Patrick Joseph Ryan

Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

P. J. Ryan, ca 1900
I started out researching Mr. Ryan thinking he was going to be not only hard to find,
but just a regular photographer, who happened to land in Prince Rupert.
How wrong I was. He was hard to track down for sure,
but each clue lead to more interesting history.
He lived 94-95 years, and I am sure could have written a book on his interesting life.
Below is my short version of that story.
One thing for sure, he didn't want anybody, and I mean nobody,
to not know his real birthdate.
Even the RCMP couldn't figure it out. If they couldn't figure it out, what chance do I have.
Every document he filled out was a different birth year.
I can find all his siblings in birth or baptism records in Newfoundland, except him!
Not one tiny clue. If he meant to to do this, he succeeded 100%

P. J. Ryan, ca 1900

Patrick Joseph “Paddy” Ryan
b- 1864 at St. John's Newfoundland (date per headstone)

now for just a few other Birthdates I found:
b- Mar 1872, at St. John's Newfoundland per RCMP Records
but when it came to his pension, the RCMP used records, that stated his birth year was 1867.
b- ca 1866, per book link below,
b- Jan 1867 using enlistment date in NWMP records
b- ca 1874, age 41 when married in PR in 1915
(His brother was born in 1874 so rule that one out.)
b- ca 1862 per 1901 Yukon census, age 39
b- ca 1863, if age 95 is correct in 1958 (hard to read age in obit)
per headstone I now think he did die at age 95.

d- Aug 1, 1958 at his home, 51 John St. Eastview ON, age 95?
Obit in Ottawa paper says he was 94.
(note- Eastview is now Quartier Vanier, Ottawa)
When he died, Patrick was the oldest RCMP Veteran.
Buried in Pinecrest Cemetery, Section S, Ottawa
His Obituary says he was a retired RCMP member
name- Patrick Joseph Ryan in his Obit. and his wife's Obit.

Father- Richard Ryan
b- ca 1836
d- Mar 27, 1916, 27 William St., St John's Newfoundland, age 80
buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, near Quidi Vidi.
Roman Catholic
Shown as a fisherman in 1879
For many years he was Chief Warden of H. M. Penitentiary
1896 he is shown as Chief Warden, Colonial Penitentiary, St. John's, Forest Road.
located beside Quidi Vidi Lake.

Mother- Catherine Hayes
b- ?
d- ?

Paddy Married Elizabeth “Eva Bessie” Butterworth Aug 14, 1915 in Prince Rupert.
shown as Bessie Butterworth in Patrick's Obituary and in her Obituary as well.
b- 1886, in Granby, La Haute-Yamaska, Quebec, age 29 when married in 1915
d- Feb 4, 1964 in Hospital, in Ottawa ON, age 78
Buried in Pinecrest Cemetery, Section S, Ottawa ON
She was a Stenographer in Prince Rupert when married
she worked for G. W. Nickerson Co in 1914.
They were Merchandise and Customs Brokers in Prince Rupert.
She was living at 221 6th Ave. E. in 1914 in Prince Rupert
She was living at 181 Waverley, Ottawa ON, when she died.
daughter of Samuel Butterworth,
occupation- Tinsmith
and Flora Amelia Hull
she had a brother Donald Butterworth, in Trail BC in 1964
brother- Malcolm Butterworth, in Vancouver BC in 1964

Patrick and Bessie had 2 children:
daughter- Marion Catherine Ryan
b- ca 1916 in BC
d- I believe she died Aug 2000 in Victoria BC
She married Ronald W. Cocker, who is buried in Saanich BC
She was living in Ottawa in 1964

son- Donald Malcolm “Don” Ryan
b- ca 1917 in BC
d- Dec 29, 1981, At his home, in Ottawa ON, age 65
1938 he was living with parents shown as a mechanic.
He was living in Ottawa in 1964
married Alice Finter, had 5 children.

Paddy's siblings, 4 I know of:

John Joseph Ryan
b- bef. Oct 11, 1874 in Newfoundland
Christened Oct 11, 1874, in Renews, Newfoundland
d- ?

Richard Ryan
b- bef. May 16, 1876 in Newfoundland
Christened May 16, 1876 in Renews, Newfoundland
d- Jan 24, 1926 at Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland, age 49

Mary Ryan
b- bef. Nov 23, 1877 in Newfoundland
Christened Nov 23, 1877 in Renews, Newfoundland
d- ?

Margaret Ryan
b- June 10, 1879 Carbonear Parish, Carbonear, Newfoundland
d- ?

Left Newfoundland in 1886 per 1911 census,
1901 per 1921 census, which can't be true, as we find out later.
Newfoundland didn't join Canada until Mar 31, 1949
so they were shown Immigrating to Canada in this time period, as weird as that sounds!

He was educated in Newfoundland.

At an early age, he served in the Chilean Calvary, during one of the many Chilean Revolutions.
How and why he went there, is beyond me. By sea around the horn probably.

His NWMP Story

Joined the NWMP, Nov 21, 1888, at Halifax NS.
Reg #2223
age 21 yrs, 10 mo when he enlisted.
5 ft 10“ tall. 145 lbs.
Occupation shown as a Harness Maker.
Shown living in Halifax NS, when he enlisted.
Promoted to Corporal in the NWMP a couple of times.
Shown as a Corp in 1893 records, “D” Division, stationed at MacLeod, NWT.
1894 he spent 20 days in July, working as a saddler at Lethbridge.

Sam Steele was his Commanding Officer there.
Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele, KCMG, CB, MVO,
b- Jan 5, 1848, d- Jan 30, 1919

1896 P. J. Ryan was given a 14 day, with hard labour sentence,
for disobeying an order to give up names of fellow members drinking in the #3 barracks room.
And he wasn't even one of the men drinking!
He was demoted from a Corporal to a Constable.
Now we know why he was sent to the Yukon!
You didn't mess with Sam Steele!

1902 he was promoted to Corporal again.

He purchased his discharge from the NWMP, July 10, 1903 for $87.00
In those days you had to pay to leave the force, before your 3 year term was up.

Then for some strange reason, re-engaged for another 3 years, starting Dec 28, 1903.
He again got in trouble for not doing guard duty in Uniform, and was again demoted to Constable.
He then asked to be discharged, without paying the discharge fee, as he was in financial distress.
He was eventually discharged, shown as mentally unfit for duty. He left the service, Sept 19, 1904 at Dawson.

His mental problem, was a lack of money and debts, and the mental worries that go with that, depression, etc.
In those days there was no help for it.

Feb 9, 1901, Corporal Patrick J. Ryan of the NWMP, was at Hunker Creek, Yukon, and he took photos of the Mastodon bones,
that were being exposed during mining activities in that area.
He sent them to the Yukon Sun to be published.
Records state he was “A Commissioner for Taking Affidavits in and for the Yukon Territory.”
Was this the start of his Photography career?

He was involved in the George O'Brien murder case, where O'Brien was hung Aug 23, 1901 for murdering 3 men.
During his investigations, he had photographed the scenes, and was given credit by the Judge in the case, on the use of his photographs, to help solve the case.
See the EXT link below for one version of the case. Many books have been written about this famous case.

Hootchiku / Hootchikoo / Hoochikoo NWMP Post, ca 1900

He was in command of the Hootchiku N.W.M.P. Post, south of Dawson, on the river trail, ca 1900, when he was made Corporal.

He was stationed in Dawson, then Forty Mile, before the Hootchikuu District.

1901 census- shown age 39, born in Newfoundland,
came to Canada in 1898
shown with 2 others, as NWMP, single, British
he was in the Yukon for 3 3/4 years at time of census
census location Middle Hunker Creek, Yukon
2 other NWMP with him- Arthur Boucher, age 34 from Quebec, and Oulten Lutes, age 19 in NB.

1903- Polk's Directory- shown as a Corporal NWMP

Mar 7, 1903 he had to remove the bodies of the Burnside family after the Aurora Road house fifty-five below Hunker Creek burnt to the ground.
5 people burned to death, and he had to go in and remove the bodies. 2 were children, so this would have affected him for sure.

Sept 19, 1904- left the NWMP

July 1909 he owned and was operating “Ryan's Harness Shop”, located at 228 third ave., Dawson Y.T., per his ad in the Dawson Daily News Paper,
He was selling Horse Blankets, Robes, Furnishings, and repairing and selling harness.
No exact date when he opened this shop.
From this we know he did stay in the Yukon, after his dismissal from the NWMP

1911 census- shown living on McBride St, Pr. Rupert, working in Groceries, age 39

1913 Directory shows a Philip J. Ryan as a clerk for J. D. Allan's Photo Co. same guy?

1914 Directory- P. J. Ryan shown as a harness maker, 653 Tatlow Corner 7th ave. W.

In 1915 Marriage Cert. he was shown as Patrick Joseph Ryan.

1921 census- Patrick, age 46, Eve, age 34, son 4 and daughter 5.
shown occupation- photographer studio. in Pr Rupert.
shown as Patrick James Ryan, in 1921 census, which is wrong

1922 Directory- shows him as a photo finisher, and picture framer, 325 2nd Ave. W., residence at 221 7th ave., in Prince Rupert

1924 Directory- shows him as a photo finisher at 224 4th st.
His residence was 1039 Hays Cove Ave., Prince Rupert

Mar 26, 1928 he was still living in Prince Rupert
His wife was visiting a friend at Kalum Lake per Terrace Paper.

1929 Directory- still shown as a photographer in Prince Rupert.
office at 214 4th st, living at 530 W 6th

1930-32 Directories- he is now shown as a Dock Man, PR Dry Dock
he was living at 530 W 6th, in Prince Rupert.

We know he rejoined the RCMP in 1932, so his name does not appear in the directories in Rupert after that, which makes sense.

Dec 9, 1931- he applied as a saddler in Vancouver, at Fairmont Barracks, while he was still living in Prince Rupert.
He took the SS. Prince George south to Vancouver from Rupert.
Rejoined the RCMP, Jan 2, 1932 in Vancouver BC, as a Special Constable
His RCMP Reg # 1369.
He was engaged as a saddler in Vancouver.
Paid $70 a month.

1933 directory- Saddler, living at 277 E 44 in Vancouver BC

1934- Honourable George Black, Speaker of the House, Ottawa,
wrote a letter on Patrick Ryan's behalf, as an old friend, asking he be made
a Sergeant before his upcoming pension.
George Black was Commissioner of the Yukon, 1912-1915.
his request was denied.

1938 Directory- Special Constable RCMP living at 232 E 43

Mar 1, 1939- he was transferred from “E” Division, Vancouver to “N” Division, at Rockcliffe ON

June 1, 1951- awarded the RCMP Long Service Medal.

Dec 1, 1951 pay increased to $332.50 / mo.

Served as a Saddler to the RCMP Musical Ride until 1952.

Discharged from the RCMP Aug 31, 1952. with over 36 years service.

Misc Tidbits of his life

July 9, 1905 shows a P. J. Ryan, age 33, born in Newfoundland, Fisherman, going from Seattle to Victoria, single Not sure if this was him or not.

Had a mole on his left cheek.

I also know he was in Edmonton, Oct 14, 1930, where he had an unpaid bill for $30.63, at Hammond's Market, 9713 Jasper Ave. that he was required to pay while working in Vancouver in 1934.

he is also shown in records as a photographer for the railroads, taking scenery shots for their brochures. Possibly this is where the Edmonton stay took place.

When he died his wife received a letter, saying his pension ceased at time of his death, and they enclosed a cheque for $6.98 for one day. So not only did she loose a husband, she had no income. Some bean counter couldn't get that letter in the mail any faster.


Example of his Photography work below

Provincial Government Buildings, Prince Rupert BC, date unknown.
between 2nd and 3rd st. on 2nd ave.
Descriptions on Prince Rupert Archive page 7

EXT Links
Not my sites

Patrick Ryan

Murder in the Yukon
the case against George O'Brien


  • Last modified: 2019/10/27 16:56
  • by dlgent