R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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synod of the diocese of Kootenay. As a citizen he has fostered every meas-
ure calculated to prove of direct g-ood in reclaiming this district for the pur-
poses of civilization. The pioneer experiences in the northwest are familiar
to him for only a few brief years have passed since this was an almost unin-
habited district, yet today the citizens of Nelson enjoy practically all of the
advantages known to the older east and they have been established in a
country rich in its splendid resources and possibilities.


Arthur Murdoch Whiteside, a barrister practicing at the city of Green-
wood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1876. His father was Daniel White-
side, one of the early pioneers of British Columbia, well known in the Cari-
boo country, which he entered in 1859, being successful in his operations
there. He died in July, 1904. He married in 1873 Miss Ruth White, of










Toronto. Arthur M. Whiteside was educated in British Cokimbia. His
law studies were pursued in the office of Chief Justice McColl at New
Westminster and he was called to the bar in 1897. He then opened an
office for practice in Rossland, but after remaining there for two years he
came to Greenwood in the fall of 1898 and has since made his home in this
place. He is solicitor for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, for the
Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Montreal & Boston Copper Company,
thus representing several important corporations as well as many private
parties whose litigation comes before the local and supreme courts. Mr.
Whiteside is prominently connected with the Masonic fraternity.


The history of Arthur W. Vowell presents many qualities worthy the
highest admiration. His triumph over financial reverses, his overcoming
entirely by his own efforts of obstacles such as confront every young man
who starts without friends or capital in a new country, his marked fidelity
and capability in the discharge of official service, all entitle him to more than
passing notice in the annals of British Columbia, where he is now filling
the position of Indian superintendent.

Mr. Vowell is a native of Ireland, and springs from one of the very
old Anglo-Irish families of that country, the ancestry being traced back to
the early part of the fifteenth century. He was bom in Clonmel, county
Tipperary, on the 17th of September, 1841. His father, Richard Prender-
gast Vowell, was a prominent Irish lawyer, who married Elizabeth Richards
Bulkeley, a native of county Wicklow, where her father, a captain in the
yeomanry, held large property interests. They were members of the Church
of England, and both lived to advanced age, Mr. Vowell passing away at
the age of eighty-six years, while his wife was considerably over ninety
years of age at the time of her death. They were the parents of thirteen
children, of whom Arthur W. Vowell is the twelfth in order of birth and
the only one residing in British Columbia.

i\fter attending the grammar schools of Clonmel, Arthur W. Vowell
continued his education under the direction of a private tutor, until 1858,
when he in common with many other young men in Ireland obtained a
commission in the Irish militia, the regiment doing garrison duty in Eng-
land until i860, when he retired as senior lieutenant. In the year 1861 Mr.
Vowell left Great Britain for British Columbia, coming by way of the Isth-
mus of Panama and San Francisco. He landed at Esquimault, in February,
1862, and in the early summer went to the Cariboo mines, w^here he made


many efforts to improve his fortune, but without success. When his money
was expended, and there being no prospect of his being able to better his
position, he returned to the coast, stopping en route to work on the Cariboo
wagon road, where forty-five dollars a month and board was to be had for
honest labor with the pick and shovel. Later he proceeded to Victoria, where
he took contracts to clear lots and split rails, and did any kind of independent
manual labor that would yield him an honest living and gain him a new
start in life.

In 1864 Mr. Vowell joined the civil service of British Columbia, and in
1866 went to Big Bend during the excitement there, being appointed chief
constable, which office he filled for six years, until the federation was con-
summated. He was then given charge of the Kootenay district as gold
commissioner and stipendiary magistrate. In 1873 he was removed to Omi-
neca, where he served in a similar capacity until 1874, when he was ordered
to Cassiar, where gold had been recently discovered. In the fall of that
year, however, he resigned his position in the government service, and in
1875, at the request of the government, he went to^ Kootenay tO' meet Major
General Sir Selby E. Smithe and party, when that distinguished officer made
his first journey overland to British Columbia.

Mr. Vowell's public service was afterward in another department, for in
1875 he was elected a member of the provincial legislative assembly as senior
representative from the Kootenay district. In the spring of 1876 he resigned
his seat in the local parliament and re-entered the government service, pro-
ceeding to the mining district of Cassiar as gold commissioner and stipend-
iary magistrate, etc., where he remained in charge until the spring of 1884, at
which time, because of the largely increasing population in the Kootenay dis-
trict, owing to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and the
necessarily increased resix>nsibilities attached to the office of gold commis-
sioner and stipendiary magistrate, etc., in that region, Mr. Vowell was or-
dered to take charge there, where, for about five years, or until 1889, he
capably discharged his important duties. He then resigned his position in
the provincial government service and accepted the appointment of super-
intendent of Indian affairs for the province of British Columbia. As an
instance of some of the special duties which Mr. Vowell was called upon
to perform during his term of office it may be mentioned that in the early
history of the city of Vancouver, 1887, there were serious riots there, a
numbei- of rough characters having congregated in that city from the Amer-
ican side and made raids on the Chinese. These incendiaries had become so
powerful and had passed so far beyond the control of the city authorities


that the provincial legislature, then in session, to provide for the suppression
of the law-breaking element passed a special act relating to the preservation
of the peace in that city, and appointed Mr. Vowell to go tO' Vancouver,
take control, establish and maintain law and order. He made his prep-
arations, and with the provincial inspector of police and forty sworn con-
stables proceeded to Vancouver, where he took charge of the municipal gov-
ernment of the city, soon restoring order and quiet where before crime was
threatened and disorder prevailed, resulting in outrages leading up to what
might have been very serious results. As superintendent of Indian affairs
in the province Mr. Vowell has proved himself to be the right man in the
right place. There are fifty Indian schools in the superintendency, consist-
ing of industrial, boarding and day schools, besides which there are nine
Indian agencies and twenty-five thousand Indians under his supervision.
Every year are sent to the department at Ottawa reports showing the prog-
ress made in behalf of the natives of the province.

Fraternally Mr. Vowell is a Royal Arch Mason, and he also belongs
to the pioneer society of the province, while religiously he holds to the faith
of his ancestors. Understanding the conditions of the country and desirous
of its best good, Mr. Vowell has proved a most capable public officer and
made a most creditable record.


James Hill Lawson, whose business career has been one of steady devel-
opment and progression and who today as vice-president of the R. P. Rithet
Company, Limited, is a factor in the control of the largest wholesale grocery
and provision establishment of the province, was born in Dundee, Scotland,
on the 15th of December, 1840, and is of Scotch lineage. After acquiring
a good practical education in the land of his birth, he became an accountant,
being thus employed until, attracted by the discovery of gold in British Co-
lumbia, and the possibilities for business advancement along other lines, he
came to the province, sailing from Liverpool to New York, thence to the
Isthmus of Panama and after crossing that narrow neck of land again em-
barked, with San Francisco as his objective point on that voyage. He was
accompanied by his brother, William Lawson, who became interested in the
Bank of British North America, with which he has since been associated,
and now is its manager in New York City.

James H. Lawson entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company in
a clerical capacity in 1865 and remained with that corporation until 1891,
winning successive pix»motion as his ability found ready recognition and as


he proved his efficiency in actual service. In the year mentioned he resigned
his position with the Hudson's Bay Company and joined the R. P. Rithet
Company, Limited, becoming a stockholder in the corporation. He was
recently elected the vice-president which position he still occupies. The
house controls a very large trade, this being the leading wholesale grocery
house of the province. For thirteen years Mr. Lawson has been active in
its management and control, his business ability proving a valued factor in
the successful control of the business.

In 1870 Mr. Lawson was married to Miss Jennet Macdonald, who was
born in England but is of Scotch descent. While with the Hudson's Bay
Company Mr. Lawson made his home for three years in Winnipeg, and
one of their seven children was born there, while the others are natives of
Victoria. The eldest son, W. A. Lawson, has charge of the insurance depart-
ment of the R. P. Rithet Company, Limited. The daughter, Edith M., is
at home. James H. and H. G. are both members of the law firm of Bod-
well & Lawson, attorneys of Victoria. John M. is also in the employment
of the firm. The two youngest, Jennet Louisa and Victor Middleton, are
attending school. Mr. Lawson and his family adhere to the faith of the
Presbyterian church.

Mr. Lawson is pre-eminently a business man, has always been actuated
by the highest honor in all of his business relations, and his course has been
in strict conformity to a high standard of commercial ethics. He and his
family have one of the beautiful homes of Victoria. He enjoys the confi-
dence and high esteem of his fellow townsmen, among whom he has lived
for forty-two years, known as an active business man and reliable citizen.


John Robert Brown, lawyer and member of parliament from the Green-
wood riding, was born in Sarnia township, Lambton county, Ontario, on
the 19th of February, 1862, his parents being Thomas W. and Mary (Mc-
Gregor) Brown. The father was born in Ireland in the state of Lord Duf-
ferin, and now resides in Sarnia township, Lambton county, Ontario, but
the mother has departed this life.

Mr. Brown, whose name introduces this record, attended the public
schools and afterward the high school of his native township and entered
upon the study of law, becoming a student in the office of Judge Lister of
the town of Sarnia, and remained his preceptor for four years. Later he
spent two years as a student in Osgood Hall of Toronto and in 1896 he was
admitted to the bar and entered upon practice in Sarnia. There he remained


until 1898, when he came to British Columbia, settling first in Rossland,
where he practiced for six months with the firm of McNeill & Deacon. He
was admitted to the bar of British Columbia in April, 1899, and has since
lived at Greenwood. While he was well grounded in the principles of com-
mon law when admitted to the bar he has continued throughout the whole
of his professional career a diligent student. He always prepares his cases
with great care. If there is a close logical point involved in the issue it is
his habit to thoroughly examine every authority within his reach bearing
upon the question before the court and this makes him a most dangerous

Mr. Brown was married November 18, 1903, to Miss Florence M.
Whitmarsh, a daughter of James Whitmarsh. of Sarnia. He and his wife
hold membership in the Methodist church and he belongs to the Independent
Order of Foresters and the Knights of the Maccabees. He is also' a member
of the British Columbia Law Society. Influential in political affairs he was
elected a member of parliament for the Greenwood riding in 1903 and is
now acting in that capacity.


Edward Quennell, as a citizen of Nanaimo for some forty years has
played a conspicuous part in business, industrial and civic affairs, and is
universally esteemed as one of the foremost men of the city. A long and
varied career has been his lot. Beginning when he was a lad hardly emerged
into his teens, he has kept up a persistent activity in numerous enterprises
until the present time, and during his lifetime he has journeyed to various
parts of the globe, has endured and enjoyed life both as a seaman and as a
landsman, and through adversity and prosperity alike he has retained an un-
ruffled courage and high purpose, from which have resulted the comfortable
circumstances and the esteem of fellows which he at present enjoys.

Born December 16, 1846, in Sussex, England, where his parents, Wal-
ter and Catherine (Crocker) Quennell, were thrifty farming people, he was
privileged during his tenderest years to attend the schools of Sussex, but
spent most of his time from the age of ten at work on the farm. He longed
for a seafaring life, and, getting his first experience when about fourteen
years old, he was with the British navy four years altogether. In Septem-
ber, 1864, being then eighteen years of age, he arrived in Nanaimo, and this
place has ever since been the central point of his residence and business. For
the first two years he worked in the coal mines, and during the seven years
following was mate and purser on the vessel Sir James Douglas, which was


engaged in the coasting trade. In 1873 he started a butcher business, and
this has continued as the principal Hne of his business activity with the ex-
ception of a period of three years, during which he devoted himself exclu-
sively to ranching, and he still owns his ranch property. His further busi-
ness connections are as president of the Union brewery and as president
of the Nanaimo Fisheries Company.
• Mr. Quennell has been a prominent factor also in the ofificial and pub-
lic life of his city and district. He served as mayor of Nanaimo for two
terms, and for fifteen years was an alderman. His interest in education is
shown by the fact that he is at this writing chairman of the school board and
has served as a member of the board for twenty-five years. He was incum-
bent of the positions of pilot commissioner and of harbor master for eigh-
teen years.

Mr. Quennell was first married in 1870, to Miss Julie S. Wilcox, by
whom he had tliree children: Catherine, deceased, married and had one
■ child. Edward James married Mary Ann Wearing. Annie Jane is the wife
of Malcolm McCrea, of Nanaimo, and they have two children. In 1875 Mr.
Quennell was married to Miss Maria Biggs, a daughter of John Biggs of
Nanaimo. There were ten children by this marriage, as follows : Mary
Elizabeth, the wife of Andrew J. Smith, of Nanaimo, by whom she has four
children; Eliza; Margaret, who is the wife of J. C. Thomson, of Nanaimo,
and has two children; Louisa, deceased; and William, Agnes, Nora, John,
Edith and Charles. Mr, Quennell affiliates with Black Diamond Lodge, I.
O. O. F., at Nanaimo, and in politics is a Conservative, and is a member of
the Church of England.


John Albert Stone is well known in Revelstoke and vicinity principally
for the reason that he is proprietor of the Oriental hotel. It is a recognized
fact that a town's best advertisement is a first-class, well conducted public
house. In truth the reputation of a town depends more upon the character
of its hostelries than upon any other institutions, and no other advantages
can quite compensate for a poor hotel. For this reason Revelstoke owes a
constant debt of gratitude to Mr. Stone on account of the high-class estab-
lishment which has been under his care and management for so many years.
He went into the hotel business when almost a boy, and, being acquainted
with all its details, he has devoted almost twenty years of his life tO' con-
serving the comfort and welfare of the great host of people who pass much
of their lives in public homes. Mr. Stone's present hotel, the Oriental,



., ,1 >


was erected in 1898, and is a modern establishment, thoroughly furnished
and equipped for the business, and is a credit to the town. It has a fifty-
foot front, and is two stories high and has twenty bedrooms.

The popular host of the Oriental is a native of Sweden, where he was
born June 24. 1868, being a son of John and Annie Louise (Swanson)
Stone. His father died at Revelstoke, April 22, 1896, but his mother is
still living and a resident of Revelstoke. Passing the first eleven years of
his life in Sweden, where he attended the public schools, Mr. Stone came
with the family to America in 1879. For some time their home was in
Minnesota, in St. Paul for a time, and he attended school at Red Wing,
that state. His active career began with work on the construction of the
Canadian Pacific railway, and he followed the westerly course of this great
trunk line until March i, 1885, at which time he had reached Revelstoke,
and here he located and has since remained. He and his father went into
the hotel business, which has been his principal activity during the subse-
quent twenty years, and since his father's death he has conducted the busi-
ness alone. He also has mining interests in this great mineral district.

March 9, 1899, Mr. Stone married Miss Martha Olson, who was also
born in Sweden. They have two- children, Rufus and Cecil. Mr. Stone
has fraternal affiliations with Revelstoke Lodge No. 25, L O. O. F., being
secretary of his lodge, and with Gold Range Lodge No. 26, Knights of
Pythias. In politics he is a Liberal, and the family are Lutherans in re-


Archie Mainwaring-Johnson is among the younger and more success-
ful members of the bar of Nelson, whose earnest effort, close application and
the exercise of his native talents have won him prestige as an able lawyer.
He w^as born in Christ church, New Zealand, March 8, 1870, his parents
being E. M. and Louise Helen (Da vies) Johnson, both of whom are resi-
dents of Victoria, to which city they removed during the early boyhood of
their son, whose name introduces this review. There he was reared to
manhood, his early educational privileges being supplemented by a course
in the collegiate institute and by private study under the direction of Rev.
Percival Jenns, of Victoria. He then went to Bath College in Bath, Eng-
land, continued his studies at Somerset and later matriculated in Trinity
Hall, Cambridge. He studied law with the firm of Drake, Jackson & Helmc-
ken, of Victoria, and also with J. H. Bowes, a barrister of Nelson, and
in February, 1895, was admitted to the bar, after which he opened an office


in the practice of law in Nelson. He was at first a partner with W. A.
Macdonald, of Nelson, but this relationship was discontinued on the ist of
August, 1904, and Mr. Johnson is now practicing alone. He has secured a
good clientage and has intimate knowledge of the principles of jurispru-
dence. He has legal ability of a high order, prepares his cases with great
thoroughness and care and in his arguments is logical and convincing.

In December, 1901, Mr. Johnson wedded Miss Mary Matilda Fraser
McKeen, a daughter of the late I. B. McKeen, of 5trathcona. They have
an attractive home in Nelson, where hospitality reigns supreme and they
enjoy the favorable regard of a wide circle of acquaintances. In his pro-
fessional relations Mr. Johnson is connected with the Kootenay Bar Asso-
ciation and the British Columbia Bar Association.


Fred A. Starkey, who is engaged in a general wholesale produce and
commission business and is also prominent in community affairs in Nelson,
is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Lincolnshire. His
parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Pike) Starkey, also natives of that
country, have now passed away. The son attended grammar schools
in Lincolnshire and in Yorkshire, thus preparing for life's practical
and responsible duties and after putting aside his text books he entered mer-
cantile life, being employed in different parts of England. The opportun-
ities of the new world, however, attracted him, and desirous of benefiting
his financial condition he emigrated to Winnipeg in 1882. He was there
engaged in farming for a short time and afterward turned his attention to
the hotel business, conducting a popular hostelry there until he sold his prop-
erty in Winnipeg and came to Nelson, arriving in this city in 1897. Here
he accepted a position with the Parsons Produce Company, with which he
remained until 1900, when he embarked in business on his own account under
the firm style of Starkey & Company. He transacts a general wholesale,
produce and commission business and his trade has reached extensive pro-
portions, his annual sales being represented by a large figure. His capa-
bility as a business man, his executive force and keen discernment have been
fully tested and proven in business relations in this city. He is now the
president of the Wholesaler's Association, which was formed several years
ago, but never accomplished much until the reorganization in 1903, when Mr.
Starkey was elected president. Since that time great results have been ac-
complished in the bettering of trade conditions, in securing more favorable
freight rates and in promoting general facilities having direct bearing upon


commercial conditions of the northwest. Mr. Starkey has been the mov-
ing spirit in the organization and certainly deserves great credit for what
has been accomplished, his effort being of marked value in trade circles. At
the annual election of the Nelson board of trade in 1904 he was chosen vice-
president and he was also the president of the Conservative Association of
Nelson, 1902- 1904.

In 1889 occurred the marriage of Mr. Starkey and Miss Matilda King,
a resident of England, and their home has been blessed with one daughter,
Fredericka Alexander. Fraternally Mr. Starkey is a Mason, holding mem-
bership in Oakland Lodge No. 9, A. F. & A. M., of Manitoba. He is also
a member of the Sons of England and is a past district deputy of the Fra-
ternal Order of Eagles. He has served as license commissioner of Nelson
for two years and his interest in community affairs has been manifest in
a tangible way in his active co-operation with many progressive measures.
His career has been one of activity, full of incidents and results. In every
sphere of life in which he has been called upon to move he has made an indel-
ible impression and by his excellent public service and upright life he has
honored the locality which has honored him with official and business prefer-


George Nunn, manager for the A. Macdonald Company of Winnipeg
at their branch house in Nelson, was born in county Durham, England, on
the 6th of June, 1876, his parents being Harry and Hannah Nunn. He
was but nine years of age when he crossed the Atlantic to America, becom-
ing a resident of Winnipeg. He continued his education in the public schools
there until 1888, when he entered upon his business career as an employe of
J. H. Rose, a druggist, with whom he continued until 1889. In the latter
year he became connected with the A. Macdonald Company of Winnipeg and
gradually worked his way upward, finding in each transition stage oppor-
tunity for still further advancement. He has now been with the firm for
fifteen years and is one of its trusted employes, his capability and fidelity
winning him consecutive promotion. In May, 1897, he was transferred to

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 43 of 79)