Smithurst, John

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Smithurst, John

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Missionary to the Red River Settlement from 1839-1851. Immigrated to Canada West in 1852, preaching in Elora.

Reverend John Smithurst was born in 1807 at Lea, Derbyshire, England. After attending school at Islington, London, he was ordained in 1839 by the Church of England and sent immediately to Rupert's Land. Although originally appointed as chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company, Rev. Smithurst was soon serving solely on behalf of the Church Missionary Society at the St. Peter's mission outside the existing village at Netley Creek, commonly referred to in Rev. Smithurst's correspondence as the "Indian Settlement." Led by Chief Peguis of the Saulteaux, this settlement was located just below Lake Winnipeg along a tributary of the Red River. In 1840, Reverend Smithurst served as the officiant at the marriage of Chief Peguis, who converted to Christianity and took the name William King.

After resigning in 1851, and making a brief trip to England, Rev. Smithurst immigrated to Canada West and preached in Elora (within modern-day Ontario) before taking up farming in nearby Minto. Rev. Smithurst died at Elora in 1867.


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AMICUS No.: 287612

Peel 257 Smithurst, John (1807-1867). A vocabulary in English and Cree, compiled for the use of the missionary schools: Part first, Nouns. Norway House, NWT: Wesleyan Missionary Press, 1848.

A. N. Thompson, “SMITHURST, JOHN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 13, 2016,

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