Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Hugh Nelson, Partner of Sewell Moody

After Sewell Prescott Moody’s untimely death in 1875, his associates kept his ambitious plans for the mill and company town alive. They included some of the young province’s most prominent entrepreneurs, including Hugh Nelson (1830-93), who managed the business for seven years before entering politics. He became a member of Parliament for New Westminster, was appointed to the Senate in 1879 by the Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-91), and was named lieutenant-governor of British Columbia in 1887. He unsuccessfully lobbied the government to make Moodyville the Canadian National Railway’s western terminus. Nelson’s legacy in Moodyville included electric lights to allow evening ship loading. Since they were the first streetlights on the West Coast of Canada, the mayor and entire city council of Victoria attended the inaugural illumination.

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A portrait of Hugh Nelson, Sewell Moody’s business partner (along with George Dietz), who took over as mill manager after Moody’s death.

Originally from Ireland, Nelson had started out as a pioneer merchant with George Dietz in Hope and Yale, BC.

Hugh Nelson managed the Moodyville mill from Moody’s death in 1875 until 1882, at which point he sold his interest in the business.

Before Moody’s death, Nelson acted as company secretary, looking after dealings with the government, while Dietz took care of operations and supply at the inlet and on the mainland.

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