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SOOKE HISTORY – Unveiling the Past: A 1912 pioneer wedding

The nuptials of Louise Charters and Jack Gosnell
The Gosnell wedding party in 1912. (Jack Wormald – Sooke Region Museum)

I found this 1912 photo, given to the Sooke Region Museum by descendant Jack Wormald, fascinating. While we know who all the people are in the photo, we haven’t identified where it was taken.

The bridal couple in the centre is Louise Charters Sheilds Shute and her new husband, Jack Gosnell. How remarkable it seems that a woman who had suffered the loss of two earlier husbands was the central figure in this pioneer wedding group, so beautifully gowned.

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On the left, the four young girls who were junior bridesmaids are Nancy Shute, daughter of Louise by her second husband Edward Shute; next standing a bit behind, is Jessie Cains, daughter of Louise’s sister Margaret Charters and Richard Cains (Jessie became Mrs. Ralph Strong); the next two are sisters, Margaret and Kate, daughters of Kate Charters and Tom Fuller. Standing next is Lyall Sheilds, the son of Louise by her first husband, Ed Sheilds (who became our well-loved blacksmith) and his new wife, Lizzie Treloar. This couple became parents to Bill, Helen and Elaine Sheilds.

Next is the bride, the remarkable Louise, with groom Jack Gosnell, who was connected to the West Coast shipbuilding industry. Next are the two elder daughters of Louise and Ed Sheilds, Annie, who became Annie Eales, and Ethel, who did not marry. The older gentleman next in line is John Fogan Charters, uncle to Louise, and then Nancy, sister of Louise, who married John Stockand.

This wedding took place in Victoria on Oct. 25, 1912, when Louise was 48, and it is delightful to note that her groom, a significant figure at the shipbuilding firm of Yarrows Ltd, was aged 39.

Louise was the daughter of William Bell Charters, who arrived with his wife Louise Velquez in 1865 and took up land at the mouth of the Sooke River. One of his sons, William, ran a sawmill on Belvista Place. A younger brother of William Bell, John Fogan Charters, ran a riverside store briefly and purchased farming property in Otter Point. The family is remembered today by Charters Road and Charters River.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum. Email