Starts to explore for and establish a mission—Locates at Garden River—His work during six years' residence at this place.
Alderville, June 23rd, 1851.
I WOULD again record my indebtedness to God for His goodness and mercy to unworthy me. During the past two years my labor has not been in vain in the Lord. Souls have been converted, and the Church has extended her influence. To God be all the glory.
June 29th, 1851.—My destiny is the, far North, among the benighted pagans. This is what I have long desired, and sometimes dared to pray for, but, now that the path is opened, I feel myself to be a little child. Oh Thou Great Spirit, magnify Thy power in my weakness. Do Thine own work.
At this time the northern portions of Lake Huron and Lake Superior were 'without any Methodist missions, and though Peter Jones, John Sunday, and Thomas Hurlburt had long years before pointed out these fields as being ready unto the harvest, yet up to the present no missionary had been sent.
However, the time had now come. The Conference of 1851 commissioned father to explore this region, and to establish a mission. He accordingly set out.
his route being by team from Alderville to Cobourg, from Cobourg to Toronto by steamboat, from Toronto to Holland Landing by stage; thence down the Holland river, by steamer across Lake Simcoe to Onilia, from thence across Portage, by stage to Cold water, then on to the old steamer Gore, which was the only representative of steam navigation in the Canadian waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
Proceeding as far as Owen Sound, father left his family and went on to explore. The following extracts are from his journal about this time:
Cobourg, July 8th, 1851.
This morning parted with the Alderville friends. The scene was truly affecting. May God preserve His own people.
Lake Huron, July 20th, 1851.
This morning called at Owen Sound. How changed the prospect. Nine years ago I was the only member of the Methodist society, the only teetotaler. Now the Sons of Temperance are strong, and the descendants of f Wesley " are erecting a large stone church.
Lake George, July 22nd, 1851.
The sun is just setting. On the left hand, in boundless perspective, we have Brother Jonathan's great "Western Territory, a land of forest and plain. On the right, the in terminable mountains of the North. Beneath our feet rolls that mighty river whose mouth is the Gulf of St. Lawrence, its shores dotted with the wigwams of that race whose numbers have dwindled away before the "white man's curse."
July 23rd, 1851.—Walked across the Portage and stood on the shore of vast Superior. I have now passed the bounds of civilization. All ahead is both a natural and moral wilderness. May God make me the honored instrument in preaching Christ to thousands of the benighted sons and daughters of these wilds.
Sabbath, July 27th, 1851.—Preached twice at the Bruce Mines, and though severely indisposed, yet greatly sustained in declaring the truth as it is in Christ.
Garden' River, July 29th, 1851.
Have met the Indians in council, and agreed to become their missionary. I have sought the direction of Heaven, and now see the finger of Providence. Oh, Thou in whom all fulness dwells, help me to be more abundant in labors. Amen.
He finally decided on establishing at Garden River some ten miles from the Sault Ste. Marie. Returning for his family to Owen Sound, he proceeded with them oil the next trip of the boat, and eventually reached the destination of the party. He hired a shanty from one of the Indians, to be a temporary home while he should endeavor to build a mission house.
Well do I remember the night of our arrival at Garden River. The whole population, with the exception of three men, were drunk. Hideous yells and noises were around our new home during all the night, and I, in common with all our family, shall never forget the hours of terror we passed through.
The missionary was on the ground, and now his early training came in good. He had some of the language. He was as one of the Indians in his knowledge of the woods and waters. To work he went, both by precept and example. He preached the Gospel, and the Lord blessed his efforts, and soon there was a change.
With his axe on his shoulder, he went into the woods and hewed the logs for a mission house. His boys, with a yoke of oxen, "Whoa-haw-gee'd" them out, and before many weeks had elapsed, he moved his family out of the humble shanty into a large, commodious log building, which in itself was, as it stood there on the banks of the stream, in the centre of the Indian settlement, a preacher of civilization to these semi-barbarians. Here we think it proper to give some more extracts from his own journal:
November 15th, 1851.—Nearly four months have rolled away since we landed here. Many have been the vicissitudes through which we have passed. Methodism has now a home and a footing in this place. A comfortable house erected, a school house well on the way, and ail these efforts have been marked with the special providence and protection of God. .No accident has occurred. Our meetings are well attended. Last evening the presence and power of God was felt by all. Two out of three of our chiefs were heard pleading with God for mercy.
December '2nd., 1851.—Held the first temperance meeting in this most intemperate place. Tried to impress upon the "red man" the fact that he is a descendant of a race once fearless and independent, capable of enduring the greatest hardship. Tried to point out to them the terrible sorrow entailed upon their people by the use of fire-water.
December 5th, 1851.—Last evening met the chiefs of the tribes in private council at the parsonage, for the purpose of devising means for stopping the bringing spirits into the village. A proposition was made to appoint ten soldier men, whose business it would be to destroy all spirits brought into the village.
Night after night Gospel and temperance meetings were held.
Other points in the vicinity were visited, and, as to the change effected, let the following letters, written by the missionary and others at the time and on the ground, indicate the nature of the work carried on:
Garden River, August 15th, 1851.
Rev. and Dear Sir,— In accordance with your request, I write you the first opportunity. I left my family at Owen Sound until I should know our destiny. On the 23rd July, I called at the Bruce ; here T was most kindly received—found a society organized, and a young man employed as school-teacher and local preacher. In this capacity he has labored for the last nine months. He receives £100 a year—£25 from the Company, and the remainder from the miners, who subscribe each two shillings per month for the maintenance of the Gospel. Leaving two appointments for the coming Sabbath, I started for the Sault Ste. Marie. Here I met with the Rev. J. H. Pietzel, Superintendent of Michigan Episcopal Missions, to whom I was much indebted for information relative to the missions, lie strongly recommended Garden River. On the 20th, 1 returned to Bruce ; met the society in the evening; learned that arrangements were made for the Sabbath, sacrament to be administered, and about a dozen children to be baptized. They appeared disappointed when they understood my position, having expected an ordained agency amongst them. This, however, appeared to be forgotten when I stated the interest taken by the Conference in their welfare, and also the prospect of your paying them a visit shortly. There are in all 120 Cornish miners here, and though the members of society are but few, yet more than half of the above number have once been members. The inhabitants of the Bruce number in all 300.
Sabbath morning the little chapel was well filled, which, by the way, holds about as many as the Alderville chapel. In the afternoon I attended the Sabbath-school, which is purely "Wesleyan in its character; the children number thirty-five, with an efficient staff of teachers.
Sabbath evening the village appeared to be present. The best singing I ever heard. At the close of the service, the English part of the congregation requested I should tender their thanks to you for the, interest already manifested in their behalf, with an urgent request that you visit them soon.
The young man employed by the miners appears to be useful; yet I think a more experienced person might be more so; at least they want an ordained minister, and without a change in the mining appropriation, they would support one. Money is plentiful. If the young brother could be changed, and taken under your control, it might be better. I enclose the Superintendent's order for books. They want Wesley an hymns, that the children may use them in the congregation.
Dr. O'Meara (Episcopalian) repeatedly offered his service, but was rejected. Several disagreeable circumstances have arisen out of this.
On the 29th I met the Indians of Garden River in council, and stated to them the object of my coming amongst them. I then left them till evening for an answer. From the preachers at the Sault, I received a note of introduction to a Mr. Church, with whom I found a comfortable home while staying here. In company with this gentleman, I met the Indians in the evening, when the principal chief of this vast country arose and spoke nearly as follows:—
"'We are glad to see this black coat amongst us. We hope he won't soon get home-sick. Twenty years ago Peter Jones first, by-and by John Sunday, afterwards, one Sauh goh-nash (T. Hurlburt), came to see us; but they all got tired and went away. By-and-by the big black coat sent one here (Capt. Anderson); but they all got tired, not one of them started a school. Two years ago I went to Montreal; 1 called at Alderville and Rice Lake, and a great many more places. At Alderville saw the old black coat, saw the Indians were very wise, they all knew paper. Now we want a school. We have sixty children here; they all learn to fiddle and drink fire-water, but not one ever learned a book." This is the experience of one of the oldest, and, it is said, most intelligent Indians in North America.
Garden River is a most desirable location for several reasons; first, there are two hundred and eighty Indians residing here : there are two other bands, the one about fifteen miles up Lake Superior, in all twenty-five miles from here; the other, about twelve miles below this, at the foot of Lake George. Another reason is, that in case of no change being made at the Bruce, I can visit it once a month, the distance is thirty-five miles. Another important thing is, there is good land here, I think not less than three thousand acres. There is another opening at the Munedooning, at Maple Pond.
The Indians are all pagans. Roth the land and fishing are good. If the ground could be taken up by a suitable agency, a number of Indians might be collected, as the North Shore tribes have no tilled land. It would be an effort worthy of our Missionary Society, to have at least one station on that vast island, containing a population of more than two thousand, divided into seven villages.
I was disappointed on arriving at Owen Sound, to tind that my interpreter had not arrived. I am now on my way to Garden River with my family. Please pardon the imperfections of this scrawl. I make no profession of penmanship at best, but to write on board the old Gore 'is all but impossible. We have had one constant blow all the way up; and I must either send this, or miss the post for another week.
August 6th.—I have rented a shanty which will have to do till a house can be erected. A school might be commenced, but for the want of books. If this want could be supplied by the next boat, we could then commence operations. I have sent an order from the mines for books. They can all be sent in one package. I heartily join the miners in their request for a visit from you. If we may hope for this, I would put off selecting the ground for a chapel and parsonage till your arrival. Asking your counsel and an interest in your prayers, I am, your obedient servant,
G. M. McDougall.
To the Rev. E. "Wood, Toronto.
Appreciating the deep interest which the friends of Wesley an missions have ever manifested ill the welfare of the native tribes of our country, I have designed to be explicit in referring to the work of God as connected with this distant point of missionary labor.
Twenty months ago I made my first landing among this people, and never shall I forget the circumstances connected with that period. Our voyage from Fenetanguishene had been unusually boisterous; and having arrived at our place of destination, we disembarked in the midst of a heavy rain, without house or friends to receive us. The Indians were on the eve of starting for the Mahnetooalming to receive their presents; many of them at the time in a state of intoxication ; and we soon ascertained that but three individuals out of three hundred abstained from the tire-water. They were, in fact, a drunken community.
My first effort on arriving at Garden River, was to procure a place to shelter us from the inclemency of the weather.
I rented a shanty, but it being unplastered and roofed with bark, was by no means proof against the driving storms. These difficulties, however, were small, compared with others of a different character, which soon presented themselves.
Soon after our arrival here, our village was visited by a professing Protestant clergyman, who, strange as it may appear, spared no pains in misrepresenting our mission, and endeavoring to destroy our character and influence, and, in the midst of heathenism and dissipation, he claims for himself a "holy and apostolic" church, comprising almost the entire community. Believing, however, that God has called us to labor among the people of Garden River, we resolved to hold controversy with no man, but with a humble dependence on God for Divine influence to labor on at His command, and trust Him for the issue, and, blessed be God, notwithstanding the combined opposition of Jesuitism and Puseyism, the good seed has not been sown in vain, but has taken deep root even in this once barren soil. Where once there was dissipation and wretchedness, there is now temperance and comfort. Instead of the dismal clatter of the pagan drum, accompanied by midnight scenes too terrible to mention, there is now heard the voice of prayer and praise. So powerful has been the influence of the Gospel, that most of the Catholics have given up their intemperate and Sabbath-breaking habits ; and though many of them do not attend our services, yet a spirit of inquiry is being excited among them, and we believe the way is being prepared for their conversion. Our school, though subject to many drawbacks, has been made a great blessing to many here. Most of the young people can now read the Scriptures and. hymns in their own tongue.
We have received on trial, during the past year, thirty members. Many more are almost persuaded. One young man, after enduring great affliction, died in the triumph of faith. Our band of believers, who never before had witnessed the power of religion in the trying hour, were greatly encouraged. The sum of £9 has been given for missionary purposes, and if we take into account the amount of labor which, during the past year, has been given to the mission, it would amount to more than £25.
Last winter the Indians got out the timber for a chapel, 25 by 35 feet, and this spring the building was put up. The society has a property now at Garden River, worth several hundred dollars. It was found to be impossible to work the mission without first erecting buildings for the accommodation of the missionary, as none could be rented. We built a house for the missionary family, 19 by 27 feet, with a kitchen 14 by 20 feet; a house for the teacher, now occupied by the former, 18 by 28 feet; a stable, 16 by 30 feet, and the body of a workshop, 14 by 20 feet.
In connection with the mission premises, we have cleared and fenced two acres for the use of the preacher, and by way of preparing for the anticipated farms, eight acres of land have been cleared, and are now under crop. From the farm we expect much good result. If properly conducted, it will amply sustain itself, and at the same time serve as a means of imparting instruction in agricultural pursuits to the Indians. Such are some of the blessings conferred on, and the improvement made at, Garden River mission. Rut what is one solitary mission compared with the wants of this vast country? I would that we had the power to convey to the friends of Indian missions a correct idea of the suffering condition of the pagan bands of this country.
Degraded and oppressed by the white man, thirsting for the fire-water, full of all the uncleanness of heathenism, they are fast passing away. Nor are they ignorant of it. Many of them are now ripe for the Gospel. They have long looked to their idols for help, but looked in vain. For the last hundred years they have hoped for help from the Jesuit, but, to use the words of one of the old men, "He brought no heart religion with him." The Indian wants Christianity in earnest. There are strong reasons why they should have it now. Yearly their minds are becoming more and more corrupted by false teachers. Yearly scores of them are dying in their sins, and in their blood.
Christians, to their rescue fly,
Preach Jesus to them ere they die."
Difficulties in the accomplishment of this work we may expect. Satan will, doubtless, hold on to his old possessions; but "the Lord is a man of war. the Lord is His name."
Let the Church of Christ use the means, and hell shall yet tremble at, and heaven rejoice in, the full salvation of this people Amen.
Rev. and Dear Sir,—Our work is encouraging. The Lord is evidently preparing our way amongst this people. Our school is now in full operation, and, considering the severity of the weather, is well attended. The building of the school house was a difficult task--the snow came on before we got it covered in—yet convinced of the importance of having a room solely appropriated to religious and school purposes, we made every effort. The Indians acted nobly, and, with the thermometer some fifteen degrees below zero, we put in the door and windows, laid the floors, chinked, plastered, whitewashed, and finally had the pleasure of congratulating each other as the proprietors of a comfortable little school-house, free from debt, with the exception of £3, and this we hope to cancel before Conference ; for w-e go upon the principle that it is the duty of all men to help themselves according to their several abilities.
We are deeply indebted to P. S. Church, Esquire, for a gratuitous supply of lumber, use of oxen, and other favors. May the Great Head of the Church abundantly reward him and his kind lady for the deep interest they have taken in, as well as the valuable help they have rendered, this infant mission.
Our watch night was conducted by the Rev. J. H. Pietzel, Presiding Elder of the Ste. Marie District, and though not largely attended, the night being exceedingly cold, yet it was a time long to be remembered. by the Garden River people, New Year's eve has ever been a season which, above all others, was spent in revelry and drunkenness ; but by a number the Gospel has been heard, and its power felt, and old things have passed away, and now, for the first time, these red men, surround the table of our common Lord, and anticipate the dawn of a new year in earnest prayer to the Great Spirit for His blessing. To God we would ascribe the praise.
The good seed sown on watch night we have been endeavoring to cultivate, by holding a protracted service. The God of revivals was present to own our humble labors. The cry of penitence and the song of praise were heard in our midst. Eleven profess to have received good ; most of them heads of families. Some of them are related to other bands, thus enlarging our prospect of usefulness. Intemperance is the great barrier to the Gospel in this country. Could we persuade those civilized and refined gentlemen who sell the Indians whiskey, to stop their nefarious traffic, the work of evangelizing these tribes would soon be accomplished. Chief Chinggwuk can name upwards of a score of his own relatives who have either been drowned, burned, or frozen to death, while in a state of intoxication. Last winter, not less than five women were burned to death in their camps.
Since I commenced writing this letter, I have been in formed of the death of a young man belonging to the Sioux band, who, in a state of drunkenness, fell across the camp fire, and before rescued, his abdomen and legs were burned to a cinder. To stay this dreadful scourge of the Indian, we have used every means in our reach—the temperance pledge, the co-operation of the custom house officers, in preventing it being brought from the American side, and also the influence of those favorable to the cause of temperance. Yet the only sure antidote against this vice is the Gospel; and though a large majority of the people are strangers to its saving power, yet such is the influence it exerts over their minds, that more than half of this vast community abstain, and those that still persist in drinking ashamed to do so openly. As a proof of this, my family have not been alarmed at hearing the wild war cry for the last two months.
January 15th.—With my blanket, provisions, snow-shoes, —all assorted —and a faithful old Ojebway for a companion, I started for the 1 truce. The first day we reached the north end of St. Joseph's Island, and on our way we spent some time with the Pumpkin Point Indians, a band numbering about forty, still in a state of paganism, and, as a consequence, in wretchedness and poverty, but willing to hear the Gospel.
On the 16th we called at Hilton, a young but rising settlement on the north-east point of St. Joseph. Here our way was closed up. The erysipelas, or some disease very similar, had assumed the aspect of an epidemic, and almost every family was afflicted. Visiting all within our reach, and distributing some tracts, we started for the Mine.
St. Joseph's Island, if the mining operations are continued, is destined to become a place of importance; the land is good; almost all kinds of vegetables grow luxuriantly, with a ready market for all that can be produced. Crossing from the island to the mainland, we were caught in one of the most terrific snowstorms I ever witnessed. The drift came Hying over these vast fields of ice so thick, that for miles we were obliged to shape our course by observing the quarter from which the storm came. But, conscious that we were under the protection of the Arm Omnipotent, we pursued our way, and nightfall found us quite at home amongst our Cornish friends; and a more off-handed, kind-hearted class of people are not to be found.
Saturday we spent in visiting, and a more suitable time could not have been chosen. Almost every family were afflicted with the disease already referred to; one adult and three children had died, and several others were dangerously ill. On Sabbath, the services were well attended, notwithstanding the cold, for the thermometer stood at 25°. The class is in a healthy condition, Brother Hooper, the leader, is faithful to his charge. The Sabbath-school, under the influence of the same brother, is well supplied with faithful teachers, and is in a prosperous condition.
Here is work for one missionary. A people prepared— many of them once happy in God; but leaving their native land and the regular means of grace, they have lost their enjoyments by drinking into the spirit of the world—yet still they linger about the courts of Ziou. May God speedily revive His work among them !
I am, Rev. Sir, yours respectfully,
G. M. McDougall.
To the Rev. E. Wood, Toronto.
[From the Christian Guardian, May 5, 1852]
The letter from the missionary at Garden River and Bruce Mines, which appears in last week's Guardian, contained a very gratifying account of the successful operation of the mission, as well as the openings for the more extensive cultivation of the promising fields for missionary labor in that part of the country. The following letter of a later date, from the same place, will be read with interest and pleasure by all who love to hear of the prosperity and the encouraging prospects of this department of our work : —
Garden River, March 18th, 1852.
Rev. and Dear Sir,—As I have now an opportunity of posting a letter, and that for the last time till navigation opens, I feel it a duty to send you a brief account of our proceedings. Throughout the past winter I have visited the Bruce monthly. On my last visit I was accompanied by Bro. H. Pietzel, of the Sault.
On Saturday we held a temperance meeting, when twenty-five took the pledge. Sabbath was a high day amongst the miners. God in a very special manner owned the ordinances of His Church. Backsliders were reclaimed, and sinners convinced, and the little church greatly raised. Five lovely babes were dedicated to God in baptism.
Before leaving, I received from the Sabbath-school children £1 17s. 6d., as a juvenile missionary offering, and 17s. 6d. from the class. I was also presented with a purse containing £4 12s. 6d., as a present. This came in place, for I had spent considerable in travelling to and from the Bruce, though I knew not from whence it would come. Last fall, when the change took place in the mining operations, we had but two members at the Bruce, but God has owned our humble labors; we have now a thriving class of thirteen.
Yesterday I returned from Lake Superior, where in company with Brother Pietzel, we visited several bands of Indians, and spent the Sabbath at Na-yah-mah-young, a flourishing mission, some forty miles above the Sault. Here they have a boarding-school in operation, and preparations are being made for farming. The American brethren are prosecuting the work with great energy. Their missions extend from Sault Ste. Marie to the head-waters of the Mississippi. How humiliating to the Canadian missionary is the fact, that while the south shores of vast Superior is dotted with missions, all in efficient operation, the Canadian coast, with its tens of thousands of inhabitants, is still a moral waste.
In order that the- Indians of both countries may be useful to each other, we have appointed a camp-meeting to commence on the 4th of August. A committee has been appointed to make the necessary arrangements. We hope that a meeting of this character will bring out many of the pagans who will not attend the ordinary means of grace. As regards personal improvement, though I find my acquaintance with the language daily increasing, yet I have not made that proficiency that I had hoped for.
The first three months after my arrival was taken up in building and other preparatory arrangements. The Bruce requires me monthly from six to ten days. But this, I hope, will be remedied in another year. The miners intend to petition Conference for a missionary, and I know of no place where one might be so useful I have several times heard you anticipate the erection of a .Manual Labor School at Owen Sound.
If this measure could be consummated, and the institution placed upon a footing, so as to receive children from missions in this country, the prospect of educating the youth of these wandering tribes would appear under a happier aspect. The Indians are willing to send their children south to be educated, and appear delighted with the thought that a school of this character may yet be placed within their reach.
Please pardon all imperfections, and believe me, Reverend Sir, yours respectfully,
G M McDougall.
To the Rev. E. Wood, Toronto.
P.S.—To-morrow morning I start for the Bruce, where I am appointed to hold a missionary meeting on Saturday evening.
Bruce Mines, March 22nd, 1852.
The work here is onward. I received seven on trial yesterday. Missionary meeting resulted in £1 2s. 10d., making in all between £5 and £6. The temperance cause is doing wonders. G.M. McDougall.
Garden River, September 28th, 1852.
Reverend and Dear Sir,—Your favor of the 16th instant came safe and the contents were duly appreciated. In answer to your enquiries as regards the farm, I would just remark, that I view the appointment of R. Sutton as providential ; his past training will fit him for present usefulness. A tolerable acquaintance with the Indian language, industrious habits and experience as a Christian will, I trust, by the blessing of Heaven, make his example and acquaintance with business a great benefit to the community.
The effort towards preparing the farm appears to me to be beginning at the right end of the work. The prospect of establishing a manual labour school, as well as the improvement of the Indian in agricultural pursuits, depend wholly upon the management of the farm. As to its prospects, I believe, if properly conducted, it would not only meet the attending expenses, but when fairly started would prove a source of profit to the mission. Vegetables of all kinds find a ready market at a high price, and roots of the most useful kinds—as potatoes, turnips, carrots and onions, etc.—yield an abundant crop. Some expenses must be incurred in providing seed, farming implements and provisions; for though much can be done towards clearing the land, in the way of making bees, yet the red man must have some koo hoosh, pork and bread. Openings for extending the work in this country are numerous. The Pic, a point once occupied by the society, is still an open field.
Port William is now a Jesuit station. To the Indians at the Pic they have frequently offered their services, but Ah Tick Rouse, the leader, is faithful to Methodism. I was informed a short time ago, by a clergyman of the Church of England, of a circumstance worthy of notice. Some three years since, when the cholera raged severely throughout the country, many of the Indians fell under its influence. On one occasion, the gentleman referred to was called to visit two men said to be dying; he found them fast sinking, but trusting in Christ for salvation. Upon enquiring, he found they were from the Pic, and that several years previous they had been baptized by the Rev. T. Hurlburt, These forest children, though exposed to much temptation, and surrounded by heathenism, had not forgotten the teachings of the missionary ; and now, under the most trying circumstances, they rejoiced in the hope of immortality.
Maple Point, on the north east extremity of the Mahnea-dooahning, is distant some forty miles from any other mission, so that it could not be considered an encroachment, to occupy it as a station. It is well calculated for a mission, the land is good, fishing excellent, and the situation convenient to the steamboat route. The Indians call for sympathy, they are at present in a most wretched condition. Dissipated, destitute, and friendless, they are fast melting away before the Indians' deadliest foe, the fire-water. .May God move His Church to greater efforts ill behalf of these poor people. Many enquiries are made about the expected chapel. Nothing would consolidate our movements here, in the estimation of the Indians, more than the erection of a comfortable house of worship. By way of improvement, we are preparing to survey these lands, so as to designate to each man his lot. I have taken the liberty of writing to several friends, soliciting aid in behalf of a class of this community, who are truly objects of charity. I have reference to the aged and young orphans Could those benevolent ladies, to whose efforts the missionary enterprise is so much in debted, have witnessed one-tenth of the destitution that your missionary at Garden River was an eye-witness of last winter, especially amongst the aged, I believe efforts would be made to prepare these unfortunates to meet the severity of the coming winter. Old clothes, second-hand bedding, would be highly appreciated and thankfully acknowledged.
I could have induced the Indians last spring to have planted twice the amount of garden stuff, but for the want of seed. That which had been supplied by a few kind friends was well attended to, and has yielded an abundant crop. If the friends of missions would collect a box or two of seeds, and forward them to the mission before navigation closes, they will confer a benefit on those who cannot help themselves. With sentiments of respect, I am, Reverend Sir, yours sincerely,
G. M. McDougall..
To Rev. E. Wood.
The speech made by Ojesh Tab, one of the chief's of the Garden River bands, in a general council, prior to the missionary's leaving for Conference:
"Black Coat, I want to say a few words. I want to say them strong. We want you to repeat them to the Big Black Coat and Black Coats assembled in council. The Indians down south have fathers and mothers. We are orphans. The Great Spirit has done a great deal for them; He has given them a rich country. He has also sent them missionaries, who have been parents to them. The Great Woman Chief has been a mother to them. She has assisted their missionary in building large schools amongst them, and in teaching them how to work. They are not poor, they have plenty of kind friends. Not so with us, we are orphans; we who live on the north shore of Huron and Superior. The Great Spirit has not given us a rich country; the missionary has not taught us the white man's religion ; no teacher has been sent us, nor school-house built for us. We are poor. We have no kind great fathers or mother to protect us ; we are worse than our forefathers were many years ago. Our forests were full of wild animals, deer, bear, beaver, etc.; but the white man came and induced us to kill off all our furs. He brought his steamboats and large nets, and drove the fish from our shores. We are poor, and we are becoming more so every year. Now we want you to say to the Big Black Coats, that we ask them to help us. We want them very much; we want our sons and daughters to understand paper and to learn to work. Tell them that we live ill a large country, and that there are a great many of us. Tell them about this place, that it lies between Huron and Superior; that the land is good ; that we raise potatoes, oats, turnips, etc., and all sell for a great price if "but that the Indian knows little about making gardens. Tell them we ask for a school, like the one some of us saw at Alnwick, when we went to Moneyaung (Montreal), three years ago. We are willing to give some of the best of our land for a farm, and assist in building the houses ; but we must have the white man to teach us the way."
The following letter to the President of the Conference, from a gentleman at Garden River, contains a very pleasing testimony to the good effects attending the labors of the Wesleyan Missionary amongst the Indians at that place :
Sugar Island, opposite Garden River,
February 17th, 1853.
Rev. and Dear Sir,—You will pardon the liberty of a total stranger in addressing a few lines to you, as the subject is one in which, I trust, we both feel an interest, and together offer our mutual prayer for its success, viz., the Wesleyan Mission at Garden River. I became acquainted with the Indians at Garden River in 1816. They were at that time a very poor, degraded, intemperate band of Indians. They had usually done their trading at Sault Ste. Marie, where they obtained the fire-water in abundance. 1 trust that God made some use of me in benefiting them in a temporal point, as they have, since I came amongst them, cultivated much more ground, built better houses, and began to get for themselves horses, cattle, etc. I furnished them work .at all seasons of the year, for which I paid them in provisions, etc.; still much intemperance continued. I long saw and felt they needed a faithful missionary to teach them the way of life and light through Jesus. I hailed with joy and thanksgiving the arrival of the Rev. George McDougall in 1851, since which time God has seemed to crown the labors of this indefatigable missionary with great success. Intemperance is known to only a limited extent. In many houses, where scenes of drunkenness were often beheld, may now be heard the voice of prayer and praise to God. The Indians are very much elevated in the scale of human society, and seem far advanced in civilization.
As to the number now connected with the mission house, I am not informed. The congregation on the Sabbath is very respectable as to numbers, and sometimes quite large, so much so that the school-house is much crowded. The house now used as a place of worship and school-house is one of the most uncomfortable imaginable. Many days, as we have in this hyperborean region, it is impossible to make it comfortable; and as it is not suitable in size, locality, etc., I think it not worth trying to improve by repairs. I cannot but think that the erection of a comfortable and respectable chapel would add to the usefulness and influence of the mission. I am not acquainted with the state of the funds of your Board, but fully believe it worth a strong effort to build a chapel at Garden River the coming summer; and if so, it should be commenced early, as our seasons are short, and not at all times easy to get help necessary for work of that kind.
I think five hundred dollars would be required to build and finish a chapel suitable to the place, with its present prospect of increase. Should the Board appropriate that amount for the purpose, I will contribute fifty dollars towards it, or m the same proportion for a less sum. I understand from Mr. McDougall, there is to be a camp-meeting another summer very near my house, when I hope we may see you, and have the pleasure of your acquaintance.
I wish to say a few words on the subject of Mr. McDougall's salary. I understand that he receives but $320 per annum from the Board. I am satisfied he cannot live at least comfortably on that amount, with his present family. I believe, should you increase his pay to $400, that with such contributions as would be made here, he would be able to get on very well. You may think I take quite too much liberty in making such suggestions with regard to the mission. I do it, I trust, in Christian meekness, as a well-wisher of the success of the work at Garden River.
Though of a different denomination, yet I pray God that much good may be done, not only to the Indians at this place, but also through all this upper country, through the instrumentality of the missionary enterprise.
One word more, and I will have done. I know not what the practice is with the Wesley an Methodists of Canada with regard to their missionaries. I think, oil our side, they too often change them amongst the Indians. It would take a long time, I think, for any other man to get the confidence and gain the influence over the Indians at Garden River that Mr. McDougall has now.
I am, Sir, yours in Christian affection,
P. S. Church.
To Rev. E. Wood, Yorkville, C. W.
[from the Christian Guardian, April 27, 1853.]
The following letter from the Wesleyan Missionary at Garden River, to Mr. J. Macdonald, of Toronto, giving an account of the destitute and perishing condition of some of the Indians in that part of the country, will, we trust, excite the active sympathies of those who possess the means to supply the wants of the needy. We are requested to state that Mr. Macdonald will receive and forward to Garden River the benevolent offerings of those friends who may desire to assist in relieving the necessities of the poor and suffering Indians of that place:
Garden River, March 2nd, 1853.
Dear Brother,—My object must be my apology for the present letter. For some months past, I have felt a strong desire to do something more for the aged and afflicted in this community. A short time since, in conversation with the Rev. B. Shaw, Presiding Elder of the Sault Ste. Marie District, upon the subject, I was informed that they received yearly large supplies of second hand clothing, garden seeds, medicines, etc., from different benevolent societies throughout the Union. These, when judiciously dispensed, not only relieved the sufferings of the destitute, but also exerted a happy influence in favour of religion. The Indian makes no provision for old age or affliction, and when once incapacitated for the chase, his case becomes truly wretched.
Many of the inland Indians are now in a state of starvation ; the rabbits, which were their main dependence in winter, having, from some unknown cause, died off. I lately visited a baud, where one of their women was driven to such a desperate state through starvation, that she ate her own child; and I have good authority for stating that several cases of the kind have occurred during the past year.
Accidents often occur which place individuals in circum stances of great affliction and destitution. A short time since, within sight of the mission-house, a widow woman got her camp burned, and a fine active little child roasted alive in it. Now this unfortunate not only suffered the grief peculiar to a mother, but, as regards food and clothing, was left totally destitute. We believe that were the right agencies employed, God, through His Church, would enable the missionary to relieve such cases. But with me a difficulty presents itself ; for my junior position as a missionary, together with my creumscribed acquaintance with persons suitable to co-operate in this work, prevent me from taking that active part in the work that I might otherwise do. Trusting in God, however, I have resolved to write several friends on the subject, asking their assistance. Now, my dear sir, if you can enlist the benevolent of your acquaintance in our behalf, you will confer a great favor, and relieve the sufferings of the destitute.
It is necessary to be an eye-witness in order to form anything like an idea of the suffering condition of the pagans of this region. Dissipation, poverty, severity of climate, all combine to augment their misery. As regards our progress in religion, we have reason to be encouraged. Our society numbers about fifty members ; and among a people who, less than two years ago, were noted for drunkenness, only one case of drinking the fire-water has occurred this winter. They have raised upwards of £10 for missionary purposes during the past winter. We have got out timber for a chapel 25 x 35. To our Heavenly Father we desire to be thankful, and to ascribe all the praise of our success-Trusting you will pardon the liberty I have taken, by remembering the object I have in view, 1 remain, yours very sincerely.
John Macdougall, Esq., Toronto,
Garden River Mission,
November 25</(, 1853.
Rev. and Dear Sir, Our chapel has been the object of interest with the Garden River people for the last year. We hope soon to enjoy the fruit of our labor. Christmas is the day appointed for the dedication. The Rev. J. Shaw will lead in the services. The Rev. C. McCulloch, Presbyterian minister of the Free Church, has offered his services.
C. P. Harrey, chief agent for the Huron and Superior canal, the thief engineer, with a number of Christian gentlemen, wish to be present. Should the day be fine it will be. one of much interest to the mission, for Christians of every name have taken a deep interest in our humble efforts for the natives. The Indians are not less interested; they have given 145 days' work towards its erection. I hope, dear sir, you will not receive the impression that we are prodigal, because we live up to our income and sometimes in advance of it. I believe there are few families more frugal than my own. The fact is, I have incurred responsibilities in endeavoring to advance the interest of the mission; but we are more than compensated. Cod has given us many kind friends in temporal matters; and He has given success to our feeble efforts for the good of His people. During the last two years I have received more than §200 from different parties for this mission, all of which I have endeavored to lay out for its advancement. The Kabtold broke her machinery three weeks ago. We have no Canadian mail. This is an unexpected favor by a traveller to Detroit; the boat stays but a few minutes.
To Rev. E. Wood, Yorkville.
Extract from a letter from the Rev. G. McDougall, dated January 28th, 1857.
Residing as we do in a part of the country where Popery preponderates, and whe»4» festival days are characterized by scenes of drunkenness and dissipation, we have ever looked forward to the holidays with anxiety, especially as regards the young of our congregation. The past, however, were seasons of pleasing remembrance. Christmas was a happy-day at Garden River.
Our morning service was well attended. In the afternoon, with two exceptions, every individual belonging to the band assembled in the Wesleyan church for the purpose of enjoying their Christmas feast. The good things were provided by the young of our congregation. The evening was spent in the defence of temperance principles, and a most effective meeting it was. Our watch-night was a season of deep interest. How happy the change wrought in this people, when a comparison is made with the manner in which they formerly anticipated the new year. On the 2nd of January, at the suggestion of Mrs. Church, and at her expense, a pic-nic was got up for the mission school, and to this, not only the little people, but all their parents were united every variety was provided for their entertainment—nuts, raisins, apples, and cakes of various kinds ; and to these you may be sure ample justice was done.
Fifty-four children, and some 150 of the grown up ones, were made glad on this occasion; and, while speaking of the little folks, I would just remark that, without being invidious as to others, our school is decidedly the best we have seen in this country j our indefatigable teacher, Mr. Dagg, has drawn around him, not only the children of our own people, but almost all the Romanist children within reach. Would that the friends of the Indians could witness the improvement- in many of those children. The class in grammar, geography and arithmetic, would bear comparison with most of those of the same age in our favored country. Intent on doing good, Mr. Dagg commenced a night-school for the. young men, which bids fair to be of much service. These are some of the lights connected with our work in this country, and to God we ascribe all the glory, and yet we are not without our shades.
Twenty-five years ago, when a Sunday, a Jones, and a Hurlburt first proclaimed the great salvation to this people, the way was clear; there were but few opposing influences; but now every inch of ground is contested. Popery, the blight of Christianity, has been aroused to greater exertion since the increase of our mission; Bacchus is greatly in creasing the number of his agents ; not a village, however insignificant, a fishing point or a mine, but has its vendors of fire-water. The holy Sabbath in many places is shamefully desecrated. To meet these soul destroying influences, and also secure an increase of numbers in many parts of this wild country, a new order of things is about being introduced.
Those points which we now view as distant, such as Michipicoton, the Pic, or Fort, William, stand in about the same relationship to the civilized world as did Owen Sound or Saugeen some ten or twelve years ago. Already the tide of emigration has passed the falls of Ste. Marie, and the roar of its waves is distinctly heard on the north shore of great Superior.
Yesterday we conversed with a party already equipped for a journey on the north shore ; they intend visiting Montreal river, and to select a place for a settlement, and as soon as possible erect a saw mill. Many others with whom we are acquainted are looking towards that section of country as their future home. The unequalled fisheries and inexhaustible mineral wealth of that region are the objects of attraction. Now the solemn questions suggested to the mind of the Christian are as to what will be the character of these rising settlements? under what auspices will they grow? shall the inhabitants, and the sons of the forest, by whom they are surrounded, receive and obey the truth, and be brought into the freedom of the sons of God ; or be ignorant of the great Redeemer, and left to their own lusts, and sink deeper into the thraldom of crime and sin! These are questions which must be practically met by the Church of Christ.
Sabbath the 18th we held our quarterly meeting, Brother Price, of the Shawville mission, being with us. Next Sabbith, Providence permitting, I shall spend at that mission. Brother Price has kindly consented to accompany me to the Bruce Mines, at the earnest request of the Presbyterian church. Sault Ste. Marie this winter is destitute of a pastor, and, in connection with Brother Price, I preach for them every third Sabbath.
March 15th we have an appointment at Ma Mas, Montreal Mining Company location, on Lake Superior. In meeting these engagements, we expect some hard beds and cold nights ; yet labor is rest, and pain is sweet, because my God is here.
Extract from a letter from the Rev. G. McDougall, dated July 24th, 1857 :
We have just closed the Lake Superior camp meeting. The weather was favorable, and quite a number attended, and, best of all, the Master was present and souls were converted. Amongst the many that were blessed, two cases are worthy of special notice: the first, a Frenchwoman, a very respectable person, but a bigoted Romanist. On this dark mind the spirit of conviction fastened, and one of the most powerful conversions we have ever witnessed was the result The lady there and then declared that henceforth neither priest, saint, nor Virgin, should stand between her soul and the all-sufficient Saviour. The next was that of a young man, decidedly the hardest case at Garden River. His father, a valuable native brother, stated that for the last three months he had daily in secret besought the Lord to convert- his son. In the clearest possible manner that prayer has been answered, and great is the joy of that-family.
We are now hourly expecting the death of a young man, the son of our oldest chief, who spent the last three years at Alnwick School, having suffered from consumption for several months. He is now, to use his own words, "very near home." I was much gratified to hear last evening this dying youth express to his family and friends his gratitude for the kindness and faithfulness of those tried missionaries, Brother and Sister Hurlburt.
A camp-meeting was expected at the Pic. Brother Asliquabe writes that two hundred and fifty Indians had waited there three weeks for the Big Black (Joat. From Brother Blaker I received a letter yesterday, in which he states that thirteen families of the New Brunswick Indians had waited there for some time, in view of going to the Pic catnp-meeting. The iron mine located four miles from the Michipicoton mission, has been started under favorable circumstances.
"Dear Father,—Ke-che-me-ticg,—Oar minds have long been to write you letter. Our missionary', Ah-Yah-Bans, has often told us that you was the first talk to him to come to this country. We thank the Great Spirit that He put it into your heart. Before this missionary came we all drank the fire-water; we were very wretched; we were very poor, we sometimes worked; but we gave our money for whiskey; then we fought. Sometimes some of us were drowned, some were burned to death. Some of our children died while our women were drinking; and when we were sober, we were much troubled in our minds.
"We have often wished we were dead. Sometimes the Church missionary preach to us, in the morning we went to meeting, and at night we all drink. Hut now is great change. The Great Spirit has blessed us, most all have put away the fire-water. A great many of us feel the Great Spirit in our hearts, we are very happy; our young people have learned to sing good hymns, they like to sing; most of them can read the hymns in the Great Book. Last summer Ah-Yah-Bans told us to send two of our boys to your big school. We have just got good letter that they are happy. The Black Coat is good. His wife is very kind, their teacher is the great friend, we thank you for our boys.
"We want to tell you we have a large, good chapel. We helped to make this house. We all worked hard. We were glad when we meet in that house. No white man, but the missionary and the farmer, help us to this house. We think very strange, when we remember how quick the Great Spirit has done so much for our people.
"We like our missionary very much, he is our great friend. We want to tell you little more. We know the white man is strong and wise. We were strong. We not strong now, we become weaker and weaker; the poor Indians want you to help them ; the great chief many times send us wise man to tell us good things, but we forgot them; what we want is religion in our hearts. Send us more missionary, send to the poor Indians all along the shores of our big lakes, then they will become happy, and our children will grow wise like the white man.
"We want to tell you little more; twenty years ago John Sunday, Kahkewaquonaby and Negig came to this country, we remember them, our children do not remember them. Since Ah-Yah-Bans come here, some good Black Coats come to help them.
"We like camp-meetings very much, we will not forget the one at Hamekong; we had a great one last summer, the big missionary from Owen Sound brought a great many with him ; we want you very much to come and see our country when we have our meeting next summer 011 Lake Superior.
."We have told our interpreter to write these words.
*Chiefs of Garden River.
"To Rev. E. Wood, Toronto."..
P.S.—The term Ah-Yah-Bans, is the Ojibway for "Little Buck," the name given to father by the Indians, because of his having won in a race with one of their best runners, whose name was "Little Buck," and who at once surrendered his claim to this because of having lost the race.
Garden River Camp-Meeting.
Reverend and Dear Sir,—At the earnest and kindly invitation of the Chairman of the District, and the resident missionary, I made arrangements to attend the Indian camp-meeting held in the vicinity of our Garden River mission, and to visit the mission, our most westerly one in Canada.
Anxious to know more of the state of our work in that region of the country, to witness for myself the condition of the Indians in the vicinity and region of Lake Superior, and to contribute in some humble degree to the advancement of the work of God in that distant part, I gladly availed myself of the company of the esteemed chairman, Rev. C. Vandusen, and proceeded towards the most distant of our Indian missions in this line province. Fearing a want of connection in the steamers on our northern lakes, Brother Vandusen and myself took the route by Detroit, while Bro. Peter Jones, more fortunately, proceeded by the northern route, and arrived at the camp-ground nearly a day earlier than we. The ground was well chosen, near the junction of the Garden and Sault rivers, and contiguous to Indians both of Canada and of the United States.
Two bands of American Indians, with their missionaries, were present, and an equal or larger number of Canadian Indians from Garden River, and other Indian settlements, swelled the number to a goodly host, such a one as would at one period in our country's history have tilled a stouter heart than mine with terror.
But these hundreds of Indians of different nations and living under different flags, met in amity. Many of them converted, they met as brethren beloved; while all, free from hostile feelings, met on the ground of a common or general brotherhood. It was no ordinary sight, a sight calculated to awaken no ordinary emotions. My heart rejoiced in the omnipotence of Christianity, in the lovely fruits and glorious triumphs of Christianity.
There were no whites present save the missionaries and their families, with one or two exceptions. The Rev. Mr. Shaw, Presiding Elder in the Michigan Conference; Rev. N. Calendar, Presiding Elder among the Germans; Rev. L. D. Price, missionary at the Sault Ste. Marie, all of the Methodist Episcopal Church, were present, and rendered valuable service during the meeting; Rev. C. Vandusen, Rev. P. Jones, Rev. G. M. McDougall and myself, together with Brother Blaker from the Pic Mission, represented Canadian Methodism, and in all our intercourse with the beloved brethren of the Methodist Episcopal Church, we felt that we were one with them. Noble men of God ! may they be more successful than ever in the heroics and martyr work in which they are engaged. We listened with pleasure and profit to the addresses of the brethren named ; and witnessed some of the effects produced by their ministrations.
Habitual as it is to the Indian character to conceal all evidence of emotion, nevertheless the sigh, the tear, the exclamation of joy told how effectual was the Word of God, while thus faithfully preached and accompanied by unction from above. Many hundreds there were of living-evidences of the power of the Gospel of the Son of Cod; and, during the progress of the meeting, many pagans were induced to give up their idols and seek the Lord "with full purpose of heart."
No case was more thrillingly interesting to us than that of a venerable chief, nearly eighty years of age, and the most influential of any chief in his own or adjacent tribes. For many years this chief had resisted all the efforts made to induce him to renounce paganism and sin, and to give his heart to the Lord. Many of his tribe were converted, and yet he was ail idolater. On Monday afternoon, the last day of the camp meeting, the rock was smitten, the old chief bowed in penitence ; all night prayer was made to God for him. Ere the morning sun shone upon us, the Sun of Righteousness had risen upon his heart. He was made happy in the love of Jesus, and on the following morning received the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and was baptized by the Rev. Peter Jones. During the protracted prayer-meetings, as well as during preaching, the power of God was present. I could not but note that the Indians in regard to prayer, were very much like some of us in regard to preaching ; they were not afraid of being "too long" or "too loud," yet whatever might be said of the preaching, good John Wesley himself would not have condemned the devoted or penitent Indians for the fervor, vehemence or perseverance of their prayers.
Sometimes the meetings continued in the tents the whole of the night. The love-feast was a happy season; and when we parted, never to meet again on earth, "eyes unused to weep" were suffused with tears. Few, if any, upon the camp-ground but wept as they bade a final adieu to each other. I know not the number converted during the meeting; but I was informed that there were many brought to God. The result will be seen after many days; but not fully until the day of eternity.
Before I left the ground, the chiefs present honored me with an Indian name, Wah-bah noo-sa. I was at no loss to discover that my valued brother, Vandusen, had as much influence with the western Indians, and he richly deserves it all, as he had with the senate of a western university, and that not only to his recommendation was an old friend indebted for the honorary degree, but myself for my Indian cognomen.
I visited the mission near the head of the Sault, some ten miles from the Lake Superior. It is lovely in its aspect and scenery. A more suitable location could not have been made. The scenery is among the finest I ever saw, the soil is of a superior quality, the streams abounding with fish, and the salubrity of the climate unrivalled. In company with the chairman and missionary, Brother Jones having returned home, we visited many families in their houses and prayed with them there. The houses, about forty, have all been put up, I believe, within three or four years, or since the commencement of the mission. A church and mission house have also been erected, chiefly by Brother McDougall himself, who is, without adulation, one of the best missionaries in our important work. He is in labors more abundant. Gould our friends a thousand miles away visit this mission, as it was my happy privilege to do, and see with their own eyes, and hear with their own ears, the evidences of the wondrous work effected in a few years, they would not only rejoice in having had the opportunity of contributing to such a work, but would resolve to do more than ever for a cause so owned and blessed of God.
I may say, so delighted was I with the evident improvement made by the Indians of Garden River, and with the desire evinced still further to improve, that when a wish was expressed to have a communion service some day, that I pledged myself to procure for them a suitable service and send it, together with books and other presents for the mission, this autumn.
I shall be happy to be the medium of conveying to the missionary there any donation for the use of the mission which the readers of this hasty sketch may wish to have conveyed there.
G. H. Sanderson.
Toronto, August, 1855.
The reader will now have seen that the missionary was not content with his work at Garden River; he went eastward to Bruce Mines and intermediate points, and westward to the Sault Ste. Marie and away beyond it. He heard of tribes all along the north and south shores of Lake Superior; he visited the camps and saw Indians on the American side; and stirred up American Methodism by his representations and efforts for the salvation of these. He was the moving spirit in the inaugurating of a series of camp-meetings, to which the Indian tribes came, some thoroughly interested, others merely to satisfy their curiosity, but at which all received good.
He succeeded in enlisting the sympathy of his own Conference, and the Chairman of his District was authorized to accompany him in visits on evangelistic, tours along the north shore of Lake Superior, where at different points the Indian tribes of the interior, for the first time in their history, listened to the Gospel, and many believing were saved.
It was on one of these visits that the tribe which Brother Silas Huntingdon discovered in the interior not long since was reached by my late father, and because of his then teaching and preaching to them the Gospel, though isolated and without a missionary ever since, yet, as Brother Huntingdon affirms, they have proved faithful.
It must be some thirty-three or thirty-four years since these men were thus reached by my father. He was ordained at the Conference which sat at Kingston in 1852. He came under what are termed special ordinations.