R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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veyancer, and he served for some years as a justice of the peace. In 1894
he was appointed stipendiary magistrate, which he still holds, and in 1895
judge of the small debts court. He has served as coroner since 1892. He
could not entirely dissociate himself from military affairs after coming to
this province, and in 1877 he reorganized the old Seymour Artillery, which
was formed into the British Columbia Provincial Artillery, No. i Battery,
of which he was made the commander. Captain Pittendrigh is one of the
oldest Masons in the province, having joined that order on December 12,
1856.

Captain Pittendrigh was first married in 1849, to Miss Caroline Bry-
ant, a native of England. Six children were born of this union, but Emily
J., the widow of Judge Haines, is the only survivor. In 1863, while sta-
tioned at Gibraltar, Captain Pittendrigh married Maria Rosaria Morsiciana
Blount, who was born at Gibraltar, of English parentage. Of this second
marriage there were fourteen children, and eleven of them are still living.
Mrs. Pittendrigh died at New Westminster in 1892.

SIDNEY S. OPPENHEIMER, M. D.

It is the young men who are winning notable success in the profes-
sions and among the abler representatives of the medical fraternity in Green-
wood is Dr. Sidney S. Oppenheimer, one of the native sons of British Colum-
bia, his birth having occurred in Yale, February 12, 1873. His parents
are Isaac and Celia (Sidenbach) Oppenheimer, old residents of Vancouver,
now residing in New Orleans, Louisiana. His youth was spent in his par-
ents' home, and as a student in the public and high schools of Victoria and
Vancouver he mastered the common branches of English learning and was
also tutored by Mr. Tucker, of Montreal, a brother of the Rev. Tucker, of
Vancouver. Thus well qualified to enter upon the study of medicine he pur-



BRITISH COLUMBIA 371

sued a full course in medicine in McGill University of Montreal and was
graduated with the class of 1898. During six years he practiced in Green-
wood, his patronage constantly growing in volume and importance. When
he had been located here for six months he entered into partnership with
R. W. Jakes, with whom he continued for three years, when he took charge
of the first hospital established in Greenwood. He has since practiced alone
and now numbers among his patrons many of the best families of this city,
for he has fully demonstrated his ability to cope with the intricate problems
that continually confront the physician and surgeon. He keeps in touch with
the advanced thought of the medical fraternity and with the most modern
methods and success has attended him in his efforts. He is dominion med-
ical health officer for the boundary, and medical health officer for the city
of Greenwood. Like many residents of British Columbia he has made in-
vestment in mining property. Fraternally he is connected with Greenwood
Lodge No. 29, K. P.

DAVID ROBSON.

David Robson, until lately government agent and mining recorder and
assistant commissioner of lands and works for New Westminster district,
is a well known old-time resident of New Westminster, and he has been more
or less permanently identified with the welfare of this province since the
spring of 1862. He is a man of broad character, liberal-minded, and fol-
lows the best traditions and emulates the worthy careers of a family of
Robsons who have proved themselves important factors in public and pri-
vate affairs wherever their interests and home have been centered.

Mr. David Robson was born in Perth, Ontario, July 21, 1840. His
father, John Robson, was born in Scotland, whence, as a single young
man, he emigrated to Canada, and in Perth was married to Mrs. Euphemia
Richardson Thompson, a widow lady with two children. She and Mr.
John Robson became the parents of sixteen children, all but three of whom
attained maturity. The father, who was a valued member and an elder
in the Presbyterian church and who reared his family to excellent ideals
and honest careers, died at the age of sixty-five, and the mother passed
away when sixty-three years old. There are three sons and three daugh-
ters of this family still living. The Rev. Ebenezer Robson, D. D., is a
resident of Mount Pleasant, Vancouver. Mrs. T. D. Pearson, residing in
New Westminster, is the wife of a retired clergyman of the Methodist
Episcopal church. Perhaps the best known member of the family in Brit-
ish Columbia was John Robson, who came to the province in i860, was a



372 BRITISH COLUMBIA

journalist by profession, was elected to the local legislature and later ht-»
came premier of British Columbia, and was a man of high intellectual at-
tainments and held in high esteem wherever known. He died in 1892, leav-
ing his widow, Mrs. Susie Robson and one daughter, who is now the wife
of Joseph Hunter, a prominent citizen of Victoria.

Mr. David Robson was educated in the common and grammar schools
of Sarnia, Ontario, and in 1870 graduated with the degree of A. B. in the arts
course at Victoria University in Toronto. He then established the Bulletin
at Collingwood, Ontario, a paper which he edited and published for eleven
years. He then returned to New Westminster and became assistant to his
brother, Hon. John Robson, in conducting the Columbian. This was for-
merly the Pacific Herald, published as a semi-weekly, and the Robson broth-
ers bought it from Mr. John C. Brown. On his brother's election to the legis-
lature, Mr. Robson continued the publication of the Colmnbian, giving it a
daily edition, and as a most successful independent paper it remained under
his control until 1885. He then sold it and accepted the position of city clerk
of New Westminster, and after a long period of service resigned this office in
1896 to accept his place in the government service. In 1888 he was elected
secretary of the New Westminster Board of Trade, and as such served until
1902. He was also an alderman during 1897-98, and has always done every-
thing in his power to build up the best interests of his city and province.

In 1876 Mr. Robson was married to Miss Emma Ida Henry, a native of
Chatham, Ontario, and they have three children : Charles Edgar, born in
Collingwood, is a citizen of San Francisco ; Gertrude Estelle is the wife of
Norman Williams, a lawyer of Los Angeles ; John Stanley is at home, at-
tending Columbia College. The family are members of the Methodist
church. They have one of New Westminster's comfortable homes, and en-
joy the esteem of all their fellow citizens.

PROFESSOR EDWARD ODLUM.

Professor Edward Odium, lecturer, writer and capitalist of Vancouver,
is one of the promoters of the city's upbuilding, and with firm faith in a
splendid future for its district he has labored untiringly and efficiently to
advance the interests of the city along lines contributing to its material prog-
ress, its beauty, its social, political and intellectual advancement. A mind
of wide compass and of ready recognition of possibilities has enabled him to
look beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities of the future
and his labors have been for future good as well as immediate benefit.

Professor Odium came to British Columbia in 1889. He was born in




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BRITISH COLUMBIA 373

Tullamore, Peel county, Ontario, on the 27th of November, 1850. He rep-
resents one of the old families of the mother country, the ancestry being
traced back in England to the year 1690, when authentic records give account
of four brothers, officers of the British army, who went to Ireland with King
William. Abraham Odium, grandfather of Professor Odium, was born in
Ireland and he, too, represented the military interests of his country as an
officer and fought under the Duke of Wellington. Subsequently he settled
on Guernsey Island, and in 1820 he chartered a ship and brought his family
to America, his destination being Quebec. John Odium, father of Professor
Odium, was of the party, and both he and the grandfather were soldiers of
the war of 1837. John Odium followed the occupation of farming and
lived an upright, honorable life in consistent harmony with his professions
as a member of the Church of England. He married Miss Margaret Mc-
Kenzie, who' was of Scotch descent, but was born in county Tyrone, Ireland.
They had nine children, seven of whom are living. The father has attained
the venerable age of eighty-four years and resides in Lucknow, Bruce county,
Ontario. His wife departed this life in 1892, in the seventieth year of her
age.

Professor Odium supplemented his early educational privileges by study
in the Collegiate Institute at Cobourg, Ontario, and graduated from the Vic-
toria University, that institution conferring upon him in recognition of work
done the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
He then traveled for the Canadian Government for two years in England,
Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Orkney islands, lecturing and presenting
to the people of Great Britain the great advantages and resources of Canada
and thus inducing emigration. Subsequently he returned to the new world
and made his way to the Cariboo district of British Columbia, where he was
engaged in gold mining, representing a large company. He found, however,
after considerable work had been done, that the output of the mines would
not be sufficient to meet the heavy expense of its operation and he advised its
abandonment. He prepared for the British Columbian government a report
on the description of the economic woods of the province, and as a repre-
sentative of the same government he went to Manitoba and the older districts
of Canada to report upon the subject of education in the province and to
induce the setting aside of government lands for educational purposes. This
subject is still under consideration.

Professor Odium has devoted much of his life to the work of public
instruction as teacher, lecturer or writer. He was for some years president
of a college in Tokio, Japan, having six hundred students and fourteen pro-



374 BRITISH COLUMBIA

fessors and tutors under his direction, and his special effort was along the
line of instruction in science and the classics. While in Japan Professor
Odium was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, whose death resulted
from malaria and pneumonia. This caused him to leave that country and
he afterward traveled in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, but
after visiting various sections of the country he gave Vancouver his prefer-
ence as a place of residence and as the place of investment. He, therefore,
purchased city property and has never had occasion to regret his determina-
tion in tliis direction, for the rapid growth and development of Vancouver
has greatly promoted property values, and Professor Odium has therefore
realized a splendid financial return. He has both built and purchased houses
in Vancouver and is still the owner of extensive property interests here. His
attention is now largely given to the supervision of his realty, for having
spent nineteen years in educational work he decided to retire from that field
of activity and has since declined various offers of college professorships.
In addition to the care of his property, however, he is writing for the news-
papers on the subject of " Who are the Japanese and Who are the Saxons ? "
letters which have received favorable comment and which show wide research
and ability.

In 1892 Professor Odium was elected alderman of Vancouver, receiving
the largest vote ever cast in the city. It was after this term of service that
he traveled for the government in Great Britain, and in January, 1904, he
was again elected to the office of alderman. Progress and patriotism might
well be termed the keynote of his character, and these have been strongly
manifest in his official service on the aldermanic lx>ard. In all community
affairs tending to elevate mankind and promote the interests of the city he
is deeply interested, and as the champion of many progressive measures his
value in citizenship has long since been proven. He is an active member of
the Princess Street Methodist church, and he is chairman of the Carnegie
public library.

Professor Odium was married in 1877 to Miss Mary Elvira Powell, a
native of Ontario, descended from a family of United Empire loyalists of
English origin. The first of the name in America had located in what is
now the United States, but when the American Revolution was inaugurated
they were loyal to the king and removed to Canada. Professor and Mrs.
Odium became the parents of four sons, Edward Farady, Victor Wentworth,
Garnet McKenzie and Joseph Wellesly. The eldest is head bookkeeper for
Thomson Brothers, the second is city editor for the Daily World of Van-
couver, and the fourth is a clerk in one of the city stores. Three served in



BRITISH COLUMBIA • 375

the Boer war in South Africa, the youngest being but sixteen years of age
when he entered the army and the eldest twenty-one years of age. They
fought in many of the battles, and at the end of a year's service returned to
Canada, entering the army here as lieutenants, one being but seventeen years
of age and the other twenty-one years. This service in behalf of their
country was highly creditable and commendable. Professor Odium and his
father served in the army during the Fenian war, so that there is no lack of
loyalty or patriotism in the family. They are a family of military men as
well as excellent private citizens.

Professor Odium is identified with various organizations for intellectual
advancement and scientific research. He has been a member of the Austra-
lian Science Association and of the Royal Association of Japan. He be-
longed to the British Science Association both in Canada and Great Britain,
and has been an active and valued representative of these organizations, pre-
paring and reading many papers at their meetings. The chief work of his
life during the past thirty-live years may be termed investigation along the
line of theistic science — the study of God in nature. He is now president
of the Art & Science Association of Vancouver. It would be almost tauto-
logical in this connection to enter into any series of statements showing him
to be a man of broad mind and strong native talents which educational culture
has developed. It might well be said of him, as it was said of an eminent
man of old, that he has done things worthy to be written and that he has
written things worthy to be read, and by his life has contributed to the wel-
fare of his province and the happiness of mankind.

PAULUS M. IRVING.

Paulus M. Irving, one of the judges of the supreme court of the prov-
ince of British Columbia with residence in Victoria, came to the province in
February, 1882. He is a native of Hamilton, Ontario, torn on the 3d of
April, 1857. His father was ^milius Irving, K. C, and his mother was
Miss Augusta Louise Gugy, a native of Quebec. The father was very prom-
inent in legal circles, being for many years treasurer of the Law Society of
Upper Canada.

Judge Irving was educated in Trinity College school at Port Hope, and
in Trinity College of Toronto, Canada, where he took the degree of Bachelor
of Arts in 1877 and Doctor of Civil Law honoris causa in 1900. Soon after-
ward he entered upon the practice of his profession in Victoria, becoming a
partner of Mr. Ebberts, late attorney general. Judge Irving served as deputy
attorney general for several years, after which he entered into partnership



376 • BRITISH COLUMBIA

with Mr. Bodwell, and this relation was maintained up to the time when he
was appointed to the supreme court bench in 1897.

In 1883 Mr. Irving was united in marriage to Miss Diana Hamley, a
daughter of Hon. W. Hamley, of Victoria.

F. T. UNDERHILL, F. R. C. S., D. P. H.

For seven years a successful practicing physician of Vancouver, and the
present efficient health officer, Dr. Underhill in his official capacity is doing
a splendid service for the city. He was born in Staffordshire, England, on
the 19th of June, 1858, descended from a long line of English ancestors who
were prominent members of the medical profession. His paternal grand-
father spent his entire life in the successful practice of medicine and surgery,
and his son, William Lees Underhill, father of Dr. F. T. Underhill, was also
a life-long practitioner. He was also prominent in community interests and
was a justice of the peace in his county for over forty years. He married
Miss Emily Roe, a daughter of Dr. William Roe, who had the honor of
being the court physician of William the Fourth, king of England. She
was of Scotch and Irish ancestry. Dr. William L. Underhill died in 1894,
at the age of eighty-four years, and his wife departed this life in the sixty-
seventh year of her age. They had seven children and there was a former
marriage by which there were two children. Eight of the number are now
living, one being a lawyer, one a minister and six physicians — all eminent in
their professions. Only two are in British Columbia, the brother of . Dr.
Underhill being the Rev. Harold Underhill, who is rector of St. Paul's
church, in Victoria.

Dr. Underhill, of Vancouver, acquired his education in Edinburgh, Scot-
land, winning his medical degree there, and afterward practiced his profes-
sion as a family physician in South Stafford until 1894. He then spent
three years at Mission, British Columbia, and returned to Edinburgh to ob-
tain his D. P. H., and in 1897, on his return he established an office in Vancou-
ver, where he has since been very successful as a practitioner of medicine
and surgery. His methods are modern, he keeping in touch with the advanced
thought of the day and informing himself thoroughly concerning every
new idea or invention which he believes will prove of value in eradicating or
checking disease. The board of aldermen of Vancouver in order to increase
the efficiency of the health department of the city passed a law for the pur-
pose and appointed Dr. Underhill to fill that important office of city health
officer. He is now giving his entire attention to this important work. His
appointment was dated August i, 1904, and he is the first officer whose duty



BRITISH COLUMBIA 377

it has been to give his entire attention and time to the heahh conditions of
Vancouver. One of the principal tasks which devolves upon him is the
stamping out of infectious diseases such as diphtheria, scarlet fever and
measles. He takes a deep interest in the work of his position and is regarded
by the public as the right man in the right place. For eighteen years he
served in the Volunteers, retiring with the rank of major.

Dr. Underbill was married in 1885 to Miss Beatrice Alice Murial, a
native of Norfolk, England, and a daughter of Dr. Evans Murial. They
have six sons and five daughters, namely: Murial Beatrice, Reginald, Ella
Marg-aretta, Frederick Clare, James Theodore, Charles Bertram, William
Leslie Larube, Sybil Mary, Enid, Helen and William. The doctor has
erected a delightful residence at the corner of Broughton and Barkley
streets, and they have surrounded their home with many beautiful flowers,
shrubs and vines, which indicate the refined and cultured taste of the family.
The parents and children are communicants of the Church of England, hold-
ing membership in the Catholic Apostolic church. The social prominence
of the family is indicated by the hospitality which is so freely accorded
them in the best homes of the city, while Dr. Underbill's ability, in the line
of his profession is acknowledged by his fellow practitioners and the public
at large, all uniting in bearing testimony to his skill and learning in practice
and his genuine personal worth.

FREDERICK JOHN FULTON.

Frederick John Fulton, member of the provincial parliament from the
North riding of Yale district, prominently active in Conservative politics,
and for the past sixteen years a leading representative of the bar of British
Columbia, was born in Northumberland, England, December 8, 1862. His
father, Alexander Fulton, of Scotch descent, and his mother, Barbara (Gib-
son) Fulton, of English lineage, are both living in- England, and three
brothers and three sisters complete the family.

Educated in the Havershan grammar school and later at Cambridge
University, from which he graduated in 1883, Mr. Fulton, on leaving school,
was articled to a solicitor and after a thorough course of legal studies was
admitted as a solicitor in London in 1887. In August of the same year
crossing the Atlantic to the new w^orld, he located at Hamilton, Ontario, and
for two years was with the law firm of T. C. Haslett. He came to British
Columbia in August, 1889, and in the following October took up active
practice at Kamloops, which has been the center of his successful efforts to
the present time.



378 BRITISH COLUMBIA

He was official administrator and judge of the court of revision for the
Yale district from 1891 to 1900, and in the latter year successfully contested
the North riding of Yale district and was returned by a good majority as
member of the provincial parliament, in which his chief public services have
since been rendered in a most public-spirited and effective manner. He was
appointed a queen's councillor in 1901, re-elected in October, 1903, appointed
president of the council without portfolio in October, 1903, and provincial
secretary and minister of education in May, 1904, which latter position he
still holds. Mr. Fulton is an attendant of the Church of England.

WILLIAM J. BOWSER, LL. B., K. C, M. P. P.

William John Bowser, a prominent barrister of Vancouver, who has
won prominence as a practitioner in the department of criminal law, is a na-
tive of New Brunswick, his birth having occurred in Rexton, in December,
1867. He is of English and Scotch lineage. His paternal grandfather,
John Bowser, a native of England, emigrated to New Brunswick and was a
judge there for many years. His son, William Bowser, father of William
J. Bowser, was born in New Brunswick and became a merchant there. He
married Miss Margaret Gordon, a lady of Scotch lineage. He was a mem-
ber of the Church of England and she of the Presbyterian faith. His death
occurred when he was in the seventieth year of his age, and his wife, still
surviving him, is now in her sixty-eighth year. They were the parents of
eight children, of whom four are living: Frank Bowser and William J.
Bowser being residents of British Columbia. The former occupies a position
in the custom house in Vancouver.

William J. Bowser, having acquired a knowledge of the elementary
branches of learning, continued his education in Allison Academy and in
Delhouse University, at Halifax. When he had completed a two years'
course in the arts he eAtered the law department and was graduated with the
degree of Bachelor of Laws in the class of 1890. He was then admitted to
the bar of New Brunswick and has since devoted his energies to the practice
of his chosen profession.

Mr. Bowser came to Vancouver in 1891, and was at once admitted to the
bar of the province. Opening an office, he has since been at the head of his
firm and has enjoyed a large general practice, taking especial interest in
criminal law. He was crown prosecutor for three years, and has been re-
tained on nearly all the murder cases that have been tried in the courts of
Vancouver. He is very thorough and painstaking in the preparation of
his cases, is logical in argument, forceful in his presentation of a cause and



BRITISH COLUMBIA 379

his oratory as well as his sound reasoning enables him to gain the verdict
desired. In no profession does success and advancement depend more largely
upon individual merit, and that he stands to-day as one of the leading rep-
resentatives of the legal profession is due to his ability and thorough under-
standing of the principles, of jurisprudence. In 1900 Mr. Bowser was gazetted
a Queen's Counsel.

In 1896 Mr. Bowser was married to Miss Lorinda Doherty, a native
of New Brunswick. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having
joined that organization in 1895. He belongs to Mount Hermon Lodge and
has always been an interested student of Masonry, its tenets and teachings,
while in- his life he has exemplified the beneficent spirit of the craft. He has
passed all the chairs in the blue lodge and has held the highest office in the
grand lodge of the province. His promotion was very rapid and well earned,
and he is now most capably filling the high position of Grand Master of the



Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 34 of 79)