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Hanging to tree – The Unidentified Man of Pacific Highway

August 18, 2014

On  September 13, 1927 some men employed by the El-Bar Goat Ranch were clearing brush near the Pacific Highway when they came across the body of a man hanging from a tree.
Described as being about 6 feet tall, he was wearing large black shoes,  a white shirt without a collar, and a dark suit. 

The headband of a felt hat found nearby bore the initials "H.M." and the brand "Stanley & Jackson, Edmonton, Alberta." 

Devonshire Man

As reported on page one of the British Columbian newspaper of New Westminster, further details were derived from a note found in his pocket.


"’I had two sons in B.C. but they could not get work and had to go to the United States. – J Mellon, Devon, Eng., born 1856, lived in this country 48 years.’

This was the pathetic message written on a scrap of paper found in the pockets of the clothing on the badly decomposed body of an aged man, discovered hanging by the neck from a tree about fifty yards from the Pacific Highway on the Peterson Hill, a quarter of a mile below Whalley’s gas station.”


Police believed the man had been dead six months. 

Still Unknown

The death certificate for this pioneer was not made out until September 29 and reads simply  "Unidentified man."

He remains so to this day. 

No cause of death was declared.

The Columbian and the Vancouver Sun both quoted his time of residence in Canada as 48 years, but the Surrey Gazette had it as "28 years." The Sun wrote his birthplace as ‘”Devonshire.”

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