite suitable. To this we had a little shack moved,
and put in comfortable condition for the missionary. Then
we proceeded to get contributions to a church. Having secured ten contributions of twenty-five dollars, and a few other
smaller ones, and obtained a loan from the Church and Manse
Building Fund, we had a very commodious church erected before
the cold weather set in.
"The attendance was fairly good all the time, from twenty-
six to eighty-four. At the first communion service there were
eighteen communicants; and it was to me a very happy
experience, Presbyterian, Methodists, Congregationalists, Anglicans, Salvation Army and a Christian took part in the service,
with apparent enjoyment and profit.
"But the outlying camps were to be visited, Gladstone and
the Bull-dog Tunnel were supplied regularly, and some remarkable
experiences found. One cold evening I visited the bunk-house,
where the men were gathered, some playing cards, others talking,
others drying their socks and boots. One man started improving
the fire in the great stove when I went in. As I distributed a
number of hymn books he said, 'This is no place for religion.
It is a lot of d—d nonsense.' However, when I gave out a hymn
and started the tune, he joined in the singing. After a few
hymns were sung, I read a portion of Scripture. This seemed
to irritate him, and he mumbled some protests, and withdrew
to his bunk. During the prayer which followed, and which he
could hear over the low divisions, he mockingly repeated^some 226 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
of the sentences. In a little while he ceased, and the service-
proceeded without interruption.
"On my next visit this man was present and gave me a
cordial welcome, without any reference to his attitude on the
former occasion, and when the service was over he said, 'Come
again, parson; no place needs religion worse than we do here.'
It was a remarkable change of front and we trust it was due
to the work of the Spirit effecting a change of heart.
"After the 24th of May celebration, which was quite an
event in Cascade, in 1899, a base-ball club was organized. The
officers were announced, and practice was to be held at 6:30 p.m.,
and on Sunday afternoons at 2:30. Meeting the president one
evening in the post office, I expressed my surprise that he should
allow his club to practice on Sunday. He professed ignorance
of it, but said he would speak of it to the others; the same with
the secretary. For two or three Sabbaths afterward a few
Italians assembled and tossed the ball to one another; but there
was no game. Even that part soon ceased, and finally the
club dropped out of existence.
"One afternoon a man called at my door. He was dressed
in a blue shirt with brass buttons, and a peaked cap, like an
officer on a steamer. He asked me if the priest lived here. He
seemed bewildered when told there was no priest about. He
then asked if this were not a church, and this the priest's house.
He was told that it was a church, and that a Presbyterian minister lived here.
"He told me that he wished to be absolved from his vow.
He had made this vow thirteen years before, that lie would not
again drink any intoxicating drink. He said that he had been
given to drink, and once he had lain on the railway track, and
would have been run over, but he was seen in time, so the train
was stopped and he was taken to a place of safety. This so
frightened him that he made his vow. When asked to whom
the vow was made he said it was to God. Had he kept it?
Surely, he said. And why do you wish now to be free from the
vow? He said that some one was constantly annoying him
and he wanted to thrash him and he could not unless he were
partially drunk. I then told him that since he had made the
vow to God, God was the only one who could absolve him; and
since God does not change, if he broke his vow, he would very PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 227
probably come to a bad end, perhaps be killed. After some
careful advice, and a prayer with the poor fellow, he went away
satisfied. It is to be hoped that he was sustained in keeping
his vow. He had some friends in Sweden, but none in this
country. Several other experiences I might relate, but I have
taken up too much space already.
"From Cascade I went to Phoenix, and there opened a
mission. The services were conducted in a log school-house,
which was well filled at the evening service. In fact, at that
time a forenoon service was not possible. Mr. Mills, who had
been an elder in Rossland, went with me to interview the manager
of the Ironside and Knothill Mines in regard to a site for a
church. He agreed to give us a lot for a church; so we selected
one about midway between the upper and lower parts of the
"I was there but a short time, having been called to become
the minister at Vernon, B.C., where I was inducted into the
charge by the Presbytery of Kamloops, on the 23rd. of May,
1900. After a short pastorate of a little over two years I moved
to Victoria, where I have been since.
"Now, dear friend, this will need some editing, but you
can do that. Trim out what you think best for I think it is too
long, and I have been so interrupted in its preparation that I
almost fear you will think I have overlooked it quite. Wishing
you joy and peace in your work, I remain yours very fraternally."
Sketch by W. G. W. Fortune, B.A., B.D., Vancouver, B.C.
"Dear Mr. McKellar: Pardon my apparent neglect in
forwarding you some information re my ministry in the West.
I'mislaid your letter, and only the article by Dr. McKay called
my attention to the fact of your having written me.
"I am a 'son of the soil' having been raised on a farm in
the Scotch block of Ancaster, Wentworth County, Province of
Ontario. Several years after leaving the public school I heard
the call of the Master, and making known my desire to my father,
he said unhesitatingly, 'Go on, my boy, and as long as I have a
dollar, you shall have the half of it to prepare you for your life
"I returned for six months to the public school where I
had gone as a boy, then attended the Hamilton Collegiate for 228 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
ten months and matriculated at Toronto University. Here I
took my course in philosophy and Orientals. In the last year
I dropped the Oriental languages part of the course in order
that I might by giving up a year in college, take a mission station in the West, as the need of the Home Mission Committee
for men the fall of 1887 was very great. I was sent to Elkhorn,
Man., where during the summer of 1888 a commodious ^church
was built, which with an addition, is in use to this day.
"During my course in Knox College I was so fortunate
as to obtain a scholarship, and my Oriental course \n Toronto
University enabled me to win the Lange Commentary for proficiency in Hebrew. On receiving my diploma in 1893, I was
honored by calls to the present Avenue Road Church, Toronto,
which I had organized in 1892; Chalmers church, Elora, as
successor to Dr. Middlemiss, and to be assistant to Dr. Mungo
Fraser, of Hamilton. However, the need of the West was so
great that I turned my back on the East and comfort of the
charges of the East, and accepted a call to Elkhorn, where I
had spent a portion of my student days, the field having three
stations, and a salary of $800 per annum.
"After two and a half years' ministry building a church at
Woodville, where there was no suitable building, I resigned
my charge, and was married the same fall to Miss E. J. Huston,
and returned to the East.
"In May, 1896, I succeeded Rev. W. A. Bradley at Alvin-
ston, Ont. Here, in January, 1898, one of the most beautiful
churches in western Ontario was opened. During my four
years' ministry in Alvinston, about forty members were added
to the roll annually, largely on profession of faith.
"In the spring of 1900, I accepted a call from Cranbrook,
B.C., which had just been raised from a mission field to self-
support. There were twenty-four communicants on the first
communion roll and some twenty-six Presbyterian families in
the city. The salary was $1,000 and manse. Mrs. Fortune
and myself found one load of lumber on the lots purchased for
a manse property, and for the first six weeks we lived in a box
car, and the next seven weeks in the summer kitchen of the
manse, then under construction. In January, 1906, a new
church was opened, at that time the largest and handsomest
church in the Kootenay's.    In the meantime the debt on the PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 229
old church had been paid o"ff, the manse finished and paid for,
and the new church carried a debt of but three thousand dollars.
In 1904, the givings for the schemes of the Church, through
systematic giving, had very largely increased, and totalled
almost fifty per cent, of the givings of the entire presbytery,
and in 1905, though the congregation was building a new church,
the givings were almost equal to those of 1904.
"The West was 'wild and woolly' in those days, and the
ministry very strenuous. I set my face against the current
vices of the day and fought many a hard battle against the '
forces of evil. Following a sermon preached one Sunday night
in which I fearlessly denounced certain conditions prevailing
in the city, four men took their names off the fist of contributors
the following morning. I was advised to be careful, as the
congregation could not afford to lose its contributors, but made
answer, 'If every man takes his name off the roll of contributors,
and I cannot buy a ticket to get out of the town with, thank
God I have good legs and feet and can walk out of the place,
but understand once and for all my tongue shall not be tied
by any man or body of men.' The salary was raised $200 at the
next annual meeting.
"After six and a half years' service, I accepted a call to
Red Deer, Alta., which had been raised from an augmented to
a self-sustaining charge. The salary was $1,200 per annum.
During the year and four months I was there, a debt of $800
was cleared off, the givings to the schemes of the church rose
beyond the four hundred dollar mark, and the membership
greatly increased.
"In March, 1908, I took up the duties of General Secretary
of the Alberta Temperance and Moral Reform League, which
at that time was laying the foundation for the glorious victory
over the liquor traffic in 1915. During the five years of my
tenure of office, the Searchlight, the official organ of the League
was started, and a vigorous local option campaign in almost
one-third of the province inaugurated, but an injunction filed
by the liquor interests was sustained by the court, and the
government was not allowed to take the vote arranged for.
In 1912, the United Farmers asked for the direct legislation,
which was granted by the government, and the first and only
referendum was on the liquor traffic, which received its quietus. 230 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER  MISSIONARIES
"I resigned my position in 1913, believing a change of
climate and water might restore me to health and moved to
Victoria, B.C.
"Anxious to still carry on my life work, I took charge of
Sidney congregation. As the place of worship was a miserable
hall, upstairs, close to the roof, there was a new church opened
in October, which would be a credit to a wealthier community.
"The people wished me to settle among them permanently,
but this was impossible, as I soon would have to submit to a
major operation. In November, 1915, the operation was successfully performed in the Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago. I
returned to Canada by way of Toronto, in April, 1916. Here
the Dominion Alliance made me the offer of- a position with
their Ontario branch, but the call of the West rung in my ears,
and I set my face towards the setting sun, though I had nothing
in view.
"While visiting Mrs. Fortune's mother in Virden, I took
charge of the McAulay field for a short time. The attendance
improved, and the last Sabbath of my stay, about twenty-five
came into full communion, almost all on profession of faith.
The congregation offered very materially to increase the salary
paid, but I was impelled by some unseen power to go farther
"On arriving in Vancouver on the last Monday in August,
I was requested by the committee of the People's Prohibition
Movement, to undertake an organization campaign. Their
committee was so nearly bankrupt, that on my accepting the
position, it was necessary to buy my own ticket to Revelstoke.
"Saturday night of the same week I reached Vancouver.
I started out on a six weeks' campaign, and completed same on
September 14th., the day of the polling of the vote for prohibition. Besides organizing wherever no organization had been
effected, and canvassing for votes, I raised in round figures,
one thousand dollars during the trip.
"After two weeks' respite, the committee unanimously
asked me to undertake the financing of their enormous deficit,
which I was successful in doing, at the same time providing
the necessary funds for the overseas' vote, the committee having
retained an agent in London, England. In June, 1917, I was
with the same unanimity offered the position of General Secre- PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
tary for the movement by the committee. In fact the committee
has since been so generous as to say that had it not been for my
efforts in straightening out the financial tangle, prohibition
might not have become a fact, as there were no funds to carry
on the work to a successful issue. The deficit has all been paid,
one hundred dollars contributed to the Dominion committee,
and a surplus now in hand of over five hundred dollars,"
Sketch by Rev. John Chisholm, B.A.,  (Montreal, November 8th.,
"Dear Mr. McKellar:      Your acknowledgment of my letter was received by me recently.    I am very much interested in
.    REV.   JOHN   CHISHOLM,   B.A.
Formerly missionary in British Columbia,
now in welfare work in Montreal.
your enquiry regarding those who invested so much of their
life's blood in laying the foundations of our Church in the great
"A great many of those dealing with this enquiry in the
past were literary men who drew largely on their imaginations
and on second-hand or hearsay information. You are taking
pains to investigate carefully into facts, w, therefore, sincerely 232 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
trust your researches shall issue in a book and be placed in the
hands of our people. Many, like myself, have since our pioneering days, occupied large congregations and would exercise great
influence in seeing that such a publication would be given a wide
"I am now pioneering in a great city. This year I succeeded in locating more than a hundred church members
and two hundred and thirty-five Presbyterian Sabbath-school
scholars in a ward which was by the presbytery regarded as
exclusively French. Our old country immigrants go where
they get the cheapest rent, chiefly where there are no Protestant
"When I recently met you in Ottawa, I promised to send
you some notes regarding my pioneer work in British Columbia.
"In 1883, Dr. Cochrane went on an overland trip through
the North West, reaching the coast via the North Thompson
and Fraser Rivers. Principal Grant and Sandford Fleming
followed the same route many years previous.
"As a result of Dr. Cochrane's visit, the Home Mission
Committee, of which he was the convener, resolved on adding
the province of British Columbia to the home mission area of
the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Previous to this, the
Canadian Church was represented by only one missionary in
the Pacific province, the Rev. Robert Jamieson, working under
the Foreign Mission Committee of the Canadian Church. The
Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church of Ireland sent
several missionaries to the province in the early seventies.
"In the early spring of 1884, four ministers were sent from
the Canadian Home Mission Committee: Rev. Donald Fraser
to Victoria, (to Pandora or First Presbyterian church, Victoria);
Rev. John McKay to the church which, up to that date, was
occupied by Rev. Robert Jamieson at New Westminster; Rev.
G. Y. Thompson to Biuret's Inlet, the chief appointment of
which became First Presbyterian Church, Vancouver, and myself were given a commission to explore the mainland from Yale
on the Fraser River to the Rocky Mountains. I had to go
inland in the old Cariboo stage from Yale. In Nicola Valley,
there was a small wooden church erected by the Church of Scotland, but for some time unoccupied. For two years I was the
only missionary in this unknown region.   Whilst making Nicola PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 233
Valley my headquarters, and where I preached occasionally at.
seven centres, I itinerated and explored every part of the interior.
"I conducted services in private houses, school houses,
court houses and along the Fraser River from Yale to Cariboo,
in seven different centres; along the Thompson River, from
Spence's Bridge to Kamloops, in six centres; up the North
Thompson and South Thompson Rivers from Kamloops to
Shuswap, in eight centres; up the Spallamachene Valley, from
Sicamous to Vernon, in seven centres; along the Okanagan Valley, from Vernon to the international boundary, including Granite
Creek, in six centres; along the international boundary, east
through Grand Prairie and Kettle River Valley, six places,
and east from Sicamous along the C.P.R. as far as Golden, in
ten centres or places. Thus, Divine services were conducted
in fifty-seven places, ordinance of baptism administered and
the Presbyterian families enumerated.
"In 1886, Rev. J. A. Jaffrey took charge of the Spallamachene Valley. A. H. Cameron came into Donald, and other
centres in the KOotenay Valley.
"When the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed
through to the coast in 1886, I made my headquarters in Kamloops. It must' not be taken for granted that I conducted
Sunday services in all those fifty-seven places. The most of
them were conducted on week evenings. I owned two or three
horses, and invariably went from place to place on horseback.
I frequently slept outside, and in Indian camps. When in
Kamloops, from 1887 to 1890, I usually had a student to do the
work in Kamloops, while I went off exploring and laying foundations for missions. I winter, when the weather was severe, I
remained constantly in Kamloops, preaching twice a Sunday,
and on the Sunday afternoons riding thirteen miles up the North
Thompson and preaching in the school-house.
"In 1887, the first substantial church and manse of the
interior was built in Kamloops. The same church is still used
for this prosperous congregation. In 1890, after six years'
strenuous and effective work, I accepted & call from Scarboro,
"You can make whatever use you choose of this statement
of facts. Wishing you God's blessing and all prosperity, I remain,
most cordially yours, " 234 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Sketch by Mr. Malcolm Mclnnes of Calgary, Alta., of Presbyterianism in British Columbia and Alberta, 1877-1923.
In my youth I learned to love the great name Presbyterian. I was brought up by God-fearing parents, whom
I left in the township of Glenelg, county of Grey, in February,
1877. I was taken with that fever: "Go West, young man,
go West." But before leaving, I promised my dear mother I
would never drink or gamble, as it was her prayer and wish, and
I am pleased to say I carried my promise out.
This trip to British Columbia was via Chicago to San Fran-
_ Came to Calgary when the city was started.
He'spent some years previously in British Columbia.
cisco, thence by boat to Victoria, B.C., which took twenty-six
days to accomplish. In those days, very few' boys emigrated
to this western province, and one was looked upon as "chee
chaco," or a new-comer, as they called me then. On my arrival
at New Westminster, I was looking for a job and I engaged
with a Captain McLachlan to cross over, to Orcas Island, in
Washington, at thirty dollars, to help burn lime, also my brother
and cousin, three years my senior.    This same evening a gentle- mm
man stepped over to me, and at once said to me: "Come here,
sir. Do I understand that you are going across the line with
Captain McLachlan?" "Yes, sir." "Are you not a British
subject?" "Yes, sir." "Then, why do you not stay in your
own country?" My answer was: "My money is about all
exhausted and I must get work." He says: "Do you know
anyone in this country?" "No, sir." Later, I told him that
I knew a Mr. Black. "Oh, I know Mr. Black," this gentleman
says, "Now, I want you to stay in your own country, I am going
up to Yale by express." This express consisted of a very large
cedar canoe with one white man and two Indians, who carried
the mail up the Fraser River to Yale, a distance of ninety miles,
and from there it was carried to Baskerville, a distance of four
hundred miles over the Cariboo road. The canoe trip I could
not take owing to lack of funds, consequently I had to walk.
This was in the first days of March. Very few people lived
along this road, and I was compelled to sleep in the open. I
got to Yale O.K. On my arrival a very tall man met me and
asked if my name was Mclnnes. "Yes, sir." "Well, my brother left orders if a boy should walk in from New Westminster,
to give him what he wanted in our store and send him out on a
section of the Cariboo road." I thought this a most grateful
act. This was a real man, and a gentleman, who owned a
number of stores in the Upper Country, and mule teams, used in
freighting from Yale to Cariboo—sixteen to eighteen mules to
a team—and driven by a teamster riding the nigh wheeler and
fines passing through rings to the nigh leader mule. Eighteen
to twenty oxen were called a "bull team" strung out hauling
three wagons loaded with freight. I wish here to mention this
man's name, "Uriah Nelson," an American by birth, a naturalized British subject. This was the kind of men British Columbia
consisted of in the early days The salt of the earth, and from
there I found my way to Clinton, B.C., and Kamloops, thence
to Nicola Valley, where I remained a number of years. This
was where I met the first Presbyterian minister, whose name
was George Murray. He and a Methodist minister, by the name
of James Turner, had a circuit of four hundred miles or over,
starting at Nicola Valley to Smilkmeen Valley, to Okanagan, to-
Grand Prairie, to Kamloops, to Cache Creek. All the distance
was over Indian trails.    No wagon road in that part of the 236 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
country from Cache Creek to Ccok's Ferry, now Spences Bridge,
over the Cariboo road, thence to Nicola Lake by trail.
Those were two iron men, never complaining. Their sermons were delivered in bar rooms, ranch houses, and a few school
houses. On one occasion, the Rev. James Turner rode into
Cook's Ferry from Baskerville, and I met him there. A cold
November day in 1880. He says to me: "You have a lot of men
here." The construction of the first section of the C.P.R.
line was commenced at that time. The contractor was an
-American by the name of "Onderdonk," who imported all his
men from California, as it was not feasible to get them from
Canada, as it would cost them too much money to get them to
British Columbia, as they would have to be taken by San Francisco, thence by boat to Victoria and by river boat to Yale,
from there they had to walk to where they were consigned to.
Cook's Ferry was the headquarters for the north end of this
section, which extended to Ashcroft. The class of men that
came north first on this section, consisted of a fair percentage of
gamblers and booze drinkers. There was a large number of men
at this point.
My esteemed friend, Rev. James Turner, said to me: "We
will go over to Nelson's to-morrow, being Sunday, and I will
preach a sermon to them. I remonstrated with, him that he
would do nothing of the kind. " Oh, yes, and you will come along
with me." "No, I do not want you to go among a lot of gamblers
and booze fighters." However, the Irishman would not listen
to me, as he had as much fight in him as the Americans, being
from the north of Ireland, with an iron will. So next morning,
we went across the river and went into the bar of this hotel, a
very large bar it was. Mr. Turner walked to the bar and asked
for Bill Mclntyre, the bar-tender, who was running the gambling
tables. The bar was full of tables. Bill Mclntyre introduced
Mr. Turner to the head gambler, who ordered the games to stop,
leave the money on the table and set them back. My friend,
Mr. Turner, stepped to the middle of the bar-room and preached
a fine sermon to those gamblers, who listened to every word.
As soon as the benediction was closed, this head gambler took his
hat and took up a collection, and asked Mr. Turner when he
would be back to call again and see them. I was called upon
to receive the collection, which I found on counting to be two PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 237
hundred and fifty dollars. This was the kind of missions we
had in the West in those early days.
I left Nicola Valley in July, 1882, bound for Bow River,
now Alberta. Arrived at Calgary the 29th. day of September,
1882. From Nicola Valley to Bow River there was not a bridge
over a stream, consequently they had to be swum. When coming to this place, I travelled in company with a Russian, who
had a large band of horses and we threw our bunch in with his.
One Saturday afternoon we came to the foot of Ponde Reilla
Lake, in the State of Idaho. After we had our bacon and bannock, I walked over to Oscar's camp and remarked what a
splendid place we found to rest our stock, to-morrow being
Sunday, as there was abundance of feed. Oscar, the Russian,
turned to me and said: "Are you going to stay here to-morrow?"
"Yes, to-morrow is Sunday." After some heated words, he
remarked: Mclnnes, I am going to travel to-morrow in spite
of God and 'man. Now, I want you to help me to swim my
horses about sundown." I cut our stock out from his, and
drove his bunch by his camp. He grabbed an old brown horse
he had on picket, which was to lead his horses across the river.
He got into a rude canoe and paddled across the stream. In
crossing, he drowned twelve of his best horses. Monday morning, we crossed over safely and found Oscar camped not half a
mile from where he left Saturday. He found that defying the
All Wise was no good. He travelled no more Sabbaths, as he
learned a good lesson.
In June, 1883, the Presbyterian Church sent a young missionary by the name of Angus Robertson, to labor among us.
My first introduction to this man was on the prairie south of
Fish Creek. He was off the McLeod trail, and I concluded he
was lost, as there were no fences in the country and very few
people. I was on horse-back and rode up to see who this man
was. I asked him if he were lost. "No, sir, I am looking for
some boys around here by the name of Mclnnes." "Oh, I
am one of them." "My name is Robertson, I am a missionary
sent out to straighten you fellows," and from that day until
his death, in 1890, we were very warm friends. He was a noble
character. The church lost a splendid man who was worthy of
the choice made by the church as our first missionary in Calgary. 238 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
Sketch  of Mission  Work in British Columbia  by Dr.  Donald
In 1861, the Rev. John Hall, commissioned by the Irish
Presbyterian Church, arrived in Victoria where for four years
he continued to labor surrounded by many difficulties, but
with not a little success, evidence of which remains in the present
prosperous congregation of First Church and its comfortable
church edifice.
Mr. Hall was followed in 1862 by the Rev. Robert Jamieson
by appointment of the Canada Presbyterian Church. He
began work at New Westminster, where he continued to labor,
except for a short time spent in the organization of a congregation and the creation of a church in Nanaimo, amidst the many
discouragements incidental to the fluctuations of a town mainly
dependent upon a restless and constantly changing population,
until obliged in May, 1884, in consequence of ill health, to resign
his charge.
Mr. Jamieson was followed about the year 1865, by the Rev.
Daniel Duff, also by appointment of the Canada Presbyterian
Church, who labored for upwards of a year in the then famous
Cariboo gold region, and afterwards for a short time at New
Westminster, during Mr. Jamieson's absence in Nanaimo, when
he returned to the East. On Mr. Jamieson's return about the
year 1869, from Nanaimo to resume charge of New Westminster,
he was succeeded at the former place by the Rev. Mr. Aikins,
also of the Canada Presbyterian Church, who, however, remained
in the country only about the same length of time as Mr. Duff.
Some time after the arrival of Messrs. Hall and Jamieson,
the Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland sent out as
its first missionary, the Rev. Mr. Nimmo, who continued to
labor in Victoria until 1865, when, on Mr. Hall resigning his
charge of the First Church with the view of removing to New
Zealand, the Rev. Thomas Somerville, a young and recently
ordained minister of the Church of Scotland, received and accepted a call from Victoria. All the Presbyterians having united
under Mr. Somerville, Mr. Nimmo was withdrawn by the Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland. Mr. Somerville
continued in charge of the united congregation for upwards of
a year, when circumstances arose, unhappily too common in
every part of the church, which resulted in division, the forma- 8g&*SgBti
tion of a second congregation, and the erection of St. Andrew's
Church. Of this congregation, Mr. Somerville continued in
charge until about the year 1870, when he returned to Scotland.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Simon McGregor, who, in addition to faithful and laborious work there, succeeded at different
times in interesting the Colonial Committee of the Church of
Scotland in British Columbia to the extent of obtaining liberal
grants and the appointment of the Rev. Messrs. Clyde,
McElmon, Dunn, Murray and Nicholson to the charges
respectively of Nanaimo, Comox, Langley, Nicola and Victoria
district. Mr. McGregor, having returned to Scotland in the
year 1881, he was succeeded in charge of St. Andrew's by the
Rev. R. Stephen, who also returned to Scotland, in May, 1887.
Mr. Clyde, after five years' service at Nanaimo, removed to
the United States, and was succeeded by the Rev. A. H. Anderson, who continued in charge until his removal, in 1886, to
British Guiana, the pulpit remaining vacant until the arrival of
the Rev. J. Millar, in 1887. Mr. McElmon remained in charge
of Comox for about five years, during which time a fair congregation was gathered and a comfortable church erected. On his
removal to Washington Territory, he was succeeded by the
Rev. James Christie, who continued in charge until May, 1887,
when he was transferred to Wellington, previously associated
with Nanaimo.
Mr. Dunn continued in charge of Langley and associated
stations for about six years, supplying an extensive district,
besides being largely instrumental in the erection of two comfortable churches. Mr. Dunn was received by the General
Assembly of 1886 into the ministry of the Church in Canada.
Mr. Murray, after laboring for some years over an extensive
district in the interior with Nicola for his centre, returned to
Nova Scotia, where he was called to an important pastorate in
New Glasgow.
Mr. Nicholson, after laboring for a short time in the Victoria
district, and afterwards as principal of the Victoria high school,
returned to the eastern provinces. After the division of the
congregation in 1866, the pulpit of the First Church, Victoria,
except fortnightly supplied by Mr. Jamieson for six months,
continued vacant until the arrival of the Rev. J. Reid from England, in 1876.    During the five years of Mr. Reid's pastorate, 240
the congregation enjoyed considerable prosperity. On Mr.
Reid's return to England, the pulpit was supplied for about one
year each by the Rev. Mr. Smith and Rev. D. Gamble. In
the summer of 1882, the Rev. Dr. Cochrane, convener of the
General Assembly's Home Mission Committee, visited British
Columbia by appointment of the General Assembly. After his
return, a more vigorous policy was adopted in reference to work
here. In the spring of 1884, the late Rev. J. S. MacKay was
called to the pastorate of St. Andrew's Church, New Westminster,
where he continued to labor with much faithfulness and success
until compelled by failing health in the autumn of 1885, to seek
change   of   climate  and   rest   in   Southern   California.     After
Pastor, First Presbyterian^Church, Victoria, B.C., formerly of
Mount Forest, Ont.
spending the winter there, he returned to his home in the county
of Oxford, Ont., where his short but fruitful ministry was closed
by death a few months afterwards. During Mr. MacKay's
absence and the ensuing vacancy, the pulpit was supplied by
the Rev. J. S. Taylor, of Moose Jaw, N.W.T., for about four PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 241
months, and by Mr. Jamieson and by neighboring ministers.
On the application of the congregation of the First Presbyterian
Church, Victoria, and by the appointment of the Home Mission
Committee, the Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A., of Mount Forest,
Ont., was inducted by the Presbytery of Toronto to the pastoral
charge of the congregation, arriving in August, 1884. A somewhat chequered history, including a long vacancy, frequent
changes, the absence of presbyterial oversight, together with a
serious loss by fire, had the usual effect upon the congregation.
Mr. Fraser's energetic labors and other favoring conditions,
however, brought the congregation up to a self-sustaining position.
In the spring of 1885, the Home Mission Committee appointed the Rev. T. G. Thomson, for a number of years minister
of Brucefield, Ont., and the Rev. J. Chisholm, of Osprey, Ont.,
to British Columbia, the former to the charge of what was then
known as Granville and North Arm, and the latter to Nicola
and associated stations, including Kamloops. The C.P.R.
terminus was fixed at Granville, and the name Granville was
changed to Vancouver. The disastrous fire of June, 1886,
swept away almost every building in the place. The missionary,
and the people at once set to work to build, and with some aid
from the East, were successful in the course of a few months,
in having a comfortable and commodious hall completed. The
city continuing to grow with wonderful rapidity, the congregation necessarily gained strength and shared in the general
In March, 1886, the Rev. Dr. D. M. Gordon, then of Winnipeg* by appointment of the General Assembly, visited British
Columbia with the view of conferring with ministers and
missionaries, then laboring in the province, about methods and
plans for future work. One was the creation, by the next-
General Assembly, of the Presbytery of Columbis, which was
convened and constituted in St. Andrew's Church, New Westminster, on the 3rd. of August, 1886, with the following
membership roll: Messrs. R. Jamieson, (Moderator); D. Fraser,
F. G. Thomson, D. MacRae, J. Chisholm, S. J. Taylor, J. A.
Jaffray, Alexander Dunn, (Ministers); and Fitzgerald McCleary,
Alexander McDougall and Walter Clark, (Elders), of whom the
first five named were present. 242 PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES
The Presbytery of Columbia reported the first year to the
General Assembly, of nine ministers on its roll, forty-five churches
and mission stations, two hundred and forty-five communicants
and $11,024.00 raised for all purposes.
For the year just closed, 1893, there were reported, twenty-
three ministers on the roll, sixty-nine churches and mission
stations, 2,168 communicants and $59,757.00 raised for all
purposes. These figures indicate steady and substantial and
highly gratifying progress, efficient, faithful and self-denying
labor on the part of ministers, missionaries and other office
bearers, and active sympathy, co-operation and generous liberality on the part of the people.
"In congratulating ourselves on the advances that have
been made, let us not fail on an occasion like the present, marking
an interesting and important era in our history, to recognize
and publically acknowledge the sources of our success and present
position; first and pre-eminently this success has been due to
the Gospel as the power of God, but subordinate and necessary
to the Gospel's power and influence on the hearts and lives of
the people, to the high Christian character, efficient, faithful
and self-sacrificing labors of the missionaries of early days, men
subject to like passions with us, yet it is not too much to say
that they did a noble work and under conditions not only unfavorable but often most discouraging and trying. The
conditions under which many of our missionaries labor to-day
are as we know well trying enough, but as compared with earlier
times, the lines indeed have fallen to us in pleasant places. These
were the days of periodic excitements followed by corresponding
periods of stagnation, large influx of population which in a few
months disappeared like snow from the mountain sides; the hope
deferred which made the heart sick. Progress was slow under
these conditions. This, however, did not prove either inefficiency or unfaithfulness. It could not be otherwise. What is
true now in so many instances, was generally if not universally,
true then; that great progress was impossible; moral and spiritual
results cannot be tabulated. We who have entered into the
labors of these men under conditions so much more favorable,
are reaping the fruits and perhaps taking to ourselves the credit
due to them—one sowing and another reaping, has always been
the law of the Kingdom's growth. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 243
"In the interest, and liberality, in men and money of the
mother churches, in Ireland and Scotland, much of what has been
accomplished is due to them. The Presbyterian Church in
Canada has also rendered valuable help in men and money,
to the cause of missions in British Columbia. In reviewing the
past there is much cause for devout gratitude to the great king
and head of the church, with much humility for the failures
and shortcomings incidental to all human efforts. There is
also much that is inspiring and promising as to the future, with
a country of immense area, possessing almost every diversity
of climate and physical feature, island and valley, mountain
and plain, with resources yet scarcely touched, of water, field,
mine and forest, we have here a land in which there will yet be
reared millions of prosperous homes. To us as a church is committed by our exalted and glorified Saviour, a large share of
the mighty trust of securing its evangelization.
"Let us then go forward from this advanced stage in the
church's growth in obedience to our Redeemer's parting command in the faith and confidence of the apostle, in the Gospel,
as the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,
then we shall have fulfilled our mission; souls will be saved; the
land blessed and God's name glorified."
From a sermon preached at the second meeting of the Synod
of British Columbia, in the First Presbyterian Church, Victoria,
1st. March, 1893, by the retiring Moderator of the Synod,
and pastor of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Victoria, B.C.
Published by order of the Synod.
Rev. Donald MacRae, D.D., Moderator. CHAPTER XV
1. Mr. James Sutherland, Elder, 1816-1818.
2. Rev. John Black, D.D., Kildonan, 1851-1882.
3. Rev. James Nisbet, Manitoba and Prince Albert 1862-1874.
4. Rev. Wm. Fletcher, Portage la Prairie, 1868.
5. Rev. John MacNab, Little Britain, 1868.
6. Rev. Alex. Matheson, native of Kildonan, 1866.
7. Rev. D. B. Whimster, teacher in Kildonan Mission School.
8. Rev. Dr. George Bryce, Professor of Manitoba College, 1871.
9. Rev. Thomas Hart, Professor Manitoba College, 1872.
10. Rev. Dr. W. C. Clark, 1872.
11. Rev. Samuel Donaldson, Meadowlea, 1872-1873.
12. Rev. Alex. Frazer, High Bluff, 1872-1873.
13. Rev. Edward Vincent, Prince Albert, 1873.
14. Rev. James Robertson, D.D. Winnipeg, 1873-1874.
15. Rev. Hector Currie, Manitoba, 1874.
16. Rev. Hugh McKellar, Prince Albert, 1874.
17. Rev. James S. Stewart, Gladstone, Man., 1875.
18. Rev. Alex. Stewart, D.D., 1875-1876.   Prince Albert (Chap
lain Mounted Police Force).
19. Rev. Allan Bell, Portage la Prairie, 1875.
20. Rev. D. C. Johnston, Prince Albert, 1876.
21. Rev. D. McRae, D.D., Neepawa  1879, and Victoria, B.C.
22. Rev. H. J. Borthwick, Mountain City, Man., etc. 1876.
23. Rev. James Duncan, Manitoba and Prince Albert.
24. Rev. Finlay C. J. McLeod, B.A., C.P.R. Construction Camps,
25. Rev. W. R. Ross, Southern Manitoba, 1880.
26. Rev. James Seivright, Prince Albert, 1880.
27. Rev.  D. Stalker, D.D., Gladstone,  Man. 1881-1892, then
called to Calumet, Mich.
Rev. A. B. Baird, D.*D., Edmonton, 1881, afterwards Pro
fessor in Manitoba College.
Rev. John Ferries, Brandon District, 1881.
Rev. John A. MacDonald, 1881.
Rev. Donald McCannel, Carberry, 1881.
Rev. James Farquharson, D.D., Pilot Mound, 1880.
Rev. A. H. Cameron, Boissevain District, 1881.
Rev.. Dr. Patterson, Deloraine, etc., later   pastor
Church, Toronto.
Rev. James Todd, D.D., Burnside and Minnedo
later called to Boston, Mass.
sa,  1882,
Rev. D. C. Cameron, Nelson, 1882.
Rev. J. A. Townsend, Manitou, later U.S.A.
Rev. John Cairne, Glenora and Baldur Dists. in
Rev. John Mowat, H. M. Field, Manitoba,  1882.
to his native town Freswick, Scotland, 1907.
Rev. Dr. S. C. Murray, Neepawa, 1883.
Rev. Prin. J. M. King, Manitoba College, 1883.
Rev. D. M. Gordon, D.D., Knox Church, Winnipeg,
Rev. Alex. McFarlane, ordained in 1878.
Rev. Alex. McTavish, Chater, Man., 1884.
Rev. Hugh McKay, D.D., Round Lake, 1877.
Rev. Charles W. Bryden, Selkirk, Man., 1880.
Rev. W. S. Moore, Mistawassis Reserve, 1886.
Rev. Ewen McKenzie, Hurricane Hills, 1888.
Rev. Wm. Hodnett, Birtle, Man., 1879-1902.
Rev. P. C. McGuire, Emerson.
Rev. James M. Wellwood, Wellwood, Man.
Rev. Alexander Smith, Cadurcis.
Rev. Archibald McLaren, Springfield, etc.,
Rev. John Scott, West Lynn.
Rev. Farquhar McHae, M.A., Beaver Creek and Burnside.
Rev. J. H. Cameron, Fort Pitt, Hamiota and Kildonan
Rev. Angus Robertson, Calgary and surrounding
Rev. Mr. Livingstone, H: M. Field, Manitoba, 1882.
Rev. J. Brown, Southern Manitoba, 1884.
Rev. R. Brown, Southern Manitoba, 1886.
Rev. Samuel Poison, Southern Manitoba. 246 PRESBYTERIAN  PIONEER MISSIONARIES
62. Rev. James M. Douglas, Brandon.
63. Rev. James Douglas, Morris, High Bluff and Prospect retired
in Edmonton.
64. Rev. David Anderson, Springfield etc., Manitoba, afterwards
settled in Burlington, Ont.
65. Rev. John McArthur, Beulah, Man., afterwards moved to
New Zealand.
66. Rev. T. C. Court, Wellwood, Man., 1888.
67. Rev. James Lawrence, Stonewall, Man.
68. Rev. Wm. Mullins, Headingly, Man.
69. Rev. Alex. Campbell, H. M. Field, Manitoba.
70. Rev. Alex. Urquhart, Brandon.
71. Rev. W. L. Rowand, Burnside, Man.
72. Rev. John Anderson, Burnsijde, Man.
73. Rev. Mr. McKay, Burnside, Man.
74. Rev. Dr. Joseph Hogg, Winnipeg.
75. Rev. John Hogg, Winnipeg.
76. Rev. George Flett, Okanase Indian Mission.
77. Rev. John McKay, Mistawassis Reserve, 1878.
78. Rev. John McKay, Strathclair, Man.
79. Rev. Donald McVicar, B.A., (a pure Cree Indian).
80. Rev. Mr. McLeod, Principal of Industrial Indian Schools,
81. Rev. Solomon Tunkansuieye and his elder Enoch, Beulah,
82. Rev. Dr. A. S. Grant, M.D., Dawson City.
83. Rev. Dr. John Pringle, Kildonan and Yukon, afterwards
Chaplain at the front.
84. Rev. Mr. Sinclair, Industrial Indian School, Regina.
85. Rev. Dr. Pitblado, Winnipeg, 1881.
86. Rev. Wm. Mac William, Prince Albert, 1883.
87. Rev. Dr. Jardine, Prince Albert, 1886.
88. Rev. Wm. Rochester, Prince Albert, 1890.
89. Rev. Mr. Lee, Prince Albert, 1896.
90. Rev. Dr. C. C. Young, Prince Albert, 1901-1913.
91. Rev. Mr. Mitchell, Prince Albert, 1913-1915.
92. Rev. J. W. Mcintosh, M.A., Prince Albert, 1916.
93. Rev. M. C. Rumball, Morden, Man., 1892. PRESBYTERIAN PIONEER MISSIONARIES 247
Rev. A. B. Baird, D.D   Edmonton, 1881.
Rev. Angus Robertson, Calgary and vicinity, 1883.
Rev. J. L. Campbell, Edmonton, 1884.
James Hamilton, 1885.
Dr. Herdman, Calgary, 1885.
Dr. A. S. Grant, 1886.
Dr. D. G. McQueen, Edmonton, 1887.
David Arnot.
James Buchanan, Innisfail.
Rev. John Fernie, Gleichen field, etc. 1890.
Rev. Wm. Neilly.
Rev. J. S. Muldrew, now of North Vancouver.
Charles McKillop, Lethbridge, 1889.
Gavin Hamilton, Fort McLeod, etc., 1891.
J. P. Grant, Pincher Cpeek, 1891.
H. R. Grants succeeded Rev. J. P. Grant at Pincher Cr.
J. A. Jaffray, MacLeod, 1897.
J. W. Morrow, M.A., came to. Northern Alta., 1894,
then to Medicine Hat in 1896.
Rev. J. S. Scott, High River and Okotoks, 1895.
Rev. J. A. Matheson, Okotoks, 1890.
Rev. C. W. Gordon, (Ralph Connor).
Rev. A. M. Gordon, Raymond, about 1899.
Rev. Archibald McLaren, 1904-1905.
Rev. Prof. Oliver, 1904-1905.
Rev. Mr. Edmison, Walsh etc., 1905.
Rev. Mr. Downey, 1896-1897.
Rev. Mr. Fraser.
Rev. Wm. Simons, Edmonton.
Rev. W. J. Brown, Red Deer.
Rev. Dr. White, Lacombe.
Rev. Jas. S. Shortt, Pine Creek, etc.
Rev. Hugh McKellar, 1905.
Rev. James Nisbet.
Rev. Hugh McKellar.
Rev. Alexander Stewart.
Rev. Peter Straith.
Rev. D. C. Johnston.
Rev. James Duncan.
Rev. James Seiveright.
Rev. Dr. Jar dine.
Rev. Wm. Mac Williams.
Rev. Wm. Rochester, D.D.
Rev. Mr. Lee.
Rev. Dr. C. G. Young.
Rev. A. C. Mitchell.
Rev. J. W. Mcintosh, M.A.
Rev. John Hall, 1861-1865, afterwards moved to New Zealand.
Rev. Robert Jamieson, 1862.
Rev. Daniel Duff, 1864-1867.
Rev. Wm. Aiken, 1869-1872.
Revs. Messrs.  Nimmo,  Somerville and MacGregor, under the
auspices of Church of Scotland.
Rev. Simon MacGregor, first Moderator of Presbytery of British
Columbia connected with Church of Scotland, organized
Rev. Wm. Clyde, Clerk of Presbytery.
Rev. George Murray, member of Presbytery.
Rev. Alexander Dunn, D.D.
Rev. A. B. Nicholson.
Rev. B. K. McElmon.
Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A. (Pastor of First Church/Yictoria, B.C.)
Rev. Dr. John Campbell, First Church, Victoria.
Rev. Dr. D. McRae, St. Paul's Church, Victoria.
Rev. Dr. W. L. Clay, Victoria.
Rev. Dr. Peter Wright, Vancouver and Nelson.
Rev. Dr. John A. Logan, Vancouver, B.C.
Rev. Dr. J. Knox Wright, Vancouver, B.C.
Rev. Dr. J. S. Henderson, Vancouver, B.C.
Rev. Peter Henderson, M.A., New Westminster, B.C.
Rev. John Chisholm, Kamloops, B.C., 1896-1897.
Rev. W. G. W. Fortune, B.A., B.D., Cranbrook, 1900.
Rev. Joseph McCoy, Victoria, B.C.
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