Corporal Smith sailed with the main body of the Columbia Detachment on board
the Thames City, arriving in British Columbia the 12th April of 1859.
While in the Camp, Smith appears to have
originally worked in the Observatory under the direction of Captain Parsons. Eventually Smith appears he replaced Medical
Orderly Hazel as a pharmacist and orderly in the Camp Hospital.
A schoolmistress was
provided from among the daughters of the Royal Engineers, also a
meteorological recorder from the same fruitful source. His instruments
were set up near the school, and the Camp noticed that it seemed quite
necessary that he should wend his way up the hill to record the wind and
weather at the identical time the schoolmistress wended her way up to
school. They further observed that his respectful salutations were at
first received with scorn, but finally elicited a gracious
acknowledgement; then that they walked up together, talking as they
went. After a while it became necessary for the young man to make his
observations four times a day, and these accorded exactly with the going and coming of the school teacher. This young man, Mr. Smith, having
received the education of a chemist and druggist before joining the
Corps, was appointed in charge of the newly-made hospital, with
comfortable quarters, and what was to hinder him from taking to himself
a wife? Many looked jealously on, but Smith was the lucky one, and the
date for the first wedding in Camp was set.
The bride-to-be found some difficulty in obtaining
a white bonnet. There was only one in town, which was much too large for
her and very old-fashioned, but she had no choice. Of white kid gloves
there were several pairs to choose from, but the smallest to be had were
about three sizes too large, as a five would have fitted the little
woman's hand. Her dark eyes looked very handsome under the big bonnet -
at least many there thought so; and the gloves, after all, were not of
much consequence; their size made them go on and off easily.
-- Pg. 63 of "The
Pathless West", Emily Herring.
In October 1860, The New Westminster Times reports:
3rd October 1860
Married - On the 24th alt., by the Reverend Mr. Sheepshanks, at the
Temporary Church, Camp, New Westminster, Mr. Henry William Smith,
Lance Corporal RE, to Miss Sarah Sophia Hill.
Frances Herring continues her
tale of the Smith-Hill Marriage.
The Officers determined to give them a good send-off, so
they met the young couple at the hospital on their return from the church with
music and military honors. Going in to the wedding breakfast, they insisted
upon mixing the "Loving Cup" in a basin from the bridal chamber, and from this
article everyone present was expected to follow the bride in taking a sip.
--Pg. 64 "The Pathless West", Frances Herring.
A note in Beth Hill's book, "Sappers: The Royal Engineers in
British Columbia", mentions "Miss Sarah Sophia Hill, the school teacher."
(pg.76). It appears that in October 1860, there was but one school in
the mainland of British Columbia, that being the RE School at the Camp. If
Beth Hill's note is indeed correct, then this Miss Hill is in fact the
un-named step-daughter of Sapper Crart RE, and his wife (who took her life in
If the story holds true then Sarah and Lance Corporal Smith take in her
brother, Alfred Herring, and raise him in the family, eventually teaching him
the trade of pharmacist.
Lance Corporal Smith appears in the
Consolidated Pay List for June 1861 as a Sapper. Incidentally, the rank of
Lance Corporal does not exist in the 1861 pay List.
|As a Lance
Corporal Smith's Regimental
Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.
As a Sapper Smith's
Regimental Pay per Diem would
have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s.
Smith also appears to have been a practicing
Anglican churchman, and was one of a group of the detachment members who
wanted their own church. This church would become the present day
St. Mary's the Virgin in New Westminster.
1862 - I was asked to day on behalf of the Sappers to aid in erecting
a Church at Sapperton. Corporal Smith told me he was very
anxious about the matter himself as he was a churchman and wished to
see a Church erected in the Midst of the property belonging
to the Sappers which they could call there own. They would
purchase 4 acres and have a church, School and Burial ground. I
was most glad to encourage them.
--From Bishop Hills' journal
The Smith family increases.
From the Ledger of the Church at the RE Camp kept
by Archdeacon Wright, Detachment Chaplain
19 May 1863 (Born 21 Apr. 1863) - Emily Jane;
Daughter of Henry William and Sarah Sophia Smith; Corporal RE
Smith appears to have remained in the Colony
after the Disbandment in 1863.
According to Frances Woodward, he opened and
operated a drugstore in New Westminster from 1863 - 1870.
In 1866, Smith became a member of the Board of
Health of New Westminster, remaining there until 1870.
According to a source at the BC Archives:
Mrs. Charles Edward Printer, nee Madalena
Smith; born in New Westminster in 1868; daughter of Henry William Smith, first
druggist with the Royal Engineers. A photograph of her can be purchased from
Call Number G-09436
On the 29th of April, 1870 he received Crown
Grant, for Lot 46, Group 2, New Westminster District, 150 acres.
In 1870, Henry William Smith dies.