Waddington, Alfred Penderell
b. 1801-10-02
d. 1872-02-26
Alfred Penderell Waddington was the first Superintendent of Education for the colony of Vancouver Island and Victoria's elected member of the House of Assembly from 1860 to 1861. He is best remembered for spearheading the problematic road construction project that led to the Chilcotin War of 1864.1
Waddington, an English entrepreneur, was born in London, 2 October 1801. He was educated at the Ecole Speciale du Commerce in Paris and the University of Gottingen in Germany. After a series of business disappointments in France, Waddington moved to California in 1850, becoming a partner in a wholesale grocery company. When the Fraser River gold rush began in 1858, Waddington moved to Victoria and engaged in resource speculation.2
After the discovery of gold in Cariboo country, Waddington hatched a plan to move gold up the valley of the Homathko River to Bute Inlet and from there by boat to Vancouver Island.3 Construction of his road began in 1863. In April 1864, a party of Tsilhqot'in Indians massacred the construction party.4 There were nineteen casualties and the road was abandoned. This act of aggression led Frederick Seymour, then governor of British Columbia, to dispatch volunteers to track down the perpetrators.5 The so-called Chilcotin War, or Bute Inlet Massacre, resulted in the executions of five of the murderers. Waddington never recouped the money lost on the construction project.6 He died of smallpox on 26 February 1872 while in Ottawa still promoting the Bute Inlet route. He was 71.7
Waddington was part of the group who drafted the charter of the city of Victoria in 1862, and although nominated for mayor, he declined to run.8 His book, The Fraser mines vindicated, was the first book printed on Vancouver Island outside of government publications.9 Waddington held the position of Superintendent of Education until 1867 after Vancouver Island's annexation by British Columbia brought him into conflict with the General Board of Education.10
Several places in British Columbia were named for him, including Mount Waddington near the Bute Inlet, Waddington Crescent in Nanaimo, Waddington Alley in Victoria and the Waddington Regional District which comprises the northern quarter of Vancouver Island.11
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