MISSION MOMENTS: Community builders Anthony Taulbut and Harry Beach

Mission Moments is a new presentation that will be made to Mission Council at each of it’s public council meetings during 2017.

Mission Moments is a new presentation that will be made to Mission Council at each of it’s public council meetings during 2017.

The presentations, part of Mission’s 125th anniversary, examine those who impacted Mission’s history.

We begin the series recognizing two of Mission’s extraordinary community builders.

We begin with Anthony, Tony, Taulbut.

Anthony was a native of Fareham Hants, England, and after serving in the British navy for 19 years he settled on a bush ranch in Mission in 1909 with his wife Rosina, herself a native of Upper Norwood, Surrey, England.. Taulbut was a Justice of the Peace, Past Master of Pacific Lodge No. 16 AF and AM, Past Master Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1629, Past Preceptor, Mission Preceptory Royal Black Knights, and Past Patron, Pacific Chapter No. 21, OE Star. He was secretary of the Mission School Board for more than 26 years. His contributions were so valued that when he attempted to resign his post in 1945 the teachers, more than 30 in all, signed a petition asking his resignation not be accepted.

Taulbut also collected fees for trade licenses during Mission’s early days, in fact he collected fees for licenses before the incorporation every took place. He related that while he knew this was illegal it was the only way for him to gather enough funds to pay the inauguration fees for the municipality.

He was also had a way with the pen, and was a correspondent for one of BC’s two leading daily newspapers for more than 25 years, as well as a local correspondent for CHWK radio station out of Chilliwack, the Voice of the Fraser Valley

Anthony Taulbut was a renowned collector and known to be always cheerful with a keen sense of humour. His love of a joke started a custom that became a long standing tradition in Mission.  In 1929 after a somewhat lengthy altercation among local civic officials, it was his idea to present them with a pipe of peace which he apparently carved himself.  Since the presentation of the pipe, incoming Councils and Commissions solemnly continued to smoke the long stemmed pipe for many years. The item now forms part of the significant Taulbut collection in the Mission Museum.

Anthony and his wife Rosina were two of Mission’s most beloved pioneers, instrumental in the development of our community and in recording its history.

Our second community builder is former magistrate Harry Beach who achieved “many firsts” during his 52 year residency in Mission.

Harry Beach was one of Mission’s modern pioneers and  who was instrumental in the creation of the town and district. Born in 1888 at Toddington, Gloucestershire, England, Harry Beach he settled in Mission in 1915 and assumed essentially every position of importance in the area. After settling in Mission He first went into partnership with R.P. King forming King-Beach Ltd., a big jam factory on the Mission Flats which “became  a great employment asset” in the community” and furnished the men’s ward in the first Mission hospital.   In 1931 he established a market in England for BC Surplus Small Fruits, a fruit-growers’ organization from the Fraser Valley.  Beach developed a successful market for BC strawberries until exchange rates killed the business.

Through his keen interest in civic affairs, Harry became actively involved with numerous organizations to make Mission a better place to live, work and raise a family.    He was also served as the secretary to of the Mission City and District Board of Trade  and during which time he was instrumental in having a bell placed at the Horne Avenue railway crossing  to prevent further tragic accidents, and pressed for the planking of the CPR bridge across the Fraser for both vehicle and train use.

During the 30’s he established many firsts in our community. He was the first president of the Canadian Red Cross in the Mission area and also sat on the provincial board, he was also the first president of the local Boy Scouts of Canada organization and sat on the National Council for many years, and was the first president of the Ambulance Society.

During the catastrophic 1948 flood Harry Beach took charge of the Red Cross, who delivered provided shelter and over 33,000 meals to those affected in this area.  Harry gave selflessly to Mission and brought people together during the best and worst of times.  A trait best reflected in his work with others during the flood of 1948 where he related, “I shall never forget the work it entailed for my wife, myself and many others. For five nights I never slept in a bed, just tried to snatch a little sleep on Main Street. Calls from stranded people came in day and night…. I cannot single out any organization in Mission which did a greater service than another, as all were worthy of great praise for their wonderful work in time of need.”

Without slowing down he Harry went on to sit serve on the Hospital Board for several years as finance chairman. He also became the coroner for the Mission area, judge of the Juvenile Court, and judge of the small debts court.  A longstanding, well-known and respected citizen, Harry led a life of exemplary service to the community.


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