Clues to “Tisdall the Gunsmith” in Fredericton

MC300-MS19-100 from Clippings (MS19 – 20 to 103)

I have become fascinated with the gunsmith W. H. Tisdall of Birmingham England.  The York Sunbury Museum office has received two enquiries concerning Tisdall both of which can be found on our blog (Cape Rifle Made by W. H. Tisdall of Birmingham England and W. H. Tisdall & Sons Birmingham & Frederickton NB, makers of fine shotguns in the 1860s). 

While copying MC300 listings to the blog I came across the Tisdall name in Clippings (MS19 – 20 to 103) and contacted the archives for a copy of the file.  The Archivist, the fabulous Mr. Farrell, sent me a copy of the newspaper clipping as well as a screen shot of the Danny Johnson material on the PANB website.  Mr. Farrell also did a quick check of the 1881 census but did not see any sign of the family.  I checked the 1878 Atlas of York County New Brunswick by Halfpenny & Co. and could not find any Tisdall’s on Queen Street west of Phoenix Square.  That does not mean they were not there.  I find that west of Smythe Street (Wellington Ward) is not documented as well as King’s and Queen’s Wards. 

I have collected my findings here and this is what I have learned about the Tisdall family thus far. 

Screen shot of Danny Johnson material on the PANB website

W. H. Tisdall was a gunsmith in Birmingham England who moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick some time in the mid 19th-century.  He carried on his business in Fredericton “not far west of Phoenix Square” (City Hall).  W. H. Tisdall worked with his son, probably C. H. Tisdall and in 1888, C. H. moved to Vancouver where he operated a “gun-factory” with his father and pursued a career in politics.

I would love to know more … does anyone have anything to share?!

1878 Halfpenny Map showing St. Ann's & Wellington Wards


5 responses to “Clues to “Tisdall the Gunsmith” in Fredericton

  1. Found this on the Vancouver Website ( for the Mountain View Cemetery:

    Charles Edward Tisdall • 1922-23
    [b. Apr. 9, 1866, Birmingham, England; arrived Vancouver, April 1888; d. (in office as alderman) Mar. 17, 1936.]

    When Mayor Tisdall stepped into the mayor’s chair he became the only mayor selected under the system of proportional representation, in which the candidate for city council getting the most votes became mayor. As an earlier MLA (Conservative), a Park Board member for 15 years, and an alderman, Tisdall’s popularity and familiarity among the electorate no doubt helped him achieve the highest civic office. These were the early years of the rise in prosperity since the end of the war, a phenomenon that helped fuel the drive for more schools, parks, and the expansion of port facilities in Vancouver.

  2. Ruth,

    I did a search of the Tisdall’s in the census records. Luckily the surname is uncommon which makes the search much simpler. I didn’t check on variations on the name as I had enough success under “Tisdall”.

    1871 Census. Fredericton. Nothing.
    1881 Census. You searched and nothing.
    1891 Census. New Westminister, BC. C.E.Tisdall, 25, in lodging house, gunsmith. Nothing for NB.
    1901 Census. Vancouver – Burrard. Charles

    Tisdall, born 9 Apr 1866 & wife, Edith B. born 7 Aug 1873. Also, the family of the widow Amy Tisdall, New Westminister BC., age 50, with 5 children: Albert, Maud, Elizabeth, Ethel & Francis. Nothing for NB.

    1911 Census. Charles E. Tisdall, 1252 Georgia, Vancouver, wife Edith B., and 4 daughters: Margaret, Mary, Edith W. & and Dorothy A. Also a second family: William Tisdall, b. Aug 1867, wife Ellen, b. Apr 1858, son George, b. May 1888.

    The entries indicate Charles arrived in BC shortly before the 1891 Census and Charles & Edith married shortly before the 1901 Census.


  3. This is my family and were gunsmiths for at least 3 generations. What do you wish to know?

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