George Wright Hodgson
George Wright Hodgson (1842-1885)
George Wright Hodgson was born on 15 January 1842 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was the son of Daniel Hodgson and Mary Cambridge Wright. George was baptized in St. Paul's Anglican Church in Charlottetown on 24 August 1842.
He attended King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia and became an adamant supporter of the Oxford Movement, also known as Tractarianism. This movement was a lean towards older Christian traditions and reinstating them into Anglican liturgy and theology. Eventually, this movement was branded as Anglo-Catholic.
George, as a result of Tractarianistic beliefs, became the first Reverend of the newly built St. Peter's Cathedral, in Charlottetown, in 1869. This was an alternate, more traditional, option for Anglican attendees, to compliment St. Paul's Cathedral in Charlottetown. A clergy house was built for him on Grafton St. (5-7 Grafton St.) in Charlottetown.
George married Gertrude Magdalene DesBrisay on 4 March 1884. This marriage had a short life, as George died at the young age of 43 on 20 July 1885, just eight months after he married Gertrude. There is a cabinet card picture of Mrs. Hodgson and her sister at the PEI Public Archives.
George is buried in his home Churchyard of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Charlottetown.
According to an article in the 15 September 1899 edition of the Charlottetown Guardian, George was admired for “his learning and piety, his eloquence and activity, broadmindedness and lighthearted sympathies... [and he] enjoyed the well-earned distinction of being among the foremost on the roll of honoured sons of his native province."
On 2 June 1888, the cornerstone of All Souls' Chapel, in St. Peter's, was laid as a memorial to George, the churches first priest-incumbent. It is said that George's widow, Gertrude, prayed every day in the chapel in honour of her husband.
Gertrude Hodgson's death in 1934 was announced in the Charlottetown Guardian. It gives us a portrait of her devotion to George:
Mrs. Hodgson had attended early celebration of the Holy Communion yesterday morning in the Chapel of St. Peter's Cathedral, which had been erected as a memorial of her husband, this having been her custom daily during her lifetime... Coming back into the house for tea, she complained of faintness and within two or three hours she passed peacefully to her rest... her unparalleled devotion to her church and the memory and aspirations of her husband... caused her to stand out as an exceptional character.
Gertrude remained a widow for 49 years, and although their marriage only lasted a few months, her devotion to George was cherished throughout her entire life.
George's personal copy of Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry is now part of the UPEI's Provenance Collection. His bookplate is inside and it contains the Latin phrase In Hoc Signo Spes Mea, meaning In this Sign [the Cross] is my hope.
A Booklet in Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of St. Peter's Cathedral, 1869-1944, Charlottetown: St. Peter's Cathedral, 1944.
“A Day in Charlottetown", Charlottetown Guardian, 15 September 1899, p.3.
Baptismal Record, PEI Public Archives and Records Office, 24 August 1842, record book number 2, record book page 187. Accessed on 1 March 2017.
“Death Yesterday of Mrs. Hodgson", Charlottetown Guardian, 22 September 1934, p. 1. Accessed through Island Newspapers on 1 March 2017.
Pre-1906 Death Index. St. Peters Cathedral, Charlottetown, Book 2. PEI Public Archives and Records Office. Accessed on 1 March 2017.