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RC Moody, RE – A map of his complete land holdings in British Columbia, 1873

August 30, 2014

Colonel RC Moody of the Royal Engineers arrived  at Vancouver Island on December 25, 1858.  Moody served as Commander in Chief of the military,  Chief Commissioner of Lands & Works, and Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.  After five years service the  military force was recalled to Great Britain.   Moody departed the Colony on November 11, 1863.  Ten years after his return to England,  Moody, then a retired General, still owned a considerable amount of real estate here.

In a letter sent to HPP Crease from his home at Caynham House, W Ludlow dated December 2, 1873, Moody listed all his properties, which in total amounted to more than three thousand acres of land.

RC Moody property map

Some of the properties were purchased by him "at different times from different persons," and others bought by agents acting for him.

The bulk of his property was

"Close to Sapperton – one & half miles from New Westminster & situated right & left of North Road and all along Brunette River from Lake Burnaby with about a mile of Frontage on Fraser River."

Next were "Suburban lots adjoining the Foregoing and forming the contiguous property & close to Sapperton."

Moving to the east he held Rural land "on the Banks of Fraser above Sapperton & under Clement Hill & along Coquitlam River."

Further out was "Rural Land at Pitt Meadows" on the east side and west side of the Pitt River.

Besides these tracts, Moody owned a couple of lots on Lulu Island,  four city lots in New Westminster, one lot opposite the city, and a handful of suburban lots in the Town of Hope, BC.

Moody, during his tenure in British Columbia, had been criticized for trying to install a system of "landlord and tenant," shutting out settlers who wanted a piece of land to call their own. See earlier post “A Land Office Business.”

Although Moody listed holdings amounting to 3,049 acres, this was a drop in the bucket when considering the amount of land in the Lower Mainland.

Moody mentions only one renter:  that would be John Murray, former Royal Engineer, who held a "a perpetual lease" of Lot 3 in Block 1 along the Brunette at Sapperton, for which, Moody states, he had never received any rent.

The properties shown on the Google Map (excerpted above)  extend from Lulu Island to Hope BC, although the bulk are near New Westminster.   Clicking on the property item will move the map to the wider locations.

The heading “complete land holdings” refers to Moody’s own list as of 1873.  Properties bought and sold before then are not included.

The amount of  property owned locally is quite impressive and any number of people may take a very long draught of air and declare they are living on the estate of the former Lieutenant-Governor.


Note: Moody’s property list  was sourced from Colonel Moody and the Royal Engineers in British Columbia by Lillian Cope, 1940. Appendix IX
"Letter from Colonel R. C. Moody to H.P.P. Crease December 2, 1873. This letter contains a list of land owned by Colonel Moody in British Columbia in 1873."

A rough transcript of this letter with property list  is enclosed on a separate page.


Map link updated 2015-03-21 to comply with changes to Google Maps.

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