Sims, William Walter (1833-1916)

William Walter Sims, born 1833, was a native of Dorsetshire, England. On March 24, 1850, he arrived at Fort Victoria aboard the Norman Morison, contracted as an indentured servant by the Hudson’s Bay Company (“HBC”). Six weeks after disembarking, Sims and six others deserted the fort for Nisqually, which was U.S. territory (see account for Henry Wain). Mackie clarifies that “Indentured labourers who broke their contracts by deserting to the United States or elsewhere automatically forfeited their land premiums . . . .” The legal threat implied further difficulties than those the men faced in their encounter with the Tlalum.

Sims service as a farmer continued until 1852, when he joined the ship Recovery as part of the 1852 HBC enterprise to mine gold on the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii). The initiative was worthwhile for the miners, who realized “enough gold to pay themselves wages of $30 per month.” In 1859 Sims married Barbara Reid (1843-1916), who came to Victoria in 1853 aboard the Norman Morison and together the couple had eight daughters and a son. Before his death in 1916, Sims was employed in a number of business ventures. Along with two partners he farmed 160 acres in James Bay, before establishing himself as a butcher in the 1870s and ended his career in the city’s water works department.


  • Beattie, Judith Hudson and Helen M. Buss (Eds.). Undelivered Letters to Hudson’s Bay Company Men on the Northwest Coast of America, 1830-57. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003.
  • Lillard, Charles. Just East of Sundown: The Queen Charlotte Islands. Victoria, B.C.: Horsdal and Schubart Publishers Ltd., 1995. (Reference to wages earned by miners can be found on page 93).
  • Mackie, Richard, “The Colonization of Vancouver Island, 1849-1858,” B.C. Studies, No. 96 (Winter, 1992-93): 3-40. /viewFile/1441/1485
  • Moore, George (complied by), “Gandy Connections,” September, 1997. (Lists Sims family members, as well as some history on William and Barbara). http://privat.
  • “Pioneer Who Came Here in 1850 is Dead,” The Daily Colonist, April 17, 1916. Page 7.
Frederick Gentz