R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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increasing in volume and value, and he is now a leading representative of
that class of business in the province.

Mr. Hart is a public-spirited citizen and is actively concerned in mat-
ters pertaining to the improvement of his city. He served as an alderman
in 1902. He is a member of the council of the local board of trade. Mr.


( 1. 1

[I v


Hart is commissioner in British Columbia for the Island of Newfoundland.
As a Conservative he has always manifested much interest in local and pro-
vincial politics. Fraternally he affiliates with the Masons, the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, and with the Sons of England.

In 1895 Mr. Hart married Miss xA.lice Chapman, who was born in
Birmingham, England. Her father, Edward Chapman, emigrated to New-
foundland when a young- man. Three children have been torn of this mar-
riage; namely, Kingsley Chapman, Florence Elizabeth and Fredrica Alice.


Victoria includes among its representative business men and respected
citizens James Muirhead, who has long been identified with its industrial
interests as. a manufacturer of sash, doors and mouldings. He was born in
Starlingshire, Scotland, on the 20th of November, 1837, and is a descendant
of an old and honored Scotch family, of w^hich country his parents, John
and Agnes (McClern) Muirhead, were also natives. In his youth the father
went to Halifax, there learning the carpenter's trade, and after spending
some years in that city as a carpenter and builder he returned to Scotland,
and the remainder of his life was spent in his native land. He was a man
of sterling character, and attained to a ripe old age, his honored wife pre-
ceding him several years to the home beyond. They were worthy mem-
bers of the Presbyterian church, and in their family were four children.

James Muirhead, the only member of his father's family in the Prov-
ince, received his education in Glasgow, Scotland, there also learning the
carpenter and joiner's trade. In 1857 he left his native land of hills and
heather and went to Ontario, Canada, where he worked at his chosen occu-
pation for about two years, after which he went to New York City, thence
to New Orleans, and for two and a half years was a resident of Peru. In
1862 he came to Victoria, British Columbia, this journey being due to the
many thrilling stories he had heard concerning the Cariboo gold discov-
eries, but in place of going to the diggings he decided to follow the occu-
pation he had previously learned and thus became a contractor and builder
in Victoria. Among other work on which he was engaged was the build-
ing of the penitentiary. In 1870 the firm of Muirhead & Mann was
formed, and they embarked in the manufacture of sash, doors and all kinds
of wood work for building purposes, and in addition they have also done
considerable steamboat work, the steamer Princess Beatrice being among
the number completed by this firm. Mr. Mann is now retired from the busi-
ness, and Mr. Muirhead is associated therein with his two sons, John Thomas


?.nd James McClearn. In his family are also two daughters, Agnes and

The marriage of Mr. Muirhead occurred in 1870, when Miss Rebecca
Fleming became his wife, her birth occurring in Australia, but she is of
Scotch parentage. The family reside in a beautiful residence which Mr.
Muirhead has had built on the Esquimault Road. Throughout the period
of his residence here he has been identified with many business interests,
has acquired considerable valuable city property, and is numbered among
Victoria's prominent and successful citizens.


Hon. Gordon Hunter, chief justice of the province of British Colum-
bia, is a native of Ontario, Canada, born in Bansville, on the 4th of May,
1863, and is of Scotch and Irish ancestry. His father, J. Howard Hunter,
was born in the south of Ireland and is descended from one of the old and
distinguished families of that country. He married Miss Ann Gordon, a
native of the highlands of Scotland, representing one of the old families
that for generations had lived in the mountainous districts of Scotland. In
i860 Mr. and Mrs. J. Howard Hunter emigrated to Ontario, Canada,
where they are both living, he occupying an important office of honor and
trust in that city. They became the parents of seven children, Judge Hun-
ter being the only one in British Columbia. Two of the sons are promi-
nent barristers of Ontario. Having acquired his preliminary education Judge
Hurler continued his studies in the Toronto University, of which he is
graduate of the class of 1885 and his superior proficiency in his different
studies won for him both the gold and silver medal given by that institu-
tion. Determining upon the practice of law as a life work, he became a
student in the office of McCortney & Osier and was graduated in 1888. For
a1x)ut three years he practiced in Ontario and in 1891 came to Victoria,
British Columbia. In the following April he was admitted to the bar of
the province, but soon afterward received the appointment of crown solici-
tor. He formed a partnership with Hon. Theodore Davie, late chief jus-
tice of the province, and the relation was maintained until the elevation of
Judge Davie to the bench. Mr. Hunter then formed a partnership with
Mr. Duff and is now a justice of Victoria. Judge Hunter held the ofiice
of labor commissioner and in March, 1902, was made chief justice of the
province. The legal profession demands a high order of ability, anc' a
rare combination of talent, learning, tact, patience and industry. The suc-
cessful lawyer and the competent judge must be a man of well-balanced intel-


lect, thoroughly familiar with the law and practice, of general informa-
tion, possessed of an analytical mind and a comprehensive self control that
will enable him to lose his individuality, his personal feelings, his preju-
dices and his peculiarities of disposition in the dignity, impartiality and
equity of the office to which life, property, right and liberty must look for
protection. Possessing these qualities Judge Hunter justly merits the high
honor which was conferred upon him by his elevation to his present high

In January, 1896, Judge Hunter was married to Mrs. Ada Nelson, a
daughter of Charles F. Johnson and a native of Springfield, Illinois. Their
residence is located in Belleville avenue, overlooking James Bay and the
city, and its attractive hospitality is greatly enjoyed by their many friends.
Judge Hunter is a man of fine personal appearance, five feet eight inches in
height and weighing two hundred pounds. He has a splendid physical
development and, moreover, he possesses the sterling traits of character
which command confidence and respect in every land and clime. Entirely
free from ostentation or display, approachable and genial, he nevertheless
has upon the bench the dignity which should ever be associated with his
high office and the citizens of the province have every reason to l^e proud
of their chief justice.


Hon. Lyman P. Duff, a justice of the supreme court of the province
of British Columbia, and one of the abler representatives of a bar which
numbers many men of talent, was born in Meadfield, Ontario, on the 7th
of January, 1865, and is descended from Scotch ancestry. His father, the
Rev. Charles Duff, was born in England, in which country he acquired his
education and was ordained to the ministry of the Congregational church.
When a young man he crossed the Atlantic to Ontario, where he formed
the acquaintance of Miss Isabelle Johnson, a native of the Dominion, whom
he made his wife. For many years he devoted his time and energies to the
active work of the church but has now retired from the ministry and re-
sides in Ontario, in the seventieth year of his age.

Judge Duff, the only member of the family residing in British Colum-
bia, obtained his literary education in Toronto University, where he won
the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon his graduation with the class of 1886,
and in 1890 the same institution conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor
of Law, when he had qualified for admission to the bar. He entered upon
the practice of his profession in Ontario in 1893 and he came to Victoria


in 1895. In less than ten years he has been elevated to the supreme bench.
In his law practice his success came soon because his equipment was unusu-
ally good. Along with those qualities indispensable to the lawyer, a keen,
rapid, logical mind plus the business sense, and a ready capacity for hard
work, he brought to the starting point of his legal career certain rarer gifts
— eloquence of language and a strong personality. An excellent presence,
an earnest, dignified manner, marked strength of character, a thorough
grasp of the law, and the ability to accurately apply its principles are factors
in his effectiveness as an advocate, and on the bench his course has shown
him to be the peer of older justices of the court of last resort.

Judge Duff was married in 1898 to Miss Elizabeth Bird, a native of
Ontario, and they have one of the delightful homes which adorn Victoria.
Mrs. Duff is a member of the Church of England and he attends its services
and contributes to its support. During his residence in British Columbia
he has won warm personal friendship as well as high professional regard,
and his position socially and at the bar is a merited tribute to his worth and


Thomas Cowan, postmaster at Ladysmith, is a citizen of the Dominion
and of British Columbia of some twelve years' standing, having come to
this country early in his business career, and the record he has since made
shows how deserving he is of the esteem and friendship of his fellow citi-
zens, whom he has so efficiently served as postmaster during the past several

Mr. Cowan is a native Scotchman, having been born in the city of
Glasgow, September 27, 1868, and his parents, Hugh and Margaret (Boyd)
Cowan, are still living in the native land of the hills and heather. A public
school near Glasgow furnished him his early educational equipment for life,
and on leaving that he immediately went to work in a grocery establishment,
continuing in that line in the old country until he was twenty-four years
of age. In 1892 he came out to Nanaimo, British Columbia, and some time
later to Wellington, in both of which places he continued his work in the
grocery trade, and in the latter place was also in business on his own ac-
count. He came to Ladysmith to take charge of the grocery department of
the Simon Lieser and Company, with which he remained two years. He
then received his appointment as postmaster, and is most satisfactorily filling
this office at the present time.

Mr. Cowan was married in 1893 to Miss Maggie McKay, a daughter


of John McKay, of Paisley, Scotland. They have one child, Maggie. Mr.
Cowan is a meml3er of St. Mirren Lodge No. 129, A. F. & A. M., and of
Harmony Lodge No. 6, L O. O. F., and he and his wife are Presbyterians.


C. J. V. Spratt is a member of the well known Victoria firm which
owns and controls the Victoria machinery depot, owns the marine railroad,
are steamboat builders, and also engineers and designers of vessels. This
business forms one of the important industries of the city, and has been
built up and still remains in the hands of one family of capable and ener-
getic men. This enterprise was established in 1888 by Mr. Spratt's father,
Joseph Spratt, who was not only a benefactor to his city in this way, but
also worked for the welfare of Victoria in many other enterprises, and was
a man honored and esteemed for his high worth of character.

Mr. C. J. V. Spratt is a native son of Victoria, where he was born Au-
gust I, 1873. He was educated at Port Hope, and since his father's death
he has had active charge of the business, and continued to broaden its lines
of activity and usefulness. In 1896 the firm was incorporated. Mr. A. J.
Bechtel, a brother-in-law of Mr. Spratt, is a stockholder, and the entire
business is owned by m.embers of the family.

Mr. Spratt was happily married in 1894 to Miss Ethel Duel, a native
of Sacram.ento, California. Tliey are valued members of the Episcopal
church, and Mr. Spratt is a member of the Native Sons of British Colum-
bia. Their delightful and hospitable home known as the "Armitage" is
situated on the Gorge, and Mr, and Mrs. Spratt have a wide acquaintance
and are held in high esteem in the social circles of Victoria.


John Meston is a Victoria resident of more than thirty years' standing,
and his personal character and standing in the community are such that his
name is always mentioned with respect and the esteem due to industry, well
directed energy, integrity and generous interest in the welfare of city and
society. These qualities have in fact been the most important elements in
his success, for he is what may be called a self-made man and began life
without any capital except keen intelligence and unlimited capacity for lalxir
at a trade which his early years had been spent in acquiring. In the business
circles of Victoria Mr. Meston is best known as having made the longest
and best record as a carriage and wagon maker and blacksmith, and as


having built up an establishment of this kind which in extent and excellence
of workmanship has no equal in the city or province.

Mr. Meston was born in Scotland in 1849, being of thrifty and worthy
Scotch Presbyterian ancestry. The most reliable traditions of the family
point to France as the original home seat. The generations in Scotland
go back to the learned William Meston, who was born in Midmar, Aberdeen-
shire, Scotland, in 1688. He was a professor of philosophy in Mareschal
College of Aberdeen. Having espoused the Stuart cause in the rebellion of
1 71 5, he was appointed governor of Dunnottar Castle, and later in life he
became interested in educational institutions. He died in 1745, and in
1776 a book of his poems was published at Edinburg under the title of
" Poetical Works of William Meston." He has been described as a fine
classical scholar, philosopher and mathematician. It is believed that the
grandfather of this versatile man, the Rev. W. Meston, moved from France
to Scotland in 1625, thus transferring the name and family seat to Scot-
land. The most frequently recurring names in the old family records are
Archibald, Alexander, Charles, James, Thomas, William and John, and the
various generations of the family in Scotland have had numerous members
and many of them gained high social, professional and business positions.

Mr. Meston's father was Archibald, a native of Scotland, who married
Miss Ann Clark, also a native of that country, and they were well-to-do
farmers and esteemed members of the Presbyterian church. The father lived
to the ripe old age of eighty years.

Mr. Meston is the only member of the family in British Columbia.
He was educated at his home locality in Scotland, where he also learned his
trade, and in 1872, when in his twenty-third year, he emigrated to Toronto.
He arrived there without means other than the possession of a good trade
and the intelligence and industry necessary tO' make it a success, and the
very next day after reaching Toronto he began work as a journeyman.
After remaining in Ontario two years he came out to Victoria, thence went
on to Moodyville, where he did the iron work for the first sawmill. He
prospected and mined for a time in Cassar, and by these enterprises made the
money which enabled him to start in business on his account. He bought
an interest in a shop in Victoria with Mr. James McKerson as partner
and six years later bought his partner's interest. Since then he has been
the sole owner of the business, and through his energy and reputation for
thorough reliability has built up a very extensive business. In 1892 he built
the large brick block in which he has his works, equipped with all the
latest ma'\liinery and tools, and fitted out for all work in carriage-making and


general blacksmithing. Mr. Meston has built many carriages, wagons and
vehicles of all kinds. For the past fourteen years he has had the agency
of a large carria:ge manufactory in Montreal, and also handles the Deering
farm machinery. His success has been worthily attained, and none can
envy his position in manufacturing and business circles.

In 1886 Mr. Meston married Miss Sarah Baker, a native of Ontario,
and during their happy married life of nearly twenty years three children
have been born to them in Victoria, namely : John Victor, Sarah Aneta,
and Joseph Charles Douglas. They have a nice home in Victoria, and it
is the more enjoyable to them because it is almost entirely of their own
making. Mr. Meston constructed the iron fence which surrounds the house
and grounds, and all the trees and shrubs and flowers were set out by their
own hands. Outside of the large demands which his business makes upon
his time and energy, Mr, Meston gives his principal attention to his church.
He is an active member in the First Presbyterian church of Victoria, and
for many years has been the efficient superintendent of its Sunday school.
He is a member of the Woodmen of the World, but of recent years has not
found time to keep up active work in that fraternity. For the welfare and
progress of his church he is willing to perform all services that may devolve
upon him, from ringing the bell for service to superintending the Sunday
school, and his worth in the church and in business is appreciated by all
who know him.


William Ferriman Salsbury, local treasurer of the Canada Pacific Rail-
way at Vancouver, is one of the early settlers and upbuilders of the city,
having come here on the first overland train which reached Vancouver, on
the 4th of J;Lily, 1886. He settled here in the following May and has since
been closely identified with its interests, his labors pushing forward the
wheels of progress.

A native of Surrey, England, Mr. Salsbury was born on the i6th of
February, 1847, ^^^ is descended from English ancestry. His father,
William John Salsbury, was born in England and was there married to
Miss Sarah Ferriman, a native of the same country. He followed mer-
chandising for many years and was influential in his home locality. Both he
and his wife belonged to the Church of England and he died in the fifty-
eighth year of his age, while his wife, long surviving him, attained the
advanced age of eighty years.

William F. Salsbury, the only member of the family in British Columbia,


was educated in his native country and has been continuously connected with
railroad interests since 1861. He was first in the ticket office at Brighton
station in England, there remaining for ten years. He emigrated to Canada
in 1870, and, entering the service of the Grand Trunk Railroad Company,
acted as assistant in the office of Joseph Hickson, who was then treasurer
of the road. Mr. Salsbury continued there until February, 1881, when he
resigned his position to join the forces of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Company when its line was completed. He at first occupied the position of
accountant and continued in the financial department of the road, being
appointed assistant treasurer at Montreal. He then came to Vancouver to
accept the position of local treasurer of the Pacific division, in which capacity
he has now been serving for eighteen years. He is a man of excellent
business ability and executive force and his long connection with the railroad
service and his varied experience well qualified him for this position and for
the organization of the department here.

Immediately after arriving in Vancouver Mr. Salsbury became identified
with matters of local import and concern and has contributed in large and
helpful measure to the general good. He has been an active member of
the board of trade of the city and was its president in 1902-3. He is now a
member of the council of the board, also on the board of arbitration and on
the railway and navigation committee. His co-operation may always be
counted upon in matters of public progress and improvement and the value
of his labors is widely acknowledged.

Mr. Salsbury was married in 1870 to Miss Sarah Jane Wales, of English
ancestry, and they have had five children : Arthur Ernest, William F.,
Lillian, Frederick T. and Mary. They have one of the attractive homes of
Vancouver. They are members of the Church of England and Mr. Salsbury
belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a past master of his lodge. He
is a worthy representative of British Columbia's busines men and progressive
citizens and the enterprising spirit of the age has been manifest in his career
and especially in his efforts for the public good.


Lewis' Francis Bonson, who- has farming interests in the vicinity of
New Westminster, was born May 10, 1830, in Peebleshire, Scotland, on the
Tweed river, his parents being Henry and Marion (Howison) Bonson, who
were also natives of Scotland and belonged to old families of that country.
The father was for many years in the employ of Sir Thomas Gibson Car-
michael, owner of Castle Craig.

( r



Lewis F. Bonson was educated in the public schools of Kirkurd to the
age of fifteen years, after which he was apprenticed to the joiner and wheel-
wright's trade, thus serving for four years. In 1849 he went to Edinburgh
where he was employed as a joiner until 185 1 after which he followed the
same pursuit in London until August, 1854. He there became a member
of the corps of Royal Engineers at Woolwich, where he spent a brief period,
after which he went to Chatham. In 1855 he served in the Crimea, remain-
ing until peace was proclaimed in 1856. On leaving the Crimea he went to
the Garrison of Gibraltar where he remained for five months, when he re-
turned to England. Two months later he was sent on special service to Cen-
tral America, and returned early in 1858. When three months had gone by
he again left the British Isles, this time his destination being British Columbia,
to which he traveled by way of the Isthmus of Panama. He brought with him
a party for the purpose of preparing barracks and quarters for the detachment
of engineers who were en route by way of Cape Horn and who arrived in

In 1863 Mr. Bonson at his own request was discharged from the Corps
of Engineers and resumed the duties of private life. He turned his atten-
tion to contracting and building at Westminster and was road superinten-
dent for the provincial government from 1876 until 1880. He afterward
engaged in the wholesale liquor business at New Westminster where he re-
mained until 1892, when he sold out and purchased a farm of three hundred
and seventy acres at Keatsey, about ten miles from Westminster. There he
remained until 1905, when he sold a portion of his land.

On the 1 2th of July, 1858, Mr. Bonson was married to Miss Jemima
Urquhart, a native of Cromerty, Rosshire, Scotland. They have four sons
and two daughters. Mr. Bonson was a member of the New Westminster
Rifles and served as first lieutenant under Captain Peele, this being the first
volunteer company in New Westminster,

ANTHONY J. McMillan.

Anthony J. McMillan, an active representative of mining interests, now
general manager for the Leroy Company, makes his home in Rossland.
Nearly every country on the globe has furnished citizens to British Colum-
bia, but no element in its national existence has proven a more potent fac-
tor than that furnished by Scotland. Mr. McMillan, a native of the land
of hills and heather, was educated in England and he yet spends a portion
of his time in the city of London. He came, however, to British Columbia
■in 1894 and was largely interested in mining on his own account, at the


same time representing some English companies. In 1902 he was made a
director of the Leroy Company, and his services were considered of such
value by the directors of the company in England that in 1903 he was
made managing director in British Columbia, while in September, 1904, he
was further honored with the position of general manager of the company.
He has lately reorganized the entire working force of the company and
the properties now are on a dividend paying basis. When he took charge
the company had incurred an indebtedness amounting to one million two

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 72 of 79)