Social circles at Norway House were small and it is not surprising that competition developed between some
In particular, James Evans' wife, Mary, and their daughter, Clarissa, were
locked in a tense social competition with the chief factor's wife and
The following excerpt written by Letitia Hargrave, a Scottish
women married to the Hudson's Bay Company factor at York Factory, explains some of the problems:
Poor Mr. Evans was here lately in very bad
spirits-When I first saw him I could not conceive why every one praised
& said he was a gentleman and a man of independent fortune, besides so
perfect a missionary that he was encouraged to forget what he really was.
Now all hands have turned on him. He got a very sharp letter from Sir
George, and has been informed that he must live at the Indian village
& leave the Fort. What he has done I cant say, but I really think that
the whole affair has been caused by Mrs. Evans & her daughters'
successful rivalry over Mrs. Ross & her children- For they were the
derision of the whole passers by for their finery and exhibition of good
education and knowledge of astronomy as Mrs. Evans used to say- whereas Mrs.
Ross & Jane did not know the names of the commonest stars-The
Rosses have been quite intimate with them & have reported every word
& action to Mr. and Mrs. Finlayson . . .
The rumours would get even more petty as this excerpt
from a letter Hargrave wrote her mother shows.
Mr Glad[ma]n declares that she (Mary Evans)
consumed between 30 & 40 kegs of butter, each weighing 56 lbs., the
flour was even worse & all in one year, with only her husband daughter
Under the direction of William Mason, junior missionary,
the translation program at Norway House flourished. A team of translators,
including Henry Steinhauer,
Sophia Mason (William Mason's wife), Jean Hunter and John Sinclair,
worked together on the project. Between 1848 and 1849 the Norway House Mission press
produced the Wesleyan Society Rules, the National Anthem,
an English-Cree Word Book, two Catechisms, the Commandments, the Creed and
had nearly finished John's Gospel.
After Evans left Norway House, Mason was the only
Methodist clergy left in the area. However, Mason joined the Anglican Church and
moved to York Factory, taking with him the work that had been completed on the bible. The
entire bible was consequently printed in 1861 as an
Anglican product. Some feel belated credit is due to the Methodist
translation team from Norway House.
In this excerpt of a report that William Mason wrote to the mission
secretaries between 1846 and 1854 he describes the work involved in
It has been carefully revised, and read over to the
most intelligent of our Indian Christians, who have pronounced it 'very
good.' Our guides in the Cree have been translation in Mss. Of several
gentlemen in the country, Rev. Peter Jones's translation and Mr. Howes'
excellent Cree Grammar. We have adhered to the Authorized Version using as
helps various commentaries, Wesley's Notes on the New Testament, and
making continual reference to the origin and to the Latin and French
versions. Mr. H.B. Steinhauer's classical knowledge proved to be a great
help to us. Please get the translations printed in England, and sent out
to us next spring. 1000 copies would be a great blessing to us.
-a letter from Wm. Mason to the Mission Secretaries,
quoted by: Gerald M. Hutchinson, unpublished document.
june 25, 2002