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Bruce Peel Special Collections Life, Events, and Players in the North-West Cowley, Abraham
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1842 (Mar) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: [Grand Rapids?]

From: Wm Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Details: 3pp with integral address

Notes: Reverend William Cockran writes to Rev. Smithurst regarding Rev. Cowley and his wife Mrs. Cowley, who have lodged with Rev. Cockran since they arrived in Rupert’s Land the previous autumn. Rev. Cockran describes the Cowleys as being ungracious guests who do not understand the expense of living in the Red River Settlement. Rev. Cockran also writes that he has severed ties to the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Church Missionary Society but will continue as if he will “continue here for life.” He finishes the letter by discussing the flour he is sending to Henry Budd at the Cumberland House Mission. He mentions that James Sandison and Henry Bird are assisting him.

Cockran, William

1847 (Jul) from James Hunter to Smithurst

Place: Rivière du Pas, Cumberland Station

From: James Hunter

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

Details: 3pp and integral address face

Notes: Rev. Hunter is desperate for more flour. Rev. Hunter wants their fellow missionary, Rev. Cowley, to leave Partridge Crop and go to Lac la Ronge instead. He also received a letter from Rev. Cockran in Toronto. Rev. Hunter then offers a word of comfort to Rev. Smithurst who has been struggling spiritually recently.

Hunter, James

1841 (May) from Enoch Reddall to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary Institution [Islington, London, England]

From: Enoch Reddall

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4 pp + separate address cover

Notes: Reddall discusses various missionary works including great success in New Zealand and a new missionary to the Teloogoo people in central India. Clergymen posted to Ceylon, Abyssinia, and Sierra Leone are also mentioned. Reddall notes that this letter is forwarded by Abraham Cowley on his way to Rupert’s Land.

In fact, Abraham Cowley and his wife Arabella crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times in nine months attempting to reach his missionary posting at Lake Manitoba. On 5 January 1841, less than a fortnight after their marriage, the young couple set out for Montreal on their way to the Red River Settlement in Rupert’s Land. This unusual route was taken in the belief that the Cowleys would be able to travel with Bishop George Jehoshaphat Mountain of Montreal who was planning a visitation of Rupert’s Land. The couple arrived in Montreal on 28 February, and Cowley was ordained a Deacon on 7 March. Bishop Mountain’s visit to the northwest was postponed, however, and the Cowleys, seeing no hope of reaching the Red River Settlement from Montreal, returned to England and took ship almost immediately for Hudson’s Bay. They arrived in Red River on 28 September 1841.

This letter was apparently delivered by Cowley to Smithurst upon his arrival in Red River.

1842 (Apr) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: Grand Rapids [Red River Settlement]

From: William Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst [Indian Settlement]

Delivery: Carried by courier

Details: 2pp + integral address face

Notes: Rev. Cockran writes to Rev. Smithurst to let him know that Rev. Abraham Cowley will be visiting him to discuss the details of opening a mission at Manitoba [Lake]. Rev. Cockran is anxious to establish a mission there, and mentions that Mr. Roberts is content to stay in Red River as a catechist.

Cockran, William

1851 (Jan) from Robert James to Smithurst

Place: [Grand] Rapids

From: Robert James

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Local courier

Details: 1pp + integral address face

Notes: Reverend Robert James conveys the bishop's [Bishop David Anderson] instructions to Reverend Smithurst that the Journals be sent by the next packet, which will be sent in mid-February. Reverend Cowley is also mentioned.

James, Robert

1857 (Apr and May) from W.H. Taylor to Smithurst

Place: Saint James, Assiniboia [Red River Settlement]

From: W. H. Taylor

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Harriston [Ontario]

Delivery: Postal system in Canada

Details: 16pp + addressed envelope with postal marks

Notes: A long and detailed letter from Reverend William Henry Taylor of Saint James parish along the Assiniboine River. Rev. Taylor writes to Rev. John Smithurst, updating him on the Red River Settlement. Much of the news has to do with repairing the extensive damage caused by the great flood in 1852. No one seems to be able to find enough workers for these repairs.

Mentioned are:
Father E.G. Gear, who broke his leg.
Mr. Robert Logan and Mrs. Logan, who are living near where the flax mill stood.
Old Mr. Pritchard and his wife died.
Their son, Sam Pritchard, teaches at St. Paul's school. His brother, Arelui (?), married.
Mr. Smith the Collector and Mr. Pruden are briefly mentioned.
Rev. Abraham Cowley and Mrs. Cowley are mentioned multiple times. Rev. Cowley now has a Seraphine instrument which Mrs. Cowley plays during services. Rev. Cowley also has detailed plans for the repair and renovation of his church.
Archdeacon James Hunter now has a barrel organ at the Rapids church (also known as St. Andrew's).
Thomas Cook is catechist at Nepowewin mission. Rev. Henry Budd says the work there is difficult.
Rev. Robert Hunt is at English River, also known as the Stanley mission near Lac la Ronge, and he is building an expensive and impressive church.
Rev. Henry Budd is at The Pas with a young Rev. Henry George, but plans to leave for Nepowewin permanently in the Spring.
Rev. William Stagg is struggling at Manitoba.
Rev. Kirkby is still assistant at St. Andrew's.
McDonald is at Islington (White Dog) but has health problems.
Watkins is leaving Fort George possibly for Cumberland.
Rev. William Mason has success in his work, but following the Bishop's visit, disease broke out and killed multiple Natives. Small pox is rampant among the Plains people in the area of Beaver Creek and Touchwood Hills.
The steam mill is producing excellent flour.
Political unrest as renewal of the Hudson's Bay Company's charter is being debated in England. A Mr. Kennedy and Donald Gunn have written and circulated a petition to the Canadian Legislature urging them to become involved.

Taylor, William Henry