Title and statement of responsibility area
Thomas Crosby Mission Ship Photograph Collection
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- Graphic material
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Physical description area
40 photographs : b&w
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Archival description area
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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.
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Location of originals
Northern BC Archives & Special Collections
Availability of other formats
.Tiff & .Jpg
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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.
Item level inventory available.
See also "Central Mainland Marine Mission fonds" at the United Church of Canada, British Columbia Conference Archives.
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Name access points
- United Church (Methodist) of Canada (Subject)
Genre access points
Sources: “Thomas Crosby” on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Crosby (accessed April 7, 2011) . - United Church of Canada website http://www.united-church.ca/history/overview/brief (accessed April 8, 2011)