Garrett, Reverend Alexander Charles
b. 1832-11-04
d. 1924-02-19
Garrett was born 4 November, 1832, in Ballymot, Ireland, and graduated with a B.A. from the Divinity School at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1855.1 Garrett and Letitia Hope, his wife, moved to England in 1855, where he was ordained as an Anglican deacon and then as a priest in 1859.2 Recruited by George Hills to engage with missionary work amongst settlers in British Columbia, he traveled to Victoria in 1860 expecting a clergy position to be open for him but finding it already filled.3
Instead, Garrett engaged in what was perhaps the first sustained Protestant schooling initiative for Indigenous peoples in Victoria, and became involved with the “Indian Improvement Committee,” which was committed to the better[ing] the conditions on the Lekwungen reserve across the harbour from Fort Victoria.4 Garrett, and his close associate on the committee, William Duncan, occasionally came in conflict with the white settlers of Victoria who—with pessimistic views regarding the future of Indigenous populations—saw the “philanthropic” efforts of the missionaries as “a waste of time and effort.”5 During Victoria's devastating smallpox epidemic in 1862, Garrett and a “pox-marked” assistant established a hospital for Indigenous people who contracted the disease; however, Garrett remarked that he and his assistant were little more than grave diggers, placing beneath the sod an average of four a day.6
Later in the 1860s, Garrett engaged in missionary activities in newly-settled territories and growing communities around Cowichan Bay, Williams Creek, and Nanaimo.7 At the very end of the 1860s, Garrett immigrated to San Francisco, California, then to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally to Dallas, Texas, where he was consecrated as the First Missionary Bishop of Northern Texas in 1874.8 From 17 April, 1923, until his death on 19 February, 1924, Garrett was the 14th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States.9
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