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In Their Own Voices

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Thomas Woolsey left behind an important and lasting legacy-he was able to maintain the Methodist church presence around Fort Edmonton in the face of stiff opposition from other missionaries. In fact, the later successes of George and John McDougall can be traced back to the active and expanding Methodist mission-field that they inherited from Woolsey.

Maskepetoon SketchWoolsey's conversion of a number of chiefs, such as Maskepetoon and Lapotak, not only had a calming effect on the area, but also made future relations between Aboriginal people and the arriving settlers more amiable. He recognized the land's potential for agriculture and his attempts to build a site to teach agriculture were aimed at providing a way for the Aboriginal communities to survive despite the influx of white settlers.

 Stoney FamilyPerhaps Woolsey's greatest accomplishments were the relationships he forged with the people that he converted. The grief at his leaving was so strong that one young man travelled almost 1000 miles from the Victoria Mission to Norway House to see him one last time. The bond between this unassuming and remarkable missionary and the men and women that he worked among was solid and emotional, and it reveals much about the character of the man and the strength of his mission.


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