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Edward Bradshaw Ryckman, pastor of the First Methodist Church, Brantford, is 4 of United Empire Loyalist stock on both sides, his paternal grandfather coming to Canada from Duchess county, New York, and his maternal grandfather from New Jersey, the Ryckmans settling at first in Picton, on the Bay of Quinte, where Abraham W. Ryckman, the father of our subject was born. In 1812 the family came to Flamboro’ West, where, on a farm near Hamilton, Edward first saw the light of day, March 22, 1830. The maiden name of his mother was Margaret Bradshaw, whose mother was a Vanderlip, she being of German lineage by both parents. “The fact of race,” one writer has suggested, ” may to some extent account for his healthy constitution, and patient love of work and study.”
Our subject was reared on his father’s farm; at twenty years of age he became connected with the preparatory department of Victoria College, Cobourg; entered the Freshman class at the end of one year; took the highest honors of his class every year, and was graduated in 1855, registering the highest number of marks, and consequently being valedictorian of his class. The Prince of Wales had not then visited Canada; there was no gold medal for the best scholar at “Victoria,” and therefore young Ryckman was not gold medalist. A gentleman who was present, wrote as follows for the Dai!y Recorder, Toronto, nineteen years afterwards, “the writer well remembers being present at the Convocation that year, when he (Ryckman) won the red rose as the token of being the best student of the year. His essay on Rich and Poor showed a somewhat democratic sympathy with the toiling children of poverty, and youthful contempt for the pretensions of wealth.”
Mr. Ryckman remained one year at Cobourg, as tutor in the College; entered the ministry the next year; and the Rev. Dr. Carroll in the 5th volume of his work “Case and his Cotemporaries,”referring to our subject at that period, says that “this worthy descendant of a worthy German-Canadian Methodist family, was destined to become one of the ablest conscience stirring preachers, efficient administrators in circuit and district, college professors and governors and city pastors of the body.” The honorary degree of Doctor ofDivinity was conferred on him by his Alma Mater in 1879.
Dr. Ryckman held pastorates steadily for several years, in Yonge Street, Montreal, La Colle, Huntingdon, Kingston, Stanstead, Chatham, and before the end of his term of three years at the last place, was selected by the church to organize and open the Dundas Wesleyan Institute, of which he was Principal during its first three years, resigning to enter again upon the regular work of the ministry. Since leaving the Institute he has been pastor three years at Guelph, and is now in his first year at Brantford. His pastorates everywhere have been greatly blest in the strength of the churches. A gentleman who sat under his ministry during the term that he was at Guelph, thus writes: “During Dr. Ryckman’s ministry at Guelph, his congregation increased. In the pulpit he excelled. His sermons were logical, eloquent, profound and yet simple, carrying conviction to the humblest capacity; and in his pastoral and official duties he was laborious and successful.”
Dr. Ryckman was Secretary for two years of the old Wesleyan Conference of Canada; was successively Chairman of the Stanstead, Chatham, Guelph and Brantford Districts, and since the division has been President of the London Conference being the youngest minister, we believe, that has ever held that position in that Conference,
In 1878 he was elected by the General Conference of the Dominion, as delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States, to be held in Cincinnati, in May 1880.
Touching the character of Dr. Ryckman as a diplomatist and thinker, etc., the writer already quoted, thus remarks:
“He has little of the tact of the diplomatist, being frank and out spoken in the expression of his sentiments with no deficiency of moral courage when circumstances require. He is not ready to agree with the last view of a case he has heard, but is an independent thinker, and not easily moved to change his convictions after they have been formed. He is a good specimen of frank, honorable, independent manhood.”
In September 1860, the Doctor married Miss Emmeline E. Baird, of Montreal, daughter of Edmond Baird, many years a prominent business man there, and they have four daughters and one son.