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
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.