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DEVAU, Retor, CLAUDE – Volume IV (1771-1800)

d. 14 April 1784 at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade (La Pérade, Que.)


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

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Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

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The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

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Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

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BUDD, HENRY, HBC clerk, farmer, teacher, and first Indian Anglican minister; b. c. 1812 of an unknown Indian and a Métis woman; d. 2 April 1875 at The Pas, North-West Territories (Man.).

On 15 Oct. 1819 the Hudson’s Bay Company appointed John West* as its first Church of England chaplain in Rupert’s Land. West also made arrangements with the Church Missionary Society to do what he could for the education of Métis and Indians at the company’s posts and he took George Harbidge, a trained schoolmaster, with him to Rupert’s Land. They arrived at York Factory in August, and when they left they took the young son of Chief Withewacapo with them. At Norway House West secured an orphan boy for education. This was Henry Budd whom West baptized with the chief’s son on 21 July 1822; West’s register has an entry, “Henry Budd an Indian boy about ten years of age taught in the Missionary School and now capable of reading the New Testament and repeating the Church of England Catechism correctly.”

John West returned to England in 1823 but Harbidge stayed on to teach in the Church Missionary Society school at Red River. Henry Budd remained there for a number of years and was highly respected by his teacher as “amiable” and “thoughtful.” Budd left the school about 1827 to become a clerk for the HBC. It seems that he went to the Columbia River area, a region of open warfare and violence in the fur trade. On 2 Feb. 1836 he married Betsy, apparently a daughter of Chief Factor John Work*. Since his contract with the HBC was completed, Budd and his wife returned to Red River and bought farm land near St Andrews. In 1837 he was persuaded by David Thomas Jones* and William Cockran* to teach at the Upper Church (St John’s) parish school.

Budd showed ability, and in 1840 Cockran and John Smithurst* asked him to go to the Cumberland House District to begin a new school and mission for the Indians. On 22 June he set out for this place, his wife and mother with him. Cochran and Smithurst had made the request on their own responsibility “because everything had been prepared,” they thought, between the HBC and the Church Missionary Society for assistance at this mission. But a difference of opinion developed between the company and the society. Hence after a short time at Cumberland House, Henry Budd moved down the Saskatchewan River to W’passkwayaw (The Pas) and built there a house in which he taught and held services. In June 1842, Smithurst went to The Pas for the baptismals of 39 adults, 27 infants, and 22 schoolchildren, the result of Budd’s work, and was pleased with the tidiness and productivity of the mission.

Bishop David Anderson* made his first visit to The Pas in 1850, and referred to the establishment as the Devon Mission. Henry Budd had then been assisting the Reverend James Hunter* as catechist, schoolmaster, and in the study of Cree for six years; he also had been given what he thought the undignified task of selecting timber for the parsonage and church. The bishop took Henry and Henry junior back to the Red River, and coached the father in theology. On 22 December Henry Budd was ordained as a deacon in St Andrews Church; he was the first Indian in North America to be admitted to the ministry of the Church of England. When he had been ordained a priest in the new Christ Church, The Pas, on 10 June 1853, he was sent to Nepowewin (Nipawin, Sask.) and appears to have remained in charge there until 1867, when he returned to minister at The Pas. He was also expected to oversee the church’s missionary endeavours at Nepowewin, Cumberland House, and Carlton House where there were catechists as well. He remained at The Pas until his unexpected death: he was buried in the old churchyard there and a monument of granite marks his grave.

Henry Budd is said to have been a big man of fine appearance; he was an eloquent preacher in Cree, and his letters to the society are in fine script and excellent English. He was much loved by his own people, one of whom remarked at the time of Budd’s death that he had only then known what it was to lose a father although his real father had died several years before. Henry Budd was methodical and thrifty. His mission stations were models of neatness, his gardens, livestock, and management a constant object lesson to his people. His work has endured through the years.

T. C. B. Boon

Church Missionary Society Archives (London), Henry Budd papers, correspondence, 1822–73; Henry Budd papers, journal, 1850–75. Hargrave, Red River, 103–26. John West, The substance of a journal during a residence at the Red River colony . . . British North America; and frequent excursions among the North-West American Indians, in the years 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823 (London, 1824), 16. Boon, Anglican Church, 6, 15, 45, 49–50, 66, 83, 99, 102. W. B. Heeney, John West and his Red River mission (Toronto, 1920). M. E. J., Dayspring in the far west, sketches of mission-work in north-west America (London, 1875). Robert Machray, Life of Robert Machray, D.D., LL.D., D.C.L., archbishop of Rupert’s Land, primate of all Canada . . . (London, 1909). [J. A.] Mackay, “Henry Budd,” Leaders of the Canadian Church, ed. W. B. Heeney (2nd ser., Toronto, 1920), 65–72. Sarah Tucker, The rainbow in the north; a short account of the first establishment of Christianity in Rupert’s Land by the Church Missionary Society (London, 1851).

General Bibliography


This biography was first published with a phrase that was regarded as appropriate at the time and is now considered offensive. The text has been amended.

Cite This Article

T. C. B. Boon, “BUDD, HENRY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 14, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/budd_henry_10E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/budd_henry_10E.html
Author of Article:   T. C. B. Boon
Title of Article:   BUDD, HENRY
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   2016
Access Date:   April 14, 2024