R. E. (R. Edward) Gosnell.

A history; British Columbia online

. (page 74 of 79)
Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 74 of 79)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

is the wife of Luther Cullen.

John P. Elford, whose name introduces this review, acquired his edu-
cation in Victoria and San Francisco and in early life learned the carpen-
ter's trade, which he followed in the latter city, being connected with build-
ing operations there from 1868 until 1872. He then returned to Victoria,
where he followed carpentering until 1875. In 1886 he entered into part-
nership with W. J. Smith and they established the Queen City brickyard,
which has been a growing enterprise, returning to -the owners an excellent
profit on their investment. For several years Mr. Elford did a large amount
of contracting and building and was connected with the erection of many of
the best structures of the city, including the postgffice building, the Duard
hotel, the Jubilee hospital and others, but his attention is now principally
devoted to the manufacture of red brick, for which he has a large sale, both
in Victoria and Vancouver. He has been very successful in his business and
is the o\\ner of several dwelling houses, other city property and land in dif-
ferent parts of the province, having made judicious investment in real estate.
His business is large and constantly growing. It has been developed along
modern lines and in conformity with the strictest commercial ethics, and it
has become one of the more prominent productive industries of the city.

In his political views Mr. Elford is independent and liberal. He is now
serving as alderman of Victoria and is on the sanitary, electric lights and
railway committees. He is a Royal Arch Mason and for more than twenty
years he has been a meml^er of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Elford was married in 1875 to Miss Hettie Robertson, the eldest
•daughter of Captain John Robertson, of Cleveland, Ohio, but after two years


of happy married life she was taken from him by death. Two years later
Mr. Elford married Agnes Francis Secord, daughter of H. A. Lilley, of
Maple Bay, British Columbia. They have two children, John Herbert and
Mary Essie, who is now the wife of George Lilley. Mrs. Elford is a mem-
ber of the Methodist church and Mr. Elford gives his support to that church.
They have a pleasant home in Victoria and their circle of friends is almost
co-extensive with the circle of their acquaintance.


Perhaps no other business interest so clearly demonstrates the standing
of a town or city as does the hotel, for the enterprise and industry of its
commercial life is indicated here, and the traveling public who have to do
with its commercial affairs demand certain qualities of entertainment. Few
cities of its size afford as elegant hotel accommodations as does the Com-
mercial. Metropolitan in its appointments, perfect in its equipments and
conveniences, and supplied with many luxuries that add to the comfort of
its guests, this well known hostelry has found favor with the public and is
accorded a very liberal patronage.

The Commercial Hotel is situated on Cambie street, between Cordova
and Hastings. It covers a ground space of thirty-two by one hundred and
fifty feet, and is a substantial brick structure, five stories in height with
basement. It contains fifty-six rooms, the first floor being occupied by the
office and bar, the latter also occupying a part of the Flack Block, and it is
the finest in British Columbia. The hotel is conducted on the American
plan exclusively, and has a large and representative patronage.

A. PRESCOTT, one of the proprietors of the Commercial Hotel, was
born in England, and on coming to the United States in 1872 took up his
abode in Cleveland, Ohio. In that city he engaged in the ship-building
business, and from that place went to Chicago and continued the same line
of trade for one year. On the expiration of that period, in 1876, he removed
to California, first establishing his home in Oakland and later in Alameda,
and continued his ship-building operations. For twenty years he was thus
engaged, and at the close of that long period returned to Chicago to super-
intend the construction of two car ferries for the Wisconsin-Michigan Rail-
road. Returning thence to California, he went to St. Michaels in 1895 to
erect a stern wheel boat for the Alaska Commercial Company. Mr. Pres-
cott next came to British Columbia, and for James Dursinund superintended
the construction of a car ferry to run from Vancouver to Comox, after
which he took two car loads of cattle, eight hundred head, to Skagway and



t'tv' I V, (. I

■■; (1 , V i I'l li

I', y, (t '1 1 .1 1. '■•>


returned. He then went into the hotel business as proprietor of the Com-
mercial, and in addition also owns the Windsor House and has business
property on Greenville street and North Vancouver. He does everything
in his power for the comfort and convenience of his guests, and is widely
recognized as one of Vancouver's enterprising business men.

WILLIAM D. HAYWOOD, prominently connected with the hotel
interests of Vancouver as one of the proprietors of the Commercial, was
born on Prince Edward Island May 13, i860, a son of George H. and Mar-
garet (Donald) Haywood, both still living on Prince Edward Island. After
completing his education in the public schools of his native place William D.
engaged in railroading, in the passenger and freight department of the
Prince Edward Island Railroad. In 1880 he went to Colorado and secured
work on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and five years later, in 1885,
came to British Columbia and engaged in carpentering. After the mem-
orable fire he again embarked in railroading, securing employment with the
Canadian Pacific Railroad Company, with whom he remained for one year.
Coming thence to Vancouver, Mr. Haywood was for one year on the police
force, and in 1889 identified himself with the hotel business. In 1898 he
purchased the Commercial Hotel, of which he has since been one of the
popular and esteemed proprietors.

In 1893, in San Francisco, California, Mr. Haywood was united in
marriage to Cassie, a daughter of George Squarebriggs, of Prince Edward
Island, and they have one daughter, Georgie. In his social relations Mr.
Haywood is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and polit-
ically is a Liberal, while his religious preference is indicated by his mem-
bership in the Presbyterian church. He owns both business and residence
property in Vancouver. The comfort and conveniences which he affords
his guests, his courteous treatment of them and his earnest desire to please
have secured to him a very liberal patronage and won him the regard of the
traveling public.


D. M. Stewart, who is filling the position of alderman for his ward
for a second tenn, having been first elected to this position for the council
of 1904, is a native of Glengary county, Ontario, born March i, 1862. As
his name implies, Mr. Stewart is of Scottish lineage, his father, Norman
Stewart, having emigrated from Scotland in 18 18. The elder Stewart took
up the occupation of farming, and members of his family still follow the
same calling on the old homestead. D. M. Stewart pursued his education in


the schools of his native county, and afterwards served his apprenticeship
in a general store in Dunvegan. Having heard of the wonderful possibili-
ties of the Great West Land, Mr. Stewart decided to follow the setting sun
to where it dips into the broad Pacific. He arrived in Vancouver in 1889,
but not finding congenial occupation he drifted southward and spent the
next two years in Seattle, Tacoma and Bellingham. The land of his na-
tivity had greater attractions for him, however, and he returned to Van-
couver in 1891. Shortly after his arrival he purchased the Pioneer Steam
Laundry (which was then but a very small concern) and devoted his ener-
gies to building up a business which has assumed such proportions as not
only to be the largest of its kind in British Columbia, but one of the largest
on the Pacific Coast. Mr. Stewart is prominent in church affairs, being a
Presbyterian in faith, is a Liberal in politics and takes a deep interest in all
matters affecting the welfare of the community in which he resides.


W. H. Price is the owner of the Price Preserving Company at Vic-
toria, a business which during the ten years of his management has had a
phenomenal success and growth, and its products are familiar articles of
daily consumption in thousands of homes in this province and throughout
the northwest. Mr. Price is a man of fine executive ability, became a mas-
ter of his chosen business, and has since followed it up in a manner to re-
flect credit upon himself and the general spirit of enterprise of this city.

This business was established in Victoria in 1887 by Okell and Morris
Fruit Preserving and Confectionery Company, who manufactured the Gold
Medal brand of preserves, confectionery, pickles, sauces and vinegars. In
1891 this firm entered into a contract with Mr. Price by which he was to
come out to Victoria and take entire charge of the business. Mr. Price was
lx)rn, reared and educated in England, and had learned in a most thorough
manner the confectionery business in all its departments, so that he was well
qualified to perform his part of such a contract, and his reputation in this
line had indeed already been made. While in England he had succeeded in
securing for the firm with which he was employed for several years the
medals offered for preserves at the National Confectionery Exhibition at
London, and from the beginning of his career his enterprising efforts and
ambition to excel have placed him in the front rank of this class of manu-

Mr. Price assumed active management of the Victoria business in 1894,
and after conducting it successfully for seven years bought out the owners


of the establishment and has since carried it on according to his own high
ideals and with such success that his trade now extends to most of the
towns of British Columbia and other portions of the northwest. He has
placed his goods on exhibition year after year and has received some twenty
gold and silver medals besides numerous diplomas showing how highly his
products are esteemed by competent judges. The goods of the Price Pre-
serving Company are of equal or superior quality to all similar goods man-
ufactured anywhere in the world. Mr. Price's motto is "The Purest and
Best," and anyone who understands the care and scientific skill which char-
acterize every^ department of the industry will agree that the excellence of
his products corresponds with his business motto. The Gold Medal brand
of preserved fruit sets the standard of purity and grade, and it is not to be
wondered at that his business has increased from year to year and has be-
come an important factor in the permanent prosperity of Victoria.

Since his arrival in Victoria, Mr. Price has shown himself to be more
than a business man, and by his activity in public affairs has materially aided
in the growth and civic welfare of the city. He held the office of police
commissioner for two years, and takes an intelligent and influential partici-
pation in all political questions. He is an active member of the British Co-
lumbia Agricultural Society, being a member of its Ixjard of managers. Fra-
ternally he is a Royal Arch Mason, and is past president of the Sons of St.
George and now grand messenger for the Pacific coast jurisdiction.

In 1885 he was married in England to Miss Emma Sligaby, who was
born in that country. Their four children are as follows : Joseph Arthur,
who is with his father in business ; and George Henry, Annie and Emma, at
home. Mrs. Price died in 1893, and Mr. Price married for his present wife
Miss Marion Baun, a native of England. They have three children, Vic-
toria, Stanley and Flora May. Mr. and Mrs. Price are members of the
Church of England.

WILLIAM J. McMillan.

William J. McMillan, classed with Vancouver's pioneer settlers and
business men, has watched the entire development of the city where he is
now prominently and successfully engaged in the wholesale grocery busi-
ness as a member of the firm of W. J. McMillan & Company, his associate
in the enterprise being his brother, Robert J. McMillan. A native of New
Brunswick, William J. McMillan was born on the 26th of June, 1858, and
is descended from an old Scotch family. His father, James McMillan, was
born in Scotland and came with his father, John McMillan, from the land


of the heather to New Brunswick, being then in his tenth year. He was
reared to manhood in the latter place and was married there to Miss May
Cook, who was born in the same neighborhood in which her husband's birth
had occurred. They became the parents of eleven children, eight of whom
are now living.

William J. McMillan was educated in his native town and came to
the Pacific coast in 1880, making his way to Sacramento, California, where
he had a brother living. For a time he engaged in farming in that locality
and afterward went to Portland, Oregon, where he was engaged in rail-
roading in connection with the Oregon Railway & Investigation Company.
In 1883 he came to British Columbia, going first to Victoria, where he
worked on the Island railroad. Later he came to Vancouver, arriving here
the day after the great fire. He found the latter place in ashes, but it has
risen Phoenix-like from the ruins. The following year he opened a prod-
uce and fruit store, and his business has developed with the marvelous
growth of the town until it has now reached very extensive dimensions. His
first partner was R. J. Hanlan, an own cousin of Mr. McMillan, but later
the latter purchased Mr, Hanlan's interest and at the present time is asso-
ciated with his brother, Robert, under the firm style of W. J. McMillan &
Company. Through his honorable methods, careful direction and unfalter-
ing enterprise his business has grown until he is now conducting a success-
ful grocery house, shipping goods to Dawson and various points in the

In 1890 Mr. McMillan was joined in wedlock to Miss Laura E. Horn,
a native of England and a daughter of H. F. Horn. They have six chil-
dren: Laura May, Wiilliam Henry James, John Douglas, Alida Ruth,
Celia Mary and Charles Robert, all born in Vancouver. Mr. McMillan has
secured a commodious and pleasant home for his family and the members
of the household occupy an enviable social position. They are Presbyterians
in religious faith, and Mr. McMillan is a very active member of the Inde-
pendent Order of Foresters and lias most acceptably filled the various posi-
tions in the local lodge. He has always been zealous for the prosperity of
Vancouver, is a member of the board of trade and is serving on the freight
rates committee, in which capacity he has done valuable work for the ship-
ping interests of this section of the country. He is ever ready to champion
any cause that will improve the business conditions of Vancouver or add to
its intellectual, moral and political development, and he stands today as a
representative of that class whose labors have been the essential factors in
the upuilding of the province.




Harrie G. Ross, proprietor of one of the foremost grocery establish-
ments of Victoria, and a young and progressive citizen who has already made
his influence felt in several ways for the commercial and public welfare of
the city, is a native son of Victoria, where he was born May 3, 1874, and
since he came to years of manhood he has identified himself closely and
usefully with the best interests of his home city.

The store of which Mr. Ross is the present proprietor was formerly the
property of his honored father, Dixi H. Ross, who founded the business in
this city. Dixi H. Ross came to this province in 1870, and continued his
residence here throughout most of the subsequent years of his life. A native
of the state of Pennsylvania, born in the town of Cambridge in 1842, of
old English ancestry, Dixi Ross came to Victoria without independent means,
and his first work was as a clerk in a grocery establishment. He then went
to the Cariboo district and took charge of his uncle's business at Cotton-
wood. On his return to Victoria in 1873 he established the present grocery
house, which has accordingly had a continuous and successful existence of
over thirty years. His first partner was Mr. Cameron, and together they
carried on a wholesale trade for a time. Somewhat later Mr. Newfelder
bought out Mr. Cameron, and in 1878, on the former's removal to Seattle,
Mr, D. H. Ross became the sole owner of the business, and it was carried
on with increased success until his death. Dixi H. Ross married a lady
from his native town of Cambridge. Pennsylvania, Miss Lucy O. Birchard,
and she came to British Columbia soon after the wedding. They were the
parents of three children, and the two living are Harriet, now Mrs. H.
Goulding Wilson, of Victoria, and Harrie, who is the successor of his father
in business.

Reared and educated in Victoria, Mr. Ross has practically spent all his
active life in connection with the grocery business. His father died on
July 20, 1899, and since then he has had entire charge of the store, in which
time he has enlarged the scope of the business in accordance with the trend
of modern commercial enterprises. In 1900, in order to have more room, he
moved to his present location, where he has an elegant situation and a hand-
some store, equipped with as complete a stock of groceries and wines and
liquors as can be found in the entire city. The business has grown con-
stantly since its inception, and as a cash store it has an immense trade in
the city.


Mr. Ross afifiliates with the Masonic fraternity and with the Ancient
Order of United Workmen, and his father was hkewise a member of these


Thomas Ovens, proprietor of extensive machine shop and carriage works,
owner of large amount of business and real estate property, prominent in
public and business affairs and altogether one of the most substantial and
prosperous citizens of New Westminster, came to the province of British
Columbia in 1870 and for the past thirty-five years has been uninterruptedly
active in the various phases of his life work.

Of English and Irish ancestry and a native of the city of Liverpool,
where he was born on December 4, 1844, Mr. Ovens received a good edu-
cation and then became an apprentice to the blacksmith and machinist's trade.
For the privilege of learning the trade he paid a premium of ten pounds,
and as a result of his work during the first year he received a compensation
of two shillings six pence a week. This wage was increased from year to
year, but in the last twelve months of his service he was paid but twelve
shillings a week. As a journeyman he went to work for one Mathew Wil-
son in Whitechapel, Liverpool, where as foreman he received thirty-four
shillings a week, and continued at that for two years. He then went into
business on his own account, opening a job and machine shop and conduct-
ing it with excellent success. He then went to Manchester, England, and
became manager for Henry Moore, on Oxford street, which position he held
for three and a half years. In the meantime he had been happily married,
but within a brief period he was bereaved of both wife and little daughter,
and under such a weight of sorrow he felt compelled to seek a change of
scenes. This led him to America, and from the Atlantic side he crossed the
plains to San Francisco, where he went to work for the Risdon machine
works. A short time later, in 1870, he arrived in this province.

Mr. Ovens' first business enterprise here was in the fish industry, and
for some seven years he was among the successful pioneers in that work.
It is noteworthy that he took the medal at the Centennial at Philadelphia
for the best exhibit of canned salmon. During this time he and his partner
gave employment to some three hundred men and made use of twenty-five
fishing boats. They manufactured their own cans, all made by hand work.
Their success was large and continuous up to the last year of their prosecu-
tion of the industry.

After leaving this industry Mr. Ovens went to the Coquahalla moun-


tains and spent a season in placer mining. He then became an engineer on
the construction work of. the Canadian Pacific railroad, assisting in the build-
ing of that road through a part of the Yale district. He then returned to
New Westminster and established the blacksmith and machine shops which he
is still conducting. In these shops all kinds of mechanical job work are
done, much steamboat refitting and repairing, and an extensive manufacture
of wagons and carriages. A three-story building is required to accommodate
the shops. Mr. Ovens has done a large amount of building in the city.
His own home is in a neat cottage on the hill above the town, whence a fine
view may be obtained of the city and Fraser river and the forest ]>eyond.
He owns twelve lots in this beautiful location. Mr. Ovens also has a brick
bl<^ck in the business part of the city.

Mr. Ovens is a Conservative in politics, and thoroughly public-spirited
in all his actions pertaining to the civic welfare. For a number of years he
served his city as alderman, and was its honorable mayor for two years. He
has been behind many of the movements for promoting the material progress
of the city, and nothing for the benefit of his community lacks his influence
and su]}port. He is also well known in fraternal circles, being affiliated w-ith
King Solomon's lodge. No. 17, A. F. & A. M., with the Knights of Pythias
and with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has membership with
the Amalgamated Smiths and Machinists of England, one of the largest in-
dustrial societies in the world. His religious connections are with the
Church of England. For many years he has been honored with the ofiice of
justice of the peace for the Westminster election district.

Since the death of his first wife Mr. Ovens has never sought a second
companion. Mrs. Ovens w^as Miss Ruth Susanna Rowe, a native of Liver-
pool, and she died at the birth of her daughter. This only child was soon
after taken away from him by scarlet fever.


William Henry Ladner, of Ladner, is one of the most distinguished
of the British Columbia pioneers who still survive the passage of time. He
has been actively concerned in the affairs of the province for nearly half a
century, and in the course of this time material prosperity, civic honors and
the lasting esteem and respect of his fellow men have rewarded him in
abundant measure.

A native of Cornwall, England, Mr. Ladner was born nearly eighty
years ago, on November 28, 1826. His parents were Edward and Sarah
(Ellis) Ladner, both natives of Cornwall, his father a farmer, who came to


America in 1847 ^^^^^ farmed in the state of Wisconsin until his deatli in
1 85 1. There were six children in the family, and the living brothers and
sisters of Mr. Ladner are Mrs. Hugh Phillips, of Mineral Point, Wisconsin ;
Mrs. W. J. Armstrong, of New Westminster; and Thomas E., at Ladner

Mr. Ladner followed his father to the state of Wisconsin in 1848, and
after remaining there till the fall of 1850 he returned to the old country.
He again crossed the Atlantic in the following spring, and, spending an-
other year in Wisconsin, set out in the spring of 1852 across the plains to
California. He was five months and six days in making the trip from
Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento, California. He remained in California
until the spring of 1858, when the golden discoveries of the Fraser river
country attracted him to British Cokmibia. He arrived on the steamer
Brother Jonathan on May 15, 1858, at Victoria, which was then little more
than a trading post, and the mainland was absolutely an unbroken wilder-
ness. The party of six, of whom he was one, built skiffs for passage up
the Fraser river. They paid fifty dollars for transit to Point Roberts, and
thence by small boats reached Fort Langley on the last day of May. By
taking that route they avoided the custom duties at the mouth of the Fraser
river, there being then a duty of ten per cent on all imported goods and a
charge of five dollars being made for each mining license. He left Lang-
ley on the first of June, and on the following Saturday night reached Hope.

Online LibraryR. E. (R. Edward) GosnellA history; British Columbia → online text (page 74 of 79)