Samuel Anderson was born on the 15th
November, 1839, in London.
Anderson's father, Samuel Anderson,
was a writer to the signet, was registrar of affidavits at the Court of
Chancery in London. There Anderson went to school, later going to St.
Andrews University and the Edinburgh Military Academy.
Anderson entered the Royal Military Academy
at Woolwich on 11 August, 1857 in the first batch of cadets selected by
competition. He won the sword for "Exemplary Conduct" and received a
commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 21st December, 1858.
After a few months of service in England,
Anderson was appointed to the staff of the Boundary Commission. After
intensive instruction in astronomy at the Ordnance Survey Office in
Southampton, Anderson left England for Victoria.
By the Panama yesterday, there arrived several British "red coats".
They are a portion of the Engineering Corps, destined for British
Columbia, and are under the command of Lt. Anderson.
-1st December, 1859, as per The Portland Advertiser of 23 November,
1859 - The British Colonist
Anderson and his party of RE arrived in
Victoria on the 2nd December, 1859.
Per steamer PACIFIC, from San Francisco - Lt. Anderson, 3
Non-commissioned officers, 9 Privates RE...
- 3rd December, 1859 - The British Colonist
Anderson went inland at once to join the
Commission, stopping at the Camp at New Westminster.
|"As soon as I
arrived in Victoria, I had to leave all my men, except the two
photographers, and go straight up to the country to join the main
body of the expedition."
- 28th March, 1860, The Letters of Lt. Anderson
Saturday 10th December – Anderson RE arrived with 2 men to join
the Boundary Commission.
the Journal of Lt. Lempreire, RE
|"I was then (Dec.
14th) staying at Col. Moody's camp, New Westminster, and waiting
for an opportunity of getting further up the Fraser river, where
our people were encamped. The river was all frozen up at that
time and all traffic was of course completely stopped."
- 6th January, 1860 - The Letters of Lt. Anderson.
Anderson's duties on gaining the Commission
were to be surveying and reconnoitering ahead of the other parties, and
to assist the Astronomers when not employed in those duties.
In Victoria I used to get up about 9, read the newspapers, take
a few solar observations with a Sextant till 12, have luncheon,
and ride up to town about 2, lounge about the town paying visits
and shopping till 3, then go for a ride till 4:39, get home
about 5:30, have dinner at 6, cup of tea at 7:30, rubber of
whist (for love) till 11, and then turn in and that was our
ordinary employment. We used to be overrun at various
portions of the day by naval officers coming on shore for fun,
and in the evening we used sometimes to have as many as a dozen
at a time in our Mess-room, and we were all great friends with
-- 27 May
1860, Lt. Anderson RE
Excerpts from Lt Anderson's
Observations on the Boundary Commission.
have been investing lately in 30 yards of Tarleton that being
the best substitute I can get hold of for mosquito
1860, Lt. Anderson RE
(Feb. 11, 1861) One
of the members of our Commission called Bauerman who is our Geologist
is well acquainted with all the country about where you are and he is
been interesting me very much in his account of it all, about Teplitz
and Erzegebirge and Mileschauer, etc.
(written to little brother Jack, who evidently is travelling on
28, 1860) Our surgeon a Dr. Lyell R.N. of
Aberdeen, is a most experienced man. In addition to having been in
every ordinary portion of the world, he has been on an Arctic
expedition under Franklin, and on an Antarctic expedition under Sir E.
Belcher, and tho' not a very talkative man, we get curious yarns from
him at times.
It is very lucky that we are all under the Foreign office, as the
officers who are under Col. Moody being the pay of the colony can't
get any, as the colony has no money at present.
(Jan. 6, 1860, Semiahmoo) Darrah heard of his
promotion a week ago, and our fellows at Victoria providentially sent
up a dozen of champagne for us to drink to it… He has only been 5˝
years a subaltern, so he has been extremely lucky. He is a very nice
fellow and we got on very well together.
None of them seem to like the Colonel [Hawkins] as he is said to have
rather a petty and mean disposition… One bad trait in his character
and particularly Gosset's is running down that unfortunate man Col.
Moody. The latter (Gosset) calls Moody a drivelling idiot. He told me
so the very first time I saw him, and that is rather a strong term for
one officer to use towards another so much older. I could not help
taking a dislike to Gosset from that very fact.
We expect to make some good bargains in trading with the Indians, as
they will often give a fine horse for an old red jacket, and also some
very valuable furs.
6, 1860, Esquimalt Barracks) I have not made any calls on anybody
since I came back, but I shall have to go and see the Governour and
the Admiral if possible tomorrow, and then there will be the bother
and formality of dining with them which is objectionable tho' not the
less necessary. There are 2 Miss Douglas's, daughters of the Governour
and of course the greatest flirts on the Island and I certainly have
very little desire to make their acquaintance in consequence.
14, 1860) Mrs. Douglas never appears and her two daughters, aged about
22 and 18 respectively, they say make her do all the domestic work,
while they sit in the Drawing room doing nothing.
27, 1860) The Governour gave us a capital lunch… I had a long chat
with one of the daughters and after it all I came to the conclusion
that she was a born idiot.
6, 1861, Colville Barracks) The Americans at their garrison celebrated
their Xmas in their usual way - one man stabbed, another shot at,
several heads broken and eyes blackened, accompanied with several
other incidents of a minor character, such as their military surgeon
breaking his fist in some pugilistic encounter with a 'citizen'…
At dinner they have a curious fancy of heaping all kinds of
miscellaneous articles on to their plate at the same time, and don't
seem to care for a change of plates. They all make a practice of
putting their knives into their mouths, dive into the salt with their
knives, for they are not aware of the existence of salt spoons, and
will extract potatoes from the dish that contains them in a similar
way. I was actually pressed most earnestly to take some cheese while I
was in the middle of a mince pie, and we has to drink sherry out of
26, 1861) Mrs. Wickliffe [age 22], wife of a Lootenant Wickliffe (as
the Yankees always pronounce it) has only been married about 6 months.
She is a short little body, rather good looking and a most thoroughly
noisy Yankee. She was dressed if you must know now, in a black silk
dress, made with a very short waist, and a large buckle placed in
front securing a ribbon around the waist, and this buckle seemed to me
to be placed in a similar position to the top button of my waistcoat,
and then all the rest was skirt. In fact things did not seem to me to
be in proportion.
The other lady [Mrs. Lugenbeel, wife of the CO, age about 37] was
dressed in a red Merino dress with large sleeves turned over and
displaying red silk lining. Whether this was done to convey the
impression that the whole affair was lined with red silk or not, I do
not know, but it certainly looked much like it. However, I thought to
myself if all the lining was like that the best part of the dress
would be in the inside, which is absurd and then I was lost
conjecturing what the probable lining really was.
The chief thing that amused me was the younger lady of the two asking
a gentleman to take wine with her...
The ladies out here are not so ceremonious as those at home, they very
often speak of gentlemen by their surnames!
28, 1860 Esquimalt Barracks) We had a visit from the American officers
Capts. Woodruffe and Hunt, who of course received every attention from
the naval officers and ourselves. I dined at the Admiral's with them,
and of course we were obliged to drink the health of the United States
President, after we had drunk the Queen's health. Most of them appear
so distant generally, and they cannot understand our always calling
them by their surnames as they always give us our titles of Mr. or
Captain. Even speaking to one another, they address themselves in that
An excerpt from
a letter Lt Anderson wrote to his brother Jack:
Colville, Washington Territory, U.S.
Feb. 2, 1862
My dear Jack:
Our men gave a ball at the barracks on the 17th of last month to which
all the settlers and their wives were invited. They were all
invited to come at half past 7, but they all began to assemble at half
past 3, and by about 6 everybody appeared, so the ball had to begin
long before its time. They all came in their sleighs, quite 25
sleighs altogether, and as there was not stable accomodation for all
their horses, the unfortunate animals had to stand out in the cold all
Most of the farmers' wives are half white and half Indian. They
cannot talk English but most of them talk Canadian French as well as
the Indian language of their mothers.
There is a wonderful dance they have, called the "Reel de Huite",
a sort of Caledonian quadrille consisting of 4 figures, which they
keep dancing over and over again till the music is tired, when the
ladies rush to their seats and a fresh lot spring up immediately and
the fiddler has to begin again.
There are only 2 things required to get up a Ball in this part of the
world, and these 2 things are a Gallon of Whisky and a Fiddler.
We had 4 fiddlers at out Ball who relieved one another so there was no
cessation of music.
The ladies are rather shy and generally say "Non" or "Marche"
(the latter equivalent to "Hook it") when they are asked to
dance. You then have to take hold of them by the hand and pull
them out, and when once they are out in the middle of the Room they
submit willingly. On 2 or 3 occasions however after I had got my
partner out, on looking away for an instant I found she had bolted,
and really one is so much like another that I could not find her
again, but had to take another at random.
The men had
the room very nicely decorated with flags and swords and rifles and
all kinds of pictures on the walls. I suppose there must have
been 80 or 90 people present including about 30 ladies. The
latter showed no symptoms of being tired, for they kept on dancing
till daylight. I stayed up till about 3.30 a.m. and I felt I had
enough of the Reel de Huite, so I turned in and left them dancing away
as lively as ever.
Three of the
American officers came down... They brought 3 or 4 of their soldiers
down with them. One of their men was intoxicated when he arrived
and in the course of the evening he found his way into Col. Hawkins'
Quarters, locked the door, sat down in the arm
chair in front of the fire, pulled off his boots and lit his
pipe. So the Colonel after coming out of the Ball Room, on
trying his own door was astonished to find it locked. After a
good deal of shouting the soldier unlocked the door and allowed the
Colonel to come into his own room, and then there was a tremendous
explosion. I never heard the Colonel in such a rage in my life,
and the whole thing was so absurd that even now I can't help laughing
when I think of it.
said he was an Englishman and came to take care of the Colonel's
Quarters. Then there was another explosion of anger, and the
whole thing was ludicrous in the extreme. The man after
requesting permission to put on his boots, which was granted, was then
taken over to our Guard House and locked up for the night. I
suspect the soldier got half killed for the offence when he returned
to this own Barracks the following day. I didn't pity the man in
the least for I heard afterwards he had been bragging of being a
deserter from the English army in Canada.
another ball given afterwards at the Hudson's Bay Company's Post about
2˝ miles from here. There were even more people there than at
our place and the dance lasted from 6 in the evening till about 12 in
the middle of the next day. Some of the ladies actually have
hoops and it certainly is a very great improvement upon the straight
up and down appearance of the ladies' costume without them.
I did not got
to bed at all that night for I got home just in time to complete my
toilet for breakfast, but as you may suppose I did not feel fit for
much that day... I don't think I shall go to any more of these
on the American officers' wives:
given sister Janet a short account of our American guests, that is to
say the female friends...
The younger one had a great habit of exclaiming "Good Gracious
alive" and "pshaw" in different portions of the
conversation. Our Colonel was talking to her about the severity
of the weather and the firmness required for using icy cold water in
the morning, saying that he always did it, tho' he found it very
trying at times. Well, what do you think was this young lady's
answer to this?
Why, she said these words, that when she got up in the morning she
only gave herself 'a LICK and a PROMISE' and then went down to
breakfast with the intention of completing her toilette in the course
of the day! I am glad to say her husband was not present at the
time or else I should think this confession would have shamed him from
snippet from February 1861:
suppose you saw the picture of the new President in the Illustrated
News. Did you ever see such a coarse looking man? We are
going to cut out his likeness and stick it up at one end of our Mess
Room, and put up at the other end a likeness of our most gracious
Queen, so that our American friends when they come down to see us may
be struck by the contrast."
Chief Astronomer for prairie
Boundary Survey, 1872 - 1875
Photograph courtesy of
Yale University Beinecke Rare Book &
Manscript Library Photonegative 4376624, courtesy of
Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manscript Library (using