Deceased Brethren – Reverend Robert Hall Smith

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 Reverend Robert Hall Smith (died 1883, aged 45), who is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

The Rev. Robert Hall Smith was a member of Vancouver & Quadra Lodge, No. 2 who also served as Grand Chaplain.

Here is a brief biography of V.W. Bro. Reverend Robert Hall Smith taken from local newspaper reports of his death and funeral:

“DIED – In this city, on the 15th instant, the Rev. Robert Hall Smith, a native of Barrie, Ont., aged 45 years.
The funeral will take place SUNDAY at 2 p.m. from his late residence, Pembroke street, and at 2:30 p.m. from the Methodist church. Friends are invited to attend.”

(Source: Daily British Colonist , 16 November 1883, page 3, column 1)

“Death of Rev. R.H. Smith
———-

It is with sincere regret that we record the death at a few minutes after 9 o’clock yesterday morning of the Rev. R.H. Smith. The deceased had been lying in a precarious position for over a fortnight, suffering amongst other complications with congestion of the lungs and it was thought at one time that he would recover. A relapse set in, however, and the patient succumbed at the time mentioned. He had been in the province for about six years and for more than half that time occupied the Methodist pulpit. It will be remembered that he preached an eloquent oration at the Methodist church on the death of Garfield on the occasion of the president’s burial. He was grand chaplain of the Freemasons. His religious views being broad and liberal, in 1881 he deemed he could not consistently occupy the Methodist pulpit and accordingly resigned his position, and during a temporary vacancy preached in the First Presbyterian church. Previously to his resignation he had been superintendent of the Methodist mission. He was much respected both privately and in his clerical capacity and all earnestly sympathize with his three daughters under this second heavy blow  which has fallen upon them almost before they have had time to realize the fact of their mother’s death just two weeks ago. The deceased gentleman possessed a clear and vigorous intellect and was a pure and upright man. His pulpit ministrations were always of a high order and were generally very edifying and instructive. Taken all in all the christian community has received a severe blow in the untimely removal of Mr. Smith.”

(Source: Daily British Colonist , 16 November 1883, page 3, column 1)

 

“Funeral of the Late Rev R.H. Smith
——————-

On Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock the funeral of the late Rev R.H. Smith took place from the residence of the family, Pembroke street. Here shortly assembled the friends of the family, members of the Masonic order and those of the United Workmen [note: the A.O.U.W. or Ancient Order of United Workmen]. The handsome casket containing the body having been placed in the hearse, the funeral procession, which was a very long one, moved toward the Methodist church in the following order:

A.O.U.W., Victoria Lodge, No. 19 [note: Ancient Order of United Workmen]
A.O.U.W., Victoria Lodge, No. 77
Visiting Brethren, A.F. & A.M.
Victoria Columbia Lodge, No. 1, A.F. & A.M.
Vancouver Quadra Lodge, No. 2, A.F. & A.M.
Members of the Royal Arch Chapter
The Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M.
The Hearse.
The mourners in carriages.
Citizens in carriages and on foot.

In the church an impressive service was held by the Rev. C. Watson, after which the choir sang a funeral hymn.

The service being concluded the body was again borne down the aisle, and the large congregation left the church, the dead march in Saul being played by the organist, Mr. S. Wilson. The procession was reformed and on reaching the cemetery the remainder of the service was concluded by the Rev. Mr. Watson. The Masonic service was afterwards performed by D. H. Ross, Master of Vancouver Quadra Lodge, to which the deceased belonged, assisted by Grand Master Baker. The casket bore the masonic emblems, and the masons acting as pallbearers were: R. Beaven, J. Teague, J. Manson, Geo. Frye, Wm. Dalby and  J R Elder. The ceremony was a very impressive one and will long be remembered by those present. In the evening at the Wesley church Rev Mr. Watson preached the funeral sermon. The sacred edifice was densely crowded and pathetic allusions to the deceased caused tears to flow from many eyes. Mr. Smith was for many years master of this church and prior to his succession was superintendent of Methodist Missions in this province.”

(Source: Daily British Colonist , 20 November 1883, page 3, column 2)

Reverend Robert Hall Smith and his wife, Jessie Burnes Smith (died 4 November 1882) are buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

The gravestone inscription (see below) shows that that Jessie Burnes Smith predeceased Reverend Robert Hall Smith by only a few weeks, a fact that is not mentioned in the obituary above, unless the reference to ” pathetic allusions to the deceased caused tears to flow from many eyes” has something to do with the death of Jessie Burnes Smith a few weeks earlier.

The grave of Reverend Robert Hall Smith and Jessie Burnes Smith, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
The grave of Reverend Robert Hall Smith and Jessie Burnes Smith, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
The grave of Reverend Robert Hall Smith and Jessie Burnes Smith, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
The grave of Reverend Robert Hall Smith and Jessie Burnes Smith, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

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