Richard Clement Moody



Retired, full-pay - 25 Jan 1866

Died at Bournemouth, 21 March 1887

Colonel Moody personally chose BC’s first Capital New Westminster, established the Cariboo Wagon Road, and gave us the incalculable gift of Stanley Park.  Moody also named Burnaby Lake (of Burnaby City) after his private secretary Robert Burnaby, and named Port Coquitlam’s 400-foot "Mary Hill" after his dear wife, Mary.

Thanks to Captain George H. Richards who thoroughly surveyed the BC Coast, Colonel Moody’s name has been immortalized in BC history with the city of Port Moody.  The city was established from the end of a trail cut by the Royal Engineers, now known as North Road to connect New Westminster with Burrard Inlet.  Port Moody was developed to defend New Westminster from potential attack from the USA.  The town grew rapidly after 1859, following land grants to Moody’s Royal Engineers who then settled there.  All of the officers returned to England, but most of the sappers and their families chose to remain, accepting 150-acre land grants as compensation.  Port Moody was the Canadian Pacific Railway's original western terminus.

In 1863 Colonel Moody planned to cut a trail from New Westminster to Jericho Beach due west, but Lieutenant Governor Douglas was very much in opposition.  Of this venture, the matter was taken to the Colonial House, London, England, and permission was granted for Colonel Moody to proceed with the trail.  Unfortunately he ran out of money before completion and the trail ended at Burrard Inlet.

Moody’s Royal Engineer detachment was disbanded by Governor James Douglas in 1863.  Only 15 men accompanied Colonel Moody back to England, with the remainder settling in the new colony.  These men formed the nucleus of the volunteer soldiers that led to the formation of the BC Regiment twenty years later.

Colonel Moody left his mark not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.  At the conclusion of BC’s ‘Ned McGowan War’, as it was Sunday morning, Colonel Moody invited forty miners to join him at the courthouse for worship.  As no clergy was present, Colonel Moody himself led worship from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Here, let the writer introduce the list of the wishes which were outlined by Sir Lytton to Col. Moody at the interview held before the latter's departure to British Columbia.

They were:

(1) He should give immediate attention to means of transport by land and water.
(2) Report on the unification of British interests on the Pacific.
(3) Report on harbours of the Colony and the existence of all minerals, especially, coal, and on fisheries, timber, oil and agriculture.
(4) Keep his force from drink.
(5) Show courtesy and tact for all foreigners.
(6) Work harmoniously with the Governor.
(7) See the Colony was self supporting.
(8) Survey the land most needed and send full reports on permanent settlement as the Home Authorities wished to establish responsible government as soon as possible.


Port Coquitlam's most prominent physical feature is Mary Hill, about 400 feet high.  It is believed to have been named for Mary Moody, wife of Colonel R. C. Moody, Royal Engineer, possibly by Captain Jack Grant.  The name first appears on the 1859 Admiralty survey charts of Captain Richards, in charge of the royal Navy's survey vessel, the Plumper.

Mary Hill may have been Colonel Moody's first choice for British Columbia's capital, but according to a later report, Captain Grant, of the Royal Engineers, persuaded Moody that New Westminster was the better site.  Instead, as Richard Mayne of the Plumper reported, Colonel Moody proposed Mary Hill as the site for "the citadel which shall defend New Westminster."  Although Mary Hill was the official name on the survey charts, it was also known as "St. Marys Hill" in the 1860s.  In the boom years of the 1910s, in fact, Mary Hill was known as St. Mary's Heights.  Today, a Mary Hill residential development is called "Citadel Heights."

FORT YALE,17th January, 1859.(89)

Sir,--I have the honour to report to you it seems probable the difficulties at Fort Yale and Hill's Bar are for the present quelled.

In conjunction with Judge Begbie, I deemed it the best policy to leave the Royal Engineers at Fort Hope and for us to proceed alone to Fort Yale and try to arrange matters in the ordinary way.  We purposed to visit Hill's Bar together without any display of force or authority, and it was our intention to have summoned before us Edward McGowan and a man named Kelly (who appears to act as a sort of Lieutenant to him) to answer the outrage upon Captain Whannell, J.P., and the breaking-open of the jail.

On communicating, however, to Mr. George Perrier your Excellency's order for his suspension from the role of justice of the Peace, considerable excitement arose in the town and Edward McGowan violently assaulted a Dr. Fifer in the street, and the information I received of the state of affairs altogether convinced me that it was hopeless to expect the Law would be respected.  I therefore sent Lieut. Mayne, R.N., express to Fort Hope to send up the Detachment of Royal Engineers under Captain Grant, and to proceed on in the steamer "Enterprise" to Langley to bring up the Detachment of Royal Marines with the Field-piece party of Seamen.  In accordance with my detailed orders to Captn. Grant. the Detachment arrived this morning after a trying night advance by batteaux and marching.  Mr. Brew accompanied the Party and also 12 special constables headed by Messrs. Ogilvy and Macdonald, of whose zeal and ability (especially Mr. Ogilvy's) I cannot speak too highly.  There was some little excitement on their arrival, but the feeling generally in this town was of the best description, and summonses have been duly served at Hill's Bar on McGowan and Kelly, who are to appear here the day after to-morrow. 88

I am very much afraid, however, they will be able to shelter themselves behind Mr. Perrier's authority, he having sworn them in as Special constables on the occasion.

The troops are in excellent health and spirits.  I shall have the honour of addressing your Excellency more particularly on a future occasion and report the arrangements I now propose to make in respect to the troops.

I have the honour to be,
Yr Most Obedient humble Servant,

(Sgd.) R. L. MOODY,

His Excellency the Governor.Lt-Gov.

--Source: The Early History of Fraser River Mines.
compiled by F.W.Howay.
Published by John Forsyth,
British Columbia Provincial Archives, Victoria 1926. Accession no.: NW 971.3 5F H853 c.6

Early Trails of Burrard Peninsula
[From BC Historical Quarterly, October 1945]

The above map [etbp.gif 33K] showing the evolution of communications on Burrard Peninsula was compiled from a number of sources, including the Map of New Westminster, by Woods and Turner, 1882 (in the Provincial Archives), and a Map of Burrard Inlet, by Albert J. Hill (in the Vancouver City Archives).

A British Admiralty chart of 18601 shows a trail from the Royal Engineers' Camp (New Westminster), extending northward to Burrard Inlet. This very early route antedated the North Road, but was soon superseded by it and fell quickly into disuse. The original military trail, later called the False Creek Road2 was extended as far as False Creek, although it was surveyed to the "outer anchorage," near the present Jericho Beach. A Royal Engineers' map of 18613 shows the proposed extension as completed, but it is very doubtful if the actual construction was carried out.

3) British Columbia.  New Westminster to Lillooet from a General Map in Preparation by the Royal Engineers. Copy in Provincial Archives. The legend states that this map was made under the direction of Captain Parsons at New Westminster in August, 1861, by order of Colonel Moody. British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX., No. 4.

(4) Admiralty Chart No. 1922, dated 1860.

MOODY - Captain Henry de Clervaulx - South Wales Borderers

Killed in action at Nooitgedacht. 13th Dec. 1900. Aged 36. Son of Major-General R.C. Moody (Royal Engineers). Born February 1864. Served Burma 1885 (medal and bar).

Marine Drive was created by Colonel Richard Moody and a crew of Royal Engineers.  It was originally called River Road.  It was infamous for mud fields and potholes.

Moody Postscript