Sapper Henry J. Benney volunteered for
Service in British Columbia and traveled with the Columbia Detachment on
board the Thames City.
took up the challenge, made by Captain Luard, to have amateur theatricals
on board - and did so, in drag.
Theatre Royal, "Thames City"
The manager of the above Theatre has the honor
to announce to the inhabitants of this "City" that he has, with
considerable difficulty and immense expense, succeeded in securing
the valuable services of the following histrionic artists, viz:
Charles Sinnett, Charles Derham, James
Turnbull, George Eaton, Henry J. Benney, James H. Elliot, John
Meade, William A. Franklin, James Digby, James B Launders
The Theatre has undergone considerable
alterations, and every attention has been paid to the comfort and
convenience of the audience. The Scenery, Dresses and Properties are
entirely new, and of a first class description. On Wednesday, the
24th inst., will be produced for the first time at this Theatre that
laughable and interesting Farce by G. Almar, entitled,
"CROSSING THE LINE"
or "Crowded House"
"Wouverman Von Broom", (A Boat Builder), C.
"Wouter Von Broom", (A Pilot), C. Sinnett
"Bluffenburg", (A Workman), G. Eaton
"Caukenburg", (A Sailor), J.H. Elliot
"Von Brent", (A Lawyer), J. Turnbull
"Estelle de Burgh", (Ward of Wouverman), H.J.Benney
"Pomona Vondertviller", (An Oyster Girl), J. Meade
Leader of Orchestra - William Haynes
During the evening several Songs and Dances
will be introduced.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., performance to commence at 7 o'clock
Alfred R. Howse, Manager.
- 20th November, 1858, From The Emigrant
Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.
"...It must be obvious to our readers that on
board ship, where there is not even a "Hairdresser's or a "Milliner
and Corset maker's" shop, considerable obstacles must necessarily
exist in the way of stage management. If therefore the oysters
"Pomona" carries on her back should not be genuine "natives", or if
"Estelle's" crinoline should happen to be elliptical instead of
circular, or even her petticoats rather short, let us not be too
critical, as after all she is probably just as nice a girl as ever in
spite of her crinoline."
-20th November, 1858, From The Emigrant Soldier's
Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.
This performance was
postponed for one week due to the death on board of Serjeant Bridgman's
"...It is our glory pride
as Englishmen on all occasions to place the fair sex
foremost, and we accordingly commence by noticing the
two bright stars who have just risen in the theatrical
firmament, Miss Bridget Meade, and Miss Mary Benney,
both of whom, by their quiet ease and elegance on the
stage, and by the propriety of their diction, gave
great promise of future excellence. Their acting was
admirable throughout, and the young ladies were
dressed for their parts in perfect good taste. We
cannot more especially help noticing the rich bands of
their beautiful and luxuriant hair, clustered
gracefully around their blooming cheeks, and we trust
these fair damsels will long continue to delight a
crowded audience as on the night of their last
performance. Charms like theirs cannot fail to attract
admirers and we venture to predict that many a
heart-ache is in store for the young nobility and
gentry amongst the play-goers of the rising generation
in these realms.
- 5th December,
1858, From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape
remained in the Colony after the Detachment was disbanded in November of
Benney took some land and built himself a
home in New Westminster.
During the Summer of 1864, disaster struck
4th June 1864 - The British Colonist
Having been personally engaged up to a late hour on Tuesday in
repelling the advance of the flames upon the property in the rear of
the city, we were unable to give anything beyond the very meagre
notice which appeared in our last issue of Wednesday. In that
notice we gave the names of four who were burned out at Sapperton.
We are happy to learn subsequently that only three of the four were
really victims, viz., Franklin, who lost his house and a great part
of his effects; Bruce, who lost every article he possessed in the
world; Gilchrist, who lost his house and a portion of his
effects. This last case was rendered perhaps more distressing from
the circumstances of Gilchrist having been absent upon the Bute
Inlet Expedition, from which he only returned to find a heap of
smouldering ashes where he left a comfortable house and happy
family. There were instances of heroic bravery, too, which ought to
be noticed in connection with the Sapperton fire. We learn that
almost superhuman exertions were made in order to check the fire,
and no better evidence of this is needed than the fact that
Colston's house is now standing. The Hon. Colonial Secretary, Mr.
J.T. Scott, Mr. C. Good, Mr. Howse, Mr. Deasy, Mr. Argyle, Mr. Green
and Mr. Ede, have all been mentioned to us as having exerted
themselves in the most praiseworthy and sometimes daring manner in
order to save both life and property. The damage done to fences and
garden stuffs must be very considerable, as we are informed that
every piece of fencing in Sapperton was either burned or torn down
to save it from being burned. The roads in that neighbourhood also
suffered more or less injury. On the Pitt river road 234 feet of
the roadway which was constructed of cedar logs covered with earth
and gravel, was burned, while on the North or Burrard road, three of
the bridges are more or less injured. In the rear of the city the
house of Mr. Benney was destroyed, and back about 2 miles on
the Douglas street road Mr. Bennet was burned out, while some three
miles down the river Mr. Martin's buildings were destroyed together
with most of the household stuff.
north-western suburbs considerable damage has been done in the
destruction of fencing and garden stuff. There is an old saying
that nothing is so bad but it might be worse; and notwithstanding
all these losses and misfortunes a general feeling of thankfulness
ought to pervade the community on account of the smallness of the
aggregate loss; and that feeling should find practical expression in
assisting as far as our circumstances will allow, the few who have
lost their all.
But it appears that Benney was a resilient
fellow and remained in New Westminster. Benneyassisted his old Detachment
Serjeant John McMurphy's wife with the following letter.
30th October 1866
Mrs McMurphy desires me to reply to your letter of the 20th ult.
Requesting to be paid into the Lands and Works Department rent due
for the Dwelling House she at present resides in, and begs me to ask
you to allow her further time for payment of the same, till her
husband returns from Cariboo, (who she now expects every boat), she
being unable to meet the demand.---
I am Sir,
Your obdt Servant
The Hon. J.W. Trutch