R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

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good name, which remain as his greatest gift to his children and which will
bear respect and esteem while his memory lasts in the city.

Born in Ireland in 1832, of Irish ancestry and parentage, educated in
his native country, where he becam.e an adept at the shoemaker's trade, he
arrived, in 1859, in the province of British Columbia, and from that time
until his death, covering a period of thirty-five years, he was prominently
and closely identified with the best interests of New Westminster. Shortly
after his arrival he was married in the Holy Trinity Episcopal church to
Miss Bessie Burr, also a native of Ireland. He opened a shoe shop in the
then new town, and plied his trade industriously and successfully for the
sup}X)rt of himself and family. He became almost immediately a popular
character among his fellow townsmen, and all the prominent citizens of
that period were wont to gather in his shop and discuss the leading events
and questions current among them. From this circumstance his shop be-
came widely known as the " leather parliament," and it can never b€ told
with exactness how many policies and theories, shaped and forged in the
white heat of that shoe-shop discussion, later became important civic and
political custom and law in the province, but certain it is that the influence
and spirit of those assemblages were deviating and a determining factor of
progress in sentiment and action.

But at the same time honesty, diligence and good workmanship were
giving excellent satisfaction to all the business patrons of that shop, and
the trade grew with the growth of the city and gave Mr. Johnston much
prestige in business circles. In 1890 he opened his New Westminster shoe
store, which was located just across the street from the fine store now con-
ducted by his sons. His business, begun along small lines, had increased to
large proportions before his death, and since, in the hands of his energetic
sons, has enjoyed added and continuous prosperity. In 1898 the great fire
wiped out the establishment and entailed a large loss despite the insurance.
But business was continued almost immediately in a temporar}^ building.

Mr. Johnston took great interest in politics, and at the solicitation of
his fellow citizens he served as city alderman for some years, using his best


efforts and best judgment in behalf of his city. He wielded much influence
among' his fellow men, as was natural when one considers the strength and
beneficence of his character, and it can be said that his personal popularity
and his business prosperity were never employed except as means to worthy
ends and the benefit of his family and community. At the time of his death
he w-as serving as grand master of the grand lodge of Orangemen of the
province, and many of the leading men of that order came from all over
the province to pay the last tribute of respect to their departed brother, and
the funeral was one of the most largely attended of any ever in the city.
He was a charter member of the Reformed Episcopal church, of which he
was one of the stanchest supporters and filled the office of rector's warden
from the beginning.

Mr. Johnston was not only a good citizen, but also a faithful and ex-
emplary father and husband, and his family received his love and highest
devotion, of which the members have indeed proved themselves worthy by
their careers. His wife still lives in New Westminster, and they reared a
fine family of sons and daughters, all of whom were natives of New West-
minster. They have all grown to manhood and womanhood, and not one
of them has in any way bedimmed the untarnished record of their revered
father. The shoe store conducted by them in the home town is a large,
well stocked, well managed establishment, one of the best in the city and
a credit to the business activity of the province. They also have a large
store in the city of Vancouver, which has been conducted so successfully
that it has the reputation and goes by the name of the " Big Shoe House."

The sons and daughters are as follows: Mary Ann is the wife of
Charles Warwick, who is an accountant in one of the largest stores in New
Westminster. Bessie is the wife of W. S. Collester, who is a prominent
dry-goods merchant of the city. John Joseph, the oldest son, is assistant
in the assessor's and collector's office in New Westminster. Beckie is the
wife of William Ix)ve, assistant manager in the store at Vancouver. Will-
iam Burr is manager of the New Westminster store. George Benjamin is
manager of the Vancouver store. Edwin Henry is now connected with the
engineers engaged on the Alaska boundary survey. Alfred H. is an assist-
ant in the New Westminster store. Edith L. is at home with her mother.
The family have erected a splendid residence on the lot on which the children
were all born, and the sons, who are unmarried, have their home with their
good mother, who deserves the highest praise for the manner in which she
has reared her children, and her place in the esteem of family and com-
munity is secure for all time.



Colonel Richard Wolfenden, who has for many years had the honorable
position of Queen's and King's printer for British Columbia and also con-
troller of stationery for the province, is one of the most prominent of Vic-
toria pioneers, and has followed the destiny of this city since its earliest
history as a corporate town.

He was born in Rathmel, Yorkshire, England, March 30, 1836, being
of English ancestry and the third son of Robert and Mary (Frankland)
Wolfenden, both natives of England. The parents were farmers and mem-
bers of the Church of England. Colonel Wolfenden was educated in Lan-
cashire and in Westmoreland, and became a member of the Royal Engineers
in 1855. I" 1858 he was a member of a party of one hundred and fifty
of the Royal Engineers which made the voyage around the Horn to British
Columbia. There was no settlement on the mainland then, and Victoria
bore small resemblance to the present thriving city, the old Hudson's Bay
Company's fort then being the principal center of activity in the place. The
object which brought the party out here was to do roadmaking, surveying,
etc., and Colonel Wolfenden's position was at headquarters under Colonel
Moody, who was in charge of the department.

Upon his retirement from the Royal Engineers in 1863, he was ap-
pointed Queen's printer for the province of British Columbia, and he has
been the honorable and efficient incumbent of this office during all the sub-
sequent forty odd years. He has also been prominent in many other public
affairs. For two years he was a member of the city board of school trustees.
He was one of the first to join the volunteer movement in British Columbia,
and was ensign in the New Westminster and Victoria Rifle Volunteers from
1864 to 1874; and in the latter year, when the organization merged with
the Canada Militia he continued his connection with the latter, and in 1878
retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel (V. D.) and was created I. S. O.
in 1903.

Colonel Wolfenden was married in 1865 to Miss Kate Cooley, of Ash-
ford, England. They have had seven children, all born in this province,
and all are living, as follows: Nellie, now the wife of George F. Mathews;
Francis Cooley; Roberta Elizabeth, now Mrs. Charles P. Innes; Arthur
Richard; Mabel Mary, the wife of Kenneth R. Stratfeild; Walter William;
and Kate Cooley, the wife of Percy B. Fowler. The mother of these chil-
dren died in 1878, and in 1879 Colonel Wolfenden married Miss Felicite C.
Bayley, who was born in Philadelphia, but was of old English ancestry.


The children of this marriage are Frederick Leslie, Victor Arnold and
Madge, at home with their parents. The family adhere to the English church,
the Colonel having been a warden of the church, and he is also president of
the Yorkshire Society and a member of the Ancient Order of United Work-


In reviewing the history of George Arthur Rendell one is reminded
of the words of a great New York financier. " If you're not a success don't
blame the times you live in, don't blame the place you occupy, don't blame the
circumstances you're surrounded with — lay the blame where it belongs, to
yourself. Not in time, place or circumstance, but in the man lies success.
If you want success you must pay the price." Realizing the truth of this,
Mr. Rendell has paid the price of concentrated effort, of indefatigable en-
^''gy> of i>erseverance and well applied business principles and has won the
victory which he started out to win years ago. He was one of the pioneer
merchants of Greenwood, where he is still engaged in commercial pursuits,
dealing in drygoods and men's furnishings.

A native of St. Johns, Newfoundland, born on the 17th of February,
1861, Mr. Rendell is a son of George T. and Mary (Wood) Rendell, both
of whom are living in St. Johns, Newfoundland, where the father is still
engaged in mercantile pursuits, having for many years been closely asso-
ciated with commercial interests there. His son, George Arthur Rendell,
was a public school student in his early boyhood days and afterward sup-
plemented his preliminary training by a course in the Church of England
College. When he laid aside his text books he entered a commission house,
in which he worked for a few years, after which he began farming in the
vicinity of Guelph, where he continued for three years. In 1882 he returned
to his native city and in that locality devoted his energies to agricultural
pursuits for several years and was also a representative of commercial in-
terests, there conducting mercantile enterprises. In 1892 he came to British
Columbia, locating at Vernon, and in connection with an uncle he conducted
a cattle ranch until the spring of 1894, when he came to Greenwood.

Mr. Rendell established a store at Boundary Falls and conducted that
tmtil the town of Greenwood was located, when he joined Robert Wood and
Ralph Smailes in opening the first store in the embryo city. They secured
a stock of general merchandise, and u^jon his removal to his present location
he had built the building fifty by one hundred feet, three stories in height.
As the years have gone by he has dropped other lines of merchandising and


now devotes his attention exclusively to dealing in drygoods and men's
furnishings. He has a well selected stock carefully purchased with a view
to the demands of a general public and his reasonable prices and straight-
forward business dealing have secured to him a constantly growing pat

In January, 1904, occurred the marriage of Mr. Rendell and Miss
Marian Manahan, of Lanark, Ontario, and they have a pleasant home in
Greenwood. They are members of the Church of England and he is a mem-
ber of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In his political view^s he is
a Conservative, and he was alderman of Greenwood for one year, while for
the past three years he has 1>een justice of the peace. He has been strictly
fair and impartial in his decisions in the justice court. In all public positions
his duties have been discharged with conscientious obligation and with the
utmost fidelity.


Benjamin S. Oddy, a member of the firm of Swinerton Sz: Oddy, real
estate, financial and insurance agents, is classed with the representative busi-
ness men of Victoria and at the same time ranks with her leading and influ-
ential citizens, being the champion of many measures that have proven of
marked benefit. His deep interest in the city has been manifested in tangible
way by his support of aldermanic measures that have contributed to general
progress and substantial improvement.

Mr. Oddy is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Brad-
ford, Yorkshire, on the 28th of August, 1855. He is of English lineage,
representing a family that for many generations has resided in the mother
country. His father, John Charles Oddy. was an English merchant and
manufacturer. The subject of this review is the only member of the family
in British Columbia. He was educated in his native country and was there
engaged in business with his father in the manufacture of drygoods and
woolens, which they sold to the wholesale trade. Attracted by the business
opportunities anji possibilities of the great and growing northwest Benjamin
S. Oddy came to British Columbia and here turned his attention to real
estate operations, both buying and selling on his own account and for others.
In this business he is associated with R. H. Swinerton as a partner and the
firm enjoys a large clientage. They have negotiated many important realty
transfers and in addition they do a large agency business in the line of in-
surance and otherwise, representing the tug Sadie, the Connecticut Fire In-
surance Company, the Silver Hustler Mining Company, Limited, the Vic-


toria Mining & Development Company, Limited, and others. The firm-
maintains an office at io6 Government street in Victoria.

In his poHtical views and affihations Mr. O'ddy is a Conservative, but is
not active in poHtics. As alderman of his city he is giving his best efforts
to advancing its best welfare and progress. Socially he is an active member
of Victoria Columbia Lodge, No. i, A. F. & A. M., and has been the efficient
secretary of this organization for the past ten years.


George Thomson has been prominently identified with the commercial
interests of Nanaimo, Wellington and Ladysmith for the past thirty years,
the entire period of his adult life, and he has attained a deservedly high
position in the business circles of the province. He has worked his way to
the top through the liberal expenditure of his own energy and intelligence,
and has himself to thank for the success which has rewarded his efforts.
He is accordingly esteemed among his fellow men and business associates,
and is recognized as one of the most substantial and enterprising men of the
town of Ladysmith, which has beai his place of residence for several years.

Mr. Thomson is a native of the famous old city of Ayr, Scotland, where
he was born February ii, 1855, being a son of David and Catherine (Smith)
Thomson, the former of whom is deceased and the latter still living in Scot-
land. After a period of education in the public schools of Ayr he served
his time in the grocery business, and learned all its details and fitted himself
thoroughly for his extensive business career. In 1873, being then a young
man of eighteen, he came to Nanaimo and entered the service of Harvey
and Dunsmuir. He spent ten years in the employ of that firm, and was
manager of their business at Wellington for some time. He then went
into the general merchandise business at Nanaimo on his own account, but
soon sold out. He then became manager of the business of A. R. Johnson
and Company at Nanaimo, and continued in that responsible capacity for
six years. Since then he has been prominently identified with the official
affairs of his district. He was appointed assistant to Government Agent
Marshal Bray at Nanaimo, and after nine years in that capacity he received
the appointment of government agent at Ladysmith, the duties of which
post he has since efficiently discharged. He also holds the offices of assessor
and collector, stipendiary magistrate, gold commissioner, registrar of births,
deaths and marriages. He has also taken considerable interest in general
politics, and from 1886 to 1890 he represented the Nanaimo- Albernie dis-
trict in the provincial parliament.


Mr. Thomson is a past master of Ashlar Lodge No. 3, A. F. & A. M.,
and also affiliates with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His church
connection is with the Church of England. He was married in 1877 to Miss
Sabra Gough. a daughter of Edwin Gough, of Nanaimo. They have two
children, Walter Edwin and Robert Gough.


John Peterson is the venerable and honored founder of the city of
Kamloops, British Columbia. At the age of nearly eighty years, he is still
actively interested in the material affairs of this part of the country, being
one of the leading ranchers and stock-raisers. His long career has been
spent in varied activity in different parts of the world, and to one acquainted
with the energetic and resolute old gentleman of today it is not surprising
that he has been able to leave the impress of his activity on many enter-
prises and that his life has been fraught with eminent usefulness and honor.

From the age of fifteen years Mr. Peterson has been doing for himself
and prosecuting his career of unusual activity. Born at Rotterdam, Hol-
land, on July 18, 1825, being one of the children bom of his good Dutch
parents, Thomas P. and Arbra Mina Johanna (Delaus) Peterson, the son
passed the first fifteen years of his life in the peace and security of his parental
home, but then cast loose his home moorings and as an apprentice boy on
a ship went to the East Indies. He followed the sea until he was twenty-
five years old, in the meantime becoming an able sailor. In 1850 he landed
at San Francisco, which on the following day was devastated by the terrible
fire of that year, and from that city he went to the mining regions about
Trinidad and on the north fork of the Salmon river. He was one of the few
who were successful in the search for gold, and he spent five years at it.
He then ran a pack train between Trinidad, Red Bluff and Shasta, and con-
tinued this enterprise until 1861. In 1862 he came up into British Columbia
as a member of a surveying corps, and, having sold out his pack train, he
located at Kamloops. He located this town and named the townsite, and in
the wilderness which surrounded the place in that early year he gave incep-
tion to the commercial center which has since expanded into one of the im-
portant towns of interior British Columbia. He took up three hundred and
twenty acres on the townsite, and then purchased three hundred and twenty
more. He disposed of all this townsite land in 1866. He is now the owner
of two thousand acres situated seventeen miles from Kamloops, and on this
extensive tract he raises cattle, horses and hogs and conducts general farm-
ing and fruit-raising.


Mr. Peterson's wife is now deceased. He is a member, of the Presby-
terian church, and in pohtics is a Conservative. Besides the property al-
ready mentioned he has interests in coal lands, and he has long" been recog-
nized as one of the substantial and thoroughly reliable business men of the


William Alexander Macdonald, one of the distinguished representatives
of the legal fraternity of British Columbia who has figured prominently in
political circles both in the Dominion and in the province, is well fitted for
leadership because of the careful study that he has made of the questions and
issues which affect the people at large and because of his unquestioned devo-
tion to the general good. A conscientious performance of every public serv-
ice combined with strong intellectuality and marked individuality have made
him distinctively a man of affairs and one who has wielded a wide influence.

William Alexander Macdonald, now residing in Nelson, was born in St.
Catherine, Ontario, June 7, i860, his parents being Frederick William and
Eliza (Clara) Macdonald. His early education was acquired in the public
schools, after which he entered the office of his father, who was master in
chancery for thirty years. Thus completing his law studies under able direc-
tion, he was admitted to the bar of Osgood's Hall, Ontario, in 1882. Think-
ing that he would find better field for activity in western districts he went to
Manitoba the same year and was admitted to practice there. Opening an
office in Brandon he at once entered upon practice and continued at that place
for fifteen years or until the latter part of 1896. On the ist of January,
1897, he arrived in Nelson and has since been a resident of this city. He
has throughout his professional career made consecutive advancement, as he
has demonstrated his ability to cope with the intricate problems of juris-
prudence. His knowledge of the law in all its departments is exact and
comprehensive and in the trial of a case he prepares himself with great
thoroughness and presents his case in clear, forcible, logical manner, so that
he never fails to make an impress upon the minds of the court or the jury,
and seldom fails to gain the verdict desired. His devotion to his client's in-
terests is proverbial and yet he never forgets that he owes a higher allegiance
to the majesty of the law. He acted as the first counsel for the first jury
trial held in the western district of Manitoba, and his practice in Nelson is of
an important character, connecting him with the leading litigated interests
tried in the courts of this locality.

Mr. Macdonald has been a recognized leader in political circles both in


Manitoba and in British Columbia. He contested North Brandon with the
Hon. CHfford Sifton, the present minister of the interior of Canada, in the
general election of 1888. In 1892 he was the candidate of his party in the
contest for the city of Brandon against the Hon. James A. Smart, now
minister of public works of Manitoba, and won the election. In the follow-
ing session of the legislature he was chosen leader of the opposition and
during his term in the legislative assembly managed and was mainly instru-
mental in securing the passage of the workmen's compensation act, giving
the workingmen the right of action against their employers arising by in-
juries sustained. In 1893 he retired from the political field, but was again
induced to enter politics in the general election of 1896, but in a contest with
the late L. Alton McCarthy, Q. C.,- was defeated on the school question. He
has made a close and earnest study of the issues that involved the welfare of
his country and in his course he has placed the question of general good be-
fore partisanship, and the welfare of all before personal aggrandizement.

It was during a pleasure visit to Nelson that Mr. Macdonald decided to
locate here and with the interests of this city he has since been actively iden-
tified. He was married in 1884 to Miss Mary E. Gamble, a native of Dun-
ville, Ontario, and they have four children: Flora, Helen, Greta and Bruce.
Their home is celebrated for its gracious and attractive hospitality and Mr.
Macdonald is not only prominent in this manner, but is also interested in
many lines of activity having direct bearing upon the business, social, in-
tellectual and moral welfare of his community. He is a Mason and belongs
to the Anglican church. He takes an active interest in athletics and was
for years president of the Manitoba Lacrosse Association and is president of
the Nelson Lacrosse and Hockey Association. He was appointed a Queen's
Counsel in 1892, and at this writing is president of the Nelson Bar Associa-
tion. ^.


The subject of this sketch, George Henry Barnard, is known as a man
of high attainments and as one who has achieved success in the legal profes-
sion. He is now serving as the mayor of Victoria, entering upon the duties
of that high official position in 1904, and his administration of the city's
affairs has been businesslike, progressive and public-spirited. He is a native
son of this city, his birth having occurred on the 9th of October, 1868, his
parents being F. J. and Ellen (Stillman) Barnard, natives respectively of
Quebec and Ireland. They came to this province in 1859, and the father was
the originator of the express stage line to the Cariboo country, conducting



the same for a number of years. He served as a member of the provincial
parhament before the confederation and was also a representative in the
Dominion house for a number of years or until his retirement from active
life. He always took a deep interest in public affairs, and to the best of his
ability promoted the best interests of his fellow citizens. Both he and his
wife died in the year 1889. Three of their children survive, the brother
and sister of our subject being : F. S. Barnard, now a member of the
House of Commons from the Cariboo District and a resident of Victoria,
and Alice T., who became the wife of J. A. Mara, and they also maintain
their home in Victoria.

George Henry Barnard received his elementary education in the Trin-

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 50 of 79)