Mayor William Anderson


Mayor Anderson welcoming future King Edward to Ladysmith. Mr Nimmo standing behind

William Thompson Anderson was born in Scotland in 1861 and came to Wellington to work in the mines in the late 1880’s. While boarding at the Wellington Hotel, he met his wife to be Elizabeth Jeffery Williams. Elizabeth had travelled to Canada from Wales with her young daughter, Lizzie to join her husband John Williams. On arriving in Wellington, she found that John had been killed in the mine explosion at Wellington #5 on January 24, 1988 which took 60 lives and was already buried in the Nanaimo cemetery. The owner of the Wellington Hotel asked the young widow to work for her and it was here that she met and married William Anderson on December 14, 1895.

The young family moved into one of the company houses in Wellington owned by Dunsmuir and on May 24, 1897 they had a daughter, Jane. A strike occurred at the Wellington Mines soon after this, and all the miners were forced to vacate the company housing. A tent town was established at Northfield and William and Elizabeth had their only son, John Vallence on December 19, 1898 while living in a tent. A daughter, Vera Grace was also born in Northfield on June 11, 1900.

William and Elizabeth moved their young family to Ladysmith soon after this and two more daughters were born there; Jessie Haddon on July 24, 1901 and Lila in 1908. The family home was at the corner of Second and Symonds Street.

Lizzie, the oldest child from Elizabeth’s first marriage married Jack Carruthers of Victoria. They were to have 3 daughters. Jane married Ed Murrary and lived in Portland, Oregon having 2 daughters. John married Rachel Williams and they had 2 daughters. Jessie married Ray Gold and moved to Seattle having 1 daughter while Vera married Ralf Sparks and took up residence in Victoria having a son and a daughter. Their youngest daughter, Lila who had married Dan Kulai, died prematurely at 29 years of age of cancer.

William continued to work in the mines at Extension. He was a member of several rescue parties both here and in the Kootenays and during his employment at the mines held several positions of trust. When he became unable to do underground work due to his health, he was given charge of a section of railway until his retirement a few years later.

William became involved in civic affairs in Ladysmith, being elected to the school board in 1912. He was also a member of the Harmony Lodge, I.O.O.F. and an enthusiastic supporter of the Ladysmith Football team. He himself was an excellent swimmer and an exceptionally good shot with a rifle becoming well known at the annual Christmas Turkey shoots.

In 1919 ,William was elected as Mayor of the City of Ladysmith and it was during his tenure in office that he played host to the visit to the city by HRH Edward, Prince of Wales. The scroll signed by the Prince is still with his son’s family.

William Anderson passed away in Ladysmith on August 12, 1932 at 71 years of age. Elizabeth continued to live in their Ladysmith home and died over twenty years later. She is buried in Ladysmith cemetery beside her husband and daughter, Lila.

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