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British Industrial History

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Joseph William Trutch

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Sir Joseph William Trutch (1826-1904)

1904 Obituary [1]

SIR JOSEPH WILLLAM TRUTCH, K.C.M.G., died at Hartrow Manor, Taunton, Somerset, after a long illness, on the 2nd March, 1904.

The elder surviving son of the late Mr. William Trutch, of Ashcot, Somerset, a solicitor, he was born at Bath on the 18th January, 1826, and was educated at Mount Radford College, Exeter.

Soon after leaving school he became a pupil of Sir John Rennie, under whom he was engaged on railway and other work.

In 1849 he accepted an engagement to proceed to San Francisco, California, to erect some iron warehouses, on the completion of which he went in the following summer to the then Territory, now State, of Oregon, where he was occupied on surveying work for the American Government.

When gold was discovered in British Columbia, he moved to that colony, and engaged in surveying work, and later in road construction contracts, especially on the wagon road to Cariboo through the canon of the Fraser River, across which lie constructed the Alexandra wire suspension bridge.

In 1864 he was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor-General and a member of the Executive Council in British Columbia, at that time a Crown Colony.

In 1870 he was one of the delegates appointed to confer with the Government of Canada as to the terms on which British Columbia should be admitted into the Dominion.

On the admission of the colony to the Canadian Confederation he was appointed by the Dominion Government in July, 1871, Lieutenant-Governor of the new province, and during his governorship a great deal of work devolved on him in initiating and organizing the new system of government.

On the expiration of his term as Lieutenant- Governor he came to England, where he resided until 1879, when, on the return to power of Sir John Macdonald, he became Resident Agent of the Dominion Government in British Columbia until the position lapsed in 1889.

Shortly after he returned to England, and, though he subsequently made several visits to British Columbia, he resided for the last few years of his life in his native county of Somerset. He was decorated with the Companionship of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1877, and promoted to be K.C.M.G. on his retirement in 1889.

Sir Joseph Trutch was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Canadian Society of Engineers. He married, in 1855, Julia Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Louis Hyde, of Batavia, New York, U.S.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 4th April, 1871.

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