As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, which includes Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments, here is a page on James Wilson Trahey, who died in December 1868, and is buried in Pioneer Square, Victoria, B.C..
The grave of James Wilson Trahey in Pioneer Square is currently unmarked, since his tombstone was one of those removed by the City of Victoria in the early 20th century and placed in storage. The Old Cemeteries Society is currently the custodian of the grave markers removed from Pioneer Square. Since James Trahey’s grave is unmarked, we do not know its exact location. All we can say is that James Wilson Trahey is buried somewhere in Pioneer Square.
James W. Trahey was a native of Nova Scotia who came to Victoria in 1859 and established himself in business as a shipbuilder. He was a member of Victoria Lodge and had been elected Worshipful Master of the Lodge a few weeks before his death on 26 December 1868.
According to his obituary (see below) he was a prominent and well regarded citizen of Victoria.
Here is a brief biography of James Wilson Trahey from the newspaper accounts of his death and funeral:
“DEATH OF ANOTHER PROMINENT CITIZEN – The community was shocked in the midst of its merrymaking on Saturday by the announcement of the sudden death of Jas. W. Trahey, Esq., one of our oldest and most trusted citizens, who was found lying dead on the floor on a room in his house at an early morning hour in the morning by his servant. Mr. Trahey had been suffering for some weeks from palpitation of the heart and an inability to sleep in a recumbent position, and on Christmas night was made as comfortable as possible in an easy chair place by the fire, while Mrs. Trahey (worn out with assiduous attention to his wants for several nights) retired to rest in an adjoining apartment. Deceased had apparently died without a struggle some hours before his body was discovered. Mr. Trahey was a native of Nova Scotia, and had resided in Victoria since 1859, where he engaged in shipbuilding. He possessed great ability in his line, and all the fine Fraser River steamers, the Isabel, and other craft were built by Mr. Trahey from his own models. His last work was the new steamer for Mr. Marvin, built to run on Fraser River from Big Bar to Soda Creek. The departure hence of so estimable a man is a public loss which cannot easily be supplied. Mr. Trahey leaves a widow, to whom he was devotedly attached, to mourn his untimely death. The remains will be interred with full Masonic honors at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon –deceased having a few days ago been chosen W M of Victoria Lodge F & A.M.”
(Source: British Colonist, 28 December 1868, page 3, column 1)
“POSTPONEMENT – IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE death of Bro. J.W. Trahey, R.W.M. elect of Victoria Lodge, the annual ball of Vancouver Lodge has been postponed until MONDAY, the 4th of January next. By order of the Committee.
H.F. Heisterman, Hon. Secretary”
(Source: British Colonist, 28 December 1868, page 2, column 2)
“The remains of Mr. James W. Trahey were escorted to their last resting place yesterday by a long procession of sincere mourners. The Masonic Fraternity, it is true, led the van, and, decorated with the various symbols of the Order, invested to scene with striking solemnity. But Brother as they claimed him to be in virtue of his membership, he was really a brother to all there in true friendship and affectionate regard. The bereaved widow accompanied the remains to the grave. The District and Provincial Grand Lodges, and the Victoria, Vancouver, New Westminster and Nanaimo Lodges were largely represented in the procession, the rear of which was brought up by citizens, who had long known the deceased and respected him for the ennobling qualities he possessed. Haines Brass Band, on the way to the grave, performed appropriate selections; and the scene presented as the cortege moved through the streets and the “muffled sound of the drum rolled along” was of the most mournful character. At Christ Church Cathedral the body was borne into the aisle and the Episcopal service read by Dean Cridge; and amid the pealing of the organ performing the “Dead March From Saul,” the mourners resumed their march to the cemetery, where the Masonic Burial Service was read by District Grand Master Burnaby and the body was consigned to the tomb with the usual ceremonies. The number present to do homage to the memory of a good man was unusually large. The procession was under the direction of the Grand Director of Ceremonies, L Franklin, Esq.”
(Source: British Colonist, 30 December 1868, page 3, column 1)
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