Ashdown Henry Green

A.H. Green was born August 18, 1840 London England. He studied Civil Engineering in England with plans to work there but health problems resulted in doctor’s recommendation for a cooler climate. He arrived in Victoria on Vancouver Island in August 23, 1862 and never returned to England. He became a partner with F.W Green , no relation, the City Surveyor (now called City Engineer). In 1865 he explored Selkirk Mountain range to locate a government road to pre-confederation Canada. He kept a diary of this expedition which is available at the BC Archives. October 1865 received orders from Joseph Trutch and Dewdney to return to Victoria.

In the late 1860’s he settled in the Cowichan Valley on a farm near Somenos Lake where he was a founding member of the Cowichan Lending Library and Library Institute. From 1871 to 1880 he was appointed Divisional Engineer for the CPR working on the location of the CPR line across BC. Through 1974 and 1975 Green surveyed Saltspring Island and in 1879 he married Miss caroline Guillod of Comox. The couple moved to Victoria and had two children; Caroline and Ashdown Thomas. Mrs Green died in 1883 and the children were sent to England to be raised by Mr. Green’s brothers. They later returned and settled in Duncan in 1903.

In 1878 Green set out to survey reserve allotments as part of the Joint Indian Reserve Commission along with Edward Mohun and W.S. Jemmet. He appears to have at times also held the role of negotiator when arriving to survey land to find that had been set out by commissioners but the survey created more specific boundaries. His curiosity sometimes cause him inconvenience as demonstrated in 1906 when his queries about how a Nass woman shaped her head through binding was interpreted as a threat and the response was to guard the woman when he was present. He continued as a surveyor for the reserve Commission throughout its existence and in 1913 was appointed as technical officer to the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission on Indian Affairs.

In 1888 Green married Constance Clara Augusta Dumbleton of Victoria had three sons, one of whom died in infancy. Sometime before 1894, the Green’s moved to Duncan where Mrs Green became very active in the social life while Henry was traveling with the reserve Commission. Green was an avid sport fisherman and published several fishing articles in the Journal of Natural History on fish species. He identified nine species previously not see in BC and discovered 2 species that were previously unknown; Lake Chub and Lobefin Snailfish.

The BC Museum currently has a collection of his preserved fish. He was also known for tying fishing flies. His steamer trout fly, called the Ashdown Green, was regularly featured on the back of packages of Sportsman cigarettes. The Green’s moved back to Victoria in 1913 to Mrs Green’s family home in the Rockland area of Victoria. Green retired as a surveyor in 1918 and passed away in 1927.


  1. Gordon, Katherine. Made to Measure: A History of Land Surveying in British Columbia. Vancouver: Sono Nis Press, 2006.
  2. Green, J.W. Ashdown “A brief Account of the Life of Ashdown Green 1840-1927; Civil Engineer, Land Surveyor, and Amateur Ichthyologist” Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia Biographies September 20, 1984 MS-2259 - Box 10, file 12 BCA.
  3. Harris, Cole. Making Native Space. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002.
  4. Paterson, Tom W. “Green Trooped Through B.C. - Inch by Inch” The Link July (1999): pp 28-20.
  5. BC Archives MS 0437:
    Survey Journal Howe Pass, CPR 1871.
    Journal of Columbia River Exploring Party 1865.
    Diary of Ashdown H. Green CPR Survey Party “S” Han. 31 1872- Oct. 28, 1873.
    Ashdown H. Green, Diary of A Survey of Salt Spring Island June 8-Nov 22 1874.