Richard Clement Moody

a little extra information about what he did prior to arriving in British Columbia.

Moody, Pre-BC

Born February 13, 1813, in Barbados.

Moody came from a military family.  His father, Thomas, was a Colonel in the Royal Engineers.

The want of fresh water, and the great distance from their principal settlements, no doubt induced the Commandant of the Pomeroon to withdraw that post.  It is affirmed that it was in existence when the English, under Major John Scott, destroyed the fort New Zealand and plundered New Middelburg, Company in existence, by which the directors desired the Commandant of Pomeroon to keep the fortified post of the Barima in repair.  Colonel Moody (Royal Engineers) discovered the remains of this post in 1807, when he was employed as an engineer officer in Demerara, and when it was in contemplation to send a small force against Angostura to destroy the privateers which infested the coast of Dutch Guiana during the period it was occupied by the British; and when the Boundary Commission, at the commencement of this year, encamped at the site of the old Dutch post, the marks of the former trenches and cultivation were still observable.

--Memorandum by Mr. Schomburgk
Demerara, November 30, 1841

Moody, like all Royal Engineer officers, was a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he learned his trade as an engineer, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant on 5 Nov. 1830

Lieutenant - 25 June 1835

"Serjeant Robert Hearnden and eleven rank and file, detached in the brig "Hebe" in October, 1841, to the Falkland Islands, under Lt RC Moody., the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, arrived there on the 15th January, 1842.  Three women and seven children accompanied the party.  The men were volunteers and of trades suitable to the experiment of improving an old but neglected settlement.  They were armed with percussion carbines, carrying a sword with a serrated back, which was affixed to a piece when necessary as a bayonet.  This weapon was proposed for adoption in the corps both as a sword for personal defense and as an instrument for removing obstructions on active service; but Sir George Murray, then Master-General. refused to sanction its introduction, considering it to be an improper weapon to be used in civilized warfare.

After bearing up Berkley Sound the party landed at Port Louis on the 23rd January 1844, and were present as a guard of honour to his Excellency on taking over the government of the Falkland Islands.  The inhabitants were assembled to receive him and the Lieutenant-Governor made them a gracious speech.

Soon the men became acquainted with the nature of the country they had been sent to improve.  Its land was unfruitable and its character inhospitable.  Vegetation was so scant and the soil so poor, that nowhere could a tree be seen, large barren tracts of country, softened into mud by perpetual rains, everywhere met the eye: and the luxuries of living embraced but few varieties beyond fish, flesh, and fowl.  Houses there were none, nor was there any society or amusement.  What with rain, snow, fogs, gales, and tempests, the Falkland Islands have well been called the region of storms.  The population, not more than 200 in all, consisted of a dissipated set of ruffians the depraved renegades of different countries.

After landing the stores and provisions from the "Hebe', the detachment was put to work.  Two portable houses were in course of time erected: one for his Excellency, and the other for the sappers.  For durability they were built on stone foundations, and the roofs, to keep out the rain, were covered with tarred canvas and thatched with tussock.  A number of outhouses and sheds to suit every convenience and want were rapidly run up, and the old dreary settlement gave unmistakable signs of vigorous industry and improvement.  One of the houses, with 6 apartments, was erected as an addition to the old government-house, which was a long, narrow, crazy structure of one story, with thick stone walls, a canvas roof, and five ill-contrived rooms.  The other for the sapper, was constructed a little distance in the rear of the Governor's dwelling.  Two ruinous cottages at Pig Brook were also fitted up, and two cottages at German's Point rebuilt.  To make the inhabitants of the location more homely and English, enclosures were fenced in for gardens and pasturages.  A well likewise was built of dry stone with an oval dome and approached by stone steps.  For purposes of correction, an oven built by the French settlers under Bougainville, about 1760, the oldest building in the group, was used for the confinement of refractory characters.  The detachment, in addition to its other duties, served as the police of the settlement, and sergeant Hearnden was appointed chief constable.

Much of the time of the men' was spent in boat service to Long Island and other places to get tussock, oxen, horses, peat, etc.  The last was obtained in large quantities and stacked for winter fuel.  Occasionally a few were out on reconnoitring excursions examining portions of the country, and surveying the islands and patches of land of colonial interest.  In this service corporal William Richardson, who was a surveyor and mathematician, was the most conspicuous.  When opportunity permitted, some were employed quarrying stone, repairing landing-places, making roads, and improving the paths and approaches to the settlement.  To add to the diversity of their duties, a few were sometimes occupied in marking out allotments and indicating the passes or routes across bogs and lagoons by means of poles.  The first pole was placed on the loftiest hill between Port Louis and Saint Salvador, which his Excellency, in honour of his sergeant, named Hearnden Hill.  In short the men were compelled to turn their hands to anything, for an abandoned and desolate settlement rendered numerous services essential for the convenience and comfort of the settlers.  Sergeant Hearnden was clerk of the works, and also filled with energy and ability a number of other offices of colonial necessity.  Such as auctioneer, excise-officer, etc.  In carrying on the former duty, among his many sales, he disposed of the "Melville" schooner, a vessel belonging to four partners, obtaining for it, from one of the partners, only 720 dollars!  This may be taken as a fair specimen of the wealth of the colonists.  Frequently he was detached to considerable distance and his reports and places were invariably received with approbation and his suggestions carried out.

Sections of the detachment were often sent on duty to Long Island, Green Island, Salvador Bay, Johnson's harbour, Port William, etc.  Two or three times the men sent to Long Island could not return to the location, as the boats on each occasion were, by a driving gale, dashed back on the beach, and the men exposed through the weary night to the pelting storm.  Once under such circumstances the party was without food for twenty-three hours.  Two men detached to Jackson's harbour, when returning home, were caught in a snow-storm and with great difficulty reached the untenable hut at Fish-house Creek.  There, benumbed and fatigued, they sought shelter for the night, being unable to proceed further or to assist themselves.

To relieve the monotony of their public duties, the men were permitted to follow any sport which their inclination suggested.  Boating, hunting, shooting, fishing, and angling, were among the varieties of their diversions.  Game was plentiful, and the men usually returned from their excursions laden with rabbits, geese, and birds of different form and plumage.  In fishing, the party at one time in a single haul, caught at Fish-house Creek thirteen  hundred weight of mullet.  The Governor, too, was ever ready to devise means to promote their amusement and comfort, and one occasion so pleased was he with their general good conduct and exertions, that he honoured them with an excellent dinner from his own purse and shared himself in the festivities."

--History of the Royal Sappers and Miners :
from the formation of the corps in March 1772
to the date when its designation was changed
to that of Royal Engineers in October 1856.
pgs. 388-391


"The settlement at Port Louis, in the Falkland Islands, was daily growing into importance, and works applicable to every conceivable emergency were executed.  This year of 1843 the old government-house was thoroughly repaired, and a new substantial barrack for the detachment erected.  Unlike the other buildings of the colony, the foundation-stone was laid by the Governor with the usual ceremony, and in a chamber was placed a bottle of English coins of the realm of Queen Victoria.  There were also built houses for baking, cooking, and to hold boats.  A butcher's shop was likewise run up, and cottages erected for the gauchos and their major-domo, as well as a small calf house on Long Island a large wooden peat-house at Town Moss.  To add to the variety of their employment the sappers repaired, and constructed a jetty of rough stones for boats.  Other services of less note but equally necessary were performed, such as quarrying stone, building a sod-wall to enclose a space for garden purposes, stacking peat for the winter and removing stores and provisions form the...

--History of the Royal Sappers and Miners :
from the formation of the corps in March 1772
to the date when its designation was changed
to that of Royal Engineers in October 1856.
(to be continued) pg 475

2nd Captain - 6 March 1844
Captain - 19 Aug. 1847

Falkland Islands, 1841 - 1849

Lieutenant-Colonel - 13 Jan. 1855

   Colonel - 28 Apr.1858

Moody returned to duty in England and was stationed at Newcastle Upon Tyne, where he worked on dikes and dams.

"Early in the year, under orders from the Home Government, four men of the corps under lance-corporal James S. Taylor, made surveys and plans of the Holmfirth reservoir and the country in its neighbourhood, to assist Captain R.C. Moody, RE., in his inquiries to ascertain the cause of the bursting of its embankment and the consequent destruction of life and property. On the completion of the work the men were commended for the active and able manner in which it had been executed, and received a liberal allowance for their services."

--History of the Royal Sappers and Miners :
from the formation of the corps in March 1772
to the date when its designation was changed
to that of Royal Engineers in October 1856.
Pg. 95

It is during this time that he meets, falls in love with, and marries Miss Mary Suzanna Hawks, eldest daughter of a prominent Newcastle banker.

As all English newly web couples, they promptly embarked on The Grand Tour of Europe, visiting France, Switzerland, and Germany.  Upon returning to England, Moody draws up plans for the restoration of Edinburgh Castle based on a musical architectural principle.  His plans received great interest from Prince Albert and he is summoned to explain them to Her Majesty.

With the outbreak of the Crimean War, Moody is posted to the British Colony at Malta, where he becomes rapidly ill with Yellow Fever causing him to take sick leave in Germany.

In Autumn 1858 Moody was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Lieutenant Governor of the new colony of BC.  Given command of Columbia Detachment of RE (and dormant commission as Lieutenant-Governor of B. C.).

Certificate appointing Moody Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and Letters Patent appointing Moody Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.  2 leaves.

MOODY, Richard Clement, 1813-1887.  New Westminster; Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works for British Columbia and Officer Commanding Columbia Detachment, Royal
Engineers.  Originals, 1858, 1859; 2 pages (oversize)

BC Archives

He arrived in British Columbia on 25 Dec. 1858, with wife Mary and 4 children.

Moody, Pre-BC