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George Green of Sapperton and Cariboo

December 10, 2011

George Green, Royal Engineer

2nd Corporal George Green, Royal Engineers, arrived in the new Colony of British Columbia with the force of Sappers and Miners in 1859. Evidently qualified, he was sent out by Colonel Moody as an inspector of private road contracts, including the road at the Pemberton Portage.

Stayed on at Sapperton

When the Royal Engineers were recalled to England in 1863,  George Green  was one of many soldiers who stayed behind, living at the Camp at Sapperton, New Westminster.
He took contract employment with the Department of Lands & Works  inspecting roads, which as a rule were let out to private construction. Thus, in 1864 he was reporting on the work of JT Scott on the “Douglas Street Road” to Burrard Inlet.
In July of 1864 Hiram Buswell won the contract to chop timber and brush from the Cemetery site on Douglas Street, about 34 acres, and including an access road.  In January of 1865 when the contract should have been finished, inspector George Green found “not one half of the whole work has been completed.”
Also in 1865, Green forwarded reports of further inspections on Scott’s contract and the road below Government House, and he concluded an extensive examination of the North Arm Road.

In the Cariboo

By 1870, George Green had removed to the Cariboo mining district, where he was Jailor and Constable at Richfield.
In November 1870 George Green applied for the Military Grant of 150 acres to which he was entitled, “having served five years in the Company of Sappers and Miners stationed at New Westminster.” He had in mind 150 acres at Canoe Pass at the mouth of Fraser River, but had no intention of settling down there at Ladners–he had already signed over his interest in Lot 97 to land speculator Charles E Pooley, for the sum of $100.
George Green stayed on in the Cariboo working at the Richfield Jail and got married to Louisa Christopher, a US-born black woman, the daughter of Augustus Christopher.

Home again at Sapperton

By 1881, George Green was living once again at Sapperton, employed at the New Westminster Jail as Assistant Jailer.
Between 1869 and 1885 George and Louisa Green had at least eight children, most of whom were baptised at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster and brought up in  Sapperton.
In 1886 George Green went to Victoria for an operation and died in hospital there. The attending physician was JS Helmcken.
George Green’s obituary in the Mainland Guardian reads:

“He arrived with the Engineers in this Province in 1859, and has been resident here ever since. He leaves a wife and family, who have the sympathy of the community in their bereavement.”


George Green’s letters and reports are found in the Colonial Correspondence.

For information about the Royal Engineers in British Columbia there is a good site online.

Some information about the  black pioneers of BC is found online in a summary by Sherry Edmunds-Flett  entitled “First Generation African Canadian Women on Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada.”


Sample Inspection Report by George Green — Clearing Douglas Road Cemetery Site

1865 01 10 cemetery Buswell - Green inspection rep 1865 01 10  Douglas Street Cemetery - Green Inspection
George Green Report on Clearing of Douglas Road Cemetery

George Green Military Grant of 150 acres – location map

George Green  Military Grant 1870

George Green Military Grant of 1870   – Lot 97  near Ladner

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