Thomas Lett Stahlschimdt

[ Thomas Lett Stahlschmidt, B. MacKenzie and Robert Burnaby ]

Thomas Lett Stahlschmidt, B. MacKenzie and Robert Burnaby, Unknown, 1860, BCA, F-07465

by Jason Locke

Member of the Grand Jury that Heard the Trial of Tshuanahusset

Thomas Lett Stahlschimdt was born in 1833. However, the time of year or where he was born does not appear in the archival records available in the British Columbia Archives. Much of what we know of Stahlschimdt is found in a newspaper collection compiled by journalist Jim Nesbitt, called "Old Homes and Families." Thomas Lett Stahlschimdt arrived in Victoria in the early 1860s and immediately became engaged in the mercantile business. By 1866, he had established himself quite firmly in the market industry and was subsequently awarded the position of administrator of trade licenses on July 11. In the British Columbia directory of 1871, Stahlschimdt's name appears among the business advertisements as:


Thomas Stahlschmidt also established his family life in Victoria, when in 1863 he married the widow of the late Edward Hammond King. He adopted her four daughters and together they had three children of their own. Their marriage continued strong for 25 years until his death in London on September 19, 1888. Within those years, Stahlschimdt had become well known in Victoria and his prominence as a business man grew in the province. The "Personal" column in The Victoria Colonist of August 22, 1871, reads: "Mr. Stahlschimdt a real old resident of this province and one of its best and most influential citizens...will visit Canada and Europe and will be absent several months."

As expressed in the newspaper column, his influence provided him the opportunity to represent British Columbia at a conference of delegates from the provinces and the dominion. To fulfill this role he was appointed Agent General for the province of British Columbia by Governor Joseph Trutch on September 4, 1871. On October 13, 1871, Stahlschimdt attended the conference on immigration representing the interests of the province. His responsibilities eventually led him and his family to take up residence in London in 1876, from where he continued to participate in his mercantile business until he sold his share to Robert Ward on December 31, 1882. Six years later Stahlschmidt died in London. His obituary appeared in The Victoria Colonist of October 14, 1888, in which his life was commemorated. It reads: "the announcement of his death at the age of 55 will be received with much regret by our pioneers throughout the province, where he was long and favourably known."

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