Primary Documents from John Jacobs

The Verschoyle Phillip Cronyn Memorial Archives at Huron College possesses a collection of primary sources and documents regarding John Jacobs, a nineteenth century Episcopal Priest. Jacobs was born in an Ojibwa family in 1845 in Fort Francis, Rupert’s Land, but moved to southwestern Ontario at a young age. He performed the role of missionary at the Sarnia, Kettle Point and Walpole Island Reserves from 1870 until his death in 1897. Records from his death report that he was very well-respected among the communities he worked in, and was considered a man of devout faith.

Among the archive’s collection on Jacobs are two documents that were hand-written by the reverend. The first is a record of sacraments and appointments in the church including baptism, confirmation, ordination and marriage. The second is a letter addressed to Rev. Dr. Cronyn, Lord Bishop of Huron informing him of his resignation from his missionary work in the Sarnia and Kettle Point Reserves. By examining other documents in the collection, it seems that Jacobs resigned from these positions to take up a new role in Walpole Island following the death of Rev. Jamieson.

Transcribing clergy personnel records gives insight into the ways in which Ojibwa people became deeply integrated into Christian churches in the nineteenth century. Many of the assignments and research projects our group has been working on relate to missionary work, and the ways in which Anishinaabeg people contributed to these efforts.  Investigating the archive’s clergy personnel records provides a good exercise in transcribing hand-written work, which will be useful when looking at rare book margin notes for our research projects.


Document 1

 Sept 1870

Jan 1886

Walpole Island

Aug 26, 1897

             Register of Reverend John Jacobs

I was born in Fort Francis, Lac la Pluie,

Rupert’s Land 22nd April 1845.

I was baptized at Fort Francis, Rupert’s Land

by the Reverend James Evans.

I was confirmed by the Right Reverend

Dr. Bethine, Lord Bishop of Toronto in St. James Church, Orillia, Ont, July


I was ordained Deacon by the Rev. Dr.

Cronyn Lord Bishop of Huron in Christ Church in London, Ont on Sunday,

July 18th 1869.

I was married by the Reverend Professor

Halkins M.A. in the City of London, Ont

on Tuesday, February 18th 1870.

I was ordained Priest by the Rev. Dr. Cronyn . Lord Bishop of Huron in

Trinity Church Moore on Sunday,

August 21st 1870.

This copy was finished by

his daughter Fanny from Sarnia,

Ont. December 10, 1937


Document 2

 Dec 28, 1885

To the Lord Bishop of Huron,

My Lord,

I resign herewith my present position as missionary of the Sarnia and Kettle Point Reserves.

John Jacobs