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R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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town, and then took up the study of medicine in the famous institution, Mc-
Gill University, where he was gi*aduated with the class of 1892 and with the
degree of M. D. For one year following he was house surgeon in the Mon-
treal General Hospital, where he became additionally well equipped for suc-
cessful prosecution of his life work. He then came to Wellington, British
Columbia, and started practice as an assistant of the late Dr. Eberts, whose
successor in practice he later became. From Wellington he moved to Ex-
tension, and thence to Ladysmith in 1901, where he cares for a large and
constantly extending general practice, and is also colliery physician.

Dr. Wasson was married in 1897 to Miss Ethel Harte Wyman, a
daughter of B. H. Wyman, of Oakland, California. Dr. Wasson is affiliated
with St. John's Lodge No. 21, A. F. & A. M., and is a member of the British
Columbia Medical Association.



636 BRITISH COLUMBIA

GEORGE A. B. HALL, M. D.

The Kootenay district with its pulsing industrial activities and rapid
development, has attracted v^ithin its confines men of marked ability and
high character in the various professional lines, and in this way progress
has been conserved and social stability fostered. He whose name initiates
this review has gained recognition as one of the able and successful physicians
of the province, and by his labors, his high professional attainments and his
sterling characteristics has justified the respect and confidence in which he
is held by medical fraternity and the local public.

George Arthur Benjamin Hall was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on the 29th
of October, 1868, his parents being Lewis and Elizabeth (Beardsmore) Hall,
both of whom are now deceased. The father was born in England and was
an extensive traveler. He was in Australia at the time of the gold excite-
ment in that country and afterward came to British Columbia, arriving in
Victoria when his son. Dr. Hall, was but seven years of age and received
his public school education in this province. His ambition for education
being not yet satisfied he went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he pre-
pared for a professional career as a student in the dental college of that city.
He also matriculated in the Medico Chirurgical College of Philadelphia, but
being taken ill he left college and returned to Nanaimo, British Columbia,
where he engaged in dental practice for two years. He then entered Cooper
Medical College of San Francisco, completing a course by graduation with
the class of 1895, and has since taken two post-graduate courses, one in the
New York Polyclinic in 1898, the other in Johns Hopkins University, in 1904.
Again coming to British Columbia Dr. Hall successfully passed an examina-
tion before the British Columbia Medical board and located for practice in
Nelson, where he has since remained, enjoying a constantly growing patron-
age, which is indicative of the trust reposed in him by the general public.
He is resident physician of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and also of the
Hall mines and smelter. He is provincial health officer and jail physician,
discharging his various official duties in connection with those of a large pri-
vate practice which makes a constant demand upon his time and energies.
Everything which tends to bring to man the key to that complex mysytery
which we call life elicits his earnest attention and interest. He has studied
broadly and thought deeply concerning the science of medicine and its pos-
sibilities, and his efforts in behalf of suffering humanity have been attended
with splendid success.

In 1893 Dr. Hall was united in marriage to Miss Christina Pool, a



BRITISH COLUMBIA 537

native of Cariboo and a representative of one of the old pioneer families of
the province. They have three children : Norman Douglas, Earle Reginald
and Allan Beardsmore. The family is prominent socially in Nelson and the
hospitality of the best homes of the city is freely extended to the members
of Dr. Hall's household. Fraternally he is connected with Nelson lodge,
No. 23, A. F. & A. M., and Nelson lodge, No. 25, K. P., while professionally
he is identified with the British Columbia Medical Association and the
Canadian Medical Association. His career has been a busy and useful one,
marked by the utmost fidelity to the duties of public and private life and
crowned with success that came to him in recognition of superior merit.
His name is inseparably interwoven with the annals of Nelson and the
Kootenay district and with its best development and stable progress.

DAVID GEORGE KURTZ.

David George Kurtz, one of the partners in the Nelson Freighting &
Transfer Company at Nelson, is numbered among the native sons of British
Columbia, his birth having occurred in Victoria on the 23d of March, 1877.
His father, David Kurtz, has passed away, but the mother, Mrs. Martha
(Redfern) Kurtz, still survives and makes her home in Victoria.

At the usual age David G. Kurtz entered the public schools and con-
tinued his studies in the high school until fifteen years of age, when he put
aside his text books in order to become a factor in the business world. He
entered the office of the Albion Iron Works Company and was thus employed
for three years. In 1895 he came to Nelson and here engaged in the steam-
boat business, being associated therewith for six years either as mate or cap-
tain. He afterward assisted in organizing the Nelson Freighting &■ Trans-
fer Company, purchasing the business of the Nelson Transfer Company, and
on September 30, 1901, he also purchased the business of the Pacific Transfer
Company, which he merged with his other interests under the name of the
Nelson Freighting & Transfer Company. In addition to his freight and
transfer business he and his partners are agents for the Melrose Company of
Victoria, and the Pacific Coal Company of Banff. They keep about thirty
horses for use in their business and are meeting with excellent success in their
; undertakings.

Mr. Kurtz is a member of Nelson lodge. No. 23, A. F. & A. M., and he

tjalso belongs to the Church of England. In his political views he is a Liberal

and while not an aspirant for office he keeps well informed on the questions

ind issues of the day. As the years have gone by he has developed an ex-

jelient business in Nelson through the recognition and utilization of oppor-



538 BRITISH COLUMBIA

tunity and he has the full confidence of the business community. He is yet
a young man, possessing the marked enterprise and laudable ambition which
have been the important features in the upbuilding of this section of the
country.

RICHARD MASON PALMER.

Richard Mason Palmer, whose prominence and influence in the province
are widely acknowledged, is provincial freight rate commissioner of British
Columbia, is secretary of the bureau of information and immigration and a
member of the provincial board of horticulture. In addition to his public
service he has large interests in commercial fruit-raising and also in mining
properties, demonstrating to the W'Orld the possibilities of British Colurqbia
as a fruit-raising country and giving proof of confidence in the rich mineral
resources wdiich nature has provided in northwestern America.

Mr. Palmer is a native of England, born in Gayton, Norfolk, on the 12th
of March, 1859. He was educated at S waff ham grammar school, and after-
ward pursued a special course in agriculture, chemistry and horticulture.
The year 1 881 witnessed his emigration tO' the new world. He settled near
Winnipeg, and for a few years was engaged in farming and stock-raising in
that locality. In 1888 he came to British Columbia and developed and
managed the Belle Meade fruit farm at Hazel-Mere, British Columbia. This
place included seventy-five acres, principally devoted to the raising of Italian
prunes, pears, apples and plums. He was also engaged in breeding thorough-
bred Jersey stock and farmed one hundred and fifty acres of land, on which
w^as produced excellent crops of hay and grain. In his farming operations
he met with very desirable success, and upon the sale of this property was
appointed provincial fruit inspector, filling that office until 1901. During
the latter part of that period he also occupied the position of provincial freight
rate commissioner, and in 1904 was appointed secretary of the bureau of
provincial information and immigration.

Mr. Palmer is the owner of a fine residence and fruit ranch near Victoria,
having twenty-five acres planted to apples, pears, plums and cherries. He
has also a young orchard of thirty-five acres near Vernon planted to apples,
plums and cherries. The Victoria orchards are now in good bearing condi-
tion, and much of the fruit is shipped to Manitoba and the northwest terri-
tories. He is also raising fine strawberries and other small fruits, and his
labors have proved of marked value to British Columbia in demonstrating
the adaptability of the soil for horticulture.

On the 14th of July, 1884, occurred the marriage of Mr. Palmer and




C7



BRITISH COLUMBIA 539

Miss Edith Mary Oldfield, a native of Norfolk. England, the wedding taking
place in Manitoba. They have had six children, three born in Manitoba and
three in British Columbia, namely: Walter Richard, Rose Mary, Horace,
Frank, Richard Claxton and Beatrice Lucy. In 1901 Mr. Palmer was called
upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who departed this life on the i6th of
June of that year. Theirs had been an ideal married life and most congenial
companionship, and the loss of the wife and mother has been a very great one
to the family. Mr. Palmer is a member of the Church of England, and is
prominent in Masonic circles, serving as senior steward of his lodge in Vic-
toria. For many years he has been a member of the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, and passed all of its chairs in England. He has firm faith
in the great northwest, recognizing its splendid natural resources and excel-
lent business opportunities, and through his private and business interests he
has promoted general business development, and in official circles has ren-
dered the province a service that has been most effective and benficial.

ANDREW JAMES McMURTRIE.

Andrew James McMurtrie, proprietor of the Abbotsford Hotel at Lady-
smith, has been in the hotel business for a number of years, and is one of
the best known and most effi.cient hotel directors in the province. The
quasi-public position of landlord is, when the reputation of a town with the
outside world is considered, the most important office that anyone can take
upon himself, and a capable performance of the duties involved means in-
estimable advantage to the welfare of the town, inasmuch as the community
is judged progressive or backward according to the character of public en-
tertainment afforded travelers.

The Abbotsford landlord was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, April 26,
1861, being a son of James and Margaret McNeill (Bryden) McMurtrie,
the parents still living in Scotland. After a public school education in Scot-
land which continued only through his early boyhood years, Mr. McMurtrie
became an apprentice to the gardening and horticulture business, and worked
at that for seven years. In 1882, being then of age, he came to the United
States, where for several following years he was engaged in railroading and
mining. In 1886 he came to Wellington, British Columbia, and after several
years spent in mining started a men's furnishing and clothing store, which he
successfully conducted for three years until he sold out to enter the hotel
business. In 1894 he built the Abbotsford Hotel at Wellington, at a cost of
eighteen thousand dollars, and in 1900 moved the entire establishment to
Ladysmith, where he made alterations and repairs to the building so that its



540 BRITISH COLUMBIA

valuation is now thirty thousand dollars. The Abbotsford is a credit to the
town and the province, it is conducted as a first-class public house, has all
modern equipments and conveniences, is noted for the excellence of its
cuisine, and has a steady and profitable patronage from the best elements
of the traveling public. It covers a ground space of one hundred and fifty
by one hundred and thirty-six feet, and contains thirty-six bedrooms.

Mr. McMurtrie served as mayor of the town of Wellington during 1898
and 1899. Fraternally he is affiliated with St. John's Lodge No. 21, A. F.
& A. M. ; Vancouver Commandery, K. T., and with Geiza Temple of the
Mystic Shrine. He was married in 1888 to Miss Edna Wall, a daughter of
Thomas Wall, of Wellington. Of the four children born of this happy union
two are living. Thomas Ernest and Ian Maclaren.

PETER LAMONT.

Peter Lamont, a prominent representative of mercantile interests in Nel-
son, is numbered among the pioneer settlers of the northwest of 1883 and the
history of the early development of this portion of the province would be in-
complete without the record of this gentleman who from the period of its
early development has been a prominent factor in advancing its substantial
growth. When the Kootenay district was cut off from the advantages and
comforts of the east by the great forest tracts and the high mountains, he
made his way across the country, braving all the trials and hardships of
frontier life in order to make a home in the northwest, rich in its resources, yet
unclaimed from the dominion of the red men.

Mr. Lamont was born on Prince Edward's Island in January, 1861, his
parents being Peter and Catherine (McKenzie) Lamont. His father is now
deceased, but the mother is still living, her home being yet on Prince Edward's
Island.

To the grammar schools of his native locality Peter Lamont is indebted
for the early educational privileges he enjoyed. He afterward worked for
a mercantile firm in New Brunswick, with whom he remained for three years
and then came to Regina in the northwest territory in 1883. He recognized
that this country had before it a splendid future, that its opportunities were
vast, that it contained splendid natural resources and that business conditions
were bound to improve it and business opportunities to increase. He there-
fore became a dealer in stationery and continued in that line for thirteen years,
when he organized a company in connection with Mr. Martin, and the Martin,
Lamont Company was thus formed. They opened a stock of drugs and sta-
tionery and were at Regina for one year. Mr. Lamont then organized the



BRITISH COLUMBIA 541

Canada Drug & Book Company and took two other stores there. At the same
time he opened stores in Revelstoke and Nelson. The company now operates
two stores in Nelson. On the ist of August, 1904, they amalgamated with
the Bole Drug Company, wholesale dealers in drugs, with warehouses at
Winnipeg and Calgary, the head office in the wholesale department being in
Winnipeg. Under the capable management of Mr. Lament the business has
constantly grown in volume and importance and has now reached extensive
and profitable proportions.

In 1898 Mr. Lamont wedded Miss Mary Thom, a daughter of James
Thom of Russell, Manitoba. He is a member of the Ancient Order of For-
esters and of the Knights of Pythias fraternity, and he belongs to the Presby-
terian church. Twenty-one years have come and gone since he arrived in
the northwest territories and throughout the intervening period he has been
a prominent factor in the advancement of the commercial interests, upon
which the growth and prosperity of village or city always depends. Widely
and favorably known, his life history cannot fail to prove of interest to his
many friends, and it is therefore with pleasure that we present his record to
our readers.

HON. SIMEON DUCK.

Hon. Simeon Duck, w^ho arrived in British Columbia as long ago as
1859, has been identified with the manufacturing business and political
affairs of Victoria for many years, and has been and still is an influence
working continually for the development and general welfare of his city
and provirice. His career is worthy of the high esteem in which he is held,
and his life history brings out one more of the strong characters who have
had so much to do with the actual making of Victoria and with its perma-
nent progress.

Mr. Duck is a native of St. Catharines, Ontario, having been born De-
cember I, 1834, so that he is now a man just turned into his seventies and
yet still active and vigorous in the conduct of his business affairs. He is
of good English ancestry. His parents, William and Mary (Jackson) Duck,
were both born in England, and about 1833 emigrated to New York, Will-
iam Duck was thoroughly loyal to his king, and he decided to come under,
the flag of his native land and accordingly moved to Canada. He secured
a farm near St. Catharines and resided there the rest of his life. He attained
the ripe old age of eighty-seven years, and his good wife likewise lived past
the biblical age of three score and ten, being seventy-five years old at the



542 BRITISH COLUMBIA

time of her death. They were the parents of seven children, four sons and
three daughters, and four of them still survive.

Mr. Simeon Duck is the only member of the family in British Colum-
bia. He was reared in his native town of St. Catharines, where he received
his early education. He also learned the trade of wagon and carriage maker.
About 1858 the new's of the gold discoveries in British Columbia reached him
and attracted him to this land of supposedly golden opportunity. He came
around by the Panama route and on the 21st of July, 1859, arrived in Vic-
toria, being then in his twenty-fifth year and strong and vigorous. He
went up to the Fraser river and tried his luck at mining, first at Hope and
then at Yale. Although gold was not so plentiful as his fertile imagination
had pictured it, there was nevertheless no danger of starving, since the river
was full of the splendid salmon. And upon one occasion when crossing the
river two large fish were caught on one spear by just driving it at random
down into the river. The principal diet of the men at the time was fish and
beans. Mr. Duck took a claim on Hill's Bar, which he worked most of the
summer, but did not make expenses. When he started from Victoria to the
Fraser river he had sixty dollars, but returned empty-handed. When he
was once more back in Victoria he began working at his trade, and he has
the distinction of being the first wagon and carriage maker in the city. In
order to make lumber for the first wagon he cut oak trees and whip-sawed
them, and from this material the first, wheeled vehicle made in Victoria was
manufactured. Mr. Duck also made the first wagon to run on the Cariboo
road. This wagon was purchased by Mr. F. J. Barnard for his express busi-
ness between Yale and Cariboo.

During his first years in Victoria there was not much demand for
wagons, but when the wagon road w-as opened through to Cariboo the de-
mand increased and Mr. Duck supplied most of the wagons used in those
early times. His business rapidly expanded into a general blacksmith and
carriage and wagon shop, and he did all kinds of work along these lines.
This business continued for nearly twenty years, and he reaped a well earned
success.

In 1878 Mr. Duck returned to Ontario to visit his parents and the
home of his youth, and on arriving once more at Victoria he again entered
into business. In politics he has always been a Conservative, but entirely
moderate in his views, believing more in principle than party. He took an
active interest in the Canadian confederation movement, and after that had
been accomplished he was elected a member of the first local legislature.
At the next general election he again stood but was defeated. In 1882 he



BRITISH COLUMBIA 543

was returned by the electors of Victoria to the local assembly as an inde-
pendent, and was very active in the legislative enactments of that time and
had the honor of holding the ofifice of minister of finance in the Smyth
cabinet. During the time Mr. Duck was a member of the cabinet he suc-
ceeded in obtaining for the city of Victoria what were then known as the
James Bay mud fiats and upon which now is being erected the palatial hotel
of the C. P. R. He also obtained a transfer of the Mount Douglas Reserve
to the city of Victoria for public park purposes.

Soon after its organization Mr. Duck became a member of the Victoria
volunteer fire department, and continued his active connection therewith for
twenty years, holding all the positions in the department up to chief engineer.
In October, 1865,, Mr. Duck received the sublime degree of Master Mason,
and for many years was a very active member of the order, having filled
all the offices up to and including that of master of the lodge. He also had
the honor of being the grand master of the grand lodge of the province in
1874-1875, and such was his proficiency and devotion to the w^ork that the
order has conferred upon him several tokens of appreciation of w^hich he
is very proud. He has also been connected with the Ancient Order of United
Workmen for the past twenty years.

May II, 1865, Mr. Duck was happily married to Mrs. Sarah Miller,
who is a native of the state of Ohio and a daughter of Mr. Peter Haught.
She is a pioneer of Texas. California and British Columbia. Mr. and Mrs.
Duck have one son, William Duck, who is a native son of Victoria and is a
barrister at law.

Mr. and Mrs. Duck have a pleasant home on Herald street where they
have resided during the last thirty-five years.

ROBERT MONTAGU BIRD.

Robert Montagu Bird, interested with his brother, Harry Bird, in the
real estate, insurance and mining business of Nelson and the Kootenay dis-
trict, is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Cheltenham, on
the loth of January, 1863. He was educated in Clifton college and after
leaving school accepted a position with the land agent on Lxjrd Ducie's estate
in Gloucestershire. There he remained for a year, after which he went
to Cornwall, where he was articled to the Redruth Brewing Company of
Redruth, learning the brewing trade and winning promotion as his efficiency
increased until he became head brewer. He remained there for three years
and in 1884 '^c went to Canada, settling in the Moose mountain district. There
; with Captain Pierce he established a store and in 1899 he came to British



644 BRITISH COLUMBIA

Columbia with his brother. They have since been associated in the conduct
of a real estate, insurance and mining business and through the many invest-
ments which they have placed they have contributed in substantial manner
to the growth and upbuilding of this portion of the country.

In 1885 Mr. Bird v/as united in marriage to Miss Mabel Shaw Page,
a daughter of Rev. Shaw Page, of Selsley Vicarage near Stroud in Glouces-
tershire. They have one son, Montagu Herbert. The parents are members
of the Church of England, and their sterling traits of heart and mind have
endeared them to many friends during their residence in Nelson.

ALFRED ST. GEORGE HAMERSLEY, K. C.

Alfred St. George Hamersley, city solicitor of Vancouver, occupying a
leading position at the bar, was born in Oxfordshire, England, on the 8th
of October, 1848. He is descended from English and Irish ancestors, the
line of descent being traced back to the time of King Richard, III. Sir Hugh
Hamersley, Lord Mayor of London in the third year of Charles First's reign,
the progenitor of the family in England, as far as is known, resided in that
county as early as 1625. Hugh Hamersley, esquire, father of A. St. G.
Hamersley, was chairman of the court of quarter sessions and deputy lieu-
tenant of the county of Oxfordshire for many years. He married Miss Ann
Phillips, an English lady belonging to the well known St. George family.
They were members of the Church of England, prominent in the social and
political circles of their part of the country.

Alfred St. George Hamersley, the only representative of the family
in British Columbia, acquired his education in Marlborough College and his
later education at the Middle Temple, London. He emigrated to New
Zealand in 1874, there remaining until 1887, when he returned to England
and the following year he came to Vancouver. He had heard favorable
reports of the advantages of this city and became imbued with the idea that
it had a splendid future before it. He therefore determined to locate here
and make the city his home and the field for the practice of his profession.
Becoming a member of the bar of British Columbia he has attained a dis-
tinguished position in connection with the practice of law. In 1890 he was



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