R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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bia where suphuric acid, nitric acid and muriatic acid are manufactured for
commercial purposes, and the plant is one of the most extensive of its kind.
The crude materials for these products are brought here in immense quanti-
ties, sulphur being brought from Japan by the shipload, as is also the case
with nitre from South America. ' Chemical fertilizers form a large share of
the yearly output of the plant, and the trade in this material is yearly increas-
ing as its importance is realized and its use extended. Thirty-five to forty
men are employed in the \vorks, and these alone form the nucleus of a pros-
perous little community which gains its support through the operations of
this industry.

The Victoria Chemical Works were founded by Englishmen from Man-
chester, who came out to Victoria and established their homes in the city
that they might give their personal attention and efforts to the development
of this important enterprise. The proprietors and founders are Messrs. J.
W. Fisher, John A. Hall and Frederick Moore, who are the directors and
managers of the business, and it is due to their energy and organizing ability
that the institution has so soon attained a flourishing- status among the manu-
factories of the northwest coast. Since taking up their residence in Vic-
toria these gentlemen have shown their public spirit in numberless ways, and
are ardent coadjutors in all movements looking to the permanent improve-
ment and upbuilding of the city.



Richard H. Alexander, secretary and local manager of the British Co-
lumbia Mills, Timber & Trading Company, is a British Columbia pioneer
of 1862. A native of Scotland, he was born on the 26th of March, 1844,
representing one of the old families of that country. His father, James
Alexander, was born in Scotland, as was his wife, who bore the maiden
name of Eliza Scott, Five children were born unto them in Scotland and
with their family they emigrated to Canada in 1855. The father was a
wine merchant in Edinburgh and followed the same pursuit in Toronto.
Later he returned to Scotland, where he died at the age of fifty years.

Richard H. Alexander remained in Toronto until 1862, when at the
age of eighteen years, he joined a company bound overland for British Co-
lumbia and went to Fort Garry, the Winnipeg of those days, while later
he made the trip with oxen and Red River carts to Edmonton, thence across
the mountains to the head waters of the Eraser river and down that stream
to Westminster. His first winter was spent in cutting cord wood at a dollar
and a half per cord and some of the trees were of such proportions that
a single section of four feet cut up into a cord of wood. In 1863 Mr.
Alexander went to the Cariboo mines, but was not very successful in placer
mining. There was gold in that country, but it was not near enough the
surface to make mining profitable. Later he obtained work as a helper in
a pack train, taking food supplies to the mines. Upon his return to Vic-
toria he worked for the Hudson's Bay Company as a longshoreman on the
wharfs and afterwards secured a clerkship in a store, occupying that position
until he came to Vancouver in 1870. Here he accepted a position as ac-
countant in the employ of the Hastings Sawmill Company and in 1882 he
became manager of the company, with which he has been actively con-
nected for the past thirty-four years. His management has had much to
do with the great success that the company has attained.

There were but six acres of land cleared when Mr. Alexander came
to the place where the splendid city of Vancouver now stands and the
remainder was covered with a dense forest. During all of the early growth
and development of the town he was associated with nearly every movement
or enterprise tliat had to do with its upbuilding and progress along the lines
of material, intellectual, social and political advancement. He was secre-
tary of the school board, was notary public, also justice of the peace and
a member of the board of health. In fact, was the only member of the last
named for a time. After the organization of the city government he was

II .VI i' i'


made a member of the city council and acted in that capacity for a num-
ber of years. He became chairman of the pilotage board and in 189091
was president of the Board of Trade of the city and is now a member of
the council and of the board of arbitration of that body. He is like-
wise serving on the committees on railways and navigations and it may
be truthfully said of him that he has been one of the city's best and most
reliable business men and one of the most devoted upbuilders. He has not
only w^on. success here, but is at the present time one of the two oldest resi-
dents of Vancouver and he enjoys the confidence and high esteem of his
fellow citizens.

Mr. Alexander was married in Victoria in 1867 to Miss Emma Tam-
madge, a native of London, England, and unto them have been born four
children, all natives of British Columbia. They are Richard H. H., now
secretary of the British Columbia Timber & Shingle Manufacturing Asso-
ciation; Frederick W., who is connected with the lumber business at Seattle,
Washington; Eliza Scott, now the wife of J. L, G. Abbott, registrar of
titles for the city of Vancouver; and Harry O., stipendiary magistrate of
the city.

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander are communicants of the Church of England
and he is a Royal Arch Mason.. The family occupy a delightful home
in Vancouver and their circle of friends is limited only by the circle of
their acquaintances. In the forty-two years of his residence in British
Columbia his activity has been so carefully directed and his celerity of action
has been so marked that he stands today as one of the most conspicuous
promoters of the progress and prosperity of the province.


Robert George Macpherson, w-ell known in Vancouver because of his
active efforts in political circles and his prominence as a representative of
commercial interests, was born in the province of Ontario, the place of his
nativity being in Erin, Wellington county, while his natal day was January
28, 1866. His grandfather, Hugh Macpherson, was born on the island of
Islay off the coast of Scotland, and in 1858 crossed the Atlantic to Waterloo
county, Canada. His son, Archibald H. Macpherson, was born on the west
coast of Scotland and accompanied his father and the family to the new
world. Many representatives of the name have been school teachers, and
Archibald Macpherson made that profession his life work. He married Miss
Jeanette Hall, who was born in the township in Wellington county in which
her marriage was celebrated and in which her son, Robert G., was afterward


born. For many years Mr. Macpherson was a promoter of the educational
development of his district and his labors were a valued factor in intellectual
progress. He died in 1891 in the fifty-fourth year of his age and is still
survived by his widow, who has reached the age of sixty-three years. Two
of their children are now in British Columbia, Robert G. and Mrs. F. McD.
Russell, of Vancouver.

Robert George Macpherson acquired his preliminary education in the
Arthur public schools and afterward attended the Gait Collegiate Institute.
In early life he entered upon a business relation which gave him intimate
and comprehensive knowledge of the drug business, but is not now conduct-
ing business.

Mr. Macpherson has always been a Liberal in his political views and
has always taken a deep interest in the questions affecting the public and
touching the general interests of society. On the 4th of February, 1903, he
was elected to the Dominion parliament by the city of Vancouver, has served
on a number of important committees and has taken an active part in all of
the legislation of the sessions, doing all in his power to promote the interests
of British Columbia. His labors in this direction have been attended with
gratifying results and the public acknowledges its indebtedness to him for
capable service rendered. He was re-elected on the 4th of November, 1904,
at the general election, by a majority of nearly nine hundred, the city of Van-
couver thus confirming him in his seat for a full parliamentary term of five

In 1890 Mr. Macpherson was married to Miss Susan Van Aken, a native
of Coldwater, Michigan, and they have three children, all born in British
Columbia, namely: Brita, Bessie and Archie, The parents are members
of St. John's Presbyterian church and Mr. Macpherson belongs to Mount
Hermon lodge, No. 7, A. F. & A. M., and to the Knights of Pythias frater-
nity. Coming to British Columbia to enjoy its splendid business opportuni-
ties that have been advanced through the rapid development and settlement of
this portion of the country, he has made for himself a commendable place in
commercial circles in this city and has gained success and an honorable name
as a leading merchant here.


Joseph H. Bowes, a barrister with a large and influential practice at
New Westminster, has been a resident of British Columbia during the past
fourteen or fifteen years, and is a Canadian by birth and training. He is


an able lawyer, and is a public-spirited worker in the ranks of good citizen-

Mr. Bowes was born in December, 1863, at Toronto, Ontario, a son
of John C. and Anwt Bowes. John C. Bowes filled the position of mayor
of the city of Toronto for a period of six years. He was educated at the
Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto, and after his gradua-
tion from the latter in 1884 he took up the study of law, being admitted to
the bar in 1888. The first years of his practice were in Toronto, and in 1891
he came out to this province, where he had his office first in Nelson, and for
some years has been located at New Westminster, with a profitable patron-
age. He is a member of the Greek letter fraternity Zeta Psi.


W. B. Cooke, of the firm of Cooke & Tait, manufacturers of lumber and
red cedar shingles, was born in Orillia, Ontario, on the 7th of January, 1876,
and in the paternal line comes of Irish and Scotch ancestry. His father,
Walter Cooke, was born in Ontario, where the grandfather. Rev. John Cooke,
had located at an early day. They were Scotch Presbyterians in religious
faith and the grandfather was a minister of that church. Walter Cooke
moved from Canada to Rockford, Illinois, where for many years he was
superintendent of an msurance company. In his native province he was
united in marriage to Miss Virginia Taylor, a representative of an old Vir-
ginian family of cotton planters. Prior to the Civil war the Taylors had a
large plantation and one hundred and fifty slaves and they were wealthy and
influential citizens of Virginia.

W. B. Cooke, the only member of his father's family in British Colum-
bia, pursued his education in the collegiate institute of his native town and
for some time engaged in reading law, thinking to become a member of the
bar, but abandoning that plan he accepted a position as accountant with the
firm of George Vick & Sons, doing an extensive wholesale business as dealers
in grain. Becoming impressed with the advantages of the west Mr. Cooke
resolved to try his fortune on the Pacific coast and in 1899 arrived in the
province of British Columbia. He was for two years thereafter employed
as accountant by W. L. Tait, and the present firm of Cooke & Tait was then
lurnied. His partner is Edward R. Tait. He was practically reared in the
lumber and shingle business and is a practical mill man, his father having
been one of the largest shingle manufacturers of Canada and having the
credit of making the first sawed shingles in the province. The firm of Cooke
& Tait was formed in 1901 and they have since engaged in the manufacture


of lumber of all dimensions and red cedar shingles. The mill capacity is
thirty-five thousand feet of lumber in ten hours and one hundred thousand
shingles in the same time. After manufacturing shingles for two and a half
years they built the sawmill and then embarked in the manufacture of lum-
ber, and the business has met with a continuous and satisfactory growth.
Mr. Tait gives his personal supervision to the manufacturing department,
Mr. Cooke to the business management, and they constitute a successful firm.
Mr. Cooke is a young man not yet thirty years of age, but in his career has
displayed business enterprise and sagacity that have led to creditable success
and would do honor to a man of much greater age. He possesses the enter-
prising spirit which has been the dominant quality in the upbuilding and de-
velopment of the Pacific coast country and what he undertakes he carries for-
ward to successful completion, brooking no obstacles that can be overcome
by strong and determined purpose and honorable effort. He is an attendant
of St. Andrew's Presbyterian church.


Adam Swart Vedder, prominent pioneer freighter, rancher and general
farmer, man of affairs, has been a resident of the province for nearly forty-
five years, and during an active career beginning when he was a boy in his
teens he has prosecuted every undertaking with energy and resolution that
brings results and has won success in a most laudable manner. His principal
activity has been centered about Chilliwack in New Westminster district, and
as one of the oldest citizens of this vicinity he is accordingly honored and
esteemed both for the* sterling worth of his character and for what he has
accomplished in a material way.

Of New York Dutch stock, with sturdy ancestral lines stretching back
for numerous generations, Mr. Vedder was born in Schenectady, New York,
July 27, 1834, being a son of Volkert and Agnes (Swart) Vedder, both of
whom are long since deceased. After an education in the public schools of
his native city, he passed into the practical affairs of life at an early age,
and in 1846 moved west to Chicago, which was his home for some five or
six years. In April, 1852, being then a strong and vigorous youth of
eighteen, he made the overland journey to the Pacific coast, reaching Sacra-
mento, California, on August 12, 1852. He engaged in freighting to the
mines, and continued in the golden state for about eight years. In May,
i860, he came up to British Columbia, and after spending the winter at
Sumas continued the freighting business in this country. He drove the
first big team over the Yale road on its completion in 1865. He followed

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freighting until 1868, and then preempted land near Sumas, beginning the
ranching operations which he has continued with so much success for over
thirty-five years. He added to his estate by purchase until he owned twelve
hundred acres in that vicinity. He settled on his present fine place of two
hundred and ninety acres in 1882, and cleared and broke all the land himself,
in the course of a few years evolving one of the model farms- of the Chilli-
wack valley. In 1890 he erected his present residence, which is the finest in
the valley.

Mr. Vedder was married in January, 1877, to Mrs. Althea Dicker, of
Chilliwack, who died in 1892, leaving one child. In 1894 Mr. Vedder was
married tO' Elizabeth Jackman, of Chilliwack. Mr. Vedder is a member of
Ionic Lodge No. 19, A. F. & A. M., and adheres to the Presbyterian de-
nomination. A Liberal in politics, he was elected in 1897 to the provincial
parliament to fill out an unexpired term. He was warden of municipality in
1878, and has been city councilman several terms.


Charles William Munro, member of the provincial parliament and a
prominent "citizen of Chilliwack, has been a resident of the Chilliwack valley
for over fifteen years, and has not only attained to a commendable degree of
private prosperity, but has also evinced an eminent degree of public spirit
and has made himself a valuable factor in public afifairs and advancement
of the best interests of the province and community.

Mr. Munro is a son of Asael and Charlotte Ann (Barclay) Munro, well
known residents of the Chilliwack valley. He was born in Dundas county,
Ontario, March 15, 1864, and was educated in the grammar and high schools
of that county. He fitted for ministerial work, and for two years before
going to university traveled as a Methodist clergyman. He attended Coburg
University, and is a finely educated and well informed man, of broad-gauged
principles and progressive and enterprising in all his undertakings. He
came out to British Columbia in 1888 to seek a climate and country more
beneficial to his health, and he has ever since been a prominent resident of
the Chilliwack valley.

Mr. Munro was elected to the provincial parliament in 1898, and has
been twice re-elected, now serving his third term. He belongs to the pro-
gressive Liberal party, and takes a practical interest in political affairs. He
was married in 1893 to Miss Sarah Marcellus, a daughter of Alfred Mar-
cellus, of Dundas county, Ontario. They have one child, Edith.



Hon. Montague William Trywhitt Drake, who for fifteen years has been
a judge of the supreme court of British Columbia, is a pioneer of the prov-
ince, his residence here dating from 1859. Born in Kingswalden, Hertford-
shire, England, on the 20th of January, 1830, he is descended from the Try-
whitt Drakes of Shardeloes, Bucks county, and is a son of Rev. George
Drake, an English clergyman who married Miss Jane Halsey, also a rep-
resentative of a distinguished old English family.

Judge Drake was educated at the Charter House school and also re-
ceived his preparatory training in London. He was admitted as a solicitor
and counselor of law to the supreme courts of. England in 1851, and practiced
his profession in his native country until 1859, when attracted by the business
opportunities of the great and growing northwest he made his way to British
Columbia. He had sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and after spending a
short time in Canada came to Victoria by way of New York and the Isthmus
of Panama. Recent discoveries of gold led the great majority of those whq
came to the shores of this country to make their way to the mines, and
thinking that he might rapidly acquire wealth Judge Drake also went to the
gold fields and spent some time in searching for the precious metal, but his
expenses exceeded his receipts and he returned to Victoria to resume his law
practice. There he entered into partnership with Attorney General Carey,
a relationship that was maintained for two years. He also took an active
part in politics, being a close student of the questions and issues of the day,
and soon afterwards he was elected a member of the legislative council of
British Columbia, as representative for Victoria. He continuously occupied
his seat in the house until 1870. He also took a deep interest in the educa-
tional affairs of his city and served as a member of the board of education
for British Columbia from 1872 until 1879. In 1877 ^^^ was elected mayor
of the city and in 1882 he was again elected to the legislative assembly to
represent Victoria. He was president of the executive council from Janu-
ary, 1883, until October, 1884, and in 1889 he was elevated to the supreme
bench of the province, where he has served most faithfully and honorably
for the past fifteen years. His legal learning, his analytical mind, the readi-
ness with which he grasps the points in an argument, all combine to make
him one of the most capable jurists that has ever graced the court of last
resort, and the public and the profession acknowledge him the peer of any
member of the appellate court.

In 1862 Judge Drake was married to Miss Joanna Tolmie, a native of


Scotland, born in Ardersier, Invernesshire, who died in 1901. He has five
children, four daughters and a son, all born in Victoria, namely : Maud,
now the wife of Arthur W. Bridgman; Mildred, the wife of G. Barnardis-
ton ; Helen, the wife of Arthur Crease ; Brian, who is a barrister and registrar
of the supreme court; and one unmarried daughter. Judge Drake is a com-
municant of the Church of England and he is a member of the Pioneer So-
ciety of the Province. He resides at No. 2 Pleasant street, Victoria. Nature
has bestowed upon Judge Drake many of her rarest gifts. He possesses a
mind of broad compass and an industry which has brought forth every spark
of talent with which nature has gifted him. He is widely recognized in
every way as a most superior man.


William Hunter, of Silverton, is numbered among the honored pioneers
of the Kootenay district and his efforts have been of great value in the
development of this country. He came here when the work of improvement
and progress had scarcely been begun and the dangers and difficulties which
always confront the pioneer fell to his lot. The work of the early settler is
extremely arduous because there are no home products, industries, agricul-
tural or commercial. Without railroad facilities everything must be trans-
ported and the conditions called forth every spark of ingenuity and native
talent possessed by the individual in order that he might use his few equip-
ments to the best advantage. The country was rich in natural resources and
Mr. Hunter, identifying his interests with those of the northwest, has been
an important factor in its industrial, commercial and mining development.

A native of the province of Quebec, Mr. Hunter was bom September
28, 1858, about thirty miles from Montreal, Hemmingford county. His
parents were William and Jannet (Macky) Hunter, the former now residing
in Prince Edward island, while the latter has passed away. In his early
boyhood days William Hunter accompanied his parents on their removal
to Prince Edward Island and acquired his education there in the public
schools. His father was proprietor of a lumber mill and owner of a farm
and William Hunter worked with him until he left home, gaining practical
and comprehensive knowledge of both lines of business. Attracted by the
glowing descriptions which he had heard of the west and its possibilities
he came to British Columbia in 1884 and worked on railroad construction
for two years. He then macle a visit to his old home in the east, after which
he again came to the Pacific coast, this time locating in the state of Washing-
ton, where he was engaged in bridge building until 1889. That year wit-


nessed his arrival in Nelson, British Columbia. He came here to put up a
mill and built the first mining mill in the Kootenay district on Toad moun-
tain at Golden King mine. The same year he went to the Poorman mine
and worked on a stamp mill for one year, after which he returned to Nelson,
where he erected the International Hotel, which he conducted for five months.
He then sold the property to Bruce Craddock and was afterward engaged
in the construction of a mill at the Whitewater mine. In the fall of 1891
he went to New Denver, where he embarked in general merchandising, con-
ducting the store for ten months as a member of the firm of Hunter and
McKinnon, after which he sold out to Borne Brothers. In 1891 Mr. Hunter
located the town site of Silverton and he then .organized a company to build
a steamer on Slocan Lake and completed it in November, 1892. The lum-
ber had to be all whipped-sawed and cost one hundred and twenty-five dol-
lars per thousand feet. He secured the services of two boat builders from
Portland, Oregon, while the machinery was let to a Toronto firm. The
work was delayed because it required all the summer to get the boilers,
owing to the failure of the Toronto firm to which he had given the contract.
It cost six cents per pound to transport a part of the' machinery and the
boiler was shipped at a cost of three and a half cents per pound. The di-
mensions of the boat were sixty feet with twelve foot beam and it had twin
screws. The work was completed at a cost of ten thousand dollars and the
boat was then launched. Still further Mr. Hunter contributed to the devel-
opment of the district by opening a store in Silverton in the spring of 1893
under the name of the Slocan Mercantile Company. In the succeeding fall
J. Fred Hume, who was a partner, sold his interest and the store was then
conducted by the firm of Hunter & McKinnon. In 1894 they opened a
branch store in New Denver, but" in the fall of that year sold out and opened

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 47 of 79)