Table of contents



Crosby Family Chronology

Simpson's Early Women Teachers and Missionaries


1 Courtship and Marriage

2 Arrival at Fort Simpson

3 Motherhood

4 Emma Alone

5 A Comfortable Routine

6 Adversity

7 Changing Times

8 Good Intentions Gone Awry

9 Repatriation

Afterword by Caroline Dudoward





Emma Crosby’s letters to family and friends in Ontario shed light on a critical era and bear witness to the contribution of missionary wives. They mirror the hardships and isolation she faced as well as her assumptions about the supremacy of Euro-Canadian society and of Christianity. They speak to her “good intentions” and to the factors that caused them to “go awry. ” The authors critically represent Emma’s sincere convictions towards mission work and the running of the Crosby Girls’ Home (later to become a residential school), while at the same time exposing them as a product of the times in which she lived. They also examine the roles of Native and mixed-race intermediaries who made possible the feats attributed to Thomas Crosby as a heroic male missionary persevering on his own against tremendous odds.


  • Short-listed, Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize, BC Book Prizes 2006
  • Commended, Book Writing Competition on BC History, British Columbia Historical Federation 2006