Mohawk Institute, 1880. Photo courtesy of New England Company, London Metropolitan Archives.

New volume of CCHS Journal focuses on the Mohawk Institute in the 1870s

Cover of the CCHS JournalThe Canadian Church Historical Society (CCHS) has published a special edition of its annual Journal, focusing on the Mohawk Institute, the oldest continuously operated residential school in Canada. Entitled Documents of the Mohawk Institute: The Journals and Reports of Robert Ashton, 1872-1876 and the Diary of Alice Ashton, 1877, the volume consists of primary sources and an introduction by Dr. William Acres.

Robert Ashton (1843–1930) was superintendent of the Mohawk Institute as an employee of a charity called the New England Company, based in London, England. He arrived in October 1872 with his wife Alice Turner Ashton (1840–1920), who worked as matron. They took up leadership of the institute along new lines proposed by the New England Company, bringing the first radical changes to the school in forty years.

The introduction gives the background information that is required to make sense of the Ashton journals. It illustrates the progressive cordoning off of the school and its “inmates” (as they were called) from the wider influence of parents, family and the Confederacy Council, and even the influence of the Canadian government and the missionaries on the Six Nations.

The historical documents that follow the introduction include Robert Ashton’s journals and reports from 1872 to 1876 and Alice Ashton’s diary of 1877, with minimal footnoting. The result is a small book that sets out the terrain of, and the influences on, the Mohawk Institute in the 1870s.

If you are interested in purchasing the volume, contact Laurel Parson at [email protected]. The cost is $25 plus shipping. Alternatively, you may choose to become a member of the Canadian Church Historical Society, which entitles you to a copy of the CCHS Journal. The cost of membership is $30 a year.

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .