Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Sept.4, 1941)


Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Sept.4, 1941)


Stewart writes to inform Ravenhill that as acting Principal of St. George’s Indian Residential School, he has just received a visit from several high-ranking government officials from Ottawa. He tells her that there is less and less time devoted to crafts at the school, largely because he and other interested teachers are swamped with work due to chronic understaffing.


Noel Stewart


Royal BC Museum, BC Archives (F/1/R19)


Sept.4, 1941


St. George’s Indian Residential School
Originated by the New England Company
(The oldest English Missionary Society, founded 1649)

Lytton, B.C. Sept 4, 1941

Dear Miss Ravenhill:

At last I will try and get off a few lines to you. Yes were touched the big chief from Ottawa here with the Commissioner also two Indian agents with them. They stayed about three hours and I took them all about the school showing them MY improvements, and they all seemed very impressed. As you know, we have no principal, but the Gov’t has made me the Acting Principal and no telling how long I will retain it. At last I have had the place cleaned up really well, and all the rules put into force which in my estimation are the correct ones for running a school. The Kiddies came back in fine order and we are all in full swing. My newly engaged staff are fairly good workers and will improve as they become more accustomed to the work.

I found Dr. McGill quite changed from the time I met him on the Blood Reserve 8 years ago. He kind of remembered me he said, but he was very nice, all round, and the Head Matron served tea for them before departing, so they really had a good welcome here despite the fact, it was night they called on us, and a day too soon.

I do not know how much time we will have now to develop crafts here. The trouble is our Head Matron, Ms. Jobling, is the Craft teacher for girls and is tied down now to sore supervision work, and I likewise in stead of getting on with my old work as doing bookkeeping, typing and supervising everywhere. However, the gov’t might get a new hand before long, though some dare feel [page break] it is going to be entrusted to me. The bishop has issued to me a Lay Readers licence and the priest from Lytton is coming out for our Sunday Communion Services. Thus the spiritual needs are not lacking either. I don’t see why these places should have a clerical head anyways. After all we are instructing children, and why use a parson for it. We would not send a white child of 6 to 15 to the parson for all his religious teaching, etc.. However, that is that…….

I was glad of all the news you gave me. Am so glad that you had a visit of the Powers that be too. He told me he had been to see you. He said your work was wonderful. It was so good of you to put in a good word for us here too.

Our next worry is Capt Barry due here tomorrow. He is of course well known to me, and does not fret at all, but he is so officious that one of the works got rattled and upset. However he may give us a pleasant surprise and be very nice instead.

It is turning fall like now. Mrs. McLoughlin called one Sunday to see us. She is head of the Women’s Institution. She will tell you about her visit here when she next sees you.

We have also had lots of Church and other visitors. No end of salesman and travellers. We also have the first Indian Thompson Graduate from normal teaching here this term. She is a very nice girl and can surely make her tribe follow. It is nice is only the Indians will lead.

Was sorry not to see Anthony Walsh as he passed through. I wrote to him but have had no reply. I suppose he is busy or away on holiday. Excuse this rush but we are all going on as usual.

Take good care of yourself and the best of luck to you,
As ever,
Noel Stewart




Noel Stewart, “Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Sept.4, 1941),” The Story is More than Itself, accessed November 20, 2019,