Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Sewell Prescott Moody

A man of intense vision and energy, Sewell “Sue” Moody (1834-1875) developed to its fullest potential the Burrard Inlet sawmill he bought “practically for a song.” He invested in the newest technology and made a point of bringing “civilization” to his community in the wilderness. Originally a timber cruiser and estimator from the state of Maine, Moody made a point of getting along with ethnically diverse inhabitants while notably forbidding gambling and alcohol. He married Janet Watson in July 1869; she and their two children lived in Victoria. Unfortunately, he died in a shipwreck at about 40 years of age while on a business trip. The steamer Pacific, on its way to San Francisco in 1875, struck another vessel in a violent storm off Cape Flattery and sank. Sewell was not one of the two survivors; oddly, a plank with his signature and the words “all lost” washed up weeks later on a beach near his Victoria home.

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This is a portrait of Sewell Prescott Moody, Moodyville’s namesake. Tall, dark and slim, he was also known locally as the tyee, which means chief.

Moody spent much of his time on the road, travelling up and down the British Columbia coast to order supplies and arrange charters for lumber and spars.

This portrait dates from circa 1870 and was taken by B. F. Howland & Co.

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized Sewell Prescott Moody as a person of national historical significance in 1988.

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