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The subject of this biographical notice is a descendant of a United Empire Loyalist family that settled in Vermont, sometime before the American Revolution. Prior to that great historical event, his great grandfather was in the British navy. His grandfather, Adam Burwash, senior, moved from Vermont to Lower Canada, about 1790, and settled in the County of Argenteuil, where our subject was born July 25, 1839. His father, Adam Burwash, junior, was a volunteer in the rebellion of 1837-38, an uncle commanding the regiment, which was on garrison duty most of the time.
When Nathaniel was ten years old the family removed to Upper Canada, settling on a farm near Cobourg. At thirteen years of age he was taken from the farm, and placed in the preparatory department of Victoria College, at which he was graduated in the Arts in 1859. After being tutor one year in this institution, Mr. Burwash entered the ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, holding pastorates at Newburgh, Belleville, Toronto, and Hamilton, seven years in all; then spent one term in Yale College, New Haven, Conn., and returned to Cobourg to take the chair of Natural Science. That post he held for six years, graduating in Divinity meanwhile, 1871, at Garrett Biblican Institute, Evanston, Illinois. Five years later he received, from the same institution, the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology.
In 1873 Dr. Burwash was appointed Professor of Theology in Victoria College, and that position he still occupies. He is faithful in his work; is blest with a strong and tenacious memory, and accumulates large and rich stores of knowledge; combines lecturing and catechising; is heartily devoted to the religious as well as intellectual improvement of his pupils, and by them is very much liked as a teacher. His lecture on the “Genesis, Nature and Results of Sin,” published in a neat little volume, with a sermon by President Nelles, shows him to be a deep thinker and powerful logician.
Besides his duties in connection with the chair of Theology, and more or less work in the Conference, the Doctor preaches, oftener, probably, than every other Sunday in the year. It is needless, perhaps, to say he is a very busy man. He has a little “farm” of somewhat less than an acre of excellent land, and knowing that a mind ever so strong cannot be of much service in a weak body, he so manages as to get a good deal of exercise, thus raising the tone of his physical system as well as potatoes and cabbages; and the consequence is that his mind is usually elastic and ready to grapple with the knottiest theological problems.
The wife of Dr. Burwash was Miss Margaret Proctor, daughter of Edward M. Proctor of Sarnia, many years a reeve and magistrate of that place married December 25, 1868. They have three children here, and four with the Savior. Mrs. Burwash is a graduate of the Wesleyan Female College at Hamilton, Ontario.