are the barracks--taken from the centre of the above
picture of The Camp--in which the women and children
of the Detachment lived with their husbands and
fathers. This was one of the places where there were Married
Quarters--a post-Crimean War innovation.
"There was no
single, hard and fast proportion of women allowed to accompany a
regiment on foreign service. The ratio varied and can only be
determined for certain by finding the orders given to each specific
regiment. More importantly, it is not necessarily true that the
orders were followed. A British Regiment, having the more typical ten
companies, was allowed six women to each company for embarkation, or
about one woman for every ten men."
One of the things that made the Columbia Detachment
unique was that, unlike Line Regiments, the Royal Engineers were
allowed, as part of the provisions for Volunteering for Service in
British Columbia, to bring along all of their wives and children.
Wives and Children of
the Detachment arriving in British Columbia:
25 December 1858 - On Asia: Mrs. Moody and 4
12 April 1859 - On Thames City: 30 wives (1
died in Childbirth) and 42 children (8 born on the Voyage)
27 June 1859 - On Euphrates: 6 wives and 4
Day Month Year - On Marcella: 3 wives and 4
The Men and women were
separated for sleeping compartments on board the "Thames City" - the
Men on the Troop Deck and the women and children in a section near the
bow known as the "Dove-cot".
But having the good
fortune to bring the Wives along did not stop trouble from following
the Thames City in its wake.
|NOTICE- To any
man or woman desirous of making a fortune and benefitting their
fellow creatures. A handsome reward is hereby offered to any
person or persons who will invent a certain mode of promoting
good feeling among women, and preventing them from fighting with
teasing, abusing, and quarrelling with one another. The cure
must be perfect and involve no bodily injury.
December, 1858, from The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape
This garnered a response...4 months
|To the Editor -
Sir, Some time ago a paragraph appeared in your columns offering
a handsome reward to anybody who would discover the means of
preventing women from fighting with , Quarrelling with, and
abusing one another. Nobody has hitherto ventured his opinion on
so touchy a subject. Many of us have doubtless noticed Ponto and
the "Horrible Lurcher" (Ship's Dogs) standing side by side in
solemn dignity on the deck of the "Thames City", neither of them
looking at the other, Ponto with his tail for once in his life
in the air, the "Lurcher" with his stump elevated in a similar
manner, and both thinking that the other is no better than he
should be, and that there is not room for both of them in the "T.C.".
Presently comes a growl from Ponto, ditto from Lurcher, next a
reciprocal snarl, then a bite, and finally a fight. So ( we beg
their pardons) is the case with the fair sex. Women will be
women wherever they are, and when we come to consider that so
many of them have been for six months cooped up in the confined
locality of the Dove-cot, with nothing to do but think and talk
of what Mrs. So-and-so said, of Mrs. What-d'ye-call'em, and what
Mrs. Thingumigiag said of Mrs. Fol-de-rol, no longer can we
wonder that cooing has eventually subsided into snarling and
backbiting, and that, like crinoline, the little world
they live in is, after six months of it, becoming too small for
them. The fact is that the ladies in question have shut the
doors of their hearts for the time being to all tender feelings,
determined to preserve their six months' stock till they are
once more able to bestow them in the right direction, and
although, rather late in the day, I by no means venture to lay
claim to the reward, the whole fact of the matter is, that a
months on shore, strong tea, freedom from the bile created by
junk and biscuit, and restoration to conjugal affection, will
speedily set them all to rights, and enable them once more
rightfully to assume the epithet of "Doves".
I am, sir,
-2nd April, 1859, from The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape
Upon arriving in the Mainland of
British Columbia, the women and children were sent to the RE barracks
at Derby while the Men lived in tents in the Camp at Queenborough
while Permanent Quarters were being constructed.
Saturday 16th April, 1859 – The
“Eliza Anderson” came along side about 10 a.m. We set to work
immediately putting cargo into her. At 4:30 p.m. I warned the
men that we were to start the following morning at 3. All of
the married men with the women and children for Langley (Derby)
and 30 NCO and men for Queensboro - The skipper of the “Eliza
Anderson” paid our men a dollar each for working after hours
getting out cargo: They finished about 10 p.m.
The sappers at Pilgrim’s Rest
Barracks Gave our married people a grand entertainment: I had
not gone ashore all day, except taking a few trips to the
landing place getting back the women and children –
- from the Journal of Lt.
During Special occasions, the Men and
Women participated together.
The British Colonist, 30 May 1859
The Celebration of
the Anniversary of Her Majesty’s Birthday at Queenborough
following is the programme of the sports and amusements as
drawn up by Captain Luard, R.E., Lieutenant Sparshott,
R.M.L.I., and Dr. Seddall, R.E., : - Foot and hurdle-races,
putting shot, throwing the hammer, high and long jumps,
tossing the caber, bobbing for treacle rolls, bobbing for
“bubs” in water, wrestling and boxing, boat races, etc.,
etc. Concluding with a sack race and greasy pole: a Blue
Jacket having succeeded in attaining the envied grease crowned
crest with little less difficulty than the Argonauts of
ancient lore, received a like reward.
wives and children were entertained with tea and cake, kindly
provided by Mrs. Moody and the hilarity of the day was much
enhanced by a scratch band from the Engineers, Marines and
Plumpers. In the evening the Royal Engineers entertained the
garrison and the officers of H.M.S. Plumper at dinner.
summer of 1859 was spent in clearing the site of their camp,
building the barracks for the single soldier's, the married
quarters, offices, store-houses, and other necessary
buildings. Included in this group were a small church --
convertible into a school -- a court-house, a jail, a custom's
house, offices of the Lands and Works , a treasurer's office and
finally the Government House -- the residence for the Lieutenant
Governor. Even the flower beds and kitchen gardens were
planted that first summer. The list of requisitions
included flower seeds of 'the choicest quality'.
Herring, describes the camp:
The married people's quarters stood in groups of three: each
contained two rooms, and in one of them was the luxury of a
brick open hearth, with an unlimited supply of wood for the
fetching. A house had been built for the Colonel and his
numerous family, one smaller one for the married officer, a
school was also used for church, likewise a Chaplin's
Moody and the RE in BC" by Lilian Cope.
Below is a requisition for
the bricks for the hearth of the Married Quarters in the Camp.
Sanction of 80 Pound Sterling for bricks 17 Sep 59
& lime for public offices and married
quarters for RoyalEngineers
Department of Lands and Works
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works correspondence inward
Originals 1859 6 cm
As the married Quarters
were completed in the late Autumn, a terrible tragedy struck the Camp.
British Colonist, by Amor de Cosmos
4th November 1859, New Westminster
Friday last, while the town was still in a great state
of excitement about the murder of the three Italians by
the pirates at the mouth of the Fraser, (consisting of
Indians from Cowichan, Tadka Tula, Tuashans, Sea Shells,
Mousquims and Squamish) news arrived that Mrs. Crote,
the wife of one of the Sappers and Miners, had murdered
her family and cut her own throat; and I am sorry to say
it turned out too true.
By the evidence before the Coroner's inquest that was
summoned the same day, it appeared she had been in a
desperate way for some time about being out here.
And when the news of the murders below arrived, it
turned her brain completely, and she was heard to say
that sooner than the Indians should kill her children,
she would kill them herself.
During the night she appeared uneasy, getting in and out
of bed many times: and when
her husband left for his work, she locked the door and attacked first her little son,
about eight years of age, who was putting on his shoes
and stockings. She cut him with a razor in the
leg, side and back of the neck, and he was so stunned by
the attack that he lay still. She then crossed the
room, razor in hand, and cut the throat of her little
daughter, a pretty child of three years old, with long
flaxen hair, which lay dabbled in her life's blood when
seen by the Jury. She nearly cut her head from her
body. She then made a cut at her infant, but did
not cut deep and perhaps it will live. Last of
all, she cut her own throat, and unlocked the door,
rushing on the balcony, wringing her hands and gurgling
"I have done it!" Assistance immediately
came, but she died in three-quarters of an hour,
presenting a horrid site. The Jury returned a
verdict that she murdered her daughter and wounded her
other children, and killed herself while under the
effects of temporary insanity.
Sapper Crart appears to
have been unable to attend to his living children. The eldest girl
appears to have been a Sarah Hill. She married Sapper Henry Smith and
the newly wedded couple took in her young brother, George Herring.
In the Spring of 1860,
the Men of the Detachment petitioned Colonel Moody, that now that the
Camp was settled, they would like to bring their wives and sweethearts
from England to join them in the Colony.
Men belonging to the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers, who
have petitioned me to obtain for them such assistance in the
transport of their wives, families, etc. as the Government may be
willing to afford. To accompany my letter (No. 2401) to His
Excellency the Governor of British Columbia dated 29th March 1860.
Serjt. W. McColl - Mrs. W. McColl; 4 Childen - 8, 6, 4, 2.
New Street, Daventry, Northamptonshire.
Sapper R. Goskirk - Mrs. Goskirk -
Inverleithen, Peableshire, N.B.
Sapper H. Holroyd (enlisted under the name Dransfield) - Mary Anne
Holroyd; 2 children - 6, 4.
Clayton Heights, West Bradford, Yorkshire.
Sapper John Laffrey - Catherine May.
Acrise Village, Etham, West Canterbury, Kent.
Sapper W. Franklin - Jane Bingley
22 South St., Thurlor Square, Brompton, London
2nd Corp. Geo. Hand - Sarah Jane Crossland.
Care of E. Norris, Esq., Trafford Old Hall, Old Trafford,
2nd Corp. James Flux - Sarah Gill
"The Roebuck", Saint Margarets, Rochester, Kent
Richard C. Moody
The wheels of the Army
turned slowly and months later the proper department responded to
14th November 1860
With reference to your letter of the 14th August and 1st October
last directing us to provide passages (via Cape Horn) to British
Columbia, for the wives and families of the 7 men belonging to
the Detachment of Royal Engineers stationed in that Colony, I
have to report for the information of the Secretary of State
that the "Marcella" in which Vessel passages were
engaged as mentioned in
Mr. Malcott's letter of the 20th ultimo, sailed on the 12th
instant from Gravesend for Vancouver's Island having on board
the 3 women and 4 children named in the margin (Sarah J.
Crossland, Sarah Gill, Mrs. McColl and her 4 children).
All the women comprised in the list which accompanied your
letter of the 14th August last except Mrs. Holroyd (who stated
that she preferred to remain where she was a little longer)
accepted the offer of a passage when made to them - but
subsequently Mrs. Goskirk, Jane Bingley and Catherine May
declined to proceed - the first alleging that she had not the
means to travel from Scotland to London to join the Vessel, the
second that she had been informed that she was to go out as an
Emigrant and not as a passenger and the last because she was an
Indoor patient at the Dover Hospital with little prospect of
A passage warrant was sent to Mrs. Goskirk to enable her to
reach London without expense - and the nature of the
arrangements were explained to Jane Bingley but in neither case
with any change in the result.
Bingley and May appear to be young women who were probably going
out to be married to the men who sent for them.
The Secretary of State may perhaps deem it advisable to notify
to Colonel Moody the sailing of the "Marcella", and
the reasons why Catherine May, Mrs. Holroyd, Mrs. Goskirk and
Jane Bingley have not proceeded in her.
As the two former gave us notice of their intentions to remain
at home, before the preparations for their accomadation on board
the ship were completed, we forfeit for their passages, but in
the cases of Mrs. Goskirk and Jane Bingley we shall have in
justice to the ship owner, to pay the usual forfeit of half the
passage money, as their change of mind was not communicated
until all the expense of fittings and provisioning had been
I have the honour to be etc
The struggles of the
Enlisted Men's women was also suffered, to a lesser extent, by the
|"Upon the pathway,
Mrs. Moody takes her 5 children day by day, and Mrs. Grant her 2 little ones.
Each lady has to be her own head nurse, if not sole nurse - but Mrs. Moody is fortunate in having a young girl as a governess - just sufficient to teach her little ones (the eldest only 7) the beginnings of book learning.
Miss Nagle of course shares whatever Mrs. Moody has to do, as she would do in her own home: All ladies here taking it for granted that they must do without servants or at least may have to do so.
Mrs. Moody and Mrs. Grant each has her baby to carry, but are often
relieved by a stray gentlemen; and the babies are quite used to this.
It is quite common to see gentlemen carrying the children, out of natural pity for the mothers!"
-- 6 March 1861, Sophia Cracroft.
The British Army of the
post-Crimean period not only took care of making certain that the Women
and Children "On Strength" were fed, clothed and quartered but also that
they had a proper and adequate education. The Columbia Detachment was no
19th March 1861.
I have the honour to request that you will draw the attention of
His Excellency the Governor to the total absence at present of
education for the Children of the Men of the Royal Engineers
serving in British Columbia.
The total number of children is seventy (70), of whom thirty-one
(31) are of an age to attend school.
The young woman who recently held the position of
schoolmistress, has, from misconduct of a nature proving her
entire unfitness for the charge of children, rendered it
necessary to dispense with her services. An unfortunately
misplaced sympathy on the part of many of the Detachment,
arising however from the Kindest feelings, makes it
impracticable for me to obtain the services of another teacher
unless at once assisted pecuniarily by the Government.
Hitherto the men of the Detachment, subscribing at a rate
proportionate to the number of children sent by each, furnished
an Income of Thirty-six (36) or Thirty-seven (37) Pounds, that
of the Teacher being guaranteed at Forty-five (45) pounds per
In addition to this she enjoyed the privlege of living with
her parents in the Camp, her father being a Serjeant. This
renumeration was deemed by me sufficient without applying for
I am made aware of the certainty that any other Teacher than the
above will not receive the same amount of voluntary support from
the sympathy towards the first to which I have above alluded;
though I have no doubt that, by firmness with Kindly forbearance
on my part and the judicious selection of a successor, a wiser
course will be adopted.
Under no circumstances, however, can I sanction the employment
of the unfortunate girl who lately filled the position of
Teacher. I cannot find at present the Circular or
Authority by which the War Department, under certain
circumstances, grant pecuniary aid towards the Schooling of
Soldier's children where there is no War Department Teacher, but
I am sure such grants are made, and what I now solicit the
sanction of His Excellency is to an advance from the Colonial
Treasury of the sum of Thirty (30) Pounds per annum with free
rations, communicating the circumstances to the Colonial
Department for consideration and arrangement with the War
Department in England.
With this small amount of assistance and, I trust, the gradual
return of ALL the Soldier's children with their Parent's
pecuniary contributions, we may early anticipate an income worth
the acceptance of a respectable young Teacher.
I am yours etc.
The "unfortunate girl
who lately filled the position of teacher" appears to have been Sarah
Hill, the daughter of Sapper Crart and his murderous wife.
1, 1863 - New Years day. This Evening a gathering of the
children of the Corps of Engineers with their parents took
place in the Camp. There are about 120 children who increase
at the yearly rate of 25. A finer and more healthy group never
assembled in any country. The
Archdeacon announced the Prizes which Col. Moody who presided,
distributed. I also addressed them. There was an adjournment
afterwards to the Camp Club Room where the Archdeacon gave a
lecture on Palestine with the aid of a Magic lantern,
concluding with lighter
scenes for the pleasure of the young eyes.
- From the Journal of Bishop Hills.
By 1863, the Camp was a
bustling location filled with the Wives of the Men and the ever
increasing numbers of Children. The Spring and Summer months, when the
Men were off on various tasks throughout the Colony, would have meant
that the Camp was occupied almost exclusively with Women and Children.
From the Ledger of the Church at the RE Camp kept by Archdeacon
Wright, Detachment Chaplain
7th October 1862 - James Thistleton, Lance Corporal RE, Father:
William Thistleton and Eliza Whitehouse, Father: Thomas Whitehouse
7th October 1862 - Henry Bruce, Sapper RE, Father: Alexander Bruce,
Clerk and Ann Stevenson, Father: James Stevenson, Draper - Witnesses:
Henry Soar (Lance Corporal RE), William Rogerson (Serjeant RE)
7th October 1862 - William Anthony Franklin, Sapper RE, Father:
Norman Franklin, Grocer and Jane Bingley, Father: Charles Bingley,
Hatter - Witnesses: Henry Soar (Lance Corporal RE), John Noble (Lance
19th March 1863 - Philip Jackman, Sapper RE, Father: Unknown and
Sarah Lovegrove, Father: John Lovegrove, tailor - Witnesses: Minnie
Gillan (To be Mrs.Cox), Robert John Howell (Corporal RE)
26th August 1863 - John Cox, Sapper RE, Father: William Cox, Miner
and Minnie Gillan (18), Father: Joseph Gillan, Printer - Winesses: Sarah
Jackman (her Mark), Joseph Maynard (Sapper RE)
7th October 1863 - Henry Spencer Palmer, Lt. RE and Mary Jane Pearson
27 June 1862 (Born 1 June1862) - Eliza; Daughter of William and Fanny
Haynes; Sapper RE
21 Aug. 1862 - Alice; Daughter of John Marshall and Emily Grant;
28 Sep. 1862 - Ellen; daughter of William and Ann Hall; Sapper RE
13 Dec. 1862 - Frederick; Son of Thomas and Jane Price; Sapper RE
31 Jan. 1863 - Henry; Son of Johnathan and Frances Morey; Serjeant RE
15 Mar. 1863 - Ellen Amelia; Daughter of Daniel and Mary Ann
Richards; Sapper RE
26 Apr. 1863 (Born 14 Jan 1863)- Margaret; Daughter of Richard
Clement and Mary Susanna Moody; Colonel RE
19 May 1863 (Born 21 Apr. 1863) - Emily Jane; Daughter of Henry
William and Sarah Sophia Smith; Corporal RE
4 Oct. 1863 - Georgina; Daughter of George and Sarah Jane Hand;
11 Oct. 1863 - Susan Eleanor; Daughter of Matthew and Harriet Hall;
18 Oct. 1863 - William Henry; Son of William and Mary Jane Robinson;
27 Dec. 1863 (Born 11 Oct. 1863) - Henrietta; Daughter of William
Anthony and Jane Franklin; Sapper RE
8 May 1864 - Charles Robert; Son of Alfred Richard and Margaret Howse;
31 Jan. 1864 - Philip; Son of Philip and Sarah Jackman; Ex-Sapper RE
31 Jan. 1864 - Rebecca; Daughter of James and Sarah Flux; Ex-Sapper
11 Jan. 1863 - Ellen Hall; daughter of William and Ann Hall;
15 Mar. 1863 - Frederick Price; Son of Thomas and Jane Price;
5 Oct. 1863 - Georgina Hand; Daughter of George and Sarah Jane
Hand; Sapper RE
22nd April 1863.
"...The expenditure of the Detachment during 1862 has
exceeded the expenditure in 1861 by 2271 Pounds. The
increase is mainly to be found under the heading of Rations.
The Provisions in 1861 cost 6020 pounds. In 1862, 7805
Pounds - a difference of 1784 Pounds. At present I do not
exactly know how to account for this large increase but a
portion of it is no doubt attributable to the greater number of
persons rationed - the number of children in the Detachment
having been more than trebled since it left England; and the
number is increasing every day.
I believe the number of women and children rationed at the
present moment exceeds 150 and as this is beyond the strength of
the whole Detachment, I believe it is out of all proportion to
what is authorized by the Regulations of the Army.
Under these circumstances I do not hesitate to beg that Your
Grace will authorize me to reduce the establishment by granting
a discharge to those who may have large families and to others
who may wish to settle in the Colony; I believe many so
circumstanced would readily avail themselves of the offer, and
in cases of invariable good conduct the grants of land referred
to in Sir Edward Lytton's Despatch No. 14 of 2nd September 1858,
might be made, by which means the cost of the Detachment could
be considerably reduced.
I have the Honour to be,