Item FC 3213 L55 019.018 - 1845 (Sept) from James Hunter to Smithurst

Transcript 1845 Sept 9 - Letter from Hunter

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1845 (Sept) from James Hunter to Smithurst

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FC 3213 L55 019.018

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  • September 9, 1845 (Creation)

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One sheet of paper with integral address face.

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Reverend Hunter was an Anglican clergyman and missionary to Rupert's Land. In 1875, he wrote an important text on the grammar of the Cree language.

Reverend James Hunter was born in 1817 at Barnstaple, England and died in 1882 at London, England. Sent in 1844 as a missionary to Rupert's Land, Hunter served at Cumberland Station (modern-day The Pas, MB) on the Saskatchewan River until 1853. With his wife, Jean (Jane) Ross, they translated several works into Cree using traditional Roman characters instead of the syllabic system invented by Rev. James Evans. Their Cree translation of the Gospel of St Matthew was printed in England in 1853. The Gospels of St Mark and St John, as well as the Book of Common Prayer rolled off the press in England in 1855.

Returning to Rupert's Land in 1855, Hunter served at St. Andrews parish, also known as Grand Rapids, along the Red River until 1865. During this period, Hunter presided over the trial of Rev. Owen Corbett and in 1863 found him guilty of attempting an abortion on his servant. After 1865, the Hunters returned to England where Rev. Hunter died in 1882.

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Place: Cumberland Station, Rivière du Pas

From: James Hunter

To: The Revd J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement, Red River

Details: 3pp with integral address face

Notes: Reverend James Hunter writes to Rev. Smithurst. James Settee recently arrived at Cumberland Station [The Pas, MB] with his wife, family, and coincidentally with the carpenter hired by Rev. Hunter. He mentions Mr. Ross at Norway House. Rev. Hunter decided to keep the mission in its current location rather than move it to Cumberland Lake. He feels threatened by a Catholic missionary's activity in the area, referring to the man as "the Priest." This priest persuaded Wetus to convert to Roman Catholicism, but Rev. Hunter dismisses Wetus as “simply a Medicine man of which there are several here all equally as much claim to be considered Chiefs.” It is too late in the season for Settee to continue on to Rapid River [Lac la Ronge mission], so he will stay until the spring and assist Henry Budd and the carpenter in building Rev. Hunter a house. Rev. Hunter says he will “endeavour to manage Mrs. Settee as well as possible.”

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Bruce Peel Special Collections is part of the University of Alberta Libraries.

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