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Bruce Peel Special Collections Smithurst, John
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1850 (Sept) from William Douglas Lane to Smithurst

Place: [Lower Fort Garry]

From: W[illiam Douglas] Lane

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Local courier (probably Hudson’s Bay Company courier)

Details: 2pp + integral address face

Notes: A short letter from William Douglas Lane, Postmaster at Lower Fort Garry, noting that the 10 lbs of nails that Rev. Smithurst requested are being sent, and fresh beef will be available shortly. Lane also thanks Smithurst for recovering some goods stolen [from Lower Fort Garry] by young Flett, while expressing his suspicion that William Tait put the boy up to it, but Lane intends to “do all in my power to get the young scamp punished.”

Lane, William Douglas

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

1851 (Feb) from G.W. Saxton to Smithurst

Place: Matlock Bath [Derbyshire, England]

From: G.W. Saxton

To: Rev. John Smithurst, Indian Settlement, Red River, N.W. America

Delivery: Forwarded by the Christian 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: 4pp + integral address face

Notes: George W. Saxton writes a lengthy letter to Reverend Smithurst describing deaths in the neighbourhood, fundraising activities for the Church Missionary Society, and clergymen at local parishes.

Saxton, G. W. (George Withers)

1851 (Feb) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: William Buckley

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Church Mission House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Christian 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: 4pp + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: William Buckley writes from England to his friend, Reverend Smithurst. Buckley mentions that cholera has killed thousands in Jamaica. He gives a detailed account of the death of his brother Francis, who died the previous November after several months of illness. William Buckley is admiring of the deep faith in God and heaven which his brother maintained. He then gives news of people they both know. He mentions Mr. Wass, Mr. Hubbersty, Mr. John Wathy, and Rev. Smithurst’s brother George and his troubles. Buckley then complains about the “radical party headed by Messrs Everett, Dunn & Griffith, assisted by the Editor of the socalled Wesleyan Times.” He blames these radicals for spreading discord, as eight local preachers have joined these “Agitators.” He mentions Mr. Greville, Mr. Jones, Mr. Barker, Mr. Harward Senior, and Mr. Frederic Harward. Mr. Alfred Alsop plans on having a business at the Viagellia [Via Gellia] Works in Bonsall. William Buckley mentions that Mr. Mason speaks highly of the new Bishop of Rupert’s Land [David Anderson]. “Mr. Mason” is presumably Reverend William Mason. Buckley mentions there is political dissatisfaction with Lord John Russell’s handling of the Pope’s proposed papal hierarchy. There is excitement for the “Exhibition of the works of arts of all nations at London” and Buckley expects the census next year to be a great deal of work for the Registrars.

Buckley, William

1851 (May) from John H. Johnson to Bishop David Anderson via Smithurst

Place: Liverpool [England]

From: John H. Johnson

To: To The Right Rev’d D. Anderson, Lord Bishop of Rupert’s Land, North West America

Delivery: Forwarded by the Christian Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier

Details: 4pp + 4 newsletters + addressed envelope

Notes: Johnson writes to Bishop David Anderson to propose establishing an annual donation from St. Andrew's Church in Liverpool, England to the Christian Missionary Society in Rupert's Land. Johnson hopes to establish a link between the two groups and he hopes to see the initial donation of 5£ be surpassed in future years. Johnson intends that this letter be sent to Reverend John Smithurst and be "left open for his perusal as probably he may have some suggestions to make before sending it to you."

With his letter, he includes four (4) issues of “St. Andrew’s Monthly Paper.” Each issue consists of a single sheet of paper that measures only 14.5 x 12 cm when unfolded. Includes February, March, April, and May issues for 1851.

Interesting facts: St. Andrew's Church is located on Renshaw Street. Reverend T.C. Cowan is Minister. Issues are printed by Richard C. Scragg, Printer, 75, Renshaw Street. The District of St. Andrew's has a population of "about 6,000." Average monthly attendance at the Day School and Sunday School is approximately 250 each, and is broken down for Boys, Girls, and Infants.

1851 (Jun) from William Douglas Lane to Smithurst

Place: Lower Fort Garry

From: W[illiam Douglas] Lane

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Local courier (probably Hudson’s Bay Company courier)

Details: 1pp + integral address face

Notes: A short letter by William Douglas Lane, Postmaster at Lower Fort Garry, discussing the payment of bills, refunding of money, and receipt of a flute.

Lane, William Douglas

1852 (Feb) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Wirksworth, Derbyshire (England)

Delivery: Great Britain mail

Details: 3pp + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary W.G. Smith writes to say he is glad that Rev. Smithurst is enjoying himself upon his return to England, and discusses some outstanding balances due, including money from Henry Cook. He also mentions that he has a received large order from Rev. Cockran for blankets to be distributed to the Indians of his old mission.

Smith, William Gregory

1857 (Jan) fragment from E.G. Gear to Smithurst

Place: Fort Snelling, Minnesota Territory

From: E.G. Gear

To: Rev & dear Brother [likely Rev. J. Smithurst]

Delivery: unknown

Details: Letter fragment. 4pp

Notes: While unsigned, this letter fragment is obviously authored by Rev. E.G. Gear, both from the address at Fort Snelling and from the unique handwriting. It was likely sent to Reverend John Smithurst. In this letter, Rev. Gear describes a riding accident where he broke his leg below the knee.

Gear, Ezekiel Gilbert

1857 (Oct) from the congregation of St. John’s Church, Elora

Place: Elora [Ontario]

From: the Congregation of St. John's Church, Elora

To: Rev’d John Smithurst

Delivery: unknown

Details: 2pp

Notes: Upon Rev. John Smithurst’s resignation from St. John's Church in Elora, on the grounds of his inability to continue to perform the duties of his office, his congregation presented this petition to him in appreciation of his contributions to them and their community.

The petition is signed by 29 parishioners. Two surnames could not be deciphered.

William Reynolds, Church Warden
John S. Crossman, Church Warden

John Burke
William Carter
George Crane
F Dalby
Thomas Farrow
Andrew Geddes
Thomas Greathead
D. Henderroll(?)
Edwin Henry Kertland
George W. Kirkendall
John J. Marten
Valentine McKenzie
John M. McLean
Edw H. Newman
Richard Newman
Robert M. Newman
Walter P. Newman
Philip Pepler
James Reynolds
William Reynolds
Hugh Roberts
James L. Ross
David Smith
David Smith Jr.
Henry Smith

1857 (Oct) from Bethune, Palmer & Osler to the Bishop of Toronto

Place: Guelph [Ontario]

From: A.N. Bethune, Archdeacon of York; Arthur Palmer, Rector of Guelph & Rural Dean; F.L. Osler, Rector of Ancaster cum Dundas & Rural Dean

To: Bishop of Toronto

Delivery: unknown

Details: 4pp (secretarial copy)

Notes: A copy of the report submitted by Bethune, Palmer, and Osler on their inquiry into John Smithurst’s absence from his missionary post at Elora in the county of Wellington in the diocese of Toronto. John Strachan, Bishop of Toronto, requested these men investigate the allegation that Reverend Smithurst abandoned his post without permission. Churchwardens William Reynolds and J.S. Crossman in Elora confirmed that Rev. Smithurst had been largely absent since the end of April, sometimes remaining only a week at a time. The Churchwardens said Rev. Smithurst was unable “to read or preach in a tone of voice audible to all the members of his congregation; but admitted that his bodily health was on the whole vigorous.” Andrew Geddes confirmed the frequent absence of Rev. Smithurst, who is said to have taken up residence in the township of Minto. The report recommends the Bishop demand Rev. Smithurst's resignation.

Bethune, Alexander Neil

1857 (Nov) from John Strachan to Arthur Palmer

Place: Toronto

From: John Toronto

To: Rev. A. Palmer

Details: 4pp

Notes: A copy of a private letter written by John Strachan, Bishop of Toronto to Rev. Arthur Palmer of Guelph, Canada West.

In this letter, Bishop Strachan responds to a letter written by Rev. Palmer which enclosed a letter sent to him by Mr. Geddes, a prominent member of the congregation at Elora. The bishop expresses anger and frustration with Reverend John Smithurst for abandoning his parish at Elora and refusing to tender his resignation. Mr. Geddes proposed a solution to the impasse, but the bishop gives detailed reasons why the proposal in unacceptable. Bishop Strachan plans to appoint a commission to investigate Rev. Smithurst's conduct.

The context of this letter is confusing, given that Bethune, Palmer, and Osler had already visited Elora and completed a report on Rev. Smithurst's absence dated October 22, 1857. Also, Rev. Smithurst indicated in his letter of November 3 to the Elora congregation that he had resigned. Perhaps a delayed postal delivery is to blame for this confusion.

Strachan, John

1858 (Feb) from David Anderson to Smithurst

Place: Bishop’s Court [the name of the bishop's home in Red River]

From: David Rupertsland

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Elora nr Guelph, Canada West

Delivery: Postal system in the U.S.A. and Canada

Details: 8pp on blue paper + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: A friendly letter dated February 18th from David Anderson, Lord Bishop of Rupert’s Land, to Reverend John Smithurst. Postscript written February 27th.

Anderson, David

1859 (Feb) from David Anderson to Smithurst

Place: [Red River?]

From: David Rupertsland

To: The Rev J Smithurst, Lea Hurst, Harriston P.O., Minto, Wellington, Canada West

Delivery: Postal system in Canada.

Details: 2pp + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: A short letter written by David Anderson, Lord Bishop of Rupert’s Land, to Reverend Smithurst with recent news.

Anderson, David

1862 (Nov) from Andrew Geddes to Smithurst

Place: C.L.O., Elora

From: Andrew Geddes

To: The Revd John Smithurst, Lea Hurst, Minto

Delivery: unknown

Details: 2pp + 1 pp (response in hand of Smithurst, and signed by him)

Notes: Correspondence from Andrew Geddes of the Crown Lands Office (C.L.O.) to Rev. Smithurst regarding the sale of two lots of land in the county of Minto. The lots stand in the name of David M. Bridgeford or Bridgford, and so Mr. Geddes asks Rev. Smithurst for further information. Mr. Geddes also updates Rev. Smithurst on the recovery of Mr. R. Caldwell, who nearly died of illness.

Rev. Smithurst responds on the same sheet of paper. He does not date his response, which presumably means that it is a rough draft of the actual letter he sent to Mr. Geddes.

Rev. Smithurst’s response explains that there is no such person as David W. Bridgford. John Bridgford had already purchased three lots in the Minto land sale but used the name of his dead son to buy additional land. John Bridgford could not transfer ownership of these additional lots without revealing his fraud. Bridgford tried to sell the land to a Mr. Thomas Dalley Senior, but Mr. Dalley refused to pay until Bridgford’s ownership could be tested. Later, Mr. Dalley split the two lots between his sons, William and Thomas Junior. William has never resided on his parcel and has tried to sell it without success. Thomas Jun. has cleared land and put up buildings. Rev. Smithurst believes Thomas Jun. would be entitled to squatter's rights.

Geddes, Andrew

Thirteen envelopes and two prayer cards

Thirteen (13) envelopes and paper enclosures, & two (2) prayer cards, similar in size to playing cards.

Eleven (11) of the envelopes and paper enclosures are addressed to Reverend John Smithurst at Indian Settlement, Red River. Most are undated.

Of these eleven, one (1) features a black wax seal, a hexagon border surrounding two (2) initials, possibly “K” and “R.”
Two (2) envelopes are embossed, one with an oblong border around the initials “CMS” and the other embossed with “Etches & Wilson, Manufacturers, 32 Hatton Garden, London."

One (1) paper enclosure is sealed with five (5) wax drops in different colours.

Seven (7) have red wax seals:

  • Design obscured
  • bearded man’s profile in a rounded rectangle,
  • tiny rounded border surrounding script “Theo” (?)
  • the initials “S” and “C” in a circular border,
  • the initials “J” and “H” in gothic script inside a rounded rectangular border,
  • an oblong shape filled with a hatched design,
  • a large red wax seal with most of the design obscured except for the tiny letters “Pro P Elle” along the border.

Two (2) envelopes are addressed to Reverend Smithurst via Church Mission House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London, England. Bear postal markings for Wirksworth in England for the years 1848 and 1849. Both are sealed with red wax, imprinted with a left-facing lion rampant design.

Two (2) prayer cards. Both are printed. The first one is printed in black and red with a prayer beginning “Create in me a Clean Heart." Text in the border reads, "Teach me thy way o lord and lead me in a plain path.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Master Henry W. Erwin.” The second one is printed in black with purple and green colour with an image of Eve with the serpent. "The entrance of thy word giveth light. Ps 119.130.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Henry Walter Erwin.”

1847 (Apr) from Duncan Finlayson to Smithurst

Place: Lachine

From: Dun: Finlayson

To: Revd Inv: Smithurst, Red River Settlement

Delivery: Carried by Hudson’s Bay Company canoe brigade to the Red River Settlement.

Details: 3pp + integral address.

Notes: A letter sent by Duncan Finlayson, Hudson’s Bay Company Director, to Reverend John Smithurst. The letter details issues related to supplies of wheat, and comments on the problems of receiving publications from England. Finlayson also mentions that Reverend William Cockran spent the winter in Toronto with his family. Rev. Cockran’s children had been ill and his son John died.

Finlayson, Duncan

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