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.


Victoria includes among its representative business men and respected citizens
James Muirhead, who has long been identified with its industrial interests as. a manufacturer of sash, doors and mouldings. He was born in Starlingshire, Scotland, on the 20th of November, 1837, and is a descendant of an old and honored Scotch family, of w^hich country his parents, John and Agnes (McClern) Muirhead, were also natives. In his youth the father went to Halifax, there learning the carpenter's trade, and after spending some years in that city as a carpenter and builder he returned to Scotland, and the remainder of his life was spent in his native land. He was a man of sterling character, and attained to a ripe old age, his honored wife preceding him several years to the home beyond. They were worthy members of the Presbyterian church, and in their family were four children.

James Muirhead, the only member of his father's family in the Province, received his education in Glasgow, Scotland, there also learning the carpenter and joiner's trade. In 1857 he left his native land of hills and heather and went to Ontario, Canada, where he worked at his chosen occupation for about two years, after which he went to New York City, thence to New Orleans, and for two and a half years was a resident of Peru. In 1862 he came to Victoria, British Columbia, this journey being due to the many thrilling stories he had heard concerning the Cariboo gold discoveries, but in place of going to the diggings he decided to follow the occu pation he had previously learned and thus became a contractor and builder in Victoria. Among other work on which he was engaged was the build ing of the penitentiary. In 1870 the firm of Muirhead & Mann was formed, and they embarked in the manufacture of sash, doors and all kinds of wood work for building purposes, and in addition they have also done considerable steamboat work, the steamer Princess Beatrice being among the number completed by this firm. Mr. Mann is now retired from the busi ness, and Mr. Muirhead is associated therein with his two sons, John Thomas and James McClearn. In his family are also two daughters, Agnes and Bertha.