Lance Corporal

John Meade

Sapper John Meade volunteered for Service in British Columbia and traveled with the Columbia Detachment on board the Thames City.

As a Lance Corporal Meade's Regimental Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.

It should be noted: He was listed as Sapper in June 1861 Pay List.  Rank of Lance Corporal does not exist in 1861.

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

Meade 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,


or "Crowded House"

"Wouverman Von Broom", (A Boat Builder), C. Derham
"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 precisely.

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 only son.

"...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 Horn Chronicle.

A week later an advertisement appeared in the Gazette on board.

Theatre Royal, "Thames City"

The Manager, having succeeded in securing the addition to his Company of the services of those distinguished artistes, "Herr Wolfenden" and "Miss Matilda Hazel", has the pleasure to announce to the public that, on Wednesday evening the 8th inst., will be presented the farce in one Act by John Maddison Morton, entitled,


"Filippo Geronimo", (An Innkeeper), Charles Derham
"Jerry Ominous", (His Nephew), Charles Sinnett
"Bambogetti", James B. Launders
"Leoni", James Turnbull
"Brigadier of Carabineers", Richard Wolfenden
"First Carabineer", John Meade
"Second Carabinier", George Eaton
"Rosetta", (daughter of Filippo), Miss Matilda Hazel

Leader of the Orchestra - William Haynes

Comic, and other Songs will be introduced during the evening.

Reserved seats for ladies only.

Alfred R. Howse, Manager.

--5th December, 1858
From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.

3 more plays were performed by the Detachment Amateurs of the "Theatre Royal" before Meade again appears on the playbill and Meade again returns to drag.

Theatre Royal, "Thames City"

Next week will be presented that highly interesting and laughable Farce, in one Act, by John M. Morton, entitled,



"Mr. Wiffles", Charles Derham
"Mr. John Brownjohn", Charles Sinnett
"Mr. Pygmalian Phibbs", James Turnbull
"Mrs. Wiffles", John Meade
"Lydia", Richard Wolfenden

Doors open at 6 o'clock, performance to commence at 6:30 precisely.

--5th March, 1859
From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.

As the 6 month Voyage comes to an end, the Theatre Royal puts on one last play and Meade is a player...naturally in drag.

Theatre Royal

The Manager of the above theatre as the honor to announce to the nobility, gentry and public of this "City", that he has in rehearsal the popular Comic Drama, in two Acts, by John Maddison Morton, entitled,


Which will be played on Monday evening, the 4th inst., forming the close of the Theatrical season in this "City".


"Marquis de Ligny" (Captain of King's Musketeers), J. Turnbull
"Count de Brissac", (His Friend), C. Sinnett
"Pomaret", A.R. Howse
"Dumont", L.M. Hughes
"First Officer", J. Digby
"Second Officer", G. Eaton
"Messenger", H. Yates
"Rosine" (Pomaret's daughter), R. Wolfenden
"Mariette" (Her Cousin), J. Meade

Scene - Amiens: Period - 1634.

--2nd April, 1859
From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.

Meade landed with the Columbia Detachment on the 12th of April 1859.

The Detachment served not only as military and Civil Engineers but would also bear a hand in Police activities.  Meade appears to have had to play constable once in 1859.

An Indian, suspected of the murder of an old Irishman, escaped from his sapper guard to flee for his life, his pursuers firing upon him with their revolvers as he ran.

One man, an Indian, named Tsilpeyman, known to be a bad character, hated and feared by his tribe, and suspected by them of having been implicated in the murder, was given up by a party of the Musquioms across the river into our hands.  He was kept somewhat loosely guarded at the Camp, a young sapper named Meade being specially told off to watch him.  During the afternoon he managed to divest himself of his clothing and sat with only a blanket wrapped round him.

In the evening he watched his opportunity and darted away from his guard.  They were armed with revolvers, and rushed after him firing.  But the revolvers had been loaded for some time and hung fire.  Young Meade had sprung towards him as he started off; but the Indian cleverly threw his blanket over Meade, and sped away down the bank towards the river.  It was then quite dark, and for some time eager search was made with lanterns in the water, and out of the water among the stores and sheds.

I was going my rounds at the time, visiting families of the sappers, and wondered what the shouting and firing could mean.  The poor fellow had indeed leapt into the river, which was rushing along filled with floes of ice at about freezing temperature, to swim for his life.

A Serjeant, Jock M'Clure, a knowing, cool-headed Scotchman, guessing what had happened, and knowing that there was a spit of sand some few hundreds of yards lower down the river round which the tide would be sweeping - for he was one of those men who notice everything - quietly ran down to the spit and waited for what he believed would come to pass.  It was pitch dark, and he could see nothing except the waters rushing swiftly by.  Listening, however, intently, he heard a sound which he knew, a choking sound and a faint cry, and then all was still.

The Indian was heard of no more, and after a little while his tribe recognized the fact he was dead.  His kloochman wept for him, and his blankets were given away.

--From the Journals of Reverend Sheepshanks

According to Frances Woodward, Meade pre-empted Lot 183, New Westminster District, 160 acres, Feb 8 1861.  Later granted to Hailstone, Brighouse, and Morton, now west end of Vancouver.