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Thomas Woolsey SketchI cannot say that the locality presents all the characteristics of the promised land, as set forth in Deut. VIII, but it is really a good land, "a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring of valleys and hills.

- Thomas Woolsey, letter to the Reverend Elisha Hoole, Dec. 31, 1861 

Thomas Woolsey was born on January 27, 1819 in Gainsborough, England. He arrived in Upper Canada in 1852 and after three years began his missionary work at Fort Edmonton. He remained there for nine years, focusing his ministrations on the Aboriginal community rather than the Hudson's Bay Company employees. He likely would have continued in the area but, owing to the demanding frontier conditions and the rigorous schedule that Woolsey imposed on himself, his health failed. He consequently returned to England in 1865. 

Woolsey was soon prepared to return to North America. He expected to once again go to the Fort Edmonton region, but instead remained in Upper Canada, during which time he married Sarah Wolverson (sister-in-law of Robert Rundle). Together they had four children, two of whom would die in childhood. Woolsey retired in 1883 at age 65 and passed away in Toronto on May 2, 1894.

Citation Sources
Woolsey, Thomas. Heaven is Near the Rocky Mountains: The Journals of Thomas Woolsey. Edited by Hugh Dempsey. Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1989

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