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Robert Terrill RundleEngaged today in preparing for tomorrow. What a responsibility rests on me! Immortal spirits are entrusted to my care & Lord what am I? But thou choosest the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. 

- Robert Rundle, June 13, 1840

Robert Terrill Rundle was born in Mylor, England in 1811. Little is known of his childhood or family except that on his mother's side he had a grandfather who was a well known Methodist preacher and an uncle who was a missionary. 

In 1837 Rundle entered business school, but within two years left to enter a Methodist missionary training college. After only two months of theological training, he accepted an offer to become a missionary for the Hudson's Bay Company's Saskatchewan District. On March 8, 1840, eight days after his ordination, Rundle left for North America. Following a brief stay at Norway House, he arrived at Fort Edmonton to be the Company Chaplain.

For the next eight years, Rundle spent the majority of his time spreading the Christian message to numerousRundle's TravelsFather de Smet forts and Aboriginal camps. His travels took him as far north as Lesser Slave Lake and Fort Assiniboine, as far south as Big Hill Springs, deep into Blackfoot territory near present-day Cochrane, and as far east as Fort Pitt and Fort Carlton. During his travels he learned Cree, made many connections among the Aboriginal tribes and established cordial relations with most Hudson's Bay Company officials as well as Father de Smet, a Catholic missionary  working in the region. He had various companions throughout the years, including translator William Rowland, painter Paul Kane and the Chief Factor of the Saskatchewan District, John Rowand.

Rundle MonumentIn 1847, with the help of one of his early friends and converts from Norway House, Benjamin Sinclair Rundle attempted to establish a permanent mission at Pigeon Lake. However, that same year he fractured his left arm, an injury that would not heal and which caused Rundle to return to England. On September 9, 1848 he sailed out of Western Canada into Hudson Bay.

Rundle and FamilyIn England, Rundle continued to travel and preach. He married and had nine children. Although he expressed an interest in returning to North America, because of various circumstances, he remained in England until his death in 1896.

 

Citation Sources
Rundle, Robert Terrill. Edited by Hugh A. Dempsey. The Rundle Journals, 1840-1848. Calgary: Alberta Records Publications Board, Historical Society of Alberta and Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1977.


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