Rosalind Watson and Henry Esson Young. Part 2: Families, Schools, Professions, Marriage, Children

Henry’s early years

As to how Alexander Young and Ellen McBain met, it may be significant that his congregation, English River (now Riverfield), was about eight kilometres from her Davidson relatives in Russeltown (now St-Chrysostome).

Riverfield and St.-Chrysostome. Courtesy Riverfield Cemetery Records website.

In any event, on February 24, 1858, “the Reverend Alexander Young, bachelor, Saint Thomas, County of Elgin, Canada West,” married Ellen McBain of “River La Guerre, Parish of Saint Anicet, County of Huntingdon, Canada East.”*

* Huntingdon. Registres, Photographies au Greffe de Valleyfield.  Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967. ¶ St. Thomas is near Lake Erie. Why was Rev. Young there?

As for the children of Rev. and Mrs. Young, the available records are puzzling. The 1861 census for Châteauguay, Canada East lists:

Alexander Young, Minister, born Scotland, married 1858, religion E. L.,* age 38
Helene McBain, born L. C., married 1858, religion E.L., age 31
Alexander Young, 10
James Young, 6
John Young, 8
Jane Young, 12

* E. L. probably stands for Église Libre, meaning the Free Church of Scotland, established during the Disruption of 1843. ¶ “[A] similar Disruption took place at the meeting of the synod in Canada, in July, 1844. At this time there were ninety-one ministers on the roll of the synod, of whom sixty-eight retained connection with the Established Church of Scotland, while twenty-three, who sympathised with the Free Church, formed a separate synod, which assumed the name of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, but which was usually called the Free Church. In 1861, when the ministers of the Synod of the (Free) Presbyterian Church had increased to one hundred and fifty-eight, besides five ministers without charge and nine probationers, a union was formed between it and the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church in Canada, the united body assuming the name of the Canada Presbyterian Church.” (History of the Presbyterian Church in the Dominion of Canada by William Gregg, D.D. Toronto: Presbyterian Printing and Publishing Company, 1885, p. 494.)

The accompanying enumeration tallies four male and two female residents and a 19-year-old servant. Attending school were two males and one female. A male was born in the household in 1860, and a female died in 1860, of “inflammation of lung.” The family lived in a log house.*

* 1861 Census of Canada East, enumeration district 6, County of Châteauguay, p. 323.

How there came to be four Young children born before 1858 is unknown. Since their marriage record (above) identifies Alexander as a bachelor, it’s unlikely the children were his from a previous marriage. Could they be the orphaned children of relatives? Adopted? The male birth and the female who died in 1860 do not seem to be identified elsewhere. The 1861 census did not record family relationships, nor did the 1871 census.

Henry Esson was born on February 24, 1862.(1) This date and year are at variance with Henry’s own reports; he gave various ages and dates of birth at different times(2) — for which a possible motive is offered in this article.

1. Registration of Death, Victoria, #1939-09-562475. The only birth record that came to light is an index card with the notation “Young Henry E (of Rev Alex) 1862 English River Presb” [Ville de Valleyfield (Index). Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967.] A typewritten note in the BC Archives’ microfilmed clippings file (reel 164 at 549) verifies the date of birth via the report of his daughter Mary in 1965, who discovered his birth certificate among his papers. ¶ 2. In the 1901 census, for example, when he was 38, he gave his age as 41; on his 1904 registration of marriage, when he was 41, he gave his age as 37; in the census of 1911, when he was 48, he gave his age as 42; Howay & Scholefield’s 1914 biographic sketch put his year of birth 1867.

The question arises whence Henry acquired the middle name Esson. It doesn’t appear in any of his lines. An answer may be hidden in his father’s education in Toronto. Rev. Henry Esson was one of the founding lights of Knox College, the “theological college of the Free [Presbyterian] Church in Canada,”* in Toronto. I found no other evidence that puts Alexander Young in Canada in the 1840s, but his son’s name is unusual enough to suggest a connection with Rev. Esson.

* “Theology and education in early Victorian Canada: Knox College, Toronto, 1844-61,” by Richard W. Vaudry, Studies in Religion, Vol. 16, no. 4, Fall 1987, pp. 431 (

A native of Aberdeen, Esson immigrated to Montreal in 1817 as a minister in the Church of Scotland and took a position with the newly-founded Scotch Presbyterian Church. He worked without success to get the young church on the same privileged footing as the Church of England and to establish an official link with the church in the old country. He had much to do with the establishment of schools in Montreal. He became moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada in 1842, which had forged a link with the Church of Scotland. When the old church was riven with doctrinal dispute the following year, Esson sided with the secessionists. In 1844 he moved to Toronto to take a teaching job at the newly-established Free Church seminary that became Knox College. His home doubled as the college for a time and was reportedly a hotbed of learning. Perhaps Alexander Young knew him then. Esson died in 1853, and the principal of Knox College praised his “noble simplicity and ingenuousness of his temper and manners, united with an ardour of spirit which he carried into his professional pursuits.”*

* Quoted in the article on Henry Esson by Elizabeth Ann Kerr McDougall in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume VIII. See also “Henry Esson: Portrait of a Pastor” at [weblog]; “Politics at Presbyterians’ mother church got ugly,” by John Kalbfleisch, The [Montreal] Gazette, November 24, 2002 (retrieved from

For Henry’s brother Frederick McBain there is a complete birth record:

Frederick McBain son of the Revd Alexander Young Minister of the Canada Presbyterian Church of English River county of Chateauguay Canada East and of Ellen McBain his wife was born on the 30th day of October in the Year of Our Lord [1863] and was baptized on the 25th day of December of the same year by the Revd James Watson Minister of the Canada Presbyterian Church at Huntingdon C.E. officiating on the occasion.*

* 1863 English River and Howick Presbyterian Church. Registres, Photographies au Greffe de Valleyfield.  Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967

It is interesting to note the Young family’s early connection with Rev. James Watson — Rosalind’s father.

Here is the 1871 census return:

Young Alexander, 47, b Scotland, Presbyterian, Clergyman
“    , Ellen, 42, b Quebec
“    , John, 10
“    , Henry, 8
“    , Fred K, 6
“    , James, 17 [occupation illegible]
“    , Jane, 21

Jane, James and John, still in the household (although John’s age doesn’t tally with the 1861 census), are joined by Henry and Fred. A marginal notation reads 378 St Antoine, an address in Montreal consistent with the location of district 106B.*

* 1871 Census of Canada, District 106 Montreal W, Subdistrict B, Division 5, p. 92. Library and Archives Canada.

By the time of the 1881 census, the family was in the town of Napanee, Ontario, a few kilometres west of Kingston:

Young Alexander, 56, b Scotland, Presb minister
“    , Ellen, 54, b Q
“    , Henry, 19, b Q, student
“    , Frederick, 17, b Q*

* 1881 Census of Canada, District 117 Lennox [Ontario], Subdistrict E Town of Napanee, p 110. Library and Archives Canada.

And in 1891 the parents, minus the grown children, were in the same town.*

* 1891 Census of Canada, [District 87 Lennox, Subdistrict Napanee], p. 53.

Henry Esson Young’s education, training and early career are detailed in several sources.

“… attended … Queen’s University, from which he was graduated B.A., in 1883.(1)

“ Graduating from Queen’s College in arts about the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was being built at Lake Superior, Dr. Young, as a medical student on holiday, spent a short time there railroading.(2)

“… McGill University, where he was graduated with honors in 1888, winning his M.D., C.M. degrees …(3)

“In the summer session of 1887 he studied in Sir William Osler’s Clinics and practice ___ [illeg] in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital …(4)

“… was house man to Sir William Osler, University of Pennsylvania …(5)

“He took post-graduate work in the University of Pennsylvania, followed by eighteen months post-graduate work in England.(6)

“… was 18 months at London and Guy’s hospitals, London …(7)

“A short time after his return to Canada he decided to go to Chicago and St. Louis, where he studied eye, ear, nose and throat work.(8)

“Dr. Young located for practice in St. Louis, Missouri.”(9)

1. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch. ¶ 2. Obituary from the Canadian Medical Journal, December 1939. ¶ 3. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch. “M.D., C.M.” means Doctorem Medicinae et Chirurgiae Magistrum, which translates, “Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery” (Wikipedia). Young’s obituary in the Vancouver Sun, October 24, 1939 stated additionally that “At McGill he took honors in natural sciences and was awarded the Logan Medal for proficiency in geology, be admitted later as an associate member of the Mining and Metallurgical Institute of England. He was also a member of the Canadian Mining Institute.” ( Those details are surely from Rosalind Watson Young’s CV. ¶ 4. “Dr Henry Esson Young (1867-1939)” Handwritten 13 page biography in BC Archives microfilm clippings file, reel 164, marker 543. ¶ 5. “Henry Esson Young” in Fifty-first Annual Meeting of the Conference of State and Provincial Health Authorities of North America, Vancouver June 22-3, 1936. In BC Archives microfilm clippings file, reel 164. ¶ 6. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch. ¶ 7. “Henry Esson Young,” Fifty-first Annual Meeting … op. cit. The Royal London Hospital was established in 1740 as the London Infirmary, renamed the London Hospital in 1748; located on Whitechapel Road in the east end since 1852; Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man) lived there 1886-90 ( Guy’s Hospital opened in 1725 in Southwark Borough to minister to the incurably ill (; today the famous teaching hospital occupies a complex of 19 buildings; the poet John Keats trained as a surgeon there 1815-16 ( ¶ 8. Vancouver Sun, October 24, 1939. ¶  9. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch.

The genealogical record reveals a second narrative about the period in England, which casts a shadow over his subsequent relocations.

29th September 1890

Appeared personally Henry Esson Young …. And prayed a licence for the solemnization of matrimony between him and Kate Linda Isaacs … age Twenty one years and upwards …*

* London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921.

Regarding the use of marriage bonds and allegations, a recent article explains:

There have always been some people who want to marry in a hurry or in private. The church allowed them to avoid the delay and publicity of calling banns on three successive Sundays by providing, for a fee, a marriage license…

Couples in a hurry or requiring privacy might include those where … The bride was pregnant [and/or] … The parties differed in religion [and/or] … The parties were of full age but still faced family opposition to their marriage… *

* “Marriage Allegations, Bonds and Licences in England and Wales.” Adapted from Anthony Camp’s article ‘The history and value of genealogical records: marriage by license’ in Practical Family History (UK), no. 53 (May 2002) pages 34-36.,_Bonds_and_Licences_in_England_and_Wales

Three days after Young signed the allegation and paid the 2s. 6d. fee, the couple were married.

Marriage solemnized in the Parish Church in the Parish of St George Bloomsbury in the County of London
#142, Second October 1890
Henry Esson Young, 28, Bachelor, Physician, 39 Bedford Place, son of Alexander Young, Clerk in Holy Orders
Kate Linda Isaacs, 24, Spinster, —-, 39 Bedford Place, daughter of Abraham Isaacs, Broker.*

* London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921. Bedford Place is near the British Museum in the Bloomsbury district.

Next we find this:

Baptisms solemnized in the Parish of Saint George, Bloomsbury in the county of London, in the Year 1891
Abraham Harry
Born May 1 and baptized December 15, 1891
To Harry Esson + Kate Linda Young
39 Bedford Place

* London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906.

The child’s birth exactly seven months after the wedding suggests that Kate Linda Isaacs was two months pregnant when married. She and Henry shared the same address — did the marriage proceed without the consent of her family? The bride’s younger sister Lillian witnessed the marriage registration.

About his career in the United States, a naturalization index for Cook County, Illinois has a record for Henry Esson Young dated March 21, 1892. The date fits the later account that he spent 18 months in London. He was living at 338 Ohio Street, presumably in Chicago; gave as his country of birth Great Britain and Ireland; did not give a date of birth or port of entry to the United States. A notation showed an appearance in the New York county court of common pleas on May 25, 1887, for “D.I.”*  Nothing else comes to light about the period 1892-1901.

* U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992.

In the 1901 census of England we find Kate Young, a widow, age 33, and her son Abraham, age 9, living with Abraham Isaacs, widower, age 71, a Naturalist by profession, at 16 Kilburn Priory, Hampstead, London.*

* 1901 Census of England, County of London, Borough of Hampstead, Priory Ward, p. 44. ¶ Abraham Isaacs, Henry’s father-in-law, died in 1906. The probate index names Kate Linda as Henry’s wife, not as widow: “Isaacs[,] Abraham Levy of 156 Alexandra-road St. John’s Wood and of 2 West-street Upper St. Martin’s Lane both in Middlesex died 1 February 1906 at 156 Alexandra-road Probate London 26 March to Joseph Benjamin Isaacs wine-merchant’s-manager and Kate Linda Ruth Young (wife of Harry Young) Effects £33924 12s. 11d. Resworn £32954 12s. 11d.” England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966. (£33,000 would be worth about £3.4 million today, according to

In the 1911 Census of England, Kate Young, 43, widow, and her son Abraham Harry, 19, were living at 166 Alexandra Road, Hampstead, with her two sisters, two cousins, and two servants. She was of “private means;” he was a shop assistant in the hosiery business. As if to underscore the fiction of her widowed state, the columns for married women to complete were filled in and then crossed out. Where asked for “completed years the present marriage has lasted,” the enumerator wrote 2 — starting to write 20? — then crossed it out. Another enumerating “Children born alive to present Marriage” specified 1. The whole section has a red line through it.*

* Census of England and Wales, 1911. Schedule 13, 166 Alexandra Road, Hampstead NW.

One can only imagine what transpired in the wake of Henry’s first marriage. Did he vanish in the night? Did he hide out in the U.S.A.? Did he settle in remotest northwest British Columbia to reinvent himself? On his 1904 marriage registration, he denoted himself a bachelor. Was he in fact a bigamist? It seems unlikely he and his first wife contrived to use widowhood as a face-saving fiction. Why would he be so devious about his age if not to cover his tracks? In which case how did Kate Young come to declare herself a widow? Was there some legal recourse that established desertion as grounds for widowhood? In English common law the principle is well-established that:

if it is proved that for a period of not less than seven years no news of a person has been received by those who would naturally hear of him if he were alive, and that such inquiries and searches as the circumstances naturally suggest have been made, there arises a legal presumption that he is dead.*

* “Foreign Presumptions and Declarations of Death and English Private International Law” by W. Breslauer, Modern Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 2, April 1947, p. 124, quoting Halsbury’s Laws of England.

It’s not clear from available literature whether an abscondee would be included in such presumptions and thus does not bear the onus of proving the death of the spouse.

With what trepidation did Henry answer the words of the second marriage ceremony? In the language of the current civil procedure in British Columbia:

I charge and require of you both in the presence of these witnesses, that if either of you know of any legal impediment to this marriage, you do now reveal the same.*

* “The Marriage Ceremony,”‎ Both bride and groom are now required to repeat the statement, “I solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I, ___, may not be joined in matrimony to ___.”

Did Henry tell his second wife that he was already married? I don’t think so. If he told anyone, chances are it would have been his boss, Richard McBride.

About Kate Young’s later life, nothing appears. A death was registered in the final quarter of 1931 for Kate L. Young, age 68, in Camberwell, South London.(1) Abraham Harry E. Young died in Brighton, Sussex in 1974.(2)

1. England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2007. ¶ 2. Ditto.

Meanwhile, Henry’s natal family moved to British Columbia, beginning with his brother Frederick in 1892.(1) Frederick settled in Nanaimo, opened a law practice and married Mary Glaholm. His ageing parents moved to Nanaimo by 1895, living probably under the same roof as Fred and his family.(2) Rev. Alexander founded a Presbyterian ministry in Wellington, the coal-mining centre north of Nanaimo; he died in September 1899.(3) Ellen died in Victoria in 1910 at the age of 87.(4)

1. A History: British Columbia. R. E. Gosnell, 1906. pp. 638-39. ¶ 2. Williams’ Official BC Directory, 1895. ¶ 3. “The Late Rev. Alex. Young. Sketch of the Long and Useful Career of the ‘Father of Victoria Presbytery.’” The Daily Colonist, September 15, 1899, p. 5. ¶ 4.  B.C. Registration of Death No. 1910-09-023870.

Fred relocated to Atlin in 1899, where he practiced law,(1) probably on a seasonal basis. In 1905 he was appointed Atlin district’s first permanent judge.(2)

1. Henderson’s BC Gazetteer and Directory, 1899-1900. ¶ 2. “Atlin, 1898-1910,” by W. W. Bilsland, British Columbia Historical Quarterly XVI: 3 & 4, July-October 1952, p. 160.

Why Atlin?

Gold had been discovered in various portions of Alaska and the Yukon prior to 1897, but it was in 1897-98 that strikes rich enough to attract large numbers of miners were made. Then it was that the hordes of gold-seekers began to pour into the Yukon and Alaska, and, along the route, to penetrate any area likely to have gold-bearing creeks. Many of these wanderers, after travelling to within short distances of their goal, were lured aside into discoveries easier to reach than the Yukon. The gold-rush to the Atlin Lake country in 1898 was one of the richest off-shoots of the rush to the Klondike.(1)

By 1899 Atlin had a population estimated at 5,000.(2)

Richard McBride, then a lawyer, soon to form British Columbia’s first Conservative government, spent the summer of 1899 in Atlin representing the original claim-stakers before a commission of inquiry convened to settle disputes among the multitude of prospectors.(3)

1. Bilsland, op. cit., p. 123. ¶ 2. Ditto, p. 161. ¶ 3. Ditto, p. 132.

Henry may have moved there in 1899; most sources say 1901.(1) “Harry” Young re-enters the public record in the 1901 census, living in Atlin. He gave his birth date as September 19, 1859, his age as 41, his birthplace Quebec, his origin English, religion Church of England, profession M[edical] Doctor.(2)

1. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch. Bisland, p.178, puts Henry in Atlin in 1899, “to try mining.” The article acknowledges the assistance of Mrs. Henry Esson Young. ¶ 2. 1901 Census of Canada, District 1 Burrard, Subdistrict A, Polling Subdivision 2 Atlin & Bennett, p. 7.

Rosalind’s early years

Portraits of Rev. James Watson, D.D. and Mrs. Watson taken by Montreal photographer William Notman in 1862 show the man standing erect, alert, determined — a cock o’ the walk. His wife sits, looking unwell or unhappy, her mouth turned down. These may well be Rosalind’s parents; they appear to be in their thirties; they appear to be the only ones of that name in the Montreal area at that time.

Rev. James Watson, Montreal, Quebec, 1862. Photograph by William Notman (1826-1891). McCord Museum, Montreal. Image No. I-4396.1
Mrs. James Watson, Montreal, Quebec, 1862. Photograph by William Notman (1826-1891). McCord Museum collection. Image No. I-4397.1.

It is apparent from the 1861, 1871 and 1881 censuses of Canada that James and Margaret had six children, one boy and five girls. It was Mary, the third-born who married Robert Sellar. Rosalind, born in 1874, was the youngest. The Watsons lived always in Huntingdon Village. In February 1893 Rev. Watson was thrown from his horse, and he died three days later.(1) His wife lived on for nearly twenty-six years, mostly in the Sellar home.(2) At some point she visited her daughter in Victoria.(3)

1. Voice of the Vanishing Minority: Robert Sellar and the Huntington Gleaner 1863-1919 by Robert Hill (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998), p. 201. 1893 Huntingdon Registres, Photographies au Greffe de Valleyfield. Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, Church of England.  Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967. ¶  2. 1901 Census of Canada, District of Huntingdon, Village of Huntingdon, p. 2; Gleaner Extracts 1919, ¶ 3. “She Became Victoria Teacher,” by Frances Ebbs-Canavan, Colonist, September 14, 1958, Islander? p 3, in BCA microfilm clippings file.

Rosalind matriculated from Huntingdon Academy with a scholarship to McGill University, where she enrolled in the special undergraduate course for women under the Donalda Endowment in 1891.(1) She graduated B.A. with honours in 1895, earning the Logan Gold Medal in Natural Science.(2) She then took a teaching diploma at the McGill Normal School.

1. Annual Calendar of McGill College and University, Montreal. Session 1892-93. Montreal: John Lovell & Son, 1892. ¶ 2. Howay and Scholefield (1914), biographical sketch.

By July 1896 she had moved to Victoria and taken a teaching position at the Girls’ Central [Intermediate] School(1) — “the first woman with a university degree to receive an appointment from the School Board.”(2) She taught at Victoria High School from 1898 to 1904. Frederick Wood, in a taped interview in 1975, said she was the best teacher at the high school.(3)

1. “School Trustees Make Some Changes in the Teaching Staff of the Public Schools,” Colonist, July 31, 1896, p 8. ¶  2. “Rosalind W. Young Scholarship,” Faculty of Education, University of Victoria. Accessed December 11, 2012. ¶  3. Victoria High School project, Provincial Archives of British Columbia interview collection, 1974-1987. Recorded in Vancouver, B.C., July 30, 1975. Call Number T1643:0001.

Meanwhile, she had enrolled in the master’s program in Geology at McGill University. She earned an M.A. in 1901. Her thesis was “The Geology and Mineral Resources of Texada Island.”*

* “Rosalind W. Young Scholarship.”

The same year she published an article, “The copper deposits of White Horse, N.W. territory” in an American trade journal.(1) Some of the article provided detailed information about the Atlin district, suggesting that Rosalind had visited Atlin. Perhaps she met Henry that summer. There isn’t much concrete evidence of Rosalind Watson’s travels during this period. She and a friend made a trip to Cape Scott and back on the S.S. Queen City in the summer of 1903.(2) Otherwise, one falls back on the truism that geology is a field science.

(1) Mining and Metallurgy, v. 24, no. 20, October 15, 1901, p. 577-580. B.C. Archives Library, Call No. NWp 972.18 Y75c. ¶ 2. “For West Coast. Queen City Sails with a Full Complement of Passengers,” The Daily Colonist, July 21, 1903; “From West Coast…,” July 28, p. 3.

In 1903 Victoria College affiliated with McGill University and, as an adjunct to the high school, began offering first and second year college courses. Rosalind was appointed to teach English to the first class of the college.*

* “Our Past: Rosalind Watson Young started club to help female students in university.” Times-Colonist, September 21, 2008. ¶ The circumstances of Victoria College’s establishment as an adjunct of Victoria High School are not clear from available sources. In or about 1896, Corrig College, a day and boarding school for boys near Beacon Hill Park, took the name Victoria College (The Daily Colonist, September 1, 1896, p. 3) and reverted to its original name sometime in 1903 (See Henderson’s BC Gazetteer and Directory, 1903 and 1904,

At the end of January 1904, Rosalind gave notice of her resignation from teaching.

Last evening at the meeting of the board of school trustees the resignation of Miss Rosalind Watson, the accomplished and very popular member of the Victoria High school teaching staff, called forth many expressions of regret at the loss which the Victoria schools would suffer in her departure from their activities. It is understood, however, that Miss Watson is to be congratulated upon the reason for her exit from scholastic duties at the end of February which is that the will shortly after that date be wedded to Dr. Young, M. P. P., for Atlin district. …*

* “Interesting Announcement,” The Daily Colonist, January 30, 1904, p. 5.

Marriage and family

Richard McBride doubtless provided the inducement for Henry’s entry into politics in the provincial election of 1903 that swept McBride into power.

Henry Esson Young was elected M.L.A.* for Atlin district on October 3, 1903, and the Legislative Assembly convened on November 26 for the swearing-in of McBride’s Conservative government.

* M.L.A.= Member of the Legislative Assembly; sometimes referred to in the press of the day as M.P.P. = Member of the Provincial Parliament.

Whether Henry wooed Rosalind (or vice versa) in Victoria or previously in Atlin, they were soon married — on March 15, 1904, in a secular way, at Premier McBride’s home:

Nuptials of Dr. Young, M.P.P., and Miss Rosalind Watson, M.A.

The home of the Premier was the scene last evening of the wedding of Atlin’s popular member of the local legislature, Dr. Young, to one of Victoria’s brightest daughters, Miss Rosalind Watson. The bride is well and favorably known to a great many Western Canadians, not only as an educationist but also as a prominent contributor to some of our most influential mining publications.

Miss Watson’s work as a geologist is unique in the history of our province inasmuch as her many and valuable articles on different mining camps have been invariably counted upon as great advertisements of British Columbia’s mineral wealth as well as material additions to Canada’s store of geological knowledge. The bride is the only lady member of the British Institute of Mining Engineers. Her popularity in the Capital City was only too well evidenced by the number of valuable presents which she received, conspicuous among them being a handsome silver service from her pupils of the local high school.

Dr. Young is one of Atlin’s most ardent champions, and, apart from his excellent standing as a medical man, is looked upon as one well qualified to represent the important mining interests of the far north. The happy couple were given a hearty “send off,” and left for the Sound and Portland by the evening steamer. The Hon. Mr. Green and Dr. and Mrs. Hart were among those present during the interesting ceremony.*

 * The Daily Colonist, March 16, 1904, p. 3.

When Henry was a newly-minted M.L.A., they lived in Atlin for a time, according to photo evidence.

Dr. Henry Esson Young with his dog Bessie in Atlin. Photographer unknown, 1905. BC Archives Call No. D-01619. Courtesy Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation.
Mrs. Henry Esson Young and a friend at Atlin. Photographer unknown, 1904. BC Archives Call No. D-01611. Courtesy Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation.

Henry’s star rose on February 27, 1907, when he was sworn into McBride’s cabinet as provincial secretary and minister of education. (His political career and after are detailed in Part 3.) They moved into a house at 617 Michigan Street.(1) In 1911 Henry and Rosalind contracted with architect Henry Sandham Griffith to design a house for a large property at 1208 Oliver Street.(2) The large stuccoed house was equipped with central vacuum-cleaner equipment and a room-to-room intercom that whistled when you blew into the mouthpiece.(3) The family lived there at least until Rosalind’s death in 1962.

1. City of Victoria and Suburban Directory 1908. ¶ 2. Stark, Oak Bay’s Heritage Buildings, p. 104. Griffith, a Winnipeg architect, designed several prestigious Victoria homes; see Hallmark Society Archives at Not in this listing is the house Griffith designed — according to the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada ( for Hon. Thomas W. Paterson, the retired Lieutenant-Governor of B.C., at the foot of Rutland Road in Oak Bay, in 1914. Griffith designed and built his own residence on Cook Street; named Fort Garry, it’s better known to Victorians as Spencer Castle. ¶  3. James Heal, personal communication. About the room-to-room intercom, wikipedia glosses the term “blower,” slang for telephone (esp in the UK). On ships of the Royal Navy, in use earlier than telephones, was the voice pipe. “The pipe had a whistle inserted at each end. When a message was to be passed, the caller would remove the whistle at his end, place his mouth into the cavity, sealing it. He would then blow hard. The whistle at the other end would attract the man on watch. He would remove his whistle and call into the pipe…”

Their four children: *

* A child named Esson McBride Young was stillborn. Rosalind Watson Young (1874-1962) at Find A Grave Memorial; and listed under “Young, Dr. H. E.” on the Ross Bay Cemetery Search at The grave marker and listing both bear the date January 24, 1908.

Margaret Fyvie, born on September 24, 1909;(1) earned a B.A.Sc. in Nursing at Vancouver General Hospital and U.B.C. and became a public health nurse; earned an M.A. in Education at Columbia University; instructor in Public Health Nursing at U.B.C.;(2) married Harold Harcourt Heal, M.D., and they had children;(3) died on September 8, 1986, in Oliver.(4)

1. B.C. Death Registration for Fyvie Heal #1986-09-014246. ¶ 2. Fyvie (Young) Heal (BASc(N) ’31) at ¶ 3. James Heal, Oliver, B.C., personal communication, 2013. ¶ 4. Death Reg.

Fyvie graduated from The Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing and from UBC in 1931 … In 1933 Fyvie was a public health nurse at the Cowichan Health Unit on Vancouver Island and a year later was promoted to supervisor. She was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation and attended Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she received a Master of Arts Degree. Following graduation, she was appointed secretary of the Division on Maternal and Child Hygiene by the Board of Governors, Canadian Welfare Council. In 1937, she returned to UBC where she joined Director of the School Mabel Gray and faculty member Margaret Kerr to teach the course Practice of Public Health Nursing. The school had received a three-year Rockefeller Foundation grant which enabled the hiring of a well-qualified supervisor to visit all the field work agencies to assist them in planning student field work. Fyvie remained on faculty until 1940.*

* On the UBC School of Nursing Alumni Stories page,

Henry Esson, born on December 14 1910;(1) B.A. at U.B.C.; married Peggy Cornish, a writer and photographer, on January 22, 1935 in Vancouver,(2) and they had children; lieutenant-commander, R.C.N., active duty in North Atlantic during World War II; established Barkley Sound Transport (1946) and Nootka Sound Services (1960), providing cargo and passenger service on the west coast of Vancouver Island;(3) died on November 22, 1977 in Campbell River.(4)

1. The Daily Colonist, December 15, 1910. On Index to Historical Victoria Newspapers at viHistory. ¶ 2.  B.C. Marriage Registration #1935-09-422226. ¶  3. “Uchuck’s Skipper Remembered Fondly by Crew,” by Jack Fossum, The Daily Colonist, November 1977 in BCA microfilm clippings. ¶ 4. Death Registration, Henry Esson Young, #1977-09-016988.

Rosalind, born on August 13, 1913;(1) married Alfred Watts (later Hamilton-Watts), a lawyer, on October 17, 1936 in Victoria,(2) and they had children; died on March 17, 1969 in West Vancouver.(3)

1. The Daily Colonist, August 13, 1913. On Index to Historical Victoria Newspapers at viHistory. ¶ 2. B.C. Marriage Registration # 1936-09-440065. ¶ 3. B.C. Death Registration #1969-09-004629.

Mary W[atson], born April 4, 1916;(1) obtained degree at U.B.C.(2) returned to the family home; worked as a medical secretary;(3) married William C[laude] Higgins, a civil servant;(4) they lived at 1208 Oliver Street in 1957(5) and 1962,(6) and at 3015 Eastdowne Road in 1967;(7) did not have children.(8)

1. The Daily Colonist, April 6, 1916. On Index to Historical Victoria Newspapers at viHistory. ¶ 2. “‘The Cook She’s Name Was Rosie’ But She Became Victoria Teacher,” by Francis Ebbs-Canavan, The Daily Colonist, Sunday, Sept 14, 1958, [Islander?] p. 3.  ¶ 3. Victoria City and Vancouver Island Directory 1952, p. 372. ¶ 4. 1957 voters’ list. Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980. R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B). Library and Archives Canada. ¶ 5. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980. ¶ 6. Rosalind Watson Young death registration. ¶ 7. 1967 city directory, BC Archives microfilm. ¶ 8. James Heal personal communication

As far as can be determined, no descendants of Henry and Rosalind are living in Oak Bay. It seems clear that the family home was sold sometime after Rosalind Young’s death in 1962. For many years after, 1208 Oliver was the family home of John and Florence Di Castri.

To come: Part 3: Henry’s political career; Part 4: Henry’s public health career.

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Beyond the Tweed Curtain