Caven, William

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Knox College

Principal, 1873-1904

Caven, William (1830-1904), principal of Knox College, Toronto, (1873-1904), was born in the parish of Kirk Wigtonshire, Scotland, on December 26, 1830, the son of John Caven, a school teacher. He came to Canada with his parents in 1847, and was privately educated for the Presbyterian ministry. He was licensed to preach in 1852, and from 1852 to 1866 was pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of St. Mary's, Canada West. He was then appointed professor of exegetic at Knox College, Toronto ; and in 1873 he became principal of the College. In 1875 he was moderator of the General Assembly, of the Canada Presbyterian Church, and played a foremost part in bringing about in that year the union with the Church of Scotland which resulted in the formation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He was one of the leaders in the agitation in Ontario against the Jesuits' Estates Act. of 1888, and against, separate schools in Manitoba in 1896. He died at Toronto on. December 1, 1904. In 1856 he married Margaret, daughter of John Goldie, of Ayr, Ontario ; and by her he had six children. He was a D.D. of Queen's University (1875) and of Princeton University (1896), and an LL.D. of the University of Toronto (1896). From 1900 to 1904 he was president of the Pan-Presbyterian Alliance. After his death a number of his papers were collected under the title, Christ's teaching concerning the last things (London and Toronto, 1908), with a biographical sketch by J. A. Macdonald.

Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 16. From


Fraser, Brian J. ‘Willaim Caven,’Dictionary of Canadian Biography, XIII (1901-1910) 181-184