Dowson, Reverend Richard
b. 1827-10-20
d. 1875
Reverend Richard Dowson was the first Anglican missionary assigned to the colony of British Columbia in 1858 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.1 Born in Liverpool, England on 20 October 1827, he was educated at Cambridge, becoming a deacon in 1854 and priest in 1855.2 Sent as the Society's missionary to the Indians in Vancouver Island, he arrived in Victoria with his wife on 2 February 1859.3 Dowson embarked on a tour of the Pacific coast two weeks later, travelling as far north as Fort Simpson, leaving his wife behind to fend for herself in their new home.4 In June 1859, he reported that he was living in a little dilapidated school-house that was some distance from any considerable number of Indians.5 Dowson and his wife struggled in the colony and returned to England in early 1860 due to her impaired health.6 He served as Rector of St. John's in Belize City, British Honduras, from 1861 to 1870 and was forty-seven years old when he died in 1875.7
  • 1. Consecration of the Bishop of Columbia, Watchman and Wesleyan Advertiser, 2 March 1859, 70.
  • 2. Classified Digest of the Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701-1892 (London: The Society, 1893), 880.
  • 3. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Ecclesiastical Gazette, 10 May 1859, 263.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Richard Dowson, Vancouver's Island, 3d June, 1859, The Mission Field, A Monthly Record of the Proceedings of The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Home and Abroad [vol. 4] (London: 1859), 193-199.
  • 6. Ibid., 107-114, 144, 191-192.
  • 7. Elizabeth A. C. Rushton, 'Under the Shade I Flourish': An Environmental History Of Northern Belize over the Last Three Thousand Five Hundred Years, (PhD Thesis, University of Nottingham, 2014), 92; Deaths, Ecclesiastical Gazette, 11 May 1875, 158; United Kingdom, General Register Office Index, Deaths Registered in April, May, and June 1875, Lancaster, vol. 8e, 479.
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