Collection 2009.21 - Thomas Crosby Mission Ship Photograph Collection

Thomas Crosby III Mission Ship group photo in Port Essington, BC Dr. Armstrong standing with summer relief doctor Dr. Perry and family at Port Essington Hospital Hospital and Church at Port Essington Dr. Armstrong and Nurse Hall leaving a fish cannery Port Simpson nurses and school teachers visit to local light house Dr. Perry and Port Essington hospital staff Port Essington hospital staff group photo Queen Charlotte City Hospital and nurses home Queen Charlotte City Hospital and nurses home Winter in Queen Charlotte City Winter in Queen Charlotte City Winter landscape, Queen Charlotte City Grave stone in the Hazelton cemetery Grave stone in the Hazelton cemetery Dr. and Mrs. Austen standing with two unidentified women Dr. W.E. (Eric) Austen, Medical Superintendant at Hazelton, 1932 Hazelton Hospital Hazelton Hospital Nurse Sally Tretiak in Kispiox Group photo of Nurse Sally Tretiak and Mrs. Moore and family Wedding procession in Port Simpson Memorial dedicated to Ligeex, Head Chief of Port Simpson Preparing eulachon for the boiling tanks Storm clouds approach Port Simpson Storm clouds above houses at Port Simpson Three women standing on a boardwalk Hudson's Bay Company store at the end of the wharf at Port Simpson Water view from Port Simpson Hospital Scenic view of the village from Port Simpson Hospital Mr. Huston stands in front of two tall racks of drying eulachon Mrs. Huston stands with three First Nations children in front of three tall racks of drying eulachon Five people ride a motorcycle and sidecar along the Port Simpson boardwalk Eulachon boiling tanks on the river's edge Port Simpson harbour Group photo of three nurses and two women at Port Simpson Hospital Group photo of the entire non-aboriginal female population in Port Simpson Opening of Grace United Church in Port Simpson Opening of Grace United Church in Port Simpson Port Simpson Hospital and Nurses Residence

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Thomas Crosby Mission Ship Photograph Collection

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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  • 1932-1946 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

40 photographs : b&w

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Name of creator

(1923 - 1991)

Administrative history

With the earliest pastoral care provided to north coastal peoples by missionaries travelling by canoe, technological development inevitably allowed for the introduction of the gasoline engine. “Glad Tidings” (built in 1884, sunk in 1903) was the first of these new ships built for the Rev. Thomas Crosby. Upon its demise, the “Udal” was constructed in 1908, only to sink a year later; followed by the launch of the first of the “Thomas Crosby” mission boats in 1912. These particular Methodist mission boats were named after the Rev. Thomas Crosby who had ministered to First Nations peoples throughout the northern coast of B.C. In 1874, at the request of Tsimshian matriarch Elizabeth Diex, and her son Chief Alfred Dudoward and daughter-in-law Kate Dudoward, the Rev. Crosby was sent to Port Simpson to establish its’ first Methodist mission. From this home base, Crosby supervised the establishment of ten missions throughout north coastal British Columbia and ministered to the Tsimshian of Lax Kw’alaams (Port Simpson), the Nisga’a, Haida and Gitksan until 1897. The “Thomas Crosby” I, II, and III served as the Crosby Mission to north coastal communities for the Port Simpson District of the Methodist Church right up to church union in 1925. Under the United Church, the Mission became a pastoral charge, first called the Queen Charlotte (Marine) Pastoral Charge and then renamed Central Mainland Marine Mission in 1929. The “Thomas Crosby” III, built in 1923 was under the pastoral charge of the Rev. Robert Scott. In 1938, this vessel was replaced with the more seaworthy “Thomas Crosby” IV (1938-1967) under the charge of the Rev. Peter Kelly only to be replaced once again by the “Thomas Crosby” V (1967-1991). After the de-commission of the “Thomas Crosby” V, the Central Mainland Marine Mission conducted all pastoral care via air travel.

The Thomas Crosby III and IV (the vessels believed to be featured in this particular photograph collection) operated between Lowe Inlet in the north and Smith Inlet in the south, with headquarters at Ocean Falls. She called at lighthouses, canneries, logging camps and isolated settlements. In addition to serving as a church and mission, she delivered the mail, served as a library and movie theatre, and functioned as a hospital and mortuary. A shovel and mattock were kept in a cupboard ready for any necessary burials. A visit from a Thomas Crosby was considered the highlight of the season for many isolated communities along the north coast.

Scope and content

Subject areas identified in this collection include: church and hospital buildings (including nurses quarters); group photos featuring doctors, nurses, and hospital workers; grave markers; landscapes; processing of oolichan fish; and various church-related events such as weddings and church openings.

Notes area


Arrangement imposed by Archivist.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Northern BC Archives & Special Collections

Availability of other formats

.Tiff & .Jpg

Restrictions on access


Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Personal or academic use of photographic materials is welcomed under the standard fair use and educational use clauses of Canadian Copyright Law. Commercial use is, however, forbidden without the express permission of the copyright holder. For information on obtaining written permission from the copyright holder, please contact the Northern B.C. Archives and Special Collections.

Finding aids

Item level inventory available.

Associated materials

See also "Central Mainland Marine Mission fonds" at the United Church of Canada, British Columbia Conference Archives.

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Sources: “Thomas Crosby” on Wikipedia (accessed April 7, 2011) . - United Church of Canada website (accessed April 8, 2011)

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