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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
Rev. George Stephen Carson


GEORGE STEPHEN CARSON was born at Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, March 28, 1856, the thud son of James Carson, whose father was a native of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and Anne Brittain, of Londonderry, Ireland, who came to this country when a young girl. Dr. Carson was one of a family of four sisters and six brothers, eight of whom are living: four in Canada., and four in the United States.

Dr. Carson lived on a farm until he was fifteen years old, and at seventeen decided to study for the ministry. His circumstances were such that it was necessary for him to work his way through both school and college; however, he was not to be discouraged, and while attending the high Schools at Norton and Sussex, for two summers walked five miles to school every morning and back every night. He taught two terms of school to earn money to attend the Normal School at Fredericton, New Brunswick. After a term in Sussex Academy, he took the regular course for teachers and obtained a first class certificate. He continued teaching elsewhere for six months, and was then offered the principalship of Sussex Academy, where he taught for two years.

In the fall of 1878, Dr. Carson entered Dalhousie University, and was graduated with the degree of B.A. in 1882. He was the winner of several prizes, including the ‘‘Avery Prize,’’ awarded to the best student in the graduating class taking the regular course. In 1882, he went to Princeton Theological Seminary, where for two years he studied under the Hodges, Green, Patton, and others, and in 1884 to Edinburgh, where he studied under Drs. Flint, Cairns and Ker. his summer vacations were spent in the mission fields of his native province.

Dr. Carson was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of St. John, New Brunswick, in the spring of 1885, and September 15, 1885, was ordained pastor of the Knox Presbyterian Church, Pictou, New Brunswick. He took an active part in the general work of the church, and served on a number of committees of Presbytery, Synod and Assembly. He was a member of the first committee on Church Union between Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian Churches. His pastorate in Knox Church was fruitful, and many of the young men who attended his church and Bible-class are now in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church.

In 1908, Dr. Carson was appointed Associate Editor of The Presbyterian Witness, Halifax, then under the editorship of the late Robert Murray, LL.D.; and upon the death of Dr. Murray, in 1910, succeeded him as the sole editor. Under Dr. Carson’s efficient direction, the Witness not only has preserved all the best traditions of the past, but has improved in every department and has already increased more than fifty per cent, in circulation, and is recognized as one of the leading denominational publications of Canada. Dr. Carson has a broad grasp of the problems confronting the present day church, and unusual force and discrimination in presenting them. In addition to his work on the Witness, Dr. Carson has been a contributor to many other papers and magazines and is the author of Stories from the Life of Jesus and other books that have received wide recognition. His Primary Catechism, published by Presbyterian Publications, Canada, is used in the Sunday Schools and an Assembly Prize is given regularly for memorizing it. The Presbyterian Board, Philadelphia, and Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier. Edinburgh, have published editions, and it is translated and published in five languages other than English. A Bible Catechism is widely known in both the United States and Canada. In 1915, the Senate of the Presbyterian College, Halifax, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Dr. Carson married, September 14. 1886, Miss Lillie B. Calkin, daughter of John B. Calkin, Principal of the Nova Scotia Normal College. He has four sons and one daughter. His eldest son, Ralph B., aged twenty-six years, is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Technical College. and is now an electrical engineer in the office of the Canadian General Electric Company, Peterboro, Ontario. his second son, Frank S., is a student in architecture in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. His third son, James B., is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, and is now a mechanical engineer in the office of the American La France Fire Engine Company, Elmira, New York. His fourth son, John Calkin, aged nineteen years, was a student of Dalhousie University. In the autumn of 1915, he enlisted in the Fourth Universities Company of the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, and fought in some of the fiercest battles on the French front. He was wounded in the head and died September 18, 1916. His daughter, Annie S., is a graduate of Halifax Ladies’ College.


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