John Scales was
born in Yorkshire in 1822. He was married to Mary Sarah "Sarah"
Excell and they had 2 children, John Henry (1854) and Elizabeth
(1857). The two children were born on the Isle of Mauritius in the
Indian Ocean whilst Scales was posted there. In early 1858, Scales
contracted Cholera and was Invalided home. He, his wife, and
children, then boarded the "Thames City" for duty with the Columbia
On Board the
"Thames City" Scales was recognized as the Master of Ceremonies for "The
Theatre Royale". He was also described as "a finished artist in
the Terpsichorean Arts."
Upon landing in the Colony, Scales was to resume is trade as a Stone
Mason or Stone-cutter, but was delegated to be Colonel Moody's
It appears that Mrs.
Moody took to Mrs. Scales.
"I have engaged a "Nurse", a canny young Soldier's
Wife, I hope she may turn out a 2nd Mrs. Cassidy. Mrs. Grant and Mrs.
Spalding both expect to require her services about the time I do so I
explained to Mrs. Scales that I must have her and keep her for a
month, for here if ladies can get a Nurse for a week they consider
that more than long enough!!"
--22nd September, 1859
The Letters of Mary S.
Colonel Moody acquired a great deal of land by the time he sailed for
England in 1863 - about 2,500 acres - lying principally between
Burnaby lake and the Fraser River. The property included a 5
acre farm (Maryfield) with buildings for a few milk cows and some
fruit trees. The farm work was performed by Scales, whose son
tells the story of how when one night the cattle did not come home as
usual. The next day Scales and his son, took a lunch and
searched the valley of the Brunette for the animals.
"Trout were so thick in the lake
now called Burnaby", states Mr. Scales (Son of Sapper Scales),
"that when my father and I went out
there to round up some stray cattle, we made a hook of bent pins
and in a few minutes had a flour sack full. I believe we
were the first white men to fish the lake.
--Date and Publication unknown
Upon Disbandment, the Scales built a log house in
"If you were late for church," Mr. Scales
of Sapper Scales) states, "you could hop over the logs by a short cut. But with plenty of time we would walk around by the trail.
There were about one or two shacks at the place
called New Westminster when we arrived. But it wasn't long after that,
with the Gold Rush, that little town grew up. Excitement ran high and
to me as a boy it was quite thrilling. I well remember miners
coming in with their pants all patched in flour sacks. But they often
had the real stuff and sure knew how to spend it.
I remember one fellow coming in and throwing big
nuggets through a large mirror in the saloon. When Scott, the
hotel-owner protested, he retorted, "Well, ain't there enough there to
pay for it?" Then he would spot a long seat of bums or loungers and to
create a bit of fun he'd scramble a few handfuls of nuggets among
One man wanted his gold made into bricks and it
took seven bricks like our ordinary size to use it all.
--Date and publication unknown.
31st May 1864, a fierce fire swept through the woods north of New
Westminster, the chief damage was done at Sapperton. The Scales family
saved their lives by huddling in the bottom of a dry well behind their
Later, Scales poisons his
thumb and his hand was in a sling for nine months, making him unable
According to the BC online
Ľa son, George Scales,
born 24 June 1865 in New Westminster, was
baptised 4 October 1865, at the Barracks (St. Mary's), New
Avis Angeline Scales, was
baptised 8 Oct 1867 at
Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster, New Westminster.
Avis has living descendants on the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Rosman Elesia Venes Scales, was baptised 1 Jan 1871, at Ebenizer,
Scales goes on to live in Vancouver in 1867 and Nanaimo and finally
taking his Crown Land Grant at Sechelt in 1869.
His wife, Sarah,
died in Nanaimo, at the age of 59, on 9 October 1892.
dies on July 13th 1906.
"Mr. Scales (Son of Sapper Scales), who lives at
3520 Main St., says: "I've been in British Columbia for eighty years -
never have been out. But I like it here; and I haven't even wanted to
--12th April, 1939
The Daily Province
Our thanks to Laurie,
great granddaughter of John and Sarah for some of the above