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Methodist Missionaries in Alberta

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HBC Coat of Arms    1795

 Hudson's Bay Company builds Edmonton House (Fort Edmonton) in what is now Fort Saskatchewan. 

George Simpson     1821 

Union of the Northwest Company and Hudson's Bay Company with George Simpson as the Governor of the Company and John Rowand as the Chief Factor of the Saskatchewan District. 

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA  Corporate Wars in the North: Hudson's Bay Company versus the Northwest Company
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Fort Edmonton    1830

 Fort Edmonton is relocated to its last site on what are now the grounds of the Alberta Legislature. 


 Hudson's Bay Company's charter to be sole controllers of fur trade in the Northwest is renewed on the condition that it promote religious and moral advancement


A number of Methodist Missionaries are sent to Hbc posts by the Wesleyan Missionary Society of London, including Robert Terrill Rundle to Fort Edmonton, George Barnley to Moose Factory and William Mason to Lac la Pluie. James Evans was made superintendent, stationed at Norway House (Manitoba) Rundle  is the first settled missionary of any church in Upper Canada. 

Sunday Book: Syllabics    1841 

James Evans travels to Lesser slave Lake and Fort Edmonton where he teaches Rundle the Cree syllabics. Used for worship booklets and letter writing, the use of syllabics spreads rapidly. 

Fr. Jeanne Baptiste Thibault arrives at Fort Edmonton. Rundle was not pleased. In his Journals he writes: Returned to the Fort early in the morning and found a Popish priest there. 

Father Thibault      1844 

First Mission established at Lac Ste. Anne by Rev. Jean Baptiste Thibault. 


Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA  Women in Place Names: Lac Ste Anne
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Evans returns to England.

Rundle Large Portrait    1847

 First Methodist Mission established at Pigeon Lake by Robert Rundle. Benjamin Sinclair is called in from Norway House to help him. With help of local people they plant the first garden outside the Fort.

Benjamin Sinclair    1848

 Rundle returns to England leaving Sinclair as the sole representative of the Protestant Church west of the Red River Settlement. 

Father Lacombe    1852

 Father Albert Lacombe replaces Thibault at Lac Ste. Anne. 



 Canadian Methodist Church receives control of the Western Mission field from the British Wesleayn Missionary Society. The misisons are now independent from Hbc control

Thomas Woolsey Sketch    1855

 Thomas Woosley is appointed to Edmonton and Henry Bird Steinhauer to Lac La Biche. They are the first home missionaries for the Canadian Protestant Church. 

Peter Erasmus    1856

 Woosley, joined by Peter Erasmus as an interpreter, reopens the Pigeon Lake Mission.

Whitefish Mission    1857

 Woosley visits Rocky Mountain House and holds the first Protestant sermon in 10 years. Steinhauer opens a new mission site at Whitefish Lake. Roman Catholic chapel built within the enclosure of Fort Edmonton. 

Palliser Expedition Map    1858

 Woolsey abandons Pigeon Lake Mission for a site on Smoking Lake. John Palliser conducts the "Palliser Expedition" to map Rupert's Land and asses its agricultural potential for the British government. They name a mountain after Rundle - "Mount Rundle." 

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA  Place Names of the Palliser Expedition: Part 1
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George McDougall Seated    1859

 George McDougall is appointed Superintendent of the Saskatchewan District and stationed at the Rossville Mission near Norway House. Three Catholic Sisters of the order of the Grey Nuns of Montreal arrive at the Lac Ste. Anne Mission. 

St. Albert Mission Sketch    1862 

George McDougall moves west and establishes Victoria Mission on north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. Bishop Tache and Father Lacombe establish a new mission called St. Albert. 

Red River Cart    1864 

Food shortages affect Hbc. The Company advises the missionaries that henceforth they can no longer purchase their supplies at the forts. Closest supplies are at Winnipeg.

Increasingly affected by poor health Thomas Woolsey returns to England.

John McDougall Young Portrait

John McDougall and wife, Abigail Steinhauer, appointed to re-open Pigeon Lake Mission, renamed Woodville, after Enoch Wood, the Canadian Superintendent of Missions. 



The British North American Act is passed - the Dominion of Canada is created by the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada East and Canada West. John A. McDonald becomes Canada's first Prime Minister.


Canadian government purchases Rupert's Land from Hudson's Bay Company for approximately $ 1.5 million. Outbreak of the Red River Resistance.

McDougall Mission, Fort Edmonton    1869-71 

Smallpox epidemic sweeps through Western Canada resulting in the death of three members of McDougall's family and thousands of First Nation people. Abigail dies at Victoria Mission. George McDougall and family move to Fort Edmonton to establish Methodist mission. 

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA Smallpox Epidemics, Part 5
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The Dominion Land Survey starts operating with the Red River Settlement.

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA Dominion Land Survey, Part 1: Political Context
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Morley Mission    1872 

First western Missions Conference held in Winnipeg. John McDougall is ordained as missionary and appointed to open a mission to the Stoneys on the Bow River. He travels first to Ontario and marries Elizabeth Boyd. 

RNWMP Lancer    1873

 Cypress Hill Massacre. Dominion Parliament passes Act establishing the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. Following year the first contingent arrives in the West. John McDougall is asked by the government to prepare the Aboriginal people for Treaty making.

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA Towns: Fort McLeod
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 William Newton arrives in Edmonton, the first missionary of the Church of England in Alberta territory

Treaty 6    1876 

Signing of Treaty No. 6. This leds to the creation of Saddle Lake and Whitefish Lake reserves. George McDougall dies during buffalo hunt.

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA Treaties, Part 3: #4 & #6 
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Treaty 7 Picture    1877 

Signing of Treaty No. 7 at Blackfoot Crossing


Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUATreaties Part 4: #7 at Blackfoot Crossing
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John Maclean Sitting at Desk      1880  

James Maclean establishes the Kainai Mission in Southern Alberta.


Surveyors Wagon Train      1880

In depth land surveying under the direction of the Dominion Land Survey begins to take place in what is now Alberta. The number of surveyors peaks in 1883.

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUADominion Land Survey, Part 2: Challenges on the Prairie
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 A. Baird arrives in Edmonton as the first Presbyterian missionary.

Whitefish Mission    1884 

Benjamin Sinclair and Henry Bird Steinhauer die on the same weekend and, with consent of both families, are buried in the same grave at Whitefish Lake.

1885 Rebellion Prisoners    1885 

Riel Rebellion, Massacre at Frog Lake, twelve killed among which are two Missionary Priests, Father Faford and Father Marchand


 John Niddrie moves to Morley and acts as a teacher at the Mission School. Nine years later he would be made the principal of the McDougall Institute.

Red Deer Industrial School    1893 

Opening of the Red Deer Industrial School with the Reverend John Nelson as principal. The school was operated by the Methodist Church of Canada and funded by the Federal Government


 Clifford Sifton becomes Federal Minister of the Interior. He wages an active overseas publicity campaign aimed to attract Eastern European immigrants to settle as farmers in western Canada.


 Formal discussions regarding union are initiated between Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches

Inauguration Ceremony     1905  

The Province of Alberta is proclaimed.


John McDougall retires from missionary activity.


 John Niddrie leaves Morley to act as a missionary at Oxford House. He would continue to work in Manitoba and end his career there in 1938

UCC Crest     1925  

Formation of the United Church of Canada. 


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