R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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his early schooling in a backwoods school, and most of his youth was de-
voted to the work of his father's farm. He remained at home and was his
father's assistant until 1859. On November 3 of that year, when he was a


vigorous and ambitious young fellow of nineteen years, he sailed from New
York and by way of the isthmus arrived in the golden state of California.
Here he employed himself in mining for three years, in the vicinity of Forest
City and Downieville. In 1862 he was among those attracted to the Cari-
boo district of British Columbia, and to his destination he packed his sup-
plies on his back from Yale, a total distance of four hundred and fifty miles.
Mining did not prove a successful venture with him, and he therefore stayed
in the mining region but one summer. This brought him to the Chilliwack
valley in the fall of 1862, and here he has worked out his successful career
during the subsequent years. During the first winter he was entirely alone
in the valley, this beautiful agricultural region then being in a state of nature
untouched by man." As there was no' recorder he could not get his pre-
emption officially recorded, and he therefore sent his claims to England and
received his deeds from there. He took up four hundred and eighty acres
of land where the town of Chilliwack now stands. This tract was then cov-
ered with hazel brush, which he laboriously cleared off, and at length put
his land into an arable state. He was in debt when he started, but he per-
severed through all discouragements that beset him and is today one of the
most successful men of his locality. In the spring of 1904 he sold three
hundred and sixty-five acres of his land, and still retains a hundred acres
adjoining the town. It was Mr. Kipp who established the Excelsior mill in
Chilliwack, but he later made. a present of a two-thirds interest of the plant
to his son and a son-in-law.

Mr. Kipp was married in 1865 to Miss Mary Ann Nelems, a daughter
of William Nelems, of England, who in 1832 came to Canada and was one
of the earliest pioneers of Oxford county, Ontario. There were ten children
born to this union, namely : Mary Jane, wife of William Knight, of Chilli-
wack; Gertrude, wife of Edwin Wells, of Chilliwack; Ellen, wife of William
Atkinson, of Vancouver; Alma, wife of Ed Chadsey, of Chilliwack; Edwin,
William, Arthur, Frank, Fred, and Albert, deceased. There are also twenty-
four grandchildren. Mr. Kipp is a Liberal in politics, and for two years
served as councilman of Chilliwack.

Mrs. Kipp was the first white woman settler in the Chilliwack valley,
she having left her home in Ontario in 1865, coming direct via New York,
the isthmus route and San Francisco, the trip taking thirty days from New
York to Victoria. Their daughter, Mrs. William Knight, was the first
white child born in the district. They are both members of the pioneer so-
ciety of Chilliwack. They both take an active part in church work and at-
tend the Methodist congregation.



Judge Eli Harrison, who has attained a distinguished position in a pro-
fession where advancement depends upon individual merit and now serving
as judge for the county of Nanaimo in the province of British Columbia,
was lx>rn in England and was educated in the collegiate school, the vener-
able Archdeacon Wood being his preceptor. He prepared for the bar as
a law student in the ofifice and under the direction of George W. Pearkes,
an eminent Canadian and American lawyer. He also studied with Robert
Bishop and pursued his reading for a time in the office of the attorney gen-
eral of British Columbia. Judge Harrison came to British Columbia in 1858
with his father, Eli Harrison, Esquire, who had crossed the plains at an
early epoch in the development of the Pacific coast country and he traversed
the whole of western America. He married Miss Elizabeth Warburton and
both are still living, the father having attained to the advanced age of eighty
years. He and his wife are communicants of the Church of England.

Judge Harrison, after careful preparation for the bar, entered upon the
practice of law. He further added to his knowledge by serving as law clerk
in the provincial legislature and as clerk of the house and he conducted much
of the criminal business of the province as Crown prosecutor. He was acting
registrar of titles for the province and his official service has always been in
the line of his profession. After practicing law for a time Judge Har-
rison was appointed notary public, commissioner for taking affidavits in the
supreme court, justice of the peace for the province, and stipendiary magis-
trate and county court judge of the Cariboo district. Subsequently he served
as judge of the Nanaimo district and also as local judge of the supreme
court with all the powers of a supreme court judge in the Nanaimo judicial
district. He is also the judge of the court of revision under the assessment
acts of Vancouver Island.

In 1880 Judge Harrison was married to Miss Eunice M. L. Seabrook,
a native of Canada, and they became the parents of six children, all born
in British Columbia, namely : Paul Phillips, a law student ; Eunice Bagster ;
Victor Birch, a law student; Claude L., who is also studying law; Bernice,
who is attending All Hallows Yale; and Herschel Roads, who is attendmg
school in Victoria. The judge and his family adhere to the faith of the
Church of England and he has attained to the thirty-second degree in Ma-
sonry. He is a past grand secretary of the Grand lodge of the province and
is the representative of the Grand lodges of England, New Hampshire and
Manitoba, while his father is a past grand master of the Grand lodge of


British Colnmbia. Hi? real life work, however, has been the practice of
law. His decisions indicate strong- mentality, careful analysis, a thorough
knowledg-e of law and an unbiased judgment. The judge on the bench
fails more frequently, perhaps, from a deficiency in that broad-mindedness
which not only comprehends the details of a situation quickly and that in-
sures a complete self-control under even the most exasperating- conditions
than from any other cause ; and the judge who makes a success in the dis-
charg-e of his multitudinous delicate duties is a man of well-rounded char-
acter, finely-balanced mind and of splendid intellectual attainments. That
Judge Harrison is regarded as such a jurist is a uniformly accepted fact.


Bartley W. Shiles, prominent in the public affairs of Westminster, now
serving as one of its aldermen, while formerly he was mayor of the city,
is a native of Delaware, his birth having occurred in Seaford, on the 13th
of August, 1839. He conies of English ancestry and was educated in his
native state. After the outbreak of the Civil war he joined the Union navy
and was on the vessel Farragut on the Mississippi river, assisting in the
blockading at Wilmington and at the capture of Fort Fisher. He served
throughout the war and was engaged in marine service afterward until 1871,
when, attracted by business possibilities which he believed to exist in British
Columbia, he made his way to the northwest, locating at New Westminster.
Thus he has contributed in large measure toward its substantial improvement
and at the same time has promoted his individual prosperity.

While residing in the United States Mr. Shiles gave his political allegi-
ance to the Democratic party, and on removing to British Columbia he
joined the Liberal party, taking an active interest in the political questions
and issues of the day. He was elected a member of the city council and
served in that capacity for twenty years. He was then elected mayor and
filled that important office from 1895 until 1897, inclusive. In 1896, while
serving as chief executive of New Westminster, the council was composed
of ten members and at a meeting in which six, constituting a quorum, were
present a vote was cast concerning the building of a bridge across the
Eraser river at New Westminster, to cost four hundred and sixty thousand
dollars. Five of the councilmen voted in the affiniiative, while one voted
against the measure. Mayor Shiles being convinced that the city could not
afford the building of a bridge and also believing that a substantial structure
such as would be required could not be built for that money accordingly
acted upon his firm convictions and vetoed the bill as it came from the


council to him. This caused a great deal of excitement in the town, for the
bridge was much needed and an indignation meeting was then called to
ascertain his action, but at a full meeting of the city council he gave his
re£:Sons and his action was sustained. The result has vindicated the course
v^hich he pursued and the city now has a fine steel bridge, which was built
by the province at a cost of a million dollars and which cost the city not
a cent. While many of the citizens at first severely criticized him for his
action he was later commended by them as time proved that he had acted
v.'isely in this matter.

In 1867 Mr. Shiles was married to Miss Eliza A. Insley, their mar-
riage being celebrated in Delaware, and their eldest son, Delaware A., was
born in that state. In 1871 Mrs. Shiles and their son came to New West-
iiiinster, joining the husband and father here, and the son is now traffic
manager on the British Columbia electric railroad. The next child, Charles
E., is in the custom service in Ottawa. Mrs. Shiles died in 1902 and
her death was deeply regretted by many friends. She had been a devoted
wife and mother and she and her husband had lived together in a happy
married relation for thirty-five years. Mr. Shiles has built a nice home in
New Westminster, where he resides with his son, Delaware A. He has
been a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for the
past forty-four years and is past grand master of the grand lodge of British
Columbia, having served as the chief officer of the order in the province in
1881. He has represented the grand lodge in the Sovereign grand lodge in
St. Louis in 1891 and also at Portland, Oregon, in 1892. He is a member
of the Royal Templars and has been an active member of the Methodist
church for thirty-eight years, serving in some of its offices and taking a most
active and helpful part in its work. Since coming to the province he has
been continuously connected with its public affairs and his course has been
an honor to the city that has honored him.


John Graham, numbered among Victoria's pioneer settlers, dating his
residence here from April, 1859, is a native of Scotland, his birth having
occurred in the city of Perth, on the 28th of December, 1826. His ancestors
had long resided in that country and his father was a contractor and builder
of Perth. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Finlay,
\\a3 a daughter of George Finlay, who was for forty-three years an elder
m the Presbyterian church and a very prominent, influential and highly
respected citizen of his community.


John Graham lost his mother when only two years of age. He ac-
quired his education in the city of his nativity and entered upon his business
career in a solicitor's office in Perth. Later he went to Glasgow and secured
a position in the treasurer's office of the Clyde. Later he went to England,
where he had charge of the office of a wine merchant, and on leaving Great
Britain he made his way to British Columbia, bearing with him letters of
recommendation, which he presented to Sir James Douglas. He was at
once appointed to fill a vacancy in the treasury, and in 1867, when the island
and the mainland were united in one province, Mr. Graham was in charge
of the treasury. A savings bank act was passed by the legislature about
that time and he received from the executive council a mandate to establish
the bank with head office in Victoria and four branches, one each at Nanai-
mo, New Westminster, Yale and Cariboo. The bank was under the super-
vision of commissioners, and Mr. Roscoe and Alfred J. Langley were ap-
pointed to serve as commissioners, their labor in this regard being entirely
gratuitous. The head office of the bank was in the treasury, but to accom-
modate the working classes an office was opened in Government street, being
opened for two hours on two days in the week. When confederation was
consummated Mr. Graham was transferred to the Dominion government as
assistant receiver-general for British Columbia. He occupied that position
until he retired from the service in 1890. Throughout his entire business
career he was recognized as the soul of honor and integrity in all business
transactions and the trust reposed in him was never betrayed in the slightest

On the 15th of October, 1884, Mr. Graham was united in marriage to
Miss Isabella Aitken, a daughter of Walter Aitken, of Stirlingshire, Scot-
land, and they have a delightful home at No. 88 Simcoe street. The grounds
covering two acres are adorned with beautiful flowers of their own .planting
and statuary placed among the trees also adds to the appearance of the place.
Choice pictures and other works of art adorn the home, which in its fur-
nishings indicates the artistic and cultured taste of the owner. Not far from
his home Mr. Graham has erected three good .residences, which he rents,
and these, too, are surrounded with beautiful grounds. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Graham are adherents of the faith of the Church of Scotland and they are
prominent socially, having a wide acquaintance in Victoria, the hospitality
of manv of the best homes of the citv being: extended to them.




Donald McGillivray, an esteemed resident of Chilliwack, is a pioneer
citizen, business man and rancher of New Westminster district, and during
something more than forty years of varied activity he has gained a broad
success in material affairs and won an honored place among his fellow men
by reason of his invincible integrity and equitable dealings in business and
private relations.

Born in Glengary county, Ontario, December 2, 1838, a son of John
and Catherine (Urquhart) McGillivray, both of whom are now deceased,
he obtained most of his preliminary education in the public schools of Glen-
gary county, and, when at the age of thirteen the family residence was trans-
ferred to New York state, he gained practical experience in farming and
in honest industry during the remaining years of his boyhood spent in that
state. He lived on the home place in New York state until he came to Brit-
ish Columbia in i860. Going to the Puget Sound he was in the employ of
the Puget Mill company at Port Gamble for a time. He was attracted to
the CarilxDo district by the mining excitement of 1862, but was taken sick
on reaching there, and after remaining two months he sold his outfit and
spent the following winter at Port Townsend. Next year he started to
operate a pack train to the Cariboo region, and was engaged in packing for
four years. He then sold his outfit to the Western Union Telegraph Com-
pany, and engaged wath that company in line building. When this work
was completed he located on Sumas prairie and started the farming, dairy-
ing and stock-raising enterprises in which he so successfully engaged until
1903. During eight years of that period he was in the general merchandise
business in Chilliwack. In 1903 he moved to his present beautiful home
place at Chilliwack, where he has a comfortable residence, surrounded by
fruit trees, garden and all the comforts which add to the pleasure of his
quiet retirement from the active affairs of the world, in which he has en-
gaged a full measure of his strength and ability.

Mr. McGillivray has been a leader in public affairs from the time of
his first settlement in this province. He was the first magistrate and justice
of the peace in New Westminster district, having been appointed in 1872,
and still holding the office. In 1878 he was returned as a member of par-
liament tor the New Westminster riding, and served one term in looking
after the interests of the British Columbian constituency. His politics are
Conservative, and in religion he is a Methodist. He affiliates with Ionic
Lodge No. 19, A. F. & A. M.


By his first marriage, in 1868, to Miss Susan Hall, a daughter of Ser-
geant William Hall, of Chilliwack, Mr. McGillivray has six children, namely :
Catherine N., wife of Rev. Allan Sharpe, of Trout Lake, British Columbia;
William H. ; John Wesley; Hattie, wife of Thomas Oliver, of Victoria;
Alice, wife of Henry Collinson, of Sumas; and Donald. In November,
188 1, Mr. McGillivray was married to Julia Andrews, a daughter of Rich-
ard B. Andrews, of Victoria. This union has been blessed with five chil-
dren: Helen, Marion, Norman Andrews, Jessie Hope, deceased, and Mar-


Luke Pither is one of Victoria's most successful and most progressive
wholesale business m.en, and he has been identified with the interests of
this city for a quarter of a century, during which period he has not only
attained his own individual success but also in many ways made his efforts
count for the permanent improvement and welfare of Victoria.

Mr. Pither was born in Leroy, New York, June 7, 1856, being of Eng-
lish lineage. He received his early education in his native town, but was
reared on a farm and his earliest occupation was stock-raising. He came
out to Victoria in 1879, and it was his intention tO' continue the stock indus-
try in this part of the country, but he was diverted from this plan, and for
some five years was employed as an accountant. He then took charge of the
Occidental Hotel and during his three years' management made a great
success of the venture and gained a reputation for conducting the hostelry
in most approved manner. For two years he was also connected with the
Colonial Hotel at New Westminster. He then sold out to embark in his
present business. The firm was originally Boucherat & Company, and Mr.
Pither bought out the senior member, and after a time the other member,
Mr. Coigdaripe, sold his interest to Mr. Max Leiser, who is Mr. Pither's
present partner. The business was at first conducted on a small scale, but
they have become extensive importers of wines and liquors and cigars. They
have a large and well stocked store and offices, and they are the only exclu-
sive wholesale wine and liquor dealers in the province. The firm owns a
large brick block, with ninety feet front on Yates street, and tlie building
extending back one hundred and twenty feet deep. Their establishment
fills the entire length and twenty-two feet of the front, and the house will
compare with almost any business of its kind in the northwest. Mr. Pither
give? his entire attention to this business, and it is largely owing to his fine


business principles and ability as an organizer that the trade has been so
thoroughly established and built up to its present prosperous proportions.

In 1883 Mr. Pither married Miss Maggie Thomson, of Rochester, New
York. She is of Scotch ancestry. Mrs. Pither is a member of the Presby-
terian church; Mr. Pither also attends services there. He is an active mem-
ber of the board of trade, being a member of the council and on the com-
mittee on railways. He gives much of his thought and is always willing
to direct his energies to the upbuilding of the city of his choice, whose pros-
perity and growth have been largely effected by such public-spirited men as
Mr. Pither.


George Littell Schetky, prominent in business, social and public affairs
at Nanaimo, has lived in British Columbia about twenty years, and during
a varied business experience, in which he has met both adversity and pros-
perity, he has advanced to a position of influence among his associates.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 10, 1867, a son of Rev.
George P. and Eliza Burr (Oliphant) Schetky, his father being deceased
and his mother living in New Jersey, he was taken, at the age of eighteen
months, first to Marshall, Michigan, and then to Bay City and Paw Paw,
in the same state. In Paw Paw he attended public school, and at the age of
fifteen returned to his native city of Philadelphia and entered a bank. After
eighteen months of banking experience he made preparations to enter college
and obtain an advanced education. This intention was indefinitely deferred
by his hearing of British Columbia and its magtnificent resources, and in
1885 he arrived in this province, where he has since centered his principal
efforts. In 1886 he started a drygoods and clothing business in Vancouver,
but this was burned out by the fire of June 13. 1886, but he resumed business
at once. A little later he bought a business in New Westminster and moved
to that place in 1887, where in February, 1891, he was again visited by fire.
He continued in business at New Westminster until 1895, ^'^^^ then came
to Nanaimo and established the real estate and financial agency which he
has since directed along most prosperous lines. He is also secretary-treasurer
of the Nanaimo Fisheries, Limited, and is secretary of the board of trade.
He is president of the Nanaimo Yacht Club. He is still a loyal citizen of
the United States, and a stanch member of the Republican party. On Janu-
ary 15, 1898, he was appointed consular agent at Nanaimo by President
McKinley, and he still holds this office. He is a member of the Protestant
Episcopal church.


August 12, 1892, Mr. Schetky was married to Miss Ellen Katherine
Cross, a daughter of John Hyde Cross and Eliza Cross, of England. They
have four children, George Bernard, Lionel Hugh Freeman, Gerald Law-
rence and John Littell.


Clarence Melville Averill is manager of the New Westminster Creamery
Society, one of the largest butter-making establishments in the northwest,
and the extension of its business over a wide territory so that the demand
for its products taxes all the capacity of output and the continued high
standard of its business methods and commodities are in no small measure
due to the enterprising management and direction of Mr. Averill, who
has occupied his present position for the past five years, and is recognized
as one of the foremost dairymen and creamery operators in British Co-

Mr. Averill is a native of the States, having been born in Washington
county, Maine, m 1853. His parents, Warren and Emily (Elsmore) Averill,
were also born in the Pine Tree state, of old colonial families. The parents
brought their home and family to the Pacific coast in 1863, and their abode
has since been mainly in the state of California. The father, an enterprising
farmer, is now operating in the famous Palouse country of Washington.

The public school system of California furnished Mr. Averill his edu-
cational opportunities, and he spent his early years on his father's farm,
where he got his first training in the dairy business. From 1894 to 1899
he was in the creamery business in Humboldt county, California, and in
the latter year he came to British Columbia and accepted the management
of the New Westminster Creamery Society. This company, carrying on
one of the largest industries in the Eraser river valley, has an annual aggre-
gate output of one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds of finest grade
butter — indeed, none better can be found in the old established creameries
of the east. They supply not only the local market but also ship large quan-
tities to the Yukon region. The business has grown very rapidly in the last
few years, and during his management Mr. Averill has introduced many
improved methods in the manufacture.

Mr. Averill was married in 1871 to Miss Elizabeth Lovell, a native of
Sonoma county, California. Her father, James Lovell, was a pioneer of that
county. Four children have been born to this marriage, namely: Augustus;
Ivy,, wife of T. J. Crawford, in California ; and Raymond and Alice. Fra-
ternally Mr. Averill affiliates with the Masons and the Odd Fellows.



William Johnston, by whose death on June i6, 1894, the city of New
Westminster lost one of her most valuable and highly esteemed citizens,
was for over thirty years connected with the shoe business in this city, but
was best known for his rugged honesty, his sterling manhood, his genial per-
sonality, which attracted men irresistibly to him, and a noble character and

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 49 of 79)