BCARSA0351 | Sewell Prescott Moody

Sewell Prescott Moody
About 1870, 19th century
17 x 12 cm
This artefact belongs to : © City of Vancouver Archives
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Keys to History

A man of intense vision and energy, Sewell "Sue" Moody (1834-1875) developed to its fullest potential the Burrard Inlet sawmill he bought "practically for a song." He invested in the newest technology and made a point of bringing "civilization" to his community in the wilderness. Originally a timber cruiser and estimator from the state of Maine, Moody made a point of getting along with ethnically diverse inhabitants while notably forbidding gambling and alcohol. He married Janet Watson in July 1869; she and their two children lived in Victoria. Unfortunately, he died in a shipwreck at about 40 years of age while on a business trip. The steamer Pacific, on its way to San Francisco in 1875, struck another vessel in a violent storm off Cape Flattery and sank. Sewell was not one of the two survivors; oddly, a plank with his signature and the words "all lost" washed up weeks later on a beach near his Victoria home.

  • What

    This is a portrait of Sewell Prescott Moody, Moodyville's namesake. Tall, dark and slim, he was also known locally as the tyee, which means chief.

  • Where

    Moody spent much of his time on the road, travelling up and down the British Columbia coast to order supplies and arrange charters for lumber and spars.

  • When

    This portrait dates from circa 1870 and was taken by B. F. Howland & Co.

  • Who

    The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized Sewell Prescott Moody as a person of national historical significance in 1988.