Moody's Family


Moody Family

Arrived 25 Dec. 1858, with wife and 4 children.
Left 11 Nov. 1863 with 7 children.

Colonel Moody personally chose BC’s first Capital New Westminster, established the Cariboo Wagon Road, and gave us the incalculable gift of Stanley Park.  Moody also named Burnaby Lake (of Burnaby City) after his private secretary Robert Burnaby, and named Port Coquitlam’s 400-foot ‘Mary Hill’ after his dear wife ‘Mary’.

Thanks to Captain George H. Richards who thoroughly surveyed the BC Coast, Colonel Moody’s name has been immortalized in BC history with the city of Port Moody.  The city was established from the end of a trail cut by the Royal Engineers, now known as North Road to connect New Westminster with Burrard Inlet.  Port Moody was developed to defend New Westminster from potential attack from the USA. The town grew rapidly after 1859, following land grants to Moody’s Royal Engineers who then settled there.  All of the officers returned to England, but most of the sappers and their families chose to remain, accepting 150-acre land grants as compensation.  Port Moody was the Canadian Pacific Railway's original western terminus.

In 1863 Colonel Moody planned to cut a trail from New Westminster to Jericho Beach due west, but Lieutenant Governor Douglas was very much in opposition.  Of this venture, the matter was taken to the Colonial House, London, England, and permission was granted for Colonel Moody to proceed with the trail.  Unfortunately he ran out of money before completion and the trail ended at Burrard Inlet.

Colonel Moody left his mark not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.  At the conclusion of BC’s ‘Ned McGowan War’, as it was Sunday morning, Colonel Moody invited forty miners to join him at the courthouse for worship.  As no clergy was present, Colonel Moody himself led worship from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

"It was the first time in British Columbia that the Liturgy of our Church was read," wrote Moody.  "To me God in his mercy granted this privilege.  The room was crowded with Hill’s Bar men…old grey-bearded men, young eager-eyed men, stern middle-aged men of all nations knelt with me before the throne of Grace…"  My prayer for those reading this article is that like Colonel Moody each of us may leave a lasting impact not only in the physical but also the spiritual.

The British Columbia, December 5th 1861

 "We are happy to announce the birth of a second British Columbian to Colonel Moody, RE, thus affording another tie to the Colony.  The Colonel's numerous friends will be gratified to learn that both mother and child, a daughter, are doing well.

Port Coquitlam's most prominent physical feature is Mary Hill, about 400 feet high.  It is believed to have been named for Mary Moody, wife of Colonel R. C. Moody, Royal Engineer, possibly by Captain Jack Grant.  The name first appears on the 1859 Admiralty survey charts of Captain Richards, in charge of the royal Navy's survey vessel, the Plumper.

Mary Hill may have been Colonel Moody's first choice for British Columbia's capital, but according to a later report, Captain Grant, of the Royal Engineers, persuaded Moody that New Westminster was the better site.  Instead, as Richard Mayne of the Plumper reported, Colonel Moody proposed Mary Hill as the site for "the citadel which shall defend New Westminster."7  Although Mary Hill was the official name on the survey charts, it was also known as "St. Marys Hill" in the 1860s.8  In the boom years of the 1910s, in fact, Mary Hill was known as St. Mary's Heights.  Today, a Mary Hill residential development is called "Citadel Heights."

Moody - Gosset House

In 1984, through the Provincial Government Heritage Branch, the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society (SHAS) took possession of a 30' x 30' Corrugated iron, timber framed building from the British Columbia Buildings Corporation.  Located behind the Queen's Printers at 563 Superior Street in Victoria B.C., it had been used as a Tinsmith Shop, but was scheduled for demolition.  Upon examination the Heritage Branch discovered that it has high heritage value.  The SHAS was requested to provide a suitable site for its safe keeping, future restoration and interpretation.

The historical significance of this structure can not be overstated.  Four shipping labels from London, addressed to "Colonel Moody, Royal Engineers, British Columbia, were found within the building, indicating that it had arrived during the late 1850s.  Preliminary research suggests that this structure may be the Hemmings' Iron House shipped from London by Chief Justice Matthew B. Begbie in care of Colonel Moody in 1859.  Subsequently, it is probable that Begbie sold the building to Captain William D. Gosset, the first Colonial Treasurer of British Columbia, and that it was erected on land he obtained in 1860 for his residence.  Gosset left the Colony in 1862, but the building continued to be used as a private residence and part-time private school until about 1900, when it was acquired by the Province and used for Public Work's purposes.  This building is one of the few remaining structures from the early Colonial period.

Architecturally it is very significant.  Prefabricated wooden framed buildings were first manufactured about 1800.  By 1840 galvanized iron could be corrugated, supplying increased rigidity.  The British pioneered this technology.  Iron Houses were exported to California for the Gold Rush of 1848, the Crimean War and to the outposts of the Empire.  About 6 iron houses and one iron church were shipped to Victoria between 1859 and 1862.  This is the only known survivor.

World-wide there are few iron buildings of this vintage in existence. This is an extremely rare and significant artifact.

The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society's goal is to restore the Moody Gosset House as closely as possible to its 1860's appearance.

Sept 7/01

Work is progressing on the building and ideas are being presented as to the best use for the building.

MOODY, Captain Henry de Clervaulx - South Wales Borderers
Killed in action at Nooitgedacht. 13th Dec. 1900. Aged 36. Son of Major-General R.C. Moody (Royal Engineers). Born February 1864. Served Burma 1885 (medal and bar).

January 28: a letter from Royal Engineers Colonel Richard Moody to Colonial Governor Douglas mentions Mary Hill.  (The hill was named for Mary Moody, the colonel's wife.)  And "Mary Hill" is shown on an 1859 Admiralty survey chart made by Capt. Richards of H.M.S. Plumper.

1860 - Ned Atkins

The Ned Atkins family arrives in Coquitlam from Ireland, and "took 160 acres east of Mary Hill near the foot of Pitt River Road."

1862 - Lots for Sale

A private firm contracted out by the Royal Engineers constructs Pitt River Road.  Unsurveyed lots of up to 160 acres in this area are free, although land in what will become the Port Coquitlam area, already surveyed, costs 10 shillings an acre.

Camp. NWestminster
3rd April, 1862.

My dearest Mother,

I have always intended to mention, and always forgotten, to say that WE ought to pay postage of the newspapers.  We are very much obliged to you for sending them, but you must put the 2 d. a day down on our account please.  They come pretty regularly on the whole, as regularly as anybody elses's.

If you have an opportunity would you send me some Child's Pocket Handkerchifs (or "emeks" as Susan says) 6 d. each please.  I mention from time to time any little thing I need, in case you have a chance of sending me a small parcel.  I am so vexed to find you get my letters so irregularly.  I am especially annoyed at your missing my letter about Box #1.  I wrote such a long one mentioning almost everything, I flattered myself you would be quite pleased with me!!  NOW, I really don't know what to say - I can tell you that "Little Mary" looks so nice in dear Em's Present.  All admire her "toggery".  Mr. Sheepshanks said today, "Did you ever see a baby who was not dressed like that, all in white, with a blue Veil".  However "little Mary" must soon put on her new Pelisse (which I admire very much) for I have her short petticoats on, and the Cloak does not do so well now.

I am so pleased to have her out again. She improves wonderfully.  She has just been vaccinated. It is taking nicely. Vaccination is the fashion just now, I had Charlie done again, he was done 4 times in Edinburgh but it never took, however it has taken very well.  I am thinking of being done myself. All the Men are to be done.  There is Small Pox in Victoria, I believe.

All the things in the box are very nice, all useful and good.  What I liked least was my Spring Dress.  It is too WHITE for a useful 'hack' dress, however I doubt not it will wear well.  Zeffie and Susan's Blue Dresses have been much admired dear grandmama's present.

My head-dress was worn at "The Ball" the other night and came in very nicely.  I wore my black net Dress (low) and wrapped myself up in my black lace shawl, so that I felt quite MATRONLY.  You can fancy the preparing for a party out here is a serious affair, getting all one's things collected - Stockings in one box, Shoes in another, pockethandkerchief in a 3rd, no gloves, ttc. etc.  No starched Petticoats etc. etc.

I do hope that letter has turned up. the Shoes and Boots are beautiful. Susan's rather big, but that is a good fault.  If I find, from your next letter, that mine had not then reached you, I must try and notice some more of the contants of the box, box #2 was not acknowledged by me till after Baby's birth, so you would I hope get that letter.  I am so CROSS about it.

I was very sorry to hear of dear Aunt Ann's death and of poor Mrs. Anderson's so soon afterwards.  It was very sad for them all.  I feel very much for dear Julia and the boys.  She is certainly very young, but accustomed as I am now getting to Colonial young ladies, I can quite understand her being different to what WE were at the same age.  I must try and write a short note to Uncle Edwards, I think...

Dearest Richard is still in Victoria.  He and Captain Luard are both there, nor do they talk of returning.  I am getting tired of being alone so long.  The Doctor and Captain Parsons are very good, in doing all they can for us.  They come in 3 or 4 times a day to see how we are getting on.  You will laugh too when you hear that I have managed to get a "well" and a real ENGLISH PUMP out of Captain Grant, since Richards has been away.  I have been promised one all Winter, but the Men have been at work.  So I spoke to Captain  Grant over into the absolute necessity of having one before Summer, and so he promised to have it done.

You will be sorry to hear that Zeffie's 2nd teeth are very ugly indeed, and that some of Dick's back teeth are decayed.  He often has toothaches, poor Child.

We have just got a new School Mistress for the Children of the Camp, a Mrs. Moresby, some relation of Admiral Moresby's.  She seems a nice, quiet person, and I feel very sorry for her.

Mr. Bushby is to be married to Agnes Douglas (Governor's Daughter) on the 8th of next Month, I fear Richard will have to go up to Victoria.  It is to be a VERY grand affair.  They will be our nearest neighbours townways.  She is a REGULAR RATTLE, however I fancy she will tone down with a very quiet Husband, in this VERY quiet place.

We expect 3 additional ladies here this Spring, The Bushby's The Archdeacon's family and the Attorney general's, so we are becoming more civilized, you see.  All are near US, however we are rather sorry to have so many near neighbours, I think we get on so well together (in the Camp) that we would rather prefer being alone altogether.  We look upon ourselves as a large family.  You would have been amused at the alarm we all felt when we heard a rumour, from Victoria, that the Doctor was going to be married!  However it was a false report, and we are all comfortably assured that our dear little Friend is only a LITTLE inclined to "FLIRT".  But I must stop for little mary's change of clothes brings me some unexpected work, for I must take her a weenie set of flannel waistcoats as all I have are too big.  The weather continues cold and unsettled.  We still wear our winter things.

I hope we may not have to move from here this Summer, the expense and trouble are so great in going down to Victoria. Mrs. Grant MUST, I think, remain here, as she is to be confined again in August.  This prevented her from going to the Ball, as she should not dance, and as she would not go, I was obliged to go.  Fancy dancing till 4 O'clock in the morning.  The Children often talk of you all.

With much affectionate love ever my dearest Mama,
Your Loving Daughter,
MaryS. Moody.

20th May, 1862
New Westminster

My dearest Mama,

Richard has just returned from Victoria, from Mr. Bushby's Wedding, which was a VERY gay affair - 7 Bridesmaids etc. etc.  The bride and bridegroom are coming up to their new house here today, I believe.  She will find it very dull, I am sure, after all the excitement she has had in Victoria as the Governor's Daughter.

28th May - The days fly past and my letters remain unwritten, however this time I have a good excuse, having had visitors for the last fortnight.

Mr. and Mrs. Crease (Attorney General) have come up to their new house near us.  They arrived before the workmen were out of it, without a servant of ANY kind (The one they had at Victoria having left them on the Wharf there as they were leaving, having changed her mind about coming to B.C.!).  I really felt so sorry for Mrs. Crease that Captain Parsons (during Richard's absence) advised me to go at once to see her.  He went over with me and we brought her 3 little girls back, Mrs. Crease coming over in the evening to put them to bed and leaving after breakfast.  They are really nice children, the only ones I know out here that I would ask to stay in the house (excepting Mrs. Grant's), the eldest 3 months younger than Zeffie.  They were really no trouble and very quiet, very different to girls WITH boys.  Zeffie makes more noise than all 3 of the Creases!

Zeffie and Dick are getting proud of their LEARNING, for Mary and Susan Crease can only read as well as Charlie and can't do sums at all.  Charlie is doing much bettter at his lessons and there is an indefinate hope that Walter may know his letters some time or other before very long.  Zeffie goes to the Doctor every day now for a music lesson.  He is very good to her.  Dick is going to ride with his Papa this afternoon, so we are progressing, we think.

Mary is 6 months old today, sleeps very badly at nights and has no teeth. Susan is a funny little monkey and would amuse you all with her pretty curls.  Fancy my having a child with curls!  But it really seems a pity to cut them off.

We have had a few mos-quitoes.  I would prefer remaining if possible, tho' I am sure the sea breezes would do us all good.  The climate here is very relaxing IN SPRING, very like Devonshire, which never suits either Richard or me and I am sure Zeffie feels the same.

I have been trying to induce the Doctor to give me a tonic, but I doubt if he will.  He is a funny man!  I really think he does not believe in Physic!

We FANCY Captain Luard has left his heart in Victoria this winter for he is what Captain Grant terms, "A kind of foggy of late".  I do not know the lady but it would have been wiser, I should think, to have waited until his return to England.

It seems such a long time since we had any letters from you.  The Mails still come irregularily.  I long to hear what your plans are and where you settle.  At this distance, we feel it is impossible to express an opinion upon the subject.  I wish we were at home to help you, however we can't remain out here much longer, I should think.

I am badly off for print dresses this Summer!  And none to fit me!  All so big!  And all my petticoats I have had to alter also.  It is so tiresome.  I don't think I shall send for a box just yet.  I must make last winter's things do.  I'll get some in Spring, if possible.  One more box, I suppose, then home.  I am badly off for Pelisses for Mary, having none but those which were made for Zeffie!  Somewhat shabby, by this time.  If I go to Victoria, I must try and make her one decent one.  I have the stuff.

My Servant is going on very well. I can leave Mary with her sometimes and trust her to take her out in the afternoon, which is a great help.  I only hope she may stay with me.

The Bishop is expecting 20 young women out from England, as domestics.  He has 30 ladies names down as applicants for them, so I do not think many of them will be sent up here, but I must not scribble more as I have promised to go and see Mrs. Bushby this afternoon, and, as Zeffie and Susan were to go, I must get them "cleaned".

Tell Em that I am going to put Susan on the little Chintz dress.
Our very best love to you all, ever my dearest mother,
Your very affectionate Daughter,
Mary S. Moody.

Moody Family