Journal of the Reverend Peter Jacobs, Indian Wesleyan Missionary, from Rice Lake to the Hudson’s Bay Territory, and Returning


Peter Jacobs (1808‒58) was the adopted name of Pahtahsega (literally, “he who comes shining,” or “one who makes the world brighter”), an Ojibwa Indian who was an early convert to Christianity of the English Methodist missionary William Case. Born near Rice Lake in present-day southeastern Ontario, in 1842 Jacobs traveled to England where he was ordained as a Methodist minister. He worked for many years as a missionary in the vast region then known as Hudson’s Bay Territory. Journal of the Reverend Peter Jacobs is his account of the journey that he took in May‒October 1852 from his home in Rice Lake to the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post of York Factory (present-day Manitoba) and back. Jacobs traveled the fur-traders’ route, visiting the missions at Rossville and Oxford House. On his return journey, he nearly drowned in Lake Winnipeg, survived an early blizzard near Fort William (in present-day Thunder Bay, Ontario), and eventually made his way back to his wife and children in Rice Lake via steamer from Sault Sainte Marie to Detroit and from there to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, and home. His journal (part of which he had to reconstruct from memory after losing his papers in Lake Winnipeg) provides a valuable description of the mission field, the great difficulties in winning native converts, and the perils of travel in this early period. The book contains two print portraits of Jacobs, one in Ojibwa clothing and another in Western dress, and a brief essay, “Peter Jacobs’s History of Himself,” in which he recounts his spiritual journey from belief in “the Great Being, the maker of all things” to his embrace of Christianity. It concludes with an account of the Wesleyan (Methodist) mission at Rossville in the Hudson’s Bay Territory.

Date Created

Publication Information

New York


Title in Original Language

Journal of the Reverend Peter Jacobs, Indian Wesleyan missionary, from Rice Lake to the Hudson's Bay territory, and returning. Commencing May, 1852. With a brief account of his life, and a short history of the Wesleyan mission in that country

Type of Item

Physical Description

96 pages : 2 portraits ; 18 centimeters


  1. G. S. French, “Pahtahsega,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 11, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003,

Last updated: August 31, 2017