Fonds RBSC-ARC-1561 - Trutch family fonds

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Trutch family fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

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40 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Joseph William Trutch was born in England in 1826, the son of William Trutch and Charlotte Hannah (Barnes). He was one of five children. The other children were Caroline Agnes (Trutch) OReilly, John Trutch, Charlotte Barnes (Trutch) Davey and Emily (Trutch) Pinder White. After apprenticing as an engineer, he traveled to the United States in 1849, going first to California and then to Oregon where he was the assistant to John Preston, Oregons first Surveyor General. He married Prestons sister in law, Julia Hyde, in 1855 and they settled in Illinois. Following the discovery of gold in British Columbia, Trutch decided to move to that colony, where his brother John, also an engineer, had already settled. Trutch arrived in British Columbia in June 1859. He was awarded contracts to survey rural lands and for the construction of sections of the Harrison Lillooet road and, in 1862, for the construction of the section of the Cariboo Road between Chapmans Bar and Boston Bar. That contract included the construction of the Alexandra Suspension Bridge. Trutch was elected a member of the Vancouver Island House of Assembly in 1861. In 1864, he was named Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works for British Columbia. He was made an appointed member of the Legislative Council of the United Colony and advised Governor Seymour on Indian matters, accompanying him on the trip to Metlakatla in 1869 on which Seymour died. He was appointed a member of the delegation sent from British Columbia to Ottawa to negotiate the terms of confederation. When British Columbia joined Canada on July 20, 1871, Trutch was appointed the provinces first Lieutenant Governor (1871-1876). In 1880, Trutch was appointed dominion agent in British Columbia with responsibility for railway matters and for providing advice on Indian matters to the federal government. In 1889, he retired to England and was knighted. Julia (Hyde) and Joseph Trutch were members of the Victorias social elite and were connected through family ties and friendship with other members of that group. Trutchs sister, Caroline Agnes Trutch, married Peter OReilly in 1863. His brother John, a civil engineer and surveyor who had followed Trutch to North America, married Governor Anthony Musgraves sister, Zoe, in 1870. Trutch had also been at school in England with H.P.P. Crease. Lady Trutch died in Victoria on July 16th, 1895 and Sir Joseph Trutch died in Somerset, England, on March 4, 1904.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of a family history, correspondence, the legal documents of Sir Joseph Trutch, diaries and financial reports of John Trutch and transcripts from Charlotte Morgan-Kelly. The fonds deals with personal matters, the career of Sir Joseph Trutch as civil engineer and public official and the engineering career of John Trutch.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The Trutch papers were donated to the University of British Columbia Library by Mrs. Charlotte E.C . Morgan-Kelly, the daughter of John Trutch, in 1958.


Arrangement of the fonds has followed the series order created in the 1970s.

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Finding aid converted by Jacky Lai, June 2015.
Finding aid revised by Melanie Hardbattle, Sep 2002.

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