John Grant: from Purser to Politician

John Grant - Cariboo Road builder

John Grant – Cariboo Road builder

In 1862, Gustavus Blin Wright and John C. Calbreath were awarded the contract to continue building the Cariboo Wagon Road from Clinton to Alexandra. They hired John Grant as their bookkeeper and accountant, in charge of receiving money from the government and paying the work groups.

John Grant was born in Alford, Scotland, in 1841 and immigrated to Canada West (Ontario) with his parents in 1855. Like many other Overlanders, Grant arrived in British Columbia in 1862.

He continued to work for G. B. Wright when the Cariboo Road was extended to Soda Creek the following year. Wright had a sternwheeler built, called the Enterprise to navigate the Fraser River between Soda Creek and Quesnel. John Grant was employed as the purser.

Grant spent the following six years gold mining in the Cariboo and Peace River areas. In 1876, he joined a business firm in Cassiar. In 1882, Grant became a member of the ‘Provincial Parliament’ for Cassiar (members were given the title M.P.P.). In 1887, Grant became the mayor of Victoria.