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