R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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ant of the Howe family, long residents of America. Mr. Carlisle died in his
sixtieth year, while his wife survived and passed away in the seventy-eighth
year of her age. They held membership in the Baptist church, their lives
being in consistent harmony with their professions. They were the parents
of nine children, four of whom are living.

John Howe Carlisle, the only member of the family in British Columbia,
was educated in Hillboro, Alberta county, and was reared upon his father's
farm, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot
of the agriculturist. He continued to reside under the parental roof until
he came to Vancouver and the entire period of his manhood has been passed
in this city, which Phoenix-like, has risen from the ashes of the fire that
almost entirely swept it out in 1886. He has been always deeply interested
in what has been accomplished here for permanent improvement and sub-
stantial development, and his aid and co-operation could always be counted


upon for the support and championship of progressive measures. For three
years he was engaged in trucking having his own team. In May, 1886, the
volunteer fire department was organized and Mr. Carhsle became one of its
original members, being connected with the hose department. In January,
1887, he was made chief and has since ably filled this position. With the
growth of the city he has wrought a revolution in the fire department of Van-
couver, keeping in touch with the progressive spirit of the times and intro-
ducing every modern device, the practical value and utility of which has been
proven in fighting the flames.- In 1889 there was in the company eight full
paid men and twelve call men. They now have thirty-five full paid men and
the equipment comprises two engines, one a first class water engine, the other
a third class Ronald engine. There is a seventy-five foot aerial truck and
a village truck, three two-horse hose wagons, two chemical two-horse
wagons, two combined two-horse hose and chemical wagons, fifteen fire halls
distributed over the city in convenient localities, No. 2 being the principal
one. It is located at No. 554 Seymour street, and was built and equipped at
a cost of thirty-five thousand dollars. It is a modern structure, one of the
best of its class on the Pacific coast and, indeed, is said to be the best fire hall
in Canada, being supplied with every necessary convenience. Mr. Carlisle de-
serves much credit for the planning of this splendid department. He has
taken much pains to inform himself on the subject of fire halls and everything
in connection with fire departments, and Vancouver has today a fire de-
partment which has been developed under his management until the protec-
tion of the city from fire is as near perfect as could be obtained. The fire
department has had to fight several large conflagrations, and has in all cases
shown its marked ability to cope with the fire fiend, its men acquitting them-
selves with credit. He is calm and fearless in the face of danger, being
thus enabled to direct the efforts of his men to the best advantage and to de-
termine with marked celerity of action upon the best course to pursue.

In 189 1 Mr. Carlisle was married to Miss Laura McCrae, who was born
in Alberta county, New Brunswick, of Scotch ancestry. Their home has
been blessed with seven children, all born in Vancouver, British Columbia.
These are Dora Maria, Frank Russell, Ethel Jane, Keneth W., Walter, Ella
and Verona. They have a nice residence at No. 1237 Robson street and they
are members of the Baptist church, in which he is a trustee. He likewise
belongs to Acacia lodge, A. F. & A. M., and Vancouver chapter, R. A. M.,
and enjoys the highest regard of his brethren of the craft. His splendid
service in the connection with the fire department covering seventeen years
as chief has made him one of the representative men of Vancouver. .






John Abrahamson, hotel proprietor and business man at Revelstoke and
Trout Lake, has been identified with the interests of interior British Colum-
bia for some twenty years, and is one of the best known, as well as one of the
most successful, citizens of this part of the province. He is a hardy, energetic,
first class business man and a public-spirited citizen, and is esteemed for his
rugged honesty and personal worth. Having made his own way in the
world since he was twelve or thirteen years old, he knows the meaning of
self-help and personal application, and he has attained an honorable position
in life by his own diligence and persevering efforts.

Mr. Abrahamson is a native of Sweden, and has no doubt inherited much
of his virility of character from his native race. Bom near Venersborg, De-
cember 20, 1854, he was a son of Abraham and Christine (Anderson) Abra-
hamson. His father is living in Revelstoke, but his mother is deceased.
After an education in the public schools of Sweden, from which he received
his certificate when twelve years old, he joined two of his brothers and went
into the stone-cutting and bridge-building business, which he followed for
eight years as a workman. He and his brothers, Charles and Andrew, then
began contracting in the same line. In 1880 he came tO' the United States
and after a short stay in Chicago went toi Minneapolis, where he was foreman
in a mine. He took a contract for grading on the Canadian Pacific Railway
at Winnipeg, and, continuing this business as the road was gradually extended
westward, he finally reached the town of Revelstoke in 1885, at which place
he made what has proved to be his permanent location. He started a hotel in
this town with his brothers, Charles, Andrew and Noah, and in 1891, when
they opened at Trout Lake, Andrew and Noah took over the management
of " The Queens" at that city, while John and Charles remained at Revel-
stoke, the brothers conducting the business in partnership, John being the
manager of the firm, and has followed that line of activity ever since. In
1891 he and his brother built a hotel at Trout Lake City, on the north end
of Trout Lake, and they now conduct hotels at both places, the Central in
Revelstoke and the Queen at Trout Lake. Prior to building the latter hostelry
they had taken up the land where Trout Lake City now stands, and there
laid out the townsite, since which time they have been actively identified with
promoting the growth and prosperity of that town and have the satisfaction
of seeing their plans maturing very successfully. They own the land adjoin-
ing the townsite, and are also largely interested in mining in that locality.
The Central Hotel is one of the finest public houses in interior British Colum-



bia, being one hundred and ninety by one hundred and twenty feet in dimen-
sions and three stories high, is well furnished and equipped with modern cor-
veniences, and has been conducted along such liberal and up-to-date lines
that it has been a credit to the town and served as the best advertisement
abroad which Revelstoke could maintain.

Mr. Abrahamson has been closely identified with social and public affairs.
He affiliates with Gold Range Lodge No. 26, Knights of Pythias, and with
Revelstoke Aerie No. 432, of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. A Liberal in
politics and president of the local Liberal Association, he has served as coun-
cilman of Revelstoke since its incorporation as a town in 1897, with the
exception of two terms when he refused to run, and in 1900 he was appointed
to the office of mayor, to fill the unexpired term of R. S. Smith.


Alfred Wallace, the leading representative of the ship-building inter-
ests in Vancouver, was born in Davenport, England, on the nth of De-
cember, 1866, and is descended from Scotch and English ancestry. His
father, Samuel T. Wallace, also a native of England, was born in 1840,
and has been engaged in the ship-building industry throughout his entire
business career. He married Miss Jane Pope, who was born in 1843, ^^^
they are residents of Brixham, England. They hold membership with the
Church of England and Mr. Wallace is prominent in his community, both so-
cially and in business circles.

Alfred Wallace, reared under the parental roof, acquired his education
in the public schools and afterward learned the ship-builder's trade under
the direction of his father, following that pursuit in England for seven
years prior to his removal to the far west. He crossed the water to Canada
in 1889 ^^'^^^ spent three years in Owensound, while the year 1890 witnessed
his arrival in Vancouver. The city was then very insignificant compared
with its present splendid proportions and modern improvements.

Since his arrival in Vancouver the success which has attended the
efforts of Mr. Wallace has been uniform and rapid and he has had no
occasion to regret his determination to establish his home here. As a ship-
builder he is well known. His yards are located in Vancouver at the foot
of the Granville street bridge on False creek and he established his business
at its present location in 1890 and has since had a large patronage in this
line. In fact, he is recognized as the most important representative of ship-
building interests in Vancouver. He was the builder of the steamer Albion,
also the D. G. cruiser Kestrel and the St. George, the North Vancouver


ferryboat and many others. He has bnih on an average of two hundred
and thirty fishing" boats annually for eight consecutive years, and in 1903
over four hundred and thirty, each boat costing about one hundred and
ten dollars and such are his facilities for turning out work that he has
completed fishing boats in two hours. He has a marine way in which he
can take out two hundred and fifty tons dead weight in displacement. His
work lD€ing of substantial character has secured him a large trade and the
honorable business methods which he has followed has led patrons tO' recom-
mend him to others and thus the volume of his business has steadily grown.
In 1886 occurred the marriage of Mr. Wallace and Miss Eliza Eugene
Underbill, a native of London, England. They have two children : Clarence
and Herbert Alfred. They are members of the Methodist church and Mr.
Wallace lD<?longs to the Western Star Lodge, L O. O. F., and is a prominent
Mason, holding membership in Mount Herman Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of
which he is now senior deacon ; in the Royal Arch chapter ; and in the Lodge
of Perfection, having attained the fourteenth degree of the Scottish Rite.
He has a good residence in Vancouver and the name and place which he
has made for himself in business circles are such which he may be justly


John Henry Ashwell, a prosperous and well known merchant of Chilli-
wack, is a native son of British Columbia and during an active business
career of something like twenty years has become one of the leading men
of his town and district, known for his executive ability, his solid integrity
and his public-spirited citizenship. He belongs to a family that has achieved
much in the commercial affairs of New W^estminster district, and his father,
George Randall Ashwell, an extended sketch of whom appears elsewhere in
this work, has long been prominent in the affairs of the Chilliwack valley.

Air. Ashwell was born in the city of New Westminster, October 5,
1868, and when five years old accompanied his parents on their removal
to Chilliwack. Completing the grammar school course, at the age of eleven
he passed the second highest examination for high school in the province,
two being tied for the second place. He continued his education in the
Columbian Methodist College in New Westminster, where he took the full
course and graduated at the age of eighteen. He then entered his father's
store at the river landing near Chilliwack, and learned all the details of the
business. In 1887 the business was moved into Chilliwack and the prop-
erty purchased where the new store now stands, and since then the son has


assumed full management of the concern and built it up to the highest
measure of commercial success. There is carried a stock valued at twenty-
five thousand dollars, and the trade extends throughout the valley, with
brai.ches at Sardis and Rosedale. The store building covers a space one
hundred by forty-six feet, is two stories high, and has steel sidings. There
are two warehouses for the reserve stock, and a most complete and well
selected line of general merchandise can be found in the various depart-

Mr. Ashwell has taken a leading part in affairs pertaining to the social
and public welfare of his community. He is secretary of Ionic Lodge No.
19. A. F. & A. M., and is past grand of Excelsior Lodge No. 7, I. O. O. F.
Fie is president of the local board of trade, and is postmaster at Sardis. He
and his family are Methodists. He was married December 15, 1892, to
Miss Emma Maria Vickerson, a daughter of Edward Vickerson, formerly
of Dtmdas, Ireland, now deceased. Three children have been born of this
happy union, namely, Ewart Leslie, Iris and Sibyl.


Milton Fletcher Gillanders, known throughout the ChilHwack as one
of the most progressive and prosperous farmers of that region, was a pioneer
agricultural settler of his locality, and during thirty years of capable and
enterprising activity has gained an assured place in the industrial and civic
affairs of his community, and is tmiversally respected and honored for the
integrity and worth of his personal character and for his usefulness in every
department of life where his energies are directed.

He was born in Northumberland county, Ontario, in September, 1859,
being a son of Donald and Margaret (Dawson) Gillanders, the former
deceased, and the mother being a resident of Chilliwack. His education in
the public schools of his native county alternated with work and rugged
training on the home farm, and in 1873 he left home and came west to
British Columbia. In the same year he located in Chilliwack valley, where
he bought land from the government, there being comparatively few set-
tlers in the neighborhood at the lime. He now owns one hundred and
eighty acres, all of which is under cultivation, and his successful operations
are directed to general farming, stock-raising and dairying. It is generally
conceded that he has one of the best farms in the valley, and it has gained
this reputation through his own progressive and thrifty enterprise in man-
aging all his affairs on a profitable and up-to-date basis. The ranch is located
about four miles from Chilliwack, and is a model in appearance as well as




in productivity and value. In stock-raising he makes a specialty of the
Oxford Down sheep. Mr. Gillanders is held in high esteem among his fel-
low agriculturists, and at the present writing is serving as president of the
Farmers' Institute.

Mr. Gillanders was married in t888 to Miss Matilda Maud Corry, a
drughter of William Corry, of Ontario. Their three children are Alvin,
Leah and Verna. Mr. Gillanders is a Conservative in politics, and he and
his wife are Methodists.


George Alan Kirk is managing director and a stockholder in the large
and well known wholesale firm of Turner, Beeton and Company, Limited, one
of the most prosperous and extensive houses in the wholesale district of the
city of Victoria. This company are large importers of dry goods, and also
manufacture overalls and miners' clothing. This is also one of the oldest com-
mercial houses in the city, having been established in 1863, and it has had a
continuous and prosperous existence for over forty years. Incorporation
was effected in 1902, the incorporators being Messrs. John Herbert Turner,
R. A. L. Kirk, George Alan Kirk, H. B. Thompson and Percy Criddle.
The trade of Turner, Beeton and Company extends throughout British Colum-
bia and the entire Northwest Territory and fhe Yukon district. The stock-
holders are all Englishmen, and Mr. J. H. Turner and Mr. R. A. L. Kirk
still reside in the old country and give their personal attention to the pur-
chase of the goods to be imported to this firm. The personnel of the firm is
of the highest character and financial standing, and the business has been
directed in such honorable and trustw'orthy manner as to deserve all the ex-
cellent prosperity which has been its lot.

Mr. George A. Kirk was born in Dover, England, March 8, 1870. He
is of Scotch-Irish and English ancestry, and the Kirks are of old and hon-
ored Highland stock. His grandfather w-as Captain Robert Kirk, who was
captain in the Seventieth Regiment and part of his service was spent in
Canada. Mr. Kirk's father was Colonel James B. Kirk, also an officer in the
British army, in the Ninety-first Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, and as
lieutenant of the Ninety-sixth Regiment was quartered in eastern Canada.
His wife was a Miss Durant, a native of England, and they were the parents
of five children.

Mr. Kirk is the only member of the family in British Columbia. He,
like his father and grandfather, received military training. He spent six
years in the royal navy, and during that time w-as on the Pa(5ific coast, in the



West Indies, in the Baltic and the Enghsh channel. He then entered the
office of Grout and Company, silk crepe manufacturers in London, and was
later connected with the office of H. C. Bateman and Company of London.
In 1902 he came out to Victoria to take an interest in the Turner, Beeton
and Company, and he has since been their efficient managing director, and is
responsible for much of the present success of the firm.

September 3, 1903, Mr. Kirk was happily married in Victoria to Miss
Elizabeth Georgina Harvey, who is a granddaughter of Mrs. Robert Duns-
muir. Mr. and Mrs. Kirk adhere to the faith of the Church of England, and
he is an active member of the Victoria board of trade and is always alert to
the highest welfare and progress of his adopted city.


David R. Ker, one of the more prominent and successful business men
of British Columbia, is a native son of Victoria. He was born October 2,
1862, and is of Scotch ancestry, his parents, Robert and Jessie (Russell)
Ker, being natives of Scotland. They were reared, educated and married
in that country and in 1859 Robert Ker came to Victoria by way of the Pan-
ama route, wishing to view the country and form for himself an opinion of
the future possibilities of the country. Satisfied that it had a good business
opening and that a bright future was before it, Mr. Ker sent for his wife
in 1861 and she also came by the Panama route to join her husband in the
new world. It was his intention to go to the mines in search of gold but
he abandoned that plan on receiving an appointment with the Crown Colony
in the treasury department, where lie rendered such satisfactory service that
he was made auditor under the dominion government. He continued in that
position until his death, which occurred February 12, 1879. In religious
faith he was an Episcopalian and ere leaving his native land he had been made
a member of the Masonic fraternity. His faithful wife, who shared with
him in the pioneer experiences of the northwest, still survives him. They
were the parents of four sons, two in Vancouver and two in Victoria, namely :
Robert James, who is secretary of the British Columbia Packers Association;
Thomas Arnot, who is manager of the B. & K. mill in Victoria ; Walter Henry,
who has charge of the large business of the house in Vancouver; and Dav-
id R.

The last named, profiting by the system of public instruction in Vic-
toria, later attended the College School here, his brothers also being students
with him. He prepared himself for a mercantile career but decided to learn
the milling business and for that purpose worked several years in different


mills in Victoria and in San Francisco, in order to gain practical knowledge
of the business in every detail. From the latter city he returned to Vic-
toria and entered into partnership with Mr. Brackman, who was the founder
of the mill and business at Saanich. The business continued to increase under
the joint management and control of Messrs. Ker and Brackman and in
1886 they opened the warehouses and offices in Victoria, which has since
been a center of their trade, Mr. Ker taking full charge of the business
here. He has since developed a trade which in extent and importance ex-
ceeds any enterprise of the kind in the province and in the northwest. The
"B. & K." manufactured by the house, is the leading brand of rolled oats in
the northwest, and many other kinds of breakfast food are manufactured and
find a ready sale on the market throughout the province and as far east as
Winnipeg. The sales have increased until the annual business, once repre-
sented by the sum of twenty-four thousand dollars, has reached over one
million dollars each year. After the death of Mr. Brackman Mr. Ker became
the principal owner of the business to which he is devoting his entire atten-
tion and he has the reputation of being one of Victoria's most successful busi-
ness men.

On the 1 2th of June, 1894, Mr. Ker was united in marriage to Miss
Laura Agnes Heisterman, a native of Victoria and a daughter of Henry T.
Heisterman, now deceased, who was one of the distinguished pioneers of
this city. Their union has been blessed with two sons and a daughter, all
born in Victoria, the birthplace of their parents. In order of birth they are
Rol^ert Henry Brackman, Bernard Russell and Laura Dabida. The Ker
home is one of the delightful residences of Victoria. Mr. and Mrs. Ker are
communicants of the Episcopal church and Mr. Ker is a Royal Arch Mason.
In politics he is conservative. He belongs to the board of trade of Victoria
and he takes a deep interest in and renders substantial aid to every enter-
prise intended to promote the welfare or promote the permanent improve-
ment of his native city. Honored and respected by all there is no man who
occupies a more enviable position in business circles than Mr. Ker, not alone
because of the large success he has achieved but also by reason of the straight-
forward methods and commendable business policy he has ever followed.


Thornton Fell, a prominent representative of the British Columbia bar,
and an alderman of his home city of Victoria and clerk of the Legislative
Assernbly, has been a public-spirited man of affairs and a well known citizen
of Victoria throughout his active career, and, because of his own success and


the conspicuous part taken by his father in the pubHc and business life of
the province, the P>11 family has for many years maintained a high position
in social and business circles.

Mr. Thornton Fell was born in Chester, England, in 1855. His father,
the late James Fell, was born at Muncaster Head, Cumberland county, Eng-
land, October 13, 1821, and was educated at his native place. Later he
engaged in business in London and Liverpool in the wholesale tea trade. He
was married in England to Miss Sarah Thornton. In 1862, accompanied
by his eldest son, Fred Fell, he came out by way of the Panama route to
British Columbia, and the two went to the gold fields of the Cariboo district,
where they prospected and located a number of claims, but had only moderate
success in this undertaking. They then went to Victoria and in partnership
with Mr. John Finlayson opened a tea, spice and coffee business. This met
with immediate and continued success, and in time a full stock of groceries
was added, and the business thus established has ever since been conducted
in the city, the firm name now being Fell and Company.

Mr. James Fell died in 1890, being then in his sixty-ninth year. He
was prominent in many other ways than by his connection with the city's
commercial interests. He had fraternal relations with the Lidependent Order
of Odd Fellows. His interest in public affairs and government policies made
him an influential figure throughout his career. He took a firm stand for
responsible government and confederation with the Dominion when that
movement was uppermost in Canadian politics, and he was always a strong
and uncompromising free trader. In 1882 he stood as a candidate for the
house of commons, but was defeated. In 1886 he was elected mayor of
Victoria, and re-elected in 1887, and gave the fullest satisfaction in the

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 57 of 79)