John Moffat

In the Old section of the cemetery there is a headstone which reads:
“Sacred to the memory of John Moffat of the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation died at Vancouver, BC Dec. 9, 1892 on furlough from Shanghai. Born March 25, 1860 Dunscore, Scotland”

John Moffat was passing through Vancouver on his way home to Scotland on a six month leave of absence from his job as Sub-manager of the Shanghai branch of the Hong Kong Banking Corporation. He was travelling through Vancouver because it was the fastest route to Britain from the far east at the time. Mr. Moffat’s arrival in Vancouver on November 30, 1892 as a first class passenger aboard the ‘Empress of China’ was noted in the Weekly News Advertiser.

Unfortunately, the next mention of Mr Moffat in local papers notes his death on December 9th.
From the Weekly News Advertiser December 14, 1892: Friday, John Moffat, sub manager at the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation at Shanghai passed away at St Luke’s Home where he had been for the past few weeks.

And his funeral was reported on in a separate item in the same edition: The funeral of John Moffat took place Saturday afternoon at St. Luke’s Home. George Gillespie, manager of the Bank of British Columbia, Fane Sewell, Reverend Clinton, Henry Bell-Iriving, and Mr Dare of Hong Kong were in attendance. The pall bearers were Captain Archibald of the Empress of China, Purser Mr. Metcalf, Dr. Munro, Dr. Robinson, Dr. Bell-Irving, Mr C. Sweeny of the Bank of Montreal. Officiating was Reverend D. McLaren.

St. Lukes’, one of the city’s first hospitals and was associated with St James’ Church the first permanent church in what was to become Vancouver. Cemetery records show Mr Moffat died from Consumption ( the Victorian term for TB).

John Moffat was born in 1860 in Nether Laggan, Dunscore, Dumfriesshire, Scotland to William and Janet Moffat. He was the sixth of 12 children. At the age of 19 he joined the London office of the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation and spent his short career with the bank.

The HSBC Group Archives in London kindly provided details of his service with the bank.
1879 – Joins London Office of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
1881 – Transferred to Hong Kong branch
1883 – Transferred to Shanghai branch on a salary of $175
1884 – Spent May 1884 in Hankow
1886 – Spent Oct/Nov 1886 in Tientsin
1887 – On leave from Sep 1887 on full salary
1889 – Promoted to position of sub-accountant at Hong Kong Branch on $300
1890 – Appointed accountant at Shanghai Branch from November 1890
1891 – Appointed Sub-manager of Shanghai Branch in July 1891
1892 – Died December 1892 whilst heading back to Britain on sick leave

The high regard he was held in is evident from the people who attended his funeral and the fact that John Moffat is also mentioned in the History of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Volume 1 The Hongkong Bank in Late Imperial China 1864 – 1902 by Frank H H King:
“After John Moffatt (sic) (East in 1881) died unexpectedly in Vancouver en route Home on sick leave, the Board were told that the Bank had realized his securities leaving him a credit balance of $332, and there were three unmarried sisters partially dependent on him.  He would have been entitled to six months’ leave on full pay.  In view of the very high opinion directors entertained of Mr Moffatt and in appreciation of services rendered the Bank, they voted the sisters twelve months full pay equivalent, or $6,000 dollars instead of  $3,000”