Reverend John Sheepshanks
Photograph courtesy BC Archives Call Number F-05146


Colonel Moody received this letter from the War Office in February of 1859.

War Office, Pall Mall, S.W.,
18th February 1859

 Sir,

I am directed by the Secretary Major General Peel to inform you that he has decided on allowing one hundred pounds per annum for providing for the Spiritual care of the Troops under your command.

I am to add that this sum is to be issued to such clergymen as the Bishop of Columbia may select to officiate to the Troops, and in such amounts as he may deem expedient; and that these payments should be charged in your accounts under the head of “Divine Service:”, such charges being vouched by the receipt of the Clergyman receiving the money, and a Certificate from the Officer Commanding the Troops to whom he officiated that he performed this duty.

 I am etc., J. R. Gooley

It's arrival marked the official status for a Chaplain for the Columbia Detachment.

John Sheepshanks came out from England to New Westminster in the end of September, 1859.  Among his other duties he was also to serve as Chaplain to the Columbia Detachment until the arrival of Archdeacon Wright.

Victoria V.I.
13th Sept. 1859

 Sir,

I have the honor to inform you the Secretary of Sate for War has sanctioned 100 Pounds Sterling per annum being paid to one of the Clergymen in British Columbia to be attached for Duty as Chaplain to the Troops in the Colony.

The Bishop has nominated the Reverend Mr. Sheepshanks to that duty, and I submit he should be borne on the strength of the Troops for rations and Quarters.

I request Your Excellency’s sanction for arrangements to be made accordingly.

I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obt. Servant

RC Moody
Col Comd.

The above letter makes Sheepshanks an official member of the Columbia Detachment.

"We expect our Clergyman, Mr. Sheepshanks, (nephew to the one at Harrogate) and lately a Curate of Dr. Hook's, here this week, he was at Victoria before we left, but accidentally met his brother there!! on board "The Ganges", he remained with him for a little time.  He appears a very pleasant man, and does not consider Soldiers such very bad fellows after all."

"All the babies are to be christened after Mr. Sheepshanks' arrival - 5 or 6 already.  We have a "Francis Thames City" and a "Euphrates Thomas"

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

Sheepshanks arrives and has no quarters prepared.  He is invited to live in the Moody home with the Moody family.

"We like our Clergyman, so far, very well, he is High Church, but very energetic and earnest and hard-working.  I do not think he has taken a fancy to us for he is very quiet and reserved.  He has a room in our House, but we seldom see him excepting on Sundays when out Meal times suit him better than the Mess Hours.  He is very fond of Zeffie, and plays with her constantly."

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

Finally, in the Spring of 1860, a change of domicile is created for Sheepshanks.

"Our Church is begun, and Mr. Sheepshanks living in a "Log Hut" near the Site, which I have named "Castle Sheepshanks", however, poor man, he was nearly burnt out last night. He is going to Victoria for a holyday, and Mr. Dundas is coming up here."

--16th April, 1860,
The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"...Mr. Sheepshanks too, I think, is liked here, he always has a warm welcome back after he has been away, we were all glad to hear him preach last Sunday after not having done so for 3 weeks."

--4th June, 1860,
The Letters of Mary S. Moody

Sheepshanks was also involved in the social life of the Camp.

"As a birthday "treat" I must try and give you a full line and particular account of the rise, progress and termination of the ball at the Camp.  I told you that we were intending to have a little party. Dr. Seddall took the entire management and arranged everything.  We now have the whole house to ourselves, so we have plenty of room, the Drawing Room, Library and Dining Room are all down-stairs, the Library is the only one we have furnished and we use it as a Drawing Room.  The Dining Room was the Doctor's,  the Drawing Room was Captain Luard's.  The Doctor fixed to have the Dancing in the empty drawing room, and he had it all decorated for the occasion, the large recess of the bow window was fitted as an orchestra, the windows curtained with Scarlet blankets, relieved with golden Chinese banners.  The Ceiling was festooned with evergreens and faded leaves, the walls decorated with bayonets festooned, lamps and garlands, Scarlet, blue and white bunting plaited in hanging loops all 'round the ceiling, a J.B. over the mantle piece.  You have no idea how nice the room looked, how I wish you could have seen it!  The library drawing room was used as a Tea room, the dining room decorated as a supper room, flags and banners etc.  We mustered 10 ladies all dressed in ball costume, Mrs. Grant in pink beige with flowers, Mrs. Bacon pink Moire Antique, Mrs. Homer in white, Mrs. Spalding in blue Moire, Mrs. Pritchard in black net, Mrs. Moody in black net decorated with pink ribbons.  I apprise you I felt quite respectable, once more!

They all came at 8, soon after dancing began which was kept up till 3 A.M!  Richard allowed me to dance all night and I assure you I thouroughly enjoyed myself.

We sat down 26 to supper, and about 8 were left without seats.  I took very little trouble in the party, the Doctor did it all his own way.  He laid the Supper, cut the sandwiches etc.  Mr. Sheepshanks cut the bread and butter for tea, and superintended the final arrangements for supper.  Everybody in the Camp helped.  3 of the Men performed the music, the officer's Servants helped to wait, we borrowed the Mess table, tablecloth, Napkins, Candle-sticks, Cups, Plates, etc. glasses and candlesticks from Mrs. Grant.  Tea tray from one of the women.  You have no idea how well it all went off, everybody enjoyed themselves.  Certainly the Doctor deserves great credit for all his trouble.  We thought you would all have enjoyed to have taken a peep at our new mode of "roughing it in the bush".  I really was not very very tired after so much dancing.  I feared I should be as stiff as an old horse the next day, however, tho' I was obliged to get up at 6 the next morning I did not feel too tired.  I had not danced since I married before.  Captain Parsons and the Doctor wanted to persuade me to allow Zeffie and Dick to sit up, however I would not listed to that and packed them all off to bed before I went to dress."

--15th October, 1860,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"Now Mr. Sheepshanks has come in and is talking about Table Turning.  I hope he will go soon, he knows we go early to bed, the other night he said, "Well! I ought to go, I see Mrs. Moody yawning and I see the Colonel yawning.  I am sure you want to go to bed"."

--15th October, 1860,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"I wish I could send you an amusing letter, but really here we go on day after day in the same way, seeing nobody almost excepting on Sunday's when Mr. Sheepshanks dines with us at 1 o'clock..."

-- 11th February, 1861,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

When Lady Franklin, wife of the famous Arctic explorer, arrived at New Westminster, the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Camp went to fete her.

"In the evening we all went to the theatre in the Town, which I enjoyed very much, and even threaten to go again.  Mr. Sheepshanks pretends to be very much shocked and is going to preach a Sermon at me!"

--15th March, 1861,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"They (The Bacon's) asked us to dinner one day, (she has no Servant you know) and it happened to be such a wet evening, that if I had not known she was to Cook the dinner herself I never could have thought of going, however I was sure she would be so disappointed that I said we must go.  Mr. Sheepshanks was with the Children when we were ready and he said all he could to prevent our going till I told him where we were off to, and he at once agreed with me that "She would be so disappointed".

--4th June, 1861,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"Petsie is getting on fast towards walking and talking, she promises to outdo Walter in the last accomplishment.  She really is a forward Child for her age, and a great favourite with all. Mr. Sheepshanks always pinches her cheeks and says "Now, you are a nice sort of Child.

HMS Plumper was here last week, and we all dined on board, we had a most elegant dinner, quite English, and a coal Fire which I most thoroughly enjoyed!  They all laughed at me when they came down after dinner, Mr. Sheepshanks said "Now, Mrs. Moody, I am quite sure you have been asleep!!".  It was a terribly wet night, and they all feared we would not go, however Mr. Sheepshanks and the Doctor both said, "I am sure Mrs. Moody will come."

--4th November, 1861,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"Mr. Sheepshanks is dining here tonight, quite a wonderful event now, as we never have anyone in the house now."

--3rd January, 1862,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

"I can tell you that "Little Mary" looks so nice in dear Em's present, all admire her "toggery".  Mr. Sheepshanks said today "Did you ever see a Baby who was not dressed like that, all in white, with a blue Veil."

--3rd April, 1862,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody

5th July, 1862 - Fine. Saw Mr. Sheepshanks this morning, is encamped and says he will have service here tomorrow Sunday the 6th at our Camp.

6th July, 1862 - Sunday.  Fine.  Had service today by Mr. Sheepshanks who goes across the Mountain tomorrow on route for Cariboo.

--From the Journal of Serjeant John McMurphy, RE

"The weather continues cold so I have not had the little lady (new born) out yet, but she grows famously.  She has not been Christened yet, we are waiting for finer weather, the return of Mr. Sheepshanks from Victoria, and the making of "The Font" a part of the Church which we have not yet had.  I am anxious for Mr. Sheepshanks to Christen her, as he is now an old friend, and I look upon the Archdeacon as a "Humbug" while I really like Mr. Sheepshanks, he is so thoroughly honest and dependable.  He and Richard get on much better than they used to formerly."

--26th February, 1863,
from The Letters of Mary S. Moody