Mayor Samuel Jones


City Council 1928
Mayor Jones (front, centre)

Samuel Jones was born on June 7, 1882 in Newport, England, the eldest of seven children to William and Hannah (nee Thomas) Jones both originally from Wales.  A daughter, Jane Sarah (August 29, 1884) was born in England before the family immigrated to Canada in 1889; a second daughter Rosie (November 10, 1889) was born en route in the USA.

The family moved to Wellington on Vancouver Island where William obtained employment as a miner at the Wellington Colliery belonging to Robert Dunsmuir and Sons near Departure Bay. By 1901 the family now included four more children; Beatrice (February 3, 1892), Frederick (September 25, 1894), Jessie (June 20, 1897) and Albert (November 2, 1900) and had moved from Wellington to Dunsmuir’s newer operations at Extension south of Nanaimo. William was now a Mine Foreman or Overman in the No. 1 Tunnel mine and Samuel, age 18, was working as a blacksmith for the coal company. The family would again move to Ladysmith at Oyster Harbour when James Dunsmuir dictated that all workers would relocate to the new townsite.  A railway was built from the mine to the loading docks at the Harbour and workers took the train to and from work every day.

On October 10, 1910, Samuel married Alice Bertha Bryden, the youngest daughter of Andrew and Annie (nee Paramore) Bryden.  Andrew was born in Dailly, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1862 and Annie was born in Thorpe Hesley, Yorkshire in 1865. Andrew and Annie went to New South Wales in Australia where their oldest daughter Eliza was born in 1887. On coming to Canada, Andrew worked as Mine Manager for Dunsmuir’s first coal mining operation at Wellington. They had three more children while in Wellington; Blanche (October 6, 1889), Thomas (January 26, 1891) and Alice (April 22, 1892). In the 1901 Canada census, Annie is no longer shown as a household member although Andrew is still listed as married.

When the Wellington Colliery closed in 1900, the Dunsmuir’s moved their operations to Extension and Andrew became mine manager there and remained in that position until James Dunsmuir disposed of all the Dunsmuir coal holdings on Vancouver Island selling to Mackenzie and Mann of Canadian Northern Railways fame in 1910. The name of the company changed from Wellington Colliery Company to Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd. although the Dunsmuir’s were no longer involved.

Robert Dunsmuir, the indentured servant who had arrived in BC and went on to build a coal empire making him the wealthiest man in western Canada had passed away in 1889. His widow, Joan moved into Craigdarroch Castle overlooking the City of Victoria which Robert and built for her and remained there until her death in 1908. In 1898 the two sons, James and Alexander gained control of the family business but a bitter dispute arose between the mother and two sons. Alexander, who oversaw the Dunsmuir business in San Francisco passed away in 1900 leaving his mansion, Dunsmuir House in Oakland to his new wife. His interest in the business went to his brother, James who retired to his castle at Hatley Park in Colwood just outside Victoria following the sale. He had been both Premier and Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia but his treatment of employees left a black mark on Labour Management relations in the province.

Andrew left Vancouver Island moving to Merritt, BC in the Nicola Valley to become Mine Manager for a new company, Inland Coke and Coal Company Ltd. who were developing a new mine there. By 1915 he was also manager of the Pacific Coast Coal Syndicate and remained manager of these two operations until 1918 when he moved to Vancouver. He died in Ladysmith on July 10, 1920.

Following the sale of the Wellington Company Collieries at Extension, William Jones, Hannah and the 4 younger children, Beatrice (now 20), Frederick (18), Jessie (14) and Albert (10) immigrated to San Francisco, California arriving there in June 1912. They eventually established their own grocery business in that city.

The wedding for Samuel and Alice took place in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Victoria West. The church, now a heritage building, is at the corner of Catherine and Henry Streets. Witnesses for the marriage were Alice’s sister Blanche and Wymond Walkem (another Ladysmith mayor, see biography this website). Samuel and Alice had seven children; Blanche (July 22, 1911), Lloyd (January 6, 1913), Vincent (June 17, 1914), Vivian (May 10, 1916), Brayden (March 26, 1924), Calvin (1925) and Jean (1927)

Samuel Jones was elected Mayor of Ladysmith by acclamation in January 1925 and served in that capacity until the end of 1927. On leaving office, the family immigrated to the US to San Francisco joining Samuel’s father and family who had gone there fifteen years before. Very likely Samuel saw the writing on the wall. In 1931, Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd. closed the mines at Extension permanently and Ladysmith whose reason for being depended on the mines was devastated. Only slowly following the depression was it able to recover but by this time the impetus was logging.

The 1930 US Federal census shows the family living at 1109 Guerro St in San Francisco. Samuels’s occupation is listed as a carpenter for an Oil Burner company, daughter Blanche is employed as a telephone operator while son Lloyd is a Butcher.  In the 1940 Federal census, the family is living at 986 Dolores St in San Francisco. Samuel’s occupation is listed as Metal Sorter in the Smelting Ore industry; Both Lloyd and Vincent are Meat Cutters in a retail shop.  Tragically son Vincent died in Nevada in January, 1946. He was only 31 years of age, still single and working as a logger.

Samuel passed away on August 5, 1970 at 88 years of age at his home at 1043 Nimitz Drive in Colma California. According to the funeral home record he had been in a Hepatic coma for 3 days brought on by Carcinoma of the prostrate. He had worked over 20 years as a metal sorter for the American Smelting and Refining Company. His obituary states he was “the loving husband of Alice Jones, father of Lloyd, Andrew and Calvin Jones, Blanche Fessenden, Vivian Hansen and Jean Kelleher; devoted grandfather of 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.” A member of the Crocker #454 Masonic Lodge, his service was held at the lodge and interment was at Woodlawn cemetery. His widow, Alice passed away on April 21, 1989 in San Mateo California.

Compiled by Rick Morgan, 2012.

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