STACKHOUSE, Cyril




Author Tags: Early B.C.

Reverend William Burton Crickmer (1839-1905) was the first minister in the first and second churches within the new colony of mainland British Columbia. As the grandson of Reverend William Burton Crickmer, Cyril Stackhouse wrote William Burton Crickmer: Pioneer of the Colony of British Columbia (Saskatoon, 1960), a reprint from the Vancouver Historical Journal of an article called The Churches of St. John the Divine, Derby (1859) - Yale (1860) in the Crown Colony of British Columbia and Their First Rector the Reverend William Burton Crickmer.

Crickmer, his wife and daughter arrived in Victoria on Christmas Day, 1858 with Colonel Moody of the Royal Engineers. He conducted his first service at Derby on the south side of the Fraser River, near Fort Langley, on February 20, 1859. He wrote to his superiors in England, "Your missionary preached the very first regular sermon in the Colony of British Columbia and as far as I can make out the first sermon in this vast territory except perhaps a fugitive address to a few French-Canadian voyageurs. My church was a half-furnished barrack, my congregation soldiers and civilians, my pulpit a Union Jack over a box, and my text Genesis 1, 26, The new Creation. Every garb and costume imaginable was there. In one respect only were they uniform, that they all carried Bowie knives and revolvers. There was one gentleman connected with the Hudson's Bay Company for whom that was the first sermon heard in forty years. Many present had not heard the Gospel for periods ranging from twenty years down to twenty months." Nonetheless, that year Judge Matthew Begbie described the barracks at Derby as the "best built and finest looking wooden building in both the lower mainland and Vancouver Island." A new church at Derby was opened with a service on May 1, 1859. Crickmer called his church St. John the Divine after his first appointments in England. Initially Governor James Douglas favoured the site of Derby as the Capital of the new Colony of British Columbia against the wishes of Colonel Moody. Mrs. Crickmer gave birth to a son on June 26, 1861, one of the first 'white' children born in the mainland colony.

[BCBW 2005] "Missionaries" "Early B.C."