In 1855, the Canadian Conference of the Methodist
Church assumed responsibility for the Western Canadian missions. The first
missionaries appointed to these missions were Thomas Woolsey and
Henry Bird Steinhauer-the former born and raised in England, the
latter a Canadian of Ojibway descent who received his formal theological training in
the United States.
Woolsey and Steinhauer were followed in 1862 by George and
John McDougall. The McDougall family came West during an era when momentum for Canadian
nationhood was growing and the missions
entwined with Western expansion and the thrust to create a Canadian state
stretching from the Atlantic shore to the Pacific coast.