Vancouver Island Masonic History Project

As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, which includes Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments, here is a page on William Martyn Doran, who died in July 1868, aged 45, and is buried in Pioneer Square, Victoria, B.C..

At present, the little information we know of William Martyn Doran’s life comes from the records of Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 and the Victoria newspaper reports of his death and Masonic funeral. He was a sailor; at the time of his death he was mate on the steamer Douglas. He was a member of Nanaimo Lodge, No.1090 G.R.E.. He was Initiated in Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 on 13 September 1867, Passed on 16 October 1867 and Raised on 19 November 1867. On his Petition for Initiation to Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 in 1867 his age is shown as 45 and his occupation as “Boatswain.”

William Doran was buried in Pioneer Square on 8 July 1868 but his tombstone was among those later removed by the City of Victoria in the early 20th century. Due to William Doran’s headstone having been removed, we do not know the actual location of his grave in Pioneer Square.

The headstones removed from Pioneer Square, incuding William Doran’s, are now in the custody of the Old Cemeteries Society.

Here are the reports of William Martyn Doran’s death and funeral, taken from Victoria’s daily newspaper of the day, the British Colonist:

“Died – In this city, on the 7th inst., William Martyn Doran, aged 45 years.

The funeral will take place from the Masonic Hall, This Day, at 3 p.m.”

(Source: British Colonist, 8 July 1868, page 3)

“DROWNED – We regret to announce the death of Wm Martyn Doran, mate of the steamer Douglas. Mr Doran was missed yesterday morning, but as his coat was lying on the deck of the steamer suspicion of his being drowned occurred to his friends, and on the water being dragged the body was found immediately under the Douglas. This steamer, it appears, was lying alongside the Fly at Dickson, Campbell & Co’s wharf; and the suspicion is that the deceased, on passing along the guards of the Fly in order to reach his own vessel, slipped and in the fall was stunned having previously thrown his coat on board the Douglas. The deceased was about 45 years of age, a native of Ireland and a member of the Nanaimo Lodge of Freemasons. An inquest was held yesterday and a verdict of accidental drowning returned.”

(Source: British Colonist, 8 July 1868, page 3)

“MASONIC FUNERAL – The funeral of Mr. Wm Martin Doran, who was unfortunately drowned in our harbor on Monday evening, took place with Masonic rites yesterday. The lodges – Vancouver, Victoria and British Columbia – having opened their new Hall, adjourned to St. Andrew’s Church, where divine service was held, and thence the procession marched to the cemetery, where the usual service was read by the Master J F McCreight and the Chaplain, the Rev. T Somerville.”

(Source: British Colonist, 9 July 1868, page 3)

William Martyn Doran signature, from Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 porch book (courtesy of Ashlar Lodge No. 3)
William Martyn Doran signature, from Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 porch book (courtesy of Ashlar Lodge No. 3)

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