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Brownsville Postmaster John Beaton

February 29, 2012

A post office has been established at Brownsville under the management of Mr. James Punch, M.P.P., and with Mr John Beaton as postmaster.

The Brownsville Post Office was located in “The Pioneer Store” in premises owned by James Punch.   John Beaton partnered in the store with William Pike.

The Census for 1891 records John Beaton, 28, of Quebec origin, and William E Pike, 22, a native of Newfoundland. Both men are described as “Farmer & Storekeeper.”

A third man, a 17 year old American by the name of Charles Deanes, was employed by Beaton and Pike and described as a Clerk in the General Store.

John Beaton was 27 and born in Quebec to Scots immigrant parents and so far we haven’t much information about him.

It is possible he was related to Alex Beaton, a Scots immigrant who arrived in British Columbia in 1888 with his large family of children all born in Quebec.   Indeed, there was another Beaton working at Brownsville, and that was Kenneth Beaton, who was a son of Alex Beaton, aged two years younger than John Beaton,  and of whom we read the following from Tynehead Memories.

Kenneth [Beaton] went to work as a herdsman for James Punch, M.L.A., on his dairy farm at South Westminster. His duties included the care and milking of 22 cows by hand seven days a week! He was also required to row across the Fraser River and deliver the milk to the B. & K. Wharf in New Westminster every morning.
After a couple of years at this job, he set forth to see a bit more of the country. He spent time on Vancouver Island, then travelled to Sandon, a mining town, located in the Kootenays.”

After only one year in business, the Brownsville store was in financial trouble, and in April the BC Gazette recorded:

“Beeton & Pyke, South Westminster, have assigned to Michael Hayes, South Westminster, and James Punch, New Westminster.”

Hayes was a New Westminster merchant.

John Beaton resigned as Brownsville Postmaster as of October 1892. What became of him since is not yet known here.

The Post Office remained open with James Punch as Postmaster.

Brownsville Post Office 1891 – 1903


Date of Appointment Date of Vacancy
John Beaton 1891-02-01 1891-10-06
James Punch 1891-11-01 1898-09-09
Michael Barry 1899-03-01 1903-12-31
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