In 1894 Reverend Bowen travelled north to help Bishop Bompas in his mission work. On the reverend’s voyage, his efforts to learn how to play the small concertina were not always appreciated by those within earshot. But as his skill increased so did the comfort it brought to lonely, isolated places. During church services it had the bellow of an organ; at the graveside it became the soft accompaniment to sorrowful voices.
Reverend Exham had a habit of losing his mitts—often leaving them in people's homes—so an Old Crow woman made these "idiot mitts" for him. Crafted from hide, likely caribou, and trimmed with beaver fur, they are tied together with wool. This style of attached mitts were originally designed for mushers so they could untangle their dog teams without setting their mitts down—seems they worked for the Reverend Exham too.
The Reverend Bowen fell ill to "typhoid malaria" and had to leave Dawson in 1899 to recover. Before his departure, he was gifted with a sack of gold nuggets which he chose to have crafted into a beautiful communion service in Dublin, Ireland. Upon his return to the Yukon, the communion service was used often and was a reminder of the friend-liness of the Yukon people and the solace the church offered during difficult times.
This fishing lure from Herschel Island was owned by the Bishop Isaac Stringer ("the bishop who ate his boots"). It's made of green soapstone and bone bound together by sinew with a bent nail for a hook. These types of lures were very effective at catching tomcod through the tide cracks in the ice during spring and autumn and fishing holes cut in the early winter. Evidently, the legendary bishop ate tomcod as well as boots.
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Yukon Church Heritage Society AGM Wed April 30 7pm at Old Log Church Museum