Friday, September 14, 2007

Bishop Hoyler

In 2000, our family moved one block east from the house where we had lived for our first decade in Northfield. That house, a little bungalow built in the early 1920s, was known to long-time Northfield residents as “Mabel Hoyler’s House.” Mabel Hoyler was the last Latin teacher at Northfield High School. She moved to Northfield in 1947, when her father retired after fifty-five years as a Moravian pastor, and lived with him (in what would later become our house) until his death in 1958. After her own retirement from teaching in 1976, she continued to tutor Latin students out of her home until shortly before her death in 1984.

The first Moravian church in western Canada, near Edmonton, where Rev. Clement Hoyler became the first pastor in 1896.

Her father, Clement Hoyler, was born in Wisconsin in 1872. His father Jacob Hoyler was also a Moravian pastor, and shortly after his son’s birth preached the dedicatory sermon at the new Moravian church on the corner of Eighth and Division Streets in Northfield. Clement attended Moravian College in Pennsylvania, was ordained in 1892, and in 1896 became a missionary in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he would spent the next thirty years. On September 13, 1908, he was consecrated as the first Moravian bishop of Canada.

As a missionary, and then as bishop of Canada, Clement Hoyler was an avid naturalist. He amassed an enormous butterfly collection, and kept detailed records which he reported to Canadian Meteorological Service in Toronto. He recorded rainfall and snowfall, and “detailed descriptions of thunderstorms, auroras, meteors, lunar and solar halos, and other celestial phenomena,” recorded at his home at Bruederfeld, near Edmonton. He also kept phenological records: the dates of the “last snow to whiten the ground,” the arrival of crows, the blooming of the pasqueflowers, the opening of the lakes, the first haying, the “first snow to whiten the ground,” etc. About ten years ago, someone from the Moravian archives in Edmonton sent me a few xeroxed pages from Bishop Hoyler’s records. In 1902, according to those records, the last snow to whiten the ground fell on June 3, the pasqueflowers bloomed on April 26, haying commenced on June 25, and snow whitened the ground again on November 3.

1 comment:

Jim H. said...


A new word for me -- phenology. A precise word for a precise practice.


Jim Haas

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .