R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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drew Lees, v\'as born and reared. He too became a farmer, but did not
confine his attention entirely to agricultural pursuits, for he became the
owner of a flouring mill and was also interested in the lumber industry. He
and his wife held membership in the Presbyterian church and so lived as to
exemplify in their lives its teachings. Four of their family have chosen
British Columbia as a place of residence: James W., Guy, George Albert
and Andrew. Albert is in partnership with Andrew E. Lees.

In the common schools at Fallbrook, Ontario, Andrew E. Lees acquired
his literary education, and later he attended the Bellville Commercial College.
He came to British Columbia in 1880 and was at first identified with its
business interests as an employe in the Royal City Mills, at Westminster.
Subsequently he worked at sawmilling in Nanaimo, after which, with capital
acquired through his own labors, he purchased an interest in the Royal City
Mills, which he conducted for five years, meeting with satisfactory success.


He came to Vancouver in 1889 and was actively engaged in the .eal estate
l:usiness for a year as a member of the firm of Lees & Dowson. He then
purchased an interest in tlie clothing business of D. J. McLean, and the firm
did business for three years, at the end of which time Mr. Lees purchased Mr.
McLean's interest and conducted the business alone and with desirable success
until 1899, when he admitted his brother George to a partnership and the
fii"m has since lieen A. E. Lees & Company. They deal in clothing and men's
furnishing goods and now have a large patronage. Mr. Lees' honorable
methods in business have made this one of the popular mercantile enterprises
in this city of many fine stores, and the excellent line of goods which he
carries, combined with honorable methods, insures a continuance of a re-
munerative public support.

In community affairs Mr. Lees has been an active factor and his interest
in the welfare of the city has found tangible evidence in his labors for the
general good and substantial improvement of Vancouver. In 1901 he was
elected by his fellow citizens to the important office of park commissioner
and the work of improving and beautifying the park receives his very able
attention. The zoo has been started, much of the park has been adorned by
the art of the landscape gardener and a very attractive drive has been built
around the park, nine miles in length.

In 1887 Mr. Lees was happily married to Miss Anna Elizabeth Play-
fair, a distant relative on the maternal side of the family and of English
ancestry. They have five children, all born in British Columbia. Their
names are William Frederick, Mary Elizabeth, Jessie, Laura and Eugene
Arnold. Tliey have a delightful home in Vancouver. Mr. and Mrs. Lees
are members of the Methodist church and he belongs to Mount Hermon Lodge
No. 7, A.. F. & A. M., of Vancouver. He is a past master of His lodge,
has been its treasurer for the past seven years, and also belongs to the Ancient
Order of United Workmen. His life has been characterized by the enter-
prise which has been the dominant spirit in the upbuilding of the province,
and his marked individuality, manly purposes and unfaltering determination
have been the foundation upon which he has builded a success that is as cred-
itable as it is desirable.


S. J. Pitts was born in London, England, March 14, 1850, and received
his education at the College de France in that city. His father, John Henr}^
Pitts, was born at Tynmouth, Devon, being one of the well known county
families of that name, and was established in the city of London for sixteen


years as an East India merchant, with a branch house at Calcutta. Shortly
after the excitement occasioned by the news of the discovery of gold in Brit-
ish Columbia and California, the family moved to Victoria, where S. J. Pitts,
after completing his education at the collegiate school in this city, entered the
law office of Mr. John Copeland, continuing his legal studies till Mr. Cope-
land left the province. He then changed his career by entering into com-
mercial life as a wholesale commission merchant, meeting with such marked
success through his untiring energy and skilful management that his busi-
ness grew to be one of the largest wholesale importing houses in the province.
Mr. Pitts, always having the greatest confidence in the future of British
Columbia, invested largely in real estate, as also in the erection of several
business blocks in this city, and has taken a deep and helpful interest in the
welfare and progress of Victoria, and everything contributing to its growth
and prosperity. He has been particularly interested in promoting commer-
cial activity whereon the substantial improvement and progress of any com-
munity so largely depends. The appreciation of his efforts in this direction
has been plainly indicated by his being elected president of the wholesale
merchants' exchange, and also in his having been elected to his present posi-
tion of president of the Victoria Board of Trade, in which institution he has
long been an active member.


Thomas Wilson Paterson, a representative citizen of Victoria, is identi-
fied with many of the business and public interests of this province and since
taking up his residence here has turned his energy in channels of activity
of much permanent value to the city and country.

. He is a native of Scotland and in his active life has displayed many
of the worthy characteristics of the race. He was born near Kilmarnock,
Ayrshire, December 6, 185 1, and his ancestry is traced back in that country
for a number of generations. His father, William Paterson, was born and
reared and educated in Scotland. He married Miss Margaret Piersons, a
native of the same country, and in 1855 they emigrated to Canada. . The
father followed farming as his life work, and was held in high esteem in
his home locality. He was a councillor of his township, and was also one
of the pillars of the Presbyterian church. He was eighty-five years old
when called away from life in 1899, and his good wife, who survived him
until 1901, attained the age of seventy-nine years. They were the parents
of five children, three daughters and two sons, and the daughters reside in


Ontario. . John A. Paterson is a farmer residing at Ladner, British Co-

Mr. Paterson was educated in the public schools of Oxford county,
Ontario, and for the first fifteen years of his life remained on the farm.
He then apprenticed to the machinist's trade, and followed public works until
1885, when he came out to Victoria and became engaged in contracting on
public works. He built fifty miles of the E. & N. Railroad, and also con-
structed the Sushwap and Okanogan Railway, and is a stockholder in this
line. He built the original five miles of the Victoria tramway, and built and
operated for seven years the Victoria and Sidney Railway. He at present
is largely interested in milling and in stock and grain farming on his fine
estate of fourteen hundred acres near Victoria, and is in the lumber business
in connection with the Canadian Pacific Lumber Company. He and his wife
have a delightful home in Victoria, and are esteemed members of the society
of that city and members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Paterson has
been active in public affairs, and as a Liberal in politics served in the pro-
vincial legislature, and during his term was a member of the committees on
railways, mines and public accounts.

Mr. Paterson was happily married in 1886 to Miss Emma Riley, a
native of St. Catherine, Ontario. Her father, George Riley, is a member of
the legislature from Victoria.


Henry Schaake, of New Westminster, is the proprietor of one of the most
important industrial enterprises of the city and province. Like all important
undertakings of this character, it was on a small scale that the beginnings were
made of the Schaake machine shops and foundry, where are manufactured all
kinds of shop machinery, canning and can-making machinery, etc. It is one
of the most complete establishments of the kind in British Columbia, and its
success is evidence of the masterful ability with which Mr. Schaake has
prosecuted the enterprise from the first.

Mr. Schaake is still young in years, but has been connected with me-
chanical pursuits either as a workman, originator or individual proprietor since
he was a boy. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1867, a son of Henry and
Caroline (Fieseler) Schaake, natives of Germany, who emigrated to this coun-
try in their young days, and his father a prosperous shoe manufacturer of
Baltimore, Mr. Henry Schaake was educated in the public schools of Balti-
more and when a boy began learning the trade of a machinist in that city.
Of an active, originating mind he succeeded in inventing, in 1884, automatic

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can-making machinery, besides following his general trade. He went west
to San Francisco in 1887, and there formed the Eagle Automatic Can Com-
pany, with which he was connected as superintendent until he came to British
Columbia in 1896. His can-making invention had revolutionized that branch
of mechanical industry and he has ever since made the manufacture of this
machinery or its operation a part of his occupation. On coming to British
Columbia he built the Automatic Can Company's plant, equipping it with his
own patented machinery, and he remained the manager of this concern until
the disastrous fire of 1898. After that he established a plant of his own for
the manufacture of canning and can-making machines and also a general
foundry and machine works. Only five men were employed at the start, but
the force has since been augmented to sixty and the entire industry has ex-
panded proportionately. For the past few years attention has also been given
to tlie manufacture of shingle and sawmill machinery. The firm operates its
own machine shop, pattern, blacksmith, foundry and draughting departments,
so that it is one of the most complete plants of the kind in the northwest.
Further additions and improvements are constantly in progress and the con-
tinued growth and prosperity of the concern are practical certainties. Owing
to the increased demand for shingle and sawmill machinery in the past few
years they have equipped their plant with a complete and modern line of tools
especially adapted for the manufacture of general mill machinery. Theii
patterns and designs for that class of work cover the latest ideas for the manu-
facture of lumber and shingles, they having in connection with their plant
a corps of the most expert workmen and who have made a specialty of adopt-
ing new designs and improved methods for the manufacture of this particular
line of machinery, this being the only plant in British Columbia who carry a
complete line of patterns and designs suitable for the installment of mill ma-
chinery of any capacity. In 1904 Mr. Schaake established a branch for the
manufacture of the same line of machinery in Seattle, Washington, and an
agency has been placed in San Francisco, where is carried a line of his canning
and can-making machinery.

Mr. Schaake is a member of the New Westminster Board of Trade and
is always interested in matters pertaining to the welfare of the citv. Frater-
nally he is a member of the Masonic order. In 1887 he was married to Miss
Kate Rider, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a daughter of Anton Rider,
an old and prominent citizen of that place. Mr. and Mrs. Schaake are the
parents of three children, Carrie, Irene and Howard.



Charles A. Vernon is a British Columbia pioneer of 1863 and now
a prominent and well known resident of Victoria. He has been an active
factor in the industrial and manufacturing, enterprises of the province, and
has shown large capacity for directing interests of great magnitude, and
his public-spirited citizenship has always been in evidence throughout his
career in the province.

Born in Bedfordshire, England, January 17, 1840, a son of J. E.
Venables Vernon, of Clontarf Castle, Ireland, he is a descendant of Norman
ancestry, the earliest Vernon, taking his name from the town of that name
in Normandy, being a companion in arms with William the Conqueror,
and entering England at the time of the conquest. One branch of the family
remained resident in England, and the branch from which Mr. Vernon is
descended went to Ireland and settled near Dublin, where the generations
have remained to the present time, and several fine estates in that vicinity
have been in the family name for centuries.

Mr. Vernon was educated in R. M. C. Sandust, being trained for mili-
tary life, and for some time, held a commission as lieutenant in the Twentieth
Regiment Lancaster Fusileers. In June, 1863, ^^ ^^^ his brother, the
Hon. Forbes G. Vernon, former chief commissioner of lands and works in
British Columbia, sailed from Liverpool for New York, thence by the Panama
route arrived at San Francisco and then at Esquimault, from which point
they went to^ the Okanogan country and established there a large cattle
ranch. They were the first settlers in their locality, for some time having
the only settlement within a radius of one hundred miles. That is a rich
country, and on the fifteen thousand acres of land which they secured they
raised immense herds of cattle and horses and carried on the enterprise with
marked success in all dq^artments, until they disposed of their holding to
the Earl of Aberdeen. They were also engaged in merchandising and min-
ing, and their enterprises formed the nucleus around which the town of
Vernon was built up, the name of the brothers being given to that, the oldest
town in that section of the province. After spending a number of years in
that business and in that locality, Mr. Vernon came to Victoria, where he
has since had his home and chief business interests. He has a handsome
residence, attractive and noteworthy in a city of fine homes. He is one of
the owners of the British Columbia Pottery Company, manufacturers of
tile and all kinds of pottery, their works being located on the E. & N. Rail-
road at Russell. Mr. Vernon is rated as one of the most substantial and


enterprising business men of the province, and as a pioneer resident he takes
additional interest in the growth and prosperity of British Columbia and has
in many ways shown his eminent public spirit in many matters affecting the
city's welfare.

Mr. Vernon was married in 1879, in New York, to Miss McTavish
a native of Argyleshire, Scotland. Their eldest child, Albert Archibald,
served in the South African war in the Strathcone Horse and is now a lieu-
tenant in the Fifth Contingent Regiment. He is six feet three inches tall,
and every inch a soldier and vigorous young man, and has given a very
creditable account of himself as one of British Columbia's native sons. He
is at present engaged in railway surveying. The second son, Charles Henry,
is now in the Bank of Commerce, and the daughter, Voilet Mary, is now the
wife of Captain Blandy, R. E. The family are adherents of the Episco-
palian faith. Mr. Vernon's disposition to retirement and management of
his private affairs has never allowed him to engage in public life, and he
has accordingly never sought or desired ofifice. However, he served for a
number of years as gold commissioner and land commissioner for the prov-
ince and has also been appointed to the office of justice of the peace.


Henry Carlyon Edwards is a successful retail grocer in Victoria and
also well known throughout the province through his connection with the
great fraternal order of the A. O. U. W. He is now grand master workman
of the grand lodge of this order in British Columbia, and his career in the
order has been one of unusual honor and marked by faithful and effective
efforts towards the upbuilding' and strengthening of the society.

Mr. Edwards has lived in Victoria since he was ten years old, and,
being educated and reared in this city, has throughout his active life been
interested in its welfare and his own enterprises have added permanency
to the city's resources. His business course shows his persistency in follow-
ing out one line of work and in devoting his energies to that line until he
arrived at a high degree of individual success. Mr. Edwards was born in
England, January 2, iS/O, and is of good English ancestry. His father,
Richard Edwards, was born, reared and educated in that country, and was
married there to Miss Mary Jane Carlyon. Six children were born to
them in England, and in 1881 the entire family emigrated to British Colum-
bia, where the father has since followed merchandising in the main. He and
his wife are Methodists, and they now reside on Salt Spring island.
■ Mr. Edwards completed his early education in Victoria, and when but


a boy began learning the plasterer's trade, which he followed until he was
nineteen years old. He then accepted a clerkship in the store of which he
is now the proprietor, which position has been won by his own labor and
business industry. He filled the place of clerk altogether for eleven years,
and during this time a change of ownership in the store was made, but with-
out affecting his relationship as an employe. In December, 1903, he pur-
chased this establishment and has since conducted it as a high-grade retail
grocery. He put in an entirely new stock of family groceries, and he enjoys
a large and profitable trade.

November 28, 1890, Mr. Edwards married Miss Ellen Frances Sarge-
son. They have four children, all of whom were born in Victoria, namely:
William Francis, Henry Grant, Richard C. and Gerald. They reside in
one of Victoria's nice homes, and are held in the highest regard in the social
circles of the city.

Mr. Edwards is a member of the Masonic fraternity, holding the office
of steward in his lodge. In 1893 he united with the Ancient Order of
United Workmen, and he has since filled all the offices of both the subordi-
nate and the grand lodges. He is now serving his second term as grand
master workman of the grand lodge of the province. He is also a member
of the Degree of Honor. His further fraternal affiliations are with the
Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of the World, and he is a past coun-
cillor in. the latter order.


Joshua Kingham is prominent in Victoria business circles as a coal
dealer and representative of several fire insurance companies, and has also
manifested a deep interest in the public welfare of the city. He has the
reputation of being a straightforward, progressive and enterprising man of
affairs, and has won and retained the high esteem of all his fellow citizens.

Mr. Kingham is a native Englishman and comes of an old and honor-
able English family. He was born February 22, 1866, in Buckingham-
shire, and was educated in Bedfordshire. He began business life as an ac-
countant with the firm of T. Lye & Sons, and continued in that line for
several years. His brother, the Rev. Henry Kingham, had in the mean-
while come out to Victoria and become assistant rector of the Episcopal
church. Impressed by the reports sent back by his brother concerning the
natural opportunities and resoinxes of this province, Mr. Kingham was not
long in making up his mind to try this new world field. He came to Vic-
toria in 1890, and for a time followed his business as accountant and also


Avas in the jewelry trade. In 1897 he accepted the agency of the Nanaimo
colheries, and has since sold a large amount of coal in Victoria. He is
the sole agent for these well known coal mines, and he has built up the
trade to large and profitable proportions. In addition he has the agency of
the New York Underwriters and of several other prominent companies, and
each year writes a number of policies in the city. His attention is also
devoted to the business of a large forwarding firm, whose representative he
is in this city, and in this capacity he attends to the shipping of a large
amount of goods.

Mr. Kingham was married in 1897 to Miss Grace Helen Fawcet, who
is a native daughter of Victoria and her father is Mr. Rowland Fawcet of
this city. They have three children, all of whom were born in Victoria :
Dorothy Grace, Rowland Joshua and Agnes Constance. The family are
Episcopalians, attending the Reformed Episcopal church, in which Mr. King-
ham is a committeeman. He fraternizes with the Knights of Pythias, and
takes an active part in the social and club life of the city. He is president
of the Pacific Club, and also president of the Victoria Liberal Association.
As a member of the council of the board of trade he finds oppotrtunity to
exert his efforts and influence for the welfare of the city, and never fails to
do his ]3art in this laudable work.


Ludwig E. Erb, the founder and for so many years the active pro-
prietor of the Victoria Brewing Company, died at his home in Victoria in
1897. He was a pioneer citizen of the province, one of the ablest factors
in the upbuilding of his city, and an influential member of society.

Mr. Erb was born in Cassel, Germany, in 1836. He was reared in his
native country, and after the education of the schools passed to a practical
training for the affairs of life as an apprentice to the brewer's trade. He
came to America at the age of twenty-one, and after passing a few years in
New York and San Francisco came up to British Columbia and had an
experience in the mining district of the Cariboo, when the gold excitement
there was at its height. In 1870 he established the brewing business in Vic-
toria which has so long been conducted under the name of the Victoria
Brewing Company, and he was the active manager of this concern until his
death, at which time his son Emil A. took charge and still manages the
same. Mr. Erb was a member of the Pioneer Society of British Columbia,
and v^'as affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in
various other ways was closely identified with the affairs of his home city.


The Erb home is one of the prettiest in Victoria, and the family have a high
standing, whe-itver known.

]\''r. Erb was married in 1872 to Miss Augusta Jungermann, who w^as
born 111 Albany, New York, a daughter of Juhus L. Jungermann and Barbara
Slichel, both of German stock. There are four children in the Erb family:
Augusta, w'xit of J. E. Wilson; Matilda, wife of Biggerstaff Wilson; and
Emil A. and Herman.


Thomas Joseph Armstrong, one of the enterprising native sons of British
Columbia, is sheriff of the county of Westminster and in many ways prom-
inently identified with the affairs of New Westminster, city and district. He
is a member of the well known Armstrong family, which has furnished pio-
neers and some of the ablest men of affairs that have participated in the growth
and development of this section of the province.

Mr. Armstrong was born in New Westminster in 1864, being a son of
William James and Honor C. (Ladner) Armstrong. His father is now re-
tired from his former activity in business and public affairs, being one of the
honored residents of New Westminster, and his biography is given on other
pages of this work.

The common and high schools of New Westminster gave Mr. Armstrong
his early educational opportunities. His school days continued until he was
eighteen years old, at which age he became a clerk in a book and stationery
store. He later went to California and learned the drug business in San Fran-
cisco. On returning to British Columbia in 1885 he engaged in the drug
trade in partnership with F. H. Coulter at New Westminster, but in the fol-
lowing year disposed of his interests to D. S. Curtis, who is still numbered
among the leading drug men of the city. In May, 1886, began Mr. Arm-
strong's career in public office, at which time he became deputy for his father,
who was then sheriff. He continued the deputyship until September 17, 1892,
and on that date was appointed acting sheriff of the county of Westminster.
On the coming into force of the act dividing the counties of Westminster and
Vancouver, on October 27, 1892, he received the appointment of acting sheriff
for the latter county also, and held the conjoint positions until July 25, 1893,
on which date he was appointed sheriff for county Westminster, and has filled

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 64 of 79)