Shall a home be secured for the original proprietors?
Or shall they be left to drink the bitter cup of poverty and neglect, and
at last perish as a people?
- George McDougall1
Born on September 9, 1821 in Kingston, Upper Canada, George McDougall was of Highland
Scottish decent. His father, a non-commissioned officer in the Royal
Navy during the War of 1812, became an Upper Canada pioneer, and George
was raised on a farm near present-day Barrie, Ontario. As a young man, George received
little formal education, instead
developing many of the pioneering
skills he would later use in his missions to the West.
In 1842, George married
Elizabeth Chantler, an English-born woman of Quaker parents. Together they
would have eight children (plus adopted children), including John, who
later became his father's missionary assistant, and David, a rancher and trader
who would help to supply the missions.
Soon after the couple married, they converted to Methodism, and George became a lay preacher.
Still in Upper Canada, he then began formal training, briefly attending Victoria
College in Cobourg and soon after moving to Alderville, where he assisted Reverend William Case, a
well known Methodist missionary. In
1854, George McDougall was ordained a missionary by the Methodist Church and, in
1860, he was appointed to his first mission in Rossville,
Manitoba (near Norway
House). He was soon named chairman of the Western Methodist Missionary
District and with his family moved west to take over the missionary
With the help of his family, interpreters and other missionaries, George established
and oversaw missions
in all of the Saskatchewan District, including the present-day provinces
of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. His first-and the one at which he
spent the most time-was the Victoria Mission on the north bank of the
North Saskatchewan River. In the 1870s, he opened missions at Fort
Edmonton and Morley and helped to reopen the mission at Pigeon Lake.
on a buffalo hunt in 1876, George McDougall perished during a blizzard,
presumably from heart failure and
exposure. He was buried in the Wesley Band cemetery near Morley.
John. George Millward McDougall: The Pioneer Patriot and Missionary.
Toronto: Briggs, 1902.