As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, with its sections on Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments and Deceased Brethren, here is a page on Marshall Wilder Waitt, a member of Vancouver & Quadra Lodge, No.2 and a former Grand Secretary, who is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Marshall Wilder Waitt (died 1892, aged 60) was an American who came to Victoria from California in 1862. He worked for T.N. Hibben & Co., a stationery firm, before setting up his own successful stationery and music business in Victoria in the mid-1870’s. The first Masonic lodge room in B.C. was above the T.N. Hibben store at the corner of Yates Street and Langley Street in downtown Victoria.
T.N. Hibben & Co. later moved to the 1000 block of Government Street, between Fort Street and View Street. Victoria Masonic lodges met above Hibben’s store until the current Masonic Temple was built in 1878.
Marshall Wilder Waitt was a member of Vancouver & Quadra Lodge, No.2 in Victoria. He also served as Grand Secretary.
V.W. Brother Marshall Wilder Waitt died of smallpox during a smallpox outbreak which hit Victoria in 1892.
After his death, his son-in-law Herbert Kent, who was also a Freemason, carried on Marshall Waitt’s business in downtown Victoria.
Here is a brief biography of Very Worshipful Brother Marshall Wilder Waitt taken from the local newspaper reports of his death and funeral:
“DEATH OF M.W. WAITT
He Dies Last Evening After a Few days Illness – A Sketch of His Life
Mr. M.W. Waitt, who for the past few days has been confined in the house with smallpox, died yesterday afternoon. He was reported much better yesterday morning, but towards evening he became worse, and the news of his death came like a blow to his many friends.
The deceased was born in Sardner, Maine, just 60 years ago. He arrived in California in 1860, and two years afterwards came to Victoria, where he went into the commissions and produce business with his father. He afterwards formed a partnership with T.N. Hibben, with whom he for several years carried on the well-known stationery business now conducted by Messrs. T.N. Hibben & Company. About 18 years ago Mr. Waitt went into business for himself on a small scale. His business steadily increased and at the time of his death he was the proprietor of two establishments, both on Government street.
Mr. Waitt became well known and respected through his business connections and he had many friends who will hear with regret of his death. He leaves a widow and two daughters, Mrs. H. Kent and Miss N. Waitt, the latter being at present in California.”
(Source: Victoria Daily Times, 11 July 1892, page 5)
“ A lamentable death – Widespread regret was caused in the city yesterday by the announcement of Mr. M.W. Waitt, so long and favorably known in Victoria and, in fact, throughout the province. He had been ill with smallpox for a couple of days and was supposed to be getting along very nicely, but Sunday, at noon, was taken worse and died shortly afterwards.
“The deceased was 60 years of age. He was born in Maine and in 1860 went to California, coming to Victoria two years later, and with his father engaged in the commission business. He was afterwards employed by T.N. Hibben & Company for 15 years, and just 16 years ago, started in business for himself. He had been very successful and at the time of his death was proprietor of two establishments on Government Street. He leaves a widow and two daughters, one Mrs. H. Kent and the other, Miss A. Waitt, the latter being at present in California on a visit. In business, as well as social circles, Mr. Waitt will be missed and more especially as he was taken off with the dread disease, his death is to be deplored.”
(Source: Daily Colonist, 12 July 1892, page 1, column 4)
“A “Lodge of Sorrow.”
A “lodge of sorrow” will be held at the Masonic Temple at 2.30 p.m., in memory of four good men and true, who have passed away in the last few months. The deceased brethren belonged to the local lodges and were energetic and staunch Freemasons. The late Bro. W.R. Brown, who died of smallpox, was senior warden of Victoria Columbia lodge. Bro. M.W. Waitt was another of the victims of the dread disease. Bros. Caleb M. Dougall and Wm. H. Payne died at sea, the body of the latter being consigned to the deep. To the lodge of sorrow each brother will have the privilege of bringing a lady, provided he secures a ticket of admission, which can be had on application to Bro. C. Dubois Mason, Secretary.”
(Source: Daily Colonist, 1 October 1892, page 5)
Marshall Wilder Waitt is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
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