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William Henry Woodcock Bio


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William Henry Woodcock

b- ? One of the Southern US States
d- Oct 1891 at Fort Wrangell, Alaska

He established Woodcock's Landing
at the mouth of the Skeena River.
Native name of Woodcock, "Willaclough"
translated to "The Place of Slides"

It took 2 1/2 hours, by steamer, to go from Port Essington
to Woodcock's Landing.

He came to BC, from the Southern US States
during the Fraser River Gold Rush Period, ca 1858

There was a Corporal John Woodcock
part of the Road Building Engineers,
in New Westminster ca 1863.

Also a William Frederick Woodcock,
 was shown as a Stage Manager, in New Westminster. 
Later shown as a livery man there.
relative?  don't know.  but it is not this guy.

Chronology Bio of Mr. Woodcock's life from 1860 on:

Feb 1860 Mr. Woodcock was in New Westminster BC
Elected Secretary of some Citizen Group forming a mule tax,
on each mule load leaving the Douglas and Hope area.

1860 he was selling Oregon Flour, Hams, Shoulders, Sides, Eggs etc.
 in New Westminster.

May 1962 he had an add to sell the "Mansion House"
in New Westminster, it was built to hold 100 boarders.
see link below for a picture of it.   It burnt down in 1871.

Jan 1863 he dissolved a partnership with J. F. Hixsen
in a business, trading in Lillooet BC

1863 appears in BC directory,
 Woodcock, W. H. - Bayley in Victoria BC

Dec 12, 1863 same ad as shown below appears,
but under it is another ad,
all persons are warned against purchasing a certain share
 in the Aurora Claim, Williams Creek, from Jules David
as said David holds the claim for the performance of a specific trust.
signed- William H. Woodcock

Then Dec 29, 1863 a lawyer takes out an ad
using his full name, saying:
William Henry Woodcock
 has this day executed a Deed of Assignment
for the benefit of his creditors.  All Persons to whom
the said William Woodcock is indebted are requested
to send in their claims to Jules David or O. Parsons
before the 5th of February next, otherwise they will be precluded
from any dividend on the estate.  the deed is lying for signature
at the office of Mr. Drake, Solicitor for the assignees.
signed Dec 5, 1863, Victoria, V. I.

Jules David was in Victoria at this time,
ca 1865 he was President of Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

 Otis Parsons was in Lillooett  BC at the time.
Otis Parsons was originally a Captain, a Master Mariner,
He got involved in business of freighting, packing, mining,
at what became Lillooett.
Him and his family were drowned on the "Pacific" ship sinking in 1875.

June 1, 1864
He submitted a tender to carry Royal Mail in new Westminster.
He was considered not sufficiently responsible.
He was shown born in the southern US, and his
sureties were all Americans. He withdrew his tender.

Aug 6, 1866
 He was in the Cariboo, at Williams Creek,
shown coming from New Westminster on a Saturday

Oct 4, 1866, page 3,
 The Cariboo Sentinel quoted the British Columbian,
Mr. W. H. Woodcock, was building a Grist Mill at Soda Creek.
He ordered the mill from California and it came by steamer
into the Cariboo region. the machinery was sitting on his new wharf.
Newspaper claimed in a short period of time he
built a wharf and warehouses, besides a grist mill,
Brewery, Distillery, and an extensive wharf
and buildings connected therewith.
Now he was about to install a steam grist mill away in the interior
to convert the large quantities of wheat grown there.

Looks like Mr. Woodcock was forced
 into going bankrupt in New Westminster, from some mining share error,
and this would have drove him out to other areas.
Obviously the share in the mining claim was the trigger. 

found info on a Captain William Moore who went into partnership
with Mr. Woodcock, ca 1868, on building a Pack trail
from the Skeena River to Babine lake.
He got the Charter from the Dominion Government
to do the construction.
Woodcock supplied the men.

1870 he established an Inn and Store at Woodcock's Landing,
even though he had no legal title to the land there.
W. H. Woodcock & Co.

Feb 2, 1871, License Court approved his license (for liquor?)
for  "The Omineca House", Skeena.

Aug 30, 1871 land here was Crown granted to
William Soar, then passed to other groups.

Oct 1871
Government bought the rights and Interest
in what they called the Skeena Trail,
from Mr. Woodcock.

Woodcock had a Sloop named "Yellow Lane",
Captain of the Sloop, was Mr. Madden above, ca 1876.
before that Joseph Spence was in charge,
but he drowned in the Skeena River, Feb 15, 1871.
Joseph Spence actually made the ship, and sailed it to Victoria
in June of 1870, from Port Simpson where he built it.
It was built out of Cypress, that Spence
 and a Fort Simpson Native, whipsawed into planks.
Took him 7 months to build it.
they both sailed it the 800 miles, in 14 sailing days.
His drowning might not have been an accident.
Only a couple months before he died, he had trouble
selling 3 barrels of what was to be whiskey,
to 3 natives from Fort Simpson at Victoria.
When they opened one of the kegs at sea, it was claret wine.
When Spence arrived back in Fort Simpson,
he was greeted by the natives, he cheated, and ended up
he was shot in the foot by one of them.
Then a few months later he drowns?

A fellow by the name of Joseph Spence worked for HBC,
and deserted in Oahu in 1836.  Where did he work in 1834?
Fort Simpson!  He was a sailor and a boat builder.  How convenient!
this HBC Joseph Spence
 b- Mar 8, 1803 Orcadian Scot
father- Jacob Spence
mother- Jacobina Spence, nee Flett

I think these 2 guys are the same.
He waited for 35 years and came back to place he knew.
Probably had connections and friends there.

Imagine after he died, Woodcock bought the boat.

In 1873 Mr. Woodcock, was on the sloop "Yellow Lane",
 at Gold Harbour, Queen Charlotte Islands.

1872 ad for W. H. Woodcock's Landing
later Inverness Cannery was built here.
It was on the North side of the mouth of the Skeena
and Port Essington was on the south side.

Jan 1-Dec 31 1874
He is listed on the Public works, Observatory Inlet trail
expense sheet, W. H. Woodcock, Yeast Powders, $2.37

Mar 1875 he was on board a steamer

Mar 3, 1875 he applied for 160 acres on Graham Island.

June 1875- Capt. William Francis Madden
sailed into Victoria on a new Schooner
named "Micawber", owned by Woodcock & Co.

July 26, 1875 withdrew his application on the Skeena River for 160 acres.

Nov 15, 1875 applied for 160 acres on Telegraph Passage, Skeena River

Dec 17, 1875 he applied for 15 acres on Bare Island

May 1875 he had an ad to hire coopers for QC Islands.
to make oil casks.
shown living in Victoria at this time.

One article says he died in Victoria in 1877.
I really don't think this is true.

Apr 1878 on board another steamer from the north coast.

1878 a W. H. Woodcock shows up in Victoria BC directory as a Miner

July 1879 he had an add to purchase 160 acres
2 months from this date,
land located in Coast District, in Telegraph Passage.
Porcher Island is separated from the mainland by Telegraph Passage.

1882 shows in a shipping book, with the writer
Newton Chittenden, meeting Mr. William Woodcock at Fort Wrangell,
who had been there for some years he reported.

Feb 24, 1884, Mr. William H. Woodcock, from Fort Wrangell
wrote a long letter to the Scientific American magazine.
he discussed some new gold finds and the nice weather
conditions there, due to the Japanese current.

Had trouble finding where he went after Woodcock Landing,
finally found a clue in BC archives, the year he died!

Call Number:	CM_A315
Author:		Woodcock, William H., d.1891.
Author:		Findlay, George James, d.1897.
Title:		Sketch survey of Skeena mouth / by Wm. Woodcock
Notes:	Shows western end of Inverness Passage and location of 
William H. Woodcock's house at or near the present site of Inverness
Notes:	(Copy.)  Recd. from W.H. Woodcock, 23 June/70.  (Sgd) G.J. Findlay"
Then a tiny article in the British Colonist (dated Nov 17, 1891, pg8) said:
The Topeka (Steamer) brings news of the death of 
W. H. Woodcock, an old and well known pioneer
of New Westminster.  He is the latest addition
to the long death roll of old timers and perhaps none
were more popular or passed away with a longer list of friends
and acquaintances.  Mr. Woodstock breathed his last
about five weeks ago, at Wrangel (Alaska)
having spent a life of vicissitudes peculiar
 to the early settlers of the country.  
Jan 26, 1881 found his name is a book saying some US marines
stopped at Wrangell, and midshipman Woodworth asked Mr. William Woodcock
of Wrangell,  to feed his men at a $1 per day per man.
so looks to me like he went to Wrangell
and started up another Inn.
Now where did he come from in early 1860's?
That is my next goal

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some info above from: Leona Taylor and Dorothy Mindenhall,
“Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers,” Victoria’s Victoria,,2007

Mansion House Hotel picture, New Westminster



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