Friday, September 23, 2005

James Evans

Our garden near the Hudson’s Bay
Produced much more toil than pay
Potatoes thrive if they don’t freeze
And sometimes grow as large as peas

In their Own Voices

Here are a few little known details about James Evans. He was born in England where he apprenticed to a grocer, learning British shorthand at that time, circa 1820, well before Pitman's shorthand system was published in 1837.

He came to Canada at the age of 21 because his family had recently moved here. He became a school teacher, then married, and was later converted to Methodism. In 1833 he was ordained in New York City as a Wesleyan Methodist minister and, after that, became a minister to an Ojibwe congregation in Ontario, where he worked with Peter Jones.

It was after his ordination that the Wesleyan Church established a Canadian conference and in 1840 the Hudson Bay company agreed to allow Wesleyan ministers in their territory.

"In 1838, the Canada Conference sent him on a tour of the north shore of Lake Superior. In 1839 he met Governor George Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company, who in January 1840 agreed to support Methodist missionaries, named by the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in Britain, in its territory." Victoria University, Toronto

James Evans then moved north to Norway House, Manitoba, where he implemented his syllabic writing system.

More here:

Dictionary of Canadian Biography online
Manitoba Historical Society


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