Born in 1831,John Maclure was a native of Wigtonshire,
Scotland. In his studies he manifested a tendency
towards mathematics and pursued his course along that line, becoming a
surveyor. His ability increased through practical experience and at length
he was selected by the Ordnance Survey to assist in trigonometrical survey
of much of Great Britain and Ireland, in which connection he aided in
perfecting the survey of Belfast and its environs.
In 1854, Maclure married Miss Martha
McIntyre near Belfast,
Ireland. They became parents to five children:
Sarah Anne (Mrs. J.C. McLagan); Susan E. (Mrs. W. McColl, son of Sapper
McColl); Samuel, noted Vancouver Architect; J.C and F.C. who established
the "Clayburn Company" later the Kilgard Fire Clay Company Ltd. of Sumass.
an Enrolled Civilian his pay is
Maclure was among those who volunteered when
the British government wanted young men to come to British Columbia. Although a civilian surveyor, Maclure was attached to the Royal Engineers.
reply...John MacLure , RE is listed in the 1907 reprint of the
Emigrant Soldier's Gazette as a Sapper. Being a surveyor, he
probably came to B.C. with Captain Parsons who sailed from England
(with 20 Men) on September 2nd 1858, in the steamer "La
Plata" by way of Panama. They reached Victoria,
29th October 1858."
Archivist to City Archivist, 1st May 1944)
by City Archivist:
If, as is
stated by his children, and grandchildren, that John Maclure was
NOT a Royal Engineer, and NEVER a Serjeant in that Corps, then an
explanation might be that he was "enrolled" rather than
"enlisted" in the Royal Engineers. As a civilian
civil engineer he would be debarred from certain military
privileges and rights of a soldier, and it might be that, to give
him the same rights as his companions of the expedition, he was
enrolled as a "Sapper" on the RE strength, or
"establishment". For instance, in the war of
1914-1918, a certain commissioned officer of Vancouver was taken
to England in a CEF battalion as a 'private', because, otherwise,
the establishment being complete, he would have had to have been
Maclure traveled with Captain Parsons party,
arriving in the Colony in November of 1859.
Maclure continued to work as a surveyor in
the Colony and remained in BC when the Detachment disbanded in 1863.
MACLURE & TURNBULL,
(LATE OF THE ROYAL ENGINEERS)
Surveyors, Civil Engineers,
Auctioneers, Land and
OFFICE ON COLUMBIA ST., NEW
Opposite Mr. Holbrook's Store
SUBSCRIBERS, in devoting attention to the
above branches of business believe
that, from many
years of service in various parts of
the British Empire,
they possess such a thorough
knowledge of the Survey-
ing and Engineering profession as
will warrant them
in soliciting public patronage.
New Westminster, B.C.
November 2nd, 1863
While his children were being reared on the
home farm on the mainland, Maclure was given charge of a new telegraph
station, which was installed in his home.
Maclure was a provincial land surveyor and
civil engineer, who was employed to construct the government telegraph
line. Taking a fancy to the locality during the process of that work, he
decided to remain and secured the tract of land on which the family home
After the telegraph was installed in the
home, each of his children acquired a knowledge of the Morse Code and all
became capable telegraph operators, several members of the family later
followed in the business.
In October of 1869, George Leggatt, Captain
Luard's brother-in-law, searched the Pitt Meadows area of the Colony fore
a suitable location for a cattle ranch.
Oct. 26th – Got under weigh at 9
am. Made the mouth of the Matsqui creek at noon. Followed it up in its
windings 7 or 8 miles and camped about 4 pm about ˝ mile from
Maclure’s - the telegraph station. Creek awfully winding, subject to
the tide for about 2 miles. Banks covered with brush for 5 or 6 miles. After that open prairie with low undulating maple and alder ridges all
round, with view of Mount Baker in the distance. Went up to Maclure’s
but found that he had gone to N.W. that morning. Day fine.
October 29th – In camp all day
waiting Maclure’s arrival who did not turn up till evening. Was
delighted at seeing me, having heard that Luard was my brother in law,
who it appears was a great favorite of his, he having been in his
company. Promised to do anything he could for me. Arranged to go out
with him next Morning. Day fine.
Oct. 30th – Went up to Maclure’s
who went out with us taking his horse, which we took turn about in
riding and followed the telegraph line down to another part of the
prairie over a ridge which we had not seen before. Saw one or two nice
little points but too small a back range for our purpose, prairie very
good. Went some distance along a trail cut and graded by the Indians
going to Whatcom, saw nothing but heavy pine country, so returned to
Maclure’s, had dinner there and got back to camp about dusk. Day cloudy,
with light shower of rain.
October 31st – Maclure came down
to the camp this morning and we took him across to the country we had
seen on the 27th Inst. He was quite surprised, said he did
not know of any place nearly as good, so decided on pre-empting it. Stuck out stakes accordingly and went back to Maclure’s to dinner. Day
cloudy. Commenced to rain in the evening.
--From the 1869 Journal of George Leggatt
Maclure passed away at Clayburn, in November
of 1907, and was termed "The Grand Old Man of Matsqui".
[Much of the above was taken from "BC, From
the earliest Times to the Present, Biographical Vol. 4, PGs. 1061 - 1063.]