Philip Crart
aka Craft

Philip Crart was born in 1828.  He joined the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners.  While he was serving at the island of Corfu, he met and married Elizabeth Herring.  Her first husband, Sapper George Herring, died while stationed on Corfu, leaving Elizabeth with one son, Arthur. 

--Mr. Phil Herring
the grandson of Arthur Herring.
(Thank you, Mr. Herring)

Mrs. Crart, an Army wife, appears to have had children with another sapper, who also died.  She continued to "marry into" the Corps of Sappers and Miners in order to remain "On the Strength" - obtaining rations and Quarters for herself and her children in this manner.

Her children appear to be Sarah Sophia Smith, Arthur Herring, and two unnamed children she may have had with Sapper Crart.

Crart volunteered for service in British Columbia with his wife and child and 2 stepchildren.

A description of the Crart Family on the voyage in the Thames City.

The scene is Gravesend, as the Detachment prepares to leave on the Thames City:

"As the detachment marched out to the lively music of the band, a little boy, dressed in a brown alpaca suit, having a diagonal band with large white buttons across it, and wearing a straw hat, ran to the side of a surly-looking man whose dark brows beetled over his bilious-looking eyes, and handed him his gloves, clean and nice to put on.  He took them, looked sulkily at the little fellow, and, as the officer's attention was engaged elsewhere, slashed the child across the eyes with them.  Some of the onlookers called him ugly names, but the boy gulped back the tears, and marched along beside the company, carrying a little basket his mother had given him of handy comforts for the first few days of sea-sickness.  She was an experienced traveller, having been born in the Bermudas, and since then generally out on some foreign station.  The man we noticed was her third husband, the boy the son of her second.  She was a neat little body, evidently the senior of this man, and as evidently in delicate health."

-- Pg. 3 - From Frances Herring's
"In the Pathless West." 

The Thames City arrives on the 12 April, 1859.

"My recollection of Esquimalt in 1859 was just a small clearing in the pine-clad hill," recalls Mr. Herring (Stepson of Sapper Crart).  "The only thing to signify that it was a naval base was the presence of a British naval gunboat riding at anchor in the harbor."

--12th April, 1939
The Daily Province

The Wives and children are sent to Derby to the completed RE Barracks there until permanent Quarters could be completed at Queenborough.

As a Sapper, Crart's Regimental Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.

Crart is the orderly to Lt. Lempriere.  Whether he was the lieutenant's orderly prior to 1858 in not known.

May 1859

Friday 13th – Left Queenborough in the "Eliza Anderson” at 3 p.m. with Corporal Sinnett, my servant Crart, and Cote an axe-man, and arrived at Fort Langley at 5 p.m.  I called upon Mr. Yale and gave the Colonel’s letter and started about 6 p.m. in the steamer “Maria”: she got aground about 12 p.m. on a sand bank. 

19th Thursday – Gave Ogilvie a receipt for 130 dollars – I had all the mules packed and stared about 1 p.m. on my expedition to Boston Bar on the proposed trail.  We had some difficulty in getting the mules across the Quoquehalla which was very rapid (average rate 9 miles per hour) and had risen very high.  We unpacked them and then let them swim.  They were taken a long way down, but eventually got across though my mule had rather an escape – In all my party consisted of Corporal Sinnett, Sapper Crart, Cote a distinguished axeman, but horribly drunk at starting, a muleteer and 5 mules and 4 Indians – We went a short distance along the banks of the Quoquehalla and encamped in a very pretty spot upon a lake – about 1 1/2 miles from the ferry –  Up at 5:30 a.m. Breakfasted at 7 and had mules packed and started down after 8.  We ascended 2 steep hills: The view from the East was beautiful looking down upon the Quoquehalla Valley: We met several parties prospecting for gold and camped at noon for dinner at the point where the Hudson’s Bay trail to Thompson river crosses the Quoquehalla.  We went another 4 or 5 miles after dinner and then pitched our tents.  The weather was beautiful and I must say I quite enjoyed it, rough work as it was.  My bed made of small branches of cedar and 2 or 3 blankets to wrap myself up in, clothes and all except boots –

21st Saturday – Up at 5:30 a.m. and stared about 8: We ascended a high hill from which there was a beautiful view and I christened it “Belle Point” after Isabelle Reid: Just below this point a “gold flat” and a little further on where I camped for the day, I came upon some waterfalls which I called “The Gypsie Falls”.  I camped here about 11:30 a.m. Being informed by Mr. Ladner who was superintending the trail lately that I could not possibly get on further without cutting my way through: so I sent my Muleteer back to Fort Hope to get Ogilvie to purchase 6 falling axes and some barley etc. and to go at it myself, as to turn back would never do for an Engineer Officer – I prospected for gold and found a little – some people who were trying at the “gold flats” were very successful – we had a roaring fire at night of cedar wood, it quite lighted up the dense forest all around us: There is something so solemn and grand in all this, that it almost strikes one with awe at first; the moaning of the trees and the rushing sounds of the water all adds to the solemnity of the scene –

22nd Sunday – Remained camped in the same spot. 

23rd Monday – Very wet so did not change camp. 

24th Tuesday – Moved our camp about 2 ½ miles on.  2 of my Indians deserted and the rest of my party sent forward to cut the trail: we saw indications of bears.

25th Wednesday – Moved our camp about 1 ½ miles.

26th Thursday – Moved our camp about 1 ¾ miles.

27th Friday – Moved our camp about 1 ¾ miles.  I walked with Mr. Ladner up a creek to explore it and see weather we could not make a short cut.  It was tremendous climbing an I got so worked up, I thought I would never get back to my camp again.  Had some grouse for dinner which one of the Indians had shot, a great treat after living on bacon. 

28th Saturday – Moved my camp on about a mile – I sent the muleteer into Fort Hope for provisions and wrote to Luard.  The afternoon was very wet and miserable and the snow about 2 feet deep around my tent.  A wet day under canvas is very unpleasant, particularly when one has nothing but the bare ground to sit or lay on – however in the evening we managed to get a good fire, cut down a large tree, strip the bark off in pieces of  6’x 8’ and build a sort of shed to sit under – and made ourselves tolerably comfortable.  It is only in the spring of the year when the sap is up that the bark will peel off the trees in that way – It turned out a very wet night –

 29th Sunday – Very wet all day and night.  Began a letter to Belle.

30th Monday – Wet nearly all day.  I walked about 2 miles along the trail, got wet through and came back.  Turned into bed about 8 p.m.  Afterwards the muleteer arrived from Fort Hope: He brought a letter from Ogilvie with some newspapers, potables etc.: A grand treat.

31st Tuesday – Wet all morning so that we could not move our camp or send the trail cutting party out.  I continued my letter to Belle – In the afternoon I rode on a short distance and could not get my mule on any further, the snow being so rotten, he came down with me twice, so I tied him up to a tree and walked on to the top of the mountain (sandy hill): I was very tired when I got back.

June 1859                                 back to top

1st Wednesday – Struck camp about 8 a.m. and went on about 4 miles and camped close to some beautiful falls, the gorge was so narrow that there was not sufficient space to pitch my tent properly.  The trail was very rough and the ascent up the mountain very steep: one of my pack mules rolled down a considerable distance, they did not get along at much more than 1 mile per hour.

2nd Thursday – Moved my camp on about 2 miles: very rough traveling and snow very rotten: it was from 2 to 3 feet deep outside our tents and thawing rapidly –

9th Thursday – The steamer arrived with a detachment of 1 NCO and 6 men.  I received  letter from Emma which she had sent to Valparaiso and which was forwarded from there.  Sent my servant Crart back to Queenborough home sick.

-- From the Journal of Lt. Lempriere.

A month later, in July of 1859, Crart accompanies Lempriere once again as his orderly.

July 1859

4th Monday – Started with Captain Prevost, Cote, Sainsbury and my servant Crart and after a hard day’s walk through the forest, there being no trail and climbing a steep mountain we camped for the night at the top:  the snow was from 4 to 5 feet deep and we had no tents with us: However we knocked up a little shelter with boughs of trees and making a bed on the top of the snow of the same material, with a tremendous fire at our feet we managed to make ourselves pretty comfortable: a few biscuits, tea and preserved vegetables formed our repast –

5th Tuesday – breakfasted at 5 a.m. and started immediately afterwards: we traveled about 8 miles on the snow till we got clear of the mountains and about 10 more brought us to a trail cutter’s camp:  our provisions were nearly all out and I don’t recollect ever being more thankful for a good meal than I was that day: the party whom we had just reached were very civil and kind gave us shelter under one of their tents for the night and grub to take with us the following day –

6th Wednesday – We left the trail cutter’s camp and walked along the banks of the Anderson River about 10 or 12 miles, there being no trail: My Indian caught us up bringing down provisions with him, and a raccoon which though very tough we made a hearty meal off.  We slept as usual on the ground without any tent –

7th Thursday – Started early and after a very long hard day’s journey we reached Boston Bar, where I, Captain Prevost and our men all got shelter under the same tent –

8th Friday – Left Boston Bar having procured 4 horses the day before and in the evening reached the Lake House situated on the top of a mountain.  As it was very cold our men being tired we rushed to stay there the night: There was only one room in which we all slept with a lot of miners, Indians etc., in all numbering about 14 or 15: Bunks were arranged in three tiers all round the room, for the accommodation of travelers.  I cannot say it was particularly agreeable. 

9th Saturday – We left the lake house and descended the mountain till we struck the Fraser river at Chapman’s Bar:  We went along its banks for about 5 miles and then reached the ferry at  [?] where we crossed the river and after leaving 2 more mountains arrived at Fort Yale.  We started there about half an hour and then took a canoe to Fort Hope a distance of 15 miles: The river was very high and rapid and we went down in less than 1 ½ hours.

10th Sunday – Arrived at Hope.  In the morning went to service in the Court House 

11th Monday – I, Captain Prevost and my servant Crart left for Fort Hope in a canoe with 2 Indians at 8 am – ands arrived at Queensbourough at 9 pm a distance of 80 miles – The Fraser river was at its highest and we ran down at a great pace: We stopped a minute at one or two places on the way down but the mosquitos were so numerous that they regularly drove us off.

-- from the Journal of Lt. Lempriere

After this Exploration, Lempriere dismisses Crart as his Orderly.

Meanwhile, Crart's step daughter Sarah has caught the attention of Mrs. Moody.


"The only other girl, is one destined for the School Mistress, but I did not see why I should not secure her (as a Nursery maid), which I did, to the amazement of everyone.  She is a canny girl, but I have only had her for 2 days."

--22nd September,  1859
The Letters of Mary S. Moody


"I have got a nice girl of 17 in the Nursery, a Soldier's daughter, and she really does very well, with look after and telling her little things."

--11th October, 1859
The Letters of Mary S. Moody

Two weeks later, a horrible tragedy strikes the Camp.

Friday 28th October, 1859 – Mrs. Crart in a fit of temporary insanity cut the throats of 3 of her children and then that of her own.  She and one of the children died, the other two were very seriously injured.  She was a [?] her husband was my servant till about 2 or 3 months ago. 

-- From the Journal of Lt. Lempriere.


Editor, British Colonist -- On Friday last, while the town was still in a great state of excitement about the murder of the three Italians by the pirates at the mouth of the Fraser, (consisting of Indians from Cowichan, Tadka Tula, Tuashans, Sea Shells, Mousquims and Squamish) news arrived that Mrs. Crote, the wife of one of the Sappers and Miners, had murdered her family and cut her own throat; and I am sorry to say it turned out too true.

By the evidence before the Coroner's inquest that was summoned the same day, it appeared she had been in a desperate way for some time about being out here.  And when the news of the murders below arrived, it turned her brain completely, and she was heard to say that sooner than the Indians should kill her children, she would kill them herself.

During the night she appeared uneasy, getting in and out of bed many times: and when her husband left for his work, she locked the door and attacked first her little son, about eight years of age, who was putting on his shoes and stockings.  She cut him with a razor in the leg, side and back of the neck, and he was so stunned by the attack that he lay still.  She then crossed the room, razor in hand, and cut the throat of her little daughter, a pretty child of three years old, with long flaxen hair, which lay dabbled in her life's blood when seen by the Jury.  She nearly cut her head from her body.  She then made a cut at her infant, but did not cut deep and perhaps it will live.  Last of all, she cut her own throat, and unlocked the door, rushing on the balcony, wringing her hands and gurgling "I have done it!"  Assistance immediately came, but she died in three-quarters of an hour, presenting a horrid site.  The Jury returned a verdict that she murdered her daughter and wounded her other children, and killed herself while under the effects of temporary insanity.

-- November 4th 1859
The British Colonist, written by
Amor de Cosmos, in New Westminster
October 31st, 1859.

The following is the newly discovered Inquest on the Crart Murder from the files of the Justice of the peace and Coroner for New Westminster - Spaulding.

Camp, New Westminster
28th October 1859

Proceedings of an Inquest held at the Camp, New Westminster on the bodies of Elizabeth Crart and her Infant. The said Elizabeth Crart having first Murdered her Infant, and attempting the lives of her two other children and then committed suicide.

A Jury having been summoned consisting of the following persons viz:

Foreman - Henry Holbrook
A. J. Armstrong, E. Brown, John Ramage, W. Dewdney, John Scott, Thomas Moloney, J. W. English, J. N. Herring, George Mayfield, J. H.  Sachett, William Foster, J. V. Seddall MD and Medical evidence.

The Jury having been duly sworn the following evidence was taken.

1st Witness Maryanne Rowebottom being duly sworn states I live in the same block as the accused lived in.  Between 7 and 8 o'clock this morning I was in my room getting breakfast when I heard screaming in Mrs. Crart's room.  I went to her door and found it locked inside.  I stood for a few moments in the veranda listening when Mrs. Crart came out with her throat cut.  I immediately ran away.  I do not consider Mrs. Crart to have been in a sound state of mind for some days past.

2nd Witness Anne Hall having been duly sworn states.  I have observed that Mrs. Crart's manner has been very strange for a week past.  About 7 o'clock this morning I was out hanging clothes I heard a dreadful screaming and saw Mrs. Crart in the veranda with her throat cut.  She barred her hands and explained "I have done it".  I went into the room and took the baby off her and found a cut on its throat.  I also found the little girl called Rosina dead on the Bed with her throat cut.

3rd Witness William Edwards being duly sworn states.  I heard a cry of murder this morning between the hours of 7 and 8.  I ran over to where produced from and found Mrs. Crart walking about the veranda with her throat cut.  I caught hold of her and tied a cloth round her throat to stop the bleeding.  I made her sit down in the room and I sent for her husband.  Mrs. Crart lived about 3/4 of an hour.  I have not considered her in sound state of mind for some days past.  I found the Razor near the door of the room covered with blood.

Dr. Seddall being duly sworn, in Medical evidence states.  This morning between 7 and 8 o'clock I was called from my Quarters by servant who stated that Mrs. Crart had cut her throat.  I hastened to the accused's house and found her sitting in her room with deep cut in the throat which completely severed the windpipe and large vessels of the neck.  She bled profusely and died about half an hour from suffocation by the intake of blood into the lungs.  I also found her little girl named Rosina in her last moments with a severe cut in the throat.  I also found the youngest child seven months old with a superficial cut in the throat, alive.  I also found  the boy Arthur Crart 6 years old bleeding from three severe wounds on the leg and thigh, also with a deep cut on the back of the neck.  The wounds all apparently  inflicted with a razor.  I saw the razor which had been picked up by Sapper Edwards covered with blood.  The boy Arthur and the Infant are doing as well as can be expected.

After mature deliberation we the undersigned have come to the unanimous conclusion and return the following verdict that Elizabeth Crart died by her own hand while in a fit of temporary insanity, having previously killed the daughter Rosina and inflicted the wounds above mentioned on her son Arthur Crart and her Infant boy.

After the murder/suicide, the surviving children appear to be under the care of the eldest daughter, Sarah.

"The time goes by so quickly, I really do not accomplish half I want to do.  Unfortunately my little Nursery Maid is a bad sewer, however I doubt my keeping her long for she has just lost her Mother and her Father wants her at home to mind the Children."

--7th November, 1859
The letters of Mary S. Moody

After a time, the surviving children, Sarah Sophia Hill and Arthur Herring, appear to have been taken in by one of the Sergeant's of the Detachment.

"...In addition to this she enjoyed the privlege of living with her parents in the Camp, her father being a Serjeant.  This renumeration was deemed by me sufficient without applying for Government aid..."

--19th March 1861
Colonel Moody

Sarah Sophia Hill marries Sapper Henry Smith and they take in her brother, Arthur Herring to live with them.

New Westminster Times
3rd October 1860

Married - On the 24th alt., by the Reverend Mr. Sheepshanks, at the Temporary Church, Camp, New Westminster, Mr. Henry William Smith, Lance Corporal RE, to Miss Sarah Sophia Hill.

Crart remains in the Colony when the Columbia Detachment disbands in November of 1863.

According to Frances Woodward, Crart applied for section 254, Group 1, New Westminster.  This appears to have been for a Military Land Grant.

Crart died the 5th March 1874, in New Westminster, aged 46 years.