Toronto William Briggs 1912
Copyright, Canada, 1912, by EDGAR FAWCETT.
Sir Richard McBride. K.C.M.G.
PREMIER, NATIVE SON AND PIONEER THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED BY HIS HUMBLE SERVANT THE AUTHOR.
To My Readers:—
A preface is, as I understand it, an explanation, and maybe an apology, for what follows. If such is the case, I must explain several things contained in these "Reminiscences of Old Victoria" and its pioneers. Had I not been laid aside with the typhoid some eight years ago, it is likely I should not have thought of writing down these early memories, but many know what convalescing after a sickness is—how one longs for something new, something to do. I was at this time at the seaside, and all at once decided to pass my time in writing. Seated comfortably on the beach with my writing pad, I commenced "A British Boy's Experiences in San Francisco in the Early Fifties," and so have continued on from time to time during the last eight years.
I have been much encouraged, by pioneers and friends, to gather the result of these pleasant labors together, and I feel I have succeeded in a very imperfect manner; but, dear reader, consider how little I should be expected to know of book-making; therefore take faults and omissions in the product of my labors cum bona venia, for there are sure to be many imperfections. There are repetitions of which I am aware, and have decided to let them stand, as I think they fit in in each case. Had I been a man of more leisure I should not have had to apologize for so many of these imperfections.
I have to thank Mrs. Macdonald, of Armadale, the venerable Bishop Cridge, and Alexander Wilson, for valuable information, and also Mr. Albert Maynard and Reverend A. E. Alston for many photographs to illustrate the book. We all know that a book in these days is nothing without pictures. There are others who have helped me in other ways who will accept my thanks.
With these explanatory remarks, and in fear and trembling, I submit the book to your favorable consideration.
Dingley Dell, Christmas, 1911.
A SHORT AUTOBIOGRAPHY
All the Fawcetts I ever heard of from my father and mother came from Kidderminster. My father's father was a maltster, and the sons, with the exception of my father, the youngest, were carpet weavers. The family were strict Nonconformists, and produced one or two noted divines of George the Third's day, one of whom preached before that king. There was also a kinship with the Baxters of "Saint's Rest" fame.
My mother was Jane Wignall, whose father was a Birmingham smallarms manufacturer in rather a large way of business, but who through the dishonesty of his partner was nearly ruined and brought to comparative poverty. The daughters, who were all well educated, had to take positions as governesses and ladies' companions. My mother, in this capacity, lived and travelled in France and Spain, and spoke the languages of both countries. In a voyage to her home from Barcelona she was wrecked in the Gulf of Lyons, but through the timely assistance of a Spanish gentleman and his Newfoundland dog, who bore her up, she was brought to shore in little more than her nightdress. I have to-day a letter from the British consul at Marseilles which he gave to my mother, recommending her to the care of other British consuls on her way to England. The Spanish gentleman who saved her life made an offer of marriage, which my mother declined, I think, on account of his being a Roman Catholic. He would not take no for an answer, but later on followed her to England and offered himself a second time without effect. Shortly after this she and my father were married, and on the advice of Rowland Hill, his cousin (Sir Rowland Hill), he took his young bride to Australia. Rowland Hill, being his father's trustee under his will, paid my father his share, with which he took a stock of goods and started business in Sydney.
In 1849 we left Sydney, where I was born, for San Francisco—father, mother, my brother Rowland and myself, in the ship Victoria. This vessel my father afterwards purchased and sent to Alberni, or Sooke, for a load of lumber for England, when we all were going with her. The vessel never came back, having been wrecked somewhere near where all the wrecks have since taken place, on the west coast of this island. My father was ruined, for there was no insurance, so he had to start life anew. He came north to Victoria in 1858, where he entered into business until appointed Government Agent at Nanaimo, where he served some years, dying at the advanced age of seventy-six. My mother died in 1863, and at the present writing, in addition to myself, there is one brother in Victoria—Rowland—and another brother, Arthur, in London, England.
The author has completed his fifty-three years in this fair city.
Dingley Dell, December 20th, 1911.
I. The Experiences of a British Boy in San Francisco in the Early Fifties 11 II. Theatrical Memories 20 III. My Boyhood Days in Victoria 26 IV. Victoria's First Directory 38 V. Some Recollections of Victoria by One who Was There in the Sixties 57 VI. A Little More Street History 68 VII. The Victoria Gazette, 1858 73 VIII. Victoria in 1859-1860 84 IX. Fires and Firemen 92 X. A Siberian Mammoth 100 XI. Mrs. Edwin Donald, Hon. Wymond Hamley, Hon. G. A. Walkem 109 XII. The Consecration of the Iron Church 115 XIII. The Iron Church Again 121 XIV. Its Departed Glories, or Esquimalt, Then and Now 124 XV. Old Quadra Street Cemetery 129 XVI. Pioneer Society's Banquet 144 XVII. Victoria District Church 149 XVIII. Christmas In Pioneer Days 153 XIX. The Queen's Birthday Forty Years Ago 159 XX. Evolution of the Victoria Post Office 166 XXI. Fifty Years Ago 170 XXII. Forty Years Ago 174 XXIII. The Late Governor Johnson 178 XXIV. A Trip to a Coral Island 181 XXV. A Victorian's Visit to Southern California 183 XXVI. An Historic Steamer 199 XXVII. Colonel Wolfenden—In Memoriam 203 XXVIII. The Closing of View Street in 1858 206 XXIX. Mr. Fawcett Retires from the Customs 212 XXX. Some Colored Pioneers 215 XXXI. John Chapman Davie, M.D. 220 XXXII. The Beginning of the Royal Hospital and Protestant Orphan's Home 226 XXXIII. Victoria's First Y. M. C. A. 229 XXXIV. The Late Mr. T. Geiger 234 XXXV. Roster of the Fifty-Eighters 237 XXXVI. More Light on Closing of View Street 240 XXXVII. Bishop Cridge's Christmas Story 244 XXXVIII. Christmas Reminiscences 258 XXXIX. My First Christmas Dinner in Victoria, 1860 263 XL. Evolution of the Songhees 283 XLI. Victoria the New and the Old 288
Fort Victoria, 1859, Showing Fort St. Gate Government Street, Looking North Government Street in 1860 S. E. corner Government and Yates Streets, 1858 Lady Douglas Sir James Douglas Edgar Fawcett Hon. Wymond Hamley George Richardson George Hills, D.D. Henry Wootton Capt. John Irving, Sr. Quadra Street Cemetery A Group of Early Legislators Fort Street, Looking East Yates Street, Looking East Fort Street, Extending Through the Fort Old View of Government Street Government Street Before the Removal of the "Old Bastion" Wharf Street, From Corner Fort Street Northward Craigflower, Showing School, 1858 First Bridge Over James Bay, 1859 Government Buildings, 1859-60 May Day Parade, Hook and Ladder Company, May 1st, 1862 Hon. Sir Richard McBride, K.C.M.G. Old View of Douglas Street, Iron Church in the Distance Showing Inside of Fort from Wharf Street, 1859 Hon. Amor De Cosmos William P. Sayward Thomas Harris Bishop Garrett First Methodist Church First Bridge Over the Gorge, Victoria Arm Forty Years Ago, Queen's Birthday, Beacon Hill Colonial Hotel H. B. Co.'s Steamer Beaver Part of View Street, 1859 Victoria District Church, 1859 Hon. Senator Macdonald Lt.-Col. Wolfenden, I.S.O., V.D. Wm. Leigh John Chapman Davie, M.D. Edgar Fawcett Captain "Willie" Mitchell Hon. Dr. Helmcken Gov. John H. Johnson, of Minnesota Samuel Booth Rev. Edward Cridge, 1859 Venerable Bishop Cridge Bishop and Mrs. Cridge at their Golden Jubilee A Park in San Bernardino Songhees Indian Reserve Bastion—S. W. Corner of Fort
SOME REMINISCENCES OF OLD VICTORIA
THE EXPERIENCES OF A BRITISH BOY IN SAN FRANCISCO IN THE EARLY FIFTIES.
I shall commence by saying that I, with my father, mother, brother and sister, arrived in San Francisco in 1850, in the ship Victoria, from Australia, where I was born. From stress of weather we put into Honolulu to refit, and spent, I think, three weeks there, and as my mother was not in good health the change and rest on shore did her a deal of good. During our stay we became acquainted with a wealthy American sugar planter, who was married to a pretty native lady. They had no family, and she fell in love with your humble servant, who was of the mature age of two and a half years. My mother, of course, told me of this years later, how that after consulting with her husband, the planter, she seriously proposed to my mother that she give me to her for adoption as her son; that I should be well provided for in the case of her husband's death, and in fact she made the most liberal offers if she might have me for her own. It might have been a very important epoch in my life, for if my mother had accepted, who knows but what I might have been "King of the Hawaiian Islands," as the planter's wife was "well connected." But, to proceed, my mother did not accept this flattering offer, as naturally she would not, and so we continued on our way to San Francisco with many remembrances of my admirer's kindness. But this is not telling of my experiences in San Francisco eight years after.
My first recollections are complimentary to the citizens of San Francisco—that is, for their universal courtesy to women and children; but this is a characteristic of the people, and I will illustrate it in a small way. It was the custom in those days for ladies to go shopping prepared to carry all they bought home with them, and I used to accompany my mother on her shopping expeditions. The streets and crossings were in a dreadfully muddy condition, and women and children were carried over the crossings, and never was there wanting a gallant gentleman ready to fulfil this duty, for a duty it was considered then by all men to be attentive to women.
What induced me to write these maybe uninteresting incidents, was the last very interesting sketch of early life in San Francisco by my friend, Mr. D. W. Higgins, giving an account of the doings of the "Vigilance Committee," and the shooting of "James King of William," as I remembered him named, and the subsequent execution of Casey for that cold-blooded deed. Cold-blooded it was, for I was an eye-witness, strange to say, of the affair, as I will now relate.
I might premise by saying that my father was an enthusiastic Britisher. But he was a firm believer in the American axiom, though—"My country, may she ever be right; my country right or wrong," and I, his son, echo the same sentiments. It is this sentiment that makes me have no love for a pro-Boer. It was this pride of country that caused him to go to the expense of subscribing for the Illustrated London News at fifty or seventy-five cents a number, weekly, and I was on my way to Payot's bookstore to get the last number, with the latest account of the Crimean War, then waging between England and France against Russia. I was within a stone's throw of Washington and Montgomery Streets, I think, when I was startled by the sharp report of a pistol, and looking around I saw at once where it proceeded from, for there were about half a dozen people surrounding a man who had been shot. I, of course, made for that point, being ever ready for adventure. The victim of the shooting was James King of William, editor of the Evening Bulletin newspaper, and the assassin was a notorious politician named James Casey, proprietor of the Sunday Times, but a very illiterate man for all that.
The cause of the shooting was that James King of William had in his paper stated that Casey had served a term in Sing Sing prison in New York for burglary. This was true, and was afterwards admitted by Casey, but that it should have been made known by an opponent's newspaper was too much for him, and he swore that King's days were numbered. He kept his word, as the event showed.
The victim of the shooting was able to stagger forward towards the Pacific Express building on the corner of Washington and Montgomery Streets, and entered the office, only to drop to the floor. Several doctors were soon in attendance, and his wound bandaged, and he was eventually moved to Montgomery Block, where he remained until he died, six days later. It was contended by Doctor Toland that King's death was caused by the leaving in the wound of the sponge that was inserted immediately after the shooting to stop hemorrhage. There were about twenty doctors in all who attended King, so is it any wonder he died?
The assassin was taken in charge by his friends, some of whom were at the time close at hand, and he was taken to the station, which was a block away, and locked up. This was the safest thing for Casey, as his friends were in office, and he expected to get off, even if tried for the offence, as many a like rogue had done.
It was not long after the shooting ere the bell of the Monumental Engine House rang out an alarm. Ten thousand people assembled, as louder pealed the bell. The crowd now surged in the direction of the jail, calling out, "Lynch him! lynch him!" All this time I was swept along in the living stream of people, and well it was for me that I was able to keep upright, for had I fallen it is doubtful if I should have been able to rise again. The jail was doubly guarded to prevent the citizens from getting possession of Casey, who would have been summarily dealt with. I was now able to get out of the crowd and go home to tell of my wonderful adventure.
I was always in trouble through my continual search for adventure. A gentleman friend of ours, bookkeeper, in the San Francisco sugar refinery, was one of the Vigilance Committee, which was composed of all grades of society, from merchants to workingmen. There were five thousand of them enrolled to work a reformation in city government, which was then in the hands of gamblers, thieves and escaped convicts. At home I heard the trial and execution of Casey discussed, and decided at all hazards to go to the important event, but I knew it would have to be done on the sly, as my mother would never have consented. "I let the cat out of the bag" somehow, as my mother gave me a solemn warning that if I went I should get the worst whipping I ever had in my life.
I brooded on this for some days, and finally decided to go and take my chances of being found out. So on the day I of course played hookey, and got to the place early. I climbed up an awning post nearly opposite the gallows, and sat on the top with some other adventurous spirits, who, like myself, were hungry for adventure. I shall not describe what I saw, for my friend, Mr. Higgins, has already done that. When I got home I paid dearly for my disobedience. My elder brother happened to have been opposite me, on the other side of the street. I got my promised whipping, well laid on, and was sent supperless to bed, feeling very sore. But I was not fated to go without supper, for, as I lay unrepentant, Amy, my little sister, crept into the room and brought me part of hers, and, what I more appreciated then, her sympathy and tears. God bless her! She was taken from us soon after to a better life.
One afternoon later (I won't be sure of dates), as father and I were going home, we were arrested by the sweet strains of music, which proceeded from a band a block away. Father hesitated for an instant, then started off at a run, calling to me to come on. We were soon there, and to explain father's strange action in running after a band of music, I have only to say that the tune was one dear to the hearts of all Britons, "God Save the Queen," so, could you wonder at his excitement, as we stood in front of the British Consulate? The reason of it all was the news received that day of the fall of Sebastopol. After a few words from the consul we all moved off to the French Consulate, and here all was repeated, but to the strains of the Marseillaise hymn. Of course this good news was fully discussed at home, and some days after it was decided to have the event celebrated by the British and French residents by a procession and banquet in a pavilion, with an ox and several sheep roasted whole. The day arrived, and I, of course, had to go with father in the procession, carrying a British flag. In the midst of the festivities a lot of roughs broke into the pavilion, tore down the British and French flags, and then worked havoc with the pavilion itself. It was a most disgraceful affair, and would not have occurred, I am confident, in any British possession; but then ours may not be such a free country. Father was most indignant, and wrote to Marryat's newspaper calling on the British Consul to take official notice of the affair, but I don't remember the result. Marryat was, I believe, an Englishman.
The next little incident I shall name the "Battle of the Standard," because it was all about a little flag. It was the celebration of the laying of the Atlantic cable, and all the public school children took part in a monster parade. Each child carried a small flag, such as we have for the Queen's birthday celebration in Canada.
As may be supposed American flags swamped the British in numbers, still there was a good sprinkling of the latter. I happened to be one British boy among many American boys, and they bantered me considerably about my flag being "alone," and at last exasperated me, and on my flag being snatched away by a boy I snatched it back again, and in the scuffle it was torn from the stick and I cried with vexation. One of the teachers, however, supplied me with another, which you may suppose I took good care of. Will the Americans never get over their silly jealousy with respect to the flying of foreign flags in their country? We Canadians are always pleased to see the Star Spangled Banner waving alongside the Union Jack, and hope it may long wave.
The Mexican coin valued at two reals, or two bits, as we called it then, represented the value of two small apples in those days, and everything was dear in proportion. These coins were more in circulation than American, I think, the place being full of Mexicans. They were very picturesque, riding about dressed in buckskin trousers with fringe down the leg, wearing wide-brimmed felt hats and on their heels immense spurs, which made a great noise as they walked. They were a great attraction to me as they galloped like mad after cattle, throwing with great skill a rawhide lariat or lasso, which rarely missed its victim. My thirst for adventures led me with several other kindred spirits to play hookey from school, and go into the country to see these Mexicans drive wild cattle about, and then to the slaughterhouse to see them killed. When I was found out I was well whipped, of course, but I often escaped.
San Francisco in those days was mostly built of wood, and when a fire started, with a fair wind, the damage done was something enormous. My spirit of adventure took me to many of these fires, in fact it was hard to keep me in when a large one was burning. From our house I have seen the greater part of the city swept away twice, and a grander sight cannot be imagined, seen from an eminence, and maybe at night, too. I was off like a shot, and, running all the way, was soon on the scene. Anyone and everyone volunteered to help carry goods to a place of safety, and hot work it was, I can tell you, for being mostly of wood, and maybe redwood, they (the houses) burnt like tinder. From running to so many fires and falling down in my haste I got my shins bruised and bleeding, and my trousers, of course, torn. I was showing my children these scars only lately, they being still much in evidence after fifty-four years.
As I have before stated, the stores were built of redwood, and with cellars. The floors of many had trapdoors, and when the fire got near them the storekeeper opened the trapdoor, and all the goods were swept off the shelves into the cellar, and covered up. After this the owner of the building took a bee-line for the lumber yard to get in his order for lumber for a new building ahead of his neighbor. They were the exciting days and no mistake! A week after one of these devastating fires all was built up and looked the same as usual. I might state that the firebells rang on all occasions to bring the citizens together in those times of tumult, and all prominent men were firemen.
I can well remember the election of President Buchanan, and if I remember right, the voting was in the open air in each ward of the city, the ballots being placed in large glass globes. At one of these polling-places I saw a fight, the result of a dispute between a Democrat and a Republican over an accusation by one that the other had put in a double ticket (I think this was the cause).
To close this history, I might say that my father and his partner put all they had, some ten thousand dollars, into a venture which eventually brought us to Vancouver Island to live. They bought a vessel, and sent her in ballast to Alberni or Sooke for a load of lumber, and it was arranged that on her return to San Francisco she was to take the lumber to England, and we all were to go home again in her. But "L'homme propose et Dieu dispose" was here exemplified, for the ship never came back. After weeks of anxiety when the ship was overdue, one day either the captain, or the mate came to my father with the news that the ship was wrecked in Barclay Sound, and as there was not a dollar of insurance we were ruined, and had to commence all over again.
The result of all this was that later we embarked with about six hundred others on the steamer Northerner for Victoria, to try and retrieve something of what we lost. I will not vouch for the accuracy of the dates or the rotation in which the incidents are related, but I have done my best after cudgeling my brain for weeks for the general result as here presented.
[Portrait: Edgar Fawcett.]
In looking through a trunk of old letters and other odds and ends the other day, I came across what might be considered of some interest to some of our pioneers in the sixties. The find consisted of six playbills, or, as they could very well be considered, theatrical posters, from the size; but they were such as were then given to people as they passed the doorkeeper into the old Victoria Theatre on Government Street. They measure two feet long by ten inches wide, and are like posters alongside those now used. These plays were produced in the times of Governors Douglas and Seymour, and were under their distinguished patronage.
In those days very few theatrical companies visited Victoria, except at irregular intervals, so that theatre-goers had to rely, to a great extent, on the productions of the Victoria Amateur Dramatic Club to fill up the intervals. At this date there were many well-educated and professional men here who had come from the Old Country to get rich in a short time; and, thinking the mines were close to this city, many of these joined the club. Charles Clarke was a prominent member, also W. M. Anderson, C. B. Tenniel, together with many of our young business men, viz., Arthur Keast, the brewer; Lumley Franklin, the auctioneer; S. Farwell, the civil engineer; H. C. Courtney, the barrister; H. Rushton and Joseph Barnett, of one of the banks; Ben Griffin, mine host of the Boomerang; Godfrey Brown, of Janion, Green & Rhodes; W. J. Callingham, of McCutcheon & Callingham, drapers (the latter, by the bye, was a most clever low comedian); Plummer, the auctioneer; and last, though not least, Alex. Phillips, of soda water fame. These names will all be familiar to old pioneers. As female talent was scarce, or they were loth to take part in theatricals, the other sex had to be enlisted, and I shall not forget the meeting at the Boomerang (our meeting-place) when this difficulty was met by the suggestion that your humble servant should take the part of "Emily Trevor" in "Boots at the Swan." I protested my inability, but was overruled. Not yet having occasion to use a razor, and being youthful, it was decided that I should try my hand at female impersonation, under the "stage name" of "Helen Fawcet." The result of the experiment was that I subsequently took the parts of "Julia Jenkins" in "Who Stole the Pocket-book?" and "Mary Madden" in "Henry Dunbar." This last character was a rather more difficult one than the others, and although I was perfect in my part, I was reported in the next morning's Colonist by "Leigh Harnett" as looking very sweet, etc., but "as not speaking up," which, of course, was a serious defect. This criticism was a damper on my theatrical aspirations in female parts, for I returned to the commonplace parts of a poacher, a brigand and a footman. The performances were generally given for some charity, such as the Orphans of St. Ann, the fire department, and so forth, and were "under" the distinguished patronage of Admiral Hastings and officers of H.M.S. Reindeer, and officers of the fleet often helped us out. I see by the bills that the admission was $1.50 reserved seats, $1.00 unreserved, and 50 cents "pit," with $10 for a box. "Performance to commence promptly at 7.30." The orchestra was composed, with others, of Digby Palmer, F. S. Bushell, Gunther and Roberts, with, I think, Bandmaster Haynes. All our performances were given under the direction of R. G. Marsh, a standard theatrical manager, who, with his wife, adopted daughter, "Jenny Arnot," his son and Miss Yeoman, was a great help to us. In fact without their assistance we could not have produced plays with female characters. Not to make this too long, I will wind up by giving what I can remember of a piece called "The Merchant of Venice Preserved," by a local poet. It was full of local hits, which only those who were acquainted with politics and the questions of the day at that time will understand:
"This shall Inform Bassanio that I'm done Brown, My chance is up, my ship, alas! gone down. The vessel on her homeward way, sir, Laden with the rich products of the Fraser (river)— The famed sal-lals for making jams, Monster sturgeon, cranberries and clams— Bumped on the sands and so a wreck became; Captain, as usual, 'not at all to blame.' The people here say just as they like, And lay the blame on 'Titcombe' or on 'Pike.' For me, no sympathy I get; to them 'tis fun; Alas for me, I'm 'Capitally' done; Then those brick stores, which I fondly thought For bonded warehouses would soon be sought; Bring 'Nary red,' no revenue they raise; No ships arriving, no one duty pays; From Sorrow's page I've learned all man can know, For 'Cochrane's' just sold off my grand pi-an-o; So if with means to aid me you're invested, Haste, for the Jews won't rest till I'm arrested.
"Your loving friend,
The evening of my first appearance in female character, I was dressed at home, and escorted down town with a lady on each side of me, and I can remember how hard it was for them to keep their countenance, for several times I thought I was discovered ere we reached the theatre. We all walked to and from the theatre in those days—there were not half a dozen hacks in Victoria.
The photo shows old "Theatre Royal" at the time of which I write, viz., 1866 to 1868, and in which all the theatricals were produced in these early days; although there was a sort of theatre used for nigger minstrel performances and concert hall business. This was situated under Goodacre's butcher shop. The principal actor and negro delineator was "Tom Lafont," whose equal I have not seen since as an imitator of negro comicalities and as a bird whistler. He will be well remembered by old-timers. The Theatre Royal was situated on Government Street, one door from the corner of Bastion, as will be seen in the picture. This corner was first occupied by Doctor Davie, sr., then by a Doctor Dickson, when first I remember it. He died about a year ago in Portland, Oregon, just after a visit to this city. The theatre was, I think, composed of two of the big barns in the fort, which being connected together, made one long building, reaching to Langley Street. There was a saloon or restaurant kept by Sam Militich on the one side of the front entrance, and Newbury's saddlery shop on the other. The upper front of the theatre was used as a photograph gallery, and was occupied, among others, by a Mr. Gentile and J. Craig. A showcase of photos, in a small annex, which was connected with the gallery above, may be seen with a magnifying glass.
Charles Keen and Mrs. Keen produced several of Shakespeare's plays here in 1864, and I went with my father to see "Macbeth." We had seats in the pit, or orchestra chairs, as now known. Reserved tickets were three dollars, and although this was thought to be a famine price, the opportunity of hearing such celebrated people as the Keens was not to be resisted, so the house was packed at each performance.
Charles Wheatley, considered a fine comedian, produced the "Colleen Bawn," or the "Brides of Garry Owen." The play made a lasting impression on me, as the finest comedy I had ever seen. It may be that Mr. Wheatley's fine personation of Danny Mann, the leading part, made me think so, but it was a fact nevertheless.
Madame Anna Bishop, whom Mr. Higgins has told us about in one of his interesting stories, delighted many audiences in "Old Theatre Royal."
I can also remember the Reverend Morley Puncheon, who was a celebrated Methodist preacher, and chairman of the home church in England. He gave readings from celebrated authors. During one of these readings, and while he was reciting from Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome," the fire bell rang, and in less time than five minutes there was hardly a man left of his audience. He was at first struck dumb with surprise, then offended. That such an ordinary thing, as it seemed to him, should have stopped his lecture! But it was explained to him how that fires were put out by the citizens generally; that it was a matter of much moment to them; that it may have been the home of any of them; also that many of the audience were members of a fire company, and were liable to be fined for non-attendance, although their services were given free. This satisfied him, and he went on with the reading. Theatre Royal served Victoria until the building of Theatre Victoria.
MY BOYHOOD DAYS IN VICTORIA.
How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood, When fond recollection presents them to view! The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood, And every loved spot which my boyhood then knew.
Oh! give me back my boyhood days, The sportive days of childhood. The merry games with bat and ball, The rambles through the wildwood.
As I stated in my experiences in San Francisco in the early fifties, and in consequence of the loss of my father's vessel near Alberni, we came north to Victoria after gold was discovered in British Columbia. We took passage in the steamer Northerner, which was filled with passengers and freight, and came via Portland, arriving in Esquimalt on the 11th day of February, 1859. I might state that all the ocean steamers docked at Esquimalt then, and the passengers were freighted round in a smaller steamer to the Hudson's Bay wharf in our harbor. The first thing that attracted our attention on coming into the harbor was the high palisade of the fort, which ran along Wharf Street from the corner of Bastion to Broughton Street, up thence to Government Street, along Government to Bastion Street, to the cigar store with the brass plate on, now occupied by North and Richardson. Opposite Fort Street there was an entrance, and another on Wharf Street.
In the centre of the large gates there were smaller ones. These small gates were opened every morning at seven o'clock on the ringing of the fort bell, which was suspended from a kind of belfry in the centre of the yard. To the north were the stores and warehouses, and to the south large barns; the residences were situated on the east side of the fort.
The stores were patronized by all the colonists, not then being confined to the Company's servants, as in former times. Fort Street looked very different to what it does now. The roadbed was composed of boulders, which, being round, made rough riding, and so muddy, too! Try and imagine it. The sidewalk was of two-inch boards, laid lengthwise, three boards wide, I think, and commenced at the Brown Jug corner, running up for three or four blocks.
Where the Brown Jug now stands was a large orchard and garden, surrounded by a whitewashed fence, which ran along Government Street to Broughton, taking in the whole block eastward. Many an apple have I had from this orchard, and apples were apples in those days, whatever they may be now.
The Company's bakery, where we got our bread, was across Fort Street, on the site of the Five Sisters block, and was a log-built house, whitewashed. I think part of the bakehouse was to be seen in late years in the rear of a carpenter's shop on Broad Street, also I think the baker himself is still alive, and named James Stockham. He made excellent bread and charged twenty-five cents a loaf, but such loaves they were, being at least three times as large as modern loaves.
There was a good story told of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the price of flour and bread during the gold excitement, which reflected great credit on the Chief Factor of the company. It was said that a scheme was concocted to corner all the flour in the country (a la trust) by some enterprising citizens across the border; and the Company was approached by these gentlemen, who proposed to them to buy their whole stock of flour for that purpose. To the credit of the Company's officials, they refused to do so, and sold at the usual price, against the combination, and so broke it up.
After we had got settled in our new home the question of sending me to school was discussed, and easily settled, for it was Hobson's choice. The Colonial School, as it was called, was on the site of the present Central School. It was the only one I can think of except Angela College, and maybe a private school. There was a fee of five dollars a year charged, payable quarterly in advance.
After you left Blanchard Street, the way to the school was by a pathway through the woods. The country around View and Fort Streets, up to Cook, was very swampy, and covered mostly by willow and alder trees. In fact there was a small swamp or lake on View Street, where there was good duck shooting in winter. When I went to the Colonial School in 1859, it was taught by a young man named Kennedy, whose father was Dr. Kennedy, of the Hudson's Bay Company, and whose brother was in the same service. Some months later he resigned, and his successor was an Irishman named W. H. Burr, whose temper was quick, like my own, and although he tried to make me a good scholar, I am afraid I did not do him or his teaching justice, and I remember two good beatings he gave me far better than the useful knowledge he tried to inculcate.
It was thus: Our school might aptly be termed a mixed one, for it consisted of boys and girls who sat together. This arrangement just suited me, for I was fond of the girls. There were white boys and black boys, Hebrews and Gentiles, rich and poor, and we all sat close together to economize room. One day a dispute arose between a white boy and a black boy, and ended in a fistic encounter. I was mainly instrumental in bringing it about, and backed my man until the sponge was thrown up by the white boys' friend. Mr. Burr heard of the occurrence through the boys not reporting at the school the next morning, and an investigation by the master revealed my part in the affair. I was sentenced to be flogged for aiding and abetting. This was announced in the morning, and to be carried out in the afternoon. My friends collected around me after school closed and various advice was given me as to how I should act under the trying circumstances. After the consultation was over it was decided that I should put on a pair of old gloves inside out, as it was supposed the cane would not hurt as much that way, and it being dusk at four o'clock, when we broke up in winter, the master might not see the difference in the color of my hands. I was on hand at flogging time, against the advice of some of my friends, who counselled me not to show up. Mr. Burr laid on the cane on my hands, and at first I did not feel it much, but after about half the whipping was given it got unbearable, and I could not hold out any longer, so bolted, was stopped, knocked down, and eventually I got under the seats and desks, and was followed by the irate master and hit on any part that was exposed to view. Mr. Burr did not give up until he was tired out, and I was glad to take advantage of this fact and get out, and off home, a much wiser if not a better boy. I got little sympathy at home when I told them that I had been whipped for causing a fight between a white boy and a black boy named White.
My next whipping was interrupted by the master's wife, who frequently interfered, and by her pleadings for the culprit and offering to go bail for his future good behavior, got him off with lighter punishment. I shall always think kindly of Mrs. Burr, for if ever there was a good, kind-hearted woman it was she. Mr. Burr often went to auctions, and before going, he appointed a monitor, who had charge during his absence. One day during his absence all hands vacated our desks and proceeded to the vegetable garden, which contained a good assortment of all kinds, and as boys are known to be over-fond of raw carrots and turnips, especially if stolen, we were soon at work digging up our favorite vegetables. After peeling them with our jackknives we might have been seen sitting on the fence and school porch eating as only boys can eat. In the midst of our vegetarian feast the lookout announced the distant approach of the master, and then there was a scattering of the boys, as half-eaten carrots and turnips were thrown away, and we regained our seats in school looking as innocent as lambs. Then Mr. Burr appeared on the scene. Mrs. Burr must have seen us, but was too good-hearted to tell her husband all she knew.
I have said the school was reached by a trail through the woods, and very pretty the woods looked in summer. The school and grounds were surrounded by spreading oaks, which covered that part of the city, or country as it was then called, and it was under these trees we sat with the girls and ate our lunch, or rested in the shade after our innings at ball. Wild flowers, that now are only found miles away, were found there in profusion. We children always took our lunches, it being considered too far to go home for the midday meal.
Many will remember the old schoolhouse which was pulled down to make way for the present Central School. It was built of square logs and whitewashed, and was occupied by the master and his family. The school proper occupied only about a third of the building, and was a large room extending from the front to the back of the building. Of the old boys and girls who survive those early school days I can think of these: Judge Harrison; John Elford, of Elford & Smith; Theophilus Elford, of Shawnigan Lake Lumber Company; Mr. Anderson, of Saanich; the Tolmie and Finlayson boys; Edward Wall (late Erskine & Wall); Ernest Leigh, son of the late city clerk, now of San Francisco, and John and Fred Mecredy, also of San Francisco. Of the girls there are Sarah Allatt, now Mrs. Jos. Wriglesworth; Sylvestra Layzell, now Mrs. O. C. Hastings, and her sister Lucy, now also married; and Sarah Pointer, now Mrs. Carter. I had nearly forgotten Ned Buckley, who left here for the States and became an actor of some note.
Of those dead I can best remember David Work, of Hillside Farm, and my chum, the late James Douglas, son of Sir James, then Governor. If I remember right, he was unintentionally the cause of my second whipping. He seemed much attached to me, and many were the rides we had together in his trap, which brought him to school every morning. He was a kindred spirit, wilful like myself, and had a habit of suddenly getting up in school and announcing to the master that he was going home, or it might be for some long drive, usually to Cadboro Bay. Mr. Burr would remonstrate with him, but generally gave way, and off he went. As he and I got intimate he wanted me to go with him on these expeditions, and often at the unseemly hours of two or three o'clock, during school.
One day he got up suddenly in his seat and said: "Mr. Burr, I am going home and I want Fawcett to go with me; that will be all right, won't it?"
"Now, Master James," said Mr. Burr, "I cannot allow this; I must protest against this going away during school hours. If His Excellency only knew, what would he say?"
"Oh, that will be all right, Mr. Burr."
"No, no, James, it is not all right, and as for Fawcett going with you I cannot allow it, Master James; heed me or I must have a word with Sir James about you."
[Portrait: William Leigh.]
All this time James was standing up at his desk with his riding-whip in his hand, and making signs for me to follow, which I proceeded to do, the master protesting all the time. I got my reward next day, but not as bad as I would have got had not good Mrs. Burr come to my rescue. We drove to Upland Farm, then the home of City Clerk Leigh and his family, at Cadboro Bay. Mrs. Leigh was always good to James and I on these visits to the farm, getting us the best to eat and plenty of fresh milk to drink. By some understanding between Sir James and Mr. Burr we continued these afternoon drives, and it may be imagined how we boys enjoyed them. We continued friends to the last, and years after I worked like a beaver when he was elected a member of the Legislature for Victoria City. He was godfather to my eldest son, who was named after him. I have still a handsome book given me by Sir James at the last break-up of school before I left.
We now and then hear complaints by prudish people of the boys bathing on Victoria Arm, on Deadman's Island and elsewhere without a full bathing suit. What would they say to the boys of my time bathing in Nature's suit only, and that on the waterfront from James Bay bridge all around to the Hudson's Bay Company's wharf? We bathed there at all times, and to our heart's content, and never was exception taken to it by the authorities, or in fact by anyone. Use is second nature, and I suppose that accounted for it.
Have any of my readers ever seen Deadman's Island (the island which is opposite Leigh's mill) when it was covered with trees and shrubs? Well, up these trees were corpses of Indians fastened up in trunks and cracker boxes, but mostly trunks, the bodies being doubled up to make them fit in the trunk, and then suspended like Mahomet's coffin between heaven and earth. There were also some Indians buried in the shallow soil and surrounded by fences, and again boxes of corpses were piled one on top of the other. This island was a favorite place of the school boys as a rendezvous for swimming, and many a summer's afternoon and Saturday have I spent there in the good old days gone by.
I shall now relate an incident of one of these expeditions to the island by myself and three others. I can recollect the names of only two members of the expedition of that Saturday, and I might say that they were my schoolfellows of the Collegiate School, which occupied the site of Mr. Ellis's residence on Church Hill, and was afterwards burnt down. I left the Colonial School in 1860, and transferred to the Collegiate School, which was conducted as a church institution. Rev. C. T. Woods was principal, with Rev. Mr. Reese, "Cantab." Williams, and Messrs. Vincent and Palmer, French and drawing and music, as the full staff. Well, about the Deadman's Island affair. One Saturday afternoon in midsummer four of us—Robert Branks, a brother of Mrs. Doctor Powell, William Galley, James Estall and a fourth whose name I cannot now remember hired a boat at Lachapelle's, near James Bay Bridge, and made for Deadman's Island. We enjoyed the luxury of running about the island like the savages on Robinson Crusoe's island, then dived into deep water, swam around for a time and landed to dry and warm ourselves at a fire we had made for that purpose. All boys know that a fire is indispensable to swimming and bathing.
While squatting on the ground around the fire the idea struck me that by the way the wind was blowing it would not need much encouragement for the fire to take hold of some of the boxes of bones, which may have represented an Indian chief, his wife or child. I then proposed that we accidentally on purpose "set fire to the whole lot." After a council of war it was finally decided to carry out my suggestion, as a grand wind-up of our day's outing. Time after time we dived off, and swam around till tired, and then came ashore to dry ourselves at the fire. This is the exact routine of boys' swimming expeditions of these present days, and will be to the end of all time. We got tired of it at last and dressed, preparing to go home, when the subject of the firing of the Indian corpses was again discussed. Should we do it or not? Robert Branks was with me all right, but one boy was fearful of the consequences. "The chief and all the Indians on the Songhees reserve would soon see the fire and would be after us." There was something in this, for there were hundreds then, where there are now dozens, and it was risky.
After each had said his say, we put it to the vote, and it was carried three to one that the fire take place. We set fire to a lot of pieces of broken coffins at two separate places alongside a pile of boxes or trunks of bones. Then we made all haste to get aboard our craft, up sail and away. We had hardly reached the bridge and crossed the harbor from the bottom of Johnson Street to the Indian reserve, when the fire could be seen plainly as having been a success from our point of view—so much so that we made greater haste to get to the boathouse. We lost no time in settling up for the boat hire, and making the best of our legs in getting home. The paper next morning was early sought for, and with fear and trembling, too. There was good reason for fear, for the paper gave an account of the affair. The Indians had made complaint to the police, and they were searching for the culprits. I was afraid to go out at all, much less to go to school, and every knock at the door made me start. I at last confessed to my parents my share in the business, and it was decided that I must "lay low" for a few days, and lucky it was for me I did not get what I deserved, a good whipping, as my mother said. The quartette of boys kept their counsel, and we escaped a visit from the police.
Some time later we visited the island to see the result of the fire, and found that all traces of the burying-ground had vanished, the surface of the island being swept clean, with not a trace of boxes, bones or trees, and it has remained so till this day.
In the absence of Chinese market gardens, and the kitchen garden now attached to most homesteads, we had to go to a distance for our vegetables. It took us the best part of a day to go to Hillside Farm for a sack of assorted vegetables. Several boys would start together for this trip into the country. It is astonishing how the absence of streets or roads lengthens this distance, and so it was then. We started after breakfast and took our lunch, going across country by trail, each with a sack, which was filled by old Willie Pottinger, the gardener, for a shilling. Very good and fresh they were, and very cheap this was considered. With our loads we started for home, and the further we got from Hillside the heavier the vegetables got, and therefore the more stoppages we made to rest. At last Port and Blanchard Streets were in sight, and we were home again, tired out and hungry as hunters.
The last I remember of the Hudson's Bay fort was during the contest brought on by the burning question of the day, namely Union and Tariff vs. Free Port. The mainland represented Tariff and the island Free Port. Should we join with the mainland with a tariff or remain Free Port? The hustings was erected in the fort, and the pros and cons were discussed by the rival candidates. I took part, although too young to vote, and worked day and night for my friend Amor De Cosmos, who was in favor of union and tariff, and we won the day, too.
Before I conclude I would again speak of the large stores in the fort, which supplied the colonists with all they required except meats. It was said at the time that you might get anything at the stores, from a needle to an anchor. This might well have been true, for it was the repository of all the Company's goods for supplying their servants with all their necessaries.
One of the first visits I paid was with my mother, as in San Francisco, and amongst various articles I carried away was a pair of Old Country boots. These boots I am not likely to forget, as I wore them so long. The soles were twice the usual thickness of even boys' boots, and, like a horseshoe, had a row of nails with projecting square heads a quarter inch thick. These boots left their mark wherever they went, and, as may be supposed, as I was a strong, healthy boy with a roving disposition, they travelled considerably. Wear them out I could not, kicking rocks and stubbing my toes against everything I came against, for I found them awkward and heavy to carry, and in fact everything gave way before them. My poor mother often called out at the marks of the square-headed nails on her clean floors, which in those days were not covered with carpets or linoleum, as now. These boots were a feature of the store, and were, I think, $3.75 or $4 a pair—but enough of hobnailed boots.
VICTORIA'S FIRST DIRECTORY.
In 1860 was issued the first directory of Victoria, Vancouver Island, by Edward Mallandaine, an architect, who continued to issue a Victoria directory at intervals for years afterwards. Through the kindness of Mr. Mallandaine, who is a pioneer of 1858, I am enabled to review this relic of early and interesting times, for those of us who remember them as "the good old times." I shall here give some of the author's "Prefatory remarks":
"It has been thought by the author of the following work that the present being an age of advancement, the period has fully arrived when our fair town of Victoria is of sufficient importance to deserve that index of commercial progress, a Directory. We have been reliably informed that about 35,000 immigrants from California and elsewhere have arrived, and have produced a most marvellous state of transition in the two countries [Vancouver Island and British Columbia.] A number of wharves have been constructed this past season, a new timber bridge across James Bay has been built, giving access to the newly-erected Government offices for public lands and to Government House, which are of an ornamental character. Streets leading to the bridge have been graded and metalled over and are passable at all times. A temporary want of funds alone prevents more being done in this way, as also the completion of two embankments (in lieu of bridges) in a ravine [Johnson Street, I think, E. F.]. Wooden buildings have ceased to be the order of the day. We have been fortunate in hitherto escaping with but one single disaster in the shape of fire. Some public-spirited citizens taking the lead, a Hook and Ladder Company has been organized, and subscriptions raised to defray the necessary outlay of a building and a Hook and Ladder Apparatus and an Engine. We have a large bookstore [Hibben & Carswell's]; two hotels of considerable dimensions, Royal and Victoria, and several houses, all erected in brickwork. The Hudson's Bay Company are erecting a warehouse of pretentious dimension of stone, which they import from a distance of not less than forty miles, and a new bank, 'Bank of British North America.' Great demands are made for a Public Hall for meetings, and the want of a Theatre is felt. The last few months have seen an increase in our legal defenders, and the arrival of an attorney-general for British Columbia.
"We have seen by an effort in the right direction a large tract of land, 20,000 acres in the neighborhood of Victoria, put up for sale by auction at the upset price of $1.00 per acre.
"We have of churches one Episcopalian, one Roman Catholic, one Methodist mission, one Congregational mission, one nunnery school, Sisters of St. Ann's, one private educational institute (by the author) for both sexes, and one Young Ladies' Seminary.
"We have an hospital (Royal) started originally by Rev. Edward Cridge, of Christ Church, and now sadly overburdened with debt.
"A Masonic lodge is in course of formation; an Odd Fellows' Association has been in existence for a year; a Ladies' Benevolent Society, under the presidency of Mrs. Col. Moody; a Hebrew Victoria Benevolent Society has been in existence some six months; a Philharmonic Society, under the conduct of John Bailey, is among one of its oldest institutions, and to conclude we have in Victoria a free port. This is an immense advantage, coupled with its commanding situation for an eastern and Asiatic trade and its position, opposite the North American and Pacific railway (which will shortly be an undoubted fact). In conclusion, we have to place our work in its present state in the hands of an indulgent public," E. M., etc.
[Portrait: Captain John Irving.]
I now propose to review the names of the 1860 pioneer merchants, as illustrated on the covers and through the directory, bringing their names before the pioneers of those days again. This directory is nothing more than a history of the city at that time, and to me is most interesting reading. It is not to be supposed that newcomers of twenty years' residence will give it more than passing notice, but they will excuse us old hands for being interested.
On the front cover is a picture of the Royal Hotel on Wharf Street, corner of Johnson, Jas Wilcox, proprietor, who also owned property on Fort Street opposite Philharmonic Hall, Wilcox Alley running through the property. The Royal Hotel with the Victoria were the first brick hotels built here in 1858. It was on a vacant lot alongside the Royal Hotel that the Rev. Alexander C. Garrett, about 1861 or 1862, used to preach on Sunday afternoons to large crowds, mostly sailors and miners, although all sorts and conditions of sinners were there. He was a most eloquent Irishman, was a missionary to the Indians, and lived on the Songhees reserve. The choir of Christ Church attended to lead the music, and as I was a choir boy, I was there, as also, I think, Dr. Davie. The minister stood on a packing-box, and the whole scene is vivid in my memory. The motley crowd, as may be supposed, the music in the open air, and the eloquent speaker, all combined to make the scene one to be remembered. Mr. Garrett left here for the States, afterwards being made bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.
On the inside of the cover is a picture of Stationers' Hall, Hibben & Carswell, on the corner of Yates and Langley Streets. During fifty-four years the business has gone on prospering. Although the three principals of that day are gone to their rest, the business is still carried on as Hibben & Co., under the able management of William S. Bone, one of its partners. I might state that Mr. Bone entered the business as a boy at the age of eighteen years, and subsequently a partnership was formed, consisting of T. N. Hibben, C. W. Kammerer and William H. Bone. R. T. Williams, in charge of the Provincial Government Bindery, was also on the staff of this pioneer firm in the early sixties.
On the next page are two views, one of William Zelnor's drug store, on Government Street, between Yates and Johnson, east side. He afterwards moved to the corner of Yates and Government, where the B. C. Market now does business. The second is the store of Webster and Co., Yates Street, the building now occupied by Bissinger and Co., hide dealers. Mr. Jesse Cowper, who was a resident of Menzies Street, James Bay, was a partner in the firm, and a cousin of the Websters, and after many years' connection with the concern retired to enjoy the results of his success in this business. He has since died.
Janion & Green, commission merchants, foot of Johnson Street, near the bridge, come next. The firm was afterwards Janion, Green & Rhodes; the latter was the respected father of Mr. Rhodes, of the firm of Brackman & Ker Milling Co., and was Hawaiian consul, having previously been in business in Honolulu. The business house of A. Hoffman, dry goods, north-west corner of Yates and Government, is a frame building. Next are two well-known firms, viz., A. Gilmore, merchant tailor, Yates Street, fourth door from Waddington Alley, and K. Gambitz, Yates Street, next to Bank of British North America. He was an American Hebrew, and sold out to Thomas and William Wilson, who for many years conducted the business on Government Street as the "City House."
James Bell, general hardware, Johnson Street; Robertson, Stewart & Co., commission merchants, Yates Street; and Bayley's Hotel, which was on the site of the Pritchard House, now turned into a bank; Sporburg & Co., importers of provisions and dry goods, Wharf Street, foot of Yates; Thos. Patrick & Co., corner Johnson and Government Streets, wholesale liquors; Pierce & Seymour, corner Yates and Douglas Streets, furniture dealers. Mr. Seymour was one of the charter members of the Pioneer Society, which society he took a great interest in. He was a firm believer in the cold water cure, and took cold water baths for all ailments. One morning, his furniture store (which then occupied the site of the Colonist Building) not opening up at the usual hour, the door was broken open, and Mr. Seymour was found dead in his cold bath. He was a good-hearted man, and a good friend to many. Lester & Gibbs, the colored grocers, Yates Street, between Wharf and Government Streets; Adolph Sutro & Co., wholesale cigars and tobacco, corner Wharf and Yates Streets; A. Blackman, stoves and tinware, Yates Street, near Wharf; N. Munroe & Co., Yates Street, opposite Stationers' Hall, dry goods and clothing; Pioneer Mineral Water Works, Humboldt Street, south side; Phillips & Co.; E. Mallandaine, architect, Broad Street, near Yates; Macdonald & Co., bankers, Yates Street. Of this bank I have a lively recollection, as its career came to an end suddenly by the discovery being made one morning that the bank had been robbed, and exit made through the roof. I have $36 of their notes to remember it by. W. F. Herre, News Depot, Yates Street, between Wharf and Government Streets; W. H. Oliver, Johnson Street, opposite Wharf Street, wholesale dealer in liquors (situated over the ravine); C. J. Pidwell & Co., furniture dealers, Yates Street; Wells, Fargo & Co., Express and Exchange Co.; C. C. Pendergast, accountant, Yates Street, between Wharf and Government Streets; G. Huston, gunsmith, Yates Street, below Wells, Fargo & Co.; Langley Bros., wholesale and retail druggists, Yates Street; J. D. Carroll, wines and liquors, wholesale, Yates Street; Reid & Macdonald, commission merchants, Wharf Street; Wm. Burlington Smith, groceries, Government Street, near Yates; Selim, Franklin & Co., auctioneers and land agents, Yates Street. I think all these names will be familiar to some of the early pioneers, as they are to me.
Public Departments of Vancouver Island for 1860.
Governor—James Douglas, C.B.
Legislative Council—His Excellency the Governor, Hon. John Work, Hon. Roderick Finlayson, Hon. David Cameron, judge; Hon. Donald Fraser, clerk; Rev. Edward Cridge.
House of Assembly—Members for Esquimalt—J. S. Helmcken, M.D., Speaker; Capt. Cooper, harbor master, and Capt. J. Gordon. Members for Victoria District—W. F. Tolmie, M.D.; A. D. Waddington, H. P. P. Crease, barrister; G. H. Carey, Attorney-General, B.C., and Selim Franklin. Saanich—C. Coles. Nanaimo—A. R. Green. Lake District—Major Foster. Salt Spring—J. J. Southgate. Metchosin—J. McDonald.
Ecclesiastical—Right Rev. George Hills, Bishop of British Columbia; Rev. Edward Cridge, Victoria; Rev. R. Dundas, Esquimalt; Rev. R. Dawson, Craigflower.
Judicial—Hon. David Cameron, Judge Supreme Court; Attorney-General, Geo. H. Carey; Sheriff, G. W. Heaton.
Colonial Secretary's Office—W. A. G. Young, R. N., colonial secretary; clerks, Philip Nind, Joseph Porter.
Treasury—Capt. W. D. Gossett, R.E., treasurer.
Lands and Works—J. D. Pemberton, colonial surveyor; surveyors and draughtsmen, B. W. Pearse, H. O. Tedieman.
Police—A. F. Pemberton, J. P., commissioner police; superintendent, Jno. Bayley, four sergeants and twelve constables.
Postmaster, Victoria, J. D. Ewes; clerk, J. Morrison.
Harbor Master—J. Nagle, J.P.
Postage—To Australia, via England, 48c.; to France, 50c. To Great Britain, 34c.; Germany, 40c.
It will be seen that the postage was high and letters a great luxury, and I have only mentioned the four principal countries we have an interest in; also I would call attention to the number of police constables required in those early days, there being a total of seventeen.
I have thought it might be interesting to the few remaining pioneers of 1862 to revive an interest in events of fifty years ago. I often wonder whether our old pioneers think of the days that are gone like I do, recall events and persons, take notice of the removal of old landmarks, such as the James Bay bridge and Sceeley's "Australian House," at the north end of it, not forgetting the old pioneers who have passed away recently, among whom were Simeon Duck, Jacob Sehl, Thomas Storey, Wm. P. Sayward, Capt. Lewis, Isadore Braverman, Edward Mallandaine and Jeremiah Griffiths. There is a certain amount of pleasure in these reminiscences, melancholy though it may be to those concerned. I shall now quote from the editor's preface of the directory of 1863 on the progress of the city:
"At no time since the excitement attending its first settlement in 1858 has Victoria made greater strides, or her prosperity so materially increased, as during the past year. Since the commencement of last year her population has at least doubled, and the increase of buildings and improvements has been almost in proportion. During the winter season the town is thronged with strangers from British Columbia and elsewhere, who migrate in the spring. Apart from that the number of the inhabitants may be set down at 6,000. Victoria contains about 1,500 buildings, some of them very creditable to the size of the city, among them the Government offices and the jail. There are several commodious brick hotels, the principal being the St. Nicholas, the St. George and the Royal. The city is adorned with five churches, two belonging to the Church of England, one Roman Catholic, one Wesleyan and one Congregational. A Jewish synagogue and a Presbyterian church (Pandora Street) are in course of construction. There are also a theatre (Theatre Royal, Government Street) and a hospital, the latter being supported by voluntary contributions.
"The sittings of the Legislature and law courts of Vancouver Island are held in the city. There are two joint stock banks (British North America and British Columbia), and three private banking houses. Until lately Victoria was without a corporation; during the past year (1862) an act to incorporate the town was passed by the Legislature. The authorities consisted of a mayor and six councillors. Effective and speedy measures will now be adopted to complete the grading of the streets and laying down sidewalks. The water frontage of the town has since the removal of the old bridge (from foot of Johnson Street to Indian reserve) been greatly extended, and several wharves are now available for shipping above the point where that obstacle to navigation existed. A company has been formed to build a railway connecting Victoria with the capacious harbor of Esquimalt. Among other institutions the town may now boast of its gas works. A company has also been organized to supply the town with water from Elk Lake, eight miles distant. The value of real estate in the city has increased in many places over 75 per cent. during the last nine months. The city is a 'free port,' and therefore not troubled with custom duties. Vessels drawing fifteen feet of water may cross the bar of the harbor at high water, and a sum of 10,000 pounds has been voted by the Legislature to the improvement of the harbor. Steam communication is carried on three times a month between Victoria and San Francisco, every alternate trip being made via Portland. A surprising impetus has been given to agriculture by the number of newly-arrived immigrants, who have settled in the most fertile districts around Victoria.
"With land at four shillings an acre, and time allowed for payments, together with the improved state of communication between Victoria and the back settlements, we may hope that the inhabitants of the town will not in future be so dependent on neighboring countries for their supplies of produce."
Official List for Vancouver Island.
James Douglas, C.B., Governor. W. A. G. Young, Colonial Secretary. Joseph Porter, Chief Clerk. George H. Carey, Attorney-General. A. Hensley, Clerk. Alex. Watson, Treasurer. Jos. Despard Pemberton, Surveyor-General. W. B. Pearse, Assistant. Robert Ker, Auditor (father of D. R. Ker). Thos. E. Holmes, Clerk. Edward G. Alston, Registrar-General of Deeds. Charles G. Wylly, Assessor (still with us). Henry Wootton, Postmaster (father of Stephen and E. E. Wootton). J. M. Sparrow, Clerk (still with us).
Hon. Rodk. Finlayson, Hon. Donald Fraser, Hon. David Cameron, Hon. Alfred J. Langley, Edw. G. Alston and Hon. Alex Watson, nominative. J. S. Helmcken, G. H. Carey and Selim Franklin, Victoria City. Wm. Cocker, Esquimalt. W. F. Tolmie, M.D., J. W. Trutch, and Jas. Trimble, M.D., Victoria District. Geo. F. Foster and W. J. Macdonald, Lake District. J. J. Southgate, Salt Spring Island. D. B. Ring, Nanaimo. John Coles, Saanich. Robert Burnaby, Esquimalt.
Victoria Fire Department.
John Dickson, Chief Engineer. John Malovanski, Assistant Engineer. Chas. Gowen, President Board Delegates. Jas. S. Drummond, Secretary Board Delegates.
ORGANIZATION OF COMPANIES.
Union Hook and Ladder, November 22nd, 1859, D. A. Edgar, Foreman. Deluge Engine, No. 1, March 5th, 1860. Jas. S. Drummond, Foreman. Tiger Engine No. 2, March 23rd, 1860. Samuel L. Kelly, Foreman.
Note.—Of these pioneer firemen of Victoria of this date, Sam Kelly is (1910) the only surviving member of the executive.
H. M. S. Ships of the Pacific Station.
Rear-Admiral, Sir Thomas Maitland.
Bacchante, 51 guns; Chameleon, 17 guns; Charybdis, 17 guns; Clio, 22 guns; Devastation, 6 guns; Forward, 3 guns; Grappler, 3 guns; Hecate, 6 guns; Mutine, 16 guns; Naiad, 6 guns; Nereus, 6 guns; Tartar, 20 guns; Termagant, 25 guns; Topaz, 51 guns; Tribune, 23 guns; Sutlej, 51 guns.
Note.—One-third of these were on southern station. —Ex.
Consuls at Victoria.
France, P. Mene, Esq. United States, Allen Frances, Esq. Sandwich Islands, Henry Rhodes, Esq. (father of Chas. Rhodes).
Thomas Harris, first mayor of Victoria. John Copeland, James M. Reid, Richard Lewis, William M. Searby, Michael Stronach and Nathaniel M. Hicks, first councillors of Victoria. Algernon Austen, Town Clerk. J. C. Colquhoun, City Inspector.
Henry Claypole, Master at Craigflower. William H. Burr (my old master), Master at Victoria. Cornelius Bryant, Master at Nanaimo. Salary 150 pounds and fees.
A. F. Pemberton, Commissioner. Horace Smith, Superintendent. Preston Bennett, Storekeeper and Clerk. George Blake, Sergeant Police, with eleven constables, including Francis Page. Steph. Redgrave, Cook and Steward. George Newcombe, Jailer. D. B. Reid, Assistant Jailer. Edward Truran, Superintendent of Convicts.
It was customary for the "chain gang" to emerge every morning from a side gate of the jail yard on Bastion Street and march to Government Street to the music of their chains, with two guards in the rear with loaded shotguns. The gang often contained seamen from the ships at Esquimalt who were serving sentences, usually for desertion. This in course of time caused such indignation that the practice of putting men-of-warsmen in the chain gang was discontinued. The gang worked on the streets, on the Government ground and at other Government work. The uniform consisted of moleskin trousers with V.P., a checked cotton shirt and a blue cloth cap. It was thought a wrong to put a Jack Tar with malefactors of all grades, such as Indian murderers, thieves and whiskey sellers to Indians. It was the custom when a fire of any dimensions took place to telephone or send word to Esquimalt, and squads of Jacks were soon on the way to town, running all the way. After working maybe all night in saving property they would walk back to their ship, tired out and wet through, and all for nothing in the way of recompense. All the time they were at work they sang and joked as they do now. Is it any wonder that we have a soft place in our hearts for Jack? I know I shall not forget them and the days that have gone by, and I think we all shall regret the late change that takes him away, and his merry laugh and joke are things of the past.
To return to the directory. Of those remaining whose names are recorded, there are, alas! only sixty-two to-day with us. I have been carefully over the list from A to Z and sixty-two is the number. Of course there may be others that I did not know, and doubtless there are some; there are omissions also, I am sure, and several I have added to make up the sixty-two. There is one thing sure, that as a rule only the head of a family was recorded, male or female, as there are many residents to-day who were young men or youths, or young women or girls, when this directory was compiled. I shall give here the names of these sixty-two who are still privileged to be residents of this beautiful city that we old residents are so proud of, as well as those of two living abroad and one in Kamloops.
The list alphabetically is:
Adams, Daniel F., contractor. Anderson, E. H., variety store. Alport, Charles (in South Africa). Anderson, J. R., agricultural department. Barnett, Josiah, in United States. Barnswell, James, carpenter. Bauman, Frederick, confectioner. Beaven, Hon. Robert. Botterell, Mat., butcher. Blaguiere, Edward. Bullen, Jonathan, bricklayer. Boscowitz, Joseph, fur dealer. Borde, August, Chatham Street. Burnes, Thomas, saloonkeeper. Carey, Joseph W. Cridge, Edward, rector Christ Church. Crowther, John C., painter. Davie, Doctor John C. Dougall, John, iron moulder. Drake, M. W. T., solicitor. Elliott, W. A., engineer Labouchere. Fawcett, R. W., house decorator. Gerow, G. C., carriagemaker. Helmcken, Honorable John S., M.P.P. Geiger, Thomali, bliber. Gilmore, Alexander, clothier. Glide, Harry, with Plaskett & Co. Harvey, Rout., commission merchant. Higgins, David W., publisher Chronicle. Kelly, Samuel, tinsmith. Kent, Charles, hardware, K. & F. King, J. H., Mousquetaire saloon. Kinsman, John, contractor. Levy, H. E., special officer. Levy, Joseph, fruit store. Lissett, James, painter. Macdonald, W. J., Reid & Macdonald. Maynard, Richard, bootmaker. Marvin, Edward B., sailmaker. McMillan, J. E., publisher Chronicle. Monro, Alexander, accountant Hudson's Bay Company. Nuttall, Thomas C., book-keeper. Pearson, Edward, tinsmith. Porter, Arthur, brickmaker. Powell, Doctor I. W. Richardson, George, proprietor of first brick hotel. Roper, S., Kamloops. Styles, S. T., plasterer. Shotbolt, Thomas, druggist. Stockham, F., baker. Sparrow, J. M., post office. Stewart, John, plumber. Sylvester, Frank. Turner, John H. (Todd & Turner), Victoria Produce Market. Vowell, Arthur, Indian superintendent. White, Edward (late Brown & White). Wilson, Alexander, messenger, Bank British North America. Wilson, William, draper. Wilson, Thomas Sidney, cabinetmaker. Wriglesworth, Joseph, London Hotel. Wylly, C. G., accountant. Welch, George, Esquimalt Waterworks.
Many of these since died.
List of those deceased, but whose descendants are residents here now, or living elsewhere:
Barron, David F., cabinetmaker, widow, son and two daughters. Belasco, Abraham, tobacconist, two sons. Broderick, R., coal dealer, widow and two sons. Cameron, Thomas, blacksmith, two daughters and sons. Chadwick, Thomas, hotelkeeper, two sons and daughter. Courtney, H. E., solicitor, sons. Cotsford, Thomas, sons. Davies, J. P., auctioneer, several sons. Doan, J. H., captain, daughter. Duck, Simeon, carriagemaker, sons. Ella, Captain H. B., Hudson's Bay Company, all family, two sons and two daughters living in Victoria. Flett, John, Hudson's Bay Company, several sons. Gowen, Charles, brewer, widow, several sons and daughters. Hall, Richard, agent, two sons—Richard and John. Hall, Philip, several sons. Harris, Thomas, mayor, two daughters. Heal, John, boarding-house, two sons. Heathorn, William, bootmaker, three sons and three daughters. Heisterman, H., Exchange reading room, sons and daughters. Heywood, Joseph, butcher, wife and daughter. Hibben, Thomas Napier, widow, two sons and two daughters. Huston, Guy, gunsmith, two daughters. Irving, William, captain steamer Reliance, son and daughters. Jackson, Doctor William, three sons and daughters. Jungerman, J. L., watchmaker, daughter (Mrs. Erb). Jewell, Henry, sons. Leigh, William, second Town Clerk of Victoria, who held the position from about 1863, to the time of his death. He was in charge of Uplands Farm (1859) for the Hudson's Bay Company, and under the supervision of Mr. J. D. Pemberton, built Victoria District Church, and as an amateur musician helped at charitable entertainments. Son in San Francisco, granddaughter in Victoria (Mrs. Simpson). Leneven, David, merchant, son and daughters. Lewis, Lewis, clothier, son and daughter. Lindsay, Daniel, son and daughter. Loat, Christopher, sons and daughter. Lowen, Joseph, brewer, widow, sons and daughters. Lowenberg, L., estate agent, a nephew. McDonell, R. J., captain, a widow. Mason, George, brickmaker, a widow. McKeon, William, hotel, wife, son and daughter. McLean, Alexander, son. McQuade, Peter, ship chandler, son and two daughters. Meldram, John H., two sons. Moore, M. (Curtis & Moore), widow and two sons. Mouat, William, captain Enterprise, sons and daughters. Nesbitt, Samuel, biscuit-baker, two sons. Nicholles, Doctor John, one son. Pitts, John H., son and daughters. Rhodes, Henry, merchant, sons and daughters. Sayward, William, sons. Sehl, Jacob, sons and daughters. Short, Henry, sons and daughters. Smith, John, carpenter, Mears Street, sons and daughters. Smith, M. R., baker, sons and daughters. Stahlschmidt, Thomas L., son. Stemmler, Louis, upholsterer, son (spice mills). Thain, Captain John, son and daughter. Todd, J. H., sons and daughters. Tolmie, Doctor W. F., sons and daughters. Waitt, M. W., stationer, widow and two daughters. Williams, John W., livery stable, widow and daughters. Woods, Richard, Government clerk, sons and daughters. Wootton, Henry, postmaster, sons and daughters. Workman, Aaron, daughters. Yates, James Stewart, two sons.
Many deaths since this list was made.
I must again repeat that this list of sixty-two may be augmented by others who were heads of families even at that time. I might take our own family for an example, although it does not prove the rule. It consisted of my father, mother and three brothers, and is represented in the directory by my father, Thomas L. Fawcett, and my eldest brother, Rowland W. Then, again, there is the Elford family, of father, mother, three sons and two daughters. This family is not recorded, and to-day there are two sons, John and Theophilus, and two married sisters.
Among the names in the list of those living now, but not recorded, is a son of Abraham Belasco, tobacconist of Yates Street in 1862, by name David. Those interested in theatricals (and who is not?) will recognize the name as the prominent theatrical manager of New York. I little thought when going to school with him at the Collegiate School, under Rev. C. T. Woods, that he would be so well known a character as he is to-day. In closing this reminiscence I would ask to be pardoned for any errors or omissions, for my memory will bear refreshing. I also must thank my old friend Dick Hall, and others, for names of early pioneers who have been left out of the directory.
Before closing this imperfect sketch allow me to offer a suggestion to the mayor and aldermen. It is that a portrait of Thomas Harris, the first mayor of the city, should be procured and hung in a prominent place in the council chamber, and this at the public expense. I think this would at least meet with the approval of the pioneers of 1862, when Mr. Harris was elected first mayor.
SOME RECOLLECTIONS OF VICTORIA BY ONE WHO WAS THERE IN THE SIXTIES.
On Wharf Street, from the corner of Fort, looking north to the corner of Yates, the buildings looked pretty much the same as now, being all built of brick, with the exception of the wooden one to the south of Sutro's wholesale tobacco warehouse on the corner of Yates and Wharf. This wooden building was a saloon, kept by one who formerly had been a prominent man politically, that is prior to 1859. I think this building can be identified with the Ship Inn. The two-story brick block to the south, erected and owned by Senator Macdonald, was occupied by John Wilkie, one of the earliest of our wholesale merchants. The next corner was Edgar Marvin's hardware store. Mr. Marvin and his son Eddie, who came from the States in 1864, will be well and favorably remembered by old-timers. He resided on Marvin's Hill, at the back of St. Ann's Convent. Next comes the building occupied by Henry Nathan, who was afterwards one of the early members in the Commons to represent Victoria City. He was an English Hebrew, and he and his father were prominent men and large property-holders in the city, and I have no doubt are so still. He is standing in the front of his office in the photo. I can well remember the day that Henry Nathan and the balance of the Victoria contingent left for Ottawa for the first time. They left on the steamer Prince Alfred from Broderick's Wharf, in the inner harbor, and there was hardly a square foot of room on the wharf to spare, the crowd was so great. In fact, half of the town went to see them off, many locking up their business places to do so. In the front of the next store may be seen Thomas Lett Stahlschmidt, who represented the English wholesale firm of Henderson & Burnaby. Next to Mr. Stahlschmidt is James D. Robinson, who was bookkeeper for J. Robertson Stewart & Co., and who is a resident of this city to-day, just died. Skipping the next two buildings, we come to the auction rooms of a well-remembered business man, P. M. Backus, one of the two prominent auctioneers of that time; the other being James A. McCrea, spoken of by my friend, Mr. Higgins, in one of his intensely interesting stories of early days in Victoria. Both he and Mr. Backus were Americans, as were so many of our business men of that day. Next Mr. Backus is Mr. J. R. Stewart, just mentioned, and on the corner is Mr. Joseph Boscowitz. They stand in front of the building occupied by Thomas C. Nuttall & Co. Mr. Nuttall I remember as the agent of the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company, and he did a large business in the city. Mr. Nuttall is still a resident, although confined to the house through illness. His was a familiar face on the street in those days, being a very energetic business man. (Since died).
Upstairs in the building was the Oddfellows' Hall, where I was initiated into the mysteries of Oddfellow-ship in 1868. Among the prominent brothers present that evening were John Weiler, James S. Drummond, James D. Robinson, Hinton Guild, James Gillon (manager Bank of British North America), Joshua Davies, Judah P. Davies, Richard Roberts, Joseph York, and Thomas Golden. All these prominent Oddfellows, with the exception of James D. Robinson and Joseph York, have gone to their rest. The waterfront side of Wharf Street, from the Hudson's Bay Company's store south, is a blank until you reach the old cooperage, next to the late custom house. There is an historic oak tree alongside the cooperage, which is said to have been used to tie up the Hudson's Bay Company's vessels in the earliest times when wharves were few and far between. Beyond the old customs house was Sayward's wharf and lumber yard, the lumber being brought by schooner and scow from the mill to Victoria. The business had not then attained the proportions that it has to-day under Joseph Sayward, son of the founder of the business, who now lives in San Francisco.
The next view represents Government Street, east side, from the Brown Jug north to the St. Nicholas Building. The first building south from there of any prominence was that now occupied by the British Columbia Market, and then known as the Alhambra Building. The upper floor was used as a public hall, and many grand balls were given here, as well as other social events. The lower floor was used as Zelner's pharmacy, and next door by Gilmore, the clothier. Alongside and using the upper portion of Gilmore's Building also, is the Colonial Hotel, one of the swell places of that day. I next recognize the store of the well-known firm of W. & J. Wilson, clothiers and outfitters, which was then conducted by the father and uncle of the present proprietor, Mr. Joseph Wilson. With the exception of the Hudson's Bay Company, Hibben & Co. (then Hibben & Carswell) and Thomas Wilson, the draper, the firm of W. & J. Wilson is, so far as I can remember, the longest established in Victoria. I can remember being fitted out there on occasions as a school-boy. Their advertisement in the Colonist, with their autograph underneath, occupied part of the front page of the paper continuously for years.
The two-story wooden building in the middle of the block, between Trounce Alley and Fort Street, is the Hotel de France, kept by P. Manciet, and one of the two principal hotels of that day. Next was McNiff's grotto, Mon's Laundry, The Star and Garter, Thomas Wilson & Co., drapers, and farther on the two-story brick building, now Hibben & Co., and farther on south J. H. Turner & Co. Of course all will recognize the name as that of the Hon. J. H. Turner. The firm occupied the whole of the building up and downstairs, as drapers and carpet warehousemen, and I might state that the late Henry Brown, Walter Shears, late custom appraiser, and Edward White were on the staff. Next is one of the two meat markets, owned by Thomas Harris, the first mayor of Victoria. His prominent figure may be seen on the sidewalk looking across the street. With my mind's eye I can see him at the Queen's Birthday celebration on Beacon Hill. The chief event of the year was the racing on that day, and the mayor was an enthusiastic horse fancier, and a steward of the Jockey Club. These celebrations were nothing without Mr. Harris. The bell rings (John Butts was bellman) and the portly figure of Mr. Harris on horseback appears. "Now, gentlemen, clear the course," and then there is a general scattering of people outside the rails; the horses with their gaily dressed jockeys canter past the grandstand, make several false starts, and off they go for the mile heat around the hill and back to the grandstand. Oh, what exciting things those races were! Another prominent figure at these race meetings was John Howard, of Esquimalt. The race meetings without Messrs. Harris and Howard would not have been the genuine thing, and, I must not forget to mention Millington, who always rode Mr. Harris' horses at these meetings. I believe he is still in the land of the living. I would we had such Queen's weather as we had then. May was equal to July now for warmth, and with beautiful clear skies, they were days worth remembering. Everyone went out for the day and the hill was covered with picnickers. The navy was represented by bluejackets and marines by the hundreds, bands of music, Aunt Sally and the usual other side shows. And lastly, I must not forget the music. The flagships of those days were large three-deckers, line-of-battleships, such as the Ganges or Sutlej, which would make an ordinary flagship look small. It was understood that the officers, being wealthy men, subscribed liberally towards a fine band. It was a great treat to hear the Ganges' full band, as I have heard it in the streets of Victoria preceding a naval funeral to Quadra Street Cemetery, and very few I missed. But I have digressed and will proceed to finish Government Street. The corner building, now torn down to make way for the Five Sisters' Block, was occupied by William Searby, chemist, who was my Sunday School teacher. He left Victoria for San Francisco, and I had the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance years later, and, I think, he is still in business in Market Street. In the front of Searby's stands John Weiler, father of the Weiler brothers of our day. The upper portion of this building was called the Literary Institute, and the first I remember of Mr. Redfern was at an entertainment given here for some charity, when he sang that beautiful tenor song from "The Bohemian Girl," "Then You'll Remember Me," and it has been a favorite with me ever since. W. K. Bull, who presided over so many municipal elections, and was a very well-read man, also took part, giving a reading on Australia, and ending up with a recitation.