Henry Pahtahquahong Chase


These letters were written by Henry Pahtahquahong Chase, an Ojibwa Methodist preacher from 1856 to 1880 who also worked for the Anglican Church from 1887 to 1896.[1] Over the course of his life he lived in both Sarnia and Muncey, working as a representative for his people, a translator, and a member of the Methodist clergy at various levels. He also raised money to maintain churches in Britain in 1876, 1881 and 1885.[2] The letters were all written during his last visit to England when he was approximately 67 years old.[3]

These letters were written by Chase to his daughter during his travels. He often tells her about the places he has visited, mentions people he encounters, describes the weather, discusses monetary matters and reassures her that he is well. These letters describe a many busy with work, crossing the country to preach to as many people as possible. He describes how the good and bad weather, as well as the long winter days, affect his health. All of this gives insight into how trying travelling was, for him, at this time and demonstrates how important he viewed this work by working hard to overcome these challenges.

There are certain interesting figures mentioned in one letter. On the 22nd of January, 1885, he mentions meeting with Sir Charles Tupper, future father of Confederation and future prime minister of Canada; as well as the Marquis of Lorn who was the Governor General of Canada at the time and who had an avid interest in the country.[4] Both of whom showed support for Chase’s work clearly demonstrating the importance of the church’s role in Canadian identity to these men.

These letters clearly show the importance of Henry P. Chase’s work in England based on both the length and breadth of his travels and the people he was being introduced to in order to help raise funds for the Methodist Church and their work establishing themselves in Canada.

[1] Smith, Donald B. “CHASE, HENRY PAHTAHQUAHONG,”. in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 12. University of Toronto/Université Laval. 2003–. accessed November 22, 2015, <http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/chase_henry_pahtahquahong_12E.html.>

[2] Smith, Donald B.

[3] Ibid: This is based on the information that he was born in 1818.

[4] Waite, P. B. Waite. “CAMPBELL, JOHN GEORGE EDWARD HENRY DOUGLAS SUTHERLAND, Marquess of LORNE and 9th Duke of ARGYLL,”. in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14. University of Toronto/Université Laval. 2003–. accessed November 22, 2015. <http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/campbell_john_george_edward_henry_douglas_s> Note: When this letter was written Lorne had already founded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, later to become the National Gallery of Canada and helped to fund the Canadian Pacific Railway.



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22nd Jan 1885


Dear Daughter,


You had asked for

Early reply but I

Have been very

Busy, now I have

Two days for rest,

and little has been

taken up by me in

calls, to Dominion Govern-

ment of Canada.

Sir Charles Tupper, whom

I met, Marquis of Lorne

the,  (St?) Governor of the

Dominion of Canada

His lordship was very

Cordial, said he was

Glad to meet me

Again and also

Sir (Clirtis?) was

Very kind, and


Offer his aid in

Any thing that I might

Require of his assistance

For me and for my

People But I did

Not ask any help just

Now –

I write to your Mama

And I expect by these

Days. She would view

Is – that you would

all know how I am

as I am getting more

fleshy in this cold and

wet climate

I have so far quite

free from cold and

Cough, with all my

(happiness?) in attending

Until late hours into the

Night, which I am truly

thankful to be able to keep

up, and much improve


in every way. Excepting

of my sight, is not

any better and no worse

I hope by this time. The Rev”d

Mr. Smith has gone to

Work in Muncey

As you mentioned in

Your last Letter, being appointed

By the Bishop of Aduroir

Yesterday, we had about

21 hours night. Gaslights

Burning until 2 October.

Now the visible in cold

And freezing hard but

no snow on the ground

Elma said her letter you

nad good sleighing in

Sarnia; while in England

-soft mud and foggy days.

But likely will be better



one Month more, the

days longer will improve

the Air Warmer.

I enclose for you a

Greeting to myself in

“Dublin”, Ireland.

And I will send a

Raphie or Illustrated

Picture today or tomorrow,

I was glad to learn Elma

will come to you – and

live together through the

winter, and I wish her

to advertise for Pupils

in Sarnia, she would get

Pupils to keep her in Sarnia

I am invited to Dinner to

night, 8 Oclock, and I leave

immediately and hope to get

a Letter from some of you in

a few days – My kind regards to

all who may kindly inquire fo

Love to you all I (?)

Mama yet Albt* Papa H.P. Chase

*Perhaps All best?


St. Martin’s Rectory,

Bermingham 15th May, 1885

My Dear Child,


A few lines

from me to inform you

I sent by Post to your

Address. The srophie

While I hope you may

review for your amusement

I am still in North of

England. I leave to-

morrow Morning for

London. For only


Then for Isle Wight

The queen summer

Castle –

And again I

Shall go North again

In June for two


And then go to

South West of England

To complete my

Engagements for



And perhaps for

final close of

my work in England

this time. If so then

I shall begin to

People for Canada

First week in July

And reach my

From home the latter

Part of July.

In Minnie’s last

Letter she stated

You were going



And hope you are

at Home. And

Enjoying yourself [illegible]

With Minnie and

your Mama.

I am pretty well. (Why/My?)

(Sorry?) feet are no better

The warm weather

Give me more

Fever and I cannot

Exercise much in

Walking alone – I shall

Be glad to join with you

All in our little Home give

To all my love, God Bless you

Pahtawquohong Chase

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