Rt. Wor. Brother William Gidley (1844-1915) was a native of Eggbuckland, Cornwall, England whose family settled in Ontario when he was young. He went into the lumber business in Ontario and continued in the lumber industry after he came to British Columbia circa 1895. He became a Mason in Verulam Lodge, No. 268 in Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

In December 1899, he was one of fourteen Charter members of Temple Lodge, No. 33 in Duncan, B.C. In 1912 he served as Chairman of the Building Committee planning development of the Duncan Masonic Temple.

Duncan Masonic Temple, 1963 Canada Avenue, Duncan, B.C.
William Gidley was on the planning committee for the construction of Duncan Masonic Temple, 163 Canada Avenue, Duncan, B.C.

His son, Stanley William Gidley, was also a member of Temple Lodge, No.33. Stanley Gidley is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.

Here is a brief biography of William Gidley taken from Temple Lodge, No. 33 records and from local newspaper reports of his death and funeral:

“…The Wor. Master stated he was grieved to have to announce the death of Worshipful Brother William Gidley, an Honorary Member of this Lodge who was also a Past Master and a Past District Deputy Grand Master.

Wor. Bro. Gidley died at his residence in Victoria November 26th 1915.

Moved by Wor. Bro. T. Pitt seconded by Bro. MacMillan that the Secretary assisted by the Worshipful Master draft a letter of condolence to the widow of late W. Bro. Gidley. The motion carried…..”

(Source: Temple Lodge No. 33 Minute Book, Emergent Meeting of 30 November 1915)

Here is William Gidley’s 1915 obituary in the local Cowichan Leader newspaper:

“Pioneer Passes
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Mr. William Gidley Dies in Victoria
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Mr. William Gidley, one of the best known pioneer lumbermen on Vancouver Island, passed away on Friday at his residence 1230 Victoria Avenue, Victoria, at the age of 71 years. Death was due to an illness extending over the past six or seven weeks and, as his condition was precarious for several days, his demise was not unexpected.

The late Mr. Gidley was a native of Eggsbuckland [sic], Cornwall, England, where he was born in 1844. At an early age his parents brought him to Canada, where he remained ever since, his family settling in Ontario, where he was brought up in the lumber years industry, with which he always was actively interested.

He spent thirty years in the East before coming to the coast about 1895. He was engaged by the Nossum, Boyd Lumber Company as western manager and subsequently took over the managership of the Cowichan Lumber Company, with which he was connected for many years. He also was in charge of the company’s timber rights at Duncan. He left Duncan for Victoria three years ago and since that time had lived there in comparative retirement.

As a Mason he was well known, as he acted as D.D.G.M. of No. [illegible in original] District, A.F. & A.M., a few years ago. He was a past master of Temple Lodge, Duncan, [note: William Gidley was a Past Master of Verulam Lodge, No. 268 in Ontario. He was a Charter Member of Temple Lodge, No.33 and served as Lodge Treasurer in 1899/1900 but he never served as Worshipful Master of Temple Lodge, No.33] and was a representative for the Grand Lodge of North Carolina in this district.

He was a man of both industry and energy and these qualities helped him to gain the position which he held in commercial life, while his sterling personal character won for him a host of friends in Cowichan and on the Island.

He is survived by a widow, four daughters and two sons. The daughters are: Mrs. R.H. Smiley, of Chemainus; Mrs. G.A. Harris, of Duncan; and Miss Blanche Gidley, of Duncan. His sons are Mr. S.W. Gidley, who left with the 48th Battalion, and is now with the Eaton Machine Gun Brigade, and Mr. J.C. Gidley, of Duncan.

The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon in Victoria, the services being performed by members of the Masonic Lodge. Many Cowichan friends were then present.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

William Gidley is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

William Gidley grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
William Gidley grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Inscription on William Gidley grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Inscription on William Gidley grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

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