Inverness, British Columbia, Canada

Inverness BC

Railway stop

Located at
Latitude- 54º 12' N
Longitude- 130º 16' W

ca 1870, a trading store was set up here by Cunningham and Hankin.
They later moved it to Port Essington.
Called Woodcock's Landing at this point

The First Salmon Cannery to open in this area, opened here in 1876 by the North Western Commercial Company .

In 1880 a Mr. Neal started the Inverness Cannery, per one source.
1882 he operated a Government meteorological station at Inverness
shown as W. M. Neil here, same as Post master at Port Essington.

Feb 16, 1880
Inverness Cannery operating under the name of North Western Commercial Company, was being auctioned off, including inventory.
120 acres, boats, nets, tools etc.
Mortgagees- John Hubert Turner and Richard Carr.

Nov 10, 1880
Turner, Beeton & Co. Ltd. took over and called it Inverness.

James E. White- Manager
James E. White
b-ca 1857, in USA, (age 24 in 1881 Census)
d- ?
Shown as a manager in Inverness Cannery in 1881
Oct 1880- Mr. James E. White
Manager of the Inverness Cannery
was appointed Post Master at “Skeena” (Port Essington)
1884 he was still Manager there. (see below also)

J Sayea,- Blacksmith, b- ? age 55 in 1881


  • Manuel Carles- Fisherman
  • John Cuthbert- Bookkeeper (shown there in 1881 as well, age 35 in 1881, b- in Ireland)
  • A. Linnberry- Fisherman
  • A. Malio- Fisherman
  • C. F. Morrison- Store Keeper
  • Arthur Myjask- Fisherman
  • George Nicholls- Fisherman
  • John Robertson- Fisherman
  • H. W. Tolmie- Canner (there in 1881 as well, age 24 in 1881, b- in BC)
  • William Urquhart- Head Fisherman
  • H. Walburton- Machinist
  • James E. White- Manager, Inverness Cannery (see below)
  • George Williams- Fisherman

Dec 31, 1891
Dissolved partnership of Henry Coppinger Beeton and John Herbert Turner, carrying on business as Wholesale Dry Goods, and General Merchants, Cannery Proprietors, and Commission Agents
at 33 Finabury Circus in the City of London, and in Wharf st, Victoria BC, V. Island, and at the Inverness Cannery, Skeena River, BC, under the style or firm of
H. C. Beeton & Co. in London, and Turner, Beeton & Co. Ltd. in BC. all debts were to be paid by John Herbert Turner and Robert Arthur Lawrence Kirk

Jan 17, 1893
The Inverness Cannery was destroyed by fire.
Owners at that time Turner- Beeton Co. Ltd.
a Mr. Theo H. Robinson and a 70 year old caretaker, were the only persons at the site at that time.
Fire started in a shed 150 ft from the main building, but gale force winds fanned the flames.
The buildings covered 28,000 sq ft., a new wharf 160 ft long, 45 boats, all destroyed. $33,000 insurance.
In the 2 years prior the cannery had been just retrofitted.
May 1893 carpenters were putting finishing touches on the new cannery.

Apr 1896
Owners Turner - Beeton & Co.
John Herbert Turner and George Alan Kirk in Victoria BC, and Lawrence Kirk in London England.

When the railroad came through here, 42 buildings were to be torn down, and the Railroad was surveyed right through the center of the Cannery Engine Room.
They were to wait till the end of the canning season, before construction in this area.
North Pacific Cannery had the same problem, they had to purchase 47 buildings at that site.

At one point early 1900's Bartholomew Stapledon was Manager of the Inverness Cannery. See below

Feb 1899
Manager of Inverness Cannery
William Borthwick Skillen
b- Apr 20, 1856 in Quebec
d- June 19, 1922, in Victoria BC age 66
married Irene Robinson Nov 9, 1889 in Victoria BC
b- Aug 5, 1869 in ON
had a son Dallas Borthwick Skillen
b- Nov 29, 1901 in Victoria

Hector McKenzie
b- July 14, 1870 in ON
d- Jan 17, 1909, Port Essington, age 40
Bookkeeper at the Cannery
He worked at a hotel in Victoria before this

1902 Cannery was sold to J. H. Todd & Sons of Victoria.

1904 and 1905 Methodist Church and Native School operated during the summer

Thomas Hawkins- General Store (shows up in 1889 directory as well)

Inverness Canning Co. - owned by Turner-Beeton & Co. Ltd.

William Borthwick Skillen -Manager (see below)

T. Lee- Bathroom man

Mar 1908
Article says George Thomas Kane
b- ca 1861 at Norwich ON
d- Apr 6, 1937 in Prince Rupert, age 76
son of Thomas Kane and Melissa Anabella Prosser
had a Townsite at Inverness Cannery about 11 miles from Prince Rupert
he married Ella Jane Booker, Feb 2, 1909, Vancouver BC
he was age 46, she was 16
b- Spring Hill Mines, NS
daughter of John Edward Booker, and Catherine Ella Smith

We know sometime between 1905 and 1910 change of ownership of Inverness Cannery took place. Turner concentrated more on his “Big Horn” clothing line.

Fred B. Allard- Millwright

Anglo-British Columbia Packing Co. Ltd. -
-Victor Larson- Manager

William Brooks- Carpenter
M. Christian- Baths
Robert Cornes- Fisherman

F. W. B. Elsterman
aka: F. W. B. Elstermann
aka: William Elsterman
Frederick Wilhelm Bernhard Elsterman Von Elster
Lighthouse Keeper
b- Jan 8, 1848 in Germany
d- Apr 26, 1934 in Prince Rupert, age 86
son of F. W. B. Elsterman and M. Wiser
Lighthouse Keeper- Porcher Island? and Lawyer Island.
Immigrated 1886 per 1901 census, shown as a Fisherman
married to Jane Elsterman, nee Wood
b- July 1863 in Nass (Naas) Valley, BC (Native)
d- Feb 19, 1938, Porcher (Island?), age 75

daughter- Emma Louise Elsterman
b- Nov 20, 1882 in BC
d- ?
married Mar 12, 1904 in Port Essington, at age 22
married Edward Aaron Hudson, Painter, age 38
son of Richard L. Hudson- Farmer

daughter- May Amelia Elsterman
b- Apr 10, 1890 in BC

son- Frederick W. B. Elsterman
b- ca 1902
d- June 28, 1941 in Prince Rupert, age 39

  • J. Finlaison- General Store (Finlayson?)
  • ? Gasstenry- Carpenter
  • Charles Haggerty- Carpenter
  • Axel Hanson- Fisherman
  • Louis N. Haptonstall- Mariner
  • G. Henry- Netman

Inverness Canning Co. - J. H. Todd & Sons- -George M. McDonald- Manager

  • George Keys- fisherman
  • John Leighton- Carpenter
  • Reuben Leighton- Carpenter
  • Johann Lindblom- fisherman
  • John McDonald- Machinist
  • John S. McDonald- Clerk
  • John McLennan- Netman
  • Fred W. Rudge- labourer
  • C. Spencer- Firemen
  • P. Turnell- Labourer
  • Thomas Turnell- Foreman
  • P. Werry- Netman
  • W. Worry- Netman

Feb 23, 1914
Former Manager of Inverness Cannery
Bartholomew James Stapledon
b- Apr 22, 1847 in Chatham, NB
d- Feb 23, 1914 at 1317 Pandora st., Victoria, age 66
buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria BC
1901 census shows him Manager here.
married when he died
came to BC ca 1883
son of Bartholomew Stapledon
b- Devonshire, England
Mary Ann Dyer
b- Barnstable, England
I have seen his name as Stapleton which is incorrect.
married Jane Skillen
b- Feb 3, 1845 in Quebec
d- July 15, 1921 in Sumas BC
daughter of Samual Skillen and Janet Armstrong

They had 7 children:

Samuel John Stapledon
Jennett Dyer Stapledon

Robert Andrew Stapledon drowned in the Skeena River at Inverness, age 14, Apr 27, 1890

Christena Gertrude Stapledon
Ethel May Stapledon
Minnie Florence Stapledon
Cuthbert Fredrick Stapledon

J. H. Todd & Sons owned the Inverness Cannery
Robert George Johnston- Manager (see below)

1918 Inverness Cannery- J. H. Todd & Co. owned the Cannery
Robert George Johnston- Manager (see below)
D. Critchley- Inverness Cannery Foreman
L. T. Spragge- Inverness Cannery, Bookkeeper and Post Master (see below)

D. J. Anderson- School Teacher

Dominion Cannery- B.C. Packers Assn
Walter F. Lee- Dominion Cannery Foreman
A. Atkins- Dominion Cannery Bookkeeper

North Pacific Cannery- A B C Packing Co.

S. H. Pearce- General Store
J. F. Wilson- GTP Section foreman

Mar 1920 The Cannery and 60 fishing boats, were all destroyed by fire again.
Owners at that time, J. H. Todd & Co.
V. M. Dafoe, pioneer boat builder in Vancouver, was contracted, and built numerous 26 ft boats after the fire.
The complete Cannery closed in 1950, and was destroyed by fire in 1973.

See my Woodcock's Landing page, earlier name for this site.

John Herbert Turner
b- May 7, 1834 in Claydon, Suffolk, England
d- Dec 9, 1923 in Richmond BC
came to Victoria in 1862
Formed Volunteers in BC
retired with rank of lieutenant Colonel in 1881
President of Okell & Morris Fruit Preserving and Confectionary Co
largest of it's kind in BC at that time, established in 1891.
1877 elected to Victoria City Council.
1880 elected Victoria Mayor for 3 year term.
Premier of BC 1895-1898
Minister of Agriculture and Finance
(see link below for bio and family info)

J. H. Todd & Co. owner-
Jacob Hunter Todd
b- Mar 17, 1827 near Brampton ON
d- Aug 10, 1899 in Victoria BC, age 72
owned a store in Barkerville, then Victoria.
wife- Rosanna Wigley, born in England
(see link below for bio and his sons, grandson etc.)

Post Office History

Name of Office: Inverness

Federal Electoral District: Skeena (BC)

Office opened - Apr 1, 1907 in the General Store
Office closed- Apr 22, 1949

Postmaster Information:

Name of Postmaster Military Status Date of Appointment Date of Vacancy Cause of Vacancy
George Miller McDonald - 1907-04-01 1910-02 Resignation
Robert George Johnston - 1910-04-01 1917-04-09 Resignation
Arthur Tennyson Bailey - 1917-05-08 1917-10-17 Resignation
Leonard T. Spragge- 1918-02-01 1921-03-24 Resignation
Howard Whitton Chambers OAS 1921-05-07 1934-04-11 Resignation
Reginald William Sinclair OAS 1934-05-30 1943-05-10 Resignation
J. H. Todd and Sons, Limited 1943-06-08 1949-03 Resignation, closed

This reproduction is NOT represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with,
or with the endorsement of the National Archives of Canada. The source of this material is the National Archives of Canada

Oct 1880- Mr. James E. White, Manager of the Inverness Cannery, was appointed Post Master at Skeena (Port Essington)
1884 he was still Manager. see also above

First Official Post Master
George Miller McDonald
b- Jan 23, 1850 in Brantford, ON
d- Feb 9, 1937 in Victoria, age 87
1910 he was shown as Manager of Inverness Cannery

married Mary “Eliza” Sipprell, Oct 3, 1881 in Brantford ON
b- Dec 16, 1858 in Norwich, ON
d- Nov 16, 1932 in Victoria BC, age 73

son- John S. McDonald
b- Aug 12, 1882 in ON

daughter- Flora McDonald,
b- Dec 31, 1885 Alliston, Simcoe, ON,
age 21 when she married, living in Inverness
d- Nov 8, 1975, West Vancouver, BC, age 89, widowed
married Edward Noyes Horsey, Mar 1, 1909, Preb. Manse, Pr. Rupert
b- Utica NY, age 25 when he married, Engineer, living in Pr Rupert
son of George F. Horsey and Harriet Tuttle

son- Gordon Roy McDonald
b- Jan 5, 1896 in Vancouver BC

1901 McDonald family in Richmond BC
George M. McDonald shown as an Accountant

Robert George Johnston
b- Dec 1872 in Ireland
age 35 when he married in 1908
d- Jan 30, 1938 in Victoria BC, age 66
Immigrated in 1880
Manager at Inverness Cannery
son of William Johnston
married a widow, Christina Gertrude Burns, nee Stapleton,
married May 16, 1908 at Bella Coola BC
b- Oct 1878, Quebec
she was age 30 when she married 2nd time, 1908
daughter of Benjamin “Ben” Stapleton
Robert and Christina's daughter- Reta B. Johnston
b- Aug 1900 in BC
she married John Durran, Oct 10, 1933 in Prince Rupert

Arthur Tennyson Bailey
b- June 18, 1879 in Yale BC
d- Mar 3, 1927 New Westminster, BC
Book Keeper at Inverness Cannery in 1911
son of Benjamin Bailey
b- June 5, 1827, Portland Cumberland, Maine
(Boston, Mass, USA in one source)
d- Mar 23, 1898 in Victoria BC
and Sarah Margaret Patterson,
b- Apr 30, 1838, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
d- Sept 23, 1924 in Victoria BC
He was age 31 when he married
married Lily Talbot, Feb 16, 1911, St. James Church, Victoria BC
b- Dec 26, 1885 in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, England
she was age 25 when she married
d- Apr 4, 1963 Duncan BC
daughter- Lola Bailey

Leonard T. Spragge
b- Jan 23, 1881 in Guelph ON
d- Nov 10, 1961 in Altamont Private Hospital, West Vancouver, age 80
retired High School Teacher when he retired
Merchant in Victoria when he married.
son of David K. Spragge and Agnes Elmsley
married Mildred Arten Middleton,
June 7, 1911 in Grooms residence, Victoria BC
b- Aug 17, 1885, in Winnipeg MB
daughter of James Middleton, and Margaret Grills
she was 25 when she married

Howard Whitton Chambers
b- June 11, 1887 in Shoal Lake, MB
d- Feb 6, 1964 in Vancouver BC
son of Graham Chambers, father at Nass Harbour
Enlisted in WWI, Aug 20, 1918 in Vancouver BC
Occupation- Cannery man, BC Packers Assn
reg # 2024741

Reginald William Sinclair
b- Nov 16, 1891 in New Westminster BC
d- Aug 1, 1981, at 1320 Montery Ave., Victoria BC, age 89
son of Joseph Walter Sinclair b- Higher Bevington, England
and Helen Louise Sinclair, nee Bailey, b- Yale (Victoria?) BC
Joseph was a Real Estate Agent
enlisted in WWI in Vancouver, Nov 16, 1917
reg #2204539, Occupation- clerk
next of kin his sister, miss Helen Josephine Sinclair in Victoria
married 1st - Margaret Norah Marrs
Aug 3, 1925 in St. Andrews Church, Prince Rupert
age 20 when she married, living in North Pacific
daughter of John J. Marrs, b- England
and Elizabeth Rule b- Scotland
Reginald shown as a store Keeper in Inverness when he married
married #2- Janet Auld Hay Clark July 31, 1935 in Prince Rupert
when he died shown as retired, Manager of J. H. Todd and Co.

Ext Links
note- NOT my sites


Jacob Hunter Todd Bio

John Herbert Turner Bio

Inverness Cannery Photo


  • Last modified: 2018/01/21 22:10
  • by dlgent