R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

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hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but today all financial incumbrance
has been cleared away and the property is now yielding a good financial
return. J. W. Ashley has been appointed general superintendent and will
have charge during the absence of Mr. McMillan. The Leroy properties
cover the Rossland and Northport Washington trail. Mr. McMillan is
thoroughly conversant with the subject of mining in the province, has inti-
mate knowledge of mining conditions, is acquainted with the best processes
of securing the ore and transforming it into a marketable commodity and
in this field of endeavor by his executive force, keen discernment and busi-
ness capacity is contributing in large measure to the success of the com-
pany and at the same time promoting the general prosperity of the locality
through the employment furnished to many workmen.

WILLIAM L. TAIT.

William L. Tait is a capitalist holding valuable property interests in
Vancouver, and to him there has come the attainment of a distinguished
position in connection with the great material industries of the state, and
his efforts have been so discerningly directed along well defined lines that
he seems to have realized at any one point of progress the full measure of
his possibilities for accomplishment at that point. A man of distinct and
forceful individuality, of broad mentality and most mature judgment, he
has left and is leaving his impress upon the industrial world. For years
he has been an important factor in the development of the natural resources
of the province, in the upbuilding of Vancouver and in the promotion of the
enterprises which add not alone to his individual prosperity but also ad-
vance the general welfare and prosperity of the city in which he makes his
home.

William L. Tait was born in Scotland in 1850 and is the son of Will-
iam L. Tait, Sr., who was a native of that country and emigrated to Canada
in early life. The father was a blacksmith and carriage maker by trade
and for many years was closely identified with industrial interests. He



BRITISH COLUMBIA 729

died in the year 1887 at the advanced age of eighty-eight years. He had
for a long period been a resident of McKeen county, Pennsylvania, and it
was there that William L. Tait of this review acquired his early education.
In 1862 the family went to Canada, where the father spent his remaining
days, and in the province William L. Tait completed his school life. He
then entered upon his business career in connection with the manufacture
of lumber and shingles and before his removal to Vancouver was engaged
in an enterprise of that character in Winnipeg for some time. The favor-
able reports heard concerning the far west with its splendid business possi-
bilities and great natural resources of the country attracted him and on the
13th of February, 1891, he arrived in Vancouver. The town was then in
the fifth year of its existence and it has since had a very phenomenal growth.

Mr. Tait in his business career kept posted with the development of the
city, improving every opportunity that led to substantial and honorable suc-
cess. Recognizing the splendid field for following lumber industries he
engaged in the manufacture of shingles, erecting a shingle mill and a saw-
mill, which he operated with splendid success for a number of years, having
a very extensive patronage that brought to him a gratifying financial re-
turn. In 1902 he sold this property to the Rat Portage Lumber Company,
which is still conducting a large business. As the years passe'd by and his
financial resources increased Mr. Tait invested in city property, has erected
a large number of residences and is still engaged in that business, putting
forth every effort in the improvement and development of the city. He
may well be termed one of its promoters, for his efforts have been directed
along lines that have resulted in general benefit as well as individual pros-
perity. His own residence at No. 752 Thurlow street is a very commodious
one, of attractive style of architecture, and is surrounded with beautiful
flowers and shrubs, indicating the good taste and refinement of the family.

In 1 87 1 Mr. Tait was married to Miss Jane Donaldson, a native of
Ontario and of Scotch ancestry. They are the parents of eight children :
James D., who is engaged in the shingle manufacturing business; Edward
R., of the firm of Cooke & Tait, shingle and lumber manufacturers of Van-
couver; Arthur W., who is in the mill with his brother; Ethel, the wife
of S. Wilson, a boot and shoe merchant of Vancouver; Percy, who is act-
ing as accountant in his brother's mill; Melville, who is in the employ of
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company; Edith and C. L., at home. The
family hold' membership in St. Andrew's Presbyterian church and their
social prominence gains them the entree into the best homes of Vancouver.
For several years Mr. Tait has been numbered among Vancouver's most



730 BRITISH COLUMBIA

prominent and progressive citizens. He may well be termed one of the
founders of the city, for he has been the promoter of many of its leading
business enterprises, and the growth and development of a city depend
upon its commercial and industrial activity. His connection with any un-
dertaking insures a prosperous outcome of the same, for it is in his nature to
carry forward to successful completion whatever he is associated with. He
has earned for himself an enviable reputation as a careful man of business,
and in his dealings is known for his prompt and honorable methods, which
have won him the deserved and unbounded confidence of his fellow men.

GEORGE I. WILSON.

In noting the salient points in the history of Vancouver, the elements
that have contributed to its development and have promoted its interests
along lines of modern progress, it is imi>erative that consideration be given
those ^^■ho are prominent in connection with the salmon canning industry,
for this has been one of the chief sources of British Columbia's development,
especially in its coast districts. Mr. Wilson is secretary and treasurer of
the British Columbia Packing Association, the largest salmon canning com-
pany in Cana'da, with headquarters in Vancouver.

There is no representative of the family in British Columbia save George
I. Wilson, who was reared -in the land of his nativity, acquiring his early
education at Fordyce. He entered upon his business career when but four-
teen years of age, becoming an employe in the general mercantile estab-
lishment owned by Colonel Moir. He then removed to Edinburgh and ac-
cepted a position in the store of Dimmic & Guthrie, retail grocers, with
whom he remained for two years. He then emigrated to New Brunswick
and accepted a position as traveling salesman with Mann, Byers & Com-
pany, traveling throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and making
large sales of dry goods for that house. He formed a wide and favorable
acquaintance in this way and this step also led to his recognition of an oppor-
tunity for a business enterprise in Chatham, New Brunswick. There he
opened a dry goods store on his own account and successfully conducted it
for fifteen years, constantly enlarging the scope of his labors and increasing
his stock to meet the growing demands of the trade. In 1887 he came to
Vancouver and opened the first exclusive dry goods establishment in the
city. He conducted this business until 1897 and was well known as one
of its leading merchants, his business enterprise contributing to the general
commercial prosperity as well as his individual success. In the meantime



BRITISH COLUMBIA ' 731

he had extended his efforts to other fields, having become interested in
the canning business. He was one of the organizers of the Pacific Coast
Canning Company, with which he was connected for a number of years,
and he was also interested in the Brunswick Canning Company, being a
third owner of this plant. He also acted as agent for it and later he became
owner of the Alliance cannery, while at the formation of the British Co-
lumbia Packing Association he sold all of his plants to the new corporation.
He was chosen secretary and treasurer, and in 1893, on the retirement of
Mr. Doyle, he was also made general manager, which gave him the con-
trol of its vast industry. This is the largest canning company in Canada,
with headquarters in Vancouver.

In 1887 occurred the marriage of Mr. Wilson and Miss Elizabeth J.
Bain, a native of New Brunswick, and a daughter of Hugh Bain, of Chatham,
that country. They have had four children, as follows : Hugh, who is
acting as bookkeeper for the British Columbia Packing Association; Jean,
Cedric, and Ronald. They are members of St. John's Episcopal church,
and Mr. Wilson is a past master of a Masonic lodge in New Brunswick.
He was for seven years a member of the city license board and for nine years
an active member of the school board of the city, while since its organization
he has been a valued member of the Board of Trade.

WILLIAM RALPH.

Earnest effort, close application and the exercise of his native talents,
have won for William Ralph a creditable and honorable position in Van-
couver's business circles, where he is widely known as a prominent hard-
ware merchant, dealing in stoves, house furnishings, furnaces and steel
metal work. He was born in Goodrich, Ontario, on the 4th of December,
i860, and is descended from Scotch and Irish ancestry. His paternal grand-
father, Robert Ralph, on leaving his native country, became a resident of
Canada in 1830, and his son, John Ralph, was born in London, Ontario.
The latter married Miss Elizabeth Ross, who was born in Ingersoll, Onta-
rio, and is of Scotch lineage, her father, Edmund Ross, having emigrated
to Canada in 1830. She was reared in the Presbyterian faith, while Mr.
Ralph was reared in the Church of England. In order to provide for his
family he conducted a hardware business and was for some years an active
and enterprising merchant of Goodrich, Ontario. Unto him and his wife
were born seven children, of whom three daughters and three sons are living,
namely: Marian Grace, who became the wife of James Galloway and re-
sides in Nanaimo; Eva Margaret, a resident of Vancouver; Elizabeth, the



732 BRITISH COLUMBIA

wife of Dr. Wilson; Harold, who resides on a stock ranch forty miles north
of Medicine Hat ; and two who are not residents of British Columbia.

William Ralph was educated in his native town as a public-school stu-
dent and became familiar with the hardware business under the direction of
his father. On leaving home he worked as a journeyman in Detroit, St.
Louis and St. Paul, and for a year and a half occupied the position of fore-
man with the firm of Vair & Miller. He became a resident of Vancouver in
1888 and opened his present hardware store, beginning operations on a
small scale, but meeting with constantly growing success. He was first
located on Canal street in a small frame building, and as the town grew and
his business reached larger dimensions he removed into more commodious
quarters. Subsequently needing still more room he secured possession of
the large block at No. 126 Hastings street. The building is twenty-five by
one hundred and twenty feet, three stories in height, and basement, all of
which is occupied by his large stock of hardware, stoves, house furnish-
ings, furnaces and steel metal work. He was first associated with James
M. O'Tool as a partner, and this relation was maintained for three years,
when they divided the stock and real estate, and Mr. Ralph has since con-
ducted business alone, meeting with very favorable success. As his finan-
cial resources increased he has invested in city property, which has reached
a much higher valuation owing to the rapid growth and development of
Vancouver.

In 1899 Mr. Ralph was united in marriage to Miss Mary Shopland,
of London, Ontario, a daughter of John Shopland of that city, a mill owner
and manufacturer there. They have two children, one of whom is living,
Robert Sinclair Ralph, born in Vancouver. They have a delightful home
on Burnaby street. Mr. Ralph is a member of the board of trade of his city
and takes an interest in all that pertains to its welfare, while socially he is
a valued member of Mount Hermon lodge. No. 7, A. F. & A. M., of Van-
couver, in which he took his first degree. He is a self-made man, who,
without any extraordinary family or pecuniary advantages at the commence-
ment of his career, has battled earnestly and energetically, and by indomit-
able courage and integrity has achieved both character and fortune. By
sheer force of will and untiring effort he has worked his way upward and
is numbered among the leading business men of Vancouver.




^ /> - </ _



BRITISH COLUMBIA 733

CLERMONT LIVINGSTON.

Clermont Livingston, the chief promoter and the manager of the Tyee
Copper Company, which is one of the few companies that has developed and
rriaintained a thoroughly successful copper smelting plant in British Colum-
bia, is a resident of Duncans, where he is held in high esteem for his broad
usefulness as a citizen and business man. He has been concerned in several
enterprises of monumental importance during his career, and the success
which has uniformly attended his endeavors marks him as a man of unusual
acumen and executive capacity in the direction of commercial and industrial
affairs.

Mr. Livingston was born in Middlesex, England, October 15, 1850,
his parents, Jasper and Mary (Shuttleworth) Livingston, being deceased.
He was finely educated in England and in Heidelberg, Germany, and in
young manhood entered upon a promising and broad business career. For
twenty-five years he was the owner of a big shipping house in London, and
was also interested in mining in South Africa. When copper was discov-
ered in paying quantities in British Columbia in 1897, he at once examined
the possibilities and determined to develop the industry in this province. For
this purpose he started a development company, out of which has since
grown the Tyee Copper Company, which he organized as a development
company in January, 1899. He then returned to England and financed the
concern, and in 1900 was organized the Tyee Copper Company upon its
present basis. Capital for the establishment of a local smelter was obtained
in 1901, and the smelter was completed and began operations in January,
1903, although steady shipments of ore began in September, 1902. The
mines have since paid large dividends, and the Tyee has the distinction of
being the first paying copper property to be developed in British Columbia.

COLONEL THOMAS O. TOWNLEY.

Varied have been the interests in the life record of Lieutenant Colonel
Thomas Owen Townley. Military and political service have divided his
time and also attention to the practice of law, and his connection with the
public affairs of Vancouver has been of acknowledged benefit to the city.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario, on the i8th of August, 1862, Colonel Town-
ley is descended from ancestry of Lancaster, England, and the family rec-
ord can be traced far back in the history of that country. His father, John
Townley, was born in Lancaster and in early manhood emigrated to Can-
ada. He became a merchant, enterprising and progressive in his business



734 BRITISH COLUMBIA

life, and through his well directed lalwrs winning creditable success. He
was married in Montreal, Canada, to Miss Alice Dixon, also a native of
Lancaster, England. The}' were valued members of the Church of Eng-
land and in that faith reared their family, numbering six children, all of
whom are still living. The family circle, however, was broken by the haftd
of death in 1867, when the husband and father was called to his final rest.
His wife still survives him and now resides in Vancouver, in 1904, in the
seventy-fourth year of her age, making her home with her son, J. D. Town-
ley, assistant superintendent of the Canadian Pacific railroad.

Colonel Townley having acquired a good preliminary education, con-
tinued his studies in Trinity University of Toronto, Canada, from which
institution he was graduated in 1882, winning the degree of Bachelor of
Arts. He then went to Winnipeg, where he studied law, and in 1885 was
admitted to the bar. He then entered upon practice and continued a resident
of Winnipeg until 1888, when he came to Vancouver, opening an office in
this city for the prosecution of his profession. His ability was soon recog-
nized, and in 1889 he was appointed registrar of titles for the New West-
minster district, occupying that position in a creditable manner until 1903,
when he resigned in order to again enter upon the practice of law. In 1901
he was elected mayor of Vancouver and filled this position of trust and
responsibility for one term. It was during his incumbency that the Prince
and Princess of Wales visited the city and he had the high honor as mayor
of Vancouver to receive them in his official capacity and deliver the recep-
tion address. This was one of the most important and enjoyable events
that has ever occurred in the city, and Colonel Townley discharged the du-
ties that devolved upon him on this occasion with honor to himself and
credit to the citizens of Vancouver. His military service covered ten years'
connection with the militia, during which time he was promoted to the rank,
of lieutenant colonel, but he resigned in 1896.

In 1886 occurred the marriage of Colonel Townley and Miss Frances
M. Roe, a native of Newmarket, Canada, and a daughter of William Roe,
who was of English ancestry. Six children have been born unto them :
Fred Laughton, Evelyn Roe, Lawrence, Edith Emily, Max Mingaye and
Philip Ford. The parents are members of the Church of England and
have a beautiful home in Vancouver, where they are numbered among the
city's most highly esteemed residents. Fraternally Colonel Townley is con-
nected with Cascade lodge. No. '12, A. F. & A. M., and he is also a member
of the Order of Eagles and the Order of Foresters. In no calling to which
man gives his attention does success depend more largely upon individual



BRITISH COLUMBIA 735

effort than the law, and that Colonel Townley has achieved distinction in
the field of jurisprudence at once attests his superior ability and close appli-
cation. A man of sound judgment, he manages his cases with masterly skill
and tact; is a logical reasoner and has a ready command of English. His
powers as an advocate have been demonstrated by his success on many oc-
casions, and he is an able lawyer of large and varied experience in all the
courts. Thoroughness characterizes all his efforts and he conducts all his
business with a strict regard to a high standard of professional ethics.

CHRISTOPHER MORLEY.

Christopher Morley is one of the pioneers of 1862 to British Columbia,
and his career since that year has been of varying prosperity during the first
part, but of recent years he has attained to rank among the successful and
worthy business men of Victoria, and is a citizen of known integrity and
business capacity among all his friends and business associates. In busi-
ness circles he is widely known in Victoria, as also in other parts of the
province, as a manufacturer of soda water and other temperance drinks, and
his own energ\' and business acumen have gone into this enterprise and
broadened his trade to large proportions.

Mr. Morley is a native of Leicestershire, England, where he was born
March 7, 1841. He is of good English stock, and is the only member of
this branch of the family in British Columbia. He is one of the many who
were attracted out to this coast country by the highly colored stories of gold
di.coveries. His faith had accepted these Eldorado pictures at their face
value, and he came out here expecting to pick up gold under the trees as one
would gather up fruit. So that as soon as he reached the country he began
mining, and in a few days his disillusionment was complete — to get gold
metnt the hardest and roughest kind of labor, and then only in quantities
\^hich paid no more than ordinary manual toil. But if there is one charac-
teristic more prominent in Mr. Morley's nature than another, it is a hope-
ful energy that cannot be cast down by one defeat, and so, not in the least
discouraged by this one experience, he turned his attention to anything
which would gain him an honest dollar. He cut cord-wood and worked
out by the month for wages of twenty-five dollars a month, with board thrown
in. Then he got work in a soda-water manufactory. He continued at this
long enough to learn the business thoroughly and by saving his money he
was able to buy out the partner of Mr. John K. Greenwood and take a per-
sonal part in the business. This partnership continued for several years,
■and then Mr. Morley bought out his partner and has since conducted the



736 BRITISH COLUMBIA

enterprise alone. He built and is the owner of the nice structure in the busi-
ness center of Victoria in which he carries on his manufactures. There is
a large and increasing demand for his products both in Victoria and other
places of the province, and his goods are well known, both by name and by
quality. He keeps two wagons busy in the delivery and shipping of the
products, and has four employes in the establishment.

Mr. Morley is a member of the Pioneer Society, and for a time served
as its treasurer. His religious faith is that of the Church of England. He
has lived a life of single blessedness, and by this course he feels that he has
escaped much anxiety and trouble, and has retained to distribute among
friends and associates the genial warmth of nature which would otherwise
have adorned the domestic hearth.

JOHN PITCAIRNS ELFORD.

John Pitcairns Elford, who is connected with one of the leading pro-
ductive industries of Victoria, and is also well known as a promoter of the
city's best interests, serving at the present time as one of its aldermen, was
born in Adelaide, New South Wales, on the loth of March, 185 1, and is of
English lineage. His father, Robert Elford, was born in Plymouth, Eng-
land, removed to south Australia and in 1848 was married to Miss Hannah
Taylor. When their little son, the subject of this review, was but three
months old they started for California and at Pitcairns Island he was
christened, hence his middle name. At length the vessel reached the har-
bor of San Francisco, and the captain, sailors and passengers all left the ship,
which with others which were also abandoned because of the mad rush for
the gold fields, now lies buried in the sand and sea at the foot of Montgom-
ery street. Mr. Elford went to the gold diggings in Grass valley and later
he obtained two hundred acres of land from the government near San Rafael,
which he improved and farmed, but the Spaniards had so many bull fights
and other characteristic amusements that Mrs. Elford refused to stay there
and rear her children under such influences, so they removed to Petaluma,
where Mr. Elford, who was a carpenter and builder, erected the first resi-
dence in the town, and one of the streets of that place now bears his name.
He afterward engaged in contracting and building in San Francisco and
there remained until 1858, when he came to Victoria.

The following year Mr. Elford returned to California for his family,
whom he brought with him to British Columbia. He had been in the Cari-
boo and had met with fair success. Upon his return to the province he once
more made his way to the Cariboo mines, where he had a valuable claim on



BRITISH COLUMBIA T3T

Williams creek. He was also one of the first to go to the Omonico and also
to Cassiar, but in his later mining ventures he was not very successful, and
abandoning his search for gold he resumed buildin-g operations, becoming a
contractor and builder of Victoria, where he erected many substantial struct-
ures, securing a liberal patronage. Finally he retired altogether from active
business life and resided in his comfortable home until his death, which oc-
curred when he was seventy-seven years of age. His wife had previously
passed away. She had been a devoted wife and mother, a noble pioneer
woman and a most faithful companion and helpmate to her husband, and from
her loss he nev^er seemed to recover, his health gradually failing until he,
too, passed away. One of their sons, Theophilus, resides in California ;
Carl is manager of the Shanagan I^ke Sawmill Company. Caroline is now
the wife of William Archibald, manager of the Canadian Pacific railway tel-
egraph office at Nanaimo; Mary Letitia resides at Petaluma, California, and



Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 73 of 79)