A History: British Columbia
This section is from the year 1906, authored by R.E. Gosnell and published by the Lewis Publishing Co. in Victoria. It is no longer held under copyright.
Joseph HunterJoseph Hunter was a surveyor, son in law of Mr. Robson and politician in Victoria, vice president, general superintendent and chief engineer of the Esquimault and Nanaimo Railroad, is a native of Scotland, born
in Aberdeenshire, on the 7th of May, 1842. His ancestors were numbered
among both the highland and lowlaad Scotch.
Educated in the grammar schools and University of Aberdeen under
Professor James Clark Maxwell, he prepared for his business career by
studying civil engineering for five years. The year 1864 witnessed his arrival
in Victoria. Hoping to rapidly realize a fortune in the gold mines, he went
to the Cariboo district, where, like many others, he was only partially successful. He continued in the mining district, however, until 1871, in which
year he was elected to represent the district of Cariboo in the first provincial
parliament that met after the confederation was consummated. He occu-
pied a seat in the parliament until 1875.
Mr. Hunter's identification with railroad affairs dates from 1872, in
which year he joined the engineering staff of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and from time to time was promoted until he attained the position of
divisional engineer, and was active in all the operations connected with
railway survey, location and exploration. In 1876 he was selected engineer
by the Dominion government to define the international boundary line on
the Stickeen river between Canada and the United States territory of Alaska.
The crossing of the river which he located is the line agreed upon as the
boundary. The question was fully settled upon this basis, and in the settlement between the two governments Mr. Hunter's survey was frequently
referred to and discussed by the eminent counsel on iDoth sides. His reports
and plans are in the archives of the government at Ottawa, Canada, at London, England, and at Washington, D. C. The year after that survey was
completed Mr. Hunter explored the Pine river pass through the Rocky mountains, and his report on that is also in the history of the Pacific Railway.
From that time until 1883 he was in the service of the Dominion government, making railway locations, and was also selected to write a report on
the agricultural possibilities of Vancouver island. In 1884 he was appointed
chief engineer of the Esquimault and Nanaimo Railroad, which he surveyed
and constructed, and he is still associated with that railway system as its
general manager and chief engineer, and also as one of the stockholders.
Another of his important engineering works was the building of a great
dam of timber at Quesnelle Lake, which has withstood all storms and freshets
and is a splendid example of his engineering skill.
His influence and labors have also been an active and beneficial factor
in forming the laws of his adopted country. He has been a member of the
House for sixteen years, eight years from the Cariboo district and eight
years from Comox. He has also served two years as one of the aldermen
of Victoria, and in all the positions which he has been called upon to fill,
whether political or in the line of his profession, he has been found an indefatigable and successful worker. His business career has been marked by a
steady progression, and in Victoria he has received the recognition which
is accorded to talent and genuine personal worth everywhere.