Morris Price

Birth: Unknown

Death: February 1, 1861 in Cayoosh Creek, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, B.C.

Morris Price was born in Keptin Prussia and came to Victoria circa 1859. He quickly established himself and owned properties in Victoria, New Westminster and Cayoosh Flats, now Lillooet. Gold miners often stopped in Cayoosh Flats, and Indigenous village, on their way to seeking their fortune in gold. Residents of Cayoosh Flats considered the miners an intrusion.

Morris was a well established, hard working, highly respected and a well liked resident of Cayoosh Flat. He was a quiet shopkeeper who was described as a “peaceable and inoffensive man”. On February 1, 1861 he was writing a letter to the Reinhardt Brothers. The next day, Morris Price was discovered dead with multiple stab wounds; the letter still in view. About $18.00 of silver dust was stolen, but 14.5 oz of gold dust and $37.50 in gold coins remained in the shop.

On Feb 2, 1861 at 10 a.m., Dr. Featherstone arrived at the scene. Absent evidence, Constable Robert J. Flynn offered a reward at his own expense for information leading to the identity those responsible for the murder. Within a week, three Indigenous men were charged. Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie presided over a trial and found two of the men guilty of murder. They were hanged. For his cooperation in giving testimony, the third man, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 months of hard labor.

The closest Jewish Cemetery was in Victoria. On March 28, 1861 the Victoria Lodge #1085, now Victoria-Columbia No. 1, set up a committee to receive Morris Price’s remains and made arrangements for his funeral. His body arrived in Victoria on May 6, 1861 on the Steamship Otter and was taken to the Masonic Hall (then at the corner of Yates and Langley).

On May 7, 1861 at 1 p.m. a ‘handsome’ coffin containing Morris’ body was placed in a hearse and taken from the Freemason’s Lodge to the Jewish Cemetery. It was followed by Freemasons and numerous friends and acquaintances. A Masonic ceremony and honors was followed by Jewish funeral rites. The Colonist reported that the whole ceremony was ‘most impressive and charged with considerable emotion’.

Morris Price is the first person buried in the Jewish Cemetery.

Gravesite Details: Row U – Plot 10

In Memory Of
Morris Price
Killed at Cayoosh BC
Buried May 6 1881
First Internment in this Cemetery

Vancouver Island Masonic History Project::
Morris Price

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