PIERCE, William H.




Author Tags: 1900-1950, Aboriginal Authors, Anthropology, Fishing

Born in 1856 at Fort Rupert on Vancouver Island, William Henry Pierce was the son of a Tsimshian woman and a Scottish fur trader. Raised in Fort Simpson, he went to sea as a cabin boy on a Hudson’s Bay steamer at age 12. He committed himself to Christ after hearing Thomas Crosby speak in Victoria. Also influenced by the example of William Duncan’s Metlahkatla mission, Pierce was ordained in 1887 and became a Methodist missionary on the Nass River and at Bella Bella. Stationed at Port Essington in 1910, Pierce helped organize the Native Fishing Society prior to his retirement to Prince Rupert in 1933. His memoir From Potlatch to Pulpit, Being the Autobiography of Rev. William Henry Pierce (1933) was edited by Reverend J.P. Hicks and printed in Vancouver. It's a rare written account of coastal missionary work from someone whose perspective could bridge Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures. Pierce died in 1948. The Pierce Memorial Church at Kispiox is named for him.

BOOKS:

Pierce, William H. From Potlatch to Pulpit, Being the Autobiography of Rev. William Henry Pierce (Vancouver: The Vancouver Bindery, 1933), edited by J.P. Hicks.

[BCBW 2005] "Missionaries"