As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project and our series on Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments, here is a page about Most Worshipful Brother Simeon Duck (1834-1905) who served as Grand Master of B.C. in 1875-76. Simeon Duck is buried In Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

Simeon Duck (1834-1905), Past Grand Master of B.C., 1874-75
Simeon Duck (1834-1905), Past Grand Master of B.C., 1874-75

Most Worshipful Brother Simeon Duck was born in St. Catherines, Ontario and came to Victoria in 1854 where he established a carriage building business. He became a Mason in Vancouver Lodge, No.421, R.S. in 1864 and served as Grand Master of B.C. in 1875-76.

His influence can still be seen in Victoria. He built the Duck Building on Broad Street in downtown Victoria; as provincial Minister of Finance he secured for Victoria the James Bay flats (where the Empress Hotel now stands) and was instrumental in the creation of Mount Doug Park.

Here is a brief biography of Simeon Duck, Past Grand Master, taken from contemporary newspaper accounts of his death and funeral:

“DIED

DUCK – At the family residence, No 47 Herald street [note-the Duck residence on Herald Street is no longer extant], on the 5th inst., Simeon Duck, aged 70 years, and a native of St. Catherines, Ont.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday, at 2.30 p.m., from the above residence. Friends will please accept this intimation.”

(Source: Victoria Daily Colonist, 7 February 1905, page 7, column 1)

“Once again – and it has of late been outstretched with deplorable frequency – has the hand of death been placed in the ranks of the rapidly diminishing band of pioneers of the province, taking therefrom one of its best known and most highly esteemed members, Simeon Duck, one of the oldest residents of Victoria and prominent in the life of the earliest history of the city.

Deceased has been failing for months and his death, therefore, was not altogether unexpected. The funeral has been arranged to take place tomorrow afternoon at 2.30 o’clock from the family residence, Herald street.

The late Simeon Duck was a native of St. Catherines, Ont., being born there on December 31, 1834. He was of good English ancestry. His parents, William and Mary (Jackson), both were born in England, and in 1833 emigrated to New York. Simeon was the only member of the family who came to British Columbia, having arrived on the 21st day of July, 1854, via the Isthmus of Panama. He went up the Fraser river and tried his luck at mining, first at Hope and then at Yale. He returned to Victoria in a few months and began work in his trade, that of carriage maker. In order to make lumber for the first wagon, he cut oak trees and whipsawed them, and from this material the best wheeled vehicle made in Victoria was manufactured. His business rapidly expanded into a general blacksmith, carriage and wagon shop, which he carried on successfully for twenty years.

In politics he had always been a Conservative and he took an active interest in the confederation movement, and was elected a member of the first local legislature. At the next general election he was defeated, but in 1882 he was again returned, as an independent, and was very active in the legislative enactments of that time. He held the office of minister of finance in the Smythe cabinet, when he obtained for Victoria the James Bay flats and a transfer of the Mount Douglas reserve for park purposes. In October 1865 Mr. Duck received the sublime degree of master Mason, and for years was an active member of the craft. He was also connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen for the past twenty years.

On May 11, 1865, Mr. Duck was married to Mrs. Sarah Miller, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Mr. Peter Haught. Mr. and Mrs. Duck had one son, William, who is a member of the firm Duck & Johnson, real estate and insurance agents.”

(Source: Victoria Daily Colonist, 7 February 1905, page 8, column 1)

“The funeral of the late Simeon Duck took place yesterday afternoon from the family residence, Herald street. There was a large attendance and many beautiful floral emblems presented. The service was conducted by the officers of the A.O.U.W., both at the house and graveside. The following acted as pallbearers: Messrs. E.B. Marvin, D.W. Corbin, John Meston, O. Hastings, G. Cavin and G. Crookshank.”

(Source: Daily Colonist, 9 February 1905, page 5, column 4)

Simeon Duck, Past Grand Master, is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

Simeon Duck grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Simeon Duck grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

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