Sapper

John Clayton White

John Clayton White was born in 1835 and eventually joined the Corps of Royal Engineers.  His trade was listed as draughtsman.

White volunteered for service with the Columbia Detachment.  He was on board the Thames City on its 6 months long voyage to British Columbia.

White was a skilled artist and made all the backdrops for the various plays and farces on board the Thames City.

"..Nor can we speak too highly of the new stage properties, all of which, from the dresses to the footlights, were in perfect good taste, and of the highest quality.  That eminent artist, J.C. White, has clearly established, beyond a doubt, his superiority to Solomon, and we look forward with much pleasure to witnessing on Wednesday next further proofs of a talent which, with the aid of two or three colors, in the midst of a crowded deck, and in the worst weather, succeeds in producing specimens of artistic genius, that will contribute in a very important degree to the lustre and general effect of our theatrical entertainments."

-- 29th January, 1859, From
The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.

White arrived in the Colony on the 12th of April, 1859 and was sent to the Camp at Queenborough.

While in the Camp, White appears to have been under the command of Captain Parsons and his small select party of skilled men.  White worked as a draughtsman making maps, town plans and architectural drawings.

THE ENGINE HOUSE - Two plans were submitted to the Fire Department for approval; one from Messrs. Wright and Sanders, architects of Victoria, and one from Corporal White, RE. The latter was adopted at a meeting of the Company on Friday last, and the contract awarded to Mr. Sutherland, at $1343.

-- 3rd December, 1861
The British Columbian

White remains in the Colony when the Detachment disbands in November of 1863.

J.C.WHITE
ARCHITECT AND DRAUGHTSMAN!
IS NOW PREPARED TO DRAW UP PLANS OF
Buildings, Specifications, estimates, &c., on the
SHORTEST NOTICE.
 
OFFICE ON COLUMBIA ST., NEW WESTMINSTER,
Opposite Mr. Holbrook's Store
 
-- From The British Columbian, November 7, 1863

In 1864, White worked for the Department of Lands and works and was responsible for an addition to Colonel Moody's home, now called Government House.

The above is of the Government House addition (the Tower and balconied left foreground building). It was painted by White himself on the 6th of January, 1866.

Courtesy of the BC Archives, Call Number pdp01644

In 1865, White worked on St. Mary's the Virgin Church and a School House, both in new Westminster.

In 1866, White worked on the British Columbia extension of Collin's Western Union Overland Telegraph Line, draughting several maps along the route and painting a series of watercolour scenes  illustrating the progress of the construction.

By 1869, White had moved to San Francisco where he was employed as draughtsman with the firm of Wright and Saunders.

According to Woodard, White dies in 1907, at the home of his granddaughter, Mrs. T.J. Deasy, Berkley California, aged 72 years.  He was survived by 4 sons and 2 daughters.

"J. C. White was an artist and architect, well known in San Francisco, where several of his paintings had found a place on the walls of the Hopkins Art Institute."

-- Obituary from "The San Francisco Call" - 1907