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"SUE" MOODY
MASONIC BIOGRAPHIES
FAMOUS FREEMASONS
MT. HERMON LODGE
Moodyville
While Masonic Lodges were being established on Vancouver Island and at New Westminster on the mainland and among the mountains of the Cariboo at Barkerville, a settlement was growing up on the shores of Burrard Inlet. Here was a safe, sheltered harbour, easy of access and on its shores grew what has been called the finest stand of easily accessible timber in British Columbia, and that meant the world. It did not remain long untouched.
As early as the Spring of 1863 men were at work cutting the timber on the north side of the inlet, building a mill and equipping it with two centre-discharge water-wheels of 50 horsepower, two circular saws, and a 22-inch planing mill; the result being the "Pioneer Mills" which had a capacity of 50,000 feet every 24 hours. At first this settlement on the northern shore of the inlet was called by the name of the great harbour, "Burrard Inlet."
The venture was too much for the financial resources of the T. G. Graham Company of New Westminster, and in December, 1863 the mill, with logs and limits, was advertised for sale at public auction. The sale was held on the 16th of the month and there were only two bidders, John Oscar Smith and a shrewd Maine lumberman, Sewell Prescott Moody. "Sue," as he is known to history, does not seem to have been anxious to purchase the property for he allowed Smith to acquire it for the sum of $8,000. Perhaps he foresaw that he might be able to get it later at a price more advantageous to him.
Smith improved and added to the machinery and operated the mill for one year under the name "Burrard Inlet Mills." It had been mortgaged, probably by Smith, to finance the improvements. Payments falling due on this mortgage were not being met and in 1864 the mortgagee entered into possession and sold the property to Moody. What he gave for it is not known, but it is suspected that the price was small. He set the saws cutting lumber in February, 1865, and renamed it "The Burrard Inlet Lumber Mills." "Sue" knew the lumber business and operated it so successfully that by May of that year he was able to ship a cargo of lumber to Sydney, Australia. Other foreign shipments followed, and the mill became a busy scene of industry. The little settlement around the mill became known as "Moody's Mill" and later "Moodyville."
The mill, under Moody's capable management soon became so prosperous that he was forced to increase his office staff, and his employees included a number of men whose very names are an essential part of our early Masonic history. At that time New Westminster was the centre of all business in the vicinity. Even the head office of Moody's firm was there. There, also, was Union Lodge No. 899 ER, the only one in that part of the colony, and Moody, as well as many of his assistants, was a member of it. Moody and Captain James van Bramer were the first of this group to join, becoming members in 1863. Captain Philander Swett and Josias Charles Hughes joined it in 1864; and Coote M. Chambers, destined to become the 5th Grand Master, in 1867-8.1
Sewell Prescott Moody, the proprietor of the mill, is often confused with Colonel Moody, the Commander of the detachment of Royal Engineers which had been sent out by the British Government to aid the settlers in the new Colony of British Columbia. Most people, finding Port Moody at one end of Burrard Inlet and Moodyville at the other, naturally take it for granted that both were named for the same individual, but it is not so. Port Moody was named after the Colonel at the time he constructed the North Road from New Westminster to the eastern end of the inlet, but Moodyville was named after the Inner Guard of Mount Hermon Lodge. Sewell Prescott Moody came from Maine, where his family had been in the lumber business for a long time—he knew timber and the timber trade. He put on no side. To every one, great or small, he was just "Sue Moody." He went down on the steamer Pacific on November 4, 1875 with so many more of the early adventurers of British Columbia who had "struck it rich" and were going back to their homelands to enjoy their wealth. Brother Moody left one memento behind him: a month after the disaster a stateroom stanchion was found on the beach below Beacon Hill near Victoria and on its surface, written in a bold business hand, were the words "S. P. Moody, all lost." The writing was identified as that of Moody.2

1.History of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia 1871-1970, John T. Marshall. Vancouver : 1971. pp. 46-47.
2.Marshall, pp. 51-52. Cf. "A message from the sea - a gentleman walking along the Beacon Hill beach on Sunday picked up a piece of painted board (evidently part of the Pacific's wreck), on which was written in pencil "S.P. Moody, all lost." Victoria Colonist. It is now at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Cited p. 32 Jim Harrison, Mount Hermon Lodge No. 7 B.C.R. 1869-1994 125 Years. pb 150pp.

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