Edward F. Wilson


Fig. 1 Wilson, Edward F. “To the Committee of the Church Society”. Letter. Sarnia, 1869. Diocese of Huron Archives.: 1


Fig. 2 Wilson, Edward F. “To the Committee of the Church Society”. Letter. Sarnia, 1869. Diocese of Huron Archives.: 2


Fig. 3 Wilson, Edward F. “To the Committee of the Church Society”. Letter. Sarnia, 1869. Diocese of Huron Archives.: 3



St. Clair Parsonage

Sarnia Indian Reserve

June 3rd 1869

To the Committee of

The Church Society


My Lord + Gentlemen,

As a clergyman of this Diocese and a

Missionary to the Indians of this country – I wish to

ask your assistance and influence in gaining for me

a more sure footing in the spot to which God has directed

my steps than I at present hold.

Under the directions of the Committee of the Church

Missionary Society I came out to this Country last summer, and

with their permission chose for myself a position

which I deemed most fitted for the headquarters of my

mission – with the intention of hereafter adding to it

various outstations which I might visit from time to

time. Thus I have now for to me months been settled

on the Sarnia Indian Reserve, +, under God’s blessing

my mission has hitherto I feel been a successful one.

When I first came to the place we had only a log

cottage in which to hold services and a congregation of

from 15 to 20, – now we have a neat little church with

a regular attendance from 50 to 60 and a comfortable

parsonage; – the cost of these two buildings, which

amounted to upwards of $1500, is now through the zeal

and kindness of friends together with a grant of ₤100

from my society, entirely paid off.  Since Commencing

work I have been enabled already to open one

outsatation at about 30 miles distant, – at which I have

placed an efficient Native Catechist – who conducts

service on Sunday and teaches school during the week

I have also two young me education for Catechists;

– the society allows them $50 each per annum for their


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Support and pays for their education in Sarnia; for

instruction in the Scriptures they come to me twice a


Having briefly recounted these matters, I would now

as shortly as possible lay before you my difficulty and

ask for your help and influence in the matter. Our

house + Church are built on an acre of land

belonging to one of our Church Members, Antoine Rodd

by name, who in the presence of the Indian Agent

Mr Mckenzie, has signed a paper granting us the free use

of the land during his own lifetime. An Indian

has no power to deed over his land without the permission

for the Indian Council, + applied for a Church site

by the Methodist party being largely in Majority we

could not obtain a vote in our favour. Our choice

then lay between going on with our work independently

of council and the Methodists, or giving up altogether

– I naturally chose the former course, and we proceeded

to establish our mission by building the Church parsonage.

I had some correspondence on the matter with Mr Spragge

Dep. Superintendent of Indian affairs at Ottawa, and

he, although unable as he said “to give assurance

independently of Political Head of the Department”

still gave me encouragement to continue my work

on the ground that “in no Community ought the majority

to dictate as to what religious system provided it

be not other than Christian, the minority should adopt” I

received also information from the Society of State

(not personally, but through Mr Mckenzie) that a petition


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must be sent in to Government by Church members

if they were anscious for a mission to be established

among them. – this was accordingly done, a petition

signed by 33 adult Indians was sent on the 22ne

day of September last, – but no notice has at present

been taken of it.

My request to you My Lord and gentlemen, is

that you will use your influence with Government

to procure a title to the acre of Land on which

the buildings connected with this mission have

been erected.


Yr abed + Servant

Edward F. Wilson